Monday, April 20, 2009

Books books books

Here's a list of the five books I finished reading since my last post on books:

1. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - interesting account of the life of a woman who married a man who would eventually become the US president, and obviously based on the life of Laura Bush. It's a good read which effectively narrates how �a smart and likable woman would marry someone like, well, W. Creepily, Alice Walker (the protagonist) also seems to be my fictional sister.

2. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - the Queen of England becomes a reader and develops a love of books late in her life. Her life, and England's history, changes dramatically because of it. It's a wonderful short book, with one of the best endings I have ever come across.

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - time traveling adventure/romance/action story. Reminded me why I avoid pulp fiction.

4. The Devil's Pool by George Sand - my first George Sand book. A really simple story about French peasants in the eighteenth/nineteenth century. Good images and an unabashed hope in life uncomplicated.

5. The State of Africa by Martin Meredith - very good background on African history from independence to the present day. It leaves you with many things to mull over, and a compelling need to help.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roaming in Rome (and Brussels)

Dude and I went to Rome where we saw some really old buildings and other interesting things.

The Palatine Hills:

The Roman Forum (and the Colosseum nearby):

Interesting poster at the Piazza del Campidoglio:
Here's another view:

Gardens at Villa Borghese:

Locks of love near the Trevi Fountain:

The famous Bernini sculpture - the ecstasy of St. Therese:

After three days in Rome we wandered over to Brussels, where we sampled Belgian beers, Belgian chocolates, Belgian waffles and French fries (which the Belgians claim are actually Belgian). We also found the energy to waddle down to the Grand Place ( it was a rainy day, and so we understandably spent most of our time indoors):

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paris-ing with sibling

My youngest brother (the "Dude") is in Europe, and I've been tagging along Dude's mini trips to different cities. We went to Paris, where springtime was very much in the air. Here are some photos and videos:

The Sacre Coeur viewed from the Arc de Triomphe:

Our Montmartre metro stop: 
Locks of love on the Senghor bridge over the River Seine:

The Musee D'Orsay from the top:

Foucault's Pendulum at the Pantheon:

The stained glass spectacular of Sainte Chappelle:
Shakespeare & Co., a pretty, and pretty famous, English bookstore:

View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe:

View of the Arc de Triomphe from the top of the Eiffel Tower:
The Thinker at the Rodin Museum:

Holy Wednesday service at the Notre Dame Cathedral:

Music experiment at the Centre Georges Pompidou:

Oscar in the Marais District:
Looking down from the top floor of the Centre Georges Pompidou:
Moon rise over the River Seine:

Nature loving

Dude wanted to go to Bruges. We went, we saw, he took pictures (and so did I):

Sunny Easter Sunday was a day that definitely had to be spent outdoors. We took a 10 minute train ride from home to the Keukenhof Gardens and these:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I heart Apple

My recent silence on the blogosphere was caused by a hard drive failure, which, I'm happy to say, gave me minimal grief. 

L, the prescient Mac-lover, urged me to get Apple Care when I first got my Mac. He also rigged our apartment up with all things Apple - an Apple TV, and Apple HiFi and most significant for this post, an Apple Time Capsule. The Time Capsule automatically backed up my data every day, without my even knowing it.

In the middle of a document I was drafting, my hard drive failed. I went to an Apple Service Provider, where they told me my hard drive was fried, and I needed a new one. As an Apple Care holder the hard drive was free, the service was free and they could change my cracked hard case for free too. After two days they gave me back my computer with its new hard drive and new case. I went home, powered up, pressed the button that asked whether I had a Time Capsule, and, voila, my data started transferring. The data in my hard drive - the documents, the website bookmarks, the pictures, the music and even the screen sizes - were all restored to the new hard drive after three hours or so.

I heart Apple!