Random Thoughts Vol. 3

I haven’t written anything in a while, I know. I’ve been busy trying to sort out classes and other school stuff (for the record, the University of Essex is a nice place but it’s got the most disorganized scheduling setup ever). After selecting four classes in May, I was told in July that all four were canceled or full. I selected four more, and got no more word about them until the day before classes started, at which point I was told that one was full and one was now a half-year class. So it took me until almost two weeks had passed (after classes had started) to get everything sorted out. Anyway, here’s what’s been on my mind since getting to England.

  • You pretty much cannot get anything done on Sundays in England. The Tube and rail systems have limited departures, the buses cut their running times in half, and the normally 24 hour supermarket closes at 4:00 PM for no apparent reason. This was especially irritating when the first night we were here was a Sunday, and it was much more difficult than it should have been to obtain beer.
  • I really hate people who get impatient on elevators (“lifts,” I guess I should be calling them). I live in a 14-story tower, with 12-13 people on each floor. I cannot count the number of times that someone from the 13th or 14th floor has constantly sighed or rolled their eyes on the way down when the elevator stops at a few floors. Sorry to make you wait ten seconds to get where you’re going, asshole, but I don’t really feel like walking nine flights of stairs every time I go to class. If you don’t like stopping for other people, you can take the fucking stairs. Prick.
  • You know how a lot of gas station and other skeezy bathrooms in the United States have crappy generic condoms available from vending machines? Well, those are all over the place in England, only they have actual name-brand condoms in them. This surprised me. More surprising, however, was the fact that one of the bathrooms on campus here has a sex toy vending machine. No, I am not joking. For anywhere from £3-5, you can get fuzzy handcuffs, a vibrator, “blue pills” that are apparently generic Viagra, a vibrating cock ring, and inexplicably, an inflatable sheep, which I can only hope is meant as a joke. It’s kind of odd. On the plus side though, I know where to go if I am in dire need of fuzzy handcuffs some evening.
  • British Mexican food SUCKS. Seriously, don’t even bother. A friend and I went to a Mexican restaurant to see what it was like; I’m from Utah and she’s from California, so we were missing good Mexican food pretty quick. The menu was not particularly promising–it referred to a quesadilla as a “Mexican pancake stuffed with cheese and meat,” so we knew we weren’t going to get the authenticity we’re used to. I ordered a burrito. What I got was a tortilla folded into a square with ground beef and black beans inside and nothing on top. There was decent guacamole and pico de gallo on the side, as well as “Mexican rice” that was apparently normal rice, only with corn and peas in it. We asked for hot sauce; they brought us an approximation of salsa that made the whole thing about as spicy as your average frozen burrito. The food itself wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t Mexican. On the plus side drinks were half-price that evening. Also, I had the foresight to bring a large bottle of Cholula with me so I can at least make my own Mexican food.
  • This brings me to another point regarding Mexican food: immigration. Say what you will about job loss, wage depression, taxes, social burdens, etc. Some of those are valid arguments and some aren’t. However, regardless of any other issues with immigration, I think anti-immigration groups in the US are missing a huge point: If we don’t have any more people coming up from Mexico, our Mexican food will start to suck. The reason British Mexican food sucks is because there are no Mexicans for 5000 miles, except maybe a few who come here on vacation and can’t even find a goddamn Taco Bell. The reason the British have such excellent curry, however, is because they have a large number of Indian and Middle Eastern immigrants. All other arguments aside, I believe in opening our border for the sole purpose of having awesome food widely available.
  • Time Crisis 2 is really not that hard to beat. I usually stop playing after dying once, so I’ve never beaten it before (except maybe when I was like 12 or something). Today I forgot what room my class was in and decided to play Time Crisis instead. I had to put in a grand total of three coins, beat the game, and felt all epic until the timer told me I had spent just under 20 minutes beating the entire thing. That’s honestly pretty lame.
  • I’m quitting smoking, or seriously cutting back at least. Not because I want to; I could honestly give a shit about all the health stuff. No, the reason I’m quitting is because a pack of cigarettes here is almost £6, which at the current exchange rate equals out to about $12. Much as I enjoy smoking, I really can’t justify paying $12 for a pack of cigarettes, especially if I’m going through two or three packs a week like I usually do. I may buy myself a pack as a Christmas present or something, who knows. It’s especially disgruntling because my flat allows smoking in the rooms, so this is more than likely the one time I’ll be able to smoke a cigarette while watching TV on my computer, and I have to quit (or at least limit myself to a pack a month or something, but that might be difficult). Fucking exchange rate.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I’ll try to write something here more than once a month.

4 Thoughts on “Random Thoughts Vol. 3”

  1. Yeah, it sounds like you’re being _pounded_ by the pound. How’s that going?

  2. It’s a pain in the ass. I’ve more or less had to start thinking of my loan as being half the size it is and in pounds, otherwise I’ll get frustrated that a cheap deli lunch is $9 and a cheap 12-pack of beer is $13. I miss my $6 Pabst Blue Ribbon…

  3. props to the commonwealth countries for at least screwing up all the same stuff. bad food, expensive alcohol, and ghost town weekends are the main reasons I can’t leave Australia soon enough at this point. although I would hardly say that going back to Utah is in anyway going to satisfy my good Mexican food craving, but it’s gotta beat this place by a landslide. and warning to any future visitors of Australia, if you get french fries (chips), you need to-mah-to sauce. if you ask for ketchup you will be virtually murdered with stares of death.

  4. Haha, thanks for the tip, Shanna. As for Mexican food, I managed to find the small Mexican food section at the grocery store and picked up refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and a jar of jalepenos. I made the most amazing steak burritos in all of England, it was pretty rockin’.

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