25 May 2007

The Brother ReckenRoll

Will be in da hood this holiday weekend! How excited are we (royal we)? VERY excited. I anticipate jokes told in presence of others that only he and I find funny and at least 1 argument about something so minor that you could only fight about it with a family member.

Wonder Twin Powers Activate!

I leave you with a little Summer love from The Party. Long live the Mickey Mouse Club and hairstyles of the early 90s. I don't know if I love the fancy set or the awesome outfits. I mean denim shorts with lace on the bottom? COME ON. Wait for the rap in the middle. It will MAKE your weekend. I dare you not to have this song in your head later.

Many thanks to Classy for reminding me of my first true love.

24 May 2007

I am full of bugs

Got most of my vaccinations today. Three needle sticks for 6 diseases and I get to go back next week for meningitis. Whoo hoo!

ReckenRoll = Human Pin Cushion

I got more than one strange look walking home. I made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless shirt and for some reason the nurse thought it better to give me the big cotton bud with tape over it to cover the needle prick instead of a plaster. So there I am, in a bit of a daze, wandering home with a bag full of malaria pills and three big bandages on my upper arms.

Needless to say my posh little hood didn't know what to think of me.

Of course I couldn't find my old immunizations record anywhere this morning either so we started from scratch. I got a lot of this:

"Well, you're American so...

  • ...you're at a disadvantage because you haven't been immunized against TB, like all of the Brits and Irish." (Apparently the vaccine is not mandatory or legal or something in the USA.)
  • ...you're really healthy. You're a really healthy girl aren't you?" (I was beginning to think she was calling me fat)
  • ...you've had your TB, mumps, etc. but that runs out around the age of 25." (more shots, yaaay!)

I also learned that:

  • with a hepatitis shot, if I get a booster in a year, I am immunized for life.
  • In 10 days I will be 100% immunized against Yellow Fever, a near fatal disease, for 10 years. One shot does that...but it stings like a bitch.
  • My tetanus, typhoid, and polio vaccines will last me 10 years.
  • If a dog bites me, I need to get back to the UK ASAP. Under no circumstances should I be treated for rabies in Africa. Apparently the treatment involves blood culture thingies. Now, as a general rule I don't approach wild dogs that foam at the mouth but I will apparently need to be extra vigilant.
  • I should be careful not to drink unbottled water, eat fruit or veg from a street vendor, or drink unpasteurized milk. Again, kind of a general rule of mine for traveling in a 3rd world country but I'll be extra vigilant.
  • I am not supposed to let anyone sneeze or cough on me. Again, kind of a general rule, but (say it with me) I'll be extra vigilant.
  • Malaria is carried by the female mosquito and apparently she only bites at night. I need to leave the air conditioning running in my hotel room at all times because it keeps the mosquitos out. Yes, I will be bringing long sleeved warm clothes to sleep in in Africa. That makes sense.
  • Tsetse flies are attracted to the colour blue. Mosquitos are attracted to dark fabric. Wear light colours.

Now, mind you, I will be spending most of my time in the conference centre and the 5 star hotel so all of this may just be for show. Also 50% 0f the country is muslim so it's not like I could accidentally get drunk (not a lot of booze in muslim countries), put on some jeans, dturn off the A/C and drink unpasteurized milk while eating a salad from a street vendor and petting a rabid dog...but stranger things have happened.

ReckenRoll, now with 600% more immunity.

22 May 2007


Is that a word?
May has been a month of gigs here in London town. One of those months where I have been discovering that there is an entire live music scene just down the street in Camden Town that I had always known - in the periphery - was there, but never bothered to participate in.


However, thanks to my friend
Jharda's burgeoning music career (and active participation in open mic nights) I have found a bit of a new passion. In the last month I've been buying tickets to live music like it's going out of style - as long as it sounds interesting on their MySpace you can count me in. Not just gigs, formal concerts too. No music (except death metal goth punk) excluded.

Music worth mentioning from recent outings:
  • Pink Martini - based out of Portland, Oregon they are so unique and fun and would definitely recommend them to anyone. You feel like you are living in a 50's movie soundtrack and you wish you could cha cha, samba, swing and salsa.
  • G Love and the Special Sauce - after hearing great things for years and years, I finally checked them out on their way through Camden Town. Very fun and relaxed. You need a cool drink and a garden bbq for G Love. Life is good.
  • Jharda - Seriously. Click on the link above and listen to her. She's amazing and she works in my office. I can't believe it sometimes.
  • 7 Seconds of Love - Ska is not my fav but let's face it, it's always a fun show. These guys took on Coca Cola and won. How can you not love them a little bit? Specifically listen to "First Drink of the Day" and "Ninja". Someday, I'm gonna flip out like a ninja...cause that's what ninjas do.
  • Fiction Plane - Random Friday night pub gig but turns out they are one of the opening bands for the Police on their tour. They ran a tight set and had TONS of enthusiasm. I would go again.
  • And finally, I am seeing Dave Matthews next week in the new Wembley Arena. First Dave concert in about 3 years and the venue should be great. I am looking forward to seeing Dave on this side of the pond.

My secret hope is that 5of9er and MKinMotion will find at least one new music interest in this list...but I doubt it. They're miles ahead of me on music.

Rock on kids.
ReckenRoll out.

17 May 2007

Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

Like the headline? I have just confirmed today that Ougadougou is where I am headed next on business. I had never even heard of it until about a month or so ago and now I am headed there myself in June. This is what I know:
  • I need to apply for a visa
  • I need to get a yellow fever shot and take some malaria pills
  • I should get the hepatitis series of vaccinations
  • It's also been advised that I also get a rabies vaccination

No mind you, Burkina Faso will let me in without these but the USA might not let me back in without proof that I have had them. Shots start next week!

A quick perusal of the CIA Factbook (one of the BEST online resources EVER) tells me the following:

  • The Chief of State is President Compaore
  • The Head of Government is Prime Minister Yonli
  • The life expectancy at birth of the average Burkinabe is 49 years
  • One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base.
  • About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop.

So now you know what I know. It's a bit exciting to think I am going to a place that I would never have even considered if work circumstances were not what they were. It's going to be 3 days of hard work but in the end, should be one hell of an adventure! Cape Town has nothing on Ougadougou!

14 May 2007

What I Learned This Weekend: Cinco de Mayo Edition

*Update: Photos now in Flikr

You'd think I'd have learned it all by now...you'd be wrong.

  • No matter how much I want to, I have absolutely NO ability to pace myself in order to be able to eat some of everything that Jeff cooks. Sadcakes.
  • After a few margaritas, if you want to video people dancing in the kitchen, all you have to do is say, "How come nobody's dancing?" and turn up the music. Works a charm.
  • JBro is really not good at coming up with lies/excuses on the spot.
  • Jeff is more willing to go along with a lame excuse than previously imagined.
  • I can forget the phone calls I make in as little as 15 minutes...even when the phone is handed back to me with the person I called still on it.
  • Cross dressing Ukranians are not a strong enough act to win the Eurovision contest (Serbia won).
  • It is not possible for me to go straight to bed when I get home. It is possible for me to fall straight to sleep on the couch.

11 May 2007

Friday's Top Five: Reasons I am Glad it's the Weekend

And not just any weekend kids...
  1. IT'S EUROVISION SONG CONTEST WEEKEND!!! Yippee!!! This year it's hosted in Helsinki thanks to last year's most awesome winner being Lordi. If you don't know Lordi, you are missing out on the coolest thing to come from Finland since...well, since EVER.
  2. IT'S OUR ANNUAL CINCO DE MAYO CELEBRATION WEEKEND!!! Yippee!!! I am looking forward to the best burritos this side of the Atlantic and enough tequila to tide me over until next year...
  3. IT'S A RICHARD SIMMONS SHOPPING WEEKEND!!! Yippee!! Thanks to the magic of eBay, I can spend all my time that is not watching Eurovision or doing tequila shooters by shopping for Richard Simmon's Dolls to complete my collection!

With that much awesomeness in one weekend who needs a #4 or #5?

09 May 2007

A Man and His Dolls

Thanks to an insightful comment over at 50f9er's place, I was alerted to the fact that there is a RICHARD SIMMONS DOLL LINE.

One quick Google later and I can now share
this creepiest of creepy facts with all of you.

God damn I love the Internet.

08 May 2007


Check out Flickr for the Vienna photos. I'll get Budapest posted tomorrow hopefully.

Vienna was a great trip. I really really enjoy every trip I have taken to Austria and northern Switzerland (all the German-speaking areas). It's so easy to travel and negotiate your way around. The architecture is beautiful, the people are friendly, the scenery is gorgeous...and when you think about the history it just blows your mind.

More later!

04 May 2007

Friday's Top Five: Things I am Doing this Weekend

Monday is a bank holiday here in the UK and I am taking advantage of the 3 day weekend in the following way:
  1. Going to Vienna
  2. Concert in the Mozart House
  3. Going to Budapest for the day
  4. Soaking up the local culture.
  5. Taking photos to share with all of you

Bon Weekend all!

03 May 2007

Fame Is All About the Company You Keep

The Gumball Rally 3000 kicked off in London on Sunday. I wasn't on the Mall to see the start but you can see photos here.

Gumball was a completely new concept to me until last week when, on a quiet night out with the girls, I suddenly found myself in an alternate universe and actually truly living like a rockstar.

My first indication that I was not among average blokes? The 2 bottles of champagne that appeared at our table. The second was learning that it's £28k just to enter the race as a driver, £21k if you are the co-pilot. The third was an offer for the following night to have instant access to one of those oh-so-trendy London night clubs (you know, the ones you can only get in if you are a member or Ms. La Lohan herself).

It's only in London where a night like this is possible...and here we thought it was just another Thursday.

In the end, our night with the Gumball racers involved a lot of laughs. We drank the champagne but ultimately had to pass on the club. Tempting as it was, and they were lovely guys, a quick perusal of the photos on many of the racers websites let us learn it's a lifestyle that's a bit too surreal...a girl can only take so much alternate reality.

Good luck Gumball boys!

01 May 2007

I Dream of Billy Elliot

Q: How do you know your not in the West End?
A: Audience gives a standing ovation.

I saw Billy Elliot with Suz last night. It was good. It delivered exactly what it promised and definitely entertaining. There was a lot of energy on the stage and we all left with smiles on our faces. Suz and I decided we need more standing ovations in our daily work. How great would that be? At the end of the day, you leave your desk and people stand up and applaud. "GREAT JOB LEADING THAT MEETING TODAY RECKEN!" "WHOO HOO!!"

I had dreams about dancing ballet last night. It was a good night of sleep - good times as far as dreams go - at least there wasn't a computer or a boss involved. I'd like to thank Billy and the cast at the Victoria Theater.

So anyway, Suz and I are at the show last night, checking out the swag they sell: Billy Elliot soundtrack! Billy Elliot t-shirts! Bill Elliot Key Chains! Billy Elliot pajamas! Autographed poster size photo of Billy Elliot's head shot!...Wait what?

They sell a poster sized blow up photo, autographed in ink, of the kid playing Billy Elliot. Which at first glance didn't raise much concern but then lead to our interval discussion of why they would sell this and who would buy it? Think about it.

Who buys a poster of an 11 year old boy (besides 11 year old girls) without revealing a big gaping window into your sexual perversion? Maybe it's a sting operation?