Monday, November 10, 2008

Photo Diary: Wales

A little late, as usual, in getting these up, but not TOO bad, as we went on Friday and it's now Monday night. I spent the weekend happily not doing work (no psychology essay this week, WHOO!) and of course had to make it up today with all the reading I got assigned to compensate, so I holed up in Blackwell's all day with a notebook and paid rent on a table with a sandwich and drink. But now that I find myself at leisure (and yes, rather rare) I figured I'd post the pictures from Wales. As always, peppered with my not-so-insightful commentary.

The suspension bridge crossing the River Severn into Wales, shot from out the bus window.
Suspension bridge in the distance (there are two of them) and you can see a bit of an island off to the left. The Severn is about the size of the Hudson, which was to say, they both took me aback since I'm not used to seeing that much water in Colorado.

The entrance to Tintern Abbey, of Wordsworth fame.

No, there is nothing remarkable about this sign whatsoever, except as an illustration that everything is printed in both English and Welsh, which you too will get hopelessly confused if you attempt to actually pronounce. The Welsh language: torturing consonants since the fifth century A.D.!

The entrance into Tintern from the Warming House.

A view through the ruined windows.

The main facade of the ruin.

The bulwark from the (former, obviously) cloisters.

A doorway out through the back.

The atmospheric shot. You can just hear the Dracula theme music striking up in the background.


And another atmospheric shot, with the Welsh countryside out the windows. Feel free to ignore the less aesthetic components of said scene, such as the metal scaffolding.

A dramatic shot, this time with sunlight.

Me, looking as retarded as ever. Unsure why I appear to have chipmunk cheeks.

Probably my favorite shot, but why are the bastards always ruining things with hoses and scaffolds? I know, I know, we don't want it to fall down on our heads. Shaddup.

Dramatic cross-sections.


The door into the abbey.

No, the things in the foreground are not giant mutant cabbages or an army of invading trolls, at least I do not think. They are evidently bits of stone which they haven't got a place to put yet. Creative redecoration in action.

Annnnd this is a long while later, I realize I sort of forgot to photograph the transition (and besides my camera decided it was low on battery... after I'd changed them out earlier in the day. I swear, that thing eats them). This is at the Museum of St. Fagans, aka the Welsh patron saint, which is kind of like a living-history village with a bunch of authentic buildings you can wander around it. It is about a 30-minute drive from Tintern Abbey, just outside Cardiff.

Inside one of the period-furnished row houses, this one I believe from 1805. Thanks to my camera's habit of being smart and putting the flash on whenever it feels like, this picture is quite a bit lighter than it actually was inside.

Forgot which this one was. 1850s or something. Also a lot lighter than it was.

Inside the 16th-century farmhouse. It was almost completely black in here, so when I saw the picture, I said, "Huh, that's what the bed looks like."

The Celtic village. The first hut inside the gates is mildly unsettling, as you stick your head in and there is nothing but total darkness and some smoke. Also, very muddy. But cool.

The Welsh forest outside the village. Cue the faerieland music. Pretty, huh?

More faerieland. Complete with lamppost.

The entrance from across the bridge to St. Fagans Castle (actually just a Really Big Manor House We'll Call a Castle and See If Anybody Notices and Thinks We're Important Oh And Maybe Gives Us Money)

See! This Bit Appears Castle-Like!

See! We Also Have a Pond With Dopey Lute-Playing Statues! That Fellow On The Right There! And One On The Left but the Shrub Got In The Way!

We Also Have a Lovely Courtyard.

See! That Looks Really Castley!

(I hate to inform you, but that's a church. Across the road. And not part of St. Fagans Castle. But yes, it does look very gothic, what with the tower and archway and graveyard and all).

And here ends the photos. Which I am always dismayed to realize, since I never took as many pictures as I thought I did, and missed out on the gardens and some of the walkways around. But this should give you a nice representative sample as to how I faffed the day away in the merry olde land of Wales. More to come sometime.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did

Short post. I'm exhausted. It's 5:30 am and I have two tutorials in about 7 hours. Birds are singing. But I'm here. Stayed up for all of it.

Yes we did.

I love my country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Part Where I Hate Not Being In America

(Or: I lack fingernails).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The day we've been waiting for. The day that's finally here. The day that's going to kill me with anxiety before it's over. The day where (KNOCK ON WOOD) America finally puts an end to the error, the criminality, the sheer stupidity and willful recklessness, of the last eight years that have left our country in tatters. The day where they listen to the better half of themselves and vote for hope, not fear. Vote for moving us into the 21st century, vote for finally realizing our promise as a better nation, instead of the laughingstock we've managed to make of ourselves. The part where we regain the trust of the world and our core American promise, where any citizen of any background can claim the highest office in the land. The part where I cry and laugh in joy, even though the first polls don't close until midnight my time. If I have to stay up until 5am to know for sure, I will. I leave nothing to chance. I am there the whole way. The nervousness is unbearable.

This American girl voted from Oxford two weeks ago, by Colorado absentee ballot. She re-registered in her home swing state (instead of where she goes to school, a very blue state indeed) to make the greatest difference. She checked the Secretary of State's website to make sure it arrived. She voted for hope, for promise, for her children's futures, for her own. She looks forward to being proud of her country’s choices and example again. She voted a straight Democratic party ticket and BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN for President and Vice President of a country that awaits their leadership and vision. And now she waits and prays.