i love summer


easter weekend was pretty low key. most of our friends were drinking their faces off in rimini, while we sat in london passportless, friendless (the mad cow team dropped from 12th place to 31st, out of 32 teams, but it seems they did manage to terry tate a lot of people).

we went for a couple of bike rides with jon's family around kingston, which was nice. the number of recreational cyclers in britain is immense. there's even a best-buy sized chain store that sells only bikes + car accessories - halfords. in my limited experience with them, they are friendly but not the most competent - a change from the snooty but lifestyle cyclist folk at the niche bike stores around boston. i think i prefer the competence peppered with snobbery over the dilettante mechanics of halfords.

jon's work gives him 50% off any bike (part of a government carbon emissions scheme), so over easter weekend, we went to halfords to pick out a new bike for me. we found the one we wanted, but the guy says we should order it online since even if we buy it now, it won't be ready till monday at the earliest. when i order it online, the website says the bike won't be ready until friday (a whole 5 days away), and i have to go all the way to mile end to pick it up. i'm awful at london geography, so armed with my A to Z(ed), i set out to for shallowford, which, i think, is the closest tube stop. wandering from shallowford, i drop into a neighborhood bakery (i mean, what good is wandering unless you're allowed to make pitstops?). it's not the sort that normally grabs me...more of a mental clinic vibe than a warm baked goods one, but i'm sick of the restaurants with more ambience than flavor, and this one did claim to bake all its savoury goods in store, day of (maybe the sweet goods have more shelflife?). so i walk in, try to ignore the elderly unkempt man rocking himself by the counter and the pensioners on their date in the corner (cute, but the cafeteria style seating and the flyaway white hairs depress me), and pick out a carrot cake cupcake from the display case. back in the street, i walked past the fresh produce stands and the women in purdah (who evoked the daily muezzin that i'd grown accustomed to on the indian ocean shores), and i felt proud of myself for venturing into the unkown. that lasted maybe all of 2 seconds. then i bit into the cake...and it wasn't bad per se, but it was saltier than expected, and it just...tasted like old people. sorry, but i'm hopelessly gerontophobic. you know when ppl get truly infirm, and they give off this smell...like their bodies are decomposing already. it's just so sad and disturbing. i can't deal with it. anyways, i wasn't mentally strong enough to distinguish the impression left by the bakery from the flavor of the cupcake. oh don't worry, i still ate all of it. i mean, old ppl flavored food is still food after all, and i firmly believe that food you've paid for is food that's going down the hatch darnit.

in the next stage of my friday afternoon adventure, i found a street vendor selling a basket of pomegranates for 1lb(!!). i thought of yelena, but i personally have no use for pomegranates, and i can't imagine it's worthwhile to send them to her, so i suppressed the urge to buy and walked on. but i guess that means pomegranates are in season for those of you who like them. and then, even more randomly than the cupcake incident, i decided to watch a movie. it wasn't exactly a decision per se, but i walked by an oldish looking theater (and unlike bakeries, i actually prefer my movie theaters a bit seedy), asked about prices, found that i could watch a 4lb movie on my old MIT id card, which i happened to be carrying b/c i had gone in the morning to retrieve my passport from the home office (they told me to bring photo id...which, you know, you have my passport, can't you just hold it up to my face or something? moot point anyways since the lady at the counter didn't bother to check anything. so i walked out with both my passport and jon's, not having undergone any identity verification. love the lack of bureacracy, but not the most secure process, me thinks). anyways, so confluence of factors, plus the offering of a poignant coming of age flick with VAMPIRES, which just seems like the perfect thing to watch matinee, alone, after a disappointing but blameless cupcake (since it's my own prejudices which made it so), and i was powerless to resist. incidentally, the movie, Let the Right One In, is in norwegian with english subtitles :-).

three hours later and suitably touched, i finally get to halfords. surprise! they forgot to build my bike. i can either get it on monday or wait an hour for them to build it on the quick. i'm not sure i can survive the journey again. plus, next time i walk past that theater, i'll have to watch zac effron's 17 Again (slightly appealing, but i think i can wait the 3 yrs for disney channel to play it for free, thanks). while i wait, i read a mountian biking how-to book that extoles the ATTACK! position. by the time i finish the book, they're still not done - they're having some trouble with the mudguard + pannier rack double whammy by the back wheel. the situation has already been escalated to the shift manager (just as well, since the original guy hadn't ever built a bike before being hired by halfords. oh, but don't worry, you pick it up within the first 2 weeks, since you're just building bikes day in day out. reassuring). about an hour and a half later, the bike is finally ready to go. they hand me the packaging for the pannier rack, which just about shouts from the rooftops that this pannier rack is better than the rest b/c it includes a reflector mounting (i mean, holy gosh, don't forget about that reflector mounting!), so i innocently ask about the reflector mounting, and apparently, the guy had just thrown it behind the counter, b/c sheesh, why would i want my reflector mounting? i mean, it's not like i bought a reflector or anything. so then he sheepishly installs that, and half an hour of figuring out the voucher, and i'm finally on my way home to drop off the bike so i can be 2 hours late for dinner in the city. not to mention, it's about 8pm, so i'm riding home without lights, without helmet, in the dark. luckily i was feeling a bit dangerous.

the night ended well - belgian oysters, fries, and beers with nic and dan in covent garden. big bird ain't got nothing on my perambulations.


contained a lot of frisbee. saturday, i crashed an iso practice b/c jon had an early throwing session with fire. then herd. the weather was beautiful. idyllic summer day, not too warm, but the grass and the water glinted with sun. in the time i've been gone, clapham has grown a coat of small, white, wild flowers. after herd, a couple of us had a picnic on the grass, courtesy of bob's (?) 24 hour burger truck. i had a greasy burger with egg, cheese, grilled onions, drenched in "burger relish", ketchup, yellow mustard. they even grilled a blueberry muffin for me ("but it'll taste like burgers." "i don't care, do it!"--it tasted fine). then to the firefly for beer and nachos. we didn't make it back to surbiton till 10pm, just in time to down some cold salmon, baby potatoes, fresh strawberries before showering and crashing.

sunday, simon had a cookout in brixton. everyone sat outside and ate burgers, sausages, fancy pasta salads. we even managed a few non-frisbee conversations in consideration of si's non-frisbee friends, but you know, we had a quorum of 3 discers, so invariably, the talk turned to ulty (sorry folks). once the sun had left the backyard, we followed it to the park to play some cups. a great way to end the weekend.

monday, i crashed another iso practice (what can i say, i love playing with catherine), where i rolled my ankle slightly on a shotput divot, not badly though. i felt a lot better after the three (!) free cones from ben and jerry's on tuesday. all 3 b&j's that i could find were in leicester square, where state of play happened to be premiering that night, so when i first walked up, i was a bit horrified. cordoned lines?! security guards?! i didn't know free cone day was such a big deal here. luckily, it's not. the lines were so short that i had to hide my first free cone beneath the counter while ordering my second. double fist much? alex, jackie, and i sat on the grass, enjoying our ice creams, watching the courtship of the fatnecked pigeons. then alex went to abh practice, and i dragged jackie into a mcD's to satisfy my mcnugget hankering. i got a kids meal, but the bottom of the castlebox split open, spilling most of my fries, and i think i left the toy in the sushi restaurant (sushi was so-so, but cheap and filling).

wednesday, we had a herd fitness session in regents park. afterwards, ferg showed us the best burrito place in london. reminiscent of anna's, and cheap too. really really awesome limeade (or corona, if that's more your shtick). we closed the place down with their paga stories, and some interesting frisbee gossip. too bad it's really far from where i live, but i guess if we keep having fitness at regents park, then wednesdays will be burrito night :-).

yesterday we had herd practice at clapham. the d line kicked the o line's ass. repeatedly. UNfortunately, ferg is on the o line, so afterwards, he made us do full field sprints in punishment - back of the endzone to back of the endzone, split into groups of 3, 10 sprints in total. when he'd finally worked out his frustrations, we went to nandos (a portugese chicken place) and ordered 4 whole! chickens! which comes with 8 sides and free refill sodas (which is uncommon outside of the US) to share among 6. it was amazing and awful all at once. we waddled back to the station groaning repeatedly, audibly, like fat, full lunatics.

tonight, we're playing discgolf/prepartying/taking a scenic tour of north london before heading over to stella's goodbye/birthday party in hackney. tomorrow, i fly for barcelona to be reunited with laura. if this is unemployment, then i could get used to it.


africa can wait

well, my first foray back into ultimate went as expected. i've lost a lot of throws. my stabilization muscles are shot. i'm not in shape to play both O and D. on the bright side, it seems my catching has gotten better...and as always after a long hiatus into a foreign country...my pain tolerance is higher. there's nothing like third world problems to help me say "blister schmister, i can play thru that." and my cardio is surprisingly ok. thanks kili!

at pickup monday night, there were a bunch of guys doing really weird core exercises on the track next to us. turns out they're surfers. finally! a sport weirder than ulty...hmm...except i guess they can be professionals, and there are worldwide competitions, so maybe they're more legitimate than us after all. anyways, the guy leading their workout is a professional workout guru and he offered to hold a session with us, tailored towards ulty, for free! free stuff! alright! except...no one on iceni seemed that excited about it, and i didn't feel like i was in a position to say, "sure, we'll show up! thanks!" so we ended up taking his website down on a scrap of paper, playing hot potato with it for a bit (no, you take it. oh, you want me to take it? um..alright...), and not making any commitment whatsoever. smeriously yall. i don't understand british offhandedness sometimes. cute surfer dude offers a free conditioning session. seems like a no brainer to me.

i've become strangely ok with washing my hair once a week. even after the tournament this weekend and practice on monday, i didn't wash my hair until wednesday morning...and that was only b/c i thought i was having lunch with one of my ex-bosses in canary wharf. someone at practice monday even called me a "minger" (britishism for gross person) for wearing the same clothes to practice that i had worn to the tournament...oh if only she knew. i keep thinking that meryl and erin would be proud of me :-).