Friday, December 31, 2004 

Static Cling

I did laundry for the first time since being back in the States, and that reminded me:

Strange Thing #22: They don't have dryer sheets.

Dryer sheets are these little disposable pieces of cloth that you stick in with your wet clothes in the dryer, and somehow they make your laundry smell like stuff (flowers, the ocean, etc) and absorb all the static electricity (particularly useful in my case as my hair is so long that when it sticks up I look really stupid.) These ingenious inventions do not appear to exist in England. You have to use fabric softener. That's a lot of fun, because that's another huge bottle you have to lug to wherever the washer is, and plus it doesn't seem to work as well. The British should really look into this.

I added some websites to the blog today, if you want to donate $$$ for the tsunami, etc. I finally received an email from Akash, thanks to all the people that asked. He's alive and kicking, and sounded like he was having a blast. I'm glad that he took the time to write me because that means either he hasn't married an Indian bride yet, or if he has, she's cool and let's him email his ex's. So that works for me!

I leave to head back to London in five days, and surprisingly I am quite ready to do so. I didn't want to for a while, but now I am eager to get back. I guess that means that it is "home" to me now. Isn't that something?!

Even though my best friend there, Michelle, will be gone when I get back. *Sniff*

Sunday, December 26, 2004 


My ex-boyfriend and current best friend, Akash, doesn't really ever go anywhere. All his vacations are usually based around snowboarding activities, so the most I ever have to worry about him is getting stuck in the snow or maybe breaking a bone. Which he's done lots of times and survived, so I don't even really worry about that. But NO, where has he gone this Christmas? He's let his entire family take him off to India for the next two weeks. I wasn't expecting to hear from him until he got back (which was the day after I got back to London) and now I definitely don't think I'll hear from him, but needless to say I'm really scared right now. Even though he's probably fine. I think the earthquake hit at 7am their time, and I believe then he was still in Calcutta (Kolkata.) And even though I think that city is right on the water, from what I can search on the internet I don't hear of any deaths there. His flight to New Delhi today probably got delayed or cancelled, and he's probably just in a world of inconvenience right now. At least God I hope so.

Saturday, December 25, 2004 

Merry Christmas

Not much to say beyond that, just hope you are all happy and healthy. I'll just leave you with the poem my dad recites to me and my sister every Christmas Eve, it's a pretty funny one.

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus
by Ogden Nash

In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.

In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
'There isn't any Santa Claus!'

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!'
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
'There isn't any, no there's not!'

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.

He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.'
He howled, 'I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!'
'Jabez' replied the angry saint,
'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!'

Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
'Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't'
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
And ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who told the saint off,
The child who got him, licked his paint off.

Monday, December 20, 2004 

It's No Rainforest But....

I was making out like a champ in London, weather-wise. At this very moment, it is 14 degrees Fahrenheit in Maryland and 34 degrees Fahrenheit in SE1. For an added bonus, the humidity in Maryland is approximately 35%, while in London it is 75%. (References: and, respectively.) This explains why all my mucus membranes are desiccated to the point of actual pain; in fact it's so bad, it hurts too much to fall asleep! Any part of my body that comes in contact with the atmosphere is dried up like a prune. I feel disgusting, just all raw and red and scratchy and dehydrated. Alright, time for bed. I'm going to stick my head over a pot of boiling water and see if I can't saturate things with steam long enough to conk out before they dry up again.

Thursday, December 16, 2004 


I knew that I was seriously missing the sun in London, but I had no idea how much. GOOD GOD it is bright here in Maryland. It burns my eyes! And look, the sun is out right now. Yes, there are actual rays of sunlight streaming into the house. The sun set today in London at 3:52. How depressing is that? I'm thankful that the days will be getting longer by the time I get back, but I don't know how many winters I can stand like this. How do you Londoners do it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 

Back Home

Here I am, back in the States, and I really don't feel weird at all. Everyone warned me against reverse culture shock but I'm not really feeling anything like that. Maybe I wasn't in England long enough to adapt to such a point. In fact, I think I am looking forward to more American-type things that I've been missing severely than having to readjust to being here. Like eating (decent) pizza and Mexican food, which was the first thing I did when I got here.

Tonight we get a Christmas tree and even thought I'm officially Buddhist now, I'm looking forward to it. Maybe I can meditate under it or something and it can be my own little Bodhi tree and the two religions will merge in glorious Christmas spirit. Or something. Plus we will make wassail and probably get drunk too, so none of it may matter!

Thursday, December 09, 2004 

Dinners Galore

I know I haven't written in a bit and for that I am truly sorry. I have been swamped beyond all sense of reason... Who knew getting a PhD would be so much work??

Plus it's the holidays. Christmas here looks really nice, I'll have to download the numerous pictures of trees I've amassed.

I can't believe that I'm headed home in four days. I'll be back in the States on the 13th. It will be so nice to see my family and friends and in general not get dressed and lounge around like a bum. (I'll still be studying though!)

Between the work load and the impending holiday season and the crushing exchange rate and the cold temperatures and the fact that the sun now sets at four o'clock (not that it matters seeing how it's too cloudy to see actual sun), I've been pretty depressed. However, I did have one really fun night this week: my first Christmas dinner!

Strange Thing #21: Christmas Dinners.

Holidays in the States are a time for Americans and their family members to get together and fight with each other. Holidays in London are an excuse to drink (as if another excuse was needed; this city is in perpetual hangover mode.) Londoners go out and get sloshed to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. Christmas dinners are when a certain group of people go out and go to a nice group meal around Christmas time. I'm quite glad I was invited to one, as I was starting to feel very Bridget-Jones-singleton-loser as every single restaurant in town has a "BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS DINNER NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE" sign in the window.

I think the fact that I only went to one is probably pretty lame, as every office/sewing circle/karate club/whatever has one, and so people seem to spend the majority of the season meeting up at pubs, getting drunk, and then chowing down. It's very "eat, drink, and be merry" and I really like it all.

I attended the KCL Pharmacy Postgrad dinner, where we met at a Belgian pub and then went to for a curry where I had so many Cobras (see below) that I almost fell over. I was also forced to have my entire love life dissected as I was the only single one at the table, another unfortunate Bridget-Jones-singleton-loser scenario, but I'll spare you that nonsense.

Still, it's much more fun and social than anything I've encountered in the States. I wish I were going to be here for New Year, but maybe that'll be next year...

Friday, December 03, 2004 

Crispy Bacon

Strange Thing #20: The wide range of available flavors of crisps (a.k.a. potato chips.)

American crisps do have flavors, like cheese and BBQ and salt and pepper. There's more, but I don't really remember. But here! Here it is insane. The best ones are the Walkers, so let me give you a list of the flavors I've seen so far:
Baked Ham & Mustard
Greek Kebab
Prawn Cocktail
Smokey Bacon
Pickled Onion
Slow Roasted Lamb & Mint
Oven Roasted Chicken & Thyme
Charbroiled Steak & Peppercorn Sauce
Thai Sweet Chili (the best ever!)
Peking Spare Rib & Five Spice
Creamy Chicken Pasanda & Coriander

I don't know why they need to take a perfectly happy vegetarian snack and meat it up, but there you go. I hope those Thai ones have reached the states by the time I move back though. Mmmmmm....

Thursday, December 02, 2004 


Sterling at 12-year high vs dollar
Thursday, December 2, 2004 Posted: 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)

London, England (Reuters) -- Sterling powered above $1.94 for the first time since September 1992 on Thursday, continuing its vault higher after the release of strong manufacturing data on Wednesday.


I'm Officially In This

Got conformation on the official title of my PhD:

The Development of Novel Topical Formulations For Percutaneous Drug Delivery

Look out! Here I come!

Cool chick

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