Sunday, November 30, 2008

XV: Fascination

I've been feeling very A.D.D. lately. With everything that's been going on - trying to get coursework done, trying to find internships for next semester, planning for the holidays, maintaining a social life, finding time to read and play guitar for pleasure AND attempting to document it all (for my sake as well as whoever is interested) - has left me confused and flustered most of the time. And I'm betting that when I'm done writing this entry, it'll be quite a jumbled mess of information... just take it as an implicit reflection of the current state of my life.

Anyway, I was riding home on the Picadilly line last night (I barely caught the last train home just after midnight) and I was fascinated by this strange man sitting across from me who was counting through a giant wad of cash. What the hell was he possibly thinking? He was just sitting there, flipping through who knows how much money, with a stupid smirk on his face, looking up way too often to wink at me. Gross! What did he think, that his money would impress me and I would jump up from my seat to smother him with kisses? If anything, it just disgusted me and made me ponder all the CRAZY people I see day-in and day-out in this nutty city.

When you don't have a car and are forced to use public transportation, you become witness to all the nutters in the world... people like the cash cow, or the ones who constantly mutter incoherent words to themselves, or the ones who stare at you incessantly as if you couldn't see them, or the mothers who curse at or smack their little children right in front of everyone.

Or people like this one who do full-blown interpretive dance routines right on the platform :

Oh wait, just kidding, that's my friend Ashley... she's only crazy some of the time.

My favorite of all these are the Italian men (no offense James... they just always happen to be Italian) who always travel in groups of 3 or more and will sit right next to me or directly in front of me and say things like "che bella" with a really perverted look in their eyes. Then they'll lick their lips and talk to me in Italian, laugh with their friends after I take out my iPod to drown out their comments, then talk louder to interrupt my music and continue to stare and smile and talk at me until they reach their stop. Lucky for me, I live a bit further away from most people and never have to worry about any of them following me home.

I don't get it. Some people just have no tact... and the ones with mental problems, why are they allowed to leave their homes? I know they're not homeless because they're always dressed relatively nice, carry cell phones, and obviously have the money to ride the tube. You'd find a homeless person sitting in front of the stations begging for money before you'd see them anywhere past the turnstiles.

The worst part is, they always look and seem like normal people until the train starts moving and then it's like a full moon just rose. At least in Simi, we already know who the crazies are (Frankenstein, the hot water guy on his bike, that freak with Teret's who assaulted Becky, the parrot man and let's not forget EVIE) and we can just avoid them when we see them.

But here, no, they're much more sneaky. Maybe I'm just an asshole, but I won't pretend that I'm the most accepting or accommodating person in the world, because obviously I'm not... whatever, the truth's gotta' come out some time. Thank God I've got friends here who feel my pain... and we can talk about it to each other to maintain normalcy.

Speaking of friends (I guess I can change the subject now that I've got that rant out of my system)... Many of my friends here are American, and so we were all in the same lonely sort of mood this week with Thanksgiving and all. Most of us had class all day on Thursday, so we planned to celebrate it on Saturday. (Hence me having to catch the last train home last night.)

Given that we're in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, it was a real interesting challenge to find all the necessary ingredients to make a proper Thanksgiving dinner - but I'm happy to report that our feast was still a success, even without the canned cranberry sauce and mashed potato flakes.

Our German friend Fabian even joined in and offered some homemade German cookies... (notice Chris' homemade Pumpkin Pie and yeah, store-bought chocolate cheesecake, but delicious anyway):

You know how you can buy those boxes of stuffing mix from the store and just add in whatever ingredients? Well, they don't have that here. So I had to make the stuffing from scratch. And I'm so proud, because I totally did it and it turned out super yum. (And sorry friends for not being able to host Stuffgiving this year... I promise it'll be even more fantastic in 2009 because now I'm a stuffing pro AS WELL as the turkey queen. (Wow, that sounded really conceited... sorry).

All I need is some white bread, apples, a lot of sage and a little bit of love... oh! and I might have to import this incredible Waitrose sausage:

Hooray for having leftovers to eat for dinner tonight. I love Thanksgiving.

Which then leads me into another train of thought... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The high street markets are in full-swing here - lights, inflated snowmen, happy Brits who have upgraded their demeanor to only "semi-grumpy" instead of 110% grumpy. But of course, this makes me a little sad because I won't get to see family (especially Francis). It's really weird, after being so used to spending holidays with my ginormous and wonderful family, to having to get through it alone.

But luckily, Kim is flying down from Edinburgh and we're finally (literally, not metaphorically) going to cut the Dutch cheese and make our very own 2-person feast. I think everyone in my house is going home for Christmas... and all the rest of my friends are going home as well. I told them to send my love to the states and to bring me back some hot cheetos.

Then on the 28th of December, Shawn and James are flying in for New Year's - and we'll be celebrating Hogmanay in Scotland, going on a Beatles pilgrimage to Liverpool on New Year's Day, paying homage to Oasis in Manchester and then back to London, where I can attempt to show them around town for a week or two.

And to equip us for all the wonderful friendtime goodness, I've started working on a new mapping project. I just learned that you can build your own personalized maps on google and share them with whoever you want. So, I've started compiling some of my favorite London spots so anybody anywhere can see where I like to go: My Lovely London

View Larger Map

Isn't it cool?? Besides all the other places I've been documenting on this blog, you can now follow me around London from the convenience of your own home. Now you don't only have to rely on my photographs of places like:

Millenium Bridge:

The inside of Tate Modern:

But you can also be geographically correct while doing it. Ah technology, how I love and fear thee.

Okay, so I hope it wasn't too difficult to follow this lame-ish, tangent-filled, random train-of-thought, digital excuse for a thing I like to call my blog. And if you've made it this far I congratulate you and offer you a musical reward...

I've been a little obsessed with this Danish pop band called Alphabeat (they are HUGE here), so I've embedded a video. They're very indie-pop and by the looks of this video, maybe too influenced by the 80's, random cinematic dance-sequences and nerd-rock, but man oh man, do I love them. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...


James said...

[licks lips pervertedly] "Che Bella" Mmmmmmmmmmm

Liana said...

1) I love your makeshift thanksgiving

2) Upon your recommendation, I listened to alphabeat. LOVE. So catchy.