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Showing posts from July, 2005

Sunday Night

I have had a relaxing weekend in. I did yoga, I went on walks, I cooked, I watched movies, I read a lot. Finished up two books that have been partially-read for a few weeks, and am now focusing on Harry Potter. Opened a bank account yesterday, which is interesting as a foreigner. There is much fear that I might be laundering money, so there were lots of hoops for jumping through. Now that's done, and I have to build credit. Spent much of the weekend putting bills on auto-pay so I don't have to think about them. Had a lesson in writing checks last weekend, so that's good. (I'm not a moron, it's just that the checks look a lot different here...there's an extra line that's not intuitive when you're used to a different format.) I worry that I killed a duck. About a week and a half ago, I was in a hurry and ducks were crossing in front of the house so I had to wait. I thought they'd all passed before I drove, but now there are signs by kids saying, &quo

Reality Shows done right

People ask me if they have all of those horrible reality shows here. The answer is, "Yes, they invented most of them." Brits seem to have a prurient interest in watching the lives of others, and so they do a lot of it. Big Brother is all the rage, and the people they put in the house are certified freaks, so it's like watching Carnivale on HBO, except real. They have shows like Celebrity Love Island where you can watch C-list celebrities attempt to seduce each other. I know I've already covered The Farm . But this interest in watching people function in contrived situations has taken the reality show to new heights. There are two on right now that I can't stop watching: Dealing with Dickenson : If you've ever seen Bargain Hunt on BBC America or TLC, then you know who David Dickenson is. For the uninitiated, he's a flamboyant, overly-tanned, pompadoured dandy who knows the antique business, and has made a side career of helping others buy antiques o

Classic links that deserve another visit

The Exorcist Re-enacted by Bunnies Jesus of the Week Totally bizarre thing that makes me bellylaugh The Sloganator Memorial (the First Amendment lives, at least for now) NEW ADDS: From my friend Pam: Everyone forgets them now that they've sold out to Quizno's

Music to Su Doku by

Gillian Welch Ryan Adams the Bad Livers Dave Brubeck Scissors Sisters Jolie Holland HEM Prince Adam and the Ants (not just Adam Ant) Royal Crescent Mob The Jam Celia Cruz Astrud Gilberto Mary Gauthier Thomas Dolby Brand New Heavies Beulah (Anything is better with Beulah) Tom Waits Ry Cooder The Maxwell Implosion Brother Jack McDuff Barry Manilow Let me know if you need a Su Doku CD. I'm happy to make you one.

Su Doku

It's nearly impossible for me to do crosswords here. At home I can do them in pen, I usually make it until Wednesday before the NYTimes puzzle starts to get hard, and I have successfully completed several NYT Sunday puzzles (no Saturdays to date, but I keep trying.) Here, I don't get the clever puns and I don't spell well yet (all those extra u's and s's in place of z's trip me up.) So my puzzling outlets are down to what I can find on the internet. Until now. The Sunday Times does a puzzle thing called Su Doku . It's a number grid of 9 boxes of 9 spaces. They put in various numbers, and you fill in the rest. You need 1 - 9 in each box, and in each row and column of 3 boxes. It's addictive puzzling fun, and I highly recommend it to all. I stayed up until 2 am on Sunday trying to finish a screechingly difficult puzzle this week. I have burned my dinner trying to get one right. I'm a wagerer who does a lot of, "If you do this, this and this, th

Saturday by the River Thames

Friday was my birthday. We had a team meeting in the AM at our offices, and then those of us who felt like braving the ongoing terrorist threat that has become London went into the city for the night. I'd say only two or three people didn't go because of bomb threats. There were 18 of us in total. We had lunch at a fancy hotel, did a quick scavenger hunt, and then had dinner and drinks and nightclubbing to fill our evening. I realized I was truly old when I passed off a chance to go to Heaven, a happening gay dance club in Charing Cross, because it was late and I had blisters on my feet from walking around the city with inappropriate footwear. How pathetic is it to stay in on your birthday when you have a choice? ("In" still meant socializing until 130 at the hotel, but you know what I mean....I really just wanted to rest my aching feet and to get a good night's sleep. My youth has officially gone.) On Saturday, my colleague Anna and I left the hotel around noon

Ginger People

I have a new obsession. I have discovered a new racism. Brits hate redheads. They call them Ginger people. Sometimes, they pronounce it with soft "gih" G sounds like it rhymes with finger (if you slur the G a bit). Which, by the way, rhymes with "minger," a slang term for a really unattractive loser. They make jokes about having ginger kids like it's some sort of birth defect. Mind you, as with most things the Brits ridicule, they won't hold being ginger against you. They talk about all sorts of physical traits that are, in theory, less than perfect, but if you exhibit one of them they still like you and it's all just good natured ribbing. You've seen their teeth. I am now collecting pictures of ginger people. I'm not sure why. It just seems like a good idea. They always smile for the camera, and personally I like red-heads just fine. By the way, Brits also insist that anyone under 5 feet tall is a dwarf, which is funny from a nation of 5

What's (pardon me) American

At least once a day someone starts to say/do/discuss something they consider American, stops to apologize directly to me, and then continues with their thought. These things are not necessarily American, but they give us insight into the image we've been putting out into the world over the past decade. Here are a few of the things that have been attributed to America in my presence: Loud, boisterous, and vaguely uncultured behaviour Entrepreneurial, aggressive sales techniques Wordy explanations Quaint, old-fashioned opinions Uptight reactions to bawdy subjects Closed-minded judgments Joey Cultural self-centeredness The phrase "the dog's dinner" (not a phrase I know, but maybe it's southern?) Savvy marketing Sexy marketing Pretty much all marketing Slapstick, unnuanced humour (see Joey) Showy, extravagant spending Over-produced, sensationalist news coverage Panicky hatred and/or isolationism as a reaction to t

I'm fine

As mentioned before, I don't live in London. However, I do go there on occassion, so when things like today's incidents happen I will update my blog as soon as I can to let you know that I'm fine. Don't know exactly what's happening, but don't worry about me.

My weekend in London

Good grief! You'd think I could find time to write more than once a week, yet here I am a full week after my last post with so much to tell you. Perhaps I'll blame my houseguest. He's delightful, and it's so nice to have someone to hang out with after work, so I'm taking advantage of personal (rather than computer) interaction. He leaves on Friday, so you'll hear more from me then. First week back has been just fine. Work was busy, but not crazy...out on time mostly. Got some groceries, got some sleep, watched some Big Brother, had some dinners out, made some excellent Thai Red Curry Soup. Then it was Friday. Had a little work thing that came up on Friday night, so I had to go to London anyway. Two of my colleagues and I went to a fancy-shmance Hyatt on Portman Square for a tour, dinner, and drinks with some folks from Hyatt. We had a great time. Our hosts were Farida and Shulto. Farida is just lovely...very sweet and friendly. We've discovered a shared lo

Back in the UK

After my two-week blogging absence I am now settled back in the UK. My jetlag is surprisingly fine this time round...I made it through a productive day today at work, and it's almost 9 PM and I'm still awake! Whoo hoo! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip home. Had great visits with friends and family, packed up my desk at BI, shipped some stuff across the pond so my house will feel homey (or homely, as they say here, which sounds ridiculous.) Didn't get sick, and other than a tighter-than-anticipated schedule, my visit was trouble free. I've decided I definitely prefer flying American Airlines. It's not non-stop like NWA, but it goes into Heathrow and it's a 777 route so I had personal video choice, not to mention more legroom. What's a little layover in Chicago when you have 8 hours of comfort? Plus, it's like two hours less time in a car once you land, which is also a good thing. OH! And I saw Doogie Howser at Heathrow. He's shorter than you'd expec