Archive for the ‘London’Category

10 Years of Thankfulness

Today is Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is our ten-year reunion. And while I’m not usually the sappy type to list things for which I am thankful, I have to say that over the last ten years, I have a lot to be thankful for. When added up, the past decade has been an immense time for me — learning, seeing, growing, doing — and it has made me the man I am today. So in spite of my less-than-brilliant life situation (eg, broke, single, unemployed), I still have to give thanks.

In the last ten years, I:

  • Moved to Philadelphia
  • Survived my first term at college
  • Made the Dean’s List
  • Learned to play rugby
  • Became good at video games
  • Mastered basic Calculus
  • Visited London
  • Learned to Salsa dance
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Got my first [indoor, professional] job
  • Voted in my first Presidential election
  • Became a disgruntled working stiff
  • Got fired
  • Joined a Shakespeare troupe
  • Built websites
  • Attempted Modern Dance
  • Learned to Swing Dance
  • Attempted Ballet
  • Visited Minneapolis
  • Joined a Fraternity
  • Forgot how to Salsa dance
  • Mastered the finer points of Shakespeare
  • Mastered the finer points of Christopher Marlowe
  • Visited London
  • Worked as a graphic designer
  • Read all the Harry Potter books
  • Visited New Orleans
  • Performed modern dance and ballet
  • Finished a degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Worked an unpaid internship
  • Moved to England
  • Visited London frequently
  • Learned the basics of British culture
  • Voted absentee ballot in a Presidential Election
  • Visited Paris
  • Learned to use Chopsticks
  • Mastered the finer points of British culture
  • Picked up a British accent
  • Waited on line for the midnight release of a Harry Potter book
  • Earned a Master’s Degree in Graphic Communication
  • Moved back to Maplewood
  • Freelanced as a graphic designer
  • Lost a British accent
  • Started a design blog
  • Started a podcast
  • Got a full-time job
  • Moved to Brooklyn
  • Became a disgruntled working stiff
  • Quit a full-time job
  • Returned to Freelancing
  • Trained for a marathon
  • Waited on line for the midnight release of a Harry Potter book
  • Ran a marathon
  • Returned to playing rugby
  • Moved to Jersey City
  • Started a blog about business cards
  • And the rest is just details.

    Thanks to everyone who made the last 10 years necessary.

    Craig & Lisa

    Craig & Lisa, fresh from their move to New York, entertain me in their Chelsea lobby and elevator. Or as they call it, a lift. They don’t miss London yet, but they haven’t experienced a real winter yet either.

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    strange days indeed

    19

    10 2009

    Mischa in London: 2008 edition

    Mischa in London
    a bemused-looking Mischa during our first trip to London in May 2000

    Mischa texted me at 5:30 this morning:

    “You can add No. 10 Downing St. to the list of places I’ve peed.”

    International woman of intrigue, my sister.

    Tags: , ,

    23

    07 2008

    Heathrow, my old nemesis

    You again. Oh, we meet again. You haven’t changed much. Still struggling to add that whole 5th Terminal thing, but other than that the same old Heathrow. You slut.

    First things first. Arrived at Heathrow hungry, my own fault, but whatever. After queueing for what seemed like hours to check in my single piece of luggage, went in search of something remotely healthy/satisfying. Found a bagel joint. Oh, they got me! I looked at the board, which was terribly designed and confusing, and determined that a bagel with one spread is £1.15, or something. Reasonable, I suppose. But in fact one spread doesn’t cover cream cheese. CC and humus are listed separately, and cost A LOT more. Can you believe that for two bagels w/cc and a coke I paid £6! Six fuckin pounds. I’m not even going to convert that into dollars – its absurd on any continent.

    As if bagel-gate wasn’t enough, I had to deal with the snide remarks of the greezy Frenchman behind the counter. Seeing my obvious disapproval (and perhaps hearing my comments) he proceeded to add “Maybe in America bagels are cheap, but this is England”. As if he’s English.

    I, not being a great writer, cannot express through written words the degree of anger that filled me at that moment. For the first time since perhaps my teen years, I wanted to leap across the counter and smash his face into the wall – leaving him in a bloody unconsciousness. But I restrained myself – airports are not the best place to get down and dirty, especially in London where the police are a bit trigger happy toward brown-skinned men. That and hunger.

    After writing the preceding paragraphs, the nearly 3-hour delay seems inconsequential. Sleeping on a wooden bench, listening to audiobooks, wandering around the overpriced-yet-duty-free shops.

    The flight, however, was brilliant. Virgin is by the far the best airline to get from New York to London and back. But I profess, Brokeback Mountain is a silly fucking movie. Skip it.

    10

    07 2006

    Norf London

    Out to Finsbury Park for RiseLondon – an annual music festival to celebrate diversity and eradicate racism and all that bollocks. But for Keith and I, it meant a day out with people of all colours and shapes and sizes and odors.

    Jamaican food on this side of the pond is surprisingly disappointing. As is soft-serve ice cream. (here, they don’t fill the cone, they just set the ice cream on top. Cheap bastards). But even here, there are hippies. Loads of em. Old Jamaican men with greying dreads, teenagers with facial piercings, families with small children in strollers, and pretty much anyone else you can imagine.

    Shooting from the hip at all the coloured randomness.

    And the first few shots are just me sitting having lunch at a pub in Marylebone. I like this area of London because the streets are wide and light can penetrate. Buildings are tall, as if they were actually planned that way. Streets come to intersections. In other words, it reminds me of New York.

    08

    07 2006

    Washington crossing the Thames

    Nothing says America’s Birthday like a riverboat party on the Thames. That’s London, in case you didn’t know.

    Jason and Drexel undergrads greet me as I board. Laughs and catch-up talk. Meet the yanks. As the shadows lengthen, we see the landmarks and cameras flicker as hastily-posed snapshots become universally fashionable.

    The symbols, of course, are slightly conflicted. American Independence in Britain’s capital. Signs and relics of the Empire surround us as our nasal, North American brogues pierce the evening air. Its the fourth of July, but our ship is flying the flag of her Majesty’s Navy. I feel like Nelson. Or maybe, John Paul Jones.

    In the dusk hours, raffle tickets, and their holders. Still-sober hands grip coloured bits of paper – a one-pound shot in the dark, a chance for glory and escapism. Win a holiday. Win a prize.

    And as the sun sets, the dancing begins. The lower deck clearly wasn’t designed to hold 200 screaming yanks and their drinks. No drinks on the dance floor? Yea right. Try to keep your trousers cuffs out of the sludge! Not quite as bad as frat house basement, but nearly there.

    Everyone is smiling. Everyone is having fun. Forget your troubles, forget the drama, forget your latitude and just enjoy the night.

    Afterward, to Haymarket for a bit of afterpartying at student night at the Sports Bar. Baseball on the tube, Born in the USA playing far too loud, boatloads of yankee students, in London for the summer.

    Oh, by the way, I won a 9-day European Tour! #428, baby.

    [side note: there were A LOT of women out on this night. I can’t make sense of it, really. I guess if you have to be beautiful to get a work visa in Britain.]

    And a few photos taken after swing dancing Monday night. Got on the wrong bus, wound up near Bank tube station. Took a few shots.

    04

    07 2006

    Hyde and go Seek

    Today, I checked out of the hostel, waived adieu to Laura, sat in the internet cafe for a few hours, then went to Hyde Park to sit in the shade and listen to my podcasts. And I’m ok with that.

    I grudgingly posted home a box of laundry and a spare jacket. Totalled 3kg, which was a bit of a shock. The cost was a bit shocking as well, especially having to buy the box and the tape! In fact, I left the roll of tape at the post office by accident – what would I have done with it anyway. I am spending a fortune, being nickel-and-dimed, (although Britain uses neither nickels nor dimes) but there is nothing is nothing I can really do about it.

    And then to Mwenda’s place, just for some relaxing and watching of telly. Fancy satellite no less. Tomorrow, to Guildford for graduation.

    28

    06 2006

    All That Glimmers

    The shinier, more dangly side of Camden town and the Camden Lock Market. Not much to say about it, really, its a mess of punk rock leather and antique oak tables. And somewhere in between are used books and t-shirts with Audrey Hepburn spinning some records, DJ style. The colours of Camden are something to behold – during a Monday afternoon, anyway, best to stay away after midnight…

    27

    06 2006

    Londinium

    To the City of London Museum. A somewhat underrated museum among the London elite of Tate, British Museum, and so forth. But if you think about it, London is actually a pretty intense with the history:

    From prehistoric, through to the Romans, Vikings, Normans, middle ages, renaissance, reformation colonialism, Victorians and through to present day. Of course, I was only there to take pictures of random machine parts, and typography from back in the day. Interesting to note that some of the candy and packaged goods have very similar labels to today’s packaging. Like that of Mars Bar for example. Oh just shut up and check out the photos.

    26

    06 2006

    Sitting in an English Garden

    Sunday mornings the artists come out to Hyde Park to sell their wares. Paintings, clocks, and the like. Ponies – gotta love it. And of course Speakers’ Corner, where religious zealots, socialists, and anti-Americans of all sorts come to yell and scream for no apparent reason.

    Oh the suburbs. A small town in Buckinghampshire, called Amersham, where Damian lives. Damian, of course you’ll remember, was my tutor last year at SIAD. So, why not have a BBQ out here? Laura had to see the small-town Britain as well as the big city.

    White skies, but no rain, thankfully. Along with watching the England match, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

    25

    06 2006