Thursday, November 24, 2005

Unas Aventuras con Alejandro

Alex came over to visit from Spain. It is a lot colder here.

I'll put up a longer post with more words soon! Honestly!

Here are more pictures, though.

Alex learns a few of the moves from Shiva.

This is the name of a real store in Glasgow. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

We went to Edinburgh. They put up signs to make you feel stupid.

We got tired.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spotted Today in the Gloag

Why does this make me feel more at home?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Isle of Skye

Sorry I haven't been updating again (he says to his untold legions of faithful fans). But to make up for it (how can one ever?), here are some pictures from my recent trip to the Isle of Skye. Scotland is a pretty amazing place!

The ruins of Duntulm Castle, Isle of Skye. Supposedly the only male heir of the MacDonald clan was accidentally dropped to his death through this window by his nursemaid in her eagerness to show off the chieftain's newly-born son. The baby, the nurse, and the chieftain are said to haunt the castle, which was abandoned in the 1700s.

Fairy Falls, Isle of Skye. Our tour group is drinking the water from the falls, hoping the fairies will grant their wishes.

Crows near the battlefield of Culloden. Culloden was the last battle on UK soil, fought between the Scottish Jacobites under Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the English. Charlie fled the scene 30 minutes into the battle and ran away to France, surrendering Scotland once again to England.

Elian Donan Castle, Loch Alsh. Yes, for all of you who have been asking, I visited Loch Ness, too! No monster, though: He and I have been keeping up regular correspondence and may meet for coffee at some point during my stay here.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

They'll GET you!!!

Everyone look at what my beautiful, exceptional, marvellous, stellar girlfriend Heather sent me!


Thursday, October 06, 2005

My life is uninteresting at the moment

So here's a post from the reserve. Fresh evidence that disco came to Scotland to die:

Don't try this at home

Apparently they have exhumed its stinking, rotting corpse and are marketing it in shiny wrappings. The flavor on the left, that you can't see, is called "Boogie Down Beef." It is what it says.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Uni

Sorry not to have posted in a few days... I have a story of what I hope the rest of the year will be like.

I arrived at 12 University Gardens, Rm 1 for my History of Enlish Language class, as indicated on my schedule, only to find that I had the wrong room. Luckily, my adviser, Jeremy Smith, was on his way out to teach the lecture and he informed me that it was to be held in a mysterious auditorium known only as "The Gloag." This is the sort of information I like to hear, as, of course, there has never been any sort of information session informing us how to find rooms on campus solely on the basis of arcane naming schemes; neither do any of these names appear on any map of the University (of which there are precious few, may I add!).

I followed Jeremy across the campus, and into one of the buildings that he informed me used to be the private residence of one of the University's original 12 professors. Three right turns, a hallway, and a staircase later, we were faced by a door with a timeworn plaque reading "The Gloag." I only hope I can find it on my own next time...

Here are a couple of pictures I've taken of the University's main building and tower. It was built in the mid-19th century to look old, so don't be deceived.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Slugger O'Toole

This is an interesting blog on politics and life in Northern Ireland. The style is to post something controversial or interesting and let the comments fly. Lots of perspective!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Necropolitan is not an ice cream.

On my first non-sick free day in a week, I celebrated by going with my German friend Torsten to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. There really was a broad variety of religions represented, and it was interesting to see things mixed by theme in places (I wonder whether St. John and Shiva duke it out at night?). It was also odd to see Christianity
represented so clinically and often incompletely. The exhibits tended to focus on the various paraphernalia used by Catholic and Episcopal churches, and what little doctrine it explained seemed wide of the mark. The museum is, of necessity, a secular institution, but I thought it took much greater pains than necessary to dismiss the validity of faith. Still an
St. Mungo's Cathedral
interesting visit... The museum is one of those buildings in Glasgow that has been built to look old (15th-century style). What a city Glasgow is! They knock down all their old stuff to build new stuff that looks like the old stuff, but trendier...

Torsten left from the museum and I went on to visit St. Mungo's Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Glasgow, that was saved by the labor guilds when the Reformers wanted to tear it down. I continued from there to the Glasgow Necropolis. The Necropolis was set aside in the mid-19th century by the wealthy merchants of Glasgow as an elaborate burial ground, and also an attempt to control the spread of disease that plagued the city during that time. It's built up on a high hill near the center of the old city and there's quite a view from the top. I'm all about old graveyards!!! It's pretty sobering to see a huge hill of gravestones rising out of the middle of a living city.
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

If I wrote a title here, it would be optimistic

But I can't stand optimistic titles, so I won't.

Today marks the first day I've felt at all comfortable here. Things just started out right-- I saw my first 60's Jaguar XKE today! I met several people in my department, and all were friendly, outgoing, and nice to talk to!

I also met my course supervisor, Dr. Jeremy Smith, who, in addition to speaking slightly like Wallace (Of Wallace and Gromit), has a warm personality and an infectious grin.

After the enrolment meetings, I went to the exclusive postgraduate club, which had a terrific small-community coffee-shop gestalt, and good music on the house speakers.

After quickly finding everything I needed at the local supermarket (Heather knows how rare this is, even in the US!) I walked home just in time to catch Heather on AIM before she left for work.

On top of all this, my cold seems to be letting up, my room is finally clean, my bed has fresh sheets on it...




By which I mean that I used ingredients that were not previously cooked and compiled a complete dinner! I fried the sausages, baked the potato, sliced the carrots and the cheese— I even made a pot of tea!

I know it's out of character for me to speak in terms such as these... Extreme situations call for extreme language.

Please bear with me.

Also, English mustard is just the thing for one's sinuses.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Army Fashion

I went into a military surplus store near my flat today. At first it seemed much like most U.S. military stores, until I noticed the total absence of anything dangerous. No Sheffield service knives, no machetes, hatchets... I think they might have sold kitchen matches.

They had those cool British army sweaters-- the kind with reinforced shoulders and elbows. I think I'll buy one, but I have to decide whether I want army or navy (drab or blue). Suggestions?

The British call sweaters "jumpers," but the idea of an Army jumper strikes me as a terrible juxtaposition. The sight of tough British troops advancing
resolutely in pinafores is certainly an intimidating prospect, but I think the reason is other than they intend. Luckily for me, when I buy one, I think I'm allowed to substitute the word "jersey" if I'm too embarrassed.

May I also take this opportunity to recommend Victory Lozenges! Forged for strength! I don't know if they're helping my cold, but they sure taste nice.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Abstruse Bloviations

Nate finally fixed his blog... One of these days I'll put the link back on my sidebar.

There may not be a lot of updating for a few days because I seem to have caught a cold, and I am confining myself to my flat, where the previously-lauded tea flows like ... liquid...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Stirling Castle

Here are some pictures from my trip to Stirling Castle today! I'm not going to try as hard on formatting this time.

An arrow-shooting thing.

Stirling Castle wall and Stirling

The William Wallace Monument

Regarding Fish & Chips

When you go for fish & chips and ask for a single, they give you a single entire fish...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Tested a theory today... The cheapest Scottish tea is better than any American tea I've had.

£1.20 or so for 80 bags!

Plus it came with a free spoon!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Some preliminary incidentals

Glasgow is in Lanarkshire (at least the part of Glasgow I'm in...), and, as far as I can tell, they drink mainly Stella Artois, which is one of my favorites!

Tomorrow I have an appointment with destiny, in the form of Gary's Licenced Grocers.

Monday, September 05, 2005

My musical weekend

This seems to be rapidly (rabidly?)
changing into a PHOTO BLOG.

Check back for comments and photos
from Scotland, where they do things funny.
I'm leaving Saturday...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Proper way to lift a box

Some pictures, Robb-style

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Shelley driving me (mad) to Yakima

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Heather and Eddy preparing to float the Yakima

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More preparation

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

News flash

Nate drove a tractor today.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

What?!? A Serious Post???

I thought I'd be a little unorthodox and just put a standard news update--a list of all the important issues--here.

Item 1:

I have a girlfriend. Her image may be viewed here. Her name is Heather and she is wicked cool. Her blog, however, is dead, or, as Heather says, its glory days are over.

Item 2:

I'm leaving. I was accepted to the University of Glasgow for my MLitt in English Language and Linguistics. I'll be gone from September of 2005 to September of 2006. Anyone wishing to make a large monetary donation...

This also means that I've graduated from UW.

Item C:

I have a temporary job for the summer. I'm an apprentice! Hopefully I get to learn some carpentry, tile work, and stone-cutting... And my employer is a dadaist! At least, I think he is... That, or the lack of eight ambulatory lemons.

Item 4:

I stepped on my own finger the other day. Now my fingernail has a little white scratch on it and my finger is sore.

Item 5:

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The reason I've lost weight

It's so hard to get to the food...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Jobs I'm thinking of looking at

This is more convenient and more annoying than just emailing myself the list.

More to follow.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More from a government job

We've resolved that it should be formal government job etiquette to not make calls to other departments after a certain point in the afternoon. It seems that everyone waits until the last minute to try to press all their orders through, which makes us all ... up-tight.

To this end, my co-workers and I propose that beginning at 4:20 on weekday afternoons, reggae be piped through all government office sound systems. Mellow mood has got me...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Chiliwack is larger than you'd expect.

I have decided that I have another story worth telling.

Last Sunday, Heather, Shelley, and I, after partaking in a truly EPIC feast of the Thai variety (hosted and prepared with help by my new family, the Dickersons), were talking about how to spend the rest of the afternoon. Suddenly, someone (I think Shelley) said, "we could go to Canada..." So that's what we did. We left at about 6:00 pm from Seattle and, having decided to go somewhere less conventional than Vancouver, drove up to the border at Sumas/Abbotsford- we got there at around 7:30 or 8. On that crossing, the patrol on duty was slightly suspicious of our motives, but let us pass unhindered.

Upon crossing the border, we decided to drive the extra 20 minutes to Chiliwack: we found the name exotic and enticing, and expected the town itself to live up to the standards it had set by adopting this title. We were not disappointed. The restaurant we ate at (masquerading as a sports pub) was actually a culinary Mecca, specializing in such delicacies as Yorkshire pudding. To boot (as they might say up there), we dined in an amazing outdoor patio by a gas firepit.

After finding and touring a Canadian store, which, counter to its appearances, assured us that it was not simply a Fred Meyer with slightly raised vowel pronunciation, we prepared to cross the border (at around 10:00) to return Stateside. At this crossing, however, the guards were less easygoing and were incredulous at our claims that we had traveled all the way from Seattle just for dinner on a Sunday night. We proceeded inside, at their urging, and waited while they searched our car and made us fill out customs forms. We were too happy and tired to care, however...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Please pass the bureaucracy? Or have someone do it...

Here is an anecdote from my new place of occupation.

The other day, I was sitting at my desk in the Health Sciences building, working, and the phone rang. I answered it "Classroom services," as I was accustomed to do.
"Hi," said the voice on the other end. "We're having a blood drive over here in the lobby, and we can't really see what we're doing. Could you turn on the rest of the fluorescent lights for us?"
"I'll see what I can do," I answered. I asked my co-worker Joe if I could go down and do that for them.
"No," he said, "I think the Physical Plant handles lights."
"So should I call them?" I asked.
"Yeah... You could probably do that."
Then I called the Physical Plant. "Physical plant," the lady said.
"Hi, this is Joel in classroom services," I began, "and I'm calling regarding a request I've just received to turn on the rest of the lights in the Health Sciences lobby for a blood drive they're having. They can't really see what they're doing."
"The lobby? Man! I put in a work order a week ago to have those turned on."
"Oh... Right..."
"They're on break now, so they won't be able to turn on the lights until 10:00..."
"I guess that will be fine," I said, and promptly hung up the phone in amazement at the mass amounts of eerie glowing crimson tape suddenly spilling out from the phone and inundating my desk.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Consonant preaspiration and gemination in Modern Icelandic

Though there are interesting features both in the consonant and vowel repertories of Icelandic, this paper will focus primarily upon Icelandic consonant phenomena, primarily those of aspiration, and where related, gemination. This paper will contain a brief introduction to the Icelandic consonant inventory and some cursory information on the diachronic progression of Icelandic consonants (which is helpful in that it enables one to predict Modern Icelandic pronunciation from the orthography, as I have done for this paper). Also introduced are some of the previous and current theories related to Icelandic consonant preaspiration. This will be followed by a survey of some of the data I have compiled from grammars and dictionaries, an analysis of the data as well as a discussion of possible derivations and rules governing preaspiration, and finally a discussion of some problems inherent in a purely syllable-based analysis.

Icelandic stops, instead of contrasting between voiced and unvoiced, use aspiration contrastively. Historically, consonants all contrasted based on voicing, and the orthography represents the earlier voiced contrast rather than the modern, aspirated one: though there are no longer any voiced stops in Modern Icelandic, the orthography includes b, d, gj, and g. Underlyingly, however, these sounds have changed to unaspirated [p, t, c, k], which are in contrastive distribution with [ph, th, ch, kh] (p, t, kj, and k, respectively, as seen in the orthography).

A feature of Modern Icelandic that makes it an interesting study is the presence of preaspiration in certain environments. Several arguments have been suggested to account for preaspiration, which Hansson (2003:24) deems a 'diachronically highly unstable' phenomenon. It is important to consider these arguments before examining the data, in order to assess their appropriateness. Preaspiration is not reflected in the orthography of Icelandic (though it can be accurately predicted from it, either from the orthographically represented gemination or based on environment), but it does not appear to be an allophonic phenomenon. There are several minimal and many near-minimal pairs that illustrate its contrastive status, and Hansson (2003), based on durational studies, suggests that, rather than a 'preaspiration' feature of the consonant, there is a full [h] segment, as part of a surface cluster. Implementing Hansson's suggestion, the Icelandic word epli ('apple') is transcribed as [ ɛhplɪ ] rather than as [ɛhplɪ], the method which had often previously been used. Because of the extreme vowel coloring that almost always occurs in a situation of preaspiration, Hansson also reflects the devoiced vowel in his analyses, and an allophonic equivalent to the previous example includes a devoiced [ɛ]. Though I accept Hansson's suggestion that there is no actual [preaspiration] feature, I continue to use the word to describe the phenomenon of h + deaspirated stop clusters, due to convenience.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Why doesn't anyone ever get drowned in effigy?

It's nice of the paper to group all the comics I hate together into one section—I just wish it didn't take up all four pages.


Breaking news: For all of my readers in England (I'm pretty sure that excludes just about everyone): I managed to hook up a British phone number to my computer phone in addition to the Olympia one. So, if you're English, and reading my blog, please call me and tell me WHY.

0870 - 3404200

Monday, January 03, 2005

I wasn't going to complain

Someone told me recently that my blog is boring. It's true, I haven't posted all break. It's hard to do so when to go home means a 6,000 mile trek on foot across tundra and volcanoes, and to get anything put on the Internet you have to use a combination of smoke signals, carrier pigeons, and flares. Those flares get expensive out there! Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year's. Me, I caught malaria. Or a cold- I'm not sure which.