Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hilley & Co.

This past weekend was the busiest I've been in a long while. Russ, Hilley and a bunch of others came into town. They all got into London Wednesday morning and I was hanging out with them until late late late Sunday night. I did work Wednesday and Thursday a bit, only a half day Thursday really. Other than that it was hang out with them until about 3 am, come home, go to sleep and get up at 8 to do it all again. I brought Sara with me when I could as she went on a London trip with Hilley a few years ago and really wanted to meet up with them. When we could James, Casey and I split off from the group as we had a few people slowing us down a lot. I didn't realize how quickly I walk now until they all got here. I apparently walk very very quickly now, as does everyone in this city, especially in the Tube. We ran around Portabello Road Market, Covent Gardens, The Tate Modern, the Globe, the British Museum, the British Library and Harrod's. The British Library has the coolest free exhibit, with all of these originals of things like Handel's Messiah (an Original) and ancient religious texts. Harrod's was way too much for me. Huge and packed and way too many people moving around and too much to see, none of which i could afford. We had 2 hours to run around in there and most of us ended up down the street at the sammich shop an hour in. It was a great group that came with Hillley, a most of which I knew and had traveled with before. A few I hadn't and called me Mia's Sister. All in all though, it was a calm trip for a Russ trip. Lots of shopping. Lots of eating at dinner time. We ate amazing food every night and I spent more money on food in the past week than I think I have all semester. Really. But it was awesome and so was the company. I'm sad that they only got to stay for such a short time. They'll have photos up on photobucket some where and I'll probably steal a bunch to put on my Picasa.

On a completely different note I've got only 2 weeks left here in London~! It's finally hit me that all I really want to do is go home for a visit and come back to London. I love this city so much. I really don't want to leave. Honestly I'm thinking of applying to be an RA here over the summer, as they are looking for one. I really don't want to leave. Work may be a bit slow, Greg may be far away, but damnit... I fit in this city. No need for a car, automatic exercize, friendly people, terrible weather (but I can learn to deal with that). So Dad, you won the bet. I don't want to come home.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hey guys....

The past week has been a bit of a whorl wind, I've been getting out more often. Just last week I went to two plays, out to pubs or clubs on two separate nights, went to a museum and a (failed) picnic in Hyde Park. Compared to the fact that normally I just sit at home on my laptop most of the time it's quite astounding. And that's my long winded excuse as to why I haven't posted more about Paris.
The plays I saw where Casanova by Told by Idiots (yes, that's the name of the Theatre Company) and Wicked. They were painfully bad and amazing in that respective order. Casanova had the chance to be so amazing and say so much about society as they cast Casanova as a woman and not a man. It tried to be too many things at once, ended up just being entirely too vague, strange and to top it all off spoken in 5 languages. It ended up being more of a performance piece barely, if at all, related to the memoirs of Casanova. Wicked though, amazing. Cute, smart, nothing at all like the book, fun... Musical. MOM: DON'T READ THE NEXT SENTENCE! The flying monkeys were frigging frightening. Seriously. OK MOM YOU'RE GOOD!
Going out consisted of drinks at the pub, and on Saturday night Cassie, Katie and I went out to a jazz club and drank wine. I am never drinking that much wine again. I just want that to be known. The cover was really quite pricey for the place, but the music and wine was good. We may go again, but when the cover is cheaper. It was specially high because the jazz performer was there as part of the BBC Jazz Festival this past weekend. This was all after the failed Hyde Park Picnic Adventure. It was too rainy, wet, and cold to deal with. Cassie and the boys played American football, and Katie and I left to go shopping for shoes. I managed to stay new shoe free, though I am definitely going to need a new pair of sneakers. These are near dead. She did show me a really awesome wine bar that I have to go back to just so I can get photos of it.
Sunday was the V&A with Cassie, to see the Golden Age of Couture exhibition. Well that was the intent. We didn't end up going to the exhibition, as we were told that it was going to be 10 pounds. It turns out that its really 5, so I may end up going back to see it. That museum has to be my favorite one so far. It has an amazing amount of information and things without being completely overwhelming.
The weather here is finally fulfilling the stereotype of what everyone tells you that British Weather is like. Cold, wet and just not happy. Blah, just in time for Hillley and Co getting into town. They'll actually be here in the morning, which I am super excited about. Mainly because they are bringing me goldfish crackers! MMMMMMM!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I wasn't too very excited when I was packing for Paris, even before I learned that I was going to have to pack all of my belongings up. I dunno, I'd never really wanted to go to Paris as I'd not heard amazing things about the people or atmosphere of the city, just nice things about the monuments. Really though, in all honesty I did not meet one person who was anything ruder than indifferent. Plenty of people who could care less, but no one went out of their way to be mean, and in fact most people where really nice. We traveled by Chunnel Train to Paris. Trains are my new favorite form of travel, and yes I know that they crash more than planes, but I just feel much more comfortable traveling across the ground rather than the sky. The train wasn't one of the new super fast trains, those started this week, but it still it didn't take too long to get there. When we got to Paris we were immediately shuffled onto a bus for a 3 hour long bus tour. It was fairly interesting and informative. Like to the fact that Marie Antoinette was beheaded across the square from where Louis the 16th was beheaded because the ground under the guillotine was becoming unstable as it was over saturated with blood and the rotting bodies where obscuring the view of the platform. Gross, but interesting. We did this long, sleepy tour because we couldn't check into our hotel . Everyone fell asleep by the end of it, me just long enough towards the end to not know where in Paris compared to everything else our hotel was located. When we all awoke at the hotel we got checked in and up to our rooms. You were automatically sitting next to on the train and rooming with your roommate from the study center, and as Emma stayed behind, that meant Cassie was sharing the room with me. Yay! The room was TINY. Not unlivable, but if you had tensions with your roommate the people in the hall would be able to feel it, because there was no room for it inside. But as we were only really in there to sleep it wasn't bad. Cassie and I ended up hanging out in there for a short time before heading out to dinner before the guided tour of the Louvre by one of the art history Professors from the study center. A number of us went, which is never good with me. I'm not fond of groups larger than four, as they tend to include more than one annoying person and no one will make a decision that the rest of the group will all unanimously agree on. Of course this happens when were are all cranky and hungry. Finally choosing a place that had a menu in English we sat down to one of the most strained meals I've ever had. The food was all pretty good, it was the company. Some times there are people you have in your life that you like alright, for small amounts of time and there is never any reason in the world that you want to have two of them in the same place at the same time. This is because you know they will feed off each other's annoying qualities. Which is what happened. I was about to punch someone. But we ate quickly enough and scooted off the Louvre without incident. We saw the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, an a bunch of other amazing pieces. It really made me sad that we ended up powering by a lot of wonderful art, but I'm telling you after 3 hours of walking around in there and not covering more than one wing I was art-ed out. I really didn't care anymore, which I acknowledge is sad. There was really just too much there to take it all in. They say that it would take someone years to look in to each and every peice in the Louvre. That and I plan on using it as an excuse to go back some day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Return from Paris

I got in from Paris about 8pm my time Saturday night. I must say that I throughly enjoyed Paris, and hope to go again with a little more time. Four days is fairly long, but I feel as though I barely scratched the surface of everything available to do there. The food was amazing, the people were all very patient and very nice, and the company was top notch. I spent yesterday captioning, tagging, and uploading my photos to various places. Facebook has a good number, but my Picasa page has all of them. Even the repeats, as I am fond of taking five pictures of the same thing. I used both of my camera cards and had about 500 photos on them. A lot I deleted or were from other things like Emerald Banquet or Lake Ella (also posted up this morning for anyone who wanted them). Well about a hundred were. The others I've sifted through, leaving just about 350 photos that are of decent quality and clarity. I'll go into detail about my trip when I get home from work and the play Casanova tonight. Note to self: Get the new Casanova BBCTV series, as it is hillarious. We watched most of the first episode in class today.
Ok! Off to work!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Paris in the morning...

but I'm still pissed. Cassie realized yesterday that her bed had bed bugs, and last night so did mine. This is because 4 floors up two flats had bed bugs. And when they are flushed out of one flat the survivors apparently migrate down. Meaning out our first floor flat. So now WE have them. And that is why I am pissed. This means that on top of packing for Paris tonight I have to pack all of my belongings away into my suitcases and leave them in the living room so that they can spray the crap out of the bed room and the couches.Of course, this is a result of their useless bug bombing yesterday while we were all at work. Until I got here to London I thought bed bugs were a MYTH, a story to scare dirty little kids. But no, and the bites hurt like spider bites. Oh, and Ralph the Kitchen mouse is back. >.< This is why old buildings need to die or be made of not vermin friendly material. Now excuse me as I pack and itch myself to the point of bloody.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Back to the Model Comp

On Saturday we left Glasgow at the early early noon to set off for Sheffield. It was a gloriously beautiful day out, you could see the Scottish Highlands as we drove south. They looked to me just like the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. It was so mesmerizing though... it lulled me to sleep. Just in time too, as every coach I've gotten on lately has given me a horrible nauseating headache. I spent a good 4 of the 6 hour coach ride asleep or attempting to sleep. We did stop once, at the most beautiful rest stop I've ever seen. Really this country is just too green and beautiful to have people stay in the city the whole time. It is also covered in sheep. Cassie and I took a ton of photos of the lake and land behind the rest stop but it really doesn't do the area justice. After our short stop we climbed back on the bus to watch Zoolander with a group of models. The male models choose it. If you don't know, the movie is about a male model and does nothing but make fun of the industry and stereotypes that models are put in. They boys were the ones laughing the hardest. I'd never seen it before, but I liked it alright for a movie that is nothing but dumb the whole way through (Not near as painfully so as the Ballad of Ricky Bobby). We got into Sheffield late, but the hotels were ready for us. The coach ride was only supposed to be 4 hours and ended up being 6. We'd gotten in just in time for us to throw our bags upstairs, run out for Chinese and then pop into a pub to watch the very disappointing England vs South Africa rugby final. England had some great plays, but gave up after a goal-unit ( still unsure of the name) was taken from them on a technicality. That was at about half time, the crowd gave up around 3/4 of the way through the game. It wasn't even a good game, really. It didn't help that the refs were from the Republic of Ireland, so there was no chance for love there. There was a crazy lady sitting behind Cassie and I during the game too. We were standing behind a couch and had been before she sat behind us. She got up and asked Cassie to move several times even though the pub was too packed to go anywhere. We did our best to oblige her, but nothing was good enough. Then at half time she jumped up, shot forward and stood staring face to face with Jess, one of the models. She just smiled a scary smile then ran back to her chair, saying nothing. Jess was kinda creeped out, needless to say. We all walked the half a block home from the Old Monk where we'd been watching to our hotel all a little disheartened.
Early the next morning we went down to the Sheffield mall, where the bags were nice and close. Cassie and I were even close enough with our table and goodie bags to watch the show! This of course meant that during the show we had to yell over the music or talking on stage. The modeling agency actually did their best in Sheffield apparently, calling over near 30 girls in the 2 hours we were open. We had to shut down early because we ran out of goodie bags, even though we still kept taking applications until 3. Cassie and I got to walk around the mall a bit, but not too much because we had to go straight to Manchester that evening.
Mmmmm Manchester. The hotel was pretty damn amazing in Manchester. This is where we had the £900 credit for food at the hotel. Which between the two nights we consumed wholly, with champagne to top it off. That was the only good thing about all of Manchester for us. The first night we were there Cassie and I stayed in, as both of us had massive headaches from the coach ride that day. Everyone else who decided to go apparently went out to Canal St, famous for being full of gay bars. One of the boys didn't realize this, and I wish I had been there just to see his face. It would have been hilarious. They all had a good time though. Which was good, because the mall in Manchester was terrible. The mall manager would disappear for hours on end and wouldn't let us take the full number of boxes of goodie bags. This created a great, big mess. Cassie spent the entirety of the day running back and forth carrying boxes from the basement onto the mall floor to keep the table stocked. The mall offered no help, and the line was a big fat mess of a disneying line. The girl who was helping me with the photos thankfully wasn't the incompetent one. Another annoyance was the fact that it was near impossible to get up to the green room, as it was pass locked with only one pass to get through. They finally just opened the door in the last hour we were there. When we got back to our hotel dead tired Cassie and I each took naps before getting all dressed up for the worst evening of the trip. It started off very well, with the modeling agent Cesar telling me that he loved my outfit. That comment made my evening. We had a really long amazing dinner, then headed out to a club. This club was supposed to be TigerTiger, a very posh popular club. But we couldn't get in. So we went to a club around the corner that ended up being so horrible I can't even remember the name. It smelt terrible. HORRIBLE. The people were mean, they shoved you at every opportunity and I even got hit by a beer bottle when someone threw it at me. The music was random, sometimes good, sometimes weird. I didn't drink any while I was there, and that may have been the only way to make this club acceptable. Good God I was glad when we left. Also there was a minor panic attack across the crew because one of the bands had to withdraw from the tour... for personal reasons. It really sucked as the were generally a good group of guys. Bonus though? Minus IQ got to switch out with them and they are even better than the band who dropped the night before the show. Check out their MySpace as they generally rock my socks off, and by the way, sound warning.
The next day we headed out to our last stop before home, Norwich. Norwich was the most amazing place ever. When we got there the mall security had everything set up for us. Absolutely everything. Bags and all. The green room rocked out socks off, being perfectly located at the lift right next to us at goodie bag centeral. We were close enough to the stage to hear what was going on in the show, but no so close our ear drums wanted to die. Amazingly enough, we ran out of goodie bags by 1:30. An hour and a half after opening the line and we had no goodie bags. And every one of the girls where nice. Except for one overly pushy mother whom I wanted to deck for being snotty. All in all a really good way to end the trip portion of the Model Comp.
The bus ride home is another story. We left Norwich a little after noon and we didn't get into London until near 7. It was terrible. The models were loud the entire time and the traffic was backed up for miles on the motorways because of road work. :( Not nice. Jamie the world's best bus driver got us home safe though.
Thursday I slept and did minimal grocery shopping. That was all I was good for.
Basingstoke was so terrible I'm not sure I can post about it without going into a rage again. It started off that we had to be on the coach leaving London at 7 am. Which for Cassie and I means leaving at 6:30 am from our flat. Then sitting on a coach for a while, which wasn't bad, but then we got there. Our green room was a broken down disused shop. We were shoved into the tiniest space in the mall, and then finally given a better green room in which no one was allowed to talk above a whisper. At the end of the day we were told we had to have everything out of the green room by 3:30 or it would all be thrown out onto the street. A lot of Angry Mothers live there with Entitled Fathers. I was livid at the way we were treated. Really, I'm pretty sure Sucrose is never going back there. It was especially terrible after our awesome treatment in Norwich.
Watford was the absolute last stop on our tour. I have never seen a nicer green room. Free hot chocolate/tea/coffee machine and bottled water in a fridge. Huge room! Ah! The hotel manager was so helpful and sweet. The day went really slowly though, as they had never done it in Watford before. There was a time specifically where I wanted to punch Incompetent-Face in the face, but refrained. Really the day went well until the end where I got shouted at by an angry security guard for not saving him a bag or two. Twice. He wouldn't even shut up when we offered him on that we had been given for ourselves. Then when we left, he stole it. Not a nice guy. Then we were back home by dinner time and we helped unload the bus and said our goodbyes. I got a ton of free makeup and things. Most every one I worked with was super sweet and helpful. They've invited me to stop by the office anytime and I'm Facebook friends with all of them. Cassie and I have hung out with the Minus IQ boys once and are hoping to go to one of their concerts before we leave for home.
But that was my 10 day break in all it's glory. Dispite was the time stamp on this says, tomorrow I leave for Paris so I should have some good stories about that when I get back. For now: Sleep.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend Update

Well this was a very productive weekend for Touristy-London-Things. Cassie and I spent Saturday morning going to Abbey Road and taking crazy photos. Those were really taken on Abbey Road, with different color sweaters and we're both barefoot on the correct one. We weren't the only ones doing it either, but we couldn't get a head on shot because there was a lot of traffic. The fact that we got all 8 shots without too many cars blocking was a miracle. Tiffany is also the most awesome friend ever, using her amazing photo shop skills to put all four pictures of me together into one.
After nearly getting run over 12 times Cassie and I proceeded to 221b Baker St. The non-existent address of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Apparently Doyle went up and down Baker St to make sure that the address didn't really exist so that no one would be bothered by people trying to get in touch with Sherlock Holmes. Years later (think 1950's) a bank was built at that address and was so flooded by people looking for Mr Holmes that they had to hire a separate secretary to tell people that he wasn't real. She apparently felt so bad that she ended up telling people he'd just gone into retirement and handed them a list of other real private detectives they could hire. We did get to go into the touristy museum to see the recreated flats of Watson and Holmes. We got to play with a lot of things in there too which made things a ton of fun.
Cassie and I then ended our day with delicious pasties and Harry Potter dorkiness by visiting King's Cross Station and Platform 9/4 which is not between Platforms 9 and 10 as there is nothing physically separating them, but the archway next to the entrance to platforms 9, 10 and 11. Again we weren't the only ones doing it, but it was still fun.
In the evening we attempted to go watch fireworks for Guy Fox Day, which is actually tomorrow, but that failed fairly miserably. We got lost when we were there, missed 75% of the fireworks and got on the wrong bus home. Thankfully we were dumped near a tube stop on the correct direct line to get us home so we were able to get back that way. But really the evening was a bust.
Today I helped Katie film a short video for her campaign for being VP of her sorority. We had fun making signs and going out to film in front of Big Ben and Parliament. I swear Emma, Katie and I filmed it 20 times before we got one down right without Katie accidentally deleting it or me flipping out signs upside down while attempting to hide behind Katie. We had a mini audience, the people in the park across from Parliament and the protesters. Afterwards Katie bought Emma and I lunch at a pub called The Silver Cross, very packed and very good food.
The rest of the day all five of us have just sat around the flat and cleaned a bit. Next week we go to Paris for 5 days. Exciting! And a weekish after that Hilley and Co will be here in London for Thanksgiving Break. Not too terrible long left here in London, and that makes me a little sad. I've gotta get on my list of things I still need to do!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Henges and other impressive things

So today I am posting about my wonderful trip to Stonehenge and Salisbury, photos for which are up and captioned. Stone henge was amazing, though admittedly smaller than I figured it would be. Still very impressive and ooooOOOOooooo. I have always been fascinated by it and was very sad to see that you can't walk up to and inside of it. I really wanted to touch it, even if legend says that it has magical powers to make you very fertile. Apparently people used to chip of peices and power it up to drink it as a potion used to make people have more babies in Victorian times. I took alot of photos of Stonehenge, though the one with the sunrays is my favorite. My SLR decided to be annoying and lock it self up so I need to go to the photo shop to get it checked out. It's not too big of a deal it just made me a bit sad. We stayed for about an hour at Stonehenge before heading to Salisbury.
Salisbury is a cute little town. They have the most legible copy of the Magna Carta, which I got to see, but not take any photos of. It was all in Latin so I couldn't read it anyways, but still very impressive. Salisbury Cathedral is very beautiful and huge, lots of stained glass windows. Graves in the floor, which I always hate, because the idea of standing on someone's grave bothers me. There is apparently a man burried there who was supposedly lost at sea, so his wife got engaged, then he showed up at the door on the night of her new engagement party. The next day he came down with a sickness and died. When workers opened his tomb hundreds of years later, around twenty years ago, a mouse climbed in and nibbled on his carcas. It died. Suprise, suprise he was murdered by poisin the night he returned from supposedly being shipwrected. We went for lunch at a rather expensive, but really good pub called The Haunch of Venicine. Where supposedly the found a man cheating at cards so they cut off his hand and bricked it into the wall. The food was good and we left with all limbs attached, we being Sara, Travis and I. We went to the bus after that and home. Now I'm home, and it has really not been too eventful.