I violated Cardinal Rule #1 of long-haul air travel.
Before takeoff, never engage the person sitting next to you.
It's tempting. You'll all going somewhere - an awesome vacation, home after a long business trip, to visit loved ones - somewhere. And you're excited. Possibly tired, but potentially chatty.
Well, that was me.
On yesterday's Virgin America flight back from LA, I found myself in the aisle seat next to one late 50's / early 60's lady (Let's call her Lady A) across the aisle, had an open middle seat, and then sat an even older lady in the window seat in my row (she's Lady B).
Somehow we began talking about the cheap LA-Boston airfares these days. Both Lady B and I booked our tickets a few weeks ago, and paid about $270 each. Lady A booked a one-way last week for just $90. Virgin was doing some deep discounting recently on this route.
Lady A mentioned that her children go to college out east - her daughter in Boston, and her son in Providence.
Providence? [ears perk up....Hmm...don't do it, don't do it...]
"I went to school of Providence too. Where does your son go?" I asked.
[Why did you do that?]
"He's graduating from Brown next month," she replied.
[...play dumb, don't say it, dont say it...]
"Oh really? I went to Brown too!"
I did it. Not only had I violated cardinal rule #1 of long-haul air travel, but I made a personal connection. AND it was about her beloved children.
Lady A for 30 minutes - Talktalktalktalktalk, talktalktalk......talktalk.
Me for 30 minutes - "Oh really, oh, oh wow, yeah, oh, nice, yep, oh ok..."
Now it's important to note that this lady was indeed super nice. Both of her kids went to prep schools and then onward to highly competitive universities, they had great world experiences for their young lives, and she spoke of them with pride and adoration, not boastfulness. I saw my parents in her, as I had a similar educational experience (less the travel) thanks to their sending me to the schools that I attended. I didn't fault her for her devotion to them and did enjoy the topic of conversation. I simply didn't want to be hearing this for 5 hours and was looking for an out.
Thankfully....I found one.
THE DRINK CART!
Whether they saw Lady A's filibuster on me, or aisle 14 was simply the cart's next stop from which the attendants served cocktails, they put the cart RIGHT between us.
Whew! Saved by the Virgins
All I needed was a five minute break to get my noise-canceling headphones out and begin using them. When they moved the cart, Lady A started chatting with me again, but quickly finished and said that she'd "not take up all of my time and let me get to it," a nice was to sum up the conversation and gracefully let me go.
I spent the rest of the flight with my headphones on. Lady B, who I thought was also going to be chatty, slept during most of the flight. We had a few words upon our final approach and landing, but then went our separate ways.
Sometimes, I think I would talk to a tree if it could listen.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Posted by Jason at 10:26 AM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I'm in Los Angeles for another night, and I have to say that I am experiencing lots of deja vu during this trip. From '99-'06, I must have flown out here 25 times. Maybe more. My trips were so routine that it was to the point of borderline Groundhog Day - book 1:35pm Continental flight, connect through Newark, arrive, Budget FastBreak, drive up 405 to Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, stop at Whole Foods and pick up healthy snacks for the week, check in, unpack, watch Sunday night TV, get ready for a week of work. Monday meet at radio station for final project planning and lunch, then drive to the OC. Focus groups every night Mon-Thurs, meetings Wed AM and Fri AM. Finish around 2PM on Friday, drop off equipment at FedEx, go tool around for a Friday night in LA, either poker or dinner with friends. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Once again, I'm out here moderating focus groups. But there's a few major differences.
First, I'm not staying in The Valley. I wanted a change of pace, so I found a nice hotel (The Chamberlain) on a residential street in West Hollywood, midway between the residences of two friends, with whom I had dinner Sunday night. About $155/night, totally reasonable.
Next, I'm simply moderating these focus groups. I'm not lead on the project, and don't need to set up all of this fancy electronic data collection equipment hours before the groups. I did plenty of prep work over the past few weeks (and months actually), and my job now is to show up and moderate. While moderating is not simply a walk in the park, it's a load off my shoulders not to have to worry about much else.
I get to fly home tomorrow, another difference. I am used to my trips to LA being 4-6 nights. This was simply three. Quick trip. Long enough to escape the random Boston heat wave, and return when it's back to the standard temps in the 50's tomorrow.
Posted by Jason at 2:25 PM
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I'm not sure who Mrs. Jemima Stoddard is, but I love her name. I took this picture in the Granary Burial Ground last week. I don't find graveyards as creepy as some do. Rather, I think of them as peaceful and full of history and stories. As long as photos in graveyards aren't offensive, I think that a weathered headstone is a cool photo subject.
Posted by Jason at 8:44 PM
I've spent the better part of the past 4 or 5 days being reminded that I'm no longer 18.
While I can make an argument that I am in better shape today than I was back then, this week my body reminded me that I am indeed in my fourth decade.
Last weekend, I drank my nights away at a beer festival and a wine tasting, and spent my days playing flag football and softball. Working out the liver, and working out the rest of the body.
Even though stretching is always part of my pre-exertion routine, I ended up with a bruise on my left eye, sore pecs, biceps, shoulders, and legs, and dull pain in my lower back. My feet hurt a bit, and I felt quite tired. I resorted to soaking in my whirlpool tub a few times, which is always either a sign of soreness and or an imminent fever.
Turns out, I had both.
I tried to go about my usual activities for the week, but everything was a struggle. I made it to Springsteen. Did some work from home, interspersing a few naps. Hit the gym (just once) on Thursday, after which I went to the batting cages. But every decision was based on how I felt at that moment.
Wed and Thurs overnights were sweaty ones - fevers clearly broke and I woke up in gross wet t-shirts. I removed the down comforter from the bed on Friday, which helped for my sleep last night, as there was no similar occurrence. Perhaps I'm in the clear.
Posted by Jason at 8:17 AM
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Over the course of the past 18 hours, I have had two distinctly different customer service experiences. I would tell the tale of the customer service at both companies, but rather than dwell on the terrible (Verizon), I thought it would be better to focus on the remarkable (LensCrafters).
Long story short - LensCrafters adjusted my bent sunglasses at no cost, even after telling them that I hadn't purchased the sunglasses there.
I have had this pair of prescription Oakley sunglasses for many years. I recall paying north of $400 for the lenses and frames. Not exactly cheap.
During the Italy trip in the fall of 2007, one of the arms broke off. I used some duct tape for the rest of the trip and upon my return, paid an optical shop in Kenmore Square $60 to do a crappy repair job. They were returned to me kinda crooked and with lenses that clearly did not fit into the frames properly. I dealt with it, though was unhappy.
After my eye surgery in February, my prescription understandably changed in my left eye. Rather than purchase an entire new pair, I brought them to King Optical in Braintree, who charged me $100 for brand new lenses. The optician saw how poorly the present lenses fit, saw that the frames were crooked, and said he'd return them to me good as new. He did just that.
Fast forward to this past weekend. I was playing flag football. During the organized fall league, I play defensive cornerback, my job basically being to bump receivers off the line and protect my zone. On Saturday, since the teams were smaller and it was a pickup game, we played both offense and defense.
On offense, I had a few series as receiver, and a few as lineman. As a lineman, my job was to block a guy running at me with a 5 yard start. I wasn't too keen on this position.
Stupid me was also wearing my sunglasses.
I didn't wear them during the fall season, so I'm not sure why I elected to do so on Saturday.
While blocking someone, I was blindsided by someone else from the left, resulting in my mini-black eye and, once again, crooked Oakleys. Grrr.
Of course, frugal me, remembering that these things cost $400 a number of years ago, decided that they needed yet another repair rather than me needing a brand new pair.
So I found my way into LensCrafters on Boylston St. this afternoon. I walked in and was promptly greeted. I explained that my glasses needed some readjusting. Since they were not purchased at LensCrafters, they would not be responsible if any damage occurred during the readjustment, but they said they could certainly adjust them as I waited.
I asked how much it would cost.
"Oh, it's free."
"Yep. You could make a donation of used eyewear if you'd like."
Wow. Awesome. I love free.
LensCrafters did not HAVE to provide this free service. I was willing to spend another $50-$60 on an adjustment...I didn't know how much it would cost.
But they did.
THAT'S the way to get a customer. I'm certainly going to remember this when I need a new pair of glasses, and will make LensCrafters my first stop. They didn't earn any revenue from me today, but will in the future.
Oh, and I'm certainly going to donate a few pairs of older eyeglasses for their charity.
Posted by Jason at 4:29 PM
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I have been a Springsteen fan since '84. Born in the U.S.A. 6th grade. Hit after hit after hit from that album. Probably one of the first 20 or 30 cassettes (?!) that I ever purchased.
I have a distinct memory of a history class where the teacher stepped out for the final 10 or so minutes of the period, and had a member of the high school wrestling team that he coached proctor us while we worked on some homework. Somehow he saw that I had written "Bruce Springsteen" on my binder and he excused me from the remainder of the class because he too was a fan. It's odd what drums up memories.
Fast forward through the rest of the 80's (Tunnel of Love) into college in the early 90's (Streets of Philadelphia) and then onward to 9-11-01. The Rising is still one of my favorite albums, and hearing the title song, an ode to the rescue workers who rushed up the Twin Towers' staircases while others rushed down, always drums up mixed emotions - incredible sadness yet thoughts of heroic redemption.
Tuesday night, I had the honor of finally seeing Bruce live - AND had great seats in a 6th floor luxury box.
What an experience!
His fans are passionate. I certainly brought the average age down in the arena, and I didn't know all of the words to all of the songs, but this was a concert that lived up to my expectations. The E Street Band sounded amazing. Every song was either a party or a sermon (or both). I was fully expecting a gospel choir to line up behind the stage and chime in during a few songs (but none did). Bruce even did his crotch-first stage slide into a camerman, a la The Super Bowl.
I found the setlist online already, thanks to www.backstreets.com.
Adam Raised a Cain
Out in the Street
Working on a Dream
The Ghost of Tom Joad
I'm Goin' Down
Raise Your Hand
I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide
I'm Goin' Down
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Kingdom of Days
Born to Run
* * *
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Land of Hope and Dreams
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Night #2 of this weekend's drinking was the Wine Riot at the Cyclorama. This was actually my first wine tasting, and while I did enjoy it, I felt that the actual pours were pretty small. That's probably par for the course, though.
Among our favorites, we tried some delicious Prosecco, a couple great Rieslings, and some interesting fruit-infused sake.
The spot on my shirt was actually water. I rinsed my glass and took a swig of it, but naturally managed to miss my mouth partially. Can't take me anywhere...
Posted by Jason at 11:36 PM
Night of weekend drinking #1 - Beer Summit on Friday night. I love craft beer festivals. Tons of microbrews on draft, happy patrons, increasingly incoherent conversation. Here is a video of me panning the crowd - far more appropriate for a PG blog than some of the videos taken at the end of the evening, starring some of my foul-mouthed friends.
Besides the beer, I found a booth serving cracker spreads. My liquid courage caused me to ask for the hottest spread, and the habanero chutney that was handed to me could not have been a worse idea than it actually was. Without a glass of milk in sight, I started sweating profusely, and had a mouth on fire for the better part of 15 minutes. Never again with the habaneros.
Posted by Jason at 11:27 PM
Thursday, April 16, 2009
During my brief jaunt down part of Newbury St. on Wednesday, I was taken aback at the commercial vacancies.
These pics are on the block between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets (with one exception, the old Gap storefront that was literally just across Exeter Street).
I probably could have found more of these signs further down Newbury or on the side streets (such as at the old Restoration Hardware).
It's such a shame to see. Not that I'm much of a Newbury Street shopper, but vacant storefronts are never a good sign.
Posted by Jason at 4:18 PM
I had this intricate plan on Wednesday to try on a pair of shoes.
Tuesday night, I found myself on the website for Tom's Shoes, a casual footwear company that donates a pair of shoes for each pair sold. I had heard of them before and never really gave much thought to buying a pair of their shoes, though found their cause noble.
With the Kauai trip quickly approaching, I thought a pair of Tom's Shoes would look good in paradise, wearing shorts-and-a-t-shirt and holding an adult beverage in a coconut.
While I love shopping online, I almost never buy shoes online because of my feet - they're not too big and are pretty wide. Strange genes I was blessed with. I have spent much of my adult life in New Balance or Rockport, two companies that reliably make comfortable wide shoes. Every so often, I'll find another brand that fits in particular styles - my Hurleys, Campers, and Johnston & Murphys in particular. But I usually don't waste my time, and stick with what I know works.
I decided that I was going to find a local retailer that carried Tom's Shoes and try them on for size there. I'd even buy them if they had a style I liked. While such a mundane task shouldn't become much of an eventful adventure, today's plan became a bit of one.
First, I realized that I left the house without quarters in my car, so parking became a chore. I had three 20 dollar bills in my wallet, and wasn't sure if those new multi-meters took credit cards (they do) or large bills, so I opted to look for free Visitor Parking. To my bad fortune, it was street cleaning day on most of the streets in the South End where I usually park, and being that it was 2:30 PM, I didn't want to ditch my car in any of the Noon-4 PM zones, risking a ticket. That made options far more limited. Eventually, I grabbed a spot near Tremont 647 and elected to walk. Sunny, brisk day. Why not?
Tom's website sent me to Karmaloop on Newbury St., a store that most certainly had nothing close to what I sought, quickly thwarting my plan.
I ended up at Starbucks, working on a project and heading back to Tom's website to see who else nearby carried their shoes. Another local option appears to be Berk's in Cambridge, but I have been advised by Mike that I'm no longer allowed to cross the river alone...so perhaps I'll find my way there this weekend.
Posted by Jason at 7:05 AM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I think the first time I had lettuce wraps was at a P.F. Chang's, probably a few years ago when that chain was new and still kinda cool.
Yesterday, I was invited to dinner at the P.F. Chang's in the Pru. We ordered vegetarian lettuce wraps to start. Oddly enough, for the second time in a row at that particular P.F. Chang's (dating back many months) we were served the regular chicken lettuce wraps. Good thing I asked, as the vegetarian among us (Karin) probably didn't want to chow on Foghorn Leghorn.
So the server didn't charge us for the chicken lettuce wraps and shortly thereafter brought the vegetarian ones.
I sampled both types of lettuce wraps and found myself wishing I was elsewhere. They weren't bad, but there's a new lettuce wraps champion in town.
Boston Beer Garden in Southie.
I must say...I thought the lettuce wraps were always a P.F. Chang's highlight, but after tasting the lettuce wraps at Boston Beer Garden, P.F.'s are quite inferior.
Maybe it's the sauces at Boston Beer Garden's version (chili sauce and peanut sauce). Or the portion size (huge). Or the actual iceberg lettuce used (far larger with a deeper cup). Or simply the overall package. Regardless, BBG's lettuce wraps are consistently delicious.
Since the owners of Boston Beer Garden have a few other places around town, all with strikingly similar menus, I would imagine that the lettuce wraps recipe is similar among all of the locations within their restaurant group. This particular dish is probably an afterthought for them, but it's definitely a winner.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Aunt Jean's backyard
Rosie (dog, left)
Maia (dog, right)
Gia (dog, observing)
About 3:30 PM on Easter Sunday, relatives responded to a backyard Tug-o-War between two canines.
On arrival, witnesses described a 5 minute standoff between two dogs, each approximately 60-70 pounds. Both sought possession of a small blue plush bear. At times, it is believed that each dog attained sole possession of said bear, only to resume fight for possession after brief chases around the yard.
It is believed that the beheading occurred shortly after the above photo depicting the actual struggle and onlooking of chubby pug Gia.
Both dogs involved in the beheading are behind held until arraignment in doggie court.
Posted by Jason at 8:05 AM
Monday, April 13, 2009
On Friday, I ventured to the Wrentham Outlets to begin shopping for the trip to Kauai, and I'm now the proud owner of three new swimsuits (along with other assorted new items of clothing).
Shopping for me is usually a solitary adventure. I like to take my time and not feel like I'm burdening someone in sitting and waiting while I host my own personal runway show.
But this trip was different. It's Mike's condo in Kauai at which I will be staying, and part of the motivation of my current diet (17 pounds off and counting since Feb 1) is to become healthier and look good for the beach. Mike should have a say in my Hawaii fashion, I decided. It's also nice to invite someone on a clothes shopping trip every so often, just for a change of opinion. While couture is often a personal decision, it's usually influenced by peer pressure.
I ended up with 3 pairs of shorts (two plaid, one madras - I haven't had patterned shorts in years), a few T-shirts one size smaller than I'm used to buying (thanks to the diet), and the aforementioned three new swimsuits. Unfortunately, I'm still not thrilled with my appearance in those bathing suits, so I have a bit of a hardcore month ahead of me. Now with Easter in the past, and the temptation of cakes and chocolate bunnies behind me, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of dropping a few more pounds and toning up even more.
Posted by Jason at 9:42 AM
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
One of the by-products of ordering a Snuggie (well, technically...two Snuggies) is that marketers believe I'm a shut-in 68 year old lady.
Case in point, today's catalog from Heartland America.
Immediately, I noticed that on the cover and on a few pages inside, they warn me that "due to skyrocketing postage rates" they have to cut back and urge me to order from this particular issue. I suppose it's my last chance to purchase such cutting edge products as:
- An Ice Shaver to make Sno-Cones
- A Project Runway-edition Brother sewing machine
- A digital dictionary / thesaurus "ideal for crossword puzzle buffs"
- An Amazing Versatile Memorex 3 CD changer / dual cassette / turntable / AM-FM stereo
Pottery Barn this is not.
Monday, April 06, 2009
(well, not really live…but this is how today went down at Suffolk Superior Court)
6:50 AM – Finally get out of bed, check my jury summons to ensure that I’m due to arrive at 9:00 AM for my Jury Du….uh-oh, I’m supposed to be there at 8:00 AM. How did I overlook this? Better get moving.
8:05 AM – I show up. 5 minutes late, but no big deal, as there is a line of about 20 people waiting to register and enter the Jury Pool room, which I discover has seats for about 150 people, most of which will be filled before registration has ended. I signed in and they handed me a random number, not based on time of arrival but rather already pre-assigned.
8:34 AM – We watch a brief video about the selection process, including any relevant terminology and what to expect from today. While the video was indeed informative, it was clearly produced in the era of Night Court – everything from the production values, on-screen captioning, and attire of the people in the video. Frosted hair, stuffy suits, pencil mustaches. Classic 1985.
8:50 AM – A judge welcomes us. Thanks us for coming, mentions how important our service is to the judicial process, and tries to break the ice with some levity and a few stories. OK, let’s get this show on the road…
9:30 AM – We receive a 25 minute break, meaning we’re not required to wait, but can wander around for 25 minutes until we’re required to once again…wait.
10:21 AM – Still waiting. I’m tagging photos of my Iceland trip.
10:55 AM – Yep, waiting. Just finished reading Weekly Dig and Improper Bostonian.
11:14 AM – My number is called (finally) and I’m shuffled into a court room where about 60 other jurors already sat. The judge welcomed us, thanked us for coming, and mentioned how important our service is to the judicial process (wait…this sounds familiar). No levity though, we’re in a courtroom.
11:25 AM – The judge begins explaining the case to us, stating the names of the defendant and any potential witnesses. He also explains the context of the case, and that it will likely last for one week. I take that as meaning two weeks.
11:36 AM – The judge begins asking questions, instructing us that any jurors who wish to answer “Yes” to any questions should raise their juror numbers at the appropriate times.
11:45 AM – Upon asking if any jurors would have difficulty remaining unbiased in this case due to what we had just learned about it, I raise my juror number….along with about 40-45% of the jurors in the room. This situation might have been one of the very few that I absolutely could not remain unbiased. I was being honest. Clearly, others were too. Sorry Judicial System, you probably don’t want me for this one.
12:03 PM – We’re shuffled into another courtroom to wait.
12:35 PM – Still waiting. I’m almost finished with my final reading material, GQ.
1:00 PM – Lunch break! We’re told to return at 2:00 PM. Busy day of doing nothing…I head to Whole Foods, as it’s vegetable day on the diet and they have a good salad bar.
1:30 PM – Mmmmm edamame.
1:50 PM – I return to the court room, a bit early. They appear to have moved us again, this time to the 9th floor mezzanine. I am escorted up there to find people everywhere, mostly seated in the hallway.
2:15 PM – Some bailiffs begin bringing a few chairs out for some people. I elect to remain standing.
2:20 PM – Tired of standing - I join many others sitting on the cold, hard floor. No more chairs were presented to us.
2:35 PM – I begin listening to the Mets-Reds game on my MLB.com iPhone app, however the awful accents of the announcers on WLW irritate me too much to continue.
2:55 PM – They call a few jurors away into another room, but I am not one of them. In the hallway I remain. Why are the interiors of state and federal buildings so depressing and ugly?
3:05 PM – I find an open deliberating room and steal a chair from there.
3:20 PM – I begin “live blogging” jury duty, sitting in my newly acquired chair, still in the hallway.
3:34 PM – Chair. Hallway. Waiting.. Officially 454 minutes after I arrived. I believe they close at 4:30 PM. Perhaps this will be my final hour here.
3:38 PM – I could use some Advil and a nap.
3:59 PM – The last time I served on a jury, not only was I selected, but they picked me by 11:30 AM AND they showed us Sister Act 2 in the Jury Pool room. No movies today. We’re all still waiting around. What a waste of time.
4:00 PM – Bailiff retrieves us and brings us back into the courtroom.
4:05 PM – “All Rise!” (I don’t get why we have to do this…it’s not church)
4:08 PM – Judge informs us that he is about 2/3 set with the jury for this case, and while normally he would have all of us RETURN TOMORROW to continue waiting to see if he needed us, he felt that Tuesday’s Juror Pool would allow him to fill out the balance of this particular jury without depleting the juries for the other trials this week. He said that a case like this, where many jurors recuse themselves, usually requires far more time to assemble a qualified, unbiased jury.
What I find peculiar about today’s jury selection was that while I raised my juror number card when asked if anyone would have difficulty remaining unbiased, that fact was never a determining factor in my dismissal from jury service. We were brought back into the courtroom numerically, and since my number was one of the higher ones, they kept me waiting in the hallway longer. I was excused because they ran out of time.
Posted by Jason at 8:40 PM
Friday, April 03, 2009
After a day of sightseeing, I swung through Piccadilly Circus on my way back to my friend's place for a quick shower and change. A few nights prior, I had walked through Piccadilly Circus at nighttime, but didn't have my camera on me, and figured a few day shots through London's equivalent of Times Square would be a good idea.
I found my way onto a corner of sidewalk at the intersection of two roads, protected by a guard rail. Taking in the sights and sounds, I started snapping pictures. People, buses, lights, cars - anything that caught my eye. I won't say that Piccadilly Circus was my favorite area within London, but it was certainly one of the busier ones.
I had never attempted panning shots, but for some reason thought that my location amid the chaos lent to trying a few. I lowered the shutter speed and focused on moving vehicles, panning the camera a touch to follow them as they passed me.
The result was kinda cool. This is one of my favorites - a classic black London taxi appearing to be blazing past me (it was probably traveling around 25 miles per hour).
Thursday, April 02, 2009
This is one of my favorite photos from the entire London trip. I'm not sure why, but I think I love the contradiction - prim and proper London in the background, such elegant names as King's Cross and Primrose Hill elegant on the sign in the distance, and the anarchy of the word London scrawled atop the bicycle sign in defiant red graffiti, partially obscuring the BT Tower.
I took this shot near Regent Park while waiting for my friend to finish up an appointment with her trainer. I remember wandering through the park, walking past London Business School, enjoying the brightly colored tulips and birds fluttering around, and having "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols randomly shuffle onto my iPhone.
A city of contradictions indeed.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Just a friendly reminder to my Southie neighbors - it's that time of year again.
Interesting to note that the times have been changed from 8AM-Noon to 9AM-1PM on many streets near my place.
I think this is an awesome change, because it means that arriving home later in the evening on a Wednesday night means that I don't have to worry about moving my car by 8AM the following morning.
I'm not sure what precipitated this modification, but it helps me and everyone else who leaves for work between 8 and 9 AM. Good move, city!
I picked the right week to have gone to London, and learned more about this week's G-20 protests during my time there. My friend Marygrace told me that bankers were encouraged to dress down this week, as not to draw attention to their profession.
I, on the other hand, always seem to dress down - and when on vacation...seem to wear the same thing sometimes! Here's a bunch of shots of me in my black jacket, parading through London.