Greetings from Paris!

August 29th, 2007 by matt

Man, I’ve been bad. Well, this time, it was because of a last minute trip to Paris. Yep, I’m writing from Paris. I bought a ticket on Monday and hopped the eurostar on Tuesday night. Yes, the tough life. Hopefully, the work part won’t be as bad as I’m expecting. If so, then I get a day or two of free time to see the city. Alas, my digital camera died about 4 days ago, so I might not be able to post any pictures for a bit (I’m gonna look into getting some sort of single-use camera in the meantime). whee!

Meaty Goodness

August 20th, 2007 by matt

Well, it’s been more than a week, which I believe is the longest I’ve been blog-silent since I moved to London. A touch of writers block. I’ve been busy, but there’s plenty to write about. So let’s write.

Last week consisted of a lot of work and a lot of going out and being social. One of my favourite people in the world, Jess, was around for many days and it meant that I got to see her multiple times for what may have been three years. She’s on a grand work tour which included Australia, New Zealand and London. It ends with her going on her honeymoon (congrats Jess and Amit!). But, before she could relax in Italy with Amit, she was stuck hanging out with me.

Last Monday, she wanted to come up and see my neighbourhood a little bit and see my cute kitties who had arrived three days earlier (clearly I’ve been bad about writing in the blog — there’s no cat entry!). Before that, I decided she needed to try the Marquess Tavern. It’s a pub about 15 minutes from me that has a nifty little niche in the pub-food world. They have some sort of room in the back where they store racks of beef. They keep a running list of what they’ve got in back on a chalkboard. The sizes range from about 2.5lbs to about 10lbs of beef (I’m planning a big trip with many people to tackle one of those larger pieces of meat). If you pick one of them, they take it off the board since they only have one and the meal is something of a roast with gravy, potatoes, yorkshire pudding and some sort of vegetables. It’s very tasty. And the beef is right off the bone. Look!


It also has a nice selection of ales and a friendly atmosphere inside. The surrounding area is a fancy part of Islington called Canonbury, with lots of beautiful homes and greenery. The exterior of the pub is nothing to be ashamed of either. I believe it’s Listed (some sort of British distinction to preserve things of historical interest).  Look:


(bad picture — but it’s beautiful).

Anyway, that was one evening of Jess. The following days were fun as well and even included one night of Dina! But I lack photos of most of it. I’ve been a bad travelling Matt.

A Little time in Frankfurt

August 12th, 2007 by matt

So I’m back in the lovely realm of London. I’ve got my cats and work should start being more normal. So, to get myself back in the blogging saddle, I’ll give some more fun with Frankfurt. This was a quick 2 day business trip, but I tried to have a little bit of the German experience.

Frankfurt is an odd city. It was pretty much levelled in World War II, so a lot of the old German charm was destroyed. As its become the financial centre of Germany, it’s got a lot of modernity to it. But there are definitely rebuilt buildings that retain an old-world charm to it. My company’s Frankfurt office is currently on the 27th floor of the Maintower, which is a nice building with a shitload of cool views.

Anyway, here’s a little of Frankfurt in pictures:


My office (the taller one) and my hotel (the shorter one). Easy commute and nice views!


The view from my hotel room. Alas, it was mostly rainy while I was there, but here’s a moment of clear sky.


Here would be a “typical” Germany meal. A whole lot of yummy pork. Mmmmm. In Frankfurt, this would be accompanied by Apfelwein, a fermented apple cider type drink. It’s dryer than a English cider.


I mentioned that not all of Frankfurt is new, corporate architecture. Here is the rebuilt opera house.

A Hearty German Hello!

August 8th, 2007 by matt

So I’m writing this from our office in Germany. I had to buy a plane ticket on Monday for a flight on Tuesday to come to Frankfurt for a quick jaunt of a work related nature. The office is on the 27th floor (cool!) and the hotel is it’s ‘twin’ accross the way, but my room is only on the 26th floor. hee hee. I’ll post more about it later, but here’s my spiffy hotel room:


A Trip to the Friendly Confines

August 5th, 2007 by matt

So I have a post about my previous day on my Chicago trip, but I checked the news this morning and saw some baseball related info that seemed relevant to another activity I partook of whilst in Chicago.

The previous evening, I went out with a whole lot of people and braved the rain and lightning to see the Decemberists play in the Frank Gehry designed bandshell. Our friend Sof was there and, as we were leaving, he mentioned that he had a free ticket to see the Cubs the following afternoon and hinted that they were pretty freaking good seats. With everyone else having to work and stuff, I gladly took him up on the offer.

The day started out beautiful, but kept looking ominous and cloudy. They called for rain, but all that happened in the end was a little sprinkling of rain and some nice cloud cover from the sun.

Welcome to Wrigley!

After a little bit of missing each other in the crowds, we met up with two of Sof’s friends. Their dad had managed to pick up some box seats from work for free and couldn’t go, so he passed them on to his daughters and, eventually, I ended up with one! Well, these seats were about 20 rows back and slightly to the left of home plate. Very very nice. See for yourself:


Very nice view of the game. Which just meant that I actually had to watch it. So, while I did imbibe some alcohol at the game, I can actually recall what happened. It was a high scoring affair, with the Cubs jumping out to a big lead and squandering it. The big highlight (or lowlight, depending on your perspective) was Barry Bonds hitting homeruns 752 and 753.

Which brings me to why I’m writing about this today instead of the Decemberists concert. I’m not going to try to go into the obvious fact that Barry Bonds has been cheating for many years in order to reach a milestone that is one of those records that has and should be hard to break. I just think it’s a shame that major league baseball has appeared to wash their hands of it. He’s going to break the record very very soon (now that he’s tied it), and it doesn’t look like, short of them catching him taking steroids or HGH, there’s not much anyone can do about it. Which is kind of sad. Hitting that many homeruns is an impressive feat, but it appears as though he repeatedly tried any means he could to take things to enhance his game while not getting caught in the act.

I’ll leave it to someone who knows better than I to say a little more about it. Bob Costas, while he can get on my nerves, has a great interview here where he lays out the (circumstantial) reasons why it’s pretty obvious that Bonds has been using steroids (or other shit to make himself a gigantic man). Ok, no more rant. I think, in the end, that Major League Baseball deserves a whole lot of the blame for basically approving of these kinds of actions.
Anyway, I was really happy to have a chance to enjoy a day at a baseball game. I am not the biggest sports enthusiast, but I always like to catch a game or two every summer. It’s always a fun time.

Getting back into the blogging saddle — with kitties!

August 2nd, 2007 by matt

OK, I was able to leave the office at a reasonable hour, have a leisurely dinner and decompress by sitting on my ass in my flat for once. Let’s start up the blogging again with these cute little critters:


Anna looking pensive


Chewy zonked out

Now I’ve said I wouldn’t dwell too much on the cats, but there’s developments afoot! In one week, these sweet little creatures will be crated up and take a crazy ass adventure across the Atlantic to join me in London. Just writing this makes me incredibly nervous. It was wonderful to see them again in Michigan (I’ll get to that in the next week), but when I think about the 12 hours of hell they’re going to go through just so I can be with them again, I worry. OK, first of all, I hope it’s not hell. And when the come out of their crates, then they will be home again. Even if home is a long ways away and nothing like the last two homes they were in. But I’ll be there.

Anyway, Anna and Chewy are coming soon. I’ve got a lot to do to prepare for their arrival. Woo hoo! 🙂