December 30, 2010

Blackberry Sketch

This is a pretty funny sketch full of technology puns by a legendary Scottish comedian.

October 23, 2010

Tower Bridge

I took these pictures when I was in London at the beginning of the month.



September 30, 2010

Passed Driving Theory Test

Back at the beginning of August I took the driving theory and hazard perception tests and never got around to posting about it. The test centre was on the other side of Stirling and I walked there after work. When I got there I waited in line at a desk to check in. After I checked in, I had to put everything except my license in a locker. Since the test centre was fairly busy, I had to wait again until I was called. I then went down a hallway and had my ID checked again. I was then assessed a computer and went into the test room. When I was finished, I went back to the waiting room and waited a minute or two to get my results. I passed both parts.

I got 48 out of 50 on the theory part. You needed 43 to pass. On the hazard perception part I only barely passed. You needed to get 44 out of 75 points to pass. I was getting in the mid 50s when practising. But I only got 46 on the actual test, including a zero on the one video.

The whole experience was interesting. I'm pretty sure I was the only person at the test centre between 20 and 65. The centre was being manned by two retirees. Everyone else looked 18. I thought about making an old timers joke to the one old guy working there but wasn't sure he would get it.

September 26, 2010

Three Septembers

I realised the other day that this is the third September I've spent in Scotland. That makes it seem like I've been here a long time. Maybe a little misleading since I've only been here one August.

September 21, 2010

Trip Back Home

It’s been a slow day at work so I figured that I should do an update. Plus typing in Word makes it look like I’m busy.

At the end of August, I went back to America for the first time in roughly nine months. This was the longest time that I’ve been away from home. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that strange to be home. A bunch of building and shops had changed but nothing was really that different. My parents invited all of my relations up for a cooked out the one day. I went to New York City to see a couple friends from university and saw an Orioles-Yankees baseball game. The Orioles won. I also went to the new casino with my family.

My one year anniversary at work passed while I was in America.

It was actually stranger going back to Stirling. There was this sense of everything being familiar yet still slightly foreign. It didn’t seem like I have lived here for over a year now.

I can’t believe that I am trying to get out of a free trip to America. Someone at Colgate asked me to go speak on what I do, and I semi-jokingly said yes if the school paid for my ticket. He thought I was serious and is trying to find someone to buy me a ticket. I really don’t want to go though.

August 11, 2010

Edinburgh Tattoo

Last night I went to the Edinburgh Tattoo. It was a great show.
Here are a couple short videos I made:

July 31, 2010

August Update

I have a couple of big things coming up in the next couple of weeks. Next Thursday I'm going to Hibs' Europa League game. The following Thursday morning I'm going to a Scottish dentist for the first time. I'm not entirely sure what to expect. Then after the dentist, I'm going to the driver's licence test center to take the theory and hazard perception tests. Once I passed those two test, I'm going to start taking a few driving lessons so I can get my full driving licence.

The Edinburgh Festival starts soon so I'm going to be going to some of those events. I may be going to Rosslyn Chapel tomorrow. At the end of the month, I'm going back to America for a couple of weeks.

British Open

Two weeks ago I went to the British Open at St. Andrews. For a golf fan, the Open Championship at the Old Course is a trip of a lifetime. I went for two days. The first was the Wednesday practice day, which was supposed to have a past champions event. However, the weather was terrible. There was a tedious downpour the whole day with very strong winds. I spent most of the day hiding under tents and grandstands. The champions event ended up being canceled. After the rain slowed down, I played paparazzi outside the R&A clubhouse. I got to see Tom Watson up close and saw Arnold Palmer drive by.


Sunday was a great day for golf. The weather was warm and sunny. I spent most of the day sitting in the grandstand behind the 7/11 double green. I got to see all of the groups except for the first couple. I saw Tiger double bogey a hole, John Daly crush a drive, Phil, Sergio, Vijay, and the rest of the top golfers. Once the leaders finished 11, I went to the 18th and watched the last groups finish. I got to see the trophy presentation and saw the Claret Jug up close as Louis Oosthuizen took his victory lap around the 18th fairway.

July 4, 2010

Friend's China blog

My one friend has been living in Shanghai for the past year and has also been keeping a blog. He's much better at having regular, significant posts than I am. It's worth a read.

You can view his blog here: 

June 27, 2010

Rome Pictures


My pictures from my trip to Rome last weekend have now been uploaded. You can see them here.

June 15, 2010

June 13, 2010

Reactions to USA England Game

This morning I made sure to stop by WH Smiths to see the different British newspapers' reactions to the US drawing England last night in the world cup. There were a couple good ones. My favourite was the "Hand of Clod", which is a play on Maradona's "hand of god" goal.

Hand of Clod goal

June 2, 2010

One year anniversary

This blog has been going for over a year now. When it was started, I was preparing to take the LSAT and waiting for my visa. Now i've been living in Scotland for nine months. I plan on making some improvements to this blog soon and come up with a new layout.

The World Cup will be starting in a little more than a week. I'm looking forward to the USA-England match. Hopefully the US will win so I can be obnoxious. I'll be heading to Rome on the 17th for the weekend.

May 29, 2010


I'm watching the eurovision final right now and I can't believe I'm sitting through this. I mean some of the groups aren't bad, like the Belgian guy. But you have to wonder what some of these countries were thinking. Moldova and Stinkovic from Serbia I'm looking at you. As I'm writing this, we are only through a third of the acts so I'm sure there are plenty more terrible acts to come.

EDIT: I can't believe Germany won. I mean the song was kind of catchy and the girl is kind of cute, but she can't sing at all. You could go to karaoke night at any bar and find someone who can sing better than her. In all, eurovision seems to serve as a pretty good commercial for the American music industry.

May 8, 2010

Election Continued ...

I was planning on writing a reaction to the election results but we still don't know the results. It looks like some sort of Conservative - Lib Dem agreement will be reached on the next couple of days.

I stayed up on election night watching the results come in until 1:30 AM, switching between the BBC's and Sky News's coverage. The results were so slow that I went to bed until 5:30. I watched for another 45 minutes before getting another hour of sleep. Needless to day I was pretty tired the next day. I'm not sure how some of the people on the BBC were able to do 18 hours on air.

My family is coming from America to visit on Monday. Should be an interesting 10 days. 

April 27, 2010

Haggis Dog?

The other day I noticed that the coffee shop I live above has a sign advertising they now serve haggis hot dogs. It's basically a chili dog with haggis. Who came up with such a thing and more importantly who buys them? The things weren't cheap either, like £3.

April 24, 2010

SNP's campaign

Twelve days to go until election day. Even though I won't get to vote here, I did get to vote this week. I mailed my absentee ballot today for the primary election. I still have a problem with having to use a stamp with the Queen on it to be able to vote.

I like the Scottish National Party's campaign. Their strategy is to run as Scotland's local champions. It doesn't matter as much if you agree with all of their policies. If you think that Scotland needs someone to stand up for her and make sure her voices are heard, then they think you should vote for them. The SNP have set a goal of winning 20 seats. I don't think they will get there, but they will pick up a few more seats.

April 20, 2010

Midway Point of the Election

We’re now at the halfway point of the campaign with a little more than two weeks until election day. To be honest, I’m a little disappoint with the election so far. With only a month long campaign, I was expecting it to be more intense that it has been. That may be due to the fact that there really aren’t any ads on TV.

The Conservatives seem to have been the winners of week one of the campaign. Their argument that the proposed rise in NI tax would kill growth in jobs seems to have been resonating with voters, and they were able to bring big business leader aboard publicly. Their momentum was killed by the debate. While I don’t think there was a clear winner, Nick Clegg did come across well. Even if the Lib Dems didn’t actually win the debate, they won the debate of who won the debate.

What I don’t understand is how the Lib Dems are able to continue to avoid answering what they would do in the case of a hung parliament. Their position of avoiding answering it seems to be unsustainable. If I were running either the Tories’ or Labour’s campaign, I would use the second debate to either get them to answer the question or blast them for avoiding it. If they say they will support either a Tory or Labour government, their support will erode. They would become the junior version of one of those parties. If you want one of those parties in power, why would you vote for the Lib Dems? If they don’t answer, you criticise them for not being honest with the electorate. The debate is the perfect time to push the issue.

April 10, 2010

Grand National

I just watched the Grand National horse race on BBC. I believe it is the most important steeplechasing race in the country. While I'm not an expert on horseracing, British races seem kind of weird. They don't use starting gates, there are like forty horses entered, and the race is really long, over four miles. The funniest thing is that the horses keep running even when their riders fell off. For awhile, the horse running in second was riderless.

The BBC is also showing the Masters this weekend. I plan on watching some tonight. The time difference is kind of a pain though. A winner won't be decided until after midnight tomorrow.

April 6, 2010

The Race is on

Today Gordon Brown went to the palace to see the Queen and ask for Parliament to be dissolved. This means the countdown to the election starts now. May 6th will be the day. Stirling is one of the seats that the Tories will need to win if they are going to have enough seats to form a government. It should be an exciting 30 days as I have a front row seat to the campaigning.

April 4, 2010


Another of Brussels's classic street foods that every visitor must try is frites, known as frieten in Dutch. Belgians claim to have invented french fries so where else to have a few? Frites are thicker than American fries but not as thick as British chips. They are crispier than British chips. Normally you would have them with mayonnaise, but I hate mayonnaise so I got mine with ketchup instead. You can find frites served in cones at stands called Friteries or Frietkoten.

Belgian Waffles

One of the things every tourist has to try in Brussels is the waffles. There are two major kinds of waffles available.

The above waffle is a Brussels Waffle. It is characterized by its lighter texture and rectangular shape. I had mine topped with some sort of cream (it was like whipped cream but a little denser before it started to melt), melted chocolate, and powdered sugar. It was excellent but a little messy to eat.

This is a Liège Waffle. It is denser and sweeter than the Brussels Waffle and also has a more irregular shape. I believe it had some sort of caramelized sugar on it. I had melted Belgian chocolate on this one. I also made sure to buy this waffle from a stand that used plastic holders.

If you like this post, I also posted on Austrian street foods back in December: Langos and Käsekrainer.

March 25, 2010

Abandoned Cities

I found this cool blog post that shows pictures of abandoned cities around the world.

Abandoned Places In The World

March 23, 2010


I finished all of my taxes a week ago. I'm going to get a $403 refund from the IRS but ended up owing Pennsylvania and my local township some money. $403 is enough for one of my student loan payments.

I bought tickets yesterday to go to the British Open at St Andrews. I'm going to go on Wednesday and Sunday. On Wednesday they are holding a contest for all of the former champions. There is a chance Jack Nicholas may relive his memorable 2005 farewell. I also registered for information on buying London 2012 olympic tickets.

This Friday I'm going to Belgium for the weekend.

March 11, 2010


So I've been busy this week doing my American taxes. I started out using Taxcut's website but ran into a problem entering my UK wages. After contacting their useless customer service, I switched to Taxact. I was able to finish my federal return last night with no problem. That was the easy part. Now I get to struggle with my Pennsylvania return. I found a link online that gives you a discount on Taxact so you can fill both federal and state for less than $12, which is a good bit less than what Taxcut and Turbotax want.

In other news, for some reason, the Mormons of Scotland keep trying to convert me. Out of all the people who walk past them, they always pick me to be the one they try to talk to. I guess its kind of a compliment that they want me to join their religion.

March 4, 2010

Letter from America

Since I'm posting the Proclaimers, here is another of their songs. This one is pretty topical for this blog.

Letter from America - The Proclaimers - MyVideo

March 2, 2010

Good Bye East Stand

Saturday was the last game for Hibernian's East Stand at Easter Road before it will be turn down and replaced with a new stand. Unfortunately, St Johnstone didn't follow the script. Instead of a glorious victory to see off the old stand, it was a pretty unenjoyable draw. Before the game, Hibs announced that demolition would start pretty promptly this week. The result was that people went crazy after the game trying to take everything with them. And by everything, I mean everything. I took one of the seats. The stand was littered with pieces of green plastic from seats that broke into pieces when people tried to snap them off. Other people were taking concession stand menus, seat number signs, etc... One guy even took the women's restroom's sign, which had to be the grossest place ever. Some people got away with the green doors to the turnstiles.

On a more personal note, I'm going to miss the old stand. While I haven't been a Hibs supporter for as long as some people, the stand did have an uniquely Hibernian character. There was something different about watching a game from there. It was a link to the club's past. It's sad to see it go.

Some sunshine on leith

February 19, 2010

Avatar in IMAX 3D

Last weekend I saw Avatar at the IMAX theater at the Glasgow science center. Getting tickets was a pain in the ass as they were selling out over two weeks in advance. It was worth the wait to see it at the IMAX. The huge screen made it seem like you were actually on the planet at times. The 3D effort was cool but at the same time not distracting. I had heard bad things about the plot, but it was fine. A little predictable at times but good enough to keep you interested in the movie.

February 18, 2010

Missed Fastnacht Day

Tuesday was Fastnacht Day and I completely missed it. For some reason I thought that fat Tuesday was the following week. I don't believe that I celebrated Fastnacht Day in university due to the difficulty of buying anything resembling a fastnacht, but I was planing on making a serious effort to at least find doughnuts that were similar. 363 days to go until the next one...

February 8, 2010


Since I'm staying home from work today because I came down with the flu yesterday, I figured I could post a brief update of what I've been up to.

I've been on two short business trips in the past two weeks. One to London and the other to Birmingham. I took the 1st class Virgin train to Birmingham. It was a pretty nice train ride with beautiful scenery. The sleeper train was still the more memorable trip though. The city of Birmingham is a different story. It was probable the crapest British city I've been to. I also got the feeling that it was the most American-like city I've been to, but I kept that to myself.

I stayed up and watched the Super Bowl on BBC One. It was really weird without the commercials.

Centralia's final days

Here is an interesting story my local paper back in PA ran on Centralia. Centralia is a town in Pennsylvania with a coal vein on fire underneath it. The government has slowly moved people out over the decades turning it into a kind of ghost town.

January 31, 2010


On Friday night, I went to one of my coworker's flats for dinner. His girlfriend had made haggis. I've had haggis before but hers was better. As long as you don't think about what it is made out of, its actually pretty good.

I've also gotten a new cell phone. I went with the HTC Hero which runs Google's Android OS. I'll post more about it once I get to play around with it some more.

January 25, 2010

January 10, 2010

Living in the Arctic Tundra - Redux

Keeping a long story short, I'm back in Scotland after surviving the chaos of Newark Airport being shut down because some Chinese dude crept through security so he could kiss his girlfriend. I was sitting on the plane, had to disboard the plane, and then exit the airport. I sat on a black plastic tray in the baggage claim hall for hours waiting until I could go through security again.

I just happened to be living in Scotland during one of the coldest winters in generations. I used to joke that Hamilton was in the arctic tundra that is upstate New York. Scotland has been just as cold this week as it was in Hamilton. Someone needs to remind me that I need to apply to law schools in warm places.