Feb. 28th, 2007

jaala: (Default)
[Adapted from email]

A camera obscura is like a sophisticated pinhole camera with lenses that focus the image. During the Victorian era, there was a surge of popular interest in camera obscuras (going along with their obsession with technology) and ours is one of the most famous of the large ones built as a tourist attraction. The Edinburgh camera obscura has a mirror at a 45-degree angle (like a periscope) at the top of a tower that reflects the light down through the lenses and onto a large white table. The guide giving the presentation (i.e. me for at least an hour each day) uses a pole to rotate the mirror.

The full name of the place where I work is Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, because we also have three floors of interactive exhibits about photography, light and illusion. "Guides" also sell and stock the gift shop, sell tickets and do some cleaning.

The people are pretty varied in Edinburgh, apparently the most un-Scottish city in Scotland. I see a lot of tourists from all over the world (but mostly the European Union) at Camera Obscura. Most patrons of the Queen's Hall are educated middle class Scottish and English people, older for classical and folk gigs and younger for other stuff; the staff are mostly a mixture of Scottish and English and mostly about my age. Slightly less frequently, I encounter working class Scots with broad accents and the full range of idiomatic slang--usually delivery or repair personnel and random people on the street. The most common foreign language heard in Edinburgh is Polish. Australians and New Zealanders are probably the most common non-Europeans. There's quite a visible Muslim minority too.
jaala: (Default)
I ushered at a concert last night that was recorded by the BBC. Yes, this is a milestone for me. Yes, I'm pathetic. BBC Radio is my daily companion.
jaala: (Default)
After more than two months of living with:
  • wonky radiators
  • a bathtub drain that is basically plugged (and won't respond to drain cleaning products like Mr Muscle)
  • an entryphone that doesn't work
  • not knowing how our fire/security alarm works
  • being unable to get through the thick skulls at Scottish Gas that, yes, this is our address and we moved in on the 20th of December (a arrangement that the agency promised to have all set up for us when we moved in)
...and now dealing with a fridge that hasn't worked for at least a couple of days, we are becoming seriously non-impressed with our letting agency. We've called or visited them at least six times to request maintenance visits or hand in incorrect gas bills. (That's in addition to at least three calls directly to Scottish Gas.) They didn't provide any invoice or even feedback of any sort following our first direct bank payments so that we could tell it had gone through, either. "Un-rivalled service", my... foot.

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