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We're considering dates for our little prize trip to Edinburgh next month. ^_^ Probably Monday to Wednesday, getting there around 4pm, leaving at a similar time. (The prize is good Sun-Fri) Might anyone have particular recommendations for venues we really oughtn't miss? Whisky, good food, general culture, architecture - with not much time there, is there anything we'll be kicking ourselves for having missed? (Though, I'd certainly hope it won't be our last visit there. Indeed, we're already tentatively planning a slightly longer visit, if the coming weeks work out well) It certainly doesn't look like there's any shortage of venues on any of those fronts, and that's just considering the central portion of town, all eminently walkable.

Oh, no.. The Moff is leaving Doctor Who - which would be enough of a wrench by itself, but he's being replaced by Chris Chibnall, fondly remembered for his risible "Cyberwoman" Torchwood story, amongst other elevated fanfic outings. And I never did make it through his Silurians two-parter..

At long, long last, I'm finally getting started on learning Japanese. ^_^ I'd had the trial version of (rather inappropriately, but still) Human Japanese on the iPad around for a while, and it quite impressed me - animations of stroke order on hiragana, pronunciations of all Japanese words by native speakers, hints on just what to look out for when writing Japanese, and other miscellaneous insights - it's a genuinely insightful course. It's available for various platforms - in my case, iPad, for which you can buy both the beginner and intermediate apps as a twin bundle for £16 (or £10 each), which seemed entirely fair. I'm still very early in, trying to pound hiragana into my tiny brain, with some success.

I know I can't really afford it, but good gods, that 36 month Iberico ham from Waitrose (in the chilled section, not the deli, and only some larger branches) is absolutely phenomenal. It's what you'd expect of that kind of ham, just even more so, with a deliciously intense flavor, and still meltingly soft on the tongue. If you've been very good, consider treating yourself to a packet thereof. ^_^ Of course, working out just what cheeses pair best with it requires research. Extensive, delectable research.

The story of Laura Meyer, head chef at Tony's (an excellent pizzeria in North Beach) and first American and first woman to win the World Pizza Championship, in Parma, back in 2013. (Her winning creation: "La Regina", "a play on a classic diavola pizza with tomato sauce, soppressata picante, prosciutto di Parma, arugula, and Piave, Parmesan, and provolone cheeses")

Some fairy tales, as the Brothers Grimm thought, date back quite some time - further than even they'd suspected. "Dr Tehrani said Jack And The Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre's Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago. Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old."

I know it's BuzzFeed, but still, these photos of huskies training in Scotland for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally are quite superb. ^_^

Who knows? I might finally be able to get around to seeing two films I've had my eye on: Star Wars, and The Danish Girl. (In SW, does the 3D add much? I'm tempted to see it thusly, as it was genuinely filmed in 3D, rather than having that added in post)

There's an unusual planetary alignment occurring, with five planets side by side in the morning twilight sky.

Pornhub's worldwide survey of preferences makes for some amusing reading. ^_^ "The Italians are the only consumers for whom footjob and feet make it into the most-searched. In Brazil, some of the fastest-gaining search terms include Pokemon and Scooby Doo. In Russia, my little pony was the 7th most searched term last year." Meanwhile, in the UK, british chav made its debut as one of the top search terms. O.o; (h/t supergee)

Here, have a small leap. ^_^

Mm, I saw TripAdvisor's listing for Camera Obscura - does look like fun! How long would you say we might need? I rather wish we had more time, but I suppose there'll be future opportunities - it does seem like a richly packed city indeed. Does the WHC offer good opportunities for tasting a broad variety? I'd especially love to sample older whiskies - that 43 year old I tried a while back (as a dram from Master of Malt - something like £20, or £600 odd for the bottle =:) was a veritable revelation, with complexity I've simply not tasted before.

I'll happily recommend Human Japanese, available for just about anything with a processor. =:) (Literally, "for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone") If there's a trial version available for whatever platform you'd prefer, do check it out - there is for iOS, at least, so I'd imagine there will be for all of them. I believe that included the first couple chapters, so you do get a good feel for the style. I know jessie_pup's learning Japanese, but sadly, she seems to've abandoned LJ. I think lupestripe may also have dipped his toes into the language, but that's likely to've been through a locally run course, which was definitely the case for his excursion into Russian.
How long — good question. The Camera itself can be done fairly quickly, but I'd suggested planning two hours for the museum at least, if you want to look at everything.

The Heritage Center can take varying amounts of time depending on the tour you book, but be sure to also plan some time for their store. :) As for what they offer — they do have a bar, and I seem to recall you can sample to your heart's content there, even if you didn't opt to have extra tastings included with your tour. (In fact I also think you don't need to book a tour to go to the bar there, but — better call to be sure.)

Thanks for the pointer, too! ^^