Saturday, October 27, 2007

London October 2007

Whew - I took my whole research team (Shanna, Shawn, and Llew) ...

to London for the 7th Design Thinking and Research Symposium. We presented our paper (and did a fabulous job if I might say so) and celebrated with a pint (or two) at some old pubs.

The cool thing about these old pubs (besides being a part of every day life) - is that you can feel the history. In the older pubs they have movable glass screens where you can order your beer but you can close the screen so you can have a separation between you and the bar staff (wouldn't want them hearing anything confidential!). You can see this in the picture below - where Lugh is ordering us some pints -

Many of the pubs put great effort into silly names - this is the only picture we had that we felt comfortable publishing...

Later we went to the conference dinner at the British Museum (probably the most intense historical art museum you can ever imagine - thanks to Britain's skill in colonizing). From mummys to the Rosetta Stone to whole buildings rebuilt inside the museum's walls.

This is the whole group having a lovely dinner - see if you can spot anyone you know :)

A good time was had by all...

Once the conference was over - we took to the streets - and played around in Portobello Market.

Geez - makes me miss the farmer's market in Fremont. Oodles of yummy food - but perhaps our favorite was where we were told we could have "delightful cupcakes" (a bit strange to find one was photographed in Vogue magazine). We of course gobbled them up - and yes, they were delightful.

While we were munching away, Shawn was tooting his own horn looking for goodies to bring home.

You can imagine our surprise when Shawn found a book on Indianapolis in the market!

We also got a crash course in cricket (borrrrring). Llew explained the paddle and the ball - and even though the explanation was fascinating...sorry to say the sport itself still seems awfully boring. A game that lasts 5 days...ugh.

Later that day we all headed off to the Hind's Head for Llew's birthday bash. This is one of Heston Blumenthal's restaurants (The Fat Duck is across the street and wayyy out of our price range). We had a lovely traditional (or as Llew would say "proper" English lunch). Llew was smiling from ear to ear -

The rest of us got a kick out of the signs over the door...and well the size of the doors themselves!

Around the corner was a very cool old church - it seemed like the stones were almost like obsidian. They were glassy...I wonder where they came from. I, of course, took a bunch of shots in hopes of adding it to my texture wall.

While Llew hung out with family, the rest of us went sightseeing. One of the places we went was the track at King's Cross where they film the Harry Potter movies. More specifically, track 9 1/2 . Which doesn't really exist, although they were nice enough to put a bag cart at the place where it would be so you could experience rushing through the wall to get the Hogwart's Express.

Later that evening we ended up at what had to be the strangest place we've ever been. Words can't describe it (wall to wall "Stuff"). And yes, that thing above Shawn - is what you think it is.

When we got home we were surprised to find Llew had...changed... (where'd his beard go?)

The Lugh Photobook

Ok - this is my homage to Lugh!

Gemma told a story of Lugh that is one of my fav's (it's a story of Lugh helping in the yard, well, "helping" is perhaps too strong of a word). If you want to read it go to: Lugh the gardener

These are some of my favorite shots:

This is where you get a sense of his "odd body" - I think he taught yoga in another life. Yes, the second picture - he's sitting on his head. Ouch.

This is when he's a sweet little angel - sleeping as if he has no care in the world...

And then...the devil in him creeps in...

Bad dog. Bad Bad Bad.

Of course when a lamb bone from the Aussie party (see Gemma and Llew's post) is the prize - we're back on our best behavior. Aussie Party link

If you want to watch a video of Lugh in action - this is one of the low level anxiety attacks he gets...we're not sure what the story is...we sent an email to Cesar Milan and got no reply. Llew (the person not the dog) thinks we should send it in to that Funniest Videos show.

Stepping Stones in Sweden - June 2007

Last June, Sally Fincher and me ran our final workshop for the Stepping Stones through Uppsala University and CeTUSS. Mats and Arnold set us up in another lovely old castle, Wiks Slot, just outside of Uppsala. Very "castle-y" with an engraved portrait of some of the original owners carved into the wall.

While we worked ever so hard during the day - we of course took time to stroll around the castle. Beautiful pastoral lands and old honey pots that were arranged almost like a bee hive version of Stonehenge (was it the bees or bee "owners" who set this up?).

But what was most odd was that by the barn we found an artist studio...where...there seems to be a fetish for people's heads. It was a bit unsettling, but then it got a bit silly. Who are these heads? Where did they come from? Where are they going?

But of course - I had a field day taking "texture shots" such as:

Once the week was over, Sally and me took advantage of the lovely restaurants - one of our favorites had incredible fresh fish, our other favorite was on the river ("Lingon") where we had the perfect dinner, the perfect truffle desert, but not a perfect cup of espresso.

We later walked around the river and came across the Swedish version of the American version of "get your picture taken on the pony" except in this case it was...

Perhaps the crowning memory (which was all the more richer since the only word I remembered in Swedish was the word for "beet") is the ice cream we came across along the promenade after having tea at our favorite bakery.

Yes...beet and banana ice cream. Yummy. Reason enough to head back to Sweden :)