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Archive for July, 2004

28 Jul 04

stay off the roads

whoa, scotto got his g license today on his first try. no biblical floods will slow him down…

and no, i won’t make any snide comments directed at robin…this time.

25 Jul 04

pies AND ice cream, all in a little shack

ok, let’s start with the important stuff first:
as you may or may not recall, a couple of months ago i discovered a roadside pie stand in napanee:

apparently it wasn’t doing so well (shockingly), so they’ve expanded their operation:

it was actually open today, so i had to take the picture hurriedly. inexplicably, there was no lineup.

anyway, on a whim, i went to toronto last night and met up with robin and anne in an attempt to see joel plaskett play a solo set at hugh’s room. it turned out to be sold out, but i put our name on a waiting list which turned out to be a waste of time. apparently hugh’s room isn’t used to having a waiting list, ’cause they really weren’t sure how to handle the crowd outside. anyway, we ended up meeting up with mitch, nadia et al at cafe diplomatica for a few drinks, and had a good time. incidentally, on our way there, boy got on the same bus as us. robin wasn’t convinced it was him initially because he was wearing a boy cap. lame. anyway, yet another minor brush with fame for me.

oh, one last thing – something i asked last night: who would win a race between jesus, god, light and superman? discuss.

22 Jul 04

best birthday present ever

tim’s birthday was yesterday and i’m sure he got some cool presents, but i don’t think anything could quite top this tattoo, courtesy of kristi:

you can correct me if i’m wrong, tim.

hopefully it’s been affixed to his back by now, where it belongs.

21 Jul 04

…and they’re bringing back steve guttenberg!

thank god they’re finally getting around to making this movie. what the hell took them so long?

19 Jul 04

i’ve returned

and i’m back in canada.

my flight home ended up being pretty uneventful. my automatic wake up call actually did work, as did my laptop’s alarm clock (weird). oddly, my front desk clerk wouldn’t answer the phone when kristi called, so she called for a half hour without any luck…i’m glad i had other options. on the flight itself, i was sitting in the middle aisle with 4 seats across, and i was positioned beside two brothers (aged about 12 and 14) who were intent on beating the shit out of each other for much of the flight. their mom eventually sat in between them, but she too got tired of them so she stuck ANOTHER brother in my bank of seats. needless to say, i got very little sleep on that flight. thankfully, starsky and hutch was one of the movies (which i hadn’t yet seen) so i was able to focus on something else anyway.

i arrived in toronto at around 11:30 am eastern time, and finally negotiated my way to where my dad was waiting for me by around 12:15 or so. we then headed back to millbrook to celebrate tim’s 16th birthday a few days early. i have a couple of pictures of his fun presents that i’ll post later.

anyway, jo and i have discussed how travelling eastward tends to make you manic, while westward makes you depressive; this, however, wasn’t the case for me. i felt quite hyper for most of yesterday, and ended up driving back to kingston at around 7 pm (or midnight london time) without any issue. i stayed up until about 11:30 or so (24 hours after i’d woken up) and am hoping i won’t feel any jet laggy effects today (although waking up at 6:30, and then 8:30 indicate that i may have a little bit more adjusting to do).

17 Jul 04

day 13: london museum, greenwich observatory and a water taxi ride

ok i gotta rush through this – i have to be awake in about 5.5 hours and i haven’t yet packed. priorities!

so this morning got off to a bad start when i woke up and discovered that my laptop (which i’ve been using as an alarm clock) was no longer responsive. i’m glad i woke up early thinking i’d over slept or i would’ve left jo wondered what happened to me, but getting up at 6:30 instead of 8:30 made my day really rough. that also added stress to my life in that i wasn’t sure how i would wake up in time for my shuttle to the airport at 5 am tomorrow – but i think i’ve worked that out with the hotel lord jim’s impeccable wake up service (or so they claim), and kristi’s generous offer to call me as a backup.

anyway, i met jo at the london museum this morning at 10, which claims to be a museum covering the history of london as a city and its evolution. i didn’t find it as enjoyable as i hoped i would – the roman and other old exhibits were pretty light on artifacts, so they made up for it with a LOT of writing and description, as well as really cheesy “reenactments”. the later exhibits were better, but we didn’t have enough time to really explore them fully.

we then met up with andrea and wandered over to the borough market where we picked up some food for lunch. our next stop: greenwich, via the dlr train. we ate lunch on a bench overlooking the thames, and then walked up the really really steep hill to the observatory itself. we got some obligatory cheesy pictures of us on either side of the prime meridian and the like – along with a million other tourists. we then took a water taxi home (with a cheesy but somewhat interesting tour guide) and had dinner at a pub near jo’s.

anyway, i’ve booked a taxi for 5 am and looked after all of the stressy wake up call stuff, so i’m gonna go hurriedly pack. next stop: the flood-ridden outskirts of peterborough. woo.

16 Jul 04

day 12: and on the twelfth day, he rested

yeah, i’m worn out. i spent the bulk of my day sleeping and reading, which is kind of a shame ’cause it was probably the nicest day weather-wise since i got here (which means that it was mostly cloudy but at least it was warm and didn’t rain much).

tonight was fun though. jo and i met up with andrea at a restaurant where her friend lucy works. there was lots of good food to be had over the course of a couple hours. we then headed to an annoying little bar called the gallery – a place to “be seen” i think, which seems to specialize in elbows to the back.

anyway, i have no photos of today (which is probably a good thing since i literally filled up one of chumptastic’s hard drives earlier today by updating my gallery) but i’m sure i’ll have a few from tomorrow when we venture off to the london museum, a market and possibly the greenwich meridian…oooh.

oh, and on a completely unrelated note, my former history of life prof apparently has made the news again. he’s always discovering something.

and now, to bed. i’m on a schedule again tomorrow, gasp!

15 Jul 04

day 11: tate modern, sir john soane museum and simon and garfunkel in hyde park

on the advice of many, i headed down to the millenium bridge area of the south bank today to check out the tate modern. i don’t pretend to be an art connoisseur, but i enjoyed the tate on the whole more than the national gallery – perhaps it’s due to a distinct lack of jesus paintings at the tate. the building itself is quite cool – it used to be a power station and it was converted into a gallery. i took a few photos when i was able to, but, like most places, i wasn’t able to take many inside. anyway, i was able to see works by monet, picasso, cezanne, matisse, pollock, warhol, and a million people i’ve never heard of. i especially liked sam taylor-wood’s “still life 2001” – a dvd video of a time lapse fruit bowl as it decays over time. another standout was michael landy’s “scrapheap services” – a roomsized multimedia exhibit of a number of garbage collection devices (one dubbed “the vulture” – essentially a grinder), and little people-shaped papers littering the floor, accompanied by a video playing explaining that scrapheap services will clean up people who “no longer play a useful role in life”. pretty cool.

after spending a couple hours at the tate, i headed to sir john soane’s museum. i only had a couple more hours before i was to meet jo, and i didn’t wanna do a whirlwind tour of a larger museum, so i elected to go to this smaller place. sir john soane was a pretty famous architect and essentially a packrat. his house is full of a million little curiosities, and is pretty fun to look around at – it’s apparently been restored to exactly how it was when he had it open as a museum in the 1800s. the only downside was that part of it was closed for renovation (i.e. the part that sounded most interesting), but i can’t really complain for an admission price of free.

i went to dinner at the gourmet burger kitchen with jo and andrea (on andrea’s recommendation) and had an enormous hamburger. unlike the other two, i didn’t have a garlic mayo burger, and as such i was not responsible for the odours for the rest of the night. we headed to hyde park after dinner in time to catch simon and garfunkel’s sold out show for free. we couldn’t see the actual stage, but we could hear everything clearly, and could see the video screen. andrea’s friend craig provided the wine, and it was a fun night overall. we then fought our way into the tube, and i left jo to the insane mob heading east. i went west with substantially fewer people, but i ended up at a transfer point where trains only come every 15 mins or so, which kinda sucked.

when i got back to earl’s court i immediately called my mom. anne msned andrea and told her that peterborough is apparently in a state of emergency because of flooding – crazy! my mom’s house is relatively unscathed (save for some flooding in the laundry room) but her drive to work sounded pretty precarious. i didn’t get wet again today (nor did i have any allergies for the 3rd straight day), so i think london is winning at the moment.

tube observations from the last two days:
a) last night i was seated beside a guy who kept picking things out of his ear. i swear at one point he was up to his elbow in his ear, pulling out wax etc. and staring intently at it. when he started picking off scabs and staring at them intently, i stood up and moved to the other side of the train.
b) tonight i was sitting across from a guy who was plucking his eyebrows between earl’s court and hyde park corner…and quite frankly, his eyebrows looked as though the subway is the only time he ever plucks them. a few minutes later he began applying eye make up, so i guess that’s mystery solved. oh, and the best part of his look was his very very lazy eye. eep.

other randomness:
a) wow, everyone smokes here. and a LOT of people roll their own cigarettes.
b) i find it interesting that when people give their phone numbers, they often say “call me on 020 780 2422” instead of “at”. crazy brits.
c) a couple nights ago a woman in this internet cafe spent ten minutes screaming loudly at the clerk because her internet session ended before she could save two hours of work, and she swore she got no warning. i can’t imagine being that public with my annoyance about anything.
d) why do americans flaunt their americanness? it’s so bizarre – i guess they seriously have no clue that other countries really don’t like americans. they really do stick out like a sore thumb, in a city with a zillion cultures.

and now the internet cafe guy is kicking me out assertively. time to post.

14 Jul 04

day 10: the monument, the tower of london

when i woke up this morning it was freezing – so much so that i decided to stay in bed. rainy, dark and cold. ew. anyway, i didn’t get up until about 10 – just long enough that some hotel staff guy walked into my room.

when i did finally manage to get myself moving, i ended up first visiting “the monument” – a christopher wren-designed monument to the london’s great fire of 1666. as an aside, my trip’s been somewhat mirroring the book i started reading when i arrived, quicksilver by neil stephenson. the book takes place in 17th century england, and revolves around the royal society (isaac newton and his ilk), and it’s been set at cambridge and london, referring to a bunch of places i’ve seen. the timing has been quite cool, especially after touring trinity college (where the first 100 pages of the novel takes place), and the story has just reached 1666 so i know a fire is looming on the horizon. anyway, back to the monument – you can climb the 331 steps to the top and see a pretty fun view of the london skyline, and i’ve added visual evidence to my gallery.

anyway, after that brief excursion i headed down to the tower of london. i bought my ticket ahead of time at my tube station (as my guide book recommended – that was for steve) and was a bit appalled at how expensive it was. anyway, my first impression when i arrived at the front gates was that it looked much like canada’s wonderland – enormous ticket gates with big crowds of tourists. thankfully, i walked straight in and joined a tour group of well over 100 people – probably closer to 200. thankfully, he was much much louder than the tour guides in cambridge and windsor, so i could actually HEAR him. the tour was excellent (albeit well rehearsed) and i quite liked the various stories of anne boleyn’s and thomas more’s (among many others’) demises. one downside to having so many people at the tower of london is that many of the buildings that are open to tour have very narrow passageways and steep staircases, so i found myself waiting to go around people for much of the day. the jewel house (aptly named for housing the crown jewels) reminded me of the CN tower – they essentially herd you through various time wasting activities, including repeating videos of the queen’s coronation and the crests of all previous kings and queens, to the extent that the guy behind me, who i think was canadian, finally asked “are there actually any jewels in here?” there were, and the display included a solid gold punch bowl that i could easily have fit in. anyway, i won’t bother detailing the rest of the stuff i saw, but i took pictures of the coolest stuff that i was allowed to.

today was also the first day that london was actually humid. it was dark all day (all day, that is, until i emerged from the tube stop near jo’s at 5:30…i was amazed to see that it had gotten bright during my 45 minute ride) and people were wearing jackets everwhere i went. i have no idea how they weren’t dying with the humidity.

a new m&s simply food store opened up on my corner this morning, so i celebrated by bringing some raspberries over to jo’s. we’ve pretty much polished them off, and i think it’s just about time for dinner.

UPDATE: i went to dinner with jo tonight and had the requesite fish and chips meal at some random pub in soho. the service was hilarious – we had to go to the bar to place an order, and when they brought the food to our tables quite some time later we were directed to go fetch some cutlery from the bar. class. the crazy/drunk/crazy and drunk guy dancing frantically (and singing intermittently) in the doorway to his walkman made for an entertaining wait though. afterwards we headed back to picadilly circus and took a few photos, and did the same in trafalgar square – it’s nice to have photos of trafalgar without the enormous la boheme set in the way.

13 Jul 04

day 9: the british museum

i can summarize today pretty quickly:
i went to the british museum.
that’s it.

i got there at about 11 and left at 4. it’s enormous and cool…and it let me take photos for personal use, which was completely unexpected. i arrived through the back door (as our guide book suggested to avoid the throngs) and that worked out great – except that there were no maps anywhere, so i had no idea where to begin. i ended up coughing up 2 pounds for a glossy map and i was away.

highlights included the rosetta stone, some really cool ancient egyptian sculptures of ramesses II and the like, an enormous collection of clocks (i’m a geek and find historical clocks quite cool, especially before the pendulum was mastered), lindow man (a first century victim of druid ritual sacrifice), and the mosaic mask of tezcatlipola. aside from the crazy crowds that drove me to the less popular exhibits a number of times, it was a pretty fun day. i also lunched in russell square (a couple blocks from where jo is staying). it’s quite picturesque, even though it was full of a few groups of school children.

and that’s pretty much all i have to say about today. i’ll do my best to mix things up a bit more tomorrow. i’m currently at jo’s using her free internet, and although she’s tired, maybe we’ll do something zany that’s worth reporting tonight. only time will tell…

Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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