Sunday, October 16, 2005

National Aquarium Trip

I joined the International Student Society here at UP a week ago. I mainly did it because there were promises of discounted trips around the area for sight seeing.

So, yesterday, the ISS gave us the opportunity to visit the National Aquarium in Plymouth for 1/2 price! I of course jumped at the opportunity, despite the fact it would seriouly cut into my afternoon kip time.

The National Aquarium was a lot of fun, and pretty cool. Admittedly, I've been ruined by the Seattle Aquarium, which is huge, and a trip to Sea World a few years ago. There were some incredibly interesting things, like a huge shark that kept swimming directly over Syndie and I, and a pickled giant squid! (See Picture Above) This is the only giant squid to have washed onto land in the UK, and I got to see it. The thing was huge! Counting the tentacles, it was about 8 feet long, and this was a smaller giant squid!

Here's a picture of Plymouth from the Barbican District outside the Aquarium. The Barbican is the posh historic district, with lots of interesting shops and expensive eateries. Anyway, you get to see how pretty Plymouth is, and get a better idea of how big the city is too.

Dear Sweet McKitten!

Another thing that made this week good was the demise of the pink sheets and the arrival of a mysterious package! Hooray!!

I checked my Yahoo IM last Sunday to find that McKitten had wrote saying she had sent me a care package! I anxiously awaited the package to arrive. When I got in on Monday, I saw a package from the US in the main office. Sadly, the package was held hostage in said office until Tuesday morning when I could rescue it from the clutches of the hoarding bandits (or is that whoreding? I don't like them much.)

I tore into the package, and to my surprise, it was the BEST CARE PACKAGE EVER!!! Inside were all manner of bedding for me to replace the pink sheets! New sheets, duvet covers, an incredibly soft blanket, throw pillows, world's smallest kite(!), some great DVDs, and Peanut Butter!!! God Bless the USA!!!

McKitten way outdid herself in showering me in all that love. Seriously, I've never felt so loved as I did when I opened that box and saw all of the amazing stuff inside. And the card...ah, the card! Made this bear's heart melt and his eyes mist up.

So, a huge THANK YOU to McKitten for taking such good care of me, and rescuing me from the horrors of the pink sheets!

Idaho Squared

I know I've been a little remiss in my blogging duties lately. I've been so busy with school, life, fighting with my new bank, and other things, that I haven't even thought of the blog until today!

This last week has been really fun. It started Monday afternoon when our doorbell rang. I opened the door to someone with an American voice saying, "I heard there's someone from Idaho here! Is that true?" I told her it was me, and discovered that she, Syndie, is from Idaho Falls! She's also an ISU student, here on an exchange. Then, it gets crazier. Not only have we been living literally right down the hall from each other for almost a month now, and never bumped into each other, but we discovered that she dated my cousin for a while!!! We used to hang out at a lot of the same places, but never met until we got here.

It's been great hanging out with Syndie this week. It's comforting to talk of things back home, speak American, and experience culture shock together. It's been interesting how we've both experienced all of our insecurities in life being thrown in our face the last week or so. I'm glad we've got each other to talk these things through.

Friday night, we went to the club to go dancing. Syndie and I danced for 3 hours straight. It's a good thing I have to walk everywhere now, or I'd have collapsed from exhaustion! We snapped the picture before we were covered in sweat, which definitely happened. This humidity thing is weird!

So, it's been great making a new friendship this week, that is both new and exciting, but comfortable and reasuring at the same time.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Excited about classes

I'm excited about a few things I'll get to do in my classes this year. I'll have a couple of opportunities that I would never have gotten if I'd stayed at ISU this semester.

First, I get a full year to work on my documentary, rather than just one semester. And actually, I think I would have just made a 3 minute short video for FilmStyle production back at ISU. Having the full year will give me the time to do quality research, get quality interviews, and really make this a showpiece worthy work of art.

Second, I'll get the opportunity to really shoot something on film. Not just DV, but actual film. Processed, developed, and projected film! I'm so excited! Film is so different than DV, and having this in my resume looks so good. Besides, no matter how good the Panasonic DVX series gets, it won't look 100% like film.

Third, I'll get to be trained in Adobe AfterEffects. I've whined at the Mass Comm department for not teaching us this software, and how it sets us at a disadvantage in the work field. A lot of people are using AfterEffects, and I'll get hands on training to know how to do something with it.

Fourth, I have a class where we just watch movies, talk about them afterwards, and write a few papers now and then. Does it get any better than that? Today we watched the French film "Breathless" from the 50's. It was pretty good, but due to a lot of circumstances, I was sleep deprived/sick, so I kept nodding off.

So, overall it looks like I made a very important educational decision.

Awww... it breaks my heart

BritBrat got her mid-terms on Friday- 7 As and one B-. I was really glad, especially since one of the As is in her AP Biology class. I think she misses you the most out of everyone in the entire family, and we all miss you lots.

It's funny. Your 15-year-old niece isn't supposed to be one of your closest friends. She's not supposed to tell you that you're the older brother she never had right before you leave for the airport. You're not supposed to hate Sunday afternoons because you can't call and talk to her like usual.

I miss my BritBrat!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

iTunes Tracker

Darn iTunes. It can be too helpful sometimes. I just noticed that I've listened to Travis's "Love Will Come Through" 35 times in the 48 hours since I found it on the internet on Saturday.

I heard a rumor the song can be found here. Pure speculation, of course.

I'm the Firestarter, Twisted Firestarter

I missed out on Saturday night. I didn't quite understand what was going on in the Student Union. Everone was cramming in the Illusion to watch three girls singing, talking about what was going to happen in a little bit. I didn't care. I was too cool. I missed out.

It was last night that I talked to Laura and found out what happened in the SU. The Prodigy played a free concert. Remember "Firestarter" from about 10 years ago? Yeah, those guys. I missed it. AAArrrgh!

"Developmentally Disabled" Shopping

I went on a major grocery shopping trip on Saturday. Well, as major as you can allow yourself when you remember that you have to carry the groceries home the mile and a half to your flat. I didn't have any food at that point though, so I desperately needed to make some purchases. You can only eat toasted bagette sandwiches so many times at Jake's before your bank account feels it.

As I was shopping in the large grocery store (we finally found where it was), I felt like I'd been struck with a "developmental disability." That's mentally retarded for anyone that grew up before the horror of political correctness in the 90s. I was looking at the food, but nothing looked right. I'd see similar packages, but instead of saying Lay's Chips, it said Walker's Crisps. The Mexican food section consisted of one type of enchilada sauce, and one type of refried beans. I'd find something I wanted, such as some cheese, but the cheddar was white and scared me. I was on sensory overload, and I couldn't handle it after a while. Anyone that's ever gone grocery shopping with me can attest that it's almost an ordeal for me anyway, but doing it in a foreign country was almost enough to send me into an epileptic seizure. I don't want to go grocery shopping again.