Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Blogging in Bed

...made possible by the acquisition of my very own laptop (no more sharing) and installation of a wireless network. Cool fun.

Off to stay in Carbisdale Castle this weekend - not as glamorous as it sounds, as it's actually a youth hostel, but still, it's a castle. Since we're in Scotland, we might as well!

Happy birthday to Jon & Berin earlier in the week.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Long weekend

It's Edinburgh's September holiday. It took me less by surprise than last year, but I do still find these local holidays quite mysterious and randomly observed.

I've had a very lazy long weekend. The weather's been pleasingly autumnal - blustery, showery, cold and generally conducive to at-home-laziness-without-guilt. I have a bit of a cold too - even more excuse to stay home, read the weekend papers (The Herald and the Guardian for a change), think about a winter holiday (Morocco or skiing?), catch up with mum's latest dispatch of NZ mags - NZ House & Garden and the brand new, dishy, The Dish (and consequently be reminded about some of the things I miss). I baked a cake from one of aforementioned mags too, but had to find a treacle substitute as our supermarket no longer stocks treacle. I swear the baking shelves get smaller every time I go there. Nigella would be unimpressed.

On matters domestic, I hear that an architect friend of mine designed his kitchen, right down to the tapware, to make it easy for his gal to "fill the kettle for a cuppa". What a gentleman. His house does look nice, though.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Seen and heard

Saw The Motorcycle Diaries at the weekend. I enjoyed the film immensely, but then I think I could enjoy Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal in River City. Or anything. I don't know much about El Che, either, but Garcia certainly captured the charisma behind the ubiquitous image.

I think I could watch the Latin American landscape in anything too. It was as much a character as Ernesto and Fuser, and played a more important role in the development of the story and characters than the Norton 500 - "The Mighty One" - of the film's title.

I also watched Spellbound on DVD. A wonderfully engaging look at the seamy underbelly of spelling bees in America. That's not true, actually. It's not at all like the beauty pageants. There is no underbelly (just a liberal sprinkling of pushy parents and extraordinary kids). The wonderfully engaging bit was true though - a nice story, simply told. A reminder of genuine all-American weirdness too.

An aside...around film fest time I was intrigued by the prospect of free DVDs for a month, and signed up for a trial at LOVEFiLM. Fully intending to quit after a month. But the service is so good, I'm hooked. Such a simple but well-executed concept. Makes me wish I'd thought of it.

Heard, yesterday, Marc Prensky, who lists among his job titles "visionary" and "futurist". He led a round table discussion (where we sat in rows, bizarrely...someone missed a point somewhere) on using technology to engage learners, and more interestingly, on applying the principles of game design to engagement. I particularly like his application of gaming to the 7 Habits... It's nice to hear people thinking about things differently.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Holyrood is open

The MSPs have moved in, banged their heads a few times (probably not such a bad thing), and today the whole parliamentary process creaked into life in it's new, gorgeous home. It's been a controversial project, cost a lot of money, and I did once wonder if I would still live in Scotland when it was finished. Well, I do. I like what I've seen so far...architecture that suits its purpose and sits well in its environment, and yet a building that captures the imagination. Now all I need to do is blag a tour.

Last night I watched a doco on TV about another controversial architecture project - the Ground Zero memorial site. It transpires that Daniel Libeskind's building, which won the design competition and is a very personal & symbolic response to the site, doesn't suit the current leaseholder and the "commercial demands of prime real estate". So the building we end up with may very well be an ugly compromise. All very depressing.