Saturday, June 11, 2016

London 2015 Day 13: Biscuit Madness and The Victoria Pub

London 2015 Day 13: Biscuit Madness and The Victoria Pub

What an epic week this has been already. I was going to take the (amazing!) double-decker bus from Hyde Park to the office in SoHo but as it turns out there's quite a lot of traffic on Oxford St. in the morning and the (also very organized) Subway system makes more sense. It's quite an amazing setup (and very different than taking the BART!) I'm absolutely certain Londoner's would probably complain about it (as is the fashion in your own city -- in Toronto everyone complains like hell about the TTC), but I am pretty amazed at the speed and general running of the system. It's also much, much, much (much!) cleaner than BART and not insanely dodgy like BART often feels like if you take it anytime past 6pm :) I guess the concern here perhaps is more about strikes, that seems like the issue folks are most concerned about? Anyhoo, seems to be working a charm for me.

Not skipping a beat, I started my first class today and it was very well attended, everyone was so attentive and so happy to learn. You gotta love that :) Similar experience to teaching in Singapore many years ago, everyone had great questions and was keen and excited. Love it.

Had to take just a quick lunch break and got a salad and half-sandwich at the ubiquitous Pret-A-Manger shop. Pretty impressive healthy option for a "fast food" spot -- the quality is good, it's fast, and it's cheap.

INCREDIBLY there is an ILM London carry bag and "key ring" (bottle opener) that HR had on hand and I managed to snag one. Amazing. I quickly swung by Royal Mile Whiskies (the London location of the shop is right near the office!!!) just to check it out. I picked up a couple of weird beers, an Early Grey Tea beer and a Fyne Ale aged in Springbank whisky. Win.

My desk neighbours are very much into Biscuits and we broke out into a "Biscuit chat"... "Oooh, so lovely". These peeps (Ben and Rosie) are absolutely hilarious, and as wonderfully friendly as they are obsessed with biscuits. I am gonna like it here! We discussed in all seriousness all matters biscuit-related: Hobnobs, Fox's ("a proper nice biscuit!", "chunky! legit!") haha. This was so cute and so funny. People LOVE biscuits here.

The biscuit chat was started because I was running a UK variant of my R&Tea tea times back in San Francisco called "Python Tea Time" -- kindof an "Office Hours" for talking about any details or questions that came up as a result of the classes, but in a less-stuffy and more social setting. The tea time, of course, had to come well stocked with biscuits so I was planning to bring in a variety of biscuit choices during these tea times. One thing that was very unexpected is there are some people called "Runners" here and they are INCREDIBLE. These guys saw my email thread about the Tea Time and when I got up there to start setting up IT WAS ALREADY SET UP. The water was boiling, they had cups ready and teapots out. I was dumbfounded. These guys were several steps ahead of me, and I didn't even know they were available to help. Needless to say, many high-fives ensued. I asked them if I could take them home to help me with all other kinds of things in my life, but I think that's probably not fair game.

One of the animators showing off his foldable Brompton bike, that he commutes with on the Subway. Very cool!

Tea Time!
I had some chats with SF and then subway'd back to the apartment, in time for a call with the PR folks from the Warner Bros Batkid film. Always fun to get a call on your phone from Beverly Hills, CA! Michele from the PR agency said "We want it to be fun and positive" (YUP!) and wondered if I would be flexible and able to attend the PR rollout for the film in SF. How about in LA and NYC? I was very excited and also keen to be able to share the important message of the film with a larger audience. So, so, so cool. The initial rollout is now 36 theatres, including 1 in LA and 2 in SF. The promotion will be first, and then expand if good press and reviews happen. Wow! I already have a WB interview next Tues scheduled and I'm super excited for that. This is totally exciting. I was worried I may not be able to participate in the PR because I was in London, but she said the main PR for a film like this is in the last 3 weeks before release-- basically right when I get back to the US. Kismet!

After a great call with the WB folks, it was time for a late dinner. I wandered to the Victoria Pub around the corner and it was totally awesome. It's one of these "gastropubs" though it was not stuffy or pretentious at all (which is the vibe you sortof feel like a "gastropub" might entail -- not at all). The vibe was exactly a normal Pub, but the food was astoundingly good. I had a Short Rib Shepherd's Pie and a London Pride Beer! The joke that British beer is "Warm and flat" is well, sortof true, it is room-temperature and it's not overly carbonated like American beer, but it is actually quite nice. I enjoyed it a lot more than a "normal" beer.

For dessert, a Sticky Toffee Pudding was the icing on the cake! Vintage Ale and Molasses Sticky Toffee Pudding with Salted Caramel Ice Cream?!?!? Yes please!

I washed this amazingness down with a Ghost Ship beer, light and tangy, and also nice. It was now 11pm, and after 2.5 hours of catching up on my journaling (writing notes on paper for this blog) and enjoying the dinner and pub vibe, I left with a big smile on my face and went home to chat with Mom&Dad and Spring. A great day!

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