Tuesday, December 29

Contact Details

So yes, 24 hours later we have been re-acquianted with our luggage.

At the airport I had to give details of our bags.

Me: "It's bright yellow"
Them: "Are there any identifying features?"
Me: "It's bright yellow"
Them (passing me pictures of suitcases): Does it look like any of these?
Me: "Yes ... and it's bright yellow"


With those details ironed out I gave them my parents address and phone number. In return I was given a phone number to call ... in case you don't hear from us within the next 48 hours. 2 days? I'm only here for 5 days total!

From the airport to my parents house we popped into M&S and bought underwear, t-shirts and sweatpants. So yesterday was just your usual jet lagged lounging around the house sort of day.

I tried calling KLM last night and again this morning. Finally they picked up.

Me: "Hi ... did my bags arrive yet?"
Them: "Oh, you're the Gentleman I spoke to yesterday. Yes, they arrived last night"
Me: "When will I receive them?"
Them: "Well probably tomorrow, unless you are local"
Me: "I live in the next town, is that local?"
Them: "Not really, and we've just started using a new courier service"


And with that we jumped into the car and drove back to the airport.

From here on in whenever I am asked to fill in contact details; this is what I shall write.

The Gentleman you spoke to yesterday.

Monday, December 28

KLM. Justified and Ancient.

Boarded the KLF plane, all bound for Mu-Mu land, well Leeds actually.

A short one hour flight to my homeland. What could go wrong?

Got a stamp in my new US passport. Thank you. Proceeded to Baggage. 30 person flight ... this should not take long.

Our bags did not make it.

To be continued ....

No Tulips. Just a Ball Cupping

Landed in Amsterdam and started running down the moving walkway to catch our connection. An old Indian lady decided the end of the walkway would be a good place to overturn her cart and stop. The guy in front of us (also in a rush), took a flying karate style kick to clear the way, and offered a few choice expletives to the poor Sari-clad dear.

Whatever, we had a flight to make.

Got to the security, and stepped into the future. They have an all over body scan device that looks like an 8ft Mason Jar. With Amsterdam suddenly looking like a petri-dish of poor security, they had implemented an extra pat down.

Oh Boy! Did he just cup my nuts? Yes he did. Then he stuck his hand past my belt line. I felt definite latex glove on pubic hair action. I think you pay double for that.

On the short bus ride to the plane we encountered our first Yorkshire couple of the trip. No hand luggage, arms crossed, with that angry but not sure why look on their face.

Sunday, December 27

Welcome to Boston

Landing early in Boston meant we were able to take a quick trip home. An hour to un-wind, re-pack, and possibly another hyphen-related activity for me, while Anne watched Football for an hour.

Once again I insisted we get to the airport stupendously early, and once again security proved to be as 'slack as a bag of knackers'. Never mind that a 2nd nutjob had been dragged off a North West flight coming out of Amsterdam, we were only going there.

After a delay just long enough to make me worry that we'd miss our connection in 7 hours time we finally took off.

Compounding my angst was the selection of crazy looking people on the flight. It's interesting how 2 days of terrorism news suddenly makes you a master profiler.

Also is there anything more entertaining than a middle aged drunken woman who appears to be experiencing everything on the plane for the first time. "Oh! headphones!", "I'm turning on the air nozzle because it stops you from getting sick", "The drinks are free on International right?"

As drunken lady snoozed the flight attendants came down the aisle with drinks. And I heard this quality exchange.

Passenger in 16b: Do you have SoyMilk?
Attendant: No

For the next 6 hours I was in and out. Thanks Benadryl. So happy I coughed up an extra $50 for a seat with extra legroom. Unfortunately extra legroom was canceled out by no footroom. I have the in-flight entertainment system to thank for that.

C to the L to the E

After Anne's parents ran every possible 'what if' scenario (weather, terrorism, house fire, ID loss), saying goodbye to Ohio proved to be a security free breeze. We arrived way too early at the airport, only to find no lines, and no extra checks.

As we waited for the plane, a robin fluttered around the terminal, oblivious to the nutritional deficiencies of Cinnabon and Hudson News snacks.

Meanwhile a guy with sweatpants pulled so high the ladies could literally see what they were NOT missing continuously walked in and out of the men's restroom. I'm not saying he looked creepy, I'm just suggesting he be placed on a watch list.

Finally a good looking blind guy sat next to us with his visually perfect (sic) girlfriend. They were flying to Connecticut where I believe they have quotas for that sort of thing.

Boarding proved to be a joy. Continental decided to board 3 flights at the same time through the same gate. Because why not?

CleBos AmsLba

Not the name of a fanciful tropical disease, rather the long and tedious trip we will have to take over the next 24 hours.

In the last day a guy tried to explode a North West flight. Guess who we fly to Europe with?

Friday, December 25

Where is the Christmas stuff?

Had a great long weekend on the West Side (of Cleveland).

Will post stories and photos soon.

Thursday, December 24

And they're off!

Big bags are packed, taxi is ordered.

It's not quite 4am, but we are ready to fly to The State of Ohio for a few days of frivolity, and then it's off to Blighty for New Year's fun.

Sunday, December 20

Ooh, look what we did

Man oh man! Have I had an ass-ful of Kid Photos pretending to be Christmas Cards?

Yes, we get it, you have created another human being. Whoopie-fucking-doo!

Of course I didn't shit out a kid, so I guess I don't get to send Christmas Cards.

Actually I have no beef receiving a picture of the kids WITH a card, specifically it is receiving a photo of the kid, with Merry Christmas typeset in Loserfont Bold ... with no hand-written message.

Hey, I don't give a shit that I made your mailing list. If you cannot be bothered to write Merry Christmas Richard, then save yourself 42¢ on a stamp and take me off your goddamn list.

I don't know any infants, so I don't expect a Christmas card from them.

I do know lots of adults (some who have infants), and I expect a season's greeting from you ... the grown up.

I'm happy that Walgreens have found a way to take money out of your stupid kid's college fund, but I will die believing this is poor etiquette.

Whoo. Time to take a cold shower!

Thursday, December 17

Meow


I still miss Isobelle!

Wednesday, December 16

Colorful Clutter

So I guess not having a boss means I never have to tidy my desk. Then again I've always been messy.

This is my desk of the day photo.

Items of note: My ribbed leather wallet. A calculator with the 'C' button in both top right and bottom left - this is very important to me. My Pantone regulated coffee mug. An actual Pantone stick. A Wunderlust notebook. An Apple laptop. An unused stressball. My giant pencil sharpener pen holder. Starbucks instant coffee. Altoids. A highlighter pen - I use this infrequently, I'm not a highlighting fan. A super thick pencil stolen from the hotel in Santa Monica last week. Tissues - one of the 25 boxes I received in last year's Yankee Swap gift exchange. Staples - a full box ... never use them. A yellow jaycloth - I clean my desk each week. An iPhone. Scissors. Colorful phone lists and price lists. 1 of 10 laptop power adaptors I have laying around.

Tuesday, December 15

Walken. Poker Face. Awesome.

Coq au Vin!

Success! In so much that Anne didn't need ER attention.

Earlier during ingredient shopping at Whole Foods, I got chatting with a fellow shopper who was buying Pearl Onions. Turned out she was inspired by the Julia Child movie and she was making a Boeuf Bourguignon. We exchanged advice and settled on White Onions instead, and bid each other 'adieu'.



The Coq au Vin came out good. I only set the smoke alarm off the once. Had a little worry with the sauce reduction (which always seems to happen to the Top Chef people too), but overall it came out good. I even did the setting fire to the Cognac trick. Burn those eyebrows.

Here's to a year of cooking. Holy Fricassée.

Woody, le chat qui aime se doucher

Good to use the word douche in a nicer context.

Happy Birthday

It's Ann-o-rama's birthday today, so naturally she went to work while I took the day off. We've gone a little Julia Child silly this year. Anne read her biography, and we have both watched some of her old shows. And we seem to have purchased a bunch of obscure kitchen utensils.

So my gift to Anne is Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. More to the point I have committed to cooking one recipe a month (OK, so I'm not Julie Powell).

I've yet to decide what I'm going to cook today, but I'm sure it will involve lots of butter, wine, and a kitchen full of used pots and pans.

In the absence of a finished cooked masterpiece, here's a picture of Anne in Acapulco, where we ate nothing of any culinary value ... just beer and snacks. It's what the Aztecs would have wanted.

Happy Birthday Darling.

Monday, December 14

Over to you Frank

16 weeks ago I had no idea who Frank Gore was.

Tonight I need him to run for 60 yds OR score a touchdown to take me into the Fantasy Football play-offs.

Of course the 49-ers have started playing a spread offense which will make it harder ... this also makes me sound knowledgeable about Football.

What started as a way to show how any monkey could win at Fantasy Football (and I believe I have proved this), has turned into a freakish addiction. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get into Football. I could have been screaming expletives at the TV with Anne years ago.

Even if I lose tonight I still might sneak into the Playoffs based on my season long record. But I want to claim my spot in style. SO come on Frank. Do your stuff.

It all began in August ...

Wankers

Million face twelve days of misery as BA strike looms.

Friday, December 11

Salma?

Yeah right!

Rainy Wednesday on Route 1 in Revere.

All things you associate with everyone's favorite Mexican. <-- I chose to stop the sentence there because it requires no more words. Salma Hayek is everyone's favorite Mexican actress, restaurant, song, destination etc. etc.

So no, it was not her. Instead it was an overweight white guy who was picking his nose as we waited in traffic.

Finally, the reason for the traffic was the burst main in Saugus. I write the burst water main, because it should have it's own Wikipedia page. This thing has burst 4 times this year.

Now, back to Salma Hayek. Hmm.

Thursday, December 10

Sunday, December 6

Roadrunner not pictured

On our last morning in LA, we drove through the canyon, and up into the Hollywood hills.

And there, on a residential street, looking like it had just done a Starbucks run was a coyote.

Saturday, December 5

LA Days III

Being white middle aged Englishmen, Sean and I go to Compton.

See a hooker with no shoes turning tricks on Slauson at 7.30am. God bless.

Do my famous drive-thru tour of Hollywood for Sean and even swing back by Jim Morrison's place in Laurel Canyon, calling at the store "Where the Creatures meet" for a cup of Joe.

Back at the hotel for breakfast only to learn Sean had room service again. Fucking big time!

Suggest we go rollerblading.

$10 an hour. I quit after 2 minutes. I did a fall that must have looked like I slipped on a banana peel. I think I felt the juice squeezing out of the disc in my spine. 30 minutes later I learn Maria has fallen so I have to get the car to pick her up.

Santa Monica beach really is full of hot surfer dudes and girls in bikinis playing beach volleyball. Naturally Sean, Kim and I + our bonus LA colleague Sam pitch up for a game of 2 a-side. Over the next hour we have only 3 plays of more than 2 hits.

A quick change and away we go for a bus tour of where the stars live (or to be more precise, the security gates of the rich and famous).

Open top van. Piss! Pull a grossly stained duvet over my face. It's that cold people. Have a great time ragging on famous people, and Hugh Jackman.

Finish the night with a spin around Griffith Park and a return trip (for me) to The Dresden. Marty and Elayne always in the house.

Friday, December 4

LA Days II

Up early to get over to the other side of town for a store walk through with our client. Google maps predict anywhere from 20 to 130 minutes drive because of traffic. Arrive crazy early so we pile into Denny's for a cheap breakfast. Learn Sean had room service breakfast back at Casa Del Mar. That'll be the same price as Denny's. I'm sure.

Walk through is great. Awesome client.

Then we skidaddle back to the hotel for an awkward luxury.

We all signed up for a massage, and are asked to change into a robe and sit in the serenity room. 4 people who work together should not be naked in a room except for a robe and flip-flops. At one point Kim crouches to pour some water, and Sean re-crosses his legs. Both may have been perilously close to 'Basic Instinct' except I am staring at the ceiling fan.

An hour later we are stress free. So we go for a walk to Santa Monica pier. This happens to Sean! Also eat Mexican food in a place filled with pigeons. Fucking scum.

A quick shower and change and we are off to Pasadena. Another 2 hrs of traffic is circumvented with the 20 questions game. Probably the first time The Elephant Man and Kelly Clarkson have appeared on the same bill.

Then we play the terrible memory game ... "I went to the grocery store and I bought ..." Purely for my own posterity the list was avocado, bananas, carrots, Dorritos, Evian, french fries, guacamole, horseradish sauce, ice cream, jalapenos, Kit-kat, linguine (having earlier put lo-mien back on the shelf), minestrone soup, Nilla wafers, onion rings, popcorn, quart of tobacco, Ring-Dings, She Magazine, Twix, ugly fruit, vanilla extract, Worcestershire sauce, Xylophone, Y-Fronts, Zip-loc bags

Dinner is fun, and cocktails back at the hotel round off a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 3

LA Days I

I'm traveling to LA for a few with my co-workers (in chronological order), Maria, Sean and Kim.

Waiting to board a Virgin America flight and Sean just asked me if I wanted to play "Jew or Arab", it's the game that's sweeping the nation.

The plane looks great, and everyone else has a groovy seat screen with on-demand content, food and chat. I have a tiny cross on my screen that means "Linux hates you".

6 hrs later and we're at the Budget desk. I can understand them thinking I'm married to Maria, but the woman at the gate asks if Sean and Kim are our kids.

Arrived at this place. Very chic. The bathroom has a window into the bedroom. That impresses me. They also have oversized thick pencils. Double down on the impressiveness.

Fantastic

This guy works for Solihull Council in the UK, and gives advice on winter weather.

Back to LA

Jetting off to LA for a few days.

A little bit of work and hopefully some cheesy fun!