Owl butterfly (Caligo eurylochus) feeding on banana
[Owl butterfly (Caligo eurylochus) feeding on a banana.]
Tropical Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) butterfly
[Tropical Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) butterfly, at rest underneath a waterfall.]
White tropical butterfly
[White tropical butterfly perched on a fake (!) white orchid.]
Heliconius (?) butterfly
[Black tropical butterfly (Heliconius?) with red and white accents, perched on a cluster of small orange flowers.]
Malachite butterfly
[Malachite butterfly perched on a leaf at the Schmetterlinghaus, Vienna.]
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( May. 1st, 2017 08:27 pm)
Happy May Day
[Humuhumu wearing jeans, t-shirt, pink fluffy dress, feather wings, new blue crocs, a tiara and a wand, jumping for joy in our garden.]

Hello, hello neglected journal; I send my apologies. We returned on Saturday from a fantastic (and also sleep-deprived, for Keiki and me) week in Vienna and plunged straight into bank holiday weekend activities. I have been keeping up with curating photos but not with arranging them into journal entries. I'm hoping to catch up with that this week.

I hope all is well with you all. The photo above neatly encapsulates Humuhumu's feelings on the subject of the recent week and a half with her parents, I believe. <3
As many of you know, I work on the Cassini mission as an operations engineer and have done for over a decade.

Tomorrow is the spacecraft’s final close flyby (T126) of Saturn’s moon Titan.

Just to put this into perspective for you, this may be the last time in decades that we get anywhere near Titan. There are no missions to Saturn or its most interesting* moons, Titan and Enceladus, currently funded or being built. That means there’s a minimum of ten years before a new mission could be launched. Given that the transit time to Saturn is, at a minimum, seven years and on average more like ten, that’s two decades until we can repeat Cassini’s observations.

Cassini’s impending demise makes me sad, of course, but what bothers me even more is the lack of continuity in our exploration of our solar system.

You can read the details of tomorrow’s Cassini’s observations on the NASA-JPL press release here. It includes an animation of the flyby over the surface, from the perspective of the spacecraft.

* “most interesting” being ever so slightly subjective, of course
(New Circle members: The Unscientific Poll is a semi-regular feature of this journal on Fridays. Topics vary wildly, although food is the most common one.)

Poll #18243 Most Useless London Underground Station
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 15


Complete this sentence: Pimlico is the most useless London Underground station

View Answers

on the Victoria Line.
6 (54.5%)

in Zone 1.
3 (27.3%)

on the entire Tube network.
2 (18.2%)

If Pimlico is not the most useless London Underground station on the entire Tube network, what is?



Context )

ETA at 10:19 AM: *KLAXON* MORNINGTON CRESCENT HAS BEEN MENTIONED ALREADY. That took even less time than I thought it would. *hands a banana to [personal profile] miss_s_b*
tags:
Birmingham Open Media art exhibit

This wasn’t the post I was intending to make today, but having discovered the above on my phone whilst searching for something else from about a month ago, I felt I must share this with my Circle immediately. It is a series of three delightful photographs on display in the toilets (no really) of BOM, the Birmingham Open Media gallery. BOM is a little odd corner space a few tens of metres from one of the exits of New Street Station, over the road from an Adult Entertainment Shop (™?). It features tiny exhibitions celebrating “the intersection of art, technology and science”.

The caption for the photographs reads as follows.

Gemma Marmalade
The Seed Series, 2015

The Seed Series is a series of photographic prints by artist Gemma Marmalade, which explores the possibility that those of homosexual persuasion may be more likely to have a visceral impact on the cultivation of plants.

During studies of communal lesbian gardeners in the 1970s, German botanist Dr Gerda Haeckel observed accelerated growth, crop abundance and increased vegetational health. The Seed Series depicts some of Haeckel’s original subjects and their finest vegetable specimens.


Pardon the awkward angle of the photograph - it was not easy to take whilst holding a toddler who was frustrated at the thought that I was about to steal his dirty nappy and replace it with a clean one.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Apr. 13th, 2017 11:49 am)
All photos taken with my phone - we brought no luggage apart from our rucksacks & I didn't have space for the dSLR. Quality is variable, especially since Aviary on Flickr is still not working so everything is SOOC.

Last weekend, Humuhumu and I had our first mini-break together.

I picked her up from nursery slightly earlier than usual and we took the train to Birmingham International. We had our tea in the airport. The server behind the counter took a shine to her since she asked ask so politely for her hot chocolate, and presented her with an absolute mountain of whipped cream. Apart from that, her dinner consisted of an apple, carrot juice and an oatmeal bar.

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[Humuhumu eating her dinner]

Slightly unbelievably, we ran into some cousins who live in Cheltenham and were flying to Mallorca for their Easter holidays. Humuhumu was growing tired – it was nearly 8 PM – so spent a lot of the conversation cuddled up in my lap with her blankie.

We boarded the plane. Humuhumu’s disappointment at the lack of films on the plane (it’s a 45 minute flight) was mitigated by being given free reign over the tablet.

Once we’d landed in Dublin, it took about 30 minutes to get through a second immigration check. While we waited in the queue, we were treated to a rant on the subject of unhelpful security measures by the elderly Irish gentleman in front of us, who was fervently pro-freedom-of-movement. It was rather lovely.

We skipped through the airport and into a taxi. The taxi driver was listening to a programme called “Leap of Faith”, to which Humuhumu promptly fell asleep. I listened quietly as they discussed the results of a survey on the church-going practices of Dublin-dwellers. I giggled when they thanked the 2,130 respondents who said they belonged to the Church of the Jedi Knights. The taxi driver said, “Oh, you were listening, were you?” in some surprise. “This isn’t the same country I grew up in, I tell ye.”
“And is that a good thing?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” he said. “It is. The way it used to be, with the church…” he shook his head. “Too many young lives ruined.”
He got a disproportionately large tip.

[personal profile] emelbe met us in the lobby. We headed promptly up to our room, as Humuhumu was blearily trying to process 10 PM. While she snuggled down into her bed, [personal profile] emelbe and I exchanged gifts.
“I brought you tea and whisky,” she said.
“I brought you tea and whisky,” I said.
We celebrated with wine.

The next day dawned bright, sunny and warm. We went down to the hotel buffet and discovered they had a magical pancake-making machine. Pancakes with Nutella and maple syrup were duly consumed.

We headed outside with the Leprechaun / folklore Museum in mind as our destination, via parks and playgrounds. It took us over an hour to reach the Museum, where we were told (and good on them for it, too) that it was not suitable for children under seven. Having failed at culture, we opted for shopping at the Penney’s mothership, where we discovered sproingy hair bobbles and Finding Dory colouring sets.

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[Humuhumu in the hand of the giant at the Giant’s Playground.]

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[Humuhumu clambers over the dog-insect-thing]

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[Humuhumu inspects the flower beds in a park.]

We walked back over the river Liffey and into Temple Bar so we could go to Gallagher’s Boxty House for lunch. Humuhumu had the “child-sized” portion of fish and chips. It was enormous. I had the stew and [personal profile] emelbe had the boxty.

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[Humuhumu colours in Dory before our lunch arrives.]

We waddled outside an hour later stuffed to the gills and headed through the Saturday 3 PM crowds (who were 9 PM levels of drunk already) to find our route blocked by a large protest about water tariffs. Detouring around it, we arrived at our destination: the Natural History Museum, aka the display of truly alarming taxidermy. Humuhumu: “It looks like the scary lady’s room in Paddington!” (Scary Lady == Nicole Kidman’s character, who wants to stuff Paddington.) We investigated the displays for about 45 minutes whilst [personal profile] emelbe went to buy whiskey and to the Archaeology Museum to get postcards.

Displays of taxidermy varying from innocuous to MY EYES MY BEAUTIFUL EYES )

We returned to the Giant’s Playground. Thorough sun-baked and tuckered out, we meandered back to the hotel, where we flopped out until dinnertime, which ended up being smoothies at the hotel bar because we were still full from lunch.

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[Inexplicable corporate art is also for playing on, yes yes?]

Humuhumu went fairly easily to sleep in my arms, as did I. I managed to rouse myself briefly to taste the bourbon [personal profile] emelbe had brought for me to sample, but bedtime was still pretty early.

The next morning was significantly cooler and cloudier, conforming more to expectations of Dublin in April. We took our time in rising and going to breakfast, checking out at the last possible moment. Even with that we were still too early to check into the canal barge where [personal profile] emelbe was to spend the rest of her holiday. We strolled up the quayside and stopped off for a pastry and tea at Il Valentino before going to the docks.

As soon as we met the barge owner, I knew I'd made a tactical error in going to the hotel. I had been afraid to stay on the water because Humuhumu can't swim. It turned out that the barge was both firmly affixed to the docks and could be locked securely. Also, there was space for Humuhumu to play, and games and toys for children. Lesson learned.

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[Panoramic view from the back of the barge.]

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[Humuhumu pointing out the seagulls.]

We spent the afternoon playing and talking. [livejournal.com profile] omniana, whom I haven't seen in 8 years, came by. We drank tea, ate apples and caught up on one another's lives while Humuhumu and I coloured in Finding Dory pictures.

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[Lounging on the barge.]

Hours flew by and then it was time to get back in the taxi to the airport. After the short journey back to Brum, we were met by our sunburnt boys at the airport. Joyful reunification was swiftly followed by sleeping in the car.

Verdict: Daughter is A+++ traveling companion, would mini-break with again.
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