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Monday, March 28, 2011

Catching Disks and Dodging Balls

This weekend was filled with sport!  Recall how Wings and i went to the dodgeball clubs training session? Well Saturday was their dodgeball tournament for charity (forget what charity).  The Skunks were planning to put a team together and it just happened this week.  We had "planned" to dress up as smurfs... or at least thats what we told our good buddy Chessell.  We had two facebook message threads going, one saying how we were going to acquire our smurf outfits and the other to discuss how we were not acutally going to dress up as smurfs lol.  The difference between them was that Chessell was not on the latter.  We kept up the act all week and it was gloriously capped off when he showed up to the game dressed as a smurf.  (i wish i had taken a picture).

Most of the team decided on pre-gaming at Sanchez's house to the movie Dodgeball to get our heads in the game.  I showed up late and didnt really have anything to drink...  But by the end of the movie our team was quite inebriated.  We continued on to the tournament where they were the only ones drunk and chanting continued while the lady in charge was explaining the rules...  We made our own rule for the tourney... that if you get out first in a game you have to do a beer bong... haha... unlucky for Wings he crossed the middle line multiple times on the run up...  I never seemed to get out first so i was literally the only sober one on the team...  But I thoroughly enjoy dodgeball anyways so it didnt even matter.


Trying a new running technique... Laying out for the ball... It worked well :)
We owned almost every team we played except we only lost to one team, "Sponsored by Primark".

After losing to them in the round robin and beating everyone else, we moved on to the semi finals and one that game.  And met sponsored by primark again in the Finals and lost to them there again.  We came 2nd in the tourney not bad for being drunk as a skunk...

On Sunday was what they call Varsity.  Varsity is basically when Southampton and our rivals, Portsmouth compete at every sport in one area.  For example Southampton Rugby played Portsmouth Rugby on one field while Southampton Football (soccer) played Portsmouth Football on the next field... Make sence?  So Varsity also included Ultimate... and thats where i come in.

After beating Portsmouth (Sublime) at nationals we knew we had what it takes to win but we were down to 9 player because our 3 best handlers were off doing something with their lives and a few others couldnt make the game either.  Portsmouth essentially had a full team.  The Skunks took an early 3 point lead that was quickly diminished to us being up 2 breaks at halftime.  We took half and recieved afterwards.  This half was very physically demanding in the fact that two of our team members had to take a few points due to injury so we were with out subs for much of the last half of the game.  I was about to finally take a point off when they call me on telling me it was the last point.. i was to hyped up on adrenalin to even know the score...  We got a turn and moved it up the field and i ended up throwing a floating upline pass to Kirill for the win!  It was a great game and i was happy my friend Rebecca could come to watch it because she had never seen Ultimate before.  A great first impression i think..

Today (monday) i am very sore but i know it was a great weekend and it was all worth it :)
Cheers!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Isle of Wight Pub Crawl

Every year the Skunks and many other societies venture to the Isle of Wight and visit the local watering holes of Southampton.  The Isle of Wight is an island that looks like a wedge pointing towards Southampton harbor.  The island is not super large but large enough to have a few towns on it.

We started at 10 am with a traditional english breakfast at a pub very near to where i live and we worked our way down to the docks.  The "rules" were that we spend one hour in each pub and consume one drink whilst in said pub.  Sure you could do more if you wanted but lets be serious... the idea is that you make it to Jesters a the end of the night.

We as we worked our way down to the docks, we came across many different types of pubs... there were your typical english pubs...  but we stopped by a gay bar and had a "squashed frog", there was an ale festival going on at one of them.  Unfortunately i had to pick just one to try.  I really wanted to try the "Angry Yank" but they were out of that...  anyways so we made it down to the dock around 3 or so and boarded a ferry to the Isle of Wight which was about a 30 min boat ride.


We toured around the town of Cowes hitting up pubs along the way and eventually stopping for dinner at the Anchor Inn where i enjoyed mashed potatoes, sausage, peas and gravy :D  reminds me of home.  After that we continued on and at the next pub i was cohersed into doing a 3 pint challenge with Chessel out of a disk.  It was intense but Penn State has trained me well for this moment.  We continued on to two more pubs before catching the last ferry off of the island.  The others went to Jesters but i couldnt justify walking 10 min out of my way and then come back 10 min, none the less spend more money.

The Pubs of the crawl: (missing about 3)


       







Skunks Nationals!

Yes i know its been a week since i journeyed to Sheffield but i have had alot of work to do this week.  

So, it was a dreary day leaving for Sheffield, spitting rain... contrary to the weather we've been having which is amazing!  The bus left at 1:00 sharp which means I had to skip my friday classes to be able make it... uh oh... Don't worry I got the notes from a Jordan.  The ride to Sheffield was about 4 hours long and we arrived around dinner time.  We were staying at a hotel this time and the Uni was paying for it (best part).  We basically bee lined for Wagamamas (i had no idea what they were saying when they referred to it) which is a Japanese type restaurant.  There was a huge shopping center within walking distance from the hotel complete with a smattering of restaurants and that is where Wagamamas was. After dinner the weary traveling sports team went back to the hotel and crashed.

The next day we awoke early and got our mini bus to the fields.  We arrived and there was still a bit of frost on the grass but the temperatures were pleasantly cool.  We started our nationals competition with the Warwick Bears who were seeded first in our pool.  We played really well in the warm weather and bright sunshine and won 13-3.  Next were our rivals Portsmouth whom we handed a 12-8 loss.  Finally we were in the position to win the pool and be exempt from a crossover game if we won out last game of the day.  The challenge was Newcastle Pies (weird name i know) and we beat them in a narrow victory 12-10.  Our offensive flow fell apart towards the end of the last game and we were saved by the soft cap.  But at the end of the day we were at the top of our pool and received a bye for the first round of the brackets.  Who we played the next day depended on the other crossover games which we would not know the result of until later that night.




So after returning to our accommodation mid afternoon we had plenty of time to just chill.  We watched the England vs Ireland rugby game in one of the hotel rooms, in which England got destroyed...  Then it was back to the shopping center for another meal.  After about 15 minutes of trying to decide where to eat, we settled on a handmade burger restaurant.  They had all kinds of delicious burgers (kinda how i picture In A Burger to be some day :)  ) and the waitress was clearly very annoyed to have us rowdy kids during her shift.  (waitresses in the UK get paid regular wages and the english rarely tip)   We were really not that rowdy except when they messed up our milkshake order but overall we were quite charming and there was no reason for her to be pissy...  anyways... we went back to our humble abode and crashed very early.  I was sharing a room and bed with my Latvian buddy Kirill and we enjoyed a good episode of friends before going to bed (its a big deal since i rarely watch tv over here).

Sunday of the tournament started earlier than saturday for us.  It was also a bit chillier and windier.  It turns out that we were set to play the team that we beat on Universe Point at regionals, Exeter aka Urial.  Im not sure if it was the nerves or if we did not come to play but their zone demolished us and we lost 3-13.  After that crushing defeat the next task was to stay warm and avoid the spitting rain during our game off.  Our next opponet was the 3rd team to go to nationals from the southwest region, Cardiff aka Frills.  It was a hard fought game on top of a hill with a moderate wind blowing from one end of the field to another.  We came out on top this game after taking it to Universe 11-10.  Our last game for the day was the consolation game for 5th or 6th place.  It was against Warwick again and i think fatigue from our last game had set in, in conjunction with their zone put da bears on top 3-13.  We had a team awards session after the game and MVP trophy, a porcelain sculpture of a mother and child, went to Fry who truly put up a good effort in leading us to victory and MIP (Most Improved Player) went to me.  I was honored that everyone thought that i was most improved, but i still dont know how they know how much i've improved...  only seen me play for one semester...  o well... Thanks guys!






After our final defeat the Southampton Skunks are ranked 6th in the UK.  Quite a good tournament i think.  After taking some team photos and seeing little sanchez after a morrow we boarded the minibus back to the hotel to meet up with the coach bus that would take us back to Southampton.

What a great weekend!
Cheers!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Saint Patty's Day

For saint patty's day us americans decided we needed to find the closest thing to an irish pub that there is in England.  We decided on the Dorchester Arms where festivities were going on.  Of course you need to drink Guinness on St. Pattys Day... it'd be almost sacrilegious not to...  So we all got Guinness...  It was many of the girls first Guinness and they decided quickly that they didnt like it.  So between me and Ajeeth we split the drinks.



Most of the people in the pub were, lets say, not students.  All of them were dressed in green while us yanks had to scape together any bit of green we had.  Many of them were wearing Guinness top hats and we inquired as to how they got them.  Apparently if you buy 6 Guinnesss then you get a free hat.  Ajeeth and I were very interested in getting to this milestone, but by beer 4 the bar keep told us that they were out.  Bummer.  Some time during the night i procured an inflatable Guinness glass type thing that you hang from the ceiling.  Win.



Overall it was a pretty good night.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fun Stuff with No Fluff

Since Bristol I haven't had much time to write.  Well actually all my time has been spent writing... lab reports...  Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week i had my first deadlines since i've been here.  The first paper was on some simple hydroacoustics lab we did and the other was on the silicon concentrations of the samples that we took out on the boat.  Fun stuff.  I have many more dead lines coming up just before easter break...  The interesting thing about what professors want in a paper is that they give you a word or page limit and you have to fit all of your writing in that limit.  It plays right into my strengths as a writer.  No fluff thats how i do it haha.

Speaking of Easter Break...  after all of my papers were turned in, me and jordan started booking our spring break travel plans.  As of now, all of our flights are booked, almost all of the busses are booked and most of the hostels are picked out but not booked... that will happen sometime this week i believe.  So where am i going??  (see calander) But i am going to Dublin, Nice (France), Madrid, Sevilla, Rome, Flourence and Venice.  We might also go to Naples while were in Italy but we'll see.  Im super looking forward to seeing all these wonderful places.

Click on me!

I would like to do some more traveling after the semester ends.  Still on my list of places to go:  Paris, Berlin (germany in general), Amsterdam, Greece, and maybe Geneva Switzerland...maybe

This is the last weekend/week before Ultimate Nationals next weekend.  We had a very long un-intense practice today and tomorrow we're scrimmaging the local club team, Limited Release, which usually proves to be helpful.  Im really looking forward to nationals with the skunks I hope we can do decently well.

Tonight me and Wings went to the dodgeball club's training just to see what it was like.  We me the president at a pub on wednesday during our "anything but clothes" social (pictures will not be posted for good reason).  anyways so some of them came to our training on friday so we decided to go play.  We basically just played dodgeball for 2 hours.  Different versions of the same principal...  In the UK they play by different rules than in the US... you only have 3 balls for 6 people and you cant have all 3 balls on your side for more than 5 seconds...  those are the main differences.  The balls are downsized volleyballs that i could grip with one hand and easily throw.  All in all it was a good time.  I was just glad to be back slinging balls again.

Thats all for now,
Cheers!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bristol

I departed for Bristol at around 8:30.  It was a 2 hour train ride with some sleepy and excited Erasmus Students (European exchange students).  Going into the trip I only really knew my two Italian friends and a French friend.  The way they talked i was only expecting this trip to be the 4 of us but when they rounded the corner at the train station there was 15 of them from a smattering of countries, as i would find out as the day progressed.  We arrived in Bristol around 10:30 and immediately started trying to get our bearings.  Luckily there were a series of signs that directed us to important things, such as city center and tourist information.  On the way to get information we found this (apparently) really famous cathedral the St. Mary Radcliff.

Now any one that knows me knows that Cathedrals dont interest me too much but this was kind of interesting.  Apart from my growing appreciation for architecture this Cathedral really struck home... Literally... Admiral Sir William Penn is buried beneath its floors.  Yes the same William Penn that "Penn's Woods" or... Pennsylvania!  There was also this pendulum type thing with a truly chaotic rhythm.  It has not been able to be predicted by mathematics at all.  

After the Cathedral we ventured toward the city center with free maps that we picked up at the church.  We stumbled upon this huge silver ball which in fact was a planetarium.  Towards the south side of Bristol there are a few man made channels for small boats to access... much like amsterdam or venice i'm told...



We then found the tourist information so we made our way to this famous suspension bridge.  It was absolutely amazing!  We hiked our way to the top of this hill which was basically set up as an overlook.  (I suppose i dont need to describe it much and can just post another picture haha)
Well this bridge was hundreds of feet above this muddy river.  There was actually a guy rock climbing up the face of the cliff.  On the way back down from the top of the hill there was this section of rock where kids were sliding down.  The rock was rubbed smooth as if it had had a river run over it for thousands of years.  It was smooth enough that you could get a decent amount of speed while sliding down it.  There were some parents/grandparents with their kids watching them as they slid down.  Our 16 person group stopped to watch for a while and the mother convinced me to give it a try.   Me and my one Italian friend were the only one to try it and of course she made me go first.  It was very bumpy and by the bottom I was going fairly fast.... Stopping was interesting... Im not sure exactly how i stopped but i think i popped up just like i would sliding into a base in baseball (all those years of baseball have sure paid off :)  .  I exchanged a few words with the father as i climbed back up the "slide" and he said that it gets faster in the summer because the rock is dryer...  He also gave me pointers for stopping better, but i quite like my way...


After my rock sliding adventure, we all decided to get lunch but as we quickly found out, none of little pubs or restaurants around the Clifton section of Bristol could accommodate a group of 16.  We split up into 3 groups and I ended up eating at a little pub called the somerset house, where I enjoyed some home made chili and some chips (fries).  After lunch, we met up with the rest of the group and continued exploring the city.  We saw some interesting things on our way to the next stop on our self guided tour.  Let's see... a tea shop called the Boston Tea Party... (seems wrong that they'd be proud of that...), a store window with a guy boxing a lion.... (not sure why...) and a giant roll of toilet paper marking a bathroom....  Anyways so our next stop was the University of Bristol because their main building is basically a huge cathedral.  We couldn't really explore too much with out a student ID so we just saw the main building and took pictures basically haha

After the University, we split again because different people wanted to shop or explore etc.  Personally I wanted to explore some more.  We found this really awesome little market called the corn exchange.  It was both indoors and outdoors and had just about everything.  Anything from jewelry to fossils to hats and t-shirts to music.  It was nice to see something not real touristy in the city.



Leaving the Corn Exchange we decided to mozie on down to the mall and see what there was to see there...  There was a nice little park across from the mall but other than that it was your typical mall.  Supposedly this was one of the largest malls in the UK but its still a mall...  

By this time everyone was getting tired and we still had about 3 hours until we had to catch our train home.  So we picked out a nice coffee shop and chilled there for about an hour before half of our subsection of the group decided to try and catch an earlier train because they were tired and had flex tickets.  The rest of us had a bought set train tickets so we were down to a group of 5 of us... an American, a Brazilian, a Greek, and 2 Portuguese...

We decided to meet up with the other half of the group at a pub that was closer to the train station.  Most of us enjoyed a pint while listening to a pretty good acoustic band.  


    
                                         

After the pub we made our way back to the train station where 13 tired international students boarded a train to our temporary home.  On the ride we exchanged stories of our true home and the exciting day we had.  All in all it was a great day and i'm glad i went :)


Until the next adventure... Cheers!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Got Myself a Roadie

So yesterday I borrowed my self a road bike from my friend in scuba club who sprained his wrist playing rugby.  So moral of the story is he cannot ride for a while and he's also going to bermuda for a field course (im insanely jealous) so ill have it for like a month.  I'm still looking into procuring one for the longer term, however.  My buddy ste me up with basically everything i'd need to ride it...  Helmet, spare tubes, a bright jacket, lights, wind proof gloves... everything except for clip in shoes which were quite big on me... thats the only thing that makes riding it a little tough...

Riding it home wasn't as hard as i thought it was going to be...  I guess after being here for a month i've wrapped my mind about them driving on the wrong side of the road.  And yes it is the wrong side because every other international kid i've talked to said they drive on the right (France, Germany, Sweden, Italy...).  Proof.

Yesterday I also went to the Red Lion again with internationals and some other american amigas.  It was a very nice place to just chill.  Mosly locals frequent it and watch tv there.  Last night they were watching WWE or some kind of super obnoxiously fake wrestling.  It was painfully fake...  but the locals enjoyed it...  That closed at 11 so we walked on to see what else was open.  We found Bedford's which is another nice chill pub in the heart of all of the intense clubs.  Last night was very nice and it was capped off with fish and chips :)  So its all good.
Cheers!