Archive | 2004
December 24, 2004

Lindsay goes to Jesusland

I’m back from Illinois. A bit of a recap of my trip to the midwest…

There was a bit of turbulence on the flight from Palm Springs to Dallas, which resulted in several passengers actually SCREAMING when the flight was a bit, eh, shall we say, bumpy. Come on people, get a grip. You are only blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube that’s some 30,000 feet off the ground…
While riding the little tram that connects terminals at the Dallas aiport (BTW, I’ve renamed that little train Thunder Mountain, cuz damn, you better hold on tight) I had to listen to some lady bitch about how confusing this whole changing terminals thing is and why can’t every airport be like Palm Springs? Uh, come on now, all you have to do is ride the little train from Terminal A to Terminal C, no brain power required…and yes, it would be great if every airport was like Palm Springs…oh wait, no it wouldn’t, because then we would never get anywhere. I hope these people don’t travel internationally…I can just see them complaining about EVERYTHING.

We arrived in St. Louis, picked up our rental car, and headed off to Sparta, Illinois (population: 4,000 something). While traveling down a highway I spotted a billboard with “JESUS” in giant letters. Subtle. I also noticed that 9/10 cars on the highway had a yellow or red, white, and blue magnetic ribbon (or sometimes both, or, in the case of the ultra patriots, 4 ribbons on one freakin car!) on the back of their car, usually turned sideways to represent the Jesus fish. Ah, Toto, we’re not in California anymore.

Sparta has grown quite a lot since I was last there (6-7 years ago). They have a Mexican restaurant and a Chinese restaurant and I must say they are pretty good. Certainly not as good as the Mexican food in SoCal or my favorite Chinese restaurant in London, but good by Midwest standards (and how multicultural, too!)
At the actual wedding reception I was introduced to this hardcore republican. He was pretty scary. Needless to say, we argued a lot. He said Bush would go down in history as the greatest president the United States has ever had. Wow, way to make me throw up my red velvet wedding cake all over your nicely polished shoes. He talked a lot about how Afghanistan and Iraq were now free thanks to Dubya – I told him I’d check back with him in 10 years to see how those two countries were doing. He said to me “Just remember, you live in the greatest country in the world.” I told him I live in the United Kingdom, and you know, I very much enjoy it. Free health care, low crime rate, an efficient public transportation system, multiculturalism – it’s all there. Ah London, how I miss thee!

We went back to St. Louis a day before our flight left and I met up with Laura. We went on a free tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and it kicked ass. We saw the Clydesdales, the big tanks where the beer ferments, the packaging facilities, etc. The best part, though, was at the end of the tour, when they take you to a room, hand you a bag of pretzels, and direct you to the bar where you can get two free samples of any Anheuser-Busch product…and by sample, I don’t mean those little cups of juice you get at CostCo. These samples could be equated with that $6 cup of beer you buy at a baseball game…and you get two of them, woohoo! Thanks for the tour, Anheuser-Busch!

That’s about it. I need to post some pics…got a few of St. Louis and some of London that I need to put up…I’ll get around to it someday.

I am returning to London on January 1st…yesssssssss!

December 17, 2004

Answer YES or NO

I was cleaning out my backpack and came across two visa waiver/arrival forms that the British Airways desk agent handed to me. I’m not really sure why he handed them to me since I’m a U.S. citizen and am not required to fill them out, but whatever. Here’s one of the questions on the I-94W form:

Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved; in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?

Ummm would anyone actually answer yes to this question?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I am a SPY or I am a TERRORIST but no need to worry, I’m just coming to LA to enjoy some sunshine.

Weird.

December 16, 2004

Risk Champ Flunks Geography Test

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ALBANY, NY – Alfred Wu, the 13-year-old winner of the 2004 East Coast Risk Championship, flunked his 8th-grade world-geography test, social-studies teacher Jane Laurent reported Monday. “His test paper was filled with names like Kamchatka and Yakutsk, and the Ukraine spread over half of Europe,” Laurent said. “And, by his account, the U.S. is made up of only three states: Eastern United States, Western United States, and Alaska.” Last week, Wu received an “F” on a paper he wrote about Napoleonic military Stratego.

From The Onion. I found this to be hilarious, because I LOVE RISK.

December 14, 2004

Back in CA

I’m back in California…here until the 31st of December…well, actually, I’ll be in Illinois from December 17-21. This place (Palm Desert) is surreal.

It felt good to turn that last paper in on Friday afternoon. Afterwards I met up with some fellow RPSS students at the Beaver’s Retreat, but we were kicked out because there was a “staff meeting” so we had to finish our drinks at the Brunch Bowl. Then we went to the Lowlander Pub near Covent Garden and had some delicious strawberry beer and chips with mayo. Then Indian food, and then Cafe Pacifico. Twas a good night.

Flew out of Heathrow the next morning. Spent most of my time at the airport looking for McVitie’s, but alas, I found none. There is a mini-Harrod’s and Burberry store in the airport…amusing. Flight was a boring 11 hours, but I did watch a few movies I had never seen (Bad Santa, Elf, Manchurian Candidate). Landed at LAX, had In-N-Out, the rest is history.

Now I have nothing to do.

December 11, 2004

Update on the crazy guy

The crazy guy from my previous post was mentioned in the LSE school newspaper, The Beaver:

Arrest in Library

Police were called to the Library last week in order to arrest and remove a former LSE student. According to LSE students in the Library at the time the unknown individual screamed obscenities over the railings and accused the LSE of being a racist institution for having only awarded him a 2:1 in his degree. As a result he was now on anti-depressants, he yelled at the Library. The same individual was also said to have assaulted promoters for the LSE SU Mexican society. Six police came to the scene in order to restrain and remove the individual.

Not quite as funny as the GW Hatchet crime logs, but still quite amusing.

There was also an article about a rugby player who streaked naked through a lecture, much to the shock of the professor.

My plane leaves from Heathrow in nine hours…weird…felt like I just got here. Oh, right…it’s because I did just get here.

See most of you in California.

December 3, 2004

Crazy man tackles dancing inflatable Corona bottle on LSE campus

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Some really weird things happen on the LSE campus. For example, on Tuesday, I witnessed a crazy man tackle a giant inflatable Corona bottle. No joke…there was a guy dressed up in an inflatable Corona costume, handing out flyers about a Mexican Society party. My friend and I were walking to the library and we heard some random guy screaming, but that wasn’t really too weird, so whatever. We stopped to admire the Corona bottle, when all of a sudden, OUT OF NOWHERE, a man comes running, full speed, and full on tackles the corona bottle to the ground. This is definitely one of the times where you just stand there and says “WTF?” Actually, what was weird was the fact that the guy ran out of the Three Tuns (one of the bars on campus) and tackled the Corona bottle. What was the guy doing in the student bar, and why the hell did he randomly tackle a poor guy in an inflatable costume? So the guy was screaming some more stuff after he bravely tackled the bottle (seriously, WTF?) and the guy in the Corona bottle looked like he was hurting (could you imagine being tackled and falling onto some nice, hard cement? Yikes). Some other Mexican Society members helped him up, and the crazy guy headed towards Erin and I. He started screaming at us “What?? You F****** English and Americans have never seen a black man before?? Go to Africa!!” We were like Uhhhh…(because really, what can you say to that??) So the guy heads off into some other building on campus, and we go to the library. We’re on the 3rd floor, putting our stuff down before heading off to look for exciting books on Soviet whatever, when we hear some screaming outside. We look at the window, and the crazy guy is back again, in front of the library, screaming his head off about God knows what. Random!

inflatable corona bottle costume
Corona bottle, after being tackled by crazy man

So then I was talking to another friend the next day, and she told me that when she was in the library on Wednesday, the crazy guy (we assumed he was the same guy because he was screaming about Africa) came into the library. HE VAULTED OVER THE LIBRARY TURNSTILES and walked around screaming about how he was an LSE alum, etc, etc. Security called the police and they came to the library and hauled his ass off to wherever (hopefully the local mental institution). What do you want to bet this guys shows up on campus again?

I hope I don’t turn into a crazy LSE alum. If you see me on Houghton street screaming about something, please slap some sense into me. Thanks.

November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving in London

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Celebrating Thanksgiving in a foreign country…felt kind of odd, but it was a lot of fun. We had this potluck where we all brought a dish of some sort, but since I can’t cook I provided the rolls, butter, soda, and assisted with the desert. While we were making baked apples (recipe courtesy of jailbird Martha Stewart) the fire alarm went off and the entire dorm had to evacuate. During the incident I was thinking, oh God, been there, done that (sophomore year at GW) but it turned out that the dorm administration had decided to do a fire drill (yeah, great timing to do a fire drill…while a bunch of Americans were slaving away in their kitchens…on second thought, maybe the Brits did it on purpose). When it came time for dinner, there was plenty of food for the 12 of us (and ironically, there were only a few Americans, so we had to do a bit of explaining about the Mayflower, Pilgrims and Indians, yada, yada). We had an 18 pound turkey, which, according to the people in charge of cooking the turkey, was quite hard to find…they had to call around to a bunch of supermarkets, and when they finally found one it was a whopping 18lb. Of course, we had all the regular sides: stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and vegetable curry (ha, traditional Thanksgiving dish…the curry was quite good with the turkey…might have to use that in the future instead of gravy). We had some various desserts, ice cream, and wine…lots of wine. Finally got home at 2am…good times.

So Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year back in the US. Lame. Ironically, that day I came across this billboard in my neighborhood, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on “Black Friday.” The text of the billboard, which you can’t see due to the glare, says “Who really does a ‘spot’ of shopping anyway?”

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Agreed.

November 20, 2004

Colin Firth as James Bond?

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Colin Firth would consider Bond:

Colin Firth is done being Bridget Jones’ nice guy, but he’s not against donning British agent 007’s tuxedo.

“At the moment, I can’t think of anything I would be less attracted to,” says Firth about the possibility of a third ‘Bridget Jones’ film.

However, the 44-year-old actor tells Entertainment Weekly magazine that he’d seriously consider taking over the James Bond franchise from Pierce Brosnan.

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I vote Yes.

Getaway 2: Black Monday for PS2 – I must buy this…the Tate Modern is in the game, so my dorm has to be there…would love to run around Sumner street and steal one of the black taxis waiting to pick up tourists…and then drive over Blackfriar’s bridge towards LSE…ah, video games, how I miss thee!

November 14, 2004

Weekend of culture

After walking by the Tate Modern museum every day since I’ve been here, I finally decided that I should go inside and check it out. After visiting, all I really have to say is that modern art is, umm, weird. One of the “pieces of art” that was on display was a urinal. I kid you not, it was a urinal that was signed by the artist and put in a glass display case. So I figure that now all I have to do is perhaps find some ordinary object, sign my name to it, and sell it for some money, and there you have it, LSE is paid for! Anyways, there were some actual pieces of art – Picasso, Monet, Andy Warhol, etc, and there was an entire room full of Soviet propaganda posters (sweet). There was a cool exhibit called “Scrapheap Services” – a sort of anti-Thatcher piece. Quite eery actually – a white room with mannequins in red uniforms sweeping paper cutouts of people, while TVs ramble on about Scrapheap Services (check the link for more).

Went to Borough Market on Saturday for some fresh fruit and lunch. Took some pictures and uploaded them so my comrades can see the area I live in…shots of Borough Market, the hideout that was in “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, and the Globe Tavern that Bridget Jones “lives” above (be sure to see “Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason” if you were a fan of the first movie…it’s pretty funny, and it has Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, so how can it be bad?)


Watched more fireworks on Saturday night…they were being shot off a barge on the Thames, not far from Blackfriar’s bridge…what is with the British and fireworks? They are obsessed!

That’s about it…another week of classes start tomorrow.

I’m flying back to the US on December 11th…can’t wait to enjoy some sunshine, warm temperatures, and good food (specifically, Mexican and In-N-Out…like I said before, British beef sucks!)

November 11, 2004

Big Brother wants you to pay for your damn TV licence

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When you purchase a television in the U.S., you can get a few of the basic channels without having to pay. Well, not in the UK. In order to watch the basic channels (ie, BBC), you have to buy a TV licence for �121 (around $224) per year. When you purchase a TV here, you give your details (name and address) to the retailer, who is required by law to provide that info to the TV licence cops (or whatever they are called). Supposedly, they drive around in vans that can pick up some sort of signal and give your door a knock if they think you are using a TV without a licence. Weird, huh?

So everyone in my dorm got this letter and door hanger that threatens us to pay for a TV licence OR ELSE! Funny thing is, I don’t have a TV, but whatever.

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They have an interesting advertising campaign, too…quite Orwellian, actually. Almost every bus has an ad on the side that says “What will you have to sacrifice to pay the �1,000 fine?” and “WE HAVE A DATABASE OF EVERY HOME WITHOUT A TV LICENCE. JUST SO YOU KNOW.” Personally, my favorite one is “If you don’t pay for your TV licence, we will kill you and stick your head on a pike just like we did to Sir Thomas More. Bastard thought he could pirate BBC. WE SHOWED HIM.”
COME AND GET ME TV LICENCE COPPERS!

And in other news, the LSE student government is exactly like their ridiculous American counterparts…
Student elections were last week and one of the positions up for election was “Honorary Vice-President.” Winston Churchill (yes, the deceased Prime Mininster) was elected, but his “victory” was declared unconstitutional because he allegedly said some disparaging comments about Palestines and Jews in 1919, thus violating the Student Union’s “Equal Opportunities Policy.” This incident made the front page of the school newspaper and was even worthy enough to garner an Op-Ed. All I have to say is: What…the…hell? I thought GW student politics were asinine, but LSE wins, hands down. First off, an honorary VP? WTF??? And Winston Churchill as honorary VP? WTF??? Yeah, I’m sure his biographers will be sure to dedicate an entire chapter regarding his honorary vice-presidency at the LSE! And a huge uproar over Winston Churchill as honorary VP? WTF??? Don’t these people have more important things to legislate about? Like, for instance, the fact that my dorm restaurant does not have Heinz ketchup (but has Heinz mustard and Heinz tartar sauce). I’m getting sick of this watered down ketchup…BRING ME HEINZ!

Oh, by the way, the only candidate “running” for honorary president was Margaret Thatcher, but she lost to RON (re-open nomination). Haha.

Also, check out Queen is exposed to Highland game.