dMo's blog

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Yesterday morning...

At least the birds were out en-masse. Feb in London can be dreary at 05:30. Sometimes it's cold. Mostly it's damp. Always dark. There's something SAD about leaving home before daybreak & leaving the office after dusk. I think the flourescent light above my desk has burnt a permanent scar on my reitna. Or maybe it's my Russian melancholia.

The Yoga cheered me up though. & a mostly productive day working the Robust Optimisation problem at COR.

Left work before dusk actually ("so that's what this city looks like!") to get my glasses fixed. It's a story worth a couple of paragraphs... A couple months ago, in a moment of bleary idiocy, I rolled over my brand new glasses at work with my office chair & bent them all out of shape. I promply put the glasses into my bag & forgot I ever owned them. Selective memory loss is a great pain / embarrassment management technique.

It was harder, however, to forget that I need glasses to function. This was clearly evident from my sorry attempt to drive Zac to Oxford in safety at the start of his January term. We made it. Just. The real (mis) adventure didn't happen till I got lost on the way home. It didn't help that the weather in typical english fashion was contradicting itself: the full moon was out, it was raining, the sun was setting to the left & the brightest rainbow I'd ever seen was getting waning on the right. Driving Dad's car without a valid english driver's license, getting lost & the constant anxiety of tunnel vision on narrow roads prompted my trip to Brompton's optician's on Clapham Common.

I retrieved the glasses from my bag, (which gets carried about everywhere I go), where thet'd lain for 2 months without being used or even acknowledged and showed them to the tech. I made a fool of myself, got a few laughs describing my blundering -- getting lost, squinting at the approaching busses & 5 minutes later I was wearing my glasses again. Fixed. Free of charge. A pair of needlenose pliers and a set of precision screw-drivers! And a helpful Optician who knows something about Customer Service... Bloodly hell! Why'd I wait so long! & why'd I carry them about when they were useless like so much dead weight? (Rhetorical Question...)

Celebrated at the Bierodrome with a degustasion of Belgian beer. I must have tasted 6 or 7 beers. I'd list them if I could remember what they were. Was joined by Pola for dinner & a lovely evening was made lovlier.

Capped the evening by going to see Munich. Finally a film from Spielberg with balls. It rates a mere 2 on my cheese-o-meter. Not manipulative and beautifully shot (now that I could actually see) by yet another polish cinematographer. And that final shot, with the towers on the other side of the east river... brilliant.

Small misadventure on the way however, as it turns out folding bicycles (even tiny ones measuring 18"x18"x6") are a cinema fire hazard. Even when the cinema is half empty. It took a while for the appeals process to reach the branch manager who didn't bother disguising his pleasure in denying a drunk yuppie and his girlfriend access to an artsy picture.

Salvation came in the form of a local artist who'd come to see the film, overheard the issue and offered to store the bike in his adjacent studio -- which just goes to show that: for every self-important resentfull bureaucrat there's a thoughtfull creative type to find a workaround. Hallelujah -- mysterious ways indeed!

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