Mercedes C220d

A staunch BMW monogamist is challenged by a svelte mistress from Stuttgart

w7jOhHq - ImgurI just want to get it out of the way right up front; I HATE the Mercedes COMAND system. The entertainment and vehicle control systems that ship with modern German luxury cars are all pretty advanced these days. You have the BMW iDrive system, with its fixed tablet on the dash and rotary wheel with optional touch pad. There’s the Audi MMI interface which now supplements the central screen on most models with an awesome ‘Virtual Cockpit’ display that replaces the dials with a TFT to show all manner of data, including maps and navigation. Then you have the Mercedes COMAND system.

It’s just atrocious. A shame really, as the car itself is really very good.

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Visas before Breakfast

Tuesday June 25th 2017: Visa Day

My appointment was scheduled for 08:00, so I knew I needed to be up early to get there with plenty of time to spare. My alarm was set for 06:00, but by 05:40 I was in the shower, thanks to a terrible sleep.
I always sleep poorly when I know I have an alarm set for a particular time outside of my usual sleep pattern, and this day had particular significance.

I took the bus, Overground, and Jubilee Line to get to Bond Street, with Grosvenor Square and the US Consulate just a few minutes’ walk away.

As I write this paragraph, I am sat in the large blue-seated waiting room (“waiting hall” might be more appropriate nomenclature) with Number 9 stuck to my DS-160 form. There are 11 windows lining the right hand side of the room, so if everyone shows up to work on time I might not be here too long! Continue reading “Visas before Breakfast”

US vs UK: Sockets & Switches

Where Ed wonders why nobody is buying American if everybody is buying American.

There’s a lot of Nationalism floating around at the moment, in both America and the United Kingdom. I’ve stayed inoculated against the disease by avoiding the rightwing press and staying informed, but it’s a risky business.

One of the big topics that’s been beaten to death by both sides is how ‘imports’ are ruining our lives, how everything would be so much better if we just ‘bought American’ or ‘brought our skills back to England’. Now I’m not going to delve into the whole globalisation argument, but I did find that an odd thing for Trump to be banging on about, especially when everything in America is the same.

Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic, but hear me out.

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Of Visas, Forms, and Ceiling Wax

OK, there’s no ceiling wax, cabbages, or kings in here.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my start date along with a caveat, right there in the title. It turns out that was a good idea! After chatting to my immigration lawyer, she said ‘There ain’t no way Jack’ (paraphrased) to the proposed start date of August 1st, this time via email.

My start date was thus altered to September 1st. As of this afternoon, I’m now the proud owner of a set of Visa Application Documents, some forms, and a shiny interview appointment at the US Consulate near Marble Arch. I thought I’d talk a little about what’s been required to get to this stage.

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Hell to the Liars

Exceptional music from London Grammar

I’m not sure that I’m going to make a habit of posting music on this site, but I felt compelled to share this one.

I’ve loved this band since the debut of their first, self-titled album. Hannah Reid has one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. She could probably stand there and sing acapella, and it would be stunning enough. London Grammar’s music, however, perfectly complements a vocal track that weaves through your ears and into your soul.

It’s the Final Countdown … I think

Some unexpected good news suddenly throws things into a higher gear

This week I’ve been on a training course in the delightful city of Dublin, Ireland. (Like there’d be any other.) Just before I shut my laptop down for the weekend on Friday, I pinged my boss a quick email to ask if there had been any progress on my offer letter / contract / salary, because my girlfriend and I are keen to get on with working out what and where we can afford to live.

When I sat down on Sunday evening in my hotel to check my emails, I was a little surprised to find a message stating that things had indeed moved forward, and that the company was targeting a start date in NYC of August 1st.

Yikes!

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British Airways

When I started my job three and a half years ago, I defaulted to flying British Airways because other colleagues did. However after getting rapidly tired of being put on a creaky old 747 for the trip to Boston and back, I switched to Virgin with their nicer planes, better in-flight entertainment, and overall better quality of service.
I’ve not flown BA since this time last year, when I hopped over to Italy. On that occasion, we were delayed by 60 minutes whilst sat on the tarmac …

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