Monday, December 30, 2002

amanda, dave b, dave s, jen, justin, and heather b -- glad i got to spend time with all of you when back in pittsburgh.
i'll go ahead and wish everyone a happy new year now: happy new year!
made it to my sister's in VA. i barely made my flight. pittsburgh airport security is exceptionally slow. and i would have missed my flight had i not accidently jumped queue to get my boarding pass. you see, they didn't mark very well that it was the self check-in exit. and there were 3 open terminals. so i just walked up and had my boarding pass before i, or anyone else, realized what happened. then i got upgraded to 1st class with a certificate from my mom. i must have good travel kharma.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

last night i went to the improv at the waterfront in pittsburgh. the headliner was the "millionaire" that got married on tv. the show was entertaining, but i've seen better standups. afterwards we went to dave & busters. had a good time there (along with several gin and tonics). even ran into mike and kelly george. it was a fun night. heather and dave are practically my half brother and sister (yes, that means i'd have two sisters named heather); and it's nice to be able to get together. it seems to happen less and less as people get older.

going to see amanda for coffee/tea in a bit. i'll get caught up on how her and mike are doing and maybe get a little from the tj grapevine.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

"Silence is my gift to you"

Thursday, December 19, 2002

PICTURES as promised...
home sweet home. after nearly 18 hrs of travel, and being awake for 23 hrs, i got home, and slept a good, solid 8 hours. for some reason, i woke at 8 am (est) after going to bed at midnight. surprisingly, i feel pretty good. i need a shower and breakfast desperately. it feels good to be home.

Monday, December 16, 2002

today was a good day in london. hardly any rain. i went to the tower of london before lunch, ate there in the cafe, then went to st. paul's cathedral. the best part was after descending the stairs from the top of the dome at st. paul's, there was a practice for the choir, so i just sat and listened to them for 15 mins or so. a peaceful break in the day. again, there will be some pictures soon, really, i'm serious this time. yesterday i spent at the national gallery. i figured that was the best bet since 1. it's free, and 2. it was raining outside. even the audio tour is free, altho they ask for donations. i donated a few pounds, less than what they ask, but i consider it my student rate. in any case, i saw my first Cezanne and Monet originals, there were also some Van Gogh's as well. time's almost up on then computer, better post now.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

a few days down, a few more to go. i said yesterday, "the weather hasn't been great, but at least it hasn't been pouring down rain." oops, you know what its doing today, right? anyway, i've seen The Globe Theatre, Westminster, Trafalgar, Oxford Circle, Piccadilly (sp?), strolled along the Thames, and a bit more. Still plan to see St. Paul's, National Gallery, Covent Gardens, and Tower of London. let's just hope my money holds out ;-).

Thursday, December 12, 2002

london bound...

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

yesterday i came across a parking officer taking a picture of a car's license plate and receipt. i asked him about it. he said they use it fight appeals. i was fairly impressed with such a high tech solution. i guess it can really pay for itself if there were a lot of appeals that were successful.
woohoo! essay is turned in, this term is officially over for me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

me and this postmodernism essay have just about had it out. i'm pretty happy with the first half, the second have isn't quite as good, but i think it's going to have to do. tomorrow i'll put the final polish on it, print it, and turn it in. then its Christmas shopping time and packing. hard to believe i'm leaving for london on thursday!
the internet and flash is great for silly cartoon humor. check out strongbads emails at starrunner. this might be my personal favorite. link courtesy of sam, my flatmate. sam doesn't have a webpage, but what can you expect from a canadian english phd student? closest you'll get is junetile's webpage.
the more people that read your blog, the less personal it becomes.
"all the lonely people, where do they all come from
all the lonely people, where do they all belong?"
- Beatles "Eleanor Rigby"

Sunday, December 08, 2002

there was a huge fire last night here in old town. we were coming back from a Christmas concert and saw all the smoke and commotion. as we were walking up the royal mile to our flat, we could see the flames roaring through the roof when we got to hunters square. from the initial reports, there was no mention of any deaths, which is pretty amazing due to the magnitude and there are several pubs and clubs in the area.

Friday, December 06, 2002

in the spirit of procrastination, i've cleaned up the pictures pages. seems to have added the http upload button to their blogspot plus (thats me), so i can now upload from my room. expect more pictures soon. and if this is a mistake on bloggers part, please don't tell them.
i need to hand in "24 pages of poetry" for this term. that is on average over two poems per week. that's a lot. luckily the pieces do not have to be finished. i think i have my portfolio put together. i'm sure i'll go through it again before i hand it in, but i was able to scrounge up 24 pages worth of material, even if some of them are half finished poems, it shows that i'm working, which is the whole point.

now i just have to finish this essay for my postmodernism class by thursday...

Monday, December 02, 2002

"cinnamon and sugary and softly spoken lies
you never know just how you look through other peoples eyes"

Sunday, December 01, 2002

i uploaded some pics to ofoto. the only down side is that you have to register (it's free) to view them.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

i went to st andrews today. thanks to esther for inviting me to join her and her friends on the day trip. it was a cool little town. and since today is st andrews day, everything was free. even the clubhouse was open to the public (or at least three rooms were). i know my brother-in-law, jeff, would had loved to have been there. they had old, like 1850's old, clubs on display, and other historic things out for the special occasion. unfortunately, no pictures allowed, and it was too dark to get any pictures of the course by the time we got to that end of town. but we also toured the castle (ruins) and cathedral (ruins). these i did get pictures of, but i'm way behind in getting these pictures up on the web. i should have time over the break (esp while traveling), hang in there.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

happy thanksgiving to those of you in the states. i played some (american) football today with a couple other guys just out of tradition. they had a huge feast here in milnes court, the turkey was really good too. but i won't get to have leftover turkey sandwiches or another dinner at midnight like when at home.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

my reading light bulb burnt out, so i had to replace it. while doing so, i discovered one of those "little differences." light bulb sockets here do not screw in like they do in the states. instead, they have two pegs that stick out of the side. these fit into slots. you must push in the bulb (there is a spring tension) in order to turn the bulb and lock, or unlock, it into place.

yes, things are that exciting that i'm blogging about light bulbs. i think there's a joke in there somewhere too.
this persistant pattern is resistant no matter which wrench i toss at it.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

ryan has put more photos up, including some from our trip to the Sierra's this 4th of july weekend.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

did i mention that i'm going to be really sick of hearing amazing grace on the bagpipes by the end of this year? since i live in the tourist part of town (right near the castle and wool shops), there are bag pipers seemingly all day on saturday for the sake of the tourists. after a few hours, they start to get annoying...especially when you have 200 pages of a postmodern novel to read.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

you can check most of you email forwards at, the Urban Legends Reference. and most virus warnings are hoaxes, they can be looked up at Symantec's online anti virus site.
i had a good weekend. i saw "Bowling for Columnbine" on friday. chilled out saturday nigth with evan and josh from the program. and last night (yes, i know it's not technically the weekend), i saw miss saigon with elizabeth. today was the typical tuesday schedule: postmodernism lecture, creative writing workshop, and my poetry reading group. tuesdays are exhausting days.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

sublime moments can be described as those times in which time ceases to exist. escaping time can seem nearly impossible; i find i enjoy life the most when i'm not conscious of it. the sublime has no past for future. nostalgia cannot reconstruct the sublime.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

does the loss of innocence necessarily lead to despair or anguish? does more knowledge make us freer, what are the implications of this freedom?
"He had spoken to nobody of this incident. He remembered it vividly without seeking any explanation. It had acquired the isolated absoluteness of a vision. For him his experiencing it was its explanation." --From G. by John Berger

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

i met with Dilys, the writer in residence, yesterday to go over a couple poems. in talking with her about my postmodernism class, she validated my feelings of skepticism towards "theorists." neither of us feel that creative writers plan out in advance all elements and mechanisms for some of these grand theories that critics proclaim. sure, some of it exists, and some of it is planned, but the writing process is still at its core creative, not calculating. this has also been confirmed by the two writers that have come to give readings, one a novelist and the other a poet. they have ideasto start with, but part of the process is one of discovery.

there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the process of writing and the interpretation. the most frightening aspect of this experience is the elitist attitude i'm sensing. these people that sit around and read, and then try to make books fit their theories, but take no claim to the theory itself. and as an aspiring creative writer, this only intensifies my obsession with authenticity and the ability communicate and understand.

fiction and literature (as an art) should not be studied to find theories. if you want to study theory, read philosophy. to me, art is meant to reflect an individuals own ideas and hopefully spur others to think on their own and derive their own ideas. literature should not be studied as something to be interpretted.

Read the following two sentence fragments:
1. Some Book's structure showed me how the assumption of linear time of could be deconstructed to emphasize blah blah blah...
2. Some Author of Some Book structured the book to show how the deconstruction of linear time could etc etc...
In the first one, the writer of the sentence owns whatever conclusion is drawn; in the second, the writer of the sentence posits the conclusion on the author. Theorists tend to do the second, at least in my course discussions. And the difference between the two is the fundamental dis-ease i have regarding the study of literature.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

weekend (and other) pictures forthcoming. but my essay and writing output needs to increase, so be patient...

Friday, November 08, 2002

have a good weekend, i'll be in Dalmally. if it doesn't rain the whole time, i should have some pictures when i get back.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

today there was a poetry reading by William Herbert. his reading was great, very humorous. afterwards I bought his book and hung around a bit. Alan (Jamieson) invited me along with them for a drink or lunch. I got to chat with both of them and hear some "insider" secrets to the literary world of the UK. This was all somewhat surreal to me, but very cool all the same.
there's no doubt my mom not only loves me, but knows what i like. i got a package of chocolate Pop Tarts, Saris dark chocolate covered pretzels, and chocolate chip cookies. do you see the theme here?

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

humorous link of the day: find your seat. [this was originially a link from slashdot (source: ryan)]
more pictures. this time they of Stirling, courtesy of my friend Esther.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Guy Fawkes Day. Fireworks above old town from my window. (It's pissing rain, so i skipped the burning effigies).
ryan got his pictures all organized and online. simply breathtaking.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

there is only one true conversation. this is where two people sit in a room together, so they can see one another, and converse--no distractions. the phone lacks body language; instant messaging lacks body language and voice inflection; driving leaves at least one person distracted by directions and traffic. all of this fragmented communication bothers me. i don't want bits and pieces of your ideas, i want the whole of it. occasions for this happen so rarely. more distrubing perhaps, is that i find too many people uncomfortable when faced with having to hold a true conversation. some of my most pleasant conversations were over after-meal tea (or tea-for-the-sake-of-tea-and-talk tea). this week your assignment is to sit down with someone for a meal and or tea--no tv, no radio, no newspapers, no books, no laptops. in the meantime, i'll be here blogging fragmented communique and sending piecemeal emails.

Friday, November 01, 2002

i was impressed to find that and both had my user information. the strange thing was that the wish lists were apparently not shared. but i will be back home for christmas if people want to send me gifts, he says half jokingly.
ryan has returned to palo alto, CA after a 3 month trip to Alaska and back. i'm going to miss reading about the wildnerness of the North and the various quirky observations and comments about life on the road and away from civilization. hopefully he doesn't sell his soul back to The Man.
i read the following quote today in doris lessing's "The Golden Notebook":
I have never, in all my life, been so desperately and wildly and painfully happy as I was then. It was so strong I couldn't believe it. I remember saying to myself, This is it, this is being happy, and at the same time I was appalled because it had come out of so much ugliness and unhappiness. And all the time, down our cold faces, pressed together, the hot tears were running.
i could write a thesis on this paragraph alone. but what i find most amazing about this passage is that the emotional and self-reflective intellectual qualities are inseparable. they are, in fact, identical in this case. that is no small literary feat in my book (pun intended). [side note: and keep in mind, read in context it is only even more astounding.]

Thursday, October 31, 2002

for those of you in the states that would like to speak to me in person, check this out. i'm not sure how legit it is, but it might be worth a shot. i'm poor, so don't expect me to call out from here often. [Link courtesy of Elan.]
i enjoy reading martha's comments about life, school, and writing. for anyone that has seen American Beauty, i think you'd be interested in reading some of her comments.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

and interesting european view of american politics.
i found out the names of the two cafes that some of the harry potter books were written. in fact, i was in a cafe next door to one last week, and walk past the other when i go to the grocery store. but thats really just a drop in the bucket of the literary history i walk past in any given day.
i still recall the taste of your tears,
echoing your voice, just like, the ringing in my ears,
my favorite dreams of you still wash ashore,
scraping through my head, 'til i don't want to sleep anymore
still my single most favorite verse

Monday, October 28, 2002

i'm not sure if part of scotland got stuck in the 80s, or if it has become some sort of retro-trendiness again (like the 70s did in the late 90s), but there are more jean jackets, skateboards, and mohawks here than i've seen in the states in the last 10 years. i'll get a picture with all three in it if possible. stay tuned...

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Mass was celebrated by archbishop keith patrick of edinburgh tonight. i got to meet him after during the wine and cheese reception.
daylight savings: nothing like an extra hour of sleep.

Friday, October 25, 2002

tonight i went to see "taming of the shrew" at the lyceum theatre with elizabeth, colleen, anna, marcel, and joanne. the performance was free for students, which was perfect for my budget. afterwards, we went out for a bite to eat and then to a club for a drink, although elizabeth and i were feeling a little old next to the 18 yr olds. the funniest part was when they played "ice ice baby" at the club.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

my friend anne is finishing up her missions work in guatemala. a concert of hers recently got some pretty big press. can someone translate for me?
tonight i went to the big word poetry reading. there were some really good poets there. jenny lindsay is intense. her poems have such energy and keep you involved in that world throughout the entire recitation. never once does my attention drift while she's on stage. for me, this performance poetry is the poetry of the people, this is where passion for the word flourishes.
NME (National Magazine Exchange) is a sleazy telemarketing company that mails out cards telling you to contact them about your sweepstakes winnings. if you call, they just try to sell you magazine subscriptions. AARP and the Better Business Bureau have gone after these guys, apparently to no avail. My parents tell me that I received a card in the mail back home.
ok, first yahoo is broken for 3 days, then the university's connection to all the residences goes down for two days. but alas, i'm plugged back in.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

today i read three poems for the full workshop class (not just the poetry workshop). generally i think it went well. i could tell who liked which poems, and who didn't. it's good to hear what are the most striking images and what is confusing. the only way to really get that type of feedback is in this sort of setting. now i have to decide what i should do with this new information.

Monday, October 21, 2002

i haven't been able to send mail using yahoo's web client for 3 days now due to a scripting error on their mail composing page. i wrote them two emails, to which i received two identical auto-responses (that had broken links). i actually paid money to yahoo. i am very disappointed with the lack of service and general sloppiness of their communications.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

at the pub tonight, following question arose: where did the term "420" come from? our friends here in the UK and one from new zealand had not heard of it. steve said it was coined by a group of teenagers in california. according to snopes, he's right.
apparently someone underestimated the hardware, or someone doesn't know how to code scalable applications.
ryan's blog makes me want to wander off into the highlands for a few weeks. on Oct 10th he writes:
When I set out it was with the desire to "make each day count." At some point during the trip that sentiment changed to "allow each day to count." The difference is subtle, yet it in some ways defines what this trip has done for me.

this is a profound and important distinction for any traveller.

Friday, October 18, 2002

i got AIM to work. i can't seem to get trillian to work, but 1 out of three chat clients is a start.
i wanted to give you a taste of what i meant by the last entry, so:

the one from my room looks kind of dark, but i can't seem to catch the light at the right time for the picture. in real life, it's much brighter and colourful.
edinburgh is even more beautiful with some sunlight and blue sky. i could just stare out my window all day.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

i got a haircut today at Elliot's: The Gentleman's Barber. it had the feel of a traditional barber shop, like the one i used to go to on fourth street in bethlehem, and at the same time, there was a newness, a freshness as well. this mix was probably due to the fact that the head proprietor was an elderly gentleman (in the truest sense), that you might expect to find in such a barber shop, and his two assistants were much younger lasses; vicky cut my hair. it's the little things that i love about being in another culture as well. she took my coat when i came in--a very nice and welcoming gesture.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

if i start to sound too much like some over-educated, aristocratic academic with regards to poetry, feel free to kick me in the teeth, tell me shakespeare's sonnets are shite, that cummings was a whack job, and i'll thank you in the morning.
i went to a poetry reading at the scottish poetry library tonight. nick drake and brian mccabe both read. i preffered mccabe's work. he used a number of voices between pieces that were distinct. one of my favourites was a working class scotsman. he also had a wide range of topics, one of which was mathematics. despite my skepticism, it was very good.

i met a lady there that was at least 45 years my elder. she was extremely friendly and talkative (the wine may have enhanced this); she was very interested in what i thought of poetry and my studies here at uni. we agreed that rhyming couplets are kitschy and that internal, unmetered rhyme is far more interesting. at least someone agrees with me.
how to wear a kilt

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

"If you think that you are easily forgotten. You are mistaken." -- the unpronounceable

Monday, October 14, 2002

my reading is read Ulysses is done although im not sure that im prepared faith clock ticks 11 and 26 perhaps that is exactly what joyce intended

Saturday, October 12, 2002

it's a grey and drizzly day here in edinburgh. a perfect day for tea in a cafe with a friend. and that's exactly what i just did. i love hearing about the path others are taking in life, especially when it's as colourful as alexandra's. should i think it a coincidence that i keep meeting people making such non-monetary inspired decisions?

Thursday, October 10, 2002

i love edinburgh in the morning. all the shops are opening, and people are going to work. these are the real people of the city; they are out before all the tourists come and students awake. it's even better if there are broken clouds that play games with the virgin morning light above the spires and steeples.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

i had my first "lecture" today, as well as the first creative writing workshop. the literary module (i think) i will be taking is "explorations in postmodernism." i have to read ulysses by next week. i'm a little worried about this class since i don't really have any literature background, and am not very well read. it's quite an aggressive reading list, so i just hope to be able to keep up and put together a decent paper by end of term.

the creative writing workshop was much more of what i expected. first the administrative stuff, but then we did a writing exercise. and as it turns out, i'm one of only three that is focusing on poetry (vs fiction this term). that should mean i can get some pretty close attention and feedback from the staff. Jamieson is pretty cool, in fact, i meet with him tomorrow at 9:30 for my first one on one session.

now, back to mr joyce...

Monday, October 07, 2002

i hadn't visited in a while. i recommend her imagelog on visiting shanksville, pa.
woohoo, pictures are up!
i know, nothing really tells you when you get to the end of a city, if nothing new shows up, move on to the next city.
if money is the reason keeping you from what you want to do, you need to change your view of money.
if you are the only thing stopping yourself from what you want, you need to change.

more and more, i love hearing things like this.
it seems natural when walking on a sidewalk to use the same side as you drive on. i was a bit confused when i first arrived, b/c i figured i should walk to the left when approaching ppl on a sidewalk, or, as some would say, footpath. but most ppl seemed to be going to the right. today, i was in true parts of edinburgh, where the the natives live, looking for my wireless connection. i found there that people DID walk on the left. then i realized that a lot of the people near where i live are tourists visiting the castle and royal mile shops, or students that very well may live in countries that drive on the right side of the road.

i walk on the left side of the sidewalk, but for a more practical reason. i want to face oncoming traffic; the buses (yes, the double-decker buses like in London) here come extremely close to the curb, so if i need to step around someone, i want to make sure there isn't a bus barreling down on me.
i spent an hour and a half walking around trying to find the wireless connections posted on i found one, that was too weak to be of any use, and i couldnt seem to get any DNS service. this is disappointing.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

tomorrow i should finally meet my director of studies. the english lit induction is tomorrow. i think we're the last ones to have our inductions, considering the first official day of classes is tuesday. so it goes.

Friday, October 04, 2002

i just had the most fun i've had in a long time. i went to a Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee), a Scottish folk dance. i knew a few ppl going, but it didnt matter; you pick random partners when you dance, and there is no 'game' to it, you just find a person nearby. many of the dances involve changing partners anyway. its a bit like sqaure dancing, but they explain the steps before the music starts, and then everyone has a go. even tho it was my first time, by the end of each dance, i had picked it up pretty well.

the floor is packed for every dance, in fact, that is my only complaint: they needed a bigger venue. everyone just has good fun, and there is little pretense, and so much energy. many guys were dressed in traditional kilts (some in the full get up, some just in a kilt). i want to get one, i just have to see how expensive they are, and find the appropriate clan pattern.

i cant remember the last time i saw a well over a hundred ppl, many who were strangers, having such a good time. CHEERS!!!
let's see if this works...
for those of you that are planning to stay at my place when you visit, i have some not so great news...guests are only allowed to stay 3 consecutive nights. they seem pretty strict about this, especially during the festival season. if you think you'll be here longer, let me know, there are plenty of work arounds.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

in case youre wondering exactly what i'll be doing, this is about as much as i know until i meet my advisor and start class.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

i just played some football (i.e. soccer) with some of the blokes (i.e. guys) here in my building. it was good fun. and yes, it started raining. afterwards, we went for a pint. but now i have to eat something. i'll let you know when it stops june.
the university's network is extremely restricted. i can't download email via POP, or FTP my pictures to this blog. i'm probably going to have to find a free wireless connection. please standby.
last night i went on the ghost tour here in old town. it was good fun to hear the old ghost stories that are the legends of this neighborhood. at one point, the guide let out this eye popping scream without much warning. as a result, i almost had a 100 lb asian girl run over me backwards. luckily enough, i just caught her before she hurt me or anyone else.

for tomorrow night, i signed up for the literary tour. i figured it would be a good intro to the history of writing from here in edinburgh.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

they play bagpipes outside the church just down the street every day around 6pm. dont know if its common or a result of some sort of events. in any case, it reminds me that i'm in scotland, just in case i forget.
i finished up a lot of the administrative stuff today--finished paying my fees, registered with the doctor/health service, attended the new masters student orientation. i don't meet with my advisor and department until monday, so i have several days to check out town. i'm very much looking forward to taking advantage of this time.

i also went to the catholic student union. they had a free lunch today. seems like a fun bunch, including the priest that was there. they have a building right in george square, which is only about a 10 mins walk from here (and also near where a lot of my classes will mostly likely be). the lunch was ok, some sort of soup and bread. the quality of food in general here seems rather low, so relatively speaking, i guess it wasn't bad.
i spoke to my sister last night on the phone. she topped all my travel stories by telling me that i'm going to be an uncle. yep, my sister is expecting in late may; soon another name to be added to the Williams/Murray/Walker clans.

Monday, September 30, 2002

1 pound does NOT equal 1 dollar. this is important to remember when you buy a sandwhich for 3£, and it means that you just paid about $4.50.
i'm not sure if i mentioned that edinburgh's registration (or matriculation, as they call it here) needs some work. i stood in a queue for about 2.5 hrs today. i cant tell you how many times i've filled out the same information; they really need to have better interdepartmental information sharing. also, its going to be at least 2 more days until i can have my laptop hooked up in my room. they require you to register your NIC identifier before they activate the port in your room. which also probably means i can't use my laptop anywhere else but in my room. super. nevertheless, that should mean that i have pictures up in a week or two.
i missed the second house party at the pink palace in daly city. but thats ok, b/c i was in paris.
my dad now works on this kind of stuff. he actually started working on it before 9.11, but it really picked up afterwards.
i arrived to a beautiful day in both london and edinburgh. i should probably savor this mild, and dry, weather.
there is a service that cleans my room for me once a week, including changing my linens. how cool is that?
and i can't wait to show you the view from my window.
so much to tell...
paris was a good time. went out one night with a aussie (john) and a kiwi (tim). we went to "the outback" which was supposed to be an australian pub. it wasn't really, but we met to german girls who were playing music for gas money so that they could travel europe.

the next night i went to dinner with tim, lindsay (nebraska/DC), and a different aussie whose name now slips my mind. earlier that day i was at the louvre, where i saw the mona lisa as well as venus di milo among about 20,000 other masterpieces.

i took the eurostar chunnel from paris to london yesterday. i got into london around 3:30 local time. then i had to go to another train station to hop a train to edinburgh. as it turned out, the ride was only 4.5 hrs, and i was able to get to edinburgh by 8:40pm last night (earlier than expected). i finally found my place and was able to have the porter let me into my room. it was nice to unpack and know that i won't have to repack in another 2 days or so.

the porter knows my advisor.
i am in my new home.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

again, thanks for all your emails, friends. i had 44 email messages waiting for me when i logged in. i will get back to you...eventually.
obviously i havent been around a computer for several days. but things have been pretty good. Venice was an interesting town. altho i was only there for about a day and a half. i met another californian on the overnight train to paris from venice. she is super cool, and more about her later.

i stayed at the renaissance hotel in la defence paris the first two night here in paris for free. it was nice to have a full sized room to myself. last night and tonight i am at the Young and Happy Youth hostel (by recommendation from jen). met a kiwi and a cool aussie here who i hung out with last night. first time i went out drinking since i've been travelling. good times tho.

paris has WAY too much to try to process in so short a time. but next time i'm sure that i'll be able to take things slower.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

it was a rainy day in florence today. normally it might not be so bad, but since i saw most of what i planned to already (planning to only spend 3 days, not 4), i wanted to just sit around in piazzas people watching and journaling. overall it was still a pretty laid back day. i just met 2 more aussies that i'll probably grab dinner with later this evening.

this morning i did go to Mass. it was in italian, so it was somewhat difficult to follow along. still, it was a rather moving experience, being in a huge cathedral and all.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

thanks to those that have been emailing me from back home. i am reading them, i just tend not to have the time to respond while travelling. i am writing postcards and letters, but may not get around to mailing them all until i get to the UK. stay tuned...

tonight i had a relaxing dinner in a piazza alone and wrote in my journal and people watched. i think i'm starting to relax more and not worry about trying to do and see everything.
i'll be spending an extra day in florence--the rail employees are striking tomorrow, so i cant take my train to venice as i planned. i think that may remove verona from my itinerary. worse things could happen.

Friday, September 20, 2002

i met a couple canadians yesterday and had dinner with them. and today, the new girl in my room is from Palo Alto; she didnt live far from where elan and i lived in Menlo Park. such a small world.
another full day in in florence. i went to the Uffuzzi Gallery and saw lots of renaissance and some gothic paintings and scuptures. after that i went to the Boboli Gardens, which was a nice break from the urban setting i've been in since i arrived in Rome. then i went to Michaelangelo's Piazza which has a great view of the city. and in between some of those things i picked a small bites to eat in the different shops along the way. more gelato of course.

tomorrow i think i'll see the real David (not the replica that is outside). and i think i've decided to do a day trip to Verona while in Venice. i heard its a cool place to hang for a day.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

made it to florence today. it is way more crowded than rome was. i got the last bed at hostel archirossi. it's pretty nice. i'm in a room of only four, they have internet access, a restaurant, bar, and small terrace. time for some dinner...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

the driving in italia are just as crazy as everyone says. its great fun trying to cross the street. they have crosswalks but rarely any signals. i found the key is to get critical mass (approx 4-5 ppl) and then just step out when there is a lull in the traffic. then hope they all see you.
last night i went to dinner w/ an aussie that is staying in the same room as me. we just went to a pizzaria a block away b/c she had just flown for 22 hours and was a bit tired. today we checked out the trevi fountain--i threw some money in for both me and jen (see, i've been checking things off the list). we also went to the spanish steps, then took a tour of the coloseo (i went in this time). finally i wanted to get to the pantheon. granted, it wasn't the most well planned route, but good to see what i wanted. we took a bus back from the pantheon.

tomorrow my train leaves for florence at 8:30am. just have to make sure i get up in time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

wow, St. Peter's is huge. i didn't go to the top of the dome today, but i might tomorrow. i did get a tour of the church from Fr. Baker, and an excellent pranzo. i'm tired, i'm scared to think about how many miles i've walked in the past 2 days. perhaps tonight will be a evening stroll by trevi fountain and some dinner...all this after a shower.
i'm off to the vatican this morning. first i'll go thru the museum, then i'm meeting up w/ Fr. Baker for a personal tour of St. Peter's.

Monday, September 16, 2002

today i walked around in "old" section of rome. saw the Coloseo and a bunch of things around there. this evening i think i'm headed to the Panhteon and Piazza Navona. while i'm there i plan to grab some dinner and maybe a gelato. pictures later, just no time to worry about downloading and all that.
my flight went without a hitch. altho i'm certainly not a fan of the 9 hr flights. i had an aisle seat, and was seated near the wing, so i didn't get any pictures flying into rome. no major problems finding the hostel, which is where i am now. its 9:30ish local time. i'm exhausted, not used to european keyboards, and unable to get my settings to change for the blog posting times, so just add 6 hours. ppl are waiting, so i'm going to let them use the net. more later.
buon giorno bella roma

Sunday, September 15, 2002

my old employer still has me listed as an employee. ha.
just about one hour until i leave for the airport. this time tomorrow, i should be writing to you from Roma. on tues, i meet up w/ Fr. Baker, the Catholic chaplain at lehigh when i was an undergrad, who is now at the Vatican. he's going to give me a personal tour of st. peters. this is going to be amazing.


Saturday, September 14, 2002

when i get to edinburgh, here is where i'll be living.
yikes, i get on a plane in approximately 24 hours. i still have to pack the boxes of clothes that i'm shipping directly to scotland. my bag for travelling in europe is packed; i've got my euros, i've got my pounds, i've got my travellers' cheques, i've got my passport and plane and train tickets. i've got my my lets go and other travelling books. i paid my bills, i cancelled my phone, i sold my car. am i forgetting anything?

Thursday, September 12, 2002

i just chatted online with an ex-coworker of mine, ryan. he is in alaska, travelling and enjoying life. you should read about his adventures if you like nature or strange characters.
less than three days until i leave for europe. about the only thing left to do is pack and ship the clothes that i'm going to have with me in scotland.
i came across this picture while seeing what was on my memory cards for my camera. i'm glad i didn't just delete everything before looking. this picture was taken the saturday before i left CA. i went hiking w/ my friend mel in the stanford foothills. i'll miss the foothills and mel.
i had lunch with lois today. lois works at penn equipment; i met her there when i had a summer job there while in high school. lots of people have told me throughout my life that i am more mature than others my age, but for some reason, lois telling me that i'm an old soul has special meaning. on the surface we might not seem like we have that much in common, but we always have stories to trade and jokes to tell. whenever everyone else doesn't know what to say or what advice to give, lois always has something say. sometimes, i even agree ;-)
it's the little things moms do that show you they love you, but are easy to not notice if you're not careful. for instance, buying whole milk even though you are the only one that drinks it and are only home for 3 or 4 days.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

so i didn't get a chance to mention my last day of travel. after staying at dave's for a night, and having my last real philly cheese steak for a while, i went to see megan. i had lunch w/ megan, then i invited myself over for dinner at andrew's. andrew made dinner for liz (his wife) and i. it was good to catch up w/ them. they also have a 5 month old yellow lab that wanted to play when we brought him down stairs.

megan missed her train to Temple for class, so i drover her down. definitely not the nicest neighborhood to drive through. we met back at her place after her class and after i had dinner w/ andrew. then we stayed up chatting for another several hours. i miss being able to hang out w/ my good friends.
a lot of people are remember what happened and what they were doing last year. i'll always remember the phone call that got me out of bed. it was my sister frantically trying to find out where exactly my cousin worked. when i said, "the world trade center," she got pretty hysterical. she tried explaining to me what was going on, but i didn't have a tv (well, not one that received any channels). the internet was way overloaded, so i couldn't get any information save what came out of my clock radio. later my roommate, elan, bought an antenna. we spent the whole day in shocked disbelief and trying to get thru to the people that we knew in the area. luckily enough, my cousin and anyone i knew that might have been in the area had all made it to safety.
back home in pittsburgh. more pictures and things soon, but right now its time for a nap.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

i REALLY need to trim my goatee.
i hung out w/ dave today. dave is the older brother i never had. it was fun, we played some basketball, which we are both really good at. then we ate ice cream and played video games. maybe it sounds corny, but we have fun no matter what we do. this past spring we went backpacking in yosemite. we're hoping to do the scottish highlands this coming year.
here we are in our finest evening wear. dave and i after a long day of basketball and video games
here is a picture of emily and i. i finally got around to downloading the pictures to my laptop.
emily and jason sitting at emily

Monday, September 09, 2002

i spent last night, today and tonight in NJ visiting my friend jen. we had a good time. i wasn't feeling all that well on saturday, so i got here later than i planned, but it all worked out fine. an hour car ride seems like walk to the corner now; that's all the time it took to get here from lehigh. jen was nice enough to give me some left over euros she had to do things she says i shouldn't miss out on. she made a list for me so i don't forget...
1. eat a pizza in italy
2. get a gelatto
3. buy her a cheezy magnet
4. write her a postcard
5. throw some money in a famous fountain (i won't butcher the name)

tomorrow i'm saying goodbye to another friend i'll miss, but one that's guaranteed to come visit me next year.

next stop: philly. i'm hanging out with dave tomorrow and megan and andrew on tues.

Friday, September 06, 2002

here is katie, jane and me in jane's new office. i have no idea why it is blurry, i checked my camera...i think it was user error. katie jason and jane
wow, i just had lunch with jane and katie. it was really great to see them. as it turns out, katie was driving here from colorado the same time i was driving here from vegas. she had a more eventful trip. she was pulled over b/c her car (ironically, a white honda accord, just like mine) matched the description of car in a reported bicycle theft. the cop gave her a hard time--made her pull all her luggage from her car. its one of those funny stories to tell afterwards, but she wasn't too thrilled at the time.

the three of us shared stories like we used to "in the old days" when we were all in the office together. katie and jane, i'll miss you two. come visit in scotland.
finding old friends is good. converstaion is good. closure is good.
the future is unknown, promising, and it will be good.
i'm currently in bethlehem, PA. a funny thing happened on my way here. i called my old boss, jane, at lehigh to see if she could have lunch tomorrow, she had just sent me an email seeing if i could have lunch on friday. so, we're having lunch on friday, along w/ katie, one of the others students that worked in the office there with me. it'll be just like our old "drama" times. i can't wait.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

one cannot make deposits at ATMs outside your home state. this sucks.
i travelled over 2200 miles in the last 36 hours. drove from las vegas, NV to pittsburgh, PA. my honda accord ran like i champ; i treat her right, she never lets me down. my journey started in Daly City, CA, just south of san francisco on friday, august 30th. i spent the weekend in vegas with justin, jennifer, shawn and tiffany, who were all there from pittsburgh on holiday. from vegas i travelled to grand junction, CO, then to topeka, KS, then to columbus, OH, and today the last 3 hrs to pittsburgh.

driving cross country makes you realize what a big and diverse country we live in. i saw lots of corn. the mountains of utah and colorado are breathtaking, even from the car. the mojave desert's deceptive beauty almost makes you forget what a hostile place the desert can be, until you stand outside in the blazing heat and sandy winds. i saw lots of corn.

i just had dinner with my parents. it was good, altho i'm tired of eating out, and there's not any home cooked food in the near future either--bummer.
destination: pittsburgh
status: arrived.
after 3 days of driving, i made it from las vegas back to my parents house in pittsburgh. i'll give some more detail on the last three days of my trip soon. but i just woke up from an hour nap and wanted to start my first BLOG.
mission: create blog entry 1
status: complete