Monday, July 31, 2006


This weekend, while my high school friend Martin was still in England, I took a quick trip down to Portsmouth. Portsmouth is a maritime town, and there are pleasure boats, ferries, and naval ships everywhere. Among them is the HMS Victory, which is the oldest commissioned warship in the world, and where Lord Admiral Nelson died during the Battle of Trafalgar.

Old warships have lots of cannons:

(Incidentally, 480 men slept in this room at night in hammocks hung from the rafters, and 560 could eat meals here. The ship could have a crew of 850. During the Battle of Trafalgar, there was a crew of 821).

Later that evening, Martin made a new friend:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Castelnaud under attack

I just got this picture from Debbie. I usually like to put only my own pictures up here, but this one captured such a fine moment from our vacation I thought I should post it. While we were in France, Debbie and I decided to storm Castelnaud:

Here’s a detail from the picture of our siege:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More people passing through

It seems like a lot of people are traveling to London on business these days—people that I know, even. Beth is currently in Europe on a business trip, so we went out for dinner on Monday night and met up for drinks with a few of her work friends last night. It was great to see her:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sunday in the park with John

John lives in a very nice apartment complex in Chiswick (which, as I’ve mentioned here before, is in Zone 3, and took me a solid hour and a half to get to—although only 50 minutes to get back). And in the middle of the complex is a communal garden, but it’s big and it has trees, grass, hills, benches, and a few big grills. It’s like a small park. This Sunday, John had a few people over for barbeque, including me. Rather than use the enormous permanent grills, he had a smaller grill, which, after some coaxing, worked just fine. So I spent my Sunday late afternoon and evening eating grilled pork ribs and chicken and hanging out with John and his friends. Not bad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tinkering with the comments

Occasionally I get comments here that are automatically-generated spam. So I’ve decided to turn on the “word verification,” which means that you’ll have to type in a wavy word that appears on the screen when you want to make a comment. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from commenting, because, as you know, it makes my day when people chime in here. I also hope no one’s upset for losing that handy link to online gambling opportunities.

Friday, July 21, 2006


My apartment building has a garden in the back. (It’s big, though. This is a little bit of a language thing: I described it as a “yard” to one of my English friends, who thought I meant a place with dirt where soldiers marched around—it’s not like that.) It has a lot of grass, a few gazebos, and in the spring, it was filled with flowers and green trees. Now that it’s summertime, there are fewer flowers out, but there are still a few small ones. Here is a picture of some of the flowers in the garden:

And since this is sort of a boring picture, here are the flowers with a paintbrush texture:

And with the colors changed:

And with a miniature sheep:

Hee, hee, hee.

Now I’ve really got to go to work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hot London nights

It’s been hot lately. So last night Jaynna and I went out to a pub near Leicester Square where people were standing outside with their beers. We did, too. Then we each headed home.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The weather was wonderful again this weekend. Which is good, because the transportation—I’m including the Tube, buses, and cabs, all of which failed me at some point—was a nightmare. So I did a lot of walking, at least on Sunday. Some friends and I walked, among other places, across Tower Bridge and sat in a park near the Tower of London. We didn’t go inside, but here’s a shot from the outside.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chain pizza

There is a chain pizza store here called Pizza Express. They’re everywhere. And they’re actually pretty good. So, since there’s been nothing else going on lately worth reporting, here is a picture of my favorite pizza at Pizza Express, La Reine—so named (supposedly) because it was the favorite of the Italian Queen. It’s delicious:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More people in town

Tuesday night, Mike, my high-school friend Krystal’s husband, was in town on business. He’s a forester, and his business involved the trees at Buckingham Palace—pretty cool, huh? We met for a pint and then had dinner. Here he is about to head back to his hotel, showing off his GPS device.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How to dress when going out

A few weekends ago some friends and I went out for drinks after one of the soccer matches. We went to a pretty classy place.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The World Cup ends

Last night, Italy won the World Cup—I’m sure my father was very pleased. The preparation began here during the day,

and the celebration filled Piccadilly Circus well into the night.

We finished the evening at an Italian restaurant, while the excitement continued outside.

On a different subject:
As some of you know, yesterday was somebody’s first birthday. If you check that site over the next few days, I’m sure there will be many adorable pictures of the birthday party, as well as gushing blog entries describing the event.

Here’s a final picture of the late-night revelry:

Friday, July 07, 2006

London, England: International Truck Stop

Robin—whose own website is included in the links to the right (which I’ve now updated so that I’m not inaccurately reflecting her whereabouts)—passed through London last week. She was leaving Germany after spending a year there, she was heading back to the U.S., and she had a 7-hour layover in London. So she came into town and we met for lunch. Ah... delicious Pizza Express.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The 4th of July

Much like Thanksgiving, the 4th of July isn’t really a notable day here. And unlike Thanksgiving, our cafeteria wasn’t even decorated during lunch (although we did have an ice-cream-and-cookies party in the afternoon).

But not all was lost. If you want to celebrate the 4th in England, in fact, the Ambassador has a party at his house. There was a jazz group playing, the Ambassador made a welcoming speech, there was a presentation of the colors for the U.S. and the U.K., and there was an a cappella rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “My Country ’Tis of Thee” (although they sang the latter with funny words).

This guy was wandering around, speaking with a sort-of-American accent and adding atmosphere:

And then we saw this person! And if you’ve known me for a while, you understand how excited I was when Irina pointed him out. So for this, I am suspending my no-photos-of-me policy (especially unflattering ones) and engaging in full-scale star-gazing. Wow!!

And in soccer news...
Now that the only teams left are in western Europe, I’ve decided to adopt a purely cuisine-based rooting strategy. So for last night, hooray for Italy! And for tonight, go France!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, America!

Today is the 4th of July, which means that it’s Independence Day—whee! And that means that to celebrate, I’ll be heading into work as usual. But my employer is American, and we’ll have some sort of small party in the cafeteria, so that’ll be nice.

And while we’re speaking of things England has lost...
This weekend I went to a pub to watch the England-Portugal World Cup game. And even though I’m not really a sports fan, I do think it’s fun to watch these with an enthusiastic crowd. Ah, well.

And now I can’t even revert to my Old World vs. New World rooting philosophy.