Thursday, January 26, 2006
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.
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
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
Have fun. More later.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
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
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
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 manure...no, 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.