June 23, 2006
This may come as a shock to my American readers, but most of Britain is not “cable-ready”. That’s a phrase most Americans haven’t had to deal with since the 1970s. In America, the home cable TV connection is almost a constitutional right. But in London, where the brick buildings are older than older than America itself, miles of coax snaking through the walls is an impossibility. As a result, everyone here has satellite instead. And, when it comes to satellite, there’s only one game in town: Sky.
Derek and I have it, mainly because he wants to watch TV from Germany and France. That will come as a shock to the Brits, who generally only get Sky in order to have 105 channels of football. In fact, getting it set up without the Sports Package can be difficult. “There must be a mistake; it looks like they forgot the Sports Package when they set up your account.” No, we opted for the Culture Package. Yep, we’re that gay.
More info: Sky Digital
May 2, 2006
This week in Paddington… free probiotic yoghurt fruit smoothies. Forgetting about the odd British spelling of yogurt for a moment, pro-biotic? I’m used to anti-biotics. Pro-biotic sounds like something that should kill you.
As it turns out, there are apparently “good” and “bad” stomach bacteria. And, “pro-biotic” means it’s loaded with the “good” ones, which supposedly wards off the “bad” ones. Who knew there was a bacterial coup d’etat going on in my stomach?
More info: PJ Smoothies
April 18, 2006
Considering last week there was nothingat all going on in Paddington, I was happy to see something truly weird this week. Snoreeze, as you might guess, is a product that helps you stop snoring. The twist is that it’s in the form of a dissolving strip (like those Listerine breath strips). I have no idea if it works, but the set thing (in addition to the free samples) was the display… a glass cube containing a king-size bed, occupied by two real live people, fast asleep in the middle of Paddington station.
Apparently, Snoreze not only stops you snoring, it also knocks you out completely (at least to the point that you can sleep through all the noise of one of London’s busiest train stations). I have to wonder how much this job pays. How much do you get an hour to sleep in the middle of a train station in the middle of the day? And do you get less if you start snoring?
More info: Snoreeze
April 3, 2006
Must be a slow week for the Paddington booking office. This week we have a Jamaican steel band “drumming” up business (sorry, couldn’t resist) for First Great Western Railways, which more or less “owns” Paddington. Hey, commuters! Commute with us some more!
It seems ironic to have a Jamaican band playing “Brazil”, ostensibly advertising for a travel service that doesn’t go to either Jamaica or Brazil. How Brazil-ian! :)
March 27, 2006
This week in Paddington, it’s Berocca! What’s Berocca, you ask? Even though the poster makes it look like a tablet you add to water to create instant beer (Why hasn’t anybody come up with that one yet?), Berocca is in fact a tablet you add to water to make Tang. Granted, it’s vitamin-rich Tang that they’re trying to market as an alternative to Red Bull, but it still looks like Tang to me.
The whole fizzy vitamin drink tablet thing is a rip-off from Airborne in the US. I think Airborne is still “healthier” than Berocca, but instead of Tang, it tastes more like Fresca and tonic water. Maybe if you stick one of each in a glass of water you’d get something approaching Sunny Delight… or maybe it would just explode.
March 20, 2006
In a country increasingly weary of guns, bombs and unminded parcels, it seems completely wrong to see giant semi-automatic weapons sitting on a table in the middle of Paddington. Considering all the swanky, elaborate corporate-sponsored displays we’ve seen recently, it also seems remarkably cheesy.
Why is it that survivalist types always look like, well… survivalist types? They say these paintballing things are popular with business-oriented “weekend-warriors”, but why have I never seen one of these booths staffed by someone in a suit (or heck, even a sweater and some khakis)? These are people whose artistic abilities end at draping some army-surplus camouflage netting over two pasting tables and setting up a backyard patio canopy. I mean, how did they even get into Paddington in the first place? And who exactly are they expecting to sign up here?
The answer to this question can be found on their signage, which touts paintballing as the perfect compliment to “Stag and Hen Parties, Birthday Parties, and Corporate Events”. On the other side of the booth, creepiest yet is an ad for “Kids Parties”. I quote: “A Whole Day of Paintball Action. Suitable for children from the age of eleven.” Eleven? Hey Timmy, stop aiming that at your brother! Oops, too late. Continuing: “Bring any number of guests, from one to the whole class.” Whole class? What the hell kind of grade schools do they have over here? Well, we were going to go the the aquarium, but they were remodeling, so we’re all going to dress up like white supremacists (note the ethnicity of everyone on the posters and manning the booth) and mock-kill each other in the woods. Nice.
March 13, 2006
Nothing too exciting this week in Paddington. Just a kiosk with laptops, hawking BT Broadband. I think the guy on the right was homeless, and was just looking for a place to sit.