pergamond: ([Utena] Nanami // pout)

When I called my parents on Saturday night, I had had a headache for three days.

Or was it four? The details had become vague and I was cranky.

A heat wave has engulfed Sapporo for the last two weeks, sending the temperatures into the humid 30s which might have been tolerable if anyone had believed in air conditioning. 

The problem --I complained to my parents-- was that this headache wasn't bad enough to stop me in my tracks, but it was sufficiently painful to make looking at a computer screen or book genuinely difficult.

While I was deeply glad not to be rolling around in agony, it had become plain that if you took away my laptop and reading material, I had no other interests.

So far that weekend, I had cleaned the main room, bedroom, toilet and shower, brushed the cat six times and played dead on the sofa. In short, I was bored.

"Well, I think we've run out of our news," my Dad said after we'd been chatting for a while. "And I don't think much of yours."

"I have to whine to you," I responded, matter-of-factly. "I don't have the depth of vocabulary in Japanese to go on about it to anyone else."

"How about going to see a film tomorrow?" Dad suggested. "Cinemas are usually air conditioned and you'd be far away from a large screen, so it shouldn't hurt your eyes."

And that was how I ended up going to see 'The Avengers' on Sunday afternoon.

The arrival of Western blockbusters in Japan varies from that of 'Harry Potter' (released the same day as the rest of the world) to 'The Hunger Games' (still waiting). Both dubbed and subtitled versions are usually shown, so the trick is to: 

(a) recognise the movie title in Japanese

(b) get tickets for the showing with the original sound track.

Western words --which extends to foreign movie titles-- are typically written in katakana; the phonetic script for words not originally Japanese. The majority of these words are originally English but reading them is like walking into a parallel universe in which Samuel Johnson was a crack addict. Fortunately, it's an acquirable skill made easier when presented with a limited list of options... although occasionally, mean tricks can be played such as when 'The Iron Lady' was released in Japan under the title 'Margaret Thatcher'. Fortunately, the 'Avengers' was written as literally as possible:

アベンジャーズ
(or 'abenjaazu' in roman letters: trust me, that's pretty good)

leaving me only to worry about subtitling versus dubbed editions.

At a 50/50 bet, the odds here were reasonable. Plus, 'Avengers' was a movie with an optional plot: there were special effects, a bunch of familiar looking good guys (none of whom you'd select for your side if the alternative wasn't Armageddon), a bad guy with a magic stick and a cube clearly stolen from the 'Transformers' movie. What more do you need?

In fact, I picked the correct showing due to a tip from a friend who told me to look for the Chinese character for 'knowledge' when hunting for subtitled movies. The same character is also in 'university' so it's an easy one to spot. 

I also therefore got the rather awesome one-liners from the bad guy, which can't have translated well into Japanese since I seemed to be the only one laughing. Alternatively, I was the only person present who was handling the heat quite that badly.

Mercifully, the cinema was air-conditioned. In fact, the multiplex resembled a cinema anywhere else in the world except that the popcorn and soda options on the concession stand menu were listed in katakana. In typical Japanese style, there was the odd, isolated sign displayed in bare English:

"Theatre 4"

Um. Thanks. 

Due to a love of order, you get to chose your seat at the ticket counter and the plastic cups of soda are more sensibly proportioned than their American counterparts. The number of trailers is also much shorter and you are not allowed into the theatre itself until five minutes before the time shown on the ticket. Still, since you already have a determined seat, there isn't the need to get there early.

I picked up a coke and examined the movie posters for the other showings that day. There was a mix of the usual Hollywood blockbusters alongside Japanese movies starring brooding hot Samurai warriors.

Damn.

I need to work on my language skills.

pergamond: ([Utena] Utena // RAWR)

I was trudging through the rain back to my apartment when I saw it. 

A lone tree between the supermarket and the car park.

A lone tree covered with blossom.

The sakura cherry blossom had finally reached Sapporo.

Down in Tokyo (where blossom festivities had finished a month ago), the sakura is preceded by several weeks by the plum blossom. Here in Sapporo, where the snows only stop for about 20 minutes, the trees have to get a move on and both plum and cherry blossoms appear together in a riot of spring pinks and whites. Since these tender tree flowers last only a precious couple of weeks, I took off to Sapporo's main shrine in Maruyama Park as soon as the rains shows signs of abating.

As did the rest of Sapporo.

Literally Every Single Person. It was a miracle the subways were even running.

It had rained solidly from Thursday to Saturday, but on the last Sunday of Golden Week (so named for its multiple national holidays), the sun peaked out between the showers. I reached the park to find the lower ground had become the land of a million BBQs while the upper blossom grove swarmed with people and cameras. Mainly cameras.

If one were to paint the scene, a grey sandwich for the threatening sky and photographic equipment with a thick pink and white jam splurge in the middle would capture the moment. It was beautiful and the atmosphere of excitement was contagious. 

So contagious that I bought a giant squid on a stick and half a sweet potato from a nearby stand. 

The arrival of the sakura is a major event in the Japanese calendar. Weather forecasters plot the advance of the cherry blossom as it moves across the country and everyone gets ready to eat, drink and be merry. It's like Christmas, only outdoors. I strongly suspect every Japanese family photo album is 3/4 full of identical close-up pictures of the tiny pink and white flowers. 

Just as I sat down with my sea creature and spud lunch, the skies opened in a downpour. People ran for cover and started moving the picnic tables into the shelter of the food stands. Except they couldn't move the one I was sitting at since I hadn't budged. I am British after all.

One of the women working at the food stalls came up to where I was nonchalantly seated and tucked the spare chairs underneath the plastic table. "Are you OK?" she asked me.

Are you dying? Is that why you haven't moved? Don't you know if you DON'T MOVE OUT THE RAIN YOU WILL DIE?

I peeked out of her from underneath the hood of my rain jacket. "I'm good!" I told her with a squiddy grin.

She looked astounded. 

I finished my grilled squid. Typically, the rain then stopped. It really was just like being back at home.

pergamond: ([PoT] Fuji // pretty & wiped)

I woke up on Easter day and it was spring.

Despite the fact it had been snowing the day before, I was only halfway into town when I had to unzip my winter coat and stuff my hat into my bag. Then one of the snow grips on my shoes snapped off. The message was clear:

It is now spring. Residents are supposed to dress accordingly.

And that was that. It never snowed again. The next day was a monday and I walked into campus to find the piles of snow rapidly melting. In the more sheltered areas between buildings, workmen were taking pickaxes to the larger chunks of ice so they would disintegrate more quickly. By Tuesday, the snow blowers were on the sports courts clearing them ready for the spring season. I walked to class on Thursday to the rhythmic twang of tennis balls on rackets as the clubs swung back into action.

Around this time, I began to suspect Japan was actually a giant reality TV show inside a climate controlled dome. I hoped it was more in line with 'The Truman Show' and not 'The Hunger Games'.

I read the Hunger Games to prepare just in case. I find it suspicious there is no release date for the movie in Japan yet.

Within a week, the snow had all disappeared. The white and grey frozen ice mountains have been replaced by newly seeded grass. The risk of falling flat on my back each time I step outside has gone...!

…. switched for death by bicycle or by flying baseball. Both road and pavement are packed with biking students and every square of grass has at least seven others throwing baseballs in some complex catch pattern that always seems to cross the path I want to take.

In short, there is never a season for which it is inappropriate to wear a hockey helmet.

April

Apr. 4th, 2012 10:06 am
pergamond: ([Utena] Nanami // pout)

In case you were wondering whether anything had changed since April began...

snowapril.jpg

…. it hasn't.

pergamond: ([PoT] Karupin // Christmas)

Japan is celebrating the arrival of spring. Last week contained a public holiday to mark the Spring Equinox. Pink plum flowers are appearing throughout Tokyo and the city is preparing for next week's hanami celebrations where hoards of people will descend on the parks to gape up at the famous cherry blossoms. As I walked to work this week, I wondered if I too should be celebrating the arrival of the warmer weather...

photo(3).JPG

… and decided, on reflection, no.

To be fair, the weather is showing signs of changing. It no longer snows all day, every day. It now snows all day some days and some snow all days. The periods of heavy fat flakes are shorter and a bold attempt at rain in the form of sleet has started to appear.

With only the smallest of considerations to confirm that 'The Day after Tomorrow' was indeed a movie, I can honestly say this is more snow than I have ever seen before in my life. I mean, the last time I saw a whole pavement must have been the best part of five months ago. If I had started building snowmen in November, by now I could have created an UNDEFEATABLE ARMY with which to rule the WHOLE WORLD.

Sapporo-Snow-Festival.jpg

Except the sticky heat of Florida. But that's going under water soon enough.

Then I googled images of Sapporo (to try and determine if we ever even had pavements) and discovered that the annual snow festival had already had the same terrible idea.

So enjoy your spring, Tokyo, but be warned: we're coming.

P.S.  Please send sweatshirts.

pergamond: From xkcd.com ([xkcd] Carebear stare)

There is a saying among the Japanese that Japan is the only country to have four seasons.

Obviously, this is complete crap

... and yet ...

There is no denying that Japan pays some serious dues to the turning of the year. The most famous seasonal change is the fleeting appearance of the cherry blossoms heralding the arrival of spring. These pink and white delicate delights deck the trees for no more than a few weeks, but are probably more photographed during their brief lifetime than Britain's newly wed royal couple.

Prior to this year, Autumn for me had been that drawn-out wet interval between summer and winter in which I stopped considering myself dressed without a sweater. At some point during that period, the tree leaves would change colour and and fall, leaving their hosts standing around like forgotten clothes racks for months on end.

In Sapporo, it turned out to be quite impossible not to fully appreciate the spectacular foliage.

This was because every man and his dog was on campus, taking photographs with giant zoom lenses. It was stop or be penetrated in a place that would give both you and the would-be viewers of the picture collection a nasty surprise.

To be fair, the colours were amazing. I am unsure whether it was to do with the number of trees, the fact they were all deciduous or if the range of hue was just particularly large. Trees with bark that appeared almost black were donned with leaves in a uniform deep red. Along one of the main roads, more trees in orange, yellows and pale greens tangled their branches in a mix that gave me an unnatural urge[*] to decorate my entire apartment like a pumpkin. There were areas away from the road where the leaves had been allowed to collect in a carpet of rust and gold; the ultimate honey trap for the visiting photographers.

On my less amenable days when my focus was lunch, not leaves, I did think it was a pity that said leafy ball pens couldn't be booby-trapped to superglue all the visitors in one place and out of my way. However, their cameras did look passingly like rifles and, given the convenience of Japanese technology, it was probably best not to risk anything.

"Snow next week." I was told grimly when I finally escaped the heaving Nikon mass to reach the department.

Feh, snow! The start of winter is never exciting. Rain that you have to squint sideways at to see that it's actually slush, not even a dusting of white on the pavement. The only disappointment is the likelihood of it knocking the leaves prematurely from the trees.

I woke up on the morning of the expected snowfall and looked out of my window.



... Huh.

Bam. Goodbye Autumn. Hello Winter.

"Is this unusual?" I asked my friends once I had bundled on all the clothes I had brought with me from Canada and skidded into work. "Shouldn't there be.... well... a gap between the height of Autumn and that of Winter?"

"Actually, the snow is kind of late this year", came the reply.

"But...." I protested. "They'll be a mix of days? Some snow, then warm then..."

I received blank looks in return.

No, it is now winter. Get with the program.

--
[*] No one would has seen me wield a paintbrush would consider such an endevour a good idea.
pergamond: ([xkcd] Canada)
So here's the thing Canada; I feel you're undervaluing the 20s. The positive 20s in centigrade I mean; I know you got the negative ones covered. Weather for you is all about extremes and I've noticed that your year seems to go something like this:

Snow, snow, snow, too cold for snow, snow, snow, frozen snow on ground, thaw, bigger thaw, snow cleared, surprise! snowpocalypse!, thaw.

This is typically followed by two weeks over which the same volume of snow is dropped on us again but in the form of water.

Then KA-BAM! It's the mid-30s and I have to hide in the dark coolness of my basement as if 'Twilight' was my favourite novel. In truth, Canada, I preferred the Harry Potter books and the wizards got to go outside all the time. All. The. Time.

What I am trying to tell you, Canada, is just because I am going to be 31 this year, you don't have to beat me. Perhaps you feel intimidated by the USA working in Fahrenheit? Is Buffalo laughing at you, saying that temperatures over there are reaching 100 and you can't even get mid-way to triple figures? You shouldn't feel bad, Canada. Remember, they have to pay to get their sunburn treated.

So next time you wonder how much water can be extracted through the skin of an average Canadian resident, pause a moment. You don't have to always stay on a trend to the very top; it's cool to be 20.
pergamond: ([Toy Story] Buzz // wibble)
Hello March. I didn't see you there under ALL THAT SNOW.

It wasn't really the sheer quantity of white stuff that had me gawking out of my window on Wednesday morning. I mean, I live in Canada. I know that has consequences. Perhaps I was daft, but I thought that 20CM OF SNOW would be preceded by, you know, cold weather.

It wasn't even that we'd just had a brief warmer day. It hadn't snowed for weeks and on the weekend, I had finally dragged the bag of de-icing grit for the sidewalks back down to my basement. I had picked up my snow boots from their spot by the door and stowed them in my closet and laid aside my full length coat in favour of a fleece. I had even switched my violently coloured knee-length socks to violently coloured ankle socks. Seriously, spring was coming!

I noted my actions on Facebook and received the prompt reply that I'd jinxed everything and now it was going to snow on Wednesday....

.... I'm still hoping a weather forecast was involved somewhere in that.

Having completed a serious 20 minutes worth of slack-jawed gawking on Wednesday morning, I shovelled my drive and staggered into work. Notably, only the few most major roads had been cleared; something that was true even when I returned home in the evening. In Ontario, much of the snow clearing comes from residents with plough-attachments on their pick-up trucks. They get paid by the province for the work they do, but apparently I wasn't the only one who had packed up for the season.

Upon arriving in my office, I found my Facebook wall had become a site of blame:

"Cause and effect -> didn't you put your salt/grit back in the basement? Doomed..."

Sad but true. Evidently, the clearing of my drive had also been a repulsive act to Mother Nature and she worked steadily all day to cover up any evidence of my labour. It was extremely successful.

I returned home and wrote my message to the world in my car's rear windscreen.

Late night

Mar. 8th, 2011 08:58 am
pergamond: ([Random] kitten // rar)
As the zamboni rolled onto the ice, we pushed open the rink door and made our way over to the benches. We stopped in the 'away' team's area and started to deposit our sticks and water bottles.

"Guys, we're the home team tonight!" Our captain had arrived and was now waving us to the next bench over.

We all turned to stare at him for a moment. "But....that one's further...." someone protested.

Can you tell it was a late game? It was.

Apart from the fact that everyone looks dazedly confused when the puck is first dropped, the other problem with late games is that the outside temperature is prone to plummet. As Saturday night swung to Sunday morning, the heavy rain morphed into horizontal snow. I left the rink to find one half of my car covered with a dusting of white icing powder and the other half buried under 2 inches. It was kinda awesome. And difficult to shift.

After about half an hour of dedicatedly fighting against nature's desire to preserve my car in ice while the fans warmed the windscreen, I was able to trundle away out onto the road.

Hamilton city is divided into two halves by what is locally known as 'the mountain'. This is a wholly inaccurate description for what is actually an escarpment, the same one that runs south-east of Hamilton to form the cliff from which Niagara Falls plunges. The ice rink is located on the raised escarpment while my apartment sits in the downtown city area below. This meant I was looking at a steep and snowy decent to get home.

I rolled unenthusiastically along the road, trying to follow the path carved by the few other vehicles up and about at this hour.  I could mentally see myself turned upside down in a ditch, my car wheels turning like its upturned bug namesake. Sadness!

Then, I spotted a snowplough. Sneakily, I went twice round the roundabout and slid in behind it to follow it down to the city. It was a bit like tailing an ambulance to avoid red light except .... much .... slower.

I ditched my new best friend at the bottom of the hill and scooted off for home. When I arrived, my driveway was already thick with snow. Should I risk trying to pull into it? Images of angry old ladies lecturing me on the location of my broken-down car filled my mind. I scuttled off to park in the street. That woman seemed just the type to be out at 2 am.
pergamond: From xkcd.com ([xkcd] Carebear stare)
It was with some apprehension that I stepped off the plane in Toronto and headed towards border control. Three things were bothering me:

The first was that I wasn't at all convinced my luggage would have made the journey from Santiago. Since my flight involved a change in Atlanta, I had expected a brief, emotional reunion with my case where the tears would have been due to being dog tired after queueing through USA border control after a 9 hour flight, only to have to carry my three-week-trip backpack through customs to drop it back onto the checked luggage conveyor belt.

Instead I had been handed a small purple tag at Santiago, which I completely ignored until I was standing in line at the USA border and literally driven by boredom to read it. It stated that I was participating in an international to international (ITI) checked baggage transfer and that I wouldn't have access to my bag until my destination. Of course, there was absolutely no need to go through American customs if the bag wasn't staying in the country, so this sounded both convenient and entirely reasonable.

It therefore didn't sound remotely likely.

In all other countries, bags are always checked through to your final destination regardless of where you make your connections. The difference in the US came in the wake of 9/11 and perhaps, nearly ten years down the line, it was time to reconsider this time consuming process. However, the fact the tag phrasing suggested you were undergoing some type of clinical trial did not help my confidence level.

My second concern was that I wouldn't be able to find my car in the airport car park. I had received an email while I was away that had said the university had been closed, suggesting a snowpocalypse had struck Hamilton in my absence. Having a bright yellow car is only helpful if it isn't under a giant snow drift.

Lastly, I was worried that even if I found my car and dug it out, it would then fail to start. Since it had been decidedly reluctant to move on my way out to the airport, I couldn't see that three weeks parked outside would have improved its condition.

As it turned out, all my fears were for nothing. My bag was ready and waiting by the time I cleared Canadian border control, my car was free of snow and started first time. Why, it was great to be home!

Once I reached my house, I parked on the road so that I could dig my driveway clear of the accumulated snow. This was quite a job, especially since hard blocks of ice had formed between the sidewalk and road. I chipped away at them with my metal tipped shovel and scooped the driveway clear. It was pretty good exercise after spending all night on a plane. Pleased with that day's efforts, I left to collect my cat from the boarding cattery in the early evening.

As the sun set, the temperature dropped. The thin layer of snow and water left on my driveway turned to ice.

I tried to pull back up to my house ... and got stuck. My driveway is inclined and the ice on its surface caused my tyres to spin uselessly. Worse, the chunks of ice still on the edge of the road meant that I couldn't go backwards either. I was off the road, but blocking the sidewalk. After repeated tries I gave up, snapped my hazard lights on and took the cat inside. Then I called the CAA.

The CAA promised to send around a tow truck and told me they would be there within half an hour. Feeling I ought to stay with my car, I sat in the driver's seat and waited. After about fifteen minutes, a woman approached and rapped on my window. I rolled it down.

"You're blocking the sidewalk," she shot angrily at me. "and I'm a senior!"

I blinked. Did she honestly think this was my idea of a fun Monday night? To sit in a car with all the lights flashing?

"I'm very sorry," I said politely. "but as you can see my hazards are on." I gestured to the front and back of the car where all the lights were flashing widely. "I've broken down."

"What?!" the woman didn't seem to find this either acceptable or believable.

"My hazard lights," I explained patiently. "I can't move my car. I've had to call for a tow truck."

She gave me a look of total disbelieve and marched off without another word. I stared after her. The temptation to leap out of my car and confront her was rather high. I strongly desired to point out that the polite response in such a situation would be to ask if I needed help, especially since I was clearly by myself and she had no way of knowing the house in front of us was my own. I consoled myself with images of meeting her once I was back on the road and simply mowing her down.

Sadistic? No. She had totally asked for it.

The truck from the CAA rolled up with its unphased driver. A tow wasn't necessary; he just gave the car a push as I reversed, letting it drop back onto the road. I thanked him and scooted away.

Now, to find that woman....

Breath

Jul. 6th, 2010 11:27 pm
pergamond: ([HP] Constant vigilance)
Summer in Toronto is hot, humid and unpleasant. No, before you ask, I don't recall Florida being anything but idyllically tropical and you're ALL WRONG if you heard me say otherwise.

Besides, my apartment down south had air conditioning.

This apartment has underfloor heating which is great for winters, but doesn't even attempt to multi-task as a cooler during the summer. The one saving grace is that I have a basement. While completely uninhabitable when the snow closes in, this semi-underground room has now become the only remotely habitable place in the house. I celebrated by furnishing it with a futon.

The first night I slept down there, I was insomniacal from jet-lag and sat up reading for a couple of hours (Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, in case anyone was interested). By the time I put my book down, I had developed a headache. I am prone to this particular ailment and wouldn't normally have thought anything of it except that (a) it was irritating and (b) I was relaxing in a cool room and there was just no call for it. No call at all.

Annoyed, I rolled over and tried to ignore it; a popular strategy of mine that has never once worked. Still, statistics can be manipulated and  .... then a thought occurred to me. The basement was also the location of the boiler. What if I had a headache due to carbon monoxide? WHAT IF I WOKE UP DEAD TOMORROW MORNING?!

No, there is nothing wrong with that statement.

There wasn't really any good evidence to support this idea. Said boiler had been put in by the landlord new in the last year and the basement bedroom actually had a window, albeit a small one, which was open. Still, once you get a thought like that into your head it's kinda impossible to shift. Especially because if it was carbon monoxide and you did snuff it, you'd feel pretty stupid at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Saint Peter: I'm sorry my child, you died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Me:              Ah, I thought that might happen.
Saint Peter: ........ WTF? 100 years in Purgatory for being too stupid to enter Heaven. 

Yeah, it'd be embarrassing. So I grabbed my pillow and went up to my sweltering bedroom. Then I realised the cat was still in the basement.

Me: Tallis~!
Cat: Meow?
Me: We're sleeping up here now.
Cat: ....... meow?!

Which I think roughly translated as: 'You've got to be kidding?! You do realise the basement is the only habitable place in this sauna? YOU DO REALISE FUR IS STILL IN FOR ME?' No one slept well that night.

The following evening saw me driving over to Canadian Tire (a Walmart equivalent) to hunt for CO detectors. There was too much choice but in the end I opted for a mid-priced one that showed a child sleeping peacefully on the box. At least, I hoped the little brat was asleep and it wasn't a promise for how much a parent could save on college fees.

Returning home, I plugged it into the wall. It flashed green. A likely story. I pressed the 'test' button. It emitted a sound that sent the cat fleeing from the room to produce a mournful yowl from the top of the stairs. The detector then turned back to green again. Hmm. I rescued the cat and eyed it for a few more minutes. So far, nothing. Perhaps we were good after all. Or perhaps I should wallpaper the whole bedroom with detectors. Statistically, one is likely to fail and sound its alarm. THEN SEE IF YOU CALL ME PARANOID.

Hot bubble

Apr. 29th, 2010 10:10 pm
pergamond: (Momo)
Montreal (East) has snow. Alberta (West) has seen a sudden severe spring blizzard sweep over it. Us, in Toronto? Hot bubble.



The only thing wrong with this image is that it's taken from inside the Physics department at the University of Toronto, rather than outside on the lawn balanced precariously on an ice cream cone.

*Steams*
pergamond: (Momo)
pergamond: (ni)
Silently the many legged stalker advances on the inert human form, buried deep beneath the bedclothes. The initial attack strategy of head-butts and a vibrating voice produce no motion. Phase two is engaged whereby a limb is inserted between neck and pillow to bop sleeping human on the nose. In horror, she discovers the invasive front foot is trapped! Caught in a devious counter attack that proves sleep was merely an optimistic faint. The only solution is to try and follow after the restrained appendage, burrowing face and shoulders into the widening gap between bed and body. In a sudden movement, the stalker is scooped into the air, only to be placed down on the bed and used as a furry purry pillow. What could have caused such extreme repercussions? Could it be her assault or the timing of 5 am in the morning? Ahh, it's good to be back.

I have returned to Canada, dug out car, collected cat and -- in some crazy sense of competition -- the UK has now filled up with more snow than we have here. What's with that?
pergamond: (Default)
Snow! Here in the UK, who would have guessed it? Naturally, no one (despite the fact that it usually occurs at some point during any twelve month period). Therefore, hundreds of people are stranded at airports, in their cars, department stores and, possibly most oddly, the channel tunnel which you would naively think would be unaffected by the weather.

Since living in NYC and now Canada, it's fairly hilarious watching the country dissolve in chaos from a few inches of frozen water. That said, it'd doubtless be rather less entertaining if I weren't safely at home with a hot mug of tea. The problem I guess comes from the rarity of such conditions making it impractical for the Government to purchase serious snow equipment for a single use a year, although the BBC have now printed an article on how to grit a road, in case anyone was up for a change of career. Given the STFC's science proposal for the next five years funding, it's not without appeal.

Meanwhile, I'm attempting to demonstrate the benefits of gluttony to our ailing family cat who, at twenty, has decided food is for "them young things". It's not quite as I would have it, but I suspect when I reach the equivalent age in human years, I won't give a damn either.

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