Trains and APD

Transport for London (TfL) and I currently have a love/hate relationship. I love them when they make the trains run on time and everything is going smoothly (which is most of the time) and hate them when they close of my Underground access to central London (which occurs on a nearly weekly basis.) Sometimes the closures aren't so bad. For instance, they'll only close the Metropolitan around where I live but the Bakerloo line (which is just a 10 minute walk from me) will remain open the entire weekend. Other times the Metropolitan will be closed one day and the Bakerloo the other day. Or the Metropolitan is closed both days of the weekend, but the Bakerloo is open on Saturday so I can still get into the city, even if it's not from the most convenient location. And then you have weekends like the one I'm about to encounter where all the lines that can get me into the city are closed. Thankfully my grandparents are in town and staying at a flat in zone 1 and I'm staying over from Friday to Saturday, but Amanda and I have plans (and have had these plans since March) for Sunday afternoon in the city. The Bakerloo is shut down as is the Metropolitan. These kind of shut downs only seem to happen on bank holidays (and Easter oddly enough), so it's not as though it happens every weekend (then I would have serious issues), but it's highly annoying anyway. I don't think I would mind so much if didn't have plans on Sunday, but these closures effect more people than me. It effects everyone outside of zones 1 and 2 to be honest and the fact that TfL doesn't seem to have an issue with cutting people outside those zones off is a problem in and of itself. I know they need to get these tracks fixed and spiffed up for the Olympics, but it shouldn't be to the detriment of those people who live outside of central London. Especially people who live outside of central London who have plans to go into central London.
In a completely unrelated topic, many, many moons ago I mentioned that I have auditory processing disorder. While I have a really hard time explaining it to people not trained in special education, this past Tuesday the New York Times had an article on APD in the health section of its Science section. The article does an absolutely brilliant job of describing what APD is and how it effects both the scholastic and social aspects of their lives. As a person with this disorder I'm glad it's getting this attention because, despite what some people might think, it's not a well known learning disability and often gets short shrift in comparison to the bigger name disabilities like ADHD and dyslexia.


More Culture

So this past week I went to three very different shows. However, in the time honoured tradition of Nore not actually reviewing anything, I'm just going to say what I went to and whether I liked it or not. Also any highlights from the production will be included.
First up we have another visit to the Comedy Store which was better than first because they were all professionals. Granted it was a very different format (improv vs. stand-up) but the highlight, beyond the penguin farm opera/musical/mystery/Bollywood sketch, was Phill Jupitus. He's probably one of my favourite comedians and at this point is the sole reason I still watch Never Mind the Buzzcocks (sorry Noel, you're just better with a script). The entire show was absolutely hilarious, but the things that stick in my head, besides the penguin farm bit, was the sketch that incorporated the three following elements: sci-fi, talking sheep, Mars, and music. Absolutely brilliant. If I get another chance to go to the Comedy Store I definitely will.
Unforunately Private Lives, written by Noel Coward and starring Kim Cattrall and Mr. Darcy (2005 film)/Keeley Hawes' husband wasn't as good. Sure the lines were pithy which is what you would expect, but the two leads had little to no chemistry (which isn't a good thing in a rom-com) and Kim Cattrall's attempt at a British accent came across as a screechy parody of Brits in 1920's films. It wasn't bad and the supporting cast were very good, but you'd kind of hope that such famous leads would be better.
Finally, there was "Cinderella" as performed by the National Royal Ballet. It was beautiful and a joy to watch, even way, way up high. The Prince's hair was a bit creepy, but the dancers were amazing and the music (which was live!) was beautiful, though oddly sad for such an, ultimately, happy story. My one complaint, and it is a very minor one, is that there were no frogs. While I'm absolutely certain my ballet school was just trying their hardest to give me roles in our productions, but not seeing any animal (frog) attendants during the transformation scene was a bit disappointing. And, coincidentally, Keeley Hawes and some friends were at the same performance as me, though probably in seats with armrest and a slightly better view. Aaah, the wonders of Twitter.
Well that's it. My grandparents are actually visiting this week (damn you Icelandic volcano) and I'm seeing Sweet Charity and "A Night of 1,000 Voices" which has as its theme this year Stephen Sondheim, which should be good. I'm still waiting on my law paper to be marked, but I'm none too worried unless he's the toughest grader known to man or I really screwed up. Until next time, don't panic.


My Signature Has Been Questioned Once Again

It's drizzling. I think drizzle is the weather's way of saying "You should really stay indoors and finish watching that episode of Bones you started." But my food is here and because I'm "saving" up for London by using my parent's credit card as often as possible, I have to sign my name on the dotted line. For a couple of years my signature had been devolving into more of a scrawl, largely because of situations like these. I have to sign for my take away and signing for things outside of a dorm means no flat places and a desperate urge to get back to the comfort of my room. So what once looked like a full name now looks like a scribble. When I first started doing it, it was meant to be my initials, but really it's just a "B" in an artful scribble. So that's the story behind my signature. Time constraints, bad weather, and paused TV shows. And now I must ask, can everyone stop questioning my scribble and just move on? I mean honestly, asking me to sign a receipt twice is unnecessary.


London, I Love You

I realized something as I made my way from my dorm to the Comedy store. As much as I wouldn't give my entire experience in London a gold star, I continue to really love the city itself. I actually came up with a list of all the things (and the numerous restaurants/cafes) I'm going to miss when I go home on June 1st. That's what really hit me last night, all the things I've gotten used to that I'm going to miss. Sure, there are lots of things I won't miss :cough:evil former flatmates, Euro-trash, rail closures:cough:, but I think there's more that I will miss and those are things that I'll remember 10 years down the line (as well as the evil former flatmates.)
Anyway, I just wanted to say that. My marketing teacher is an idiot (there are no classes on my birthday, just exams!!) but the paper for that class has be pushed back which is nice. Though that means I have three papers all due within three days of each other which kind of really sucks. Oh well, c'est la vie. I will give a review of my theatre experiences on Sunday. Until then (or whenever I actually update next) don't panic.


It's So Pretty When It's Sunny

When I first started looking at Westminster, I looked at Harrow. The reason for this was that I was applying only to classes that were based at the Harrow campus and so I assumed (quite rightly) that I would be living on that campus. So I looked up Harrow on Wikipedia and found out there's a fancy boy's school located in the town. Then I actually came here and found out that the campus was actually closer to Kenton than the boy's school. However I knew about Eton well before then, but after finding out about the Harrow School (aka the fancy boy's school in Harrow-on-the-Hill), I discovered that the Harrow School is Eton's main competition. As often happens with me, I've become very protective of this school I've only seen from the outside and could never afford to go to. Which is why I can say, with no bias whatsoever, that Eton is plug ugly compared to Harrow. Sure, the town it's in is slightly prettier than Harrow (but only a little bit), but the actual school is ugly. Yeah, I don't care that it's old as the hills and that Harrow is young in comparison (Eton = 1440, Harrow = 1572), but Harrow is still prettier and when it comes to these things, I just care if they're pretty. This is probably why I liked Windsor Castle and the town of Windsor so much. Both are extremely pretty. It's hard to say anything else about Windsor Castle because it was just. So. Pretty. There was one room with wallpaper the perfect shade of green and another that had the perfect shade of red. Another room had the most ridiculous amount of gold gilding on everything. It was exactly what you'd expect a castle to look like. And of course I couldn't take pictures of the State apartments, the prettiest part, but I did get pictures of the moat garden and the Royal Chapel. And to top things off, the weather was perfect. 60 degrees and sunny the entire day. Aaron Eackhart was our* tour guide again and the most gorgeous man alive (aka the German one) was in our group. It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning/afternoon.
In other news my new flat is working out much better than my last one. There's a reasonable amount of noise before 11pm, but by the time I want to go to bed, everything has quieted down. However the train freaks me out every once in a while, but then I remind myself that it's a train, not a loud party about to happen. Also it's the last week of classes, which is odd to think about. Granted there's two weeks of "independent study" and then another two weeks of exams, so the fact that I'm not going home until the beginning of June does make sense in its own way. The fact that I'll be spending two of the last weeks of "exams" traveling is totally beside the point.
In one final note, I'm super busy this week which is the excuse I'll use for not updating and I've decided that being a lawyer isn't the end of the world. Which is why I've been looking at how to become a lawyer in the UK and law schools in the States (just in case.) It's all a bit odd and has been happening rather quickly, but it's better than being miserable in a job I thought I would love and don't in actuality. So that's it for another week or so. Not only am I going to the Comedy Store, seeing "Private Lives" and "Cinderella" (the ballet), but my grandparents are coming to visit starting Tuesday (as long as the ash doesn't get in the way) so I'll probably be spending some time with them as well. Until whenever, don't panic.

*When I say "our" in these post I usually mean either the social programme or me and Amanda. In this case I mean both.


Back to the Grindstone

With only a month and a bit left and with my nose theoretically going back to the figurative grind stone, I figure you lot get to know how my last week of spring break went. It wasn't an unmitigated success, but it had it's moments. Most of them were in Leeds. But first the rainy, rainy city of Glasgow.
As we well know, I've gone a bit soppy here in London, so when I was told I couldn't get on my train to Glasgow, I nearly broke down in tears. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was the knowledge that hundreds of people would be privy to my sobbing, which isn't something I really wanted to have happen. Sevenish hours later I was in Glasgow sans ear plugs (which I could have used because my room was right next to the road) and guidebook. However for one pound I could watch the TV in my room for 15 hours, so I took advantage of that to watch University Challenge.
The next day wasn't much better. It rained the entire time, the one museum I went to was pretty sad, I rode around on a bus for an hour and a half and felt so nauseous that I couldn't finish the sandwich I got for lunch. However I got a little Scottish terrier plushie and shortbread shaped like sheep as well as a set of linen tea towels for my Mom which I'm sure she'll like. I then spent the night watching cookery shows for the most part, which was far more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Then, with sun shining, I came back to London.
Leeds, in contrast, was brilliant. The weather was beautiful. Amanda and I went to numerous fascinating museums. I ate like a normal person and got to watch TV for free. Leeds totally made up for the misery that was Glasgow. The best part, at least in my opinion, was the stuffed tiger that use to be rug that the Leeds City Museum has in its collection. Of course I got the tiger plushie from the museum shop as well as a postcard of the tiger itself. The next day we went to the main art gallery in Leeds, but sadly the shop was closed which meant I couldn't get any postcards of the cool pieces of artwork the gallery houses. In short, everything in Leeds is brilliant.
In other news, tonight I finally got around to putting up all but three of my postcards. I would have put all of them up, but I ran out of blu tack, so I couldn't. Even though I'm not here for much longer, having all that colour on my wall makes me happy, so I don't care. Also my new flat is remarkably quiet, even with people in it. I only know the name of one of my flatmates, but since I won't be here for much longer, doesn't really matter to me. Also I'm going to see Macbeth on May 8th at the Globe which is geek-tastic. I'm actually quite busy over the next month or so, what with papers and plays and musicals and the ballet. And my birthday, which should be interesting. Being busy is good though, keeps my mind occupied. Anywho, until next time, don't panic.


Going Through the Motions

This is getting harder and harder to do. The once clear and obvious path I walked down has suddenly turned into a vast wood with lots of gnats getting in the way. I don't really know what I want anymore. The future I had mapped out doesn't make sense anymore and things that I held closest to me are starting to slip away. Most of my interests are still intact, but I'm starting to retreat to the old and familiar. It's not as bad as 9th grade but I can feel myself moving in that direction. Hopefully this time I won't grow overly attached to a band that broke up forty years ago, but you never know.
I've started thinking about law school. I've also started thinking that London is more fun to visit than to live in. It feels like a terrible cop-out, giving up on something I've been working towards for two and a half years, but on the other hand the culture that surrounds radio here and back in the States is just something I can't tolerate. But I don't really know if law is what I want to do, though I figure if I get into the right field I won't end up like my Dad, which is the ultimate goal in the end.
But it's not all bad. It's a bit like last summer: As long as I don't think too hard about how homesick I am and how much I hate some of the people I live with and have to deal with, I'm fine. The constant need for chatter of some kind is a bit depressing in a meta way, but for the most part I avoid thinking too hard about the things that make me sad and focus on the things that don't make me sad like Top Gear and going into central London on little expeditions. I've only got a month and a half (about-ish) and the weather is finally starting to turn nice, though we'll see how long that lasts.
Bottom line is that I'm depressed and writing about the things I do means thinking and that's just not something I want to do. Therefore I will continue to update sporadically and infrequently.


Spring Break Quickie

Oh spring break. You've gone so quickly (even though I have one more week of it). Here's what happened this week, in bullet points.
  • Mom arrived! And we walked on Hampton Heath and had really good Greek food for lunch.
  • Wandered around Lincoln's Inn on Monday because Sir John Soanes Museum was closed. Mom took more pictures.
  • I saw one really great play (The Little Dog Laughed) and one alright production of a really great play (The Importance of Being Earnest). No pictures were taken at the plays.
  • Went to Hampton Court and had flash backs to visits to Colonial Williamsburg (Henry VIII walking by was strange.) Lots and lots of pictures were taken.
  • Went to Bath again and went on an abbreviated Jane Austen tour. So many pictures.
  • I had my hair cut and many crepes were consumed. Pictures, of course, were taken.
  • I can't for the life of me remember what we did on Friday.
  • We went to Canterbury and I saw Vic Reeves. It was really, really cool. As was the church.
  • TfL screwed over everyone but the tourists. Some tourists were possibly screwed over as well, but mostly only the non-tourists were screwed over.
  • Ashes to Ashes and Doctor Who are both alive and really freakin' awesome. So excited for both.
  • Mom left. No pictures were taken.
I'm off to Glasgow (where the internet will cost 1 pound for 20 minutes) and Leeds (TV!!) and then back to the grindstone, such as it is. Pictures will be taken and if I see anyone famous Facebook will be the first to know. Then you lot when I get around to updating next weekend. Until then, don't panic.