Saturday, July 08, 2006


I'm back in the States!!!!!!!

Mom came to York on the 28th and then we went to London on the 30th and hung out there for a while and came home on Wednesday. London was a good time and mom had fun, which was good, but it was crazy hot the whole time we were there. It was in the 90s for most of the week, which of course made the front page of all the papers. Lucky us. The flight home was good - pretty uneventful, thankfully. We pulled into O'hare at around 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon and went and got some good American style pizza and equally importantly cold drinks (the English aren't terribly worried about making sure their beer/pop/anything else anyone could drink is cold). So that was a good time. Now I'm just working on getting the next few months of my life figured out and making sure I can take this last freaking class up in Chicago in the fall. Hopefully it'll all work out alright and then things will be happy. That's about all I got right now, and I need to go replace the fuel filter on my car. Man it's good to be back in the States. :/

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I was just sitting here thinking. I like to read good writing, a lot. I have some friends on this thing that are really good writers, they have the ability to utterly pull you into their words and make you feel like you're with them, like you're experiencing what they're saying. I've always appreciated good writing, I think I just never really put a lot of effort into finding it and reading it - partly because I couldn't even keep up with my school reading, but still. Not that the stuff I've read before was bad writing, I just feel like I've missed out on a lot of good writing because I've been too lazy to do a lot of reading. Last week I read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and now I'm almost done with Appolonius' Jason and the Golden Fleece. It seems like England has, if nothing else (and trust me, there's some things 'else'), led me to seek out and get through good literature. Strange that none of it thus far has been English, but whatever. That's just a thought I had this morning. Oh, by the way, I might not get to go to Ireland. That sucks. Gotta go now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

(see previous post for title)

So there I was, walking through town past some charity shops (that's what they call clothing re-sale shops) and as I look in the window, what do I see? Normally after a sentence like that, a person would just go right ahead and tell you what he saw, but not me. I want more than that from you. I want you to take a minute or so and think of all the outrageously absurd things that one could see in a charity clothing shop window. And don't think stupid things like, I dunno, trees. Obviously there won't be trees in there, it's a clothing shop. Come on, work with me here. Ok? Ok. Now, here we go, I'll give ya a minute........................and stop. Got any good ones? Like, I dunno, a hat with antlers on it? Or a U.S. uniform from the Revolutionary War? That would be entertaining, good thought. But no, it was neither of those. It was, in fact, an Arizona FFA jacket!! Let me say that again, cause I'm sure some of you in the back didn't hear me. It was, in a charity clothing store in York, England, an Arizona FFA jacket (boy, after you type arizona once or twice it really starts to look strange). How freaking outrageous is that? What's it doing here? How did it get here? And why where they charging 35 pounds for it? Who is going to want that, if they aren't in the FFA? I mean come on, it's a royal blue cord jacket with tons of gold embroydery on it, someone else's name, and a giant bright gold FFA symbol on the back (consisting of plow, owl, rising sun and of course, corn, for those of you who don't know.) Actually, that parenthetical reminded me, let me just take this time to address those of you silly enough not to know what FFA is. You all are silly. There, you've been addressed. Ok, actually it's a huge youth organization centered around the agricultural industry. It's massive, and given that the ag (that's what those of us in 'the know' call agriculture, try to keep up ;)) industry is the largest employer in the country, that affects a lot of people. Go to if you want to know more. And don't kid yourself, you do. Yeah, so anyway, that's my stream-of-consciousness post for now. An FFA jacket in York. Absolutely fantastic. Aight, peace.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


JOHN C. MCGINLEY A.K.A. DR. COX IS IN THE ROCK!!!!!!! That's right, we were watching the Rock the other day (it was a great day) and when it started I was like, wait a minute, I know that name, no way, he's not in that. And then, he was! This pushes The Rock over the edge into a new realm of wonder. Not only is it the greatest action film ever made, it must now have surpassed even the possibility of being challenged. Sweet. That's all.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

philosophy and footie

Man, it's been a while since I've done anything on there, sorry about that. I'm just generally lazy, but you all know me, so that's no surprise. Things have been going pretty well here, time is going really fast, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I can't wait to get home. I feel like I'm in a period of my life where I am just treading water and not really moving forward, but only in some respects. Even though I'm not working or moving to Chicago right now or anything like that, I am definitely making progress in other ways. The things I'm reading for class are all about the philosophy of history, which sounds like it would be boring, but I'm kinda into boring things, so it's cool for me. It really makes me rethink the way I think about history and how how I view the importance or lack thereof in it. Stuff like that. The casual reality of my life here (no job, no car, no cell phone, it's a very different world for me) allows me to do a lot more thinking about things like this than I would do at home, I think. So that's definitely a good thing, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Plus, my friends here are fantastic and we have a great time, so they tend to curtail my anxiety to get home. But at the same time, I miss all my friends back home, I miss being able to see my family almost any time I really want to, if I just make the effort. I want to be working, finishing school, moving on with what Western society touts as "real life," if you'll excuse the absurdity of the statement. It's weird to try to articulate what exactly it is that I want to move on with, because it is so clear that the things that I'm thinking about here are so great a part of what life really is. So there I am, and it's a strange place to be.

When I haven't been thinking/reading about the history of philosophy, I've been working on getting my computer back up and running so I don't have to keep hiking over to this freaking computer lab every time I want to check an email. It's coming along slowly, and hopefully in the next week or two will be taken care of. Cross your fingers. Also, me and the guys are getting a lot better with the frisbee. I'm told there's an outdoor basketball court nearby, so if we can find a ball I'll work on schooling England in yet another aspect of what makes America great. :) And if I lose, you'll never hear about it, heh heh. It's looking like a couple of us are going to try to get to Ireland around the second weekend of June. I'm excited about that, even if we'll probably only get to see Dublin and nothing else. It'll still be sweet, plus the Guiness brewery is there. Hooray!

Yeah, so that's about all that's going on here. The 'footie' (football) (soccer) is starting up around here, so it looks like that's going to consume most of our Saturday afternoons from now on. I'll see if I can't pick up some idea of what the heck is going on, and maybe I can try to explain the peoples' fascination with sports that involve neither throwing nor catching with the hands. Don't hold your breath, though. Aight, I'd better go so I can meet the guys before the match starts!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Aight, well, I tried this the other day and it didn't work, but maybe it will go better this time. So I am back in York and had my one exam yesterday. It went alright, no big surprises, really. Now that that's over, I decided that today would be the day that I would shave my beard that's been growing for four months and cut my hair, which also hasn't been touched as long as I've been here. It's been a big day. And, I'm really excited that things like that constitute big days lately. That's fun. The computer's still jacked up, so I'm not sure how soon that'll all get figured out. Hopefully soon.

Traveling was fun, and hopefully I'll get around to chronicling (?) the whole thing at some point, though I'm not sure if I'll put that up here or not, since I have already got several posts up here from that whole time. We'll see. After Brugge I made it back to England in one day, succeeding in making it to three countries in one day, which was fun. I got to London at a decent time and met up with Andy and Colleen. I hung out there for a couple days, then went to Windsor to see my friend Dan and the castle, which was closed because the queen was there, which totally pissed off all of the locals that I met, all of whom went on a big rant about how I had traveled from the U.S. just to see the freakin' castle and she goes and closes it. I mean how many rooms does she need at one time? The nerve. But the outside was cool. Then I came back to London and stayed there for Easter and then went to Scotland on the following Tuesday, met up with my friend Lindsey and crashed at her parents' place and then proceeded up to Fort William in the Highlands, actually at the base of the tallest peak in Britain. That was cool and beautiful, even if I failed to find the really cool sounding waterfall on this river that runs out of the mountains - possibly because I didn't start walking along the river until almost 6:00 in the evening, though I still walked for a solid hour and forty-five minutes one-way, which I think should be more than far enough to find a freakin' waterfall. Any waterfall worth seeing should put itself within an hour and forty-five minutes of anyone who wants to see it, that's what I say. Anyway, then I was back in York on Friday, did some studying then and on Saturday, too, and finally got to move into my room again on Sunday afternoon. Joy. Since then not much has happened, just studying and hanging out in the flat. It's nice to see all the crazy people again and it's nice to have a home again. I don't know if any of ya'll have ever been homeless for any extended period of time, but the 5 weeks that I was without a real place to call home was enough for me. That's just a stinking awkward feeling right there. So that's the story thus far. Assuming the computer works at some point, I'll have pictures up and that will be cool, including the ones from today chronicling the various stages of me aquiring a face again. They're interesting. Aight, that's all I got right now. Peace ya'll.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Aight folks, so I've only got 10 minutes or so right now. I thought I would have more but just getting this site to come up took about 5, which is kinda annoying but whatever. I just thought it would be nice to have a more in-depth update some time.

So I got here yesterday and there was only one person in the room, this Canadian girl named Sherry. We introduced ourselves and she was nice enough. I went out and saw some stuff, came back and she was in the bar at the hostel so we talked for a few minutes and then I got some dinner, read some, did some emailing and went to bed. Then today I went out again during the day and came back in the afternoon and now there was another girl, this one from Australia, talking to Sherry. We all sat and talked for a while, found out the new girl's name is Megan (pronounced Aussie-style, Meegan) and the all of a sudden the whole room filled up. So after a while we were all hungry and Megan knew about this place that had take-out pasta for like, 2.70! We went there, then got a belgian waffle and came back and now we are up to like, 8 people. It's crazy! And they're all so nice. It turns out that traveling alone has its own perks, like getting to know a ton of Aussies and Canadians (everyone in my room is either an Aussie or a Canadian except one other girl from Alaska - may as well be canadian!). But all in all it's a good time and I'm having a lot of fun with my new friends. Hooray for people traveling alone and in need of making new friends, just like me.

It's looking like the London-with-the-Keltners thing is going to work out alright, which will give me a day or two to plan for the Windsor-with-Dan and the Scottish Highlands trip. Good times. The European leg of traveling was a really good time, and I think Germany was the best part, but Brugges is fun too. It's a small town and has a cool atomosphere, even if it's just because it's made for tourists. It kinda reminds me or York and Munich, both of which have a very laid-back atmosphere and are really good for walking around. Ok, so now I only have a few minutes left so I'm gonna have to cut this short. So much for an in-depth update. But at least I got to put something up about today, and something more substantial than one paragraph. Aight, peace.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Aight, so I don't have a lot of time, but I wanted to put something up quick because, hooray, the hostel I'm in right now has American keyboards, which it turns out is one of the most exciting things a hostel can do for me, score. I'm in Bruges right now, the first city I'm doing on my own. After this I'm heading to London to crash with Andy and Colleen (hopefully) for a couple days, then with my friend Dan from York Uni at his place in Windsor, then probably up to Scotland to see the highlands. We spent some time in Paris which was alright, but generally overated, I think. The Louvre is cool and just massive. The Eifel Tower is really big and awfully ugly. Honestly, I'm not sure I see the romance of that one. Notre Dame is big, but not as big as the York Minster, and at this point I pretty much am not impressed with giant churches - they just kinda make me sad/angry. We saw Versaille, which was cool, but tours of palaces only show you the same 8 or 10 rooms of every palace, so it all kinda seems the same each time. Ok, this post is annoying me already because I'm so unimpressed with what really is pretty cool. So I'm gonna stop I think. In general, things are going really well and I'm having a good time. So there's your update. It's not as bad as the previous few lines made it sound, I'm just a cynic. :) Peace.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Germany, Part 2

So we're back in Germany now. We left Prague today at around 5:30, but only after we got to the station about 40 minutes early and then realized 30 minutes before our train left that we were at the WRONG train station. That was fun. Fortunately for us, we're getting really good at "mobilizing" as Emily put it later on the train, so we still made it. In fact, after we ran through two train stations carrying all our stuff, we ended up getting to the platform before the train! That was more annoying than it seems like it should be. Anyway, I haven't got a ton of time, so I'll make this short. We're in Berlin until Thursday and then we go to Paris. Yeah, I know, but it just seems like you should go to Paris if you're in Europe. Hopefully I'll make it through the situation. Ok, I gotta go before I run out of time. Just thought I'd try to update quick.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today is the day we leave Hungary. We are wandering around for most of the day, trying to get a little more sight-seeing done, and then at around 6:00 we will leave for Munich. Sadly, we will only be there for about a day, then off to Prague for another short stay. The time in Budapest has made us realize that we could really use more time in these places, but we'll just do the best with what we've got. I just thought I'd throw a little update on here because I have no idea what it's going to be like in Munich and Prague, so I'm not sure how possible this might be there. So those are our plans, and hopefully it all works out. By the way, if anyone is thinking of coming to Budapest, you absolutely have to do it and you have to stay at the ART hostel. You can find it on It's freakin' amazing!

Monday, March 27, 2006


Yo ya'll. So today was the day, we started the journey. Currently we are staying at a hostel in Budapest which is freakin' sweet. It only has room for 16 people total, which makes it really cool because it feels kinda like a bed and breakfast but cheaper. We had a pretty uneventful flight here from Manchester and once we got here we just walked around a little bit (on the suggestion of the woman looking after the hostel today) and walked for a while along the Danube. It's gorgeous, just in case you were wondering. Well, not a whole lot to say right now, but the internet is free so I thought I'd throw somethin up here while I can. We leave here on Thursday for Munich and then to Prague. Hopefully I can keep this thing somewhat updated for most of the journey. We'll see. In the mean time, just know that this is really hard to do because the z's and y's are switched on Hungarian keyboards, and the apostrophe (?) is different, too. And come to think of it, so is the question mark! And the exclamation mark! Ok, I'm done. Peace.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Hey folks. So today I moved out of my room for the next five weeks and pushed all my worldly belongings (the ones here, anyway) to my friend Phil's place in a shopping cart that randomly appeared at our building. It took about forty minutes. :) We're finalizing our plans for our big travels, pretty exciting/stressful. It looks like our plan is this: On the 27th we're going to head to Manchester and take a plane to Budapest. Then on the 30th we're flying to Munich, but it's supposed to be kinda expensive there so we're only gonna stay for a day. On the 31st we take a train overnight to Prague, which should be a good time. On the evening of the 2nd it's another train to Berlin, where we'll be for four nights. We head to Paris on the 6th by plane and then on the 7th or 8th I'll leave the rest of the group to go to Brugges which is in Belgium. Hopefully then I'll have booked a ferry ride to Dover a day or two later and then I'll just bum around the UK for a day or two (some of my flatmates told me I could crash with them, score) and then head to Scotland where I can check out the Highlands. If there's time, I might just go to Ireland, too, after Scotland. Either way, the guys from my flat and I are planning a trip or two to Ireland next term just for the weekend. I'm just trying to not get too nervous about all of this, so wish me luck and feel free to send up any prayers that come to mind. :) I've never really done much of anything like this (obviously) so it'll be an adventure, I'm sure. Contact will be sporatic at best over the next five weeks, cause I'll always be on the move, but hopefully when I get back to York I will be able to get Skype working again and talk to some of you. Have a good Easter, everybody!

To sum up the trip:

Manchester > Budapest 3/27 10:05 - 13:55 Jet2

Budapest > Munich 3/30 17:55 - 19:15 (Nuembourg) 19:15 - 20:45 Airberlin

Munich > Prague 3/31 11:00 pm - 4/1 8:00 am DeutscheBahn

Prague > Berlin 4/2 17:34 - 22:18 DeutscheBahn

Berlin Schoenefeld > Paris Orly 4/6 8:45 - 10:30 easyjet

Paris > Brugges 4/7 (or 8)

Brugges > Dover 4/8 (or 9)

4/9 - 4/15(ish) > UK travel

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Yeah, so Scotland was fun. Since then it's just been mostly trying to get ready for the big trip across the channel (?) over break. Should be an interesting time. It looks now like after I get back from the Continent I might be able to go to the Scottish Highlands with a real Scottish guide! (not like, a professional guide, but this chick from my building said she might be able to drive me up there for a couple days, we'll see) In the mean time, I've got a paper to finish up and we still need to finalize some of the specifics about travel and whatnot.

On a completely different note, it seems like I've brought Illinois over here with me. When we went to Scotland (so, two weeks ago, roughly) it had just snowed a bunch and apparently they got a lot more snow here than where we were, because I'm told of a giant exciting 200-man snowball fight all over campus. Kinda sad I missed out on that, but I got to see Edinburgh, so it's all good. Then, the week after that it was probably in the fifties here, and really nice. Then we got some more rain (which shouldn't be surprising, but I'm told England is in the worst drought since the 60's, so it doesn't rain as much as it should recently), and then the temps started dropping again. A couple of us tried to go rock climbing around here on Sunday, but it was blizzarding (kinda, england style, not illinois style), so we went anyway. We're hardcore. When we got there there was probably a good 2 inches on the ground and it was blowing and snowing pretty hard. Visibility wasn't exactly wonderful. A couple of the guys climbed a little bit and one actually made it quite a way up but didn't want to try the last 10 feet or so because it was really snowy up there and he probably would have slipped or something. I tried to climb (first time!) but that freakin rock was so cold. I got a little way up and realized that I couldn't feel my hands AT ALL so I just sat back on the rope and swung for few minutes. It was really cold. Yeah. Then yesterday it was really cold and windy, kinda like home. Probably the most like illinois it's been since I've been here. And last night it sleeted for a few hours and now we have snow again. Well, maybe it's good for these crazy English folk to get a taste of a real winter from time to time, eh? In any case, it keeps ya guessing, keeps ya on your toes.

Tonight we're going out for the March birthdays that fall during break (there are four of us). That should be a good time, but it'll probably just be really cold on the way to town so I doubt we'll do a whole lot or stay out terribly late. Plus it's the last week of class, so most of us have tests (not me) or papers to write (definitely me). Ok, that's my exciting update for ya'll. Wish me luck in getting all our crap finalized for the trip. We'll probably need it.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Ok, so we went to Scotland this weekend. First of all, I have to say if you ever get the chance to go to Scotland you HAVE TO GO. It is maybe one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen thus far. All I got to was Edinburgh, which is pretty far south, and I hear the north is quite a bit more breathtaking, so I'm gonna try to get up there before it's all said and done. It was, quite simply, amazing. Edinburgh is cool for a couple of reasons, and here they are:

1. The center of the city is pretty incredibly historical and aptly called the Old City. There are a bunch of hostels, including the one we were in, that are all right there in the thick of a ton of historical stuff, which makes the city seem pretty stinkin small, since there is so much right there in like, 2 or 3 streets. The other thing that makes it feel small is the fact that it's kinda built on a hill, and from where all that stuff is, if you look to the east, you see New City, which seems pretty small as well. What you don't see, because it's not below you, is the vastness of the city to the west. I'll get to why I know that in a minute. The final reason it seems small is that the little maps you get from the hostel (or rather, we got from the hostel we were staying at, I don't know about other hostels) are not only pretty bad in general (they just leave out some streets for kicks) but only show a tiny portion of the city, which admittedly is more than you could get to in a weekend but still misleading.

2. Within the center of the city which is so small and historic are a couple of really interesting museums including one entirely devoted to three writers. Let me say that again for those of you in America where nothing like that could ever exist (that's pretty much all of you). There was a museum in Scotland entirely devoted to three writers - that means they actually think literature and the humanities are important! Not only that, but one of the writers, Sir Walter Scott, has a giant memorial elsewhere in the city from which you are supposed to be able to get some of the best views of the city if you go to the top. That's a lot of importance placed on writing. Would that America was smart enough to recognize the importance of literature/humanities. (sigh) Another thing in the center of town is a street called High Street. Most cities in the U.K. have a street with the same name, it's essentially the street where a lot of important things are/were, like shops and offices and such. It's kinda like the Magnificent Mile, or more commonly, main street in most towns. In Edinburgh, though, the High Street is also called The Royal Mile. "Why?" you ask. I'll tell you. It's because at one end of the street you have the Edinburgh Castle, which is huge and incredible and actually built on a cliff, literally, on the freaking cliff, like there's no space between the bottom of the castle and the cliff, the walls actually look like they're coming out of the cliff. It's amazing. Ok, so there's a castle, that makes sense, but why call it the royal MILE then? That's because at the other end of the street, there's the Holyrood Palace, which is still used by the royal family. That's right, two ends of a street, two castles! Are you freaking kidding me? It's incredible. The palace is better to see, though, cause it's still used so when you go inside you get to see how a palace looks when people sometimes use it, whereas the castle has been all changed around and in no way resembles a castle, but rather a bunch of museums. I'm bitter.

3. The final thing I'll tell you about how cool Edinburgh is is the reason I know that there is a huge amount of city to the west. There's this peak called Arthur's Seat that's off to the west of Holyrood Palace - it's actually part of the Holyrood Palace estate, it turns out - that you can go up on. It takes about an hour to climb up to the top, and it's quite a way up. It's probably really not much more than a big hill, compared to real mountains, but it really might as well be a mountain in my book, cause it's got cliffs, which I think is pretty cool. So you climb up this little mountain and you can see that Edinburgh is surrounded by snow-capped mountains! It's absolutely gorgeous. I got some good pictures, but I can't get them off my camera to a place where I can actually use them right now, I'm working on it, but just trust me, it's cool. Probably if you google Arthur's Seat you'll see some pics from up there. When you look to your left (facing the city) you see hills and mountains and more city, all very beautiful. When you look to your right, you see the North Sea, also very beautiful. When you look in front of you, you see the incredibly old city of Edinburgh. And when you're climbing up, you are on a little hill to the side of the actual Arthur's Seat and when you look at it you can actually block out all your peripheral vision and see just hills/mountains - so there you are, in the middle of Edinburgh just seeing cliffs and hills and mountains and lakes. It's truly incredible.

So that's Edinburgh. We also went on a whisky tour and learned the different kinds of whisky and how to differentiate, which was interesting. No, they didn't give us more than one taste, but they did give us a real whisky glass, which is kinda cool. And now we're just trying to finalize plans for going abroad over break. It's coming up quick and we've still got quite a bit of work to do, but I think it'll all come together and it's getting pretty exciting. Ok, that's about all I've got right now. If you want to know anything else, just email me or comment and ask. I might answer, or I might just make you live in ignorance. It'll be a case by case basis. :) Peace, ya'll.

Friday, February 24, 2006

london once more

Hey all, I just thought I'd let it be known that I'm in London again for the weekend. I'm not sure why this might be pressing information for you were planning on stopping by or something. But in any case, I'm here, not in York, and I'll be back on Sunday night. Hopefully I'll have a computer shortly after I get back. We'll see how it goes. Aight, peace.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Ok, seriously, it's just been way too long without a post. I mean, the past couple have been pretty weak anyway. So here goes.

To begin with, I want everyone (both of you out there) to know that I had fully planned to update as soon as I got back from London, however my computer disagreed with that idea. It in fact vehemently disagreed and then went ahead and commited suicide. So right now, I am sans computer. I have to use the pathetic computer labs they have over here and let me tell you, technology hasn't quite crossed the pond just yet. I think I saw a steam boat the other day. Not really, but I think these computers were used along side Apollo 11 and then just shipped over here when we got done with them. It's pretty rough. So that was this week.

The weekend, though, was a pretty good time. I left for London at about 7:00 p.m. here in York. I walked for roughly 45 minutes because I'm just too cheap to take the bus to the train station. No big deal, I'm still ok with having walked for that long, and I'll probably do it again next time I take the train. So I made it to the station and bought myself a tasty-lookin BLT from the little convenience store there. Amazing how decietful they can make these sandwiches these days. It tasted like soggy mush with the occasional crunch of an un-ripe tomato or whatever strips of lettuce hadn't become saturated in the mayo. Not pleasant. But that was my dinner. I got on the train that pulled up and found a seat. Only after it started moving did I realize that I hadn't even taken the time to check and see if it was my train, I just got on. That was a fun little freak-out. Turns out I'm just that lucky, it was my train. So roughly 2 hours later I pulled into London, well I didn't personally pull in, the dude driving the train did, but I was on board...anyway... I got off and called Gina, the Study Abroad Advisor that was in charge of the weekend, but of course she didn't pick up her phone, so I just left a message. I knew where I was going, so that wasn't a huge deal. Although I don't have a cell phone, so the money for that call could have been used elsewhere, but whatever. I got on the Tube and headed toward the nearest stop to the hostel we were staying at. I didn't print off the map because I don't have a printer and I figured I have a decent enough memory, I should be able to find my way well enough. I didn't take into account (as I never do) the fact that English cities are not set up in the Roman style like we're used to, they're way older than that and the roads are still the original ones, so they go pretty much wherever they want to. Seriously, go find an online map of London and when you find yourself assuming that once you're on the ground it can't be as absurd as it looks just believe me when I say it is. In fact, it's worse. So, lucky me, I got to take a little tour of the area around my hostel before I actually got to the hostel. Actually, a big tour. I got to know the area fairly intimately. We go way back now, me and those streets. Well, after about 40 minutes I got to the hostel and got settled. I met my roommate a couple hours later when he came in (most of the people had been there since about 4 or 5 in the evening, so they had dinner together and most of them went out). Fortunately, he was very sober and a generally good guy. That was reassuring.

Day two was fun, and not only because it started about 3 hours earlier than had been originally planned. We found out the night before - or for me just hours before when my roomy came home - that there was a big change in plans and we were getting started at a little before 8 in the morning. Cool. We started out with the free "breakfast" from the hostel (it actually tended to encourage the fasting for a few more hours, so appetizing it was) and then a walking tour. The walking tour was really cool. Well, after I switched groups so that I could get away from the crazy lady with this strange parrot-head clicky thing that made a lot of noise so that people could find her (she was pretty senile, folks, a very strange woman) and got in with the normal tour guide, it was cool. We learned all kinds of interesting stuff about London like the fact that Churchill actually created a tunnel system under much of the city of Westminster (it spanned 2 miles or more) and he and roughly 200 people lived down there for the entirety of WW II using it as the British command post. This was kept secret until just a few years ago when somebody just stumbled upon the tunnels when I think they were expanding the Tube system. You can tour it, now, and it's all exactly like it was when they left, complete with Churchill's cigar stub in an ashtray in the map room - seriously, they just up and left. I didn't actually take the tour, but when I go back next weekend it will most definitely happen.

After the walking tour we went to the National Portrait Gallery. I wish I could tell you that it was really cool, but it really wasn't all that great. They do, however, have the picture of ol' George Washington that's on the $1 bill. So that's cool.

Free time after the gallery, so the four of us from York went back to Westminster Abby and found it closed. But, being brilliant resourceful young minds we went and had a drink and then came back for the Evensong service that started around 5:30. That was cool. Not every day you get to see a service in Westminster Abby. Did you know the kings and queens of England have been crowned there since 1066? Ten freakin sixty six! That's a long time.

Dinner was cool and then we went to a pub in Notting Hill. Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts were both absent, so that's no fun, and the drinks were expensive, which made it a little worse, so we just went back to the hostel.

Day 2 saw another fantastic breakfast and a boat tour on the River Thames. That was very entertaining and if you're in London and have some time to spare, I would certainly recommend it. The commentary guy was very funny and knew way too much about all the old buildings. The boat went to Greenwich, so we saw the division of the east and west hemispheres and ate at a place where the special was stewed eel. Naturally, I went with the minced beef pie. A very tasty choice, and it has the bonus of not containing any eel. Score.

Then we went to a play that night, not much to talk about there, it was a little rough. But not a bad way to spend an evening. The highlight, though, had to be eating at a Japanese restaurant called Wagamama. That was cool. Wagamama. Come on. And it wasn't that bad, either so that's a plus.

On Sunday I met up with Andy for a couple hours, which is always a good time. We ran out of ideas for things to do after our first idea, though, which made it kinda rough. But we had fun anyway. Then I went back to the train station and read until I got tired and then watched football for about an hour and a half until my train left. It was a good time. Two guys got hurt. Cool. A two hour train ride and I was home again. Well, after another 40 minute walk, then I was home again. But all in all it was a pretty exciting weekend.

As if that wasn't enough, on Monday I went into town and came upon a magic show. I think entertainers like that have a knack for picking the American out of the crowd. That's right, I was the one who was asked to come up on stage "ALL THE WAY FROM THE UNITED STATES PEOPLE, COME AND SEE JOE!!!!" to put the straight-jacket on the guy. But fortunately he was really funny and it was mostly painless. Mostly. I suppose the good news is he got out. He was pretty good. And I got to be made a spectacle of. Every American's dream, right? I feel like I've failed the State Department, seeing as how after they issued a warning to all Americans abroad that tensions were high and we should maybe keep a low profile I get called up in front of a big crowd and some guy stands next to me and screams about how I'm "Joe-from-the-United-States" for 15 minutes. Yeah, I should be a spy.

Alright, on that note, I leave you. I hope you've enjoyed the update and thanks to everybody who has sent mail, it's really exciting. Hope things are well at home. Peace.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

just wandering around aimlessly...

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been a while since I've written, I've been pretty busy with a paper that was due on Monday and then my computer decided that it didn't like me very much, so I spent a lot of the past week trying to change its mind. It's cooperating a little better now, but you just never know with this thing.

So yeah, things have been going pretty well lately. I haven't done much of anything interesting, just hanging out and working on school work and stuff. Although last Sunday we had a little Super Bowl party. That was a pretty good time. The guys on my flat decided that the only way to throw a truly American sports party is to get those hats that you can put beer cans on and then drink them through a straw. So they ordered a few online and they were pretty pumped to use them. I opted not to get one, which turned out to be a pretty good idea, because they don't work all that well. Plus they're just weird. But it was a good time, even though we didn't get to see the great commercials because it was on BBC, and the guys that talked during time-outs and whatnot were Brits who generally didn't know quite what they were talking about. Anyway, it was fun and we all had a good time.

I also found a church to go to on Sunday morning, which was an ordeal all its own. I didn't know exactly where the church was, per se. So I set out from here with a general idea of where I was headed -- I knew the name of the road it was on and that it met in a 'gym' somewhere on the mystery-road. I got to a road on the north-ish end of campus which was pretty much the farthest I had ever been in that direction and I saw a sign for the 'Science Park' -- basically a science complex, kinda like where NCSA and Motorolla, etc are at U of I -- which I remember some of the guys arguing about whether or not they should tell me to take. Some of the said it would work but some others said it was more confusing. I went ahead and walked through the science park. I got to the back of it (north end) and I could see through a fence that there were a bunch of people playing football (soccer) on the other side and it looked like that might be the gym. But I didn't know how to get there, what with this freakin' fence in my way. So I started wandering around and found a sidewalk/path back across a parking lot in the science park (back the way I had come). I followed it to the right (east-ish) side of the complex and found that it went out toward a road that looked like it would go in the direction I needed to go, but I also saw a dirt path through a little forrest-y area that ran between the road and the field where the guys were playing. I took the path (come on, i grew up on a farm, you had to see that choice coming). It was pretty cool, I still have no idea exactly what it is usually used for, because just about 20 feet to the right was a road which surely had a sidewalk on it, but whatever. I followed this path through the 'woods' up and down a couple little hills and next to the football field and it came out onto the road to my right just a little way away from the road that the church/gym was supposed to be on. So I went in that direction and by now it was getting pretty late. I had about 8-10 minutes to find this place. I got to the road and decided I thought the place was to my left and went that way. I walked a little way and there was a little winding driveway that went toward a big complex, but I couldn't tell what it was. I was looking for a sign or something that said "G2 service" or something vaguely similar, but I got nothin. So with about 5 minutes left I decided I'd walk this driveway which looked to be about 75 yards long, give or take, and if the church was there, cool; if not, i'd find it next week. I got to the buildings and I was sure it was a gym, but still there were no signs or anything, except I saw some people walking in that definitely didn't look like they were gonna play squash or lift weights or anything (from the way they were dressed, just to clear that up) so I figured I'd check it out. I walked in and to my left was a little shop (shorts, water bottles, etc), in front of me was an info-lookin desk with a line of people standing at it and to my right a winding staircase. I figured nobody was gonna meet in the shop and I wasn't gonna stand in this line to figure out 15 minutes late where the church met (or didn't as the case may be). I went up the stairs and started looking around. Around a corner to my right there was an open door with a big room that looked like people were in it, so I went that way. Sure enough, that was the church -- still no signs or anything, but it was definitely the church. The service ended up bein pretty cool and I liked it a lot, but finding the place was pretty strange. I think I'll go back.

This weekend is the (semi)-legendary London Weekend for U of I students in England. I'm heading out in about 20 minutes to catch my train and then I'll get back here around midnight on Sunday night. I'm not sure really what exactly we're gonna do but I know it includes tea at Kensington Palace, so I mean come on. I assume the Queen will be there, naturally. If she's not I'll probably protest, but we'll see. Anyway I'm gonna finish getting ready for that. Hope things are going well back home. Have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Oh yeah, I forgot. I finally have my address for ya'll. I'm not sure exactly where the lines are supposed to start over, but this is exactly how it is on the paper in our kitchen, so this is how it's going up:

Joe Hofbauer
Room MO11
Flat 2
Block M
James College
James Way
University of York
York YO10 5NA

I'm told that you should write ENGLAND in all caps (just like that) somewhere at the bottom of the front side of the envelope. Do that, too. I like care-packages, but I suggest you avoid such items as milk, butter, cheese (obviously), and large animals; it's kind of a long trip. Aside from that, I think you should be good. So now I'll go away expecting a massive influx of packages in my mailbox in the next week or so. (Also keep in mind that it's outrageously expensive to send pretty much anything other than an empty envelope over here, but don't let that deter you!) Aight, later.
Boy, it's been a little while, huh? Yeah, I'd love to say that that's because I've been out doing crazy exciting things and haven't had a chance to update about all of it. But sadly it's mostly because not much has happened. We did go to town last weekend, which was fun, and that's what most of those pictures are from. It was a really good time. Myself and six other Americans met at about 9:30 in the morning and then walked into town and first saw Clifford's Tower, which is in a few of the pictures I have posted. That is the largest part of the remainder of the castle which was just to the West (i think) of it now. It was what is called a Mote(pronounced mott)-and-Bailey castle, so there was a big courtyard thing that was walled and huge and there were lots of rooms and tons of stuff there, that was kinda in front of the tower, and then the tower itself was most of the castle proper, if you will. There would probably have been a moat between the tower and the courtyard area(with a draw-bridge), and they would both probably have been up on hills, like the tower is. Clifford's Tower is also where, in the early 12th Century, I think, all/most of the known Jews in the North of England were somewhat forced into and when they saw that the situation was dire, they set fire to the wood (which I think would have been all on the inside of the tower, as well as the roof) and comitted a mass suicide. Not a whole lot of fun, that part of it.

Then we wandered around for a while waiting to meet up with a few other people and headed over to this bar called the "Roman Baths" or something like that, cause when they went to expand it a few years back (when it had a different name) they found a Roman Bath-house underneath it! (Roman street level is several meters - yards - below current street level, just because of sediment and whatnot) So we went down there after lunch and toured it. Apparently York was the northernmost point of the entirety of the Roman military machine. This is as far as it gets, and I think they said that under the North corner of the walls (which are still standing) is actually exaclty where the old Roman walls went to, and that's technically the northernmost tip. That's kinda cool.

Finally we went to the Minster, which is that giant church in the pictures. The Minster is pretty much the most mammoth building I've ever seen. It's giant. They have little diagrams that show an overhead view of the city around the Minster and it takes up several blocks (or it would, if the towns around here had any sort of 'block' rather than just winding streets that have no pattern). It is also built on top of a building that the Roman soldiers would have used. It would have been pretty much the center for the military and it was also where anything official would have happened. In fact, it is where Constantine (you might know him from the name of the city Constantinople, now Istanbul, as well as for legalizing Christianity in the Roman Empire and then for making it the official religion of the Empire a little later (i think)) was crowned Caesar. He was with his dad visiting the outpost during his rounds when his dad died and he was immediately crowned by the army. Kind of a big deal. The current Minster took over (wait for it) two hundred and fifty years to build. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY! That means that it took longer to build the Minster than the United States has existed! WHAT???!!! I know, crazy. Just crazy. Just sit and think about that for a while, and then continue reading.

On Saturday night, then, four of us were sitting around playing video games, being board when we decided to go up to flat 6 and, since only one of the girls that lives up there was here at the time, newspaper the whole corridor. It was pretty cool and it took about 3 and a half hours for four of us to do. I've got some pictures, but my camera battery died, so we'll have to wait until I charge it up to see them. Then on Sunday when the girls came back, a bunch of us went up and climbed through the paper into Katy's (the girl who was here this weekend) room and then resealed the newpaper to listen to their responses. It was pretty entertaining, just a bunch of laughing and screaming and "this is so crazy, how did they do this??" and stuff like that. Good times. Remember, these folks are freshmen, so I've got to help get them started off right with college life. Know that I'm doing my best.

Ok, well that's about all I've got. Notice, Ang, that I did throw a couple of paragraphs in there, though it's pretty clear that even within the paragraphs it's fairly stream-of-consciousness. In any case, I like stream-of-consciousness. It's fun. :) Well, I hope you all enjoyed the news. I'll try to do something exciting next week (or remember if I did anything exciting before, and then just claim that it happened more recently). Later ya'll.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just in case anyone was wondering...

You're a Gorilla!

Highly social and group-oriented, you like hanging out with the same
people constantly. You have either black or gray hair and spend a good deal of time
grooming it or getting others to groom it for you. Sleep is a big part of your daily
routine and you like to either make very loud noise or no noise at all. You have
more skills with language than most, however. One of your absolute favorite drinks
is hot cocoa.

Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Hey folks, I got some pictures set up, so go check them out. I'm tired now and I don't want to be on the computer anymore right now so just go to Paste that in, and enter the email address:
password: joespics

Have fun. More later.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Yesterday we had our first discussion group for my class. Discussion groups are fantastic! It's probably just because I am infatuated with the pretense of academia, but to sit around with about 8 or 9 other people all of whom actually care - to some extent - about what you're talking about and have read at least a little about it and just talk for an hour. That's a good time. I'm such a geek, but I still like it. It only proved to further my dislike for the way we do things in the good 'ol U. S. of A. I need to figure out how they do University funding around here, cause if that's the only reason we don't get to have discussion groups at U of I and we could be doing it better I'll probably be a little angry. Although to be fair I saw a headline in an online paper from here that said that a university somewhere in England, I don't know where, was cutting it's HISTORY program. I mean TOTALLY cutting it. Like it's not gonna offer history degrees anymore because they don't have the budget for it. That may just be the saddest thing I've ever read. I was dumbfounded. Speechless - and we know that's rare. So clearly they have their problems here, too. Oh well. At least I get to have one discussion group (maybe two, who knows about next term) in my entire college career. I think this weekend one or two (or maybe a lot more, but you never really know) of the guys from M block and I are going to wander into town and just walk around. I'll probably be able to convince them to go with me and do a bunch of touristy stuff around here. I think it would be fun. And a few of them have expressed a bit of a desire to do that, too anyway. In any case, I think I'm going to go do some laundry. I'll talk at ya later.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I had my first class today. The class I'm taking is called Luther and the Age of Reform. It seems like it will be a pretty entertaining subject. The class is set up as a "seminar" which means that there are about 15 of us, probably not more than that. We sit in a sort of conference-room setup, all in a square facing each other. The prof is pretty cool and seems like he'll be entertaining enough. The reading list is pretty intense, though, and could actually take up quite a bit of my time. Who do these people think they are?? I am really excited, honestly, to try this style of school - with one class to focus all my efforts on instead of 4 or 5 to think about. It seems like this is a much more efficient way to do school than the way we do back home. We'll see. The reading for each week is actually less than what I normally have back home, so I think the research for papers may actually be worth doing! It's going to be crazy to have time to put into papers so that, in my opinion at least, they might be worth reading at the end! Weird. Anyway, all in all things are going well. I might write more tomorrow as I have no classes and will probably get bored with reading after a while. For now, peace.

Saturday, January 14, 2006



yes folks, that is indeed worthy of its own post.

(that's, i'm not even mad, that's amazing!)

Friday, January 13, 2006

talk talk talk

Tonight was fun. We didn't do a whole lot, tried to go out but that was short lived just cause we were all kinda tired, so we came back here and watched dvds of the British show Spooks about the agency MI-5, sort of like the FBI for these guys. It's a surprisingly good show, too. But before all that was the interesting part. A few of us decided to make spaghetti bolonese (sp?) for dinner, which is to say that they asked if I would like some and I and two other guys mostly watched a girl cook it for us and then we all ate together. Good times. But while we were eating some of the folks from M Block that we hang out with came in and sat with us (pretty common around here, everybody just kinda congregates in whatever kitchen has a few people in it and we hang out there). After some small talk we started talking about some of the impressions and surprises regarding the Brits and States. I have no idea how that all got started, but soon enough we were talking about things like different accents in different places and perceptions of each others' countries. Then this girl from France who's pretty cool, but I can't for the life of me try to spell her name, came in. She's not doing a thing like me, she's here long term. I think she has travelled quite a bit, and she speaks like four different languages (not like any of the other French people I've met so far, but who's counting). She sat down and joined the conversation and then they (mostly she, but not totally) started asking me about the various major issues in America, being the war, the president, and gun control. A lot about the war and the president. One or two of the guys kept joking that I had the weight of the country on my shoulders with this "interrogation" but I was pretty ok with it. I know what I think and why I think it, and I'm not really shy about talking - as most of you know - so I had a good time with it. I think overall it was a pretty good time. I felt pretty good at the end of it, anyway, and I think for the most part we all kind of agreed...I think. It seems like some of them were not ok with anyone going into Iraq at all, for whatever reason, but actually I think the crowd was pretty split on that one. Most of us, but not all, agreed that the U.N. is inconsequencial, which kinda surprised me. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I enjoyed my first conversation with real people about my views and others' views of the States from a more in-depth level and I don't think I offended too many people too badly. Of course, there is that quote I love so much that I can't ever remember word-for-word but it's something like: "If I have offended you it is only because I dare not, even in the interest of winning you, offend my God. And if I have not offended you, I have not spoken of my God." Not that the international policy of the U.S. is my God, but the point is that mildly offending people is not my main concern. Honesty is worth more than the fear of offense. I'll let you all know if they decide tomorrow to blackball me. I'm not losing sleep over it.
For those of you wondering, yes, I will eventually be attending classes, but that won't start until next Tuesday. And those of you back at U of I might want to look away from the screen and scroll past my class schedule which will be as follows: Tuesday 1:15-3:15; Thursday 2:15-3:15. This semester should be rough with all THREE hours of class that I have. But I'm sure I'll make it through, don't you worry. I mentioned last time that we won the bar quiz, and I feel like I should tell you at least a little about the celebration that followed the next day. Since we won a 50 pound bar tab at some pub in town, we decided we should go in the next evening (Wednesday) to take care of it. You don't want things like that to go bad, you know. So it then became apparent (to some) that we ought to dress up like pirates when we went into town. Some of the folks in M Block went so far as to go to town early and buy pirate-y costumes and such. One guy made a treasure map that led the way (somewhat abstractly) to the bar - they stained it with tea bags so that it looked old and stuff, these guys are pretty witty. So we spent the better part of Wednesday night trapsing around the town of York dressed up as pirates - all 15 or 20 of us - and getting all kinds of comments from people we met. It may be worth mentioning that all, or most, of the people in M block are first year students, which kind of explains their craziness. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep up, to be honest, so stories like this may end up being a bit less common in the near future. We'll see.

While we were out the other night, someone was saying something about America, I'm not sure exactly what anymore, but it seemed like something about how great it was or something along those lines, but what they were excited about seemed to me to be not so great. So I went ahead and told them that in quite a few ways, America sucks. Sure, it's got its positive characteristics, and they may very well overshadow the negative (the jury's still out on that one, I think), but the negatives are certainly there. I think there were about four or five guys in on this conversation and I remember they all just looked at me in shock. Then they all were just like, "no, I love America. It's great. Sure, there are some idiots there, but they're everywhere. And aside from them, I think it's a fine place." So that made me feel a little better about where I come from. Turns out maybe only it's only the French that hate us so much. And I don't like cheese, as so many of you know, so I really have almost no need for France. It was a good evening, all in all.

Last night we stayed in and some of the girls made pancakes, really more like crapes, not the pancakes of America. They were pretty tasty, though. Then we proceeded to play games on the Nintendo gamecube (they have a gamecube and an x-box in the kitchen, we spend a fair amount of time in there). I'm interested if anyone back home has heard about this game they found recently, it's called Wario Ware or something like that. It is hands-down the strangest game I've ever seen. I can't even describe it, it's so bizarre. Most of the time I just sit and think about the outrageous amount of narcotics that absolutely had to go into the making of this game. So let me know if anyone knows about it, cause you should. It's fantastic.

Another thing I think is worthy of comment is the fact that all my thoughts are in a british accent. Ok, to clarify a little, I usually just have this running commentary going on in my head, like I'm talking to myself but without the insanity that accompanies that. Kinda like JD in Scrubs with the narration. I do that. Does anybody else? I hope so. Anyway, since I've been here and everyone around me talks with an accent, my thoughts are all in that accent. It's strange. Same thing when I read. All with the accent. Anyway...

That's all I've got so far, hopefully it's at least mildly entertaining. If it is, feel free to let me know how great I am. If it's not, keep it to yourself, nobody likes a nay-sayer. Later folks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Ok, so remember how I said yesterday (i think i said something about it) that we were going to do some weird quiz thing last night? Well, we did. We all trecked over to Derwent, somewhere across campus, I don't really know where because most of out walking around is done at night, not terribly helpful but whatever. So we went and it was a "bar quiz," essentially just a quiz game in a bar (you may remember from before that all the different colleges on campus have bars except James, where I live). They ask random pop-culture questions and weird semi-trivial-pursuit-questions and then you write down your team's answer on a paper and at the end you switch with a different team and grade the papers. The whole way there the kids were talking about how they never win, it's just fun to go to. And then, WE WON! It was very exciting. I mean come on, we won the bar quiz. So now we're really pumped about the quiz at Goodricke on Sunday. Apparently, we hate Goodricke - but I'm not totally sure why yet. So it would be a lot of fun to beat them. For winning we got a bunch of stuff: pizza, two (why two?) pints of some common beer around here, a bottle of horrible wine, a 24 pack of something kinda like smirnoff black or one of those drinks, and a £50 tab at a local pub in town. It seems like a lot of alcohol, but when we got back to M Block all the people we normally hang out with (on our flat and the flats above us) came down and ate and drank with us, so really we all pretty much had one drink and one piece of pizza each. But it was fun nonetheless! Today I'm going to venture into town, I think by myself just cause I'm too lazy to find someone who might want to go along and I'm kinda in a hurry, to take care of some random business. I'm sure it will be a learning experience. I might have internet by tonight, if all goes well today. No promises, but it's a distinct possibility. I really hope it happens, cause these lab computers are trash. Rubbish, if you will. Or even, dare I say, pants. That's right, I said it. (they have weird sayings over here, i'm pretty sure I don't get a lot of them) Well, that's all the excitement for now. Take care everybody. Oh, and for Jimmy, they do have Aldi over here and it is indeed still a very ghetto store, but it's probably one of the only ones I'll shop at while I'm here. HOORAY FOR ALDI!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ok, so this is pretty much the first time I've had internet since I got to York. I'm not sure why I just said "pretty much" becuae in point of fact it is the first time. But anyway, I don't even have it in my room yet, that's still an ordeal in the works, so I have to use this shady computer lab and let me tell you, there's not a dell in sight. Or a mac, for that matter, before you creepy mac-people get all excited. I'll give you all a quick (yeah right, who am I kidding?) run down of what's gone on since I got here.

On Sunday night, I got to the university around 6:30 or so and got into my room by about 6:45. York is set up in what they call colleges, which are essentially just areas of the campus. I'm in James college, which is one of the few if not the only one without its own pub. Kind of a downer, but I'm sure we'll deal with it. It's also kinda removed from campus a little bit, but not as much as some of the others. In fact, it's only about a five minute walk from where the History Department is, so it could be a lot worse. So within James college, there are several buildings of "dorms" if you will. They're separated inside by flats (floors), each of which has its own kitchen and in James, each room has its own bathroom. Lucky me. I was met at the door by two kids, John and Jenny, who saw me coming and let me in, showed me my room and invited me to the kitchen where everyone was. I dropped my stuff and went in to find about 10 people standing around; immediately someone said, very loudly, "everyone, this is joe." And then they all turned and looked at me...silence... I still don't know who it was that said that, but I should find them and thank them for that awkwardness. But everyone turned out to be very nice, even though I immediately forgot their names. I left then and tried to figure out how to make the internet work in my room. This is an ongoing process, as I mentioned earlier, so that first night was not terribly effective. When I got back I was pretty tired, so I just went to bed. The rest of the flat proceeded to play hide-and-seek outside, which was pretty entertaining for me to watch from my window as I fell asleep.
Then yesterday I met with the other U of I'ers here and we ran some errands and then walked to Aldi to get cheap food. I was surprised to find that the walk to Aldi passes through the pasture behind out barn back home (the "bottom ground", for you Quakers and siblings out there) - be sure to watch out for the, seriously, and then a perfectly randomly placed army base as well. It's a pretty scenic trip, I assure you. It all takes about 20 minutes or so. After walking all over the world and buying groceries, I got back to M-block (the building in James where I live) and was promptly invited out with the flat for half-off italian somewhere downtown York and then the possibility of a pub on the way back for the aforementioned John and Jenny's birthdays. I accepted and we (all 20 of us) had a pretty fun evening in which I asked them a lot of probably very stupid questions about conversational english here and things like that and then exposed them to my best southern drawl and the farmer walk (ang, you know what I'm talking about here). I think tonight we're going to go to some inter-collegiate quiz night thing in which different colleges are pitted against each other in a quiz game while, of course, downing as many cans of - you guessed it - whipped cream as they can. Yeah, sounds...interesting. Oh, and Clay, turns out "Bob's your uncle!" is a pretty common phrase here that means good job, and the guys told me that I would probably hear it a lot more often if they could only get a little more beer into themselves. We'll see what happens there.

So for now, that's all that's going on. I hope things are well there, and remember, Bob's your uncle.


p.s. thanks for all the happy comments and emails, they're much appreciated.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Hello from Britain! Did you all know that back in the day, when the Brits with all the rest of Europe (mostly) was active in the slave trade, they wouldn't allow slaves onto the island because they actually claimed that the air in Britain was so special that no one could be enslaved and breath it? They said that as soon as said slaves breathed the air they would have to become free. Yeah, tell that to the surfs harvesting filth (Monty Python, anyone?). Anyway, on to only slightly less boring information. My flights were ok. We only pulled out of Chicago about a half-hour or forty minutes late, so I guess that's fun. I'm not sure exactly why it took that long, but they kept saying something about baggage loading and air traffic. Whatever. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep because there was some turbulance (sp?) and whenever that would happen and I would instictively think about us having hit a bump or something (having usually just finished forgetting that I was in an outrageously heavy peace of metal some 40,000 feet above the ocean) I would remember that if we hit a bump, we die. Then I'd be awake again. But fear not! I had the splendid company of Mark Wahlberg in 4 Brothers to keep me company. And then it was parts of Little Manhattan, In her Shoes, and it seems like there was another, but I can't really remember anymore. I didn't get a whole lot of reading done, much as I tried, just because I have a hard time concentrating when I'm on my way to a place I've never been before with no real known way to contact anyone, including those people I plan to meet upon arrival. Call me crazy. So that was fun. The little puddle-jumper we took from German to England was a real treat, too. I honestly wondered for a while if the pilot was just willing it to keep moving. But it did, and that's what's important. I pity the poor schmucks that flew on it next, cause I'm not sure it was up to the task beyond one or two more trips. When I got to London of course I immediately looked for a coffee shop in the airport. Actually, I did that even before I tried to contact Andy and Colleen (the friends with whom I'm staying while in London). That shouldn't really surprise anyone. Anyway, while I was trying to get some coffee I asked a nice young lady if she knew any place I could get online in the airport, she said she wasn't sure. Then we both stood there for maybe another 3-5 minutes before she asked me if I was waiting to get some coffee (she wasn't behind the counter, she was like a busser or something). I replied that I was, and she told me that I might want to go to the start of the line, not the place where you pick up your drink. I wished I could claim that I had just gotten into England and it was my first time out of the States, but I couldn't convince myself that she would believe we don't have beginnings and ends to lines in the States, so I just smiled and thanked her for the help. Then I went to Andy's and hung out with them last night and slept for a long time. Today I went downtown to get a train ticket to York for Sunday because all I could find online that was affordable was a trip that would have taken something like 14 hours. A little much for a trip of roughly 150 miles. I had a lot of success downtown and it was really fun, I even used one of those cool red phone booths just cause I thought it would be fun and I had Andy's number. Getting home was a bit rough, though. Andy told me directions to the bus stop, but I messed them up without knowing it on the way into town, so when I got back trying to find the house was a trip. I walked up and down the street I thought it was on a solid 4 or 5 towns for about 40 minutes before I walked back down to the High Street (what they call the main street in the borough - suburb - with all the shops and whatnot) to find a phone. All turned out alright in the end. It was a solid day, and Colleen even made cookies! Tomorrow we're going to head downtown again to do some sightseeing, which should be fun. Sorry this is so stinking long, for those of you who made it this far. Feel free to vent your frustrations in the comments. ;) Peace.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Beginnings

So this is the medium from which I will be communicating with most of my friends for the next six months or so. True to form, I think I'll just go ahead and start off by telling everyone who doesn't know yet about this new program I've found recently online called Skype ( IT ROCKS! It is an online phone system that's totally free and really easy to use and is of incredible sound quality. It is pretty much the best sounding phone call I've ever had. You all should get it. It rocks. So...anyway.... I think I'll just go ahead and talk a little about what's coming up. So right now it's Monday evening. (I just want everyone to know how hard it was for me to say that just now, cause all day I've thought it was Tuesday, and yesterday I thought it was Monday, so it's been a rough few days) Tomorrow I've got to finish up on some preparations and whatnot and do all my packing and then, of course, watch Scrubs. Then on Wednesday the Quakers (my parents, for those of you who aren't familiar) and I will venture up to Chi-town and I'll hop on a plane and sit restlessly for roughly 9 or so hours until I land in Frankfurt Germany. Then I'll chill for about 2 hours and fly for about an hour to London. I'll get there around 8:05 (you like that? I say "around," implying an abstraction, but then I said 8:05, which is pretty precise. I'm witty like that). Hopefully, when I get through customs and get my baggage and whatnot Andy will be there to help me find my way through the crazy metropolis that is London. It'll be pretty exciting, I'm sure. I really am just looking forward to being over there and getting things moving. The past few days have been pretty freakin' stressful just constantly trying to make sure that I haven't forgotten anything and that I'm getting all my stuff together and all that good stuff. It'll be nice just to be able to take a breath. Anyway, I think that this post pretty effectively displays my inability to really function and think clearly. It's getting pretty long and pointless, so I'm gonna call it quits. Peace out, ya'll.