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Showing posts from March, 2010

The Half-way Mark (ish)

I arrived in Coventry six months ago today, wide-eyed, nervous, and excited. I am still wide-eyed, nervous, and excited, just in smaller doses...and not every day. I don't honestly have much to say about this momentous occasion, but I figured I'd mark it with a blog post. Today, I am only panicking a little concerning the several assignments I must finish in the next couple of weeks. I have just completed my sixth module, (don't make me explain the strangeness of the class distribution for this degree) marking that I have only two left before embarking on my thesis research! (don't tell anyone, but I've already started)

This most recent module, I'm sad to say, marks one of the most boring and seemingly pointless weeks in my academic career. Well, it may not be true, but when classes are squeezed into a five day period, the boring parts are more obvious.
The high point of the week was a good old fashioned field trip to London to help the London Fire Brigade …

Bargaining with a Beggar

It shouldn't be like this
it should be easy.
All this change,
jingling in my pocket,
is not a sign of wealth.
But when you hear it,
you call it 'spare.'
The desire to be generous
stemmed by lack of resources,
and cruel skepticism.
When what is offered is not enough,
there can be little difference between charity
and robbery.
Still.
It should be automatic,
like feeling for a lightswitch,
offsetting a lifetime of punishment.
Is food the goal,
or a ticket home,
or a pint, I can't tell.
What story today for 20p?
But whatever the pretence,
whatever its intentions,
I would have wasted it too.

I Feel Nerdy

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Last week I learned that Oxford is more than a bunch of colleges you have to pay to visit. So much more. I went to Oxford in past trips, and experienced a small cross section of the university and the city. I can understand why the tour company didn't let us loose in the city then, people like my parents and I would have never gotten back on the bus.

I had a few places I wanted to check out in Oxford, each more nerdy than the one before. But that's okay, I'm not sure there is anything to do in Oxford that isn't nerdy. We stared with a stroll through town ending at the Ashmolean Museum. The first of four museums we visited in a day, and the first of four that I woefully underestimated. Not wanting to completely bore the crap out of my companion, I suggested we split up and meet back in an hour. After passing the threshold of the museum, I began to realize the scope of it. So, armed with the 'things nerds will most want to see' guide, I headed in.
I felt simu…

Gloucestershire (pronounce that, yanks!)

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Gloucester, (gloss-ter) is a town west of London. Its position along the longest river in Britain, the Severn, made it a bustling inland port town for quite some time. Now, its old docks, warehouses, and mills have become a beautiful tourist spot. The town itself dates back to Roman times, and Saxons laid the foundation of the now cathedrdal in 681 AD. Wow.
Today it is a beautiful city with many historical gems. One of the largest tutor style buildings is hidden down a narrow alley sandwiched against a modern building. Also the real setting of Beatrix Potters 'The Tailor of Gloucester' is here, as it is based on a true story of a tailor in the city (minus a talking cat and mice who can sew).

King Edward II was buried at the cathedral in 1327, a long awaited home for the murdered king (in fact, he was buried a full three months after his death to avoid riots in the streets.) As well as making Gloucester a pilgrimage site, his grave saved the cathedral from being torn dow…

Frigid Northland

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Before I left to come here, I really tried to avoid 'panic packing' and end up throwing a bunch of unnecessary stuff in my suitcase just to make me feel better. One item that lingered in the suitcase/storage limbo was my rocking BA camping sleeping pad. A silly waste of precious packing space, I know, and when would I need it? Well, last weekend actually.
By strokes of luck and kindness I was invited to camp in the lake district with a few friends. Happily, through their uncesasing generosity I was furnished with tent, sleeping bag, and mattress! So, on Friday evening after collecting camp food we were off on the M6 to, well, for me, anywhere. I realized I didn't know where we were going nor what we would do when we got there, but I didn't really care. I was camping! In the country! In England!

All camping trips begin with a few amusing hiccups. This one was no different, especially when confirming the camp site on the way there. The rest of the car was quiet,…