Tuesday, May 31, 2005 

I'll have a pint and some jazz with my God please

#36: Cafes in Crypts.

We in the states take our religion very seriously. Which is pretty ironic really, seeing everything that the Church of England has been through to become what it is. Maybe because we've never had to struggle for it, we take it all too literally. We came to America for religious freedom, we got it, end of story. Not the Brits though, and these cafes are really throwing me for a loop.

All the main cathedrals and churches seem to have them. The crypt, obviously, is where people are buried and memorialized, and it's really cool, dark, and beautiful. But instead of a place of morning like you'd expect, it's a place to lunch!

Huge cafeterias! Wine! Pints! Salmon alfredo with fresh basil! It's all sexy and candlelight! St. Martins-in-the-fields has jazz night down there!

I mean, there is fun to be had in American churches. But it's more along the lines of going-to-King's-Dominion-with-youth-group type fun, not .... drinking! (Gasp!) You cannot drink in a house of God!!!!

I don't know. But I love 'em. Went to St. John's a few weeks ago to hear a Lithuanian Choral Group (who took three encores! Three! Who do they think they are, AC/DC?) and had a lovely glass of red and walked around the crypt, thoroughly enjoying myself. I think it's very cool.

Monday, May 30, 2005 


"Snowflake babies"??!?!

It's getting to the point where you could not drag me back to that country kicking and screaming.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 

Why was I surprised to see this?

The question to ask is not "why?" but better, "why not?"

Saturday, May 28, 2005 

Excuse YOU

I'm not going to lie to you, dear reader. So far, I am not a fan of the men in this country. Forget harassing superiors and insane bar flies/stalkers, I'm talking general manners. This comes as quite a shock to me, as somewhere in the back of my mind, for no specific reason, I was anticipating gentlemanly manners beyond compare. Was I wrong.

I'm a feminist of the utmost degree, I know this. But I do always take note when a man opens a door for me, helps me pick up something obviously heavy, or leaves me stranded in a broken lift. The first two I don't mind if they happen or not; the latter, I mind immensely.

On Wednesday, a young man and I got on the elevator on the bottom floor of my lab building. After a few seconds we realized the elevator had stopped and the floor buttons we had pushed we not longer lit. We were trapped. Not wanting to be in there any longer than possible, I pushed the "door open" button, and the doors opened two inches to the first floor. I pushed again and got the same response. I looked at my companion, whose idea of escape was clearly to stare at the elevator doors until we were freed. I then put down my binder and peanut M&M's (my reason for being on the ground floor in the first place) and pushed the "door open" button while leaning over and jamming my hand between the doors. I then forced the doors open with brute strength. Again, the young man simply watched me do this, then finally helped me to hold open one the doors as he walked out of the elevator. I was then left straddling the door frame, using one foot each to suppress a door, facing the inside of the elevator. When I turned around I saw the guy sauntering off, without so much as a "thank you" or an offer to hold the doors open while I retrieved my binder. After pausing briefly to wonder what barn he was raised in, I got down in a three-point stance, my legs still holding the doors apart and my butt firmly placed in the air, walked my hands along and reaching the binder, pulled myself back up and hopped out of the way of the doors without injuring myself.

I don't care if he was claustrophobic or what, he could have at least offered to help after I freed him. I'm not asking for miracles here, people, just common decency.

Friday, May 27, 2005 

Free Afternoons

One of the many joys of being a graduate student and not a working stiff is the fact that you can disappear for hours during the day and no one notices....

Bernie Spain Gardens, behind Gabriel's Wharf

Saturday, May 21, 2005 

Stick It

#35: It's not scotch tape, it's "cello" tape.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 

Patience Tried

Gah! I knew it! The National Theatre did in fact charge me twice for those Henry IV tickets. Bastards. (When I complained in the office though I was met with a rousing chorus of "at least you're not in France," where apparently customer service is much much worse.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 


#34: Cricket.

Which isn't strange so much as just foreign. I have seen rugby matches being played on the Mall in D.C. which is a pretty international city, and so I was graced with such sights while living there.

Never saw cricket until I moved here. I think I'd enjoy it, seeing as how I was a pretty big fan of baseball, the closest thing we Americans have to cricket. But just haven't had the time nor the inclination to take it on... Sure looks cool though:

Taken in Westminster after inviglating exams. There's a school across the street, and in the afternoon all the boys take to the cricket pitch, which is groomed to MLB standards. Oh! The little boys are so adorable in their white uniforms, but they finish up before my exams do, so I can never get any shots of them. It's a shame, they really are fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 

He will give the devil his due

Two aspirin and four hours later I finally managed to secure tickets to the National Theatre's Henry IV, Part 1.

The English have some definite antiquated and dated notions when it comes to customer service and transactions and the like. I think even most Brits would agree with me on that. One would think this would be eliminated when applying new technology like the internet, and that the whole process would become streamlined, but somehow I felt like I was still "in a queue." Amazing.

Now for some office humor: Even been to the National Theatre website? When purchasing tickets you get the most extensive list of titles I've ever seen. Baroness, Dowager Lady, Viscount, Brigadier, and my favorite, Dr. and Mr. As we were laughing over this, one of the gay guys pounced on "Dr. and Mr." as an acceptance of the gay lifestyle. We all looked at him and someone said, "Women can be doctors, too."

Monday, May 09, 2005 


#33: Mother's Day is the last Sunday of Lent in the UK (falls in March) but it's the second Sunday of May in the US. But Father's Day is the third Sunday in June for both.

Lots of queries from my American friends this week about "what am [I] doing for Mother's Day?" And I got to tell them all, "Nope! Done! Crossed off my list!" My mom has taken to calling herself "mum" since I moved here, so it's fitting.

So, either way, Happy Mother's Day, mum. Thanks for all your love and support and putting up with me for the last 28 years since you've become a mom.

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Guy's Campus

King's College reminds me of NYU in the way that it's spread out and dispersed through out the city. There are at least five main campuses: The Strand, Waterloo, St. Thomas Hospital, Guy's Hospital, and Denmark Hill. And then every so often I'll be looking at a map and bam! there's another site I didn't know about.

I work at the Waterloo site, next to Waterloo Station and overlooking the river Thames but I don't live there. I live a mile away at Guy's Hospital, which is a block south of London Bridge. I was upset about this at first, but quickly have grown to love it and now am despondent at the thought of leaving it in five months.

The hospital is a teaching hospital, and was founded in 1721 by Sir Thomas Guy. It used to hold St Thomas hospital, which was founded in the 12th century. It's one of the most famous hospitals in London; Florence Nightingale set up her nursing school there. Guy started his hospital to take in the "incurables" discharged from St. Thomas. St Thomas has since moved over to Lambeth, and now this campus is all Guy's hospital. It is historic and gorgeous.

Friday, May 06, 2005 

English Summers

New Cross Gate (my first time on the Rail trains. Not too bad...)

I love English summers! I wasn't sure what to expect. My only time in England was those few hours in July 2000, and when I stepped off the plane I was cold! But something about being here (seven months now) it's like I've gotten used to the weather, and a nice warm 65 degree day is just heavenly.

It's not too hot, and there are so many beautiful gardens and flowers in bloom, I am really enjoying it.

There were still some nagging doubts, because I do absolutely love hot hot hot weather, walking around in flip flops, eating gallons of ice cream, sweating by the pool, sleeping with three fans blowing, that sort of thing. I probably won't get more than five days of that here but... I was invited to my first British barbecue last weekend!


Pure joy. Sure, it got chilly and we all had to put on jumpers and undoubtedly it started to sprinkle, but it was just so summer-y I had a really great time. And now I know I'm really going to love the next few months.

Monday, May 02, 2005 


You know how sometimes you get really bored and you'll Google yourself just to see what comes up? Well, geeky scientists do the same thing with PubMed (it's the ultimate journal search engine). I did last week as a plethora of students in my office are on the verge of their first publications, and look what I found!

Gould, F., Blair, N., Reid, Monica, Lopez, J., Micinski, S., Bacillus
-toxin resistance management: Stable isotope assessment
of alternate host use by Helicoverpazea. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
2002 Dec 24; 99(26):16581-6

Isn't that amazing!! Some work that I did as an undergrad at North Carolina State. I had to take moths and cut off their wings and analyze them in a Mass Spec and then we could tell where they had grown up and what they had eaten. This type of research could one day lead to more selective pesticide applications. No point in spraying for one type of bug if they aren't even from there, right?

So money. And so exciting that I ended up getting published before everyone else in the office!

Cool chick

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