Thursday, July 21, 2005

Featuring passports, planes, an application and a really exhausted author

I'm writing this from the strange desk-bed contraption on which I will be sleeping for the next two weeks. The desk-bed is in a student housing area of UCI, in fact if this blog came with the ambient sounds you would be able to hear the noises from a bunch of students playing basketball in the background.

During the last 36 hours I have written and submitted application for a job as a lecturer in London, driven to Canada and back, flown to Santa Ana, seen Niagara Falls (from both the American and Canadian sides), drank only three beers and slept only three hours. It would not be an understatement to say I was bloody knackered.

The Canada trip came somewhat out of the blue. There I was dripping wet from a thunderstorm, that had opened the heavens to drench me 100 yards from the safety of my friends apartment, when my phone rang. The phone call was from my friend who had been in Canada for the weekend, and whose house I had just walked drippingly in to and over the weekend had moved my stuff in to storage within. It turns out that he had managed to get in to Canada using his American driving license, but sadly he had not managed to get back in to the US using the same form of ID. His passport, instead of being with him in Canada, was upstairs on his desk. Being as I'm such a lovely person, I offered to drive his passport up to the border when his wife returned with the car. So I did.

Before I drove up to Canada, it's about a five hour drive from Columbus to Niagara Falls, I took the time to complete my application for the lectureship at UCL (it will be interesting to see what if anything comes of it). The drive up was memorable only for the fact that I managed to get sunburn on my left arm, as it seems I always do on long drives in America. Still my friend was very grateful for my efforts, and the falls are very impressive and it made me think of Wonderfalls and there is a nice coffee shop in Buffalo called Spot. Which is not bad for a 10-14 hour road trip.

Although the fact that when I got back to Columbus, after midnight, that I had to tidy up my job application and submit it, before sleeping for a few hours and getting up to catch my flight out here to California. Means that by now my brain is no longer functioning. It needs to be embrace unconciousness for a while.

For the record unlike my last day trip, and only previous visit, to Canada I did not ride on a golf cart with an Indian (sorry Native American), sprinkle tobacco and dirt on a burial mound, see a porcupine, drive for over and hour on a dirt track or nearly die because both myself and the driver of the car were falling asleep on said dirt track. And unlike International Falls they do actaully have something worth seeing in Niagara Falls.

Um sleep now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

When Ryan met Sean

So, there I was walking down the street, on the way to the coffee shop in which I'm currently sat and where I came to work on my job application, when something very odd happened. Somebody, Corporal Sean B. Corcoran, tried to recruit me to join the U.S. Army. At first he didn't believe when I told him that I was English — who knows maybe this is a ploy that many people try on the army recruiters, "Oh, I'd love to join the Army but actually I'm from Guatemala and therefore I'm ineligible" — but eventually he conceded that maybe I was actually from Britain and he stopped the hard sell. He did still leave me with one of his cards, in case I ran in to somebody who wanted to join up. So if you're interested in becoming a paid killer of brown people (another quote from the man mentioned below) drop me a line and I'll hook you up with Sean's telephone number.

I found our encounter particularly amusing as I was wearing my Bill Hicks t-shirt — he of the, "If anyone's actually stupid enough to want to join the Army..." (paraphrased) fame.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The tired and homeless post

It's (almost) official, I am now homeless. Well, I will be tomorrow when I hand my keys back to the landlord. All my worldly possessions, at least all of them that aren't in my grandmother's loft or my mother's garage or somewhere else in England, are hiding in some friends' basement. They got there, including the queen-sized bed (albeit in pieces), in the back of a friends truck. This is the truck that my friend will most probably have to sell to pay for the lawyer who is dealing with his DUI charge. Yeah, that's right the DUI he got while riding his bicycle home from the bar. Somebody somewhere has a twisted sense of humour.

It feels very liberating to be homeless once more. I imagine if I were really homeless and sleeping rough the feeling of freedom would disappear pretty quickly. As it is with me flitting across America (well flitting between here, California and New Mexico) for much of the next two months I imagine I will shortly be feeling less liberated and more imprisoned, particularly when I'm cramped in to an airplane seat designed for a hobbit. (I think that the people who designed my shower in Delphi must also be responsible for all the uncomfortable plane seats I've had the pleasure of using.)

So that just leaves a job application and some more working flight software before Wednesday. Not to mention returning my keys and cable box and changing my address and arranging for mail forwarding and... probably some other stuff that my tired Sunday night brain can't quite workout at the moment. On the subject of changing my address, I am legally compelled to inform the USCIS (i.e. the Department of Homeland Security) of where I'm living within 10 dayd of any change. I wonder if I should write to let them know I'll be living at the Billy the Kid Country Inn for most of August?

Ho hum, I'm going to have to leave the coffee shop (whose wireless isn't working) and try and get my cable modem to work back at the old flat so I can post this message and check my mail (which was the reason I came to the coffee shop in the first place). After that I have my Sunday night free beer club beer to look forward to, and everyone knows that free beer tastes better.

Oh by the way, there really was a poster for The Descent with the "Outright Terror... Bold And Brilliant" quote on that Number 30 bus. I saw a picture in Time magazine.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I wonder if it's true...

From today's The Friday Thing:
— Total Film blurb for The Descent, on the side of *that* number 30 bus.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Breaking news from Zimbabwe

After all the frankly depressing stories we get about Zimbabwe, it made a nice change to come across this story: Zimbabwe sex row athlete jailed.

It has all the hallmarks of a great story: an ambiguous headline containing the word sex; a guy dressing up as a girl (always amusing); and a great African name — Samukeliso Sithole (you can imagine how I first read his/her last name).

Priceless. (Or four years in a Zimbabwean jail, depending on how you look at it.)

Cleaning discoveries

In the course of tidying and packing in my apartment this evening I've found:

  • A card (with ships on it) from an ex-girlfriend's father (she was even an ex- at the time the card was written).

  • Two cuddly toys, that were the property of the previous tenant (I assume).

  • A bugger-load of dirt

The first two made me smile.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blue Sun, British bombers, the BBC and boxes

Yesterday something happened to me for the first time (no not that — get your mind out of the gutter and the first time that happened was in... well maybe we don't need to go there). Somebody recognised my Blue Sun t-shirt. Not only did they recognise the t-shirt, but it turns out they were one of the lucky ones who managed to get hold of a ticket for one of the Serenity previews. The guy, a computer geek (un-amazingly), thought it was really rather good.

(If the above makes no sense then I'd suggest you go to your local video shop and rent or buy the Firefly DVD's. As I've mentioned here before it's a really rather good TV show. And even if you're too lazy/poor or otherwise unimpressed by recommendations, you should definitely go and watch Serenity when it comes out at your local cinema.)

(If the above simply made no sense because it's late in the day and my brain is somewhat fried, then you should still get the DVD's and watch the film.)

British suicide bombers. It makes a nasty shiver run up and down my spine. You'd have thought it wouldn't make a difference where the bombers came from, but it does. There's something particularly repellent about the fact that four guys (assuming they were all male) born and brought up in the UK, would decide to blow people up on their way to work one morning. Growing up in Yorkshire might not have been my cup of tea, but it's not like growing up in Palestine. Which is not to say I condone Palestinian suicide bombers, just that there reasons for doing it are a little more obvious. Oh well, hopefully it's something I will never come to truly understand.

Everyday when I come into work I have a little browse on the BBC website, looking at the list of confirmed dead or missing people, just to see if there are any names I recognise. Fortunately so far I haven't recognised any names. It's a very macabre way to start the day.

My apartment is slowly being changed from somewhere that somebody lives in to somewhere that cardboard boxes inhabit. By Monday or Tuesday all the cardboard boxes will also be gone, either that or I'll have messed up royally and I'll be buggered on Wednesday. And yes I only added boxes to this post because I was looking for another b-word to put in the title.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

And on the subject of rhyming with boats

"We argued... that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."

-George Galloway, RESPECT MP

I say we stick George and Nick in a room and let them have a fight to the death. (In the interest of equality we'd have to kill the winner, of course.)

There is a word for this man

"Last year BNPtv put together a horrific video which made the link between mass immigration and the prospect of terrorist attacks in our capital. The video made the eerie prediction that the London underground would be a target for such terrorist attacks... Following the Islamic fundamentalist massacres in London, two tendencies will rapidly become apparent: First the pro-government media will swing into action, bringing out a steady stream of injured ordinary Muslims and a flood of 'moderate' Muslim spokesmen to condemn the extremists. Second, millions of ordinary Brits just won't believe them, with severe extra strain on race relations as a result. And, of course, those sceptics will be right to doubt what the media and the political Establishment tell them, not least because, for all the ritual condemnation by the Labour Party puppets in the Muslim Council of Britain, a significant minority of young Muslims in this country do support the terrorists - the celebrations among the traders on Bradford Market this morning being a case in point. "
- Nick Griffin, The British National Party

Begins with C. Rhymes with a kind of boat often found on the river Cam.

Thanks to The Friday Thing for their special London attack issue.



The BBC is reporting the following message which they found on an Islamic website. I'm not sure if it's just an opportunistic group claiming credit for the attacks or if it's real, either way it's hard to comprehend the mindset of the writers.

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.

Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.

We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.

We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.

God says: "You who believe: If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I've got to be in London in 2012

So that gives me seven years to sort my self out and get back to London so I can enjoy the Olympic games in my 'manor' (Mr Beckham's words). I have to say that I'm really quite excited. Although I imagine by the time I get back everybody will be complaining about the disruption caused by all the consturction work...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The month to come

I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be a teeny tiny little bit busy this month. Sometime in the next 4 weeks I've got to apply for a job in London, finish writing and testing the ANITA flight software and find myself a new apartment.

Not to mention working out when and whether I'll need to be in Irvine and Fort Sumner during July and August.

It's going to get a little bit hectic I imagine.

I can at least enjoy the fact that I've managed to convince, well to be honest it didn't require a great deal of actual convincing other than the loaning of my DVD's, another person of the joys of Firefly. Which I think takes the grand total of my converts to two. Maybe not prolific but every little helps, so they say.

Oh and I finally got around to seeing the new Star Wars film this weekend (it had Natalie Portman in it, so I had to see it some time). In short I think it was much much better than the other two prequels but still vastly inferior to the originals. Surprisingly the film was only hampered a little by the fact the Hayden Christensen can't act for toffee. Of course the same could possibly be said of Mark Hammil...