Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday’s links

DSC03755 (1300x963)‘back at Woodside 5 after a nice weekend in Cambridge.  LastMinute.com produced a deep discount at the University Arms on Parker’s Piece, a lovely old hotel with wood accents and Tiffany lighting, soft bed tucked at the top of a few steps up into the room, 20 year-old scotch in the evening and expansive breakfasts overlooking the green at sunrise.

I needed the break.  We’re still waiting for key lab results to arrive that will define the future of the business.  DSC03720 (1300x952)Preparations for the move are ongoing, but I’m finding that making reasonable decisions and good choices incrementally are perversely leading to bad outcomes.  Unexpected events involving people at work and in the US added to the worry. 

It all got to me more than I realized, making for worried days and sleepless nights all week. With the arrival of a sunny, cold weekend, it was nice to just relax in elegant surroundings and distract a little with others.  It gave me the chance to separate from work and Poole, to browse bookstores and colleges, to try a new Turkish restaurant, and to dream plans for my upcoming birthday celebration.

…and caught up with a few worthwhile expat links and readings:

  • Holland Expat Center South has a new guide to Maastricht and South Limburg that is worth checking out if you live in, or plan to visit, the area.
  • And a shout–out for Invader Stu, a fellow blogger who has been recognized as a finalist for this year’s Bloggie Weblog Award as Best European Blog.  He’s always fun and insightful to read, and worth DSC03718 (1300x949)your vote.
  • If you’re thinking about going expat later in life, the Times had some good thoughts on health insurance.  You should think carefully both about the quality of care available and the cost of your insurance policy: remember that a home policy that covers travel abroad may not cover care while living abroad (I was surprised to find that both my life and disability insurance plans had qualifiers that limited benefits if I was living overseas.
  • Heffers, a major academic bookstore in Cambridge, has completely reorganized their interior.  It’s much simpler, many fewer books. much less interesting to browse.  Most tellingly, shelves of weighty books have been replaced by kiosks of ‘simple guides’ to academic subjects, problems, life, and Great Ideas that feel like an affront to deep thought and genuine insight.  ‘especially in a place like Cambridge.

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  • If you’re expat, you travel; if you travel, you pile up the frequent flier points.  The programs are getting tougher though: Delta has instituted spending requirements alongside mileage thresholds for top-tier qualification.  Lounge acc3ess costs over $600 per year, double what it cost a couple ofDSC03756 (1300x973) years ago.  It may be time to reconsider costs and benefits, advises the Times.
  • The Artique Gallery in central Cambridge is opening their spring show with seascape painter Rebecca Lardner.  Interesting individually, her seaside villages and round-eyed animals become repetitive and kitsch when multiplied into a wallpaper of near-identical images.  This holds for almost every artist exhibited in the gallery, unfortunately.

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  • Alec Baldwin recorded a really good interview with Billy Joel, including a discussion of whether marriages are more likely to fail when one partner is immersed in creative work.  Is there enough, indeed anything, left to give to the relationship?  It’s a recurring question (see Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George”) that I think poses real issues for even the most committed couples.  That’s why it was also nice to read Katy Guest’s thoughts in the Independent about the value of simply being kind to one another.
  • 14523_10151903059016526_2057089385_nFinally, in the ‘too true’'; category, this is, indeed, what the world seems to be coming to.   Java programming may be the new ‘Language of Life’, just like ‘Her’ might be the vision of future relationships.

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