Europe - day 3: All work and no play...

Well, I was up all night last night.

Partially because I had gone out, partially because I couldn't sleep thinking about what would happen today. Today is the reason I was in Edinburgh. I woke up and went down to the university. The facilities seem reasonable. Not quite as impressive as I was expecting; most of their resources are also available where I am now. But they had a couple of tools that we don't have, including easy access to recording engineers and software that are unusual to find in a university setting. The people were nice, but I felt like I was way too sleep-deprived, and still recuperating from my jetlag to make a good impression. But I met with quite a few people. This lady Jean that I've been talking to here is very amazing. I get the impression that she's had quite a bit to do with the organization of this facility, and it really is a remarkable set up. I could go into more detail, but I'm sure that this has already breeched over-technical and boring. My main point is that this is a great place to practice Cognitive Science, and would be a wonderful way to start a career. They also think they could have a use for Wes, which certainly eliminates one of the major hurdles between me and the University of Edinburgh.

So, that was my day!

A couple of other things, which were slightly less substantial, yet substantially more interesting, is that Edinburgh is known for its Christmas decorations. I didn't know this when I originally booked my ticket, but it is a fact that the city is just beautiful during Christmas. The past couple of days, they have been putting up the Christmas lights throughout the City Center, and tonight (fully dark outside, about 5pm), on the bus ride home, I got to see the decorations.

It makes sense to me that in this weather, with constant darkness, that they would want to cheer it up a bit with wonderful Christmas lights all over town. Who ever thought of Christmas lights was a genius.

I also did something just crazy when I got back to the hotel... I tried Haggis! REAL Haggis, not the fake vegetarian business. real hearts, kidneys, intestines, etc...

(from Wiki):
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish. Although there are many recipes, it is normally made with the following ingredients: sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately an hour. It somewhat resembles stuffed intestines (pig intestines otherwise known as chitterlings), sausages and savoury puddings of which it is among the largest types. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach. There are also meat-free recipes specifically for vegetarians which supposedly taste similar to the meat-based recipes.

The hotel here is quite fancy pants gourmet. I have to tell you it was some kind of delicious. But I wonder if I had had it just anywhere if I would have loved it so much. I took a picture. It looks quite different from the regular ole Haggis described in Wikipedia.

I also learned a whole bunch about Whiskey, which I should, being that it's my last night in Scotland.
1) there are four regions that Whiskey comes from in Scotland. Speyside is quite a small region, but 75% of Scotland's Whiskey comes from here.
2) Malt Whiskeys are made only from barley, no other grains.
3) Bourbon is made from corn.
4) Highland, 18 years, was voted the world's best whiskey, but it's cheaper than Highland 35 years (which is over $35 / shot!!! IN SCOTLAND, where it is probably cheaper, since it's local!!!)
5) Over 600 whiskies come from Scotland, and the bar downstairs serves a whole lot. In the picture below, every bottle is Malt Whiskey.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Italy. It's funny because the whole time I've been here there's been this sign out front that says "Fresh Italian coffee." ha. tomorrow, I get real. fresh. italian. coffee.

Cheers Mates!


animated gifs from Library of Congress photos

Kevin J Wier makes animated gifs using old photographs from the library of congress flickr account. ...