28 December 2008

A Very Snowy Christmas

I fell off the map for a few weeks, and it was glorious. The last few months have brought a routine - something I hadn't had in a long time! With it came a much more mellow scene. That is, my life slipped in terms of excitement. Every waking moment went toward school, gym, swim or eating. Not exactly the flashy style I was used to. That meant less to write about, as I tend not to veer into the terribly personal if I can help it. Still, politics offered a few opportunities for editorializing, commenting and posting videos, articles, etc. that caught my eye. As for me, however, it just wasn't all that spectacular. As the new year approaches the only "resolution" I'll be making is to write more - at least a few times a week. It makes me feel good and I get to think about something. As travels won't be in the cards until at least March, I'll try and focus on political issues, academic thoughts, pertinent life events and London "happenings."

As for right now, I'm just going to post some photos from my Very Merry, Very Funny, Very Wonderful Christmas in Utah. The Mom, the Dad, the Sister, the Brother, the Nana, the Papa, the Nan and the Steve were all there, not to mention the rest of the Christensen gang (including the newest member - Calli - who was born just days before Christmas). Sorry kid, your doomed to "celebrate on Christmas" and "joint presents" for the rest of your life! :-) We basically spent nine days having snowball fights, sledding, snowboarding, playing games, opening gifts, eating, eating and eating. It was relaxing, enjoyable and filling over and over again! Here's a few Kodak Moments:

12 December 2008

What Kind Of Special Is Boots Running?

Every Friday I get the "meal deal" from Boots for lunch. It's 3 pounds fifty for a sandwich, side and drink, which is absolutely AMAZING for London. Right now they've got the December special on - Christmas roast with stuffing, rocket and cranberry sauce on a delectable wholemeal seedy bread. Divine! Couple that with a yogurt cluster and apple juice and I'm one happy camper.

Last Friday, however, I was a bit confused by the special they were advertising. In case you missed it above, here's the sticker zoomed in:

Um, huh? 3 for 2 on hosiery and socks? Woohoo! That's just what I was thinking about buying with my "shapers" meal deal at noon on a Friday. You got me pegged! Although, this may be just the campaign they're trying to start - irony-loving bloggers who spread their viral hosiery and socks campaign online. Brilliant...


Kyle Taylor

10 December 2008

I Live HERE!

I realized in the heat of school, life and London I forgot to properly introduce my humble abode! I think telling the story through pictures works best, so here goes:

The overview: I live in a 10 foot by 8 foot box that has its own bathroom, window (with all-day sunshine) and occasional radiated heat (when it feels like turning on). I've done my best, however, to turn this vaulted ceiling box into a luxurious estate...

Here's the bedroom: I went with a tan on red pattern to give the room some life. My Union Jack is hanging first because the wall is so big and second because it's apparently way "uncool" to hang up your own flag (comparable to wearing the T-shirt of a band to their show. NOT OK).

We then move into the entry way, complete with whiteboard (can you read what it says?), photos of family and friends and umbrella (used almost every day).

The entry way leads into the study, home of books, dishes, food, extra towels and my map of the world.

From there it's off to the "powder room" or pod, as I call it. Sink, toilet and shower in a 2 foot by 2 foot space. Only room to do one thing at a time in here!

Next it's the place where I spent most of my time - the office! My computer lives on it's "keep me cool" stand, my speakers rock out the latest tunes when I dance around in the morning (as well as NPR when I don't dance around in the morning), the board is covered with photos of family and friends, my printer lives just above alongside my DVDs, my cow and tulip enjoy the top floor and two area lights bring a warmer feel to the space. I've also got my hamper, coat rack and "Blackpool" tea towel in the office. You know, for convenience.

And finally, to the "conservatory!" That's right, I have REAL NATURAL LIGHT pouring in most of the day, and I can see that big church tower straight ahead. Every hour on the hour Big Ben chimes down the road, reminding me of the time. How fantastic is that?

Oh my goodness, I LIVE HERE...


Kyle Taylor

08 December 2008

3:30am Fire Alarm

It's now 4:24am an I've just stood outside for nearly an hour while they "clear the building" of a fire alarm in Northumberland House, my place of residence in fine Central London. It took me straight back to the days of South Side at AU, incessant fire alarms going off again and again and again as pathetic fraternity pledges set them off to prove their supposed manliness.

My thoughts, however, have more to do with the general lack of preparedness and safety involved with this drill. At AU student staff and live-in full-time staff swung into action, directly people out, clearing the building and ensuring safety. Everyone knew what to do because we had been told what to do.

Here, it was, for lack of a better term, complete pandemonium. People were taking the elevator to the ground floor. A majority of folks didn't even go outside, and were just milling about in the lobby and entryway. I arrived downstairs to find a girl - apparently desk staff - pounding on the fire indicator board while yelling into a walkie-talkie, "the lights are flashing and it's making tons of noise. I don't know what's going on!" This was followed by her commandeering a megaphone then proceeding to yell at everyone to "get outside RIGHT NOW!" Listen strange girl, we don't even know who you are and we have absolutely not been told once what to do in case of an emergency. There are no leaders in the building that people know and trust because there are no Resident Assistants, or Resident Directors for that matter. How about you just settle down and focus on those blinking lights.

Say what you will about Americans "overdoing," but all 23 times that fire alarm went off my first semester, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do.

Safety first Britain. Safety first.


Kyle Taylor

05 December 2008

Holiday Parties LIKE WHOA

Tis' the season to feast, apparently. Particularly in the UK. It seems that everyone is offering up free food to sad students. From happy hour drinks sponsored by brilliant professors to swim team dinners and Rotary celebrations, It feels like I'm chowing down on some massive masterpiece of a meal at least twice a week, and I'm not complaining!

One of the grandest - and most festive - of them all was hosted by the lovely founders of PeaceChild and my now good friends David, Rosey & Eirwen (not to mention the other 16 phenomenal teachers, voluteers, employees, family members and riff-raff who were there).

They hosted quite a to-do at the PeaceChild White House outside London and invited me to "crash the party." The grounds are actually home to not only David and Rosey, but to Rosey's mother Eirwen and the constant flow of young people who effectively lead the organization. They live down the path in what can only be described as a more luxurious version of camp barracks, complete with kitchen, terrace, beds, bathrooms, TV and the like. I've never seen anything like it.

We spent the evening eating (obviously), singing carols and playing games with the fireplace crackling as it kept us toasty warm. In addition to the photos, I was also able to capture Rosey telling the "Holiday Mad Lib," which involves everyone in attendance who each offer up adjectives to make the story borderline hilarious. Enjoy!

More holiday parties coming soon. There are just so many!


Kyle Taylor

Turkey Day Recap!

Turkey Day is a huge deal in the US of A. More people travel for Thanksgiving than for Christmas. It's a time for food, fun, shopping (as long as it's not at Wal Mart) and family, so when you can't get home (like this year) you've got to do all you can to recreate as many elements of the holiday as possible (except for Wal Mart).

Fortunately, I have a marvelous friend on this side of the pond who is in the middle of attending chef school (as well as being a lawyer, professor, consultant, etc) and just so happened to be having a small soiree at his place to celebrate. Boy did we celebrate! He worked tirelessly in a London-size kitchen to treat us to Sage and Basil-infused Turkey, Brown Sugar glazed Sweet Potatoes, brussel sprouts with prosciutto and walnuts, stuffing, gravy (which he simmered on the stove - AMAZING!), cranberry sauce, home-made pumpkin pie and home-made cinnamon ice cream. No, I'm not making that up. We capped the night off by watching the Dallas Cowboys cream the Seattle Seahawks on Sky Sports. My Dad would have been so proud!

And what inspired such a grand meal? "I can't have your Mom angry with me for not providing a proper Thanksgiving supper!" So then, I guess a thank you is due for my Mom, or at least the threat of my Mom's wrath. Either way, I had an amazing meal!

And of course, the annual photo of me head-over-heels in love with my Pumpkin Pie!


Kyle Taylor

03 December 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

I thought this star-studded take on Prop 8 was just too perfect. Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Margaret Cho, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and more! Enjoy.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die