Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lost in Translation


Monday, June 28, 2010

Very English

So. Before I get to all the "what have I been doing" stuff I have to tell you what happened this afternoon. I go to school in two buildings- the dorms I live in and one I have to walk about four blocks to that looks like it's Hogwart's In London Campus. Really it's just the UCL Cruciform building, but it's pretty badass looking. To get to my class I have to walk down a hallway which makes a sort of left hand curve around a stairwell. But you can see into the stairwell from the curve because there's windows- open arch style. When you get around the curve you make an extreme right hand turn to get on the stairs.

As I'm walking to class I see someone coming up the stairs and I think I've got to be careful coming around the corner because I might collide with the person and knock them down the stairs. So I sort of pause a second coming around the corner so they have time- only no one comes up. I peer around the corner and there's no one on the stairs. Or in the hallway.


I even turned around to look behind me. I'm the only person in the hall at this point. And I kept looking around for a second before I was like ....was that a ghost?

On the way out of the building my friend Sarah made me ask the desk people if the building is haunted and they looked very grave and said ...did you see something? And I told them in the stairwell, and they started to tell me about people they see in the classrooms after everything is locked up at night, or noises. The building is over 300 years old. Of course it's haunted.

Saturday we did go to Camden Lock and it was just as punk rock and awesome as it was last time I was there. And everyone here in London has colors in their hair so I decided to get some too. And some stockings, since that's also the thing. After the Market I came back to the dorm and got in touch with my friend Steve who lives here and we planned a pubcrawl. That was a blast! And Steve is hilarious and the night went on just long enough to be really really fantastic and still let me get up early Sunday for...

The Battle of Hastings! Which was hot, and miserable, and sunny. But the abbey was beautiful and something right out of Highlander (which I've been rewatching) and the countryside makes you want to lay down on the grass and take up painting. Or fishing. After, I had this enormous Full English Breakfast at the restaurant we went to called... A Taste of Battle. da da ching!

Then we headed home on a rather mysterious train. See, we went to the train station at the right time for our train but there was no train there. And we waited and found out the next train we could take was in an hour. Then the digital signs at the station change and say the next train coming down the line (not the one we're waiting an hour for) is not for civilian use. About all of us ran out onto the platform to see if it was nuclear weapons or cattle or what, but the train stopped and looked normal enough. There were people on it so we all ran around like crazy people getting our bags and jumping on the train. And inside the train the intercom was like NOT FOR CIVILIAN USE and we were like "oh no do we get off what's happening" and the train conductor yelled at me to get back on when I hopped off. And then the train started up again and we were all asking each other what was going on.

I pointed out if the train was MI-5 only they were probably going to come down to our carriage and shoot us. And we all nervously laughed.

No one shot us. Thankfully. And then nothing happened last night- I thought about doing more mudlarking but decided not to go when I realized I'd have to go alone. Then class today, and then a ghost.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lazy Day

The last few days have been really busy. I haven't even uploaded the pictures from them to the computer, but when I do- probably tonight- I'll make another big post full of pics.

Thursday we went to the Globe for a tour of the museum and it was sort of at lowtide so before the tour (we got there early and then the museum opened half an hour late) I went mudlarking. It's basically when you go on the shores of the Thames and look for stuff. Coins, spoons, pottery- anything that might have been dropped into the river since people first showed up in the area can be found on shore.

Thursday night we went back to the Globe for a performance of MacBeth which was super gory and had this sort of canopy thing coming out from the stage with holes in it. If you wanted to stand with your head in one of the holes you were one of the severed heads in hell. Guess where I stood? You also had a higher risk of being bled on or terrorized by the weird sisters.

Friday a group of us went out to a place called Folkstone which I guess is the boonies. I think it's about an hour away by train and it's within seeing distance of the White Cliffs of Dover, if you don't mind hiking all the way down the rocky shore we were on, then climbing onto an abandoned wharf/lighthouse base/nuclear instalment. The view was incredible.

Today it looks like Sarah and I are going up to the Camden Lock markets. I think she's looking for a dress and I want boots. Who knows what we'll really find.

Anyway, update later.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


More London

This is a cute video. This one is more OMG.

Ok, back to London news. I'm still really tired, but it's not jetlag or anything. I'm pretty well adjusted to the time here and when to go to sleep. It's that all this weekend we've been walking. Friday we had a tour of the part of town we live in so we can find the grocer's and the tube stop and school. Saturday we had a photo scavenger hunt all across London. We rode the Tube a lot, but there was so much walking. Today, Sunday, we went to Hampton Court and walked up and down it.

(btw that's a foot and a half step up into the train. gap indeed.)

I feel like I've mastered the tube system though I've only rode a train once so far (up to Hampton Court) and I still don't really understand the buses yet. Apparently it's a matter of understanding the layout of the city, then finding a bus going mostly the way you want to go, then hopping off when you get close. I'll have to use it Tuesday night though, because...

I have a ticket to go see Scissor Sisters!

And apparently I can't just take the tube there, I need to use the buses too. Very exciting.

In more scholarly news I have done all of the work due for the first week of classes, which starts tomorrow. And despite the pub food I'm still eating healthy. Tesco has cheap apples and carrots. On the way to Hampton Court I ate an entire box of grapes. And they do have macaroni and cheese over here- only it would be better to label it "macaroni in nutmeg cream sauce". Yuck. Glad I brought four boxes of it from Kroger at home.


Also London has a vampire problem. (besides all the twilight posters everywhere). Really I think it's a PSA for car accidents but...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Really really tired

This sums up everything I have ever learned about living with other people.

Yawn. Fighting jet lag by staying awake as long as possible is soul crushing. I woke up on the plane this morning at... 9AM brit time or something and ate this delicious cinnamon cake they gave me in my breakfast box. And I have been awake ever since and it is... 9PM brit time now and I feel like it's the longest day there has ever been. Midnight sun, six month days, kind of long.

The dorms we're in are nice. From the outside they look like brutalist architecture but it's more soviet looking than that. I'll take a pic tomorrow when it's not so drizzly outside. On the inside the dorms are yellow. And the windows open. Window. And I have a sink.

Earlier we went to a pub to see the england/algeria (?) match. There's nothing like standing in a mad crush of people who are all shouting at each other about work today then howling like werewolves when the ball gets close to the goal and realizing you have no idea how football/soccer is played.

Ok. Super tired. Bed now.



Oh, I also forgot to mention the 50p of custard I bought at Tesco's. It was more custard than a Ben and Jerry's carton could hold. For 50p. So good.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Hell of a Life

You know a person had a rollicking good time being alive when their obituary containes the following:

His personal humour often whirled into the surreal, as his fellow journalist Peter Tory learned to his cost. One night, in a Blackpool restaurant during a Conservative party conference, Waterhouse inveigled Tory into a bet which resulted in Tory losing his trousers. Waterhouse made off into the night with the item of clothing and Tory had to borrow a pair of the chef's pants.

Back at the bar of the Imperial hotel, he made himself busy introducing Tory's trousers to various Conservative party grandees, insisting they shake a proffered leg by way of greeting. In later weeks, Tory would receive sinister, late-night calls, claiming to be from his trousers, relating, in a falsetto, northern accent, the various risque adventures he was enjoying with his new master.

Copied from here. Found it while doing a paper for theater class.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Just In From The Newsroom-

I am somewhere in the AJC. No, really. It's a one week long contractor job typing up address on raffle tickets, but it's still a newspaper building.

I went on a tour the first day I was here and got to see the big presses, vats of ink the size of showers, rolls of paper half the size of my car... There's actually this miniture train type thing built into the floor to drive the reams of paper around and load them into the presses. And the coffee machines they have here...

The one down in the bullpen area is the most amazing. It autobrews three 12-cup pots at a time, with warming plates and everything. When you go down there to use it all the journalists make growly faces and sort of lunge towards you, like maybe you were sent there to break the machine.

It's adorable.

Unfortunatly unlike on TV the journalists do not appear to be friendly. None of them have spoken so far besides glaring to communicate when you go near the coffee machine.

In other news, it is sixteen days til London.