Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i need to learn to follow directions

ever have one of those days where every thing you touch literally explodes?

below--the aftermath of my attempted birthday cake for our flatmate. and i know, i handled everything very poorly, from assembly to my panicked attempt at rectifying the situation. and yeah, that is my treasured libbey glass bowl that sadly, is now cracked. i think that one exploded when i looked at it.i call the above cake volcano--that's what both little round pans looked like when i opened the oven, after smelling burning cake not 90 seconds after i put both in

the cake, from oven to sink... don't ask why that seemed logical:

my sad, broken bowl:

i'm afraid to touch anything now, for the rest of the day.

oh yeah, and as i was explaining the situation to richard on the phone, the phone dropped and shattered. no pics of that, as all richard heard was a scream and silence, so figured getting that back together to let him know i hadn't spontaneously combusted was important. especially on a day like today.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

instead of whinging

your british word of the day:
whinge [winj]
-verb (used without object)
to complain; whine.

the weather this past weekend was absolutely stunning--sun with hardly a cloud in the sky. it's such a rarity here we sort of didn't know what to do with ourselves. we spent yesterday walking around oxford, and today we took the camera out for a stroll around guildford. so, instead of whinging about all-things british, i present you with a mini-tour of our town. most of these pictures were taken within a 5-minute walk of our front door.

guildford high st--looking up the hill; our flat is across from the clock, on the 3rd floor

me on the high street, outside of our flat

the millmead lock on the guildford canal

a man and his dog, beside the river wey (pronounced 'way')

the river wey, meeting the guildford canal; and swans. and ducks.

view from bridge street, walking toward town center

Monday, January 21, 2008

same language, or so i'm told

it's easy to find references for the grammatical differences between american english and british english. but none of these are helpful at all on a day-to-day existence. idioms are one thing; but, even though i've lived here before, and learned a lot of the seemingly small variations in the seemingly inoffensive phrase, 'are you alright?', i CANNOT get used to the husband asking me this question!

if you're asked this question by an american, or in the states, it usually means, 'holy god, you're bleeding profusely from the head, are you alright? do you need medical care?' or 'you seem like you're having a mental breakdown, are you alright? do you need a bottle of whiskey?' you know, something like that. just used when someone seems in need of actual care or attention--blood, sweat, tears kind of querie...

the british usage--from what i can gather, closely resembles the tried and true phrase, 'hi, how are you?' or sometimes, 'hey, you look low on tea, would you like another cup?' but being american, when someone asks me 'are you alright?' it instigates a small tinge of panic.

i usually try and find a mirror to make sure my appearance isn't that out of the norm--hair relatively calm, no blood dripping from my nose i didn't know about, etc. when that seems fine, i reply with, 'yeah, everything is fine, why?' to which the british person just kind of makes a confused face, shrugs, walks away. i've learned to just reply, 'yeah.' but god forbid anyone saying, 'no, i'm not alright.' that response is met with equal confusion/disdain/ambivalence. in that case, the brit isn't asking how you are, or if you want tea--they're really just trying to make a pleasantry, much like an american would say, 'hello!'

this might not seem like that big a deal, but this phrase is asked of you wherever you go, by strangers, shop assistants, flatmates, husbands, friends, over and over and over and over! i can get used to it in public, get used to friends, but the husband--every time, it makes me uneasy and defensive. i guess it's just one of those things.

Friday, January 18, 2008

all the world loves a lover

i'm afraid i'm reduced to nothing but links for the time being--but check out this charles bronson japanese mandom commercial though. seriously. do it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

i really thought i was smarter

my aunt passed this lufthansa game on european geography to me, and i can't stop playing. of course every time i play, my score goes down. sigh.

Monday, January 14, 2008

viva los tacos!

i guess my mom read my mind 3 weeks ago when she sent us our xmas presents which arrived today--we got all kinds of chili spices today! chipotle, ancho, guajillo--it magically goes on! we rushed out to the store and bought everything to make a fancy chili to celebrate. hurray for mum! er, bueno mama!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


i can't wait to play this game that comes out tomorrow!

**update: i can wait to play this, as it turns out. i don't think whoever made this did much testing, becuase it's super slow and hard to play. too bad, becuase i love the idea of it.

mi mexico

the meeting with the recruiter went fine. i'm still learning job titles here--what they translate to in american speak. i've emailed a couple more people, so i'm hoping some jobs/interviews present themselves soon.

we went flat hunting in london yesterday. yikes. funny how amazing a place can look in photos online, and then turn out to be a total dump when you walk in the door. we saw one place that was 1/2 fantastic--big lounge, bright, lots of windows in the front, but then the back half was dark, smelled of cat pee, and was really cramped. so we're still looking. places here often come furnished, which is great for student living but horrible for us. landlords can be rather inflexible on options of removing everything. one guy we called suggested that, if we liked the flat and didn't want the furniture, we should rent out a storage space for his furniture. hmm, no.

i really miss mexican food, and had a big craving for tacos last week. i have a great recipe from cooks illustrated, but the chili powder concoctions here aren't quite the same. i'm used to finding chili powders that are solely made of chilis, and i didn't check the contents before dumping a couple tablespoons in the sauce. we soon smelled that british chili powders are mostly cumin, corriander, garlic salt, etc. i already added those ingredients. our taco (fake) meat tasted fine, but smelled like an indian curry. was odd. i need to find some plain chili powder.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


tomorrow i'm heading into london to meet with a recruiter. i'm hoping this leads to a job--or at least job interviews--within the next couple of weeks.

we're also looking for flats london, which isn't all that enjoyable. we sort of need to know what salaries we'll be earning to pick out a flat we can afford. i'm sure it'll all come together. just stressful thinking about it all.

the building-work in the current flat is still in full swing. we've been getting out--walking, jogging, etc. just to get away from the dust. so far it's been great--haven't had a snot-spell in days!

Friday, January 4, 2008

dust bowl

apparently, my body has developed a dust allergy. i'm hoping that's what has caused my current, never-ending snot spell.

the lounge here suffered some water damage through the spring and fall, and the landlord here has, 8 months later, finally sent people to fix the problem. i guess they realized no one currently living here would want to stay on for more rain soaking, so they're fixing the problem for the next tenants. how sweet.

anyway, the dust byproduct from the stripping of wallpaper and plaster has left my face itchy and my nose full of snot. the builders also started this work a day late, so instead of having the project finished before the weekend, it will surely carry into next week. joy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

a gallery of miis

check us out!
poopy and radar are, oddly, the best players on the basebal team...

the husband, myself, and nephew poopy:

m*a*s*h 4077th (yes, that is chuck norris next to hawkeye):

strangers with candy:

alan partridge "A Ha!"

happy new year!

since we're on the high street, directly across from the guildhall and clock, we were accidentally in the exact right place in guildford to watch the countdown to the new year. there weren't that many people braving the cold, but it was fun to be right in the center.

we aren't big fans of champagne, so we had fruli beer instead. i basically hate fruit beers, but this one is different--it's actually delicious! i have never been able to find it in the states, but here it's starting to spread and you can find it in a few pubs. it's much more a refreshing summer beer than something i crave in the winter, but it was great to find it in bottle form for the occasion.

we've also started running. er, trying to run, more jogging and walking than actual running, but we're trying to make ourselves stick with it. we want to run a 5K by the end of april, so i think having a goal might keep us motivated?