Monday, July 9, 2012

On Bicycling in Europe: What Not to Do

The other day, my "better" half (yes, that is in quotes) suggested we rent bicycles in Munich while on holiday from my London "program".  Sure, that sounds great.  We'll bike through the English Garden, find the beer garden in the middle and bike home.  How lovely and relaxing.

Four hours later, I'm lying in the road in the pouring rain with traces of Munchen earth ground into my leg.

Do not cycle when 1.) you are unsure of the weather; 2.) you do not have a clear map; 3.) you've been drinking liters of beer.
Number 3, clearly is the least important.  Is this why I left teaching?
Rest in peace silver ballet flats and creamy-skinned legs.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On Driving: UK Style

Instead of posting about what I'm actually doing in London, we must discuss what is realistically important.

What is UP with English driving?

So, Massholes, Jesus Jersey, Florida Fogeys, Iowa tractors, the DC self-important, and general "what the hell are doing?!!" Vermonters, these British

It's not that it's JUST aggressive, or JUST that bus drivers make you sick, or JUST people who drive so slow you can see time pass; it's all of the above folks.

Case in point: Londoners never stop for pedestrians.  Two heart attacks later, I'm going to go train with Usain Bolt.  You better run fool, because clearly all the Brits are driving with a pregnant woman giving labor in the back seat.  In fact, I strongly believe the points system is elevated here.  Two points for hitting an old dude, six points for running over an Irishman, and ten points for hitting an American.  "Crosswalk?! What bloody crosswalk?!"

Case in point: I was running in a general direction towards the Thames, to view the river on what was a rare nice day yesterday.  In addition to getting a giant fleck of dirt gouging out my eyeball, this chubby bunny was actually running faster than a Peugeot driving in one direction with no traffic.  Um, how is it that I beat YOU to the river? And why are you driving a Peugeot?  Even if you are going slow to kidnap me, I'm not fitting in that car.  Safe to say, it was probably Prince Charles because clearly his eyesight is going with a wife choice of Joan Rivers, I mean, Camilla.

Oh those English.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Who's the Idiot?

Either I’m an idiot, or everyone else is.  You decide.

Incident #1:
Today, after my second class (out of three) I came out of the bathroom and ran into a classmate.  Mind you, I have/have had several classes with this person, and we had just completed our second lecture of the day together.  Yet, we had said nothing to each other all morning (our interactions are always minimal, we don’t know each other that well) AND our classes provoke more professor to student discussion, not student to student.  Here is what happened:

Me: “Hi SOANDSO*, how are you?”
SOANDSO: “We just had class together, I just saw you, so you know I’m okay.”
Me: …..(silence)
SOANDSO exits the bathroom.

After this interaction, I felt really stupid.  Uhhm, sorry I’m not sorry? WHAT?

Incident #2
It’s finally warm in Boston.  I finally get to wear sandals that have been sitting in my closet for SIX HELLACIOUS MONTHS.**  However, switching from heavy boots to looser footwear is a bit of a challenge; just a bit more flexibility that my poor, sheltered feet are not used to.  Case in point, as I was exiting a class today, I was trying to walk around a lady with a dog.  I got off the sidewalk, and then as I was hopping back onto the sidewalk far in front of the lady, I trip.  It was loud, my sandals made lots of smacking sounds, and of course there was not another soul around to disguise the loud noises of what we'll warmly call "expletives" that accidentally fell out of my mouth.  Said lady’s dog is obviously surprised, but just steps back and keeps walking forward.

Me: (as a polite apology) “Oops, so sorry, hope I didn’t scare your dog.”
Lady: “WHAT WERE YOU DOING?” Literally she yelled.   She raised her voice. 
Me: “Tripping?....Up the sidewalk?”
Lady: “You should watch where you’re going.”
I walk away.

What was I doing?  WHAT WAS I DOING?!! Clearly I work for Michael Vick and I was sneaking around to surprise chloroform you and steal your dog and enter it into a life of crime.  OBVIOUSLY. My preppy outfit was a dead giveaway.  My neon shorts blend in so well with these concrete buildings.  Also, should I, should I REALLY watch where I'm going?  I do my damnedest every day, but we all know life is full of accidents.  I look both ways before I cross the street, I typically avoid running into people, and I say excuse me.  MY BAD. 

Sorry ‘bout your dog. 

*Names have been changed to protect privacy. 
**This may not last but DO NOT RAIN ON MY PARADE TODAY. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life is Too Short to Drink Bad Beer

Most of you know I have an affinity for craft beer of all kinds (though I'm partial to saisons, lambics, and scotch ales) however, I don't think I've ever really posted about it.  Today, I passed several youngsters headed to their friends' houses with 30 racks of really bad beer (apparently, heavy drinking for watching the Boston Marathon is a common practice)* so it prompted this post.
In college, I was a hooker for my rugby team.  Every Saturday (Saturday is game day) we usually would celebrate our multiple wins** with kegs of Keystone and cans of Miller Lite.  I am not proud of those moments, those moments have even been somewhat removed from my Facebook and subsequent deleterious former life.  I actually really enjoy being an adult because your appreciation for the finer things in life is amplified.  However, one rugby game, my senior year, an overage of dues/funds prompted a serious purchase: a keg of Yuengling.  "YINGLING I say? What the $%^& is this?"  My life, praise be, has never been the same since.  In that evening, I sipped lovingly on something akin to God's nectar; something that actually tasted pretty damn good.  I never really drank excessively in my collegiate career, but in that moment I knew I was never going back to the Miller Lites or the Bud Lights (early on in my career in Washington, I tried [in order to "save money"] but more often than not just got upset at myself and went home to bed).
My beer tastes have come a long way since my early foray into the beer that changed it all for me.   I've learned how to detect mouthfeel, what kind of beer is better in a goblet, and what differentiates an ale and a lager (that's not a tough one).  I don't claim to be an expert, but I've learned to appreciate the nuances that go into making a very well crafted beer.
So cheers, put down that Natural Ice, and pick up a Smuttynose IPA (or start sweeter with a Cisco Grey Lady).
One thing, though, seriously, stop drinking bad beer and support your local brewers.

*I don't, logically, get this tradition.  Sporting events, like football and baseball sure, have a beer or two.  But watching a bunch of sweaty athletes (who make you look like a Weeble) run by you for maybe a minute or two?  Maybe five whole minutes if you're near the finish line?  This makes literally zero sense to me as one drinks for five hours to watch five minutes of athleticism.  WTF.
**Wins here, well, I'm sure there were at least two during my four years of competition.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Tribute to Instagram

Song: "Welcome Home"
Artist: Radical Face


Two things: One, this video is symbolic because I don't have a home. This is a statement piece of the places I felt close to this year.  Two, I can use iMovie.  But okay, most importantly, this was made from photos I took from Instagram, which I believe, is worth the one billion.

On Real Awesome People

Text from BFF: "You must watch this."

Hilarity ensues.

Glad no one was hurt.

Old Lady with a Scarf: On Unexpected Rain

My alarm went off this morning and naturally, after I snoozed about seventeen times, I checked the weather while still cocooned in my goosedown.  I like to think that my iPhone knows all because most of the time, it does.  Except today.
My weather app says "Boston with a 30% chance of rain".  30% is A SLIGHT CHANCE but NOT LIKELY, just in case you were wondering meteorologists.  I did not bring an umbrella (partially because I was still half asleep and not entirely coherent) upon my departure from my shoebox this morning.  I was like, yeah 30% not worth lugging around the umbrella nor wearing rain boots.  VERY POOR LOGIC.
When I left my windowless classroom at 2:00 p.m., I saw it was POURING.  Imagine my surprise.  Oh and in Boston, rain is always accompanied by either a perceived or actual drop in temperature.  So I did what anybody above 70 years old might do; I wrapped my head in my cotton pashmina. And then, I got on the Boston University bus.

Young sprightly coed on the bus (to her friend): "I thought, like, only BU students could ride this bus." (Which is a false statement because faculty and staff are welcome to utilize the free BU bus as well).

Me = Death stare.  Young sprightly coed departs.
Me (text to partner): "I got on the struggle bus today; my new shoes are ruined from unexpected rainfall."
Partner: "Yeah, I hate when I get on the struggle bus instead of the snuggle bus."

If my biggest problem today was the rain on my brand new vermillion and white shoes, ruined hair, and cold hands, I'd say sometimes life is just too short.  Thanks, love. :)