200 OK

Mar 09

Whenever I listen to Jesus of Suburbia, I’m in a van travelling form San Diego to Irvine, California, at seven in the morning. It’s winter and it’s barely daylight. I’m pretty miserable. I’ve lost the will to do the only thing I really have to do and I’ve been uncomfortably cold for over a week. However, despite the discomfort, I have some hope. I only have to deal with California for twelve more hours.

That evening, I’d fly back to Washington, turn 21 and hopefully never see La Jolla, Irvine, San Diego or the greater Los Angeles area ever again. Especially not whilst wearing ever-so-slightly damp university swim team-issued clothes, eating nothing but bread and pasta for ten days straight, and drinking instant coffee early in the morning before another cold, stiff, painful training session. La Jolla, north of San Diego is one of the prettiest parts of the West Coast and couldn’t watch it disappear into the early morning darkness fast enough. But I still had to deal with Irvine.

And I dealt with it all right: I swam fourteen seconds slower than my best time in the 200 yard breaststroke, clocking in at an astonishingly slow 2:28. I think. I can’t remember what else I swam aside from the 50 backstroke, which was probably quite a bit slower than my best 50 breaststroke time. It didn’t hurt either, because I was far too cold to feel anything apart from the burning — freezing? — desire to quit swimming. And yet I still like Jesus of Suburbia and I don’t find the memory all that bad.

It was probably the knowledge that we were nearly—eight more hours—going home that makes the memory almost nostalgic. The swim meet was broken into two parts: regular events and long distance. In the break between the two, our coach told us that we’d not have to swim the distance events, as we’d not make our flight out of LA if we did. I was so relieved that I started crying. The number of times I’ve cried on the side of a swimming pool is probably less than four. That week, and especially that Saturday, was a lesson in sticking it out for something better.

Four years later, I’d put experiences like Irvine to use on far bigger scale. I moved to the UK six weeks ago, after deciding to do so in the middle of December. Moving was made bearable and sometimes enjoyable because I had a lot of help from some very wonderful people and to them, I’ll be forever grateful. Here are some of the very random things I’ve learned since I moved:

Changing jobs can be fantastic, no matter how good the old job was.

I left a great company in Seattle, but moving to a new company is still one of the most professionally rewarding things I could have done. I brought with me everything I had learned at SEOmoz, and immediately picked up a new organisation’s ideas, theories and beliefs. I don’t recommend everyone jump ship from their jobs right now, but working with other people in new circumstances is an exercise is diversification.

Apple is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

Isn’t it awful when people go on about their MacBooks and iPhones? I turned on my old Windows PC today… I have no idea why you people still use them. I do miss a few things about my BlackBerry, including its magnificent little keyboard, but the iPhone, given the right application, could probably do my laundry for me. Seriously, give the pretentious, unnecessary, overpriced Apple stuff a go. I’ll never go back. This may or may not have anything to do with how pretentious and unnecessary I can be.

Soundproof glass is made of happiness and magic.

I live in Central London, near two different types of business whose busiest time of day is the middle of the night. No, I live nowhere near King’s Cross, you dirty bastards.

God bless soundproof glass. I can’t imagine life, or sleep, without it.

You get over being a tourist really quickly.

I still marvel at Tower Bridge whenever I see it and I think it’s a sad day when you lose an appreciation for your town’s beauty or history. However, why the hell is it necessary to stand right at the top of the steps to the tube when you’re looking at your map? Could you move to one side? And have you noticed that the average tourist, no matter what his or her build, takes up twice the amount of pavement area as a regular person? Why is that? And is the ticket machine in the underground really that hard to work? And if the sign says “Leicester Square”, don’t you think it’s that way? Can you tell I’m enjoying this pretend-rant? I love living here.

Blogging is usually .

Indeed, for a first blog post, that’s a great statement. Now that I no longer write blog-style content online as part of my job, it really strikes me how much total rubbish people create. A combination of thinking they need to write something and being full of shit to begin with, most “bloggers” constitute nothing but a waste of bandwidth. Notable exceptions exist: I used to work for one. However, I don’t think I’m ever going to be one of those exceptions and as a result, this domain is likely to be used sparingly and well instead of ad nauseum and badly.

At the very least, I finally have my own site… and can finally justify the .co.uk domain ;)

Los Angeles at night photograph by .

15 Responses to “200 OK”

  1. evilgreenmonkey says:

    Cycle lanes in London should have been tourist lanes, although I guess that they do bring billions of moular a year into our dwindling finance-orientated economy.

    Now you’ve got the blogging bug – let’s make you a full-time Ayima blogger ;)

    Oh yes, and – Nice site! Why not take a look at mine:

  2. Jane says:

    The Ayima blog would likely be updated about as often as SEO-Blokes.com ;)

  3. Teifion says:

    This isn’t the domain you said you were going to register!

  4. Jane says:

    Who says I didn’t register that one too?

  5. neyne says:

    Moving cities/continents/jobs is one of the scariest but most invigorating experiences one can have. If one cannot find joy and wonder in these relatively rare occasions, it is most likely that he/she doesn’t know how to find joy at all. Glad to see you are enjoying yours.

  6. Jane says:

    Thanks, neyne. It has indeed be really great. I was lucky to have so many friends over here that the “scariness” aspect was quite minimal. Seems like I’ve been here for years now ;)

  7. Teifion says:

    http://www.names.co.uk says you didn’t register either of the ones that you said you might ;)

  8. Ciaran says:

    “Sparingly and well”
    I guess we’ll just have to cross our fingers you weren’t fibbng about the “well” as well…

    PS – it’s ok, you’ve been here long enough to bitch about the tourists. However I think you have to have had at least one stretch of working off Oxford Street to be allowed to really rip into them!

  9. Kalena says:

    You *do* realise that iPhones were built to enable Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt to take over the world Triffid style right? One day in the not too distant future, all iPhones will emit a signal that forms a Rick Astley hologram in the sky, which immediately blinds all non iPhone users. Await your instructions.

  10. Jane says:

    @Kalena It’s worked on me. I do everything the iPhone tells me to do.

    @Ciaran C**t. :) x

  11. Julie Joyce says:

    I bitch about the tourists too and I’m one of them there.

    What REALLY gets me is the dinky amount of ice cubes given to me in my vodka cranberry. What the hell is up with that??

  12. Lori says:

    So glad to see you blogging again. Somehow blogging doesn’t seem pointless when it’s interesting and well-written :)

    I did notice you unfollowed me on twitter – can I ask why?

  13. Jane says:

    To be honest, I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of people who tweet at accounts I’d rather not hear from or about ;) Nothing personal at all.

    Ah, interesting and well written: something the “blogosphere” as a whole will likely never be!

  14. Shannon says:

    I’m glad things are going so well! And I’m very glad that you ♥ Apple. I have for years now and I can’t imagine life without my MacBook. I take it everywhere in my little incase that Ben got me (also at the Apple store :) I wish I had soundproof glass around my room so I wouldn’t have to hear my roommate’s uber-annoying girlfriend who essentially lives at our house.

    However, I must say that Irvine isn’t as bad as it seems when you were there (but obviously there were extenuating circumstances for you). Ben and I may end up living there and I rather like it. It’s one of the safest places in the nation and has a great shopping center with a ferris wheel.

  15. All Mod Cons says:

    I loathe tourists in this city. Why, it seems, do I always get stuck behind the ones that decide to just halt really abruptly and change direction with absolutely no warning whatsoever. Feckers.

    I refuse to go over to Apple. I hate them for such ruthless domination of a product area. I’ll stick with my laptop and Microsoft…oh…erm…bugger,