Monday, November 26, 2007

London LOL Already

Liz is on the ground and I've got a little more than a week, but Seth linked me to a Metafilter post about the "Voice of the Underground" being fired for posting parody sounds on her website. I listened to a couple and holy shit are they funny. If you've ever want to hear the nice lady on the Tube telling people their city is a "stinking shithole," now is your chance.

Monday, November 19, 2007


The Visas have been approved. My (very expensive) flight has been booked. London, here we come!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Getting Better

Hot on the heels of my last post, we got word that our visa application (current status unknown) is on its way back to us. I find out Monday whether it's approved or denied, which will have a profound impact on the next few days of our lives and the move in general.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Carry That Weight

Nothing like cutting it close, huh?

No word from the embassy on our Visa applications. No emails, no calls, nada.

I'm not sure I'm going to have any fingernails left after this.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The End of All Things

It's odd. My greatest fear about moving to London isn't the job situation or finding a good place to live or even petty crime. My greatest fear is living in a major city where I'm not a citizen, don't have my own permanent place of residence and don't have the same civil rights that I enjoy now in the (admittedly far-fetched) scenario of some kind of massive disaster, attack or apocalyptic event. I realize how irrational these fears are, but for a city that has been devastated so many times by plague, fire, bombing and more the fears are slightly more rational than they are in Seattle.

Nitwit zombie psychoses aside, the idea that I could be in London when the city is the victim of some kind of terrible attack is still pretty remote. Somewhere, rationally, I recognize that this fear is likely a manifestation of other things: my own uncertainties about moving to a new place where I don't know anyone, where I will always be an outsider, and into a situation I'm still not sure I'm going to like job-wise. But that still doesn't make it any less scary when I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and contemplate the worst of all scenarios, the end of all things.

In other news, I had a really good discussion with a group at my office today in charge of the kind of analysis I'd eventually like to start doing, and one of the guys gave me some really good advice I plan to take to heart. Career-changing advice, methinks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Torpedo is in the Water!

Well, the applications for our visas are in the mail. Now it's a matter of crossing our fingers, hoping we filled out the somewhat confusing forms correctly, and waiting.

It's like Tom Petty said: the waiting is the hardest part.

In the meantime, here's something completely unrelated to London or moving: the full text of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym." It's like Lovecraft 100 years before Lovecraft.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Benjamins, British Style

In the second of two encounters with some kind of financial service (a bank and a letting agency specifically), the fact that we have jobs and will be making apparently a good salary in Pounds has opened doors that might previously have been closed. I've been corresponding with a leasing agent trying to find a place in and around Camden Town, and after the initial "Hi, I'm an American!" we got down to business - and they would require six months rent up front. Tell them you're employed and you have a good salary, and suddenly you're taken far more seriously. Same with the bank; when they found out how much Elizabeth would be making each month, our options for bank accounts and credit cards multiplied threefold.

At least our hard work has paid off a little in this regard, because I couldn't imagine fucking around with some of this stuff not knowing about a job or making a pittance.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Learning About My New Home

Even though I haven't even left the country yet, several of my co-workers have wished me a Happy Guy Fawkes Day. I think it's kind of interesting that people in my new home celebrate the foiling of a treasonous plot against the King by setting off fireworks, while people in my old home celebrate the success of a treasonous plot against the King by setting off fireworks (on July 4.)

Wikipedia offers the full text of the traditional rhyme about Mr. Fawkes:
    Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.
    Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
    To blow up King and Parliament.
    Three-score barrels of powder below
    To prove old England's overthrow;
    By God's providence he was catch'd
    With a dark lantern and burning match.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
You celebrate by throwing effigies of Fawkes on little bonfires and begging for money for fireworks.

I kind of wish I was there for this, but it'll make a good post for next year after I've been in London a while.