September 29, 2004


Jerri and I took a train from Paddington up to Oxford. The journey was one hour with 5 between London and Oxford. It was a train to Banbury, wherever that is. We strolled around a bit, imagining what it would be like to be just starting university life at Oxford. Stopped in at the addictive Lush shop, then had a leisurely lunch at an Italian spot with excellent customer service. We've actually been experiencing quite good customer service in the shops and eateries. Maybe it's Jerri.

We climbed a tower to get the lay of the land and shoot a few photos. Decided to head for the coolest thing we saw from up there, Christ Church College, home of Hogwarts.

Back in London, we took a bus from Paddington Station to Trafalgar Square. The area looked spectacular with all the lights on the buildings and fountains. I wished I had my tripod along. To our delight, the National Gallery stays open til 9 on Wednesdays, so we popped in for a highlight tour of the Impressionist gallery.

September 25, 2004

Jerri's Here

Jerri, Stacy and PunkyFish gals

The jet stream tailwind put her plane 30 mins ahead of schedule. Brian warned me this was likely to happen, so I was there when Jerri walked of the Gatwick North Terminal international arrivals area at 10 on Saturday morning.

We took the Gatwick Express into Victoria Station. From there we got the tube to Caledonian Road. After dropping off bags and having a spot of tea, it was still early enough to go exploring. Brian, Jerri and I headed to the new vegetarian cafe on York. The interior is very nicely remodeled; airy, clean, lots of wood and light. The one probelm was that it's cumbersome to order. The menu isn't clear and the logistics of navigating entry, ordering and taking a seat downstairs is awkward. I had a full breakfast. Jerri and Brian just had toast and drinks. Food was healthy and quite good.

We then went across the street to Bumble Bee, our local health food place, to pick up some goods for Jerri's delicate digestive system. Brian took the groceries home while Jerri and I caught the #29 bus to Camden Town.

Camden was buzzing, as usual. As we were walking toward the locks, Jerri noticed an Aldo shoe store. She had been talking about the brand earlier that morning. We fought our way through the sale crowds and I picked up 2 pairs of trendy black shoes.

Next it was into the market space at the locks. After an hour of browsing, it was time for the Cyberdog experience. We met Brian just outside and dove into the throbbing music. The guy dancing at the front of the store was wearing much more clothing than the usual speedo and had a robotic yet smooth techno dance style.

September 22, 2004

Bowling for Soup

They almost hit it with 1985. If only it were just two years earlier and focused on the new wave bands, not the mainstream bands. Madonna and Springsteen? No way. U2 and Blondie? Now you're talking! Better would be Sixousie and Flock of Seaguls.

September 21, 2004

No TV = No know

Hayden Turner
Tonight I learned that my second favorite exercise instructor (who is married to my favorite exercise instructor) is a TV presenter. If you watch Hayden Turner's Wildlife Challenge on National Geographic you'll see who I'm typing about.

I think he was a bit surprised when I asked him after spinning class tonight if he had another job. Wish I knew more of the class participants. I'd get us all to roar and paw the air next session when he tells us to crank up the resistance.

September 18, 2004

London Open House

The GLA City Hall building along the south bank of the Thames

Spiral Staircase in the GLA City Hall building

September 16, 2004

Johnny Ramone

Johnny Ramone in the Elvis Room

This is a bad trend; second time in 3 months that I've touted a band and shortly thereafter a member dies. Perhaps it's not all that surprising considering:
a) I still like the bands I grew up with 30 years ago and
b) they tend to be rockers that live a rather fast-lane life.

I'm saddened that Johnny died so young; inspired when I think about how much he did with his time on Earth. 22 years holding down right stage. Rock on!

September 14, 2004

Supersizing the States

We watched Supersize Me tonight at the Camden Odeon. I think there were only a dozen people in the theater. Maybe movies are not a popular passtime on Tuesday evenings in Camden Town. I loved the film; liked it better than Fahrenheit 9/11. It wasn't obsolutely objective and did make persuasive use of editing, but I stand by the movie's basic message of 'hey, fast food is bad for you. It's prevelant because lots of people are buying it. If you want it to go away or you want some healthier alternatives, stop buying it.

I only got half of the questions correct on the Guardian's documentary quiz. Don't know the older stuff. You can be sure I got the mocumentary question right, though.

September 13, 2004

Tom Tom Club, Debbie Harry and The Ramones

The Escape From New York Tour on August 15th, 1990 at the Paramont in Seattle. Debbie came out on stage crawling on her hands and knees, that sexy vixen. What a great concert. I went with Amanda, the summer of the Goodwill Games in Seattle. It was before Nirvana changed the music scene in Seattle...and the world.

When Kurt Cobain died, I heard it from my Japanese students. They couldn't believe I was from Seattle and didn't already know. I left the Inoue's house before 7 to get to my morning classes. Didn't have a portable radio, didn't read the newspaper. I was really out of touch with current events the year I lived in Japan.

I'm putting together a KJET playlist in iTunes. Therefore all the nostalgia tonight. That and the red wine that Robin brought back from France.

How Can I Get This Music?

The Wild Blue Yonder - Screaming Blue Messiahs
Beautiful Imbalance - Thrashing Doves
I See Red - The Silencers
Wild Life - Bananarama
Stay - Shakespeare's Sister

Had them on vinyl. I'd pay a couple bucks to download the single. I've only been able to find extravagantly priced CDs on eBay. They're not available on iTunes or Rhapsody.

September 12, 2004
I dedicated the day to taking some of the London photos I've been yearning to capture...gasometers, dripping chickens in a Chinatown shop window and the awesome Battersea Power Station. I got off to a cracking good start near St. Pancras where 4 bus drivers were chatting on the sidewalk. I looked rather conspicuous with the tripod hanging off my photo backpack and the Canon digital SLR dangling from my neck. The drivers politely moved to the side to let me pass, and as I did one of them said, “Do we get our picture taken?” They posed, I shot, we all gleefully looked at the results on the monitor and another one of them asked, “Have you ever had your picture taken in the driver’s seat of one of these buses?” And so it happened.

These blokes were great and the encounter made me smile for hours afterward. You can meet some of the nicest people here in London. Around the corner at King’s Cross, however, the population was rather more concentrated with unsavoury types.

September 10, 2004

Pop Music Test

I didn't do so well on the pop music quiz at the BBC; not enough new wave questions. The results said I was "UK average" and that I could give my cabinet member a run for their money. Seein' as how I'm a Yank, maybe it ain't that durned bad. Since it's titled "Test the Nation", I'm probably screwing up their stats. Hey, you should take it too.

September 06, 2004

Mists of Leighton Buzzard

Stacy Munn in Leighton Buzzard
Visited David Patraiko in Leighton Buzzard this weekend. He grilled swordfish fillets and skewers of scallops and salmon. Dessert was a pineapple slice coated in cinnamon, sugar and butter then grilled and finally served in some kind of flaming alcohol. Exquisite!

Got to ride in a convertable too. I miss those messy hair open air days in Michelle's Fiat Spyder.

September 03, 2004


A gargoyle hanging off a church in Leighton Buzzard. Brian doesn't like the photo. He asked if it was an ash tray.

September 02, 2004

at sixes and sevens

The other night Abigail said she was "all at sixes and sevens." By the context, I could tell she meant in a state of disorder, but when I inquired about the phrase, she seemed to think it was the most obvious of statements. I just couldn't get any connection. Why not all at thirteens and fourteens?

I did a Google search on it and the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy has the definition. "I suppose I'm not yet culturally literate," she says in her fake Queen's English accent with pinky finger extended and upper lip stiff.

Heavy delays and the extinction of the Routemaster

Tonight I took the 91 bus home, just for a change. York Way down by Kings Cross is now hardly recognizable. Just months ago it was a true sleeze pit. Sure, there are still some nasty spots, but most of the buildings have apparently been bought by companies willing to invest in renovation. And renovating they are! Gone are the broken windows backed by cardboard and the charred entryways that screamed, "Don't come near this place unless you plan to shoot up!" Gone are the layer upon layer of old posters on the building sides. It is astonishing how quickly things are cleaning up.

This is due to the new Eurostar Terminal at St. Pancras (just next to Kings Cross)
that will be finished in a few years time. Road works (construction to you and me) have been going on there for the past 2 years. When I first saw the signs that warned of "heavy delays until 2007" I laughed out loud. Now I understand what a major undertaking it is.

Old routemaster bus on Charing Cross Road, London

I read that the Routemaster buses will soon be no more. You know, the cool rounded corner ones where you jump on and off the open back of the bus. What a bummer. They look so much nicer than the square double deckers.