Thursday, May 29, 2008


i've had a hard time explaining eurovision to americans. this does a pretty good job, complete with video of ireland's entry. ireland didn't make it to the finals, sadly. but not that sad when you see the entry.

i watch it because it's so, so, so incredibly bad it's funny. the announcer on the bbc has been doing it for something like 25 years, an irish radio and television presenter named terry wogan, and he's absolutely hysterical. he's kind of like joel, tom servo and crow in "mystery science theater 3000," all in one; he gets progressively drunker and more honest as the night wears on. this year he was relatively tame, but he gets in trouble every now again for his name-calling, which is usually deserved.

this year's winner is russia, who had an ice skater on stage. it was SO bad! i realize it's a lesson in endurance, but try and make it to at least to 2:20 into the song--as that's when the ice skater comes on stage. he looks like jeff daniels in "dumb and dumber." seriously. european countries all vote for each other, and of course the worst songs always come out on top.

france was cool though. i mean, cool for eurovision.

i think all of the countries should have to sing in their own language. for one, it wouldn't be so obvious that the english lyrics are total rubbish.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

saturday's discovery

i'm not a comic-book convention person. we went today with cousins lisa and jeff, because well, we didn't have anything else planned and it was a good excuse to spend the afternoon together. and for that, i'd go again. but, the pushy, pimply, brace-faced high-school aged kids in attendance dressed as their favorite comic book characters were not my cup of tea. however, we did get to see a battlestar galactica panel! i'm an official geek! it was fun, and here's a grainy pic from the event. from left to right--edward jame olmos (admiral adama!), um, the guy who plays chief galen tyrol, the guy who plays felix gaeta, and the woman who plays tory. i'm bad with names.

Friday, May 23, 2008

and certainly not as an afterthought

i got a job! pending reference and visa checks, i got the job i wanted! i start 2 june. the company is based in london bridge, so i'll have about an hour commute each way on the train (including walking to and from the station), plus a mere 10 minute tube journey, if everything is running on time. woo hoo!

i'm basically a project coordinator, helping to launch a new website this fall. it's similar to the traffic positions i've held before--in that it involves a lot of liaising with people in different departments, freelancers--though these freelancers and the projects i'm working on happen to be all over the world--in 30 countries, actually. so it's very global, exciting, and it's all about trend watching/predicting/reporting. i'm so pleased!

freedom is just a brand name

i've always liked keith olberman. and wow, his 'special comment' from last week makes me like him even more. 12 minutes of honest, smart, passionate criticism. too rare an event these days. and i can't believe i'm just viewing this now?

this should be required viewing before voting this fall.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

senator kennedy

i can't believe senator kennedy has a malignant glioma--brain tumor. it's so sad, and i think the one politician who really summed up all the emotion surrounding such news yesterday was obama, who described the news as 'heartbreaking.' not saying other politicians aren't obviously affected and upset and pulling for the guy, just that that one word seemed the most appropriate.

reading all the news about kennedy, and about the dignosis and prognosis was unexpectedly raw yesterday--i seriously just had flashbacks to a couple years ago hearing my dad's diagnosis. scrambling for news about what brain tumors do, how they're treated, how the outcomes look--i think the search for answers in my pop's case is still ongoing, albeit with less vigor.

getting one's head around the facts is easy--but brain tumors are such individual little assholes. the one in my dad's head, even if it turns out to be the same type as kennedy's, was it's own entity. so even looking at past cases and statistics is almost useless--most people die from brain tumors. the length of time associated with dealing with them and the affects on everyday actions are what differ.

my pop survived longer than most for his age and health and type of tumor, but it wasn't an easy road. the swelling associated with tumors is great (there's a really great sum up of tumors on npr's site today), and my dad never fully recovered from the initial craniotomy. the swelling from the tumor, mixed with the swelling from surgery, the chemo, the radiation, his medication--it just all added up, quickly. dad needed a shunt to help relieve brain swelling, and remained on steroids at different levels the length of his illness. the steroids caused other massive problems, like bone death, leading to 2 broken hips, possible hairline rib fractures, etc.

my dad started out in speech, physical and occupational therapy, but these quickly waned to no therapy, as he just wasn't making any progress, and combined with the chemo and radiation, he was too tired. and we learned soon after, the swelling in his brain was getting worse and worse and wasn't helping. he received physical therapy after the initial hip surgery, but even that was a major struggle. pop also suffered from aphasia, so his speech, especially at the beginning of his treatment, was difficult to follow. numbers, dates and basic words for things were lost, and he'd often mistake us kids for each other, which isn't all that out of the norm, but when you're watching your father struggling to remember which kid you are, it's tough. i guess his sypmtoms mirrored alzheimers in many ways, but it was a much faster progression, and it wasn't alzheimers. one day he knew what was happening, and the next he didn't. his speech at times got better, and every now and again his memory seemed to be perfect--sort of culminating during his speech at his and my mom's anniversary party, and slowly declining after that.

i guess this all just flashbacked in my mind, reading everyone's well wishes and words of recovery for senator kennedy. the one thing that almost everyone said was, 'he's a fighther, so if anyone can beat this...' but i just cringed. brain tumors aren't the equivalent of the cliche picking yourself up by your bootstraps. they do require great bravery, but they're also humiliating. you lose a lot of functioning in the one organ that dictates functioning. you don't even know where your bootstraps are, let alone that you need to find them and pick them up.

i hope his tumor is small, moderatly aggressive, and that they caught it very early on. i hope his recovery is successful, he falls into remission as soon as possible, and that he survives a long time. but i'm slightly pessimistic. and i feel kind of bad about it. i think the one 'good' thing about it is that senator kennedy raises the awareness factor of brain tumors, their nature, recovery, outlook.

i'm pleased that i was able to participate in the brain tumor walk. it's easy to lose someone to a hearbreaking illness, and then to forget that funding for research for any improvement in the field is essential. it wasn't until i read the high-profile diagnosis that i remembered that, sadly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

w(h)ales (re)visited

wales was good! we rented a little chevy and drove to shirenewton/usk/chepstow just over the wales/england line to see heather, john and 7-month old owain this past weekend. i'd never been to wales, but my pre-conceived notion of narrow roads, hills, valleys and really nice people proved correct. we managed to not drink much at all saturday, which was good, considering there was no way i'd have been able to manage the dark, winding roads with any kind of blood alcohol level. i've created an amateur photo collage for you, pointing out the highlights. explained below:

let's see, from left to right, top to bottom--1. welcome to wales--hope you can read welsh; 2. welsh sheep; 3. the severn bridge crossing the mouth of the river severn; 4. the happy caricature of a toll-both worker and (5.) the amount of change necessary to get from england to wales (£5.30)--this was funny because the suckers in the 'fast'--'exact change only' lane took so much longer to clear the toll booths than those not paying with correct change; i guess tossing a billion coins and expecting it to be calculated quickly isn't really as efficient as say, the $.80 booths in illinois; 6. the husband and i at the party making odd faces; 7. driving at night in wales--the roads are winding, dark and i was driving on the wrong side of the road (um, as in, not on the right) and apparently in chevys, the brights only stay on manually, so that was fun, turning the wheel with one arm permanently grasping the brights lever; 8. narrow road in the daytime--not much easier than at night, but slightly less scary; 9. view of the valley, looking down toward the severn river over shirenewton; 10. heather and owain!; 11. our hotel--the rat trap hotel and restaurant. despite the name and the hot pink exterior, the hotel was cozy, the breakfast delicious, and the staff extremely polite and helpful. and we saw no rats; 12. my pint of choice at the hotel rat trap: the rev james. was tasty!; 13. a shot of wales--taken on usk road, looking at some farms or something idyllic like that.

Friday, May 16, 2008


i have a second job interview on monday! yay! if for some reason i don't get the job, it's off to burger king. or mcdonalds. they have to hire an american, right?

richard and i went to see ladytron in london last night. was horrible! the sound actually made the newport music hall in columbus sound good--which is saying a lot. about 7 songs in, the staff announced the power was out. perhaps no one noticed the sound was so awful until then? regardless, we stood around for half an hour or so until the staff came on stage and announced the show was canceled. ah, well. that's just my luck these days.

richard and i are off to wales for the weekend to see our friend heather, her husband and newborn. they're in town from seattle, visiting family and celebrating their one year anniversary. i can't wait! i haven't seen her since i left the UK in 2006. should be good, but we're staying about 20 miles away, so no drunkeness for me. i have to drive.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

our new shortcut into town

we live really close to the guildford castle. actually, we've lived really close since i moved here, but now we have an excuse to walk through the grounds on our way in and out of town. i snapped a couple quick pics over the weekend, on our way into town to find food.

it's funny, i mean, for most people in the the UK, finding a decent meal is easier than taking a picture of a castle built by william the conquerer. but not for me.

richard's friend john was in town this past weekend. we met up in london and record shopped most of the day, and spent the evening having pints and food with my friend sigga. it was such a beautiful weekend--the warmest for the UK this year. i guess i wasn't expecting it. i seem to have left all of my sandals and tank tops in the states. whoops.

on sunday, we met up with cousins lisa and jeff, and sigga. jeff had two gigs--one acoustic show in clerkenwell and one with slim's cyder co near kings x. both were great!

i haven't seen him play with slim's in a few years. always a good time. i need to track down a recording of 'is it love or food poisoning?'

Saturday, May 3, 2008

does anyone have a spare spy cam?

seriously. i think i need to start recording my interviews.

thursday: i narrowly escaped what could have been an excruciatingly awkward situation. the office i was interviewing at had no running water due to a water main break that occurred the day before, so the interviewer suggested we go get a cup of tea (it was 4 p.m. some british people are programmed at this time to need tea. i'm not complaining). cool. interview goes well, he mentions he still has other candidates, but that i'm definitely on the short list for people to call back for a second interview. woo hoo! i'm hoping it wasn't just something british people say, because the company and position look great. okay, so he gets up to leave after the tea, and i don't know if he saw what i saw--a young woman stood up near the door to leave, and was, i don't know, putting her jacket on or something, but her very-short skirt was in need of some smoothing--all i could see was ass. no underpants, just ass! and she stood there for what felt like an eternity--it was to the point where the radius of tables around her were all looking at each other, somewhat horrified, with that 'are you seeing this?!' look on our faces. i was so relieved that at that moment, i wasn't expected to tell the interviewer where i wanted to be professionally in 5 years, because it would have come out, 'oh my god look! she's just standing there with her ass out!' which would have either clinched the interview or left me without a hope.

friday: i sort of thought the eye-rolling troll at my last horrible interview would forever be untouchable in the ranks of rude and awful interviewers, but no. i showed up 20 minutes early, and the woman comes down to meet me, shakes my hand and says 'you were supposed to be here 2 hours ago.' um, really? i had 4 p.m. in my email confirmation. 'no, i have 2 p.m. in my calendar.' the guy who set up the interview is conveniently out of the office, so it's my word against hers, and she's hearing nothing that i'm saying. she shrugs her shoulders and says, 'well if you're still interested in the position, perhaps you can email the confirmation you received [subtext: she thinks it will say 2 p.m.] and maybe we can re-schedule. so i stand up, visibly pissed off but remaining calm, to take off my visitor's badge, and she asks if i've come far. yes, guildford. with that, she walks off! no kind word, no nice gesture, no, hey sorry for this mess, we'll get to the bottom of it, blah blah blah, NOTHING! just WALKS AWAY!

i can handle inconvenience. i find it intolerable that she just completely insulted me! i am a candidate for a position in her company, they've checked out my CV, so obviously they're interested in me, i'm interested in the role--who would ever do that? i could never treat someone that way, especially when she has no idea what emails/ phone calls i've received from the HR dept. i immediately call the husband before i even leave the building and have him open my email to verify that indeed, i was 20 minutes early and not 2 hours late. yes, that's exactly what the email says. so he meets me and we storm off, livid, for coffee and bitching. i sent the forwarded email back to her--totally objective and not full of obscenities like i would have preferred--and she writes back, 'sorry for the misunderstanding.' yeah, there was no misunderstanding on my part. she wrote back again 'if you're still interested...' yeah, like i want a chance to meet with you again, you cow. i'm waiting until next week to see what HR has to say, as i forwarded my email back to them, too. i'm thinking formal complaint. it was so out of line.