25 February 2009


The "Invisible Heating" in the flat comes through the floor. It makes walking around a delight.I could even dry my laundry on the floor if I wanted. Heated floors might just be cooler (or warmer?) than heated seats. I would like to add that this is also a feature of the bathroom floor. What better way to get out of the shower?! I know none.

I just had Super Noodles, which I suppose is the British equivalent of Ramen noodles... and they weren't bad at all.  I still prefer Ramen, but now I know I have an alternative if my cherished noodles are unavailable. 

I looked up what was on the top of the UK charts ... I like most of what I am hearing so far (minus the bad pop music).  Kings of Leon are huge, Elbow, some good rap, the Kooks, Killers, MGMT, and some other good British bands. 

Today I was watching an episode of The Weakest Link, and the question was, "What city in Pennsylvania used to be the capital of the US?" And the guy guessed Pittsburgh. I had a good laugh over THAT one. Philadelphia would be horrified to know that it had been mistaken for Pittsburgh. 

We had a fire drill this morning! At 7AM... 20 minutes before my alarm was set to go off :(  I was having a really good dream, but I lost it when I was rudely awakened.  I finally got to see who the other residents of Haldane are. My flatmate stopped to get a cuppa tea on the way out... smart move... it was freezing out there. Once I got back inside, I checked the weather, and apparently sunrise was technically at 7:18.. so we were out there before the official sunrise! Ridiculous. 

24 February 2009

Hooray for Procrastination Tools!

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
1b) put an "x-" next to the ones you've started but not finished.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (X++)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien ( )
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (X-)
4 Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling (X)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (X-)
6 The Bible - (X-)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (X)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell ( X-)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (X-)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (X)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott ( )
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy ( )
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (*)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (X-) ??
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier ( )
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (X-)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk ( )
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (X)
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (*)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot ( )
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell ( )
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (X++)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens ( )
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy ( )
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams ( )
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (*)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky ( )
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (X)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll ( )
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame ( )
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy ( )
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens ( )
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis ( )
34 Emma - Jane Austen (*)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen (*)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis ( )
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (*)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres ( )
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden ( )
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (X)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (X-)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (X)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (*)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (X)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins ( )
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (X-)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy ( )
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood ( )
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (X+)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan ( )
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (*)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert ( )
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons ( )
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (X)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth ( )
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon ( )
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (X)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (X+)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (*)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (*) .. I read the other other Garcia Marquez book, "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck ( )
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov ( )
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt ( )
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (X-)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (*)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (X-)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy ( )
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding ( )
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie ( )
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (X)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens ( )
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (X)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (X-) ... excellent movie, however! haha
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (*)  .. read "A Walk in the Woods"
75 Ulysses - James Joyce ( ) .. read "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"
76 The Inferno - Dante ( )
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome ( )
78 Germinal - Emile Zola ( )
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray ( )
80 Possession - AS Byatt ( )
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens ( )
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell ( )
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker ( )
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (X+)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert ( )
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry ( )
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (X)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (X++ )
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (X+) .. I read "The Hound of the Baskervilles" .. does that count? 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton ( )
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (X)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (X) 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks ( )
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams ( )
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole ( )
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute ( )
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas ( )
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (X)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl ( )
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo ( )

Total: Read 22, Attempted 12, and want to read 12.

Some of these, I've seen the movie about 348 times, so it FEELS like I have read the book.. but I guess I haven't. 

23 February 2009

On the Telly

British TV.. what a glorious thing. Since I have lots of free time, some of it is inevitably spent watching what this fine island has to offer on the tube.  

They have an entire channel of American shows (US 5, I think it is) that includes Scrubs, Beverley Hills 90210, CSI: Las Vegas, and My Name Is Earl. A rather odd sampling of shows, but we'll go with it. I have watched a lot more Scrubs in the past month or so than I ever have before, but I won't complain. 

The popular British shows include Doctor Who, a sort of sci-fi/time-traveling thing that I just can't get into, and Hollyoaks, which is your standard OC/Laguna Beach/whatever other teenage soapy drama you can think of. Skins is also another one of those. 

They are also big on game shows. My favorites include Golden Balls (where people have balls with monetary amounts in them and have to collaborate with each other to win the pot of money at the end) and QI, which is just a funny game show hosted by Stephen Fry, who asks the contestants/comedians (Hugh Laurie was on once!) questions and they respond in the wittiest way possible. Pretty arbitrary, but a hilarious show.

Similar to this is Mock the Week, which also uses a panel of comedians. They take current news events and make jokes, also in order to get arbitrary and useless points. STILL, the chuckles I get out of this show are numerous. 

Another quality show I enjoy watching is Top Gear. This is not your typical American car show where they talk specifications all day long and it's completely boring.  They test out a car or two a show, the host is hilarious, they usually have a celebrity guest that will race the car around a track, and they have a big list of all the cars and people who have raced. On one episode, he had this tiny tiny tiny car that he drove around the BBC studios, and that you can literally pick up by the bumper and walk with. And in another one, he raced a runner through the London marathon course during rush hour to see who would be faster (the runner was). 

I discovered this last show, Snog Marry Avoid, just a couple nights ago. It has people who have extreme looks (such as the body modification guy, or girls who are very orange and wear lots of make up), and asks people on the street if they would snog them, marry them, or avoid them. Sort of the British, made-for-TV version of the teen game "Kill, F***, Marry." They have to predict what people will choose, and then do the same thing after they have a "make-under." Of course, they all look much better after the make-under, and people want to snog or marry them more than avoid them. The ones that I have seen have yet to keep their newer and better looks however. Their loss! 

And so... that is British television for the uninitiated. 

17 February 2009

2 Weeks In

This is mostly just going to be me rambling about things I've been thinking about lately. 

I read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before I left, and I just watched the movie the other day. I enjoyed the short story, as I do most F. Scott Fitzgerald stories, and the movie was alright, but I really don't like how the two had nearly nothing in common.  Okay, so in the movie he starts old and grows young and dies. End of similarities. In the short story, he's actually an old man, full size and completely capable of talking, walking, etc; he's not some wrinkly old baby who becomes a baby again in the end. Also, in the short story, he tries to get an education at a variety of levels -- none of that happens in the movie. And the story of how him and his wife met is completely different. Why did they even bother naming the movie after the short story if they completely deviated from the plotline? Damn Hollywood. 

Katy (a girl from my program) and I made a list last night of things we miss from home and things we like better about the UK. I think as of right now, the UK list is longer, and the home list is made up mostly of food items (Eggos! REAL bacon! smores! Fritos! Triscuits!) BUT THIS JUST IN ... there's a gourmet food store call Border's, and they sell American things.. like Jiffy peanut butter, Oreos, Betty Crocker pancake mix, Fluff, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Goldfish, Zatarain's Rice, etc! It was a glorious sight to see. AND they had big bags of tortilla chips, which really made me excited. 

Last night we went to see Mr. St. Andrews... wow, what a show. Mr DRA lasted until around the top 5, then somehow got out in the stripper pole competition, I think. Did I mention that this show was way sexually charged? Somehow I think this would never happen at BC (sad face...). 

Friday night in Edinburgh was a bunch of fun, even if the dudes in the hostel room next to us yelled and banged on doors until 4 in the morning. The city is pretty gorgeous, and there's so much to do. Not to mention the presence of solid pubs. 

I have now seen THREE people with BC clothing around town. According to the email that BC sent out, I am the only one from BC who is here at St Andrews. The first two people had sweatshirts that looked like they came from Athletics, and the last girl today was wearing a Superfan shirt.  Since I missed my opportunity to talk to the first two, I stopped her and asked about it, and she told me she had a friend from Hull who went to BC and gave it to her as a gift. Alas, not as cool a connection as I was hoping for. 

I have found a replacement for late night, and its name is Empire. A fitting name for the hole in the wall place that makes the best garlic bread pizza I might have ever eaten. EMPIRE IS KING!! Also on my "good, cheap, and fast" food list is PM's Fish and Chip shop.. I can get a lot of chips and nuggets for just under 5 pounds. De-lic-ious. 

12 February 2009


... is the theme of Scotland thus far. 

It snowed last night! What the hell! I seriously thought I had left that at home.

A bunch of us are spending tomorrow night in Edinburgh.. should be fuuuun. 

Classes have started; I am already intimidated. 

Last night, competed in a Guitar Hero competition with some of my flatmates in the Student Union pub. Good times were had by all. 

Pictures thus far:

06 February 2009

Lessons Learned

After being here a couple of days, I have had more than one revelation. Above all, I have realized that this place is freaking AWESOME. I wish I had thought to apply here for college, or done a year abroad. This might just be the honeymoon phase talking, but it is absolutely wonderful. The town is gorgeous, the people are friendly, the university is excellent, the pubs are wickedly fun. I might never want to leave. 

Walking around town, doing errands, and just observing has been a great way to acclimate myself. So far, I've picked up these things:

1. Bag your own groceries. And quickly. Otherwise, you are holding up the people behind you in the queue at Tesco

2. There are many Americans here.  Almost too many for my liking. If I had wanted to meet more Americans, I would have stayed at home!

3. It is quite possible to get IDed at the pub, even when the drinking age is 18. I know.. it happened last night. I forgot my ID, and the bouncer let me in after I told him my birthday, but the girl bartender refused to sell me a beer. And I thought getting IDed at the movies was bad..

4. Alleys are often called wynds.. as evidenced by one called Butts Wynd (hehehehe). They are very clean, and very quaint, and one today had a small garden with a bench in it. A stark contrast from the alleys of Boston, which are filled with dumpsters, trash, grime, fire escapes, and bums. 

5. They love Stella Artois (or they just sell it everywhere, including the Student Union bar). I love Stella Artois. This might be why we are getting along fantastically. Going off of this, Corona is expensive. 

6. As an upper level student I only have to take two classes. I am in class from 9-11, and then 11-1 on Tuesdays. Coming from the American system, where you are in class almost everyday for a long stretch of time, this is ridiculous.. but ridiculously cool. 

7. They let guys and girls live in the same suite in university-managed flats.  I've only met one of my flatmates so far, and it's a guy.. named Guy, from southwestern England near Wales (but not in Wales, which is a big different he tells me).  The others (another guy, Ben, and two girls) should be coming tomorrow or Sunday. We, or Ben I guess, has a Wii, Playstation, and Rock Band in the common room. Oh, the excitement that awaits!

8. Luckily for me, there are only about 3 main streets downtown, which makes it easy to navigate, and find something to do. There are bunches of cute shops, lots of woolen stores, and I'm told there are 31 pubs in this town of 17,000 people. Why can't we have that ratio back home?!?!

9. I think this is for Danny --- you CAN buy kilts off the rack. I've seen them.. in multiple stores. Also, I bought a clan MacPherson tartan scarf today. This store also had keychains, patches, shields, and MUSICAL shields for your particular clan... fantastic. I needed to get some tartan, because I heard that when you go to a ceilidh (the traditional dance and supper that's tonight), you're supposed to wear some. 

10. You can spot the high school kids right away. They are the ones hanging out in packs outside of Tesco or other stores with black uniforms and ties. It's so British, I love it. 

That's all I got for now. Tomorrow, I'm planning on exploring the ruins and the beach on the north side of town, which I haven't really seen yet. I will also finally take some pictures, and post those for all to see!!

04 February 2009

St Andrews At Last

Finally here. Spent last night in Edinburgh.. fun night at a couple pubs.. today was long and now I have to unpack all my stuff. None of my flatmates are here, but their stuff is in the common room/kitchen. They need to take the trash out :x 

St Andrews is a very cute and picturesque town. Very surreal. Some good shops to explore later. Long walk into town though. So much familiarization to doooo.

02 February 2009

Welcome to.... London?!?!

What's this you say? What happened to Scotland?

Snow happened. 

Apparently the worst weather London has seen in approximately 20 years hit today, and our connecting flight to Edinburgh got cancelled. I would like to point out that the weather consists of about 2-3 inches of snow, and all flights out of Heathrow got cancelled. The British need to get with it.  They seem to like the snow -- we saw multiple snowmen (one with a Hawaiian theme), people throwing snowballs, and kids pulling their sleds across the street. 

Anyways, after some confusion in the airport, they put us up in a hotel in the Notting Hill/Bayswater section of London. They're feeding us dinner in a couple hours, and then I guess we have a BMI flight tomorrow at 2ish.  Who knows what will happen to our orientation.. maybe it will get cut short.  I just want to get to Scotland already.. it's been a long day. 

01 February 2009


Here it is.. in about half an hour, I'll be on my way to the airport. Ahhhhhhhh! I don't think the reality of it has hit me yet.. maybe it will when I land in the UK. "Holy crap, I'm gonna be here for four months!" Not gonna lie, I'm still kinda freaking out.