Monday, October 15, 2018

A Demon on the Way to Starbucks

We made it to Salisbury, where fall seems more advanced than in London, and temperatures seem considerably cooler. I didn't bring my jacket, which I may regret, but at least I have a good sweater.

We got here early yesterday afternoon after a smooth train ride and checked into our hotel, on the banks of the River Avon and a stone's throw from the famous Salisbury cathedral. We can see the cathedral's steeple towering above the trees, tall enough to require a red aircraft beacon on the top. We set out for a walk to find lunch.

We crossed the river and passed the cathedral, which we'll see in more detail today. I was amused by this gargoyle, with a lizard or demon or something chewing on his neck. He's saying, "Here's what happens when you don't go to church!"

We had lunch in this pub, ironically named considering it bills itself as a "charming 15th Century quality catering inn, beautifully restored." The comfy interior was full of dark beams and low ceilings, the perfect atmosphere for a chilly, damp afternoon. Olga lounged under our table and had a sausage of her own, which seemed to make her happy.

Afterwards we took a brief walk through the town and went to Starbucks, where there was a randomly capitalized sign on the counter: "We Have run out of Change. Card or Exact Cash Payments only. Sorry for the Inconvenience." The words were followed by a frowny face emoji. One would think if they made only a few cash transactions they would then have change, but maybe everyone pays by card these days. (I had a free drink through my health insurance, so I didn't pay anything at all!)

Walking back across the river, we admired the lush gardens on both banks. The river isn't a single stream here, but multiple smaller streams swirling around islands and through marshes.

Here we are back at our hotel, where we remained for the rest of the evening. We have a ground-floor room on a wide lawn where the dog can run. Dinner in the restaurant was a bit overpriced, and when I ordered a martini the waiter seemed skeptical. He rustled one up but it had lemon rinds and a black olive in it -- not garnishes I would have chosen, but maybe that's how they do things in Salisbury?

The hotel has carpeting that would make Jefferson Airplane proud. Here's the junction of two hallways and our bedroom. Psychedelic!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Musk Mallow

Remember those wildflower seeds I planted in early spring? The ones that slumbered dormant in the chilly ground until I finally planted a second batch, which were equally unproductive? The ones we finally gave up on entirely before planting fully grown comfrey and cow parsley in their place?

Well, I never wrote about it, but we did finally get a few peculiar-looking sprouts in the wildflower garden. They never did much until this week, when one of them rewarded us with some completely unexpected flowers! It's a musk mallow, and I'm assuming it came from the seeds I planted because we don't have them anywhere else in the garden -- but who knows. I suppose it could just be a volunteer, too.

Anyway, we like it!

I had a busy day yesterday. Dave went to school to finish recording student auditions for an honor band competition, and I spent the morning cleaning the house and doing laundry and trimming some stuff in the garden. We've tried to leave the garden alone, even though everything's gone to seed, because plants like the teasel and cardoon and thistles and hydrangeas are interesting when they go all brown and dry and rattly. But finally yesterday I had to gently tidy up, trimming some uninteresting stragglers, because it was getting hard to walk around out there in places.

I'm reading "Boy Erased," a memoir about a boy from a fundamentalist religious family whose parents send him for gay conversion therapy after he comes out to them. Apparently it's being made into a movie, which is probably why we just got it in the library. It's a really good read, but all the Jesus-speak makes me tired and somewhat depressed. I can only take so much.

We're off school tomorrow and Tuesday for October break, and today we'll be boarding a train with Olga, bound for Salisbury. Yes, yes, I know -- beware the Novichok. That's what everyone's been telling me, in a mostly joking tone. I'll do my best not to touch any suspicious doorknobs.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Empire of Light, Part 2

Here's another early-morning shot from my neighborhood, taken when the streets are quiet and the day is balanced on the cusp of dawn. This photo and the one I posted two days ago both remind me of Rene Magritte's "Empire of Light" paintings:

I remember seeing this painting at MoMA, I believe, many years ago and loving it. Something about that magical time of early morning or late evening, and the perfect glow of that lonely streetlight, is really captivating. It's one of a few Magritte paintings depicting this theme.

I've read that the paintings supposedly create an unsettled feeling in the viewer by showing a nighttime street against a daytime sky. The scholarly conclusion seems to be that these two phenomena can't coexist in real life, creating conflict and possibly representing some sort of moral or philosophical conundrum. I'm not so sure, though. I've always found "The Empire of Light" peaceful and soothing, and as my photo shows, day and night can in fact coexist, briefly.

The only element that seems menacing to me is the tall building (or water tower or something) at left, an architecturally Brutalist disruption of the otherwise natural border between treeline and clouds.

(I compared one of my photos to this painting once before, way back in 2010. But that photo was taken at night, which, in retrospect, misses the point of the painting.)

Here's the Waterlogue version of my shot. Not terrible, but hardly Magritte. Which once again proves that even the most remarkable phone app can't replace the genius of human intention in art!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Don't Forget Your Cucumber

Do you ever listen to podcasts? I've recently been listening to one called "Dr. Death," about a Dallas neurosurgeon who was at best incompetent and at worst a sociopath. He maimed and killed so many patients in such a short period of time that he was prosecuted, and is now serving life in prison! It's a crazy case, and unprecedented, apparently. If you want some interesting listening, give it a try. I'm also told "Serial" is out with a third season that I plan to begin ASAP.

I finished cleaning out the library's DVDs yesterday. I've found that getting rid of everything that hasn't been watched in the last five years -- which is the method I used for documentaries and instructional films -- doesn't entirely work in the fiction section. If I did that, I'd be keeping movies like "Cheaper by the Dozen 2," "The Lake House" and "Maid of Honor" while discarding "Birth of a Nation," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Gone with the Wind" and everything by Fellini and Bergman.

So I made a little pile of films I think we should discard, even though they were watched once in recent years, and a little pile of those we shouldn't even though they weren't checked out. I'll talk it through with my boss today and we'll see how she feels about the results.

It's interesting, because like all library weeding projects, this forces us to consider our mission. Do we keep what people want, or do we bring them significant films for educational or cultural reasons?

(Top: Hampstead Heath, last weekend. Bottom: Found on the sidewalk on my way home from work yesterday.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Early Morning and Early Life

I took this at sunrise on Tuesday, as I was walking Olga. I liked the balance between the two light sources -- the colorful morning sky and the street light casting its orangey glow. It was an interesting moment. We're getting to the time of year when we'll be taking our morning walks in darkness.

At work, I'm thinning out our DVD collection. There's a plan to remove the cabinet where all our DVDs are filed, and when we relocate them they're moving to much smaller quarters. Since we're streaming more video (like everyone else) we're going to take the opportunity to get rid of a lot of them. My standard is, if it hasn't been checked out in five years, we don't need it.

You'd be amazed at how many DVDs that is. Looks like we'll be keeping about a third of what we've got. I wish I could get Dave to help me thin out the DVDs we have here at home -- I think we could cut back just as much, if not more!

Here's a photo my mom gave me when I visited her in August. That's me as a two-year-old. (I was very into flowers as a little kid -- hence my enthusiasm for gardening, I suppose.) My parents were living in Adelphi, Md., that year while my father finished his doctorate at the University of Maryland. They rented a modern house and I have very faint, scattered memories of that period -- losing a toy in a drain pipe in the yard, for example, and going to a nearby park with my father. Funny what sticks in our minds. And look -- I had the same hair then as I do now!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

These Kids Today

I woke up this morning with the strangest collection of ghostly images in my head, the remnants of a dream that I don't remember. You know when you have a dusty camera lens, and you take a picture into the sun, and you get those blurry floaters in your picture? That's what my dream looked like -- undefined images obscured by floaters and lens flares.

I think I was in Pinellas County. Something about beaches and bright light. Otherwise it's all a blur.

When I was in the Peace Corps, my site mate -- another volunteer who lived with me in the same community -- used to have incredibly elaborate dreams. She would wake up and relate them to me, and they were always fully plotted with fairly logical development, and they went on for ages. They were like novels. I, on the other hand, would wake up and say things like, "I think I was in Pinellas County."

Anyway, I'm only writing about this because it's 6:23 a.m. In an hour even those ghostly, sunny splotches will be gone from my mind.

I'm reading an interesting book called "iGen," about the young generation born in the mid-'90s and later. (The group after the Millenials.) I figured since I work with these kids it might be interesting to see what makes them tick. Apparently, what makes them tick are their phones. They are the most plugged-in generation yet, but according to studies cited by the book's author they are more anxious and less happy than previous generations, partly because of the pressures imposed by social media. They're also less religious and more focused on individuality and personal freedom, which is great for causes like LGBT rights but surprisingly bad for issues like the environment. There's little sense of collective purpose.

Then again, kids in high school and younger are still adapting and changing. When I graduated from high school I thought I liked Ronald Reagan, but that's only because I had the most superficial understanding of his "great communicator" persona. When I learned more about his policies my political outlook swung 180 degrees. Maybe kids today are more settled in their identities than I was, given how media-saturated they are.

There's also the well-known tendency among young people to delay adulthood, as they rely more on parents well into their 20s and postpone steps like marriage and family. That's partly related to economic insecurity -- they're more worried about making a comfortable living than almost anything else. (I can relate, having seen my own career and that of many of my friends upended since about 2005. Dave and I are doing OK, but we often rejoice that we don't have kids to support.)

Anyway, it's an interesting book. I suppose generalizations about such vast numbers of people always have to be taken with a grain of salt, but I must say, I'm glad I grew up when I did -- a happy member of Generation X, mostly pre-video games and definitely pre-Internet. There was a peace of mind that came with being in my own little oblivious world, and today's super-connected kids miss out on that.

(Photo: A corner on Finchley Road. The posters change, but otherwise it always looks like this. I wonder if that building, which was recently renovated, will ever be occupied.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Surfin to the Eskimo Dance

After yesterday's political discussion, I need at least a day of recovery. So how about some iPhone pictures?

Surfin appears to be the name of a cafe chain (is two a chain?) in some communities north of London -- one humorously named Biggleswade and neither particularly close to any surf.

I found this poster intriguing. What, I wondered in my square way, could an Eskimo Dance possibly be?

Turns out it's a well-known event among followers of London's "grime" music scene. Grime is electronic urban dance music influenced by hip-hop, and Eskimo is a specific beat developed by the musician Wiley.

I have no idea why it's called Eskimo. Maybe because it's so cool?

This tree is always one of the first on our street to change color in autumn.

An interesting (?) art piece I found discarded in a dumpster. I was not tempted to rescue it.

Nor did I try to save this baby half-shirt, even though it is rockin'.

This was waiting outside a house down the street. It's a somber-looking collection, especially with that wheelchair in the middle. I wonder if someone died.

Finally, this is in the window of the paint-it-yourself ceramics shop on West End Lane. Looks like Snow White had a rough night. Or maybe she's reacting to Kavanaugh's confirmation. (Sorry -- politics slipped in there after all.)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Rolling in Daisies

I've been mulling over this Kavanaugh situation.

I was upset by his confirmation. But I've been hesitant to condemn it outright because I respect Susan Collins, the Maine senator who critically voted in his favor. I initially thought, she knows more than I do about this guy and his intentions, and she's a pro-choice woman, and she's shown herself in the past to be willing to break with her fellow Republicans. She's not hyper-partisan. She has every reason to vote her conscience. Maine, in 2016, was a pale blue state -- she has less incentive (than Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which is very red, for example) to simply appease Trump-loving constituents. So maybe Kavanaugh isn't so terrible?

It was a bit like the period when George W. Bush was pushing to wage war on Iraq in 2002. I was 100 percent opposed, and then Tony Blair spoke up in favor and I thought, "Hmmmm. Tony Blair is a reasonable guy. Maybe there's something to this." I remained opposed, but he gave me pause.

But having watched Collins defend her position since, I gotta say: just as Blair was dead wrong, I think she is too. I understand, given a he-said, she-said situation, wanting to adhere to a presumption of innocence. But a confirmation hearing is not a criminal trial. It's a job interview. And Kavanaugh, in his statements to senators, showed himself fundamentally unfit for the job in both demeanor and (lack of) intellectual neutrality. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think a confirmation hearing requires the same standards of proof as a criminal proceeding. A credible allegation seems reason enough to turn Kavanaugh away, as Collins' fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski courageously did.

Maybe deep down, Collins thinks Kavanaugh is better than the other judges on Trump's list of potential appointments -- a scary thought. She seems convinced he is not a threat to Roe vs. Wade, which is hard for me to fathom.

In any case, his confirmation sure seems like a victory for the old white guys. It's interesting and bizarre that a pro-choice woman cast one of the linchpin votes.

Olga and I went to Hampstead Heath yesterday, where she ran off an incredible amount of energy. She's clearly been building it up over the past few weeks, while lying on the couch in post-surgical recovery. Among other things, she rolled in this field of purple asters, also known as Michaelmas daisies -- one of our most reliable and ubiquitous fall flowers.

Walking the dog, on a sunny, cold autumn day, helped me feel better, anyway. I don't mean to brush aside the continual assaults on my belief system coming from governments on both sides of the Atlantic, because they hurt. But at the end of the day, I've got to find beauty and peace in what's going on around me -- in my garden, in my marriage, in my dog, in my job (not always easy). And in my blog.

So let's all roll in the daisies, shall we?

(Top photo: A leaf on Hampstead Heath, yesterday.)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Rainy Outing to the Movies

Despite yesterday's rain -- and it did rain pretty much all day from midmorning on -- Olga and I managed to take an early walk up to Child's Hill and through the park. It's starting to look quite autumnal around here, with the Virginia creeper vines turning bright red and some of the trees beginning to go yellow.

Olga chased her tennis ball and had a great time running around. She doesn't seem bothered by her healing sutures at all.

It's also getting chilly -- the high today is supposed to be in the 50's (F). We've turned on the heat in the mornings and the evenings. Dave and I have an annual debate about this, with him often wanting it on much earlier in the year than me -- I believe in piling on sweatshirts while Dave would rather wear one layer in a warmer house. But yesterday we really did seem to need it to keep the chill and dampness at bay.

Dave had to go to school in the afternoon to work with some students, so I went to see "The Children Act" with one of my free movie passes through my health insurer. "The Children Act," which stars one of our famous neighbors, is interesting, tightly scripted and produced. I enjoyed it a lot -- it definitely makes you think about choices and consequences, identity and honesty -- although I think the title is terrible. I was also rewarded with a free Starbucks coffee through my health insurer, so I redeemed that and made an afternoon of it.

I popped into Sainsbury's on the off-chance that I could find a particular brand of red zinfandel that I like, and they had it -- woo hoo! -- so I bought a few bottles. It occurred to me that movies like "The Children Act," in which everyone is so well-dressed and tasteful, never show their characters trudging into Sainsbury's on a rainy afternoon to buy wine.

I finished "Oliver Twist," and was interested to find a passage toward the end in which Bill Sikes, on the run from the law, hides out on Hampstead Heath! I'll think of that the next time I walk there with Olga (hopefully today).

(Top photo: Child's Hill Park, yesterday. Bottom: Locks on a park gate.)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pub Outing

I went out last night with some co-workers to a pub in Maida Vale. I had three pints over a couple of hours and we talked about everything from gender fluidity in Renaissance theater to the ridiculous cost of London rents. It was very fun. I don't often get a chance to hang out with people from work, so it was a refreshing change. Dave didn't want to come, so he went home to care for Olga...

...who, by the way, seems to be doing well since her stitches were removed. Last night we let her sleep without the Tudor donut. I think I may see if she can do without it entirely from here on out, especially at night. Having that thing in the bed is like having a second dog.

It's supposed to rain today so I think it's going to be a day for lying around!

(Photo: Near the London Museum, last weekend.)

Friday, October 5, 2018

Stitches and 'Porky's'

Olga got her stitches out on Wednesday, finally. We're still giving her a few more days off from the dog walker, just to make sure everything is healed, and she's wearing her Tudor donut through the weekend. But by Monday we should be back to our normal routines.

I will be so happy when this dog is getting walked again. I basically abandoned trying to come home each day for lunch -- I just don't have enough time. She doesn't seem to mind. She just lies on the couch and sleeps. I've never seen any creature that can sleep as much as a dog. They're like computers -- when there's no activity, they slip into standby mode.

There was an interesting article in The New York Times yesterday about '80s movies and the way they conveyed, and confirmed, the culture of teen male sexuality represented in the bad behavior of guys like Judge Kavanaugh. Hit movies like "Porky's," perhaps the prime example, celebrated what we would now consider harassment, or worse. They reflected that "boys will be boys" attitude of permissiveness.

Even in the '80s, I thought "Porky's" looked stupid. I don't think I saw it until sometime in the 2000s, when I finally rented it from Netflix and found it completely forgettable. But of course, being gay, I wasn't the typical audience. There are undoubtedly a lot of guys who did see it -- and "Animal House" and other films of that ilk -- and used them as models for their own behavior, or at least their aspirations.

This doesn't excuse Kavanaugh at all -- his behavior was egregious even by the standards of the '80s, and his angry, tearful defense of it now is even worse -- but it is interesting to consider how the cultural lens has shifted.

(Photo: A candy wrapper in a hedge, Cricklewood.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Oliver Twist

Yesterday a high-schooler asked me how many books I read per week. "I'm not really a fast reader," I told him. "Maybe three or four."

Which is a gross exaggeration! I might read one book a week, but honestly, it's probably even less than that. I have no idea what made me say three or four, and the minute it came out of my mouth I wanted to reel it back in. I almost feel like the next time I see him I need to 'fess up.

I'm about halfway through "Oliver Twist," which I've been reading since last Thursday. It's an interesting book. Despite the antiquated language and the laughable fact that one of the characters is named "Master Bates" (yes, I am that juvenile) it's pretty enjoyable. A tad melodramatic, maybe.

I've often heard that some of Dickens' writing bears traces of anti-semitism, and it's surprisingly blatant in this book. The character of Fagin, the ringleader of a group of thieving boys (including Master Bates and the unfortunate Oliver), is introduced as "a very old shrivelled Jew, whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair." From that point on he is often referred to simply as "the Jew" and described, it seems to me, in especially harsh terms. Here's another example:
The mud lay thick upon the stones, and a black mist hung over the streets; the rain fell sluggishly down, and everything felt cold and clammy to the touch. It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad. As he glided stealthily along, creeping beneath the shelter of walls and doorways, the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile, engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling forth, by night, in search of some rich offal for a meal.
Now, regardless of his ethnicity he's supposed to be a villain, so I can see how Dickens would want to cast him in a negative light. But that seems over the top. Apparently Dickens himself softened the anti-semitic references in later chapters, in response to reader complaints, and argued elsewhere that he had no antipathy toward Jews -- but you sure gotta wonder.

It's fascinating to read the descriptions of London in the 1830s. As I mentioned in yesterday's photo caption, the story takes place partly in Clerkenwell, around Saffron Hill -- a street where I coincidentally found myself walking on Sunday. Dickens also mentions Shoreditch, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green, and his characters even travel far to the west, to Hampton and Hounslow.

Here's how Dickens describes Smithfield, London's wholesale meat market, which I also walked past on Sunday:
It was market-morning. The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire; a thick steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily above. All the pens in the centre of the large area, and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space, were filled with sheep; tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen, three or four deep. Countrymen, butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vagabonds of every low grade, were mingled together in a mass; the whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, the bellowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, the grunting and squeaking of pigs, the cries of hawkers, the shouts, oaths and quarreling on all sides; the ringing of bells and roar of voices, that issued from every public-house; the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping and yelling; the hideous and discordant din that resounded from every corner of the market; and the unwashed, unshaven, squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to and fro, and bursting in and out of the throng; rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses.
Needless to say, although Smithfield market is still in use, it doesn't look (or sound or smell) quite like that now! In fact, it's a vibrant area that's been the focus of redevelopment efforts, housing restaurants and nightclubs along its side streets. The Victorian market building -- erected after the time of "Oliver Twist" -- has historic preservation protection.

(Photo: Part of Smithfield market, on Sunday.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mice and Miscellany

Not much news around here today. Our mouse situation has picked up again. We've caught three in traps in just the last few days, for a total of 22 since we started keeping count early this year. Maybe they're moving inside as the weather gets colder?

While walking Olga yesterday morning I found two plastic trash bags full of paperback books. I brought them home but was disappointed to find most of the books are in Turkish. I'm not sure I can even donate them to Oxfam, but maybe I'll try. There were a handful of English ones too -- nothing I would want to read, but somebody might. For example, there's a 624-page tome called "The Queen's Necklace" by Frances Mossiker, about Marie Antoinette. That's way too much decadent royalty for me.

Dave and I finished "The Americans" last night. I found the final episode lacking, but overall I really enjoyed he show. I'm looking forward to starting some new series, though!

(Photo: Shops in Clerkenwell, in roughly the same neighborhood where "Oliver Twist" takes place.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Resistance

Well, I've done my part to make the "blue wave" happen.

I mailed my absentee ballot yesterday, thus representing myself in the USA's next round of elections. Unfortunately Trump himself isn't up for a vote -- not yet -- but I voted a straight Democratic ticket in Congressional and Florida state races, partly in opposition to Trump and his minions. (I've always voted Democratic, to be honest. I can only think of one Republican I've ever supported in an election, and that was Mike Bloomberg as mayor of New York City, back when I lived in Manhattan.)

More difficult were the nonpartisan local races -- county court judges, for example. I had to do some research and consult with knowledgeable friends to make those choices. The Soil and Water Conservation District, at the bottom of the ballot, was the toughest of all because those candidates don't even get endorsements in the newspaper.

And then I had to deal with twelve (!) proposed amendments to Florida's constitution. Some of them were very strange -- one, for example, bans both offshore oil drilling and vaping in public workplaces. What those two issues have to do with each other, and why a ban on vaping has to be in the state constitution, I have no idea. The most critical amendment would restore voting rights to convicted felons after they've done their time, and I did support that one.

Anyway, it feels good to have done my part. (I can still legally vote in the states even though I live in London, because I'm a U.S. citizen and I file taxes and maintain a legal residence there.)

I'm still on my news blackout. It's fabulous. I feel so much better not absorbing the daily burden of horrors doled out even by the responsible media. I skim the headlines just to have some basic awareness but otherwise I'm trying to spend more time with books.

Remember my mom's struggles with Facebook? Well, I called her last night and explained that for the time being, at least, we need to suspend her account. Despite my blocking and reporting more than 1,100 pornographic "suggested friends" and deleting many more, Facebook mysteriously continues to believe that Mom wants to acquaint herself with naked Algerian men. My brother was concerned about the potential for hackers, particularly in light of Facebook's huge recent data security breach, and I can't continue to spend nearly an hour a day trying to eliminate all the anatomically correct profiles from her suggested friends list. (As I've said before, I'm not being a prude -- if my mom wanted them I wouldn't care, but she doesn't!) So for now, Mom is shut down. I don't think she'll miss it, honestly. She only had 16 friends, and even some of those she barely knew.

(Photos: A scene outside school yesterday morning, and the same photo run through the Waterlogue app.)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Urban Wandering with Cultural Edification

I spent all day yesterday out and about in London. It's been so long since I've had a wander with my camera that didn't also involve walking the dog or sticking to my neighborhood. I don't know why I've been in such a rut lately, but I should get out more often. It felt great to see some new sights!

I took the tube to Liverpool Street and walked west, with my eventual goal being the Museum of London. The morning was cool and sunny, and I found no shortage of photo opportunities as I circled the Barbican and the massive CityPoint complex near Moorgate.

The museum has a photography exhibit on at the moment called "London Nights," featuring numerous photographers and their efforts to capture the nocturnal spirit of the city from the Victorian era to the present day. It was a fascinating show -- standouts for me were Nick Turpin's "Through a Glass Darkly" series, in which he took incredible portraits of bus passengers through the steamy winter windows, and Philipp Ebeling's "London Ends" project focusing on suburbia. I bought both of their books, because that's what I desperately need -- more photography books. (NOT.)

I killed a couple of hours at the exhibit -- and why does the cafe at the Museum of London have a club sandwich called the New Yorker, I wonder, when there's no sandwich named after London (or anywhere else, for that matter)?

Anyway, I then kept walking through Smithfield and Farringdon, stocking up on photos all the way.

Did you know there's a big pineapple on the roof of the old Smithfield meat market? I didn't either -- but there it is. I know it's an old symbol of hospitality, but in this context it seems more like an advertisement for Hawaiian chicken or luau ham.

I got back home around 3 p.m. to find Olga literally vibrating with anticipation, she was so ready for a walk. After downloading my photos I took her to Fortune Green and the cemetery, and for some stupid reason I did exactly what I was careful not to do the day before -- I let her off her lead to chase squirrels through the underbrush. She did indeed damage her stitches, though not badly. I'm a terrible parent.