Monthly Archives: June 2011

research methodology

Well, I could tell you what my research methodology is for my dissertation, but the process of me writing it down is not going very well.  Hence I blog.  I’ve also discovered some new free music on the web as well.  That’s nice.  And I’ve added to my itunes.  My only concern is that it just effed my itunes listening party.  I may have to go through at the end and double back and pick them up.  To be honest, this listening to my iTunes straight through has stopped me from buying new music if only to not mess up my order. That’s a good thing for my ailing bank account.

One of my accounts

It’s Sunday.  Not so sunny.  It was supposed to rain, then the weather report said no it’s going to be dry today.  But looking out the window tells me it may start raining any minute.  Glad I decided to wash my bedding today based on my ability to hang it outside to dry.  I may be sleeping in my sleeping bag today if it doesn’t get sunny soon.

So working on the dissertation today.  I’ve been terrible and not done any writing this week, but I

Kensington Gardens

have done a good bit of research and feel very prepared for my manic writing the rest of the day.  Hopefully what I turn in tomorrow will be enough to appease my supervisor.  I can already see the email coming back to me saying “You haven’t done shit the last 4 months, have you?”  Which is pretty much true.  I still have 2 months to go, which is not much time, but it will have to be enough.  I don’t work well if I’m not under some pressure.  So it will be a good sprint to the finish.

This week of work got much better once I started riding my bike into work.  Two days of train commuting did me in.  One of them was fine.  That was the first day.  The 2nd day was a complete shit show of delayed trains and trains that just never showed up and having to scramble into the city via the underground.  I can see now why everyone looks like they’d be happy to throw themselves under the train if they could get the doors open to do so.  And I wasn’t even traveling with the rush hour lot.  It’s got to be worse.  So now I commute 10 miles via bike into the city to our accounts.  It takes about 40-55 minutes depending on they day.  I get to sleep in a bit more and I was in a noticeably more pleasant mood the rest of the week.  Even getting lost on the way home (although frustrating) wasn’t that bad.  At least I got to see some more streets and know the south west of London a bit better.  This week should be even better as I am getting to know which streets are best to go down and which ones to avoid.  Oh and

Well chuffed to be having a pint at Builders while talking to Matt Fuck on the phone. He was jealous.

on Wednesdays I get to pedal through Kensington Gardens.  Not bad place to be early in the morning.  And I foresee my Thursday beer at Builders Arms becoming a regular thing as well.  So all in all, excellent.  Pretty dang happy with life at the moment.  Looking forward to seeing a few new accounts this week as well.

Time to go hang my clothes outside.  Our washing machine sounds like a jet engine when it’s spinning and the engines just cut out.   Have a good week everyone.


Current iTunes song:  O.A.R. (not oar) – “Ran Away to the Top of the World Today” song 3525 out of 4692.

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I’m feeling a bit over exposed with blogging everyday.  Like nothing is my own any more.  And a bit that people have no need to communicate with me when they can just read everything I do each day on here.   It’s hard enough that I am halfway around the world from basically all of my friends and all my family.  I don’t need to feel any more cut off.  And I’m not trying to be negative Nancy!

When I do have something to share with people, I want to be able to tell them myself.  Not broadcast it to the world.

I may again do a 180 in 3 days, but it’s how I’ve felt for the last few days, so that’s how it should be.  I have enjoyed writing, but I will keep the posts in my own written journal instead.    Sorry, avid readers.

I’ll scale back to blogging when I feel like it.  Maybe when something super neat comes up.

But besides that, meh.   I will say that I’m stressed out tonight because I am convinced my bike is going to get nicked tomorrow when I leave it in central London whilst I work.  Pray for bicycle safety (both riding and storage) tonight.

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Well, after the Met Office declared the South of England in drought conditions, it’s done little more than rain the last 3 days.  Good job guys.  Way to ruin the weekend with tons of rain.  It was sunny yesterday morning when I woke from my haze for a little bit but that dissipated rather quickly as the morning went on.

Guinea pig friends. They weren't scared that I opened their cage door at all.

It’s been a slow day today.  I’m all fussed over my dissertation.  I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of thinking about these things in depth by watching some videos, reading some articles and researching more groups to bother with my survey.  I guess that’s progress although not really written.  Guess I have to start somewhere.

I wanted to share with you a picture of my guinea pig friends who live outside my door.  They keep well busy and like to make weird noises.  They are nice to have to look at.

Despite the rain today I managed to make it to the grocery store and stock up on food for the week.  I did some serious financial damage at Sainsbury’s.  But it is alright as I only bought healthy stuff and some much needed (and pricey) light bulbs (FYI I’m done purchasing light bulbs for the rest of my time here in Norbury I can promise you that).  Going back to work tomorrow means I can get back to some sort of regimented eating schedule.  As my Mother told me today, “you like structure.”  Indeed I do, Mother.  Give me a construct to work within and I will excel.  On the menu this week for lunch is hippie salads.  And I am so glad that Newman’s Own sells their salad dressing over here or I’d be without a proper ranch dressing.  The salad cream over here just looks like a grosser version of mayonnaise.  And who

May as well harass Dilly since I can't go outside. Dumb rain.

wants mayonnaise on their salad?

So work tomorrow.  I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this, but I will be working primarily in Kensington and Chelsea at private gardens.  And I’m hoping that I will be able to bike straight to our first accounts rather than take the awkward train journey to the shop every morning.  I would much prefer to get some good bike riding in daily than be on the train.  Part of me kind of wants to take the trains so I can get a bit of dedicated reading time in daily.  We’ll see how it goes.  Maybe tomorrow I can sneak a few pictures of the places I will be working.  From what I’ve seen there are many minimalist gardens.  So it will be a new, different challenge than what I had in Bend.

Oh, also, this is a picture of my new favorite pub, The Earl Ferrers, I was at the other night.  Maybe next time I go in, I will limit myself to 3 pints instead of the 4 (maybe 5?) pints I had.  How did 5 pints happen???  It didn’t work out for me that’s for sure.  Ok, I must try and write a couple sentences of my dissertation.  The time has come.  Hope you all had a nice weekend.  TTFN

Yum, beer.

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beer and curry

I’ve arrived.  Yes.  This morning, upon waking up after a fantastic night at the pub, I put my arm behind my head.  And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the smell of my BO which happened to distinctly smell like curry and beer (and b0).  Yes, I definitely live in London now.  Yikes.

here's where I've been today. Also, I spy creeper cat.

My body really over punished me for last night.  Seriously, I wasn’t in that bad of shape (ok maybe I was) to necessitate ALL DAY in bed along with the constant removal of all things in my stomach.  So not right.  My big plans to work on my paper today were thwarted and I could only manage to watch everything on my BBC iplayer.  I know life is hard.

So it’s Satruday evening now.  I had to get up and put a little bit of food in my belly, which I have managed to keep down.  I also required a shower.  Now that’s done.  And I’m ready for bed again. Piccadilly is too.  That sweet little cat has been sleeping on my bed rather consistently the last few days.  Today she even came up and wanted some scratchy kitty time with me.  Nothing pleases me more.

Oh, last night.  The pub I went to was excellent.  I made a friend within about 20 seconds of walking in the door.  She and I ended up shutting the pub down, chatting away about everything under the sun.  I was really nice.  The barman also contributed to the conversation quite a bit.  I felt

Yey for P Dilly liking me enough to want to lay on the bed with me.

like I had been going there for years already.  And they had some really nice beers on tap.  One called California which tasted like hops.  So there’s another brewery besides Marble that uses hops in there beer here.  And this brewery brews here in London.  Yey.  Oh and they have a quiz night.  My life here is set.

Alright well Dilly pants and I need to get back to our busy schedule.  We have to find something to stream on the internets.

Good night everyone.

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city wandering

Living outside of the city a bit makes going INTO the city pretty neat.  I board a train and a few

The city coming into view.

minutes later the skyline of the city appears in my view.  It makes me happy.  I hope that feeling stays around.
Today I went into the city to pick up some new wall decorations as I couldn’t bare to look at the same 6 posters exclusively in my new abode. So I got new ones at the transport museum.  I should digress and go for different posters other than those produced for the London underground, but they are so neat and all so different.  I can’t help myself.  I did get a few with some poemson them, which is a nice departure.  So I put those up this evening.  And some are a little bit skewed, something I’ll have to fix before Tera shows up here and goes apeshit because they are crooked.  Thanks to her I have an anxiety attack everytime I hang something on the wall.  I think “would Tera think that’s straight?  No she wouldn’t” and I have to take it down and adjust it.

Guess I'm in London or summat.

Usually about 100 times.

Any ways, I ended up walking a lot today.  From one side of the city (Victoria station) to the other (London Bridge via Brick Lane).  It wasn’t my intention.  It just kind of happened.  But it was nice to get out and walk the day away.  I had one beer at a new pub.  I say new because it’s new to me but I believe it’s been around for a couple hundred years in the heart of Westminster, just off of Fleet Street. It was a Samuel Smiths pub (read: cheap, good beer) but it was totally dead as I went there at about 2 in the afternoon.  Nice none the less.  After that I kept walking East and eventually decided to venture all the way to Brick Lane to get a good curry.  Ever since going on the Jack the Ripper tour, I’ve wanted to go there to get curry.  Alas the day has arrived.  I got the curry from a nice Bengalese (?) guy who told me how he blew his chance to go to America and he was jealous that I was from there.  He said I was lucky.  I said “Well, I live here, so you tell me.”  Very nice and he gave me 10% off my meal.  And it was great!  I had it when I got home and there’s plenty of it to last for a couple more meals.  Someone needs to stop me from eating exclusively Southern Asian cuisine.  Perhaps my bank account will nip that issue in the bud shortly.

Any ways, my fingers hurt.  I’ve spent the last few hours attaching various accoutrements to my

Kitted out.

bicycle.  It is totally a city ready cruiser now.  After a few frustrating moments, I got the back rack on and the bike lock holder thingy.  It’s looking ready to hit the roads.  The next step is to get the bags prepared for the back of the bike.  My goal is to make my own and I have a great idea for them, but I will have to wait until we get some windy wet weather to do so.  You’ll see why when they are complete.

Here are some pictures from today.  Also, I have completely fallen off the workout band wagon.  I need to get back on it.  My muscles have atrophied considerably already.   I think I’ll work on that before going to bed.

Current iTunes song:  Midlake – “Anabel” Song 3268 out of 4676

Multitasking: writing AND drinking at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

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Boring town?

I think these posts are going to get real boring really fast as soon as I get inundated with work and the dissertation.  But we’ll try to stay positive at the moment.  Maybe this blog will be my reason to motivate and go do something outside of work and writing this summer.  Let’s hope so.  For both our sakes.

Today I got on the old cruiser and got myself up to Brixton, weaving in and out of double decker buses for the 25 minute ride to the cycle shop.  There’s got to be a better, more efficient way up there than up London Road because I hit about 5,000 stoplights along the way.  It would have taken 15 minutes sans traffic lights.

The purpose of my trip was to get kitted with a basket or back rack.  Well, I went with a rack for the back of my bike.  And I’ve opted to attempt to put it on myself.  Well, it really should be a funny site as it will probably take about 5 hours tomorrow to put it on correctly.  Guess that will keep me busy.  The bike guy said they could put it on for a small fee and I told him I may just be back tomorrow to make that happen.   The bike guy also told me my bike lock was easy to pick and that I should get a new one.  Maybe he was only trying to drive up the sales of bike locks at the shop, but I will heed his advice.  The last thing I need is to get the old bike nicked.  Especially right after putting a nice new rack on the back.  The thing about the rack is that I have no way to attach anything to it.  Something like that probably costs money, which I don’t have at the moment.  I didn’t think this out very well, did I?

Speaking of money, I interviewed for my job today.  I think I got it.  I mean, I hope I did.  It went

Teddington! Cute!

well.  So I really hope I get to start work by next Monday.  Or else I’m going to die of starvation (wonder if a bike rack tastes good?).  I should be alright.  The business is located in the Southwest (of LDN) in Teddington and is about a 45 minute train commute.  Teddington is just as adorable as the name makes it sound.  Lots of cute shops and cafes.  I won’t mind going there every day.  They probably have some decent pubs as well.  If I had a bike with gears I could probably do the commute in the same time as the train.  There’s just no good, direct way to get their via public transport.

I had to spend the evening hashing out some dissertation work.  Weird.  But good.  I’m happy with my result tonight and hopefully I can keep motivated and do some crackin work this weekend.  I’d like to go out either Saturday or Sunday for a big long bike ride through the city, but we’ll see what the comments are on what I submitted.  I may be bringing my laptop along on the ride so I can do some mobile work.

Alright, please enjoy this adorable picture of me and my cat.  It looks like I’m holding her, but I

She sometimes likes me.

wasn’t.  She was enjoying my lap for a change.  She even freaked me out last night by laying on my bed.  I think she may have slept there for a bit as well.  It was nice.  I’m wondering why she’s decided to sleep on my bed again, when she never even once did it in Preston.  Cats are weird.

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Miss Sunshine

Current iTunes song:  M.I.A. – “Bingo”  Song 3059 out of 4676.

I decided the other day to start an eclectic mug collection.  In Bend, we had a very nice

#1. What a deal at 49p!

collection of pint glasses.  I’d do the same here, but truth be told I drink far more tea here than I do beer.   Especially at home.  So today I picked up my first mug:  Little Miss Sunshine.  The mug was only 49p at a charity shop in Brixton.  Bargain.  My rules for the mug buying are the following:
1.  No more than 1 pound in price.
2. Must be cool and kitchy.
3. Eventually need to get some sort of wedding one.

That last rule is going to be fun.  I’d like to get a Wills and Kate mug but they are running at £3 and up.  The other day I was watching a show which was recently produced and the host had a Fergie and Andrew wedding mug.  I’d like to get one of those.  Or maybe a Charlie and Di one.  Probably no chance of finding a Liz and Phil one, eh?  So that’s my new mission.  It will be fun.

Soon to be at Chelsea Flower Show level.

Today I ventured all over creation in search of a couple crucial items.  These included a pruning saw, gloves and light bulbs.  Can I just state that I don’t like IKEA?  I had to go all the way to IKEA to find the stupid light bulbs to fit my light fixture.  Why can’t you just make your lighting fixtures take normal bulbs?  Seriously?  IKEA is over an hour train and bus ride away.  The only good part about the long journey was that I was able to finish my book.  Besides that, it sucked.

I stopped on my way to IKEA at the nice Garden Center in Camden to get my pruning saw and gloves.  This morning I wanted to do some gardening and I felt completely out of sorts sans gloves and saw.  I didn’t even use the saw, but it was important that I KNEW it was in my pocket ready for use whilst I cleaned up the garden.  You know, just in case I encountered something that my Felcoscouldn’t handle.  I thought we had a lot of green waste bags available so I could do a full clean up on the back yard, but in fact we only had 3 previously used bags, one of them already full.  Not exactly ideal.  They will be emptied on Thursday, so I can tackle the rest of the garden this weekend.  The bit that I did clean up looks way better.  Please disregard the large dead tree in the picture, which I have not yet cut down.  It will be taken out this weekend.

It can't be tamed.

Ok, this post is even boring me.  I’ll leave you with a picture of me, with very untamed hair.  I think I’m due for a haircut to clean up that mess of a mop on my head.






PS – I want to dedicate this post to a certain Little Miss Sunshine who passed away this weekend, Bella.  She was a good, crazy dog.  She put up with more shit than any dog I have ever met.  She was constantly in costume (usually bat costume) or had some special necklaces on.  We had some really good times together.  Things wouldn’t have been nearly as fun in Bend if it weren’t for Bellatrix, #1 Ranger dog.   I am so sad that she left us so suddenly.  I was a bit out of sorts last night and couldn’t bring myself to post when I finally got in last night.  So this post goes out in your memory, Bella.  I’ll always love you.

Rest in Peace, Range. Miss you.

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Croydon crazy

Alice and the Mad Hatter in Croydon. And I think the rabbit passed out.

If you were one to dabble in drugs, I would recommend Croydon city center early this morning, where it would have tripped your trip to a new level.  I wasn’t expecting people dressed as pigeons to be walking down the street, or wheelie bins moving under their own power, but that is what I got none the less.  I was on my way to disc golf, so I didn’t stop to take pictures.  On the way back though, there were different performances like the Alice in Wonderland characters.  It was super amusing.  Thanks Croydon.  I hope they have more stuff like that again.

So I did some disc golfing in Croydon.  I ended up playing a round with some regulars there and they were all for me playing regularly as they don’t have many girls playing.  I was +25

Croydon! Leafy, beautiful Croydon.

for 18 holes, but I was happy with that as it was only the 2nd time I’ve played since last summer.  I hope this summer I can get in better form and bring that score down quite a bit.  My putting was really good though and I only missed 3 putts and some of them were tough.

On my way back home, I stopped to get some bedding.  Success!  I am sitting on a bed now that has like pillows and sheets and even a duvet on it.  The print I chose is very old lady English and looks like lithographs of Thomas Gainsborough paintings.  My previous bedding in the states was red, white and blue and had an American flag on it.  I wanted to keep the nationalistic theme going.

The best part of today was the bike ride home with all of my bedding via bicycle.  It really must have been quite a site to see me pedaling up London Road.  In the rain.  I warned the cashier before I left that if she heard of an accident involving an overloaded cyclist on London road, that it was me.  After a couple of adjustments along the way, I made it, quite easily with all my bedding.  Awesome.  After this I think I may  have to invest in a basket, and maybe some back racks on my bike.  It’s time to get serious about my hauling abilities here in the city.

A serious haul of bedding.

Ok, folks, I am going to try really hard to concentrate now and work on my dissertation.  That thing I’m supposed to be doing but am not.  The time is going to start crunching down on me very soon and I have lots and lots of data still to collect.  Eep.  Have a good night everyone!

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Back in the saddle

Clapham Common: It is DRY here!

If you can believe it, I haven’t biked in 3 weeks.  That is unacceptable in my book, but today I changed all that.  I got back on the bike today though.    It was after about an hour of me attempting to put my front tire and handle bars back on the frame.  I attempted to go out once and quickly realized my handlebars were crooked, my front tire was off center and the tire was low on air.  Seriously, I’d be the worst bike mechanic on the planet.  After dealing with all that, I finally was able to take off.  I decided to bring my tools along any ways in case I hit any snafus, but all was ok (cept when my chain fell off after hitting a massive pothole, I was able to pull off the road).  The mission today was meant to be an exploratory one, to see what the bike routes in the area were like and to maybe see some of the sites.  The weather today was BEAUTIFUL.  Mid 70s, sunny with a bit of wind.  I do believe I even managed to get some color today.  Bonus.  The bike route (London cycle route 5 and 3) took me through some of the Commons such as Streatham Common, Tooting Bec Common, and Clapham Common.  It’s great to have so many green spaces so close to me. Riding my bike through these bits is the best part of the ride always.  And it still shocks me when I see so many people utilizing the green space of the parks here.  I guess that’s common everywhere.   Although I like parks and find them a necessary part of city infrastructure, I don’t utilize them as much as I should in the way of relaxing and lounging.  Maybe this is a sign I need to make friends and go hang out in parks more, you think?  Yes.  Any ways, It was so nice to be out biking again and my butt was telling me I’d

green machine back together and pumped to have done it's first ride in London. To a pub of course!

been away from cycling for too long.  I’m probably going to be sore a bit tomorrow.

I’d like to correct myself on an earlier statement: I did have a destination in mind when I left on my bike:  Cask Pub (Thanks Radek!) in Pimlico and try out their beer selection.  They have been voted best pub in the West of London this year and I can see why.  Their selection of brews was pretty impressive.   I can see me biking up their regularly.  It was about 8 miles each way, but I didn’t even mind as it was an adventure and nearly entirely flat the whole way.

On the way back, I attempted to get some bed linens, but I didn’t find much selection at the

Cask Pub's bar

store I went to.  I gave up and just got groceries instead.  This was probably a better choice as I had little in the way of food.  Also, I got a pyrex blow.  Those of you in Bend know my eating trough of choice was a pyrex bowl.  I know, I’m very fancy.  While it’s not exactly the same one it’s close and I’m looking forward to many delicious meals in it.  Yes, I get excited over £3 pyrex mixing bowls.

I would say today was highly successful.  Before biking I got the majority of my things unpacked and put away in their new homes.  Posters and other wall adornments still need to go up, but I’m happy with today’s progress.  Piccadilly is also happy as I washed her bed.  I didn’t notice that she took a wee in it yesterday, sometime before we left Preston.  No wonder she wasn’t going in it and was acting extra strange (ie sleeping in my desk drawer last night and today).  But this afternoon she was back to napping in her bed.  Good kitty.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Have a good night everyone!

A well deserved (half) pint. It was called Mt. Hood!

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Made it.

After a 6 hour driving adventure, I’ve made it to London in the benzo with all of my

To London we go!

belongings and a cat in tow.  Wow, it was a long 24 hours and I’m so glad to be done with it.  I thought I left Preston in plenty of time to unpack and get the car back to the rental place on time.  That was until I hit about 8 different traffic jams queues on the way down.  I ended up getting to my house 10 minutes before the car was due back at the rental place.  I unloaded my stuff in about 15 minutes and made it to the rental place just 20 minutes late.  They didn’t charge me anything additional for the lateness and I was so happy to hear it.

With the rush to get everything packed and ready this morning, I didn’t have a chance to

Totally safe.

eat breakfast or lunch.  By the time I got to London a serious headache was setting in and I ended up gagging a few times from the lack of food and stress!  Luckily, I didn’t actually puke although it wouldn’t have surprised me given the day I was having.

Piccadilly did OK in the car.  She was being more of a pain than I remember her being when we drove cross country.  And it didn’t really help that she decided to pee in her cage 30 seconds into the trip, so the car smelled like cat urine the whole 6 hours in the car.  Really great.  She wanted to sit on my lap but it was super sunny there and I think she was hyperventilating with heat at she kept looking at me with her mouth open and nearly panting.  She finally settled for under my legs and eventually physically under the seat (the seats were very high).

Dilly checks out the guinea pigs.

So I’ve got a lot of unpacking to accomplish tomorrow.  I would love to go out tonight and celebrate the arrival here in London, but my body says no.  I finally caved and took a shower (with shampoo too!) this evening.  And shaved my legs for the first time in a week.  That is way too long to go for me, but I flippin left my razor in the hotel in Long Island and haven’t been remembered to pick one up until today.  Not that it would have mattered because I haven’t bathed in a few days anyways.  So yes, all clean and ready to get a lot done tomorrow.  Piccadilly is still pretty weirded out about this move, but she’s been investigating quite a bit.  She’s very interested in the back yard, especially the guinea pigs who live in a cage just outside my door.  They are just as interesting to her as they are to me.   The guinea pigs belong to my roommate and so far I noticed that they drink way more water than I thought they did.   It’s kind of nice to hear their squeaking through the window as well.  Ok, I’m going to delve into all the goodness on my iplayer and probably be asleep by 9:30! Good night folks!

We'll worry about that unpacking later.....

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