Views of the Monkeynut

by   Peter R. Lloyd-Davies


FAMILY STUFF HIKING TRIPS MISC MUSINGS ARCHIVES
Road trip in Europe, 1963 New Hampshire 1998 On Kittens and Cuckoos 2003
Europe 1997 New Hampshire 1999 On the Theater 2004
Disney 2000 New Hampshire 2000 My Uncle Edward 2005
Europe 2000 Seattle 2000 My War Journal 2006
Southwest 2001 New Hampshire 2001 The Current Unpleasantness, 2009 2007
Cape Cod 2002 Seattle 2002 More cat thoughts, 2014 2008
Opila reunion 2002 New Hampshire 2003 Why I can't afford to run for office, 2014 2009
Christmas 2002 Toni in Alaska, July 2008 Socialism in South America 2010
Honk! - February 2003 The Geezers ride again, 2009 Thoughts on immigration 2011
July 4 2003 2012
Maine, August 2003 2013
Lake Winnipesauke, 2004 2014
Russell is 90, Sept 2004 2015
Europe, August 2005 2016
A mighty wind, 2006
Turkey, 2007
Xmas 2007 pictures
Mike's graduation, June 2008
Puerto Rico, January 2011
In and around Austin, 2011
Romping with the dinosaurs, 2012
Trip to Southeast Asia, 2012
We belatedly celebrate our arrival in Texas
Kittens!
Off to New Mexico in August, 2013
Big Bend National Park, April, 2014
Antonia in Cameroon, 2014
Europe, 2015
Skydiving, 2016
Our trip to Italy in June, 2016
Lynch reunion in Sugarland Texas, 2016
To New York to see Hamilton, May 2017
Total solar eclipse, August 2017!
One Big Holiday, in the Dominican Republic, March 2018
One big wedding, in Tulum, June 2018

Views of the Monkeynut presents a vivid multimedia adventure unfolding the splendor of the Lloyd-Davies and Lynch atomic family, featuring, as the nucleus, Peter and Louise; as the electrons, Madeleine and Antonia. Discover the agonies and ecstacies of their latest travels, or study the history of their adventures from conception to the present through a vast archive of photographs, scientific facts, questionable rumor, text, graphics and videos.


Peter

Louise

Madeleine

Antonia

New from the Monkeynut, Destination Mexico, June 2018. Our second vacation in the Carribean this year! Louise's nephew Dan has been dating a beautiful Russian emigre named Svetlana. They both live in New York City and decided to get married in Tulum, in the Yucatan.

Louise and I decided to make a week of it, so we rented an apartment in Tulum with enough space for Madeleine and Antonia as well. We toured the local Mayan ruins, had encounters with genuine Mayans, ate local food and bought trinkets to commemorate the occasion. The weather did not co-operate, but the wedding festivities were delightful and we all had fun. More details here.

New from the Monkeynut, Eeyore's birthday party, April 2018. Eeyore's birthday, I am told, is a great Austin tradition, which has been celebrated every year since 1963. This year, it came on a particularly fine sunny day and so Louise and I decided to give it a try. There didn't seem to be much of a point to it - you could purchase food and drink and even get little temporary tattoos. There were also various not-for-profit organizations trying to pursuade you to sponsor them. But mostly, it was like the Easter parade in old movies - a bunch of people, some of whom were dressed up in costumes, walking around. Eeyore himself was hardly to be seen, although there was a large stuffed version you could photograph yourself in front of. However, once we did that, representatives of some organization that owned Stuffed Eeyore jumped out of the woodwork and asked us to give them money, which we declined to do. There were drum circles, which were just a bunch of guys banging away on drums - mostly tom-toms and bongos. There were people in costume, which was fun. But mostly it was just a lot of people enjoying the sunshine on a fine day. Which is fine by me.

Stuffed Eeyore Inflatable Eeyore Peter's tattoo

New from the Monkeynut, One Big Holiday in the Dominican Republic, March 2018. At the urging of our Seattle friends Andreas and Connie, we signed up for One Big Holiday in the Dominican Republic. What's that? I hear you ask. Well, OBH got started some years ago as a way for fans of My Morning Jacket to spend some time in a nice part of the world while listening to MMJ (and other fine bands.) In past years, OBH has happened in the Yucatan; this year it has relocated to the Dominican Republic, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana. This is a huge resort on a lovely beach on the furthest east point of the DR. The celebration takes place over four days, although we added an extra two days in order to settle in first. There's tons to do at the resort during the day, including lounging at one of nine pools or on the beach, eating at one of a dozen restaurants, playing golf or risking it all in the casino. There are also some activities you can sign up for such as snorkeling and petting the dolphins. Then, in the late afternoon, the music starts and continues until 2 a.m. in the morning. I have to say that we enjoyed this enormously. The weather was delightful, the other guests very friendly, the staff unbelievably friendly, the accomodations spacious and comfortable. We enjoyed many of the bands, including an Austin band, Spoon. And a good time was had by all.

The resort Louise on the beach The stage

New from the Monkeynut, Christmas 2017. Another quiet but satisfying Christmas. Madeleine flew down from New York for a week. Toni and her girlfriend Mary attended. We all kicked in something for Christmas dinner; my smoked capon tasted good but I had problems getting all the pieces to cook at the same rate, and the dark meat should have been served later as a second course. But we had a Christmas tree and presents and lots of Christmas spirit. Santa inexplicably chose to give the family a number of Bluray 3-D movies which by chance appealed mostly to me. (I guess that extra cookie I slipped him last year did the trick.)

New from the Monkeynut, October 2017. ACL My first trip to ACL was fairly miserable - too hot, too crowded, music not to my taste. Louise has continued to attend it, but I have given it a pass until this year. Louise's college roommate Pat and her husband Andy were in town and since we had urged them to get tickets, we felt some obligation to do the same. My expectations were lower, the weather was delightful and it was fun to pal around with Pat and Andy. And most of all, rather than thinking of it as primarily a musical experience, I thought of it as a chance to spend a lovely day outdoors with friends and a pleasant musical background. And a fine time was had by all.

New from the Monkeynut, October 2017; Tillie is Gone. Tillie always seemed to have more health problems than her brother Volt - extremely bad vision, even as a kitten, kidney problems and various infections. But Volt got sick in 2012 and went downhill quite quickly. Everyone loved Volt and he returned the favor. When he died, everyone mourned his passing. Tillie, on the other hand, was a lot more discriminating in her friendship and if you were not part of her tiny circle of friends, she would hiss at you and threaten to rip you to shreds. Perhaps her hostility was the result of her bad vision and ultimate blindness, which made it hard for her to tell friend from foe; fortunately, her bad vision also rendered her threats of death and dismemberment ineffective.

She ended up living another five years after Volt's death. She became totally blind and decided that it was too much trouble to locate the cat box when she needed to poop, although she mostly used the box for peeing. She always ate enthusiastically, although her weight started dropping. Recently, she took to walking round and round in little circles in a confused way and uttering blood-curdling yowls. It was heart-breaking not knowing if the yowls indicated serious pain or just irritation with the world. Finally, she began to lose bladder control, which convinced us that her time had come. We took her to the vet, who agreed; she administered a strong sedative and Tillie drifted off.

We have buried her ashes next to Volt's, marked by a stone on top of them with an inscription that celebrates both her love for us and ours for her, and her ferocious and independent spirit.

Tillie and Volt cuddling Tillie and Volt's resting place

New from the Monkeynut, The Eclipse, August 2017. Madeleine first floated the idea of a family trip to see the total solar eclipse about a year ago. After a while, we all agreed to go to McCall, Idaho, which was just 30 miles out of the path of the total eclipse and a couple of hours from Boise. Despite all the warnings of cataclysmic traffic jams, we had an easy drive down to Cascade where we viewed the eclipse. The total eclypse lasted about two minutes, after which we picked up and drove back to McCall. Was it worth it? Absolutely! The sky was clear and everything unfolded as was foretold - once the partial eclipse started, we were all gazing at the sun (using our handy eclipse glasses, of course), watching it slowly being obscured by the moon. It began to get chilly. Finally, as the moon swallowed the sun, it got somewhat dark and stars appeared. We could now look at the sun's corona with our naked eyes, which was quite spectacular. Then it all happened in reverse as the moon passed on and it got warm again. Everyone applauded and life returned to normal.

We are amazed as the moon begins to eat the sun The sun's corona remains

We stayed in McCall for the rest of the week. It is a lovely little town on Lake Payette, surrounded by mountains that provide opportunities for skiing in the winter. We rented a boat one day and tried our hand at water skiing, basked in a hot spring and did several hikes. I don't think I'm ready to go back to dealing with several feet of snow during the winter, but it is a great place to spend time in summer.

More on our trip here.

New from the Monkeynut, August 2017. Arghhh! I can't believe this is happening again! A year or so ago, someone posted on the listserv a suggestion that a street name near us be changed from Robert E. Lee to something a little more politically correct. A protracted discussion ensued on the listserv, with serious arguments on both sides. One lengthy post gave some interesting details from Lee's life to support the notion that he is worthy of the honor bestowed upon him through the naming of this street. Against this, the idea that anything to do with the confederacy was emotionally tinged with racism and would cause unhappiness to black Americans. The discussion went on longer than it should, with some irritation on both sides, and eventually just petered out.

That was then; now the forces of political correctness are energized by the chaos in Charlottesville, where a march by one right wing group protesting the removal of a confederate memorial was disrupted by a group from the left. The right wing group was immediately dubbed the forces of racism and hate and the lefties the forces of righteousness, although some of the clips I saw on the web suggested there was plenty of nastiness on both sides. In any case, the immediate result for our little neighborhood was that the street signs for Robert E. Lee were vandalized and the listserv began buzzing with suggestions on how the street must be renamed. The forces of darkness who did not want the street to be renamed (including myself) did not so much as utter a word. A petition appeared requesting that the city council change the name, saying "Let's get rid of hate from our street names in Austin", which immediately got over 15,000 signatures. It sounds to me like we (i.e. correct-thinking lefties) are still fighting the Civil War and won't stop until every vestige of the confederacy is eradicated. Would that make them happy, I wonder? I can see the angry placards now being carried by the new new lefties, saying that it is wrong to eradicate evidence of the Civil War because black Americans must never forget the wrongs perpetrated upon them. My own feeling is that history is history and airbrushing people and events out of the historical record is the kind of thing that totalitarian leaders like Stalin do. I'm waiting on tenterhooks to see what will happen when it is discovered that Stephen Austin used the N word and Billy Barton beat his wife.

New from the Monkeynut, May 2017. Thanks to the efforts of Madeleine, the four of us had tickets for Hamilton on Broadway. Louise and I turned this into a week-long trip to tourist around the City and see friends; Antonia was only able to make it for four days. The show was great, the weather in New York was hot so that we Texans did not feel out of place, and we were able to spend time with some of our good New York friends.

We also got to see Madeleine performing in an improv show. This is her latest passion and she is taking a series of classes in it. The show marked the end of one the classes and was hilarious.

More on our trip here.

New from the Monkeynut, March 2017. Gotta tell the world - or at least the infinitessimally small portion of the world that reads my posts on this site - about a book! Actually three books. I can't remember how I found out about Cixin Liu, but he was the first Chinese (as in living in China) science fiction author I heard of. He had written a large sci-fi novel which was translated into English and called "The Three-Body Problem". The title refers to the the principles of motion of three celestial bodies entangled by gravity, like the earth, the moon and the sun. Newton had hoped that a nice tidy set of equations could be derived to describe this motion but eventually it was determined that, with a few special exceptions, no such equations can be derived. Instead, the motion of three bodies tends to be chaotic. Systems with binary stars are reasonably predictable, but Cixin Liu imagines what a solar system would be like if it had three suns, moving chaotically around each other. Life on a planet in this system would suck big time, with occasional periods of nice life-supporting weather abruptly ending and being replaced by periods of intense heat or cold.

After I finished this book, I discovered that it was the first one in a trilogy. Louise obligingly bought me the whole set and I feasted on them almost nonstop. (Over 2,000 pages in the set.) Although I'd love to explain in absurd detail all the nuances of his writing and the breathtaking twists of his stories, I feel that it would be more disciplined of me just to say that these are some awesome books and you should read them. And just a wee foretaste of this - Cixin Liu has a persuasive answer to Fermi's paradox, along with all kinds of other mind benders.


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