Tuesday, February 28, 2006 


After living here now seventeen months, I thought perhaps my list of Strange Things was ready for retirement, as nothing really surprises me like it used to. That was until today, when I came home to six girls in my kitchen making huge batches of crêpes for lunch. That's right it's.....

#46: Pancake Day!

I was raised Christian pretty much by default and only went to church about four times (sorry Mum), so a lot of rituals escape me. I know there's Mardi Gras, Lent, and Easter and that's about it. Apparently in this country, Fat Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday, something I vaguely recall hearing before, but also it is know as Pancake Day. Which is celebrated by, yup, eating pancakes. Someone first told me it had to do with The War, but no these pancakes just contain ingredients that you are not supposed to have during Lent. So you eat what you have left in pancake form before the deadline.

Anyone who knows me knows that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I will in fact eat breakfast food throughout the day. Living in Britain therefore is really rough in this aspect, as American breakfast is quite different especially for a vegetarian. Typical Brit breakfast is what? beans, toast, mushrooms, eggs, bangers, bacon all fried up in one pan. Nasty! American breakfast foods I long for include waffles, biscuits, omelets, grits, hashbrowns, and of course pancakes.

So thought I hit the jackpot but no. These are basically crêpes! You add lemon and sugar I guess and it seems more a desert. Not the thick, chewy, starchy American pancakes, with butter and maple syrup. Such a shame.

Friday, February 24, 2006 


The rumors are true....

Now showing in Waterloo Station, approximately three minute walk from my door. It takes a lot of willpower and tenacity to complete a PhD, but I have the feeling that staying away from this place will be a hundred times harder.

Friday, February 17, 2006 


I have a friend coming over from America today, and I love when friends come over from America. Not only do I get loads of treats (this time I've been promised Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Twizzlers, yum!) but it's also nice to touch base with America in general and feel out what's going on in my homeland. I think I try to stay in touch, but there are some things you just can't know without actually being there.

My list of questions include, "Why aren't people making a bigger fuss over Cheney SHOOTING someone?"

"What's the outlook on the whole Muslim cartoon thing; is it causing an outrage, or did Americans even notice?"

"Why are they called The Pussycat Dolls when there only seems to be one main Doll?"

Any queries you'd like answered??

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 


Interesting phenomenon going on at work these days. As usual in autumn, a new crop of PhD students have arrived (and they look up at me with awe as I quickly answer all their questions while running all over the lab; strange how quickly it feels I went from newbie to expert.) Some didn't show up until November, and only now have they all started in the lab. So it's taken a while to see how the dichotomy was all going to fall out. Most are the usual international bunch: one from Sweden, three from Algeria, one from China, and one from Cornwall.

I was warned about this from before I even left America; that I would hardly meet any British people in London. At the time I couldn't care less, as meeting interesting people from all over the world sounds cooler anyway. But now I quite enjoy having a proper Brit around. The expressions alone are hilarious, despite the fact I've now been in London nearly seventeen months.

Cornwallian: Yea, so if you want to go out tomorrow night, just give us a bell.
Me: *thinking to self* why on Earth does he want with a bell?

C: I was looking forward to doing this, but now [Swedish] isn't coming in today, so I'm scuppered.
M: What?
C: Scuppered.
M: Huh?
C: Scuppered.

I often ask him to repeat himself, and he now does so willingly. I forgot exactly what this word was, and was repeating the story to another Brit later that day and got it confused with "stropy." Which I know isn't right, as would any Yank who's seen Bend it Like Beckham as many times as I have. So I had to back to Cornwall, and ask him again and now I've memorized it. Still not 100% sure what it means though.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 


So to answer the question asked of me by every British person I saw last Monday, "Yes, I watched the Superbowl last night." Well, half of it anyway. It was boring, the Seahawks had too many penalties to be contenders, the refs were awful, and I was tired.

That said, I must let the Brits know that the version of the Superbowl they get (despite being broadcast live) is an utter rip-off compared to the well-packaged American version.

1. I'm sorry but British commentators of an American football game is by far the most hilarious thing I've seen in 2006.

2. NO COMMERCIALS! I say no, but what I mean is there were only about four. Most commercial breaks did not cut from the stadium, but instead up to a booth were a very concerned looking British journalist put his hand over this mouth and nodded intently at some ex-American football player meathead they dragged from off some street. This segment's purpose was clearly to explain the game to a country that doesn't play it. Ok then.

Other commercial breaks that actualized in commercials had the same lame ones over and over: Reebok, Coor's Light (oh God how embarrassed am I that this American travesty of a beer has made it across the pond?) and maybe "join the Territorial Army" or something equally uninteresting.

In America, I'd say 75% of the people watching the game (wives, girlfriends, people who hate football but want to go to a party, people whose favorite teams didn't make the final) watch for the commercials. It is the one time of the year companies pay millions and millions of dollars to unleash the most outlandish and memorable commercials possible. In fact, most water cooler talk at work Monday mornings dissects the commercials (good? bad? funny? worth the fuss/cost?) and not the game. It really rattled me, and I'd dare say a Superbowl without the commercials is not worth watching.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 


So I had a pretty good time last night! Absolutely no abductions/harm done at all. Aside from getting out of the flat (which I've done now twice since returning January sixth) and meeting new Londoners, it was quite interesting to put faces to blogs and actually see the people I've been unwittingly picturing in my head for a long time. I think we should do it again soon!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 


A London blogging meet up is scheduled for tomorrow night! So if you blog, or hell, just read this blog and like to drink, do come out.

Huw states:
the 8th of February, at 7pm at the Crown & Sceptre on Great Titchfield Street, in deepest Fitzrovia (BT Tower country). Great Portland Street or Oxford Circus are probably the best tubes for you. Or for anyone for that matter.


Saturday, February 04, 2006 


Yea! Six Nations starts today. We must do better than last year, as nearly by definition, we couldn't possibly do any worse......

Never thought I would spend Superbowl weekend watching rugby instead, but there you go....

Cool chick

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