Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not a Tourist 3

Its been a few more days and I'm at least sleeping through the night now. Haven't quite gotten the time of day right yet, because it's about 2:00pm and I'm just now starting to think about lunch. In fact...

OK, it's now 4:15 and I ate lunch and took a long way around Islington. Partly to look around, partly to get a coffee, and partly to look at parks that I may want to take Katie to.
Bernard Park, Islington
Has sports fields (soccer/football) and playgrounds and some green area. Nice, but not really a destination park. Just a regular neighborhood park.
Thornhill Square Gardens, Islington
A nice little oval-shaped green & flower space next to a beautiful old church. Not quite big enough to go for a picnic unless you lived in the area or were nearby for some reason.

Pedestrian drift:
I'm getting proficient at drifting to the left instead of the right when approaching pedestrians. It's strange because there is no real rule in this country or the USA that pedestrians should pass each other on the left or right like cars. If you approach even a little bit to one side, you can pass on that side, whichever it is, without problem in either country. Only when you approach someone straight on does this difference come into play. Americans will naturally drift to their right and Brits will naturally drift to their left. So if you approach each other, you end up doing the stutter-stop 'which side do you want?' dance. But if you see them coming from several paces off, you can start drifting and get by with no problem. And you won't look like a tourist if you drift in the correct direction.
For fun, in the USA, start drifting to the left when approaching people on the sidewalk and see how many you can annoy without them realizing what you are doing differently.

Also, Twitter and Facebook are ruining blogs because you mention something there in a sentence or two and then you don't feel the need to repeat yourself.

But I'll repeat myself anyway:
PokerStars re-activated my account because I am no longer a resident of Washington State. I could go on for pages and pages about how stupid and backwards the poker laws in the USA and in WA in particular are, but I won't. Regulating & taxing online poker could be a big 2nd step in the drive to balance state and federal budgets. (Mom, I promise the 1st step wouldn't benefit tax-wise from me, personally.)

We also got our local bank cards--which have a SIM in them just like all bank and credit cards probably should--COME ON, USA! Get with the program. A SIM enabled card 'signed' with a pin # is so much more secure than a signature! About a year ago, Alice & I went to dinner with Noreen and Greg, and Noreen and I accidentally switched (identical) bank cards. I unknowingly used her card several times before finding out what had happened. This is even funnier because none of the 'stolen card' algorithms would have been triggered by me--since I went out for sushi, got some wine at a wine shop, etc. which are all things Noreen would have done if she had been along with Alice and I for the whole weekend instead of just dinner beforehand. With a PIN instead of an (often unchecked) signature, I wouldn't have been able to use her card for anything!

I need to remember, or write down all the things that amuse Alice or else I forget. Oh..
Alice was amused by
  • Getting a free umbrella from work that comes in a sheath that can be worn over your shoulder like a samurai sword. She told her workers she would use it to push people out of her way to ride the tube during rush hour.
  • She was not amused when noticing that these little sesame balls she bought (which looked like small versions of the ones you get at dim sum, but were actually more like doughnut holes) contained pork fat. They were delicious, by the way.
  • She also made it to work and home again without incident on her first day.
  • I guess she was most amused that the Covent Garden Lush store has a basement level and is huge.

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