Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stonehenge, Bath, Work, and a Family

Saturday was great; it was a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath (the British pronounce it Bah-th)! We got up bright and early (715am) to get to the bus by 830. We were there a bit early so we hung out in ISH (International Students House) talking to Alex, Anna, and Shawna while we all waited for the bus. He second coach was late because it had frozen overnight, we found out later; and finally around 9 we were on our way. There were no seats left and we were at the back of the line so I was stuck in the back of the second coach in the corner seat, very back row. There were 5 seats back there and the other four were occupied by a set of girls, two from Ontario, one from Virginia, and one from New Jersey. These girls were talkative, and the whole way there I heard the story of how it was the girl from VA’s birthday, and they met some guys at the bar (“He said he would buy all of our drinks… ‘Do you have any friends?’ he asked… He was rich so I had to go for it…”) stuff like that. It was definitely interesting. The trip was long and the story was entertaining, if a bit smutty, but in case you are wondering it ended up that they were all drunk back at there hotel room breaking things and spilling wine on the really expensive down duvet, then the three girls were topless and not getting it on but definitely making out and such. Then they eventually passed out and the next morning two of them left, one of the guys left, and then the two that were left had crazy sex.

Anyway, after that exciting ride we pulled off the highway into a car park right of the road. They were just sitting there, right off the side of the highway, just on a hill by the road. Not exactly the presentation I was hoping for like, a forest glen or something. Either way it was amazing to think about. I learned a lot about the site itself. Eddie Izzard joked about how, “Before Stonehenge there was Wood-Henge and Straw-Henge,” relating it to the three little pigs story. This is actually close to the truth! There was a Wood-Henge on the site before Stonehenge, and before that was just a henge, just a half-moon of dirt in a pile. No one knows what it was used for, and of course everyone knows the large stones are from Wales, but it’s the small stones that are the cool ones, they are warm… All the time… no matter what the weather is outside (and I can attest to this because they had an example stone outside the site, and it was frickin’ cold) the stone called a Blue Stone is always warmer. I was sceptical, but it really was noticeably warmer!! It was crazy!! Anyway, there is not a lot I can share, we were there for an hour, and got back to the bus at 1215, and we’d apparently kept them waiting and I was the last one at the site… oops…

Then we headed off to Bath. The city is set in a valley so we saw a really beautiful vista as we drove in, but I couldn’t get a picture L because of the bus windows and the trees. As we drove through town Christian (the BUNAC guy) said that the whole town used limestone in the construction of their houses even to this day to keep the theme in town, and that many of the buildings are protected historic structures so they cannot be altered easily. Then as we got deeper into Bath on the bus he mentioned the corrosion on the walls of the houses… acid rain is damaging them… how sad… Bath was built by the Romans when Britain was a province of the Roman Empire… to think that today it is being damaged by pollution saddens me deeply.

We parked and only had a few hours in Bath so we grabbed some take-away food (a really good burger) and headed for the Roman Baths. They were expensive but they were very interesting and better than getting caught up in the shopping that seemed to be the lifeblood of the rest of the town. The Roman Baths are built on a natural hot spring. The water is forced up through the Earth’s crust and the water is so hot (95 C) and under so much pressure that as it comes closer to the surface it cools off, leaving it a comfortable temperature when it hits the surface. It bubbles up into a great pool and is kind of a greenish yellow colour. I really enjoyed looking at the architecture and the ancient history was of course interesting. At one time there was a palatial temple and bath site, but today most of it has disappeared and left only rubble and stones. They are now under the streets and part of the site and the museum. I touched the water… signs told me it was unsafe to drink or to even touch, but I did it anyway, and it would have been really nice to bathe in.

Bathing in Roman times was an all day affair. They would strip down and have a slave watch over their possessions, and head into the Great Bath, there they would hang out for a while, and then go into a steam room. The steam room was heated by the springs as well, but designed with an elevated floor to keep the heat within the room even (ingenious!). After that room you would go into a hotter room, and finally into an intense dry heat (like a sauna, but way hotter) and after a short time in there they would head back out doing the whole process in reverse. Amazing I know… but then when they get back out of the Great Bath they would have massages and oils and cleanings of the skin and whole body, including the scraping off of the skin to make sure it was clean and fresh (like exfoliating). It was a process that I would love to participate in!! It looked amazing.

After the Baths we wandered around the Bath Abbey next door, and there was a small orchestra playing and woman singing, it was pretty amazing to hear so we sat and enjoyed for a while before heading out to wander the populated shopping area. After a long wait for the girls to visit the loo we wandered the high street and then back to the busses for home. All in all a great day, but it wasn’t over yet. We got back to the flat around 830 and it was time for a Party! Giuseppe, Ned, Ben, Kristina, Kylie, Melissa, Melinda, the two French Girls, Alex, Andy, Jenn, Shawna, Anna, Kate, Stephanie and myself of course, but even a couple of people I didn’t know all hung out. Drinking, chatting, listening to music, and eventually (after Alex, Shawna, and Anna left to get to bed) we even played Roxanne (I was stupid enough to play again) and Kings/Circle of Death. All in all a simple party, but a great one… especially since we aren’t even supposed to have them. I headed to bed and spent most of Sunday asleep or relaxing.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My First Day of Work and Other Things

Tuesday I don’t really remember what I did at all. I need to type more often than once a week for sure.

Wednesday was good, I hung out with Amanda most of the day, we just bummed around town shopping and wandering. We met at the BUNAC office in the afternoon and decided to walk around and shop for a while. Andy joined us much later, he’d been doing some job hunting, and the three of us got some food and then headed over to Prague to utilize the free internet. Afterward, Amanda wanted to head home, so Andy and I headed over to Alex, Shawna, and Anna’s flat to watch a movie. We watched O Brother Where Art Thou a movie that I highly enjoy, and then Andy and I left for home on the night bus, of course stopping for £1 chips after disembarking at Willesden.

Thursday was excellent! I woke up nice and early and left for work. I went to bed not too late so getting up wasn’t too hard (even though it was @ 730am). Luckily for me it was light out. I worry sometimes about it being dark when I wake up, because that would just make it that much harder for me to get out of bed. I would hate that so much.

I went in for my very first day of work at London’s South Bank University. I even got paid for the 7 hours I was there!! Overall it seems like a really good job, I will enjoy it. There are really nice people working there, although they are all quite a bit older than I am (no offence to them of course). I met one other BUNAC-er who is in the same place as I am (she’s only been working there for a week) and she is very cute, and she seems nice, perhaps she’s just excited to have someone her ago working on her floor. The details of my job are basically to get mail, file things, and help Anne with whatever she asks me to help her with. I am almost like her bitch… but in a good way. Collum who I am replacing is quite the guy, he likes to be busy and is defiantly better at this job than I am. I followed him around for the day and it seems like he knew everyone and was always talking to someone about something work-related. I really worry that I am going to suck as that I have never done anything like this, but I think I’ll be fine. They know I’ve only just started; I am not going to be tossed into the shit on my first day… tomorrow…

After work I hung out with… Stephanie and Kate I think, but I don’t remember (please don’t be mad), around 11 we headed over to the cinema for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. There was no one there. Well very few people, as midnight approached people started to queue and we jumped in even though we were just sitting there for 40 minutes we got in the 20th place or so in the queue. The movie was amazing, we were so excited! Afterward Amanda and I had to find for ourselves when Steph and Kate abandoned us for home. So Amanda and I, with our newfound bus maps, attempted to get to our respective homes. She started by getting on the wrong bus, and I started by walking to Swiss Cottage, or part of the way, then my mobile went off and it was Amanda walking after me because she’d gotten off the bus because it was the wrong one (and smelled of puke because there was vomit on part of it). We met up and walked to Swiss Cottage. She was going to just come home and stay at our place (it was 325am) but instead she found the right bus and headed back to her place. I grabbed the same bus but left it in Kilburn and then changed to the N98 for Willesden Green. I got home at 4am and went to bed after leaving messages on Kristen’s IM about how cool it was and how she should be jealous that I saw it so far ahead of her. She was I am sure.

Friday was good, and almost not even worth talking about. I was such a bum, I stayed in all day until the evening. I watched a movie and played with my laptop. Hung out with my roomies and chilled all day. After I had made and eaten dinner we all went over to The Green (Melissa, Kristina, Ned, Giuseppe, Melinda, and me). Ned had just gotten off his shift so we had a couple of beers and then headed back home. Andy got in late and then next morning we left for Stonehenge and Bath with BUNAC!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!!

I've just seen Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! And a full 5 Hours before anyone I know in the States can see it! Hehe!!

I enjoyed it thoroughly. Very Much. Brilliant. All That...

It's nearly 4, I should go to bed.

I also worked today... I should post something about the last few days...


Monday, November 14, 2005

Warwick Castle & Stratford-Upon-Avon

Saturday started out with a bang… well more of a beeping… I woke up at 7, showered, and headed down to Paddington, arriving right on time (8am), but the girls didn’t arrive until 830 or so, and then we discovered we couldn’t leave from Paddington Station anyway, so we headed for Marylebone. Finally on the train we slept if we could, but chatted here and there on the way to Warwick. The castle was beautiful. We were there for hours, Alex and I wandering around and eventually picking Amanda up with us. We saw so much I cannot even describe. I tried to imagine the castle in the 1068 (or whatever) when it was first built, but it was unbelievable to even try and imagine what it would have been like. I went to the top of the tallest tower and it must have been amazing to have lived there hundreds years ago (that tower wasn’t built until the 1600s) and be able to see this view. It would have really been amazing, and without the pollution and fog you could have seen for dozens of miles. The dungeon was creepy; they had a thing where they would hang people until they rotted away, and a hold where they would throw people into a small hole wrapped in blankets and then forget about them, yikes. The great hall was beautiful, the wax figures were so believable, the trebuchet was sadly not in use anytime soon, the mill was to die for, and there was even a guy making chain mail (Steph tried some on)! After wandering the grounds and the gardens we headed back to the train station only to discover we had 90 minutes till the next train. We went back into town stopping to eat at the first place we saw (all being hungry) and watched rugby during the meal and continued after we’d eaten. Then we headed out and got on the train the remaining 30 minutes to Stratford-Upon-Avon. The castle was perhaps one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in England to date, and so much fun, though a little brisk outside, I definitely have a cold…
When we arrived in Stratford-Upon-Avon it was already dark (although it was only 4:30) so we started trying to find where the B&B we were going to stay at was. After a short walk and quick knock we met Sylvia, paid our £20 and had a room for the night. With some advice from Sylvia after we’d hung out for a short bit we left aiming for a pub and some food (as our late lunch was really designed to fill time and just as a snack) and went to the Golden Bee. Stratford was a cute little town with winding streets and 1400s architecture, very nice, if a little confusing to navigate. In the pub the beer was cheap the smoke non-existent (due to a well placed non-smoking area) and the food was excellent. I had fish & chips and a couple of beers and we talked and laughed, followed by an excellent 3-Layer Fudge cake. We headed home, a tad sleepy, but the walk invigorated us and we split of into our rooms to relax before bed. I sat with Alex and we decided to find out what was on TV, Stepmom with Julia Roberts, Ed Harris, and Susan Sarandon… just like home… Amanda joined us and we all shed some tears together, then Amanda went to bed, and I went to my room to read. Shortly Alex joined me and we had kinky sex… just kidding… we chatted till around 2am and then she went back down to sleep. The bed was comfortable, and the pillow was the best one I’ve had since my own that I left behind (tear for my pillow).
The following day we woke up at 830am (though Steph and Kate were already awake) and had a traditional English Breakfast of fried egg, sausage, bacon (like ham), mushrooms, grilled tomato, tea, and toast. It was brilliant, and I even got to see Mr. Sylvia (don’t know his real name) in an apron as he bustled about bringing in the plates. Sylvia was so cute, she kept coming and asking if we, “needed anything,” or commenting if we hadn’t eaten enough that we’d, “waste away,” or we’d “catch cold out there!” She was really great. She allowed us to leave our bags and we left with our cameras and walked aroundSTratford-Upon-Avon. We saw Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (wife of William Shakespeare), the Birthplace (of Willie Shaksie), the house his daughter Susanna lived in with her doctor husband, and his tomb/burial place. It was a Shakespeare filled day. I walked in the room where he was born, where others before me had been as well the likes of: writers like Dickens and Emerson, but also Americans like Jefferson and John Adams who visited also. Incredible really… We sat on a bench in a garden outside of Hathaway’s cottage and walked the floors where W.S. himself probably walked in courting her… inspiring. We took heaps of pictures whenever we could (the historic sites wouldn’t let us do so inside) and after a full day of tourism we went back to the Golden Bee, had a late lunch and caught the 6pm train back to London. It was truly a great weekend. There were lots of little shops and everything selling all sorts of stuff, including magnetic insults written into Shakespeare’s plays… that was my favourite and I almost bought them, but not quite. Lots of gardens too, my mother would have been proud. Back in London we hopped the tube and I went to Steph and Kate’s and watched Egypt, talked to my Mom on the phone for a few and headed home for bed.
Monday was laid back and mostly a shopping day. I spent the whole day looking for a coat, and I might have found one, though it’s too expensive @ £90. I was all over the city Amanda went with for a while, and afterward we went to ICCo for £3 pizza where Shawna and Alex joined us around 9. Afterward, Amanda and Morgan went home and the other two and I headed across the street to a nice little place and had grog. Shawna and I talked about mass media, graduate school, and we all talked about our university experience. I sometimes regret not doing more in Uni. but I really enjoyed my experience and I am sure if I’d done a journal like this the whole time I’d have remembered even more of the crazy times the late nights and the deep conversations and realizations that we all shared. I miss you so much. After the pub I accompanied them back to their flat talked with the Trio (Anna, Alex, and Shawna) and then left around 1145. After such a busy weekend I am ready for a good sleep… but also for a coat. I really love this experience. I wish I could share it better, but this is all I can do… I want to remember more feelings, but they don’t come out very well or easily when I type, I hope I can remember them when I read this back… only time will tell.

The Death... spot... Dead-spot?

Posted by Picasa

The Birthplace

 Posted by Picasa

A cool tower picture from the Gardens

 Posted by Picasa

Amanda & Me... and a frickin' 1000 year old Castle.

 Posted by Picasa

This guy is made of wax...

Can you believe the awesomeness of the Taussads people?! Madam Taussaud's Wax Museum is supposed to be frickin' sweet. I want to go even more after seeing these... they look so real. Posted by Picasa


 Posted by Picasa

My Favorite Castle Picture!

Posted by Picasa

The Main Gate...

 Posted by Picasa

View from the tallest tower!

 Posted by Picasa

Warwick Castle... at first sight.

 Posted by Picasa

I love that song Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Great weekend! So good! Friday started out as a really good day, and ended even better! I woke up and just hung out most of the day… actually I don’t really remember what I did during the day, oh wait… yes I do… I remember:

SHOPPING, that’s what we did, lots of shopping. Amanda and I started the Coat Shopping Expedition on Friday. It all started when we were talking about how cold it was starting to get, and how we didn’t really have warm coats. So we started shopping for coats, starting with the outdoor markets. We went down Portobello Street first, but that was the other day (after the Churchill Arms), and then Friday headed to Camden Town. That market is way bigger than I even thought it was. We spent hours there, not really finding what we were looking for, but determining that we could spend days here and never see it all. After hours at the Market, we decided to give up there and head somewhere else, and eventually ended up shopping for a short while longer, but mostly we were just tired, and gave up. It gets fuzzy from there, but eventually I left Amanda at her place and headed out to meet up with Alex, Andy, and Ned. We were set to meet at Holborn Station, but Andy and Ned were running late owing to them being already a bit drunk when I called them, so Alex and I went for a drink down from the station at the Princess Louise.

Ned and finally showed up and we headed back to Alex’s place to figure out what to do. Finally we settled on Japanese food, we had a drink at one bar down from Alex’s place, and then headed over to Wagamama. It was an excellent Japanese food place, and I had a really spicy dish (and got to use chopsticks). But after we’d eaten, Andy had to leave, he was bummed, and we couldn’t really decide on anything specific to do next. It was already getting late so we decided to drink in, we bought 4-packs of Foster’s and Kronenburg (8 of each) and played Roxanne (a drinking game). Now what you have to understand about Roxanne is that the game involves listening to Roxanne by the Police, and there are two teams: the ‘Red’ team and the ‘Roxanne’ team. The rules are as follows: the Red team drinks whenever the word, “red” is used in the song; and the “Roxanne” team… well you can figure it out.

After we’d played one round of Roxanne, and therefore all downed one 500mL can, we unanimously decided to play a different game. Kings/Circle of Death was the best choice we figured, but there were some crazy rules: I Never – Aces, Kings = pour in to Kings cup until last one of course, 1-3 = dish out, 4-7 = drink either 1,2, or 3 respectively, 8-10 = rule cards, etc. It was great, there were so many rules including: no name usage, and every time you said anything you had to say, “Over” at the end; then later when we were all drunk enough to forget constantly Ned added “Captain’s Log” at the beginning of anything you said. Ned and I left around 230am pretty drunk, they walked us to the Bus and we rode to W.G. Immediately off the Bus we ran over to a yard because we had to pee like crazy, then we got some £1 chips at a nearby place (so amazing) and walked home. All in all a great night and I got to spend time with Ned!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I got It!!

Wednesday was pretty normal day… somewhat… Andy had to the night off of work that the evening, but beforehand I had to deposit my cheques. I really had to. It was essential. So he went to help Amanda move into her flat and I set off to deposit my traveller’s cheques and get my bank card that morning. I wandered the streets of Aldwych for hours looking for a Barclays to cash my cheque and finally found one… hours after starting the search (or so it felt, it was more likely only an hour), however the Barclays I found was ill-equipped to serve me, and sent me down the road to another one.

Miffed, but not disillusioned, I got what I needed at the next Barclays, chuckled as I re-passed the first, and headed back to NatWest to deposit my mullah; then the strangest thing happened, waiting to get my bank card, I saw Stephanie Fitzwater getting hers as well! We ended up spending a short time together as I accompanied her back to her work and grabbed a sandwich with her. We chatted for a bit, I saw the Silver Bullet (the nickname of a building downtown London) and then I headed out to meet Amanda and Andy in Notting Hill/Bayswater.

They were chilling at a place call the Churchill Arms, it was a fantastic pub that Kristen never could have entered. There were butterflies on the walls everywhere, but plants hanging in every inch of space above us creating a virtual ceiling completely obscuring the greenhouse-like glass that was the ceiling. But that was only part. There were plants everywhere, and a little fountain and the bugs, it was like being outside, inside. I liked it a lot; and as an added bonus, they apparently have amazing Thai food… which I must be sure to return and try.

The three of us set out for Amanda’s flat, enjoying each other’s company, and eventually decided we needed a plan for the afternoon. I called Shawna, Anne, and Alex to see what they were up to… tonight was a comedian named Dimitri Martin (who had apparently written for Conan). “Intriguing,” I thought to myself, and proceeded to call Jenn and Marissa who wanted to join in the comedian, Steph didn’t have the money but wanted to go, and Andy was in… Amanda was to stay in her flat and hang out with Morgan (her flatmate) and unpack/chill.

Dimitri Martin was amazing. We met the girls at 9:00p and he started at around 9:45p. He was hilarious. “The other day I was thinking about the time I used to be nostalgic… those were good times.” He was amazing. I cannot describe the funniness. I laughed a lot. I nearly cried it was so good, and after the show Shawna (who adores him) wanted a photo made, so we waited for him to come out. He was also amazingly cool. He stopped and chatted with us for about 20 minutes and then we walked with him down the street a bit, talking about nothing really and then parted ways. We went to BK to get food, talked about the show, and other comedians, and then everyone headed home. Alex, and Anne are heading to Edinburgh this weekend, and so are Marissa and Morgan; they have plans to meet up, that’s pretty exciting. Steph and the crew there are going to Warwick castle (for real this time) and Amanda and I are going to tag along as well! I am really excited, my first real trip outside London!! Exclam!! Yea.

You thought yesterday was good, today was even more exciting. I had my interview, and that was really it, but as I left I headed for Amanda’s place and my phone rang on the Tube… in the only place where it would have been able to ring… It was Lisa (head of Quality @ South Bank Uni.) They wanted to offer me the job!! I was, of course, happy to accept, and with my music blaring in my ears I rode the tube all the way to Bayswater and told Amanda straight away. We had an excellent dinner of tortellini with a tasty mushroom sauce, and we headed off to see Elizabethtown. We walked the 30 minutes from her place to the cinema, talking and laughing per usual, bought tickets and then headed down the street to get some grog and food before the film. I was very excited about seeing a film in London, as was she and we talked over a plate of nachos at this excellent Mexican place… of which there are few.

The film was just as good as I remembered it, though funnier, and afterward we walked back to the closest tube station and I escorted her home (mostly to get my bag however). The movie made me miss the United States a lot. I really like it here, but the US is still home, and probably always will be.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Guy Fawkes/Bonfire

So here are a couple of pictures from Guy Fawkes Day that I mentioned a couple of posts ago, and also the fireworks after the big bonfire... GF Day is also sometimes called Bonfire Night... It's actually a little weird how excited they are that the Parliament Building is burning... how queer... Enjoy!

A bit of an aside:
Andy mentioned bringing this holiday back to the US, we could build a big replica of the White House and burn it down and then have fireworks while everyone cheers! I bet there'd be a great response! Until G.W.'s anti-American cronies showed up and arrested us for being commies or something... then we could just explain to them the rich and exciting history of Guy Fawkes Day!! w00t!

The Walk

Today I was inside all day... then I left. I had to, I just couldn't stay any longer, and I kept thinking, "You're in fucking London, man. You can't waste that sitting here on your ass." So I left. I jumped on the tube and headed for Hamleys. It's a HUGE toy store and just happens to be on Jacqui's Top 5 things in London to see. It was pretty cool, but I wish I'd had a friend with me, toy stores (shopping in general) just isn't as fun when you are by yourself eh?

I got off the Tube at Bond Street and walked for about 10-15 minutes to Oxford Street... It's like the London Shopping Mecca. There is everything down there, and it was really brightly lit and crowded, but my iPod and I were crusin' to some awesome beats and I really enjoyed just walking... being alone... being lost in a sea of humanity. It was great...

After wandering down some side streets into a little bit less crowded, but still shoppy areas I got to Hamleys, it was huge; 7 Floors of toys, I skipped over the Girls Floor and walked all over everywhere else. I saw some cool stuff, train sets, models, legos (including a Hagrid and HP massive build), and all sorts of games and stuffed everything. It was fun to wander and look at the stuff... I left feeling flighty and wanting to wander still so I started walking, and about an hour later I was in Camden Town... thats right home of the Camden Markets. I've been there before, but there's not really anything going on during the week, well more than anywhere else; the major market is on the weekend... and I desperately need socks, so I will have to visit there definately...

I kept on walking after a short stop for some cheap BK... it was not that good... and then I hopped on the Tube and headed for Kings Cross... I was in a mood to see Platform 9 3/4 so I headed that way. I found it, but didn't have a camera to take a picture... either way, it was not as cool as I'd thought, and again something you see with a friend... Luckily Kristen had just called me, so at least I got to share it with her, even if she couldn't see it... we talked about what we usually talk about, our day, how we miss each other, and then not much... it's actually rather off putting... I do miss her though... I tried to explain to her the other day how I miss talking with her almost more than I miss having her as a girlfriend, to emphasise how we used to communicate so well... but it was kind of a flop. It's hard to communicate when you have a running till... it's kind of like a taxi, whenever we talk the metere is running and we have to struggle to fill the space... it blows.

After Kings Cross I headed back to the WG, walking whenever I could, I actually found that after sitting on the Underground for a short period of time, my muscles were sore, I was very happy, it was definately exercise wandering like that, and I LOVE it... I think I will be doing it much more often...

On a side note, I got a call from Harrod's Department Store today (another on the Top 5) about employment! I have an interview on Friday!! Which is great because I got an email yesterday and I have an interview on Thursday with the South Bank University woman for the Administrative Assistant posting, which is the higher paying position (and I think I would like working in a Uni environment again). I hope they both go well. I miss everyone, and thanks for all the comments on the HP4 part, it was frickin' sweet! Cheers!

Commenting on "Cheers" This is a non-American thing... they say it all the time they throw it around like pro jugglers throw bowling pins. It is crazy. It's everywhere, and I haven't quite mastered it's use. I suspect that it is more of a casual thank you, but also a goodbye in friendly situations, but the jury is still out on other uses.

Also speaking of Bowling. They don't really do it here, and when they do it's expensive. I feel that is shit. I miss bowling and it's not supposed to be expensive, it's supposed to be cheap, dirty, smoke-filled, and thus I would think the London crowd would love it... but they don't... I have to say I am severly disappointed. Ok I'm off, cheers!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Post About My Last Few Days (Massive)

The last week has been a combination of uneventful days spent job hunting or adventuring with our newfound friend Jen, or like last night, an amazing night out at a shitty club! Let’s go back to last Friday, because that is as far back as I can recall without help...

Last Friday was the first night that Jen (our new roommate) had been here, and we decided it was time to go out to a pub and celebrate. We met Marissa, James, Morgan, and some of their friends (for the first time since the pub meet) at the Angel tube stop and went to a couple of pubs. The night was fun, and we ended up having a night bus adventure to actually get home because by the time we left the pub we’d been hanging out at (the Parr Head) we didn’t get to the tube station in time for the last train!! It was not so good plus the train was delayed so seriously that even if we were going to try there was no way we’d catch our connecting train… The announcer guy at the Tube station came over the P.A. and said, “a drunken passenger is holding up the train at…” and then later came on and said, “Once again, a fellow drunken passenger is holding up the train at…” and all the drunks in the platform (of which there were more than a few) kid of seemed offended and shouted things like, “Whaatss he traayin’ ta say?!” After another 10 minutes he came on and sang, “The Last Northbound Train is on it’s waaaaay!” and he just kept singing about the train for a few minutes. It was hilarious, in the Top Five Transportation Moments of Trace’s Trip that so far is definitely in there. We finally made it to Euston and then Jen and I had to walk everywhere trying to find out about bus tickets and how to get to Willesden Green! We asked 5 people and got 5 different answers, but eventually found out we needed to take a bus to Oxford Circus and then catch another bus from there to Willesden. We got home around 3am but the adventure was worth it… just wait until the next one… J

Saturday was Guy Fawkes Day. Guy Fawkes was a guy who in like the 1600s attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament, using a helluva lot of gunpowder. He failed, but for some reason the crazy English here think it is a reason to celebrate! Maybe there is more to the story that I don’t know, but I researched it on the net and that’s basically all it said. I find as I travel that people in other countries are just as aloof about their holidays and the meaning behind them as Americans. They say that Europeans know more history in general then Americans, I would saw that is possible, mostly because they are still living in the building that was part of history, but at the same time their grasp of modern history (outside of wartime history: WWII etc.) seems to be just as limp. Anyway, Jen (our new roommate), Andy, Amanda, and I went to meet James, Morgan, and Marissa for fireworks in Victoria Park because we’d heard it was the place to go.

We got off the tube and walked for about 10 minutes, hearing fireworks and loud pops, whizzes, and bangs, going off all around us. We walked and walked, met a few people who were also going there, and they asked us how to get there, we had no idea. We finally saw a huge fence and wall and beyond it what looked like carnival rides! There were flashing lights and candy floss (cotton candy) and security guards looking for alcohol at the gate (this was a sober night so far) and we met the others and began walking toward a 3 story tall building surrounded by a large crowd of people… it was a copy of the Parliament building… we could see where this was going. On top of the building was what I read later was called a Guy. You set the Guy on fire and he sets the building aflame, and they did. The whole massive building was soon in flames and pieces of it were collapsing and causing more heat and light. As the face of Big Ben fell off you could see that it wasn’t just designs on the front of the clock tower, it was a skeleton and the clock face was hiding the skull, pretty cool actually. Everyone was cheering and as the clocktower fell the fireworks started. They were really big and beautiful, and they lasted about 20 minutes or more. All in all a good time was had. We waited around after the show and then walked up toward the front where the bonfire had been and it was even bigger up close, most of the fire had burned down to coals so I said, “Oh man, imagine what I could cook with those!” referring, of course, to Dutch oven cooking, the others laughed as me, as they should. We made our way toward the exit, but Andy wanted candy floss so we waited for probably over a half an hour while he fought the non-existent line (more of a mass of people really) to get to the front and get some candy floss. Then we left to go to James and Marissa’s flat so they could change and then go to get a beer.

The adventure to their flat (in Zone 3 on the border of Zone 4) was fairly boring Heather joined us as we left their flat back out to drink and then walked a while to get to the pub we wanted to visit. We found a place that fit so I quoted Ernest Hemingway and stated, “This is a ‘clean well-lighted place’ as Ernest Hemingway would say,” some people laughed, I think mostly out of confusion. We had a couple of beers and then it was last call so we went home. Unfortunately even though I peed as we left the pub, it was such a long journey that I had to pee again by the time we got on the Jubilee line, of which we had to ride nearly the entire line to get to Willesden, we got on at Stanmore, the opposite terminus. So as I was holding it, sitting on what Jen and I knew to be the very last train of the night, my pain increased more and more, Jen tried talking to me and carrying on a conversation, but that wasn’t working, I tried not thinking about it, I even tried playing cell phone games, but to no avail. When the train stopped at Kilburn, just one stop from W.G., I was in so much pain I could hardly stand; I had never had to pee this bad in my entire life. It was horrible, and then the train had the audacity to continue its pattern of delays, and we sat at Kilburn for about 5 or 6 minutes when I said, “I am going to go find a loo and we both got off.” I practically ran out of the station, found a yard with bushes and peed for a good 2 minutes… which is a really long time for a guy to pee. Then as I came out of the yard, the train left the station, and we started our second adventure, walking to W.G. and talking about all sorts of things.

Then came Sunday… One of the greatest days of the trip… it was Harry Potter Day. I woke up at around 1125, got dressed prepared my bag, and Jen and I left for Leicester Square. We got there and got into the main fencing around 1230, just after which they stopped letting people in where we were. There were already hundreds of people there, and they were still in the process of decorating everything and getting ready for the premiere that night. We waited around, Amanda came, but couldn’t get in the fencingL, Marissa showed up, and then Alex showed up with Anne and Shawna, but they didn’t get there until 4ish.

Finally, at 5 o’clock the ‘stars’ were due to arrive, but come 530 they’d done a lot of talking over the PA but we didn’t have anyone recognizable that we could see yet. After this time gets fuzzy, we were no longer concerned about the clock, or the drizzling rain, because there were the people that we could recognize! All in all I saw a number of the stars from the movie at least a dozen, maybe more and I didn’t even know, but I saw the 5 people who will be in the Tri-wizard Tournament, and even saw some people I didn’t expect, like Robbie Coltrane, and the kid from Willy Wonka/Finding Neverland. The premiere ended around 7 when all the stars when inside to see the film and we went to the Mexican restaurant next door. It was very tasty and I was still a bit wound up from standing in one spot all day, but it was fun, if not a little pricy, afterward we all went home for an early night, and I posted all my pictures on my blog and tried to make everyone from Amber Smith to Jacqui, to Lynn Claus to Kristen jealous of my trip… and I did it superbly.

Monday was uneventful at most during the day. A trip to the BUNAC office, that we have now become experts at finding, and a call to the South Bank Uni. people to see about the job… no response, so I left a voicemail. After BUNAC we went to the bank to get that all worked out something that I have yet to do again today so I can deposit money, and then out to see Amanda and top-up my phone. The day ended with Andy, Amanda, and I going to get some food and then heading down to the Walkabout in Soho to meet a friend of Andy’s brother-in-law. We couldn’t get into the walkabout because it was couples night, but eventually when Alex, Shawna and Anne showed up we had enough girls to go in and we all paid the £3 cover so we could get the £1 pints. It was extremely crowded and loud, there were people who staked out little claims for their bags and wouldn’t let you walk through them, people who were moving in a pattern of what I could only assume was dancing but there was too much finger snapping and no arm motion, finally one of the girls that came with Alex found a downstairs where it was much less crowded. We headed down and it was great! There was a dance floor that was not too crowded at all, and the only problem was that you couldn’t get £1 pints, just bottles. That was fine with me, I didn’t want to get too drunk, but after a while we were all dancing and having a great time, Andy especially. I danced a lot with Alex and Amanda, we had a lot of fun, it was so hot and sweaty, but so much fun!! Around, 1230 I left to walk Amanda home, said goodnight, and then walked back to the Walkabout to meet Andy and take the night bus. We grabbed the N98 all the way back home and walked a short way home (stopping for £1 chips). I checked my email and found out that I had a Job Interview on Thursday with the South Bank Uni. people!! Frickin’ Sweet! I was very excited; I really hope to get the job.

Another Hp4 Premiere Picture... Hagrid!! (Robbie Coletrane)
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Goblet of Fire World Premiere!

I KNOW you all are going to be jealous of me... but I JUST got back from the Premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!! IT WAS AWESOME. I have some pictures too... so i think I will post them here as soon as I can get them off of my camera.

I saw a lot of actors including:

Timothy Spall .... Wormtail
Daniel Radcliffe .... Harry Potter
Emma Watson .... Hermione Granger
Rupert Grint .... Ron Weasley
Mark Williams .... Arthur Weasley
James Phelps .... Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps .... George Weasley
Bonnie Wright .... Ginny Weasley
Robert Pattinson .... Cedric Diggory
Tom Felton .... Draco Malfoy
Stanislav Ianevski .... Viktor Krum
Katie Leung .... Cho Chang
Devon Murray .... Seamus Finnigan
Clémence Poésy .... Fleur Delacour
Predrag Bjelac .... Igor Karkaroff
Matthew Lewis .... Neville Longbottom
Robbie Coltrane .... Rubeus Hagrid

and there may have been others that i didn't even recognize!! But i was like one metere away from the main three and a few others as well. IT was amazing. We got there @ like 12:30 and the celebs started to arrive around 5 and then were all inside around 7... then we went to dinner at a place there in Leceister Square (pronounced for our American friends: Lester Square). It was amazing, we were all giddy and excited, there was a lot of screaming girls there and it was being webcast worldwide... but were were frickin' THERE! It was awesome.

OK i am going to start looking at the pictures... i am sure they aren't very good, but i'll post the best ones... :-D


Draco Malfoy!
 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

Neville Longbottom!!
 Posted by Picasa

Ahhh, Ronald Weasley, the best actor among the three!
 Posted by Picasa

Seamus Finnigan!
 Posted by Picasa

The ones I identify with: Fred and George Weasley!
 Posted by Picasa

OMG! Hermione Granger!
 Posted by Picasa

Fleur Delacour!
 Posted by Picasa

Viktor Krum!
 Posted by Picasa

Ginny Weasley!
 Posted by Picasa

Here is photo #1 with Cedric Diggory!
 Posted by Picasa