Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sir Elton

Heard on CNNi today from a lady outside the UK's most famous gay wedding:

"I'm here to support Elton John.  I feel he has as much right to marry a partner as anyone who's normal."

One wonders - was she referring to his sexuality?

Side note: Asda, Wal-Mart in the UK, is selling same-sex wedding cards.  I wonder how that would go over in Bentonville.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Ah, xmas!

Just had a lovely xmas lunch at work... on site WITH wine! That's the way company lunches should be! :)

Tomorrow night is the company xmas dinner, after work, off site, but with champagne & wine from 6:30-11:30 (though I am leaving after the meal to attend another xmas function), totally free, and they're smart enough to make Friday a half day. And I am being paid for all this! Lovely. It's like when you would see Christmas being celebrated in the movies from the 50s & 60s. In fairness the company I am working for is a bit stodgey & dusty... I am curious if it's the same at the firms in Canary Wharf.

Irregardless (sic) it's nice to have a bottle of wine in the middle of the work day. What a brilliant idea!

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Naomi & Ishcabibble

First of all, thank you to David Bell forever and for always for introducing me to Kiki & Herb.

I saw them in their newest show tonight, "Jesus Wept" a re-do of a post-9/11 show they did in New York back in the day when they were just making the leap from underground cabaret to illegitimate off-Broadway theater.

It was a re-do in title only as it was almost completely new.  They used some of the same songs, but they always did, there was always a carry-over from previous shows.  The show was topical enough without being weighty and the two Kiki-virgins I brought (Natasha & Sean) loved it.

I realized two things; one was that I would never get to experience them in the old cabaret setting I'd come to love them in, and I never exactly realized Kiki's brilliance in how she slowly revealed small pieces of her "life" over several shows until you really felt for her and all she'd been through.  Oh Yesoway!  Oh the child she met at Target (or reasonable facsimile).  Brilliant.

One personal point tonight, I was seated next to one of those über-lesbians, you know, the one who can't let go of her girlfriend and who has really bad tattoos.  She was very upset I was cheering loudly for Kiki and at one point told me so and so, too tired of her to deal anymore, I just limply motioned away and said 'You just need to go sit over there then' and kept on giving my all for Kiki.  I know it doesn't sound interesting in this re-telling, but wow, how can you be bitter and angry at KIKI?!  Lesbians will never cease to amaze (as in terrify) me...

It's midnight here in Olde London Towne, so off to bed.  I'm jealous of you SFers who get to see her for NYE (for you few, refer to the subject of this eMail again).

Xo,
Shaun/SWG

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Monday, November 28, 2005

Simon Webbe



Um, yum!

http://www.simonwebbe.net/

Clarification --> Start spreading the news...

OK, just to unmuddy the water, since I have been asked quite a number of times now, I am not leaving London for good in March.  I am just taking a trip to New York to see friends & play, then to Miami to see family & relax.  I'll be back in my fair city 02 April.
 
Leave London...  for Miami! <Ha!>  That's rich...  ;-P
 
Cheers,
Shaun

 
On 11/25/05, Shaun Coley <scoley@gmail.com> wrote:
...I'm leaving in four months...  ;P
 
It's a bit early, yes, but I wanted to use AA miles so I just got my ticket for NYC/Miami in March for (of course) the BP.  It's a little too early for a roll-call, but I wanted to let people know I will be in NYC March 24-29, so hopefully I will get to see lots of friends then.  I'll be in South Beach after that since it's where my family lives, but no one goes out in South Beach anymore so I plan on using that as family & recovery time.
 
Cheers,
Shaun/SWG

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK



--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Friday, November 25, 2005

Start spreading the news...

...I'm leaving in four months...  ;P
 
It's a bit early, yes, but I wanted to use AA miles so I just got my ticket for NYC/Miami in March for (of course) the BP.  It's a little too early for a roll-call, but I wanted to let people know I will be in NYC March 24-29, so hopefully I will get to see lots of friends then.  I'll be in South Beach after that since it's where my family lives, but no one goes out in South Beach anymore so I plan on using that as family & recovery time.
 
Cheers,
Shaun/SWG

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Re: Gay Paree!

On 11/22/05, BP wrote:
The more I hear about Europe, the more I want to stay
here. :) I could hardly deal with the three hour
change to SF, so I dread my first trip East. I
suppose I'll survive, but I guess I'll need to plan a
down day both going and coming...

Thanks for the updates!



Europe's wonderful. It certainly lacks "quality of life" in the American sense (ease, convenience and wealth) but it more than makes up for it with joie de vivre -- architecture, culture, life priorities, liberal politics. I like having seen the benefits of both models and to have an American sense of responsibility, but as far as what I want out of life, sign me up for the European Way.

Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gay Paree!

Just got back from my first trip abroad as a Londoner - to where else? Paris! I popped over on the Eurostar on Saturday and spent four days there with some friends from New York. It's the first time I'd been there since I lived there in 1993, so I wasn't sure at all what it'd be like.

Paris was the first place I lived away from my hometown of Las Vegas (population then: 800,000). I suddenly found myself homeless in a much larger city in a foreign country where I didn't speak the language and I can remember how overwhelming it was. So I was a bit surprised by how underwhelmed I was on this trip. But I have to clarify that, I don't mean it in a bad way at all. I am in a much different stage in my life now, I've lived away from home for a long time in San Francisco, New York, London, and even Fairbanks, Alaska for good measure. There's no reason Paris should have been too much the way it was then. But since this was the emotion I had paired with Paris in my mind, it was odd, but nice, for it to have dissipated.

When I first arrived I was continually frustrated by the Gallic Way. Getting from Eurostar to the 5 line on the Métro wasn't as easy as following signs for "5 vers Place d'Italie" like I remember from living there and all the guidebooks assure you it is. Then trying to navigate the République station with its maze of exits and finally getting the right one only to have to dodge the famous dog poo that coats the sidewalks of Paris didn't warm me to the city.

I soon learned this was because we were staying more than "a few short steps" from the Marais and up in a less desirable area than we'd supposed. Once we walked our not ridiculous (just not expected) 20 minutes to the Marais things were much better. We could look at the architecture instead of where we were stepping, the bars were full of people that are beautiful in that way only French people can be (and, OK, a lot of them were just down right HAWT) and we were soon enjoying ourselves. This feeling became even more ingrained after we had a proper dinner with good wine one night and once we went to the Left Bank, where I spent most of my time in 1993, so suddenly I was seeing and feeling the Paris I remembered.

We kept to the usual schedule - dinner, drinks, out, good night's sleep, sights the next afternoon, then start it all over again. Made a classic, though informed, mistake. As a rule, never buy Coke in Paris - it's obscenely overpriced. However, one of my most reliable hangover cures is a breakfast (or lunch, as it were) of eggs, fries and a Coke. So after a big night we went to eat and three of us decided to brave it and get a glass of Coke with breakfast. I knew I'd be paying too much, but the elixir was needed. Then the bill came. The Cokes were €6,50 (£4.46, $7.68) EACH. In hindsight we deserved it. We knew not to do it, but we did it anyway, and we paid the price for our exuberance.

All in all a great trip, but I am glad to be back in London and back home. And that's the coolest part - it truly did feel like coming back home.

Cheers,
Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kiki! Kiki! Kiki!

"Putting the terror back into cabaret, Kiki & Herb return to London to premiere an updated version of Jesus Wept, their obie award winning show."  Dec 13 & 14.

I'm going to Kiki!  I'm going to Kiki!  In London!  Does anything happen in New York anymore?  ;P

Xo,
Shaun

(BTW, Sean you're going as well, Dec. 14, so mark it in your agenda.)

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

31 & 1/365th

I had a great bday... champagne and a fabulous dinner with fabulous friends.

Natasha, Kip, Ant, Marc, Dale, thank you for making the night wonderful.

Mom, Dad, Lara, Lisa, thank you for the perfect gift.

All those I talked to after three bottles of champagne and two bottles of wine, thank you for not making fun of me to my face (or ear, as it were).

Patrick, thanks for your thoughts.

Niels, thanks for being kind.

McGirr, can't wait to celebrate with you in two days! And Todd and Kathy in four!

Off to walk through The City on a lovely, crisp, post-bday London morning.

Xo,
Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Sunday, November 13, 2005

30 & 364/365ths

As I've been spending my last night of 30 relaxing and watching The Simpsons, I've thought about a few things.  So, in no particular order, ten things I've learned, accepted or had reaffirmed in my 30th year:

- Size does matter, but usually not for more than an hour, so you better have something else to fall back on.
- The lack of universal health care in a Western country should be considered a human rights violation.
- I can never have shaggy hair.
- Based on the difference between 20 and 30, I am really looking forward to my 30s.
- Always be aware that the only one you can always count on is yourself, so make sure you're always able to take care of yourself.
- Bush really is that bad.
- Now that I've had one with good vodka, I understand what all the hoopla over martinis is all about.
- Being around negative people is really, really draining.  Being negative is even worse.
- Yes, I do miss my friends.
- I need new underwear & socks.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Zone Four

Me: Where do you live?

Mr. X: Morden

Me: <blank stare>

Mr. X: It's in zone four.

Me: Oh pashaw. There's no such thing as zone four. That's just something parents made up to scare their children, like the boogie man, or New Jersey.


I have faithfully carried my geocentricity from The Center of the Universe to this side of the pond. I wonder how many potential friends and lovers I have alienated with my comments. Ah well, if they're going to insist on talking about such rubbish I want nothing to do with them.

Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Early to bed, early to rise... Mona Lisa with breakfast?

Hmmm... just over a week out from my trip to Paris Chirac is threatening to pull out a law that hasn't been used since 1955 during the Algerian independence movement to enact a curfew. Guess we'll be safe in our hotel all night, so nothing to worry about with the riots!


Maybe we'll just have to take the high speed rail to Amsterdam or Brussels...

Cautiously optimistic,
Shaun/SWG

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Saturday, October 29, 2005

One less top, one more bottom

<sigh>

I was watching out the kitchen window as I did the dishes this afternoon and I saw the inevitable...  the 38 double-deck buses have been replaced with long, one-level, bendy buses.  I knew it was coming; they've been advertising the change for a couple weeks now.  Sure, they're more efficient with three on/off doors, but what about style?  There's nothing cool or romantic about riding into the West End on the same kind of bus that you could ride in New York, LA or Caracas.  It's so awesome to get just above it all and get a different perspective on London than you can walking the streets.  I don't think any other city has been lucky enough to have its buses be a tourist draw and I think they should do more to keep them going.

In more upbeat news, most of you are aware (through Bill Bryson or personal experience) that the UK has great names.  Elephant & Castle, Cockfosters, High Wycombe, Newcastle-Under-Lyme.  Today I found another I quite like.  Tucked away in the Southeast corner of London County is a little spot of a town called Pratt's Bottom.  How delightful is that?  If I lived there I think I'd have to suppress a chuckle each time I checked the mail and received a letter addressed to Shaun Coley of Pratt's Bottom.

So I guess, all-in-all, England will keep its charm regardless of the view from its buses.

Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I swear I am not a Midwestern tourist...

...but they just don't give me any other option. I really do try to eat at independent, new or British places, but they make it impossible. I got out of work today at 5:00, went to a record store then went to get something to eat. I walked many blocks avoiding the McDonalds', Subways, Pizza Huts and Starbucks, but every homegrown eating establishment, both independent and UK chains, were closed for the day already. What was still open? McDonald's, Subway Pizza Hut and Starbucks. So I gave up and had some Mickey-D's.

Europeans love to complain about Americana taking over their cultures, but if they can't learn a little about supply & demand and customer service and allow me to grab a nibble somewhere between where I work and home in the early evening I will be welcoming the invasion with open arms.

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Monday, October 24, 2005

Toothpicks, please

Had another amusing misunderstanding at work...
 
I am working away (well, I am reading news.bbc.co.uk away or something) and I hear, phonetically:
 
GIRL: Do you have any tepicks?
ME: <confused> Toothpicks?  (What an odd request in an office!)
GIRL: No, tepicks, white out?  What do you call it where you're from?
ME: Oh.  Just white out.
 
Turns out they call it TipEx here, another case where a name brand has become generic a la Kleenex and, here, Hoover.  Then again, isn't White Out an American brand?
 
Too bad.  Toothpicks was a more interesting request.  We should all start asking for odd things from our coworkers.  "Excuse me, do you have any aardvarks I can borrow?"
 
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hedwig and the Angry 2.54cm


I have to say, one of my regrets about my time in New York was not seeing "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" with John Cameron Mitchell when I had the chance. I can't even remember what I did instead, which proves right there that it was a poor choice, but knowing me I was probably on some wayward excursion to Poughkeepsie, Des Moines or somewhere else pointless.

I did see it, though, with Ally Sheedy, which was a crime against nature, and last night I got to see it here in London. Though I had a few problems with it (I don't think Hedwig should be muscley, but that's just me) it was a great night. The setting was the perfect way to see Hedwig - a cool, old smokey cabaret with hot waitstaff and a bottle of Veuve on the table.

The next show they're having at this cabaret is Justin Bond. Tell me, will I be disappointed or sad if I see that show? I just imagine sitting there wanting Kiki.

Hedwig & Justin back to back here - does anything happen in New York anymore? ;P

Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Nips & Tips


This pic is from the weekend before I left New York, but it is precious and needs to be shared. It's my friend Matt with a rather "confused" attendee at the tranny hooker dealer birthday party we were fortunate enough to be invited to.

Bless.
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Trafalgar Square


I had the most amazing experience coming home tonight. I took a night bus to Trafalgar Square, where I can transfer to a night bus to home, and I finally got to see the new statue, "Alison Lapper Pregnant". Absolutely amazing. But that wasn't the whole event -- they were rehearsing for the anniversary of something with the Royal Navy, so I was there, essentially alone, with images & lights being projected on the buildings around the square, extra lighting on the statues, but I could sit on the wall alone and look at the sculpture. Beautiful.

It will be there for another 16 months, so no major rush, but those of you who will be coming this way, definitely see it before it leaves.

Shaun



--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

St. Ive's / NHS

Some good news...  I got a job offer!
 
It's with St. Ive's Financial, the financial publications arm of the publishing company, St. Ive's (anyone ever hear of Harry Potter?).  I will be filling the role of Assistant Financial Controller.
 
It's not 100% ideal, in that it is a fixed-term contract (1 year) versus permanent, but I still get vacation days and all with that, and of course there's a good chance of going on full time afterwards if they like me (and who wouldn't?!).  The pay's less than I'd like, but it's a good foot in the door of London Finance.
 
I'll be working in Southwark (pronounced 'Suthick', of course, since this is England) just behind the Tate Modern and near Borough Market.
 
So a step forward!  It's a good day.
 
Some bad news...  the National Health Service.
 
I see a dermatologist at least twice a year for my skin (I'm fair-skinned and was raised in a tanning bed of a desert; that makes me a lil' bit high risk for skin cancer).  Today I went to our local health centre, which itself is great, we can get in same day.  But I need to see a dermatologist, a specialist.  Wait time?  FIVE to SIX months!  Egads.  I'd get mad in New York if I had to wait two weeks.  Thank goodness I only need to go biannually.  And that I am not going for a heart problem!
 
But that happened first and the job offer second, so on balance still a good day.
 
Your happy Londoner,
Shaun
 
PS - To my friends & family in South Florida... eeks!  What're you gonna do?

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thoughts

So this is the type of thing I think about in the morning while showering...


I dunno if you know the song or not, but there's currently a popular song here whose lyrics go:


She don't love me like you
She don't know what you do


I know what most of you are thinking - the bad conjugation gets to me. Well, yes, but that's not what goes through my head about this.


What I think of is the ambivalence of the meaning since the phrasing is inexact. Does the singer mean


She don't love me like you do
She don't know what you do to me


(leading us to believe, perhaps, that his girlfriend doesn't love him the way this mystery lady does)?


or


She don't love me like she loves you
She don't know what you do


(leading us to believe, perhaps, that he pangs for a woman who loves a different man, but she doesn't know the terrible things this different man does)?

This is just the reason why I try to be sure to say


"He has more money than I have."


instead of


"He has more money than me."


Since, well, that means he has more money than he has of me, and last I checked I don't think I have been divvied up & parsed out.


So there's a peak into my mind this Friday morning... Have a good weekend, all!


Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

GET. HIM. OUT!

Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan: BBC

Thu Oct 6, 6:05 PM ET

US President George W. Bush allegedly said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, a new BBC documentary will reveal, according to details.

Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003, the ministers told the documentary series to be broadcast in Britain later this month.

The US leader also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said.

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God.

'God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'.'

"And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq...' And I did.

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.' And by God I'm gonna do it'," said Shaath.

Abbas, who was also at the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recalled how the president told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation.

"So I will get you a Palestinian state."

A BBC spokesman said the content of the programme had been put to the White House but it had refused to comment on a private conversation.

The three-part series, "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs", charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from former US president Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999-2000 to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The programme speaks to presidents and prime ministers, their generals and ministers, about what happened behind closed doors as the peace talks failed and the intifada grew.

The series is due to be screened in Britain on October 10, 17 and 24.

Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.


--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
London, UK

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Olde London Towne

So in regards to my last post, what to do next… well, my decision was to get out of Dodge. I broke up with my boyfriend, got my visa and came on over. Below are the little update emails I have sent up to this point. I am sure you’re thrilled! :-D


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I've arrived safely to London and made it to my friends' Kip & Ant's place with no problems. I took a sleeping pill with dinner and did not wake until they woke me to put my seat up for landing. Faboo.

Off to eat since I slept through breakfast. It's so weird to be here!
Natasha, I will call you later today.

XO,
Shaun


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Thanks to my fabulous Aussie friends Kip & Ant (who moved here in Feb), I was able to get a cell phone on contract my first day here. The bureaucracy here is thick. For instance, in doing a credit check, they check your address, not for you, but for how that address has fared before. So if the people who lived there before you didn't pay on time, that could affect you. Fabulous dealing with a new set of rules. :) But usually w/o a bank account or permanent address you need to do prepaid plans which cost more.

Anyway, my cell is 077 8974 ####

So for you in the US, to dial that it's 011-44-7789-74####.

Just got back from a few pints at Rupert Street to celebrate my achievement with a cell phone (just wait till I get a bank account!). Off to rest a bit and then have dinner and a couple drinks here in Earl's Court before turning in early.

So happy to be here.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Sorry for so many notes... I love gmail, but I hate the address book, and so I am realizing people who were missed & I need to include.

Had a lovely night out with the Aussies in Earl's Court. We're watching the finale of Big Brother before an early to bed.

Ready to start the weekend and start the apartment hunt at the start of the week!

Have a great night all.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/13/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I am wearing a sweater in August and I couldn't be happier about it.

Wanted an easy, light night in, so I am going to see a movie with the Aussies. £9.50! ($17.50!) Ack! I think my entertainment until I get a job will have to be BBC....

Start the apartment hunt with Natasha on Monday. Looking very forward to finding our home.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/13/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Just a quick note to recommend "The Island." We saw it because it was the only thing playing at the time besides something dreadful, but it turned out to be very good.

You get assigned seats in the movie theaters here. :) How fun.

Off to watch Lost - it's just starting here!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

The first flat viewing was a bust. Perfect location and price, hideous orange carpet, pink furnishings and dorm like layout. I was blinded at first by its proximity to my Aussie friends, but it really is a pile. If we can just convince him to put in hardwood floors and let us pick the furniture.... :)

Off to see a few more places today. Wish us luck!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

We may have found a home! Well, we did find one, as long as no snags come up with the signing tomorrow. It's a great space, central, (Clerkenwell), hardwood floors... good size overall, though my bedroom's small. But that's OK, I am good with a nice cozy spot, and the overall space is nice and perfect for entertaining. And yes, there's room for visitors! :)

So that's the news, I'll let you know what happens tomorrow.

It's been brought to my attention that I gave the wrong number. My correct number is:

077 8974 ####

So from the US: 011-44-77-8974-####.

One more check down! Still weeks away from a bank account....

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/18/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, until we're in I won't do a little dance, but it looks like Natasha and I got our flat in Clerkenwell! And we get to move in Saturday! This is a great relief because we "checked in" to our short term rental yesterday to discover it smelled like a gym pool room and was about as damp as one. Also no working TV or even toaster for crumpets. So, we're very keen on exiting as soon as possible.

The landlord's very cool and he allowed us to pick out the beds and wardrobes for the rooms. The apartment was to come partly furnished, but he hasn't purchased them yet, so we get to pick them out. Cool, eh? And the lease, and therefore rent, doesn't start until the 24th but he's letting us move in on the 20th since we'll have the keys anyway.

So, if all goes well, our exquisitely pompous address will be:

## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
Islington
London EC1R 5HP
England

## R_______ Court is our unit number since we live in a specified building on R_______ Ave - how very English!

I'll keep you posted, and keep your fingers crossed! This one's a winner.

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Woo hoo! I start a job on Monday!!!!!

It's a temp job that I got through my friend Sean and it's not mind-blowing or anything, but it's enough to get things started, and I am just glad to start having an INcome relatively quickly instead of just an OUTcome. ;)

We see our landlord to sign the papers tonight and can move in tomorrow if all is going well... Ordered the furniture from Argos yesterday so we're getting there!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, it's official - we've signed the lease and got the keys! We have a home! And it's awesome. We walked around the area and it's great. We're just across the road from a market called Exmouth market with lots of restaurants & pubs. And we found a little grocery store very nearby, so everything's there.

So, my official contact info for London is:

Shaun Coley
## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
London EC1 5HP
England

Cell: +44 (0)77 8974 ####

SO happy. :)

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Sorry, made a mistake with the post code. The correct info is:

Shaun Coley
## R_______ Court
R_______ Avenue
London EC1R 5HP
England

Cell: +44 (0)77 8974 ####
Xo,
Shaun


On 8/19/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Oh, forgot to mention you can see the dome of St. Paul's when you look left out our front window. :)

OK, off to the smelly apartment for one last night!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/21/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

We're officially moved into the flat! Of course we don't have beds yet, but at least all our suitcases are, finally, in one place and where they will stay. It's a great feeling to have a "home" again. And the apartment is great, feels so homey & cozy already.

Today Natasha and I are going out to Ikea to get the little things... dishes, utensils, towels, etc. It was hard to butter my crumpets today without a knife, but I managed. :) But we can't have wine out of plastic cups again.... well, since it was a screw off top, I guess it was OK, but since we don't have a bottle opener yet we needed that!

Oh, one more asset of the apartment - we don't have an English sink in the bathroom! Yahooey! So we can moderate the temperature instead of having to choose from the scalding hot spout or the freezing cold one.

Hope you've all had a great weekend!

Xo,
Shaun


On 8/23/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

So just a little update - I've made my first two legal days pay in the UK! Woo woo! :) Now figuring out my budget I am only massively poor rather than desperately poor.

But things are coming together - Ikea's unpacked, first Argos delivery has arrived, second should be along soon. We've signed up for power and council tax and have the forms for the NI (National Insurance) on the way. Tomorrow I am tackling one of the biggest challenges of all - the bank account. We'll see if finally, now, with a visa, lease & letter of employment if they'll be so kind as to let me have my paycheck deposited to their institution.

Also, my address at work is shaun.coley@tube.tfl.gov.uk - feel free to say hello to me there! Sometime I will have internet access & will be able to check gmail from there, but until the paperwork goes through I am limited to MS Outlook & SAP. Thrilling, eh?

Hope all's well.

Cheers!
Shaun


On 8/26/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Today makes two weeks! Woo woo! :)

I am settling into UK office life. Unfortunately nothing as entertaining as The Office, but it's good. There are some niceties here - I wonder if it's common in British offices. First, whenever anyone nearish me at all goes for tea, they always ask me and everyone else around if they'd like some as well (plus there's free coffee, tea & hot coco - I am becoming a tea fiend!). Second is twice a day a guy comes around with a trolley with food, snacks & drinks to your office so you can have a little snack without the inconvenience of leaving your office space.

This coming weekend's a bank holiday weekend, so no work Monday! But since I don't get my first paycheck for a week, I won't be doing anything extravagant; I am in economy mode. I think a movie might do it for me.

Wishing you all well,
Shaun


On 8/31/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

I had a very nice, relaxing, and relatively inexpensive bank holiday weekend. Just went for a few drinks each night and was to bed relatively early.

It's starting to feel "normal" being here. I am used to Earl's Court and Clerkenwell, and I am really starting to feel like I live here. It's pretty awesome. Friday I get my first pound paycheck - woo woo! (Of course if I am on the emergency tax rate since I haven't gotten my NI number yet I will not be saying "woo woo", I am sure. I have so see how my agency set me up.) However, the weather's been very un-English as it always seems to be for me - sunny & warm! Where's the grey drizzle I signed up for?! Ah well, I am sure I will get my fill this winter.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello - it's slow at work, but nothing too exciting to report on -- which is pretty cool itself.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for my family & some friends stuck in Katrina's path. No major losses as far as I've heard, but my sister Lara lost some big trees. Just one more reason to get out of FL, I say!

Hope all's well with you.

Shaun


On 9/7/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

First the important news...

Last night Natasha and I were having some wine, bemoaning our lack of beds, my wardrobe, TV and internet connection - in other words, any sort of passive entertainment or comfort - when I said off-handedly and without thought "We could always watch a DVD on the computer." I have never seen Ms. Rankow react with such enthusiasm or vigor before, but the knowledge that there had been some sort of visual inebriation undisclosed for five days was nearly too much for her to bear. I promptly hooked up the computer, we put in AbFab since we're in London, and all was well. (We watched 'Poor' - my favorite! "Has that been there the whole time?") :-D

Less interesting, but useful, I registered as part of a limited company yesterday! I officially own one share of Kastra Contractors Limited. All this does is, since I am working through a temp agency, allow me to claim myself as a contractor instead of a PAYE (pay as you earn) employee which means I am taxed differently. It's not a huge amount, about £28pw when all is said and done, but I am not about to poo-poo £28! And it's all legal and on the up & up. Not too shabby. Of course when/if I ever get a permanent job I won't be able to do this any longer, but until then an extra night out's pay is fine by me.

As alluded to above, still no furniture delivery, but we're getting ever closer to the "final" possible delivery date of 15 Sep. The cable, of course, has been delayed, due to our recent arrival in the UK, from today until the end of next week "if we're lucky" and we now have to add in a £100 deposit. I guess this is why all the six sigma & efficiency experts come from the US. :)

But still, London is perfect and I could not be happier to be here. All the delays and inconveniences are a small price to pay to have the Atlantic between Texas & me.

Shaun


On 9/8/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Yesterday was a big step forward in the settlement of ## R_______ Court... we (supposedly) have a delivery date for the rest of our things (14 Sep) and a cable installation date (15 Sep). We're hiring our landlord's handyman to put together our beds & my wardrobe (£50 well spent!), so in theory we're a week away... we'll see. I shan't be lulled into complacency just to have another month of delays and £200 in cost thrown my way.

But the most important thing happened when I was speaking with some of our neighbors (the poor dears, they live in the country most of the time, and all they have to suffer in for their 4-5 weekends a year in London is this lousy new 2-bedroom flat with a view of St. Paul's (speaking of the building's age, I learned it is a ripe 13 years young, though has none of the ugliness you'd expect a new building to - it fits into the area very nicely *and* all the utilities work well - it's a gem (MD, I am learning!))) and I learned we need to get one more key.... for... yes... it's true! A private garden!!!! We have a private garden! How very English. It's nothing like the lovely old Nevern Square or even Grammercy Park in New York, but it's nice and only about 20 apartments have access to it.

So we are happy tenants of our flat. I can't wait for visitors.

Cheers,
Shaun


On 9/12/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Just a quick little note to mark a milestone... Today is my one month anniversary of arriving in Olde London Towne. Woo woo!

Last Friday I had a nice event happen, out of a not so good one. We had a massive rain storm and as a result many of the tubes flooded and lines were down. After trying three stations on three different lines I realized it was the bus for me. The buses are great here, so that's fine, it's just it's not like NYC where you get to a street going the way you want to go and get on the bus and it takes you up-, down- or cross-town. Buses go all over the place here, like a plate of spaghetti, and as a result there's not "A Map" of all the routes, but each stop has info on the routes that come to it. What I was proud of was being able to look at the bus guides at the stops and seeing where they go and piecing together my route home. Yay! It's almost like I live here or something. ;P

One other thing, being here with no TV the anniversary of 9/11 came and went with no recognition other than noticing the date on the paper. No articles, no tributes, no newscasts of any ceremonies. Kind of felt odd to be so removed from it.

Shaun


On 9/14/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Progress is being made!

Today, after only 27 days since ordering, Argos arrived with the rest of our furniture. We have beds! And a TV! This afternoon the building's handyman is going to come by and we're paying him to assemble everything. My friend Kip, bless his heart, put together the first round as a favor and I would not wish it on him again; so we are separating from a few pounds to make everyone's life happier.

Anyway, today TV, tomorrow cable/internet/land line!

But, the most important thing -- I GOT MY NI# TODAY! (That's the UK equivalent of a SS#.) Only 1.5 weeks after I applied. It must be a record!

So that's my happy news. Yay.

Hope all's well with everyone where you are.

Cheers,
Shaun


On 9/16/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Had a fun American vs. UK English incident yesterday. Can my Anglo friends tell me if this is rather isolated or if it's across the island?

I was explaining to my boss where I put some test files and I said "I created a folder called surface tests and then my name in parenthesis" and he said "What?".

I repeated, and he said "In what?" And I said "Parenthesis." and he had no idea what they were.

I said "You know, the little curves things" and motioned with my hands, and he said "Oh, brackets!"

"Ah, we call the square ones brackets. What do you call those?"

"Square brackets."

So I guess the British don't say "parenthetically".

I have a recollection from math that {}s have their own name as well -- does anyone remember that?*

2h15 till the weekend! Yahooey!

Shaun

*braces - congrats to Frank Jania for getting that first!


On 9/29/05, Shaun Coley wrote:

Well, I've definitely made the decision -- I have made this move for the life change and not the money.

I just said no to a job that pays £19ph ($34ph). The job was great, challenging, the people were nice, I'd actually be doing project management & some people management... but it was just the location. It's in Stratford (Newham Borough, East London - where the Olympics are going), and it was just so dismal. Pound stores, a concrete shopping mall, "McTucky Fried Chicken" shops and just... blech. I didn't move to London for that. I just know I'd wake up every morning hating having to go there and I just don't can't do that again.

So I will bide my time in my current job until I find something better. I am in the city of my dreams, I have a job, I am not going to starve or be homeless, my wonderful flatmate would never let me endure a dinner without wine; I have nothing to complain about, my life is great. (Or per James Blunt, 'My life is brilliant'.)

Xo,
Shaun