Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Roast

I was told soon after coming here that i have to get the sunday roast at some point.  So today's the day.  Jordan and I went the a pub called "the Red Lion", for obvious reasons, and it was close to orion's point.  Sunday roast is supposed to be a delicious lazy thing that english people do.  Well I'm not sure if we were early or something but around 1:30 no one was in the pub besides the bar keep his wife (maybe?) and his dog.  Yes his dog but it was really friendly haha.  So sunday roast costs about 7 pounds and you get a few decent sized slices of roast beef, a biscuit, steamed carrots, peas, cauliflower some weird lettuce thing, fried potatos and gravy.  The vegetables were a little lack luster but everything else was delicious such a great brunch.  I probably wont eat again now till at least 9 pm lol.

P.S. Today is me and Rumble's anniversary :D


The Rugby

Hey guys, sorry this week has been very slow in terms of interesting things that have happened.  I've been working on my class assignments all due at the end of march so im trying to get them out of the way.  The only thing remotely exciting that happened was that i had lab on wednesday to analyze the samples we took on the boat. We had an hour and a half break in the middle to let a reagent take hold of the silicon in the water.  I ate breakfast and chilled with my lab mates.

Yesterday (saturday) i went to the Stags to watch the England vs France Rugby game.  My frisbee buddy, Tim, invited me and also helped me learn the rules and strategy of rugby.  England v France was a big game because the winner is basically the best of the Six Nations, which is a league including Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, France and Italy.  Let me tell you... any football player who thinks he's hot stuff... couldn't play rugby...  all of the guys are straight jacked and its just crazy intense.  Maybe a defensive lineman or line backer but thats about it... I think it'd be fun to play as a pick up game but other than that would just hurt...  The guys don't wear pads and they do slightly less ridiculous hits than football because of the fact they don't wear pads.  But it was interesting to see the game and it was capped off by an English victory!

PS.  England is represented by the red rose which reminds me of Lancaster...


Monday, February 21, 2011

Skunks Regionals

On Friday we (Skunks) departed for Cardiff, which apparently is in Wales...  It happens to be the capital of Wales... who knew?  We arrived at the house (Cardiff Uni Ultimate's President's house), dropped off our stuff and went in search of food.  Fish and chips seemed to fancy our palate tonight so we found a nice little shop near the house.  After finding a local pub we enjoyed a desert beer and then it was off to sleep because we had a big day tomorrow.

The latter part of the week we had been discussing our pool and what strategy we'd need to win.  We were seeded first so we had to uphold that reputation.  The saturday pool looked very weak against us and no one was really concerned.  A bunch of 2nd and 3rd teams and one 1st team... no worries.  In this tournament the games were to 15 or 50 minutes which seemed ungodly short to me.  We started off playing Cardiff (Frills) 3.  This was an all girls squad and most of them were freshers.  We had alot of fun during this game mostly because of the never ending spirit of Frills 3.  After capping off a 15-0 win we engaged in a game of tunnel tag (called stuck in the mud in the UK).  The next 3 games of the day went similarly but none were as fun as Frills 3.  We beat Bath 2 (BLT) 15-0, Bournemouth 1 (Heat) 12-3, and Plymouth 2 (Picnic) 15-0.  So at the end of saturday we were 57-3 total points... not to shabby.

Field View *Note* Mud... lots of Mud

So something different they do in the UK is shower at the fields...  They have little field houses with multiple locker rooms that you have access too.  So after the games it was team shower time... I was not informed of this and this ill prepared...  I ended up borrowing a spare shirt to dry off with and some soap in the shower (which i did not drop).  After the team shower we watched the 2nd team play their last game and then headed back to the house.  We then decided on TGI Friday's for dinner.  I played little to no part in the decision making process.. just sayin.  I do absolutely love Fridays though.  After the hour and a half wait for a table (for 25 people) then the 30 or so min wait for our food it was a long endevour.  I started my meal with a Sam Adams Boston Lager, then Jack Daniels wings, followed by Jack Daniels ribs... soooooo good.  So worth the not frugalness....

Sunday, after maintaining our seed, we were in the championship bracket (or thats the way i think they have it set up...).  Our first game was against Bath 1 (BLT).  They put up a good fight for the first half, trading points and such, then we started clicking in the second half to finish on top 11-6.  So here it was the illustrious championship game.  Turns out Exeter (Urial) upset Cardiff (Frills) to play us in the championship.  By this time the wind was slightly breezy but not much more than it had been for the last game.  The game started off with a very long point which we won.  The next two points were also very long which we lost.  Urial is up one break 1-2.  We come back and trade the next 2 points, 2-3.  Urial is playing one of the same zones that we run so we know how to break it and that is how we end up scoring.. their zone was not quite tight enough.  We played the same zone against them, with me as a line trap mark and it seemed to work well.  We ended up getting a few turns and turning the disc as well but that point we came out on top as hard cap was blowing.  It is now 3-3 universe point (or sudden death as the UK version... i like u-point better... im gonna try and get it to catch on).  I was on for the previous point but Ed, the captain, calls me for this line.  Time to fight through a little fatigue...  We come out hard with our FSU zone and the same deal ensues... we get some crucial D's and so do they.  When it comes down to it their zone was too sloppy and poppers such as myself ran free catching upline after upline throws...  I threw the last continue pass to win the game!!! :D  The Skunks are officially the best in the west!!  Final score 4-3

Well it was only 1 pm by the time we finished... Skunks 2 still had 2 more games.  So a celebratory shower ensued followed by the cheering for Frills 3 in their game against our 2nd team... haha (2nd team won anyways).  Skunks 2 then had an hour break between games so us first teamers left and had the traditional tournament sunday meal, KFC...  (similar to love tap's golden corral).  I indulged in a good helping of fried chicken and then we headed back to cheer on our 2nd team again against Plymouth 2 (Picnic).  They were victorious and both teams ended up getting hardware.

Cap'n Ed and the Trophy

 After collecting our awards we made the journey back to Southampton where my facebook news feed was blown up with an astonishing figure $9,563,016.09!  I'm so proud I could help add to such and insane amount of money raised for the kids.  Way to go Penn State THON!  What a great weekend :)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Callista and Layouts

So in case you were not aware I was selected to play with the first team this upcoming weekend in Cardiff!  I've been training with the team all this week and on Tuesday (2/15) we had a team strategy meeting where we first ordered pizza, then talked about our rolls in the team... mine is to do whatever they need me to do minus hucking... then we went through a massive amount of plays... some of which i had encountered in practice but most were new.  I ate an entire large pizza during this meeting... not sure how.  We watched a documentary called Black Tide which was about the 2001 University of Cal. Santa Barbara frisbee teams road to nationals.  It reminded me of what our "Love Tap Road to Regionals" video would be like.

On wednesday (yesterday, 2/16) I had my first boat practical.  We went out on the R.V. Callista to take water sample to analyze them for salinity and silicon.  Callista is a large catamaran.  I would estimate 40' in length maybe 50'...  She comes equipped with a wet lab and places to do basically all of the analyses on board.  The silicon will be tested in the lab.  There is a large hydraulic boom connected to a winch that can be lowered out over the stern to place large equipment in the water.  (see facebook for pictures) We cruised up the estuary taking samples as we went along.

The boat got back later than expected and i was late for the 1:00 first team training.  Its a good thing the captain was just as late as i was.  We did our warm ups and such and without further delay we were taught proper laying out form because a few people have gotten hurt from laying out wrong in the past.  So we started slow just basically flopping down and eventually migrated to flying D's and catches.  It just so happened to have rained real hard yesterday (tuesday) and there were puddles on the field...  the captain selected a nice big puddle for us to practice in.  This was a good choice actually because the ground is much softer in and around a puddle... anyways here is the end result...

Mud from head to toe.  I missed the memo about bringing a change of clothes... so i played the rest of practice completely covered.

After practice and dinner we had a Laser Quest social planned.  We hitched rides up to Laser Quest and played 3 games over the course of an hour and a half.  This was really fun!  I would sit in a corner and snipe people until they saw me then i moved.  It was a good tactic.  After we finished we fiddled around a little bit before everyone decided that they were going to go bowling (laser quest was inside the bowling alley).  So bowling cost only 2 pounds!  I ended up bowling a 118 and beating everyone else :) Wings almost beat me with a 114 but not close enough.  After that we headed home and called it a night.  A great Day overall :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roller Disco

Today i was invited to go to a Roller Disco event with the other international kids.  I was unsure if i was going to go because i do need to study before class tomorrow and because they said it cost 8 pounds to do it.  Being the procrastinator that i am i made the 20 min trek in the rain and finally found the place.  I met up with the other kids and all of the sudden we had about 15 random internationals show up... so you know what that means...??  Group Rate!!!  it turns out it was only 6 pounds per person with skate rental!

Now i have never roller skated before, just roller bladed, so the first couple minutes to 1/2 hour was pretty rocky...  Then i started getting comfortable in my skates and was doing crazy stuff like skating backwards and crossing over on the turns...  It just so happen that today they were celebrating like 3 little girls birthdays... so there were alot of 10 year old girls putzin around and falling in front of you.  (we assumed the average age of people there was 10).  I accidently hit a few of them and of course they screamed and fell down but no one could notice cause there were constantly shrieking girls on the floor.

The music was not disco-esque at all... it was mostly modern dance music with some decent 70's and 80's songs thrown in.  Also the DJ (yes there was a DJ) was taking requests so of course i tease my Italian friend by requesting Dont Stop Believing by Journey because she doesnt know it at all and what she does know is from Glee :(...  SO it finally comes on and guess what... its the Glee version.. alksdhflkasdf...  All in all this was the best music at a social event so far and it was a pretty fun time.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Piggy Back Pub Crawl

Today was an entirely skunks day...  we scrimmaged another university today on our fields.  The other team was not very good at all...  (easily handled maybe shut out by Love Tap)  But we expected them to to be spectacular.  They invited me to play with first team and we were trying out some new zones and stuff on the other team.  Some really different plays, these were...  Im not a huge fan... but then again i don't like change haha.  We ended up going like 10-1 for that game before we decided to quit.  The other team then played the half the 2nd team while we played the other half of the 2nd team.  It wasn't long before we decided to mix teams up a bit.  Then we finished the day like that.  The Skunks have regionals next weekend Feb 19-20 in Cardiff (still not sure where that is) but i'm really hoping to go with them and to play with first team.

After practice and a nice shower there was a Skunks social.  (I believe participating in socials is the not only alot of fun but a good way to get to know and gain respect from the team) The social was a Piggy Back Pub Crawl.  Now a Pub Crawl is the same as a Bar Tour, where you go from bar to bar having a drink or two at each.  This social had an added twist... you have to Piggy Back carry (or be carried) someone from one pub to the next.  You had to have a different partner between each pub... needless to say the smaller guys and girls were the most popular for this activity.  I mostly ended up carrying people because im decently heavy i suppose.  The weirdest thing i encountered was that the skunks measured their weight in stones... i had never heard of this weight measure before... i assumed they used kg's...  apparently i weigh 10.6 stones... who knew...  We trekked between the Stags Head, the Crown, the Highfield, the Mitre, the Gordon Arms, and the Hobbit, before ending up at Jesters.  I carried people 4/5 times and we covered about a mile of ground through the whole ordeal...  Talk about a workout before regionals lol.  Dont worry i got water at most of the pubs behind the backs of the guys because i 1) wanted to save money and 2) had class at 9 am.
Overall it was a pretty fun time and my back and shoulders are pretty sore today :)  worth it...

Scuba Political Philosophy

On tuesday this week we had our weekly scuba meeting.  The meeting lasted all but 5 minutes... But then as always, to the Pub.  (Now some of you might be thinking that im blowing all my money on alcohol... Well i'm not.  As of late I have not been getting an alcoholic beverage at the pub at all... i found that coke and water are the cheapest things there.)  At the pub the club was just chillin and talking about whatever comes up.  I've been finding that since im and international that many of the locals are curious about the US.  So i feel obliged to enlighten them.  The one diver starts out talking to by saying "So im going to assume that the states are just like in tv shows... I expect that you all hang out in a local coffee shop all day and dont have real jobs (refering to friends)."  He was joking of course but i just had to laugh and shake my head at that.  Little does he know that we hang out at Sheetz not a coffee shop....

Into the night we hit a variety of subjects.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about sports.  The one diver is a rugby player for the Uni and he was telling me about that, and then we merged that to American Football which as i may have stated before is very hard to explain if you have never seen a game...  Then we got on the subject of the Olympics ( i am well versed in this topic), and we noted that the british are best  at the sports where you're sitting down... Rowing, cycling, etc...

The conversation then moved to a coffee table and some couches where we discussed Health care, School Systems and other small topics of the same nature.  The english have a nationalized healthcare where basically you pay taxes on it and its free when you go to the doctor.  Yes im aware this is very socialistic.  But the locals know nothing different and when i explained our health care system they could see how that would work too...  Thank god for understanding rational people lol.  They asked what the plan was that Obama had drafted and i explained it to them.  Turns out that theres is more socialistic than Obamacare, which is more like the German system of health care, opt out...

Their University system is based in the simple philosophy that education should be free as long as you want it...  so they pay taxes also on that and basically go to uni for free...  they have to pay somewhere on the order of 3K pounds a year.  Which most of them pay with a government loan that they'll pay back eventually after getting a job.  They were dumbfounded when  i told them that i pay something like $22K a year for school tuition.  But i think it all comes out in the wash... because they get taxed out the nose.  Ranging from about 25% to 50% depending on your salary.  Those are just estimates for taxes... I think i pay around 15% at my low level Quiznos job and i think its ridiculous.  There seems to be no sales tax though so thats good for me at least...
Until next time...Cheers!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Skunks - Part II

Today was the Skunks first team (a team) practice that i went to.  It was much more encouraging than the other day in the gym.

We started off with a 12 minute indian run which was quite fun... not really.. but it was a good warm up/ workout.  (If any of you love tappers are reading this i think this is something really good to do cause i not only is a workout but you build team chemistry... Just sayin).

We then transitioned to a handler type drill like we did this fall where the handler just reps off throws as fast as he can to recievers.  Both Hucks and in cuts.

At the end of practice we played this game called Goaltimate, which was alot of fun.  It involves a 20' pole forming the arc shaped goal and basically its like half court ultimate where you have to take it back behind a line that is a good 30 yards away from the goal.  Every turn is like ultimate but you have to pass it back behind said line before advancing on the goal.  The idea is to pass it into the goal and have someone catch it on the other side within an equally large arc.  Next time we play ill have to take a picture to better describe the game.  The upshot is that it was pretty fun.  I'll teach yall how to play when i get back :)

Overall the talent was much better out there today, but i did say there were mostly freshman on friday.  Today there was more experience out there and i'd say the Skunks are better than Love Tap but not nearly as good as Spank.  Love Tap v Skunks would be a pretty good game.

Tonight is the Super Bowl and us american kids and some of our english/international friends are heading to the Stags Head (student union pub) to watch the game.  Should be a good time :)


Super bowl at the Stags


So there's this club in southampton called Jesters...  locals think very poorly of this establishment haha.  I was told that i need a pair of "jesters shoes" because the floors are so nasty.  The frisbee guys said that the smell as you walk down the steps is quite potent...  Also i was told that the toilets are disgusting with a layer of water and other liquids covering it.   It is rated 2nd worst bar in the city...  all this and other things I was told before going there...  scared?  no.  I thought it can't be worse than a frat or some of our nasty bars at penn state.  The Skunks frequent jesters for its really cheap drinks.

Walking down the steps i really didn't smell anything out of the ordinary.  It has a few rooms to it with easy access to an outside fenced in area.  Frankly i kinda like the set up, its well ventilated.  The main bar floors were not that bad.  I didn't get down and inspect them but they weren't slippery or anything.  The bathrooms were the only thing that were as bad or worse than i was told.  The layer of 'water' was a good .5 inch thick... but there was no line :).

Final assesment.  Frats are worse.

They have this drink called the Jesticle.  I dont know exactly what is in it, because i forgot what they told me... because of the Jesticle...  Anyways it was pretty good and it was red orange.  I think theres some Orange Juice in it so its quite healthy :)


Friday, February 4, 2011

Skunks Ultimate

Class came very early this morning but I'm glad i got to Skype with Nicole last night :)
I had 9 am Marine Benthos where we talked about sediment and stuff like that...  Alot of which I learned from Tim in Coral Reef Systems.  Then a 10-12 shelf seas class.  More math but i feel like i understand the stuff today better.

After class i headed home and then to try and find frisbee practice for the second time...  this time i had the president's phone number and made it successfully!  Practice was mediocre based on my performance, but we were inside in a gym...  Many of the players that were there today were Freshers (Freshman) and had only been playing for one semester.  Still i would say that Love Tap is much much more skilled than what i saw today.  I talked to another american, who is on there "first team", for a good bit of the practice.  He was impressed when i said i played for Penn State so good work everyone on giving the team a good rep!
They think I'm good enough to walk on to the first team!  From what they've seen so far...  hope i don't disappoint... lol

We started out with a breakmark drill where i first noticed the terribleness of peoples throws, defense and catching... i feel like its not my place to tell the kids to catch with two hands since it was my first day...  We then transitioned to a sort of scrimmage where we were practicing a 5 man (indoor) zone.  It was a goofy kind of zone... i thought...  They had NO offense.  It was frustrating.  When someone goes zone on us (psu) we have a set sort of zone break offense... No such thing here... at least for these freshers pre tourney practice.  The have a sort of rookie tournament just for fun, this weekend.  It's nearby but not really within walking distance so i probably will skip this one.  I might be going to a tournament in the coming weeks... depends if i make first team or not...

After most of the practices most of the team goes out to the pub and chills.  Whether it be a nice pint, a soda or a nice glass of water its something cool that everyone can do together.  O and we went to the on campus pub lol.  I forgot to mention that we have a pub right inside the student union at the highfield campus.
Thats all for now,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Diving into Beer

So later Tuesday night Gemma and I went to the "Sub Aqua" club meeting.  Thats scuba incase you didn't realize that...  The meeting was not very interesting but i think next week will be just because i wont be completely in the dark.  To dive with them i'm going to have to take roughly an equivalency test to see what BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) certification level i would be and because none of them have ever heard of NAUI.  I suspect my Tim White teachings will shine through and make me highly qualified in there eyes.  However, they dive strictly dry suit here and think im crazy to have dived in a wetsuit.

After the meeting about half the club went out to a pub, where the guys were nice enough to talk the bartender into giving me a small sample of all the microbrews they had.  And then i proceeded to later get a pint of 3 out of 4 of the brews anyways.  I forgot to mention that my german friend, Rebecca, is also a diver and she came out with us and then her and I and this other creepy german phd student went to another pub which was more like a club i'd say...  but they had a 4 pound cover!  which is freakin ridiculous for not having a band or good music at all.  They did have what they called 2 pound doubles, which were 2 drinks each with a double shot of some cheap kind of liquor and a mixer of your choice.  I have a new respect for vodka and coke...  When i said bad music i am referring to the fact that they played super old 90's music that i almost couldn't stand.  Rebecca probably thinks i'm insane because every time the song changed i started geeking out.  The dancing scene is more my style here hahaha (Rumble knows what i mean).  But no one is, what i would call "frat dancing."  Its more of a swaying thing.  At least thats my experience from just that pub.

I then stumbled my way home and proceeded to skype with Kiwi and Jenn...  Talking in a british accent most of the time...  anyways it was a good night!

Learning about phytoplankton and algae!

The second days classes started at 2pm so i ran some errands up at the Uni and found a poster sale much like the ones we have at PSU!.  I needed a way to decorate my room!  I picked out the following posters because a) they had fish or water on them b) it was a good philosophy about life.

I picked this one because it was ecologically and artistically bad in so many ways
Here's a challenge!  Comment what you think is wrong with it and whoever gets the most wins!  Ready Go!

Anyways today i had Coastal and Estuarine Oceanography which was interesting but still a bit of physics based...  Then followed by Plankton and Primary Production!  This is probably my favorite class so far as strange as that seems...  So far we have dealt with sun and how much and how far light penetraits into the sea.  Which reminds me of the encounter i had when diving with Dylan, who was wearing a red and black wetsuit.  When we got to depth I couldn't find him because all the red light was filtered out and he was just plain black!  Also this has taught me stuff about my underwater photography!  I think i need to get a flash to get my colors to do justice.  

On the way back from the NOC i picked up my first meal of authentic Fish and Chips!  The fish was a little lackluster... not very flavorful but the chips (fries) were very good!  And they call ketchup, tomato sauce here.  Which makes more sense really...  I enjoyed my fish and chips in the company of my flat mates, well the new one, Gemma from Oxford, UK, and Amir and Amir's friend.  It was a good time.

First Day of Classes

Sorry i know this post has been long delayed, but I've been busy getting myself organized for the coming weeks and getting lost some more...

So the first day of classes started at 11 which was really nice for a monday :)  It started off with Shelf Seas which is a 3rd year class.  It relys heavily on physics and stuff like that... not really up my alley but im gonna give it a chance.  The first day Dr. Marsh, who is a really cool guy, threw some multivariable calculus at us in deriving the equations that wed be using...  i knew i should have taken phys 211 instead of 250...

Then i have a 3 hour break for lunch... I took a bit of a siesta seeing as how i have no work to do yet...

My other class, Physical Oceanography, was taught my a professor who spoke uber slowly.  Frankly i dont think ive ever met anyone who spoke as slowly as him.  If the lecture room is any kind of warm during class the chances of me falling asleep are pretty much 100%.  The Shelf Seas class seems like it is one step above the scale above this one so I'm basically getting my background and advanced knowledge on a subject at the same time.