Archive | August, 2005
August 7, 2005

A campaign we can all agree on


On Friday, Moira, Jessica, and I attended the Great British Beer Festival. It is the largest beer festival in the UK, with over 450 British “real ales” on tap, along with a wide range of foreign beer, ciders, and perries.

Admission is 6 quid, you pay 3 quid for your GBBF pint glass (although you can return it at the end of the evening and get your 3 quid back, but who wants to turn in such a lovely pint glass?) You can buy either a pint of half-pint of the beers that are at the festival (costing 1-2 quid each). We usually opted for the half-pints, in order to sample more beers, but these half-pints were quite generous, so you really ended up with 3/4 of a pint. I don’t remember the names of all the beers we tried, but I did like the majority of them. I tried a type of Baltika (Russian beer) that I haven’t had before, but it was quite disappointing. I swear to God I could taste the Russian soil in that beer. That was too bad, because I really like Baltika’s other beers.

We talked to some interesting people while we were there, too. It’s funny how friendly people are after they have had a few pints. A lot of people thought I was Canadian, though…how weird is that?

I ended up talking to a hilarious group of off duty cops (“bobbies”).

“You guys are cops?”

“Yep, all of us except him.”

“I really like those hats you guys wear!”

Once they found out I was a “Yank” they proceeded to take the piss out of me:

One of them had purchased a t-shirt that had a picture of Oliver Reed on the back. I didn’t have the slightest clue who Oliver Reed is, but they informed me that he was a British actor with a well-known drinking problem.

“Why is it that the English know all about American actors, but you Yanks don’t know about our actors?? We know who Tom Cruise and Jay Leno are!” (I was a bit confused as to why Jay Leno and Tom Cruise were in the same category, but I let it slide)

“Well that’s not true, I can name some British actors.”

“Alright then, go on, name one.”

“Hugh Grant.”

“Hugh Grant! Ah, but he’s such a ponce! Here’s the real question, though, do you like Hugh Grant?”

“I LOVE Hugh Grant!”

“AHH! Horrible!”

Then they started grilling me on history questions, expecting that I was one of those “Yanks that think WWII started in 1941.” They were quite surprised when I actually told them the correct dates for the start of both World Wars and that no, the U.S. did not single-handedly win WWII:

“Hey, I’ve been to the Imperial War Museum – you guys were badass!”

“My God, this Yank has visited the Imperial War Museum!”

Those cops were awesome…it would be great to run into them again.

If you’re in London when next year’s beer festival comes to town, I highly recommend it. The festival is put on by The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), an organization dedicated to protecting your rights at your local pub.
They have recently been campaigning for an Honest Pint Law:


Getting what you pay for is a basic consumer right. When ordering a pint of beer you should receive exactly that – a full pint. The reality is very different, and because of loopholes in the law over 8 out of 10 pints are short measure.

Despite repeated promises, the Government have failed to act on short beer measures.

Under pressure from the pubs industry, the Government are now proposing to define a pint as “not less than 95% liquid”. CAMRA believes that this proposal will lead to the worsening of the current situation as it gives a green light to companies to short change consumers.

Please write or email your MP calling on them to support the campaign for an Honest Pint Law and to sign EDM 404.


They urge you to send an e-mail to your PM expressing your support for the Honest Pint Law:

As someone who enjoys a drink, I am fed up with being given short beer measures. It is simply impractical to ask for a top up in a busy pub. I urge you to sign EDM 404 and support the campaign for an Honest Pint Law.

While you’re at it, you may want to throw in these important facts:

* In 1997 the Labour Party promised it would “guarantee drinkers a full pint.”
* Wine and spirit drinkers are protected from short measures by law. Why is it acceptable for beer drinkers to be treated differently?

Republican, Democrat, Labour, LibDem, or Conservative – I think this is a campaign that we can all back regardless of party affiliation.

August 5, 2005

Lindsay goes to Ireland: The End

St. Patrick

It’s been awhile since my last Ireland post, but there is still a bit more to say about the trip.

In Dublin, we visited a few other sites such as Kilmainham Jail, Trinity College (to see the Book of Kells), and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. While at St. Patrick’s, I came across this highly amusing donation “box”…it is actually a Guinness keg:

St. Patrick's Cathedral donation keg

Also, on a random note, I had nachos in Ireland. I wasn’t actually searching for nachos, either. We wanted to have some dessert, so went to a pub down the street from our hotel. I was scanning the menu and printed on the top was ENTRADAS. I remember thinking to myself “What the hell is that doing on the menu?” Well, as it turns out, we had walked into a pub that specialized in Mexican food. Yes, you read that correctly…an Irish pub that serves Mexican food. I promptly forgot about dessert and instead opted for the nachos:

nachos in Dublin

They were actually quite good. Yeah, a bit skimpy on the toppings, but overall, very tasty. We also went to a Mexican restaurant one night for dinner. Now, you might consider that to be quite odd considering we were in Dublin and should have been eating Guinness stew or cottage pie every day, but I was getting pretty tired of that type of food. It’s one thing if you are coming to Dublin from the U.S., where stews and pies aren’t your typical everyday dish, but out here in London I have had more than my fill of that type of food, so I was looking for something different. We ended up at a place called “The Alamo” in the Temple Bar area (cool area – must visit if you’re in Dublin). There was also a restaurant called – I kid you not – “From Mexico to Rome” which served, as you may have already guessed, Mexican AND Italian food. Two great cuisines, but not sure if I want them in the same restaurant, so we chose The Alamo. I’m not going to get into a long-winded review of Dublin Mexican restaurants, but I thought The Alamo was pretty good (although still can’t compete with the Mexican food in the Great State of California). I remember being especially pleased with the margaritas. Go figure, eh?

I really want to go back to Ireland someday…there is so much more to see! I would like to visit County Mayo, a rugged area on the west coast of Ireland that was the home of my Collins ancestors (the Catholic ones, ha). I hear the surfing is pretty good, too, with the exception that the water is freezing cold.
What’s funny is, I never felt really any attachment to my Irish heritage. My Irish ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1800s, so I didn’t grow up in an environment where our “Irishness” was constantly celebrated (well, except for St. Patrick’s Day, but then again, as the old saying goes, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.”). As far as I was concerned, I was just an American, end of story. Visiting Ireland, though, gave me an opportunity to “reconnect” with my Irish heritage, and I must say that I left that beautiful island with a bit more Irish pride, and a desire to learn more about the history of the country and its people.

So, that’s the end of my Ireland trip. I still have to upload all my Prague photos and write a post about my trip there. In short, it’s a really great city. We saw a lot in our short time there, and even managed to visit the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, located 60km from Prague. Hopefully I’ll have those photos up soon.

August 2, 2005

Grad school weekend defined


I love these comics.



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