Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hearing, Reading, Running, Cooking, Sleeping

I don't have too many good stories from yesterday. I woke up yesterday having trouble hearing in my left ear. I assumed it was some sort of a wax blockage, so I got some ear drops from Boots. Long story short, those didn't help. I think I may have some sort of "eustachian tube malfunction." It seems to have gotten better, but hearing still comes and goes. If it continues to be a problem, I will have to see a doctor, I suppose.

I had a bunch of reading to do for my History of London class. That ended taking me pretty much all day to do, since I'm a slow, sometimes unfocused reader. The four chapters I had to read for today's lecture covered London from about 55 BC to roughly the 17th Century. I selected some of my favorite quotes from the first four chapters of London: A Social History for the readers of this blog.

My personal favorite, selected from the Introduction:
There are countless books on London's history. Is another needed? I believe so. (p. 11)

An amusing description of London in the year 982:
"the only pests of London," wrote a Norman chronicler, "are the immoderate drinking of fools and the frequency of fires." (p. 26) 
How much has that changed, I wonder?

Nevertheless, London eventually became a global center for trading and commerce. By the 17th Century it had become among the biggest and most important cities in Europe.
"A man would say, that seeth the shipping there," boasted William Camden of the Pool of London in 1586, "that it is, as it were, a very wood of trees disbranched to make glades and let in light, so shaded it is with masts and sails." (p. 59)
 Still, it had a long way to go to get to where it is today. Tudor London, late 15th Century to early 17th Century, saw the state seizure, repurposing, and sale of church-held lands as well as the spread of schooling to more of the commoners.
Thanks to parochial bequests, St Olave's had acquired its own school, 'to teche the cheldarne of the sayd parryshe to wrete and rede and caste accoumptes'. (Was spelling on the curriculum?) [The previous comment was the author's.] (p. 65)
Again, a gratuitous, snarky comment from the author. Also, he's right - it's pretty amusing.

Later that day, I went for a run. I did a big loop around all of Christ Church Meadows and along the river (Thames? Isis? still not sure).

For dinner, Victor and I had an adventure cooking a Japanese curry dish. It was a sort of curry stew with chicken, carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and lettuce. Every step of the way, we sort of winged it, and we ended up cooking way too much of it. We filled a pot and a big frying pan full of the curry stew. Serendipitously, Lisa and Lily were hungry, so they helped us eat it. We served it up with some rice. The whole thing miraculously came out really good, and it was the perfect amount for the four of us. They agreed to make today's dinner for us in exchange. I am so mad I did not get photo documentation of this, but I did not plan for it to be as epic as it turned out to be.

I spent the rest of the night trying to read. The material was a bit dull, which made it hard to focus, but I made it through some of the book. I even focused when a very bored Merissa came in and demanded cuddling from me. I managed to more or less focus on my reading while she just cuddled me. To her chagrin, it was sort of a one-way cuddle, and eventually she gave up and left.

I continued trying to focus on my reading. And then Victor woke me up. I had passed out on my bed for two hours. I brushed my teeth, changed out of my day clothes, and passed out again.

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