Saturday, July 06, 2013

On a Quest

Met Richard Quest (CNN anchor and alleged crystal-meth-in-the-park enthusiast) outside this club (pictured on Google Street View) last night after a wonderful evening seeing Stomp with my friend Sarah. He's apparently not famous in the UK.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

That's Cricket

At my first match. Twenty20, not Test. (I.e. three hours, not five days).

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Silver spoons

My most recent trip from San Francisco back to London was my first time flying as a British Airways "Silver" level member.  I got bumped to business class and had a personal greeting from the purser once one the plane.

There's a bunch of random things that come with Silver membership, but the perks I was most interested in are:
  • Access to the BA airport lounges (which have good bacon sandwiches)
  • Access to the Fast Track passport lines (which are sometimes not so "fast" but can often save a lot of time when trying to get back into the country)
Next stop, Gold.  It doesn't have many more perks I'm interested in, although I've been stymied by how difficult it is to use frequent flier miles on BA to get upgrades (Google only pays for economy class, so I need to snag an upgrade to have any hope of fitting into a seat for 10 hours).  I'm hoping that Gold might address that.

Loose change

Cashed in my loose change today, which I just collect in a tupperware container next to my door.

Had about £210 ($320), mostly in one-pound coins.  I don't use cash all that much, but it's obviously easy to end up with tons of pocket change here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Double first class

An event happened today (well, is currently happening, since I'm still in the air as I type this) so rare that I don't have a name for it -- I'm in first class, with the whole row to myself.  The perfect flight! (Assuming it lands safely).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I love drinking with Friends

Proof of Switzerland

Spent the day in Basel, Switzerland, and here's the proof (was also in France today, but one hardly needs proof of that).

Passport stamps, 10 Swiss Francs, and Toblerone (impossible to get anywhere else!)

Friday, June 07, 2013

Travelin' man

I'm not sure how it has happened that I end up traveling so much ... I'd much rather sit still and relax.

Instead, here is my travel schedule for the week after next:

June 15: London to Basel, Switzerland
June 15: Basel to London
June 16: London to San Francisco
June 22: San Francisco to Seattle
June 22: Seattle to San Francisco
June 23: San Francisco to London

That's two out-and-back-in-a-single-day trips, combined with two 9-hour international flights.

I suppose as long as you keep running, the sadness can't catch you!

Thursday, June 06, 2013


I'm now officially homeless, now that my house sale has closed!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Up-to-date week-by-week

Rather than go back and post about all the things I've done up till now in London, here is a catch-up of the highlights:

Feb 7
  • Arrived
  • Drinks with Andy Bethurum within hours of landing
  • Sarah Silverman stand-up comedy show (Feb. 9)
Week of Feb 11
  • Started working at Google
Week of Feb 18
  • Jamie Killstein stand-up comedy show
  • Registered with NHS
Week of Feb 25
  • Found my new apartment
  • Art 13 -- London art show
  • Saw Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page at a Sainsbury's
Week of March 3
  • In San Francisco (work)
  • Weekend in Seattle
Week of March 11
  • In San Francisco (work)
  • Back in London, saw "Lewis Schaffer's American Guide to England" (literally the worst show I've ever seen)
Week of March 18
  • Lots of dealing with new apartment setup (although due to delays with my furniture coming from Seattle, I won't move in for another month)
Week of March 25
  • In Dallas, TX, for Easter and to see my little nieces!
  • Once back, my friend Cate was in town, and we saw Wicked
Week of April 1
  • Paul F. Tompkins stand-up comedy show
Week of April 8
  • First time at the Whiteley's Lounge movie theatre (one of those "eat and drink in the theatre in a nice huge leather chair" type of places)
  • Comedy Store show
Week of April 15
  • Actually moved in to new apartment
  • Udderbelly comedy festival
Week of April 22
Week of April 29
  • Book of Mormon
Week of May 6
  • Spamalot
Week of May 13
  • First home delivery from Sainsbury's (grocery store)
Week of May 20
  • In San Francisco (work)
  • House sold after being on the market for one week.  Three bids, two all-cash.  Sold for $700,000.  Is the housing crisis over?
Week of May 27
  • First vacation since moving
  • Cardiff (Doctor Who Experience)
  • Stonehenge
  • Momento Mori art gallery exhibit
  • Book of Mormon (sixth viewing)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Doctor Who Experience

In Cardiff, Wales on May 29, 2013.

Fortunately, the actual Matt Smith is slightly less waxy. 

The Face of Boe

Melody Pond / River Song's crib (oops, I guess spoiler alert if you didn't know River Song was Amy and Rory's daughter)

Weeping Angel


Captain Jack


Yes, I bought a Fourth Doctor scarf. For $75 US.

Wales Millenium Centre (aka Torchwood)
Creu Gwir Fel Gwydr O Ffwrnais Awen (Welsh) In These Stones Horizons Sing (English)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Confection Conundrum

So, the other day, Google had some candy bars clearly labelled "Milky Way" in the snack kitchen.  So I had one.  And noticed something was wrong.  So I investigated and had five more, perhaps seven, but no more than nine.

It turns out, these weren't Milky Ways.  They were Three Musketeers!  Just chocolate and nougat, nothing else.  Where was the caramel?

Everyone knows the American (hence correct) Candy Bar Family Tree:

• Three Musketeers = chocolate + nougat
• Milky Way = Three Musketeers + caramel
• Mars Bar = Milky Way + almonds
• Snickers = Milky Way + peanuts

But here in the UK, it is this:

• Milky Way = chocolate + nougat
• Mars Bar = Milky Way + caramel
• Snickers = Mars Bar + peanuts
• ... and it's as if almonds don't exist!!!

Why no Three Musketeers here?  Simple -- British people can't stand that someone French wrote a good book (I'm guessing).

Either way, though, both countries have it right -- there's no point eating anything but a Snickers, king of the candy bars.

Don't even get me started on Smarties, which are nothing like their American namesakes (i.e., tiny sugar dots you only get on Halloween from the mean people's houses), but rather are stale M&Ms.  When a British person accidentally eats an actual M&M, they are heard to exclaim (i.e., speak in a completely normal tone of voice), "What's this, Guv'nor -- why doesn't this Smartie taste like it was in someone's armpit for a week?  I may accidentally smile."

Anyway, just my observances.  I'm obviously getting a lot out of being exposed to another culture.