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 whenย 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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First time in New York

Ed takes his first bite of the Big Apple

You can see a full gallery of pictures from this trip here.

My first visit to New York City was in February of 2015. You might think that the depths of winter is not a great time to do any sort of sight-seeing and you would be right. My boss and I were in Burlington, MA., for several weeks of work and there’s not an awful lot to do on a weekend around there – save for going into Boston which each of us had already done.
We hatched a plan to drive down to NYC for the weekend, where I would get my first ‘bite’ of The Big Apple.

As it goes, the drive to New York City isn’t too bad from Burlington. We left a little after the rush hour, catching just the tail end of it, but after about three and a half hours we were parked in Queens, where we left the car and got an Uber into the city proper.

NYC was kind of a mythical place, for someone like me who had never been. I was a huge fan ofย Friends, not to mention having seen the place on countless films over the years. Driving towards the famous skyline was a real thrill, and I think I was like a little kid when we were in the Uber driving amongst the towering behemoths of high rises and sky scrapers.
Despite having visited the United States often enough for the trip to now be ‘normal’, going into NYC was like hitting the Reset button – everything was new and incredible again.

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You are now leaving Facebook

Thank you for driving carefully.

1 Friend Request, 1 Message, and 14 Notifications.

That’s what greeted me when I just opened a tab to Facebook before I started writing this. I haven’t opened Facebook in, probably, two weeks. Most of the notifications were to tell me that someone else had ‘posted for the first time in a while’.

I officially swore off Facebook back in January. That was when I deleted it from my phone, removed it from the front page of ‘Recently Accessed Sites’ in Google Chrome, and resolved not to look at it. Avoiding it on my phone was easy – the Facebook mobile site is not great – but I still found myself checking occasionally on the laptop.
It took another month or so to truly stop caring, but I was supremely glad when I did.

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