Saturday, June 10, 2006


So lately I've become kind of a Countdown addict. Countdown is this show on BBC 4 where every nerd in Great Britain shows off how fast they can make words out of random letters. You pick nine letters out of a pile, and then you have thirty seconds to make words out of them. At the end of the time period they play this perky music. If you can make a nine letter word then you are super smart. So far, I have managed a five letter word, and that's after watching the show a zillion times. There's also this segment with math, where you have five random numbers and an ultimate number, and you have to make the numbers equal the ultimate number in some magical mathematic way. I guarantee you right now that I'm not going to talk any more about the math part. It does my head in.

Anyway, I like to watch Countdown because it makes me feel happy that I'm trying to make words out of letters in the private comfort of my own flat rather than in front of 30 million people. I also remember that Hugh Grant's character loved to watch Countdown in About a Boy. Now I see why. It's frustrating and addictive! In addition to the frenetic spelling shenanigans, there is also the extremely sexy Countdown co-host Carol Vorderman, a woman who ages as gracefully as she plucks letters out of random piles. An English lady I know recently referred to Carol as 'an old cow,' but I don't think she is. Anyway, judge for yourself!

Countdown is also applicable since I'm counting down the days until I leave London. We leave on Monday morning; we're in Paris until Friday and then I'm back in the USA. It's kind of a good feeling; I'm sad to leave London but so excited to see my family that I don't feel that anxious, panicky feeling you often do when a vacation ends. I'm so ready to go home. I love it here, but I belong there. And it's time to roll the bags out and start moving.

Everybody scattered today. It was a free day, so everyone took advantage of that. A lot of them, despite my warnings not to procrastinate, spent the day doing final homework assignments. Bummer. So I treated myself to another London walk, not sure if I would get the chance again for a while. So here's what I did:

Wandered around Leicester Square until I finally found some Louis Theroux DVD's at the Picadilly Circus Virgin Megastore.

Ate lunch at a 50's diner called Ed's, right in the middle of Soho.

Took a double-decker to Westminster Abbey and sat in the top front seat. It feels like flying!

Walked through the London Aquarium. Sat at the shark tank, and listened to mellow music. Blueprint, by Bjork, comes to mind.

Walked along the Thames, all the way past the Winchester, the Globe, and the Clink to the Golden Hinde.

Walked over the Millenium Bridge to St. Paul's, and further in to Postman's Park, where I found Natalie Portman's plaque from Closer.

Took the tube back to Notting Hill Gate, and walked home via Hyde Park.

Went to hear the Imperial College perform Handel's Saul at St. Stephen's church on Gloucester Road.

Came home and watched a little Big Brother. Countdown wasn't on. It's only a mid-afternoon show. More's the pity.