Wednesday, July 28, 2010

subsidiary statistics

I weighed myself on arrival, and after a shower, and more recently. Pleased to report that weight loss during shower was within experimental error, and since have discovered a rather awesome burger joint in town.

Yesterday seemed rather patriotic as I tried to get documents in order to organise a postal vote from Kamchatka (is that a record) for the federal election, and made anzac biscuits, which work rather well even without all the ingredients.

Today I visited several museums, the highlight of which was the permafrost research institute, where a cute grad student named Sasha showed me their large walk in freezer. It's actually a series of tunnels carved out of the permafrost 12m underground, where the temperature is always -10C. The biggest surprise is that permafrost (in this area anyway) is only 5% water by mass, about 30% air, and the rest silicates and organic material (ie dirt). That means that, while frozen, it is not usually solid and can actually be dug, etc. I suspect permafrost on Mars is similar, if only due to aeons of sublimation.

In the afternoon Yulya and Anya found a piano for me in a disused room of a night-club, and I played the pieces I could remember for them, sometimes wearing a moose costume hat. Why? You will have to wait! I played Cataract of Lodore, Day 5, SHM, Alkan's Barcarolle, Danse Macabre, and parts of Godowsky's transcription of Chopin Op. 10/12 (which I could remember). I also sang parts of west side story, old man river, and the first 10 bars of Vaughan William's Songs of Travel. It was, apparently, well recieved. For a country that produces so many excellent pianists, I have met very few musicians.

Anya and Egor work for Sakha Internet, and live in a friendly, fun office environment. They constantly run promotions and competitions, for instance, to name two rats that live in the office. The current front runner names are 'Bruce' and 'Peter'. I think. Not sure about Peter. Another promotion is to film something silly, so after the piano we went to the Yakutsk city park, I dressed as a moose, ate flowers, and was destroyed by Anya (dressed as the girl from Kick-Ass) wielding a katana and pistol. Obviously everything was sufficiently fake, except the water pistol, which was real. (It shot real water).

After I'd got nabbed by the police for running through flower beds and eating flowers and stuff, I met some friends of friends, one of whom was a tattooed professional 'bich' or aimless man (so he said) who was riding a quad bike from Vladivostok to Anadyr (including >1000km of roadless driving) as part of the celebrations of 65 years since the end of the Great Patriotic War (or WW2).

On the internet this evening I found I had received Russian Bride spam, which I thought was particularly hilarious.

Now I must buy 2 weeks supply of sugary biscuits to get me through to Magadan. The best information I have is that the trip can easily be accomplished in a week, so I'll probably spend a few days making side trips to places of interest. I have little desire to spend 10 days in Magadan!

For those of you wondering where on Earth '...tsk' is, I'll make a map for you:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=ru&geocode=&q=yakutsk&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=%D0%B3%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B4+%D0%AF%D0%BA%D1%83%D1%82%D1%81%D0%BA,+%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BF%D1%83%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0+%D0%A1%D0%B0%D1%85%D0%B0+(%D0%AF%D0%BA%D1%83%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%8F),+%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D1%8F&ll=62.021528,129.814453&spn=23.559573,93.076172&t=h&z=4

Aren't I clever!

Additionally, attempts to disable the flash on my camera to preserve power (the unit is faulty) have been unsuccessful, so I purchased 14 batteries.

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