Saturday, 31 October 2009

I hope everyone has a spooookkkyyy Halloween!

Thursday, 29 October 2009


I've of late felt like autumn is slipping away and I haven't seen enough gorgeous colors. But, I guess the there are still a few more weeks left of the UK autumn, even though Rochester probably is already in winter mode. So I woke up this morning and walked over to Regents Park (about a 25 minute walk from my place). It was gorgeous. I didn't have much time to linger so I just walked around one of the park's sections and took some photos. But, I definitely think a longer visit will factor into my weekend plans.
I had a dream last night that (get ready): I was held hostage at Primark by Simon Pegg (I don't remember why) and as a reward for my good behavior they let Gwyneth Paltrow visit me. Gwyneth wasn't a friend, I just really wanted her to visit me. Also, I cried a lot. Probably because I was being kept hostage in Primark. I also had a dream that involved me getting 8 letters from Barclay's, but I woke up before I could find out if my debit card was in one of the envelopes.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


(credits to Lianne for the gorgeous artwork...)

When I left DC last year I was so ready to get out. DC felt so small and I was sick of a lot of non-tangible things. But now I'm thinking about all the wonderful things in DC, mostly the three wonderful girls I shared Ivory 306 with. It was just nice having people around who I really really liked and who I knew liked me. This isn't going to turn into one of those long rants about how I have no friends here, because I do, but my friendships in DC were generally a lot more established. Friendships that might include squabbles, but the sort of squabbles that exist when you know people pretty well.

So here is a list of things I miss about my friends last year:

-Having people to eat dinner with or around all the time
-Having friends nearby, who I could easily plan adventures with
-Having friends who I am sure really really liked me
-Reading magazines at Barnes/Borders with Lianne
-Watching tv with my roommates
-Having a friend as hip, cool and nice as Sara D
- Knowing that if I didn't go out, I would still have lots of people to hang out with the next day
-Having people I could really really laugh with because we know each other so well
- Going to lunch with Mike and having him judge me as my food ended up all over my clothes
-Holding Sara Z and Jenny and laying in their beds
-Doing cool cultural things involving Tom Story with Lianne
-IHOP with people I love
- Being around people who I essential spent my truly formative years with
-and so on and so on

The thing I miss about DC the most is having a city to explore that is manageable in size and easy to navigate. London is soo big!

I honestly don't know what my friendships here will turn into. Mehhhh. And I don't know where I want to go, what I want to do when I graduate. Mehhhhh.
Reason I am Single #7: I adapt Taylor Swift songs in my head to fit guys I think are attractive.

The next Oscar winners have pretty much been decided

They should just give Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and This Movie the appropriate academy awards because it has "Oscar" written all over it. I think I sobbed through the whole trailer. But that could just be because I'm emotional. But seriously, this film looks amazing.

Interesting Link of the Morning

I read this article and I was previously guilty of believing each thing. I learned some things before 9am yey!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Today Twitter's worth was revealed to my when Graham Linehan (writer of Father Ted and The IT Crowd) decided to set up a twitter feed where people who had Spotify invites to spare could find people who needed one. To back up Spotify is an amazing music service that isn't available in America, it's essentially a free itunes. You can play thousands and thousands of albums on your computer and create playlists. I can't download the songs onto my ipod, but it's going to be amazing for finding new music and listening to it during the many hours I spend at my computer. But anyways, a kind soul who had a premium spotify account gave me on of their invites so I can get a basic account (meaning there are commercials)! I'm instantly obsessed with it. So, thank you Graham Lineham for being so wonderful to suggest a code exchange! YEY!

Autumn Sun

Today has been a disgustingly unproductive day. But I guess I still have time. It feels a lot later than it is. This is what the sun looks like now. It's slowly starting to set and it's not even 3pm. Oh England...

Monday, 26 October 2009

I've decided the next fiction book I'm going to read is Mrs. Dalloway. And in honor of Viginia Woolf, I present you with this magnificent quote from To the Lighthouse:

"The great revalation had never come. The great revalations perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark."

Songs I love

Two years ago during my first time being an expat in England my darling friend Sharif played Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights for me. I was like wtf is this, is this real? I then later on told my friend Dave, a fan of pretty obscure music and he had me listen to Kate's songs Cloudbusting and Hounds of Love (sorry if I'm getting this story wrong... I credit both Sharif and Dave with introducing me to Kate). My life changed. Hearing Kate Bush was like a gigantic musical hole being filled in my life. She's amazing and honestly in my mind the greatest female artist probably ever. Her songs are creative, well written with depth and her voice is amazing. Also she wrote a song about Joyce's Ulysses (The Sensual World). Here are my two fav Kate Bush songs (both, with amazing music videos), I hope you love them as much as I do:

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Remains of the Day

I just finished Kazuo Ishiguro's novel The Remains of the Day. What a heartbreaking triumph of a novel. Thank you Lianne for suggesting it to me. It was one of those books where a lot happened within very little concrete space, I guess in that sense it was very joycean, which is probably why I liked it so much. I won't write an analysis like the sorts Lianne writes on her fantastic blog, but I think it's sufficient to say that it was a phenomenal book and I definitely want to read more of Ishiguro's novels.

Daylight Savings

I totally forgot that it was daylights saving time here today until a friend kindly informed me. It totally threw off my day. So now, it's not even five pm and in an hour it will be fully dark outside. I just checked the forecast and sunset was right when I took this picture, 445. Ahhhh. And each day the hours of sunlight will keep decreasing and decreasing until it's dark at like three. But at least that means Christmas is approaching...

Also, in unrelated news, The Times was brilliant today. I love my Sunday morning routine of buying The Times and reading it over an americano at Cafe Nero. Wonderful.

Brilliant night last night of friends, pumpkins, chocolate and wine.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

ME when I should be doing work

And yes... I did take this photo using photo booth.
The Garden of Sin aka St. Andrew's Garden


After the craziest night of my life last night (aka Pamela and I made grilled cheese), I woke up this morning and decided to venture out and seek culture. I went to the National Gallery with the intention of seeing the new exhibit about Spanish religious sculptures, but I just ended up walking through the galleries. But, before I went there I decided to cut through Soho instead of the more direct Oxford circus, Charing Cross Road route. I'm definitely glad I did because I got to see streets that have more character than Tottenham Court Road, Oxford St, or even my beloved Gray's Inn Road. I'm not saying Soho is in any way a big secret, that would be akin to being like "I discovered the best cafe the other day, it's called Starbucks!" but it was still a nice change. And I found lots of eating options for when I have money (probably never).

And the National Gallery is overwhelming in the sense that I kept seeing a bulk of the paintings I studied wayyy back in AP. However, the gallery is smaller than I imagined it would be. I mean, it's huge but I reckon the US National Gallery is bigger. Also, while I appreciate the Italian masters, it's the Flemish artists who really hit the spot for me. I went to the best Flemish art gallery in Brugges when Lianne and I travelled there and while the National Gallery has a lot of Flemish art, it didn't hit me like so many of the paintings in that gallery. But, one day I want to be rich and buy old Flemish paintings.

Friday, 23 October 2009

I got the previous video off of this website. I basically want to post every video on there. So please, please look at it. You won't regret it.
Yea... Well I've basically been dating God for 22 years, so I beat all these people! Though God probably likes all the people in this video featured more because they aren't constantly asking "Why God! Why am I single! WHYYYYY." And maybe this whole post is Reason why I'm Single #6. But seriously, the video is pretty amazing.

Date God - Watch more Funny Videos

St. Andrews Garden

I'll write a post later about my feelings about Question Time last night, but right now I want to mention the fact that at least once everyday when I look out my window I see people making out in the park next to my building. Today there is a couple pretty much right underneath my window standing up and shoving their tongues down each others throats. It makes me want to vomit. Just checked, they're still at it, but this time he has his hand on her bum. I mean, you think it would get tiring after a while. Also, do they realize how many people can see them? Maybe they don't care. They should though, because they are offending me.

I'm afraid that this angry quasi voyeuristic rant is a sign that I'm slowly evolving into a crazy old bitter spinster.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The BNP leader Nick Griffin on President Obama: “He is an Afrocentric racist bigot.” He thinks American blacks should have been resettled in Africa “because the two peoples living side by side would cause problems forever”.

Sounds like someone has been talking to Glenn Beck! Griffin's appearance tonight on Question Time should be very very interesting.

Song I can't get out of my head

Taylor Swift is my not so sinful obsession. All her songs seem to speak to me, maybe that says something about my mental age but ehh. She's just so wonderful. The current Taylo Swift song I can't get out of my head is "Hey Stephen." Thanks to my friend Jennie for introducing it to me. This song is a lot more romantic than songs I can actually relate to, like the amazing "You Belong with me," which I can REALLY relate to. But I just love the line- actually I love the whole song. The chorus is amazing (in a 16 year old girl way, but WHATEVER)-

"'Cause I can't help it if you look like an angel
Can't help it if I wanna kiss you in the rain so
Come feel this magic I've been feeling since I met you
Can't help it if there's no one else
Mmm, I can't help myself."

And then the line:
"Hey Stephen, boy, you might have me believing
I don't always have to be alone"

Amazing! I should also mention that the name Stephen automatically makes me think of Stephen Dedalus, who was definitely NOT an angel. Despite that, I loveee this song. But you'll just have to listen for yourself:

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I just watched the most disturbing documentary on the BBC. Two journalists, who are British Muslims, posed as Pakistani immigrants on a British housing estate in Bristol and documented the abuse they suffered. It was unbelievable. Since getting here I've been reading so much about the collapse of families, feral youth, extreme anti-social behavior, etc. I mean, America certainly has a terrible racial history and massive race problems today but I just don't recall reading or hearing stories to this nature at home. And the problems on the housing estates don't just deal with race. There's the terrible story of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her severely mentally disabled daughter after they had suffered years of abuse on their council estate. This story was referenced by David Cameron in his speech at the Conservative party convention. I mean, I can't think of any solution to this problem. But, I think the fact that these problems are ragging out of control can only help the Conservatives win the next election. But who knows, I'm just a confused, slightly shocked outsider.
Because my Christian friend never responds to my text messages (THANKS!), I consulted google to see if Christians believe in witchcraft (though I think the answer should be obvious). And on Yahoo Answers a man named "Me Again" answered the question by writing: Any man, Christian or not, who has been divorced knows full well that witches exist.

Another post with tinges of Christianity

This morning the wonderful Pamela and I journeyed north into Angel to go to a place that we refer to as the British Baking Revolution (it's on a sign they have inside) but it's actually called Euphorium Bakery. I got an americano and an almond croissant, which was I'm pretty sure the smallest one they had. I'm hoping the mean barista didn't look at me and think that I needed the smallest one. RUDE. Or maybe it was an accurately portioned European baked good. I don't know, anyways, this isn't the point of my story.

What is the point of my story is that on the way back I was handed a Christian magazine by some people on the street. I just read through it in another effort to avoid doing things I should be doing. Besides learning that Christian's shouldn't be sperm donors, even if they stipulate that a gay couple won't get their sperm, because God doesn't like man shedding his seed unless it's in his wife (dirty!). So that was interesting, but not out of the ordinary, what was out of the ordinary was the article in the magazine about the couple who were suffering health problems and found out that a witch had caused them! God luckily saved them, but this article made me question the magazine's validity. And the validity of the organization that funds it. Ah religion, such a confusing, complicated thing.


"It is not logical to ask for proof that the 2012 doomsday is a hoax. Your questions should be to the doomsday advocates to prove that what they are saying is true, not to NASA to prove it is false. If someone claimed on the Internet that there were 50-foot tall purple elephants walking through Cleveland, would anyone expect NASA to prove this wrong?"

A while ago, over a school holiday, I don't remember if it was last year or two years ago, I became really preoccupied with 2012 and the world ending. I've kind of gotten over it, but it keeps popping up. Well, NASA's head scientist, David Morrison, who I assume is smarter than anyone I know, has posted 20 responses to questions about 2012 that he has received. Both the Questions and the responses are pretty humorous. I think I trust the head NASA Scientist more than some nut with a website.

However, what Morrison does not discuss is the possibility of a religious apocalypse occurring in 2012, which some of my super religious friends have told me is a theory. But according to my summer reading book, The New Testament, Jesus could come back at any point so I guess that's something that us non-religious folks could worry about all the time.
One of those gray London days, where the sun doesn't show up and the rain is so misty that it's a constant question of whether an umbrella is really necessary. All I want to do is lie in bed, with a mug of tea and a pile of books.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Justin Webb at LSE

This evening I made my way down to LSE to see the BBC's former North American editor, Justin Webb in a conversation with another British journalist, Kirsty Young (who was wearing awesome shoes I could never pull off). I regularly read Justin's blog over the last few years until he moved back to England for another BBC gig. Overall, I found the conversation really interesting. It is very interesting to hear one's nation analyzed by an outsider. Overall, I agreed with most of his points, though I don't think the title of his lecture really factored in: "Why I grew to love America and you should too."

But then I guess, I don't understand America anymore than Justin does. Living outside the country makes me analyze America more than I do when I'm home. Because of the distance, it's easier and less personal. However, like him I see the complexity and diversity within America. And I think that diversity is something that's really hard for the rest of the world to truly grasp.

Also, the other lecture at LSE that night that two of my friends attended was about the successes of the UN. A lecture that was probably much more relevant to my course. OH WELL
I'm pretty excited about attending this tonight...
Today is my one month anniversary of moving to London. It feels like I've been here for a lot longer, though I've done a really awful job of exploring my new city. So let's hope month 2 brings lots of wonderful things.

Daily Mail Article of the Day


"It was a nightmare - she would come to the bottom of the stairs and pray every morning at about 3am for at least an hour and recite the Lord's Prayer.

‘It got so bad you couldn't sleep - even with earplugs, it just went on and on and on.’"

Sounds like she really loves Jesus. I can't even imagine being in that situation, it would probably be really funny for a night but after a few more nights I'd definitely call the cops.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The best thing I ever made?

As a disgruntled employee this summer at an Arts and Crafts chain I somehow found the strength to make the best of my situation and become crafty. Lo and Behold, the best thing I ever made, which is now in the property of my lovely friend Sara: The Lapo Bag.

Reason I am Single #5: Try as I might, I can't help but bring up Syfy's Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International in conversations. BEST SHOW EVER

Things I learned today

Another busy Monday has passed. I went to Barclay's four times before I could successfully transfer my rent payment to UCL, so glad that's over. At one I had my IO lecture, followed by two hours in The Print Room Cafe (a great low cost cafe on campus) with my friends, where they read course readings and I read the book about The Black Death that my fav Oxford medic lent me. Then, I suffered through a two hour economic lecture. I may or not have read some of the plague book during the really dull parts... It's such an interesting book!

Anyways, two interesting things I learned today:
-30% of the worlds health care providers (doctors, nurses, etc.) are in the US and Canada.
-Rabies exists on Continental Europe, but hasn't yet to enter the UK.

Also, I think it's about time for me to bring out my winter jacket.
Things I am loving at the moment: Life, the Planet Earth sequel of sorts currently airing on BBC One. I presume it's going to be aired in America as well. There's nothing like a gorgeously filmed nature series!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Two years ago when I was in Dublin staying with Lianne we saw the movie In Brugges (right after we had returned from Brugges!). At the end of the film, the song version of the poem Raglan Road by the Irish band the Dubliners played. It was one of those songs that I loved instantly and it has been one of my favorite songs since. Well now after browsing youtube I've found a version by one of my favorite Irishmen, Glen Hansard. It's not as haunting as the version by The Dubliners, but it's pretty great. Ahh such an amazing song.
My quick to trip to Oxford was wonderful. I got to see my friends and had dinner in the Catz Hall. And last night I went to a birthday party at a super trendy place in Camden. But because I'm a 50 year old woman in the body of a 22 year old, I was in bed by one. Today I did some massive food shopping. I love Waitrose and I'm excited about the variety that I'm adding to this week's dinner menu. Now I have to read about the economics of public goods. FUN
Daily Mail Article of the Day: Jade Goody's views from beyond the grave...

The best part about this article is when the psychic predicts that Jackiey will be invited to appear on the Oprah Winfry show.
"You know, Gordon, I should not like you. You are Scottish... and you are an economist. But somehow, Gordon, I love you. But now in a sexual way." Sarkozy to Gordon Brown
Reason I am Single #4: At a certain point last night I just wanted to be back in my bed watching Persuasion. In fact most of last night could be it's own reason of why I am single.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Do I wear heels tonight? Things to consider: I can't walk in heels, my feet will hurt after 5 minutes, I have a good chance of awkwardly tumbling while wearing them. But Gok Wan would want me to wear them!
Things I ate in Oxford:

White Chocolate Ben's cookie
Nachos and a half pint of Old Rosie
Salty Celery Soup
Rump Steak, potatoes and cabbage
A Chocolate desert
Half a Brownie
Nutella on Toast
2 Pancakes and Nutella
Queen's Lane English Breakfast
Crispy Kreme donut

This is Why I'm Single reason 3: I watched too many Disney movies as a child and thus have unrealistic expectations of men

Friday, 16 October 2009

Oxford until tomorrow. But first I have to get through an economics seminar, oh joy.
WTF of the day so far: I'm no expert but I think this judge is probably violating some state, federal and constitutional laws. I also love the way the guy tries to convince the public that he's not racist. Absolutely ridiculous and I'm surprised he's gotten away with this until now.
Reason I am Single #2: My lack of any sort of verbal filter.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

I think Cellier des Dauphins Merlot might be the best cheap wine I've ever had. Definitely better than Charles Shaw. Shocking I know.

On that note, my top five favorite foods (in no particular order) that I can easily find in the UK and not in the US:

1- Jacket Potatoes
2- Penguin biscuits
3- Hobnobs (5 bucks in America, 90 p here) and digestives
4- Tetley Tea (so cheap... so good)
5- Scones, clotted cream and jam (which I have yet to have since arriving. hopefully tomorrow!)

Number one food item I miss in America: Good quality drip coffee and on that note cheap coffee machines. I can't do instant anymore. I need to buy a French press.
Oh America...
I'm heading up to Oxford tomorrow for the night. This is what I get to look forward to, SWINE FLU that is currently ravaging my college. I hope at least a couple of my friends avoid its clutches.
The sun has come out almost every day since I got here (with like 3 exceptions)... I think England is happy that I returned.
Reason I am single #1: I have more than once decided not to go out with my friends and have instead stayed in my room, ate biscuits and watched Persuasion.