Posted by: Gram | October 31, 2010

One Last “Vacation”

Yes, technically this blog shouldn’t exist, but technically, I’m still unemployed.  Homeless, no, but meh, still a vagrant.

Plus, I’ve still had some annual leave to take, and so, instead of spending it in a hotel, I spent it in a studio apartment¹ in Arlington, Virginia.  Complete with really, really bad TV that makes you want to smash your head into a brick wall whenever the adverts come on.  Why seeing the same $1 menu at Arby’s² advert in one hour will persuade me more than seeing it 2 times in a hour, I can’t phantom.  Especially since I never even saw an Arby’s Restaurant.

Not even Ninjas are cool in American adverts...

Still, the resounding memories are of:

  • catching up with an ol’ friend (nice) over lots of nice beers (nicer)
  • damn friendly people (nice) who all seemed to like my jacket (also nice)
  • an expensive and infrequent metro (bad)
  • marble columns (nice, but samey)
  • seeing UNESCO Heritage Site #78 (alright, but the Philly Cheesesteak will have significantly shortened my life)
  • queueing (infuriating)

The relentless mind numbing queueing, all of which have an apologetic security guard at the end of it, not liking that his job has been downgraded to rooting through handbags for nuclear bombs, or a guy checking if you were old enough to drink³.

Hell, there was more security to see the Declaration of Independence⁴ than there was at the airport.  They weren’t apologetic there either, and gave me a stern telling off for forgetting about my watch and wearing button up jeans.

Even more surprising than mad hysterical paranoia, was an actually genuinely surprising level of ignorance.  Fair enough, the general public don’t know much, they don’t here either, but I’d hope a guide or a museum should know their specialist subject.  Ignorance is one thing.  Spreading ignorance is quite another.  Notable highlights include:

  • an inability to define the word “Liberty”, though there was plenty of get-out-clauses about why only land owning middle class white folk had the vote in the olden days
  • thinking Germany tried to invade the US in WWII, and most importantly, force everyone to forget English
  • flat out stating that *I* was in charge of this United States of America⁵
  • stating the Wright Brothers “invented” the aeroplane, then, correctly stating it was John Stringfellow in another exhibition
  • mixing up St James Park with St Pauls Cathedral
  • not knowing in the 1700 of history between the Roman Empire and the United States of America, there were plenty of Republics⁶
  • stating Ronald Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall, possibly by headbutting it
  • dissing the 27th and best Presdient of the United States William Howard Taft
  • not mentioning the Bakerloo line went to the District of Columbia

Annoyingly, it would have only cost £1.80 to get home on my Oyster Card. I'd brought it along to.

And of course, the massive one:

  • Why was it okay, even noble, for a bunch of guerilla fighters to defy the greatest power of the age telling it how to live their life, but not now?

Naturally, I kept my mouth shut on the last one.

Though there were pockets of resistance to this tide of clichéd laziness.  Naturally though, they were limited to within the walls of the excellent Smithsonian Museums⁷.  I almost fainted as I was wearing one of my favourite t-shirts, a man in the Museum of the American Indian walked past and stated:

“Alriiiiiight!  Dangermouse!”

I liked that guy 🙂


¹ The very type of apartment I refused to actually pay rent for.  After staying in this one, I may have been too hasty…


² I want very bad things to happen to the “Dad” in the advert

³ I did mention I’m foreign and as such been allowed to drink for 10 years.  That didn’t seem to matter.  More worrying was one lady mistaking my Chinese Tourist Visa for my birth date.  Worryingly, she accepted my age of 8 months…

⁴ See, not read.  You can’t read it, it’s far to faint, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling the British couldn’t either.

⁵ Careful, that would be a very bad move.  Though my policy of forced proper-hat-wearing would reinvigorate the economy.

⁶ Seriously, how do you not know about the republic of Ragusa?

⁷ And rather excellently glossed over, but not covered up, that he was British

Posted by: Gram | October 11, 2010

Vagrancy Over

Well, as someone¹ may well have told you, this blog is now null and void.

Along with no longer being a vagrant and now having to adjust to a life of middle-class nesting² and really, really enjoy both my Sundays and my Fridays³.  If nothing else, I get a phenomenal amount of free time from not packing and unpacking, and travelling up and down the country for 8 hours every week⁴.

And I get to do lots of sitting on sofas.  Just like I am now.

So that’s it.  Game Over.  And, I’m not sure, but I think I won.  Despite losing.

Shame I haven’t wanted to play the game since about August 2009…

¹ Current sources of this information are Facebook, my former boss, my future boss, the HR Dept in Manchester, Nostradamus and of course ‘the grapevine’.  Almost certainly wasn’t one to one.

² Most surprisingly, I’d forgotten how useful coathangers are, and that I don’t have any.  Muji are gonna make a fortune off me…

³ I’ve despised them both for a very long time.  They’ve been null and void for the entire of 2010.

⁴ Instead, I get the luxury of travelling the same 40 minute journey, 5 times a week.  Woohoo!

Posted by: Gram | July 17, 2010

Ever Decreasing Signals

After an adventurous weekend of blowing up locusts with themadass, this week saw my hotel move to the Big Smoke¹.

Now, yes, I know the town better than most people I know, but I’m still needing lessons in how to deal with it every day, since I’m still of the opinion that people in London are more friendly than most of the country².  Since this is no doubt inexcusable, destroying the reputation of both London and the rest of the country, what better way to set me right than being forced to spend a week in Russell Square on the Blue Line?

Whilst this wasn’t the official reason I was sent away from Reading (some nonsense to do with attending a vast number of meetings in Paddington, Victoria and Euston), this did mean I needed to plan for more than a weekend, but rather a whole week.

True to form, I left my phone charger in Reading, thus making the whole week a race against time to sort out my whole week of “education” and not wind up stranded.

It’s gonna be tight…

5 Bars³

Discover breakfast includes omelette option, which is investigated and thoroughly enjoyed.  Negotiations for Tuesday night draining battery, but phone is coping well.  An overrun on meeting and an odd bout of work ethic till well past 6pm knocks off original plan to go see Enron.

Plans changed to go to cinema and eat Lebanese food.

4 Bars

Once again, Lebanese food = indigestion, but day long meeting results in sufficient talking to burn that off.  Thankful access to email means work can be done in the afternoon before assault on Brick Lane can be conducted.  Resultant “Meat Curry” proved to be exactly what it said on the tin.

But, anyone who knows me will know I don’t eat curry needlessly.  Curry led to a party.  And some more grub before heading to bed.

3 Bars

Discovered client are real-people-too big in todays meeting.  Who’d-a-thunk?  Text negotiations to drag more people to comedy gig ultimately fruitless.  Bugger.  Thankfully the improv gig⁴ at the Phoenix pub on Cavendish Square proved to be bloody excellent (with good beer) and was another place to add to my ever growing list of odd toilets.

2 Bars

Ok.  Official meetings in afternoon.  Hotdesking easy.  Meeting Abi and John in evening.  Each are going from different directions.  Meeting at Tower Bridge is allegedly too difficult, since no-one knows where it is, so meeting is at London Bridge.  Battery, worryingly low.

London Bridge a mess to exit from, but still success at meet up.  Enjoyed rather good outdoor blues set in rather good weather.  Naturally, that’s not enough, so it’s off to Square Two for some Polish War Theatre.  Half Templar-Knights, half Hare-Krishnas on stilts whip peasants, who in turn, set fire to their shirts.


1 Bar

Day of hotdesking, then go home, with just enough battery to get a lift from the station.  Phew.  Exhausting week.  And strictly hadn’t been anything *new*.

Can’t wait for the next one :).

¹ And no, it wasn’t a Premier Inn.  I’m not sure what I’ll do to peddler of purple Lenny Henry if I ever see him, but I’m guessing it won’t be pleasant…

² This statement naturally excludes Lancashire.  But it’s practically it’s own country anyway.  Well, the BBC think so

³ Battery bars, not Apple Signal Bars.  Or the good type of drinking bars…

⁴ Got a couple of my suggestions through as well.  Whilst murder in the Sticklebrick factory was rather good, I’m most pleased with what the crew did with suggesting “ninja penguins” as an addition to a Film Noir.  Hopefully Chow Yun Fat will never find…

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