Monday, May 26, 2008


It's a Bank Holiday weekend, which means no work. Normally I'd be outside basking in something fun, but it has been raining like nobody's business the last couple of days. And Saturday, the day when it was nice? I spent most of that indoors, cleaning and straightening up and catching up with Liz since she just came back from a week in the US.

We did manage to get out for a little bit yesterday to hit a couple of historic pubs (my historic Roman London walking tour was put on hiatus because of the weather) and today I'm thinking a museum might be in order. Anything that doesn't involve a lot of walking in this dreary wetness.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Europe / America: On Sports

Sports are Serious Business no matter where you are. Some places, sports is more serious business than other places. A lot of people think Americans are really serious about their sports. After all, we turn out by the hundreds of thousands to watch sports where pansies in pads try to move a ball around and take breaks every 30 seconds, sports where fat men try to hit balls with sticks, sports where skinny men and butch women try to hit really small balls with really long sticks, sports where tall men try to put brown balls through laundry bags, and sports where drunken Canadians on ice skates hit each other and something resembling a hamburger patty with long sticks.

But say what you will about American sports: when our favorite NASCAR driver loses a race, you don't see thousands of rednecks trying to run each other over in the parking lot afterwards.

Sadly it seems that in Europe sports can be pretty Serious Business to the point where people can be really badly hurt.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Preview

I've been terrible at updating lately, mostly because the weather here has been fantastic and I've been spending every possible moment outside when I'm not at work. OK, not every possible moment, but every possible blogging moment.

I realize I don't normally say where we're going on our next trip or even when we're going, but there will be a trip soon. To prepare, Elizabeth purchased a head scarf.

Where could we be going?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The New Look

Just had to plug the new banner and the artist who did it, Robert Jones, who is doing art for all three of my blogs. Adds a much-needed bit of color to the homepage if I do say so myself.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Here We Go Again

So London has elected itself a conservative mayor with no real political experience known for making verbal gaffes and is racist, anti-immigrant and anti-homosexual.

Now where have I seen this before?

My fellow Londoners, I feel like Cassandra but believe me when I tell you this will not turn out well.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Say What?

Cod Pieces
Cod Pieces?
Language is a funny thing. Even when you speak the same tongue, it can still be very difficult to understand what someone's saying. Maybe it's word choice, or accent, or cadence, or simply what isn't being said.

I admit I struggled a little bit with language when I first arrived here. Not that I found my new countryfolk hard to understand, but I don't have the greatest hearing in the world to begin with. Let me rephrase: when there's a lot of background noise, I have a very hard time picking out an individual voice, even if that person is sitting right next to me. I often have to turn my head so I can make out what a person is saying if I'm in a pub or a restaurant.

Lately though I noticed I've been doing it less, especially when I'm listening to Brits speak. I know my hearing hasn't improved at all (what?) so I can only assume I'm getting more used to listening to British voices. The funny thing is they don't seem any more or less clear to me per se but I certainly ask them to repeat themselves less, and I find myself smiling and nodding a lot less as well.

Oddly enough I've noticed that I've started to pick up a couple of Brit-isms, mostly in my word choices (a fine example being "I've"). But my good old Yankee accent is completely intact. I was in New York less time than I've been here and managed to pick up more of a New York sounding accent (for a time, anyway, but don't ask me to say "dog" without saying it "dauwg" if I'm not paying attention) than I sound anything resembling British. Which is good because I don't want to be Madonna.

It's one of the less-noticeable things about living here but I admit that it does make me feel like a bit less of an outsider, likely because it makes me feel a little less self-conscious. Honestly I haven't had the feeling of "hey, I'm an American!" here in quite a while. After a while you begin to feel as though you belong and not asking people to repeat themselves every three sentences certainly helps.