Wednesday, December 27, 2006 


Merry Christmas! I hope everyone reading this is having a healthy and happy holidays, and have finally made it out of Heathrow. I know I only missed that disaster by a few hours....

I have only recently discovered this: The Littlest Hobo. This was introduced to me by a Brit, and I didn't quite believe his tales about how popular it was. So I asked around, and would ALWAYS get the following exchange:

Monica: So, have you ever heard of this show called The Littles Hobo?
Standard British Person: Yes!! God I loved that show!! How did you not know about it? Wasn't it American?
M: No, I've never heard of it before and have done some research, and actually it's Canadian and--
SBP: Maybe tomorrow/I'll want to settle down!

Yes, they break into song. So, ladies and gentlemen, if you'd ever like to see an Englishperson sing, just ask them about The Littlest Hobo. I will admit, it's a pretty catchy theme song.

And may I present for those who have never seen it before, Strange Thing #53. I still can't figure out exactly what it is, maybe a poor man's Lassie?

Sunday, December 10, 2006 


I'm finding it much more difficult to get into the Ashes this year, most likely for two reasons:

1. They are being held in Australia this year, with the time difference making it impossible to both watch Ashes and keep job. Last year they were held in England, so we could listen to the radio in the lab, watch on our laptops in the office, and catch highlights at home. In fact, I think if I recall correctly, Channel Four was showing whole days of cricket on weekends. Anyway, with this series the matches start at around 11 pm and run until the morning. You can always tell the hard core fans, because they come in to work very bleary-eyed and really ticked off because....

2. England is horrible this year. In fact, they've already effectively lost the Ashes, and now we're stuck with three more tests of embarrassment because they have to play out the whole thing. A shame really.

But at least I can say I saw England win an Ashes in England and it was awesome.

I am also bringing all this up to announce that
I am going to Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, you will not believe this but I have been invited to speak at a conference in Wollongong at the end of March. (My work is turning out to be very controversial, and as such, interesting, and so this invitation is huge!!) Regular readers know that the farthest I've ever been from home is Athens, so this is quite a big deal for me.

I think I will go to the conference, then spend a week or so in Sydney (being completely out of money with only part of the trip paid for, and not much time for a proper holiday to go see everything in Australia I want to see) and then maybe a layover on the way back in Singapore. So if you have any Australia traveling advice please please please comment/email me!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 


I feel like I really should say something about this whole Gwyneth Paltrow controversy (oh, what passes for controversy these days!) where she has allegedly said some anti-American things. I'm saying something because I actually really like her: aside from starring in my favorite movie of all time, Shakespeare in Love, she has really pretty hair and good taste in men. Along with her, I admire all actresses who seem talented, hard working, and actually put effort into their British accents. So I love Renee Zellweger for the same reasons because those actors who do foreign accents without effort and talent seem worthless to me. (Natalie Portman, I'm talking to YOU, you RUINED V for Vendetta with that crap Cockney/Irish/South African monstrosity. RUINED.)

Anyway, here is a quote earlier this year from Ms. Paltrow:

"I love living in the UK! Brits are far more intelligent and civilized than Americans."

And here is the more recent one that seems to be kicking up a fuss:

"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner... I like living here because I don't fit into the bad side of American psychology. The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans."

What I have to say is:

A) She's right, and everyone knows it.


B) I think all us expats were hoping that with the recent changing of the guard in America we'd see less of this resurgent McCarthyism, where freedom of speech (the best part of living in America) is constantly being pounced on. I almost thought it was even getting safe enough to go back! Goes to show you just can't take the rednecks out of America. I mean, if we won't even let posh and pretentious movie stars who marry rock stars and flit overseas tell us exactly how they are better than us, what is the world coming to?? And furthermore, why must it be such a big deal?

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