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

inflatable corona bottle costume

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 24, 2004

Yanukovych declared winner of Ukraine’s presidential election

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Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych = Pro-Moscow
Former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko = Pro-West

Ukraine’s election commission declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner of a hotly contested presidential runoff.

Pro-Moscow Yanukovych had 49.46 percent of the vote while opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko was named on 46.61 of the ballots, the commission said Wednesday.

[...]

Yushchenko warned Tuesday that Ukraine could descend into civil war if the election results he called “a sham” are not annulled and he is not named president.

[...]

Yushchenko — and U.S. and European election observers — said the vote was fraudulent. Kiev, Lviv and several other cities announced they would not accept the results of the vote and would recognize only Yushchenko as the winner.

On Tuesday, Yushchenko led up to 200,000 protesters in a march on Ukraine’s parliament demanding authorities admit they cheated in the election.

Parliamentary deputies held an emergency session to debate opposition calls to annul the vote and pass a no-confidence vote against the election commission. But the chamber lacked enough members for a quorum.
The politicians spoke anyway, as demonstrators watched on a large television screen set up outside.

When Yushchenko stepped before the cameras, the crowd outside parliament roared its approval.
After the session ended, Yushchenko symbolically swore the oath of office on a Bible. The country’s constitution, however, stipulates that the president swears allegiance on a copy of the constitution.

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Ukrainian Diplomats in Washington side with Yushchenko, accuse their government of subverting the will of the people (Wow!)

Russia Threatens to Cease Investments in Ukraine Due to Political Crisis

This is going to be interesting, to say the least.

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 18, 2004

To tube or not to tube?

Interesting article from Newsweek:

The latest analysis of evidence that led to last summer’s Code Orange alert suggests that Al Qaeda operatives were plotting a “big bomb” attack against a major landmark in Britain but had no active plans for strikes in the United States, U.S. intelligence sources tell NEWSWEEK.

The reassessment of Al Qaeda plans is the latest indication that much of the Bush administration’s repeatedly voiced concerns about a pre-election attack inside the United States was based in part on an early misreading of crucial intelligence seized months ago in Pakistan.

The new view is that there was indeed an active Al Qaeda plot underway earlier this year – one that involved coded communications between high-level operatives in Pakistan and a British cell headed by a longtime associate of September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

The plot was aimed at setting off a large bomb at a prestigious economic or political target inside the United Kingdom, in effect to make a political statement against the British government. Among the targets considered in detail by the plotters, sources say, was London’s Heathrow Airport, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

[...]

Some U.S. law-enforcement officers based in London, NEWSWEEK has learned, have become extremely concerned about evidence regarding possible active Al Qaeda plots to attack targets in Britain.

According to a U.S. government official, fears of terror attacks have prompted FBI agents based in the U.S. Embassy in London to avoid traveling on London’s popular underground railway (or tube) system, which is used daily by millions of commuters. While embassy-based officers of the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs bureaus and the CIA still are believed to use the underground to go about their business, FBI agents have been known to turn up late to crosstown meetings because they insist on using taxis in London’s traffic-choked business center.

Damn, do you realize how expensive it is to take a taxi in this city? Guess I’m sticking to the tube!