Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Part the XXI: Let's Play a Game!

So one of the more interesting things I have noticed since moving to England are how creative some of the adverts on the television are.  Some of them are truly amazing.  Take, for example, the old Honda "Cog" Commercial that aired here a few years ago:
The most amazing part of the ad is how it is only two takes edited together.  Then there is the recent ad campaign for Cravendale Milk:
This has singlehandedly become my favorite ad since moving here!

Then there is the other side to the situation.  You see, there are quite a few ads here that just seem to occur, and not really show or talk about what their meaning is.  Thus, its time to play one of my favorite games:  What Were They Selling Again!?
Okay, lets start with Confused.com

Any ideas...?  Anyone at all? (Crickets chirping)...  Alright well, lets try another ad from them:
Maybe its a dating site, perhaps a flower company?  Well, your wrong.  In truth, confused.com is just like Progressive at home, that is to say, it is a site where you can compare insurance rates for your car.

Heres One more company with odd ads.  What does Moonpig.com sell?

Gifts?  Maybe candy?

Maybe Christmas things...no, turns out they sell personalized greeting cards.  I understand the idea on the ads.  You see them, say I wonder what they are, and visit the site.  It is genius and it works.  Still, in this busy rushing world, ads like this seem like a crapshoot.  In the past, ads were to be short and sweet and get to the point of what they were selling.  Now, in a world full of dada ads, it just seems harder and harder to find what we want.  Until next time, this has been "What Were They Selling Again!?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part the XX:Where Nick Studies for a week at University College in Oxford

Yes, you read right.  Since Saturday, I have been living at University College in Oxford.  Note that I say University College.  Many people, myself being on of them, think that Oxford University is a single school.  What we fail to realize is that Oxford University is the governing body of the 39 colleges that exist within the city of Oxford.  Thats right, 39.  University, is actually one of the oldest, dating back to 1249.  Only St. Edmund is older, with a founding date of 1238.  So our program in Bath allows us to spend a week at Univ (as it is known to the students) taking our classes in the college, touring local museums and historic sites, and getting to understand the culture of this great college town.

First, a little history of the town and Univ.  Oxford literally takes its name from the fact that it was once the ford in the river where farmers forded their Oxen on the way to market.  Thus, the coat of arms for the city portrays an ox crossing the river.  Univ was founded by William of Durham in 1249 (although some claim that King Alfred founded it as early as 872.  The Main Quadrangle as it appears now was built in the 17th Century.  Radcliffe Quad was finished in the 18th Century and the library in the 1860s.  The college first accepted women in 1979.  Famous alums of Univ include Prime Minister Phillip Atlee, President Bill Clinton, C.S. Lewis, Felix Yusupov (The assassin of Rasputin), and Stephen Hawking.
Inside Univ.  It is like being in a castle, as are most other colleges.  They were designed to be fortified encampments for the students.

Statue of William of Durham on the inside wall of Univ.

My room.  It used to be either a study or a library.  It has beautiful dark-wood paneled walls.

It also has this great, hand carved mantle piece that portrays Adam and Eve in Eden.

The Percy Shelley Memorial.  He went to this school until his thoughts on atheism got him kicked out.  After he became famous and drowned, the school built this for him.  While it is a moving tribute, walking past it at night on the way back to your room can be very disconcerting.

Logic Lane.  It runs through Univ.

Punting on the river, an Oxford tradition.

Our Gettysburg Crew.

One rather interesting thing about Oxford is the ring, or loop, road that runs around the outside of City Center.  All private cars must exit onto this road at the top and bottom of High Street.  The idea is to limit the carbon footprint.  Thus, in city center you will see Taxis, Buses and hundreds of bikes, but never a private car.
The Dining Hall at Christ Church College.  It was the Great Hall in the first two Harry Potter Films.

The "No Peel" door at Christ Church protesting alumni and Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel who, in 1829, argued for more rights for the Catholics. 

Hertford Bridge.  

The Ashmoleon Museum.  Here we have the cremonial outfit of T.E. Lawrence...better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

And here is the very lantern Guy Fawkes was caught holding while unloading the explosives he planned to blow up the house of parliament with on the Fifth of November.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Highlights from Weeks Six and Seven

Maserati in the Crescent

Happy Red Nose Day!

The Great Tapestry at the Montecute Elizabethian Manor House.  

It was built from 1599-1604

Little window on the outside corner of the manor.

Monetcute House.  The property was truly beautiful with many gardens, ponds and great lawns.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Part the XVIII: Happy Red Nose Day!

Happy Red Nose Day to all of my readers!  Here in England, there is a wonderful program called Comic Relief whose job it is to raise money for those who are in need all around the world.  Every two years, they celebrate Red Nose Day.  It is a chance for musicians, comedians, actors and athletes to come together for one weekend and take part in festivities.  They can be anything from special episodes of certain BBC game shows, to FA football matches being played with Red footballs.  In the months leading up to the day, sales of merchandise, food from sponsors and other items add to the donations.  Most importantly, people don red noses throughout the day as a way to show their support.  This year's Red Nose Day has seen a new charity single by Susan Boyle (along with a comedian in drag), Chris Moyle and Comedy Dave of Radio 1 being on air a marathon 57 hours and Matt Smith (aka: Dr. Who) performing in a short comic episode of the series in order to raise money.  For more info see these links...
Comic Relief on Wikipedia
Red Nose Day Official Site

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Part the XVII: Where Nick celebrates St. Patrick's Day in England

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!  Hopefully you are enjoying yourselves and having a good time with friends and family.  So I decided to see what St. Patrick's day is like here in England.  The most important thing is that it is treated very differently here than it is in America.  At home, St. Patrick's day is a day where everyone is Irish and, at least with a lot of college students, drinking is a pastime.  Here in England, things seem so different.  At normal British Pubs, the regulars are there usually drinking their normal brew and watching sports while taking part in the quiz.  The closest thing you see to normal St. Patrick's Day traditions here are usually at the Irish Pubs in town.  Here you will see all the staff and patrons wearing green, perhaps a leprechan hat here and there.  One pub, Molloy's, was even giving away free pints of Guinness.  Even then, the excess that seems so normal was not as prevalent.  Every now and then you saw a person, usually a younger college aged kid, who may have had too much.  Most people instead stopped into the pub, exchanged niceties with friends and staff, had a pint, and then went back into the world.  Here in England, they call St. Patrick's Day "The Friendliest Day of the Year".  I can honestly say that it is very much true.  I met some great people today and shared some interesting stories with them.  In the end, at least here in England, friendship rules this day.  The chance to meet over a pint of Guinness is just icing on the cake...or perhaps a head of foam on the stout.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A great story here about a Bath City Legend.

Story from the Bath Chronicle 

So I read this story in the local paper a few days ago about Ben Docherty, a former Bath City and Nott's County player making a start for the Holt F.C. village team down in the amateur Trowbridge and District League.  This would probably not even register on most readers radar.  The thing is, the last time he started for Bath City was about 40 years ago!  Docherty made his Holt debut at the age of 69!  This makes him one of the oldest starters in FA History.  Literally, here's a picture of him for Nott's County
And here is a picture of him for Holt
That is him dodging a tackle from the other clubs captain. This is a man who had his hip replaced 10 years ago!  If you get a chance, read the link to the main story at the top.  Absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Highlights from Week Five

Cricket in the Crescent.  We really could not pick a better site to knock in the new cricket bats I bought.
Bath City v. Kettering Town 5/3/11
It was a draw 1-1.  An incredibly exciting match that saw City's Kaid Mohammed score the equalizer with only 30 seconds left in the match!
The Millennium Garden in Lansdown just north of Northampton Street.
Another view of the garden.
An interesting bit of graffiti on a road nicknamed the Shrubbery in the north of Bath.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Highlights from Week Four

The Statue of King Bladud with his pig.

My current favorite Pub Sign so far.  The Raven, Bath.


Bath City v. Southport 2/26/11

S.P.P.P.  This marks the old parish boundry of St. Peter and Paul Church.

Queen's Square North.  Built by John Wood the Elder in 1725.

The milkman's truck.  There are still milkmen marking the rounds every morning here in Bath.

My new toys!  Two perfectly balanced Slazenger V100 Panther Cricket Bats.  I can't wait to knock these bats in!