Thursday, June 29, 2006

Home From My Holiday

I returned to work today, and the omens presented themselves as soon as I entered the building. My keycard wouldn't let me through the security post. After reporting the problem I've since been told by the man in the know that "I've checked the card and there is nothing wrong. It should work." Of course.

A few minutes later, up in my office, I wanted to use my desk phone, only to find that it had a giant, greasy (or sticky, perhaps - I'm not really sure because I don't want to touch it) hand print on it. And I couldn't dial out. In fact, I couldn't even dial other extensions. I tried removing the hand print with washing-up liquid, but you can still see it.

Later my phone rang and it was a support person assigned to investigate the complaint about it not working. Turns out that someone had flipped the switch on my phone from "tone" to "pulse", so it was a simple matter to fix (but why and who was messing with my phone? And how did it end up with the gungy handprint?)

When I had time I decided to go to the Big Brother web site to stream some of the free clips and catch up on the latest news. (I miss that show!) So, long story short, it turns out that the streaming service only works on certain Windows PCs, and I am on a Mac, so I can't watch Big Brother. I am devastated.

On the plus side it was one colleague's birthday, so she brought in very tasty cake, and the colleagues with whom I share an office brought in snacks and a very special apple strudle - "for high tea" - for a welcome-back celebration, which was very sweet.

Meanwhile, I am still working on my travelogues and will be back posting them into my blog as and when I have time, before reworking them for my web site and writing various articles and reviews that I have in mind. However, I first have to get through a pile of work sitting on my desk...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back From Paris - Armed With Tales

I have returned from Paris with a notebook stuffed with notes and experiences. I hope to get the travelogues up as soon as I can (but, as regular readers may have noticed, I'm still behind on the pre-Paris postings, so it may be a while). After that it's converting and extending various things for a large number of articles for I have no idea of how I'm going to get it all done...

Highlights of this portion of the trip included (in no particular order, since it's almost 1am and I can hardly think): Petit Palais, the Eiffel Tower at night, Champs-Èlysée and the Arc de Triomphe, Le Pure Cafe, the Gallery of Paleontology (Galeries de Paléontologie et d'Anatomie comparée), the Star Wars expo at the Cité des Sciences, (unintentionally) ending up watching a World Cup soccer match with an excitable group of Parisians in a paella restaurant, and Cimetiére du Père Lachaise.

That's just what I remember offhand.

And oh, yeah, the French like to pick their noses and fight with each other on (or near) the Metro. The most fascinating was - late one evening - seeing a pissed off crazy woman kicking the guitar case of a legal (I think) Metro busker (who was quite good) and then shouting at him most venomously while he tried to defend himself. Unfortunately, since I don't speak French, I have no idea of why she was so angry. I think she just didn't like his music. I had to pass her - as she, enraged, stumbled down the passageway - to get to where I was going, so that required some deft manoeuvering.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's Actually Quite A Good Idea Since The Trip Is Nearly Three Hours Long

I've just boarded the Eurostar, travelling from London to Paris, behind an American family of two parents and two young, sweet children.

I'm sitting in my seat, getting ready for the departure, when I hear the following conversation float my way from elsewhere in the coach.

Little American girl (enthused): "Can we watch the movie?"
Father (kindly): "There is no movie."
Little American girl (enthused): "Can we watch the movie?"
Father (kindly): "There is no movie."

Nothing more was said, but I don't think she quite believed him.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Travelogue > London: Rain, The Post Office, More Rain, The New London Theatre, The Natural History Museum, And Drizzle

I'm on vacation in London at the moment. This is a combination of a blog post, and a travelogue outline and general notes for possible articles for when I return to Cape Town. I've added subheadings so you can skip to bits that may interest you (or, more likely, skip past bits that don't). Please excuse any typos - they will be fixed.

It rained during the night. This is the first time that it's rained since I arrived here 10 days ago, which, I am well aware, is very unusual, but I'm not complaining. The weather is still warmish, though, so this causes a bit of a Durban effect.

I got up just after 9am, pottered around a little bit, and then decided that I might as well start preparing packages to post back to myself in South Africa. I have already bought a large amount of souveniers, gifts, gifts for myself, and oddities on this trip, and I don't have the space to fit everything in my bag, as I have a small travel bag, which was pretty much stuffed full just for my trip here. (I have already resolved to buy a new bag when I get back to South Africa.)

The Post Office
Over two hours later I was finally done sorting items and stuffing envelopes and a box, so off I trundled to the local Post Office. Forty+ minutes and one hell of a postal charge later (unfortunately two of my three items were over two kilograms, so they couldn't be classified as "small packet"), I was finally done - in fact, the Post Office officially closed (the store in which it is situated had a half day) while I was there filling in forms while the man behind the counter tried to figure out the new postal system, which, as luck would have it, came into effect yesterday. By the time I returned to the house it was lunch time, so I made lunch, then had to go online to check the particulars of an exhibition that initially I was going to go to today but am now thinking of attending once I return from Paris. By the time I left the house half the day had been wasted, and it was 2:20pm.

The New London Theatre
After my disasterous attempt to get to the New London Theatre [map]a few days ago I thought I'd try one more time, as I really want to see the Blue Man Group and tomorrow night is my last opportunity because I am going to Paris on Thursday and after this week the show is on hiatus until mid July.

I left Neil and Audrey's house and walked to the bus stop, and then stood for about 10 minutes waiting for a bus. While I was on the bus, heading for Stratford station on the Central line, it began to rain again. I caught a train at the station and travelled westwards to Holborn, arriving at about 3pm. Yesterday I looked up the area on a map, again, and figured out where I most likely had gone wrong last Thursday (from the station I went down one road too far, which untimately led me in a wide circle around the area I had been looking for), so I was extra careful this time, and found the theatre without any difficulty (if you turn left into Kingsway when you exit Holborn station and then turn right earlier - into Parker Street, you're in the right road, and you hit the theatre on the corner of Parker and Drury Lane).

The theatre was open, but deserted (which was quite eerie), save for one person working at the box office. She was very pleasant and helpful and sold me a GBP25 seat (the mid-range price) in row C, near the stage in the "Poncho Section". She reassured me that the poncho was more a precaution that an necessity, but I remain nervous that I shall be covered in water, paint, and confetti by the end of the evening. However, I have my ticket, and am very excited to go tomorrow night.

Since it was just after 3pm and there were still a few hours left in the day I decided that I may as well use the opportunity to go to the Natural History Museum. I walked back to Holborn station and then caught the Picadilly line to South Kensington, arriving about 20 minutes later. I then followed the signs fro the station that point pedestrains to an underground route to the museums in the South Kensington area, and a few minutes later popped up at the Natural History Museum, and was faced with an impressive, imposing facade [read more]. Unfortunately the weather was still overcast, although it had stopped raining, so I chose not to take any photographs of the building. I am hoping I will have time to go back at some point during the rest of my trip.

The Natural History Museum
I entered at the Life Galleries entrance (there are three galleries: the Life Galleries, the Earth Galleries, and the Darwin Centre, of which Phase One is currently finished). There is a bag search at the entrance to the Life Galleries and you are asked not to bring sharp objects into the museum. Entrance to the museum is free, although certain temporary exhibits have admission charges, and you are allowed to take photographs.

Upon entering the Life Galleries [map] you are immediately greeted by a huge replica of a Diplodocus skeleton in the Central Hall. The fact that it's a replica doesn't dimish the impact one bit but you may initially be distracted (and possibly feel overwhelmed) by the masses of children inside the museum as the museum is incredibly kid friendly, with lots of interactive displays for them to explore.

There are a few exhibits (entitled "Wonders Of The Natural History Museum") in cabinets placed around the Central Hall that get you in the mood for what is to be found in the museum, so I had a look at some of the items before heading for the dinosaur exhibit in Gallery 21, the Ronson Gallery. The exhibit is great, covering pretty much everything to do with dinosaurs, from their natural offensive and defensive biology and mechanisms to how they walk, what and how they ate, the nesting habits (or lack thereof) of various species, theories as to why they became extinct, and how those species that roamed in herds may have behaved, as well as profiles of famous dinosaur hunters from the past 150-odd years. The highlights are, of course, the skeletal and fossil remains on display (although some are replicas), as well as a number of animatronic dinosaurs, the most impressive being the "Super-sensing T. rex", which is a temporary add-on to the exhibit until 18 March 2007. The T. rex is a model of a teenager (3/4-size adult), with built-in sensors that allow it to "notice" visitors. It's fascinating just to stand nearby and watch people pass (and take photographs), as some children, especially, find it enthralling, while others are freaked out.

Unfortunately, I will be missing a temporary exhibit that complements the permanent dinosaur exhibit, "Dino Jaws", which opens on 30 June. It has been designed especially for kids, but should be of interest to adults too.

After the dinosaur exhibit I wandered into the small Dino Shop (the icon between numbers 23 and 22 on the map), before heading off to the Mammals section (Gallery 23). The displays are logically ordered according to scientific classifications, such as canines, rodents, and marsupials, rather than by continent, so you can see how different mammals from different continents are actually related and why they are classified together. The displays house both fossils and skeletons of extinct animals along with stuffed specimens of animals that are still in existence. There are notes in a number of the diplays saying that the museum supports conservation of animals (meaning that it is no longer sourcing new specimens from taxidermists) and, therefore, the specimens are all quite old and have faded over time due to exposure to light, but won't be replaced.

Next I wandered into the Human Biology display (Gallery 22, which is incorrectly represented on the map, as it is actually off Gallery 23 halfway down that gallery's hallway). Although interesting (of particular note is the human brain and spinal column preserved in a small tank), much of the exhibition is really geared more to children and teenagers, with lots of interactive exhibits, so I zipped around it quite fast before heading to the Mammals And Blue Whale exhibition in Gallery 24. Unfortunately the second floor of this room was closed off due to some repair work (it looked like it houses displays of marine mammals) but the rest of the room is fascinating, with more combinations of the fossil or skeletal remains of extinct animals complemented by specimens and replicas of animals that still roam the earth. Some of the highlights include the heaviest elephant tusks ever recovered and a horn of the extinct "Giant Unicorn Rhinocerous". The exhibition also houses skeletons of a number of whale species suspended from the ceiling, and a life-size giraffe, African and Asian elephants, a lion, and even a few "Rock Hyrax" specimens (better known to South Africans as dassies.

As I was wondering around the Mammals And Blue Whale gallery an announcement over the PA system informed museum visitors that it would be closing in 20 minutes, so I finished walking around the room and the headed for the exit (Galleries 14 and 13 weren't accessible), passing the part of the Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles exhibit as I followed the signs. I didn't see any of the fish specimens, but I did see the cabinets that house reptiles (including two cases devoted to snakes), amphibians, and even a giant tortoise before reaching the Waterhouse Café (11 on the map) and then following it through to the eastern side of the Central Hall, when I continued to look at the "Wonders Of The Natural History Museum" on that side of the room: of note is a fossilised tree trunk that has been sliced so you can still see the rings.

Since I still had a few minutes left I headed for the main gift shop, which is rather huge but, again, primarily caters for children, with a wide range of stuffed dinosaurs, toys, and stationery with the Natural History Museum logo.

South Kensington Tube Station
The museum then closed at 5:50pm and I was back in the bad weather, with a light drizzle ensuring that everyone was slightly damp. To my annoyance the route back to the underground pedestrian thoroughfare had been closed, so I had to ask the guard at the entrance to the museum grounds how to get to South Kensington station. He happily directed me and it ended up being a brief walk to what turns out to be a beautiful old building more reminiscent of many of the stations in Paris than on the London Underground. I walked to the platform, which is above ground, and, while waiting for a suitable train, marvelled at the view of the high, old, brick wall that can be seen on the other side of the tracks at the District line eastbound platform. Due to the natural light that has access to the station and the station's particular architecture, especially at that platform, the area has a romantic edge to it and you can almost imagine a steam train chugging along the line to some far-off destination.

After about a six-minute wait I was able to grab a train that was heading past my stop at Plaistow, so I headed home on a train and bus journey that took over an hour (partly due to a long wait at the bus stop), finally arriving home at around 7:30pm.

Moment Of The Day
Considering how much I had to pay for postage at the Post Office I didn't need to be spat near or coughed on to feel nauseous for the rest of the day...


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Travelogue > London: A Sunday Braai

I'm on vacation in London at the moment. This is a combination of a blog post, and a travelogue outline and general notes for possible articles for when I return to Cape Town. I didn't do anything touristy today, so feel free to skip this post if you're more interested in my experiences in London.

We all got up quite late today, due to the late night the previous day. It was already incredibly warm by this time, and it got much worse as the day progressed (I spent the afternoon sitting in the shade, so I didn't get sunburnt, unlike everyone else), although by evening, once the sun had eventually gone down well after 9pm, it actually became very pleasant outside.

At around 11am Neil and Audrey left for ASDA to buy extra supplies, and just before 12pm I left to buy a new seven-day travelcard on my Oyster card at the local Londis convenience store before moving on to meet Mark at Plaistow station. It being Sunday, I had to wait ages for a bus, which then, a few stops down the line, suddenly turned off the route following a "bus detour" sign. As we were near enough to the station, and I wasn't sure what would happen if I stayed on the bus, I disembarked and walked the rest of the way, to arrive just as Mark was exiting the station building. So back we walked to the nearest bus stop past the detour route, on the way noticing a police officer setting up a barricade and detour, using orange cones, closer to the station. I have no idea of what that was all about.

The rest of the trip back to Neil and Audrey's house was uneventful and we ended up having a great day and a wonderful braai in true South African tradition. I had mushroom burgers and vegetarian sausages while everyone else had real burgers and chicken. Audrey made a great salad and vegetable bake to go with the meat (and "meat") and we spent the afternoon lazing around, talking, and doing absolutely nothing.

As the day wore on Audrey suggested to Mark that he might want to stay over. For a while he remained undecided, as he has a dodgy roommate back at his place who needs to be monitored, but he eventually decided to stay for the night.

When 9pm rolled around I left Neil and Mark nattering in the garden to join Audrey in the lounge for the Big Brother 7 recap show. While watching I lamented the fact that I'd been sucked into this horrible, enthralling show, and that I would be missing the Friday eviction (which may turn out to be one of the best), because I would be in Paris. Later in the evening, while online to work on this travelogue, I noticed that the Channel 4 Big Brother site has file footage and a live feed. I was so excited that I briefly considered waking Audrey up just so I could tell her that I would be able to continue watching when back in South Africa (and then sanity prevailed). Unfortunately, upon further investigation, I found out that the live feed costs GBP7.99 and is only available in the UK and Ireland, so my joy was shortlived (and I was grateful that my sanity had prevailed).

Audrey and Neil went to bed quite early because both had to get up early in the morning to go to work (this week Neil's on early shift), so Mark and I, who are both night people, remained awake for a few hours longer to watch some TV and check our email. As the house is so small Mark had to share the lounge floor with me, but there was enough space. My only pronuncement was that, soon after Mark removed his shoes, which, let's just say, I experienced rather than noticed, I declared them banished from the room.

Oh yeah, and he snores. A lot. So that kinda sucked.

Moment Of The Day
On my way to buy the new travelcard a guy walking in the opposite direction on the pavement opposite me (thankfully) chose the moment I was directly opposite him to spit a huge wad of gob onto the pavement to the side of him. So far that's about the least disgusting disgusting thing I've experienced in London...


Friday, June 09, 2006

Travelogue > London: The Design Museum, A Walk Along The South Promenade, And London Bridge

I'm on vacation in London at the moment. This is a combination of a blog post, and a travelogue outline and general notes for possible articles for when I return to Cape Town. I can't access (FTP) my site at the moment so it's all here. I've added subheadings so you can skip to bits that may interest you (or, more likely, skip past bits that don't).

I had a late start to the day as I got up slightly later than I should have - but I'm still struggling to drag myself out of bed - had the usual long conversation with Neil while we had tea and ate breakfast, and then, after he had left, went online to check email and such, before realising the time and making a hurried lunch with whatever I could find in the fridge and cupboards.

I finally left the house at 2:30pm and caught a bus to Canning Town station for the Jubilee line, alighting at Bermonsey station. This area isn't covered by the maps in my The Mini Rough Guide To London [] but, luckily, there was a map of the area near the station exit so I had a fair idea of where to go. I left the station and turned left into Jamaica Road and walked for about 500 metres before turning right into Shad Thames [map], which eventually curves to the left and you end up behind the Design Museum. I turned right and entered the museum by the main entrance, which is on that side. Unfortunately I chose to go to the museum a day too early, as tomorrow a new exhibition starts, which is entitled My World - The New Subjectivity In Design. However, there was enough to keep me busy for a few hours, including the primary reason I wanted to visit the museum, the Designer Of The Year exhibit. I was just in time, as it closes in about a week.

The Design Museum
The Designer Of The Year exhibit features displays of the work of the finalists and winner of the yearly Designer of the Year Prize. This year's winner was Jamie Hewlett, for his work as the designer of the virtual band Gorillaz, which he co-created with Damon Albarn of Blur. (Hewlett is also known for being the co-creator of the comic Tank Girl.) The primary room of the exhibit - the last in the sequence - was devoted to the Gorillaz and included many of Hewlett's actual sketches for character designs and storyboards for music videos, as well as a table in the middle that houses examples of Gorillaz merchandise (much of which can be bought at the Gorillaz web site). Two of the walls of the room are filled with reproduced stills, drawings and artworks, with a third showing a projected animation of the band, and a fourth housing a series of television screens showing the band's transformation into a 3D band (using a technique based on the principles of Pepper's Ghost) for live performances at this year's Grammy awards and MTV Europe awards, among other things.

The rest of the exhibit is devoted to the finalists. The first room you enter houses a showcase of the process that went into the redesign of The Guardian newspaper in 2005, including everything from the change in size of the paper to the development of the proprietary font and the redesign of the layout grid, as well as an explanation as to how it works. As a journalist and designer I found this part of the exhibit to be particularly fascinating. The other two finalists were Tom Dixon, who is probably best known for his S chair (also here), and Cameron Sinclair for his work with Architecture For Humanity: one of the 2005 projects on display at the exhibit included the Siyathemba soccer pitch and youth community centre in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa).

The other exhibition currently running is Designing Modern Britain, which looks at the impact of (primarily British) design on British life, and features a variety of products and objects designed during the course of the 20th century. Items on display include a number of cars, such as a Bond Bug (1970; designed by Ogle Design), a Morris Mini-Minor (in production from 1959; designed by Alec Issigonis) and a Morris Minor MM (in production from 1948; designed by Alec Issigonis), and an Austin Seven Chummy (in production from 1923; designed by Sir Herbert Austin and Stanley Edge). There are also a number of displays featuring Penguin Books from various decades, starting with the design of the first Penguin Books, by Edward Young. Other notable publications showcased include Industrial Arts Magazine from the late 1930s (a magazine that was a "champion of the modern movement"), i-D magazine, Time Out magazine in the 1970s, a condensed showcase of the 1988 redesign of The Guardian (which is also covered in the Designer Of The Year exhibition as a companion piece).

The exhibition also covers design related to London's transport systems, including the first diagrammatic map by draughtsman Henry Beck in 1931 and the design results of the unification and streamlining, by Frank Pick, of a large number of the London transport systems that were operating throughout the city (which became known as the London Passenger Transport Board.

Furniture design and, especially, a century's worth of chair designs, is covered in detail, and the exhibit also looks at the Concorde, Britain's collaboration with the French to produce a supersonic passenger airline (the display includes ephemera and cutlery used on board the aircraft), famous album covers (of The Beatles, amongst others) and how design evolved to accommodate the new, smaller size of CD covers.

Of special interest to me, and complementary to the The Guardian displays, the exhibit looks at various typefaces, including Gil Sans (1928; Eric Gil) and Times New Roman (1932; Stanley Morrison with Victor Lardent) from earlier in the 20th century, as well as Matthew Carter's Verdana font, which was deisgned for Microsoft. The font is instantly recognisable as it was designed to be legible on all sizes of computer screens and has become one of the most ubiquitous fonts on the Web.

Finally, the exhibition showcases a number of interactive console (PlayStation) games that visitors can play, if they wish, including Core Design's Tomb Raider (1996), various Midway Games arcade console games, and what was identified as "Streetfighter (1997)" but which I think was actually Street Fighter Alpha (1995).

In all, it's quite a comprehensive look at British design packed into a surprisingly small space.

The Riverside Promenade
After visiting the exhibitions I returned to the ground floor and browsed through the museum shop, which is next to the museum's café and main entrance. I then left and walked to the riverfront promenade at the front of the building, where I found the museum's fourth exhibit space, the "Design Tank", which, due to it being out in the open, is accessible, for free, to everyone. It currently houses a display, Football Fever, of innovative redesigns and reinterpretations of the football, by various product and textile designers.

At the promenade at the riverside outside the Design Museum you have a wonderful view to the west of Tower Bridge, The Tower Of London, and the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe). It was slightly warm outside, but not unbearable, with a light breeze, and I couldn't have asked for better weather conditions, so I decided to take a walk, since I may never have the chance with those kinds of conditions again.

I walked westwards along the promenade, pausing briefly next to Tower Bridge to take a closer photograph - and then taking a photograph of an Asian tourist who was passing in the opposite direction and wanted a photo of himself in front of the bridge. I then walked under the bridge, continuing along the promenade, past City Hall and the HMS Belfast and, unknowingly, nearby the London Dungeon, before I climbed the stairs that lead up onto London Bridge, and crossed the bridge. As it was early evening and the river runs in a west-east direction all the buildings along the riverfront are bathed in the setting sun, which makes it a perfect time to linger on the bridge to take photographs or just admire the architecture, although you also have to contend with a mass of rush-hour pedestrian traffic.

At the north end of the bridge I entered Monument station (passing Sir Christopher Wren's Monument to the Great Fire Of London [read more] on the way) and took the District line, which was surprisingly uncrowded, to Plaistow station, and then the bus to the local bus stop.

When I arrived home at 7pm no one had yet returned from work. It was almost spooky, so I made tea.

(And then realised that this would be a perfect time to catch up on my travelogues).

Sam's Chicken
At 8pm I started to feel a bit peckish and, remembering the "two veggie burgers with chips for GBP2.49" [?] deal that's being advertised at Sam's Chicken, a primarily chicken fast-food outlet (think KFC without the 11 herbs and spices) that I pass every day on my way to the bus, I hunted in my wallet for coins worth GBP2.50, then walked to Sam's Chicken. The clerk behind the counter was slow to serve me, and did so as he wiped his nose with a serviette, which rather grossed me out. I placed my order, was told "2.49", so I handed over my coins as the cash register flashed "2.49" and then waited for my change, which I never received. Now, to most people, a penny really isn't a big deal, but to me that's ZAR0.12, which is quite a bit of money. However, a few days ago I did pick up a penny (because I saw it and thought "Wow, 12c!"), so I guess I'm technically even.

Back to the tale of Sam's Chicken. I watched as the clerk dipped chips in oil and then had a friend hand him a box of frozen veggie burgers, out of which he took two, placed them in one of those metal baskets, and proceeded to dip it in a vat of oil next to the chip machine. At this moment I had the sudden realisation that this was probably the same oil used to fry the chicken, considering the health code violations that I'd already seen, but there was also another machine next to it, so I'm hoping that that was the chicken machine (really hoping). Then, to my continued fascination, he took burger buns and placed them in a huge toasting machine and then tranferred them to two polystyrene takeaway containers. The chips were placed in two paper bags. He opened a drawer below the counter and used tongs (thankfully) to place lettuce on one half of each burger and then asked me if I wanted mayonnaise, although I had to ask him to repeat it as I couldn't understand him at first. The maynonnaise was also stashed in the drawer, in a large metal icing-gun-like device (think of a metal tube used to pipe icing on a cake, but then imagine it about four times the size) and he liberally piped it onto all four bun halves. Then it was back to the burgers, to watch them cook, while I stared at the many unflattering images of myself on the CCTV television. Eventually the burgers were cooked and assembled, and the entire package, with serviettes (and, I later found, many little packets of salt), was placed in a plastic bag and handed over the counter to me. Realising I wasn't going to get my penny, and not in a mood for a fight, I returned home.

(Point of the story: I won't be eating at Sam's Chicken again, even though it's a really good deal.)

Dinner Number Two
Neil eventually arrived home, hungry, and Audrey phoned to say that she was on her way, so we ordered Chinese food from East Ham's Golden Dragon takeaway restaurant. Meanwhile, I tried one of my burgers and chips, and stashed the rest in the fridge for weekend food emergencies.

It being the night on which the World Cup started, Audrey returned home long before the delivery arrived, but when it did, in between eviction and live-broadcast Big Brother episodes, we happily tucked in. The food was good, as was the price. Golden Dragon is definitely recommended!

Moment Of The Day
After my experience at Sam's Chicken it's a bit of a toss up, but I think the moment still goes to the following: as I left the house in the early afternoon and was walking along the suburban roads heading for the bus stop and a man crossed the road right in front of me from the opposite side, and then proceeded to blow a huge wad of snot out his left nostril onto the pavement near me.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

[An Announcement From The Blog Management]

I came to post earlier and Blogger was down. (That wasn't the announcement. It was just annoying.)

Then I could log in, but when I tried to post, Blogger had gone down again. (That wasn't the announcement either, but it was even more annoying.)

I'm currently on vacation and, after some indecisiveness, I've decided to post a half-blog-half-travelogue thing on my blog as I go along. It will ultimately form the basis of a more extensive travelogue that I intend to write for, once I'm back home, have developed the photographs, and have the time to do more research (and can upload to my site, but that's another story). It will also give me a chance to get some of my notes typed up, and allow my friends to keep track of what I'm doing without me having to email them all the time, while trying to keep track of what I've said to whom.

As I'm already a few days into my vacation, and have limited time in which to post, I will have to do it in bursts, but I will be backdating the posts so that they will be filed under the correct date, so you may find that a few things will appear in odd places. If you are signed up for the RSS feed, though, you'll receive automatic notification of when things are posted, so you won't miss anything. (If you're not signed up to the feed, click the RSS logo in your address bar - if you have an RSS reader or your browser supports it. It makes life much easier.)


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Brief Conversation On The Westbound Central Line At St. Paul's

I'm travelling on the Central line in London. A guy and a girl get on a few stops after me. The guy grabs the only free seat and the girl is left standing. They carrying on an occasionally rowdy conversation as the trip continues.

Just before the St. Paul's stop the girl sits down on a seat that has become free and starts drinking water out of a bottle she has in her bag.

Guy: "D'you 'av war-uh? Where'dyou geh war-uh?"
Girl: "Shop."



(Since Blogger broke my template you'll have to access
older/newer posts via the archive links in the sidebar.)