Thursday, May 25, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #51] Shaun in a word (or 20)

Yesterday I sent out an eMail to my "doodles" list asking people to describe me in one word. This is how my friends & family see me:

Amazing, Voluptuous, Promiscuous, Relentless, Outrageous, Alcoholic, Precocious, Nomadic, Brilliant, Unique, Clued-Up, Peripatetic, Inspired, Worldly, Capricious, Ebullient, Adorable, Experimental, Omnipresent, Impervious.

Sound like me?

(And, yes, clued-up counts as one word... I protested as well, but turns out MS Word counts hyphenated expressions as one, and since this is Micro$oft's world, it counts.)

Cheers,
Shaun
--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
http://www.friendster.com/profiles/shaunism
London, UK
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #50] Never Mind the Full Stops

Anyone who's visited the UK knows TV here is a lot different than in the US.  A lot of it is dreadful, but a lot is great.  Earlier this year I was in love with "Balderdash and Piffle" a show that traced the origin of English words.

Tonight Natasha and I watched one of the cerebral 'game shows' that would only work in England -- the type that is all about the guests' answers & commentary, not about winning.  It's called "Never Mind the Full Stops" and it's a quiz show about everything & anything English.  If you're so inclined, you can check out the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/features/fullstops/

But just another little cultural thing that makes me love living here.  :)

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
http://www.friendster.com/profiles/shaunism
London, UK
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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #49] Good news!

I've just received notice that I've been accepted to Cass Business School to complete my MBA, beginning in September.  VERY glad about this!  It's more debt (yahooey!), but I will be finishing the degree sooner than I'd thought and at a well-respected university in the UK.  So my life over the next two years is becoming a little bit more settled.
 
Today's a good day!
 
Cheers,

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Monday, May 15, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #48] Ciao, bella!

WARNING: Very calm, laid-back weekend described below.

Nine months (Nine? How did that happen? I was sure it was only eight...) to the day after leaving New York for shores abroad I set foot in my first new European country. Quite surprising, seeing it's a stalwart of almost everyone's itinerary on their first trip to Europe, but I have finally made it to Italy. I went with my friend Sean to Bologna over a long weekend to dip my toes into the Roman world and to visit a friend Luca.

Bologna is an eminently nice city. It's called the red city as most every building is a shade of red. The city center is mostly still medieval-aged structures and Bologna is home to the world's oldest university. A quirk in real estate measurements led to 42km of covered sidewalks in the city. In medieval times the property was priced (and I imagine taxed) based on the perimeter of the building on the ground. So to save money owners built a smaller base, then jutted the second floor out and supported it with arches. This resulted in covered archways lining many of Bologna's central streets. Lovely effect, and especially nice in the heat and/or rain.

Overall Bologna's a very quiet, small, but sophisticated, city. We had a good time exploring the city, dining, some people-watching in the piazzas. It wasn't the dinners laden with rivers of wine I'd anticipated, but I enjoyed myself, and I still have Rome to feel out that side of Italian life.

Friday we spent the day in Florence and what can one say but "Wow, the Duomo really is that amazing"? The whole city center is a post-card and I enjoyed getting to walk over the famous bridge with houses & stores on it. It was surprisingly uncrowded (note: I am using Times Square and Oxford Street as bases to measure this) for being such a tourist mecca; quite appreciated.

Now I am back in fair London. Already mentally planning the next time in Italy... Rome & Naples, I am thinking; it's time to see the South.

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
http://www.friendster.com/profiles/shaunism
London, UK

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Monday, May 08, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #47] Londcisco-by-the-Sea

Ah! They grey skies! Chilly weather! Insipid rain! Pebbles & stones stretching as far as the eye can see! Where else can one get all this but the English seaside?! I went to Brighton this weekend, a town on the coast of England, about an hour south from London. It's a popular gay getaway, London's more declassé answer to Provincetown.

Brighton's nickname is "London-by-the-Sea" due to the large influx of (largely gay) Londoners that occurs every weekend, especially over the Summer. But I believe a more accurate description would be if you were to think of London and San Francisco having a tryst at the beach one holiday and Brighton is the love child they left behind. It is thoroughly English, from its large London emigrant population and guests, to fish-and-chips on the pier, to the people enjoying themselves on the rides at the pier oblivious to the rain & glum in the way only a people who've grown up with it could. But there're huge overlaps with San Francisco; the city is choc-a-block with Edwardian architecture, rows of ticky-tack houses lining the hills above the city, gays & hippies everywhere, galleries displaying art for art's sake (tell me, really, does anyone like this stuff?) and 300 pound lesbians with mullets who don't wear bras to make a political point. If the trip hadn't only taken an hour I could easily have been fooled into thinking I was back on 18th & Castro.

It really is a lovely town, and I had a good time. Good food, good just-tacky-enough gay bars, dance club, a cute shopping district called The Lanes, made up of a series of 5-feet-or-so-wide lanes lined with oh-so-precious stores. I also rode the world famous Crazy Mouse, a roller coaster where, for the second half of the ride, as you're riding along the track your car spins around randomly. It was surprisingly fun (and scary, since you feel you're about to fly off into the sea) and only £3 (as opposed to the highly disappointing £9 (yes, £9!) roller coaster Russ and I rode in Blackpool.

So a good weekend was had. I'd definitely go back some time; I hear Pride there is fantastic. But now all thoughts are to Italy! Sean and I go to Bologna this Thursday for a four-day getaway there and Verona. It's my first time to Italy - very excited!

Cheers,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
http://www.friendster.com/profiles/shaunism
London, UK

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