Thursday, June 30, 2005 


Haven't posted for a bit, and for once it's not due to laziness, but actually to lack of free time. I tell ya, once they issue a press release there's no end to what they want afterwards. But it's all been good.

As for the living situation next year, I know that I mentioned it earlier but didn't explain myself, and some questions were raised, namely, "why would you want to live in South east London again?" My answer is:

1. I work there, and as a student, the less I pay for the outrageous travel costs in this city, the better
2. It's not that bad
3. I've been to East London and Holburn and all that, I don't see a lot of people walking around on the weekend there either

but mainly

4. I've been offered a position as a Senior Student in a dorm across the street from my lab

So my walk to work has been reduced from half and hour to two minutes, plus I get something absurd like £35 a week (!) in a room that costs only about £80 a week to do basically nothing. As I see it, a Senior student is comparable to a American RA, whose primary responsibility is to stop all the underage (which is all the students in the dorms) drinking. As the legal drinking age here is 18, that's clearly not a problem here. I think I just have to quash out of control parties.... Not too bad a gig, as there's a security guard on duty at all times, and he's the one that actually busts them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 

East London

I haven't any time here at all, except one goodbye party at a pub walking distance from Liverpool station, one exam invigilation at Bishopsgate, and one walking Jack the Ripper London Walks Tour (which are excellent, btw). So what's with this place? The architecture is cool and some of it's pretty old, but why are flats going for millions of pounds and it's the "hot new place to live"? Doesn't seem like too much goes on there....

East London

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 


So coming home from Portugal was a bit of an adventure.

First, as we were sitting and waiting for the plane to start up, something was happening a few seats in front of me with a man, a woman next to him, and another man across the aisle from them. I couldn't tell what was going on. A flight attendant came over:

F.A. #1: Sir, you are sitting in an exit aisle, would you be capable of performing the duties necessary in the event of an emergency?
Man: [inaudible to me]
F.A. #1: Sir... Have you been drinking?
Man: [inaudible]

A few minutes go by and another flight attendant comes out:

F.A. #2: Sir, will you please come up to the front of the plane with me.... Because we need to discuss something, and it would be better if we did it in private... No.... Sir, please....

And not getting the result he wanted, walked away. Another ten minutes go by, and now I'm getting ants because we should be in the air by now, yet we're still sitting at the gate. The second flight attendant returns, this time wearing a very official looking hat.

F.A. #2: Sir, I will be taking your carry on luggage and you will accompany me to the front of the plane.

This time the man complied, and while we walked, he needed to support himself on the seats to keep himself upright. Drunk as a skunk.

Another ten minutes go by, the captain comes on to tell us there was a "situation" with a passenger, but he has voluntarily left the plane and now we can proceed. My companion and I muse about the legal issues of allowing drunk passengers on the plane, and why they might have kicked him out, but whatever. I tell you this because I think it sets up what happened later. We finally do take off and all is well.

Nearing arrival, the plane makes its usual sounds of wheels going down and wing parts shifting, and we can't be more than 50 or 100 feet above the runway when all of a sudden the plane just takes off again!!!

And I mean all the way up. After all that time of looping around Heathrow to land, we come all the way down and then shoot right back up. Now, I'm white as a ghost at this point; I hate taking off and I hate landing. Maybe there's some residual 9/11 television-induced trauma I don't know about (which doesn't make sense now that I think about it; all four of those planes took off perfectly fine). It's never been that big a problem. My friend turned to me and said, "I don't like this, Mo." Apparently I replied "Shut up!! Don't talk!!"

The pilot didn't make an announcement for some time. I was left to my own devices thinking frantically, "ohmigod, the landing gear is stuck! It won't come down! What's going to happen?!?!" and imagining our plane doing circles around London until it ran out of fuel and we crashed and died.

The pilot then finally came on and informed us that another plane was on the runway, so he took off again to avoid hitting it. Ah. Apparently the "control" in "air traffic control" was a bit lacking at Heathrow that day. We landed about half an hour later with no problems. I think I had a fucking heart attack.

Flight attendants and pilot at end of flight: Bye. Bye. Thanks for flying British Air. Bye. Bye.
Me: (to pilot) I think I had a fucking heart attack.
Pilot: (laughing heartedly) Oh! You Americans are so funny!

But seriously guys, what does happen if the landing gear gets stuck??

Monday, June 20, 2005 


I never thought I would say this in my three years while living in London, but it is too hot to sleep.

Granted I live in a dorm room/oven where the windows don't open properly and even with the curtains closed the sunlight still manages to bake me while inside. Maybe if I lived in a proper flat it would be better. I guess I have to go out and buy an electric fan or something, because this is absurd!

Friday, June 17, 2005 


#37: The variation in daylight

Much like the movie Insomnia, I am being driven mad by the incredibly long daylight hours recently. Sometimes a noise or a bad dream will wake me up; if this happens at 5 a.m. it is currently too bright outside to fall back asleep.

The Weather Channel website lists today as
Sunrise: 4:40 a.m.
Sunset: 9:30 p.m.

I associate sunset with a time to eat dinner and then start doing my homework (a lifelong tradition for me by now.) But not now! Now at sunset it's practically time to go to bed!

This wouldn't be a big deal, I'd get used to it like I've gotten used to the weather, if it weren't for the rapid descent into darkness that's right around the corner. In December it's
Sunrise: 8:00 a.m.
Sunset: 4:00 p.m.

It seriously starts getting dark at 3:30 in the bloody afternoon.

So that's eight extra hours of daylight at the moment. Eight! That's practically a whole extra day. It's probably a good thing there is such a scant amount of sun here anyway; I'm disoriented enough as it is.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 


Last night I sat on the south side of the river and watched London burn. How very Samuel Pepys of me. This was not a Great Fire by any means, just a junk yard and some gas cylinders exploded but it sure looked massive in the sky. Still burning this morning too. Very odd scene...


Monday, June 13, 2005 


Portugal was heaven, just absolute heaven. I had a fantastic and relaxing time (bound to happen in a place were everyone seems unemployed, takes four hour lunches, and sleeps on park benches all afternoon.) My four days there were bliss.






Friday, June 03, 2005 

These days

This week has spun out of control, and now I have this kind of dizzy, euphoric feeling. I don't even want to stand up now to go down to the library to scan pictures of Franz cells, I might fall over.

Not only am I in the throws of pre-holiday anticipation, I found a cheap and safe place to live next year in SE1, and now my career suddenly seems to be sky rocketing. I finished my first patent application and turned it over to the powers-that-be on Wednesday. No word on Thursday and then this morning all the higher ups seem to have crashed my office proclaiming words like, "excellent!" and "exactly what we wanted!" and "finishing your PhD early!" and "press release in America!"

Press release in America!?!?!

I'm not ready for this kind of exposure.

Cool chick

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