Tuesday, February 27, 2007 


This one is really messing with my noggin.

Apparently here a "billion" is a million million, while in the States a "billion" is a thousand million (#55). How could a definition like this not be standardized? Spelling is one thing, but huge numerical discrepancies is surely another!

So it's the difference between:

1,000,000,000 and

That is so odd I can't comprehend it. Must generate a great deal of confusion at international business meetings. Also, does this mean Richard Branson is a helluva lot richer than I thought?!?

Saturday, February 17, 2007 


While I mostly pretend to be a calm, cool, collected Londoner, every once in a blue moon I think it's fun to take advantage of some of the more cheesier fare the city has to offer. I'm usually exposed to this on a regular basis, what with living smack in the middle of Zone 1. I manage to mostly ignore promotional events and celebrity hoopla. But there was one occasion coming up that I simply could not resist. When I realized that I hadn't been looking forward to seeing a movie this much since Lord of the Rings was first announced to be in production, I thought, "sod it" and marched off to Leicester Square to see the premiere celebrations of Hot Fuzz.

At the Vue Cinema:

The "red" carpet:

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg:

It was a bizarre situation, with people actually screaming. I thought that it was an alright time, until it started pouring down rain. I did get my collector's edition DVD of Spaced signed by Edgar Wright, Pegg, and Jessica Stevenson (who was so incredibly lovely). I also nicked one of the promotional cardboard posters as a souvenir. This began my actual favorite part of the evening.

On the London Underground, as I imagine any public transport in any large city, people ignore you. They bump into you, knock you over, jostle you, rush by you, and talk on their phones loudly in front of you. I always thought you'd have to actually be on fire for any one traveler to notice you. This turns out not to be the case: one only has to walk around with a giant Hot Fuzz poster. People were grinning and nodding at me all the way home. I don't know if this condition is particular to Hot Fuzz specifically (although not overly well known, they have received a lot of publicity lately; Pegg and especially Frost do seem to have this "regular guys made good" air about them, and I could see how locals would love to see two of their own raze Hollywood in the name of Britain) or any movie posters in general. I recommend you try it sometime.

Now I have seen the movie, and I loved it. I laughed through all 124 minutes. (Disclaimer: I laugh at everything.) The guys that I saw it with seemed to approve of the reviews that it's getting: it's not better than Shaun of the Dead (but really, who honestly thought they could top it?) yet it's still going to be miles better than anything coming to the cinema for months. This was confirmed to me Monday morning when whilst exchanging weekend stories a mate looked up at me wistfully and said, "You got to see Hot Fuzz? My girlfriend forced me to Music and Lyrics. It was beyond rubbish."

Friday, February 09, 2007 


I love when friends and family come to visit me. It's not only a blast to see them since I miss them so much, but also a riot when they check out my life here. Things proclaimed upon immediately are usually my location ("holy crap, the river's right there! And that giant ferris wheel!"), my living accommodations ("dude, this really is a dorm room!! Are you the oldest person here?!?"), my transportation options ("I can't believe you don't have a car, you seriously walk everywhere?!"), and of course their condition ("I am so jet lagged that if I don't sleep soon I am going to kill myself and/or others.")

Once I've got them settled and take them out to show them my new world, the real fun begins. For some of them, not all but some, it is their first time abroad. It's good for them as they have a built-in local at their disposal. I thoroughly enjoy watching their discoveries and frustrations, and then helping them through the process. One of my favorite moments comes usually near the end of the first day, after some pints and a meal and maybe some shopping. They've either bought something or are cleaning out their pocket and they hold out two handfuls of unfamiliar British change.

"Hold on to that!" I cry, "It's worth a lot!"

American change is, for all intents and purposes, worthless. The largest amount is 25 cents. We have paper dollars, unlike here where the largest amount is 2 pounds sterling. It's not uncommon for me to be able to purchase a decent sized lunch with my change, or even groceries. Every time I buy anything, I check my change purse first because you just never know! When an American grumbles to me about all their "damn change" I have to convince them to hold on to it, because at today's exchange rate that's at least twenty dollars they're lugging around. It's also the sheer numbers that confuse them; while we only have four kinds of coins, here there are eight (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, 1 and 2 quid).

Once they realize this I am then usually challenged with the inevitable question, "So if five pounds is the smallest paper note, and that's worth ten bucks, and one pound is a coin.... What do they give strippers?"

Unfortunately I still have no idea. It's a riddle that puzzles me to this very day.

Sunday, February 04, 2007 


I've said it before and I'll say it again, British accents during the Superbowl are just wrong wrong wrong.

What's interesting that we've noticed this year: what's playing here, on ITV, is actually about 30 seconds ahead of what's playing in the USA. While I was on the phone with someone I noted that Billy Joel was performing the anthem, the person on the other end of the line had no idea what I was talking about. We realized that there was a TV delay on his end, but not on mine. Interesting! Could this be due to the American television networks desire for a delay to screen for any wardrobe malfunctions so that they can't cause a nationwide scandal (again)? If so, does that mean that their British counterparts aren't worried about things like this? I guess because it's after the watershed, anything goes here.

I love the watershed (#54). I suppose that things get a little more risqué after 10 PM in the States, but not really. There's still so much you can't show. Here, though, all bets are off after 9 PM. I guess that it is supposed to gradually get more salacious as the evening goes on, but I mean there are some seriously kinky sex shows on by 11 PM. Usually on channel 5. Not that I watch them or anything.

I like that here you can decide what you're grown up enough to watch. I hate how controlling the American government is with their media. I mean, we Americans just don't know any better for ourselves. It has never occurred to the majority of us that if we don't like what we see, we could just turn the television off!

I know, I know, it's far too revolutionary. Remain calm. I didn't mean it.

Cool chick

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