Sunday, September 25

Monsters and Moonstones.

It's been a while! But I'm working on a Frankenstein paper (one of those where you have to examine a passage and, seemingly without a reason, try to pack everything about it into some small amount of text), so it's gonna be short and sweet. First, the visuals:

This is a picture of the set from the play I went to see on thursday, called Harvest. (Sorry, it refuses to upload the picture) I really enjoyed it, although it ended up being a little shaky on the conclusion, since the main character was still alive after over 110 years, and there was very little closure (in my opinion), because of that. Anyway, I'll be adding a link right HERE to my review of it when I get back, but I'm in the computer lab right now, and don't have the file with me. You are free to gaze at the set until then.

This bit on the right here is a picture of my roommate Peter, currently on vacation in Amsterdam with my other roommate Kosta. We're standing on the tube, and I had to take a picture of the soda machine because it's actually fitted to the angle of the wall of that one station. Is this as amazing to you as it is to me? Oh well.*

*Mom, this is my blog, and I'm allowed to be Non-Sequitor Man if I want to be.

The candy machine right next to the soda machine was also kind of interesting. Apparently "chewier chews" are all the rage these days. For those of you amazed by strange candy, I should inform you that there is a candy bar here known as a "Yorkie" by Cadbury which claims it is "for boys only". I haven't had one yet, but I think I'm going to have to, now that I've mentioned it. You know, the whole "Gun on the mantle in the first act has to go off by the third" rule.

So, after an evidently eccentric night of photography and theatre-going, I went to sleep, woke up, read, had dinner with friends at Liz's place, went to sleep, woke up yesterday morning, read, made plans to go to the theatre with Patti and Ollie this week, made dinner and played cards with some friends, read, went to sleep, woke up this morning, went to the library and found it closed, went to the computer lab, came up with an outline for my Frankenstein paper, and updated my blog.

That about brings us up to now. Cheers!

The crystal ball says...Simon will be going on a trip this celebrate having finished a bunch of work...stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20

To the races!

Hey everyone! I've just found that I have to read another two novels by Friday, and write two papers by next Tuesday, on books that I also have not read (with many events in between that are not conducive to reading. So I apologize in advance; I'm going to try and keep up the excitement here at the blog, but no promises. Updates as necessary, probably not many pretty pictures.

Liz and her roommate Nikki made my friend Joseph and I dinner last night, and it was delicious. Today, my friend Joseph and I will be making them dinner.

I ate 30 cookies last night, and it was delicious. I could eat anyone under the table.


Big news: I modelled yesterday for the NYU-London brochure (got a gift certificate for it), finished 200 pages of Sense and Sensibility yesterday, Ollie's concert on wednesday, going to see a play called Harvest on thursday, Julius Caesar sometime soon at the National Theatre. Should be a total gas! Also: my roommate has been stealing food from myself and a bunch of my roommates. Developments on that as they evolve.

Sunday, September 18

From Globe to gallery.

This friday, I went on a class field trip to Southwark Church, where I got pictures of nothing of note. Sure, It was very ornate and British, and there was some terrific churchy ambiance, but the highlight of the trip was when we went to the Globe, had a very informative tour on the historical factoids of the building, and saw Pericles (for real, this time). Among the more interesting items were:

That the original capacity of the Globe theatre was 3000, compared with the capacity of 1600 today.

The people who sat behind the stage sat there because it was the best place to hear the plays. Mostly, people didn't watch them. The people who sat behind the plays were nobles, who would generally arrive late (for show), and demand to be caught up by the actors on what was going on during the show.

The actors had one morning to rehearse for plays, which were at 2PM (This conflicted with people's work in a big way, and almost got the Globe closed a few times). You didn't get the whole play when you rehearsed, though. You got a "roll" (role) of paper, with your role ("roll") on it, and the first two words of the line before and after yours. It was really difficult to know when your line was or what you were supposed to be doing, because you didn't know what people were going to say about you in their lines. Trust me, I know, they made us try it on the tour!

Here are some pictures of the globe. They're better than the last ones, and the second one has me snarling like a pirate in it, quite by accident:

After the tour, we went to Pericles, which was amazing. It's not the greatest of Shakespeare plays, kind of like a very patchy epic. But the Globe made it into a very episodic circus, with aerialists and people dancing on ropes. There were some bad moments where the narrator would break from the text of the play and start joking about how Shakespeare was a black man and then try to be funny by saying "don't worry, the idol is safe, mon, he was white." This same guy also managed to work in a bit about how at the Globe "we don't do art, we do LIFE. If you want art, you've come to the wrong place." This was really strange, because the play was going fine. I was thinking "you know, you just may be convincing me, I think I may be at the 'Chris Rock, actors on racial steroids and Juliet' performance." and then there was response shouting. No, seriously.

But in the end, it was okay, because there was some really great acting and acrobatics, and I was a groundling, which I enjoy (A groundling was one of the people who pays much less to stand and watch the play. Today, it costs about five pounds).

Right afterwards there was crew racing on the Thames. Except, all the boats where themed by country. There were a lot of people lining the river, especially on the Millenium Bridge. Look:

And here's a pretty picture of a bombed out building, which I'm using as my desktop at the moment. Keep in mind, any of the pictures you see on the site I have at desktop resolution, and I can send you bigger versions if you want them. Just email me.

My day wasn't over after the Globe. I then went to this concert which my friend Ollie had purchased tickets for, and enjoyed that. I won't say anything about it except that it wasn't what I would have gone to see by myself at all, and I'm glad Ollie was there, because he made it interesting. It was the kind of thing you always hear about in bad jokes, but it was actually rather of interesting, kind of audially intimate, even if it was atonal. Here's a link to my review of it, which I'm using for Reporting the Arts class, and as a writing sample for one of my internships. Let me know what you think, it's only on the first draft. I realize that sounds unwise considering I'm trying to use it to get internships, but I really needed this kind of writing quickly for the sample, and it's the only thing I've written that's like it.

A link to my review. -- It was at the Tate Modern, an art museum I went to a while back. The building is actually a converted power station, so Turbine Hall was where the giant generator used to be. The picture at the top of the post is what it looks like at night. Spacy, eh?

Basically, Ollie stayed the night at my place, and I made him an omelette for dinner. We played chess as well. He's a very active guy, I admire his being a mensch about his interest in the arts.

Today I've had a lot of work to do, and I had to miss open house to read Sense and Sensibility. So you see, the homework march goes on...

Thursday, September 15

Motorcycle madness.

I'm back in style! A lot of work this weekend, but I thought I'd try and make good on my promise to update again about everything as soon as possible...

This post is going to be a long, but highly organized, doozie. Here at my blog, descriptions of the following events are on the menu for you to choose to read (In order of their happening):

1) My adventures at the Globe, seeing the Winter's Tale (Not Pericles, which I mistakenly suggested in my last post.)
2) My incredibly coincidental finding out that one of my roommates is a rather classy Flash artist.
3) My adventures meeting Patti, English teacher extraordinare, who I have become friends with since sitting next to her and her son on the plane. (Alex, the answer to one of your questions is here).
4) My publishing internship adventures.

And, for dessert, I've decided to get brave again:

5) A poem (I have provided a very safe link to a very safe .txt file, as the poem wouldn't format correctly on this post. Blogger is being weird about a lot of things recently.)

If you don't want to read any of this, and you'd rather hop on to one of your other sites, you've probably already gotten the gist of my post, so here's the...

Big News: 4 books to read by tuesday (really on the express train now...), tomorrow is Pericles + other tours at the Globe, tomorrow is also a concert with my friend Ollie, writing a review of/going to see Julius Ceasar sometime this weekend, hopefully, at the National Theatre, so I can write a review about it. Toma has invited me to visit her in Germany for two weeks, so I think I may extend my departure. Made friends with a guy named Joseph, got free bread, saw something morbidly humorous involving a man forgetting to unlock his bicycle and trying to ride away on it, working on the publishing internship.

Still here? Ok. Here we go.

1) I went to go see The Winter's tale at the Globe, which I have to say has spoiled me for life, in terms of theatre. Here are some pictures. I'm going again tomorrow more during the day, so I should have better ones then. It was an Original production, which I learned recently means that absolutely nothing about the play was created using non-Elizabethan technology. All medieval instruments, and the shoes were to die for, dahlink! It was amazing. Of course, they didn't let us take any photos during the performance, but I got a few when everyone was walking around. When the play did start, some people did take pictures (the limey pikeys...) but overall being a front row groudling was incredible! Here are some pictures! More tomorrow of the whole theatre, I promise.
Here are some Shakespearean actors...doing their thang before the show, when everyone can take pictures (The men in the picture from left to right are Camillo [the "loyal" murderous servant, Antigonus [who gets mauled by a bear and everyone laughs], and Leontes [the king of Sicilia, who is jealous like the dickens] :
This is my "musing on the significance of theatre" expression:
My friend Joseph's "Let me show you this theatre I built" expression:
The stage before any of the actors come out, before Leontes accuses Hermione of being "slippery", and then trying to have Polixenes (the king of Bohemia) whacked:
A nightline, skyline, or whatever. After we left the theatre. The big domey business is St. Paul's.
A happy picture of me for the fam. I love you guys, thanks for helping me get here in every little way.
A shrine for William Wallace that is near my dorm! The plaque about how he was killed at that location, and about his bravery. Joseph said that yesterday he saw that someone had left a full bottle of liquor for him, but it was gone when we got there. I guess it was someone who doesn't beleive in dangerously sober Scottish historical figures.
A tiny yellow car. It's pretty small, trust me. I had to zoom in.
2) It turns out that my roommate Peter is an admirable flash artist, whose work I had actually seen on before I knew him! Hah! I played his game last year without knowing him, and saw him messing around on his computer today. What a shocker! Here's his site. It's hilarious, but not work safe if you've got the volume way up, and not appropriate if you're young and shouldn't be hearing curses. (Alec Burkin, that goes for you, ask a parent...) I'd suggest clicking on the pig and watching that animation, and then trying the game if you want to try your hand at being a Tisch film student. Trust me, it's classy and worth a look.
3) So I took coffee with Patti, the fascinating and kind woman I met on the plane over, while hanging out with her son Julien, who sat next to me (we discussed game boy advance game genres). Although I got there a little late because I misjudged where she wanted me to be, it was a grand old time talking to her, and it looks like we'll be good friends. I asked her for my sister who was curious, as she is a teacher in UK public schools, whether kids walk on the left side of the hallway. And she tells me that yes, they are indeed encouraged to. I can't decide if that's curious, or whether it makes sense. You decide. So in addition to her leading me to a really cool part of town, and a top notch coffee shop where I actually enjoyed my first cup of coffee (it was decaf), we got four loaves of organic bread for free when the coffee house closed, AND there was a man who after having a few pints decided to go home on his motorcycle, but had forgotten to take out the lock on the front wheel. So he falls over, and the bike falls on his foot. I go over to help him get it off, but he got it out alright, so I left him alone, and it didn't look like he wanted to talk about it anyway. He took the lock off the bike and rode away, and about 50 people at the pub he was probably drinking at (everybody was drinking outside of this pub, which was right next to the whole incident) started to clap and cheer. Hah!
So it looks like Patti and I may go see a street gang version Julius Ceasar at the National Theatre soon enough (I mentioned it and she said she had to teach it to her class soon, and was planning to go anyway!), if it's showing this weekend at a good time. I'm going to look it up when I'm done posting. So when I got home, I gave the remaining three loaves of bread to my friends and my roommates. Before you go back, yes, I did say there were four loaves, but I ate an entire loaf on the way home, for dinner. Man, that stuff was delicious! Thanks, Patti!
4) I've been working on gettting a publishing internship, and sent a writing sample to Portobello Books today, but the man there wrote me saying that he'd like to see something different. I think that must be a good thing that he wants to see a second sample despite the fact that he was a bit "put off" by the first. But I'm going to give him something about a show I've seen soon, and hopefully you folks will read it too. Oy! Rushed into the world of journalism.
5) (Thanks to Dan for the FTP access!)
Cheers! That's all, talk to you soon.
Song of the day: Giving up the Ghost, by DJ Shadow.

Tuesday, September 13

A hard day's night.

Hey, everyone! The weekend of work is over. Now it's time for the work week. There really wasn't much else to report this weekend, except I blitzkrieg French toasted a loaf of bread for a pot-luck party (I was late, and had promised challah French toast, so I made a loaf of French toast in about 15 minutes), and interviewed a guy named Marlow Stern for my Reporting the Arts class. Both of these were invigorating but not entirely satisfying.

I stayed up all last night working on my presentation on Wordsworth and De Quincey last night, and people thought I did a good job in class, but it just wasn't fluent enough. Mostly because I feel like I have a responsibility to do well for myself since it's my senior year. It wasn't about what other people think I should be doing, just what I think is good enough (provided my standard is always higher). I think if I could bring the 9-5 work week into my studies, that would be enough. Has anybody actually tried that?

Parenthetically, I'm trying to figure out my travel plans in Europe for this semester this week. Any suggestions? Currently on the list is:

Germany (Dessau to visit Toma, Cologne to visit Chris)
Switzerland (Visiting the beloved Murphys)

I'm going to Pericles tonight! Pictures of the Globe and a poem (a shorter one, I promise) will be served later today. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 10

Halfway to the 'henge, sucka.

I give you England. Country, culture, empire.

(Dude, South Park jokes? Shakey's Pizza cloning episode?)

I almost went to Stonehenge today, but when I got to the bus station with 10 other people, there were only 8 seats on the bus. So Stephanie, Stephanie, and myself went back (we'll go next week), and I went to go walk down Brick lane with Liz to find a fruit market, where the fun really was. Look at this pulsing metropolis!

I think it's another case of London emptying out on the weekend. Or maybe it's just that the market is on Sunday, not Saturday. Either way, I'm doing homework and other career related stuff today, so not much to report. I don't know how you guys feel about this, but here's a poem to beef up today's entry. I think I'm going to be putting a bit of writing up here, to motivate myself to edit and all. So here's a test run.


Smooth black menace
ergonomic and always new
you looked expensive,
even from the ground.
You are the black-ops
of ball points.

Chewed, red...thing.
You are a very erratic friend,
I am not sure
I like the way your felt
grates under words
rubbing the paper red.

Old man yellow,
you are my grandfather.
I had depended on you
until you died, but proud
I still carry you around
as a trophy.

Nice, calm purple.
Your ink comes as wide sideways
as my Hegelian confusion;
neither ever run dry.
My faith in you
borders on religion.
When you die, there will be
the screech of dry felt
a flaming boat, and
an "Oh."

Let me know if you have suggestions for anything I write, I'm always looking for help. Cheers!


Friday, September 9

Frozen milk atop bread.

Hey, to everyone I invited to come see the site and was expecting the ice cream, here's a little something. No, really, I should have. Just make sure you take the little girl with you. Today I met Gerry Plante's really top notch friend Ollie, whose company I really enjoyed. I think we may work out something where I go to his shows and work and write reviews for my Reporting the arts class. He does something at shows which I find to be rather good in taste, which is that he and musicians will ad lib music, effects, and sampling to a silent movie. I'm really psyched to find out what that's like. Beyond that, I've been doing a bit of reading and trying to catch up on schoolwork. Today, I have a lot of pictures for you to look at, mostly from the past. The highlights are here, but most of the best pictures are linked to. Keep in mind you can look at all my pictures (organized by upload date) at my photobucket gallery, linked on the right there.

This is St. Paul's Cathedral from the south bank of the Thames, on the millennium Bridge. You may think this is nice, but wait until you see...

This picture of the Blackfriar bridge, from the middle of the millennium Bridge. You can't buy that London glare at home, folks. Or maybe...

A look at the really high tech and cheeky anti-pollution device they have installed is more your thing. Why don't we do this in New York?

Quickly now, in decreasing or increasing importance (based on if you're my mom):

Picture of Saint Paul's that makes it look like the temple from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

Picture of a London police car, how the Bobbies roll in style. England is the only police force I know with a BMW station wagon for a squad car.

The outside of Bedford square, where my classes are, and where I am right now.

The view from a balcony near my room.

A picture of the courtyard of my building.

My roommates Andy (in the kitchen of the room) and Jim (In the bathroom of our room in the suite). Keep in mind this the day we got there, so we were basically the walking dead.

Part of the room I share with Andy and Jim.

Where my computer is in the main room of the suite. Nice view, ey?

The main room in my suite. The kitchen would be behind you.

And, of course, my sister, right before I was about to leave my house last week:
I love her very much, and hope is having a tremendously fun time at college. She's going to Middlebury where she has (blushes) entered as an English major. Hopefully that's going well, and hopefully she'll find out what she wants to do, regardless of what it is. I know I had my doubts when she:

Erased all my poems from the computer when I was little.
Stole the model horses from my room when I was little, because she liked horses more than I did.

But let's not forget that I:

Took all the money we saved in a little tin underneath mom and dad's dresser to buy a Game Boy (several times).
Hit her on the head when we were little and she messed up my Little Mermaid dance routine.

And after all, she is the woman. RESPECT.

Whatever you're doing, Alex, I love you! Remember the Rhode Island state motto, and we'll always be happy! Never mind the Bullocks! (Oh, I think I just had a tear!)

Song of the day: Beautiful Child, by Rufus Wainwright.
Big News: Panicking about homework due, Stonehenge visit tomorrow, Romeo and Juliet Opera on Sunday, interviewing a classmate tonight. Saw the Dickens house, likely to return to get a tour. It's a museum.

Thursday, September 8

A strange Englishman.

I got internet in my room today, finally! So lots of pictures for you guys. I can only fit a few pictures per post, however, so be prepared to click on some links. Now, on to the good stuff! Yesterday, my post-colonial literature class went on a surprise field trip to the Victoria and Albert museum, which was full of ornate metalwork, antique instruments, and exhibits where you could compare modern toys and clothing to their Victorian era counterparts. I got a lot of pictures of clothing and instruments, but most of them were too blurry, sadly. However, I did get pictures of:

A rather ornate spoon from Southeast Asia, (Katherine, eat your heart out!)

An organ which played different tones of tiger growls, shaped like a tiger devouring a man (The ancestor of the set of duck quacks that go on an electric keyboard, I'm sure.

A gigantic room full of stonework pulpits and fountains.

A gigantic tower hauled in from the center of a town in Turkey, I beleive. Keep in mind the tower in the foreground is taller than the one in the background, and the one in the background has the foundation of the pillar on the bottom. Look how huge and ornate this thing is! It sounds like it was kind of like the pillar of Hammerabe from the description, except in pictographs.

A picture of the garden from the museum! Gorgeous! It had a huge 3 inch deep wading pool that you can see people cooling their feet in, and a little cafe in the corner that you can not. Keep in mind that being there was completely free, like all the museums here.

After that I found my way home on the bus, and got to King's cross station, where they have a little Harry Potter joke installed. I hope you guys enjoy the sacrifice to Sophie's and especially to my dignity that this took to perform. Look!

So, after this field trip, I went home and made a dinner for myself, Peter (a roommate) and Liz, a friend. I ended up making pineapple curry chicken rice (the order of those words in the name is variable), and Liz brought strawberry shortcake. So don't worry about me, I'm definitely eating well. My buddy Katherine asked me for the recipe for it, and it's rather good, so here it is:
1) Make a fire.
2) Make rice.
2) Put pineapple chunks in hot, dry rice, and cover.
3) Stir fry chicken with sweet and sour sauce or some spicy sauce or whatever.
4) Nuke if necessary.

Impress your friends! Amaze your relatives! My cooking is simple AND easy!

Today, I went to a park to read most of the day, before going back and getting the internet, and subsequently spending the entire day trying to arrange things with my homework and emails. I've got a lot of travel planning to do. Of course, any of you reading this are welcome to come and hang out with me in London, but you've got to tell me now, so I can make plans around all my classwork and all that.

I had to leave the park a little early, because (as the title implies) I met an Englishman who although I could hardly understand, I knew was a little weird. He looked to be about in his forties, and was eating lunch on the bench I was at, in this cute little park behind my dorm. There's a tennis court and everything there, it's really quite dahlink, if I do say so myself. So there's nothing wrong with this guy, and I'm happily nodding my head and agreeing to the half of what he says that I can understand. Then he starts talking about how he takes so much pain medication that he can't do anything but go to school, but how he really wants to work on automobiles one day. I think that's great that he's going to school and that he's dedicated, and I say so, but when I continue to talk to him he begins to go on about how England is depressing and how he'd really like to go to New York because he's seen so much of it in the movies, and he wants those "big American girls". I didn't really stick around to find out what that was, but needless to say, I left. I think he walked his 10 miles back home (as he claimed to do every day).

On the non-dodgy side, the weather's been really nice. Pictures of my room, roommates, and the Thames tomorrow!

Big news: Internet! V&A museum, reading homework, planning how to go to 2 shows a week for my Reporting the Arts class, talked to a strange Englishman. When I told someone I was an english major, they thought I was studying England. Hah! Wait, Is it just me?

Wednesday, September 7

Adventures in architecture.

Here are those pictures I promised
last night, of the buildings on my way to class. The one on the right is just this apartment building about 5 minutes from Bedford Square, where the building that I take all my classes in is. Ornate, no? The picture on the left is of a building that looked like a little palace to me, so I took a picture of it. St. Paul's Cathedral, which I'll have more pictures of later (I'm going to take a tour, and I have some pictures on my computer after walking by it) is what you can see poking above the roof on the right. Time to go to class, a bigger update tonight!

Tuesday, September 6

A gigantic update!

Hey everyone! If you've gotten my email and followed the link here, then thanks for being a good sport! Glad to have you on board. Doing my first pictures today, although the best batch I've got is still on my internet-less computer. It's been a few days, I know, but once I can get the computer online in my dorm room, updates will be much more regular. Just so you all know, I made it so absolutely anyone can comment on this blog, so just drop me a line and let me know you've been here! It'll ward off homesickness and make me feel like a likable american, despite the fact that everyone here thinks I'm 10 times the mumbler I am in the good ol' US of A.

The picture above and to the right here is a park I read in on the 4th, when I went to a park to read after doing a little settling in and then went to a party for NYU students where the free pints were (according to several sources, but not me, I drink only coca-cola) slightly watered down. It wasn't anything spectacular botanically speaking, but I literally passed about 5 parks exactly like this before settling down, and all of them were in a 2 mile radius of my house. I got some reading done here.

After the park I skated down to the Thames, and did some more reading there. The strange thing was, though, the streets were completely empty. Here are some pictures of the freeway and some tunnels I skated in.

Can anyone say, "Strictly adhered-to work week?" Keep in mind these are like, right next to the Thames. you can see the Blackfriar bridge in the distance in the left hand picture. I'm pretty sure this is the equivalent of the FDR freeway being completely empty.

Anyway, after that I've got some pictures of buildings I thought were pretty awesome. But those pictures will have to wait till tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to the Tate Modern art museum, as my only class on mondays doesn't start until next week. There were a few big surprises (Water Lillies by Monet is there...who knew?) as well as some really cool sculpture. I'm definitely going to go to this garden mentioned in one of the's full of hedges carved into battleships and poems carved into stone, all made by this guy named Finlay. The coolest thing I saw there was a sculpture called 20 meter tree, which was a telephone pole that an artist had taken and carved back the rings in a way that you could see the way the tree had been at about 20 years old, before it was a telephone pole. The bottom of the sculpture is still completely uncarved, so it's weird, it's like the tree ages backwards as you look up at it. He even carved it so the branches and knots of wood from when the tree was young appeared, the whole thing was just without its bark. Not sure who made it, but it's got to be the most original idea I saw there. Capital!

Today was the first day of classes, and both my professors seem delightful. I'm going to be reading two novels a week at least, because that's just from two of my classes. I'm going to see Shakespeare's Pericles next Thursday at the Globe! Jolly noice!

Unfortunately, I'm a little tired, and the computer lab here where I'm udating is closing soon. But I'll do more updating tomorrow. Maybe even with my.......internet?!

Big News: First classes, poker night, still no internet, visiting the Thames, rollerblading around London, Tate Modern
Reading: Confessions of an english Opium Eater, Pericles, Book Business, Moby-Dick.

Friday, September 2

Word to the max.

Welcome, everyone, to my London blog! This page was created so friends and family would be able to keep everyone up on what was going on, and so people could make suggestions or ask for things. I'm going to try and update it daily with pictures when I've got my wireless internet up in the dorm, but until then no promises, as I have to go to the school building (40 minute walk) to get on the internet. I'm going to try to have a fun picture with every post, but none this time, as I can't connect my camera to this computer!

Big news: I got a haircut, bought books (a lot of them), lost camera briefly, had orientation, moved in, played poker, went grocery shopping (Sainsbury's), won a free dinner for British movie knowledge! Going to see the remnants of the old London bridge soon.