Tuesday, January 31, 1989

Propaganda and Feminist Rhetoric in the Classroom...

Went to all of my classes today. Literature in Context was on the subject of Propaganda in Literature. Geography concluded our section on tourism and began our new topic on unequal development. And of course, good old Roz Billington was spouting her usual feminist rhetoric in Social/Political Structures, this time on the topic of sexual division of labor.

Later I came back to the halls and J.P. and I began work on a tape for his friends, which included a hilarious skit interview with me as the lead singer of Yokel (which, of course, I am.) I hope they enjoy it.

I didn't buy anything today, so I saved even more dough for my hopeful trip to Spain. I also did some more research on the student loan system being proposed here in Britain (which has met with heavy resistance among students). I of course found it to be very logical and fair.


Monday, January 30, 1989

Cruise Night ...

We are nearing the end of January, but I woke up undisturbed by this fact. I went to my Geography Class (there was a time shift), then spent some time in the library reading "The Playboy of the Western World" by J.M. Synge before heading to Poetry and Drama Class.

Went to dinner with Viv, and later that evening we went out to the movies to see "Cocktail" starring Tom Cruise. There was quite a queue to get in, but we still managed to get good seats. It filled up and sold out fast. It was an OK film, but seemed to be some sort of ego trip for Tommy. A lot of similarities to "Top Gun," but at a bar instead of in a jet fighter. Friday is "Die Hard" day!

Came back to the room and watched a documentary called "The Nuclear Age." It was a detailed account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and quite informative.

Afterward, I played with Shannon the Hamster and with Viv.


Sunday, January 29, 1989

Conservative living ...

I woke up late again this morning, but just in time to grab some roast beef for lunch in the refectory. I spent a good bit of the day working more on the tape that I'm making for Greg, and by the early evening, it was completed.

The final product included the things I recorded yesterday, as well as a parody of BBC1 News, A Tour of Britain, an interview with E Conspectu (one member, anyway. Even though Greg doesn't know J.P., I think he'll like it.), and various music from over here that I've compiled... among other miscellany.

Viv did some more revising in preparation for her exams, but not too much. Most of the day was careless and cheap living in order to save money. I did buy Shannon the Hamster a new house, though. Conserve, brave soldier!

Picture: One of the pictures that I took during my trip around Britain last month was of an interesting graveyard located near Sid's house outside London. The picture didn't come out so great, but that, combined with a photo of a family I cut out of a newspaper ad created the inspiration for "Death Beach," one of the songs I wrote while in England for my band Yokel to perform when we reunite next summer upon my return to America. It's sort-of a Beach-Boys-meets-thrash-metal-type song.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" - Marc Almond and Gene Pitney
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "When I'm With You" - Sheriff


Saturday, January 28, 1989

A Tape from Greg ...

Started the day lazily watching some Saturday Morning Cartoons. I don't think you can ever be too old to enjoy that favorite pasttime! Admittedly, though, they weren't quite as good here as they are in America. Basically did that until Viv and I went to grab some lunch.

Viv did some revision and study, since her exams start in a little over a week. There's a lot of pressure on her; she needs to pass a certain amount of the exams (and she says they are extremely difficult), or her plans for study in Spain will be canceled. Which means my plans for visiting her while she studies in Spain will also be canceled. Sure, no stress there!

For me, not quite as much stress. Actually, this was my first weekend in a long while of not having to worry about writing an essay, so I celebrated by relaxing.

In the post today I received a very comprehensive tape/letter/picture show package from my friend Greg Swartz back in Camp Hill. I played it while sort of still lying in bed. Viv was there with me listening to it as well, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. One amusing thing he did was collect a bunch of oddball photos - some of me, some of others - then told a story using those pictures. It was quite clever, and its always a treat to get something from home... to get to hear actual voices is an even bigger bonus. (Pictured are a few of the photos that Greg sent to me. The first is a blurry pic of me and Mike Metevier sitting at Bob's Big Boy in Camp Hill. According to the story, I was paying some sort of a bribe. The second is of the 1979 Chevy Malibu Classic station wagon I drove during high school, and the third is a self-portrait of Greg.)

Of course, I then had to prepare to record my reply tape. I gathered my resources to try and produce the best recording possible. Although I didn't quite finish it, I did manage to get quite a bit accomplished. I pulled in the musical talents of J.P. Cardoso, keyboardist for the Philly band E Conspectu. He helped me record the 1989 Ugly Remix of "I Don't Like Ugly People" (the signature song by my band, Yokel, from our first album, "Shut Up and Listen to Our Lousy Album." I'm known as Glerk Mutton (vocals, bass), Greg is Brick (guitar), and Steve Benner is Chauncey "Buck" Naykid (drummer).

We really suck.

Anyway, we also recording an Acid-style song using the keyboard J.P. borrowed, did a skit on Home Brew, and other fun stuff. It should be quite good when it's finished.

Later on, we watched two movies on TV - "The Goonies" (probably would've been more enjoyable if the kids in it weren't so dang loud all the time), and "2001: A Space Odyssey." I wonder if this is what life will really be like 12 years in the future? (How's that for polar opposite movies?)

I went to bed shortly after "2001."


Friday, January 27, 1989

A Plane to Spain? ...

Well, I woke up early again for my morning seminar with Roz Billington and the Social-Political Structures crew. Good fun, as always - a great way to prepare for the weekend.

Later on, Viv and I caught the bus into downtown Hull, where we proceeded to shop for essentials, such as the Elvis Costello songbook that I bought. OK, we bought some grocery provisions as well.

We also started to gather some information about travel to Spain. Next month, Viv's course in international business studies has her going to Madrid, Spain for the rest of the course year. Of course, it won't be much fun spending the rest of the year without her, but it does provide me with an opportunity to visit someplace new and exciting.

And it looks like it's all go for me! Conserve, conserve young warrior! If I'm going to pull off a trip to Spain, I'm going to have to really tighten the belt and save my money. But after crunching the numbers, I think it will be possible.

I still need to decide which is the best way to travel there... either by plane, train or bus. I may only have one option available to me, actually. Traveling by train or bus means going through France, and since Americans are required to obtain a visa to travel through the country, it may be easier to travel by plane... not to mention faster, even though it's probably more expensive. Sure, it's probably not too difficult to get a visa, but it annoys me that France is requiring that I do this, so I think I just want to bypass their country altogether... at least until they lift this absurd requirement.

Anyway, following our shopping bonanza, we returned to dine in the refectory, watched a little telly, and played with Shannon the Hamster for a bit. I got a letter from home today, with $25 in it. Thanks Mom and Dad! It's going straight into the Spain Fund.

One month ago today it was December 27. It doesn't mean anything, except that I was in Edinburgh.


Thursday, January 26, 1989

Another boring day ...

I slept in today, and basically didn't do the reading I should have done for my 2.15 class. It didn't matter, however, because it turned out that the class had been canceled. So now I have an extra week to read Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" and "To the Lighthouse."


That evening, after yet another meal that could not be beat, Viv and I went to see "Red Heat" (a movie that came out in America last June and received very favorable ratings.) I thought it was entertaining, though not that great, while Viv absolutely hated it.

Naturally, we saw movie moguls Dave and Karen at the theater again. They had gone to see the Tom Cruise movie "Cocktail." The countdown has begun to see "Die Hard" (It opens here on Feb. 3.) Sure, I've already seen it twice in America (included a sneak preview showing one week before its actual release in the U.S.) but it's so awesome that I'm ready to see it again. Also awaiting the British release of "The Naked Gun."


Wednesday, January 25, 1989

This is what happens ...

I woke up urlie for breakfast, then attended my weekly Geography lecture. Went through a typical daily routine, visiting people, hanging out, eating, reading a bit.

I forget most of what I did today, until 10.15 p.m., when Viv and I watched the second installment of "Thirtysomething."

As you can probably tell, I'm writing this well after the day this happened. Got a little behind in my journal writing, but that'll happen when you've got other writing and school work to complete.

Spent the rest of the evening with Viv and playing with Shannon the Hamster.

Since not much happenned today, I'll share with you an amusing part of the current issue of Viz magazine (see yesterday's cover). While in St. Hilda's, a group of us hung out and decided to take the "Are You an Animal Lover?" quiz the magazine featured (below... click on image for larger version). It was hilarious. Kenny almost passed out from a lack of oxygen at one point, he was laughing so hard.


Tuesday, January 24, 1989

Three months ...

I spent this Tuesday like most any other, except that my attendance was not required in Literature in Context class. So I did some work today in the library. I finished up my article for The Snapper on Three Mile Island, and I must admit that I'm quite proud of how it turned out.

In the interest of saving money, Viv and I celebrated our three-month anniversary by heading towards Double Happiness, which unfortunately, was closed. So instead of Chinese, we settled on a pizza and some chips that we brought back to the room. A rather uneventful day.

Pictured is the copy of Viz magazine that hit newsstands around this time. When things got dull, you could always count on a little rude humor from the pages of Viz to lift your spirits.


Monday, January 23, 1989

Well, It's Done Anyway ...

Ate breakfast, then spent the day finishing up writing one of the worst papers I've ever written ... on E.M. Forster. I finished it at 3.30 p.m., a half-hour before it was due.

After handing it in, I retired to the library for awhile, read the newspaper, checked out some books, and then went back to The Grange for some dinner. After dinner Viv and I went to the movies. We intended on going to see "Red Heat," but it was packed and eventually sold out. So we shifted gears and attempted to see "Cocktail" instead. That, too, was sold out. So we opted for our third choice, "The Presidio," starring Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Tilly and Jack Warden. It was entertaining, although Viv thought the language was a bit saltier than necessary. Now I know what the place where my friend Ted Schaeffer is stationed at looks like. (I didn't see him pop up in the film anywhere!) (Pictured is the brochure for the movie. The movie theatres in Hull often had these available in the lobby to promote upcoming movies.)

When we left, we saw movie moguls Dave and Karen leaving as well, and rode the bus back with them (They went to see "Young Guns.") When we returned, Viv went up to see Liz, while I went down to St. Hilda's, jamming for a bit with J.P. Well, sort-of.

Later, Viv and I went back to my room to take care of Shannon. Relaxed, then went to bed.


Sunday, January 22, 1989

The Sunday After ...

I woke up (surprisingly) at 11 a.m. this morning. Felt relatively well, despite getting very little sleep. Ate a marvelous breakfast, and then read for awhile until it was about time to leave Dr. Morrison's house and head back to Hull.

Just then, Mike Unger (pictured) stopped in to see how the Burns dinner went. He normally goes to this celebration, but unfortunately he had to attend a dinner where Peter Ustinov was speaking. I do believe he made a good choice. One amusing thing he told me that was an utter surprise. Even though he attends the celebration of Scotland's most revered poet, and even though he's the editor of one of the country's largest newspapers, and even though he lives less than two hours from the Scottish border... Mike has never been to Scotland! That just seemed so impossible to comprehend. He's been to many places all around the world, but said it just never came up as a destination of choice. Wow!

Well soon after, Dr. Morrison and I left for Hull, and we only got stuck in one traffic jam along the way. Once we arrived at The Grange halls, Dr. Morrison joined me for dinner in the refectory. That was a sorry mistake, although he got a little sample of what I am forced to eat every day.

He left shortly afterward, and it was back to face the reality that I had a paper due tomorrow. So I began to work on the paper a bit later, with Viv graciously offering to help me, after watching an episode of "Cheers."

Hey, the Super Bowl was on today, and though it started a bit late here (time zone differences and all), I was still able to watch it on Viv's TV in my room, which was very convenient. We continued working on my paper during the game (and offering some explanations of the game of football to Viv.) We were actually able to get a lot of work done. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, but it was a very good game and won by only 4 points in the closing minutes - one of the best Super Bowls I've seen in years!

It was very, very late when the game finally ended (almost 4 a.m.), so when it was over I fell asleep.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Especially for You" - Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Two Hearts" - Phil Collins


Saturday, January 21, 1989

Burns' Night Dinner ...

I woke up at noon - much later than usual - and made my way downstairs at Dr. Morrison's house to have some breakfast and read the newspaper.

I was still sitting at the table finishing my breakfast when Dr. Morrison came down and told me he had bought me a hoagie for lunch. So, fresh from one meal, I was granted another. (Deja vu?)

I relaxed and read a bit, then watched "A Passage to India" on TV - the movie version of the book I'm supposed to read. It was well done, interesting, and a lot easier than reading the book! It was a long movie (nearly 3 hours), but still shorter than reading it.

After the movie ended I took a bath, dressed in my dinner suit (Dr. Morrison tried unsuccessfully to get me into a kilt), and later we were off to the Burns Night Dinner. It's a long standing tradition to hold these affairs to celebrate the birthday of poet Robert Burns. This year marks the 230th anniversary of his birth. This was also the 104th year that the Chester Caledonian Association, which was hosting this evening's festivities, has held their own celebration here.

We arrived at the Queen's Hotel in Chester at around 6.30 p.m., then had a few drinks before sitting down. Scotch was heartily consumed, food was devoured (naturally haggis, which I despise, was on the menu, but there were other delicacies that I quite enjoyed), poetry from Burns was recited and heralded, speakers spoke fondly of Burns, songs of the poet's poems were enthusiastically sung (Dr. Morrison's cousin Ronnie was one of the two featured singers), and jovial toasts were made. It was a decidedly male-dominated event.

Unfortunately, the kids sitting behind us were a bit rude and loud, but the dinner was nevertheless entertaining and fun. Everyone left the banquet happy (some considerably happier than others), but this was hardly the end of the evening, as wives came to pick up their husbands to take them home, or to other parties. Our destination was an afterparty at the home of the Gills (friends of Dr. Morrison. I sat at the banquet with Gavin and Ian Gill.) That was good fun as well, with more drinking, conversation, poetry reading, and singing going on here... not to mention some Scottish dancing.

It was fabulous fun, and we finally made it back to Dr. Morrison's house at around 4.30 a.m. Still wasn't quite ready to go to bed, so I read a bit more from "The Chronicles" before falling cold away asleep.

(Pictures: #1 - The front and back cover of the Burns Night program. #2 - Enjoying an evening at the Gills house party after the event. #3 - Gus sings!)


Friday, January 20, 1989

Inauguration Day! ...

I woke up at noon - much later than usual - and made my way downstairs at Dr. Morrison's house to have some breakfast and read the newspaper.

I was still sitting at the table finishing my breakfast when Fiona came down and told me that she was taking me out to lunch. So, fresh from one meal, I was granted another - lasagna, at the local pub. After a delicious meal, I returned to the house to do some reading for class - "Howard's End." I actually quite enjoy that book so far.

At 4.30 p.m., they began their TV coverage of the inauguration ceremony for George Bush. So down went the book, and it was me in front of the TV, wishing I was there. It could've been me. I actually did get an invitation sent to me back home to attend one of the inaugural balls, but seeing as how I couldn't afford to make the trip, I had to pass. My friends Greg (who spoke at the Dan Quayle rally) and Trista went to the ball, however. Lucky them!

After the coverage ended, I watched the news, and then when Dr. Morrison returned, caught my favorite Mel Brooks film, "High Anxiety." Dr. Morrison also got me started reading the very thick and comprehensive book, "The Chronicle of the 20th Century." It was fabulous, and unfortunately I couldn't put it down. I read it religiously until 10, when Dr. Morrison's cousin, Ronnie and his wife arrived.

We ate dinner at about 10.30 p.m., and then all of us sat in the lounge, talking. I called home at 1.45 a.m., but only Grandma was home at the time. Fortunately this time I didn't have to call collect and get cut off, so I left a message with Grandma and Mom and Dad called back at 2 a.m. (9 p.m. their time) We had a good conversation, and I wished a happy birthday to both Mom (two days ago) and Grandma (tomorrow... well actually, it was already officially her birthday where I was, but not quite yet where she was.)

Afterwards I read a bit more before finally calling it a day.


Thursday, January 19, 1989

A Bonny Weekend Begins! ...

Today, Dr. Morrison picked me up to take me back to Ness with him for the weekend. The highlight will be a classic Scottish tradition... the Burns' Night Supper, honoring the celebrated 18th Century Scottish poet, Robert Burns (he's the guy who wrote "Auld Lang Syne.")

Decided to start the celebration by taking it easy and taking a pass on my classes today. Packed my bag, said my farewell to Viv, and then Dr. Morrison and I left Hull around 2.30 p.m.

We moved quite well, stopping along the way at a Grenada Rest Stop for some food and coffee. Arrived in Ness around 5.30 p.m. and went straight to the Old Quay, where Fiona was working, and had some dinner. I enjoyed a nice gammon steak.

We then went back to the Morrisons' house, relaxed, talked, and watched Woody Allen's "Play It Again Sam," which was hilarious. Dr. Morrison is a big fan of Woody Allen. Then I read a bit from the "Book of Lists," before heading up to Glen's old room to get some sleep. He's in America, so I'm sure he won't mind.


Wednesday, January 18, 1989

'Say You'll Accept the Charges, Grandma!' ...

Today is my Mom's 40th birthday. Woke up early as I always do (Ha!) to have some breckie. Then went to my Geography class at 9.15 a.m. Following that we got a group together, and then went into town separately to see the film "Young Guns."

First Viv and I shopped around. I bought some provisions for Shannon the Hamster, as well as 3 blank tapes. We went to the afternoon show since it was only £1.20 for students with ID. It was actually quite good... certainly a better film than I expected... and rather violent. From what I've heard, its actually supposed to be one of the most accurate accounts of Billy the Kid's life made yet.

Well, we came back in time for dinner, and afterwards it was plop time in the TV room. We settled in, only to discover that Dr. Who's season had finished, so no episode was on tonight. They don't show reruns like we do in America, so once it's done, it's done. Later on we watched an episode of "Thirtysomething," which was pretty good. Compared to most of the soaps they show here in Britain, "Thirtysomething" has a considerable amount of substance.

Afterward, I called home to talk to Mom and wish her a happy birthday. Unfortunately, she wasn't home and Grandma wouldn't (or couldn't) reverse the charges. So I was cut off rather quickly and didn't get a chance to talk to anyone at home. I tried to call again a little bit later, but didn't have success and I gave up. I'll just try and call them again the next time I visit the Morrisons.

Viv and I took Shannon out for her daily ritual, and shortly thereafter the day thus endeth.

(Pictured: Statue of Queen Victoria in downtown Hull.)


Tuesday, January 17, 1989

Writing an Article for The Snapper ...

Busy day of classes today. I went to Literature in Context class, ate lunch, then went to Geography. Next I headed over to pick up my grant check (£87... that'll come in handy!), then it was off to Social/Political Structures class.

After that I had a stint in the library to do some research on an article I'm working on for The Snapper. I'm doing a look back at the 10th anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. The anniversary isn't until March 28, but I need to work ahead in order to get it to Millersville in time for the corresponding issue of The Snapper.

Next I came back to the halls, ate dinner, then, thinking that the movie "Halloween" was on TV tonight, I told everyone that it was. So I went and got a bottle of cider, and eventually made my way to the TV room ... only to discover that I was wrong; "Halloween" was not on TV tonight. We were in the mood for a little fright night, so that was a bit disappointing.

Finished my cider and then went back to my room with Viv for the rest of the evening.

(Pictured: Just for fun, a fake ad for "Up Tub" from the latest issue of the bimonthly Viz Comics. Always a great time when the next issue hit the stands and made its way around the halls. Note Michael J. Fox's "quote.")


Monday, January 16, 1989

Fin ...

Woke up when Viv came over to wake me up for breakfast. She fell asleep here last night and woke up at 4 a.m. to return to her room.

After breakfast, I typed up my bibliography and reviewed my Social-Political Structures paper. I think it reads pretty well. Then I took it over to the Inglemire site to hand it in. After returning, I rested in honor of my victory until heading to my 3.15 class. After class I went to dinner.

After dinner I hung around with Viv and J.P. for the rest of the evening. Today was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Day. Honestly, where does the time go between holidays? It seems like only yesterday I was out shopping for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Day gifts for everyone.

(Pictured is a map of the Yorkshire/Humberside area. No reason, just didn't have any photos to use for today.)


Sunday, January 15, 1989

Struggling to Finish that #%&@*! Paper ...

I woke up a little past noon today, just in time for lunch. When I returned to the room, it was time to continue work on Ye Olde Essay. It went frustratingly slow for quite awhile, and it looked like I wasn't going to have enough words to finish it. I continued to struggle through it, though, and after dinner, when I began to type my final copy, I was able to beef it up so that it not only sounded better, but it met the sufficient quota of words.

I went to visit J.P. in St. Hilda's for about 15 minutes for a break, and then returned to my room to finish typing all but the bibliography, finally wrapping it up around 1.30 a.m.

Viv sweetly waited for me and fell asleep before I was finished. She had been playing with my hamster Shannon for awhile, putting her in her exercise ball and letting her crawl around on the bed. She really is a cute hamster. (Shannon, that is. Viv is a cute girl.)

Pictured is Viv holding Shannon the hamster. This is the only photo I took of Shannon.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Especially for You" - Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Two Hearts" - Phil Collins


Saturday, January 14, 1989

The Heat is On ...

I woke up later today because I could. Arose around 11 a.m. when the plumber knocked on my door. He came to turn on my heater (finally!), so I told him to come back in a few minutes when I was "decent."

He came back about 2 hours later, after I had eaten lunch and was working on my report.

I spent the entire day in the Halls, working on my Social-Political Structures paper, on Individuals and Society... or thinking about working on my paper. At 6.45, after dinner, Viv and I went to the TV room and watched "You Only Live Twice," which was this week's Bond movie on TV. It was quite good, but again, now I'm seeing that it's quite different from the book.

After the movie I returned to my room to work on the paper, until I was convinced that I had done a good bit of it. I'll finish it tomorrow. J.P. told me he hasn't started his yet. I hope he knows what he's doing.

Spent the rest of the evening, as usual, with Viv.


Friday, January 13, 1989

'Individuals Pursuing Their Interests' ...

Today is the start of what has to be a strictly budgeted weekend. Fortunately, this is more easily accomplished when you have an essay to complete.

I started the day with my Social/Political Structures seminar, which was actually pretty good. Then I went to the library, read the newspaper for a bit, and then began research on my essay for Social/Political Structures. My subject is the role of the individual in society, based upon a quote by Margaret Thatcher:

"There is no such thing as society. Society does not exist. There are only individuals pursuing their interests."

I worked diligently until about 3 p.m., when I returned to The Grange to take a break and relax, and see what everyone else was up to. Ate another "Thanksgiving Dinner that Could Not Be Beat," in the refectory, then returned to the room to get my notes a bit more organized for the essay. I was also able to finish reading "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw for my Poetry & Drama class, before Viv stopped by and we put our work aside to settle down for the evening.

Everybody probably thinks I'm some kind of a bonehead because I don't go out much anymore. But what can you do when you're counting your pennies?

One cool thing this evening, somebody must have picked up one of my letters from the mail table by mistake. At some point this evening a letter from my friend Michele Beauchamp back at Millersville University was slipped under my door. That was a nice bit of a surprise!

From Michele's letter:

Here it is, finally, a letter from me...

I'm glad you like it there so much. What do you think about Doug coming home? Did you talk to him much to find out what was going on? ...

I thought about you a lot this semester. I wanted to write or something, even started a few letters, but got tied up in something or other and never finished...

The only tapes I listen to anymore are the ones you made for me before you left and the Genesis albums you taped. Although I don't know any of the names because I never wrote the song or album names down. Silly me.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that even though you're not physically here, parts of you are lying around, bothering everybody...

This semester has been really awful. I had to take features editor at The Snapper - against my will - I really hate it. I can't write the way I want because I don't have time... As an added plus, I had to get used to my R.A. job. That took a lot out of me. I almost got fired because of an investigation Shannon did for the paper on security in the dorms. I wasn't involved at all, but Resident Life said I should have told them there was going to be an investigation, then a story, so they could have been prepared, which would have defeated the purpose...

I really enjoyed those articles you sent. They were well-written and took up space beautifully. Thanks! Keep them coming ...

Remember Steve Miller? No, not the guy with the band, the guy who teaches English at Millersville. He will be teaching a course on the Bronte sisters at Humberside this summer, and I'm pretty sure I will be taking it. I'll only be there for three weeks, but I'm pretty excited. I think the course begins sometime near the end of July...

I hope the holidays went well for you. I'm assuming you were with Glen's family... I hope you are taking care of yourself. I miss you and think of you often. Write if you get a chance.


Thursday, January 12, 1989

Photos Finished ...

Contradictory to my effort to control spending, I went into town by bus twice today. After my 2.15 Prose Fiction Class, I want in and picked up both J.P. and my film, as well as a cool flip folder photo album to hold my new pictures. In all, the bill was £32. Wow!

I returned home in time for dinner, and then afterwards spent some time putting the pictures in order, then showing them to people.

I thought a lot of my photos turned out quite nice from the trip. The photo album starts with my trip to The Wirral and Chester before Christmas, then to London, Brighton and Canterbury. I have a few photos from Christmas with Viv's family in Skegness, then on to Edinburgh, Inverness/Loch Ness, and then New Year's in St. Andrews. Also included some photos from Stratford-Upon-Avon, Plymouth and Penzance. Still a few slots left in the book...

Instead of doing my class work, a group of us decided to go into town to catch a film. We decided to go see "High Spirits," a bizarre but funny film starring Peter O'Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah and Beverly D'Angelo.

I enjoyed it, and the theatre was packed (but it usually will be on £1 night.) Before leaving the theatre I swiped six of the free "Willow" posters that they had available in the lobby, then made our way back to the bus stop.

We finally got to the halls around 10.30 p.m. and, still not feeling like doing any work, Viv and I just spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

Photos: Some of the pictures I picked up from the photomat today: #1: The Tower of London; #2: J.P. takes a little nap on the train; #3: Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness; #4 (as written on the back of the photo)... Tourist Rick in front of Shakespeare's House, Stratford-upon-Avon, January 6, 1989.


Wednesday, January 11, 1989

Ninjas and Superspies ...

Woke up for breakfast and then headed to my 9.15 Geography lecture. Once that piece of necessary business was done, my classes for the day were completed and I had the rest of the day for myself.

J.P., Big Jon and I walked into Hull, stopping at a junk shop, where I bought a rare old Mike Rutherford 45 single record "Working in Line/Compression (non-album track)" for 40p. Great find! Then I priced various film processing stores until I decided to trust my pictures from my recent travels to Just Films. Next I mailed Greg Swartz his Letter of Massive Proportions, then returned in time (2 p.m.) to begin another adventure, this one involving "Ninjas and Superspies" with Colin and Barry. It's quite a fun role playing game, not too unlike "Top Secret." We stopped at about 5.15 p.m. for dinner, to resume again next week.

Forgot to watch Dr. Who again, making it four weeks in a row, so I guess the habit has been broken. Instead I began to read "Howard's End" by E.M. Forster for Prose Fiction class tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 10, 1989

A Day with Lots of Class ...

It was a big class day thing. After Viv woke me up and I went down to the refectory to eat some breakfast, I took a shower, then trotted off to class.

The first class was Literature in Context, where we had an interesting discussion on the poetry of the Spanish Civil War era (1930s.) That was followed by the Geography seminar, and then Social/Political Structures, where Ian Welsh found it his duty to, in the discussion of the corporation, rag on everything he could possibly think to slam. Some of it was funny (such as his take on the Ford Pinto), some of it was rather heartless (referring to his take on coroporate attitudes toward the Bohpal tragedy, "It was only a couple of Indians.")

Returned to my room to do some more reading, eat dinner, and once again do my best not to spend any money. There's a good chance this is going to be some fairly boring reading from hear on out, unless my financial situation miraculously improves. Oh well, onward I go!

I received some more great mail today, including a 1989 Beatles calendar from Uncle Larry and Aunt Joanne. I also finally wrote my big letter to Greg Swartz back in Camp Hill, which I will mail when I go into town tomorrow. This day ended pretty much the same as the previous two days had.


Monday, January 9, 1989

Back to the Routine ...

Once again, it's time to start worrying about writing an essay, this time for Social/Political Structures class.

But oh, the mail that was awaiting me when I returned to college! Several Christmas cards and letters from friends and relatives - 14 in all! So I ate breakfast with a smile, then went back to the room to read all of the mail.

One of those letters was from Scott Reed, who had some interesting items to share. (Picture is of Scott's letter, not actually from Oliver Cromwell or Neville Chamberlain.)

"They're trying to start a Democrats Club at school (Yes, at Liberty University!) This has prompted jokes like, 'Hey, there's a Dem's Club meeting at 7:30 in the Science Hall Broom Closet! Bad joke, but still...

"I'm home now, wish you were, yes I do miss you, bud. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to come out this summer... I considered using my graduation money, but decided it would have to go to a ring and honeymoon fund.

"No, I'm not getting married. But Tammy and I talked about it for the first time on Friday (she was here for three days.) It would be for over 2 yrs., so we're not thinking too much of it. Still, I've never talked so seriously yet. It has been over 8 months now... Wish I could have you here to babble a bit.

"How is your situation? Did you snag the one you were after? How are classes? And most importantly, how's life in 'jolly old England?' ... Do you have a job? How about an accent? You rogue, you! Well, I have a lot more to say, so keep in touch. Sorry again for my forgetfulness.

"Your pal, Neville Chamberlain"

Afterward, I went to my Poetry and Drama class, unaware that I was supposed to have read something for today. So after class I went to the library and checked out the book in order to catch up.

Following that, J.P. and I returned to The Grange to eat some dinner. Ugh! The food was as unappetizing as I remembered.

In an effort to spend less money, I stayed in this evening, read a bit, and cuddled with Viv. Isn't that cute?


Sunday, January 8, 1989

From Penzance to Hull ...

Woke up at 8.15 and went to eat some breakfast. I managed to lock myself out of my room in the process, but fortunately it ended up not posing any problems for me. I had a good breakfast, and afterwards I gathered my gear, paid my bill, and began my walk to the train station along the seacoast. (Picture #1)

It was a foggy day, and I was able to get a really good shot of the island, as well as a most unusal shot of a grocery cart in the sea (one of two that I saw... how does a grocery cart end up in the ocean?) (Picture #2)

Caught the train and relaxed. Not much to do really for the next nine hours but read, eat, play some solitaire and enjoy some of the scenery that southern England has to offer. Cornwall is a very beautiful part of England, I must say. I was really glad that I decided to make this a part of my vacation trip.

The train was filled with college students, no doubt doing the same thing I was doing... returning to their respective colleges and universities. The train arrived in London's Paddington Station at around 3.30 p.m., and at 4 p.m. I caught a train that was bound for Scotland. Of course, I was only riding it as far as Doncaster.

A little while into the trip, I noticed that the train was taking, for no apparent reason, a longer route through Lincoln. It ended up adding about an hour to my trip. So I finally arrived in Doncaster, but then had another half hour wait before the train to Hull arrived to pick me up.

I finally arrived in Hull at about 9 p.m., and was safely back at The Grange halls about 20 minutes later. There was no immediate sign of life, but it wasn't long before Viv stopped by my room, just having returned to the halls with her father and dropped off a few of her things.

I continued to unpack and unwind, and later, Viv joined me to wind out the evening. It was a great trip, but it's also nice to be back with friends and get things back to normal again.

(Pictures #3, #4, & #5 are all shots of Penzance.)


  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Especially for You" - Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan
  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" - Poison


Saturday, January 7, 1989

Plymouth Rocks ...

Last day of exploring today, so I decided to try and make it a good one. J.P. and I woke up a little past 8 a.m. for yet another good breakfast and showers, then paid our bill at the bed and breakfast and were off exploring Plymouth. (Picture #1: The Belvedere, located along the Hoe. I'm sitting at the bottom steps.)

We started out walking along the waterfront, in a public area known as The Hoe. Took some photos, then continued walking along the shoreline, enjoying the scenery. That eventually led us into Barbican, which is the old shopping district of town, and we walked around there a bit. Once again, I was able to find two more James Bond books for my collection ("Moonraker" and "Dr. No"), which was helpful. (Picture #2: The Royal Citadel, an historic fortress along the coastline.)

From there we walked back to the newer shopping district, more modern and a sharp contrast to the old shopping district. Overall, I found Plymouth to be a very modern and impressive town. We found a market where we walked around some more, and where I found yet another James Bond novel, "Live and Let Die." I now only need to find "Casino Royale," "Octopussy" and "From Russia with Love" to complete my collection of the Ian Fleming James Bond series.

On to Penzance... or, the Very Model of a Modern Major-General ...

Well it was at this time, shortly before noon, that J.P. and I parted ways for the first time since we joined up in Edinburgh. J.P. decided for the last night, he wanted to head up to Blackburn and visit Big Jon. However, since I would've had to find my own lodging in Blackburn, I opted for a different adventure and decided to travel to Penzance, the furthest point southwest that you can go in Britain (at least by train!) Yes, the "Pirates of Penzance" Penzance, along the coast of Cornwall. (Picture #3: For the love of Pete, put down that camera and get me off this ledge, J.P.! OK, it seemed funny at the time...)

So J.P. and I bid farewell, and after withdrawing £15 from the bank (hopefully my last withdrawal for a long time), I caught the 11.45 train to Penzance.

I arrived in Penzance a little after 2 p.m., put my big brown duffel bag of gear in a train locker, and began to scour the seaside town's offerings. I casually examined the little shops and the seaside, looking for bed and breakfasts. Since I caught the town during the off-season, a lot of the places were closed. Fortunately, I found one open and within my price range (£8.50), the Glencree Hotel (Picture #4).

I unloaded my gear, took off my jacket (because it was so warm - springtime weather in January!), and continued walking around town. This time I brought my camera along. I bought some postcards while ambling about, as well as some dinner (a chicken sandwich and chips). I also bought some ham and rolls to make sandwiches (and save some money) on the journey back to Hull tomorrow, as well as a 6-pack of Pepsi (they didn't have Coke) and crisps.

I walked along the sea coast and took some pictures, then returned to the room, writing a few postcards. (Picture #5: The sun sets on a gorgeous day in Penzance.)

Watched the news, then caught "Thunderball" at 6.45 on ITV. Now I was able to compare it to the book I had read, and could notice the many changes that had been made. Of course, it's still quite good.

After the movie I played some solitaire and read. Ate a Twix bar, then went to sleep not too late, in the hopes of waking up in time to catch the 9.47 train to London Paddington, on my way back to Hull.


Friday, January 6, 1989

Birthplace of The Bard ...

Only a couple of days left before we have to return to the reality of college life in Hull!

J.P. and I ate breakfast at about 8.30 a.m. (very good and filling), then packed our things, left the pub, and explored Stratford-Upon-Avon.

First, we went to visit Shakespeare's Birthplace. (Picture #1: Me at Shakespeare's abode). It was a very well preserved old home. We walked around the house, admired the historic furniture and costumes, and especially the original manuscripts and books on display. We even got into an interesting conversation with one of the tour guides for quite awhile.

I got some keen photographs of the home, then we walked through the gift shop (which we learned was not an original feature of Shakespeare's home when he lived there!). I bought a Shakespeare poster for Viv. (Picture #2: My ticket stub from the tour. Yes, it may seem like I saved everything!)

Next we walked along the Avon River (the "Upon Avon" part of Stratford), marveling at the hundreds of ducks and swans that congregated along the banks of the river. It was quite amazing. (Picture #3: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and a congregation of ducks and swans in the Avon River.)

We walked into the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and looked around a bit. Decided not to get tickets to see a show today. (I did get to see one, "Julius Caesar," when I was here for my class trip in '87. That was a bit of a mistake, though. A group of tired high school travelers taken to see a heavy 5 act, no breaks, play. However, I'll never forget when my friend Justin, who had fallen asleep, was startled awake by the actor's scream of "Brutus!")

From there we visited the Church of the Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare is buried (and was baptised). We continued to scour the town, and I found a book store where I bought two more James Bond paperbacks for 25p each. We ate a good meal at a little restaurant that had a luncheon deal for £3.50. It was well worth it!

Well our next destination was Plymouth, which required a bit of a train ride. So after lunch it was time to bid farewell to Stratford and head back to the train station. We wrote a few postcards until the train to Birmingham arrived. I finished writing mine on the train ride while J.P. slept.

When we finally got to the train station, we had a long wait because the train to Plymouth was delayed 78 minutes due to a freight train that had caught fire and forced other trains to re-route.

Soon, we boarded the Inner City 125 and were on our way to Plymouth. We sat next to a very annoying kid who liked to use the word "turd" a lot, but it was an otherwise pleasant journey.

We were overwhelmed by our first impressions of Plymouth, which were even more pleasant. The weather was warm, and it was enjoyable walking around at 9 p.m. We found a very nice Bed & Breakfast to stay in (Picture #4, the business card for Westwinds, where we stayed), for only £9.50 each, then went for a walk and grabbed some dinner.

The waterfront was incredible, and the scenery along with the unbelievably warm weather almost immediately made this trip to Plymouth worthwhile. (Picture #5, the scenic Plymouth Hoe Waterfront, featuring the landmark Smeaton's Tower.) We continued to walk around and found a nice little restaurant that was still serving dinner. We both ordered the lasagna and salad. After dinner we explored the waterfront a bit more, the site where the Pilgrims departed for America back in 1620. Then we returned to the room, where after a little reading, I went to sleep.

I don't think I can express enough how pleasant this place is.


Thursday, January 5, 1989

Land of Shakespeare ...

J.P. and I woke up a bit later than we had hoped (9 a.m.), but we were still in good shape for keeping on our travel plans for the day, which was to find us eventually arriving in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

We got the flat cleaned up, then called Liz from a public phone (she had been trying to get a hold of us, but the line to her brother's flat was not connected.) She came over to inspect the place, only to dirty up the carpet we had just cleaned. Thanks Liz!

Once we got the proper approvals from Liz, we all walked to the bus station, and from there rode to Ashton station, and then caught another bus to Manchester Piccadilly. There we caught the train to Birmingham New Street Station, then had to take a walk to Moor Street Station, where we had a 50 minute wait. So we got to spend a little less than an hour in Birmingham.

From there, we caught the train to Stratford-upon-Avon. We had no problems finding a Bed & Breakfast here, as we went to one that was also a pub, located very close to the train station. How convenient, all around!

After we unpacked, we explored the town at night, taking a look at the Royal Shakespeare Theater (pictured), then eating dinner at a Poppins. We returned to the room after a bit, then each took much needed baths. Next we went downstairs to the pub for a pint and some pool, then retired to the room to read and watch some TV... a movie called "The Carey Treatment" starring James Coburn. I finished reading "Thunderball," then went to bed.


Wednesday, January 4, 1989

'Yanks Shoot Down Gaddaffi Warplanes' ...

Arose to the sounds of Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" at a little past 9 a.m. Got ourselves up and soon made the chilling discovery that no only was there no heat in the apartment, but there was no hot water as well. So no showers today!

We caught what was pretty much the furthest thing from a direct route into Manchester, finally arriving at about noon and began our search for the Manchester Evening News building. Today was the day we had scheduled a tour of the building with the editor and Dr. Morrison's friend, Mike Unger (pictured).

I bought a copy of the newspaper to get the address, and when we finally found the road it was located upon, we began the search. It wasn't too long before we found ourselves in front of the building, an hour before we were expected. So we walked around town for a bit, into a bookshop where I bought 2 more Bond books ("For Your Eyes Only" and "The Man with the Golden Gun"), then we walked around to the concert hall. While there we passed by a bank where we saw the police running in, but we never exactly found out why. Stopped into a model shop, and by then the time for our tour was drawing near, so we left and headed back to the Manchester Evening News.

When we arrived, we ended up having to wait about 15 minutes, but for a very good reason... because of a late breaking story that just hit moments before we arrived. The United States had just shot down two Libyan MiG fighter jets in the Mediterranean Sea. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to be there when the news hit and experience the process of pulling together a news story at a large metropolitan newspaper (it has a daily circulation of about 350,000.)

It was an amazing operation... they put out six editions every day! (Compare that to my college newspaper The Snapper, which cranks out one a week.) Got to visit the Features Department, Sports and News departments at work, saw the giant presses and watched them remove the old edition and replace it with the new one that featured a story on the late-breaking news of the melee in the Mediterranean.

Mike was very gracious to give us some of his time to show us the newsroom in action... especially considering our visit coincided with heightened activity. We also had some pretty interesting discussions about journalism. One thing we talked about was the Lockerbie air disaster. He made the decision to declare the plane crash a terrorist bombing before it had been officially declared as such. He said the evidence up to that point, particularly the way the plane crashed, made it clear to them that this was definitely a terrorist bombing. I questioned his decision suggesting that it was too soon to make that call when the possibility still existed that it was caused by some other malfunction on the plane. He said his gut told him that this could not have been anything other than a bombing. "What would you have done if it wasn't?" I asked.

"But we were right," was all he responded to this and my other questions, unflinching and smiling. I soon realized that it was the only answer I was going to get. He was so confident that his gut was correct that he never even entertained the possibility that he might have been wrong. And you know what? He was right.

Mike gave us a few souvenir copies of the newspaper, and satisfied with what we had learned, we were on our way to scour Manchester and see what else it had to offer.

We went into a library that had some very old books, but we were not permitted access to see much of anything, so we didn't stay very long.

Walked around town a bit more and went into an art gallery that had a wealth of pottery and silverware, as well as extensive paintings. We then ventured next door to a Falklands War exhibition, which was also very interesting, and educational. I knew a little bit about the war beforehand, but this gave me a deeper perspective on it.

When we left we headed to a little chippy shop where we got a very good meal for under £2 each. Wondering what to do next, J.P. and I decided to take in the cinema, and went to a theatre where they were showing the movie "Willow." It was the second time I'd seen it, but definitely a fun and entertaining movie. Val Kilmer is one of my favorite actors right now.

Following the film, J.P.'s foot started hurting and we decided to make our way to the bus station, though we got a bit misguided along the way, prolonging J.P.'s agony. We finally managed to make it to the station, and after a bit of a wait and my own excursion for some chips n gravy and a cola, we caught the bus back to Ashton. We walked back to the flat, talked a bit, then went to bed around midnight.


Tuesday, January 3, 1989

An Unrivaled View of the Lake District ...

Woke up for an 8.30 a.m. breakfast (a good, hearty English one!), paid our £10 bill to the kind folks at the Lynwood Bed and Breakfast, then J.P. and I were off. Money is getting scarce, and a cashpoint machine was nowhere to be found in the Lake District, which could prove troublesome.

So after buying a deck of "Lake District" playing cards as a souvenir and scurrying around town, J.P. was able to get £10 out of a Barclay's cashpoint machine... although it cost him a ridiculous £1.50 to do so. Then we were finally off for some sightseeing.

We first followed a footpath that, according to the sign at the start, promised us an "unrivaled view of the Lake District." Well if it's unrivaled, then it's the view we want.

Indeed, it did provide us with quite a picturesque image of the Lake District. There was a light fog that misted through the valley and provided us with an interesting atmosphere to enhance our "unrivaled view." (For awhile, J.P. and I used "unrivaled" to describe nearly everything we encountered.) Good pictures here.

We continued to explore for awhile, looking at sheep and pretty landscapes (waterfalls, sheep, trees, more sheep). (Photo left is of sheep doing sheep things.)

We also had a most interesting encounter with a mule, and when we strayed from the trail for a minute, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a deer. Turns out it was actually 3 deer. Unfortunately, they ran off before I could snap a photo of them. It still made my day.

We walked back to Windermere where we grabbed some pub grub, then made an unsuccessful attempt to visit Grasmere, where William Wordsworth lived and where my class trip visited the previous year. When that didn't work out, we walked around some more, saw more sheep, then found something labeled a "Public Trail."

But was it? All we found was mud, horse manure (or some kind of manure, anyway), and a fence enclosing a private farm. So we snuck out with manure on our shoes and snapped a picture of the "trail of no return."

At this point, it was time for us to depart and prepare for the next leg of our journey. So we headed to the train station, unloaded our luggage from the locker, and caught the train to Oxenholme, satisfied with our journey to the Lake District. Our next stop, Manchester, where we were planning to stay with Liz Ortega.

But our plan hit a snag when I called Liz from the Oxenholme train station. It seems she was having a bit of a row with her parents, and she didn't think that we'd be able to stay at her place. That could definitely pose a problem for us.

Well we caught the next train to Preston, where we sat in the "cattle car" once again, and then from Preston caught our last train that took us to Manchester. Once we got to the station, I called Liz again, and she had some good news for us. She said we were allowed to stay in her brother's apartment, since he was in Holland at the moment. Good break!

So we hopped onto a very crowded bus and made our way to Ashton-Under-Tyne, where Liz met us at the bus station, after which we all went to McDonald's for some dinner. Then we caught another bus that took us to her brother's flat, then unloaded our gear when we arrived. Since the heat had been shut off, the flat was rather chilly inside.

The three of us sat inside and talked for a bit, during which time we opened up one of our bottles of wine. When Liz left, J.P. and I played some cards... "Blackjack," of course (not the "21" variety most commonly attributed to this name; the British version.) It's a game we played a lot back at The Grange Halls.

We played for awhile in a bit of a giggly mood (partially because of the cold room, partially because of the wine), and midway through we decided to mix it up a bit and play some Gin Rummy instead of Blackjack. However, after the cards were dealt, we both apparently forgot and just started playing Blackjack again. We both had a good laugh when we realized what we had done.

Finally went to sleep around midnight.