Books, Bubbles, Buses, and Boeing

In the face of complaints that I don’t update often enough, I will admit that I have been slacking off. Remember, that’s what academs do. (It’s okay – we SEs love you guys anyway. We just don’t show it.) So what do I feel inspired to write about today? Ermm…ah, yes.

Books, or the lack thereof. I’m not exactly lacking in books, just a certain genre. I’m not exactly “lacking”, either – there are plenty of bookstores, but I don’t have the funds, nor the suitcase space, to build the kind of library I would like to. Have I ever told you how much I love Half-Price Books? But this weekend … I caved. I snapped. I gave in to the enormous weight of temptation. My flesh was weak, and my spirit – entirely unwilling. I cashed out for “The Bourne Ultimatum” and spent the weekend locked up in my room reading, and I don’t regret it at all. At some point I may feel obliged to write a short review, but all I’ll say now is that it was awesome. I haven’t read any of Ludlum’s books until now, but I’m sure I will in future.

Sometime during the bookfest, I took a quarter of an hour to wash my floor – local-style. Washing the floor, which is entirely tile, involves the creation of a solution of … erm, cleaning stuff. The exact solute depends on what’s at hand. In my case, bleach and dishwashing liquid.

Hey, it worked. Don’t give me that incredulous “dishwashing liquid???!!!!” routine.

The cleaning solution/soapy water is then dumped directly on the floor. Yup, in large puddles. Consequently, the prior removal of items prone to water damage is recommended. All that remains is to spread/swish/slosh the water around with a really cool long-handled rubber squeegee-thing and finally chase it down a drain on the balcony. The vigorous breeze and enthusiastic sun then take care of the rest of the water, and I have an excuse to sit on my bed and read.

I am: finished with my test for this week; getting completely addicted to humus; and developing a philosophy for exploration in this city. Well, less of a philosophy and more of a list of general guidelines.
1. Use the bus system (this will change when I get a bike)
2. Start out thinking that you’re going somewhere and don’t be surprised when you end up somewhere completely different.
3. Use the handy little maps inside some of the bus stops which they never distribute to the general public in the form of brochures.
4. If, at the bus stop, there is no connecting bus to where you want to go, start walking until you hit the next major road. The bus lines there will probably be completely different.
5. Don’t be surprised if you actually end up walking in a circle.
6. Bring plenty of water. I heart my nalgene.

I found an ACE hardware store yesterday. It’s not exactly the equivalent of Home Depot, but I bought the local equivalent of JB weld, which very considerately included the local equivalent of a toothpick/mixing spatula. I hope that, when I use this stuff, I will end up with the local equivalent of mended plastic. But I am terribly happy about the hardware store.

Okay, really random quote this time: “The Boeing team will be responsible for the friction-stir-welded aluminium-lithium upper-stage structure LOX and LH tanks with common bulkhead hydraulic thrust vector control hydrogen reaction control system composite inter-stage and welded instrument unit ring.” – FlightGlobal RSS feed. That sentence … wow. Could you possibly make it any longer? See the whole article on “Ares upper stage contract keeps Boeing in the Moon mission picture


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