80 = 44 and a fire alarm

I started off the day with lunch in college (lasagna - it was quite good). After that I headed to the post office to ship some books home so that I wouldn't have to carry them all around Europe or pay for the extra weight on a flight (it wasn't cheap though). Next I headed to a bank to change some cash I brought with me. As of today, with no commission or anything at this bank, 100 USD buys you a little over £44 - yea, the exchange rates sucks like no other at the moment. After that depressing moment I headed to the Ashmolean. The Ashmolean is an amazing museum that boasts an impressive collection of everything and enything from all over the world. Unfortunately it's closed until November for remodeling. However, the print room is still open to art and art history students. I was there for a couple of hours looking at a portrait of Isabella d'Este and some works by Raphael. I was also looking through their portrait collection of Elizabeth I and Charles I. During this time the fire alarm went off (never a good sign in a museum, especially in the print room) which meant I actually got to walk through a good part of the museum itself to exit. It turned out to be just people working on the fire system, but b/c of their mistake I got to see a lot more of the museum than I would have. All in all it was great. Tonight I'm going to dinner with my college moms then going out for one last night in Oxford. Tomorrow I move into Regents, have formal hall that night and then the last college bop after that. Saturday is Valediction. Sunday I'll write my last essay the my mom gets here on Monday.

Heli Ride

Today I went for a ride around Oxford in my housemate's helicopter. It was amazing. Here are some pictures.

City Centre (where all of the colleges and such are)

Phil - he's a ministerial student at Regents, he also live in Spencer House

Tony - this is his helicopter

'Touristing' it up in Oxford

So today it was actually warm and rain free...and I had absolutely nothing academic to do. I decided to explore Oxford a bit since I really hadn't had the chance to since I've been here. First I headed to Christ Church Picture Gallery. It was quite amazing, especially since the collection is quite interesting, and valuable, yet it's owned by a college. Although from the standpoint of working in the Georgetown galleries (after you work in any gallery you start to pay attention to certain aspects of shows/galleries/museums) I was quick to notice that most of the works on painted on wood and it was very humid - quite a bit of the wood was rather warped. Nevertheless, it was great. After that I headed to the Oxford Museum of Natural History which was interesting. However, the Pitt Rivers Museum (an anthropology museum attached to the Natural History Museum) was exponentially better. It was extremely interesting and I had never been to a museum quite like it. Next I headed to a few of the colleges, mainly Trinity, Jesus, Balliol, Brasenose and Exeter. I also climbed the tower which is located near the RadCam which made for some amazing pictures. It was a good day and I saw much of what this city has to offer. I also realized that Oxford isn't near as big as it seems at first.

Week 7

The Tute
This week I'm writing about how the Tudors used the royal image and what that said about their view(s) of the public. More or less I need to comment on why the Tudors didn't have much of a public presence and what that says about their dynasty. So far it's going well. Since my essay last week was the best grade I've received thus far, even though I thought it was the worst, I'm trying to model this week's after it. I'd post images but there really aren't any for this essay.

Formal Hall
This week's formal hall is a bit different. The former principal (most similar to the president or perhaps dean of an American college/university) of Regents' portrait will be unveiled. There will be speeches and lots of people I've never seen before but it should be fun and, at the very least, a rare Regents Park Experience.

Final Fling
The end of year ball (final fling) is this Saturday. This year's theme is "Arabesque" so it should have an Arabian Nights kind of feel to it. Basically it starts out with dinner then drinks and entertainment - the "survivor's breakfast" starts at 4am. It should be fun (I hope it will be fun since it costs £50 - about $80).

Helicopter Ride - another try
Before final fling on Saturday we are going to attempt the helicopter ride again, hopefully all will go as planned and it will work out.

The Rest of My Time Here
After this week there is only one more week in term. That week will be filled with an essay, a visiting students goodbye dinner, final formal hall, a bop and valediction - lots of things. Oh, and I'm also determined to go punting once more, this time sans the torrential downpour. My time has gone by super fast, more on that later I suppose.

England is really expensive. On top of that, Oxford is one of the most (if not the most) expensive cities in England - yes, on many things it's more expensive than London. Beyond that, many Oxford students tend to have, let's just say, "deep pockets" or at the very least some frivolous spending habits (just to qualify, I don't want to imply that all Oxford students are well off, that's not even remotely true). In other words, it can be hard to still have fun, esp with the Brits, and live on a budget here - my bank account is certainly reflecting this right now. It's going to take some serious budgeting, and perhaps less in take of certain fermented substances, if I'm to survive and have fun on my mini-trip around Europe after Oxford.


So it was quite sunny and warm here last week. This week it has been a bit cooler but still sunny, until yesterday at least. Yesterday I was supposed to go punting, it had rained that morning but had cleared out, that is until we left the college to walk down to the docks. It ended up raining rather hard - we still went punting, we just stayed under a bridge and drank Pimm's for an hour and a half or so. After that I went to formal hall, which was fun. Today, I was supposed to go up in a helicopter over Oxford, however, it's still raining so that won't happen. Two very good plans, both ruined by the wet, unpredictable English weather. Oh well.

Change of Plans

Originally I was going to Stonehenge this Saturday, however, my plans have changed. Tony, one of my housemates (he played a large role in inventing the program all ink jet printers use) while his house is being remodeled in Oxford, owns a helicopter. He's bringing it down from London this weekend and is flying us around Oxford on Saturday afternoon. Basically I can go to Stonehenge anytime but I rarely get the opportunity to fly around Oxford, especially for free. Pictures will surely be taken.

Tomorrow I'm going punting (a punt is a small boat) - that should be interesting.

Week 6, more like "666" really

So week 6 has been extremely rough thus far. First and foremost, Ashley (my tutorial partner from Yale) is going home for a wedding this week so she won't be in tutorial. Second, this week's topic is Asian art which I know next to nothing about. I'm writing on "the European elements in the Kangxi emperor's patronage activities." I completed all of the required reading on Monday yet still had no clue what to write about. I then attempted to locate other sources, as usual, which I completely failed at. Then I emailed Yu Ping asking for advice which, a day later, she gladly gave me. Now I'm on the right track but still have no real clue what I'm writing about. Normally this wouldn't be an issue as I'd still have a day or two to figure things out (the "no clue" feeling is common on Monday's) but it's Wednesday around 8pm and I have to start writing my 2,000 word essay as it is due in about 13 hours, yet I don't really know what I'm writing about. Needless to say, this essay will be interesting to say the least. This is by far my hardest academic week here. At least normally I wouldn't be clueless alone (Ashley would be as well) but this week it's all on me. Yay.