Wednesday, 15 July 2009

324,000 minutes and counting...

so i had a bit of a revelation today... time in london is flying by, but i still don't feel like this is my new home.  and why is that?  i think it's because i need to let go of somethings that remind me of new york.  it's like that song we used to sing at camp... "make new friends, but keep the old... some are silver, and some are gold."  i think new york will always be the golden child for me, but we need to polish the silver a bit.  and it's not just about friends, or people for that matter.  it's about the experiences that are quintessentially london.  

and so begins a new chapter for me here.  i'm hoping this translates into more postings on the blog, but in the meantime, i've been thinking about a "to-do" list that i can start to work with that will help me get in good with this great city.

at the top of the list is to finish this great book i'm reading called Brick Lane... it's by this very clever author, monica ali, and is all about a pakistani immigrant woman who comes to london under an arranged marriage and begins a new life here.  circumstances beyond her control brought her here, but as she matures and discovers more about the city and herself, she begins to break out of her shell and become her own person.  i originally bought the book for my last trip home to new york, and thought it would be a good read because it references a neighborhood that is close to mine... but as i'm getting into this book, i think there's a lot more in store and see a bit of the main character in me.  can't wait to read more.

in keeping with the intellectual side of me (don't worry, that's about it after this...), i think i want to take a class of some sort... had originally been thinking about resurrecting my italian... am working with a really interesting italian guy at work and the accent is bringing me back to college days where i took the class and loved it.  so maybe it's that.  another work colleague was telling me about a MA in creative writing that she is taking at oxford college.  this woman has a 1-year-old daughter, works a crazy schedule AND has time to do a masters?  yeesh.  but it definitely sounds interesting, and as i hope my few but faithful readers can tell, i love creative writing.

it's not all about smarts though... as tess mcgill so aptly says in working girl, i've got a head for business and a bod for sin.  and so the sin aspect might be a bit much, but i think the sentiment is still there.  i need to get out more.  and meet more guys (cf: grindr comment above).  not all about the deed, but also the dude.  i'm going to start by putting myself on a 30-day action plan.  my target will be to come up with a direct male acquisition strategy that leverages multiple channels.  grindr is a good start, but it is a little silly at the end of the day.  the speed dating thing i did was a bit OTT, but its heart was in the right place, and so a networking angle might be a good avenue to pursue.  i'm also looking forward to the travel schedule winding down a bit after august, so there will be more weekends here in the city for fun (albeit, less sun).  so watch this space.

so as minute 324,001 passes, i'm feeling good.  good about this city and what it's given me so far.  great about what's left to find.

Friday, 3 July 2009

My new toy

OK for about the past week I haven't been able to put down my new iPhone.  I've resisted buying one for such a long time - didn't want to be part of the "sheeple" rushing to get one ("sheeple" is a term my lawyer friend Nancy uses... I'm assuming it's a combination of the words "sheep" and "people" and is used to indicate a mass follower mentality of a certain fad or trend).

But all that has changed.  Sure, I could have bought several RT tickets back to New York for the same price of this gizmo, but life is so much better now that iPhone and I are friends.  Texting and facebook, two of my guilty pleasures, are just too damn easy with this.  And other things like watching video (or filming! for that matter...), "shazam"-ing the songs of summer and devouring the NYT on my way to work are those nice little touches that make it so indispensable.  

My latest iPhone app, though, is Grindr - think manhunt meets GPS.  

I suggest you try it out.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

back to the motherland

so it was my first trip back to the nyc this weekend... and it was, by all accounts, a blast... this was really just intended to give me a taste... i'm going back for two weeks in august, complete with a trip to the FIP, but even this little tease will tide me over until then.

some great times were had - surprise party for LL on friday night in tribeca, a cute little brunch find in the east village on saturday afternoon, followed by the LARGEST frozen margs i ever did see!  benny's burritos, you better work.

saturday night saw continued shenanigans at another birthday party, but it was early to bed to make the most of my 72 hours in the city... topped off with an amazing introduction to the highline... manhattan's newest resident and chelsea's finest... a converted elevated railroad track turned into a chi-chi park.  amazing.

and while i happily dreamt of $1.50 slices of pizza and $3 pashminas on my flight home, i know that nyc will always be there for me.  a few new adventures (and a few more cheeky pints) still await me here in the land of lads and lager.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

what is it about sex and the city that still makes me laugh?

such a trite thing to say, i know.  i guess it's the fact that i (like millions of you, i know) see a bit of each of the four ladies in me.  or that no matter what rerun they are showing on one of the hundreds of channels that i get with virgin media, i have a chuckle or two.  suffice it to say, a few episodes of SATC gets me through the week with a smile on my face.

Monday, 1 June 2009

i *heart* the heath

hey there faithful readers - it was another lovely weekend in the city of london - i managed to stay outdoors as long as possible and got some great rays.  saturday it was back to london fields (see previous post) for some giggling at the fashion choices of my fellow east londoners and a pint or two with DL at the cat & mutton - tee hee hee. 

but alas, my house keys decided that they wanted to spend a little bit more time in the park and didn't make it home with me.  after a trip out to east ham to see lesia the cleaning lady who had a spare set, the weekend was finally back on track.

sunday was another adventure outdoors, this time to hampstead heath.  HH is just a few stops north on the northern line, and it consists of a series of parks and ponds that have been around since the 900s (yes, that's more than 1000 years ago).  one of the things that HH has kept over the years is a series of single-sex ponds, which you can imagine is a big hit with london's queer set.  i was just happy to be there, soaking up the sun, listening to GaGa on some ipod speakers near by and munching on some snacks from the tesco's down the way.  the single-sex aspect was just icing on the cake. :)

a couple of more observations though to help you set the scene:

1) aussieBum, like Lady GaGa, is everywhere.  unfortunately, the bodies that are usually seen in aussieBum ads, are not.

2) you apparently are not allowed in the park unless you have an open container of some sort.  that is what london's take is on the open container laws we yanks are more accustomed to.  i like.

3) the other big fans of male-only swimming ponds (besides the obvious)?  Hasidic Jews!  because apparently they can't swim in a pond where women may be menstruating.  i'm not kidding.

so, definitely adding HH to my top london picks for sure... 

Sunday, 24 May 2009

only in london

into the 2nd of the summer bank holiday weekends here and things could not be more delightful... i can't believe how nice the weather is... and what better way to spend it that discovering new neighborhoods!

today was spent in broadway market with an old but new hoya friend... lots to take in, from the delish lunch we had (cold meze platter and lamb with turkish beer) to the delightful sights and sounds of the market and london fields near by...

a couple of things to note:

1) apparently it is totally fine to start a bbq in the middle of the park.  forget the english obsession with safety... open fires do not qualify as a hazard, or so it seems.

2) apparently it is also fine to hang outside a pub all day (love the name - "the cat and mutton") with your 2 children... strollers and Stellas, what a combo!

but, hey, i just got here.. and what do i know... i mean, hot and jellied eels sounds pretty damn tasty to me!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

not-so terrible tuesdays...

yes, i've been absent a bit, and sure, you can believe all of the stories you heard of my matt's mitteleuropa adventures... even that last one... but sometimes, it's the everyday that makes me smile...

there used to be a time after a long weekend of debauchery that i would hit a case of the 'terrible tuesdays'.... ie., after going "full on" for a period of 72 hours, i'd be back at work, still on the (figurative) high from the weekend... and then tuesday came around.  we used to call it "terrible tuesday" because that's when the walls felt like they were comin' a tumblin' down, two days into the work week.  you didn't want to eat, you couldn't focus at work... shit, you couldn't even get out of bed.

and even after some shenanigans this past bank holiday with elee, today was anything but terrible.  in fact, it was one of the most pleasant days i've had here in london so far.

highlights included:

1. getting out of bed, no problem, and hitting the gym
2. enjoying my favorite somerfield cereal and fat free yogurt before work
3. a "cheers, thanks luv, thanks very much, ta" from the lady at the canteen this morning when getting my starbucks (and i'm only 1 red stamp away from a free drink!!)
4. a good update with my boss, who seems to be pleased with me
5. a very productive meeting with a co-worker today, who is working a very complicated project but who is doing a fab job and makin' me proud
6. a postponement of a meeting i really didn't want to have
7. an interesting new combo at the canteen salad bar this morning: cucumbers, watermelon and feta cheese.  i like!
8. BOOKING MY TICKETS HOME IN AUGUST (and only 3 months away to a week in the pines)
9. a chat with a long, lost friend back at the Tower... who really needs to update her facebook page more
10. and, to top it all off, seeing and hearing my favorite london tube singer today at euston station... this woman's voice gives me the chills, and today it brought an extra smile to my face when i heard her sing one of my favorites -- definitely worth the fiver i gave her!

And, for a bonus round... getting home at 7:30p and it was STILL LIGHT OUT!

not so terrible, eh?