Thursday, March 31, 2005 

Munchie Explosions

Interesting little event yesterday: as I was walking to work in the morning, and heading under what bridge I don't know, maybe the Southwark Train bridge or something, a cop car pulled up and two cops rushed out, put their jackets on and scuttled in front of me. They rushed up to a suitcase that was just sitting in front of a mini-cab dispatch, right next to Hot Munchies (my fave morning-after-I-drank-more-than-I-should-have-again dive.) This would seem to me a logical place for a suitcase to be, probably waiting for it's owner who was inside the mini-cab joint, but apparently the police were treating it like a discarded bag/bomb. It was kind of exciting and I wanted to stick around and watch (bomb squad? team of bomb-sniffing dogs? who knows?) but then I was afraid it would detonate when they opened it like in a movie or something, so I kept walking.

Guess that didn't happen, seeing as how both the bridge and Hot Munchies were still standing when I walked by that evening.

(Hot Munchies! Not only is the name the best, but right on the menu they have 'apple pie' and 'samosa' next to each other. It cracks me up, as a microcosm of how diverse London really is.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 

¿A qué hora es?

I think I've finally figured out what time it is. It's taken a few days, but it appears that the Powers That Be have certain parts of the planet on different schedules. I thought that daylight savings time was next weekend, and it is. For America. For the UK and Europe (I think, don't quote me) is was this weekend. Ha! It may be nonsensical and frustrating, but I've cracked the code! Bring it on, you Masters of Confusion!!

(P.S. Why? Why would this be? I can't think of a single reason, other than to purposefully confuse expatriates.)

Sunday, March 27, 2005 

My achin' heed

With every goal that England scored yesterday I just got drunker and drunker. Next thing I knew it was 10pm and I was hammered and we'd won 4-0.

I don't feel so good....

Saturday, March 26, 2005 


One of my alma matters, NCSU, may have a disappointing basketball team, but the science department has discovered something remarkable!

Actual dinosaur DNA?!? That would be so amazing. DNA is like the most complex and interesting novel. Now that we know how to read it there's no end to the amount of information that could come out of this. I'm so proud of my school.

And more proof that accidents make the best science, which is really the only way to explain my success in the field so far. Am total klutz.

"A lot of Americans don't believe in evolution. They are creationists. Or idiots, as I like to call them." -- anonymous (from Tube Gossip. I love that site.)

I wonder how dinosaurs fit into this new wave of Because-Mel-Gibson-made-a-movie-about-JC-and-Bush-is-religious-s0-God-is-cool-again mentality that is sweeping my ex-nation. More and more public schools are starting to teach Creationism in science classes and language like "evolution is just a theory" is starting to pop up all over. Always makes me think:

1. Evolution is actually not just a theory, it is a proven fact, unlike Creationism which is not only unproven, it just flat out doesn't make any sense.

2a. Why are they teaching a religious doctrine in a science class? Why not a religion class?
2b. Isn't there a little thing called "separation of church and state" supposed to be going down over there?


My country is such an embarrassment sometimes. Sometimes.

Friday, March 25, 2005 

Gym This

Now that I've been here over six months, the incredibly annoying things about this country are starting to just roll off my back while I take them in stride as I am just flat out No Longer Surprised. Like the archaic and senseless financial system.

School's got me stressed beyond all belief and last Wednesday I went for a long, stress melting cardio workout at the gym, The Thomas Guy Club, of which I have been a member since November. To no avail.

(Monica enters through gym door, stage right.)
Overecstatic Possibly Gay Gym Guy: Oh hi!
Me: Hi. *shows gym ID card and carries on to gym*
Gym Guy: Hey, can I swipe that?
Me: Of course
Me (thinking): No one's swiped my card in about a month....
Gym Guy: Oh, your membership has expired.
Me: What?!
GG: Yea, you need to renew your membership.
Me: No, I bought a year membership in November.
GG: Right, but that's not your membership, that's to get into the club.
Me: But this is the club.
GG: Well, it's the gym.
Me: That doesn't make any sense.
GG: How do I explain this? *turns to lazy blonde girl at the desk, snapping her gum*
Her: It's like, your membership.
Me (under my breath): How succinct.
GG: Right, so that's thirty-six quid.
Me: Thirty-six?!?! But I gave you two hundred less than five months ago! Why do you get to charge me twice a year??
GG: Yea, that's for the gym, this is for the club.
Me: But the gym is the club. Unless there's a spa and steam room you haven't told me about.
GG: Ha! You're funny!
Me (thinking): And I was going for livid.
GG: So thirty-six then.
Me (surveying the 8' by 8' cell they have the nerve to label as a "gym" in the first place): This isn't fair, I didn't know about this. I'm a student, I'm supposed to be getting breaks from the system, not getting ripped off by it. I'm already in for 16,000 quid to this university this year!
GG: Oh yea! Me too! Tell me about it!

As if that excuses it. I mean, really!

Normally this would have caused my blood to boil for a week, but I got over it in about a day. Of course, I haven't been back to the gym since to actually pay the fee...

Thursday, March 24, 2005 


Today I took a bus to Finchely Road to invigilate an exam in Hampstead in a practically abandoned building and all the buildings in the neighborhood had Hebrew writing all over them and Howard bought a boxed sandwich from a shop that had a dead, bloody fish hanging over the door and "Sharon" tomatoes.

I don't know how I get myself into these adventures.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 

Death and Dismemberment

This Terri Schiavo case is really ticking me off (okay, I won't lie, I still have as my homepage. I know I should switch over to BBC, but old habits...)

First off, why all this fuss over one person?

And secondly, now that I'm not technically a Christian anymore, why are Christians so afraid of death? It's so easy to see now that I've stepped outside of it. Fetuses aren't allowed to be aborted, cancer victims can't kill themselves when they're in pain, humans in vegetable form should be kept that way as long as possible.... For all their ranting and raving about Heaven, I mean, it sounds like a nice place to hang out. Why the fear? When a person does a bad thing, like murder, in the conservative Christian sect, that person should get capital punishment. That individual should be punished with death.

The Dala Lama practices dying every day, so that he won't be afraid when the time comes. That's a man who's got his act together. His logic? "Everyone dies."

And if it were me? Oh God yes, please let me die. Fifteen years lying in bed? No thanks. God, what if I really was coherent and could think and stuff, but just not communicate? Stuck there with nothing to do but watch daytime TV like Jerry Springer and Days of Our Lives and not talk to anyone? Yea, kill me. Maybe give me a few months to see if I pull through, but after that, snuff me out. Chop me up, give my organs to people who need them, or donate my whole body to science or whatever. I don't care. I'm dead!

Not too keen on getting starved to death though. Anyone who's met me knows I get grumpy if I'm not eating every few hours. Maybe something more pleasant, like jack me up with morphine until my heart relaxes to a full stop.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 

Blogging Question

Hey all you bloggers out there! Is there any way to back up a blog? Not only am I worried about this free blogspot site crashing at any moment but I was thinking I'd like to save this forever as a memento of my adventure, and maybe bind it into a book when it's all said and done, and I was just wondering how I could do that. Any tips would be great, thanks.

Monday, March 21, 2005 

Ain't so very drunk Mellie

Strange Thing #30: Department meetings come fully equipped with alcohol.

I try, I really do, but how can one be expected to go to gym, study, read papers, do laundry in the evenings when anytime you happen to meet up with more than one professor at a time, wine and beer are provided?


At Last!

Friday was that first spring day, where when you leave in the morning everything is still dead, but it's so warm and sunny all day that when you depart from work, a new season is suddenly upon the city and life actually managed to bloom in the space of eight hours. One of my favorite days of the year!

Spring Blooms

Sleeping Around

Southwark in the Sun

Drinking in SE1

And that last picture brings me to Strange Thing #29: You are allowed to drink outside. There appears to be no public drinking laws whatsoever.

This is legal is parts of the US, New Orleans and Savannah to name a few, but not to the excess that it's sanctioned here. Here you can walk into a pub, get your glass pint, and then leave and stroll off. There doesn't seem to be a set area that you have to stay within. Nope, just wander off where ever you please. The banks of the Thames was covered in empty beer mugs as I walked home Friday. Just set your glass down when you're finished I guess.

Not just this either, I remember one of my first nights out a bunch of kids queued up for tube tickets, chugging directly out of a bottle of wine. In broad daylight. I think they'd put you in cuffs in the states for something like that. I took part in it myself when a girl and I shared a Beck's on the way to the Pharmacy Ball. I felt like a SWAT team was going to come rappelling down the side of the train at any moment to arrest me. Such freedom.

The strangest thing of all is that is does not lead to total anarchy. People with glass in the streets? In the states we'd all have bloody fingers, get run over by cars, take to beating each other over the head with broken bottles, and lawsuits would abound. Here it's all taken in stride, and quite lovely, I must say.

Friday, March 18, 2005 

Full of sunshine and bromides and fast cars

Gorgeous out today. Sixty-five, sunny and not a cloud in sight. I'm outta here when done with this post.

Still hungover from The Pharmacy Ball Wednesday night. Had a great time! It mostly the undergraduates and a few postgrads and professors. And only about half the undergrads were there, as 90% of my department is made up of Hindus and Muslims and naturally none of the Muslims were in attendance (obviously things like alcohol and having two sexes in one room kept them at bay.) A bunch of the undergrads I taught last semester were teaching me their nutty Indian dances: move my feet like this, shoulders like this and screw the lightbulb!! I was cracking up. Bollywood's the best. They said I got the hang of it, but I think they were just being nice....

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 

American Remakes Suck

I just received the official copy of my three month evaluation and my supervisors have dubbed my progress "satisfactory" (options being "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory") and have recommended that I continue. So there you go, Mom and Dad.

I just read online that they are making a American version of The Office, one of the funniest TV shows, British or otherwise, EVER. God, no wonder everyone hates Americans. We always think we can do everything better, and even when it sucks we don't seem to realize the error of our ways. I so don't approve of this, even if Ricky Gervias does....

Monday, March 14, 2005 

As One

Had a totally kick ass weekend, getting drunk with my department and then going to the Brixton Academy for the Bouncing Souls/Dropkick Murphys show by myself (I know, don't even get me started on the pathetic-ness of my life....)

Brixton Academy was really cool, I liked the layout of the place. The neighborhood wasn't as shady as the poofs in my office warned me; those foo's wouldn't last two seconds in Adams Morgan!

God Awfuls opened, I'd never heard of them before and they were okay, and Bouncing Souls were awesome as usual. It was my first time seeing Dropkick Murphys, who over the last few years have become one of my favorite bands. They played almost all of Blackout, and a few oldies, and some new, unreleased songs. Sorry I couldn't come up with a set list, but I was so hungover I was practically blind. They finished their encore with TNT by AC/DC, and that so kicked ass. Oh, also, halfway through their set, the bagpipes led the entire crowd through a rousing rendition of Amazing Grace; that was great too.

For all their Irishness, they are SO an American Boston band. Who else writes lyrics about ice hockey?

Good times, good times.

Friday, March 11, 2005 

Swimming along.......

Just in case you didn't know.... I'm 27 years old, working on a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences. I worked at a pharmaceutical company doing research and development for five years. I have a masters in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins and a bachelors in chemistry from North Carolina State University.

The university I attend now, King's College in London, is amazing. The work done here is outstanding and practical. I feel so lucky.

My PhD is in skin drug delivery, meaning, one day instead of having to take a pill to get rid of your headache, you'd just rub some lotion on your skin. It's a really tough area and I know nothing about it, but I'm having a lot of fun learning.

I decided to come to London to learn more about pharmacy, to get the hell out of dodge, and to satisfy my massive anglophile queries. I thought, "I don't have kids or a husband, or even a boyfriend for that matter, and yet I have a asshole of a boss. I gotta get out of here.... Where am I going to go?" Simple as that.

Strange Thing #28: It's not "How are you?" when greeting someone, it's "You alright?"

And this is subtle, but I probably wouldn't say "you alright?" to someone unless I heard something horrible had happened to them beforehand. As in, "Oh my God, you were in a car accident. Are you alright?" So I sometimes get a bit flustered if I'm not thinking staight and someone sees me and says that. I'm like, "Yea, I'm fine. Why, what have you heard?"

Monday, March 07, 2005 

Mmmmm.... Forbidden doughnut....

I nearly shrieked with delight the other day when some girls passed me on the street carrying a Krispy Kreme bag! Turns out there are three accessible Krispy Kreme shops in London: Canary Wharf, Victoria Station, and Harrods. I know what I'll be doing the next morning I'm hungover.... In lieu of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I've taken to dipping Cadbury's in some American peanut butter that was donated to me, and I've got to say, that is delicious. Better than Reese's actually. But you just can't substitute the KKs. So.... Good.....

Saturday, March 05, 2005 

It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life

I have no idea what this is:

.... "Cloudy"? Like, "today, your fruit beverage will be overcast with a seventy percent chance of showers"?

(Actually, the horrifying part was on the back of the bottle, where it stated that this drink also comes in Dandelion flavor. I have no idea what an English Dandelion is, but in the US it is a weed. That grows in between the cracks of your sidewalk. That is disgusting and I would imagine pretty inedible. I have no idea how you would squeeze juice out of such a plant. I really, really hope it's something else.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 

Top of London

I went to St Pauls for the first time the other day. It was kind of a bummer because it's under a lot of construction, I think because the 300 year anniversary is coming up, and they want it looking spiffy by then. The scaffolding finally came off the outside, so I thought it would be okay. But the entire whispering dome was closed off. No pictures allowed inside, but I did climb all the way to the top of the dome and took some shots out there. It was so windy I thought I was going to fall off, but the views were amazing!

st pauls



Cool chick

Torrid Travels

Hot off the presses

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates

Locations of visitors to this page