Although the Italian broccoli won my own taste test, this British cauliflower gets a point for geometric design.
Disappointing Zombie Mob
Niels thinks I’m nuts – the minute I saw information regarding a Thriller flash mob at the London Bridge rail station, I knew I had to be there. Although I never learned the Thriller dance, I have always nursed a secret desire to do the zombie moonwalk with a pack (gaggle? herd? pod?) of other zombies. Unfortunately, the week before the flash mob I cricked my neck, and so was not able to prepare with the help of a YouTube instructional video. If you’ve seen the Thriller video, you will remember that scrunching your ear down to your shoulder several times is a critical move – so the crick in the neck was definitely an obstacle.
A flash mob is a large group of people who gather in one place to perform a quick action, then disperse, similar to the dancers in the T-Mobile adverstisement. Normally, I don’t help big telecommunications companies to advertise, but I love this ad – it was filmed in Liverpool Street Station here in London. The T-Mobile ad was NOT a flashmob, since it was planned out and sponsored by a corporation with big bucks. The whole idea behind flash mobs is to take back commercial space for public expression, even if only for a few minutes. Previous London flash mobs have engaged in pillow fights and disco dancing.
Niels and I went at the allotted time, camera in hand. According to the flash mob website, the train station would only permit the zombies to moonwalk at the outdoor taxi bank. So, we found our way the taxi bank and stood around with a bunch of other rubberneckers and amateur photographers, looking around for zombies. We finally spotted about 10 total, after 20 community police moved us as far away from the station as they could get us – and into a bus lane, with double-decker buses occasionally honking for us to move. Unfortunately, the bus lane was uninspiring, and the zombies never danced, although they did pose for the cameras.
Boat Trip to Greenwich
On Valentine’s Day, Niels and I met up with Trish, a friend of Niels’s sister, and her 12-year-old son Sam. We had a great time. Started out with Mexican food – I don’t recommend getting Mexican food in London. The most memorable part of the meal was our discussion of ding dong ditch which, according to Sam, is called “knock down Ginger” in the UK. Wonder what happened to poor Ginger?
We then took a boat down the Thames to Greenwich and walked up to the Royal Observatory, where we learned about the race to devise a clock that could keep accurate time on a ship. Because the Brits figured it out first, the Prime Meridian (0 degrees longitude) passes through Greenwich. In addition, on top of the Flamsteed House is a red ball that was used to signal the time to ships on the Thames below. Each day, at 12.55, the ball rises half way up its mast. At 12.58 it rises all the way to the top. And, at 13.00 exactly, the ball falls.
Not Proper for a Woman?
Finally, the latest news. Gail Trimble – yes, a woman (gasp) – brought home first prize for Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on the University Challenge game show. She scored two-thirds of Corpus Christi’s points, but was criticized by many for “being smug” because, among other things, she often used the words “well done” and “quite” when her team-mates answered correctly. Many speculate that, if she were a man, she would not have been criticized at all.
Unfortunately, the latest news is that her team has now been disqualified because one of her team-mates (who probably didn’t even answer that many questions) was no longer at university during several of the matches, as required by the game show’s rules. Thus, Manchester University has been crowned champion.