Wednesday, September 27, 2006


  • I realise most of you don't speak Welsh, but I was amused with what I did in this video. I think Dan and Anthony (point, point) will be most amused -- just skip ahead to 1:05 in the video.

  • Can anyone who lives in the United States tell me if the 80s are back over there? They are here in a huge way. Tuesday I saw two girls who appeared to be straight out of Degrassi Junior High. A few minutes later, I saw a girl who I think may have been kicked out of Dexy's Midnight Runners -- so much so that I found myself humming "Come on Eileen" as I walked past her.
    What worries me is this: If such hideous fashion trends as the 80s produced can return, it's not much of a stretch to imagine that in a few more years, 90s fashions will also come back. These are dark times.

  • When I said Tuesday that I had enrolled, it was only partially true. Enrolment here is a two-part process that involves a load of carrying multiple pieces of paper from one place to another so a person can put a sticker on the piece of paper and then send you to talk to someone else. In other words, it is a university system.
    Now, though, I can say with confidence that I am enrolled. I am a Cardiff University student and I have the ID card to prove it (an aside: it has always annoyed me that people will write it as "I.D." -- that doesn't make sense. "ID" is not an acronym, it's an abbreviation*).
    I think it may be law that student ID cards look like shit, because I gave them a perfectly good passport photo and they've distorted it by stretching out my face. The plus side, though, is that my nose isn't crooked.
    Although I am enrolled, I'm really not sure when or where my first class takes place, nor any of my other classes. I have a vague idea for a few. On the wall in the Welsh department there is a piece of paper that says things like: "CY 1744, O Destun i Draethawd, SR, 1.19." This wacky code is organised as if to show a weekly schedule. I think, in fact, it is a weekly schedule. If so, then I'm set for four of my classes. The two Spanish classes are a mystery. I'm hoping all will be revealed before I flunk out.

  • I am looking forward to the Spanish classes, even though Zoe is probably right that they will fuck with my head and I'll be talking about "fiancé pool" at some point ("novio" means "fiancé" in Spanish; pronounced the same, "nofio" means "to swim" in Welsh). But if it can get me up to speed on a language I should have learned 20 years ago, I'll be happy.
    Before I could enrol in the Spanish classes, I had to talk to two very nice Spanish ladies (good name for a band) who were supposed to grill me on my qualifications. For reasons that I cannot explain, they treated me completely differently than every other student. I told them my paltry qualifications (I'm from Texas and really dig salsa music**), and the chattier one said: "Oh, dass fine. Iss berry easy. You do fine."
    Then they had me fill out some forms. As I was doing that, other students came in and they were all warned that the classes are "berry intensive, berry hard."
    I still can't guess why my being an older American would make them think I would acclimate to Spanish better than an 18-year-old Briton. Perhaps it was pity. Spanish is the language that Jesus uses when talking to friends, I was once told; perhaps they were hoping to save my Yanqui soul.

  • One weird element of the university buildings is the way they write room numbers. "Room 1.19" would simply be "room 119" in most buildings. I think they've added the decimal point to make it seem cooler.

  • Anyone want to invade Iceland with me? It's soon to be free for the taking.

    *There is no specific rule on this in either Associated Press nor British Broadcasting Corp. style guides.

    **This is an understatement for comedy purposes. I have also taken multiple university-level Spanish courses in the United States. I even passed one or two of them.

    Gareth said...

    God 17 years on, and the registration process seems to be laden with as much tape as ever. I'm sure there was a vital stage of it that I forgot to do, but at least they let me graduate.

    Is the Humanities Building still as grim as it was in 1989-92?

    Anonymous said...

    Yes, the 80's are back in the U.S. They were before you left, though I realized that Minnesota and Bloomington Rock City are a little behind.

    On the upside, Minnesota has Grain Belt Premium on tap at the state fair, so it's all good.

    Anonymous said...

    Well, Wales does have a behind-the-times feel to it, so it could just be that.

    Violet said...

    i heard from a friend who was in australia that it is all about the tapered pant leg down under. i'm not sure if my hips are ready for that throwback quite yet, but i have a feeling that it is unavoidable in the long run.

    Zoe said...

    Ooh, soon I will have someone to share in the wonder that is Spanelsh. Kind of like Spanglish I suppose, only b/t Spanish and Welsh. My favorite phrase is when I tell my cat "Dere 'ma ya mismo!"

    You'll do great, Chris. Both languages roll the Rs, so if you don't have that down yet, you soon will.

    And yes, the 80s are back. Man, I feel so old. I just wish I'd kept my slap bracelets...

    tanita✿davis said...

    Remember bubble skirts? They're all over the place, here. I view them with great fear. But stirrup pants below skirts? --- Much, much worse. Fatal.

    Anonymous said...

    That's good stuff, whooo! Love the montage. Hilarious.

    And you humming "Come on Eileen" brought back the memory of you and Rachel leading a circle of drunks running and jumping in place at Anthony's wedding during said song.

    Wierdo said...

    I am very lucky. Not only am I a second year which means that I can register over the internet (at Abetrystwyth it is available) but also, the maths department gives me absoulutely no choice whatsoever as tho the modules I'm sitting. So it was a matter of agreeing to alla terms and conditions. Which I always do!