Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA-Canada Olympic Hockey

My work schedule during the winter months (and the time difference) prevented me from watching much of the Vancouver Olympics. But, despite being in the middle of finishing up a big paper, I did manage to watch the gold medal match between the USA and Canada in ice hockey, along with about 30 other Gates scholars. As can be seen, we had a number of Canadians and Americans present, and the flags were out. The US lost in overtime 3-2, but it was a fantastic match and a nice brief moment of nationalism to distract from the grind.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stonehenge & Bath

Finally made it out to perhaps Britain's most famous monument, Stonehenge. It's a three and a half hour drive from Cambridge so we were out at 7:30 in the morning with a big bus to take 60 Gates Scholars out to see the Stonehenge monument.
I'd summarize Stonehenge as an ancient version of Mt. Rushmore. You know what to look like since you've seen it so many times, it's a bit surreal to see such a famous site in person, and then there's not much more to say about it after you snap a few photos. What disappointed me is that there's little historical info at the site, just a few words that "nobody knows what the stones were put up for." I feel like they should be encouraging kids to let their imaginations run wild. My guess? They put up the stones to encourage other stone age tribes to visit this lonely part of the English countryside, and trick still works today.
We spent the rest of the day in the comparatively modern city of Bath. It's one of the most architecturally interesting places in England, being very close to a stone quarry everything in town is built from magnificent stone.
And of course, the namesake Roman bath. Not very well preserved, but still quite impressive and interesting to see the complicated system to pump hot spring water in for the old Roman aristocracy to enjoy a hot bath in their colonial outpost.

 The rest of Bath is just a very nice city with beautiful buildings and a few very nice parks. I really liked the hills as well, being used to the very flat terrain of East Anglia.

If you squint, I'm somewhere in this picture. A little camouflaged and a little off the ground, but there I am enjoying the sites in the middle of the Royal Crescent, a magnificent semi-circle of houses with a few magnificent trees in the middle. I think the look on my face says "I need to remember to see more of England while I'm here."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poland, F19 Cup Champions!

My roommate Andrew, a huge football fan, and I have been playing an entire simulated World Cup on FIFA 2010 on the Xbox 360. The games only take 10 minutes, but it's still a lot of games (63, to be exact) and we've been working on it since November. It's a pretty good opportunity to unwind at the end of the day. In a shocker, Poland was the eventual winner over France, winning 6-3 in the finals with the help of 3 goals in the last 10 minutes. Here I am celebrating the win. Time for a serious video game break, we may have to turn to board games next.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spring Ball

Churchill Springball tonight. Here I am in my tux as usual with a few new friends from the MCR this year. Not quite as big of a group as we had for last year's spring ball, but the ball was probably better organized this year, and they had a cool theme of the 1960's, celebrating Churchill's 50th anniversary.
There was all the usual ball elements-tons of music, food, drinks, and entertainment. One of the highlights which was new this year though was Human Table Football. Just like the mini version you're tethered to a rope and can only move laterally in one line. Like everything else in spring ball it's a little silly doing all this in formal wear but most people have had too much to drink by this point in time to really notice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Three Sports

No pictures, but I did play in three matches for my college today. Football (soccer) at 11:00, rugby at 13:00, basketball at 20:00. Churchill won all three as well, making it probably the most productive sports day of my life. Of course, not the most productive work day, and I'm pretty sore now. I still love sports, I may be getting to the point though where the utility of them as an "excuse to get out of the lab" is wearing off. I've got plenty of those these days.