21 February 2009

Tornados are FUNNY.

I did it. I just broke down and went to a tanning bed. I didn't mean to; it's just that I recently got back from a weekend in the Canaries, and my skin is oh so nice and brown, and the thought of wasting back to a sickly London pallor was just too much for me to bear. I thought perhaps I was more equipped than most in making this decision--after all, I used to work in a tanning salon in college, I've read all the pamphlets and leaflets and health and safety fliers around the issue. And--you know--informative decisions are guilt-free decisions, right? So I went to this place across the street, one of those tiny local places with 'perms manicures tanning bed' written on the windows. I climb into the bed--if one could call this space-shuttle-time-machine-esque cylinder that--where I soon experienced fans that would give an Oklahoma summer a run for its money. They felt sort of like...okay, like this: remember in 5th grade when you took a field trip to your city's science museum, and you touched a giant orb and your hair stuck straight up and you learned, 'hey! electricity's funny!' and then you went into the earthquake room, and the floor shook for three minutes while images of pompeii flashed on the black walls and you learned, 'hey! earthquakes are funny!' and then you went into the tornado room, because you lived in Oklahoma, and for some reason they think that you may not know what a tornado is like, and they turned on some fans that blew some crazy wind and they jacked up the air pressure and turned up the sound of a train roaring until you couldn't hear and you learned, 'hey! tornadoes are funny!' This tanning bed was like that: a miniature version of the tornado room. The buffeting of the fans combined with the heat of the bulbs made me feel like I was home again, and ten years old, struggling to walk against the hot wind coming off the great plains, and I just learned, 'hey! tanning beds are funny!'

07 February 2009

One Thing Fantastic and One Thing Frustrating

One Thing I Love Love Love:

Egg cartons. Just THINK about it: here you have items that need to be delivered. And these aren't just ANY items, these are incredibly FRAGILE items, items that consist of a viscous liquid inside a thin, delicate shell. And they need to be delivered en masse and frequently. But you can't put them in a bucket, a box, or a bag. To wrap them individually would be both inefficient and expensive. So what came out of it? The EGG CARTON. Seriously. Look at this beauty. You cannot get more efficient than this: it does not waste material or space. This design has existed since 1911 and has not been improved upon since--with the exception of a curved edge here and there, or a thinner cardboard, or a taller internal divide. This. is. design. perfection. And it makes me happy every time I open the fridge. Thank you, random Canadian newspaperman, for making the world a better place. (Also, CANADA? Who saw it coming? Dude, they don't flaunt it often, but when they do...ba-BAM!)

One Thing That Drives Me Crazy:

I know what you're thinking: check out that hot bar! Are the cocktails innovative, is there lounge seating, is there a decent happy hour, a mixologist, and a deejay? The answer to all of these questions is no, no, and NO. Because it's NOT a bar, IT'S A NEON SIGN STORE. This leads me to One Thing That Drives Me Crazy: neon sign stores. They drive me absolutely nuts. They have got to be the most misleading of all storefronts. Every time I pass one (and I know what you are thinking here: how often do you pass neon sign stores? Well, I'll tell you this: WAY TOO OFTEN, like the one on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, just north of Haight--you know who you are--and this one I photographed above at Mile End here in London), I get ALL excited, all 'oooh, what's the name of that bar, I'm going to check out its zagat review!' and then I look at the name, and then I see THIS, and oh how my spirit deflates like so many balloons at the birthday party of Edward Scissorhands:

I fall for it every time. I really do. I am drawn to the lights like a moth to a flame, only to be told lights are the only thing for sale.

04 February 2009

Who knew?

I used to think cobblestone was the worst thing to walk on. I was wrong. It's cobblestone covered in ice.

03 February 2009

And life just gets better.

Okay, forgive me for my current Weetabix obsession, but check it: according to Katy, you can get wb at Trader Joe's (yet one more reason to LOVE LOVE LOVE that store), and Dinana did some Weetabix hunting and found THIS! How could I have enjoyed Puffins cereal all this time and not known it was part of the Weetabix food pyramid?? Wow. I was blind and now I see.

02 February 2009

Snow Day, or Why Mother Effing Russia is WAY Too Close (Geographically Speaking)

So it turns out that there's some freaky-deaky cold front whipping through England from RUSSIA. Yes. MOTHER EFFING RUSSIA. That crazy thought aside, the bitter cold of yesterday--with a wind so sharp it burned the nose and ears--has morphed into snow. All night snow, all day snow, and according to reports, snow tomorrow til forever. It's apparently 'the worst downfall seen in southeast England in 18 years.'

And of course London has completely shut down. All bus lines have been suspended due to the 'dangerous conditions' (I can hear my Wisconsin friend laughing at this) and the tube has ground to a shuddering halt, leaving only a few trains limping around town in a self-pitying fashion, carrying the grisliest of public servants. Because this is a day in which NOBODY is leaving their home and in which EVERYBODY has turned into a pajama-clad telecommuter, doing little more than watching weather reports, experiencing strange bouts of giddiness, and sneaking in the occasional film from the safety of the blankets on the couch in between 'calls' to coworkers in the pretense of discussing the Business of the Day.

I am trying out my new slow cooker today; in six short hours, I will have chicken and dumplings and a glass of grenache-mouvedre to warm the soul. And it is good.