And a good evening to you from across the Pond after a simply FANTASTIC weekend away from the Smoke. To all my faithful (especially to Tom Price who threatened to cancel his subscription), I will say a profound apology for being off the grid the last 7 days. I have no lie to tell - the last month has been the busiest work month I've had in 3 years, and I was bloody EXHAUSTED every night. Between interface issues, integration sessions, and innovative (yet empirical) strategic planning (basically, anything that starts with an "i" wears me out), I was ABSOLUTELY drained by the time I boarded the train on Friday night. In fact, I think this photo of Jenny (taken on Wednesday night) pretty much sums up what we wanted to do all weekend (but luckily didn't!). Honestly, could she BE any cuter?
But I get ahead of myself. When I last left you, I was feeling like a chubby Chinaman after a second round with crispy duck. For the record - whilst at the table, I got the question: Greatest UT athlete of all time? I told him I needed to meditate on this, and I'm still in limbo on that one - thoughts from the peanut gallery (CP - your responses, since I know they will all be derogatory, will be deleted without being read - therefore, save yourself the time)?
Tuesday night was a long one - we worked until after 10, at which point I went to Covent Garden, where I met the Hitman, the Cyborg, the Eagle Scout, an anonymous Tech Exec, and the Baron for some of THE BEST Indian I've ever had. How good was it? So good that the Baron felt the need to order a SECOND HELPING of lamp chops for desert. The look on the man's face when we told him "no" to ice cream but fire up the burners again was, well, simply priceless. However, it wasn't as funny as watching a member of our crew (all names are stricken from the record due to a request from those present - see, I'm not a TOTAL ogre) accidentally rub his eye with his chili-covered finger, only to watch him dip his napkin in his water to try and wash it out (the staff was NOT amused, especially when they brought over towels to clean up the veritable ocean of water now on the floor by our table). That being said, Moti Mahal was QUITE tasty.
On Wednesday night, we rolled over to MLFC, where a large group of us grabbed some drinks (and I grabbed a pint glass - BOMBARDIER, BABY!!!) at the Paternoster, a nice little pub just beside the London Stock Exchange. It was a GREAT night catching up and chatting, having a few brewskis and trying to NOT look at the dude just outside our window who was PICKING HIS TEETH WITH HIS OYSTER CARD. I mean, honestly, I'd rather you feed me an "Ebola Steak" than ask me to put my oyster card in my mouth. We tried to "stealthily" catch this guy in action, but all we resulted in doing was photgraph him picking his nose - I'm really just hoping he's not one of the Goldman guys that just got a billion pound bonus. Dinner that night was at Ming Court - yep, our second run of Chinese in 3 days. This too was very tasty, and I left there feeling VERY fat and happy.
Thursday was another long (but VERY productive) day in the office, but husband bear became "bad husband bear" in the evening. Luckily, he has a very forgiving wife who doesn't send him to the couch when she takes the train to meet him and he never calls to tell her where he actually is...yeah, I'm a pretty classy guy. BUT I LOVE YOU PERFECT PUMPKIN TRUFFLE BEAR!!!!!
The part that did go according to plan was taking the team out for dinner at Srinam, which was a blast. The other success? Sammy will NEVER forget to take his BlackBerry out and sit it on the table EVER again.
Friday was a great day as well, but mentally my brain was FRIED. That being said, it was a great time to assess everything that had transpired during the Integration sessions, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be a nice continuation of that.
We did take a break for lunch, popping over to Wahaca, where I ate WAY more "Mexican street food" than I should have. I still have a chuckle at that description, as none of these posh pumas would be caught DEAD eating REAL Mexican street food.
The evening was a pint with Steve (the Tennessean) and Owain before catching the tube up to Euston for a GREAT weekend in the North. Those stories, however, will have to wait until tomorrow, as this guy has simply GOT to get to bed.
Again - apologies for the delay. The plan is 2 blogs tomorrow (one for the weekend and one for Monday).
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny