Settling back in London

I’ve now been back in London for a little over 3 weeks, living in a new flat about a mile north-west of Paddington (so about 5 minutes walk from Warwick Avenue on the Bakerloo line 🙂 ). Its great to be back and have the chance to catch up with everyone I’ve missed over the summer.

Its strange, but memories from America are already fading, I think mostly due to how busy I’ve been sorting everything out at home. I’m looking forward to going through photos of the summer to remind myself of all the places and people I was fortunate enough to see.

Across the Golden Gate

So the holiday rolls on (and I’m using my computer, I know, I know…) Wednesday we mooched around a bit, including going up Mount Hamilton on the eastern side of the valley. Unfortunately there was too much haze / smog to get a good view of below once we’d got to the top.

Thursday I took the scenic route from San Jose to San Francisco – up the 280 which sweeps through wooded foothills while you can watch the cloud creeping over the main valley side, then along the winding 92 to Half Moon Bay, then up Highway 1 along the precarious cliffside. Once in San Francisco I saw large lumps of Golden Gate Park (including the buffalo!), parts of the Presidio (check out the photo of me by the Golden Gate bridge here) and finally the Palace of Fine Arts (which is functionally pointless, but beatiful nevertheless!) Then I picked up one of my friends and we drove up to the Russian River area, about an hour and a half north of SF, where we’re staying for a few days. I like being on holiday. 🙂

Back in California

So after 3 1/2 years, I’ve returned to California for a holiday, and its great to be back. 🙂 I’d forgotten just how stunning the geography and climate are here.

Today was spent waking up in San Jose, then visiting Monteray and the adjacent spectacular 17 Mile Drive. During this trip the temperature varied between 60 and 90 degrees (15 and 32 degrees for the rest of us!), and that was all during the day without climbing to any kind of altitude.

California is so different to the east coast, where I’ve been living for the last 3 months, that it might as well be a different country. The buildings are different, the attitude is different, even the road signs are different (well actually, there aren’t any. Not any of any use that is. Not that I missed the on-ramp to the 101 or anything, nonono…)

Photos to come (eventually!)

MP3s & Album Art

I was walking to work this morning, scrolling through my iPod choosing what to listen to, and I thought “wouldn’t it be great if I could view by album cover, just like MusicMatch can”. I think it would be good since there’s some weird emotional association between the album art and the music itself.

Then I was checking my news feeds this morning when I got it in and saw Clutter which is kind of along the same lines.

All of which makes me think that if a lot of mp3 players (software and hardware) had the ability to show album covers then mp3’s would take off even more. I think this would also make packaging mp3’s as a sellable form more appealing. Certainly I’d start buying mp3 format rather than CD format.

If you bought your album in mp3 form with the album art, why stick to static pictures though? Why not have a little repeated film loop or something? Imagine the Sergeant Pepper cover where everyone on the front was moving around. Maybe the album art could change over time, or change based on the time of day (so the White Album would actually be the Black Album at night). That would be cool.

First 36 hours in New York

I flew into New York (for the first time ever) on Thursday evening to catch up with an old friend from home who was also visiting the Big Apple. Maybe its because I’ve been in Boston for 2 months (and don’t like it hugely as a town compared with London), but I really love New York already. It seems to have lots of the great things about London and then compresses it together so you don’t have to take a 40 minute cab ride across town to get between ports of call.

So items checked off the list so-far:

– Grand Central Station

– Times Square (like Piccadilly Circus / Leicester Square on steroids)

– Jackson Hole (a damn good burger joint)

– United Nations (the cafe was shut, but I wanted to go to show my support for the organisation even if my country’s government wants to treat it with disdain)

– Empire State Building (the queues were longish but the views made it worth it)

– Staton Island ferry (which is free, and is an easy way to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty)

– Wall St (which was a lot smaller and more like London than I imagined it would be)

– Ground Zero (no comment necessary)

– various bars till 4 am

Photos to come later…

Global Underground

Global Underground have a great series of dance CD’s … which I really should start buying. I’m currently listening to #20 – Darren Emerson (ex-Underworld and all round god of a DJ.)

Going home, Chicago again and Independence Day

So having not updated my old weblog in ages, here’s what I’ve been up to recently.

Going back to London for my birthday was great – after a few weeks in a foreign land its good to see friends again. I now definitely consider London my home, which is surprising since I really didn’t enjoy it that much when I moved there.

Two weeks after getting back from London I was off to Chicago for the weekend again for a ThoughtWorks internal conference. I had a fantastic time meeting up with loads of people from work (some of whom I had met before) and enjoying the Chicago nightlife again. I’ve been to Chicago 3 times now and everytime I go I have a fab time – it reminds me a lot of London both in size/buzz and the attitude of the people that live there.

Since then I’ve just been staying around Boston. The Independence Day fireworks in Boston were very impressive and, since the weather has improved drastically in the last month, there was a huge turnout.

My plans for the next couple of months include a visit to New York next weekend, going to New Orleans with work the week after and then I’m taking 2 weeks holiday in August to hopefully travel around the ‘States a bit.