Thursday, November 20, 2003
Pre-March This was the crowd two hours before the march even began.
Sign 1 Creativity abounds...
Scary Protester Fred is so cute; if all the protesters looked like her, I doubt the crowd would have been very intimidating.
Entertainment This guy got up on a bus thingie and played drums for the marchers. Later he was on top of one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square. Impressive climbing skills.
Parliament This is what it was all about. Bush had tried to prevent the march from going by the Houses of Parliament. Protesters won out and responded by screaming at the building. (Note that it's 4:15, and dark. What a pain in the ass.)
The Man This guy cleverly dressed up as W and had these guys standing around him like secret service. There was a Tony Blair too.
Post-March I wish it wasn't so dark! This is from Trafalgar Square, looking back over the solid mass of people stretched to Big Ben and beyond. Crazy.
Statue Here's the giant paper-mache George Bush. I don't think you can see it, but he has a tiny Tony Blair in his pocket.
Toppling This was taken just a second too late. You can barely see him falling over. People were yelling so loudly - again, crazy.
Crowd Eh, this one didn't turn out too well. These are the steps just in front of the National Gallery, packed solid with people.
More Crowd And another, this time from the steps. But I think it's still too dark to see.
Me And here I am in the middle of it all.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
You know, I can't figure out why they went with "Bennifer" when "AffLo" was an option.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Friday, September 26, 2003
I'm quite excited to have things up and running here, but frankly Fred and I went to town with the Japanese beer at dinner, and I'm a bit too tired to do an interactive post. I'll screw around with the camera tomorrow and try to get some pictures up here (I promise, Mom).
It's been exactly five months since I've been to a class. So I'm a bit nervous heading off to my first meeting of Selected Themes in Baroque Art and Architecture this afternoon. There's that awkward moment at 10 of the hour when three of us are standing outside the door, unsure whether we'll interrupt something if we go in. I suggest we do anyway, and we do, and it's clear that all we're interrupting is the chatter of other students waiting for class to start. Inevitably, I end up sitting next to three other Americans. Great. This is why I crossed the ocean, to learn alongside the people I was with before I came. At least one of them is a boy. But I'm pretty sure he's gay. Regardless, we make disinterested small talk for a while, until we realize just how long it's been. One brilliant student walks to the main Art History office and returns to inform us that "The professor has been in hospital all week; class is cancelled until further notice." Make that five months and one day.
I'm a bit let down after getting myself academically pumped, so I take the opportunity to explore the Philosophy building and check the timetables for my classes there. I had tried to do this previously, but always found the door at 19 Gordon Square inexplicably locked. Today I discover a back alley, navigate it, timidly climb some rusty iron steps, and see a faded sign that points to a solid metal door with broken handle, which is the actual entrance to the Philosophy House. I'm still nonplussed at how everyone else seemed to know this from the start. I suppose they're English, and so assumed that unlocking the front door of a building is far too simple a practice, like driving on the right hand side of the road or using the Euro. I hang out a bit in the common room, curious if there's any other secret info I might pick up, and think about what kind of Philosophy I want to indulge in this term. Philosophy students are often a homely, distracted bunch; I've always imagined us to be only one or two rungs up the social ladder from Physics and Engineering students. I was, however, dead wrong. It would seem every good-looking man on the planet is first a part of the UCL Philosophy department. Seriously, Abercrombie and Fitch models have nothing on these guys - in the 10 minutes I stood in the hallway, I felt like I was watching myself star in my own twisted version of The Bachelorette. This improved my mood considerably, but will likely make concentrating on Hegel all the more difficult. So be it.
Finding myself with yet another beautiful London afternoon and basically no responsibility, I do what I've done with my other beautiful London afternoons, and set out for a walk in Regents Park. I walk past the private gardens into the southeast entrance, up the well-groomed path of flowers and fountains, smiling at the many other people who have escaped their daily grind to sit out in the sun. I head for the Inner Circle, a particularly serene and insulated area of the park, and snuggle into a partly-shaded bench near a fountain, where I've sat several times and so feel attached. I read for a couple hours, looking up occasionally to acknowledge passers-by and to raise an eyebrow at the three shirtless Englishmen on the bench across from me. Around 4:30 I get a text from Fred suggesting we meet up for a pint, which always seems like a good idea, so I vacate the bench and walk toward the tube. Just out of the park, I spot a sweet-looking dog, who I suppose has an owner at the end of its leash; I give it a smile, and he wags accordingly. Owner reveals himself to be one of those guys who uses his dog as an excuse to talk to women. Maybe it's not even his dog. I dunno, all I know is that now he's walking with me, trying to convince both of us that he's half as charming as his canine companion. "What are you studying?" "Art History and Philosophy." "Oh..." [This is the standard reaction. People realize they know nothing about either subject and are frightened at sounding stupid, and so leave it at Oh.] "...How long have you been in the country?" "Two weeks." "Yeah, I can tell." This is a markedly rude comment. For all the flack Americans take for being arrogant, at least we don't use our dogs to talk to people and then insult them. We're reaching a cafe now, and it becomes conversationally evident that he's going to ask me to join him for a drink. As much as I'd like to stay and discover cultural differences with this greaseball, the buzzing phone in my pocket indicates that Fred is already on her way to our meeting place, and so I make up some excuse to walk in the opposite direction. As a goodbye, he hands me a dog treat (which I'm certain he keeps in his pocket for exactly this purpose) and I offer it to the poor beast, while toying with the idea of loosening the leash so that he can run free. About five minutes later, a young English couple stops me to ask for directions to the London Zoo. Apparently my StUpiD AmERicAn sign is only evident to that git with the dog. At least I've got a story to tell when I get to the pub.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Upon occasion of my 21st birthday, I feel I should ease into my new adulthood by reflecting on the childhood I'm leaving behind. So, here are 21 thoughts, roughly from the years in which I had them:
1. Wwglllaaahhhh. Bright Light! Cold Air! This SUCKS!
2. Dude! Feet!
3. Underwear! This just keeps getting better!
4. Eh, the thrill is gone. I want a dog.
5. No fair. Bryan and Emily get to go to school while I sit here in my Big Bird nightgown.
6. Kindergarten! *squirming with excitment*
7, 8, &9. [Incomprehensible screeching, squealing, and giggling]
10. Sweet. Double digits.
11. Fifth Grade: I am hot shit.
12. Sixth grade: Please, please don't shut me in my locker.
13. Braces. Acne. Bangs. Vanity Fair, eat your heart out.
15. One more year 'til I can drive.
16. Holy shit I can drive.
17. Lots of friends, lots of activity, little responsibility, Life is good.
18. Life sucks. SATs, ACTs, APs, applying to college, running school clubs. Get me far away from here.
19. I'm far away from home. Everything is new and different, and scary and overwhelming.
20. In the words of a very wise TV show, "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called COLLEGE."
21. .... I should write a post about this.
Saturday, June 14, 2003
After attending my first all-staff meeting and spending a week getting used to the bureaucratic bullsh*t that precedes all action in a government office, I'm becoming depressed at the somewhat dire state of the arts. The Philadelphia Museum of Art just laid off 35 people, The Met let go 10% of its employees, the National Museums have lost 25% of attendance. The Bush administration routinely laughs at our need for funding in between purchase orders for more Homeland Security. (Can't you see them whooping it up around the Oval Office water cooler..... "And THEN they asked US for money! For a MUSEUM! [laughes hysterically] Hey Bob, you gotta hear this one!").
I LOVE my summer job. Please help me to do it permanently someday. All of you, go to a museum this weekend. Buy something in the shop, or buy a soda, or just leave money in the box. Or donate that musty old Picasso you have lying around your attic. You've got the time... Harry Potter 5 doesn't come out for 7 more days.
Friday, June 06, 2003
Whew. My dirth of posts might suggest some sort of sabotage a la Bryan's blog, but really the absence was due to my relocation. After a whole lotta packing, driving, stopping, driving, unpacking, and finding the nearest golf course, I am now situated and happily bringing you the downlo from our nation's capital. Before I left, all anyone had to say about DC in the summer is how hot it gets, but thanks to the never ending rain, we've only barely broken 70 since I arrived. Wonder how long that will hold out. Last night, however, we did enjoy F-16's flying at low altitudes as they practiced their drills for Homeland Security. After listening to that, I'm not sure how they could do anything but create large amounts of debris, which doesn't seem very safe. Not to mention that the drills had to be postponed to last night, because the night before it was raining, and apparently F-16's don't work in the rain. Let's hope terrorists stick to the Sunshine-Attack Plan.