Wednesday, November 30, 1988

You Bought a What? ...

Had my Geography class at 9.15 this morning. After class, I went into town with the intention of dropping off my film, as well as get my hair cut (for the first time since arriving in England!). I did all of this, and something else that was somewhat unexpected.

I bought a hamster.

It was a spur of the moment decision, but I'm glad I did. I named her Shannon, after my basset hound dog back home. I also bought her a nice cage. When I came back I showed it to Viv, who thought I was completely crazy for buying it. Why? Because I'm an American student in a foreign country with plans to travel about? Because we're not allowed to have pets in the residence? Anyway, she quickly fell for Shannon as well.

Doug was also shocked, as were others. But most soon found her to be so cute that they seemed to forget how my decision was so crazy.

I spent a good bit of the rest of the evening with Viv, mostly playing with Shannon. The hamster cost me £12 total (£2.50 for her £9 for the cage, food, etc.) I think it was well worth it.


Tuesday, November 29, 1988

Killer Tuesday ...

Killer Tuesday. Got up for breakfast, and then went to my Literature in Context class. It was significantly more interesting than last week's class. Then I went to my Geography seminar, which wasn't bad (although I was asked about congestion in America and was dumbfounded to respond. I was just caught off guard, so to speak.) I ate lunch at the corner deli, and after a bit in the library (my library card is pictured), went to my Social/Political Structures class, where we had a new bald-headed teacher instead of Roz Billington to bore us. So J.P. and I drew some of our finest cartoons.

After class, J.P. and I went up to the 1/2-off poster sale going on, where I bought a "With the Beatles" poster for £1. Came back to the halls, talked to Viv awhile, then ate dinner, followed by talking to Viv some more.

At 8 p.m. we went over to the TV room to watch "Fawlty Towers," which, of course, was great. Then we went to get some Chinese until we remembered (after walking a bit in the rain), that Double Happiness was closed on Tuesdays. So we went and got a ham pizza with garlic bread, and brought it back to the room. I was quite happy and it quickly disappeared.

Afterwards, Viv and I did some work (separately), then hung out a bit (together) before turning in for the evening.


Monday, November 28, 1988

The Cinema Show ...

Well, I did get up early (with a little assistance from Viv), got breakfast in time, and then did some reading. The laziness of yesterday apparently carried over into today, at least until my afternoon class. When we got to class, we were discussing a play that J.P. and I had not read, called "Miss Julia," because we didn't know that we were supposed to read it. So that didn't work out too well for us.

After dinner I did a bit more bumming around. Talked to Liz a bit. Then Doug and I decided to catch a movie, so we went to the cinema to see "Imagine: John Lennon," a documentary about Lennon's life that used a lot of never-before-seen film footage from Lennon's collection, and clips of Lennon's voice to "narrate" the film. It was well done, interesting, and a must-see for any John Lennon/Beatles fan. Excellent. Doug and I arrived at the cinema a little early, so we sat in the bar until the theatre opened. I had a cider, he had brandy. We had a good discussion about life in general. It'll be sad to see him leave next month.

We caught the bus back to The Grange, and ran into Dave Hart and Karen, who were also returning from the movies. They had just seen Charles Bronson's movie "Messinger of Death." They are bigger movie moguls than me, and seem to go see a lot (they went to see "Colors" three times already!) We talked movies for awhile on the ride back, and when we returned I went and got Viv, and she came back to my room for awhile.

(Pictured: Another photo of York from three days earlier. The Christmas decorations were up and the holiday shopping crowd was rather large as we walked through the streets of York, about 45 miles north of Hull, last Friday.)


Sunday, November 27, 1988

A Little (American) Football ...

A lazy Sunday. Woke up around 11 a.m. and trotted off to lunch at noon (the usual, roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding.) Spent the day just loafing and actually working a bit on my "Importance of Being Earnest" essay.

At 5.15 p.m. I watched some American football. They were broadcasting the Eagles-Giants game this week, so I had to watch. It was a good game, and they slipped past the Giants, 23-17 in OT on a freak blocked-kick touchdown.

Spent some quality time with Viv, and basically spent the day trying my best to not spend any money. That was a good thing to do, especially considering how much I spent yesterday. Went to bed early in order to try and get up for breakfast, and hopefully get some more class work done. We'll see.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "The First Time" - Robin Beck
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley" - Will to Power

(Pictured: From two days earlier, this is a photo of the City of York and York Minster, taken from the wall that surrounds the city.)


Saturday, November 26, 1988

A Lucky Man Who Made the Grade ...

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a stupid comb across my head. As you may have already guessed, it was just another Day in the Life.

But not just any day... it was Viv's birthday. She went to see "Hamlet" (one of her favorite plays) with Liz and some other friends. So that gave me some time to go into town and get her a birthday gift. I went with Doug and Jodi (one of the American students from Juniata College), but I soon strayed to do my own thing. First, I bought some transfer letters so that I could rub them onto my Yokel tape. It's looking more "professional." The sound, however...

Then I bought Viv a birthday card and a teddy bear (which she eventually named "Eugene." Guess where she got the name!) Then I bought some lunch. Boy, do I hate Christmas crowds!

I walked around town searching for Chaplin's Restaurant, a place I heard was quite good and thought it would be a nice place to take Viv for her birthday meal. But lo, it was not to be found. (Later I found out it is outside the center of town, so I gave up my search and just headed back to The Grange. When I returned to my room I worked on the Yokel tape for a bit, and then got ready to go out with Viv. We went to a nice Chinese restaurant instead, where we dined on won-ton soup and chicken dishes. I had kung po, which was excellent, and she had the Peking chicken.

After her birthday meal, it was off to see the new Bill Murray movie, "Scrooged." Unfortunately, we were 15 minutes late, but it was still an excellent movie. Well worth seeing again (especially to catch the parts we missed.)

When we left the theatre, Viv was thirsty, so we stopped at a nice pub for some drinks and chatted for awhile before catching the bus back to The Grange, where I finally gave her the gift. She loved him and gave him the name I mentioned above. (Figure out where it's from yet? It's my middle name.) Good name! I tolder her that he was a Conservative bear and that he, my own Russell the Republican Bear and I were going to start a conservative club. However, she insisted that he was actually a socialist bear. An expensive but infinitely worthwhile day.

(Pictured: A photo of York Minster and an entrance to the wall. Taken a day earlier during my visit to the City of York.)


Friday, November 25, 1988

Another Fine Day in York ...

Woke up to the thunderous sounds of J.P. pounding relentlessly on my door until I responded. So now that I was up, Viv and I went over to the refectory for some breakfast, and then it was time for another trip to the city of York.

J.P., Doug, Neil, Little Johnny, Viv and I caught the bus to York. It was a really nice day for the trip, and I was able to get a number of really good photographs. Shortly after we arrived, J.P., Neil, John and Doug broke away because they wanted to hit the pubs, and Viv and I didn't, so we were on our own for the day.

After stopping at the bank, we went to the Jorvik Viking Centre museum (which I liken to "Hershey's Chocolate World, but with Vikings and a Less Pleasant Aroma.") It was an interesting museum (I had been there with my high school group in '87), and there was no line to get in! When I went in '87, there was a huge line, but being a group, we were allowed to cut to the front.

After that, we ate at Wimpy's, and then hit Record Mania, where I found another Genesis single that I needed, "It's Yourself." I also bought some rock postcards to hang in my room, as well as a "Steamboat Willie" postcard and a copy of "The Times." We walked around the different shops, walked through York Minster (much less crowded then the last time I visited), and went to the York Art Museum.

After the museum we walked along the wall surrounding the city (farther than I walked last time), and then just perused the town until we stopped at a cafeteria for some dinner. After that, we casually walked back to the bus station, where eventually we met up with the rest of our crew.

So we waited for our 5.45 bus. And waited. And waited.

Finally, we were told that the bus was not coming and that we'd have to take an alternate and much longer bus route back to Hull. This was caused by an East Yorkshire Bus strike, so we did what we had to do to get home. We had some very interesting conversations with other passengers on this bus, and a "relieving" stop for some at the bus stop in Driffield, where we changed to the bus that would take us back to Hull. We finally made it back to Hull around 8 p.m.

Turned out the bus drivers had gone on a wildcat four-hour strike, right around the time we were needing their services. Convenient, huh?

Little John let me use the record player in his room so I could listen to my new record and the "Sussudio" EP I bought a few days ago. He played some Macc Lads as well. Afterward I returned to my room to rest and write, and spent the remainder of the evening with Viv.

(Pictures: Top photo, is a narrow street known as The Shambles, which dates back to medieval times and featuring several small shops. York Minster is in the background. Second photo, a flamingo table at the York Art Museum. Note photographer in the mirror. Third photo, Viv outside York Minster. Fourth photo, the wall surrounding York. I will include other photos of York over the next few days, since not much happened photo-wise during that time.)


Thursday, November 24, 1988

Thanksgiving ...

Doug, J.P. and I went into town today to make some purchases. I finally got a hold of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's new album, "American Dream." It's not too bad. I'd give it 3 stars out of 5.

Doug and I, after giving up on finding a Hull Cheese shirt, walked back to the halls, stopping at a comic book store, where I bought Batman issue #427, the third in a four-part series called "A Death in the Family," where Robin is blown up by the Joker. Readers got to vote for whether or not Robin lived or died in the series. He got the thumbs down. Also stopped in a record store, where I bought Phil Collins' "Sussudio" (extended, £1.50), some flowers (pink carnations) and a bottle of Blue Nun for Viv, in celebration of our one month anniversary.

Came back to the room and paid a visit to Viv. But then it was off with the other American students for our special Thanksgiving dinner at the Cottingham Road site. It was quite nice (easily the best meal I've had on campus), and it gave the Americans a chance to get together and enjoy this important holiday. Unfortunately, J.P. didn't go (I heard later he was spotted running down the halls singing "I hate turkey! I hate turkey!") But it was still a good time.

Afterwards us Americans headed over to the Student Union nearby, where Buffy and I got to talking. During the conversation I learned that she is good friends at Juniata with someone I knew from middle school, Bill Samuels. Bill was part of a Boy Scouting expedition I took in 1984 up to the Maine High Adventure camp, where we canoed and camped in the wilderness for a grueling, rain-soaked week. Wow, small world.

A little while later, Doug, Buffy and I walked back from the Union, and I stopped in to have a little chat with Sam in his room, down the hall from mine. Next I went up to Viv's room to give her the flowers and wine. She, of course, loved them.

Later on I returned to St. Hilda's and went to use the phone. The family was gathered at my Uncle Larry's house in Delaware, and I wanted to offer my Thanksgiving greetings. I got to talk to Mom and Dad (and I told him about meeting someone who knew Bill - Dad went on that Maine trip with us), my Grandpa Reitz (who during World War II was stationed in Grimsby, which isn't too far away from Hull, just across the river), Grandma Reitz, Grandma Lentz, my sister Angie, Uncle Mike (who also went on that Maine trip and knew Bill), Aunt Mimi, Uncle Larry and Aunt JoAnne... although not necessarily in that order. It was good talking to them. (Pictured is the photo my family sent to me from Thanksgiving Day: Mom, Dad, Grandma Lentz, sister Angela and sitting on Dad's lap is my cousin Taylor Anne.)

Although that would've been enough to make a person homesick, it was actually Viv who was feeling that way when when I returned to her room after the phone call. I did my best to cheer her up and it worked. I also gave her a special mix tape that I made for her for our anniversary, titled "For Viv," which she loved. It was a very good, albeit expensive, day.


Wednesday, November 23, 1988

We Bailed ...

Woke up around 8:30 a.m. for what was to be my final class until Monday. At some breakfast and then went to the class, followed by a leisurely day of not really doing anything.

Later that evening, J.P., Neil (pictured) and I went to a drama workshop in Hull, which we had hoped would have been some sort of acting troupe. It turned out to be nothing more than a group that occasionally went to the local theatre and occasionally held workshops with actors and actresses.

Well we didn't find that out at first. We signed our names to join the group, and then realized what it was all about (plus, we learned that we'd each have to pay £1 to join). So we waited for an opportune moment and bailed on the group, returning to The Grange just in time to catch the next installment of "Doctor Who" on TV. Tonight was the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the series (as well as the 25th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy). It was a good episode... Part 1 of "The Silver Nemesis."

Later on, Doug and I went to The Haworth Fisheries, where I bought some fish 'n chips. Greasy, but alright.


Tuesday, November 22, 1988

Socialism in the Classroom

Ate breakfast, and then went to class. My first class was Literature in Context, which today had a substitute professor. His topic was "Socialist Economic Policies in Britain from the 1920's and 1930's."


His lecture had absolutely nothing to do with literature. He was making broad generalizations that all students were socialists, which annoyed me to no end. Although I did enjoy knowing that my presence here ruined his theory. During his lecture I quietly put my George Bush campaign pin on my shirt. I can't say for certain if he noticed it or not... but the socialist generalizations did end.

Next I had a Geography Seminar where we talked a bit about traffic and congestion (and watched a video called "Jam Today, Jam Tomorrow.") Interesting theory that came up: Widening roads does little to curb congestion. According to this theory, it doesn't matter how many lanes you make a road, because wider roads only attracts more vehicles to use that road. I see the point, but somewhat disagree with the premise. Theoretically, at some point you would reach a size that could handle the traffic, and it would likely be pulling vehicles away from other areas affected by congestion. According to that theory, we might as well reduce the size of our roads, if it doesn't matter anyway, right?

Then it was on to Social/Political Structures with Good Ol' Roz Billington at the lecturing helm. She was talking about inequality. (God, if ever there was someone who deserved to be inequal...)

Anyway, we found out that there's going to be a student rally in London on Thursday opposing student loans (as opposed to student grants, which would not have to be paid back. Nearly every British student I know here receives a partial or full grant.) Because of the rally, classes have been canceled for that day. It seems like they demonstrate way too much here, and as a result I have taken a firm stance in support of the student loan system. It's an unpopular but much more logical approach. I've been able to defend my position quite well, and have done so on a few occasions already. Basically, it holds people accountable for their education. If you do what you should, the end result should be a job that allows you to pay back the loan. If you fail to apply yourself or just view it as an extended party until you get kicked out of college... why should others pay for that?

So many people here are so dependent on the government that when the government attempts to loosen its controls and give people more responsibility, the get scared that they might have to actually start doing things on their own. Stupid gits!

Sorry. I'm off my soap box now. But on the plus side, my classes are canceled on Thursday AND Friday. Four day weekend... awesome!

After dinner, I wrote a few letter for friends and family back home, and later on Viv and I walked to Double Happiness... forgetting that it is always closed on Tuesdays. So we walked a little bit further to Shanghai House and got some chips and gravy. Not quite as good as Double Happiness - "the best chips 'n gravy in the world" - but good enough. We ate them back in my room. Great way to end the day.


Pictured: Page 1 of the 1988-89 Humberside College Student Union Handbook, which was issued to each student at the start of the term. It is on this page where the socialist propaganda very blatantly begins. My favorite line: "The Conservative government, spurred on my right-wing back-benchers is investigating the imposition of voluntary membership on Students Unions." Since when is "voluntary" an "imposition"? Click on the picture to see the full page. The book was filled with this stuff, interspersed with an occasional tip or two that actually helps a college student.


Monday, November 21, 1988

Smart Trenchcoat ...

Oooh, nothing quite like the feel of a brisk aerosol can of deodorant on a cold morning to get you ready for the day!

We had a good snowstorm today, and with it being the coldest day since I got here, I decided that my Gore-Tex jacket was no longer enough. So, before class, I went into town (in the snow) and, after walking around a bit, went into the Army-Navy Store and bought a nice trenchcoat. It was only £8.70! It keeps me a lot warmer, and looks really smart.

Happy with my purchases (which included a cassette of "Bolero"), I returned to the halls to prepare for my Poetry and Drama class. It was a good class. We discussed Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," and watched part of the film as well. This is probably one of my favorite books, so it was quite an interesting discussion for me.

I spent a good bit of the evening with Viv. Then at about 10 of 12, I decided that I was hungry. So we took a walk up to Cottingham Road, only to find all of the restaurants closed. These are the moments when I miss Millersville. There's always someone ready to sell food to a hungry college student there. We walked back, dejected and hungry, and we bought a candy bar in the hall vending machine.

A Twix bar.


(Pictured: Rick and Doug in downtown Hull. Rick is sporting the trenchcoat he purchased 20 years ago today. He wore that thing for about 12 years before finally replacing it with a newer, significantly more costly trenchcoat. Oh, and this is one of my favorite photos from England. It was taken by J.P.)


Sunday, November 20, 1988

A Good Day to Stay Inside ...

Well, it snowed today. I thought that was pretty cool. It was also very cold today, so since there wasn't anywhere I had to go today, the only time I went outside was during the brief moments it takes to walk from St. Martin's to St. Michael's and back. (Pictured is St. Michael's hall, from the point of view of the front door to St. Martin's. This was taken on that "snowy" day.)

The first thing I did today was eat the classic English Sunday lunch in the refectory: Roast beef, mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding, which wasn't too bad. Then I returned to my room to finish reading "The Importance of Being Earnest" (it had been a couple of days since I last picked it up.)

When I was done I took one of those brief walks outside and crossed over to Doug's room, and gave him the book so he could read it. Oh, but when I got their I found some of the guys were in the midst of a game of Risk, so I jumped in to help Big Jon, who was struggling big time in the game. I salvaged what I could and helped make him a minor threat in the game, but his losses before I had gotten there were too great. Andy was the first player wiped out (naturally).

After the game came dinner (makeshift), then some studying and reading of the newspaper, followed by a little writing. Dad called this evening, so I got to talk to him for a bit and find out what was going on back home in Camp Hill.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "The First Time" - Robin Beck
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Bad Medicine" - Bon Jovi


Saturday, November 19, 1988

A Record Day ...

Woke up at 10 a.m. to head down to the big Record Fair. Might be the last one Doug gets to go to. Doug and I gathered our weighty pound coins (always feels good to have a pocket full of them in your pocket... I'm now quite used to using those coins instead of dollar bills) and left to go crazy downtown.

It was a singles day for me at the Record Fair. I bought two Genesis EPs ("Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" and "Mama"), a Peter Gabriel EP ("Don't Give Up"), and a core of 7" singles... 15, to be exact. Nine of them were The Police, and five were Sting... they were all singles that had non-album songs on the B-sides and were hard to find nowadays. The other single that I got was Captain Sensible's "Wot." It's a great song from the early MTV days, but I could never find the song until I came over here. Awesome!

We left the show and headed to the bank so that Doug could refuel, then it was off to Cottingham Road, where I bought a newspaper and some chicken kiev at Haworth Fisheries. While we were walking back, we saw Little Johnny, Big Jon, J.P. and Paul walking on the other side of the road, heading to the bus stop to go to Beverley. I asked Little Johnny if it'd be OK if I borrowed the record player he has in his room so that I could play some of the records I had been purchasing. He said sure, then tossed his keys across the busy four-lane road, and I made an absolutely spectacular catch.

I returned to my room just as Viv was arriving and she began to do some school work while I ate my chicken (garlicky!) After eating, Doug and I went into John's room (a very trusting lad he is!) and we took turns playing the records that we had acquired over the past few months. "Twilight Alehouse" was first... an interesting old Genesis tune. I like it. The biggest disappointment was the Genesis "A Trick of the Tail - Outtakes" record. Interesting stuff, but the quality was quite poor. I guess that's the risk you take with a bootleg.

After awhile I returned to St. Martin's to take a shower while Doug remained in the room listening to his records. After dinner I returned to Johnny's room and I was able to tape some of my records. So I can now listen to some of the music I had purchased. Stuck around until Johnny returned, and hung around a bit more to listen to some of Johnny's music. He was very interested in letting me hear a band called The Macc Lads. Very rough and vulgar, but pretty funny at the same time. Their song "Beer and Sex and Chips and Gravy" was quite entertaining. This is what my band Yokel should be more like.

A bit later, we went down to the telly room where we watched "Time Bandits," one of my all time favourite films. Enjoyed that for a good couple of hours, and afterwards Viv and I returned to my room for the rest of the evening.


Friday, November 18, 1988

Liz's New Boyfriend

Woke up for breakfast and then tried to keep it down during my Roz seminar. It was nothing exciting, but I guess it was somewhat interesting. I'm able to tolerate her a bit more, though I still don't like her very much. Returned to my room with the whole day still ahead of me, so I rested, read, ate some lunch, and didn't take a shower.

After dinner, almost everyone went out, but Doug and I stayed in and watched some telly. We caught some old shows like "Sgt. Bilko," then watched some modern British sitcom that wasn't too bad. After that Doug and I trotted down to Double Happiness for some Chinese, then brought it back to his room, where we chatted for a couple of hours, including the planning out of the sequel to "Harry Luger and the Case of the Dead Husband," a little video movie I made in 1986 with my cousins. I was Harry Luger, a dimwitted private investigator on the trail of a killer, but who couldn't spot a clue to save his life. I'm going to miss our conversations when he goes back home in December.

Shortly after I left the gaggle of St. Hilda's Pissheads returns (most of them, anyway), from the Student Union. Later that evening, Viv came to my room and took me back to her room, where Liz and her friends, Angie and Puree, were hanging out with Liz's new boyfriend, a guy named John, who was waiting for a pizza delivery. We sat and talked, listening to a horrible Tom Jones tape. John turned out to be pretty cool, and a Conservative, which provided for more compelling conversation about the politics of the day and my take on the recent American presidential election. I told Liz that she did very well.

Well finally, at 3 a.m., the pizza arrived (I did not have any), and soon afterwards Viv and I left to return to my room, where she stayed so that Puree could stay in Viv's room with Liz that night. I was happy to oblige.


Thursday, November 17, 1988

'The weather still continues charming'

(Quote from Cecily Cardew, "The Importance of Being Earnest")

It was certainly a nice enough day outside to pull an appropriate quote from the book I am currently reading.

I woke up about mid-morning and decided it would be OK to skip my class today, since I hadn't read the book they were going to discuss. I went into town again to check if the new CSN&Y album had come out yet, and then I picked up my new black-and-white photographs (including the one of my room shown here. Notice Viv's sweet television seems to have found a more permanent home here in my room.) I thought they turned out nice, for the most part.

I returned to the room and put my photos in the photo album right away, then showed the pictures to Doug, J.P., Big Jon, Kenny and others. After dinner not much of any import happened. Viv stopped in for awhile, so that was cool. And Mom called today, so it was nice to hear from her and get updates from home.

One thing I've noticed during my time here of late is that the days and weeks seem to fly by quickly. I can't believe that I've been in England almost two months already!


Wednesday, November 16, 1988

Doug Makes the Decision Final ...

Woke up early for class, and then afterward I headed into town to run a few errands, including dropping off my roll of black-and-white film, buy a newspaper, and see if the new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album was in yet. Not quite yet. I'm looking forward to hearing how they sound reunited after all these years.

While I was in downtown Hull, I ran into Doug, who had just gone to a travel agent to buy his plane ticket home. So I guess it's really happening, he's leaving early.

He said his flight leaves London on December 19... which means he's going to miss the Duran Duran concert. That's a shame, but it's his decision and he's cool with it. That's how badly he wants to go home and put this experience behind him. Also, he wanted to fly British Airways and that was the best flight he could get. We ate lunch at McDonald's, then returned home where I read the paper.

Later I went around to visit Doug, J.P., and the rest of the St. Hilda's crew, during which time we, of course, broke out into a water battle. After dinner it was "business as usual" with the good Doctor (Who). It was the conclusion of the 3-part series "The Happiness Patrol" featuring the Kandyman. It was kind of weak, actually, but I thought the irony of a world where happiness is force upon you was a clever idea, and the series actually had a pretty good ending.

Afterwards, I came back to the room, and later on Viv stopped by for a bit. Later on after that, the day ended.


Pictured: Doug discovers some ducks swimming in the reeds at a park in downtown Hull.


Tuesday, November 15, 1988

Doug Makes a Big Decision

So I woke up today around 8 a.m. and went to grab some breakfast. Then I took a shower and went to my classes. While there, I was informed by Doug that after talking to his parents last night, he has decided that instead of finishing the year at Humberside College, he's going home at the end of the term, which would likely be right around Christmas.


Well that wasn't the news I wanted to hear, but hopefully he'll be able to stick around until the Duran Duran concert we have tickets for in London on December 23. It'd be a shame if he missed it since he has been so pumped to see them here in England.

Anyway, I still had other matters to resolve, that being Viv being upset at me for the row we had last night. So after Geography and Soc/Pol Structures classes, I went back to make amends to Viv. We talked it out and realized it was a misunderstanding, so we're cool again. Then I went back to work on the map I'm creating on large poster board. (It's loads of fun, but I don't know why.), then Liz visited my room for awhile. Went to dinner, and then Viv and I returned to my room to make amends even more.

When she returned to her room, I completed my map (the country of "Flamenoria") and hung the finished product on the wall. I must say that I am quite pleased with the final results.

Later on I went over to St. Hilda's, where I found Doug had gotten quite drunk, I guess in celebration of his decision to leave early... though I don't know if celebrate is quite the term to use. I hung around there for awhile, and then came back to catch some sleep.


Monday, November 14, 1988


This day can best be summed up by the word "oops." That's not to be confused with "Whoops," which Doug described as the term you would use if, say, Jupiter blew up.

Anyway, the day started out just fine, waking up at 8.30 a.m. when Viv came to my room to say goodbye before she headed off to her day of classes. As soon as she left, I fell right back to sleep. I woke up again at about 9.30 a.m. when Doug stopped by. He had a good laugh when he saw me in my sweatpants and messy hair, then told me that we would meet at the bus stop at around 10.45 a.m. on Cottingham Road and head into town. He left, and I fell back to sleep. (Pictured: The actual bed where I kept falling back to sleep.)

So at 12.15 p.m. I woke up officially, well past the time I was supposed to meet up with Doug. Feeling enormously guilty but unsure of what to do, I took a shower. When I returned to my room Doug had stopped by and dropped off a piece of graph paper... and replacement lead for my mechanical pencil! (Journal returns from being written in black ink to once again being written in lead pencil.) So I guess Doug wasn't too upset with me for oversleeping. I went to grab a sandwich for lunch, then went over to his room to make amends.

I returned to my room to eat my sandwich, then started reading "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekov for my Poetry and Drama class. Went to class at 3.15, discussed "The Cherry Orchard" and all of its brilliant significance, then came back to The Grange at 4.45 and got in line for dinner. After dinner I did a little map drawing using the graph paper that Doug provided for me, and then we started to get a group together to go see the Robin Williams movie Good Morning Vietnam. I'd already seen it twice when it came out in the U.S., but definitely worth a third look.

I went to get Viv, but she wasn't in and I wasn't sure where she was. I figured she must have been out with other friends, so I left and got Sid, Andy, Paul and he headed downtown to the movie theater.

After we returned from the movie, there was a rather harsh note left for me under the door by Viv. She was very angry that I did not get her to go to the movies. So I did the only logical thing... I explained myself in a harsh note back. I think the evening can be concluded by a quote by H.I. McDonough (Nicolas Cage) in Raising Arizona... "I'm in dutch with the wife." Whoops! (Yes, whoops!)


Sunday, November 13, 1988

The Yank Scores a Goal

I woke up about mid-morning today and caught a few cartoons on the telly. After lunch, J.P., Big Jon, Little Johnny and I, along with a few others, went up to the Cottingham Road site to play some football (the English variety, of course!) The game was going well for awhile, and we were quite close, the score being 5-4, thanks in large part to a great performance by our star goalie, Turlek. I even scored one of our goals! How sweet is that?

But then Turlek decided that he didn't want to play goalie anymore, so he came out and J.P, Little Johnny, Paul and I were left to circulate in the position. It was not good. Twenty minutes later, the game got out of hand and we lost, 12-4. Yikes, what a joke. It was fun, though!

I walked back to The Grange, only to remember upon my arrival that I had left my room key in J.P.'s room, and J.P. had gone from the game to a pub, so I was locked out. Viv hadn't returned from her trip home yet, so I didn't really have anywhere else I could go. I sat in with Doug for awhile, then visited Sid for a bit. Once J.P. returned, rather than head right back to my room, we decided to have a brief water battle. After those shenanigans, I returned to my room, and after dinner I rested in my room, awaiting Viv's return.

At 8.30 Viv arrived with her parents from Skegness. She brought along with her some pictures of her home, growing up, etc. So that was pretty cool to see. Later on, we watched "The Breakfast Club" on TV. Always a great film to watch. Fell asleep finally around 3 a.m., exhausted from the day's football match.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Orinoco Flow" - Enya
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Bad Medicine" - Bon Jovi


Saturday, November 12, 1988

A Day in York

Oh what to do today, with Viv not around. Managed to wake up relatively early, about 9.00 a.m., got dressed and showered (though not actually in that order... see, this is why I need to write my journal in pencil!) But we had some fun planned... a group of us were planning a trip a bit north to the City of York.

I had been to the city back during my Camp Hill High School class trip back in the spring of 1987, and it was one of my favorite stops along that trip. So I was looking forward to returning... back then I had no idea I would be returning so soon. That was probably the moment where I started to think that I'd like to someday come back to Britain and study so that I'd have more time to spend in places like this.

Anyway, at about noon we caught the city bus, which meandered from Hull to York. It's about 40 miles away, and we finally arrived at about 1.30 p.m. The train would've been faster, but the bus was much cheaper. For a couple of poor college lads, the bus was the best option.

Once we got there, we walked around the various shops for awhile until Big Jon, Paul, J.P. and Littly Johnny went to a pub. Doug and I decided to continue walking around the very picturesque town, taking in the very crowded sights and sounds of York (lots of Christmas shoppers already!)

We went into York Minster, and it was very impressive. However, I felt that there were just too many visitors in the church at that time to really enjoy it. I did get some nice black-and-white photographs outside of the minster.

Afterward, we walked along the wall that surrounds York, during which time we crossed paths with the rest of our group. Doug and I then walked down the steps off the wall and walked around town some more, taking in more of the sites of York. When we have more time (Our next trip here will likely be on Nov. 25), we will be able to take in more of the sites.

I bought a cheap Mike + the Mechanics EP, "Nobody's Perfect," for 99p, and the sheet music to The Proclaimers song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" so that I could practice it on my guitar back in my room. But later, as we were on the bus home, I realized that the inside page was missing, so I didn't have the full song. Bugger all!

Anyway, after walking around York a bit longer, Doug and I found the train station where we were to pick up the bus. We grabbed some dinner there while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, and I also bought a copy of "The Times." We caught the 5.45 bus and headed back to Hull, where we finally arrived at about 7.30 p.m.

After returning, I took a brief sortie out to Double Happiness for some delicious chips 'n gravy, over to the "offie" to buy four cans of Tennent's Lager, as well as a bottle of Cloberg (Yugoslavian wine) for later use.

Later, we had a casual, less intense water battle, which ended when we decided to retire to the television room in St. Hilda's to watch the Eddie Murphy-Nick Nolte film "48 Hours."

Afterwards I returned to my room to write my latest article as the foreign correspondent for The Snapper. It was a criticism of the IRA, the Irish Republican Army. It may ruffle a few feathers. Well, good night.

(Photos: #1 - Me along the wall in York, near York Minster; #2 - York Minster, as seen from the wall; #3- Doug in York; #4 - A street artist paints a portrait on the sidewalk in York.)


Friday, November 11, 1988

Post-Election Decor

It's the 70th anniversary of the Armistice of World War I... Veteran's Day. I woke up early for breakfast, and ate in the refectory with Viv and Kenny. Then I went to my Roz seminar of Social/Political Structures, then went to the library to get my Geography Paper Assignments down.

I came back to my room afterward, where in a little while Viv came over and we had some lunch. She they stayed for awhile in my room until she had to leave to get ready for her trip back home, where she was going to be visiting for the weekend. Good news, though... she let me borrow her TV for the duration of her visit!

After that, I spent a couple of hours re-arranging my room (post-election decor, pictured), and going through the newspapers, clipping out election articles. I think they'll be interesting to look back upon someday.

Later, after dinner, we had another water battle, which lasted from 6.30-7.00 p.m. It was quite intense and loads of fun.

(Editor's note: Up until now, the entire journal has been written in pencil.)

Doug borrowed my pencil and it ran out of lead, so now I'll have to start writing in pen. Good news on Doug... he's finally decided that this place isn't too bad! I spent the rest of the evening writing letters, watching a little telly (it's about 15 inches, ha ha!), then listening to some tunes on my stereo before finally turning in for bed.


Thursday, November 10, 1988

Sack Edgar Page, Part 2

He did it! Bush won Pennsylvania! And California! Also, I was happy to see that Sen. John Heinz won re-election in Pennsylvania by a comfortable 2-1 margin. The final score: George Bush - 426 electoral votes (54.5% of the popular vote), Michael Dukakis - 112 electoral votes (45.5%).

Anyway, I woke up early for no apparent reason. (Viv woke me up and told me that she had missed her first class.) So I just took it easy until 10 a.m., when we took the bus into town to do some shopping. I only bought a newspaper. Then, instead of taking the bus back to The Grange, we walked back, hitting several shops along the way (record, book, music, etc.) I bought another James Bond paperback ("You Only Live Twice") for 20p, and some water balloons (gotta be prepared for the next water battle.) We then returned and rested.

There was another march by the Save Edgar Page lefties that we were tempted to water bomb... but we didn't. They canvassed Humberside College quite extensively to get marchers... but only two from our college went. Ha ha! There would've been more, however, the secretary of the Humberside College Labour Club (a guy named Martin, who seems to be intimidated by me for some reason), got his group lost and never made it to the march. I should laugh, and yet I do.

That evening a group of us (Viv, Kenny, Liz, Little Johnny, Andy, two of Viv and Liz's friends and I) went to see the movie "Buster" starring Phil Collins. Others (Big Jon, Sid and Neil) went to the other theater to see "A Fish Called Wanda." I thought "Buster was a pretty good movie, with an interesting plot (based on the true story of a guy who led the biggest train heist in British history, then went on the lam for years before getting caught.) I thought Phil Collins was impressive in his cinematic debut as a leading man.

Afterwards, most of us went to McDonald's for chocolate shakes, and then it was back to The Grange. Viv came over to my room for awhile, and stayed until I got too tired and fell asleep.

(Pictured is a close-up of my room door after the election. I had posted updated results as they rolled in. For fun I put a curly-wigged photo of myself as "Gern Blanston" on the ballot as well. A few people wondered what was up with that. I still wonder that myself)


Wednesday, November 9, 1988

Water Battle

Woke up at 8.50 a.m., just in time to get to my Geography lecture. However, I opted out, and decided to go get some breakfast instead, then get some more rest after only four hours of sleep.

Once again, I didn't receive any mail, but I was still happy most of the day because of Bush's win. I spent a good deal of the morning and afternoon catching up on my writing, with a break for lunch at the refactory. During the day, I watched two talk shows dealing with the American presidential election. One of those shows, which was filmed in Norwich, had a section of Americans, including college students, and they were discussing the election. One of the students, I swear, looked exactly like Brian Lobel, a friend of mine from grade school. He had a mustache and a deeper voice, but the tonality was the same and he looked exactly like him. I'll have to check into it to see if it was actually him (I know, probably a one in a million chance.)

Later in the day, we had our first major water battle throughout the residences. Having recently purchased my own water weapon, I was prepared for combat (me pictured ready for combat above). It took place outdoors as well as indoors, and it lasted for a good half an hour, with a significant audience watching us. It was good fun. The battle took place shortly after we watched a new episode of "Dr. Who," featuring the Candy Man.

After the water battle, I spent the rest of the evening with my girlfriend Viv. Oh, before watching Dr. Who, Viv and I went to the library so that she could get some work done. I got a newspaper and spent the time reading over election results, but the final tally hadn't come in when it went to press. Then I worked on a Scrabble puzzle in the paper, which became obsessive. That's all.


Tuesday, November 8, 1988

The Big Day

It's election day! I went to classes starting at 10.15 a.m. with Poetry and Drama. Then I went to my Geography seminar, but decided to skip my Soc./Pol. Structures lecture to go into town to return my library books (due today) and to buy a .44 caliber water pistol (only 99p), because you never know when something like that is going to come in handy. I also purchased Paul Simon's new album, "Negotiations and Love Songs (1971-86)." It's a greatest hits album. I also bought a copy of The Times and some food, then I returned to my room, went to dinner, then spent sometime with Viv, during which time we watched "The Cosby Show," "Fawlty Towers" and the news (among other activities.) Fortunately, Viv has a TV that she set up in my room so that we could watch the programs. Because of my room location, I can pick up a better reception than she can in her room.

Then at 11.30, coverage began for the election, which I watched until 4.30 a.m. As I had anticipated, Vice President George Bush (R) was victorious over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D). I was hoping to catch Bush's acceptance speech, but I fell asleep beforehand (which I kicked myself for missing.)

During the festivities, Viv was with me until about 12.30 p.m., when she left to return to her room. Another visitor was Simon McMullen, or Sam, who lives down the hall from me. He's an older student and a married socialist who was completely annoyed at the whole ordeal. We had some spirited and good-natured arguments and discussions during the evening.

J.P. and Sid also stopped by the room when they returned from LA's, and Ian, who lives next door, also stopped in to check it out for a bit. Needless to say, Bush scored a decisive victory over the Duke. Four more years of prosperity awaits... yaaaay!


Monday, November 7, 1988

April is the Cruelest Month

This was a frantic day spent working on THE PAPER!!! I woke up at 8.50 a.m., went to breakfast, then went straight to work on my 2,000-word essay on T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland." I worked straight from 9.15 to 3.45 (I overshot my deadline by .45, since it was due by 3.00), and only took a 15-minute lunch break.

It was an intense, but valuable experience. I had a bit of a scare when handing it in because I wasn't sure of the system, and with it being late and all. But Viv and I made it to the office in time to drop the paper off, so it appears that a volatile situation has been avoided.

After dinner, I spent some time with Viv, followed by a disastrous/victorious game of Risk. It was disastrous because Kenny (pictured) and I were wiped out in the first round (being the reigning champions, our team was picked on and targeted by the rest of the players.) Rather than sit and watch, I joined J.P.'s team, where we built a stronghold in North America, and when J.P. had to leave, I was able to score decisive victories over Kenny (who had taken over for Little Johnny and wanted to go to bed), and then Andy. It wasn't long after that when I went to bed myself. Tomorrow's the big election day!


Sunday, November 6, 1988

There's Plenty of Time

This Sunday was spent talking about how we were going to work on our papers for class tomorrow. Unfortunately, we all got sidetracked by various elements (trips to Double Happiness, etc.)

Eventually, I did get started on my T.S. Eliot paper, and I managed to get a good bit of research done, but only a little bit of writing started on the rough draft (one paragraph, to be exact) before I decided to call it a day. I figure I can work on the paper tomorrow, since I have until 3 p.m. in the afternoon to work on it. We'll see how that goes.

Only two days now until the presidential election. The Sunday Times had an impressive layout on the election. (Cover is pictured.)

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Orinoco Flow" - Enya
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Wild Wild West" - The Escape Club
  • World News Today: A 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Burma and China, killing 730 people and injruing 3,900.


Saturday, November 5, 1988

Shakespeare the Sadist

Woke up relatively late this morning, but just in time to catch lunch. After some food, Doug and I made our sortie into town to catch the Hull Record Fair. We spent a good two hours there, and both of us bought our share of records, with Doug spending significantly more than me.

I bought the Genesis "A Trick of the Tail " record... the same one that I saw a few weeks ago in London but didn't have the money at the time to purchase. I also picked up a Genesis single that has the non-album track "Submarine," the Talking Heads "Nothing But Flowers" extended mix EP, and Sting's "Ghost in the Strand." We returned before 4 p.m. with our wares and ate dinner.

That evening, J.P. and I went over to Hull University to see the student production of the play "Shakespeare the Sadist." The acting was good, the stage design was brilliant and the script was bizarre, to say the least. However, the sound was awful, and to say it was somewhat offensive is an understatement. It did provide some interesting ideas, though.

We returned from the play in time to watch Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different" on TV. After that, Viv and I hung out in my room. Only three more days to go until Bush's decisive victory!

  • World News Today: Cornell University graduate student Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. s confirmed as the cause of the worst computer sabotage to date, creating the first computer worm on the internet.


Friday, November 4, 1988

Home Brew

Woke up bright and early for my Roz seminar. It wasn't all that bad... if you look past the blatant Communist propaganda. Came back to my room, then went on a shopping excursion with J.P. and Kenny in downtown Hull, where I bought a Prince EP for my friend Scott back home (featuring the non-album track, "Another Lonely Christmas") and some batteries. J.P. and Kenny bought a bucket for the home brew they are planning to make. St. Hilda's beer... well that should be interesting. (Pictured: J.P., meditates in Queen's Park in Hull. Perhaps he's asking the beer gods to give him the gift of brewmastery.)

Went back to the residence and ate dinner. After dinner we went to the Gardner's Arms for a pint, then over to Double Happiness for some chips and gravy. A little while after returning to my room, Viv stopped by for a visit. She was planning on going home to Skegness for the weekend, but as the evening progressed, it became more and more obvious that her friend who was going to pick her up wasn't going to return her message. I guess we'll have to wait and see if she hears anything tomorrow. Only four days until the presidential election!


Thursday, November 3, 1988

Tremendous Significance (Nothing of...)

Five days until the presidential election. Woke up bright and early for no apparent reason (though probably because I went to bed so early last night), so I went to breakfast. Then I bummed around the day until my class started at 2:15 p.m.

Well after dinner I did nothing of tremendous significance, so no sense boring you with needless details.

(Picture is a small alley way nestled in the heart of downtown Hull. It has nothing to do with this particular day, but none of my photos do.)


Wednesday, November 2, 1988

Inspired by Geography... and Boredom

Six days until Bush's victory speech! Actually, I'm at the "worried something's going to go wrong" stage right now, but I still think he should win the election.

Spent the first hours of the day in breakfast (what is in that sausage, anyway?) and my Geography lecture. I spent most of the day doing rather routine things, such as food shopping and reading. In a fit of boredom, and I guess somewhat inspired by my Geography class, I sat around creating a map of a fictional country named Flamenco (pictured). It's odd, but interesting, I guess. Maybe I'll continue to develop the country and see what comes of it.

Ate dinner, then met up with Viv. We watched an episode of "Family Ties," and then a new episode of "Doctor Who." Then Viv and I studied a bit until I got tired, so I returned to my room and went to bed at around 11 p.m. Of late, going to bed that early has been highly unusual.


Tuesday, November 1, 1988

Glasnost Propaganda Day

Only 8 more shopping days until the election! It still looks like George Bush's race, but we'll wait and see. I woke up early, got some breakfast, then finished the last two chapters of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Sad ending to the book.

Went to Literature in Context class at 10:15 a.m., which turned out to be nothing more than a Marxist Propaganda Session. Then it was off to Geography, where the seminar discussion was on Communist China. Then, after a bit of time in the library, I went to Soc/Pol Structures, where we discussed POWER with Roz Billington. For awhile, it seemed like Glasnost Propaganda Day at Humberside College of Higher Education.

Came back to The Grange at about 3:15 p.m., and rested until dinner time. After dinner, Viv and I went to see "Big" starring Tom Hanks. I had already seen it back in the States, but it's such a good film that I didn't mind seeing it again. After the movie we came back to my room and had a little bit of the German wine that I had bought the other day.

(Pictured: J.P. sitting on a bench at Queen's Park in downtown Hull.)