Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Catblogging

Swiss cat Nala (right) gives companion cat Greyboy a bath.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008


Because we've been asked numerous times:

Yes, we had an opportunity to vote in a primary, but for personal reasons we chose not to.

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English As A Second Language: A Strange Preposition

This is something that's been kicking around my head for awhile. While I was prepared for the different usages that everybody who knows anything about Britain is familiar with (lorry vs. truck, lift vs. elevator, boot vs. trunk), one of the usages that surprised me was the different prepositions. This is, I suppose, just another one of those things that emerges when people speaking a similar language are divided by an ocean for a few centuries. I find myself unable to adjust to these usages in my own speech. For example:

American usage vs. British usage

At 5 p.m. vs. From 5 p.m.
On Fleet Street vs. In Fleet Street
During, over, or this weekend vs. At the weekend
(Not a preposition, but ...)
Take a decision vs. Make a decision
Take exercise vs. uhhhh, exercise

These are hardly a big deal, I suppose, but I can't get used to them, even after two years.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shaking The Night Away

We had an earthquake last night.

People in London are pretending they felt it.

I asked a friend who claimed to feel it if people in Britain know what to do in the event of an earthquake. His response: "From the sound of it, no. A few people went outdoors apparently, so they could be hit by falling objects."

UPDATED: BBC News describes it as a "very British earthquake: Everybody talking about it, but nobody's hurt."

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome To Liechtenstein

The Werbenmanjensens are just back from a journey to Switzerland, with a side trip into Liechtenstein:

Where the prince of the principality lives, or so we think.

Pretty church.

The pedestrian walk in the Vaduz city center.

This elevator makes you decide which floor you're going to before you board.

*Yawn* Just another castle-like building.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Friday Catblogging

Because I'm a bad blogger (bad blogger! post more often!), Friday Catblogging takes place on Sunday this week.

Painted on a wall on Whitecross Street.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Magic Burrito Bus

We've written at great length about our jones for burritos. We've journeyed far and wide tasting what London has to offer in this area, from the disappointing (the stand off of Goodge Street that had laughably mild jalapenjos), the tiny (that place over by Tottenham Court Road) and the pricey (£12 at the Texas Embassy). But we've finally been rescued.

Among the many fine amenities of our new flat is its proximity to Whitecross Street, which hosts an outdoor market on weekdays ....

... which you can see above (the steeple in the distance is St. Luke's, the former church from which our neighborhood takes its name). One of the vendors is the burrito bus in the top photo, which serves as fine a burrito as you'll find in most of the United States. I order the hot, which I am able to tolerate even with my not-so-hardy palate, so those with mouths of asbestos might consider asking them to make it especially spicy (British cuisine tending away from the super-spicy). We've been here now 10 days and I believe I've been there three times already. If it's wrong to eat a burrito every three days, I don't want to be right.

And maybe later I'll tell you about the Russian barbers on Whitecross Street who singed my ear hair off to make them smooth as babies' ... um, ears.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Movin' On Up, Part II

"Welcome to your new place, baby--it's fantastic! Garbage collection is Monday. If you want to throw out a box, you have to cut it up."

The lounge.

The view from the balcony. The tall building with the cylindrical top is Tower 42, and through the trees you can see the outline of the Gherkin. Just beyond the trees is Bunhill Field.

The steps. You enter on the top level, where there is a bedroom and bathroom, and then go downstairs to the lounge and kitchen.

The bedroom: King mattress, queen frame. That situation has been rectified.

It's been a whirlwind week, to say the least. We have belongings scattered in two flats, although that should be fixed by the end of the weekend. Oh, and did I mention I had surgery on Monday?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Movin' On Up

I probably shouldn't leave our readers in suspense: Yes, we are moving, next weekend, to the flat we mentioned here. It's a bit of a whirlwind move, and seems a bit overwhelming to me right now. Although I don't know what I'm complaining about, since our last move was maybe a little bit more disruptive.

According to my London A-Z, the neighborhood is called St. Luke's, but since Wikipedia tells me "the name is rarely used today," I may refer to it as Old Street, Finsbury or Clerkenwell, since they're probably more well known.

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Eigg Joins The 20th Century (With A 21st Century Twist)

Since we're big fans of the Highlands and Islands, such as that very special place, Skye, I thought it worth noting this story:
AS SWITCH-ONS go it will be rather unglamorous. But when the villagers of Eigg gather in the island's tea room at noon today it will herald an energy revolution for the Hebridean isle.

With no electricity connection to the mainland, the 83 islanders on Eigg have been reliant on noisy, costly and environmentally unfriendly diesel generators for their power.

But from today they will switch on to a new era, with supplies to all households coming from renewable sources.

People may ask: "How did they live?" Well, they probably didn't know any different, so living without a constant electricity supply wasn't a big deal.

For more on Eigg, click here. I remember seeing it in the distance on a rather interesting, er, ferry ride on our honeymoon, and again during our 2006 trip to Skye.

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Friday Catblogging

Greg accepts a scritch behind the ear from me, because what cat doesn't like a scritch behind the ear?

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