Archive for ‘Shiny Things’

March 9, 2011

Perspective is Everything

I've been so boring that this is a picture from last spring!

I haven’t posted much in a while.

I think commencing my search for my next job (and the career change I hope to make with that next job) led me to stop treating my time off as a glorious gift that I should take full advantage of, as I stopped doing lots of things I was enjoying.

Anyway, I’m over that now.  Besides, I can’t go back to work until I finish building that ship in a bottle…

November 9, 2010

Top Secret Evil Lair Selected


I'd ride this escalator all day whilst cackling madly.


I’ve often considered what sort of top secret lair I’d have if I were a supervillian, doesn’t everyone?

Today, Central Park’s Belvedere Castle was usurped by this… escalator to Earth’s core, discovered at London’s Museum of Natural History.

It’s all part of the Visions of Earth Exhibit. Feel free to check it out, but I called first dibs! It’s an ideal lair. I could easily see the enemy approaching, via the escalator, of course, and it’s conveniently located next to the snack bar. Happiness!

September 23, 2010

Off the Leash

I've always loved this cartoon. The sentiment rings so true.

I was recently advised by my new-ish manager that he would like my role relocated to New York.

As I’m not ready to leave London yet, I left my office yesterday with a severance package and the sort of joy that comes with not having an office blackberry about to ring at any given time.

It’s been a long time since I haven’t had a job. The last time was at the end of 2001, following massive post September 11th cuts at my Firm. I remember being shattered by the news. I had loved my job and had only recently begun my career.  It took me nearly a year and much of savings at the time before I found another job.

This time, the circumstance is a bit different. I’ve been considering a career path change for quite some time, only the next step has been one I’ve yet to determine. While the last days at work felt strange and sad, I was thrilled at the prospect of a bit of time off and a fresh start.

All those things I’ve said I’ll do when I have a bit more time are actually an option now, from the practical (a CV building, week long immersion French course) to the more frivolous (building a model of the Cutty Sark in a bottle). I’m looking forward to all of it!

March 31, 2010

Reversy Percy

Just when I stopped expecting further innovation on the M&S Percy Pig, further deliciousness appears.

Reversy Percy may even be better than the original.

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March 19, 2010

Daiwa Katsu Day!

Diawa London

It is entirely possible that I’m the only one who wonders if the food is better at the subsidized cafeterias of other investment banks. If not, please feel free to read on.

Getting In

While out a few weeks ago, a friend raved about the chicken katsu curry available in the Daiwa Bank Cafeteria.
Of course I had to ask if I could drop by and have the Daiwa Katsu experience, and he kindly said yes.

Daiwa Katsu Day was scheduled, marked on the calendar, and after much anticipation, arrived today.

I arrived at Daiwa’s offices on King William Street, right in time to snap the picture above.

The Famed Katsu!

After signing in and obtaining a visitor’s pass, it was time to feast…and feast we did!

For starters, while their cafeteria is tiny, this chicken katsu was huge. The rice was sticky, the chicken’s coating was crunchy, and I chowed my way right into a food coma that I might not have emerged from were it not for the walk back to my office.

As office food goes, this is totally an A+.

ありがとうございます Daiwa!

March 7, 2010

The Most Delicious Grilled Cheese, Ever

Behold the most delicious grilled cheese, ever!

It, too, can be yours at Borough Market.

There’s a raclette & grilled cheese stand near the courtyard gate on the south side of Southwark Cathedral.
(It receives a strong endorsement from Vera!)

February 22, 2010

My Fake Sun

Sweet Go Lite

So, winter has been dragging along here, and as I’ve been without Passport, leaving for sunnier places hasn’t been an option.

To indulge a sun-deprived tangent…
I think a lot of people think that a UK winter is sunless because it is constantly raining here, but this is untrue! The culprit is latitude.

For example, today, 22 February:
London 51°30′N
Day length: 10h27m 3s Sunrise/ Set: 7:01, 17:28

New York 40°47′N
Day length: 10h58m41s Sunrise/Set: 6:40, 17:39

Now, I know what all you New Yorkers are thinking… it’s just as dark in NYC!

Today, yes, but what about two months ago?
Let’s look at 21 December, the shortest day of the year:
London: 7h 49m 41s with sunset at 15:53
New York: 9h 15m 04s with sunset at 16:31

Now do you feel a shred of pity?
Lights out before four is rough, especially when it’s colder than rainier than usual.

Enter My Fake Sun, aka Philips goLITE, which I purchased 2 weeks ago, in a desperate moment. I decided it was far less expensive than the holidays I wasn’t taking, and the reviews it received on Amazon were extremely good.

My blue lit breakfast

Does it work?

I think it does. I wouldn’t say I feel happier, but getting out of bed in the morning is much less challenging. I noticed a difference within 5 days of use. Whether it works or not, I definitely like sitting near it.

The GoLite/FakeSun also works as an alarm clock, so rather than waking up to the cruel song my Blackberry plays (Calypso, if you wanted to know), I can wake up to the eerie blue glow of My Fake Sun and an audible alert.

I often eat my breakfast with it on, and I’ve found that the twigs I eat for breakfast look even less appealing in blue light. I suppose I can only expect so much.

**Day Length, Sunrise, & Sunset sourced from

April 22, 2009

M&S Percy Pig Cupcakes

I really haven’t devoted enough effort to my love of the M&S Percy Pig here. I’ve always expected that there would be plenty of time for me to craft an ode worthy of the best gummy candy on this island.

I may have been mistaken. You’ll have to just imagine the magnitude of my affection based on my ownership of both a Percy Pig mug and Egg Cup.

Not expecting any developments in this area, this pink box on the coffee table a few nights ago came as a surprise.

Percy Pig Cupcakes?

Let me get this straight…
Marks and Spencer, which I already know can make a fine, fine cake, is now selling a vanilla cupcake with pink frosting, adorned with my favorite M&S candy?

The idea initially leaves me feeling a bit conflicted.
How can I be expected to beat my train home when there are cupcakes such as these to be eaten?
How can I do anything but take the box and vanish into my lair like an predator having claimed victory over its prey?

Two days later, I’ve had 3 of the four cupcakes. I’ll eat the last one for breakfast tomorrow. They’re every bit as good as I hoped.

If I ever leave England, M&S food is among the things I’ll really miss.

February 2, 2009

Snow comes to London

It began with a few flurries, and 19 hours later, the snow is still falling, with occasional breaks.

I haven’t actually been outside in the snow yet; although, the news reports leave me to believe that London may only have one plow, as many things are closed.

There are no trains. When I called my dentist’s to cancel my appointment, there was no answer. I hear my office is empty. The mail never arrived, and while the grocery delivery I scheduled for tonight hasn’t been cancelled yet, I’m not expecting it to make it.

It’s a bit boggling to see a city shut down by 6-8 inches of snow. Then again, it hasn’t snowed this much in 18 years.

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December 26, 2008

Le Bistro

I acquired the beloved Le Bistro from the SkyMall/ Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue last year, and it represents one of the best uses of $70 in my home.

I bought this bowl to eliminate the need for people to come by and feed my cat, Oscar, at certain times while I was travelling. Rather, it meant that whomever was kindly checking in on him could just stop in when it was convenient with no worries of being mauled by a starving housecat upon their inevitable entry to my apartment.

Le Bistro accomplished all that and *more*. It stopped my mammoth cat from eating his food too quickly and then depositing it somewhere I’d not enourage, such as my bed, gymbag, or bedroom slippers. Most importantly, it has taught Oscar that food comes from the magic bowl and not from humans.

Each morning, the cat wakes up at around 5am. Just as he starts to wonder where food is (5:01a), Le Bistro springs into action, raining down down the morning’s first meal like mana from the heavens. Kitty eats and then goes back to sleep, allowing peace to remain in our time.

The magic also happens at 13:oo and 22:15. During the time leading up to the big event, (which pre Le Bistro would have meant being followed by a determined, mewing cat), he just sits and stares at the bowl, trying to will a culinary deluge. The staring for dinner, as documented to the right, traditionally begins around 20:15. I sometimes wonder if he thinks he can stare the food out of it.

Occasionally, Oscar will try to gnaw on Le Bistro’s sturdy silo. He has never achieved entry.