Thursday, December 15, 2011

161 Hours

Until I head out to the airport for my flight to Heathrow. Where I will catch my flight to Seattle.

Before I leave however, I will need to finish my quantum mechanics assignment, due tomorrow at noon, write a 1500 word paper due on the 21st, and at least start my thermodynamics assignment due on January 16th. Shouldn't be too bad, but that doesn't make it any less annoying, that I'm so close to the end yet have these 3 large roadblocks to pass.

I had my final on Tuesday, which went pretty well. I shouldn't have any surprises when grades are reported for that class. I also just got back from turning my my dynamics and relativity assignment. So with 2 big things down and 3 more to go, I'm getting close.

If only I could find a way to speed up these 160 or so hours.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Summing up Paris

It was a pretty cool city. By far the two coolest things were the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph. But before I forget everything here's a detailed run down of my 4 days. All my photos are in the link at the bottom.

Sunday:
My flight left Edinburgh at 7:25am and I got into Paris at 10:40, (+1 hour time change, the flight wasn't that long). I managed to get some studying done on the plan which was convenient. RyanAir was definitely not as bad of an airline as I had expected. Sure they cut some corners with things, for instance they don't have those little pockets below the tray tables and the emergency procedure it printed on the back of each seat, but other than that not a whole lot is lost. I had the who row to myself so I could spread out some which was also awesome. After a short flight I landed in Beauvais. Which is a very small airport north of Paris, surrounded by farmland. The whole flight all I could think of was how roughly 65 years ago guys my age were jumping out of planes in areas like this to stop the advancing of the German army. It was a fascinating train of thought. One which I was sure to discuss with my friend Luka when I meet up with him later that night.

Having landed and changed my money to euros I headed outside to catch the hour long bus ride to Paris. It was actually a nice bus ride through the French countryside. And before I knew it we were in Paris. Finally there, I left the bus station and headed to the Arc de Triumph to catch my bearings. The Arc was easily one of the most impressive pieces of architecture I have ever scene. It is HUGE, and incredibly detailed. Being Sunday a trip to the top was free, so after figuring out how to cross the 5 lane roundabout surrounding the Arc I ventured to the top. The view was amazing, and quite helpful as it showed me how to get the the Eiffel Tower, and from there I was pretty sure how to get to my hotel. After taking some pictures and admiring the view I set off for the Eiffel Tower. A short walk later and I was there. This thing is super cool. Completely made of metal and completely symmetric it is one of the best things these two eyes have ever seen. After staring for 5 minutes maybe and hour, I made my way to the hotel. A sweet little place, 5 minutes from the tower. After checking in I dropped off my bag and headed back out the the city.

With about 9-10 hours to kill before meeting up with my buddy Luka I started looking for things that we wouldn't do in the next few days. Small things that I wouldn't see otherwise. But before I headed out I fell asleep for 3 hours. Convenient because now I only had 6-7 hours to clear. I ended up going to the Paris Aquarium, which was okay, I'm probably spoiled growing up so close the the aquariums in California, so this one wasn't that impressive. After that I went to an architecture museum which was far more impressive. Most likely because I'm still a sucker for detailed models of buildings. And this place was full of them. It also had what I think were recreations of other famous architectural bits from buildings around France. It was hard to tell because I can't read French (something that was becoming more and more of a problem in this city I was noticing). Those two things ate up a few hours, so I headed back to the Eiffel Tower and hoped on a boat tour on the Siene. Which was quite informative. After that I only had about an hour to kill so I wandered around the Eiffel Tower some more. Luka was unfortunately late due to travel delays but no big deal I wasn't too bothered waiting under the Eiffel Tower. Still operating on Spain time he and his friends, who were quite nice, were really hungry for dinner despite it being almost midnight. We went out got some food and then headed back to our places of residence for some sleep.

Monday:
Woke up around 9 to meet up with everyone at 10. Showered and noticed an odd design flaw in my hotel room's toilet. The counter over the toilet got in the way of the seat going all the way up, which meant unless it was held up it would fall closed. Amusing yet annoying. After getting ready I made my way to the Tower to meet the gang. First thing we did was made our way back to the Arc. Which I had no problem with. After that we headed down the Champs Elysees, where there was a lovely holiday street market going on. We made our way to the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Which was lovely. After that we wondered around some more until we found our way to Notre Dame. Which was awesome. Lovely glass windows, super cool interior, lovely building. It was nice to see a building in person that was focused on so heavily in my pre-architecture days. It was also nice in this season, as there were lots of Christmas trees around, and the interior was full of large nativity scenes. After Notre Dame we made our way to the Pantheon. Which was really cool. Except it was rather expensive to enter, and Luka being a Croatian citizen got to enter for free so he ran in and snapped some pictures for us to see. Then we headed to the Luxembourg Palace. Which unfortunately was closing just as we got there.  Bummer. We headed back to the place the rest of the group was staying at for a quick break before dinner. It was a super nice apartment that belonged to one of the girl's godmothers.

We rested there for a few hours then met up with another girl from UW who was actually studying abroad in Paris. Which was perfect because now someone in the group spoke/understood French. Crucial. She took us to a small fondue place outside of the main Paris district. On the way we had to take the metro. After struggling to find a metro entrance that sold tickets we decided to jump it. Obviously the girl from Paris had a pass so she got in and taught us how to get past the gate. After 2 of us jumped through it was my turn. I screwed up and the doors clamped on my shoulder. And they clamped hard. At first it was rather comical but now I'm actually dealing with an surprising amount of pain in my shoulder. Finally we realized that the floor was pressure plated so as long as someone stood on the other side of the gate, it would let you pass backwards. So we did that, with no more clamped members. We made it to the fondue place, which was interesting. Having never had fondue I can now say, that I am not a huge fan. Seems like there are better ways to eat bread and cheese, but it was authentically french so I was okay with it. The really interesting part of this place was that they served you wine in baby bottles, which was funny. After dinner we headed back to the apartment and hung out for a few hours.

Where we discovered that tragically we discovered that the Louvre was closed on Tuesday. And as it was already late we sat and came to terms that we would not be able to see the Louvre. Quite sad. We got over it though and discovered that more UW friends of ours were in Paris, so we meet up with them at their hotel suite. Evidently one of their dads works for the UN and has connections in Paris, and scored them a nice deal. We drank there until the wee small hours of the morning, all of them except me being on Spain time they were used to staying up drinking until 4-6am. I on the other hand was not. But thankfully 2 of the girls wanted to head back to the apartment and go to bed so I left with them around 4. Which was kind of cool because the streets were empty and the Eiffel Tower was still lit. It was a fun day but I was very ready for bed.


Tuesday:
Needless to say we got off to a slower start that day than we had the day before. Meeting under the Eiffel Tower at 11:30 me and Luka headed off to do some exploring, the rest of the group was going to meet up with us at around 3:30 at the D'Orsay museum. Luka and I headed back to the Christmas market to get lunch, and started wandering down in the direction of the museum. We decided to kill more time we would go to the Louvre at least just to see the outside. Which was still pretty cool. We wandered around the Louvre Park for an hour or so, then as the rain clouds started encroaching, we went back to Notre Dame, where we sat as the rain passes us by. It was convenient. We then headed over to the museum to meet up with the rest of the group. The D'Orsay was pretty cool. I'm not tremendously into art and Luka and I were pretty exhausted so we breezed through the paintings and ended up sitting at every bench we came across. We ended up seeing everything just before the museum closed which was awesome. We met the group outside and headed back to the apartment for another rest.

After a few hours of downtime we headed out for dinner. We had researched and found a small french place to get some more authentic food. After a long walk we found the place. Remarkably small, and with absolutely zero English speaking ability it was actually rather stressful trying to order. We made it through the ordering process and were delighted that we did a good job deducing what was what. I had some beef roast with potatoes and everyone else had some chicken curry with noodles. It was really good. Then I wanted to have some French dessert so I ordered some Creme Brulee. It was AMAZING. So good in fact that every single other person in the group ordered one as well. After dinner we headed back to the apartment and parted ways. As they had a 8 am train to Amsterdam and I was a zombie. After the goodbyes I went back to my hotel and died into the bed.


Wednesday:
Well my flight was at 2pm, and I needed to catch the bus to Beauvais at 11, so I slept in a little then headed out. Caught the bus, and got to the airport. Our flight was a little delayed but not too bad. Before I knew it, I was back in Edinburgh. And my god is it good to be back in an English speaking country. Although it's freezing here....

Well now its time for me to start studying for my final and getting everything done, because in 2 weeks from tomorrow I make my triumphant return stateside for Christmas!

Hope you all had a nice week.

Here's my pictures:
https://picasaweb.google.com/101396428202321504245/Paris?authkey=Gv1sRgCKnOg56jvLmwBA

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Short Update

So I leave for Paris in the wee small hours of the morning, and having forgotten that I needed to write a post today this will have to be rather brief.

This was a good week, last week of school for the semester. No complaints there. I also may have found a part of physics that I might want to pursue. Quantum Computing. A fascinating field, read up on it on Wikipedia if you feel so inclined. This of course is helpful because it should help fuel my revision for my quantum mechanics class. Which was one of the hardest and most confusing courses I have taken to date, but obviously is a crucial building block to quantum computing. So all in all it was a nice week. It was also especially nice because this means that the only remaining obstacles I have before my return home are 1 exam, 2 assignments, 1 short paper and 1 more assignment. Sounds like a lot but it really shouldn't be too bad. Three more weeks.

Upon my return from France on Wednesday I will write a proper post. Until then... well occupy yourself with something other than my blog.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top Gear Live!

Saturday was one of the best, if not the best, days of my adult life. The Top Gear Live Event was the coolest thing I have ever been to. Super cars were everywhere, tires could be heard squealing against the tarmac in the Track Event stage, trinkets were aplenty, it was a great day.

My train to London left on Friday at 11:40pm and I arrived in London, quite groggy, before the sun had even woke. I promptly took a cab to the ExCel Center and sat in coffee shop to eat my breakfast bar and drink my extra large can of Redbull to wake myself up a little bit. Arriving at the ExCel center about an hour and a half before the doors would open to the main convention center room, I read my Top Gear magazine and waited. As soon as a small queue began to form I walked over. About 5th in line to enter the main hall. When the doors opened at 9:30 I was one of the first to enter, and I immediately was awe-struck as 2 lovely Ferraris greeted me at the door. The 599 GTO and the 458 Italia. After taking some pictures I moved to the "Top Gear TV stage" area where there was a recreation of the chairs and stage the presenters sit at during the TV show. I got my picture taken in Jeremy Clarkson's usual seat, but was a little sad to realize hours later the gentleman I asked to take the picture captured this wonderful moment in a blurry fashion. But by the time I had realized it the queue was far to long to attempt another shot. No matter, blurry image is better than no image.

I spent the next few hours walking around the showroom floor taking pictures of various supercars, and Top Gear Challenge cars, including the 100% electric "Hammer-Head iEagle Thrust." As 1 o'clock rolled around it was time for my Track Event. I made my way to the entrance, had my ticket checked and had a seat in the grandstands. For the next hour and a half I was presented with a variety of cars driven around the track at high speeds, including a personal favorite of mine the Caterham 7 Super Sport, driven by none other than Top Gear's tame racing driver... "Some say that he is terrified the BBC will reveal his salary because he is paid in strong pornography. And that his discharge is luminous. All we know is, he's called The Stig." The Stig put this wonderful little car around the track at breakneck speeds, punishing the tires at every corner. It was a beautiful sight. However the Track Event was not all good, because the main presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May were otherwise occupied with the Live Arena Event, there were unable to present the Track Event. Which left it to three other English people I had never heard of, who were quite boring. Thinking themselves to be very interesting and amusing when in actuality... they weren't. The whole crowd knew it and they must have been daft to not know it themselves. However luckily not too much time was wasted with their speaking, and even when time was wasted I was sitting next to the car entrance so I just looked at the next wonderful machine that was preparing to enter the track. After several interesting events including a stunt driver who drove a whole lap on two wheels (it was amazing), and a light drifting competition, the Track Event ended. Which was good news, not because it wasn't entertaining by any means but because it meant that my Live Arena Event with three proper presenters began in a short 40 minutes. I spent the next 20 minutes making sure there was nothing else of any interest in the showroom, then made my way to the Arena. Locating my seat, I waited patiently for the main event. And it did not disappoint. 


The Live Arena event was like being at an actual episode of Top Gear, the news was done, as the presenters drove out the large gear shaped stage, notice i said they drove it out, as if it were a parade float, and the challenge was presented. Having agreed that the Olympics were rather boring the presenters wanted to create a more interesting automotive version of the Olympics. There was an opening ceremony, complete with flaming cars, motorcycle jumps over fire with riders dressed as Beef-eaters, London Taxis doing donuts, and of course an Aston Martin. A true showing of England. The events then started. Starting with motocross limbo. Beef-eater dressed riders took turns jumping though a smaller and smaller gap at the top of a ramp, it was quite exciting. Next was chariot racing, mind you in true Top Gear form this was no ordinary chariot race. The chariots were pulled by 4 Vespas mounted together, controls to all 4 vespas were mounted in the chariot, and cornering was performed by braking either the 2 right most scooters or the two leftmost scooters. It was again quite amazing, and rather comical. The next event, which was my favorite was car curling. In true curling form there was a brusher, which in this case was a quad bike driven by James May with several brooms and circular brushes sweeping the floor infront of it. And the two curling stones, which in this case were two small cars driven by Jeremy and Richard. Now in order to recreate the presence of ice when the car's e-brakes were pulled they were lifted onto 4 wheels rather like the wheels on the bottom of a shopping cart. Which allowed the cars to drift along like they were on ice. When the e-brake was released they were dropped back onto the normal wheels and came to a stop. The cars were aiming for a target area just like in real curling. And also like in real curling they went one after another so you could knock the other stone out of the target. What ensued was a fantastic display of mayhem with several crashes. One of which injured Jeremy's shoulder, but he soldiered on.  The next event was synchronized swimming, but with cars. Which was quite lovely. Followed by another synchronized driving event with Morgan 3-wheelers which was again, very impressive. The final event was a beauty contest, where about 16 of the best, most expensive, and most properly beautiful cars in the world were driven out parked. The presenters then chose their favorites and awarded medals to them. This concluded the show, and it was amazing. I'm not sure if the brief descriptions I gave, got that point across, but let me assure you, it was incredible. I felt like the neighbor kid in The Incredibles:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acYDNlMYAaI


And on that bombshell it's time to end, thanks for reading, Good Night!


I took lots and lots of pictures which you can view here. Some of them are a little blurry as my camera was struggling to find its focus. But I switched to my phone which worked much better.  https://picasaweb.google.com/101396428202321504245/TopGearLive?authkey=Gv1sRgCKujyNKSg7KMeg

I hope you all had a nice weekend, and will see most of you in less than a month.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Update

This has been a pretty productive weekend. I meet up with a friend at the library and together we finished our last Thermodynamics assignment due before the end of the semester, which was nice. Today I've started my math homework for the week, and plan on finishing one of the two assignments tonight. Meaning I will only have to finish the other this week and start reviewing for my exam. Then I will be getting ready for my trip to London this weekend, for Top Gear Live! Then after 2 more math assignments and a solid final week of lectures I will be off to Paris. Things are looking up out here. School is finally starting to wind down, and with the exception on my exam on the 13th, and the 3 assignments I will have to do before heading home, I have little left to worry about.

As for today I had a pretty nice day. I woke up had breakfast and then went for a walk into town. Not for any particular reason, except that after being beaten for the 1st time in weekly steps on my fitbit by my father, I needed to make up for my usual low numbered weekends. I assure all of you that this momentary lapse will be corrected and I will return to my rightful place of fitbit champion. On a related note I'm down to 235lbs which brings me to a total of down about 35lbs in the past 10 or 11 weeks. Not too bad if I say so myself. I took some picture on my walk today, having walked in a few new places. I also saw a gorilla playing the drums... Quite an interesting day.










Sunday, November 13, 2011

39 Days and Counting

As it seems I only have time to write new posts on the weekends, a statement on how busy school is keeping me during the week. But with only 21 days left of regular class, I'm closing in on the final straight. Which is just fantastic news if I can voice my opinion. Which I believe I am entitled to do, seeing as this is my blog. In the next 3 weeks I will be rather busy however, with I believe, 8 more homework hand-ins. But before the last week I have a nice single day trip to London. Then it's back on the grind for the final week. However after that final week I get a nice 4 day vacation in France, with two of my mates Sam and Luka, which will be nice. I'll have a few busy days of studying after that and then a final exam. After that final, as it seems, things will become busy again, as most of my classes have assigned homework assignments to be finished over Christmas break and I have no intention of bringing any work home with me. Which means in the 9 days between my final exam and my flight home I will have 3 assignments and a paper to write. Which shouldn't be too bad in 9 full days, with nothing else to do, but obviously isn't ideal.

School, while being the source of a great deal of work and some mild stress, is going pretty well. I seem to be doing pretty well for myself over here. If things continue this way my grades will transfer over quite well back to UW. I should be maintaining my average in physics, which is really all I ask of myself at a foreign university, let alone a foreign university world known for its physics department.

I would like to say that apart from school things are progressing just as well, but honestly there isn't really a lot going on for me apart from school. I only have a few spare hours during the week, most of which are spent in the gym, leaving very little for me to explore or discover anything here. A bit of a bummer but I suppose college needed to take over like this at one point or another right? My second semester should allow me some more free time with only 3 classes, and I assume much less homework. But I think a lot of the free time then will be eaten by reviewing my classes from this semester to prepare for the exams in May. Leaving me with less free time that I might expect, but hopefully enough to get out and about a little more.

It's a good thing I'm getting closer to Christmas break because I believe it will provide a much needed battery recharge before I head back over here to close out this school year. If all goes according to plan and I manage to finish all of my homework in those 9 days before my return, I will have a solid 24 days or so, with no cares in the world. Which sounds very very nice.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remember Remember the Fifth of November...

Despite being rather scholastically unproductive this weekend, I had a good time. Strange, almost as though those things go hand in hand. Saturday was the 5th of November, which is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night. It is an odd day, it celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in the 1605. Essentially some people wanted to bomb the British Parliament building, in order to kill King James the 1st and free Britain from tyranny. What really makes this day interesting is that in England it is a celebration of the plans failure, while here in Scotland and other countries that were once cruelly ruled over by the British, it seems like people celebrate a credible attempt to end British tyranny, by killing the King. Anyway enough of the history lesson. My friends and I went up to Arthur's Seat at around 8pm and watched the fireworks from the highest point in Edinburgh. Although we were a little let down because there was no real city funded firework show. We essentially watched people lighting off fireworks in their backyards, which was still pretty cool, because we could see the whole city. I tried to take some pictures but it was too dark to really capture anything substantial. We stayed up there for about an hour before the frigid air slowly began to freeze us. On the way down we got a wee bit lost, because none of us had been up there in the darkness, or maybe it was because we had been drinking a little. After a short team meeting to decide which path would be the least steep and therefor the easiest to descend, we left. The usual 30 minute decent from the top ended up taking about an hour but we all had a fun time slipping in the long, wet grass finding our way home. It was a fun night.

Today I had a few errands to run, like buying a new pair of pants that actually fit. The curse of shrinking whilst away from home I suppose. It seems I will have to slowly convert my wardrobe on the fly, making changes when necessary, but sparingly in order to conserve funds. This week will be relatively filled with school work, but I will simply take it one day at a time until the weekend begins again. And as each weekend comes and goes I become closer to home. With only 4 weeks of classes left, I'm reaching the final stretch. Which is comforting. 3 weeks of classes, 1 day in London, 1 last week of classes, 1 week in Paris, 1 week of studying, 1 day of test taking, and then 1 week of Scottish exploring until I return State-Side. When put that way it really doesn't seem that bad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Apologies

Last week I was very busy with school, and over the weekend I was experiencing some issues with my gmail account, and thus couldn't write a new post. That is all settled now and Google has deemed my gmail no longer suspicious, why it was ever suspicious in the first place I don't know.

I was swamped with school work last week, and will be pretty busy today with another assignment, but by tomorrow I will have an easy time for the remainder of the week. Next week will be a different story however, as I am going to receive 3 new assignments due in the next few weeks. With some careful planning however I might be able to simplify that work load by getting absolutely everything else out of the way this week/weekend.

On a non-school related note, I just bought plane tickets to Paris for December 4th to December 7th, to meet up with some friends who will be there. Got a crazy deal on airfare and only paid 48USD for the roundtrip. Granted I land in an airport that is about a hour bus ride outside of Paris but the bus only cost a few euros, and I am arriving much earlier than my friends. Who get in I think around 10 hours after I do. But I'd imagine Paris is an easy city to spend time just wandering around. I have to look into a hostel to stay at as well, but I can't imagine that will be too difficult. Especially since there are 3 of us. It should be an exciting trip. And when I return I will still have 6 days to study for my only exam on the 13th.

In a depressing note, my flight home is not until the 22nd of December so I will need to find something to do for those 9 free days I have after my final, and with Paris probably eating a healthy portion of my funds, I think I will have to stay pretty close by. I'm going to try to save the Edinburgh Zoo and Museum for that week, and maybe I'll plan a trip to Sterling to see the William Wallace Memorial, or to St. Andrews to see the course. Hopefully I can stretch those into a few days. I'll likely have to fight the urge to pack up all my stuff as soon as my final is over. With no scholastic hills between me and my trip home for Christmas I won't have much else to think about. And with the rest of my young freshman friends busy studying for their 3-5 finals I think they will be pretty busy and won't be able to join me in any adventures. Although I do know one of them wants to go to Amsterdam for a few days and maybe that would work out for us. But I'm not going to hold my breath on that. I'm sure I will find something to occupy my time those 216 hours before my return to the US.

Weight wise I am doing very well. I've dropped down to 242lbs from about 270lbs. Which is more than half way to my overall goal of 220lbs. The down side to this however is now all my pants are HUGE, and will continue to get larger as I continue this transition. I already had to buy a new belt, and will likely need to buy some new pants in the next few weeks. Such a tragedy, I really like these pants. I also had a very big day on Friday in terms of fitness. I traveled a total of 23 miles, and walked 43,000 steps. Not too bad for a days work.

That's all for now, let the good times roll my friends and remember, the Dude abides.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fine, Go, You've Stayed Your Hour

I was pretty busy all week and I never seemed to get a chance to write anything down here, but as it is Sunday I have some time right now. I got my waterproof backpack, which is nice. Except it hasn't rained since Monday so I hasn't really been used in the rain yet. As it seems Scotland is a little greedy with its rain. Come the first real day of the week it decides to spend its entire rain quota in a few hours. Then with no more allowance it must wait a whole other week to rain again. Which is nice, if you can brave the storm on that single day, the rest of the week is relatively dry. Its been getting progressively colder here week by week, of course the wind chill has a lot to do with that. I'm curious about the temperatures come December, but I suppose I will cross that frozen bridge when I come to it. Friday finally came and I had a little bit of time to relax before I was off to the Ceildh. Which was extra fun this time because I got to wear my kilt for a good reason this time. Not that I feel there is ever a bad reason to wear one, unless of course its snowing and there is a cold arctic breeze or something... because that might be hard to deal with. The Ceildh was really fun, despite a little short. Although that was our fault for arriving so late. Walking to and from the venue was really entertaining since I was in full formal Scottish attire. Got a few whistles and hollers, which was a little awkward. We didn't get home until 1:30am, and of course right after I finished getting changed out of my attire at about 1:45, the fire alarm went off, so I had to get dressed in whatever I could find quickly and head outside, where it was very cold...  Rather annoying. I spent pretty much all day Saturday doing laundry and working on my paper that is due on Friday, it's about steroids in baseball and physics. Which since I'm American is much easier because I was watching baseball during the steroid era and already know the rules of the game. The non-US students had to do a lot of research on how the game actually works before they could start. Saturday night at around 11:15 my friend Soak came knocking on my door asking if I wanted to go to a pub with everyone. Having felt like I did a fair amount of work I decided to join. Which was fun. I had a few pints of McEwan's Export, a favorite of Mr. Stuart Mackenzie (featured below for your viewing pleasure). It's actually very good beer, and I think I'll start ordering it when it's available. We didn't stay out too late last night, as the pubs in this country close at 1am we were forced to return home relatively early. With no Formula One race to watch this weekend I got to sleep in a little bit longer than I usually do on Sundays. Overall it was a pretty good week. And the time is flying by here. With the exception of a few days each week, the days seem to be passing very very quickly. Which I can't complain about because the sooner classes are over the sooner I will have some breathing room to do some more exploring, and maybe play some more golf, if the weather permits it. Only 6 more weeks of classes then 1 exam and I'll be free for Christmas break. Which is very exciting. 

Oh and in another homage to both Stuart Mackenzie and this country I set up my own Scottish Wall of Fame. Also featured below. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Change brought on by necessity

Well after being caught in ANOTHER royal soaking, compliments of the Scottish weather system, I have made some changes to my gear. The small "backup" umbrella I kept in my gym bag was promptly destroyed by the wind after attempting to use it today to keep by backpack dry. With all the arms compound fractured, I was forced to use it as a limp blanket, awkwardly attached to a stick, in attempt to conserves the dryness of my backpack. While performing admirably for the most pathetic umbrella in all of Scotland, it was not enough and my bag did get pretty wet. Nothing was damaged, but the bottom of my notebooks got a little wet and caused that annoying "wet/dried paper wave" on the bottom quarter inch or so on all of them. Thankfully I managed to fix them by placing each, one by one under my laptop and running large programs. The heat and weight of my laptop managed to smooth and dry them off. However, I would not stand for such shoddy backpack performance again. As this bag was supposed to be "weather proof" I decided I needed something more extreme. I went online and ordered a 100% waterproof backpack meant for surfing or kayaking or some other water activity where you shouldn't be wearing a backpack anyway. No matter, I think this should suffice for my needs. Not only is it pretty cool looking but it also floats, so in case the rain gets really bad, or I fall into a Loch on my way to class I won't need to think, maybe if I had a life-preserver this predicament I'm in would be much easier. A thought which I know plagues all of us constantly. It also graded acceptable for "quick, full submersion," so even if I dive in said Loch, the bag will be fine as it floats to the surface. All a bit overboard, which comically is the name of the manufacturer, I know but I had to draw the line somewhere. Now the only low point in my defense against the rain is my shoes. As rain boots are only for 5 year-olds and females, I will have to find an alternate solution.

In other news, since I forgot to post a well, post over the weekend I'll give you a short recap. I needed to head into town to get a new kilt pin and to buy my bowtie, so I headed out. Whilst searching diligently for my ideal kilt pin, photographed below, I happened upon another lovely piece of art. A Ferrari 458 Italia, white with yellow brake calipers, a 4.5L V8 engine, and a top speed of 202mph. Lovely machine. I took a look around it, looking at the clear window to the engine, looked inside, and took a photo, then as the mob of onlookers realized there was a Ferrari near them swarmed in, I left for another shop. To my surprise just as I left this shop the owner had come by. I had expected a cool older gentleman, but what was before me was, for lack of a better term, a complete and utter c**k. Dripping from head to toe with over-sized and over-polished gold jewelry, designer sunglasses, that tried very hard to make you completely aware they were designer sunglasses, and a Ferrari polo. Needless to say a line came to mind: "A man with priorities so out of whack doesn't deserve such a fine automobile. No no, apparently you don't understand. Ferris. He never drives it, he just rubs it with a diaper..." But I digress, and must stop before the entire script to that movie is transcribed. Anyway now that the owner was in the car, he offered a girl a ride down the street, oddly she accepted and he took off, with a glorious V8 symphony of sound echoing off the ancient city walls of the Royal Mile. He shortly turned around and brought her back. And I'm pretty sure he spent the next few hours trying to pick up other women with the same tactic. Apparently the impression I got from his clothes weren't completely off base from his whole personality. But I had better things to do than watch a creepy man in a fancy car try to pick up loose women. So I departed, bought my bow-tie and returned home.

The Pin to match the Stewart Clan tartan


Friday, October 14, 2011

Is a Proud New Owner...

Of a full "Prince Charlie Kilt Uniform!" Having recently discovered that kilts were far more adjustable than I previously expected, I decided I would buy one now, that I could always adjust down as I continue to lose weight (down ~20lbs so far). Thankfully I managed to get one that fits nicely at one of the larger adjustment sizes but has about 5-6 inches of tightening left in it. The vest and jacket fit nicely now as well but should fit well even after some more pounds are pleasantly misplaced from my midsection. I do still need to buy a bow-tie as the ones in the store weren't very nice and were expensive, and I know for a fact I can buy a nicer 100% silk bow-tie downtown for about half the price. I also would like to buy a different kilt pin, the one that was included with the "package" isn't exactly what I wanted, but I know those aren't terribly expensive either. But I need to do some exercise tomorrow and walking around downtown getting those items will probably do the trick.

And allow me to say this. I have never been more comfortable in dress clothes than I am in this outfit. There are no annoying buttons that need to be dealt with, no zippers, and you've got to love not wearing any knickers. After all, how can you argue with a nice refreshing breeze. With all of that taken into account, I am totally going to wear a uniform like this when I get married. No doubt about that at all.

CLARIFICATION: No I am not alluding to anything with the previous statement. All allegations of me getting married any time soon, or having found a lass in this country are purely speculation and I assure you are completely false.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello and Good Evening

Well I don't have too much to say currently, things are going well. School is keeping me busy, which I suppose is probably good. It's a nice way of directing traffic on the busy highway of thoughts in my head. A few of the cars have been stuck in a round about near the on ramp however. Mostly thoughts of home and family, day dreams of how nice it will be to be picked up at SeaTac airport on the 22nd of December. Another popular model is the thought of what I'm going to do after college. And after waking up at 7am on Saturday to watch the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, and hearing the high pitched whine of an engine operating at 20,000 rpm, I think I have finally decided on that car's destination. In case the multitude of car alliterations weren't a major hint to you, I've began seriously contemplating going to graduate school in Michigan or California and studying further into automotive engineering. Nothing seems to capture my complete attention like the thundering engine of a beautifully designed automobile as it passes by on the street, not even the laugh of a beautiful woman walking in my direction. A situation I found myself in just yesterday on my way to a Tesco with a friend. As a Lamborghini Gallardo, rolled past my friend asked if I noticed the girl that just passed us, I was completely oblivious to her existence, as my attention was fixed on the sculpted lines of the orange super car and the idle sounds of it's massive 10 cylinder engine. Perhaps my priorities are out of whack but when push comes to shove evidently the car is what my eyes craved to look upon. Even in my thermodynamics lecture this morning, I found myself idly paying attention until the professor said the words "combustion engine," from that point on I wrote down every word that came out of his mouth until the lecture ended. This path will require some hard work however, as my knowledge of the inner-workings of an engine are less than professional, but I suppose that is why graduate school is offered.    

Well look at that, turns out I did have a fair amount to say.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Insane Weather

The Weather here is ridiculous. The rain has stopped and started, more times than an old man with bladder problems. And I don't mean rain in the sense of "damn I'm getting a little wet" I mean rain in the sense of "Good God find some cover!" Conveniently however this time I managed not to get stuck in it at its worst. I was caught in the tail end of the rain before the sun came out. Oddly enough the sun has stayed out since, which was nice. Until it went down, now its freezing outside.

I think I'm finally starting to get into the rhythm of this place, which is great. Starting to figure out the homework and class schedules, finding times to workout, but struggling slightly to find some down time to unwind. With the 3rd week of school, and 4th week I've been here, coming to a close, I'm filled with feeling of amazement, that a whole month can pass by so quickly. Feels like it was only a few days ago that I was struggling with the time change, and trying to find my way about town. Funny really.

Hopefully time slows a little bit before I have to leave this place.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I hope this finds you well

It's been another couple of days since I've written anything here. As it turns out I'm actually pretty busy with class. Most days are spent shuffling to and from class and doing homework. But every so often I get a little free time. On Sunday for example I spent a few hours looking for kilt vendors, trying to find the best deals for my inevitable purchase. Which was actually kind of fun. I did find it odd however that only one shop of the several I went to had Scottish people working there. Incidentally that one was the best, but also the most expensive as everything was made custom to your needs. A bit out of my price range to say the least.

Anyway, as this week limps forward, due to injuries sustained in a fight with my exhaustion, it has occurred to me that I have almost been here for a whole month. Which is bizarre as it definitely hasn't felt that long. Which as I have recently discovered is kind of like relativity, well sort of. I read a quote a while back from Einstein, that I think is applicable to this case of "warped time view."

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it feels like a minute. That's relativity."

Which I suppose means I am likening school to a hot stove, which seems about right, and Scotland to a pretty girl, which while weird I suppose also makes sense. I have learned that all of my finals, save for one, are in May, which is nice I guess. This means that I will be able to enjoy a good deal of December with no classes to tie me down, no hot stove to ruin my time with this "pretty lady." That will be exciting. I've also caught wind of a weekend trip to the highlands next month, put on by the international student organization, which should be a fun trip. Perhaps I'll be the one to find proof of Loch Ness Monster...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Foggy Trip to the Craigs

Before dinner I meet up with some friends who wanted to go the Craigs to see what they were like in the heavy fog that settled in. I was planning on doing just that after dinner, so we all went together. Allow me to first say that never before have I found such peace as sitting on a rock near a ledge where all you can see in front of you, below you, and above you is grey fog. It is like sitting in a cloud. If the rain hadn't started to fall I probably would have sat there for hours. In fact the next time such fog comes in I plan to. With your visual senses dulled by the fog, you can hear the breeze moving through the long grass and the light rain drops gently landing on the rocks surrounding you, and a sense of ease and peace descends upon you, like a reassuring hand on your shoulder.

I managed to get some pictures from up there, as we moved through the fog to the various high points.









Scottish Weather Has Arrived

I was planning on golfing again today if the weather continued to be as nice as it has been the past week, but when I woke this morning I was disappointed to see that the sun has retreated behind the soft blanket of clouds. Which is actually not all that bad, I was starting to wonder when the Scottish weather would arrive, and this odd heat wave would dissipate. The clouds looked a little dark so I figured I'd be responsible and check the forecast before I close the door on golfing for the day. As it turns out the "heavy rain" is expected to hit right before my round would begin and the fog is supposed to come in during my round, followed by another "heavy rain" as my round would likely end. So I'm going to pass on the golf today. I refuse to be the victim of another monsoon. Took me a week to dry off from that last time... I also think that golfing in heavy fog would be damn near impossible. This means I will have to come up with something else to do today. There was talk of also going to a beach nearby (I know a beach in Scotland, crazy right?) but I'm going to assume that those plans will likely also be canceled. If the rain holds off for long enough maybe I'll go up Arthur's Seat again, and see what Edinburgh looks like under the veil of fog. And hell maybe if the rain doesn't hold off I'll do it anyway.

I went out to a club last night with some people from my building which was a interesting experience. I'm not much of a club rat, mainly because I don't understand the premise of standing in a crowded room while a DJ uses mostly poor music as a weapon of audio torture, as your ears contemplate suicide. Perhaps if your ears are ringing you won't be able to tell how awful most of the music is? I'd much rather sit in a bar or a pub and drink and talking normally to a person, not screaming into their ear. Regardless of my feeling of clubs I did have fun. I bought a drink at the bar, which I bought purely out of fascination that I it was served a in a plastic yellow bucket (pictured below). A little sweet and light on flavor for my tastes but I was amused by the unique container. Tasted like drinking the liquid manifestation of a hangover. Which made me feel bad as I watched people accumulate their fair share of buckets, as I knew they were going to have a rough Saturday. This is where the talk of the beach came in as we realized we should try to keep some of these buckets for sand castles or something. So we devised a plan to take some home in one of the girls' purses. Which worked out pretty well. We stayed at this club until about 3am, before we decided to call it a night, which could not have come sooner for me. I was eager to leave this deafening sardine can, as it were. We walked about half way back before one of the girls confessed she was too drunk to continue the journey on foot, so we took a cab. Which her boyfriend payed for, which was nice of him. Overall it was a fun night. Nothing quite like going out with people 3 years your junior and watching them struggle with their new legal experience of drinking in public. And struggle they did. But it was entertaining, and that's what its all about right?

Interesting right?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's been a while

I haven't written a post in a few days now, so I figured now was as good a time as any to pop in and say hello. This has been a pretty busy week with tutorials starting up, lots more class time. Looks like this is going to be a tough couple of months. My Quantum Mechanics class is going over my head currently so I ordered the intro to quantum textbook that the UW currently uses, as my professor here doesn't follow a textbook, in an effort to follow along more easily. It should be here in the next week or so. My other classes however, are going very well, and I haven't had much trouble following along with them. In one of them we have to read and rework a highly scientific article into a more casual and more easily understood piece. My "heavily scientific paper" is about the use and steroids in the MLB and if the drastic increase in homers in the 90's was a direct result of this. So that should be fun. In other news, with the acquisition of a Fitbit device, a gift from father, I have found a new interest in that current fad, called "exercise." Essentially this thing is a pedometer, that counts your steps and figures the total distance you have walked. Which directly relates to my mild OCD with numbers, which in turn forces me to walk more to get step numbers that I deem acceptable. You also get "badges" for reaching certain goals, like 5000 steps a day or 20,000 steps a day. So to further add to my interest, when I get reasonably close to a new badge I tend to want to go for it. For no apparent reason, other than the accomplishment of getting a little image on my fitbit page. I carry this thing around with me all the time and have been, over the past 4 days, averaging upwards of 16,000 steps a day which is about 8 miles. With this new found interest in working out I have already lost 2 pounds in the past 4 days. At this rate I'll pull a transition similar to my brother's in no time. So I got that going for me now... which is nice.

I am starting to get over the cold I caught a few days ago, but am starting to enter the annoying stages where the sickness makes a last stand, and digs in. It currently is hunkered down in my ear canals and is making it uncomfortably difficult to depressurize them. Which is an odd feeling, I imagine its rather like having your head inside of a balloon. Sounds are muffled, head kind of feels like it's floating, and there is a massive desire to want to pop the dirty bugger.

On a lighter note, I recently bought train tickets to London for Friday, November 26th. The reason you ask? Well there is a little show here on the BBC, which happens to be a personal favorite of mine, maybe you've heard of it? Top Gear. Anyways lovely program, but they are doing an event called Top Gear Live, where they rent out a convention center and do a live automotive performance and allow you to get up close and personal with some of the worlds more beautiful automobiles and supercars. It should be really fun, and I am very much looking forward to it.

And if you haven't seen or heard about the show, here are two of my favorite moments:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQh56geU0X8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJfSS0ZXYdo&feature=relmfu

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lovely Day for Golf

What a lovely day to go golfing. I woke up this morning, took a look outside, and promptly called the golf course outside my window, Prestonfield Golf Course, and set up a tee time. After calling the Prestonfield hotel by accident, got half way through setting up a "tea" time, which here evidently means a dinner reservation, I realized I had made a mistake, apologized to the woman on the phone and went looking for the pro shop number. It was one of the more confusing phone conversations I've ever had. I didn't realize she was talking about a dinner reservation until she asked if I knew what I would like in advance. Which I found an odd question for setting up a golfing time. After sorting all of that out, I called the pro shop and managed to set a time for 3:42. So with the morning to kill, I went out and ran a few errands. Finally 3 o'clock rolled around and I made my way to the course. This course was beautiful, perfect view of Arthur's Seat, amazingly green grass, and best of all easily within walking distance of my room. As 3:42 rolled around I was behind two German guys who brought along an interpreter, which was funny. They were playing at a good pace though, and there was no one behind me so I could take my sweet time. I was making my way along and on the 4th tee box I was forced to wait as a peacock casually walked across the tee box, without a care in the world. I have no idea where it came from, as far as I know peacocks aren't native to Scotland, but there it was just strolling around. Aside from the odd wild life, things were going pretty well, I was having a good time, was playing pretty well, and was on a real hot streak with my driver. And then on the 9th hole, glory came. It was a short par 3, and I over shot the green by about 25 yards. So there I was, 25 yards away from the hole, and not on the green. I figured it wasn't too bad I could just chip back onto the green and save par. And then it happened, I chipped it and the ball hit the green and rolled straight into the cup! Unbelievable, my first birdie and on a shot that would have made Papa proud. I was so excited I pulled a Tiger Woods fist pump, dropped my club where the ball formally resided, and ran over and grabbed my phone so I could take a picture of the scene. It was a lovely moment and I wish someone else was there to witness it. I proceeded to close out the back nine with no major mistakes, I did somehow manage to lose a ball. And not the proper way, it didn't go into the deep bushes, or land in any water, I just couldn't find the damn thing in the rough. Very tragic. I finished out on the 18th green and made my way back to the club house just as the sun started to go down, it was a lovely day.




"Don't mind me"
My Birdie Shot





Friday, September 23, 2011

The Astronomy Society, The Second Week Recap, and much much more for the low low price of... well internet access I guess

Despite my initial opinions, the Astronomy Society actually kind of grew on me. It was off to a rocky start with every member coming in speaking broken English with heavy Eastern European or Asian accents, but as more people came in it got better. It was a solid mix of people which was refreshing. Seems like I finally found a society that is nerdy enough to hold my interest, but cool enough not to force my quick and quiet departure, never to be seen or heard from by that society again. Splendid news. The meeting was in a bar I hadn't been in yet so I was interested to explore it and got there a little early. In actuality I read my clock wrong and left super early, but that's not important. The Frankenstein Bar was one of the coolest bars I had ever been in (Pictures soon). Two levels, lots of themed decorations, complete with a wax Frankenstein that scared the hell out of me when I first sat down, and realized there was something behind me. It reminded me of that Jekyll and Hyde restaurant in New York City, but was smaller and more easily navigated, that place was a maze and not the terribly fun sort. So in my early arrival waiting period I ordered a drink. I decided on the signature drink of the bar, the Dr. Frankenstein. It probably would have been pretty good if they put some booze in it, but it tasted just like pure pineapple juice, which while delicious was not entirely worth the extra cost of a cocktail. Soon the meeting started and I got to met a few of the "board members" of the society, nice enough chaps. As the meeting carried on we started playing simple party games, like the one where you have a famous person's name on your head and have to ask yes or no questions to discover his or her identity. I got mine first, probably due to my superior American intellect of films and famous people, and won a pint, payed for by the society. Which was awfully nice of them. I stayed out for a few hours talking to different people in the group, and decided at around 11 it was time for me to go home back to my dorm room, before I fell asleep in my drink. Overall I would say that was a fun first meeting, which was lovely because the other society meetings were, to be quaint, bloody dreadful.

I had my first Quantum Mechanics lecture today, which means I've finally been to all of my classes, and this is going to be a tough year... But I suppose that college had to pick up the difficulty at some point right? The professor for QM, however is very good. A stylish Italian with a lovely accent, one of those teachers that gives a lot of effort, but expects a lot in return. Should be a fun class, albeit pretty challenging.

I worked out in the King's Buildings' gym today for the first time, and after discovering how everything works, no simple task as it seemed, I found a nice little gym tucked deep into the recesses of the "home" building. Equipped only with the essentials, it should be quite nice. The only major hitch is that I need to pay for the lockers, it's only 10 pence so it's not expensive by any means, I just have to start stashing my 10p coins from now on, which are oddly hard to come by.

This brings my first week of school to an almost close, I have one more class today in an hour, but I've been to it before, so it's nothing new, just the next lecture. I'm starting to get the hang of the homework system here, it's different than the UW system and not as clearly lined out, but I'm getting there. I'm also starting to figure out how the final exam system works here, and it looks like it will be drastically different then the UW system. The whole month of December is essentially for finals. So I have 3 weeks to study for and take my finals. Seems nice, but I was told last night that most 3rd year classes (which most of mine are) have their finals at the end of second semester, even if the class itself was in 1st semester. Which I hope isn't the case with my classes because then I would have to review the material from 1st semester throughout 2nd semester, on top of my other new classes. On the up side however that means I potentially could only have 1 final in December, which would be kind of nice, as maybe I could plan some traveling. However if that's the case I will have 6, very technical finals, in April or May. I suppose I will discover more as the year progresses but seeing as for most of my classes the final exam is at least 80% of my final mark, it's kind of hard to not have present in my mind.

It's hard to believe that I've already been here for almost two weeks. Amazing how regardless of some days passing slowly, on the whole time moves by pretty fast. And I'm trying to stop and look around once and a while so I don't miss it.







Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Well It's Officially Raining

Never before have I been consumed by so much rain.

I needed to go into town to pick up a few things, a gym bag mostly, and a few books I was interested in reading. Now bear in mind that from my dorm it is a two mile walk into town, or at least the section I needed to get to. So I started my walk, passed a coffee shop and noticed Thea (one of the girls from UW) was sitting by the window, so I stopped in to say hello. Talked to her for a bit then decided to continue with my journey. At this point it started to rain, not terribly hard, but enough to say it was actually raining and not drizzling. This continued for a few minutes and I kept walking. The rain then started to pick up, but as a seasoned Seattle-ite, I wasn't too concerned. At about the time I reached the Royal Mile, the rain really started to come down, which at first made me laugh because I do enjoy the rain, but about a minute into this rain and I was starting to realize I was in some trouble if I couldn't get an umbrella in the next few minutes. Unfortunately at this point I was on the bridge and a decent ways away from any store that would sell an umbrella, so I pushed on. By the time I reached the shopping area, I was completely soaked. If i squeezed the cuff of my jacket enough water squirted out to wash a mid-size SUV. I finally reached a shop the sold umbrellas and bought two, one full size and one small one. And of course now that I had an umbrella the rain came to an abrupt halt. I continued to the store, bought my items and walked home. Have you ever seen those new Sour Patch Kids commercials, the ones that say first they're sour, then they're sweet? Where the little thing does something mean then something nice. That's how the weather was. First it was a monsoon, then the Sun poked out for a few minutes, but this being Scotland as soon as the clouds realized the Sun had escaped, they promptly covered it up again. And now I'm finally in my room hanging all my clothes up so they can dry.

Certainly was an adventurous walk.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Day of School

I knew I forgetting something important I was supposed to do today, my apologizes for the lateness of this post. So today was the first day of class, and it went really well. My teachers all seem interested in our learning and have very easy to understand accents, except for one who is a bit of a bore. But 2/3 isn't bad. My Dynamics and Relativity professor might be my favorite thus far, he was explaining something to us today and shed light to one of most interesting quotations I've heard in a great while. "The dog of fate yet again pees on the leg." Which I found amusing. My Thermodynamics teacher is also quite interesting and seems to really know his stuff, as one would expect from a professor at a university such as this one. Which leaves my Math for Physics 3 teacher, who is a bit of a bore, equipped with a monotone voice and a lightly broken sentence structure he will be the most challenging of my professors to follow. His notation for some variables is also quite odd, but that shouldn't be too much of an issue. There is still one class I haven't been to yet, which is possibly one of the more interesting classes, Quantum Mechanics. However I received email a few hours ago from the professor stating that our 1st lecture was canceled and we would have our first class on Friday. Shame. That covers professors, now let me explain the lecture hall, which were equipped with lots of interesting gadgets. First off outside of each room in the James Clerk Maxwell Building (physics building or JCMB for short) there is a television screen that outlines that particular room's schedule for the day, which I found incredibly helpful, as I was able to double check my class locations. Inside the lecture hall itself, the seats are mounted on the wall behind the desk and fold down, kind of line one of those beds that hides in the wall until you need it. Which was rather cool, albeit a little annoying, as the person above you's shoe would often enter through the gap in your seat and poke you in the bum. Next is the black boards. Now at UW they have a similar system for black boards, there are 6 in total, in 2 sets of 3. They are all on tracks and can be thrown to different height on the wall, so everyone can see the notes and with more boards there is less frequent erasing, which is helpful. At UW there is a stick with a hook on it that you can pull the boards back down or push them up with. Here they are motorized which I found to be rather awesome. Damn US college budget cuts.... When the teacher filled up the first board he would reach over hit and button and the board would drive to the top of the wall. It was really quite cool. I managed to take a few picture of the lecture hall before class started, just for fun. I also saw an old Mini Cooper on my way back from class, so I took a picture of that too. Tonight I have a meeting with the Beer Society, at a pub called the Blind Poet, which should be interesting to say the least, but I have class tomorrow and am starting to get a bit of a scratchy throat so I will have to restrict myself to one pint... or maybe two... 

Change of Plans: With all these rumors of this so called "Fresher's Plague" I think I'll stay in and try to kill this scratchy throat thing as soon as I can. Going out into the cold Scottish air and drinking beer probably won't help. Until next time Beer Society. 





Sunday, September 18, 2011

School Check off

Looks like I have everything I need for school tomorrow. And after some digging I managed to discover the classroom location for my first lecture and as it seems all my lectures are in the exact same room, all one after another.... for three hours... Which will be fun... or exhausting... Hopefully that all goes well and I can get the tutorial sections which fit my schedule the best, and everything will start falling into its rightful place. With school starting hopefully the weeks start to pass at a decent speed as I'm getting very excited to see my family over Christmas (which is still a long ways out). I'll have to make sure that they don't pass so quickly that I miss anything however, as I still need to find a good tailor so I can have my kilt made/fitted.

On a side note football practice today was actually not what I had expected. I assumed it was similar to inter-mural football, but they actually had coaches and playbooks and drills. Kind of like being back in high school. A kid even broke his wrist today. It's not what you think, it wasn't from contact or anything, poor little guy was back peddling and slipped and tried to catch himself. Sad because he didn't seem to be the sports type and looked like this could have been his first attempt at playing a new sport. Very sad. Unfortunately however I have a tutorial section for my Quantum Mechanics class during the Wednesday practice time. And since the team only meets twice a week, I would be missing half the practices. Which means I don't think I'll be continuing with this society. Which is probably a good thing with how busy my classes are looking.

Posts will probably start coming a little slower now with school starting up, but I'll do my best to keep everyone up to date.

Fresher's Ball

This was actually a much better event than I thought it was going to be. The ball was in the Teviot building (a few posts ago there's a picture of it) with each floor/section having a different activity. The first floor had a swing band playing and a chocolate fountain, the next floor had a jazz band and a casino, and the floor where i spent most of my night was the Ceilidh. Which is kinda of like Scottish square dancing, in the sense that every song has a specific dance to it, but I thought it was much more fun. Learning and picking up the dances on the fly however was rather tricky, especially in a crowded room. I took a video of the band playing the music so you could all get a taste of how it was going. Unfortunately I think this was a Waltz so its not too exciting. I tried to get a picture of every room, but some of them might be hard to make out due to the large amounts of people everywhere.

Today I have my first practice with the American Football team I joined which should be fun. Then after that I'll probably be in my room making sure I have everything ready for school tomorrow.






video

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Proper Post Upon my Return

So today was pretty eventful, I got my matriculation done, then since I was already in town I decided to stop off and see the castle. I however did not get to see the whole thing because, as you can see from one of the pictures below, the line was huge to buy a ticket, so I walked around what i was allowed to without a ticket and left. The bleachers where there because the Scottish Military Tattoo was a few weeks ago, bummer that I missed it. Although I was told you needed to buy tickets to it about a year in advance... I walked around the Royal Mile for a bit longer then headed back to my room. As I got closer to my building however I could hear bagpipes, getting louder and louder as I got closer to my building. So I went looking around for the source, turns out one of the assistant RAs, Liam, can really wail, so I captured a short video of it. Well I got settled in my room and realized that on such a rare, nice day with such little wind I should probably try to climb Arthur's Seat. So I looked up the trail maps and headed out. I took the long route and headed around the peak before climbing the backside of it (saying peak makes it seem like a serious mountain, but it's probably no bigger than Little Si back home) Got a lot of really nice pictures from the trail and from the top of Arthur's Seat. You can see absolutely everything from up there. There are no trees to block the view and you can see the complete 360 degrees with no obstructions. Even got a few pictures of my dorm from up there. Really enjoyable trip.

Greatings from the Top of Arthur's Seat














































































































Just walked to the top of Arthur's Seat, that large hill I can see from my window. Beautiful day even better then yesterday, no wind, scattered clouds, and nice and warm, well for my tastes. I've taken tons of pictures today and will write a proper post upon my return to my room.