Friday, November 30

Telly UK Style

In the US you have to pay for cable & rarely use just the aerial or bunny ears as I called them growing up. Whilst here in the UK you can get the 5 terrestrial channels with bunny ears & to get any more than that you must hire a cable company such as SkyTV or Virgin Media. ALSO every different from the US, you must have a TV licence if you own a telly! There is a massive fine of £2000 (yes that's $4000) should you be found without one. The licence is only about £170/year. It enables BBC1 to have no commercials, which is kinda nice.

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Thursday, November 29

Fridge/freezer UK Style

Over here in the UK the primarily the fridge is on the top whilst the freezer is on the bottom & MUCH smaller than in the US. Many houses have a fridge freezer unit that fits under their counter tops in which case the freezer unit is inside the fridge. Many over here in the UK are also not frost-free, so you have to defrost it at least once a year causing a massive flood in your kitchen, if you're not super careful about it.

Due to the much smaller size of fridge/freezer storage we tend to shop more often & don't buy in bulk often, unless it's non-perishable items.

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Wednesday, November 28

Taps UK Style

In the bathroom & even some bath tubs there are separate hot & cold taps (faucets) in MOST sinks here in the UK, while most of the time in the US it's one tap with two handles, which I must say I rather enjoy b/c here you either get cold water or burning your hands hot water.

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Tuesday, November 27

Post UK Style

In the UK, all letters & cards being mailed abroad must be individually weighed, until in the US where you can just buy an international letter stamp for certain regions, here I have to go to the post for every flippin letter I mail.

Other big difference is within the UK you can choose 1st or 2nd class stamps (I don't think you can do that in the states, but I might be wrong).

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Monday, November 26

Phones UK Style

Mobile (cell) phones in the UK all have a different prefix than land line numbers and cost more to call to. All mobile start with 077, 078, or 079, while most London land line numbers start off 020 and as you get outside of London you will find 018, 013, etc.

In the US you can't tell a mobile from a land line number at all & costs are the same . . . which I must say I like much better, though it is kinda nice to know if you're calling some one's house for mobile, but I'm not a fan of the price difference over here!

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Sunday, November 25

for Rifkin Alexander

Size of a walnut, emotions open and shut
We talked and we walked
So hard to decide, with goings on inside
Limited by time, decisions all mine
Hours past dawn, you were gone
Maybe I'm rotten, but you're not forgotten

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Saturday, November 24

prepping to leave part deux

I'm all jabbed up (vaccinated) . . . luck for me the vaccines are good for life (after I get a booster in a year).

Also this morning I did:
1. exchanged £100 for 6000.00 thai baaht
2. exchanged £100 for US$200
3. mailed a parcel to Matt & John (which Jim got them back in August & I just never mailed)
4. made 3 copies of my passport front page, UK visa, and Vietnam visa
5. got 2 sets of keys made for my flat
6. bought sponges for the kitchen at work - to clean our tea mugs with
7. bought 2 new pillows
8. bought a new duvet cover and fitted sheet (always good to have 1 spare)
9. bought 2 light bulbs for the lamp I got at IKEA this past weekend (I forgot at the time bulbs weren't included)
10. got my Hep A vaccine + typhoid (combine jab) in my right upper deltoid
11. got my polio/diphtheria/tetanus (combine jab) in my left upper deltoid
12. got anti-malaria tablets (cost of £90, but essential!!!)
13. got anti-diarrhoeal "kit" (not spelling difference to US)
14. got bug spray with 50% DEET - not just against malaria but all the other not so nice illnesses the mosquitoes carry in the areas I'm going to

all of which was done probably within a 3 mile radius, most of the buying was on Kentish Town Road (where I use to live) and the jabs were all in Belsize Park (2 stops north of Camden Town but on the other branch (so equally north of Camden as I am in Tufnell Park), if that makes any sense?!?!?!

All of the above was done by noon, now that I'm at work I've gotten my poster printed & they have a "messed up" copy which I'm allowed to keep & will bring home at Christmas for everyone to enjoy & marvel over (since I know you're all dying to see it!!!!)

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Friday, November 23

Haiku 4

how does one begin
it is not your decision
troubles all around

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Thursday, November 22

Random differences

  • In the UK most shoppers bag their own groceries while in the USA most do not

  • American television is much more "censored" and conservative than in the UK (not uncommon to see naked boobs on prime time telly.

  • American beds are made using sheets & blankets with a bedspread/comforter. Over here it is a bottom sheet and then covered with a "duvet" (pronounced doo-vay) which is similar to a comforter but has a removable cover which can be washed since there is no top sheet.

  • Apparently the light switches are different as well, the down position is off in America, while down is on in the UK

  • And lastly another tid bit of random differences to add to your knowledge bank is that toilet flush handles are (in most cases) also on the opposite side (I think in the UK it's on the right side)

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Wednesday, November 21

Haiku 3

new life beginnings
what not to love about it
gone in an instant

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Tuesday, November 20

different expressions 3

The word "rubber" has two totally different meanings depending on which side of the pond you happen to be on.

Over here in the UK a rubber means an eraser

In the USofA it refers to a condom

Imagine the poor English blog sitting in an American college class who lean over to an American student and ask to borrow their rubber.

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Monday, November 19

Spelling UK Style

First there is the issue of "our" vs "or" like in colour and color.

Next there is the issue of "ise" vs "ize" like in realise and realize.

Another one is the issue of "re" vs "er" like in theatre and theater.

And there is the issue of double lettering like in travelling and traveling.

The issue of "ae" vs "a" is another difference like in paediatric and pediatric.

And then there are a bunch of randoms where I can't figure out the logic behind the differences, like tyre and tire, pyjamas and pajamas, kerb and curb, mould and mold, programme and program, grey and gray (which I can never keep straight which country spells it which way!)

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Sunday, November 18

Pronunciation UK Style

Brits tent to pronounce their t's, while Americans have a habit of either drop their t's or replace them with a "d" sound, like in mountain being said, moun'in or letter being said as ledder.

Another difference I see is that American do not pronounce the "g" in many words ending "ing". I find myself saying runnin instead of running and so on . . .

One that has taken awhile to get use to when listening to Londoners speak is their tendency to drop their r's at the end of words. The word generator would be said, gena-ray-ah and the word meter would be mee-ah.

The letter "i" is also pronounced differently like in "anti", I would say an-TYE, while Jim would say, an-TEE. For vitamin, I'd say, vye-tamin, while he'd say, vuht-amin.

A few other ones which I giggle about sometimes are schedule, where I'd say sked-jule and he's day, shed-jill. with the word pedophile, I'd say peh-dofile and he'd say, pee-diofile.

And lastly is hearing Jim say "I should think that you will like this." Whereas I probably would have said: "I would think that you would like this".

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Saturday, November 17

Working UK Style

In most of the UK annual holiday (vacation) is 4-5 weeks and goes up with time, while most of you already know the US vacation scheme is nothing like that. Public holiday are a bit different (or so I'm told as this still confuses me a bit). According to the US, which public holiday is given as a paid holiday is largely determined by the employer (apparently some only give 5 days, but the federal ones are New years day, Martin L King's Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labour Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas) In the UK all public holidays are given as paid, but a reasonable average is 8 public holidays a year (New years day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May bank holiday, Spring Bank holiday, Summer Bank holiday, Christmas, Boxing day (26th Dec))

Over here companies contribute 100% and more of what the employee pays for pension plans, while in the US it's rather variable & according to stats I've seen the average is 5-15% contributions from the company.

Salaries are a bit different as well with the USA normally getting paid every two weeks, while over here in the UK most workers are paid monthly. Another minor detail is that I'm use to the US term of a salary increase in the USA being called a pay "raise", while in the UK it's apparently called getting a "rise".

And this last part is according to what I've been told, but in the UK employees can only be "fired" for provable dishonesty. Being let go for bad work/inefficiency has to be supported by a lots of verbal and several written warnings (all relating to a similar offences in a specific time period). AND, the kicker is that even then this can be overturned with the help of a labor attorney (if changed you can get back pay and even return to work).

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Friday, November 16

different expressions 2

Yet another example is the slang word "fag".

It's an expression I hear a lot living in London. Course I learned quickly, a fag is slang for a cigarette. In the USA the same word is slang for a gay man!

Imagine my shock the first time someone asked me, "hey can I bum a fag?" (meaning can I have a cigarette)

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Thursday, November 15

Haiku 2

doomed by pure passion
month was long and tiring
finished all so fast

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Wednesday, November 14

different expressions 1

"knock up"

To all Americans get a girl pregnant is to knock her up.

To all Brits it means knocking on some one's door.

Imagine this . . . An American man shows up in a London hotel lobby to meet a female friend for breakfast. He asks at reception if Miss. Smith has come down for breakfast yet. To which the man behind the counter replies: "No, but I did knock her up this morning!" Can you imagine the scene this could cause . . .

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Tuesday, November 13

my holiday is just a week away!!

So for those of you who care, my holiday in Asia is just round the corner, it starts on on 25 November (after a work conference in Khon Kaen, Thailand) . . . don't worry I've got all my VISAs sorted, got the appt at the free travel clinic on Thursday morning for a few jabs (aka vaccinations - typhoid & something else I've already forgotten - luckily I've 2 arms) and my anti-malarial tablets (which are required for Laos!!!!!)

Now I know the part about jabs didn't make you jealous, but maybe this next part will . . .

Days 1-2 Bangkok
A longtail ride along the city's khlongs reveals why Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East. Check out the enormous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. There is free time to experience a relaxing Thai massage or take a ride in a tuk-tuk.

Day 3 Chiang Mai
Enjoy an aerial view of Chiang Mai from the mountain temple Doi Suthep. Make like a local and slurp down a bowl of kao soi noodles at the night bazaar.

Day 4 Chiang Khong
Travel through rural Thailand to the border town of Chiang Khong. Mingle with Mien and White H'mong villagers while taking in spectacular views of the Mekong.

Day 5 Pak Beng/Mekong River
Take a slow boat down the Mekong, soaking up the laid-back river lifestyle of the Lao. Stay overnight in tranquil Pak Beng and see the hundred of Buddhas carved into the limestone cliffs at Pak Ou Caves.

Days 6-8 Luang Prabang
Soak up the quaint colonial atmosphere in Luang Prabang, packed with temples galore. Delve into local history at the Traditional Arts Museum and swim in the turquoise waters of nearby Kuang Si Falls.

Days 9-11 Vang Vieng/Vientiane
Call in at the backpacker hangout of Vang Vieng to admire the stunning limestone karst scenery or wander through the local market. Explore laid-back Vientiane and head to the riverbank to savour a Mekong sunset with a cold Beerlao in hand.

Day 12 Lak Sao
Revel in a striking montage of mountain, forest and karst scenery en route to Lak Sao.

Days 13-15 Hanoi
Browse the Old Quarter for traditional artefacts, take in a water puppet performance and enjoy a final farewell meal.

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Monday, November 12

Virtual Tour . . . sorta

my desk

shani sitting on the floor of my new flat, before I had any furniture, eating our £3.95 indian take-away, which is just next door & fab as well!

putting the dresser together

the nightside table slowly assembling (you can see the matress is still on the floor at this point)

wardrobe finished - YEAH!

bed assembly (VERY SLOW process)



bed fully assembled & in possition (opposite from the windown below)

view straight ahead while in bed

view completely left from bed

Understand these photos are a mix from my phone & camera all from about 2-3 weeks ago, so it does look a bit different now, but you get the idea . . . I hope

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Sunday, November 11

Drinking UK Style

The first big difference is the legal age to drink Americans cannot drink until 21, while in all Commonwealth countries it is only 18!

Pubs/bars in Britain traditionally closed at 11 p.m., while 1 or 2 a.m. is more traditional in the US. England did recently passed new legislation allowing for late night drinking, but the pub must apply & pay for this "late licence".

To those who drink beer this next part can be a real shock to the system!! In Britain, beers (ales/bitters), are served warm (as in room temp) where as Americans expect their beer chilled.

Another difference which is common in the UK is to mix beer with sweet drinks. A 50/50 mix of beer and lemonade (Sprite) is called a “shandy”. Another new one for me was learning about “Lime & Lager” – a shot of lime cordial is mixed into a beer. Incidentally, Sprite or 7Up in the is called lemonade while I grew up knowing lemonade as a drink from lemons, sugar and water.

Most people in the UK have what is known as a “local”. This is a pub close to home or work which they frequent, you get to know everyone there and vice verse. It's also a place to visit friends or just to sit and read a book while having a quiet beer, which was a bit strange to me at first, but now a part of life for me.

Drinking alcohol on a regular basis is much more a way of life. More often than not the average person will consume some form of alcohol every single day (at least I think) even if it is just a quick beer at their local on the way home. My impression is that in USA those who consume alcohol on a daily basis are more looked upon as problem drinkers.

Many work places have a "bar" in their building and staff are encouraged to socialize over a few drinks after work on a Friday. Like at LSHTM, we have a bar on the lower ground floor which everyone congregates at at 5pm on Friday.

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Saturday, November 10

Eating & Drinking UK Style

Apart from the foods being different and calling them other things, styles of eating between UK speakers and Americans is vastly different.

For example, one does NOT eat with just a fork over here, the knife remains in the right hand and the fork in the left. Where as when I was growing up in the states the knife was used to cut up meat, but then put down, and the fork replaced in the right hand so that the remainder of the meal was consumed with a fork only.

Over here we hold the fork "upside down", and push food onto the "bottom side" (now curving downwards) I know doesn't seem to make sense to any of you Americans but it's just the way it is done over here.

Another observation I've made is that chips (what US would call french fries) are often eaten with a fork and knife (again upside down style) and rarely with fingers - aside from maybe at a pub, but even then they give you fork & knife with the bowl of chips.

Americans drink lots of coffee (not me, even when in the US) and instant coffee is frowned upon! Few homes in the states would have electric kettles (again to my knowledge), while probably very very few home are without a coffee machine. In the UK however, instant coffee is more common. Tea over here is a hot drink served with milk (sugar optionally) and is a daily staple, while in America is probably primarily drunk cold with ice and sugar.

Eating out is another time where I've seen "differences between the US & UK. American restaurants are more typically "eat, pay and leave" places. For example, starters (appetizers in US terms) are out within 5-10 minutes with mains closely following . The check is brought as soon as the plates are cleared. While in the UK, starters are brought out, eaten, taken away, chatting period, mains, eating, chatting, possible clearing, chatting, chatting, chatting . . . you could wait days for your bill (aka check) to arrive & most of the time must ask for it if in any sort of hurry!

Along with this is a rather large difference in tipping and hours of operation!! Over here it is normal to tip your server 10% (some times at lunch you don't even actually leave one if you've just grabbed a jacket potato for £1.75), while in the US 15% is the minimum and if you like the service you can give more. Restaurant/pub kitchens only begin to open at 6 p.m. with reservations normally from 7.30 - 9.00 p.m, while in the US you'd probably start around 4.30/5pm and reserve tables for 6 and later.

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Friday, November 9

Haiku 2

Again posting this early, knowing that tomorrow will be another busy day & I don't want to forget to post it!! Everyone seems to really like the US-UK difference, but since I've made a few haiku's I'm gonna keep posting them - I challenge you to write one in the comment section - come on it's not that hard & doesn't hurt, much ;)

the body's all mine
we must chose this together
no turning back now

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Thursday, November 8

thursday update

glad i wrote that post yesterday as this morning has been an utter disaster,
from the tube train stopping between euston & kings cross "for an incident at kings cross" which of course always freaks EVERYONE out on the train, turned out to be nothing & we were able to continue on,
to inhaling a toxic fume (on accident of course!), to having the people who were suppose to be ready at 10am not be ready till 11am,
to once having everyone assembled to realise nobody had read the 1 page protocol, so I had to read it aloud so nobody messed it up on our second go around,
to having to try to fit in my original experiment that is now running 2 hours late, hopefully this afternoon things will turn around (FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Expressions/Words UK style

Since I'm going to be "stuck" over at Imperial College most of tomorrow "cleaning" our room so that the engineers can work on it Monday & Tuesday (while I'm at Porton tryin to convince the British military they should keep funding me :) I'm going to post this now (even though it's really half 8 on Wednesday . . . back to the differences between US & UK, this time words & expressions the American English followed by the "Queen's English"
1st Floor - Ground Floor
2nd Floor - 1st Floor
3rd Floor (and so on) - 2nd Floor
Apartment - Flat
Apartment with two floors - Maisonette
Appointment calendar - Diary
Baby carriage - Pram
Bandaid (bandage) - Plaster, elastoplast
Bathing suit - Swimming costume
Blown away - Gob Smacked
Braid (hair) - Plait
Broke - Skint
Divided highway (4 lanes) - Dual carriageway
Dumbass - Git, twit, right tosser
Frazzled, miffed - Gutted
God damn it/Bummed out! - Bugger!
Hook up - To pull
Jello - Jelly
Jelly - Jam (those both still throw me off!!!)
Kiss, make out - Snog
mouth - gob
No Way! Shut Up! - Bloody HELL!
Pacifier (baby) - Dummy
Pants - Trousers
Panties - Knickers
Panty hose - Stockings
Popsicle - Ice lolly
Saran Wrap - Cling Film
Sidewalk - Pavement
Sleep - Kip, doss
Smart ass - Cheeky (one of my fav words)
Speed bumps - Sleeping policemen
Steal - Nick, pinch
Stove/burners - Hob/hot plates
Stroller - Push chair
Styrofoam - Polystyrene
Thanks - Ta, mate!
Umbrella - Brolley
Undershirt - Vest
Walker - zimmer frame (I still laugh at this one when I hear it)
Wrench - Spanner

And if from the US you're a "Yank", but if from the UK you're a "Pom" or "Limey" . . . Can you think of any I've missed out?!?!?!

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Wednesday, November 7

Haiku 1

I've decided to alternate between differences between the UK & US and some poetry. I'm not a poet by any means, but I had a dream about haiku poems the other night & since in my mind they can't be all that hard to make up (5, 7, 5) I'm gonna give them a go . . . .

clocks set back again
sun moves so low in the sky
again wintertime

in other exciting news, I was chosen as the "winner" of "Caption This" over at Carmi's blog Written Inc , feel free to pop over to his site & check out the caption this contests - they're super fun (or at least my co-workers & I are addicted for sure!)

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Tuesday, November 6

Laundry UK style

Since I'm suppose to blog every day this month & I'm worried I'll run out of interesting things to tell ya'll I'm trying to come up with differences between the US & UK, which you might not notice as a tourist.

Today's difference is laundry . . . and please let me know if I've just been gone from the US for too long so that this really isn't any different . . .

Washing machines in this country (or at least the 5 that I've ever used) are:
  • all front end loaders

  • have dials with settings for "30", "60", "90" which is temperature NOT time (learned that the hard way

  • no time setting just a button for "quick wash" which is 30-50mins instead of 115-130mins of a regular cycle

  • are also dryers . . . like after picking your water temp & reg vs. quick you then can add in how many minutes of drying time you want

How cool is that, that a washer can also be a dryer & you don't need 2 HUGE machines in your laundry area, which brings me to probably the last point

  • washing machines are kept in the kitchen (again this might be true in flat in NYC) not a laundry room or laundry closet like I remember growing up.

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Monday, November 5

from SusieJ

Today is Guy Fawk's Day in England, hence all the recent fireworks in the evenings. I don't have much to report about it since I saw a few & tried to get a photo, but didn't turn out so well. If you would like more info, check it out here (as I think I spoke about it 2 years ago, but too lazy to look for the post now)

I forgot to tell you all about this on Friday, I read it on SusieJ's blog. Her title was beauty/cute tip and you can read the full post here, but the one that made me smile after a rather long day at work on Friday was the following which I shall share with you, which is:

"When another person is talking to you, always try to find something beautiful about that person. I’ve found that it rarely has anything to do with the makeup they’re wearing."

I challenge all of you to give it a try . . .

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Sunday, November 4

man oh man time is flyin by

so I leave for Thailand 2 weeks from tomorrow & I'm starting to panic, not about the conference so much but about my holiday afterwards, do I have everything I need? who will water my one & only cactus during my 19 days of world travel?

things I need to do before leaving in no particular order:

  • exchange money (get US$ and Baht)

  • make a list of items I need to buy prior to leaving (if anything)

  • figure out what I'm going to bring

  • pack

  • buy tummy meds (just in case)

  • get lots of sleep

  • finish my poster for the conference

  • get poster printed & laminated

  • get a poster holder

  • print off my holiday itinerary

  • make a copy of my keys for plant waterer

okay that's all I can think of at the mo & I need to get back in the lab for a few minutes so I'll leave it at that for now . . . . hope every one's enjoying their weekend!

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Saturday, November 3

Knocked Up

At work quickly for some work (quickly collecting some 48 hours supernatants from a stimulation experiment I set up on Thursday) & then running off to see the Arsenal v ManU match followed by seeing Knocked Up . . . busy busy day - LOL

UPDATE (19.52) saw knocked up - it's hysterical - i highly recommend it - not just a stupid teen movie! AND arsenal tied manchester united 2-2 - yeah!!!!!!!!! arsenal are on a great streak now after thierry henry has left - i reckon he was a bit too much relied on & so the other players didn't play to their full potenial so if he was off the whole team sucked, but now they're playing as a real team & are doing soooo much better - i'm really excited about it - if you get a chance to see the game it was ruddy good one!!

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Friday, November 2

"You" in Images

Every "googled" yourself? How about Google imaging yourself? PCS over at Adirondack Musing did it, so I decided to follow his lead, and if you Google image my initials this is what you get . . . and when you put my whole name (in brackets) you get . . .

It's even funnier to me that I actually knew SVO was a type of Mustang, cause back in my days of my engagement it was a big topic as to what name I would keep & so when considering changing from SVO to SVT, my fiance at the time pointed out no matter what I did I was still going to be a Mustang in his eyes - in case you don't believe me, SVT Google images produce . . . That about sums up my Google images, not sure why there is no actual photo of moi, but maybe that's a good thing!!

And if you get a chance pop over to Zee's site and leave her a comment about what you'd like to know about American Healthcare over the month of November.

TGIF . . . have a good weekend :)

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Thursday, November 1

NaBloPoMo starts today!

well first day of bloggin & already outta ideas, super busy in the lab with experiments I can't talk about - ya know don't wanna get scooped, not that any of you do Bps research, but hey ya never know and I'm starting to realise the problems I'm gonna encounter with keeping up this month without the Internet at home & with traveling for the last 2 weeks, but oh well, you win some you lose some . . . so I guess I will just wish ya'll a happy November!!!