Tuesday, November 30, 2004 

Skinny Mo

It was strange to see someone I hadn't seen in a while, since I left America. I guess I look different now, since Chuck said my hair was super long (can't afford a hair cut) but looked really good and also that I looked like I'd lost a lot of weight (can't afford to eat.) I honestly have no idea what is going on with my body as we have no scale and no full length mirror in the halls. I have the same mild obsession that most girls probably has with their figure, but honestly having been stripped of all the tools I use to judge it, I don't even worry about it anymore and yet another fragment of stress in my life has been erased upon moving here.

Have I mentioned how much I love it here??

Monday, November 29, 2004 

C is for Cookie

Most of my friends from home will recognize the inventor of this. He's in London for business the next two days and we are going to hang out tonight. I'm pretty excited to have my first friend from home to tour around London. Plus he's staying in The City, a part of town I've never really been to before. Chris (see below) was just drinking on High St there this weekend (I was too tired to join him) so I guess there is stuff to do there even though I was under the impression it was pretty dead, since it was just a financial district for the most part. We'll see! Either way, I've been promised some free cookies, so it's all goooooood.....

Sunday, November 28, 2004 

Incredible Office Treats

We got Chris an Incredibles birthday cake; doesn't he looked pleased as punch about it???

Friday, November 26, 2004 


Our mini and impromptu Thanksgiving feast was a total success. I made garlic mashed potatoes from scratch, which I had never done before and did not have a recipe for, but they were great! I also contributed by drinking an entire bottle of wine and doing a lot of dishes afterwards. We had a great time!


Our great bounty!

Michelle chowing down

Thursday, November 25, 2004 


I never really gave much thought to Thanksgiving, other than considering it the calm before the storm known as The Christmas Season, and especially since becoming a vegetarian I don't have that same Turkey addiction that most Americans suffer from. (I still think it smells nice though.) But I'm kind of actually missing it right now. Not only do I have to go to work today and tomorrow but I don't get to sit around with my family, watch [American] football, drink beer, lounge by the fire or iron the "good" tablecloth (the chore bestowed upon me yearly), or listen to my mom and her sister argue over food preparation. Kinda miss it. Brits keep asking me about it, and as usual that can go pretty hilariously. This was yesterday:

British Flatmate Joe: So what's Thanksgiving all about anyway?
Me: Well, back when we were still British and Pilgrims coming to America, but right before we slaughtered nearly the entire Native American population and took their land, we had a celebration with them and all sat down to dinner....
Joe: And give thanks?
Me: And give thanks.
Joe: What do you eat?
Me: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes... uh, pumpkin pie...
American Michelle: Cranberry sauce!
Me: Right...
Joe: You know, that's very typically American, to remember that once little nice moment out of the years of killing Indians.
Me: You know, that's kinda true....
Joe: How do Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?
Me: Uh, you know, I never really thought about that.
Joe: Typical! They probably want to shoot Americans!

Fair play.

I give thanks that I am healthy and happy and that I am so far not only surviving my major excursion to London but actually enjoying it as well. I am also thankful that my family is safe and healthy too (assuming my sister is, no one has really heard from her since she started her first day at college) and I am thankful to all the Native Americans who gave their lives unwillingly to create the Great United States of America. I hope they don't hate us or want to kill us, and that maybe they find their own way to celebrate it. Or something.

Okay, Michelle texted me earlier asking me what I wanted from Tescos for the great feast I assume she is preparing for tonight and I haven't heard from her in a while, so I'm going to go home and check to see if the dorm hasn't been burned down yet.


Quid Night

Had a few "firsts" in the last 48 hours. Quite unexpectedly, we went out clubbing Tuesday night! All the physio-therapy students on my floor wanted to celebrate after taking a test that day. After a few rounds of Ring of Fire the drinking game, and watching the boys iron their shirts in the kitchen (Euro boys are so cute when they dress up!) we hopped on the old RV1 and went to Covent Gardens where is was £6 to get in and only £1 for anything to drink all night. We got hammered obviously. It was my first time out with the gang, my first time to a club, and the first time to not go into the lab the next morning. It's weird to not be in a professional setting where I have to come in everyday, but that's the trade off for no longer getting a salary: a lot more freedom! So it was also my first time to bum around with all my flatmates during the day. That was a lot of fun too.

After carrying Ross home because he was too drunk to walk or talk (first time in a mini-cab!) and putting him to bed, it was my first time to call a security officer to break into a room and check on a friend. By 9pm the following day, no one had heard from him or seen him, he didn't show up at his football match, he wouldn't answer his phone or return our texts, and no one had ever seen him that drunk before, so I got worried he had choked to death on his own vomit or something. Thankfully he was fine, and had just gone to Fullham for the day and his mobile had a dead battery. As we ended Wednesday night all cuddled up in Michelle's bed watching the O.C., I said, "We hadn't heard from you all day, the obvious conclusion is that you were dead!" I realized how absurd it is, but better to be safe than sorry right? Wouldn't you want to have the kind of friend who would check on your rotting corpse?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 

How much? Ooof!

Got a little taste of culture shock yesterday as I finally had my orientation to the gym (and it was worth the wait too. "These are the free weights....This is the treadmill...." Most helpful indeed.) It's all totally normal, but all the weights are in kilograms! Natural for them of course, I hadn't even thought of it. I suspect there will be a lot of my looking pretty stupid during my first few visits, picking up weights and putting them down again. Picking up more and putting those down again.

On the bright side, my own weight has dropped dramatically from 125 to 55, all by merely switching countries! Why, I'm beyond anorexic and obviously need to eat as much as possible. Yay, chips and Cadbury's for lunch!

Monday, November 22, 2004 

Start Your Engines

Strange Thing #19: Traffic lights go in the following order: Green, Yellow, Red, Yellow, Green, etc. This is different from American traffic lights which go: Green, Yellow, Red, Green.

It would seem to me that the extra yellow in the British system would lead to some sort of NASCAR related/James Deanesque drag racing scenario at every light in the country. Knowing exactly when the green was coming would only give you time to rev up the engine and start moving the clutch out, and then you could go tires squealing through every intersection. But maybe that doesn't happen here, because Americans are weird about our cars, i.e. mildly obsessed to the point of preferring to sit in an SUV on the beltway for three hours a day rather than take public transportation.

Sunday, November 21, 2004 

Zombies of London

I was also some comfortable and exhausted from not sleeping for 26 hours straight this weekend that I did not have the recurring nightmare I've been having the last couple weeks: Zombies are taking over the Earth and they have trapped me in some location. I know, it's a direct rip off of Dawn of the Dead, etc. Even my dreams aren't original, I know. But it's scary as hell. The weird part is the location that I end up stuck in varies every time (my dorm, an elevator, various buildings like hospitals and schools, etc) but the rest of the dream is the same, and I wake up in the middle of the night scared silly. What do you think it means?


Sweet Sweet Bed

The LOTR night was absolutely ahhh-may-zeeen! It was totally worth the sleep deprived night (which is was not for all attending; during ROTK the guy next to me was snoring during the slow parts!) It was great for a couple of reasons: (1) The IMAX screen was incredible! It was still shown in 35mm, and not the huge IMAX format, but the size was still probably about twice the size of your average movie screen. I've been watching those movies for years on my little 27" at home, and had forgotten the overwhelming impact they have at that size. (2) They moved us around for each movie, and for the first and third I sat in the first five rows. The screen was so big and I was so close I actually had to turn my head to see from one end of the screen to the other and that made me feel like I was in the movie! Especially the battle scenes, where it's happening so fast, and the quick edits made me dizzy and intoxicated. It had quite a powerful effect on me! (3) To see them all at once with hardly a break in between was I think how Peter Jackson designed and wished the movies to been seen. They are not three different movies, but actually one movie, I've heard him say that many times. I went into that theater at 7:45pm, and came back out eleven hours later. I was immersed in Middle Earth for so long that I actually felt I was there; there was no coming up for air in the real world to take me out of the setting. It also made each movie much more significant to see the arc come into full realization and each storyline dealt with within the 12 hours. You remember each conversation and detail that matters, and it all makes so much more sense.... (4) For my money, there is still no better time at the movies than the last two hours of TTT, mainly due to Helm's Deep and PJ's masterful editing between that, Treebeard, and Frodo at Gondor... I was on the edge of my seat, and I must have seen it at least 50 times! (5) Sleep deprivation for that long makes you really emotional, and I cried like a baby at the end! (6) I got to see a pretty bitching sunrise on the walk home.

So to anyone living in London who's a fan of the movies, I DEFINITELY recommend it. They're doing it again next weekend.

I spent the rest of the weekend in bed (no, I haven't magically acquired a boyfriend.... not ...even ... close) but I did get a Mattress Reviver. It's this big padded thing that goes under the fitted sheet for only 15 quid. I got it online, and it was even better than I imagined. For the first time, I woke up late Saturday afternoon without any back pain. Hurrah! I spent the rest of the weekend and my two month anniversary of moving to London in bed, watching Dawson's Creek Season Two and reading skin delivery patents.

Friday, November 19, 2004 


Look at this thing. And Americans have the reputation for being lazy? Playa please!


Thursday, November 18, 2004 


While I quite enjoy the life I'm living, and know that it is better for me than the one I was living in America, I must say I'm tired! Physically tired. When I lived in the States I had such a boring life that I definitely got my full eight hours a night. Yesterday, after running around like mad (my first full day in the lab and every single little thing that could have gone wrong did) Michelle and I went to a late showing of Bridget Jones (it wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen... but from the standpoint of book, boy! did they massacre it!) and afterwards down to the common room in the dorm for Carlsburg tinnies and pool, poker, and arm wrestling (I won!) I know I can't keep up with these teenagers much longer, and was secretly looking forward to a reprieve this weekend as they are all taking off to Wales, but I bought my ticket to the showing of all three LOTR at the IMAX this Friday. That goes from 8pm to 630am. Guess I won't be sleeping then either!

Friday, November 12, 2004 


Strange Thing #18 : The rhyming game. Goes like, "[Adjective or noun] *pause* [related noun] *pause* [unrelated noun, yet rhymes with last noun]!"

It's confusing I know. It confuses the hell out of me to be sure.

Oddly enough, this was first introduced to me in the States, in the movie Ocean's 11, where Don Cheadle's character, who is British, says at one point where it looks like the caper's going astray, "We're in Barney... Rubble.... Trouble!!!" Akash always though this was hilarious, but I felt like there was something I wasn't getting. I remember the Flinstons Barney Rubble cartoon, and realize that trouble rhymes with Rubble, but it that really it?

I then heard it here on Capital Radio FM, when they had a contest about "telling porkies." Telling what? That one goes, "Porky... Pies.. Lies!" "Enough," I thought, and asked flatmate Ross. He explained it to me and said it was mainly Cockney or pub talk, and most Brits don't do it.

My first real life experience came at the pub across the street form the dorm. I was talking to Ross and an older guy came over that Ross had been talking to earlier. He was pissed, leaned over and said to Ross, "So you like talkin' to septics...." Ross and I looked at each other puzzled. "Tanks....," he continued. Still puzzled. "Yanks!" he yelled! Oh, of course, I'm a septic tank yank.

The weirdest part is that no one seems to know what the hell anyone else is talking about. But maybe that's the objective of the game? Who knows?

Thursday, November 11, 2004 


A girl faces many choices in her life....

"Should I go on that blind date?"

"Will I really wear those four inch knee high black boots? I do want to buy them so bad but they're so expensive....."

"Can I really afford to go to that party, or should I stay in an study?"

"Hmmm, who do I hate more right now? Britney Spears or Sienna Miller?"

But this last one is really a noodle scratcher:

"Should I see the new Bridget Jones movie?"

I love love love the literary character of Bridget, and grew to become fond of Movie Bridget (and Renee as well in the process) and I don't want anything to ruin that relationship. I want to always think of her fondly and don't want anything to spoil my feelings about her. The movie is getting pretty bad reviews so far I've heard. *Sigh.* And on a student's budget I can't afford to go to bad movies.... I just don't know what to do. Opens tomorrow.


Comes to a head

It got a little worse earlier this week while during teaching I realized the semester is nearly over and I'm about to be out of a job! I asked the professor that I teach for if there was another class I could demonstrate for next semester. He said, "Yes! Actually [Stalker] is looking for someone to teach his MSc lab." Grrrrrrrr.

It got a lot worse this morning, when I was overdue on some paperwork for the PhD registration process and I asked my senior student who my two assessors were going to be (two independent doctors in the department who know nothing about your project to sit in and evaluate you at two different sessions through out the PhD process.) He said, "Yes, I think they would be Dr. R and maybe.... [Stalker.]" Oh, for fuck's sake. "No," I said. "I think it was supposed to be Dr. R and someone else." Luckily he didn't doubt me for a second and found another doctor, Dr A, to do the job. That turned out fantastically discreetly, huh?

Now it comes to a head, as Stalker sent me an email last night saying that he couldn't help but notice I've been avoiding him and that he'd love to take me out to dinner so we could talk it over. As if. At least I finally get an open opportunity to tell him how I feel and it will be in writing, and that makes me very happy. Now I have to concentrate on not being a bitch in this email....

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 

Yes! Go eat!

I'm quite exhausted from the last two days. A fellowship of King's people from the Pharmacy Dept took off to a conference in Baltimore (of all places!) and subsequently I picked up a teaching shift for one of the guy's going along. So I had to teach his class the day before yesterday and then my normal class yesterday. Whew! I guess it's good practice if I want to become a professor, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this crop of students (we rotate through this lab every three weeks) were particularly clueless. I think I discovered my answer when I went though the rounds of questions I was asked.

Student: Can I go to the bathroom?
Me: Yes, of course.

Student: Hey, my answer is 50, I was supposed to get 5....
Me: Check your math.

Student: I've tired forever to work this thing, it's broken.
Me: Try plugging it in.

But over the last two days, this was the most frequent:

Student: It's dark now, can I go break my fast?
Me: Oh my God, yes! Go!

Poor little Muslims, starving themselves all day. Doesn't make for good science I think. I guess I'm not used to it, there aren't nearly as many Muslims in America as there are here (if you were a Muslim, where would you rather live?) but here they are everywhere. It's amazing. I think Ramadan is over on the 14th, thank goodness. I can't imagine how they feel; anyone who knows me knows I can't go more than about three hours without eating something!

Saturday, November 06, 2004 


Hurrah! Bonfire night was great last night, despite obvious lack of bonfire. Myself, American Michelle, Welsh Amy, Genevan Melissa, and British Annica headed down to Clapham for an awesome firework display. They certainly knew how to do 'em down there, I was quite impressed. As good as any American show I've seen, aside from it being slightly more freezing cold outside. Hey, I can't help but associate fireworks with the heat of summer. It was also a good time with the girls, which is something I haven't had in ages.... We never met up with my lab friends and Stalker, for which I was secretly happy about. There must have been 50,000 people there, it was packed!


Michelle, Amy, and Mel

School's going well, I started working in the lab. I'm starting off by trying to develop a method that I can use to analyze the stuff I'll be making in the future of my project. It feels good to get that lab coat back on, I'd missed it. Most people in my career field seem to treat the lab like a training ground and I often hear, "I can wait to get out of the lab," meaning move to a desk and do full time management. A desk is nice if you have a view, but right now I'd rather do the science for myself, which also includes the fun of spilling chemicals on my person, breaking expensive glassware, and swearing loudly at noncompliant machinery. Good times!

Friday, November 05, 2004 

Bonfire Night!

Is finally here. I've been excited because I love fireworks and didn't think I would see any while I was here. (I suffer from the same affliction as all Americans: severe egomaniacal tendencies.

Self: We only have fireworks on the Fourth of July. Since other countries don't celebrate Fourth of July, they must not have fireworks!
Self: Well, that sucks. What losers!)

But that's not true at all. I've been seeing fireworks every single night set of by the locals of SE1 to the south of my dorm room. Big ones too, not those dinky little sparklers Americans are so prone to.

I've only been invited to one Bonfire Night, by the British Guy who sits next to me. (Sadly enough, the South African has left to write up his PhD, he's nearly done and doesn't need to come to the office anymore.) I was quite excited to go, even though we're going to Clapham, which for some reason banned actual bonfires. But then a few hours ago he informed me that Stalker also wanted to come, so now I'm bummed out. Oh well, as long as I am promised fireworks, I'll be a happy camper!

Bonfire Night--- also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is a celebration which takes place on the evening of the 5th of November. Guido (Guy) Fawkes was a member of a group of Catholic conspirators who planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament in England in 1605 in order to kill King James I. Fawkes was caught on the night of the 5th, and so the British celebrate him not blowing up Parliament by blowing up fireworks!

Thursday, November 04, 2004 


I just got back from the Strand campus of King's College, and I overhead some uni kids talking about the election. I turned down my iPod volume just in time to hear, "Land of the free, Home of the fucking morons...."




I'm so knackered. I decided to drink my Republican blues away last night, and then we had another fire alarm (it was a drill for some strange reason, as if we haven't been practicing night and day!) at seven this morning. I did have a mild epiphany my fifth beer in last night though. Something about how America is America, and maybe it's not about "how could it be so different from me??" but more about "how I need to figure how I fit into yesterday's decision." Love it or loathe it, but it is my country and no matter where on Earth I live that will never change. I am proud that so many people voted, I guess that's a good first step.

Eh, I don't know what I'm talking about, I think I'm still drunk. *Yawn*

Strange Thing #16: French Toast is "eggy bread." Hee hee hee. I think that's so cute it makes me giggle!

Man, I could really go for some eggy bread right now actually....

Strange Thing #17: Cops get to drive BMW cop cars!

A luxury sedan and a lesser chance of getting shot? And those cool hats? What a cool job!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 


I don't know quite how I feel today, and so I don't want to write much because it will just be an incoherent mess. I'm not happy, that's for sure. It's much different being separated from it, being in a foreign country. One thing is for sure, I do expect a lot more, "oh, you're an American, you poor half-wit" looks when I meet people. It's like he won once by accident, but now we've elected him of our own free will after knowing what he's like as a president.... Now we're just asking for it.

I half joke about a post-doc in Australia, but am starting to think it wouldn't be such a bad idea now!

I'm exhausted either way. I didn't stay up to watch as I didn't see the point because the time difference wouldn't let me see much anyway. I tried to go to bed early so that I could get up earlier, but no. We had a fire alarm in the dorm at 9:30 PM. On the way back from that I noticed a sign that said the common room (with the only TV I have access to) was closed because some students vandalized it. Savages. I also noticed the sign was still up at 3:00 AM, during the second fire alarm of the night. So so so not happy right now. Even the fire fighters were looking at us like, "you goddamned kids...." Who can blame them? We drank away the fire alarm of two days ago in the pub across the street (yes, that's three fire alarms in 36 hours) but not last night. We stood out in the cold in our pajamas while kids checked the election results on their mobiles and yelled, "Bush is winning!"

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