Monday, September 25, 2006 


Disappeared to Prague for four amazing days. I fell in love with this city, it had such a gorgeous old world, post-communist feel about it. (My first time past what once was the Iron Curtain saw that capitalism/customer service were definitely not on the forefront of their attitudes.) Vegetarian food was surprisingly easy to come by as well, as long as I steered clear of traditional Czech fare. I was fascinated by the architecture most of all:

Týn Church at night

Looking into Hradčany from Staré Mesto across the Vltava

My favorite building!

Parliament in Wallenstein Palace

St John of Nepomuk on the St. Charles Bridge

Inside St. Vitus's Cathedral

Me checking out Prague from St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague Castle

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 


Two years ago on this date I packed up what was left of my meager belongings, said a tearful farewell to my family at Dulles Airport and left on a jet plane for London permanently. I'm surprised to say that I am still here, considering my state of mind those first 24 hours... I was so lost and confused. Two years on and I now call London, "home."

I won't bother with poor attempts at summarizing my time here or waxing poetic about how much I love life in London. I'll only state one example of how these past two years have changed me:

I now definitely have a tinge of British accent.

As one snooty officemate said to me last month, "You know, your voice doesn't annoy the hell out of me anymore. That awful American accent has definitely softened a great deal."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 

Relocation Relocation

Once again I have moved. Still in the same dormitory but in a different room. The views are decidedly better:

A little hint of OXO Tower is better than nothing.

The only thing more depressing than the fact that I have now moved FIVE times in two years is the rest of my view from this room.

Yes, that is where I work. I now spend nearly every waking moment either in that building or looking at it. I suppose I could shut the curtains but I am keen on getting as much light as I can so they stay open. The building glares down at me, reminding me of a PhD that I already spend at least 12 hours a day contemplating anyway. I have the feeling this is going to wear on my soul.

I'm also ground level on quite a busy street that leads into the roundabout where the IMAX lives. It's incredibly noisy but I prefer it to a dull and quiet (and tree-less) courtyard; at least now I FEEL like I live in a city of 7 or so million. But when a double decker goes by I feel a little too close to the rest of the London public as those on the top are level with my room and look at me in a bemused sort of way.

Not sure if it's exactly onwards and upwards, but it is slightly larger and relatively cheap so I'll complain no more.

P.S. I've finally installed a Google search engine on my blog, so go ahead and knock yourselves out.

Sunday, September 03, 2006 


#49: Ant and Dec

My PhD is at the point right now where I am having to write a great deal. Rather than try to concentrate amidst the constant chatter of the Gay Mafia* I choose to write from home. This introduces me to daytime English TV when I take writing breaks. In the past I have come home for Home and Away, my favorite soap but that is the limit of my exposure until now. Aside from that and those Place in the Sun/ by the Sea shows, there is not much (until Deal or no Deal in the late afternoon, of course!)

I hear a lot about Ant and Dec, somehow they have worked their way into the UK pop culture psyche. And yet in the two years that I have been here I haven't actually ever seen or heard of them doing anything. There was that alien autopsy movie, but that's it. I never see them on TV or read of them in magazines, and don't think I could pick them out of a crowd, but the frequency with which the phrase "Ant and Dec" is thrown around is quite alarming. Who are they and what do they do?

Thinking about this post made me realize all the other television duos that exist here. There are the two that tell you how to dress, the two that clean stuff, the two that help you buy a new house.... I wonder what it is about British test audiences that make them response more to groups of hosts rather than one. Pop World/ T4 is always done in twos. There's probably some sublime social commentary to be made here, but I'm not quite sure what it is. I'll have to stick to my pharmaceutical chemistry for now....

*Long time readers know that I have a disproportionate number of gay men in my office, and lately they have acquired a few extremely adoring and vocal fag hags. They are all wonderful people individually, but as a group squawk and squeal like a pack of sea lions at such an alarmingly loud volume I now have to study somewhere else.

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