In Related News

Time for a couple of follow-ups to previous posts. Now I'm really blogging!

Thursday's "work thing" seems to be well on the way to being sorted out. I chatted back and forth with my line manager on Friday and he reassured me greatly. I've offered to explain to the department the reason why I've had so much time off lately but he doesn't think that's gonna be necessary. As long as he knows the details and is satisfied then I probably shouldn't worry as much.

Coincidentally (or not - it doesn't really matter), I had some unexpected visitors yesterday. There are a lot of empty offices where mine is, in "the West Wing" of the floor. It can be like death warmed up down there sometimes so I always appreciate face time with real live human beings and Friday's drop-bys couldn't have been better timed or more welcome.

Today is the actual one-year, 52-week, 365-day anniversary of my coming to America. It's also my father's 74th birthday. Happy birthday, Brian!

The armchair detectives among you will note that I left the U.K. on my dad's birthday last year. I find family so hard to buy for. In truth, I didn't know what else to give him.

Here's to Evan, Kyle, Joe and Kieran who picked me up at the airport about this time a year ago, and I've been leeching off them ever since.


Looking For A Date?

You guys write your dates funny. 5/29/05, indeed... Writing the smallest unit of measurement (the days) in the middle, the next largest (the months) up-front and then ending with the year makes perfectly no sense to me. It's almost as if you changed it just to be different following the War Of Independence!

However all official government paperwork here, such as immigration papers or the visa waiver you fill in when you first come to America, uses the British system of dd/mm/yy. I can only guess that they printed in bulk before 1775 and we're still working through that inventory.

There should be a movement, like that for New Earth Time, to get everything in the right order. In Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex they do just that. At the time of writing it's 2005-4-29-17-04-36, Stand Alone Complex-style. Ain't that right, Major?

Fine. Be like that. No matter what system you use, it's always Hammer Time.

The Last Supper

One of my friends has something of a Galileean complexion. In college he had long hair, too. We used call him Jesus more often than was really necessary and, one time, at a pub in Aylesbury on a summer afternoon, it got a little out of hand.

Click here for the punchline.

Dedicated to all my friends back home who I miss very much.


Top Five Everything, Part 1

High Fidelity taught us that list-making is fun. Friends taught us that we can want to sleep with celebrities and it doesn't count as infidelity because – unless you're a cast member – it ain't never gonna happen, bubba.

Here now, alphabetically by their first name (the one I cry out at night), are my current top ten celebrity lust objects:

Elisha Cuthbert (24)
Eliza Dushku (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
Eva Green (The Dreamers)

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Sarah Silverman (Saturday Night Live)
Vincent Kartheiser (Angel)

Five IS the traditional number, though my hormones had a hard time (no pun intended) narrowing this down to ten. Face it, Marcus: you're single and horny and don't know ten real people.

Yes, the last one is a guy. I get a kick out of pretending I'm secure enough in my heterosexuality to list a guy. It was fun to watch my American male friends fidget uncomfortably at my screaming European-ness for while, but I think they're wise to my tricks now. Besides, have you seen Vincent Kartheiser?!

"The way you do anything is the way you do everything."

That's one of my all-time favourite quotes. Some quotes are just mantric right out of the gate. Tom Waits said it in an interview I read years ago, but he was quoting someone else so I'm S.O.L. when it comes to properly attributing credit on this one. Tom can have it.

It's particularly pertinent this week. (To keep myself dooce-proof, I'm always gonna be vague about work-related stuff here. It's good to use your imagination once in a while.) I'm sorry to say I've had my first real experience of bitchy-ness in the U.S. workplace. American friends warned me about this before I moved here but I didn't want to believe it until I was on the receiving end.

In a dark damp nutshell, several colleagues made negative comments about me to my boss behind my back yesterday. I won't pretend that I haven't done anything to give them cause for concern, but they are making bad assumptions because they don't have all the information and they won't approach me to get more. I have on occasion been told that I can be too direct, but it occurs to me that life would be much simpler if everyone would just be straight with one another.

I know, I know... they're just my colleagues. It's only my job. But they could have been friends. I mourn that potential. It could all turn around in time, but I reserve the right to be doubtful because (altogether now) the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

On the flip side, I discovered I have a handful of awesomely loyal colleagues when they totally got my back and let me know what had happened. Every cloud, right?


About My Shiny New Blog...

Greetings, fellow travellers! This is my blog.

I'm British and I've been living in America for exactly one year this week. I've been through some ups and downs in that time, but I guess you need to collect some history in a place before you feel like you belong there. This site will log my thoughts and impressions on daily life, with focus on the little things that mark the difference between life here and life "at home".

It's also a great way to answer friends who say they don't hear from me enough. (Problem is, having hit upon this cunning cheat a few weeks ago, I now need to follow through!)

Why ford prefect? He's a character from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (hereafter H2G2) who visited Earth to do research for the guide 15 years ago and has been stuck here ever since.

The hopefully-excellent movie adaptation of H2G2 releases here on Friday, but the joke about Ford's name will probably be lost in translation. (It was written in London in 1979.) When Ford first arrived, he chose it because – his slapdash research suggested – it was a popular name and would be nicely incospicuous. In fact, it was the name of a popular product of the time from the Ford Motor Company.

You heard it here first. And you can expect the same quality of research from me as this page evolves.