Wrapped Up In Books


Looking at you now, you would never know. [Athlete]
June 30, 2009, 1:12 pm
Filed under: A, Biomusicology | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last night I saw Athlete at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. The venue is really small and probably has the same volume as, say, Lee’s Palace, but it’s more spread out and squat (probably the ceiling is only 12 feet high).

I hadn’t listened to Athlete in ages; I think I was a fan in third or fourth year of my undergrad (spanning years 2004-2006) but hadn’t even bothered to give their ‘newest’ (released in 2007) album a spin. Oops. Thesis writing generates apathy, what can I say.

Basically, I went to see one song, Half Light, which was the third on their setlist. Here it is:

Though I do like the electric version, the acoustic one is, in my opinion, a bit more profound (previously posted here).

All in all, it was a good show even though I sometimes can’t stand not knowing songs being played live… but as I mentioned, that really was my own fault.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.

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Isn’t it a lovely day (for now)? [Wales]

I’m a wonder for traveling – a wonder in that I can guarantee that my flight, no matter where to or on what airline, will be delayed. Now, I can add a second ‘skill’ to the list; I have a penchant (or gift) to nearly miss my flights. I got on the plane on Friday the 15th and we left five minutes later, but at least they didn’t have to hold the plane for me (which is always a sure way to make friends!).

Landing at Cardiff Airport is amazing – our little prop plane made a wonky landing, but you fly over the cliffs near the Bristol Channel and it’s just this gorgeous water meeting the lush green above it. It was an amazing taste of what I’d see the rest of the weekend.

The nightlife in Swansea, which is where my friend, S, was studying, is amazing. Similar to Aberdeen’s Belmont Street, they have a stretch that is nearly dedicated to drinking yourself to oblivion.

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When I'm (L) drunk, I have no idea how to smile like a regular person.

S also showed me around the campus of her school, the University of Swansea.

Singleton Abbey

Singleton Abbey

On Saturday we headed to The Gower, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the UK (and Catherine Zeta-Jones doesn’t live too far!). Specifically we went to Oxwich Bay, which in 2007 was hailed by The Times as the most beautiful beach in Britain and it lived up to its award. Despite this, it wasn’t full of people; a few were sitting in lawn chairs on the massive beach, other people were heading out to meet people already in the surf. The beach’s parabolic curve headed around so far into the distance that the farthest parts looked like something from a painting.

Dog hog

Dog hog

Unmarred beach

Unmarred beach

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On Sunday I needed to catch a 12.22pm train in order to get back to Cardiff, then take a bus that connected to the airport to catch my 3pm flight. By the time I thought to check the time it was already nearly 1pm, and I managed to miss the train and a different bus that went all the way to Cardiff Airport. S’s amazing flatmate, A, ponied up and offered to drive straight to the airport as I’d likely have to rebook a ticket to get back to the Deen. I gave her some money for gas (petrol, yeah, yeah, I know) and offered her my thanks as she drove the 45 minutes with a terrible hangover. It was a quick, but extremely memorable visit.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

[Also, I recently became a fan of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, a Welsh band recommended to me by my musically-inclined friend, P, so get a load of this song. The first time I heard it I had no idea the second half was Welsh – the language blows my mind.]

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Finding latent beauty in Birmingham; the future.
April 27, 2009, 7:39 pm
Filed under: A, Travelogue | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
This past weekend I flew down to Birmingham to visit my friend, M, who is in the hospital there. He’s my age but has already undergone chemotherapy and three major surgeries (two within the past four weeks, and scheduled for a fourth in a couple of days) and now is on his second prosthetic hip. Whenever I’m tempted to complain about anything I’m reminded that there are people who have endured much worse than I’ve ever known and ever want to know. I am seriously grateful that I have nearly completed my first quarter-century of life physically unscathed.
Just one of the beauts along Milk St

Just one of the beauts along Milk St

The building on the left is the hostel.

The building on the left is the hostel.

Birmingham, while it has marvelous shopping, is a bit of a frightful and industrial place to be. The hostel I stayed at (Birmingham Central Backpackers) felt as if it were located on a rape alley – Milk Street was scary enough in the daytime with the auto collision storing its disfigured and ruined cars along the street, which just became terrifying outright upon nightfall. I’ll give credit though, that if you look hard enough you’ll find beauty in the small things (‘Make peace’ on a building’s frieze, the oversized-golf ballish Selfridges, and every old three-storey house and boulevard along Bristol Road en route to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital). Still, I do not particularly want to go back there.
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Selfridges is in here somewhere

Selfridges is in here somewhere

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I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I am aiming to stay at Aberdeen for a PhD in epidemiology. I applied the day between returning to Aberdeen from Dublin and going home to Toronto, and I have a funding interview in a couple of weeks. M is going to have a telephone interview the same day and is also hoping to do a similar PhD programme. Should we both be allotted funding, we’ll live together along with my current flatmate, L, place yet to be determined. I’ve already started to daydream about the daily logistics: I will be the designated cleaner, tidier, and baker, M will play chef, and L will be the house cheerleader to enlighten the very Statler & Waldorf M and me. And I will not have a twin-sized bed!

When I first mentioned applying for a PhD in Aberdeen to my friends from home, the idea was not greeted with much, if any, enthusiasm. Although I have wanted to go to medical school for a long while, a PhD seems to be at the forefront of my options right now. And I have grown to love research and the prospect of contributing to the existing body of knowledge in my arena. I wasn’t hurt, but it was not the reaction I had expected. I do have hopes of going to go to medical school upon completing my doctorate (lofty goal, I know) and I realise that I won’t be young by any means upon graduating my MD. I’m only slightly fazed by this aspect, but perhaps moreso at living in Scotland for an extra three years than I had originally anticipated. One friend remarked that I wasn’t taking them into account for my life plans (the jest was not so obvious) but honestly, I need to put myself first – and why should I compromise? As much as I adore my friends, time goes on, people will change, and I will still have to fly to be where they are (all the more reason to stock up on degrees to afford the transport). Life, in this sense, can be unfair. But I am still very much willing to make the effort as long as they are.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.


Prince Charles in Aberdeen [Memorial for North Sea crash victims]

Unfortunately it’s not under pleasant circumstances, but Princes Charles and Camilla made their way to Aberdeen today. There was a memorial service held at St Nicholas Kirk for the 16 men who died in the helicopter accident on the North Sea on 1 April. I was home in Canada when it happened, and there was a ‘copter crash off of the coast of Nova Scotia at about the same time (with only one survivor).

Not only waging war on the Earth, it appears that the price of oil costs human lives as well. Read the stories of their lives as highlighted above; these were ordinary guys just trying to make a good living. Sad doesn’t even begin to cover it.

nscCopyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



In all seriousness, this makes me glad to live in Aberdeen [Scotland’s #1 male Barbie]

What are the odds this popped up on Videogum? A diva of a dude who says there’s no such thing as too much make-up? In Aberdeen? It makes me feel like I never left Toronto. I feel fuzzy inside.

The comments on youtube are awful and homophobic, but I love this guy for rocking out as he sees fit. He clearly loves his lifestyle. I’m just shocked I’ve never spotted him on King Street or in (God forbid I go again) Liquid.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



The Great White North

I’m now home in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, and am finally resetting my circadian rhythms to better sync up with that of the Eastern Standard.  Getting here was quite the labour; I woke up at 4am GMT on Friday to catch my 6.30am flight to London Heathrow, then had a layover (with a fellow Canadian, a Newfie) until noon.  I popped a couple sleeping pills which did little to alleviate the sounds of the phlegmy jerk who was sitting in the seat behind mine on the plane to Toronto (I decided, after he snorted snot for the tenth time, to tell him that if he needed a tissue, he should please ask for one.  Literally a minute later, he taps me on the shoulder and offers me the tissue; I tell him ‘no, it’s YOU who needs it.’ For this effort, two Francophone women gave me looks of admiration and a quick thumbs-up).

The flight is daylight the entire ride over, and all my meals consisted of something+beans (beans+rice, chickpeas+hummus in a tiny pita, some kind of beanish snack, and a crappy UK-style soy pudding) which made me feel not great. I’d only slept about 2 hours before going out as I went to a gig the night before with my friend, M, who is due for surgery in a few hours. He’ll be convalescing in Birmingham for a month after this, so it’ll be awhile before I see him again. Needless to say, my baseline wasn’t brilliant.

After landing a half-hour early at Pearson International (or, in lazy terms, YYZ), I stood in line for Customs for 45 minutes while pondering whether I’d claimed the correct amount for gifts I’d brought in (a massive underestimate, I realised later), and well, I’ll be more observant of liquor allowances in the future so I don’t have to go for truthiness over truth.

Both of my parents were working on Friday until 5pm, so I offered to take a really long route home to make it a little more convenient for them. I’d been traveling for 14 hours by this point (and awake for 16) and figured that a few more hours wouldn’t kill me. So I took the shuttle bus to the subway, then rode from Kipling station to Union, where I waited for 30 minutes for a train to Hamilton. I met my dad in the station there at 7.30pm EST and nearly cried because I was so g-d tired.

I went to my Grandma’s house (where she had picked up cider for me – what a dear – but I was beyond wanting to drink), then went home and crashed at 10pm (3am GMT).

I think I’m back on schedule now, and in the next few days I’ll get my act together to update the blog about St Paddy’s in Dublin, being home, and so forth.  So stay tuned, amigas and amigos.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Interviews in Scotland about Inauguration
January 19, 2009, 8:33 pm
Filed under: A, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today I received an excited email from a fellow North American Student Society member (I’m the president of it) that said she was contacted by BBC Scotland to interview students from the US and Canada about Obama’s imminent inauguration.

We’ll be watching it at the Bobbin from 4pm to 6pm GMT tomorrow, so if you’re in Aberdeen and interested, come on out.  Otherwise, it’s televised here on BBC1 – keep your eyes peeled for us on BBC Scotland when it’s over!

I’ll post stuff (maybe videos and photos) tomorrow.  One more sleep!

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.