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Vacation, Day 3

What happened to Day 2?, the observant and regular reader of this blog may well ask.  Well, that day did not go well, to say the very least.

At the end of day 1, we went to bed early, snug in our tents.  It began to rain in  the night.  Not a big deal, I thought.  The sound of rain on the tent is pleasant, when you are inside.  I actually slept reasonable well.

Innsbruck.  I'm strangling Sam because he thought he was being funny blocking Isabel from the photo

Innsbruck. I’m strangling Sam because he thought he was being funny blocking Isabel from the photo

But the rain really started in earnest in the morning.  The boys complained that there was water in their tent, so they came into ours.  Not really a big deal, we could have slept 5, although it wouldn’t have been comfortable.  Helena and I walked up to the  grocery  store and  got breakfast.

Sam didn’t want to eat and we were worried he might be sick.  (He wasn’t sick)  We started thinking maybe this camping trip wasn’t meant to be and started discussing alternatives.  Went for a drive to the beach, because at least inside the car we were warm and dry.  Went to the town where the beach was supposed to be and got out to walk, all signs seemed to indicate it was just over the dunes.  Got a couple of blocks (with no sign of the beach) and the sky opened up and it poured.  Went back to the car.  Found the beach, which was not exactly the wind swept stretch of pristine sand I’d imagined.  There was the biggest, ugliest factory I’d ever seen in my life, a harbor with some very  large ships, which was interesting, and a long walk to actually get a look at the open ocean.

By the time we got back to the campground, we were committed to  leaving.  The problem was, we’d paid for 4 nights and they had no intention of refunding the money.  They said they will  send us a voucher for 3 nights, to be used by the end of season, but I don’t see us getting  back to Amsterdam in that time, so I hope we can sell it.

We decided to move straight to the second part of the trip, and drive Sam’s friend home to Innsbruck.  It was still raining buckets for the first two of 3 hours of the drive, but we pressed on and made it here just about midnight.  I told Helena she should be a truck driver.  She falls asleep in front of the TV after 10 minutes, but she can drive for days.

So we’re staying at his mother’s flat, and it’s quite lovely, indoors with all the mod cons, a lovely view of the Alps from the balcony, we took a walk down to a brook in the woods this morning and toured the city this afternoon, which was absolutely fine.  All’s well that ends well.

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Day 1

Well, there might not be too much of a delay with the blog after all.  We are ensconced in our campsite in the Netherlands, where we’ll be for the next 3 days, and it is a pretty full service place.  Of course there is computer access.

I'm sitting just to the right of this playground.

I’m sitting just to the right of this playground.

There is a fancy restaurant and a snack bar where we had dinner.  I made out like a bandit because I just ordered a burger, but Isabel and Helena got adventurous and ordered  Amsterdam Croquettes, which it turned out nobody liked but me.  I’m not even sure what they were, but my best guess is mashed potatoes and meat, a little spicy, breaded and deep fried.  We ordered fries for 3 and they were more than enough for the 5 of us.

There is a laundry, a bicycle rental, all sorts of playgrounds, and free showers (not a common thing in European campgrounds)  There are a lot of people here who seem to be spending the summer.  That is, there are cabins, and very elaborate trailers, and a little hobbit house.  We are slumming it with our tent.

The trip so far has been mixed.  We hit the road with much less complication than I thought, everybody got up on time and we were moving by 6 a.m.  It was a cool and breezy day, nice for a drive.  Germany is absolutely thick with windmills, it’s quite impressive, really.

One thing that I’m going to have to skimp on this trip is coffee.  At home I can make it whenever I like, so 6 or 8 cups a day is not uncommon.  But at 1 Euro 30 for a crappy, tiny cup from a machine, that’s going to be a rarer treat.

The kids have been fighting and going nuts in the back seat, so I’m glad we’re staying in one place for a few days.  Will write more tomorrow.

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We’re off on a week’s vacation starting  early tomorrow morning.  I hope to be able to write  this blog every day, most camp sites have Wi-fi now, but I can’t guarantee it and  I’m not going to worry about it.  Certainly, my facebook presence will be greatly curtailed, but maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe that’s something I need a vacation from.

It will be more of this....

It will be more of this….

Certainly, my Poems About Paintings page has lagged a bit in the last week just because I’ve been in the same rut for too long and haven’t felt inspired.  Time to recharge the old batteries.

It’s going to be a very roundabout trip, with a lot of driving, but it will be interesting indeed.  First, we are headed for the Netherlands, where we will stay in a campground  by the beach and take a day  trip or two  into Amsterdam.  Since I haven’t been to Amsterdam since I  was young, single, and totally irresponsible, it will be a bit like seeing the place for the first time.

...and less of this.

…and less of this.

Then, we have to take Sam’s friend Robert home to Innsbruck, and we will find at least one place along the way to do a one day trip by canoe or raft.  That’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer, and it’s certainly been hot enough lately.

When I get back, I expect to be refreshed and in a good mood to start my newest job.  Starting Monday, August 3rd, I will be the Tarot Reader in Residence at Marie Brožová’s art gallery, just a few short stops off Old Town  Square.

If you’re in Prague, stop in and see me.

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Apocalypse Soon

It is stinking hot and I wish it would rain.  Rain clears the air, relieves the tension.  I like the rain.

Of course, I shouldn’t complain.  Some people are living where there is actual drought, and wildfires.  And there’s going to be a lot more of that.  Because the climate’s changing.  It’s changing a lot faster than we thought it would, according to a guy named Jim Hansen, who used to work for NASA and I guess is somewhat of an expert on the issue.

He says the sea is going to rise 3 meters within the next 50 years.  There goes Venice.  There go the Seychelles.  There goes Florida.  That might actually wake people up a bit.

If the Seychelles go under there will be a bit of a refugee problem and some people will have to reschedule their vacations, but the people who matter won’t be too bothered.  They are the White Rhino of nations.  They will disappear and people will forget they every existed.

I feel pretty lucky, to tell the truth, to live in the Czech Republic.  We’re far enough away from any coastline that we don’t need to worry about the ocean rising.  We don’t live along any known fault lines, so we’re probably never going to do in an earthquake.  We’re nowhere near Yellowstone so when that erupts and kills 90% of all the people in North America, we’ll be just fine.  No hurricanes here.  Forest fires are not a big problem.  That could change, I suppose, if drought becomes the order of the day, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Yup, we’re pretty safe here.

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The Road to Utopia

The thread was actually about how Chinese builders put together a house, from 3D printed materials, in 3 hours, and it looked like a really nice house.  The thread, as comment threads tend to do, was spreading out all over the place, and I said something about how we could have a perfect world and it’s a darned shame nobody reads Buckminster Fuller any more, and somebody  responded with (I’m paraphrasing broadly here) haha, you’re so silly, how do you expect to do that?

Three hours, and a luxury villa  at that

Three hours, and a luxury villa at that

That was last night and it took me that long to come up with this response, and it’s blog length, so I’m just going to plagiarize myself and repost my  riposte here:

Well, since Charles so correctly pointed out the need for a plan and I said I would get to work on a plan, I feel I at least owe a response. However, this is not the plan.
The plan for how to get from where we are – a world divided into over 200 nations, with thousands of languages and religions and more ideologies than you could shake a stick at; a world which is polluted to a horrifically unhealthy degree; a world in which billions of people are struggling just to not starve to death; a world which erupts into war at the slightest reason, even the slightest pretext – to a utopian paradise where all the food that people need can be plucked from the trees like in the land of the Eloi, where everybody has a clean comfortable home with all the conveniences of modern life, where clean water and clean air are considered a natural part of existence, where mag-lev trains link the world and children go to school every day in clean, safe, well lit classrooms – would take thousands of pages and lots of technical drawings.
This is the plan for how to come up with the plan.
Yammering at each other on facebook can be, occasionally, illuminating but there is far more noise than productive sound, so facebook is not the answer. What we need is something that is not social media but idea media, a place where we can debate every issue to conclusion, and by conclusion I mean consensus.
It should be a site which starts with the question ‘How can we make the Earth a wonderful place to live and ensure the healthy continuation of the human race?’ There would be no friending or unfriending. Everybody who’s on is on with everybody else. Memes, or original posts, get posted ONCE. All comments directed to the same post. Comments monitored, stupid comments tossed, expert comments encouraged. Periodic polling of participants and redefining of arguments, until consensus is reached. Until we come up with a plan.

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The Imitation Game

Just saw ‘The Imitation Game’ at our local, outdoor, 50 kč cinema.  It was packed, and some people were sitting on the ground in front of the rows of chairs, and there was an extra seating session over to the side, on the gazebo platform.  It was good to be outside in the evening, after a bloody hot day and a complicated mess of delayed and rerouted trams, and it was even pleasant when the wind whipped up late in the film and there were leaves blowing in the lights of the projector, it added a bit of drama.

It really would have been a bleak film without her

It really would have been a bleak film without her

I enjoyed the film tremendously.  Even though I tend to think both Benedict Cumberbodkin and Keira Knightley are somewhat over-rated in their profession, I managed to forget about that and get swept away in the story – although I suspected that the Keira Knightley character was a fictional creation, just so the film wouldn’t be all a bunch of guys standing around arguing about math.

That was one of the things I checked on Wikipedia as soon as I got home.  The film was closer to historically accurate than I gave it credit for, and Joan Clarke, Knightley’s character, was real.

I also suspect that the epiphany in the pub scene was just Hollywood, it was too cute by half and very  similar to a scene in “A Beautiful Mind.”  But, I don’t know.  That wasn’t in the wikipedia article, but you can’t expect every little detail to be.

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Epic Day

My favorite comment of the day was from someone who wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) ‘If you record every thing that happens in a day, it becomes an epic’ and I’m not sure if by epic he meant a journey, or a quest, or just really, really long but I realized right away what he meant.

Today I woke up a bit late, after a dream with a black rabbit, watched TV and pootered around on facebook until I left at about 10 for a class with a girl (I’m not sure exactly how old she is – 12?-) who hasn’t had a lesson in two months and I thought her parents had given up on the idea, but if I wanted to really tell the story I’d talk about what I had for breakfast, and all of the back and forth exchanges I had on facebook, and what TV programs I watched and what I thought about them, and how I just had to remember to stick my card in the machine to validate my Metro Pass for another month but I forgot and then after I got off at Malostranska and had crossed the street to catch the tram and nearly stepped in front of one coming the other direction and, just as the 22 was pulling up, I realized I’d  forgotten to validate and I looked at the clock, it was 20 to 11, and I was torn – if I went back to the station to validate I would miss that tram and might be late but if I didn’t, it’s actually  quite a regular route for inspectors, so I went back in and then didn’t have to wait so long for the next one. I knew as soon as I got on that I wouldn’t be late, at least not by more than a couple of minutes, and there were two stunningly good looking women sitting together, one blonde, one brunette, and the brunette was wearing sunglasses, and they might have been sisters, they might have been colleagues, but in the male fantasy cortex of my tram riding mind they were lesbians, and maybe they’d just had a fight because the blonde was staring out the window with a miffed look, but I didn’t want to look like a pervert so I began to look out the window as well, it was a sweltering hot day, and some of the clouds were dark and it looked like it might rain but it never did and there we are up to an epic and the day had barely begun.

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