Thursday, December 27, 2007

zombies and mii

we ventured out into the general public today, since all the shops have re-opened and humans are back meandering up and down our street. the last few days have been nice and quiet, but it's felt a bit like being a george romero zombie flick--respectfully, minus the zombies. well, maybe a few zombies. we've been playing 'resident evil' on the wii, so i guess i have zombies on the mind. anyway, we went for a long walk and then pints of guinness in the local pub.

speaking of the wii, i'm hoping to add some pics of our wii miis (pronounced like 'me') later on. they're little cartoon avatars of whomever you want. we've been trying to create enough miis for our nintendo baseball teams. if you don't have enough miis, you're stuck with computer generated people, and they're too boring. so, we have miis of ourselves and any other pictures or dvd covers we have lying around: jeeves and wooster (fry and laurie's versions), my nephew, bjork (created by accident whilst i was trying to re-create punky brewster), and jerri blank, mr noblet and mr jellineck from 'strangers with candy.' we got a card from grandma and her roommate dorothy today, so i'm afraid our task for this evening is to re-create them in mii form as well. i bet they're both wicked switch hitters.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

boxing day

happy boxing day!actually, this was our xmas dinner dessert--sticky toffee pudding, but the two days sort of run together over here. boxing day is basically a day for re-grouping--playing with the presents, spending time with family, eating leftovers and napping. er, at least that's what i gather. we spent the day cleaning and doing laundry, and now we're about to play resident evil on the wii. it's a public holiday, so most people don't have to work; but, some of the bigger retail stores are open. no supermarkets though. we haven't really planned out what we're doing with the rest of our week. probably a lot of walking, to lose some of the weight gained from consuming the above-mentioned excruciatingly rich pudding...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

delayed xmas panic

something about losing pop earlier this year has made this xmas more surreal than normal. i've been putting off anything xmas-related--cards, food, presents, parties, etc.--by just ignoring all of it. i'm never the first one to have any of this done in any 'normal' year, but this year it has just felt purposely delayed. listening to xmas music--a formerly passive activity--has this year become a weeping session for me. i can't listen to 'little drummer boy,' specifically the johnny cash version which happens to the the only one i have, without tears falling uncontrollably! i'm not sure why that song, it has no connection to my pop for me as far as i can recall. but really any song, if the mood strikes me in the weepy way.

so now, a mere days before the holiday, i suddenly feel like i should be doing xmas things. we're trying to figure out how we'll get all of our groceries here--it's too late to order online, and today is the last day for 'normal' store hours. we're both 'bunged' (it's what the british refer to as 'full of snot'), need pie dishes for quiche, cookie sheets, haha. we're really in the best location for last-minute xmas--we're in the town center, steps away from every shop in guildford you could think of EXCEPT the cheap, big supermarket, Tescos. we might take a taxi later, as it's open until midnight.

we only decided yesterday it might be nice to buy each other presents! we have been together almost non-stop since early november, so it's not like we haven't bought things already and referred to them as 'early xmas presents.' but now, as the shops are out of everything, i'm getting the urge to venture out. it's funny, i always remember as a kid my dad and brothers almost never did any shopping befor 24 Dec. Perhaps i'm not in delayed xmas mode, it's more my nature to just put it all off until the last minute than i realised.

Friday, December 21, 2007

oh brother

happy festivus/ xmas! i think our little charlie brown tree falls somewhere in between the two holidays.

we also got a nintendo wii! we were at the local video game store and asked the clerk, "realise this is a stupid question, but do have any wiis in stock?" to which he replied, "you might be about 15 minutes late, but let me check." so apparently we got one that someone else didn't claim in time...i hope it wasn't a make-a-wish candidate or something, because then i'd feel awful. it's so hard to get them here, not sure about the states? here you can get them on sites like ebay and amazon marketplace but marked up to minimum £300, but the retail value is £175... so we did good. unless we stole from tiny tim. or tinny tim (pictured). we've wrapped the wii so we can re-live the excitement on xmas morning.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

northern exposure

sorry for my delayed re-cap of the trip north. we left friday morning for southport and stayed with old friends of R's, E & J and they're newly-acquired english staffordshire bull terrier 'bully'. we went to the local (pub), proceeded to get drunk, ate pizza, and played guitar hero III all night. from what i remember, it was a great time! i was drunk enough to mingle with the puppy, which shows the level of inebriation.

we went to liverpool saturday afternoon, and had dinner on lark lane in an italian restaurant with R's mom, grandad, uncle, aunt, sister, cousin and boyfriend of his cousin. we stayed in the innkeeper's lodge in aigburth--on the south side of liverpool--near R's grandad's house. we probably won't stay there again--after the burglar alarm for the front door went off sometime around 4.30 a.m. and stayed on for a good hour. was odd, as there was no one to call to come and turn it off! didn't make us feel particularly safe. we left liverpool for bradford sunday around noon, and gave R's mom and sister a lift across the pennines on the M62--britian's 'highest point of any motorway.' it didn't seem nearly as high as driving across pennsylvania, but the view was nice. sorry no pics--i was driving, after all...

we went to dinner at the ring 'o bells with R's friends J and A sunday night--was honestly the best british food i've ever had. i think, if it was socially acceptable, i would have licked my plate clean. but i didn't--instead i tried my hardest to eat my sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and bailey's ice cream... so delicious.

we stayed at R's dad's house in bradford, and had a relaxed day monday--only leaving to visit his mom for tea and heading to dinner with R's family at nawaab, an indian restaurant which is commonly touted as britian's finest curry house. we weren't disappointed. it's been reported that princess di once called the nawaab and had them deliver curry to her in london--a good 4 hour drive. it sounded like an urban legend until i actually ate the food. unbelievably delicious.

we headed to the druids after for a pint of caffrey's with R's dad. I got some pics of the landlord Mick, and one of R's pop with a couple other regulars.

we left tuesday after visiting with R's grandma and her partner. we headed back to london (where we saw this fabulous mcvitites semi!), and prematurely thought the trip was flawless--until the M25/ A3 roundabout. i just couldn't get in the lane i needed to be in, so we wound up back on the M25--heading the same direction! we then thought we'd easily fix the problem by getting off at the next exit, only we managed to stay in the roundabout just too long, and again wound up heading the same direction on the m25 we'd just thought we'd exited--was like something you'd see in National Lampoon's Euro Vacation. but somehow, we got the rental car back just in time.

R had his interview in London yesterday, and today we're just trying to recover from our colds. we're heading up to london in a bit to see cousins L & J. unfortunately, i don't think we'll manage to stay long with our sniffles--but since we're not going anywhere for xmas, i'm sure we'll see them again for a holiday gathering.

british cold II

i think the weekend traveling and chilly weather prompted british cold II to appear. i did manage to find the advil cold & sinus equivalent in the UK, which cheers me to no end. i can't live without it in the states between october-april.

i guess i reluctantly understand why, in the states, you need to show something silly like photo ids, proof of address to buy pseudoephedrine, but thankfully, you don't need it here. you just have to walk in looking like death and they ask no questions. they sell the same things--tylenol, caffeine and phenylephrine (which is absolutely useless as a decongestant), or you can get the pseudoephedrine ibuprofen mix over the counter.

sorry if this post read a little dull--it's hard trying to find the same meds/ drugs over here. you can find them, with a little effort, but when you have something like a cold or allergies, the first thing you want is your reliable standbys. just so happy they have the same stuff here now. no more echinacea and chamomile tea--yay!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

home again home again

we've just walked in the door--we both have tea, and are ready for bed! it's been an exhausting but fun weekend. we left early friday and drove up to southport to see friends of R's. saturday we drove south to liverpool to see R's grandad, mom, sister and various relatives. sunday we drove east to bradford to see more friends and family, which rolled into monday and this a.m., and now i'm finally without the responsibility of the rental car. i think we logged somewhere around 600 miles. not too crazy, for 4 days.

driving in the UK isn't that difficult--you just need to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road, roundabouts, narrow lanes, the crazy road signs, etc. when we got to enterprise on friday, we found we'd been upgraded to a chevy captiva--nothing like a nice american-style SUV to ease me into the british roads. have i mentioned R doesn't have his license? i'm allowed to drive on my american one for a year--in that time i need to somehow get my british license. probably do that in the new year.

we didn't get lost or have any strange mishaps until we were almost home--which happened to be rush hour in london. we missed a turn off the M25 (aka the orbital--it circles london) and added a good hour to our journey--but we found our way in the end.

i'll post more and add pics in a bit--right now i need a nap. and a fresh cup of tea.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

train travel is for suckers

we're heading up to liverpool, southport and bradford this weekend to see R's family and some friends. we were comparing train tickets to renting a car--and train tickets for 2 at the cheapest rates are something unbelievable like £315! the car rental is a mere £122, all taxes and insurances inclusive.

i used to like taking the train everywhere, but train fares just keep rising, and the service doesn't seem to have improved at all in the 8 years or so that i've been in and out of this country. prices are increasing even more this january! yay, privatized public transportation! i mean, wait, boo.
"To the British, train travel represents expense, frustration and delay..."
so, we're renting a car. now we need to buy a map.

Monday, December 10, 2007


R and i went to london yesterday morning and spent much of the day with my cousin LM and her husband JM. we saw beowulf 3D at the IMAX theatre.

i really expected to not like it much at all, as i really like the epic poem, and spent a lot of time studying it in high school, undergrad, and grad school. the movie is almost never as good as the book--but at least this one wasn't really trying to be the book. i assume, anyway. i didn't love it, but it was entertaining. i did manage to doze off somewhere near the climx--oops. i guess that tells you how much i loved the new, very hollywood story line. the computer graphics were okay--it sort of felt like i was watching someone play a video game though--but i think i prefer that to watching actual people trying to create some of these scenes. makes it more 'legend' than real-life hero tale. okay enough on that.

was really good to see the cousins since i haven't seen them since March. we met early and had a coffee, and after the film went to a pub near Waterloo to have dinner. I really have to remind myself that service in the States is FAR better than anywhere in the UK. the food was way over-priced for what it was (bland and under-cooked), and the staff was useless and largely absent. but hey ho, we'll have plenty more experiences like this in London, i'm afraid. might as well just get used to it--at least they don't expect tips here.

we should have gone to our first option, the fishcotheque! i used to pass this every morning on my way to school. i've never been in, but it actually receives great reviews. i'd never guess that from looking at it though:

we just had lunch at wagamama's with an old colleague of R's. was good, but now i need to get back to arranging the room, applying for jobs, etc. which means i'll probably go play scrabble on facbook instead...

oh, and here was our view and 'entertainmant' on saturday, a brass band playing the same 5 xmas songs over and over and over from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. argh. notice the tuba aimed straight at our window--i swear this was on purpose, just to annoy me. we tried to work over the noise, building our wardrobe and working on our CVs (resumes in american), but had to just leave the flat after a while. they were still playing when we returned, the bastards!

Friday, December 7, 2007


we're done building all our furniture! i'll post pics tomorrow, after we've found a way to dispose of the cardboard, plastic, etc. our room is now full or furniture, but i'm sure that by the time we unpack our suitcases and re-arrange books and cds and all that, every inch will be occupied with stuff!

we got off to a bad start yesterday, when we opened the box that held the dresser. the pre-inserted screw holding in the rail/slider for the drawers was completely absent. we had to make a quick run to robert dyas to find a suitable replacement--which thankfully turned out okay. then today, with the wardrobe, we were missing a screw for a drawer--stupid ikea.

we need beer and sticky toffee pudding right now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

market day

the first tuesday of every month is market day on guildford high street. our bedroom overlooks the high street, so i took some pics from our window:

old people admiring the cakes and jams:

and i'm not sure which designer fashion show this woman was on her way to--but she's dressed solely in plastic shopping bags. i really hope she has something on underneath. perhaps this is her clever way of taking all of her bags to the recycling bin? i hope so. i mean, this can't be her work outfit, can it? maybe she's trying to get fired today.

R and i are having all of our furniture delivered on thursday. we realized today that we forgot to order the bed slats from ikea! whoops. we also need to take a few items to the dump--the current bed and computer desk. so we've hired a van and a driver for the afternoon tomorrow. we're planning an early morning, last-minute ikea run to collect all the other things we didn't have the energy to shop for last time--sheets, table, chairs, etc. so, tomorrow should be productive and busy. today was mostly a waste--we did get out on the high street and checked out all the market stalls, but didn't purchase anything. we made lunch and sat on the couch with R's flatmates watching 'Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge' for much of the afternoon. really funny comedy, but that's left us with piles of cleaning to do tonight and tomorow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

rude britain

R sent me this link--britian's rudest road signs. nice, wholesome sunday reading. enjoy!

rainy sunday

sundays in the uk are pretty low-key. most pubs offer a sunday roast 'with all the fixins'. ususally some kind of meat with peas, carrots, mashed potatoes, etc. the shops and the pubs all close early, if they open at all.

our day has been pretty simple. woke up (before noon!) and headed down to the keystone for dinner. i like the keystone here in gford, because it isn't a chain. or if it is a chain, their food is at least fresh, tasty and made in house.

a lot of english pub food i've had has been rather stale, because most pubs are owned by breweries who sort of make all of their pubs just as lame as their last one. it's akin to eating at a really boring chain restaurant in the states that serves lots of heated frozen things. some are better than others, but for the most part, i avoid the food in them. it really just leads to me complaining for an hour. instead, i'll drink the beer. it's much more satisfying.

but i diegress. so after dinner at the keystone, which included hendrick's gin and tonics, we bought a drying rack at robert dyas, after we tried to buy the same one at argos but were given a really cheap knock-off instead.

argos is an enigma. actually, it's not. it's got most of what target has, but it's really obnoxious. i guess it's sort of like service merchandise, that old store? you go in and order everything from a catalog, pay for it, then wait with 40 other pushy people in a 5 ft by 10 ft area for your items to appear. your number is called, so you push your way to the front, only to realize your items actually aren't ready, and you get to be the jerk that's standing there keeping others from pushing their way to the front. this goes on for about 15-25 mins. you know what they could really use at argos? a proper british queue! i think it's the only place i've ever not seen the british queue in action.

so anyway, we're home and it's really horrible and rainy outside. the only thing i wish i had was another hendrick's gin and tonic in my hand.

and oh yeah, i think we've defeated the jet lag. woo!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

native americans in guildford

i was a little surprised to wake up to live, bad flute music this a.m., but even more surprised when i looked out the window and saw 3 native americans dressed in full indian garb, playing along to some lame new-age music. i think i've seen these people in, of all places, reykjavik! i'm positive these were the street musicians i saw and ignored while i was there in july 2004. i'm not sure how many roving bands of street native american musicians there are in--europe.

this is something i've yet to see anywhere in the states. i mean, you see it when people come to your school during 'indian week', but rarely do you see native americans in full garb promoting cds on streets in the midwest. which i guess is why i'm so surprised to see it on the streets of guildford. not even london.

oh and do i need to say it? it's awful. it's them playing flutes over pre-recorded flutes, drums and keyboards. really, really dreadful. and it's really loud, and as you can see from the pic, it's directly outside my window. and they're still playing. it's been 8 hours or so.

Friday, November 30, 2007

british cold number 1

well it took a week, but i have my first uk bug. it's nothing monumental, but i'm just expecting this to be the first of many. the last time i was here, i caught everything--was always sneezing with a sore throat. oh well.

i saw 'stardust' last night at the odeon in guildford. the odeon is like amc theaters in the states--overpriced. for an extra £1, you can sit in 'premium' seats--the seats are slightly larger. i'm told they're ideal because the speakers are directed at that 'premium' section. what a rip-off! i guess the odeon wasn't selling enough stale popcorn, so they had to make more money somehow. we sat in the schlep class, and we could see and hear just fine.

oh yeah, and the movie was good. kind of exactly what you'd expect if you've ever read a neil gaiman novel. funny and silly and well written.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


i've just applied for a job at google london. i think i'm all sorts of qualified, but regardless, just feels good to apply for a cool job with a resume and cover letter i'm proud of.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

week one

tomorrow marks the end of week one of my time in the UK. i can't believe how jet-lagged i still am! i've been falling asleep sometime around 5-6 a.m. london time. just can't get on local time. makes for a lethargic day full of catatonic internet browsing followed by a second wind which kicks in sometime around 9 p.m. lucky me.

i blame this on our trip over here. the flight was delayed to start with, and the flight crew was incredibly obnoxious. perhaps we only noticed this because we were sitting right next to them during take-off--listening to them loudly complain about all the passengers. they were just lame. so anyway, after a really long delay waiting for the crew to clean up the trays from dinner, the first round of drink carts rolled through the aisle. still have trays full of dinner wrappers, etc., and now we're full of cups and cans of beer. so immediately after the drink cart rolls on down, the woman in front of R slams her seat back--no slow recline--and manages to knock all of our beer all over us! it was really cold--we were soaked. the aforementioned woman doesn't so much as look behind to see what all the commotion was about. the flight crew apparently couldn't find a single towel for us to dry off with, so we literally stood there shivering for over an hour and half, waiting for my seat and our legs to dry, to no avail.

when i got to immigration control, the man immediately sent me away for a health examination before he'd let me into the country. i'm convinced he thought i was an alcoholic, due to the very potent booze smell. ah oh well. the woman passed me without an exam, and we eventually made it home for a 6 hour nap. granted, not the best way to initially deal with jet lag, but we had to.

moving on... i got my phone, and i was approved for a bank account today. woo! so, slowly, things are coming together.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


we got hitched! in vegas! a week ago...

Friday, October 12, 2007


i've started jogging/walking again. let's see if this lasts more than 2 outings this time.

i also finally copied all my songs from my ipod to my itunes; the ipod is 3 and half years old and is still working. i don't want to jinx myself though. anyway, i've been procrastinating, putting off uploading the songs for so long--i'm just so relieved. i used PodWorks--was only $8 to download, and worked great. i know i know, i probably could have found one for free--but this one had no problems at all. 20 some gigs were copied over in about 2 hours. under the supervision of the nephew and myself.

i also ordered wedding bands today. i've been going back and forth between palladium and platinum. platinum is so much more. i know most of the diffs, but i really have no problem with ordering palladium to save several hundred bucks. the fiance got platinum, which is cool. i have another ring, my grandma's, i'll wear most of the time. it's quite old and delicate though, so i'll have the palladium to wear during treacherous events like--queuing. and bagging my groceries. and other british hazards.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


so, it's all set. i've booked the vegas chapel. decided no on elvis as officiant, and we're still working out where we can get a little elvis into the ceremony without being tacky.

i'm heading south to cowtown in the a.m. i haven't been there in way too long.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


richard and i finally have a plan--he's coming over in november and we're heading to vegas to get hitched! we'll be traveling around the midwest afterward, seeing family and chillin', and we'll be heading back to the UK just before thanksgiving. feels so incredibly relieving to have a plan.

i've started a job at caribou coffee, and i have another part time job starting up a week from monday. why is it that jobs present themselves in groups, just as you're making plans to leave--always seems to happen this way for me.