Saturday, February 28, 2009


Today was the typical day before a trip. Didn't do a whole lot.

Slept in for a while and went and changed some money out. Then I tried to go print out my bus and plane ticket. The library's computer weren't working because of some power outage that messed things up. So I didn't really know what to do so I walked to the Regent Street campus. The library there was closed. I finally went and took the 25-minute ride to the Harrow campus, because their library is open 24 hours. Well I got down there and the computer system was completely down, so I couldn't print there. This is about three hours after I first tried printing and I was getting frustrated/worried.

Heidi said she thought there was a internet cafe by Sainsbury's, and since I didn't really have any other options, I gave it a shot, expecting it to be closed. It was open and I could print. It was a pound for an hour and 20p per copy, not bad at all. I'd never been to an internet cafe before and it was pretty nice actually. This one was strange in that it was like a fast food place/internet cafe. Strange. But it was relaxed and no one bothered me at all. I only used about 15 minutes of my hour, so I left the little code thing on the computer, I hope someone else got to use it.

Once I had everything printed I felt a lot better. Next time I'm going to print off all my bookings and just hold onto them, and not mess around with this last minute stuff. The rest of the night I worked on figuring out Prague and getting ready.


Today was pretty awesome.

I got up and booked a trip to Lisbon March 28-1. EasyJet has 25% off right now. I'm really pumped about going there, it looks gorgeous. Then wrote my paper at Starbucks outside because it was gorgeous outside, in the 50s and sunny.

Then I walked down to Regent Park and explored for the first time. It's pretty big. There were people outside playing football and families were walking around. There was a nice pond there with a lot of different birds swimming around, including a number that I'd never seen before.

I wandered past the zoo and thought it would be cool to go in, that is if it wasn't £14. Amazing. I thought it would be free for sure. Definitely not. So I just walked around for a little more.

I went down to Borders on Oxford Street and bought a book on Amsterdam. I'm considering buying the Diary of Anne Frank and trying to read it before I go to Amsterdam, but I feel weird about returning that book after I read it. Don't know what to do about that one.

After that I was walking back down Regent Street and I saw a bunch of people out around All Soul's Church and the BBC building. I asked an officer was was going on and they said U2 was going to be playing a free concert from the rooftop. This is the kind of thing you sort of dream about happening while walking around London. Granted, I don't particularly like U2, but they're just about the biggest band on the planet. They said it would start at 6 and I was there at 5:45, so I waited. They didn't start until 6:45. They played four songs, two new ones and then Vertigo and Beautiful Day. I have to say I enjoyed it. Bono was climbing all around the fence for the balcony, at one point I thought he was going to jump. I was also hoping he was going to pull Paul McCartney out and sing Get Back or something. Didn't happen.

After the concert I went and waiting for them to leave the building. After waiting for about 45 minutes Bono walked out for about five seconds. My buddy Wayne was right in front of me, he was super pumped about this, it made me more excited. He was super jealous I had the photo with Emma Watson, but then he saw the entire royal family a few days ago, so it all evened out. But he was there with a girl from my theater class, Katie, and they wanted me to go get something to eat and go see a movie with them. So I said sure. I had to go to a birthday thing for Michael N. later, so I said I'd just get something to eat.

We went to this pizza place that has slices outside in Leicester Square that I've wanted to go to for a while. Then we went to Rendezvous, which is a desert place. I had a 'rich chocolate' piece of cake. It was great. I really liked hanging out with them, Wayne and I hang out all during the acting class, hopefully I can hang out with him some more.

I went down to Old Street to meet up with the Americans for Michael N's birthday. We hung around the dorm for a little and then we went down to this bar/club thing. It was packed. They played all old soul and classic American stuff. I really liked it.

What I didn't like was trying to get back. The Tube was closed and we had to take a night bus. And the one we needed didn't come for about 40 minutes. It too about a half hour to get back as well, so I probably wasn't home until 3. This entire time I was pulling my trademark book-in-the-back-pocket look (as seen in my Bill Clinton picture). I was pretty tired.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


First Tiger Stadium, then Yankee Stadium, now this. Out of all my favorite places in the world, the Borders on Michigan Avenue has been one of the ones I've had the most history at for around ten years, and it's only come to mean more to me as time went on. Hanging out with Ralph and Bill and walking down there every Thursday and on my breaks at lunch. I'm really upset to see it go, that was among my favorite things to do in Chicago. Guess I should have bought more books (I don't know if I really bought any when I was in Chicago for four years, so maybe that says something).

Anyways, I'll save my eulogy for when it actually closes, looks like it has about a year left. I'll have to make it down there.

Speaking of heading down there, I applied for my cap and gown for graduation. It looks like I'm really going to do it. It's on the 14th at 8 am at the All State Arena. On the form you had to fill out the pronunciation of your last name. I wasn't really sure how to do this, so I wrote this: "Bo-la-hann (like hand, not Han Solo). I hope Father Holtschnieder reads that.

Today I got up at 7:30 for a meeting about a paper I have to write (my first one here after six weeks) about a place in London. I'm going to compare Westminster Hall with the Banqueting House. There doesn't need to be much research, it's more what you think about the places, so it should be easy.

In class we went around and saw mostly thing I walk past every day going to school, which was pretty cool. We talked about the All Soul's Church (which I went in) and Regent Street and Portland Place, which I walk down every day. Apparently across from the Langham Hotel (where Mark Twain stayed) and behind All Soul's is the BBC headquarters, which I had no idea was there, even though I've been by it a ton. Pretty cool.

I came back and got to the second paragraph of my paper before I fell asleep. I was pretty tired and the nap felt great.

I walked down to the Royal National Theater again for the backstage tour, this time walking down Marylebone High Street, which is really cool. I want to explore Bond Street and the area around there soon.

I was a little disapointed with the tour, mostly because the building is incredibly ugly and only from the '70s, so it just wasn't that cool. But seeing backstage at the place where I saw a play on Monday was neat.

I walked back to Trafalgar Square because I knew that they were lighting up the National Gallery with Picasso paintings, so I thought I'd check it out. I climbed up the base of Nelson's Column and took some pictures. It was nice outside, another clear day and not too chilly. Now if we could only get some sun during the day.

Since it was Thursday, my hall went out to eat. We went down to an Indian place off the Liverpool Street stop. I had some sort of like sampler dish where I had bread and rice and a bunch of different dips and toppings. Once again, I really liked it. Who would have guessed?

Tomorrow I'm not really sure what I'll be up to, I'm going to rule out Windsor Castle mostly because I'm pretty tired and I need to write that paper for next week, so maybe Saturday? Who knows. Probably I'll go to a museum for a bit of it. I'm interested in the Transportation Museum, that stuff I find so interesting, at least the Tube part of it.

I traded my first round pick to Fras for his 2nd and 4th. I'm really liking this deal, I wasn't too thrilled with any of my options and I feel I can get the same talent in the 2nd round basically. I'm excited.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Today is the first Tiger's Spring Training game. I really wish I could go back this year, I loved it last year. Hopefully next year it can become a tradition.

My column ran today for RedEye, you can click on the image below to read it (seems like it might be a good idea for them to try to get web traffic off the columns, if I only knew someone that could do that kind of thing...) Also, I'm pretty sure I'm the only non-dog/man with bag on his head that writes for RedEye. It's basically like working with Woodward and Bernstein.

I didn't have class today and just had to meet for 15 minutes with my professor about the story I'm doing. That was pretty painless.

Devising London was maybe the best one we've had yet, and I'll take credit for it because I had a lot of good ideas for things today, like how we have to use cards for things everywhere (fun fact: I have to swipe my card five times to get into my room). I think we made a lot of progress toward the actual performance we're going to do.

After class I came back and made a pizza, which was alright. It was super cheap and sort of tasted like cardboard, but whatever, it worked. I read my article and did some reading online. I want to figure out how to get in on ESPN Chicago and I emailed Conklin seeing if he might have some ideas or anything. Can't hurt.

I went down to Starbucks and rewrote my story like the professor suggested and then came back home for the night. I looked at going to a play but I really wasn't up to it. My throat is a little sore, probably for not really sleeping, so I think it'd be nice to take it easy for the night. I did some Prague reading and started looking to book the last weekend in March. I came real close to booking Romania yesterday, but now I'm not sure if I want to go to Bucharest or Transylvania, or a combination.

Amy is going to be in the Netherlands in March and we're planning on going to either Sweden or Poland for the weekend. That should be pretty cool I think.

Places I still want to go to that I haven't booked: Romania, Lisbon, Italy, Spain (whenever I can get a hold of Dr. Schmidt), Cairo, Moscow, Dubai, Dublin, Vienna. I must be missing something big.

Since I've been at this for a while now and because today was particularly slow, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for future postings? More of something, less of something? More pictures, less typing? The other way around? Anything. I think that I've scared most readers away so that it's basically mom and dad reading this, but if anyone else is out there, feel free to comment.

My street at night.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I woke up around 10 but wasn't really feeling up to Windsor today, I'm thinking Friday. I decided to have another museum day. I had to stop by the Wells Street campus and sign up for class tomorrow and then I made my way down to Trafalgar Square where a group of kids in medical attire threw someone in one of the fountains. No idea why, but I'm glad I saw it.

I then went through Horse Guard's Parade, I wasn't planning to but I saw a Cannelloni painting of it last week so I thought I would anyways. It leads to St. James Park, which is the park that leads up to Buckingham Palace. I had no idea it was so close to Whitehall. I need to explore the parks here more.

My main reason for coming down this way was to go to the Churchill Museum and War Rooms. They're in the basement of a huge fancy building diagonal from Parliament. They were the base for Churchill and the government during WWII and kept completely secret. Supposedly, if the building took a direct hit, it would have collapsed and killed everyone.

The rooms were for the most part untouched since they were vacated. The museum was incredibly well presented, relying just on glass walls separating you from the rooms. Sure they had some mannequins in the rooms, but they didn't have anything ridiculous or unneeded, they just let the rooms do the talking. And it was incredible to be down there, you could feel the war time worries and imagine life down there better than I expected. They were small rooms, not luxurious at all. The maps on the walls with thousands of pinholes were fascinating. This might have been the best museum I've been to.

I decided to stop in the cafe in the bunker for lunch because they were advertising pancakes for £3.50 and today was the actual Pancake Day. I had the berries one and a tea while I read the Prague book. I'm getting pretty excited for Prague, it's definitely going to be a lot different than my UK trips, a lot more exotic.

I then walked down to St. Mary Margret's Church, the Westminster Abbey-run church for the commoners from the 1500's. Winston Churchill was married there and Sir Walter Raleigh is buried there, even if he was such a stupid git. Not the most impressive church I've been to here by any stretch, but it was free, so no complaints. I've also gotten pretty good at sneaking photos of things I'm not supposed to be taking pictures of, including the insides of churches and insides of theaters. If my flash isn't on, who really cares?

I then went down to the Jewel Tower, which along with Westminster Hall is the only things that remain from the original Westminster Hall. The building dates from the 1300s, although it's pretty lame. It's three stories, and the first story basically gives you the history of Parliament. Nothing special. The second gives you a little about the Jewel Tower, but nothing really happened there. They stored Parliament's records and held the official weights and measures. Not exciting. The building itself was in decent shape, but not all that cool. For the £2.30 I paid, it wasn't that bad though, but going to Westminster Hall for free in infinitely better.

I walked back and ate before going down to Shepard's Bush for "Wrecks" at the Bush Gardens. The theater was incredibly small, maybe only 50 people big. I sat in the front. It was a one man play held at a funeral home for a guy wife (spoiler alert: it was also his mother, which I spent the last 15 minutes of the last hoping was not going to be the outcome). I really enjoyed it, the actor was great, he'd walk right up by you, you could smell him smoking. The play was solid too, until the whole aspect came into it at the end and just ruined the whole thing. Dumb. I left angry.

I talked with my DePaul counselor and filled out my degree conferral and talked about being able to walk at graduation. I'm considering giving a speech, although they probably wouldn't let me since I couldn't practice with them in person.

Tomorrow I think my column is going to run, so that's exciting. I don't have the writing class, just a 15 minute meeting with the professor and then the devising class. So no real big plans, maybe one more play at night which would get my caught up, but most likely I won't. Although since I can't think of anything else really to do, that seems like a decent possibility.

I got a pretty funny email from Prof. Conklin. I told him I was going to be in the paper tomorrow and that I was getting $75 an article and he sent me this.

Hey, as long as you're not paying them !!!
No, seriously, this is fine. It's great exposure.
Let me know if I can help at this end---Olympic stuff, whatever. I just had an Op-Ed piece run in The Tribune last Friday, plus a Sunday magazine piece two weeks ago. I think my payment will be handshakes, so you're doing better than me!!!
By the way, I did tell you I am a Tottenham Hot Spurs fan, right?