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[Comments] (4) Stickies: Lately I've been alternating between the British Library (organizing my research and reading secondary material, hoping desperately to be struck with inspiration for my own analysis) and the Imperial War Museum (plowing ahead with my research, now trying to find the perspective of the rank and file), so I spend 2-3 days a week at each (I spend a day at home sometimes, if the weather or my mood is bad, but find I get next to nothing done.)

The IWM is of course, a working museum, and a small archive, so one can hardly blame them for being somewhat inefficient in this sense -- but I do anyway if I'm feeling like it. The reading room is in an atmospheric (when they aren't hammering away on the outside) upper dome of the building, but it means you have to trek through the inner workings of the museum to get there, which means you have to check in at reception and wait for a messenger to escort you every time you want to go up, which is at least twice a day unless you skip lunch. No popping out for tea breaks every few hours until your thermos tea starts to taste more of thermos than of tea...

You also have to wear a little name badge while you're behind the scenes, which I used to see as a badge of honor but I now see as a waste of our planet's finite resources... Usually when I'm done for the day I stick it on my BL clear plastic bag (which I also use at the IWM) because I feel this gives me some street cred as a Serious Research Student Who Goes to the IWM A Lot. Also I think it may lend the plastic bag more durability. The other day at the BL I noticed someone else who has done this! Aha. (Not someone I recognize from the hours spend slaving over bad handwriting in the aforementioned dome, but I usually don't pay much attention to the live humans in there anyway. Maybe I should start.) Then today as I was shoving my stuff into safekeeping I noticed someone who had put their IWM sticker inside of the BL locker. From 2002! A historical artifact! Also, someone who has visited the IWM and the BL in the same day, which means they are either overambitious or being chased by a crazed assassin, like the character in my novel. The BL does have an advantage over the IWM in that it's open till 8 Mon-Thur and I've sometimes pondered the hypothetical idea of coming to the BL after the IWM chucks us out at 5 to do more work -- but I think I'll save such desperate measures for next year.

[Comments] (1) British Warm... what?: I finally caved and googled to find out what this is. Oh. A COAT.

[Comments] (3) Streetcycle: While theoretically I'm an advocate of freecycle, the utility of trekking about London to get something that may or may not be what you actually want is questionable, as evidence by the time I walked half an hour to get what I thought was a yoga mat but was actually, fairly enough, some other type of "exercise mat." The chances of someone near you having what you want to spare -- and of them being on freecycle -- are greatly reduced when "near you" is limited to walking and public transportation. Sad. Well in London something else has popped up to fill in the gaps left by freecycle: street cycle. It's amazing how many times I've walked past just what I needed discarded to the street for anyone to take. Wooden fruit boxes for organizing. An organiser file. The other week it was a pair of uggs! They were filthy and a midge too small, but I threw them in the washer, thinking I don't have much to lose and since the main thing I wanted them for was evening trips to budgens, it hardly matters. Free! That's the way I like it. Of course, there are disadvantages. It's probably not legal. Extremities of weather might damage the item before you get to it. The uncertainty of whether a suitable new owner will come along before the trash collection does. But as far as convenience and serendipity goes, it can't be beat!

Calling the kettle: Why does the pot get its own tea?

Touch and go: I have a bad habit of losing my oyster card. This is a pain because of a number of reasons: you have to call and get a replacement card, which costs £5, and you're stuck without a pass till you get your new one. (They're usually pretty quick about it if it's not the beginning of the school year, though.) You can get your pay as you go refunded pretty quick, but for travel passes you have to wait for them to mail you a check. Last time I lost it I had just bought a monthly pass a few days before, so that's £80 that I have to wait 6 weeks for it to come and then clear in my bank account. Except a 2 months later, I'm still waiting. I called up to see what the haps was (half an hour down the drain) and found out the person dealing with my refund forgot to close the case so my refund was never processed. Niiice. Way to go, TFL.


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