Thursday, February 21, 2008

america will blow up the moon

i'm sure you've heard, but apparently the missile launched to blow up the malfunctioning spy satellite scored a direct hit. i don't know why, but this mr. show clip came immediately to mind, even though it's not the same thing at all...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

fantastic voyage

i returned home this a.m. from JFK in New York, after attending my Aunt Nancy's funeral over the weekend. was sad, bitter-sweet. i was happy to see family again, and i haven't seen my dad's side in quite a while. despite the circumstances, it's always nice to see them; and of course, i got to see my sibs, nephew and mom, which is always good.

i have a couple friends in NYC, and i spent a little time with them sunday and monday. we tried to do s'mores on Sunday, but found out we were too early. go figure, to have an open flame in a manhatten coffee shop you have to wait until after 5 p.m. we did manage to find some on monday with coffee...

so the weekend was good, emotional and very busy. i left tuesday around 4.30 a.m. to catch my 7.40 flight from JFK. we were all boarded by 7.15, and as we headed toward the runway, the captain announced there was something wrong with a sensor in a fuel tank, giving him 'unreliable' reads on the fuel gauge.

so, we sat for 4+ hours on the plane, while the engineers tried to diagnose and fix the problem. at that point, the thoughts, 'can we just switch planes?' occurred to people, but what do we know. and since the thoughts of a malfunctioning fuel tank was too much to ponder before a 7-hour flight across the atlantic, no one could really be too upset at the pilot's insistence on safety first. we took off--and we were all slightly uneasy--around noon.

30 mins in the air, i started wondering why the fasten seat belts lights hadn't switched off. an announcement came on, saying all the toilets were broken! so we've been on the plane now for over 5 hours, and we're informed that we're turning around and heading back to JFK; but, the plane had spent all that time on the fuel tank issue, and re-fueled before taking off. and, as we were informed before take-off, 'in case something happens,' we loaded up on extra fuel as a pre-caution. that didn't ease anyone's mind. so, we had massive amounts of fuel we needed to jettison before we could land, which took about 45 mins. that was odd--as i was sitting in the seat with the best view of watching, what thousands? hundreds? of gallons of kerosene (!) being dumped overboard. (i've added a couple of images for dramatic effect...) after the 4-hour worry over the fuel tanks-issues, watching all this fuel being pumped out feet from my seat was kind of nauseating, let alone those secondary thoughts of, 'what the hell happens to all this fuel being dumped?'

around 2 p.m. we landed, back at JFK. ah, nothing like spending 7 hours on a plane, including taking off and landing, to wind up back where you started. all kinds of other stupid little problems ensued, but eventually, we all were accommodated on a flight leaving around 6 p.m. we had to re-check our bags; i was SO glad that 5 feet from the bag check, i remembered i'd bought liquid (not booze!) in duty free, so i had to squeeze that into the bag before heading to security.

the airline provided us with a $20 food voucher; after that, i headed straight for the brooklyn brewery bar near my gate, where i enjoyed the lager and brown ale. they helped immensely, and for the first time in many flights--i actually managed to doze for most of the flight. i arrived this a.m. around 5.30, and of course, that's when i realized i was over my jet-lag in the states--my body clock is now all synced up with the eastern time zone! just in time for re-entry into... london. oh joy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

happy year of the rat!

we celebrated chinese new year in chinatown, starting with lunch with richard at my favorite chinese restaurant and drinks with my friend sigga in my favorite non-chinese pub in the area. was drunk and happy! hope you had a similar thursday.

today is gorgeous, so we're about to head out and shop.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

super shrove tuesday

english towns have annual pancake races on shrove tueday--er, mardi gras. i was surprised to look out my window today at people racing down the high st., holding fry pans, flipping flapjacks! i remember reading about this in my 'childcraft' kids' encyclopedia when i was younger, but had no idea the event still actually takes place:

she was my favorite--had by far the most skill--

he started off well, but i think he would up dropping his cake near the end--

and look, the town was so enraptured with the pancake excitement that the elderly, on market day, abandoned the cake and jam stand! i've never been able to see the table in it's full glory before today--

after all this pancake excitement, i'm heading into london in a bit to vote in the primary! apparently, democrats abroad is recognized as a legitimate branch of the democratic party, with a few million people voting. i don't believe we're a swing vote, but it still feels nice to be a part of the political process, if small. oh, and i guess i accidentally told you which party i'm supporting. ah, well. hurray super shrove tuesday!