Archive | 2005
December 23, 2005

Soviet Christmas and New Years cards

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Every year I tell myself that I am going to send out holiday greetings cards, but I never get around to it. I came across this website where you can send e-cards with images of old Soviet holiday cards. If some enterprising person were to reproduce an actual set of these, I would totally buy them so I could mail them to my friends. Not that I’m advocating a revival of the Soviet Union, but I’d love to see the perplexed looks on their faces when they pull the card out of the envelope and see Cyrillic characters with a big jolly Communist Santa.

Here are a few of my favorite cards…most of them are actually New Year’s cards (C Новым Годом – S Novim Godom):

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Rockets and space exploration are popular themes for Soviet New Year cards.

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“Happy New Year! This missile is headed straight for those capitalist pigs in Washington!”

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Gotta represent labor and heavy industry, of course. But, uh, is that a Gulag at the top? There are two watch towers, and what look like barracks, so I’m not quite sure.

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Think of our glorious Red Army soldiers serving abroad, crushing nascent democratic forces throughout Eastern Europe.

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Yep, another rocket.

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Yeah, yeah, you have a space program…yes, you sent the first man into space…WE GET IT ALREADY.

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Soviet power Santa, holding a Pentagon in the air emblazoned with CCCP. The DoD Pentagon? Perhaps.

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OMG! The rocket is headed straight for Santa!

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The poor little kid, he has to work in a factory on New Year’s Eve.

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I have no idea what is going on here.

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I love this one. Apparently, when Santa isn’t delivering presents, he serves as a supervisor for Glavtransneft, the Soviet Ministry of Oil’s Department for Oil Transportation and Supplies. Here, Santa supervises an oil worker in the repair of a broken pipeline, thus preventing a major oil spill in Siberia that would have spoiled the upcoming snowman competition. Way to go, Santa.

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Another great one…here, Santa has an old-style radio hanging from his neck, and is holding a Christmas tree with a big red star on the top, thus proving that Santa is a true Bolshevik.

Update: Here are two more, sent to me by Csaba, a friend of mine from Hungary. These are scans of cards that his father sent to him and his brother when he was in the USSR.

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In this New Year’s card, Santa appears to be coaxing a snake out of a box labeled “1989.” This particular snake is also wearing a crown, and batting its eyelashes, which makes me think that the snake is flirting with Santa. Definitely one of the oddest New Year’s cards I’ve ever seen.

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This card is definitely geared towards children. There are a variety of children’s cartoon/fairy tale characters following Santa’s sleigh, which is apparently pulled by a mere boy and his pony rather than a group of reindeer. (Poor Rudolph, methinks he got the pink slip from the human resources department at the North Pole!) I’m not really sure what that boy is holding in his hand, but it looks like a glowing feather of some sorts. Also, what is Puss ‘n Boots holding hands with? Is that an orange wearing an ushanka?
Honestly, wouldn’t you love to receive some of these holiday cards?

December 22, 2005

My year in London gone by, I miss it so

I’m back from London. It was a lovely week, filled with old friends, the usual London sights, and plenty of pints of Strongbow. It was actually a rather surreal experience because I felt like I had never really left the city, and that the past three months in an overglorified resort town of yesteryear was just a temporary exile. But, unfortunately, I no longer live there, and have to refer to everything in the past: “my old tube stop”, “where I used to live”, etc. But, might as well get on with this post, the point of it being to describe what I actually did while over there.

Our flight from LAX to Heathrow was fine, except for the hour of nonstop turbulence. Now, sometimes I think that brief periods of turbulence can be quite fun, like a rollercoaster, but when you are sitting through an hour of it, you begin to wonder how safe you really are flying in an aluminum tube 30,000 feet over the North Atlantic with no land in sight. I found myself desperately trying to remember the aerospace education classes I had slept through as a cadet in Civil Air Patrol: “Uhhh…turbulence…is…uh, pockets…of…air? Just a…minor…annoyance…to pilots.” Damn, no wonder I never made it past Airman First Class. Eventually, however, the captain came over the PA system and said “I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that while this may not be fun, you are perfectly safe.” Thanks, Captain.

We arrived in Heathrow around 2pm, after descending through dark, thick clouds of smoke that smelled of petroleum (a huge fuel depot had blown up north of London, you see). We had our passports stamped and collected our luggage, but when we got to the station for the Heathrow Express (a fast train from the airport to Central London) my dad discovered that his carry-on bag was missing, so I spent a good hour searching around Heathrow, from the Heathrow Express ticket counter, past security back to the luggage carousels, and back to passport control. The bag was gone, never to return, but those workers at Heathrow sure are a nice bunch of people. When I got back to the station, there was a train waiting at the platform so I screamed “Train! Let’s go!” and we grabbed our luggage. My parents made it onto the train, but just then, as my body was half into the train car, the doors closed. I had tried to use the skills I had acquired while on the DC metro in order to force the doors open, but the British like their trains to run on time, and nothing I could do would let me get onto that train. I was publicly reprimanded by two Heathrow Express staff members, one over the loudspeaker and one in a long, purple coat, for my attempts to interfere with the train’s departure. So, Kim and I waved goodbye to my parents, who were off to Paddington station, and oh, did I mention that they didn’t have their train tickets because they were sitting in my coat pocket? As you can see, this first hour of our trip was just lovely!

The main purpose of this trip to London was, of course, my graduation ceremony, held on Wednesday, December 14th. The ceremony was at 11am, but I had to arrive at LSE earlier in order to pick up my gown, which was being distributed in the basement of the Old Building (that LSE, they sure do know how to name those buildings!). Now, the only other college graduation I’ve gone through is GWU, so I will thus compare everything to GWU. First off, at GWU, a few days before the ceremony we would wander over to the Herff-Jones representative to pick up our cap and gown, which were bright and shiny and wrapped in plastic. At LSE, though, we had to rent our graduation robes. I suppose you could buy them if you wanted, but personally I could think of better things to spend $700 on. So, an hour before your ceremony, you are issued your robe and cap in the Old Building, and then wait patiently in line for the next available old and adorable British man to dress you. They are all dressed in fine suits and speak with that impeccable upper class British accent, you see, because our robe providers, Ede and Ravenscroft Ltd., are the official robemakers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and thus must act the role even if they are only helping idiotic foreigners such as myself properly wear my gown (er, robe?). Now, my gown was nowhere near as regal as the Queen’s, as it wasn’t decked out in jewels or animal fur or whatever, but it was still a spiffy outfit. It was confusing, too, because as I was being dressed by the aforesaid old British man, I managed to stick my arms through the wrong openings in the arm (it’s confusing to explain, but come on, it was morning and I didn’t have any caffeine yet). Looking at my arms poking out through the wrong openings, my dresser remarked “Come on dear, you’re about to receive your master’s degree, get your arms right.” (Hey now, I bet you aren’t snarky with the Queen when you are robing her, are ya?!) “Sorry, sir,” I replied sheepishly “but in the U.S. we wear cheap polyester gowns.” I think he was satisfied with that explanation.

The actual graduation ceremony was held in the Peacock Theatre on the LSE campus. It involved a few speeches, walking across the stage while your name was being read, and shaking Howard Davies’ (LSE Director) hand. It was pretty much like a typical graduation, but seemed a bit more “authentic” because everyone was speaking with British accents and Howard Davies was sitting on a throne. Weird, I know. After the ceremony we had a reception in the Hong Kong theatre, where waiters served us mimosas and set out plates of mini sandwiches and mince pies, those great British delicacies. I’ve never had a mince pie before, and after my first one, I’ve determined that I wasn’t missing out on anything because YUCK!

Since graduation was only a few hours, the rest of my time in London was spent wandering around the various tourist sights and drinking and dining at the places I came to know quite well over the past year. Since Kim had never been to London before, I made sure that she saw the important stuff like Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square, Camden Town, Bankside area, Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Imperial War Museum, etc. And, of course, we stopped by Harrod’s, a place that can make even Krispy Kreme donuts seem “posh.” I rarely ever buy anything when I go to Harrod’s, but it’s still fun to wander around the food halls, leaving behind a trail of drool, and then admire the gold-plated mobile phones in the “room of luxury.” We also met up with Mark at the London Tower, so he could admire how all his UK tax dollars are protecting the Queen’s crown jewels (Hi Mark! Great to finally meet up with you!). I’ve been to the Tower of London a few times, but I’ve never taken the Beefeater tour until now…totally worth it!

Another big part of the trip to London was the food. We don’t have much ethnic food here in the desert (or if we do, it’s ridiculously expensive), so it was great to visit the restaurants we used to frequent: Monsoon (Indian) on Brick Lane, Lebanese in Kensington, Tas Pide (Turkish) in Bankside, Lowlander Pub (Belgian) in Covent Garden, etc. We also stopped by one of our favorite pubs in Notting Hill, Churchill Arms, which serves excellent Thai food for under 6 quid a dish. Afterwards, we went to the Hillgate pub and then the Windsor Castle pub (Hobbit pub), which was serving an excellent winter Pimm’s drink. Later that week, the Bankside crew gathered at our local pub, the Anchor, which was now apparently the scene of a techno dance party. It was very odd, because usually the Anchor is pretty chill, but whatever, it is still a great pub – you just have to take your pint upstairs, where it is a bit quieter and you can hear your friends talk. (Omar, glad you could pull yourself away from your i-banking job to have a pint with us).

No trip to London would be complete without afternoon tea, of course, so a bunch of us RPSS grads met up at the Orangery in Kensington Gardens. If you’re ever looking for a place to have tea, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, and scones with jam and clotted cream, you have to try the Orangery. It’s really cheap (about 10 quid) compared to the Ritz, and in a very nice location. Whenever someone would come visit me in London, I’d always take them to the Orangery so they could experience this wonderful British tradition which I have never really seen British people partake in.

On Saturday I took my parents to the Borough Market so they could finally see what I had been raving about for the past year. And since it was hard to decide between the falafel and hamburger, I just had them both, and picked up a “world famous” brownie for later.

During our last afternoon in London, Kim and I went souvenir shopping. Since I’m no longer a resident of London, I’m allowed to enter the cheesy souvenir shops and buy ridiculous stuff like flip flops with the Tube map printed on them. We also did some last minute shopping at Heathrow Airport, and, at 9am, had a bottle of Scrumpy Jack’s and pint of Stella before catching our plane back to the hell that is Los Angeles. I don’t care how good the weather in LA is, flying back there from London is just goddamned depressing.

Thus concludes our trip to London, and also my year at LSE. I miss that city so much, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of all the great times I had and all the wonderful people I met while living there. I also have an immense sense of pride when it comes to London – is that odd, to take pride in a city that you only lived in for a year, and one that is located in a country of which you aren’t even a citizen? Possibly. I have visited a lot of different cities during my travels, and none of those cities – not Moscow, Paris, Rome, nor Prague, could possibly top London…it is simply the greatest city that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, and I am eternally grateful for the year that I lived there. I hope that sometime in the future I will be able to move back there, but until then, this trip served as an excellent way to say goodbye to the city that I had fallen in love with over this past year.

“You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” – Samuel Johnson

December 11, 2005

London calling to the faraway towns

I’m heading off to LAX in an hour…flight leaves 7pm, gets into Heathrow around 2pm on Monday. I’ll be back in the U.S. on the 19th.

Looking forward to seeing all my LSE friends, showing my friend Kim the city I lived in for the past year (a friend that I have known since 1st grade (!) is coming to London with me), drinking Strongbow in all of our usual pubs, eating some scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, enjoying some great Indian food, visiting Borough Market, and, well, EVERYTHING about the city.

So, I will see all of you here in the desert in a week, and to those of you that will be in London, you’ll find me at the Anchor (surprise, surprise).

December 6, 2005

I love San Francisco

I must admit that as a native Southern Californian, I was rather ignorant in regards to the cities and towns that were located in the northern part of this wonderful state. I visited Sacramento and San Francisco once while I was in the 3rd grade, but never went up to that area again. I guess I didn’t really have a reason to – surely anything I needed to see could be found in San Diego-OC-Los Angeles, right?

Accordingly, when I was at GW and would meet a fellow Californian, my eyes would glaze over once they mentioned their hometown was in Northern California. As far as I was concerned, they might as well have been from Oregon. Northern Californians were strange people that lived in a “cold” climate and inserted the word “hella” into every sentence. In fact, put a group of Californians together, like GW would do at student ambassador luncheons, and civil discussions about DC’s lack of In-N-Out and decent Mexican food would soon turn into arguments over which part of California was better: north or south?

Northern Californians: “You plastic, fake-tan idiots steal our water. WHO BUILDS A CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT?”

Southern Californians: “Whatever, take your huge inferiority complex back to ‘Frisco’. We are the California that people around the world adore and aspire to move to. And by the way, it’s a real tan.”

Well, after visiting SF this past weekend, I just have to say…Northern California is so much better. San Francisco blows Los Angeles out of the water, hands down. The city is a perfect mix of the best qualities of the East Coast with the great parts of Southern California. The city, with its bridges, rowhouses, parks, and skyscrapers is amazingly beautiful (Which begs the question, why are Los Angeles, San Diego, and the suburban OC sprawl so goddamn ugly?). Whereas I would not want to live in LA, I could definitely see myself living in SF.

But anyways, more about the actual trip itself. I left Palm Desert at 3pm and, due to traffic mixed with a light rain, finally arrived in LA at 7pm. Four hours?! Ridiculous. I picked up Alicia at her job in Westwood, drove to her place in Northridge to so we could switch to her car, and then headed off to SF. But, since this is LA, of course, we become mired in traffic and don’t leave LA county until 9:30pm. We finally got to Crystal’s place in SF at 3am.

On Saturday we went to Fisherman’s Wharf, where I had one of my favorite dishes: clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. After that we went to Ghirardelli Square and had hot chocolate…quite possibly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. We then went to Union Square and walked around, looked at some stores, etc, until heading off to a cute neighborhood bar in a neighborhood whose name I cannot recall. Over bottles of Magner’s and Pilsner, we discussed, among other things, Putin’s efforts to erode democracy – something which I don’t think I’ve talked about since September. It was almost like being in London…almost. We then had an excellent Italian dinner, followed by some incredibly strong Irish coffee at a bar down the street.

The following day, we went to the Ferry Building Marketplace and then drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to have lunch in Tiburon. We drove around SF a bit more, taking the scenic route…I saw the beach, and yes, there were surfers out there, which partly explains why I think SF is looking like a great place to live. Alicia and I left in the evening to head back to LA. We stopped once to fill up on gas and try Arco’s corndogs. We almost drove off with the gas nozzle still attached to the car, though, and I think that if we hadn’t caught that and had indeed driven off with nozzle in place, we would be permanently barred from ever working for BP.

I stayed in LA overnight, and in the morning Alicia and I had breakfast at some French cafe in Westwood. At one end of the street, they were filming a commercial for match.com, which we watched them film while we were sitting outside. They then moved the set down the street, closer to us, and a production assistant passed by us and said “Come on, the set is moving.” “Huh?” we replied. “Ohhh…you’re real human beings? We’re not paying you to be here?” says the PA condescendingly. So they made us leave…bah, entertainment industry assholes…they think they own that town.

Thus ends my weekend away from Palm Desert. I had a great time, and I loved seeing everyone up there…the funny thing is, I’m going to see them all in London in less than a week…back to the old pubs, the usual restaurants…IT WILL BE AWESOME.

December 2, 2005

San Francisco for the weekend

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I’m going to San Francisco for the weekend. Actually, first I’m going to Los Angeles to meet up with Alicia, a fellow LSE-RPSS grad (London School of Economics, Russian & Post-Soviet Studies degree program in case you were wondering WTF that acronym is) and then from there we are driving to SF tonight to see Taline and Crystal, two other LSE-RPSS grads who are currently living in the Bay Area. I haven’t been to SF since I was in the 3rd grade, so everything there will seem rather new to me.

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I’ll probably be back in the desert on Monday, unless I decide to stay in LA for an extra day.

November 28, 2005

Why I dislike college sports

If you’re a great athlete, but that 0.6 GPA is holding you back from playing college football, no worries, as a free ride to a big name school can be all yours for the small sum of $399!

This is one thing in particular that I like about the UK educational system – the universities there aren’t looked upon by players and coaches as stepping stones to professional sports. Are you a great basketball/football/[insert sport here] player? Great, stop by the athletic union and sign up for as many extracurricular teams as you like, but don’t count on your athletic talent to make up for a sub-par academic record and land you a full ride to a university.

November 27, 2005

One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer

Of course this happens AFTER I leave London:

Drinking in British bars after 11 p.m

Some see the dawn of civilized cafe society, others a boozy Armageddon.

Either way, it is last call for the early pub closing times that have shocked many a visitor since their introduction during World War I. The government hopes the change, which takes effect Thursday, will stop the flood of binge drinkers spilling onto the streets of England and Wales at the traditional 11 p.m. closing time.

The new rules allow pubs, bars, shops, restaurants and clubs to apply to stay open any hours they like, although each license must be approved by local authorities. The government’s licensing minister, James Purnell, said the new law means that “at last grown-ups will be treated like grown-ups.”

[…]

Britain’s licensing laws – largely unchanged since they were tightened in 1915 to keep factory workers sober – have long been derided as an anachronism. They required most pubs to close at 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the closing time was effectively a “national curfew” that had been “unfair in principle and wrong in practice.” The new rules give police stronger powers to close troublesome bars and punish underage drinking, meaning “yobbish behavior will be cracked down on,” Jowell said.

It would have been nice if this had happened a year earlier, but at least I’ll be able to take advantage of the longer hours when I go back to London for graduation in December (Leave CA on the 11th, arrive in the UK on the afternoon of the 12th…can’t wait to get back there!)


HOBBIT PUB! (Er, Windsor Castle Pub in Notting Hill)

November 15, 2005

Small houses on wheels and other American peculiarities

Several years ago, during my first summer in St. Petersburg, I wandered into the Dom Knigi (House of Books) on Nevsky Prospekt in search of a Russian-English dictionary. While I was there, I picked up a small book called “Profiles of the United States.” It’s designed as a sort of mini-textbook on history and culture for Russians who are studying (advanced) English and will most likely be studying abroad in the U.S. I like reading non-American impressions of the U.S., so for only $1, it was well worth it. After flipping through the book, though, I got the impression that the author really hasn’t spent much time in the United States, and was simply trying to terrify prospective study-abroad students with images of Americans smearing toothpaste all over their bodies, driving around the country in their houses on wheels, and eating sandwiches off American flag paper plates at a table covered with an American flag table cloth while drinking iced soda from an American flag cup. So, if you’d like to see what some Russian students might be learning about the United States, read below…

On our place in the world:

“Americans live in present and think about the future. Maybe that’s why Americans are not interested in history. They are not interested in other cultures beyond the one in their own country. It is a self centered nation. It is a very young nation, even adolescent. Somebody once called this nation ‘puppies of the world.'”

“These are the people who are not bound by traditions. In this respect they even might appear disrespectful to a European or to an Oriental person.”

On our self-reliance and independence:

“The value of self-reliance and independence encourages old people in America to live in retirement or nursing homes. For a Russian visitor where family ties are strong and children are supposed to take care of their parents it is hard to understand how Americans can allow their parents to live in retirement homes.”

On privacy:

“The next thing Americans value a lot after individualism and personal independence is privacy. Do you know that it is very difficult to translate the world ‘privacy’ into Russian?! This word does not exist in our culture because the social conditions have not required its invention. The idea of privacy is alien to our culture. We are a communal nation for whom community (obshchina) was always the foundation of society.”

On choices:

“‘What are my choices?’ is one of the most widely used phrases in the country. Americans use it booking flight tickets, making hotel reservations, installing new equipment, buying services, etc. They must have choices. Without them they feel trapped.”

(Yes, I feel trapped when I don’t have 638 differents brands of soda to choose from)

On friendship:

“In America friendships are more casual, they can be easily dropped or picked up.”

(Uhhhh…?)

“It’s not customary in America to drop into a friend’s house because you are passing by, or because you suddenly feel the urge to see your friend. You should call first and arrange a meeting.”

On our eating habits:

“Americans love sandwiches, they eat a lot of them. All fast food restaurants offer sandwiches. Maybe that’s why a large percentage of the population is overweight.”

“When you invite somebody to a restaurant and tell this person that it is going to be a Dutch treat, it means that each of you will pay for your own meal.”

(“Hey guys, let’s have lunch at Las Casuelas today…Dutch treat!” Wow, I think people stopped saying that in the 1950s.)

“There are so many overweight people in the United States that more than a decade ago a new subject was introduced into the school curriculum. The subject is called nutrition and it teaches students how to eat properly.”

(My freshman health class at PDHS kinda covered nutrition…I had it 6th period, shortly after lunch, which usually consisted of nachos, taquitos, and a Coke…hmmm…very useful class.)

On sports:

“Americans are the nation of sports fans. They love to watch sports on TV, they pay a lot of money to attend a sport event at the stadium, they love to buy t-shirts, badges, hats, shorts with the symbols or colors of their favorite teams.”

On having fun:

“Americans have lots of recreational equipment, special outfits, cameras, telescopes, even special type of vehicle which is called RV (recreational vehicle). It’s a small house on the wheels where you have everything to travel long distances.”

“Americans love to play. Being an adolescent nation they play like teenagers. Cream in the face, toothpaste on your body, crazy games and roller rides – these things are as much a part of American culture as Disney World.”

(Has anyone here smeared toothpaste on your body?)

On our obsessions:

“There are several things that Americans are obsessed with. The first one is their flag and the symbolism it brings. You can see an American flag in all the government buildings, in schools, sometimes in every classroom, on private houses, on boats, in parks – everywhere. You can buy cups, mugs, glasses, plates, tablecloths, t-shirts with a flag pattern, you can wear clothes imitating the flag, you can buy candies with this symbol. Americans adore their flag.”

“The second obsession is ice drinks. Most of American drinks are served with ice – sodas, teas, water, juices, alcoholic drinks.”

“The third obsession is showers and everyday change of clothes. Americans are very intolerant towards body smells. From early childhood they are taught that the odors of the human body should be controlled by frequent showers, soaps, deodorants, mouthwashes, etc. You should change your clothes everyday because it absorbs your perspiration and might produce unpleasant odors. It’s a general rule that is strictly observed by the people in American society. If your body or breath smell irritates them they would prefer to keep a distance and stay away from you.”

(Ah yes…this is very true. During the summer in Russia, the government shuts off the hot water for two weeks in each sector so they can carry out repairs. Hot water, like everything else built in Soviet Russia, was provided centrally, rather than each building having their own water heaters…weird, huh? So a lot of the Russians would cut back on the amount of showers they would take when it was their neighborhood’s turn to be hot water-less. Not us crazy Americans, though! Although our teachers and dezhurnayas warned us that showering in the ice cold water would make us sick and die, we still did it. They just couldn’t understand that we HAD to take a shower everyday.)

On driving:

“Americans are very polite drivers.”
(Uhhhh….)

On standing in line:

“Americans in general don’t like to stand in lines, they would prefer to leave and come another time. There is always one place where there are always long lines and where people patiently wait for their turn to enjoy the attractions. This place is called Disney World.”

Etc:

“Death Valley is now a resort. It was called so in 1849 by Gold Rush pioneers when part of them died there.”
(Death Valley is a resort?)

“The simple obelisk built in honor of G. Washington is often called the Pencil.”
(I lived in Washington, DC for 3.5 years and never once heard the Washington Monument referred to as “the Pencil.”)

“America is the motherland of jazz, “rock and roll”, nylon, and Coca-Cola.”
“Friday the 13th is the worst possible day for an American.”

Well, I hope all of you learned a lot about American culture today! I’m heading off to politely drive my small house on wheels to the Death Valley resort, but only after I disrespect some Europeans, drop a few friends, and shove my parents into a retirement home!

November 12, 2005

UK photos: Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle

Now that I have everything moved over to my new host, I’m going to work on uploading all the photos from this past year that somehow never made it into the photo album (due to lack of time or whatever).
Here are the photos from Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle:




Coming up: Various “tourist” sites around the city, Cardiff, Madame Tussaud’s, etc etc.

October 31, 2005

All set

Everything has finally been moved over to the new host. I’m with Dreamhost now and really like them so far…TONS of storage space and fast servers, what more could you want?

I’ve also upgraded to Movable Type 3.2 and Gallery 2.0.

In other news, it’s Halloween today and we haven’t had ANY trick-or-treaters. This neighborhood sucks. It’s full of angry old people who won’t open the gates, so no kids come in to take all this candy off of our hands. Even the kids that live here don’t trick-or-treat in the neighborhood! God, this place is dull.