Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Go Ape!

On sunday Kali and I went on another trip with the ISH Travel Club (the trip to Bath and Stonehenge earlier this year was through them also). It was to a forest outside of London for a zip line corse in the trees called Go Ape Adventures.
It. Was. Awesome!!!!

After a brief safety/instructional session (in which I was the lucky ginea pig to demonstrate how to use the harness), we were all strapped into our harnesses and let loose in the trees on a corse with 4 sections of mid-air obstecals and 4 zip lines.
The first zip-line I got turned around and kinda crashed landed, as you can see here
its a little shakey, there were some problems when i was uploading it

here is the second zip line, you can see i went straight almost all the way down and even landed properly!

here is an action shot!
 Kali and I waiting to go up in the course.

 These nets were on a "tarzan swing" were you basically strapped yourself to a rope and swung across to crash into said net. awesome!

Here I am demonstrating.

On the last one I gave my camera to Kali so she could get some of me actually doing the course.
her was one of the tarzan swings, it was the biggest one.

and here is the last zip line.
ignore my right leg, I was trying not to turn around and it was going all over the place.

yup! the course took about 2-2 1/2 hours to complete.
After that we walked around the park a little and headed back into London.
A very good study break from writing 2 essays I would say,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Modest Concern

Sometimes I like to plan scenarios for what I would do in various disasters.
We all do it right?
There is one hypothetical case of possible impeding doom that is of particular importance to me, as I'm sure it is for all of you as well.
The zombie apocalypse.

I know what your are thinking, and yes I am showing incredible foresight way beyond my relatively young age of nearly 20 years. What can I say? I recognize the obvious crucial importance of planning for this particular disaster. (Especially because, given my intelligence, I imagine my brains would be extra tasty)

Now if this crisis should occur while I am in Springfield (although popular culture has led me to believe this is unlikely), I am pretty much set. I have easy access to firearms, a massive four-wheel drive vehicle, and a convenient yet remote location that I can use as a hideout.

Miami is slightly more complicated. I don't have as developed of a plan, but lets just say it centers around Molotov cocktails.

And that brings me to London.
To reference popular culture again, this seems to be the most likely location of an outbreak.
If there is a zombie outburst while I am living here, I am dead (or rather undead).
Firstly, guns are illegal here which would make it very hard for me to find any sort of weapon I could use at a distance. "But Debbie", you ask "won't the Molotov cocktail plan work for London as well?"
Certainly it would! There is even a liquor store around the corner where I could stock up quite easily.
Only there is a rather large obstacle in my way that would be a serious problem.

See this?
This is a graveyard.
Just chillin in the middle of campus.

Now this used to be surrounded by a lovely row of big ol' overgrown trees that hid it from view quite nicely and that any zombie would have a hard time to get through.
 Notice what is missing in the picture above.
Yup, they went and cut down all the trees.
This has drawn to my attention that fact that the fence is broken in several parts.
See the broken-ness?
 Virtually there is no barrier between me and the inevitable herds of undead.

Now on the off chance that I somehow manage to make it past the undead on my doorstep, there is the larger problem of escaping to safety outside London.
London is huge. Even if I would make it outside the city, there is still the problem of escaping the UK in general.
In case you have no concept of geography, let me inform you that Britain is an island. Anyone who has seen 28 Days Later knows that if shit hits the fan here in the form of highly contagious outbreaks of disease, the world is likely to simply quarantine the entire island.
This is not cool nor does it bode well for my survival.

In conclusion, I really wish they hadn't cut the trees down.
It makes having a graveyard in the middle of campus about a bazillion times creepier

Sunday, March 20, 2011


This weekend Kali and I went to Edinburgh! We stayed with my roommate from Miami, Victoria. 
We took a night bus up Thursday night. It was an experience to say the least because our first bus broke down and then we had to change buses twice. But, we made it and even managed to get some sleep too. We arrived in Edinburgh in the morning, found Victoria's flat and dropped our stuff off and then went on a free tour that was the same company if the tour we went on in Dublin. It was cool, really informative and we went all over Edinburgh. This is a picture of a heart that is where the old tax building was. It is there just so people can spit on it...

It was so nice outside! Victoria and her boyfriend Artie said that we got lucky, it had been really cold and snowy for weeks!

This is the pub where they would take people who were going to be hanged and give them their last whiskey. 

Maggie was a real person who was hanged, declared dead, and then on the way to be buried it was discovered she was alive. So they were going to hang her again, but then decided she had been punished enough and let her go. 

This is the school that is said to have inspired Hogwarts

There were a lot of Harry Potter names in the graveyard.

After the tour Kali and I went to the castle. It was cool, but some rooms had these creepy statues/fake people like on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney only worse that I wasn't the biggest fan of. Way too similar to Chucky. We also got to see the crown jewels of Scotland, which was pretty cool. 
Fun fact: Scotland might be separate from the UK in the near future. They have their own parliament now and they are thinking seriously about being independent. 

Apparently the Scottish took back the castle from the British by climbing up the cliff and taking it by surprise. I am impressed. 

There was a club that was having a Miami night :)

The second day we went to a really cute farmer's market in the morning and then Kali and I went to Arthur's peak in the park nearby. So basically we climbed up a mountain. It was fun!

On the way up.

The view from the top!

rock fall down the mountain and people were making pictures with them, so I climbed down and made a big []_[]! Go Canes! A lady who was there even knew that we went to University of Miami because of the U I was making!

After we had a picnic on the mountain we went to the National Museum of Scotland to see Dolly, the first cloned animal.
Here she is in all her stuffed glory.

Then we went over the the Elephant House, which is a coffee shop that JK Rowling wrote the first 2 Harry Potter books in and had tea. We tried to "read" our tea leaves for fun (since, thanks to Harry Potter we all know to drink your tea, swirl the leaves around 3 times counterclockwise and turn the cup upside down to drain to read your tea leaves, duh right?) Needless to say we didn't really see anything. What do you guys think? See a grim in my future? 

The toilet there was all tricked out with Harry Potter stuff. On one of the stall doors were specific directions to Tom Riddle's grave in the cemetery nearby where we saw a few other Harry Potter names the day before. 

So we went and found it! (For those of you who haven't read the books, Tom Riddle is Lord Voldemort's given name, and his fathers. He is the bad guy. So this was cool )

That night we went on a free ghost tour of Edinburgh. This is our guide from the back, he was dressed up like some famous dead dude who had been executed and we walked us around a little bit and told us stories of other famous executions. It was more funny then scary, which I was glad for. The ones that you pay to go on take you down to the catacombs and stuff, which would have been waaaaay too creepy for me. 
The next day we headed out early to catch our bus for the 10 hour ride back...
All in all a good relaxing trip. It was fun to see friends from school in Europe! In 2 weeks they are coming down to visit Kali and I in London.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fire Drill!

This morning in my German Cinema class the fire alarm went off.
So, we all filed out of the building. After standing around for a bit, some men in bright orange vests herded us behind the building. They told us that we had just taken part in an evacuation drill to see how the emergency team in the building would respond.
Apparently we failed. Everyone got out of the building in 5 minutes. Pretty good right? For the entire 5 floor building?
We apparently were supposed to be out in 3.
Then the staff got reprimanded for not taking fire safety classes and, those who had taken classes, for not wearing their special neon vests.
Also everyone had missed the memo that the meeting place was behind the building, not in front or on the side.
Apparently it is printed next to all the fire alarms. They were astounded that we had not all read it. Cause, you know, I read small signs next to fire alarms in my spare time.
They were all taking this rather seriously, but most of the students around were trying really really hard not to laugh.
So, what I learned today is that I do not know how to exit a building properly.
And neither does the rest of the Arts building.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

fellow Springfield-ian!

Today and yesterday my friend from Springfield, Nick, was in London! He went to Dublin with his dad and decided to stop by London for a few days, since he was so close. 
On Tuesday we went to St. Paul's cathedral. The chaplain of the church that is on campus has passes that she loans out so we were able to get into the cathedral for free! Once inside we decided to climb to the very top to see a bird's eye view of the city. There are over 500 stairs to the top. And the corridors are really narrow and there is lots of spiral staircases and stuff and by the time we got to the top our legs were shaking!
But we made it! At the top they have a glass window so you can look down at the floor of the cathedral inside. You can't see very well because there was a glare on the glass, but that star is a huge tiled design that is on the ground floor.

This is Nick. This is when we were climbing down from the top, the corridors were so tiny! There were times when we had to duck and walk bent over!

It was amazing to see London from that high up, we could pretty much see every major landmark. And it was actually nice outside Tuesday, so everything even looked pretty.
After we were done at St. Paul's we went to Tower Bridge and Nick went in the Tower of London and on a boat cruise and we met later for dinner at a pub near campus. 
Today we went to the British Museum in the morning. It was fun because that place is seriously  massive, and I have maybe seen 2/3 of it now.
This picture was in the British Museum, it is actually the monastery I went to in Dublin!

So there you go!
Then we went to see Westminster Cathedral, which we couldn't go into because it is Ash Wednesday today, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben and Westminster Abby. 

By Big Ben we stopped at good ol' Abe again (I mean, we really can't function without him can we now?) and I took my picture again, this time wearing a shirt I got in a tourist shop in Springfield. You can't see very well but it has a smiley face with a Lincoln hat and beard and underneath it say "LOL (Land of Lincoln)"
I am hilarious.
Then we walked to Trafalgar Square and had lunch on top of the giant statue that is in front of the National Gallery. 
After lunch we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and then Nick had to leave to catch his flight. 
A very successful London trip on his part I would say! It was nice to have one of my friends visit, twas fun. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

 This weekend I visited my friend Hannah's house in Shrewsbury with our friend Julia. (We all got really close last year when Hannah was at the U). I don't really know where exactly in England it is, but it is really close to Wales. We took the train there with a minor glitch. As we were switching trains Hannah accidentally left her purse under her seat. Luckily she notice right away, called the train company and they found it when they swept the train at the next stop. It just meant we had to make a stop in Birmingham. Where I took a picture with this cool bull! And Hannah got her purse back so yay!
The first night we were there we went to a nearby town to go see a movie in this cool little theater.
 Along the way we saw the house Charles Darwin was born in.

 This is the theater we saw the movie in.
Isn't it cool? It is really small, only fits about 50 people. The theater itself is up in the bell tower.
The second day we went over into Wales to Llangollen.  It was really pretty. We had fish and chips, which were AMAZING.
 Then we went to a bridge that over looked the river.
 You can actually go down and walk on the rocks in the river. It was sweet.
Julia on the left and Hannah on the right in the river.

After we left Llangollen we went near an old Roman aqueduct and walked along a trail to go see it. But long story short we walked in the wrong direction cause none of us bothered to read the sign. It didn't really matter though, we got some good pictures from a distance. 
This is Hannah's house.

 There were sheep EVERYWHERE.
On Sunday we walked around Hannah's house, went to the little post office and made our way back to London. This weekend was nice because we all got a chance to relax some. Hannah's parents are so nice, her mom made all this great food, I was constantly stuffed! Her dad showed us around his clinic too, he is a doctor who works with spinal damage. 
If you get spine damage, go to Hannah's dad. He said that if you are paralyzed from the neck down and have a flicker of movement in your toe if you get to his hospital within 72 hours, there is an 80% chance of you walking out, preferably without any kind of surgery if they can help it. Basically because of the health care system here, people can stay in the hospital for the months that is necessary for this kind of therapy. Isn't that cool? 
Anyway, a great weekend. It was nice for the three of us to be all together again.