Wednesday, April 12, 2000

As promised, today's weather started rainy and cool, though the rain seems to be drying up now (late morning) and some weak sunshine is starting to peek through the clouds. The milk was not sour, but not too tasty either, so one more trip to the grocery store today. Fortunately, that's not much more than 100 meters away, and on the way to and from the rest of the world, so all I have to do is remember to stop there on the way back from wherever I go next.

Faxed my receipt to XS4ALL to suggest that perhaps they should create my account one of these days. I had understood (perhaps wrongly) that with a cash giro it was supposed to be set up same-day, but in any case I would have expected it to be created yesterday. I can't imagine what is holding it up now. Saw a duck hen with her ducklings on the way there, and photographed them from as close as they would let me come, thus the low-resolution picture...

The muesli crackers were, as far as we are concerned, a less-than-successful experiment. Even Nutella couldn't make them palatable. I'm trying some biscuits (I think: they are labelled "Volkoren Beschuit" and I expect that they are rather like light biscotti) next to see if they are an improvement.

* * *

It's nearly 1:00 pm and XS4ALL still hasn't activated my account. Somehow, it doesn't seem like it ought to be this hard... ...3:30 and still waiting, still can't seem to get a live person on the other end of the phone line, much less one who speaks English. I have to listen to the phone menus several times to parse them well enough to choose.

In the meantime, I've discovered Puck of Pook's Hill, which is another find in the Chesterton/Nesbit/Tolkien/Lewis/Eager line. I had pigeonholed Kipling as a writer about India and the author of the Just So Stories.

* * *

At 5:30 pm, I found my account finally activated, and pulled down a week's worth of email and sent the mail I had waiting. Did a little work and then went to buy train tickets and hear Pieter Wispelwey play Bach's Cello Suites. At the train station, I was tickled to find a schedule card specifically for Utrecht/München (well, it started at Amsterdam...) which was far more direct than the tortured route through Amersfoort and Hannover that the DB web site had found for me.

When I went to the counter, though, I found out why DB had routed me so strangely: the tracks will be down for repair this weekend on the direct route, and so I would have to take a special bus to take the normal route.

At first I was really rather disappointed with Wispelwey's performance, because he seemed to be deliberately trying to play them in odd ways. "6 Cello Suites by Wispelwey (and Bach)" would be a good way of putting it. His inventive phrasing I enjoyed, but his tone was sharp, half the notes only hinted at, and his actions on stage so comic that I couldn't concentrate on the music without shutting my eyes. However, he mellowed a bit for the third suite, and in the fourth and fifth really let Bach shine through.

Got back just before midnight and spend nearly two hours trying to catch up with email. Had to debug my outgoing-mail-batching scripts in order to send most of my mail.