Sunday, December 31, 2006

No Resolutions Here...

Being the nerd that I am, I'm spending New Year's Eve fixing my blog! Well, it's pretty much fixed now that the pictures from the earlier posts are showing, but I've still a few things to do to make sure they stay there.

I hope this blog post finds you well; I'm doing great myself. I had a really great Christmas, and was surrounded by enough good people to distract me away from the fact that I wasn't home, although the sheer novelty of spending a solid 10 days with Caitlyn is probably the main reason I had such a good time.

Forgive the sentimental tone of this post, but I have just spent the last half hour skimming over my blog while listening to The Fray, so I'm reflecting on what a great couple of months I've had here in these United States. As great as the initial few weeks were, things just keep seem to be getting better - which bodes well for this coming semester!

I'm going to get back to work on making sure those pictures stay where they're supposed to, so I'm going to leave you, and wish you a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sully & Air-travel don't seem to mix well...

So as I write this, I'm shooting the breeze in Minneapolis International Airport, waiting for Caitlyn to pick me up, and forgive me if this post is a tad pointless (implying the others are pointful?) but I had to share the lastest bizarre thing that happened me.

I flew out of Orlando with AirTran Airways, because they're good and cheap. I had a creepy old lady next to me who communicated with me by squinting her left or right eye at me, and a pilot to my right who kept interrupting my MP3 listening pleasure to critque our pilot's flying methods; apparrently during landing, we came in "way too hot". There were also a pair of drunken rednecks just one row of seats behind me, and whenever they spoke(/squawked), the whole area smelt of cheap whisky for some moments afterwards.

Despite this, it was an alright flight - even though I was seated in the back of the plane again, the drone of the engines wasn't as woeful as the NWA flight last month that I whinged about, and some of what the pilot next to me had to say was very interesting.

Anyways, back to this 'bizarre thing'. I was the victim of... Well, I'm not quite sure what I was the victim of, so I'll just tell the story. When we were getting off the plane, one of the highly competent and very pleasant air-hostesses was saying farewell to each of the passengers. The white gentleman in front of me passed to a greeting of "Have a happy Christmas, Sir". The white woman behind him walked by to a cheery "Merry Christmas, Ma'am." The troupe of small white kids go by, accompanied by their parents, and the hostess stoops over the children, saying "be good now boys, and Santa might be good to you!"

It's my turn. She turns towards (white) Sully says "Happy" and trails off. She smiles at me, takes a moment to recompose herself, and completes the sentiment "... whatever it is you guys celebrate!"

I couldn't believe it. "Whatever it is you guys celebrate"? The white wrinkly hags behind me got the Christmas-flavoured greeting, but I wasn't good enough for it somehow! I mean, how foreign do I look exactly? Of all the farewells, I was the only one who got the politically correct version, which is upsetting, seeing as I'm not the most politically correct type myself.

Obviously, I'm not as bothered by this as I might be letting on, but other than my fairly obvious accent, I don't understand why I was singled out!

I should have asked her, shouldn't I...

Oh yeah, and in other news; AirTran broke the handle off my bag.


The End of the Road(Trip)

Maggie, her brother Jordan and I arrived in Ocala, Florida last night shortly after 6pm. Jordan drives a pickup-truck with a very small cab, and the six hours or so was a tight squeeze. Seems Jordan is a knowledgable chap, and he seemed to know plenty about pretty much every major geographical feature we passed... Still didn't take my focus away from the buttaching, but it helped! We did stop about four and a half hours into the drive, and that inital moment of my feet hitting solid ground was sheer ecstacy; the pleasure shot up through my body, starting with my feet, and ended with the involuntary smile on my face... I looked like quite the pillock.

Today was fun; we went to Silver Springs, and rode around in glass bottomed boats, looking at 'gators, and other 'critters', while I took a load of nature-footage on my camcorder (which you won't be seeing for at least another three weeks, since I decided to leave the gadgetry to put the footage on my laptop behind... probably a blessing)!

This photo was taken on our way out, so it's darker than all the others, but it's nicer than the photo I didn't take going in, so feel free to settle for this one.

The Alligators at the park were pretty cool and pretty dull at the same time; they'd lay perfectly still, hoping not to be noticed (let's ignore the fact that they're in a friggin' enclosure), and watch you with their eyes while not moving a muscle. I was offered the chance to go "'Gator huntin'" with Jordan, but that didn't work out, which didn't upset me too much, as I'm not sure how I'd have fared with the 'boom stick' part of the operation, where after tiring out your prey for a few hours, you finally drive what is essentially a stick with a shotgun shell on the end that explodes on impact into the reptile's skull. I'm pretty sure I'd have set my moral compass aside and done whatever was expected of me, just for the purpose of exploring this bizarre sub-culture.

This picture shows Maggie pouring me a half-glass of Egg-Nog; that strange substance I hear so much about from American TV shows, but know little about... Being the curious type, I thought I'd give it a whack.

This picture right here says a lot of things. It really captured the moment. For some reason, as soon as the ridiculously viscous, sickly sweet 'nog entered my mouth, I instinctively began chewing, so discombobulated were my senses. I'm pretty sure that the look shown here on my face is the exact moment I was thinking "On my next bowel movement, I'm going to crap out a cake!"

It was one of those things I had to try, I suppose - the rather paltry 100ml or so that I drank is still repeating on me, but I also put away an ungodly amount of Ribs earlier on (I like the southern cooking). I should also point out that I also got to eat quail while at Maggie's aunt's house. Unsurprisingly, it tasted just like chicken, maybe a little more chewy. My vigorous gnashing at this white meat prompted a warning from Maggie's stepdad; "you should be biting down very gingerly on that; you don't want to break your teeth on one of the pellets we shot it with!" I wouldn't even dare describe it as an acquired taste; it tasted like cheap, chewy, crap chicken, but of course, that's not the point - it was a great taste of culture!

Speaking of which; I'm going to end this post with another look at the culture here down south; in case you hadn't noticed, Maggie's family seem to have quite the interest in hunting, or as they call it; huntin'. Well, I'm sure this deer feels honoured that his sacrifice served the following noble purpose this Christmas.

"Ho ho ho" indeed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Comatose Gluteus Maximus

I spent about thirteen hours in a car today.

Driving from Pittsburgh to... some place in Georgia (I'll update this with a specific placename as soon as I remember). My ass is still numb from the affair. Other than the all-around stiffness, it was moderately painless; I played my DS til it went dead (wasted too much battery the night before playing Tetris online against Japanese people, but that's another story). I was able to plug my laptop into the cigarette adaptor, and during that time I wrote the below blog post, listened to a lot of music, and sterilised my testicles by subjecting them to the extreme heat coming off the harddrive.

So now I'm at Maggie's aunt's house - she's got seven dogs (no really), and each one of them took great delight in sniffing my crotch (I think they can smell the roast my laptop cooked up in the hours beforehand). The husband and wife pair are very hospitable, and the novelty of hearing them say things like "y'all" and "lollygagglin'" still hasn't worn thin, so I'm hoping I get to converse with a few more locals... That probably won't happen though, as tomorrow, Maggie and I leave for Ocala, Florida, where I'll spend the next two nights with Maggie's dad and stepmom! The journey should only take around 6 hours... *sigh*

Anyways, so for all of those who were curious as to whether this semester would be my fabled 'semester of glory' or not, to you I say;

"Four point oh!"

Arlight, enough smug gittery for one day. I'll try to take some pics of anything cool I see over the coming days, and then I'm going to get on with enjoying my Christmas!

Some Differences

As promised the other day, I thought I'd write up what I observed in terms of noteworthy differences between RMU and UL's way of educating the Sully. I will stress the point that I'm comparing one University with another, and these are not expected to reflect on either country as a whole!

So I suppose I'll start with the most important bit; the classes themselves. At RMU, the students are responsible for selecting and registering for their own classes, many of which are dictated by their major; their other selections are what they're most interested in. New Media and English in UL (my course of study) is quite rigid, and one is lucky to choose between two electives (opting for the lesser of two evils in many cases). This semester, the courses I picked were Study of Rhetoric, General Psychology, Audio & Radio Production, and Writing for the Media. Picking the courses myself helped a great deal in keeping me interested in what I was doing, and it also reflects my strong interest in writing and general media production – in a sense, what I was studying here is what I hoped New Media and English would be.

The timetables are organised in such a way that you have 50 minute classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Tuesday and Thursday classes weigh in at 75 minutes each. There are also 150 minute night classes once a week, of which I took one. This timetable system is nice – instead of having to commit a five day timetable to memory, you need only worry about two days. Not a deal-maker, sure, but it's appreciated! Furthermore, there were no tutorials, but rather the University offered a free Tutoring service to any students that needed it.

The classes I had were much smaller affair than what I'm used to at UL. I'm pretty sure that there wasn't a class that had more than 25 students in a traditional class-room style setting, which made for a more intimate learning environment than UL's large lecture halls. Every teacher knew my name. In fact, most teachers knew everybody's name, which again, is nice. I got on better with all four of my lecturer's than I have any lecturer at UL. This can be partly attributed to the fact that I'm the novelty foreign exchange student who has a wildly different take on certain matters, but is moreso because of the interest the lecturers seem to take in their students. In Rhetoric class in particular, there was a class discussion almost every day, and while many weren't quite as incendiary as I'd have liked, from the perspective of a foreigner, it was a great way to see some of the crazy things that people think and say here. The lecturers are generally more accessible, which is good and bad – good because approaching them outside of class times is a casual affair, and speaking up in class is never an issue, it's also bad because of the amount of arse that some people waste the lecturer's time with during class.

One thing I didn't like at first was that there was a lot of homework given. I don't mind homework, but when it's as inconsequential as some of what I was asked to do this semester, I begin to consider it busywork. Granted, there were no crippling amounts of work asked by any one lecturer, but my sloppy time management saw everything piling up at once, so once every week I'd stay up late working on clearing the backlog. This 'a-little-and-often' approach is actually a nice idea, as having to write one to three short essays a week is much nicer than what often happens back home, with (at times) unrealistic amounts of readings being prescribed as homework, with one major essay/project due in a semester; all of which seem to collide.

The assessment here is fair. Like I said; 'a-little-and-often' is the name of the game. The hefty essays I've had to write in UL often amount to 40-50% of my grade, with the rest sitting on a single exam. Two opportunities to show what you're capable of is a piss-poor system, in my opinion. Continual assessment involves less stress for all involved, and also assists the learning process, in my opinion.
I've never received the kind of positive appraisal I get here. My Writing for Media lecturer told me I should be a writer, my Radio-Production lecturer wanted me to submit an editorial piece to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and my Rhetoric lecturer praised every essay on the occasions we spoke after class, with simple statements like “I really like how you...” really compelling keep doing better.

I think I'll talk about the 'social' aspects of college life and other matters such as housing arrangements for another day, because I don't like these posts to get too hefty, but it'll be here soon, and roughly 15% less mind-numbingly boring!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A world gone mad...

I was out doing a bit of shopping (and getting a terrible haircut), when I stumbled across the following book;

That's right kids, fat people, in their ever-increasingly desperate quest to shed a few pounds, are now turning to other fat people for advice!


Friday, December 15, 2006


Had my last "exam" [see below] a few hours ago, thus ending an amazing semester (the word 'amazing' seems girlish and I feel odd using it, but I'll stand by my word-choice), and I'm feeling good!

Since I'm done, I think I might indulge in a bit of comparison between my experiences here at RMU, and compare it with an average semester at UL, just for the sake of it (it interests me, and I don't give a rat's ass what you people think!) I won't be doing this today, however!

Those who conversed with me in the opening weeks of the semester know that I had a great enthusiasm for this being my one 'semester of glory', in which I got straight As and came out with a QCA of 4.0. Well, as my social life picked up over here, that compulsion to excel faded somewhat, and I just tipped away at my normal pace, not doing things until the very last minute, and generally doing just enough to get by.

Well, my grades should all be online by Monday, which is cool, but for the time being, here's a screenshot of how I'm doing so far!

Before you start to say "Sully, you conceited bastard", please hear this; I'm a mediocre student. I believe in my ability to write well, and stretch the knowledge I have, but at UL my results are generally shadowed by those more studious or interested in the course than I am. This semester, I picked my own classes based on what I was specifically interested in, and I seem to have retained a great deal of what I've been taught. This semester, despite not killing myself, I think the only class I didn't receive an A in was Audio/Radio production, and this can be explained by my "leave-it-to-the-last-minute" antics leading to rushed Audio features and sloppy production values...

Sunday I leave for Florida with Maggie, and next week should be fun, and it'd be even better if Monday saw me receiving some good news.

Will Sully get his 'Semester of Glory'? Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Random Craving #2

Another day, another project being completed with moments to spare! But the last few days have also seen the resurgence of that feeling of wanting something that I know I won't get here in the States! This one, randomly enough, is me wanting to get in my car, on my own, and drive around for a bit, while listening to some music!

So bizarre things from home that I can't get my grubby mitts on are popping into my head now and again... I won't dare say it's homesickness, but I'm sure that it's happening for a reason. Could be something to do with the fact that as it stands, it doesn't look as though I'll be going back to that Emerald Isle until late April at the earliest, owing to the fact that I've decided to stay on another semester, and my Visa expires this month.

People around here are also talking about spending Christmas with their families a lot, which reminds me that it's the first Christmas I'm gonna be spending away from home (which is an exciting prospect, to be honest, because I want to see how the yanks do it). I'm nine days shy of heading out to see Caitlyn again, which should be a lot of fun, and all I have to worry about in between is one measly "exam" (I say 'exam' in quotes, because it's an open-book test, and we have unlimited time... That's right - limitless)!

Maggie has offered me a chance to see some of the country, by joining her on her unholy voyage to Florida. I'm not quite sure how much time this entails spending in a car, because I refuse to look up the distance from Pittsburgh to wherever the hell it is in Florida we're going! I'll take my camcorder along so I can record anything interesting I see along the way, and my DS shouldn't be too far from my person, should my mind begin to numb from the boredom. Should be a make or break experience for mine and Maggie's friendship (the smart money's on the latter)!

Since I've cleared the backlog of project work (how I don't know, what with the dangerous levels of chronic procrastination I've been afflicted with), I can take it easy for a few days, so I'm going to use this time to watch a few episodes of Scrubs, ring the folks at home (I don't get to do it quite as much as I'd like), and maybe start paying attention to my physical appearance again (as I sit in front of the computer, my hair is scruffy, my face is sporting a heavy fuzz after five days of not hearing from my razor, and my t-shirt, hilariously enough, has little brown stains on the front, from where I dropped crumbly bits off the chocolate covered pretzels I was eating, and neglected to wipe them away before they melted on - so dedicated was I to making my deadline)! I might also go back and fix the pictures at the start of the blog, but all that uploading seems like a lot of work at the moment.

For no good reason, here is a picture of Dermot that I found on my computer, and felt like sharing with the world... What a girl's blouse, eh?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The View from C5

A quickie for ya; this is what I'm can see from my room at the moment.

This snow and blistering cold is actually quite useful because I'm nearing my 30th consecutive hour of being awake; since I sacrificed my sleep last night to hit my deadlines today, the perma-erect nipples are the only thing keeping me sharp. My busy day went quite well, despite my lack of slumber. Started off with me making a presentation to my Rhetoric class on a Catholic mass. It was supposed to be a 'cultural breakdown,' but since I winged it and was deulsionally tired, it turned into a ten minute lecture on why everybody should be agnostic. I won't indulge myself with much hyperbole and poetic license (because my buddy Krampe was there, and I know she reads this!), but I will note that for every ten Relgiously conservative types I successfully pissed off, I got a glimmer of admiration from the two people in the class who could kinda, sorta, just maybe understand where I was coming from, which kinda made it worthwhile, I guess!

Next I had my last Audio/Radio class, where we recorded postulation on Global Warming for our Prof's radio show (I honestly have little recollection of this; it's likely I fell asleep while reading), and then I took a Psychology exam! Could be the delusion speaking, but I think I did pretty well... I'll keep you posted!

My plans for the rest of the day involve taking it seriously easy; I'm going to sleep for at least two hours, then eat, then vegetate for a few more hours until I can sleep again... At the moment, I feel as though I could last the rest of the day on the sheer amount of caffeine I consumed today as it is, but I feel a headache setting in, so I should nip it in the bud...

Just because I think it's funny (and maybe a little creepy), this is what the view from inside C5 was yesterday evening;

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Technical Difficulties, please stand by...

Knew it'd happen sooner or later - if you've noticed the blog is a bit more drab looking these days it's because the pictures were linked from my Bebo profile, and Bebo have since made them unavailable. Seems all they did was change the filename, so I might to and change every pic's filename (ugh), or maybe just re-upload them to the Blogger site (double ugh), whatever I decide to do, it won't be for a few days (I have a ton of homework, and I've procrastinated myself to a point of 'do or die'), so to distract you away from this, I'm going to just rely on my old tricks and show you a video that me and Mega made back in the day.

Here it is! I uploaded it to YouTube a few weeks ago, so if you've checked out my profile, you've seen it already, but now rewatch with the knowledge that it's my favourite!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Thanksgiving Celebration

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my newly girlfriended friend Caitlyn, (you read it here first, folks) just last Thursday, and y'know what? It was hands down the best Thanksgiving I've ever had.

I flew out the Sunday beforehand, getting to the airport ridiculously early because I believed the hype about the crazy queues and security measures in place. It was actually the quietest I've seen Pittsburgh Airport (and I've flown out of there a few times now), and the security guys waved me through, not bothering even to do the customary inspection of the mass of wires in my backpack. Lazy gits.

Since Caitlyn was working, I did some more sitting and waiting around in Minneapolis before being picked up, which was made quite pleasant by my trusty Nintendo DS and international call-card (since I had time to catch up with the folks at home).

So I won't really go into the details of the week that much; Cait and I hung out, got the shopping for the big meal done, and got the place ready for her parents, sister, and sister's 'man-friend'. We got up around 7ish on the Thursday morning so Caitlyn could start cooking the still-thawing turkey, while I just tried not to get in the way too much.

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed by Caitlyn's mastery of the domestic space. Granted, there were a few rough moments, like when she somehow managed to flick soggy turkey flesh into my mouth, or freaking out over the intestines that just kept coming out of our bird, but by the end, it became apparent that this was one tasty turkey that didn't die in vain.

Meeting the family was fun, since me and Caitlyn hadn't gotten around to making anything official by that stage, so rather than being her friend Sully, I was her "friend" Sully. I don't think I represented myself too poorly; I kept my BSing tendencies to a minimum, didn't say much that could have been deemed inappropriate, and didn't suffer through any awkward silences at all! I also managed to not get myself bitten or barked at by the three dogs that came, which is quite a feat for a guy like me (seems dogs can smell evil). Worryingly, this is also where I discovered that Caitlyn has one of 'those' voices that she uses when conversing with animals - y'know the one I'm talking about, with the baby talk and the lip-pursing, and the "hoosagooddoggie?"

Something about the whole thing kinda felt like a mini-Christmas. The three guys sat in front of the TV watching American Football and talking all kinds of 'man-stuff', while the girls prepared the eventual feast that was served up. When the meal started, we each went around, discussing what it was we were thankful for... I kinda wussed out when it came to be my turn, (second or third, I think) because I hadn't quite gotten a handle on what was 'expected', nor had I given it any thought, so they accommodated my brief-stage fright and came back to me last. Gotta say; it's a nice little tradition! It shows you what people are proud of, or grateful for, and when meeting new people, it's interesting to see what they hold as significant in their lives, and gives you a better idea of what and who they are, so ultimately you do feel closer to a person after sharing these thoughts.

We played board games after the dinner. I finished dead last in Trivial Pursuit. I didn't get a single point. It wasn't my fault, (of course) because I was capable of answering a lot of the general-knowledgey-type stuff that everyone else seemed to get, but then when it was my turn, I'd get some absolute bastard of an obscure American Sports question, or something equally ridiculous and obscene. There was nothing even remotely vague about the questions - I couldn't hazard a guess at anything I got, and even when I heard the answer, it still meant nothing to me! Sorry to spend an entire paragraph on this, but I'm absolutely traumatised by the fact that almost every time I was asked a question, I had to awkwardly mumble "Eh... I'll pass", followed by the other five participants taking their turn, with me able to answer a good 75% of what was going on, only to get another absolute prig of a question, as the vicious cycle continued...

Next we played Scattegories, which was much more forgiving, and since my vocabulary when dealing with things that don't annoy me is quite limited, all I can do is mention the game and move on!

I had a great week, and I wasn't a bit happy to be returning to Robert Morris (which is odd, because I always look forward to coming back after a few days away - as my Niagara Falls post will ascertain), and now I'm more or less counting down the days before I can head out to the state of Wisconsin again (another vicious cycle? Only time will tell!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sweet Jesus...

Sorry to be so lazy as to just post in a video from YouTube, but I had to share this one.

Britney Spears is an idiot. Yes, I know we all knew that already, but it actually upsets me a little to realise the extent of her stupidity. Quite honestly, she has the mental-age of your average five-year old child, but at least a five-year old child would be able to articulate itself in a more coherent, less irritating manner.

If your brain can't handle the solid three minutes of stupidity, I recommend you at least skip to the last thirty seconds, where Britney discusses the concept of time travel...

I've been distracted enough; next post should be about my Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Random Craving..."

So I skipped dinner earlier on (got engrossed in some reading), and when sorting myself out with a roll for Supper, I found myself really badly wanting a Moro bar...

Maybe it's because the end of the semester is rapidly nearing that I'm allowing myself to think about something I can't get here, but it's quite bothersome... The cheap American chocolate that I got to distract me from this innate physiological need only left an after-taste of vomit, as all cheap, crappy American chocolate does.

While trying to find a picture of a Moro, I found some strange things on Google Image Search... Like This, for instance. But I was also reminded of the Peanut Moro... Sweet Lord, if I haven't only gone and made the craving worse!


Monday, November 27, 2006


Northwest Airlines is the ugly-step sister to the other pretty decent people-carriers that the American aviation industry has to offer. The flight crew seems to consist of 'has-been' air-hostesses, who have exhausted their pleasant demeanours and warm smiles whilst working with other airlines... a century ago. The gentleman behind me was screamed at to sit down during the safety demonstration (which is a load of balls, because in all fairness, if this plane hits cold hard ground, nobody's going to worry about inflatable ramps or emergency ramps, but rather, "Whose head is this by my feet? Oh wait, mine, nevermind..."), and he was told that FAA regulations mean that he has just broken the law by 'interrupting' the "important announcements".


It wouldn't be so bad if they were anyway decent looking mind, at least that'd mean that there'd be at least something pleasant about interacting with them, but alas...

To be honest, I'm just bitter because I'm sitting at the back of the plane, and there is an absolutely woeful noise coming out of the engine; so much so that if it were to just cut out altogether, I dare say I'd see the positive side of it. It's a hideous, deafening, monotonous droning, (much akin to how my own voice has been described, incidentially) and when the turbines slow, you can actually hear the propellors chugging on each individual rotation... Even with my headphones in, and the laptop turned up to full volume, I cannot escape the racket.

Funny, I just realised how adept I am at complaining, so let's balance this post out with some postive stuff - I'm happy that I didn't have to transfer in Chicago on my way over and back to Wisconsin. I'm also happy that the airline operates as NWA, even if it reminds me that the air-worthiness of this plane (which is comparable to that of a pear that's been flung from a large-sized elastic band) means that I might be seeing Eazy-E sooner rather than later...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I believe I can fly

So I fly to Wisconsin tomorrow, (well, today actually - my flight is in about 12 hours), and I've been told that because this is the weekend before Thanksgiving, I should expect a lot of hassle and queueing at the airport. I have been flying a lot in the past few months, and every time I'm in an airport, the security staff seem to get that little bit more suspicious of me...

5 bucks (€3.89) says that tomorrow I'm gonna get a latex-gloved-finger shoved into every orifice I know of (and probably a few I don't).

This is a real-time alert, and at the time of writing, it says Elevated - which isn't bad, I suppose - it cracks me up reading these things; so here are the others!
I'm pretty sure it was orange a month ago last time I went to Wisconsin

Since the current alert is in third position out of five, does that mean that the chances of my plane being hijacked and crashed into some goverment building do not exceed 60%? Maybe someone can explain it to me in the comments.

Perverse as it may sound, I'm actually looking forward to flying when it's on "Severe"... I mean, I've been pretty lucky up til now, and I'd fancy my chances!

Well hey, if things go horribly wrong, and this is my last blog post - look on the bright side - you won't ever be in the awkward position of having to answer me asking if you've read my most recent, poorly-articulated drivel!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The fabled 'Steelers' blog entry; as foretold in the prophecies

Here is my account of my first NFL experience, which happened... two months ago or so(?). I'm not expecting the details to be razor sharp, but I do have some pictures to jog my memory!

My good friend Allison, true to her word, took me to see the Steelers play the Bengals, which was more than decent of her! Spending the day with the locals made me feel as though I was getting the 'full' experience - which started with crossing the Allegheny river on a ferry, where I took a few pictures of the interesting things that popped up along the way, like this pretty fountain:

Once we got over, we met up with Allison's Dad and his friends, and I checked out the whole 'Tailgating' thing that baffles me so much. As mentioned in an earlier post, the premise is that the fans amass before the games in the car parks around the stadium, set up tables, chairs, or whatever, then eat and drink beer until the game starts! There are some pretty elaborate setups, ranging from simple lawn chairs and prepared food in tupperware, to RVs decked out with bigscreens, with food cooked on a barbeque!

I ate my fill of oddly named Pittsburgh 'specialities', all the while suppressing the grimace that instinctively accompanied each chew and swallow. In an attempt to settle my stomach, I wandered around to see what the other tailgaters were up to.

I know the pictures aren't great, but bear in mind that the big bus converted into a Steelers-mobile was a fan production! And that big Steelers blow up figure was also put there by a fan. I also wanted to take a picture of a sign, with black text on a gold background (Steelers' colours), that read "Fuck Ohio and the Horse they rode in on", but I was afraid of the woman who sat underneath it - she could have eaten me, and I've learned it's best not to upset fat people.

Here's about a quarter of the tailgating party I was attending.

The Tailgating thing is a nice tradition - it gets people excited about the game - at least that's the effect it had on me, as I was discussing the Steelers' prospects against their rivals, considering our quarterback was still struggling with injury. Another nice purpose these tailgating parties provide; sustenance! Those football games take hours! Four 20-minute quarters add up to quite a long time when you factor in the minute or so of stoppage in between every play! Unless you're well fed going into the game, you'll end up spending a lot of money on ridiculously overpriced stadium-food! (which I indulged in anyway, just for the sake of experience)

Anyways - we eventually ventured into the Stadium - which is pretty friggin' nice, by the by. Here's the entrance to Heinz Field:

After heading in, there was some unspectacular high-school band playing something in the background, while everybody waited for the teams to make their way onto the field. We went over by the tunnel to watch the players emerge, and it was quite the spectacle - in fact - I suggest you check out the footage I took; it'll give you a better idea of what it was like. After the Bengals plodded onto the field, greeted by a cachophony of boos and jeers, the Steelers got the heroes welcome that they didn't deserve, seeing as they've gone from Superbowl Champs to 'We'll be very lucky to make the playoffs this year'.

If you couldn't tell from the last, almost bitter sentence in that paragraph, I'm getting into this whole 'American Football' lark! It's hard not to - I generally watch the Steelers games with my suitmates, Tony and Dan (Dave's never around on match day, sniff), who constantly berate the decisions made by the players and officials, so I pick it up! I understand the rules and the gist of what's going on - not too sure on the strategies and all that, but I've become accustomed to the stop-start nature of the game - I was mostly educated on the sport by playing it on PS2, but hey, whatever works - right?

Here's a pic from my seat:

Nice Yes? I'm but one of the 65,050 (approx) present at this sellout game.

Those yellow things that are being held up are towels... The Terrible Towel, to be precise - one which is never more than a foot from my head when I sleep! I won't go into the origins (Wikipedia will do a better job than I could), but trust me when I say every fan has to have one. The done thing is; every good play will be complemented by the fans standing, cheering, and waving their towels around, which is a feast for the eyes, believe you me! It's also good fun to join in, making random noises and feeling the fanning effect of the propellor like motion every person around you is making.

Here's another picture I took after half-time (after enjoying some finger-lickin' chicken wings!) that might explain the scope of Heinz Field.

The Steelers lost by 8 points, which was as shame, as they really did throw it away (but I won't get into that now... or ever). Despite the loss, the whole experience was pretty worthwhile - so much so that I'm willing to post a rather "Mommy, what happened that man's face" picture of me having a good time there.

Uch - no more low angle shots. Ever.
Flattering, no?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeling Nostalgic

So I'm up to my lame tricks again, posting videos on Youtube that I found at bizarre hours of the morning, but I couldn't resist this one, posted here mostly for my older brother's amusement (we were both hopeless WWF fans back in the day and had a tendency to quote the best there ever would be...)

I always wanted to be the kid who got the glasses! (even to this day, I wouldn't mind being the recipient!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Trip To Niagara Falls

So I went to see Niagara Falls a fortnight ago, tagging along with Joanna, Claire, Luci and Tom.

Since we had to get up at 6am or so to catch a bus, I decided, in my infinite wisdom, that since I was going out the night before anyway it would be a really good idea to just stay up altogether. I achieved this by hanging out with my friend Caitlin over at her apartment til after 4 or so, then spending an hour or so cramming a weekend-full of clothing and electronics into my schoolbag.

The lack of sleep left me in a state I can only describe as temporary narcolepsy; as for the rest of the day, if I sat down or stopped talking, I'd fall asleep. So I slept in the taxi on the way to the bus terminal... Then slept on the way from Pittsburgh to Erie, in the terminal in Erie, on the bus from Erie to Buffalo, and from Buffalo to Niagara...

The buses were quite uncomfortable, but sheer exhaustion was enough to overcome any superficial worries of discomfort, which was nice, because it made the travel less of a chore.

I'm already a little hazy on the details, so I won't pay much attention to chronology, but we ate out at a decent restaurant the first night, and the girls availed of the fact that Canada's legal drinking age is 19 (I myself was quite happy to no longer be considered a legal 'minor'), we walked around the tacky, neon lit area that houses all the tourist traps and restaurants. Over the course of the weekend, we managed to eat at Wendy's twice, which made me pretty happy (Wendy's is the best fast food I've encountered here so far), despite the guy serving me being an incompetent fool who charged me for a large meal but gave me a regular portion...

Of course, we checked out the falls, and rode 'The Maid of The Mist' boat, that sails over into the mist of the falls, soaking us in the process. The falls themselves are... really something, I guess. I was expecting them to be bigger. Or maybe I was expecting to be more impressed by them... How mesmerised can one expect to be by a bit of water falling over an edge? I'm pretty sure that nature in general is wasted on me, but I looked at the falls for a moment, and in my head just ticked another thing off my list of things to do before I die!

Seeing as I was yet to shoot a single frame of footage on my neglected (but beloved) camcorder, I decided to take it along, figuring I'd find something interesting to film. The end result is this four-minute long montage that I spent a lot more time than usual tweaking - of course, I could pick it apart if you asked me to, but for the most part, I'm happy about how it turned out (mostly because of the class new program I got for editing video). So anyways, I'll put it here, and I hope you enjoy it (and damnit, if you do, leave a comment and say so - I enjoy feedback!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where the heart is?

Seems October is shaping up to be my slowest month, blog wise, with a load of random warblings that don't necessarily relate to what it is I'm up to here in the U.S, and I do apologise for that, and I reassure anyone who's interested that I do still intend on writing about the Steelers game I checked out (which was an awesome experience) and all the various other stuff that's been going on that I haven't had time to write about. The problem is because my time 'management' consists of overloading my social calendar, desperately trying to squeeze in some academic stuff, and if there's time after that, throwing a blog entry up for the world to enjoy...

So anyway, I spent this past weekend in Niagara Falls, (Canadian side), and as much fun as I was having, and as cool as the whole thing was, I was really looking forward to going home. Which lead me to wonder; what is 'home' for me?

I've spent a lot of time away from my house in Ireland at this stage, with the co-op debacle in Belgium (that I haven't discussed here, but I may well one of these days to blow off steam), and the few weeks I've been here in Pennsylvania without really communicating much with my family, save for the odd phonecall.

While I was looking at the falls, I was thinking "That's kinda cool". But there was no overwhelming sense of awe, or amazement, or that I was doing anything incredible by being there. Hell, it was smaller than what I was expecting. I really only went there because I felt obliged to. What person can go on an exchange and not poke around the tourist attractions? If the arrangements hadn't been made for me, I probably wouldn't have gone. Same goes for most of the stuff I did in Belgium - I just went places for the sake of it, and after a day or two I was looking forward to going home.

So what is home?

To be honest, I still haven't quite figured that out. It's not Ireland - I know this because I can happily exist elsewhere. It's not my family or friends (both of which I do miss a pile, by the by),and I don't think it's the place where I grew up, or keep my clothes, or get my laundry done for me because I'm a lazy git.

If I would have to explain the strange 'homing instinct', I would say it tells me to return to my base of operations; where I have to be at any given time to achieve my latest objectives.

To sum it up? Home is where the computer is.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Unknown Superpower? Sixth Sense? Energy-drink induced hallucination?

I don't understand why this keeps happening to me, but since coming to Robert Morris - I have an uncanny knack for finding mechanical pencils.

Feel free to laugh at the absurdity of this post, but I've somehow managed to find at least one fully functioning mechanical pencil a week since college started!

So attention all schoolmates! If you ever need to get your doodle on - I'll hook you up!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Crappy American Phones...

Me and my phone haven't been getting along lately.

It's entirely my fault - I dropped it one day, and as a result, every second line on the screen remained blank, which made it less fun to use. After a while, the screen would go completely black, and I'd have to flick the screen with my fingernail to get it to come back. I figured this was something to do with a loose connection or something, but I was happy to spend the rest of my life being mistaken for some Obsessive compulsive type who walks around in public flicking his phone.

Last night the screen went black after I received a text message. So I flicked it. But it didn't come back. So I flicked it harder. It still didn't come back. So I hit it with my knuckle. It still wouldn't work. I threw it on the ground, kicked it around, bounced it off the floor a few times, then picked it up and flicked it some more. Needless to say, it didn't work. So I hit the screen off the corner of a chair. And cracked it. Whoops.

Well, I don't want to bore you with the details of what I got up to after that point, but let me show you what finally came of this $30 phone.

The best part?

It still worked!


I could still dial a call, and since the mic still worked, what I was saying could be heard on the other end. I was missing an earpiece, but I was still determined to see what I could do without the upper half of the phone. The phone didn't vibrate or ring, but the error messages were audible - so there was still a speaker! What followed this discovery at four in the morning was me calling my room phone and laughing hysterically as I realised that the speakerphone function still worked! If I so wanted, I could continue using this phone for the rest of my time here! Granted, I'd have to memorise a ton of numbers, and text messages would be impossible, and the only way to tell when there was an incoming a call would be the keys lighting up, but still! It could be done!

But of course, it won't. Joanna had a spare phone, so I just transferred my account to hers. And if something should happen this one, (by 'something' - I mean if I decide to tear it in half like the last one) there's always Claire's phone that's been gathering dust since she switched to Cingular!

Landed on my feet here, eh? The only part that sucks is going around and explaining to everyone why I need to ask them for their number again... I'll be so tired of this story in a week I'm expecting to see it in highly embellished form on some other blog!

Friday, October 13, 2006

He'll be Ready - Forever and always - He's Always Here!

Anyone who used to follow my Bebo blog should remember that I pledged my support to; a website dedicated to getting a David Hasselhoff to the #1 slot in the UK charts. The way it worked was a user pledges their support and leaves their e-mail address, and when enough users have signed up to guarantee Mr Hoff getting the coveted top spot, a 'Hoff Alert' e-mail would be sent out, prompting thousands to log onto iTunes to download an agreed Hasselhoff 'classic'.

I pledged my support to this because I saw it as a chance to participate in music-history; supporting someone undeserving of the top-spot, hopefully illustrating that a song may not be of any merit yet still be top of the pops. (That, and I thought the ensuing flood of Hasselhoff media-coverage would be hilarious - that guy has a great sense of humour about himself!)

It didn't work 100%- seems they jumped the gun a little to coincide with the UK release of 'Jump In My Car', and my 'Hoff Alert' mail was shot down by Yahoo's overzealous (but mightily effective) spam filter.

Shame! I just checked out the website to see how it went:

"On Sunday 8th October 2006, David Hasselhoff broke all his own records and reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart with over 26000 copies of "Jump In My Car" sold."

Number three still isn't bad, right? I consider that a successful e-xperiment - and I'd be very curious to see in the coming days how many of those sales were from supporters of this website.

It's a shame that I'm away from home at the mo and unable to appreciate the effects of this valuable social experiment - so maybe you guys can tell me if you've noticed any spike in Hoff references or exposure in the media? (C'mon lads! The comments section is there for more than decoration!)

Anyway - as much as I hate to be seen as one of those lazy bloggers who just posts random videos he finds on YouTube - (2 in 2 days - urk!), I think I'll be forgiven for this one, which is here as it is entirely in context!

Ladies and Gents: if you haven't seen it already, I'd like to invite you to enjoy David Hasselhoff's 'Historic Track'; "Jump In My Car"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"I wanna take you on a rollercoaster"

I found this on YouTube and thought it was pretty cool.

Update 29/09/08: The video was taken offline, and I have no idea what it was from, so I'm happy to just forget about it. Back to the original post:

Tomorrow I should finally get around to a 'real' post for all those interested in hearing about my trip to Wisconsin - or the NFL game I went to, or my trip to the zoo, or my credit card being stolen, or the other Major League Baseball game I checked out... I've been so damned busy with busywork from RMU and getting my Co-op report done for UL... So tomorrow then!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Life's truly unfair...

I wish I was doing better than I am right now, but I can't lie to you, the loyal blog-reading public.

"What is the latest dilemma" I hear the masses ask?

I have a little piece of popcorn stuck in the part between gum and tooth in the back of my mouth, and it really bothers me.

How did this travesty occur? Where did I find the materials to inflict such pain upon myself?

I went to see Jackass 2 last night. It was hilarious! I have't laughed so hard since the first Jackass film. Granted, I missed the first fifteen minutes or so (lousy women drivers!), which was supposedly a hilarious set piece in the same vein as the first film, but despite this omission I laughed, cried, groaned, squirmed and screamed so hard it hurt a little.

Over the past few years, we've become familiar with the Jackass troupe, and it makes it seem all the more like it's your friend who is freezing his nuts to an ice sculpture, or putting baby-powder in his butthole to create a fart cloud. My favourite was probably the skit involving 'Danger' Ehren, because whatever grief they throw his way is deserved for being such a worthy candidate for 'whipping-boy'. It also has to be said that this film is a testament to Johnny Knoxville's willingness to hurt himself in increasingly elaborate ways (and Stevo is just a danger to himself - but we knew that already).

The film also features gratuitous full frontal male nudity! Girls! Now is your chance to see Wee-man's Wee-penis!

Two thumbs way up!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I screwed up.

I wrote up a quick entry about a day in Pittsburgh the exchange students had, but I forgot to publish it - so it's just been added two posts down or so.

So scroll down or click the link to hear about the Big Day of Fun in Pittsburgh!

Also - when talking about the baseball game, I neglected to mention the cool Bobble-head collectible they handed out at the game.

So here it is, seen proudly sitting on my windowledge.

Nothing new here

Had the day off today to get some study for my exam tomorrow. Well, it's now three o'clock in the morning, and I can tell you I've done about a half hour of work so far. So where has my day gone? Well - I've probably spent about three hours playing NCAA on the PS2 (it's a college football game) with my suitemates (we've got a little tourney going), and a good two hours of my day went into going to a batting cage; so I got a feel for the difficulty those baseball players have in hitting those balls that are thrown at such speeds.

Rather than go too much into it, I'll promise to upload full impressions and pictures of it over the next few days, but for now, I'm just letting you know that I've uploaded the Gran Canaria Holiday Montage onto my YouTube account - most of you are probably sick of it after seeing the long tenure it enjoyed on mine and a few other Bebo pages, but it's here anyways, with slightly higher resolution, and much better sound than before.

That's all for now, blog-fans! Expect another big entry sometime after Friday - I've much to report on that I'm holding off until I can give it the attention it deserves.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bawdy Buccaneers and Christ Allusions

I have a load of other things I could, and should be doing right now, but instead I've decided to tell you lucky people about a baseball game I recently attended.

Don't you feel special?

So then!

After our Big Day of Fun in Pittsburgh, me and Tom went to the rather splendid PNC Park to see the Pittsburgh Pirates face off against the New York Mets. Tickets for the game were but $5(!), and transport to and from the game was included (!!), which is a ridiculously good deal, no?

Our journey began with the ultimate American artefact: the big yellow school-bus o' death!

We boarded this sunshine-coloured behemoth and looked around for safety harnesses as we noted how springy the seats were, and how many solid things there were to be bounced off! No sooner had we determined that a single pothole would mean certain death for anyone with a neck not made of rubber, we were presented with a piece of paper and a pencil. It was a waiver agreement! The cheeky so-and-sos were fully aware of the peril in which our lives were, and their solution was to have us sign our souls away (luckily I had sold mine away for less back in '94, but that's a story for another blog)!

I'm sure many of you will be disappointed to hear that we arrived safe and sound, and were free to marvel at the beauty of PNC Park (opened in 2001, sits 38,496 fans, built in a way to take advantage of the Pittsburgh Skyline, considered by many as the "best stadium in baseball", fact fans).

Here's a pic Tom took (with his phone) a few days previous;


Not bad, eh?

We got there maybe two hours before the game started, which was odd - so we wandered around this Stadium as though it was a shopping mall - going in and out of the merchandise shops, looking at the ridiculously overpriced foodstuffs on offer, and generally taking in the spectacle of American Culture in action! I got thirsty and went to buy a Pepsi (because there's no Coke in the whole stadium - grumble), then saw that it was $4, and my thirst disappeared! It was miraculous! (I can see how Jesus could peramble about in the desert for forty days without water now - I didn't want to part with $4, let alone everything I stand for)

In a rather bizarre turn of events, it seems that one of the Robert Morris (that's my school - try and keep up) maintenance workers (I think he's a gardener) is singing the national anthem at this Professional Baseball Game! So he does! And the RMU crowd, naturally, go nuts for him. Me and Tom are a little perplexed at first, but we forget about it once the game starts.

This is my first game, whereas Tom is a seasoned veteran (he was at a game a few weeks beforehand), so he is on hand to explain the very basic rules. I complain for the first half hour about how slow the game is, how bored the players seem, and how retarded the crowd are. Everybody sits around, drinks beer, and talks to each other, only occasionally cheering or clapping or singing once the Stadium PA system comes on and encourages some action.

(This is a shot from my seat) The players don't seem too bothered about what they're doing, and after they hit the ball, they barely jog towards the next base, invariably getting eliminated, only to shrug and continue jogging, but now towards the comfy player bench, where they can have a seat, scratch their genitals and chew tobacco.

Tom maintains that I'll get into the game once I can see past these oddities - I consider sport a celebration of human excellence, and these guys on the field are too laid-back and lardy for my liking. After it's explained to me that these guys play 3 games in three nights, then take a break for one night, followed by another three nights of games, I become much more forgiving towards their treating the game like a job.

About 5 innings in, without realising, I get a sudden surge of enthusiasm for the Buccos. Cheering, clapping and cursing to convey my approval or disapproval as appropriate. Not sure why, but I just 'got' it. So let's look at some more of the oddities about this national pastime. Before the game started, an announcement was made, reminding us that "Baseball is a family pastime, and any inappropriate language or behaviour may lead to fans being expelled from the Stadium". Yikes!

Mascots were of course, present and doing their thing, running and dancing about the place like the jesters that they are. Another interesting activity of these Mascots; they got bazookas, put rolled up T-shirts and hot-dogs into 'em, and shot em into the crowd! The same thing was done with a large slingshot - which I thought was pretty cool. There was a camera crew going around asking baseball-related questions and giving away prizes; one woman even had the opportunity to trade her prize for "What's in this box", prompting the entire stadium, myself included, to begin chanting "The box! The box!"

What else? They played music between plays, and showed videos when in.troducing the batters.
I probably should've mentioned the Computer-Generated cartoon that played before the game showing two war Galleons (one representing each team) duking it out before the Pirates eventually sunk those dirty Mets.

The game finished in quasi-spectacular fashion: the teams were tied at the bottom of the ninth(the final inning), two of our guys were struck out, and we had one last chance to finish the game and go home - our final hitter got balled onto the next base, so a fourth hitter stepped up. He hit the ball, our boy ran home, and we won 2-1. (It was exciting, trust me!)

All I learned from the experience is that Americans have short attention spans and will happily pay for overpriced foodstuffs at major sporting events.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Dear Blog.

I finally got around to consuming the ultimate artefact of American culture; the "Peanut-Butter and Jelly sandwich". It wasn't that bad, but in the thirty seconds since I've finished it, my stomach is starting to churn, and I'm very, very thirsty all of a sudden.

Blasted Americans with their salty snacks! I don't think I'll try that again.

Next week: Chicken in a biscuit!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Big Gay Day of Fun in Pittsburgh!

Being an exchange student, the school are constantly going out of their way to "make Robert Morris a home away from home", which basically involves treating us like Kings!

Well, Kings that get the occasional free meal and a trip to Pittsburgh...

They took us for an example of "Fine American Dining", which was....

An Italian Restaurant!

Following this fine feed, we went up the Duquesne Incline. What is it you ask? Let's see what Wikipedia has to say on the matter...

"The Incline's original purpose was to take cargo up and down Mt Washington in the late
1800s. It then became available for passenger use to workers on Mt. Washington who tired of walking up footpaths to the top ... as time went on, more roads could be built up Mt. Washington, and most inclines were closed. In the 1940s, only the Monongahela Incline and the Duquesne Incline were left."

Glad that's cleared up, eh? Basically, you sit in a little carriaige, and it goes up an insanely steep hill by means of a few flimsy looking cables, while those who are afraid of heights crap their pants and pray to their respective gods.

At the top, there was a lousy gift-shop and a World War 1 Monument, none of which I feel are worth publishing pictures of. There was a nice view of the city of Pittsburgh, however, which gave rise to rather splendid pics like this one.

However, I did succumb to tempation and spend $0.51 on a machine that mashes a penny into this shape - but I got ripped off! Claire's penny was cleaner when she put it in, and the machine actually managed to hit the right spot... Here's what I mean.

See the two shiny penneys? Then the crappy one that's been completely missed by the machine? Guess which one is mine?

We didn't really venture any further into the city, and returned back to the campus, so me and Tom could go and indulge in some manly-man-pastimes; go to a Baseball game!
(watch this space!)

Friday, September 15, 2006

"We eat ham and jam and spam alot"

Thursday the 14th I went to see Monty Python's Spamalot in the Benedum theatre, Pittsburgh.

Purdy, no?

Despite having seen and enjoyed Flying Circus on a few occasions, I never bothered to watch any of the Python films. Seeing as Spamalot follows the basic story arc of the film Knights of the Holy Grail, I figured this was as good an excuse as any to watch the DVD that had been ripped to my computer some months ago. Without getting too much into it - I enjoyed the film, but there were a few jokes that dragged on just a little too long, and a few gags that missed. As much as I appreciated the ending; a parody on the movie-making-maxim; "end on something worthwhile", I was disappointed by it - it just seems unfinished!

Twenty of so hours later, and I'm sitting in a rather impressive theatre in Pittsburgh, feeling inappropriately dressed compared to everyone else who has shown up sporting a suit or dress of some description. The seats were alright - we were up on the balcony, and more or less all the way to the right.


The show opens with the orchestra 'screwing up', and the conductor shooting the (I think it was a) trumpeteer. He survives the first shot and continues to make a hilarious, feeble sound with his instrument, only to be shot again, quelling the racket to rapturous laughter and applause from the audience.

The best jokes are the ones that variate the most from the movie, and the show excells when it strays further from its source material. The story elements have been claned up to make the entire affair more coherent, and the scenes no longer feel like a collection of skits. The best bits from the film are by and large present and correct, and the 'special effects' very imaginatively pulled off. There are many, many scenes that are complete non-sequiturs, (such as the opening scene) and towards the end of the play especially, characters lose all respect for the fourth wall, addressing the audience and making self-referential jokes at every possible opportunity.

The songs are hilarious, and there's enough there to please most people; and even when the songs are slow and soppy, writer Eric Idle had the decency to throw plenty of funny lyrics in to make them worthwhile listening.

The ending is completely different to the film, and dare I say it, original! It's funny, it makes sense, (well, kindof), and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! I really don't understand why I'm not putting in spoilers, considering that it'll probably never make its way to Ireland, but I'm sure the legions of Python fans in the UK will have to be sated...

In summing up, I'd like to quote my German-buddy Tom;
"I'm glad I saw the film first, because if I saw the musical first and then watched the film, I'd have been very disappointed"
Well said, Tom!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Go Colonials!

Welcome back to another thrilling (not to mention lengthy) instalment of ‘Sully does America’ (well, the United States maybe).
So what’s new since my last post? Well, other than a bit of dicking around with the HTML template, I've been reshuffling my classes at school, so I now get Mondays AND Fridays (not to mention Thursdays!) off, so I should get some more travelling done over the coming weeks.

Last Saturday the Robert Morris Colonials played their first homegame against the Duquesne University team. My first live American Football game (I had watched the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins the Monday beforehand)! So how'd it go?

It was quite a spectacle.

The Midfield area

The first thing I noticed, is that there was a lot going on as I approached the on-campus stadium. In the car park, there were fans participating in the pre-game ritual of 'Tailgating', which is showing up a few hours before the game, going into the car-park and setting up a barbeque or some kind of cooking apparatus, then drinking beers and eating and having a gay old time before kick-off is even considered! There were some elaborate constructions involving RVs and patio-furniture, all of which I failed to photograph - but I promise I'll be there next time to document this holy practice.

As soon as I was outside the stadium, I noticed the ticket kiosk (where a free ticket awaited me, thanks to my RMU-ID card), and a few food tents set up to the sides by the entrances. Seeing as I was running late, I went straight into the entrance, and was instantly bombarded with people offering me various Colonial-related paraphernalia, programmes, posters, calendars, and even a Colonial - branded plastic water-bottle. This stuff was free! I couldn’t believe the amount of support behind what I would later find out was a pretty crappy college football team.

After making my way through the tunnel of free stuff, I found myself to the back of the bleachers, and was stunned by the amount of people there in support of both home and away teams. I made my way to the bleachers where the Joanna and Claire were keeping my spot, and didn’t say much to them as I took in the amount of stuff going on. There were cheerleaders frolicking and jumping around right in front of me, to the right there was a dance team shaking their booties in support of the hometeam, a rather impressive band were playing some jazzy songs over the cacophony of cheering and general chatter. There was an announcer who made countless advertisements on behalf of the sponsors of the Colonials in the schmaltzy voice that only an American can truly pull off. All this was happening as cameramen were scurrying around, both from the RMU TV station and the local Pittsburgh network, trying to get the best positions to shoot what they need. There was also a mascot, who was possibly the most entertaining part of the whole affair.

Is it wrong that I want to make a

When it was time for the hometeam to make their dramatic entrance, the band played some triumphant music to welcome our heroes. Fifty-something players poured onto the field. That was one team! Then fifty-something other players poured onto the team. Their combatants! On top of that there were about five officials, probably more. So I watched in a stupor as the football players jumped around like drug-crazed rock stars, throwing their fists in the air and eliciting huge cheers from the assembled crowd. All the clichés are correct and present - the chest-on-chest bouncing - the helmet-grab-and-head butt manoeuvre, and all of the usual screaming and whatnot.

The game itself was a mixed bag. There were moments of elation, disappointment, sheer frustration and total boredom. The problem with the game is the stop/start nature of it. There were some spectacular tackles, with guys flying head-over-heels, collisions in mid air, helmets flying across the field and a lot of heavy hits. But that’s when the going was good. The entirety of the third-period was entirely non-eventful, and most of it was spent watching the cheerleaders (and one particular dance-team girl, whose ridiculous ass-shaking kept catching my eye, but that‘s neither here nor there), as they assembled human pyramids and other hugely impressive frivolous constructions of human bodies.

At half time, there was free pizza and cans of soft drink (I availed of four slices of the former, and two of the latter), which was quite cool. The spectators needed a bit of refreshment after sitting out in the sun for so long.

The entire affair took over three hours - three hours spent sitting in the baking sun. By the end of the day, I had a glowing, burnt, red face, save for the pasty-white area around my eyes where I was wearing sunglasses, which provided more than its fair share of laughs, believe you me.

Excuse the amateurish video, the shaky footage is from a digital camera, and I wanted to leave the ambient sounds in rather than throwing some rock music over it. It kinda shows you what I mean by the fact that theres a lot more going on than just a football game, right?

Friday, September 08, 2006

New York? Again?

Greetings all! Allow me to take a break from my homework while I tell you all about my labour-day weekend in New York with Andrea, Gráinne and Shane. Sorry to chronicle more about New York before mentioning Moon Township, but such is life!

Monday morning I flew out to JFK airport, and was able to make my way to Queens more or less effortlessly thanks to New York's rather handy subway system. I met the lads outside a dodgy-donut shop, and we went back to Andrea's place to pose for crappy photographs;

The picture makes the apartment seem more 'cosy' than it should

We hung out for a few hours, before setting off into the pissing rain to take the Staten Island Ferry, so Shane and Grá could get a little closer to the Statue of Liberty.

Visibility was diddly-squat with the terrible weather, so we distracted ourselves by taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other.


We stayed on Staten Island for about four minutes, just about long enough to take this picture, which doesn't really illustrate just how rainy and windy it was. (Kudos to Shane though, for baring an even ratio of teeth to gums)

You're reading this boring blog entry rather than doing something important with your life - you pillock

We also went to Time Square that night and ate at McDonalds - we would've eaten at TGI Friday's but, the lads were too busy pinching their pennies! Shortly after filling ourselves with some 'food', I took this picture of Shane (he's the hooded, potential sexual deviant to the bottom-centre of the photograph)

Nice how he kinda blends in, eh?

The following day was spent at a mall in Jersey, where I bought the book 'Jarhead' by Anthony Swofford (impressions coming soon, if you're interested), and Viewtiful Joe for the DS (for $20! Twenty Dollars!)

The day after that was filled with yet even more New Yorkage!




Glamour Shots!
Glamour Shots!


The brige in question is, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge - I have a really awful blurry picture of it from afar, so I'd rather show you these ones.

The entire weekend afforded me with a rare opportunity to engage in some high culture with some intellectual heavyweights, as this video ascertains.

As retarded as this may make Gráinne look (sorry Grá - maybe if you started reading the blog sooner...), I assure you that these just happen to be the two stupid things I managed to record (and I instigated the tonguing of the napkin thing, cos a man's gotta pass the time somehow, damnit!).