Sorry to anyone's who's been missing my posts for the last while. I've been doing a lot of thinking instead of writing, I guess.
I'm in Edinburgh today, where I've been for 4 days. In order to do some job-hunting and trip planning, I wanted an internet cafe pass and since Easy Internet Cafe had a £10 for 5 days (internet use generally costs between £1-2 per hour), I fell victim to them again, despite having sworn off of them. I have managed to get around not being able to post to my blog (I e-mail it to an address that does it for me), but the computers have several other problems. I keep crashing them by doing nothing more than trying to: modify a WordPad document and save it, use Google Documents to modify a document and save it (this is my CV/resume I'm talking about), view bus timetables that are in PDF format, use Facebook (which apparently has "dangerous" ActiveX content, etc. Every time I have crashed them and had to ALT-CTRL-DEL, I have gotten messages that says that in the "unlikely" event that the computer crashes, I will have to wait 5 minutes to log back in. This unlikely occurrence happens to be at least every hour.
I've managed to meet up with two people who live in Edinburgh that I met, on seperate occasions, at Vaughan Town in Spain. I met up with Andrew on Saturday and we grabbed something to eat and viewed a film that happened to be on when we went by the Cameo Theatre called Golden Door (we'd been hoping for La Vie En Rose but the timing wasn't good since Andrew had to work later in the evening). It was pissing rain that evening, so by the time I got back to my hostel which is in Leith (port town that is now part of Edinburgh; known to me as the setting of Trainspotting) I was absolutely wringing.
Sunday I met up with Diane, and she took me out to the Falkirk Wheel, which is a nifty lift used to connect the Clyde and Forth Canals with the Union Canal (used for leisure craft these days instead of transporting goods). The wheel is really efficient - they quote it's energy use for half a turn (lifting two boats and bringing two down) as the amount used by 8 tea kettles. It uses Archimedes principle in order to keep each arm of the wheel balanced. It makes almost no sound (since it's so efficient), so that gives it a very subtle air. Check out the link, it explains more and has pictures. We went up on a boat and then down again, and then watched a bird show that was taking place with some baby owls and a tawny eagle named Floyd. When the bird-guy called his eagle back, I turned to watch it come in and then all of a sudden all I could see was the silhouette of a huge bird right above me. The trainer estimated that the bird had come in at 50-60 miles per hour. It was remarkable. I guess that's the last thing many a small mammal has seen in its life.
Edinburgh City council has campaign posters up right now that have given me a chuckle - the idea is to get people to not throw their cigarette butts on the ground, and the slogan is "Aye butt. Nae butt". The first person this made me think of is Fraser from the Coylet, as he often started off speech with a combination of "aye, but nae, nae" which we would tease him about (in case you haven't figured it out; "aye"="yes", "nae"="no"). It's common enough for Scottish people to end sentences with "but", just as an extraneous word. People will also end sentences with "like", whereas we Canadians put the "like" (or sometimes a "but", I suppose) somewhere in the middle of the sentence). I may be wrong, but in my observations, ending sentences with "but" is more of a west Scotland thing, and ending with "like" is more of an east thing. Using "aye" and "nae" is much more common in the west, where it seemed universal to me.
I may well have killed any amusement-factor of those poster by having explained it all.
An advertising campaign that has irked me somewhat is one by Oust (a product similar to Febreeze), with its "Go smoke-smell free from July 1". You are probably wondering now how this could possibly annoy me. Well, some background. I first saw these ads on the sides of buses in London. There, they make sense, because England has just gotten a smoking-ban in public spaces (bars, restaurants, shops - anything with walls except your home, basically) staring July 1. So Oust thought they'd tie their product into that. All well and good. What irks me is that they are using this campaign in Scotland, where the smoking ban has been in place since March 26, 2006. So Scotland has been "smoke-smell free" for well over a year, but the Oust marketing people just overlooked that fact (or were never aware of it) because they just considered Scotland to be another part of England, and put their advertisements on the buses up here as well.
I'm off to Glasgow this evening, staying until Sunday morning. I'm thinking of working in Glasgow after I come back from Skye, as I wouldn't mind being in a city for a bit where there's other people, maybe a fencing club, and good transportation links for travel on my days off.