Tuesday, 22 September 2009

High Quality Punting

HD version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBqVSuVxaBo

This week, my roommates and I went punting, a genuinely English experience. It is a type of boating, not too dissimilar from a gondola experience in Venice. In this case however, the navigator does not use an oar, but a long, metal pole. This makes it unique and quite unforgettable. At Oxford, punting is apparently very commonplace, but also very touristy. It is no longer a serious form of transportation, but is more like a horse-drawn carriage type of experience. As with any water sport, there are required skills that take a few attempts to acquire.We only crashed into the bank 5 times, lost the pole in the water one time, and got lost one time. And this all within the first hour... I hope you enjoy watching our fun and mishaps (which were not mutually exclusive).

In other news, I have finally solved the low-quality video problem. The blog only allows me to upload videos of 100mb, which severely compromises both the quality and length of the videos. With the purchase of such a nice camcorder, this is clearly a waste of resources. Thus, I will also post them on Youtube, which allows 2GB (2,000mb) videos. In every blog, I will include to the sharper, larger version of all the posts in the video blog. Don't forget to click on HD!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Salisbury Cathedral

HD version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBXMXSiP_DY

We journeyed from Oxford to Salisbury, about 75 miles to the southwest, for a little sight-seeing. I apologize up front for the poor video quality; I might need to look into a site that will allow me to upload more than 100mb.

Salisbury Cathedral was built from 1220 to 1258, with a spire added to that in 1320. We got to tour the cathedral and take the "Tower Tour" as part of our British History course (we take a lot of field trips). The background music in this video makes the serious tone almost laughable, with the midday tour becoming much more dramatic than it originally was. Originally, the church was of course Catholic, but then became high-church Anglican after the Reformation. At that time, the church became a lot more plain than it is now, with many more stained glass windows and elaborate murals Parts of what that may have been can still be glimpsed through some of the ceiling art. At one point, I zoom in on the ceiling and it looks like there is the division lines of brick construction, but those were simply painted on to give it a multiple stone appearance. Also, the writing on the windows was from the 1990s when money was being raised for repairs on the Spire. For a couple pounds people could etch a drawing or phrase into the glass. My favorite is the, "Good Luck Spire". We were lucky enough to get to the spire just in time for its noon chiming, which was so powerful, especially being inside. Even thought the spire has held for almost 700 years now, I still wasn't sure if I trusted it... In the view from the top of the spire, the cross formation of the cathedral can be clearly seen with double transepts on either side (I'm sure Dr. Smith is proud of my medieval architecture knowledge). From the tower, we were able to see one side of the cathedral at a time, as its positioned in the very center.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Out on the Town

HD version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4rORM9rzCc

The majority of our orientation here has been to become acquainted with the city, as it is necessary to be a successful student here. In the course of the semester, each study abroad student living in my building will be required to attend 16 lectures of their choosing and 12 tutorial sessions with their professors in their respective discipline. These lectures and session can take place in any of the colleges, halls, or libraries that the professors are involved with, which makes a first-hand knowledge of navigating the streets of Oxford a priority. In this clip, I tried to summarize a day's worth of exploring.

Better Late Than Never

I left for Oxford in the middle of last week, and this would be my first official documentation of my trip. A little late I suppose, as these pictures are already a week old-a sad story if we're living by a journalist's standards. But we're not, and life is relative, so this reflects the amount of time I have had for extra thoughts here besides the necessities (which is fairly low :).

In considering whether to blog or not, I realized that most people blog for about two reasons: (1) So they can journal their experiences in a way that is public yet meaningful, and (2) So they can try and invite their closest companions into their experiences-who can understand what they are experiencing. What better way for you to see through my eyes, than what I am seeing through my lens?

Henceforth, I invite all comers to join me on my Oxford journey, to experience it as I might see it, and to understand my world more fully. Lance-the Chapman's mobile is for you, Erin-thanks for the musical inspiration, and Dad-I'll never forget that sUV carrying the mattress on top. Enjoy.

HD version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhv9rUaGMSs