Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Offical 100th Post to me!

This time I'm not lying and therefore I had to make an even uglier party hat for the occasion!  Wow, can you believe I'm actually 100 posts old? I can't. Feels like yesterday I was talking my first steps as a blogger. *Sigh* How time flies.

In other news, I am Mr. Gadget. My wonderful mother sent me a package and in that package was an umbrella. But not a crap umbrella like the ones I've been buying. No, this my friends is an awesome umbrella. It looks like a normal umbrella, but it opens with the touch of a button. Sure, plenty of people have umbrellas that open with the touch of a button, but I bet they don't open as dramatically as mine.

Unsurprisingly, it was raining today when I got my umbrella in the mail so I got to try it out right away. When I came out of a store, I would push my button, and instead of just opening, this umbrella would BAM! OPEN! Scared the crap out of me the first time. After that, I rather enjoyed it, saying each time before it opened, "GO GO GADGET UMBRELLA!" then, BAM! Umbrella.

Monday, December 28, 2009

So THAT's what being productive feels like

I've been deadly sick (and NO I'm not being dramatic) and it was Christmas, so my productivity levels sunk to all-time lows this past week. I was starting to really despair.

Then today, I kicked butt!! I totally karate chopped my books and said "Tell me what you know, or this will be your last library check-out!" Most of my books squealed. A few of them took some convincing. I'm not going to say I used torture, but maybe my tactics involved lemon juice and a lighter, maybe they didn't.

Ok, so I didn't get my books to talk to me, but I did get a good amount of work done. I finish a book, Modernity at Large by Arjun Appadurai, which is a fairly dense treatise on modernity and the effects of deterritorialization (globalization) on cultural identity. It was fascinating! (You think that was sarcasm? Unfortunately not. I did really enjoy the book.)

Now: I have only this small stack of books to finish before I can start writing my two essays that are due two weeks from today.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I apparently don't take much convincing

Happy Boxing Day! (Whatever the hell that means other than crazy sales and the thought of crowds larger than Aunt Sally's backside that have kept me inside.)

Now that Christmas is over it's time for some quick updates!

First: Admire my craftmanship! ADMIRE!!!

That is me modeling the scarf that I finally finished in time for SJF's Christmas present. I actually think it looks better on me, but who's judging? (Or rather, it would look better on me if I wasn't making that stupid face. sheesh!)

Second: For those of you who might have read my recent post about "finding my old crazy self?" Yeah, well that didn't take long. I did go out that night and danced my heart out. I chatted with just about everyone in the bar and was a hit! I looked good, people loved me, the night rocked.

And finally, just in case my life wasn't crazy enough. I had the most unforgettable Christmas Eve ever. SJF and I went out shopping to pick up some last minute gifts from him and before we ate lunch, we thought we'd celebrate Christmas with a bottle of champagne. We found a nice bar and had a real choice spot in a corner all to ourselves. We were enjoying ourselves, but before I knew what was going on, we were talking to the bartenders and a few other customers. Then out of nowhere, everyone got in the Christmas spirit and started buying shots for all of us talking (including the bartenders). We did a few rounds and then my cousin showed up. She joined in the fun and the rounds kept coming. We left the bar at around 5:00 in the evening and already being pretty tippsy, the three of us (my cousin, SJF and I) decided it would be a great idea to go to another bar. So by 6:00, or 6:30 I was thoroughly and accidentally wasted. That didn't stop us, as we met up with my cousin's boyfriend and went to another bar.

That was honestly the most spontaneous Christmas Eve ever, but I think that's just how the Brits do it. :)

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! What did Santa bring you!?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blogger totally made me into a liar

Wow. I'm sorry. Blogger told me I had posted 100 posts and I posted a really fun picture of me in probably the ugliest party hat I've ever seen.

Then I checked, and it turns out I forgot some drafts I had started and never finished. I'm closer to 97 posts. That is nothing worthy of an ugly party hat and that makes me sad.

I'm sorry for getting you excited. I really hope you hadn't already gotten out your ugly party hat before I had to break the bad news.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from your favorite blogger...or at the very least the
only blogger that can 'wow' you with the most horrid Paint skills
this side of Texas.

To keep you in the Christmas spirit, I took some pictures of Oxford street on Christmas day.

(The creepy window at Selfridges)
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

OH! And one more thing before I go. It's time to switch hats and once again show off my awesome Paint skills:

That's right! I've posted 100 posts now. Wheee!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's like a old-timey Western in my head

The scene: Ghost town in the middle of a desert. A tumble weed tumbles through the shot (cause that's what tumble weeds do). It's a show down between this new boring-self I've developed and my old fun, exciting, spontaneous self.
"Listen kid, this town ain't big enough for the both of us." My two egos stare each other down and all of a sudden they draw!
However, no one dies, because my egos (being my egos) are pussies and don't know how to use guns.

Ok, so it's not going to work that easily, but man something's got to be done! I'm becoming such a boring person. My blog posts are almost non-existent and when I do post, they're lame. I don't talk to random people anymore when I'm out. I almost never venture out of my room if it weren't for SJF. I'm pretty sure I'm boring the piss out of SJF who is one of the most gregarious people I know. And, I haven't gotten excited about anything in a long time.

What is up with this?! Huh?!

I've got to make a change for the better and soon, otherwise I'm going to suffocate myself with my own boringness. (Not actually sure if that's possible, but I'm going to pretend it is.)

I need a step-by-step plan to beat the boring blues. Here's what I propose:

Step 1:
Tomorrow, I'm going out. I'm going to get into the closest thing to "going-out" clothes that I own, do up my hair, and zip up those boots. I'm going to rule this town! I'm going to cut loose, talk to people, and dance my damn heart out, baby! (For those of you who might find yourself concerned, SJF is going out with me. I won't be 'cutting loose' alone. But thanks for caring, that's really sweet.)

Step 2:
Recover from said night. Ok ok, so that's not really a "step" per se, because recovering is actually a pretty boring thing to do. But whatevs, I am pretty sure I'll need recovery time.

Step 3:
The next time I start to feel overwhelmed by work, just take a deep breath, and make a to-do list, prioritizing everything. THEN STAB THAT LIST IN THE FACE!

Step 4:
Talk to strange people. And by "strange people" I mean both people that I find slightly off and odd, and strangers. I have had so many fun conversations with strangers that I don't want to miss out. In fact, that's how I met SJF, by starting a random conversation and enjoying myself, and apparently that's what attracted him to me.

Step 5:
Laugh more often. When I'm stressed out, actually happy, upset, I need to just laugh. Basically because I love the look on people's faces when you start crying and it all of a sudden morphs into a crazy-person laugh.

Step 6:
I don't care for the number 6 so I'm going to skip this step.

Step 7:
Be spontaneous. Not sure if this can qualify as a step either, because by forcing myself to be spontaneous, I loose the whole spontaneity thing. But I should start seeing things and just doing them. And, no, not in a dirty way...although I may think about that one. If I come across a neat looking cafe, just go inside. If I see an opportunity, TAKE IT!

I was totally planning on doing a whole 12 step program, but then I got lazy. I think 7 steps is plenty. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back to my knitting.

(What!?! I said I was starting tomorrow!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bah Humbug

As seems to be the way of things, I'm now on Christmas holidays from lectures and I'm sick. Merry Christmas to me from Mother Nature!

Yesterday, I thought I'd forget the sickness and go do a little holiday window shopping to get into the spirit. I wanted to go out to the Covent Garden area, which is on the other end of Oxford St from me. It would probably be about a 40-45 minute walk, but it was so cold and I felt like shit, so I figured I'd take the bus. An hour later and I had made it about four stops down Oxford St. Fed up, I hopped off the bus to walk the rest of the way and found myself struggling up-stream against the flow of Christmas shoppers. I literally have bruises on both of my shoulders from shoving my way through the crowd that for some reason all seemed to be going the opposite direction.

All that for some window shopping. No wonder I feel worse today!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

No one will believe me but I just have to share

SJF and I were supposed to have a nice dress up date last night, but he called and cancelled. His boss was making him work until midnight in order to finish a deadline. Bummed out, I spent my evening chilling, listening to Christmas music. Then at midnight, I get a call from SJF. He said "work sucked and I need to let out some frustration. Let's go out. It's a Friday night, let's go dancing." Figuring I had nothing better to do, and it was a Friday night in London, I agreed.

SJF met me at my place and we set out in search of the closest club. We made it a few blocks to Oxford Street and we realized that it was so late that we would probably have a hard time getting in anywhere, AND it was flipping freezing outside. That is when we came across The Quebec City a pub that still seemed to be hopping. So we went inside. It was warm, it was buzzing, there was a dance floor downstairs. We were all set.

While we stood at the bar waiting for drinks, I started to get this really strong feeling that I shouldn't be there. Investigating, I began surveying the scene. There were alot of old men...and they were all standing really close to each other.

Great. We had made it to a gay bar. SJF still hadn't gotten us drinks and I tried to convince him to go seeing as the looks I got from the other patrons was one of "what is that thing doing here." SJF called me close-minded and said why can't we have fun at a gay bar. It's an experience. Fair enough. We get some drinks, head down to the dance floor and just enjoy ourselves.

About 30 minutes into dancing, this older man walks my direction, while looking SJF up and down on the way. Once the man approaches he says "My, you look very beautiful tonight." I thank him. Who doesn't like compliments from gays who actually have a sense of style? He then made a bit of small talk about Christmas.

Then SJF, who had gone off dancing his "sexy" dance moves, had come back my direction and yet again this old man pretty much eye-fucked SJF. I thought it was quite amusing and I went to tell SJF that he's got an admirer but it was so loud in the pub, that I had to lean in real close to tell him in his ear. SJF laughs, kisses me, and then whips out some more dances moves. I stand back once again (as I wasn't as much in the dancing mood) and now the old man comes up to me to say "I got the answer. No need to tell this old man."

I laugh and smile at the guy mouthing "Sorry." The man then turns back towards the dance floor for another few seconds before once more coming up to me. At the point, he started talking and all I could get from it was the following bits:

"I'm not afraid to fight...I have 4.2 million....I don't need any girl to come between me and a little Asian asshole...I'll fight...4.2. million...shouldn't be here..."

Completely taken aback by this, I almost just said "no need to fight, take him!" Then I remember that SJF in fact smaller than me and that would be a really bad idea. So, thankfully the man used my shock to take his leave, and I simply grabbed SJF's arm and said "alright, we're leaving." SJF, being the dance-aholic that he is, gave me some flak but once he saw the look on my face we left and just went home.

Yes, I swear to god, this story is true. I got threatened by a rich, old, gay guy because he wanted to rape my boyfriend's "little Asian asshole." You just can't make this shit up!

Monday, December 14, 2009

You can't make this stuff up....oh wait, yeah I did.

I'm pretty sure I bombed that test. Damn. Would have been nice to have a good grade, but whatcha gonna do?

My one claim to fame for the test: I made up a word and it turned out to be right. I had no idea what "Where" was and just threw together some letters that looked pretty good and apparently I nailed it right on the button. Major win for Boots.

Oh well, at least it's over and that's a huge relief. It might as well be vacation already. I still have the rest of the week and classes, but eh, who cares. :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

This is just not funny anymore

Umbrella number 7 has died on me.  Surprise, surprise. This time it broke, I did not lose it.
I almost lost it at the bar the night before, but triumphantly remembered it before I got too far down the street...only for it to break the next time I opened it.

I'm considering buying stock in umbrellas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Boots is going back in time and reliving her freshman days, y'all!

That's right! I just paid the deposit on my student housing and am moving back into a dorm next week.

I know, totally out of left field, but I think it's going to be a great thing for me. I'll be in town, and when I say in town, I mean IN town. I'll be living near Marble Arch Tube stop, which is only a couple minutes walk from Oxford circus and Hyde Park. I'm going to be living in style and by style I mean off Easy-Mac once again in true dorm fashion. No, actually that's not true either, because I'm pretty certain you can't find Easy-Mac out here. You can't even find Spaghetti-Os out here. No joke. Heinz makes a version of them, and they make me want to vomit. You're welcome for the visual by the way.

So why am I moving back into the dorms? First off, because it's closer and in town. Second, because I'll have a desk and can study in my room! Fourthly (I skipped 'thirdly' on purpose because I don't care for the number 3 (I lied, I just forgot I hadn't said 'thirdly' and didn't want to make it look like a mistake(and now I've probably REALLY confused you with my use of parentheses))) (back to the point) because I can act like a freshman again and run around the halls partying and doing stupid shit.

No, mom. I promise I'll be responsible and do my work. (Yeah, right.) Mom, you were totally not supposed to read that small aside just like you're not supposed to read the next one, so look away....NOW... (jeez. Moms. Always on your case).

Anywho...this should be fun, yeah?!

Oh memories:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The moment you've all been waiting for, or at least I'm going to pretend you're interested...

Alright guys, you are in soooo much trouble. WHY didn't anyone stop me?

Remember that whole "I'm not good at cooking" thing that tends to come up in my conversations? If so, why didn't anyone say something when I mentioned I would be throwing a Thanksgiving Day Party?!

I am happy to report that the party was huge success, but it did come dangerously close to disaster. It started when I tried to make spanakopita, which is a dish my family would always have on Thanksgiving. Its fairly easy to make, however when I went to put it in the oven, I accidentally put the oven on broil rather than cook. So the top burnt and the bottom wasn't cooked. Awesome.

Then I found myself just staring at the turkey. I had no idea what to do with it. I've never cooked a turkey before and can I just say that an uncooked turkey is about the ugliest thing on this planet? Thankfully, SJF knew what to do and demonstrating that he's not always a jerkface he showed up and helped me make the turkey. Who am I kidding? By "help me" I meant, "he cooked the turkey while I stood in the door way of the kitchen drinking a beer and 'supervising.'"

Despite my poor cooking skills and much to my relief, everyone seemed to love the food. My suspicion  is that the massive pile of empty alcohol bottles that was quickly growing over the course of the evening had something to do with the fact that no one seemed to notice how bad my food was.

Best part of the whole day? The Wall O' Hand Turkeys.

Everyone, or almost everyone, drew a hand turkey in true American fashion.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Things I am thankful for...

...that I don't breathe really loudly through my nose. Otherwise, I'd drive myself crazy.

...that my downstairs neighbors don't have loud sex every night that keeps me awake, mostly out of jealousy.

...that my downstairs neighbors aren't vampires. Like real vampires, not the pussy vampires that glitter and are full of teenage angst about whether they should suck your blood or not. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm thankful they're not that kind of vampire either.

...that I can read, so when I see signs like "Push" or "Pull," I know what they mean and I don't look like an idiot trying to open a door.

...that I am talented enough at bullshitting that I can at least successfully convince people I'm right in an argument even though I know I'm probably dead wrong.

...that I'm awesome.

...that I don't have three legs and not because having three legs would cause people to look at you funny, but because you'd have to have all your pants specially tailored. I just don't have the patience for that.

...the cup of hot chocolate I'm currently drinking which is the only thing keeping me from turning into a giant block of ice.

...that I've completed any immediate homework that needs to be done this weekend, so I won't feel so bad when I drink myself stupid at my Thanksgiving party on Saturday.

...that I'm a terrible cook, which gives me an excuse to sit back while other people cook. "Listen, trust me, you don't want me to cook that. It will taste so much better if you cook it. And by "better," I mean not burnt."

...that my tiny room is at least big enough for my bed so that I can sleep lying down.

...that I don't have very good looking legs because then it's not so bad if I don't wear high heels to show off my legs and then get blisters and permanent foot-bone damage from walking on my toes all day.

...the interwebs, without which I would not have LOL cats and internet videos to distract me from more important (yet boring) things I should be doing instead.

...all my wonderful family, friends, and readers who really do make every day worth living. I love you all and Thank You! (shukran)

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The time my brain stopped working

Do you ever have one of those moments when you're just cruising on your own awesomeness and then reality hits?

That was my morning. I woke up early and started cranking out some work. I read, I listened to some music and I organized myself. I had an Arabic study group to attend this morning, so I was trying my best to get stuff done before I had to head out for the session.

And man, I was cruising. I was starting to feel so good about myself. It was only 10:10am and I had to leave at 10:30 in order to get to the session which started at 11:00....um....oh shit. It started at 10!

It was in that one moment that my awesomeness came tumbling down (temporarily of course). That split second when your heart stops for a second because you realized you just fucked up. It's like those dreams where you're always late to whatever it is you needed to get to because you just didn't realize the time until you looked at a clock and figure out you're hours late.

Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating. It was only a study group, and I still made it in time to get some stuff done. However, that lapse in awesomeness threw me off for the rest of the day. (Which is, of course, the reason I'm posting a useless blog post rather than doing some work.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've been a naughty blogger

I'm sorry. I know. I haven't been good about writing recently, but can you blame me? After 4 hours of Arabic lectures today my brain is fried. Especially since the lectures contained information about how our mid-term exam (which only 3 weeks away) will be organized. Oh man, I'm fucked. Time to put my nose to the grind!

Yet, by the time I got home, instead of grabbing the Arabic textbook, I grab the computer. I mean, it's way more fun to write blogs or plan for a party than to review Arabic. Psht.

I'm actually really looking forward to this weekend. I'm throwing a Thanksgiving Day party! It should be really fun, but mostly because I cannot wait for an excuse to eat and drink myself stupid. However, I kind of forget what a big deal it is to host a party. Don't get me wrong, it's loads of fun, but it's nerve-wrecking. This will be my first London party I've hosted. What if no one shows up? What if who does show up hates it? I'll ruin my party throwing reputation and after last years Halloween Party, I've actually got a party throwing reputation whether you believe it or not.

I'm pretty sure that if there's enough alcohol, people will love it...or at least not remember whether they liked it or not. ;) 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two months, 6 umbrellas and counting

Alright, so I was warned-- it rains here. Regardless, I'm still going to bitch. Really, it's not the rain I have an issue with, it's the umbrellas. When I first moved, the weather was pretty nice, and about two weeks in, it starting raining. So, I figure it was time to go buy myself an umbrella and got one. I used it successfully that day, and by the time I got home, I realized I no longer had my umbrella.

This has been a reoccurring theme thus far. I buy an umbrella and loose it. Normally when it rains, it sprinkles, and if I'm caught without an umbrella, it's not really the end of the world. However, last week, we had some really crazy weather. It was pouring and extremely windy. I had a date that afternoon and after getting all dressed up, realized I could not find my umbrella. Not uncommon, so I stopped on my way to the tube station to pick up a new one. I got to town early and did some shopping before meeting up with SJF. By the time I was done shopping, I realized I had no idea where I was and had to be at the date in 10 minutes. I ran out to the street trying to find a bus or a tube station and, yes you guessed it, by the time I realized I was getting rained on, I also realized I no longer had an umbrella. So, lost, and drenched, I had to walk several streets before figuring out that I was only three or so blocks away from the date, and couldn't be bothered to grab a bus. That meant walking in the rain. So I stopped at the first store along the way (after about another block in the pouring rain), and bought umbrella number two for the day. I stepped outside, opened it up, and the wind immediately broke it. No joke. I didn't even have time to stand underneath it. Mother Fucker. So I gave up and just showed up at my date looking like a drowned rat. It was hot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can someone please explain why people this stupid get to be in charge of my money?

Two months after opening my first UK bank account and I finally have a bank card and PIN. Absolutely ridiculous, but at least this whole chapter of my move is over.

I do need to share that on the highly confidential letter that arrived today is this quote:


Right. Because if you don't have my address right, I'll somehow magically get this letter and read that message. Friggin morons.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holy Crap, Lions!

It recently occurred to me that this time, a year ago, I was on my first real adventure in Kenya. Being a bit of a sentimental mush-ball, I've spent the past few days reflecting. It was that trip that opened my eyes to the world and solidly set me on my current path. 

For me, the urge to travel was more than a desire see world, it was the need to experience the world. I had assumed that this experience was only possible by traveling to the ends of the earth and visiting places out of the ordinary. Africa called to me. She whispered my name in my thoughts and dreams, promising the experience I sought. A friend once lent me a book with the intention of scaring me away from any further thoughts about Africa. The book was Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, and the second I finished it, I knew I had to go. Theroux is a great writer and he had a real life experience while traveling from Cairo to Cape Town. He escaped being shot at, got sick, and met hundreds of interesting people. Everything that my friend was convinced would scare me only egged me on towards my own adventure. A year later, I finally had my chance to travel to Africa.

This day, last year, I was visiting Lake Borgoria and Lake Nakuru and saw rhinos, hyenas, baboons, and tree-climbing lions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This conversation would have been completely different if we were talking about Chuck Norris

Me: Whatcha thinking about?
SJF:... Do you think Bruce Lee would survive in prison?
Me: Of course, it's Bruce Lee.
SJF: Yeah, but he's such a little guy, what if a whole bunch of inmates wanted to make him their bitch? How many inmates do you think it would take to bring him down?
Me: I don't know, he wouldn't have much space for full-on kung fu in a jail cell, but he does have the one-inch punch.
SJF: 17, 17 could do it.
Me: Wait, why would Bruce Lee be in prison anyway?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just another day in the life

I'm afraid I do not have much to write about today. I did get to meet up with a friend from the States who was back in London for a quick trip. We had a lovely lunch and it was great to catch up. After lunch, I was supposed to meet up with SJF, however he canceled...for the second time...in two days. Of course he had reasons, but that just seems a little ridiculous to me.

That is the story of my life, especially my love life. In fact, I'm quite pleased I got him to hang out with me a few times! That was pretty good on my part. I kept the crazy hidden for at least a couple days. Maybe it's better this way, because I certainly couldn't have kept it hidden for much longer.

On another note, on my way to my dance class last night, I came across this grafitti on a small side street and found it quite appropriate being that it was Veteran's Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

You are sooooo not helping

Official Day One of Reading Week and I feel like I accomplished nothing. The goal was to wake up nice and early, get showered and dressed and then make my good self over to the SOAS library to study all day until a concert on campus at 7:00.

By the time I rolled out of bed and made my way out the door, it was about 1:00. Instead of heading straight to the library, I made a quick detour to the local shopping mall. Shut up! I needed new jeans. I own nothing that fits and doesn't have a hole in the crotch.

New jeans in hand and I finally got to the library roughly around 2:00. I did get some reading done, but not too much before I decided it was dinner time and I needed a break. I did get a little more done before heading to the concert which turned out to be alright, but not as good as Friday night's.

Now, I'm home and what do I do? Decide that it's a good idea to write to my readers rather than get more reading done. Fantastic. You better have enjoyed that story, otherwise this was a total waste of time. *Menacing voice while shaking fist in your direction* Enjoy it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A tiny slice of heaven in amoungst the chaos of life

Friday night found me busy with class and one of the best evenings I've had in a while. After class I went to a dinner party with a friends who are fellow ethnomusicologists and we enjoyed a delicious meal of East African Fish Stew prepared by our host.

After dinner we went to a club called Passing Clouds for a concert. The concert featured the kora teacher from SOAS, Kadialy Kouyate. When we arrived a djembe group, which I unfortunately did not get the name of, was performing and it was spectacular. The group was tight and the drums sent rhythms pulsing through the venue. Losing my sense of self within the sound, I felt nothing but joy. Cliche, sure, but there is just something about drums that get my emotions going. There is so much passion in sound and rhythm.

I enjoyed the company of friends and great musicians, until I decided to finally head home at around 1:30 knowing that catching a night bus would take me roughly an hour to get home. Pulling a pure Alex-move, I hopped on the wrong bus and ended up, oddly enough, at the end of the road where the mbira concert was only the night before, which as you might have guessed, was not home. I then had to wait for 30 minutes before the next night bus made it my direction. I was lucky enough to find a bus to take me pretty much to my stop, but certainly not directly. After roughly an hour bus ride, I had only one more short bus to catch before finally stumbling home. So leaving the concert at 1:30 (which was early by the way) I did not arrive at my door step until after 3:30. The trip should have taken me roughly 20 minutes if I had caught the right bus. I know what you're thinking: Well played.

Slowly approaching 2 months in London, and I'm still busy sight seeing. Yesterday, I found myself in Regent's park, which is my new favorite spot in this city. It is a tiny slice of heaven for this nature-freak/Mainer-at-heart. I love the city, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just need to get away. Thankfully, I now know I have Regent's park. You can hear birds singing! What a concept! There are open fields as well as tiny forest-like hideaways. It is a beautiful park, especially this time of year.









Now...it's the nose to the grind for Reading Week. I have a week off from lectures and a To-Do list a mile long. Here we go.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

Today is Guy Fawkes day, a day of fireworks and bonfires, and I am pretty sure I did not have a typical holiday.

Today in a class, a friend told me about an mbira (a thumb piano from East Africa, particularly from Zimbabwe) concert going on in town that she might be playing at. Figuring that I had nothing better to do after class, a few of us head out to this concert. We were told it was at a bar called the George and once we finally stumbled upon the bar, which was out in the middle of nowhere, we discovered it was all boarded up. We could hear something going on inside and finally found an entrance. We forced ourselves through and discovered it was no longer a functional bar but a squatter's house.

Mbira music was wafting our direction and following it, we ended up in the garden out back. The garden was small and very Secret-Garden-esk with a bonfire in the middle and a few mbira players huddled around the fire. As the night worn on, more mbira players showed up, roughly 10 or so, and I enjoyed my Guy Fawkes day huddled around a fire in a defunct bar's garden listening to mbira music and watching local fireworks. You can't ask for a more beautiful way to spend an evening.

I ended up leaving a bit early as things were just starting to finally move inside into a slightly more formal concert setting, but I have a big weekend in front of me.

Tomorrow, it's up early to attend a Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum until my Middle Eastern Music lecture in the afternoon. After the lecture, it's off to a dinner party with some friends and then to another African music concert. Saturday it's another early morning to see a Christmas parade (please don't ask me... it was SJF's idea) and then a good-bye party for an acquaintance that night. Finally, Sunday is apparently off to Greenwich to experience the weekend market.

Thank god next week is reading week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday Adams? Clockwork Orange? Plain and simple freak?

Happy Halloween!

Normally, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Getting dressed up in funny costumes and stuffing your face with candy is my idea of a fun evening. However, the Brits do not make a big deal of out of Halloween and I'm surprised how much fun that sucks out of the holiday. No decorations, no anticipation. Halloween is just another day.

Thank god for CouchSurfing! Couchsurfing is full of international people and therefore gets to celebrate holidays whether the country cares or not. Therefore, last night I got a message from a local couchsurfer asking if I was going to a Halloween party. I said sure since I had no plans for tonight.

Then I got a message back from her at 5:30 saying, "Great! I'll see you in a bit." Shit. The party was later that evening and I was still at the school. I decided I'd have enough time to book it home and attempt to throw together a costume. This is what I came up with.

Scary huh? I was supposed to be a doll... Not sure it worked.  Maybe the stripy tights make it better?

Yeah, I know. I ended up something between Wednesday Adams, Clockwork Orange, and a goth rag doll. Whatever.

The best part? I realized after getting all makeup'd and dressed that I'd have to make it across town towards the Thames for the party. Which meant riding a bus, and getting two Tube lines. I actually almost decided not going because of this, and then said "what the hell.?! It's Halloween!" Plus, I seem to get some strange satisfaction when people look at me like I'm insane. It's just how I roll.

So I grabbed my coat and made my way to the bus stop. I get on the bus and the few people don't even look at me. Good, off to a good start. I get to the Tube station and still no one does a double take. What the hell? Now I'm starting to get pissed. LOOK AT ME! I'M DRESSED UP IN A FUCKING DOLL COSTUME! ISN'T THAT WEIRD?!

No. Apparently not. And it's not even like the Tube was overwhelmed with other party goers. In the hour it took me on the tube, I only saw one other person in costume (excuse me: "fancy dress") and she wasn't even on the train, just running through the station.

So, then why was nobody looking at me like I was weird? Because I live in London. London is full of freaks everyday. I'm going to have to do alot better than a cracked up Clockwork Orange to get any attention around here.
This is what we call "goals."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Angry Dance Therapy

I think I really need to work on  my anger management. (Shut up. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that.) I'm half Greek and half Irish, which gives me the drinking habits of both and the anger management issues of both. Therefore, I usually have something to blame.

That being said, I'm sure there is still improvement that can be made.

For example, yesterday (my day off), I went into school for a meeting I was asked to set up. The meeting lasted all of 1 minute and I have no idea why they couldn't just tell me that information when I went to that office in the first place and had to arrange the meeting. At any rate, I figured I'd make getting out of the house worth it and went to a coffee shop nearby. There is generally a eat-in/take-out price difference. It's cheaper to take food or coffee out, but I was in the mood to sit down and asked for a coffee for eat-in. The coffee was advertised as one price £1.50.

I sat down, enjoyed my coffee, and once I finished, I went inside to pay. I had pulled out exactly £1.50 and then the young man behind the counter said £1.80, which is pretty normal for eat-in vs. take-out price. So, I grab some extra change and give it to an older man who had now taken his place at the counter. He looked at the change and then looked expectantly back at me. I didn't make a move because I was still actually waiting for change back and then he said "it's £2.10." This man was trying to jip me! The eat-in/take-out price is never much more than 10 or 20p for a coffee. So I asked if it was so different, why wasn't there a price written on the board. And at that point the man began to RAIL on me. He had some thick, probably Turkish, accent too which made being yelled at even worse! He told me all about how this was still cheaper than Starbucks, and it's a better experience, and honestly I don't remember half the things he was yelling about because I was so shocked that I was getting yelled at!

Now: Here's the part were we indentify the correct and incorrect ways to manage my raising anger.

The Correct Response:
I should have handed over the extra change, explained calmly that it was a rip off and he should never expect my patronage in his establishment again, especially after such rude treatment of a customer. At which point, I should have left the building and properly satisfied my building anger by performing my version of an angry dance.

My Actual Response:
I got so flustered that I could not even count my change so I simply shouted "Fine! Then just take everything I have!!" and proceeded to throw all the change I had in my hand at him, which was probably 30 or 40p too much. And then I left the shop on the verge of tears.  I could feel the familiar sensation of my right fist itching to punch something and honestly had to sit down on the side of the street and calm myself down before I punched the next person who looked at me funny.

And no, I'm not exaggerating. All that really happened. I'm such a loser.

For the future: Remember that angry dances are therapeutic and don't involve punching someone. Although punching someone can be therapeutic too. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A German and a Somalian walk into a bar...

Yesterday I went to the Comedy Store's King Gong competition. It was a tame version of the 70s Gong Show.

Instead of fat women dancing, there were terrible comedians. It was a little different in that the audience was in control. Three members of the audience were given cards and once all three cards were in the air, the comedian was gonged off stage. Some of the worst comedians were a couple of old Irishmen who I'm pretty sure were on crack. I think the shortest time for the evening was 24 seconds before the comedian got gonged. But the average for the evening was less than a minute. The audience was brutal!

I think my favorite for the evening was an older Indian man. He only really had enough time to get up there and say in a very funny Indian accent "Who likes the spices? Don't eat them. They are not good for you." By then, two of the cards were in the air and he started to walk off all disappointed. It took some convincing to get him back on stage, but once he did, he only repeat himself and quickly saw the third card go up. You kind of felt bad for him.

Actually, the comedians weren't all bad. After two hours, only four had made it the whole 5 minutes without being gonged. Of those four, the final two were a Somalian and German.

And get this, the German won! Who would of figured that the Germans have a sense of humor!?

(Sorry. I couldn't find just the end bit on Youtube, but this whole clip is hysterical. Cracks me up everytime.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I am convinced London has it out for me

No joke. London is like a city from a scary movie, where you can visit but you can never leave.

I had enthusiastically planned a day out of the city, and was going to the New Forest. I was just going to spend a day wandering the forests breathing the forest air and enjoy the fall foliage. Being a Sunday, I had checked bus schedules and made sure that I could get everywhere I needed to go. I was going to catch a 7:15am bus out of Victoria Station in London to Southampton. From Southampton, I was going to grab a shorter bus at 10:05 to New Forest. The short bus from Southampton to New Forest was very limited and only ran every 2 hours.

I left the house at 6:00, with plenty of time to get to Victoria Station. I grabbed the bus at the end of the road and headed toward the closest Tube station. Lo and behold, it's Sunday and the tube station doesn't open until 7:00. The bus wasn't going to get me to Victoria Station fast enough. So I thought I would take the bus to the closest tube station to Victoria as I could get by 7:00 when they'd open. Then I would try to bust ass and make the 7:15 bus.

The tube station that I picked, happened to be one that is closed for the foreseeable future for repairs. Fantastic. I resigned myself to the fact that I had missed the 7:15 bus and had decided to try the train station. Trains are generally faster, so maybe I could find something that would get me to Southampton before 10:00.

When I got to the train station, I found out the next train would arrive in Southampton just after 10:00. In that case, I decided that I would just take a cheaper coach and try to catch the 12:05 bus to New Forest. I had to walk about five minutes to get to the coach station and by the time I got there, the next bus would arrive in Southampton at 11:47. Buses are almost always late, so I was pretty sure I'd miss the 12:05 bus to New Forest.

So I went back to the train station (it was only just past 8:00 now) to see if I could catch a train to Southampton before noon. Once again, by the time I got to the station, the next train to get to Southampton would arrive at 11:45. Still not in the mood to pay a large sum with the possibility of still missing the bus to New Forest that was already later than I intended in the first place, I walked to the corner of the bus station and cried for close to an hour.

Shut up. I know. It's pathetic, but I was SO excited to get out of the city and enjoy fall. I've had such a hard week, that the prospect of getting out and enjoying myself, nature and the wildlife was invigorating.

Eventually pulling myself back together, I treated myself to a nice breakfast. Then it was off the Natural History Museum to get my dose of wildlife. Granted, they were stuffed and slightly disturbing, but they did the trick. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in Hyde Park trying to recreate the feeling of being outside the city.


By the time I got back I even had time to nap before dinner which gives me time to do all the reading and studying I should do. So, when all is said and done, today wasn't so bad. I still enjoyed myself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Slight change of plan

Due of a lack of sleep this past week and staying out late last night, I've decided to postpone my day trip until tomorrow. This happens to be a great idea as today needs to be spent apparently fixing a minor bank crisis.

However tomorrow, I've decided I'm heading to Nottingham. Whee!

In other news: I win! My blog is apparently noteworthy enough to be visited by the Crap Blog Detective who commented on my last post! Here's the funny part, I know my blog is crap!
However, I am disappointed that this guy is not funnier. He's a bit lame. I mean, why not just go all out? Why not something creative, like "when I read your blog, I get the sudden urge to punch kittens"? Well, I never said I was good at the insults either, but I think there's got to be something better than: "None of those towns are particularly inspiring, so I think you should stay at home and write tedious blogs on how the UK is not the USA. There's just too much history and culture here. You will become dizzy and confused."

All in all, I'm flattered. I just feel like he has so much more potential to live up to! 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Help! Where shall I venture?

I've decided that I'm going to get out of town tomorrow. I've been craving it and I've decided a day trip is in order. The question is: Where?

Here are my choices for tomorrow:

Dover: to see the White Cliffs of Dover and the ocean! But I hear Dover the town itself is pretty run down. But who cares about the town if I spend all day chilling on the cliffs and surrounding areas.

Brighton: Again out to the ocean (because I miss it so much). Brighton is a sea-side resort. It's less about the country side if I head out here, but at least it will be the ocean.

Canterbury: To see the cathedral and relive the Canterbury Tales

Nottingham: To ingulf myself in Robin Hood myth and see some more history.

All four of these trip are between 1-3 hours outside of London and a great chance for me to get out of the city, but I can't seem to make up my mind!

I need your help! I'm going to let you choose for me. So please, let me know what you would like to hear about.

Don't let me down!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Europeans, um, could you NOT dry hump me? kthnxbye

I'll admit it. I enjoy my personal bubble. I know it's a bit of an American thing to say, but good god people! I don't want to talk to you while your standing on top of me! I don't want to be able to smell everything you had for lunch on your breath and I don't want to notice that you have two tiny awkward black hairs on your forehead.

I thought I would be ok with the European encroachment of personal space, but no. No, I'm not.

First, it's incredibly intimidating. You might be talking to an acquaintance and they will stand within inches of you, and stare you right in the eyes. If you have a bit of space, at least you can look at their nose, hair, or forehead and they may not realize you're not looking them in the eye, but when they're that close? You find yourself nervously switching from their eyes (all the while noticing that their left eye has a brown spot shaped like a pair of balls or upside down heart, your choice of interpretation I guess) to the floor. Or you'll be walking down the street and they continuously walker closer to you, so you compensate by trying to veer to the other side, keeping the distance between you the same. But that only works until you run into the road or building.

Secondly, it's incredibly annoying. If you're standing in a line, the person behind you stands on top of you. I'm not exaggerating either. The front of their shoes are usually touching the heels of your shoes. In fact, just the other day, I was at a copy machine at school and you need to enter your user name and password. The guy behind me was pretty much dry humping me AND looking over my shoulder while I typed in my password. I actually turned around and did a coughing "eh hem" and he didn't move. Didn't even seem phased.

So, I swear, if one more person stands on my heels or gets far too close to me, I may lose it. I might just go ballistic and I might just start another American vs British war.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why hello muscles. How have you been?

Today was my first dance class since I've moved to London. I haven't danced since I left Portland over a month ago and it's amazing what your muscles can forget in a month.

I've started a Basics class with this new teacher, and the stuff we did was all stuff I know. And yet, I looked like a moron and I'm sorer than hell! This is sad. I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things soon enough. But tonight was not fun for my muscles.

Oh. On another note. I got a haircut yesterday. I just don't know when to stop. First, I dyed my hair and that turned out to be a bit of a mess. It was darker than I anticipated AND in certain lights it looks green. So unhappy with the color, I thought "well maybe if I get a new hair cut I'll like my hair better."

Not so sure that worked out.

Yeah. I have bangs. Or, as they say here, fringe. I'm not so sure how I feel about it. Plus, this picture seems to show off the greenness of my hair. Fantastic.

Will this hair debacle ever end!? Will Boots ever stop embarrassing herself?! Will she ever become fashionable enough for London?! Will she ever stop boring the masses with her blog posts?! Will that funny-smelling milk she drank earlier disagree with her later?

Answers to these questions and more in another blog post, written at an indeterminate time, by an unidentified author in another dimension. So you can stop asking them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Social Life, how do I miss thee. Wait, who am I kidding?

In a moment of self pity, I found myself lamenting the loss of my social life. I've lived in London for an entire month now and have gone out a whole two times. I spend my days locked away in my room or in the library trying to keep on top of my reading and only see friends when they too are walled up in the library. And then I got to thinking...oh, yeah. I've never had much of a social life so what am I bitching about?

Well, I did have a little bit of a social life in the form of Cait and Kate. This last summer these two provided me with an outlet that if I needed to get out of the house. I miss them dearly.

Now, I find that my solitude is causing delusions and hallucinations. I begin to believe that my readings are my friends, and when I'm lonely I talk to my articles as if El-Shawan's examination of contemporary Egyptian music really gave a damn about my day.

What's worse is when the books start talking back. Mostly, it's innocent stuff like telling me the temperature or that I look rather smashing on that particular day. Other days, they tell me to burn things. I rather enjoy those days.

I've also apparently starting finding other outlets to entertain myself. I was going through my Photobooth files and found this photo:

Not really sure what's going on, but I found it amusing. I tried having a conversation with my picture, but my picture only showed off by responding in Arabic which is completely rude seeing as I've only had two and a half weeks of practice thus far.

Ok. So I was so going to just end this post there and leave you with that awkwardness, asking yourself "is she joking? or has she really gone insane?" Well. Just to clear things up: I have gone insane.

Now, if you'll excuse my Gilbert Rouget's Music and Trance is calling my name. Literally.

P.S. I totally made an awesome video of my Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations between Music and Possession book talking (which was completely funny and disturbing all at the same time) and now I can't find any way to upload the video onto my blog! What a bummer! I was completely going to have you convinced I was crazy...if I haven't already convinced you. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm a regular ol' Betty Crocker

Attention Interwebs! I successfully baked a delicious dinner last night. Oh yes. It's true.

For anyone who knows my history with cooking, this may not seem believable. Or rather, if I successfully cooked a meal, I probably burned down my kitchen, or set a cat on fire. On any other day, this might have been a probable assumption. However, last night, I honestly made a meal AND didn't light anything on fire.

I was in the mood for roasted potatoes and decided to be lazy and rather than make the potatoes a side dish and then have to cook something else, I made that my main dish. How? Adding bacon. Oh yeah. Potatoes, bacon and carrots. Heaven. For those of you who might like to try my recipe, have at it:

-Potatoes (however many fit in whatever baking dish you might use)
-Carrots (to add some color, but let's not get too healthy here)
-Bacon (as much as you want)
-Olive Oil (gratuitous, unhealthy amount)
-Unlabeled spices from a cabinet that you didn't know existed

-Throw bacon on a skillet and cook until it smells good
-Chop potatoes
-Chop carrots
-Throw carrots and potatoes into baking dish, it you chopped too many let the dog eat whatever doesn't fit. If you don't have a dog, discreetly throw away extra when no one is looking
-Chop the cooked bacon and throw onto the mix of potatoes and carrots
-Pour olive oil over mixture
-Add whatever spices smell appropriate
-Put in oven (set at "hot") and cook until done

I'm quite scientific, non? Maybe that is the root of my cooking problems. I wing it. That's how I roll. In the end I made the most delicious meal!

Yummy! Aren't you jealous?

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nazi's love blondes

I know you are just dying (no pun intended...wait who am I kidding, of course it was) to know what I ended doing about my nasty two-toned hair. I went to the grocery store and literally sat in the hair color aisle for about 45 minutes debating what color I should dye my hair. On one hand, I really really wanted to go darker. On the other hand, I've heard so many people say "stay blonde." So I hoed and hummed and all those pretty women with their dark hair taunted me from the front of their boxes.

In the end, I reluctantly grabbed the color that would match my roots. That way I wouldn't have to dye it anymore, it would be a tad darker and make me happy, but it would still be blonde. So a total win-win situation.

Or at least that was the idea. Here's the color it came out:

I promise I wasn't trying to go brown! It was supposed to be a dirty blonde. However, I think this really IS a win-win situation. I wanted to go darker, but tried to appease everyone by staying blonde. It's not my fault the Universe gave me what I wanted. I'm just awesome like that.

I actually panicked about whether the masses would hate me. Especially the men, because lets face it my love life is just a little pathetic right now. However, as far as I'm concerned, the only naturally occurring blondes are Germans and other northeastern Europeans. To prefer blonde hair over other colors, means you support the theory of the superiority of the Aryan race. In other words, you're a Nazi.

Have a great day everyone! (Except for you, you Nazi scum)

P.S. Please don't ask me why's there is a picture of Hello Kitty as Hitler. I just found it on the interwebs and thought it was too outrageous not to post.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Severed body parts, spiders, and monsters. What's not to like?!

Halloween is just around the corner and I'm afraid its going to take me by surprise. For the past two years, my roommate and I threw elaborate Halloween parties and were literally planning for weeks and weeks ahead of time. Last years party took the cake. We decorated every room and went all out.
So instead of planning for this year, seeing as the Brits are completely half-assed about Halloween meaning I probably won't be doing anything, I thought I'd share some pictures of our last year's party.

Halloween 2008
The Fortuneteller's Tent (The Living Room)

The Spider Lair (The bathroom)

The Cemetery (The Front Room)

The Mad Scientist Lab (The Kitchen)

If you look closely you can see an evil kitty hiding underneath the operating table.

The Egyptian Tomb (The Hallway)
complete with mummy made out of toilet paper

I have way more photos of the party itself, but beyond this part I was too drunk to really get any good photos. So deal with it. :)

Now, aren't you pissed I won't be having a halloween party?! I know, me too.