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September 27th, 2019

Brisbane through Sep 27

Part of why walking around Brisbane does not give joy: long wait times for lights to change, and complex intersections where you may have to cross two lights in a row.

Locals seem averse to dashing across quiet intersections. I noticed that given drive-on-left traffic flows, it's wise for me to be averse as well, since I'm not used to looking in the correct direction for turning cars.

Central area continues to be neat. South Bank has a Nepalese Peace Pagoda, left over from the 1988 Expo, and right next to it is a rainforest boardwalk.

I went to QUT St. Lucia to check out free museums there; they were pretty small, like the Harvard free museums. Anthropology, which was a few aboriginal artifacts but mostly colonial photos of settlements and schools Torres Islanders were forced into. Art, which had a few weird modern exhibits. Physics, which was a bunch of instruments like Harvard's but smaller. But also a pitch drop experiment, which has been going on for decades; pitch apparently is solid enough to shatter on hammer strike but liquid enough to drip very slowly (like years between drops), the way urban legend says glass does.

Oh, also an Antiquities museum -- yes, I basically exhausted four 'museums' in one afternoon -- which had a nice ancient coin collection. Not huge but well labeled, and I got to see drachma, denarius, aureus up close.

Tried exploring St. Lucia itself. Dull residential neighborhood with a few restaurants. I retreated from the sidewalk seating of one, too much noise and exhaust.

Today I went to the Queensland Gallery of Art, which is also free, but a decent size; took me a while just to eyeball everything. It would probably take a few hours to probably look at everything and read their signs.

Then I found that the Brisbane Square Library was open to midnight. On a Friday? Yep, it's actually a brand new policy, as of two days ago: midnight hours on Wednesday and Friday, trying to be more of a social center. There were people playing music in the lobby, and a table of optical illusions, and I think other events. Physically it's a nice library, lots of plants, and the colored glowlights that Brisbane loves to have all over its CBD. Non-fiction was a good size.

Other things... there's going to be a Riverfire festival Saturday, with fireworks and plane performances; a fighter was practicing today, flying low and loud and threatening my hearing. Not sure if I'll go or avoid... I looked up the ferries, which seem neat, but haven't taken one yet. (Brisbane straddles the Brisbane river.)

I re-read the Silmarillion, working on Unfinished Tales. It's striking how the more obscure the Tolkien work, the more women and women's dialogue there are...

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Damien Sullivan
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