Thursday, 26 May 2011

Not yet compost

I need to get more sheets cut for my herbary - I thought 500 would last me an entire season but I'm already running out. I could maybe start numbering the specimens. In fact, I'd welcome some database thingy which would also store the data... but that would be probably too much to expect from life and universe.

Yesterday, M. dropped for dinner. I needed to plant the stuff I brought over from Madeira and which included a fern whose name I forgot, some Viola riviniana or what the hell, Viola odorata ssp. maderensis, and the stuff that arrived just because I left and which was left at M.'s for plant sitting. I heard that cat called Squirrel showed quite a bit of interest in Wassabia but then decided to go on chewing her palm. M. seems to be rather envious of my little yard. I got some useful information, bragged about how I grow my own weeds for my herbary because they have lots of space, M. laughed, held my Fumaria when I picked some other stuff and then he shouted out: Holy shit, what's this?

I'm not telling you what it was before it gets published in an impacted magazine. Let's say that my garden is interesting.

I like weeds. After all, weed is whatever is defined as unwanted so... so what. By not minding them, I make them non-weeds, after all.

And now I need to get back to my serious writing. Then I'll hopefully install the PhotoShop and I'll be back with pictures.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


I should be doing something sensible but it's lunchbreak, people have gone out to get some food while I munched on some ricotta and dried fruit over the keyboard and the tasks require a colleague or some software to be downloaded - I'm still shoulder-deep in the mess caused by the new laptop. A less urgent matter, the dendrology books, which I've downloaded the other day, is sitting at the back of my head and poking me constantly, we seem to be having constant arguments about, say, root system of cherry trees compared to that of apricot trees.

I'm sitting between two laptops, several data storage thingies and in the midst of large cable clump. But in a reasonable time, I'll have a new version of PhotoShop (which will irk the hell out of me because I'm conservative), and maybe I'll even sort out my files in a manner I actually understand. Not that I wouldn't understand the First Available Surface system of filing, and I used to have a rather good idea what the folders named Leftovers, Others, Random, Some stuff and Something else contain. Now, the folders are on several less than neat piles on the external discs and I strongly suspect that something of the more important variety went missing.

The good news is that the current history textbook is being reviewed, proofread, re-reviewed and re-proofread, in other words, getting the finishing touches. When my graphics guy is back from lunch, we're going to start the other one.

Now I need more coffee.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Exploding fish

I would explore Madeiran shrubbery but mom made faces whenever I plunged into growth or squatted to observe a specimen of particularly interesting weed. which reminds me that I failed to pick some of that pretty Juncus thingy. I tried to be nice at least for a while so I limited myself to exploring Madeiran cuisine.
The local specialty, the espada fish (I have to look it up for exact name yet), baked with banana, was offered in the hotel restaurant so I went for it and it was nommy

For the day after, we had booked a round trip. I mentioned that the whole thing was meant for elderly people getting some travel. I must have ranted on and on about my hate of tourist crowd - in case you missed it, let it be noted that I hate tourists, I hate the crowds who totally need to take a picture with every odd-shaped rock, old-looking house or a place where Betty Famous sat down on her hike from Anytown West to Podunk. So, we ended up in a place where Winston Churchill spent a few days holidaying, and in that fishing village, said espada fish is fished. The guide started explaining that said fish lives in depths around 1800m, at which point I gagged because obviously, pull it out of deep waters and it explodes. Guide continued with gory details of how the fishermen never saw said fish alive because on its journey upwards, its stomach explodes, and its eyes explode, and I had a hard time of not throwing up my dinner.

I got a swordfish for my lunch and from then on, I stuck to fish of whose death I knew nothing. Yes, if I were to hunt my own meat, I'd be a vegetarian, I guess, and I thank all the developed and decadent society that I can get my dead animals dead, degutted and neatly sliced.

The Madeira landscape is magnificent, though. The trip was good for two things: some street anthropology concerning mass tourism (and reinforcing my view on that) and seeing that landscape. Among the rugged rocks or laurel forests, we started telling to each other that we totally need to bring Dad here the next time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rejoice not

I'm not dead and you will need to read my rants on and on.

I kept silent for a while. Old laptop is old, new laptop is cool but I need to get used to it and it has no photoshop, work is to be worked.

But, most importantly, I became subject of my mother's craziness. On Thursday, she read that European Union (or someone else) funds travelling to several destinations for people over 55. Mom decided she needed to go to Mallorca next week and wanted me to go with her. I refused, I have stuff to do which can't be easily rescheduled, so it was last Sunday or never, Mallorca wasn't available and we thus ended up at Madeira.

I repeat, in case you didn't get the message clear. We decided to go someplace on Thursday and flew Sunday morning.

Packing requires 30 minutes plus five hours of looking for battery charger, no big deal, but there was some work to do at work and I had to transfer data from old lappy to the new one so I spent most of Saturday in the office as well, and in order to be at the airport early in the morning, we took the midnight train.... but meantime I organized that M. comes, lends me his atlas of plants of Canary islands (which share a good part of flora with Madeira) and takes my freshly arrived plants for plant-sitting. Also, I realized that there are many interesting things (read plants) on Madeira.

Alas, there was not that much time and occasion for picking stuff for my herbary but I snatched a few, now happily resting in fresh dry newspaper under a heap of art books and I yet have to go through the pictures. We also agreed that this trip needs to be repeated.