My life: work, fun and then some...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Q1 is almost over

And thanks goodness it is. I am absolutely shattered, it was a very tough quarter, being new to London, working from home, being away from San Francisco (after almost 3 months here I still can't get over it). It was a good quarter too. I've done a lot, work-wise. I haven't travelled much, but Q2 is just around the corner, and boy, will I not be travelling! I am gonna have a rare old time...

I'll keep you updated with loads of photos. Stay tuned.

Anyway, I need to hit the hay now. I overslept today, the sun woke me up at 11am. It took me unawares! I mean - for crying out loud - sun? In London? Okay, here come my weather ramblings again. Aww, good nite.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Totally bonkers?

So, I've been using Screenselect for a while now. I was so happy to find out that they have a UK version of Netflix here. And it's pretty cheap, so it'd be sheer stupidity not to use it.

Anyway, enough of advertising. One of my dark secrets is the fact that I really like Seinfeld. If you set it against the fact that, for instance, I love Will & Grace, it turns out I am a little bit of a freak. Just a wee little bit though, as there is more to that.

Basically, the characters are wretched. Well, except Kramer maybe, who actually is miserable, but at least he's not as dull as ditchwater. Why am I watching it then? Am I not afraid of becoming pea-brained or, as in the title - going totally bonkers? Not really. Whilst Will & Grace (sorry for using this example again, but that's the only one I can remember of now) is really entertaining and funny, I watch Seinfeld for a completely different reason - for its surreal experience of a world that could never exist (at least I hope so), for my dirty pleasure of watching a bunch of wankers, nutters, plonkers and fashion victims and for gales of laughter (my neigbours must love me, I know).

Off we go then, one DVD today, another two are already on the way!

"I am a material girl..."

Just got my credit card in mail today. Yeah, it took me 3 months, but I was simply too lazy to take care of it earlier. Well, I have it now. Hmm, shopping on Sunday? We shall see...

PS I don't quite understand why this particular Madonna's number was so popular. Was? Still is!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The best laid plans of mice and men... went awry

Yes, they did. Well, I am maybe over-reacting, but...

- I was supposed to go to Windsor this weekend, but I didn't because it was raining cats and dogs (beautiful and sunny Saturday morning was actually a god-awful joke).
- I was supposed to buy a pair of trousers and a suitcase today, but I didn't. Instead, I bought another pair of shoes (cannot complain here), two Ben Sherman tops (well, cannot complain here either) and some cosmetics. I still need a suitcase though!
- I am still hoping for Paris next weekend, but this is most likely not gonna happen either.

And last, but not least - I have just realised, that we switched to British Summer Time last night, which basically means less sleep.

On a positive note - it's getting warmer. In other words - spring has finally decided to come here. Just about time!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Out and about... (to get some drinks!)

Great evening in South Ken / Notting Hill. Quite hammered, I am... I will write more later. Forgive me, too many beers....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Do you have my stapler?

I am really happy I work from home. I just had a quick thought about one of my favorite movies - "Office Space" and my Absolute Cubicle Hero here...

Although I do miss all these office small-talks and morning coffee ritual with my work-mates, the whole working from home thing isn't bad at all. And of course - nobody will EVER steal my stapler!!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Scotland - update with photos

So, that was my first trip to Scotland, and I have to admit, that even though it was bloody cold and windy, I really loved it there. Edinburgh is a gorgeous town, full of charming little streets, closes and paths. We arrived on Thursday evening, so this is how Edinburgh looks when it's dark.

Edinburgh by night, it was actually raining a bit.

It was only the next morning when I realised, how cool our hotel looked - a very old venue (or at least - it looked very old), pretty close to the town centre and all attractions.

Three Sisters a.k.a. Tailor's Hall Hotel. Very stylish.

The weather was almost perfect (sunny, but rather cold), so taking off early in the morning seemed like a good idea. Here is how Edinburgh looks during the day.


This used to be a flower market as well as the central square of Edinburgh.

Victoria Street - on the way to the castle.

After a short walk we saw this amazing, huge and beautiful castle. It was build in the Medieval Times and it's really, really impressive. Have a look.

Getting there...


...And here it is. Quite impressive!

The panoramic view from the hill was breathtaking, you could even see the snow in the mountains!

Edinburgh and the Highlands

The castle itself is really big and there is a few museums in there. One of them full of those rather unfriendly and not really talkative guys.


After almost 2 hours we decided to re-charge and walked down to a local pub to enjoy some delicious Irish coffee. The Royal Mile takes you down the hill and soon we found a warm and friendly pub.

The Royal Mile

As the weather was really beautiful (except the fact that it was freezing), we decided to walk around the city and see more. And indeed, there was more to see.

Beautiful architecture along the Royal Mile

One of those medieval closes (tiny streets) in Edinburgh

The castle from another angle

To my great surprise, almost all pubs in Edinburgh that we walked by, were packed by 3:00PM. All right, it was St. Patrick's, but 3PM? I mean - we were on holiday, but I suppose, that most people work on Fridays? I guess, they really take St. Patrick's seriously, even though it's an Irish thing...

One of the pubs in Edinburgh. We couldn't get in... at 3:15PM!

Luckily enough, there was a huge party in our hotel and we could go there. So, last quick look at the castle by night...

Ah, beautiful...!

And off to a party. I didn't take any pictures (too crowded, too busy, too much beer all around - literally), but to give you some idea how wild it was, I took those 2 pics.


...And after...

So, that was it. We jumped on the train to London around 2pm and 4.5 hours later I was back home. Kylie (a friend from New Zealand) took us to Cargo - a hip-hop club in the East End on Saturday, so for the first time in my life (hehe, seriously!) I attended a hip-hop concert. It was pretty cool, I have to admit. A bit too loud for me, really knackered after the trip to Scotland plus I am not the biggest fan of this kind of music, but it was quite ok. The band is called One Self, I've never heard about them and I seemed to be the only one who didn't know them. What a surprise...

"...clench your fist!!!" (or something like that)

Promoting One Self's new album...

Anyway, on Sunday I just walked around London, as it was very sunny and much warmer, and I actually took a very nice picture of National Gallery.

Much nicer than the one I took a few weeks ago...

So, this is it. Scotland is absolutely beautiful and I need to go there again, to see the Highlands and all other castles and old stuff. I'll wait till it gets warmer though. Next weekend (well, this weekend) I am probably going to see Windsor again (after almost 10 years!), so stay tuned. Oh, and in two weeks, if everything goes as planned, we're going to Paris! (my first time in France!).

Other than exploring England and Scotland, I am working like hell. It's the end of the quarter and everyone gets a little nervous. Things look good though, I think I have finally managed to find a good balance between work and pleasure...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Edinburgh is...

...absolutely gorgeous. Sorry, no pics today, but it's 3:30am and I am somehow too shattered to struggle with Hello and Picasa. I promise to add some photos by next Sunday, hopefully earlier.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Best ever

Today I went to the best Indian restaurant ever. Ever. I can barely move and barely think (the reason for that - too much beer at Capitain's Cabin and too much food later), but I am telling you - Star of India in South Ken is THE best Indian restaurant (and trust me, I've tried many). I am knackered and my body is screaming "Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep", so I am gonna take off now. Star of India just ROCKS...

Good nite...

Monday, March 13, 2006

English Heritage: Bath and Stonehenge

That was a fantastic trip. Yes, it was quite cold and windy, but Bath and Stonehenge are definitely worth getting up at 6:45am, even if it's Sunday and the weather is not so good.

So, early in the morning, we bought our roundtrip tickets from London Paddington to Bath and got on the train and... off we go! It's a 2-hour-trip, so we had some time to kill...

9:30 in the morning...

An alien?

Oh, come on, Rob, knock it off, it's Sunday, stop checking your emails...

1 bottle of champagne and 3 beers later we successfully arrived to Bath. It's a lovely town, with charming little streets and - of course:

This is supposedly the best preserved Roman religious spa from the ancient world. It's indeed well preserved and indeed really impressive:

Great Bath

Lots of steam!

Yes, this water was hot!

Great Bath and Bath Abbey behind it

West Baths

And for as little as 50p you can even taste the hot spa water!

After about an hour in the Roman Baths we went to the tourist information centre and booked our tickets for a bus to Stonehenge. As we still had c.a. 2 hours before the departure, we walked around the beautiful town of Bath.

Main street in Bath - lots of pubs, shops and of course tourists

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey from a different angle

Unfortunately the Hobgoblin Pub was closed...

... but it didn't take us too long to find another one, where we had some chips and onion rings. We ate them before I remebered to take a pic, but to give you some idea of what we had - here is a picture of something that goes really well with the onion rings:

Colman's Mustard. REALLY spicy!

We then jumped on the bus which was supposed to take us straight to Stonehenge. But, there was one stop before the final destination - The Village of Lacock, where some parts of the movie Harry Potter were shot and where... the oldest Inn in the UK is located. We skipped the Harry Potter part and as we only had 10 minutes, our efforts were focused on the The George Inn, which, according to the owners and the leaflet dates back to the year 1361. 10 minutes is more than enough time to have half a pint of good English ale and to take some bartender classes though.

If I get fired one day, I surely have some back-up experience - for 2 minutes I was a bartender in the oldest pub in the United Kingdom!

C.a. 30 minutes and about 5 "tank crossing"-sings later we finally arrived to Stonehenge. It was cold, windy and quite unpleasant, but - hey, this was the most outstanding prehistoric monument in the British Isles! (at least so I am told)

Looks familiar?

Really, really cold...

Me and Caitlin. Both freezing.

No idea why they put them there, but everyone was taking a pic of these sheep. Well, I couldn't do anything, but follow the crowd...

To sum up - that was an absolutely brilliant trip. I am glad I am in the UK and get to see all those famous things. Next weekend (actually - on Thursday) I am going to Scotland and I'll celebrate St Patrick's Day in Edinburgh. I'll surely keep you updated!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Oh yeah...

It was definitely worth it. Stay tuned, I'll post some pictures very soon! Well, maybe one today, for starters (and it's not made up - I saw at least 4 or 5 of them today*):

Believe it or not, "Tank crossing" is what it says...
* signs, not tanks, obviously ;-)

6:45 AM GMT

There is only a few things that can drag me out of my bed at 6:45 am on a Sunday morning. A trip to Bath & Stonehenge is one of them. And it better be!

I'll let you know when I'm back...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Don't know what to say...

Marcin, I am really sorry. I hope you will stay strong...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Just one more time?

Bleh, I hate Sundays. Somewhere around 1-2pm you start having this awful feeling, that Monday is just around the corner. It doesn't let you focus on anything fun, it's sorta punching you in your head whenever you're trying to forget about the fact that the weekend is almost over. Oh, god, I hate it!

Anyway, I had 2 *interesting*, not to say *weird* experiences on Friday.

An *interesting* experience #1:
I went to a place called "Strawberry Moon", c.a. 10 minutes from Piccadilly Circus. It was a mistake, we were actually supposed to go to a bar next door - "Zinc". And it was a HUGE mistake. The cover is 2,5 quid and this is what it buys you:
- sticky floors covered with all kinds of juice, beers, drinks and who knows what else (really, you have to constantly move your feet, otherwise they'll stick to the floor),
- loads of fat, drunk chicks in too short skirts, no tights and definitely with too much make-up,
- loads of randy, drunk white-collars somehow really attracted to those chicks.

Now, we went there at 9:15pm and the party had been already going on for at least 2-3 hours. I mean - what kind of a place kicks off a party at 6pm on a Friday night? Anyway, it was ugly, it was disgusting and if you ever plan on going to "Strawberry Moon" - remember, I warned you...

An *interesting* experience #2:
After one beer in "Strawberry Moon" we moved to "Zinc" (no cover, coat-check, somehow nicer?), where we spent the rest of the evening. This, btw, is a great place - the bar-tender was amazing, friendly and even gave us a round of free drinks, the music was not as loud, so you could actually talk, not scream to each other and so on. Anyway, at 1am we decided to go home (part of the reason was that we got pretty pissed), and as I couldn't find a licensed taxi, one of my friends decided to get on a mini-cab with me to get me home safely (very genuine of him, as he lives in Chelsea and I live in Willesden Green - part of the reason was that he was pretty pissed). Oh, gosh, what a ride it was! Not only we got lost and it took us 1.5 hours to get home (it's a 20-minute ride, normally), but the stories the taxi-driver was telling us! About all those drunk chicks he picks up from "Strawberry Moon", who offer him shagging, first for money, then for free, then for a cup of coffee and at the end they actually want to pay him! About how he would "neva, eva" do this and then finally how he did it. Just "this one time". But he'll "neva, eva" do it again (or at least that's what he said). Well, maybe just one more time...

Two lessons from last weekend:
- "neva, eva" go to "Strawberry Moon",
- "neva, eva" get on a cab, if you're not sure if the driver knows the way.

And I promise I'll "neva, eva" make those 2 mistakes again. Well, maybe just one more time ;-)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Catching up

I finally have a few spare moments to get back to last weekend. Well, first of all - it was another cold and windy one, but luckily we had some sun. I didn't really do much of sightseeing on Saturday and Sunday, however we went to Greenwich Observatory on Monday.

It's really crappy, if you're more than 15 years old. I mean - I was there long time ago and I really liked it (well, that was my first trip to the UK then), but today, although the park is really nice, the over-all experience is quite boring.

Greenwich Park and Canary Wharf *skyscrapers*

The Royal Observatory is also the source of the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude "0". The line divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth and here is how it looks.

The only *funny* thing about Greenwich was this:

Two additional jobs thanks to that regulation (the guy who gives you the tickets, and another one, who checks, if you have a ticket).

We did many other interesting things though. We spent half of the Saturday in Camden Town (um, I know) and then on Sunday we decided to walk around some nicer areas of London to find the best place to live. And we did! I love Queensway, its climate, its restaurants, pubs and bars. Also Hyde Park is just around the corner and the fact that it's so close to everything makes this place rock. This is where I want to live and this is where I definitely will do everything to move in a few months (ideally July, but most likely September). BTW - one of the best chicken curries I have tried in London is served by a restaurant on Queensway, ha!

Now, about Californian wines. This is what made me finally buy a wine rack-yesterday. Good wines need a neat wine-rack and here it is. I don't know what it is about wine from Napa or Sonoma, but it's just the best. I know, the wine kings would kill me for saying that, but I somehow cannot convince myself to French wines. I should probably visit France this spring / summer and give them a try again. Hmm, that sounds like a plan, and it's not really too far from London to Paris. I'll have to think about that. Oh, and here is my new wine-rack...

Only red...

Okay, and finally - Brokeback Mountain. That was really a brilliant movie. "In outline, the story is simple: Boy gets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets and loses boy over and over again across a lifetime. But, somehow there is a whole world of suffering and grief in all that getting and losing, some permanent sense of loss, of possibilities forever forestalled, happiness perpetually found and then denied, lessons learned too late". And how hard those lessons were, could be summed up by one of the conversations between Jack and Ennis:

- I got a say this to you one time, Jack, and I ain't foolin. What I don't know, all them things I don't know could get you killed if I should come to know them.
- Try this one and I'll say it just one time. Tell you what, we could a had a good life together, a fuckin real good life. You wouldn't do it, Ennis, so what we got now is Brokeback Mountain. Everythingng built on that. It's all we got, boy, fuckin all, so I hope you know that if you don't never know the rest. Count the damn few times we been together in twenty years. Measure the fuckin short leash you keep me on, then ask me about Mexico and then tell me you'll kill me for needin it and not hardly never gettin it. You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I'm not you. I can't make it on a couple a high-altitude fucks once or twice a year. You're too much for me, Ennis, you son of a whoreson bitch. I wish I knew how to quit you.

"This is a very climactic, powerful scene. It shows the two of them literally tearing each other to shreds. Each hurling accusations, warnings, and ultimatums at the other. Jack wanting so much to be near Ennis more than *the short leash* Ennis keeps him on. Ennis, hating himself because deep down inside he knows Jack is right, but is too crippled by fear and guilt to do anything but fall down on his knees and drown in his own self-pity. So all that really happens is Jack saying "Come's all right" and feeling compassion even when Ennis is shoving him away with his "Get the fuck off me!". Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved..."

"And what makes the film so fresh is not the modest story, but the combination of: the period, the people, the language". If you haven't seen the movie yet, I would really highly recommend it. Definitely top-class...

Anyway, that's pretty much all about last weekend. The next one is just around the corner (yeah!) and I really am looking forward to it....