Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Actual, real reason for not posting.

Kids, I'm going on a trip.

Not forever - I don't want you to panic. But I am going to be gone for about three weeks. I'll post if I can, but I don't want you to get your hopes up.

Have fun, and take care of yourselves.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

They grow up so fast!

It had to happen sometime. They're adults now - I knew there was a time when they'd want to be out on their own.

I just didn't think it would happen so soon.

I'm leaving on Thursday for a work trip to the States, and then a delightfully pleasurable trip to the newly married Kobrinsky-Kleinzahler's in San Francisco, and then an equally delicious trip to Toronto for the wedding of Mandy & Jason. I'll be gone for just under three weeks.

And you know what that means.

I needed to find a fish-sitter. They're all grown up now, but not so good at the fending for themselves. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be able to feed themselves if I left them on their own.

Now, if the fishes could talk, they'd be all "God, she's always like that! It's like we're little kids or something! We can take care of ourselves!" And then, if they could walk, they'd storm up the stairs and slam their bedroom door.

Well, it's just too bad for them that they can neither walk nor talk. So that means fish-sitter city, kids.

The always lovely Heather agreed to watch them for me - she works from home so is ideally suited to the rigorous demands of fish keeping. They need to be fed once a day, people. That is hard work.

I dropped the fishes off at Heather's this evening, along with their supplies - food, water purifier stuff, fish net, fish water holder & fish cleaning sponge - and I think they look pretty happy in their new surroundings.

I felt a bit sad to leave them, though. It's funny how you can get so attached to nameless fishes. I'm sure I can trust Heather to take care of them. She's a geek, so she's going to make up a fish-feeding chart to ensure that they don't get overfed. I appreciate that kind of diligence. And she's also aware of the ass kicking that she will receive if anything happens to my fishes.

I'll miss the fishes. I hope they enjoy their holiday.

And I hope they don't pull that sulky teenager crap in front of Heather. It's so embarassing when they get like that!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fashion Avenger

Dear People of London,

Hey, isn't this hot weather great? Remember last year, when it rained all summer? Didn't that suck? And isn't all this sun and hot weather nice?

I know there can be downsides to the weather though. It can be too hot to sleep at night. Offices don't have air conditioning and it can get all hot and sweaty at work. You can get sunburned if you're not careful in the sun.

The weather's still nice though, isn't it?

But you know what's not so nice?

Summer "fashions". People of London - why are you doing this to me? I know it's hot, and I know you're uncomfortable and sweaty and miserable.

I know all of this. I know this because I feel the same way. I get grumpy when I'm overheated, the same way you do.

But you know what I don't do? I don't wear hideous clothing designed to reveal as much of the human body as possible, and designed to singe the retinas of anyone who looks upon it.

I don't really understand what makes a sensible dresser give in to the impulse to wear unattractive skimpy clothing. Has the heat affected your sense of style? Did the high temperature kill off the part of your brain that registers good and bad taste?

And you know, it's not just the larger of you Londoners who is committing these fashion atrocities. It's not about size, people. It's about taste. And it's about not wanting to send you all home to change, because does your mother know you leave the house looking like that?

It's just that here's the thing. You don't need to be practically naked to stay cool in the heat. A nice roomy linen item of clothing is going to do the trick just as well.

Wear what you want in your own house. I mean, what I'm wearing right now isn't attractive, but I'm not making you look at it, am I? When you're out on the street, try to have some consideration for those around you. Don't make us look at that.

Come on, people of London. I know we can make this work if we try.

Good luck,


Monday, July 11, 2005

The mission is on full steam ahead

Things are going very well over at the Steve Guttenberg Project.

It's all extremely exciting!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

London - 7 July 2005

I’ve been trying to find the way to put into words how it’s felt to live in London in the last few days.

The bombings were terrifying, obviously. It seems silly to even mention that. Of course it was terrifying.

I didn’t even realize until I’d arrived at work that something was wrong. The buses were busier than usual, and I knew that the tube was shut down, but that can, and does, happen from time to time for any number of reasons. There have been power cuts and surges before, so I really didn’t think anything of it.

The first indication I had that there was a problem was one person on the 31 bus from Camden to Kilburn who was saying that there had been a bomb on the tube. But no one was really listening to him – there’s always the one guy who sees the worst in any given situation and will find the conspiracy or doom and gloom and imagine the worst. We all just assumed he was that guy.

I got to work only 10 minutes late, and found the office empty, except for Chris who was just sanding by the radio. He was the one that told me what was happening. At that point, they were still saying “power surges”, but there had just been reports that a bus had blown up in Russell Square, so it was seeming less and less likely that the answer was anything as harmless as a power problem.

Buffy works in Russell Square, so my first thought was of her – I called her, and it took a few tries to get through. The mobile networks were already starting to get overloaded. She was fine – she’d just left the tube station and was walking towards her office, so she wasn’t in any danger. She asked if I’d heard from Clare, as her office is on Tavistock Place, where the explosion had occurred. Fortunately, Clare was home from work on Thursday. She was fine.

I tried to call the people I worked with, but wasn’t getting through. I’d heard from Jo and Julie, so I knew they were okay, but I hadn’t had any word from Kerrie or Brendan. I sent out an email to my friends around the city, just to check that they were okay. I wasn’t worried that something had happened to them, really. London is so big – what are the chances that whatever this was had affected people I care about?

It was at this point that there was a report from the Tube workers union that someone had seen an explosive device on the tracks. And that’s when we started to realize what had really happened. We really didn’t know what was going on – there were rumours that there had been anywhere between four and six explosions, and they’d all gone off within minutes of each other. It was pretty obvious that it had been a terrorist attack. No one was claiming responsibility, and there was no word on how many people had been injured or killed.

I started getting emails back from my friends, and more than I’d expected had been personally affected.

Marcus was kicked off at train at 9:15 because of "power surges" and walked to his office. After he arrived, a colleague turned up and said he’d cycled past a bust that had been blown apart.

Heather had a meeting in Marylebone that morning. If she hadn’t had that meeting, she would have been on the Piccadilly line near Kings Cross when the bombs went off.

Leanne was actually on the platform at Kings Cross, but thought it was too crowded and went to take a bus. When she got to the bus stop, the bomb went off in the tube.

Jamie was on his way to Kings Cross when the tube went down. He got out and took the 390 bus. After sitting in traffic for ages, he got out and wondered why there were so many ambulances and fire trucks everywhere. He then got a call from Clare who told him what had happened, and he walked home. If he’d left home 15 minutes earlier, he’d have been in Kings Cross when it happened.

Clare works 10 meters from where the bus exploded. She was home ill, but her boss had just arrived when the bomb went off.

Tim normally works on Brick Lane, but wasn’t on Thursday. If he had been, he’d have passed Liverpool Street & Aldgate on the way in.

Kerrie doesn’t normally take the Circle Line, but she missed her train at Blackheath Station, so took an alternate way in to the office. When she got on the Circle Line, she got onto the waiting train, but the jumped off to double check the route she was taking. She missed that train, and had to get the next one. The train she was on was behind the one that exploded at Edgware Road station. She was trapped underground for two hours, and had to walk out along the tracks. It took her hours to get home.

I didn’t get any work done on Thursday. I spent the whole day listening to the news on the radio, checking the BBC and Sky One and CNN news sites and emailing friends. When I tried to work, I couldn’t concentrate.

I felt shaky and scared and like I wanted to cry all day. Nothing happened to me, and while some of the people I loved had close calls, everyone was okay.

I was reading the first person accounts on the BBC website, and they kept making me tear up. A comment from a reader in Paris had me choked up:

Yesterday, we were annoyed with Londoners and English people. London won the games and Paris lost them. And today we wake up. We realise that these little fights between old friends are for spoilt children. We are all facing a huge challenge. We have all to fight terrorism. We are all Londoners today.

In the course of a week, London had three topics of conversation. Live 8 dominated the beginning of the week. The Olympics were all anyone could talk about on Wednesday. And on Thursday, the entire city was feeling the same feelings of shock and horror and fear. But there was a feeling of unity, and a feeling that this would not stop London from functioning. That we wouldn’t be stopped by this, and we wouldn’t live our lives in fear.

On Friday morning, I got on a bus, the same as I do every morning. And like I do every morning, I went to the top level and sat in the front seat. It crossed my mind that had I been on that seat in a bus in Russell Square on Thursday, I could have lost my life, but I didn’t myself think about that. I listened to the radio, and daydreamed, as I do every morning.

Jo and Julie took the tube into work, as they always do. Jo had a moment of panic as she stepped on a train, but she sat down and read on the tube, just as she does every morning.

Millions of other Londoners did the exact same thing – went about their lives the same way they do every day. It’s pretty inspiring.

I’m not saying that people will ever forget what happened. I can’t imagine that they will. And there certainly will be people who are too afraid to get on a tube, at least for a little while.

But life continues as it always has. We’re all just a little more aware how fragile life is, and how much we lucky we all are to have the people we love in our lives. I know I feel that way.

The mission continues

An update on the Steve Guttenberg Project? Fantastic!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Update again

It's official - terrorist attack.

I've heard from almost all of my close friends & all of my coworkers, so that's one less thing to worry about it.

It doesn't make it any less scary though. I can't focus on work today - I just keep checking Sky News & the BBC website for more information.


It wasn't a power surge.

From the BBC at 11:23:
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said there had been at least six
explosions, but said the picture was still "very confused".

I've tracked down one of the missing co-workers. Her fiance called to say she was okay, but she was in the train behind one of the ones with an explosion.

That's cutting a little too close to home.

There are reports on the radio saying that there are 20 confirmed dead, and at least 90 injured at Aldgate station.

There are no buses or tubes running in central London at all, and the army is present in Covent Garden.

I'm Okay

London is a scary place to be this morning.

You've probably heard that there were several explosions in London this morning - two on tube lines, and one on a bus.

It was reported to be "power surges" at first, but it now looks like it was bombs.

The mobile network isn't working, and I'm the only one that made it in to work.

I've spoken to two of the girls, but I still can't track down two of my other co-workers.

I'm okay though - now I just need to track down everyone that I love.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Mission Finds A Home

Inspired by Heather, who was so beautifully inspired by the beautiful work of The Steve Guttenberg Project, the mission has found a home.

You can now keep up with the exciting news about the project, and the Gütt, at it's new home - The Steve Guttenberg Project. (There's a link on the left.)

Be the first to hear the exciting story of film 1 of 36!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Gütt

Imagine, if you will. A charity shop in Archway on a sunny Friday in July.

I was browsing with Leanne and Heather, in an amusing attempt to find “Canadian” wear for their kick ass Canada Day party. While they were checking out the denim skirts and cropped white jean jackets (stylish!), I found a few hidden treasures in the video section.

A used VHS of Three Men & A Baby for a mere £3? Sold and sold!

While watching this delightful gem of film featuring irresponsible parenting, and lighthearted drug dealing, I came to a revelation.

I am a Steve Guttenberg fan.

Now you may be saying, “But, I don’t even remember Steve in that movie”.

Well, that’s just sad. Sure, Tom Selleck is the “sexy” one. (Of course, if you can consider high waisted shorts sexy, then you have issues – but I suppose one can make exceptions for 1987.) Ted Danson is the “carefree bachelor”. But it’s Steve Guttenberg’s warm portrayal of Michael that really sells the film for me. Not every actor could make a thirty-something cartoonist, who has stuffed animals in his bedroom, and lives with two men in their thirties seem straight, but that’s just the kind of range that Mr. Guttenberg has.

So inspired was I by his moving performance, that I’ve decided to begin a mission. I am going to attempt to collect the complete works of Steve Guttenberg.

Now, the Gütt, as I like to call him, has an impressive body of work. In the past 28 years, he’s starred in no less than 43 film and television projects. And, as an aside, do we really think it's a conicidence that he began his career in the year I was born? I think not.

However, if we lose television shows and movies (although that does mean losing the delightful sounding “Miracle on Ice”), that still leaves us with an imposing 36 films.

This list may scare some people off, though. It’s not the most prestigious list of films I’ve ever seen. There’s really only one movie that could be considered “good” by a wide selection of the general public.

There are no less than four Police Academy movies. Three of his films have had sequels that he’s starred in. (He wisely turned down Short Circuit 2.) He’s costarred with a robot, an animated ghost, the Village People, and the Olsen Twins. He’s co-starred with two of the Cheers Cast – the ones that went on to make more sitcoms, not respected movies.

But does that frighten me? Do I fear owning these movies?

No, I do not. I relish the challenge, and look forward to the day I can sit down to a double bill of Amazon Women On The Moon and The Chicken Chronicles.

In aid of this lofty goal, I have begun a “Steve Guttenberg Project” wishlist (which can be seen to your left) on Amazon. Sadly, not all Guttenberg items are available in the UK, so I was forced to add a US wish list as well. If you’d like to help achieve the goal, please feel free. All generous Guttenberg gift givers will be publicly thanked, and invited to a Guttenberg marathon when the mission is complete.

The Gütt appreciates your support.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Helping the world, one survey at a time

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Jealous? You should be.

And you should be a statistic too.