Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hot Dogs, American Style

Hot dogs are a classically American food. We took the idea of sausage in casing and just went NUTS. Go to any supermarket in the States, and you'll find a whole section of the cheese/cold meat aisle devoted to hot dogs. They range from containing 100% beef to indiscernible meat bits. Hebrew National is the best brand (don't argue), followed by Nathan's (who holds a hot dog eating contest every year at Coney Island).

Hot dogs are harder to find here in England. I've only seen one variety in the classic shrinkwrapped plastic package I'm familiar with. But I see either of these whenever I go shopping, and it makes me feel a bit ill:

American Style Hot Dogs! In jars and cans! OH BOY! A taste of home!

Do people actually buy these and eat them? I suppose they must, as the products exist. But I will argue: these hot dogs are most definitely NOT "American Style" in my mind. They're hot dogs, yes, but hot dogs should not be packed in the same way vienna sausages are.

I find it funny to see American food as interpreted by another country... it must be what, say, Italians and Chinese people feel like in the States.

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Last weekend we travelled up to Birmingham to experience a city that was neither slightly boring Milton Keynes nor the crowded madness that is London. I'd never been before, and promptly went OMG OLD BUILDINGS LOOK SO COOL MUST TAKE PICTURES. I took loads, but I'll just share four of my favorites:

Click a photo to see a slightly larger version.

Birmingham wins over London for me... it's less crowded and dirty, and has almost all the things I'd want out of London. Mostly the less crowded thing.

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Over on my other blog, I've written about how I signed up for a Race for Life 5k in Milton Keynes on June 6th. You can read the entry here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Horrible Histories and Sorry I've Got No Head

Horrible Histories and Sorry I've Got No Head are both shows on CBBC, a children's network run by the BBC. Yes, they are intended for kids. They are also genius.

Let's start with Horrible Histories. It sort of has the same feeling as Bill Nye the Science Guy, except it's about history and more sketch based. But, like Bill Nye, it presents educational material in such a fun and entertaining way that you almost forget you're learning something.

For example, The Wives of Henry VIII:

Go on, tell me you're not going to be humming,"Divorced, beheaded and died... divorced, beheaded, survived..." for the rest of the day.

Want some more? Here are a few more of my favorite clips from Horrible Histories:
New! Victorian Child! (with the shouty man)
The 4 Georges: Born 2 Rule
Stupid Deaths: Edmund II
Wife Swap: Spartans and Athenians
Crazy Caligula
Anglo Saxon Ordeals
Prisoner of War Escape
Stone Age Tools
There are a ton more as well... just search for Horrible Histories on YouTube and go nuts!

Sorry I've Got No Head feels like Kids in the Hall for... well... kids. It's extremely clever and funny. It's also better than any episode of Saturday Night Live I've seen in the last decade.

Here's a sketch with a recurring character; the Witchfinder General:


Here are a few other sketches, for your perusal:
A Thousand Pounds!
French Exchange Student
The Fearsome Vikings
Billy the Imaginary Friend Sketch
Footballers Speech Disorder
Blueberry Woman
More of the Witchfinder General
I've also found a full episode (one I haven't seen yet!)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

And of course, as with Horrible Histories, there are a lot more clips available via YouTube.

So there you have it. Two excellent bits of children's programming that adults can enjoy as well. I wish we'd had these in the States!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Convulsing Enter

The internet is working superbly now! Hooray! Now I can make posts with photos and used a proper keyboard! Granted, it's got a European layout, and I forget where the @ symbol is all the time since it's not above the 2, but that's okay.

Now on with the good stuff!

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While out and about in Milton Keynes, Michael and I stumbled upon this awesome mural in one of the pedestrian walkways:

I really love the weird cute style, and the drips from the spray paint. I wish I'd gotten a better picture.

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Speaking of finding things while in Milton Keynes, we were in T.K. Maxx (T.J. Maxx in the States) and ran across this tennis racket for kids in the toy section. Nothing weird about that, right?

It's also got oddly translated phrases on the packaging. Take this for example:

The best welcome gifts for the children.

Okay, so that's not really that bad. It's just a bit awkwardly phrased. But then there's this:


WHAT convulsively enters? I'M SO CONFUSED!

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We did manage to get out of the Milton Keynes area, and headed down to Bedford for wandering and shopping. We didn't really manage to buy much, but it was really nice to walk in and out of shops that weren't in a big mall. We also got to see this rad sculpture:

I didn't realize at first that I was looking at it from behind! I liked the shapes of the silhouettes, though. Here's a shot from the front:


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In other life news, I've ramped up my job hunt. I'm heading into town to register with another agency on Monday, and have applied for about ten jobs this week Here's hoping I find something soon!

I've also been updating my weight loss blog a tad more than this one. The good news? I'm up to five pounds lost so far. It's slow going, but that's better in the long run, really. 

That's all for now!