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Bloody cold

Spent the afternoon hiking to and around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. And wishing I'd brought more warm clothes out with me! Big winter coat, gloves and scarf were inadequate against the chill Beijing spring air. Especially when I had to hand over my scarf to less well prepared Husband.

Forbidden City is HUGE. I think we saw less than a quarter of it today. We'll go back after ICANN finishes, and make the effort to get there at a reasonable hour, and spend the whole day there. And take snacks with us. Though the loaf of fruit bread we bought at Tiananmnen Square was actually pretty nice, though dull. Anyway, there's lots of open squares to hike through, and unlit palaces to peer in the dirty windows at. And some artefacts with signs in Mandarin characters. Saw a cool orrery, though it was labelled "Celestial something or other", but was clearly an orrery.
At least the crowded bits of the City were relatively warm, from the sheer biomass of people crammed in. Sitting in the open, waiting for Dave to get back from his personal public toilet adventure, the chill breeze made my face go numb.

We are paying Rich Foreigner Tax quite a bit here, but I don't really care. $10 for a taxi to get out of the icy rain and home to our hotel in a heated taxi? Fine by me, even though it should have been less than that.

Weather for the next few days is apparently much the same, only with less rain, and colder nights. Digging out my beanie and spare gloves for the boy!

Now it's off to hotel happy hour (free drinks and snacks), then we might brave the elements to go to the dim sum palace next door for dinner.

Tags:

Ni hao!

O hai, LJ.

I know I haven't been here much recently, but life got busy, and the short forms of FB and Twitter suited me so much more.
However, I find myself trapped behind the Great Firewall of China with no VPN, so no FB or Twitter for me for a fortnight. Horrible, horrible social media withdrawal symptoms are setting in already!

Chairman Husband and I are here in Beijing for 2 weeks - he will enjoy 7 days of meetings, then a little tourism, whilst I have a 2 week holiday. We're off to see some sights today - a square, a palace or two, that sort of thing, a short walk away, then have to move to the conference hotel tomorrow and I'll learn to negotiate the subway system.

Last night we managed to get sim cards (with unlucky numbers, no 8s, thus much cheaper) and found Wangfujing night markets, where all sorts of food-onna-stick can be found. We had dumplings. A few tourists were bravely trying scorpions and unidentified bugs on sticks, though I noted none of the locals were eating such delicacies.

It is cold and smoggy, so I am pretending that the smog is just cloud, and that it's still winter. The cherry blossoms and spring Tomb-Sweeping Festival are at odds with that, but the BBC is forecasting a low of -2 later this week, so I'm sticking with it's still winter.

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Duffman!

Have you been involved in SF fandom before 2011?

Do you have few spare minutes and a few spare bucks to donate?

Then you could help send an Australian to the USA, for Worldcon!

FanFunds are a great concept where lots and lots of little donations all add up to a plane ticket for someone. In return, the winner of the FanFund works hard representing Australian fandom (OK, goes to a lot of parties and visits as many fans in other cities as possible), and then administers the FanFund for the next time.
Previous winners include emma_in_oz, ang_grr, dmw and dalmeny.
guff_trip is a brief account of a fan-funded trip to a previous Worldcon if you want to get a bit of an idea of what's involved.

This year, there are two fine Australian fans vying for a chance to see Tim Powers in Reno at the 69th Worldcon, "Renovation". You can vote for them! Quickly! as voting closes on May 31st.

If you're in Perth, and likely to see me, I have voting forms and will pass the forms and funds on to the current administrator, emma_in_oz.
If not, here's a handy link! http://home.vicnet.net.au/~asff/duff2011.htm
(and isn't it just like traveling back in time, to how the Internet used to be? So 90s!)

And yes, my gregarious husband strangedave is one of those in the running. Vote for him! Or for Paula if you like her better.
Stolen shamelessly from Jonathon Carroll's blog:

CUTTING LOOSE

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from all else and electing a world where you go
where you want to.

Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound will tell where it is, and you can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path—but that’s when you get going best, glad to be lost, learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.


~William Stafford
It should be illegal to have to work on your birthday.
I was gonna link to this, but you know, now it's been on BoingBoing, I gotta get me on that bandwagon.

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/14/fundraiser-to-bring.html

Peter Watts, a man with a visa, who can't go back to the USA - small donations may help bring him out for the Australian Worldcon.

Donate early, donate often! Go on, you know you want to....

Keeping Eurovision spoiler-free

It's the one day of the year where I can't read the news online, and am very wary of FB and LJ updates.

Hey, the papers all managed to keep their front pages spoiler free when discussing the end of 'Lost' - why the hell can't the do the same with EV?

My DVD haul

as Tommo said, Surround Sounds (local DVD library) had a massive closing down sale yesterday. 30 minutes spent gathering, then 120 minutes standing in line later...

Jamon Jamon
Hudsucker Proxy
Delicatessen
Harvey Krumpet
Monster's Ball
Romeo and Juliet
Curse of the Golden Flower (turns out we already have it)
Reservoir Dogs
That Mitchell and Webb Look Series 1
Kinsey
Mystery Train
Cannibal! The Musical
Barton Fink
Velvet Goldmine
The Big Lebowski
Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead
Coffee and Cigarettes
Thank You for Smoking
The Dark Crystal
Better Off Dead
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
12 Monkeys
The Usual Suspects
Withnail and I
Fight Club
Legend
Mirrormask
eXistenz
Lars and the Real Girl
The Fisher King
Get SHorty
24 Hour Party People