Wednesday, May 30, 2007 


The weekend before last (you know, back when it felt like summer was on its way, instead of the depressing mess we have now) I went down to Tower Bridge to see it do what lots of Londoners have never seen: go up!

The whole point was to see this, the Gotheborg. Pretty neat. It was tugged in, a band played, it fired some cannons, the HMS Belfast answered back, and it was a pretty nifty experience. It's nice to see something like that in action, especially since I'm still in mourning for the Cutty Sark.

As for me personally, I am doing ok, the PhD is plodding along. I am supposed to be finishing up my lab work at this stage, and often it still feels like I've got a long way to go. And the thought of that drives me mad. A lot of days I just want to quit and go home, but I know I'd never be able to forgive myself for that. I'm starting to feel like I'm trapped in my own hellish Pianosa, where you can't finish a PhD until you've been driven insane, and if you're insane you can't finish.

Friday, May 18, 2007 


Tonight a friend and I waxed nostalgic about TV shows. He would talk about British shows I'd never heard of; I'd talk about American shows he never heard of. Such is the ocean that divided us in the 70s and 80s, before internet, DVDs, and You Tube made everything so wonderfully accessible. So we compared notes. It seems every thing we mentioned has its appropriate counterpart. Schoolhouse Rock had its Look and Read. Grange Hill is maybe similar to Degrassi Junior High (although Degrassi never had Anthony Minghella as a writer I'm sure). As I've mentioned earlier, Lassie was akin to The Littlest Hobo (although TLH never had Leonardo DiCaprio I'm sure). And so forth. It's an interesting game actually, I bet if you left something in the comments, someone from another country could try to match it.

One funny thing that occurs was when I heard the Grange Hill theme song, I thought it sounded like Sanford & Son!


Ok, maybe not. But if you haven't heard Sanford & Son in years then maybe you could see how my brain led me astray. At this point of course I had to explain what Sanford & Son was, as he'd never heard of it (think of all the other jokes on Scrubs that English people don't get!!). I explained it and the reaction was, "Oh, you mean Steptoe and Son. Clearly your show comes from my show."

"Yea, right," I scoffed. "Playa please."

But I looked it up on Wikipedia and lo and behold, it's true. Not exactly the kind of material and trivia I came 3,000 miles to learn, but I am learning just the same!

Saturday, May 12, 2007 


#56: The Eurovision Song Contest.

This is not British, and that's why I've not mentioned it before. But people seem to have been talking about it a lot lately, I have no idea why.

I'm watching it now and it's quite safe to say I just don't get it. It's just extremely cheesy songs, with "musicians" playing their air instruments behind the singers, cut with bizarre mini-movies and banal commentary by Terry Wogan. And most of them sing in English as well, which is disappointing. I thought after I saw last year's winners that it would all be totally nuts, just the most whacked out show ever. But it's boring and lame and ridiculous. I have no idea why 500 million people watch it every year. Those wacky Europeans, I tell ya.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 


Finally, today I spotted another celebrity to add to my collection of sightings. Graham Norton was walking along the southbank at lunch today, with a very silly looking dog. I forget if he is famous in the states or not, I think he may have had a show on a cable network but I honestly can't remember now. I've been away from America so long I'm starting to forget!

So here's my random celeb list:

1. Martin Freeman
2. Goldie Hawn
3. Kurt Russell
4. Ivana Trump
5. Charlotte Church
6. Carmen Electra
7. The Darkness
8. Graham Norton

As for me, regular readers might have noticed that I've been basically AWOL this last month. After getting back from down under I had to go to Amsterdam for a pharmaceutical conference, and while that was a good time I did start to feel horribly ill while I was there. This has been going on a while so I finally decided to go to the KCL Health Centre. Their diagnosis? The mumps!! Despite being vaccinated and all. I basically feel like death, so please forgive me if the posting speed remains languid.

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