Saturday, March 28, 2009

Distance relationships are easy

This weekend has been a weekend of failure. Sarah lost a battle with her economics midterm, I turned homemade gnocchi into a boiled pile of mashed potatoes, and the Animal Collective show was sold out last night. To top it all off, I probably will not accomplish any of the work I hoped to get ahead on today either. At least I get to hang out with Sarah in Dublin...but I mean it's a pretty weak consolation prize at this point. Movie-star looks, a sense of humor that reaches any audience, dance moves that should land her a spot in Lil Jon's next music video...

What's there to like? She is so lame, she's actually making me an ice cream sundae in the kitchen right now - that I didn't ask for! She knows I am allergic to chocolate syrup! I don't know how much longer I can take this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The post you've all been waiting for

Last month we took a trip to Northern Ireland to see the divided streets of Belfast and the unspoiled, natural beauty of the Giant's Causeway. I suppose what happened on the bus ride between Sligo and Enniskillen could now be considered foreshadowing. I consumed way too much water for my own good that morning, despite being warned by the bus driver that there would be no toilet on the coach. After shifting around uncomfortably in my seat for ten minutes, I finally realized I couldn't take it anymore and had to ask my good friend Michael James Kelly to perform a block while I pissed in an empty plastic bottle and chatted casually with gfs Erin and Sam in front of me. All in all, it was a success, no one except the four of us knew it happened [until discussing it in pubs later that weekend], and I felt very relieved/glad I was born of the male sex. Little did I know that my crafty bathroom tactics would be topped ten-fold the next day by another good friend, Samuel W. Golenbock.

The Giant's Causeway is a beautiful, dramatic place of mythical proportions. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site back in 1986 and it is still heavily protected and conserved to this day. Unfortunately for our full-bladdered friend Sam, it is right on the ocean, so his discomfort turned into an emergency situation quickly. Here is what happened at the breaking point, captured on film by Mike Kelly:

And here are some stills:

How awesome is that wave crash in the first shot? Unlike my experience on the bus, everyone knew about this bathroom break within an hour, and now I am sharing it with the world because Sam is my friend and good friends publish embarrassing stories about you using the internet. The damage has been done for a month now anyway, but in his defense and as a disclaimer, Sam is resourceful, masculine, and a great buddy whose reputation I do not wish to destroy. If anything, he is 100% cooler for doing this. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sneak attack

What do you think of when you think of Ireland? Rolling green pastures? Friendly people? Rainbows with pots of gold at the end? Sheep? There couldn't possibly be a single threat to your life in such a peaceful, civil nation.


I am sick of reading about all these other Penn Staters and their "dangerous" lives in Ecuador, France, Australia, State College, whatever. As if electrocution, getting mugged, falling down ski slopes and breaking your entire body, and XL poisonous spiders are even that bad! Ireland is way more terrifying and I am here to explain to you how this is so.

I had a recent run in with death yesterday morning at about 6:30 AM. I woke up to a faint, low buzzing sound coming from my window. I didn't know what time it was and there was daylight shining through the blinds so I assumed it was just one of Gort na Coiribe's yellow-jacketed maintenance men trimming bushes out front and fell back to sleep. Then I had an awful dream that a large, blue bat-like creature was trying to bite me in my bedroom, so I woke up half an hour later, frantic. I could still hear buzzing...and that's when I saw a shadow inside the curtains on my bedroom window. As I approached the window and pulled aside the curtain, I was startled not to find a maintenance man outside, but a new yellow-jacketed terror:

After almost suffering heart failure from pure, unadulterated shock, I quickly came to, grabbed my Penn State 2008-2009 Academic Planner, and obliterated the offender. Then to ensure the kill, I picked up one of my Timbs, jammed that sucker into the floor, and wrapped it in Kitten Soft toilet paper before flushing it down the toilet. My roommate thanked me for saving his life and I fell back to sleep, no big deal. Tell me that isn't worse than almost tumbling down a mountain in a bus! And whoever told you that kind doesn't bite is a liar!

Ireland is filled with numerous other life hazards, if you think about it. Towering sea cliffs, seals, precariously located parking lots, angry name it, we've got it here. So stop thinking that Ireland is some lightweight's study abroad destination! We don't drink copious amounts of Guinness and Jameson because we're babies...we are constantly toughening our bodies and minds for the perils that lie before us! You will only know true fear and real adventure once you have been on the Emerald Isle.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Workin' on my fitness

Going to the gym here is so much easier than going to the gym back home. I don't really work out at home ever, despite the fact that I used to live across the street from the a gym. I always felt like everyone was stronger than me (likely true) and everyone was watching me struggle with confusing equipment (likely untrue), so I would just sit and play Super Smash Brothers instead and not really regret it because let's be honest, knocking your opponent clear off the screen with a fully-connected PK Thunder is way more satisfying than doing a sit-up. Furthermore, everytime I went to the gym I always seemed to get on the bench next to the militant athlete who was screaming and lifting about 400 pounds, and that was intimidating. Most of my concerns and fears about the gym were definitely irrational, but living in Galway has helped me overcome my laziness and now I have worked the brand new Kingfisher Sports Center into my weekly routine. It feels less threatening and less embarrassing, and today I was trying to think of why I feel that way here.

+ First of all, Irish people are way more relaxed when it comes to sports and physical fitness, so I automatically feel like I am in better shape. My roommates are perfect examples of this, one of whom rewards himself after his monthly 2k jog with a cigarette and a can of Tuborg.

+ Second, nearly all guys at the gym wear board shorts. At first I thought this was the dumbest thing ever, but then I realized this is very efficient! After your (uncomfortable) lifting/running sesh, you can hop right in the pool or sit in the sauna without having to change in between. In reality however, it is a silly idea, and I feel much more athletic and appropriately dressed when I step foot in the weight room.

+ Third, everything is in kilograms. This helps me because I cannot compare myself to anyone in my past who has ever mentioned how much they lift unless I actually go convert the units.

+ Fourth, the treadmills have a hookup for your iPod and headphones so I can plug in and listen to all my sick workout jams!

+ Fifth, and most importantly, I have developed a buddy system with my friends, who frequently go with me and motivate me to not be lazy, even if it is just using the sauna.

Of course, I still have the body of a 16-year old boy and sometimes get pushed over by strong wind gusts, but it's a start, and it feels good to finally have worked this into my routine. Maybe by the time I get back to the states I'll have gained 5 pounds of pure muscle mass! Until then, I'm going to shower and check myself out in the mirror for a while. And then I might change my facebook default picture to a shot of just my abs. Cheers.