Friday, July 21, 2006

The day Ryan accidentally purchased clothing

Due to popular demand...

Now I should probably describe my situation and mindset at the time of the shirt buying incident. That morning, it was a Saturday, I'd woken up on a bed that was a little too small for me in Las Vegas. That evening I had a flight to catch from LA to London so that I could be around for UCL's Rolling Grant review. Now I had no real idea what a Rolling Grant review consisted — and to be honest I'm still not much the wiser — and I had no idea if I was supposed to present anything, or dress up, or anything. Suffice to say I was I was in a state of some uncertainty.

The one thing that I was certain of was that I probably shouldn't turn up at the UCL wearing the same jeans that I had slept in on the flight over from LA. This was the reason I decided to go shopping. Now for those of you who know me, and for those who don't but have seen the photo on my work web site, it is probably evident that I am not a dedicated follow of fashion. I make this point to provide an explanation for why I thought it would be a good idea to go to the shops with Kim and her friend Mali, as between the two of the I might have been able to garner some semi useful advice on the clothing front. It turns out that this was my great mistake.

In retrospect, at the point in the shopping trip where we had been to two stores and had yet to find a pair of trousers that fit me I should have just given up. Further, when Kim resorted to calling her sister to proffer advice I should of stopped listening to her (her sister's advice was wear a tie and a green shirt, in case you were curious). I did neither of these. Instead we drove across LA and went to the Macy Men's store in the Beverly Center or Hollywood Mall or some other similarly named awful place. Again, this can probably be viewed as a mistake.

Still I persevered on my quest to obtain a clean pair of trousers (although by now I was weary and hated the world for making my a clothing pariah) to wear in London. I searched the store high and low (well just low really as it was all on the ground floor), but couldn't find any trousers that fit me (Bastards!), so instead I decided to turn my attention to getting a shirt instead, figuring I would just buy some clean trousers when I got to London. After two more laps of the store we (well Kim really) managed to locate a couple of shirts that were not too hideous. So, sensing at least a partial victory, I went up to the counter and handed the man the shirts and my credit card. He handed me back a little slip of paper asking me for my signature, as I signed I vaguely noticed that the total for my two shirts was $300. It took a little while to sink in. I think I was back in the car and driving to the airport that I realised I'd just bought a $200 shirt.

I still feel somewhat cheated, although when I was wearing the shirt I received more compliments about my clothing than at any other time I remember (being as I remember exactly zero beforehand, well zero that weren't about my offensive t-shirts).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not dead, just feel like it

Yeah, I know long time no post. I bet you thought I'd gone crazy from too many night shifts and killed all my colleagues with a some fishing line, or something. I didn't though. Honest. They are all as alive and well as they ever are.

So, I'm back in Columbus after what seems like nine and half weeks — largely because it was nine and half weeks — and it is good to be back. Who'd think you could miss Central Ohio (miss as in long, not miss as in omit, that is)? Well apparently you can, but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Anyhow is my quick nine and half week recap of myself and Kim's cross-country (and cross-continents in my case) trip in shortened form.

Day 1: leave Columbus... yawn... drive through Indiana... yawn... drive through Illinois... more yawn... spend the night in Iowa... yawn, Zzzz.
Day 2: try to find something interesting in Iowa — see Amana colonies, covered bridges, Des Moines and generally fail — dine in Lincoln, Nebraska (think Nebraska much better than Iowa as drive at night to Grand Island).
Day 3: hate Nebraska, drive fast to make up for lost time, have plane to catch on Saturday in LA, still hate Nebraska, stop in Ogallala — it's very scary — eat lunch in Sterling, Colorado, the restaurant is called T J Bummers, no that really is the name, see (notice the heart as an apostrophe), drive through Colorado, the mountain part is very pretty, drive into Utah, stop at Green River, the restaurant has no alcohol, but the hotel did have wireless.
Day 4, national parks day, drive through Capitol Reef National Park, across Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, visit Bryce Canyon National Park, try to see waterfalls in Zion National Park (see some water falling but not really a waterfall), drive to Las Vegas thinking Utah's very, very pretty.
Day 5, drive to Los Angeles, buy a $200 shirt by accident, drive to airport, discover I've been offered a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, fly to London.
Day 6, arrive in London, go to Grandmothers (no wolves), read mail, go to sleep, finally.
Day 7, go in to UCL, eat a tuna sandwich, send email to friends about beer, get drunk, get more drunk, sleep in Finsbury Park (in a flat near Finsbury Park that is)
Day 8, go in to UCL, walk to Paddington, fly to Los Angeles, drive to Tustin, eat at Outback, sleep in our three bedroom town house in Tustin (it's very nice but somewhat lacking in furniture).
Weeks 2-5: go to work at UCI, eat food, drink alcohol, go to bed.
In between Day 1: drive to LA have Thai food, see Josh Ritter concert go to sleep around 1:30am.
In between Day 2: wake up at 5am, watch England beat Paraguay in Hollywood Billiards, the English fans are almost as annoying as the American commentators they are complaining about, drive up the PCH to San Luis Obispo, drive inland to Sequoia National Park, see the worlds largest tree (peh, it's a tree), see a bear (wahoo, it's a bear!), drive to Fresno, Fresno is shit.
In between Day 3: drive across nowhere California to Monterrey, go to Cannery Row and Aquarium, drive to Stanford Linear Accelerator, sleep, sleep, sleep.
Weeks 6-7: Work all day getting ready for beam
Week 8: Work all night on the bloody grave shift.
Week 9: Work all day on hang test and then packing.
Homeward Day 1: Get up early watch England lose to Portugal, on penalties, again. Drive to touristy trashy part of San Francisco, visit Muir Woods with the rest of the world, drive up PCH some more, 'tis very pretty, spend the night in Utica.
Homeward Day 2: Get up late, don't drive through the drive through tree, drive to Oregon, sleep.
Homeward Day 3: Get up early for phone conference, go to Crater Lake (pretty), go to Bend (hippy town), almost run out of gas in high Oregon desert (had to turn off the air conditioning, drive less than 80, and put 13.2 gallons into a 12 gallon tank), drive to Idaho, bit falls off car, unimportant bit, so we drive to Boise.
Homeward Day 4 (Fourth of July): Get up late, still tired, drive to Jackson Hole, some prettiness in Idaho, watch fireworks, stay in scary touristy town.
Homeward Day 5: Go to Grand Teton National Park, finally see a proper waterfall (Hidden Falls), go to Yellowstone National Park, see Old Faithful and other bubbling hot pits, see enormous herd of Buffalo, drive East out of park, don't realise there is a mountain between Cody and Sheridan, know I do.
Homeward Day 6: Drive past Devils Tower, visit Deadwood (the town that the best show on television is set in), pay $20 unintentional to see Crazy Horse monument, also drive by Mount Rushmore, stop at Wall Drug (well you have to, don't you), visit The Badlands National Park, spend the night in South Dakota.
Homeward Day 7: Drive east, through South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, stop for dinner in Chicago, get stuck in Chicago traffic, who's stupid idea was this, oh that's right it was mine, drive in to Indiana, give up and stop for the night. We'd have made it all the way home if it wasn't for that stupid dinner idea.
Homeward Day 8: Drive to Columbus, watch Germany beat Portugal, go camping (cause I'm stupid), sleep, sleep, sleep.

It was fun a couple all in all, but I'm still pretty tired. I think the only excitement I've had since getting back were the two messages from a TV producer and what the hygienist said at the dentists. They went something like this:
Hello Dr Ryan, I'm so-and-so and I read about you in Golf Digest, I'm starting a golf TV reality show and wanted to know if you'd be interested in taking part, please call me on ***-***-****.
Hello, it's so-and-so again, I had the wrong doctor, please disregard my last message, sorry about that.
(mid way through the cleaning the hygienist picked up a dental tool and said)
I have no idea what this tool is for.