The Little Differences

My last few days in London were mostly work. I’ve now moved on to Belgium, and this weekend I’m going to Amsterdam. Hopefully there will be some good stories from that trip.

Throughout my time in London, I couldn’t stop noticing the various differences betwen the US and London. Some of them aren’t even interesting really, but for some reason I found them fascinating. Aside from the ones I mentioned earlier, here they are in random order:
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London: Day 2

I woke up and decided I’d see more of the city. I don’t know anything about the city, but the one thing I do remember from National Lampoon’s Eurpean Vacation is “hey kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they drove around stuck in a traffic circle. I went back to the train station and found a reasonably-priced map. The map told me where I wanted to go, and what train stop I wanted. I went to an automatic ticket machine for the train and it listed a bunch of stops, but not mine. I didn’t want to wait in line to buy a ticket so I decided to walk to Westminster from where I was (Paddington).
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London: Day 1

So, I’m flying to London. I decide that the best thing for me would be to leave my car at the Alewife T because it’s reasonably close by, and definitely cheaper than parking at Logan. I call ahead because I wanted to make sure I could leave my car at the T for two weeks. The first number I call that’s listed on the MBTA website (I tried it twice) immediately hangs up on you. So, I try another number from their website. I get someone who doesn’t know the answer to my question, who then forwards me to someone else who doesn’t know the answer to my question (but that didn’t stop him from explaining to me the intricacies behind how the MBTA contracts parking out to other companies, subsidizes them, etc.) That guy gives me another “main” number which I call, it rings and rings and no one answers.

So, I just assume that I can park there for 2 weeks, and drive in. The sign outside says the maximum stay is 7 days, or you’ll get towed. I pull over, and talk to a guy working at the booth. He has what I believe to be a Jamaican accent. I say “Is there anywhere around here I can park long term”.
“Long term parking, yes upstairs.”
“The sign says there is a 7 day limit.”
“7 days, yes.”
“I need to park longer.”
“How long?”
“14 days.”
“14 days? OK.”
“OK, I can park here for 14 days?”

So, I park at the top of the garage, half thinking that I’ll get towed, but at least knowing that someone who works for the garage told me it’s okay. I can only assume (1) He knows they don’t actually enforce the 7 day limit, (2) he owns part of the company who runs the garage and appreciates the extra money I’ll pay, (3) he doesn’t give a shit, or (4) He’s making a note of my car and how long I’ll be gone so he can steal it.

Hopefully 1 or 2 is true. 3’s okay. 4 would be unfortunate.
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Leaving for Europe

Tomorrow I leave for London, England. By Midweek next week I will be in Brussels, Belgium. Should be back in the States on July 2nd.

Not sure what impact this will have on the blog. Maybe I’ll actually post more often.

Incidentally, being as cheap as I am with my clothing, you have no idea how many shirts I own that were inelligible for packing for this trip because they were $5 Old Navy flag T’s. From what I hear, the American flag isn’t as cool over there as it is here. Maybe they’d understand if I explained it by converting $5 to their native currency.

Jim Norton on Last Comic Standing

Coon Dog alerted me to the fact that Jim Norton is on Last Comic Standing. I read Norton’s blog and he doesn’t explicitly mention it, but some of the comments are interesting.

One of them points to this article which basically reveals (and NBC admits to) the fact that the celebrity/comedian judges don’t actually decide who gets on to the show. The judges just make their comments, and ultimately the contestants are picked by producers/management – not necessarily based on comedic talent, but in good part based on a mix of personalities who would be interesting to live in a house together.

Another post reveals some supposedly “inside news” that Norton doesn’t get into the house because he has a contract with MTV, and some gay guy named Ant gets into the house even though he bombed and the judges walk out in protest or something.

I missed the first two shows (I’m downloading them now from, but assuming there are at least some funny comics chosen I’ll probably watch the whole season. It sure would be great if Norton made it though….

The FCC Should die

This is a pretty interesting article.

If the FCC had been in charge of overseeing the Internet, we’d likely be waiting for the Mosaic Web browser to receive preliminary approval from the Wireline Competition Bureau. Instead, the Internet has transformed from a research curiosity into a mainstay of the world’s economy–in less time than it took the FCC to approve the first cell phone licenses.

Libertarian nominee chosen

Embarassing though it may be, I watched the Libertarian national convention for no less than 3-4 hours on CSPAN, Sunday. There were 3 major contenders – Aaron Russo, Michael Badnarik, and Gary Nolan. (There were a few votes for Drew Carey also, incidentally).

The candidate who’s campaign manager stayed at my apartment a few months ago was Gary Nolan, so I was routing for him for the most part. After the first round of voting, it was extremely close. Russo had 258 delegate votes, Badnarik had 256, and I think Nolan was 10 or so behind Badnarik.

That’s the part where I left and went to Microcenter for an hour, and then missed the events that transpired before the second round of voting: Nolan conceeded the race, and encouraged his supporters to vote for Badnarik. When I returned, I saw Badnarik end up winning the race. Apparently he did very well in the debate the day before.

So, for those of you even moderately interested in the Libertarian party, a good way to help out would be to donate a few bucks to Badnarik. He must be a good guy – he’s a computer programmer after all.