Pancakes in a Bag I wish I was kidding
Like, how is this a thing?
I don’t really know how I feel about these, I’ve only been eating them cold with some of the peanut butter my Mom sent because she’s awesome. They taste, like really sweet? Compared to the Bisquick pancakes I’m used to, so I’m a little meh about these.
But I have also officially tasted HP brown sauce and ummmmmmmm…it’s amazing. I actually really like it. I need to bring some back to the states with me. It’s so delicious.
So I just got back from my first meeting of the Music Society Choir!
Everyone that I met was really quite lovely. The conductor is a local boy, a final-year psychology student named Dave. We’re doing a whole range of pieces, including:
This “Gospel Train” is a medley of - well, they call it “Go Down, Moses” but I always thought it was called, “Let My People Go” - “Oh Happy Day,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The only one we worked on today was “Go Down, Moses.”
Honestly, getting British students to sing gospel music felt like pulling teeth.
So about an hour and a half ago I got back from my firST EVER MEETING OF THE QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BOXING CLUB AAAAAAAH
Boxing was something I’ve wanted to learn how to do fora while, and this year, for New Year’s Resolutions, I decided I was actually going to start, and I figured the best place and time to start would be in Belfast, where boxing has a lot of cultural significance.
The guy who ran the session - Ralf - was absolutely wonderful about the whole thing, like the last thing we did was go on a 20-or-so-probably-a-lot-longer run around South Belfast and while he could have easily left half of the group behind (including me I have gotten radically out of shape again and this 3-week cold is not helping) he hung back and provided encouragement to the slowest of us, pushing us to go harder but not to the point we’d be physically sick.
The club meets at the Sandy Row Amateur Boxing Club, which, to me, the name makes my ears perk up because when I hear “Sandy Row” I automatically think of this:
This mural isn’t there anymore, it’s been painted over and replaced with one honoring William of Orange that doesn’t have the same militant message and instead welcomes comers to Sandy Row. You could see the curbs painted red, white, and blue as we ran, staking out the area still as loyalist territory.
Anyway while my body is probably going to kick up a massive protest when I wake up tomorrow (my abs are already not happy about this whole thing) I’m very eager to go back next week.
I kind of have to thank one of my old friends from high school, Shakib, who said recently in a video he did about his music, “If you want to do something, have some grit, and keep going.” Which I kept hearing him in my ear telling me that when I felt like I was going to be sick in the club.
I was very excited for a while because I thought I was going to be able to do boxing club practice and then sprint over to Queen’s Sport for Taijutsu’s Tuesday night practices and…no. No no no no no no no no, no no. First of all my practice ended fifteen minutes late, and there was no way I could have made it from Sandy Row to Queen’s Sport in less than fifteen minutes, especially since it was after sunset and I couldn’t cut through the Botanic Gardens. Second of all, I was just so out of breath and exhausted, I just decided, “no, not tonight. I’ve pushed myself to a limit and my body is already not going to be happy about this tomorrow.” Remembering how my body reacted to the last Taijutsu practice, I decided not to make it feel any worse. Maybe, once I start getting back into shape again, I could push myself through both practices in one night, but…for now…no.
Anyway. Please excuse me. I haven’t eaten yet, so I should probably go do that.
I have returned from Taijutsu.
I have two things to report.
One is that I will probably be pretty decent and merciless at this.
There were two other students in the club who were new. Both were boys, both were taller than me, both had martial arts backgrounds - one in kickboxing, the other in aikido.
The very last thing we did before we stopped for the night was some very basic blocks and defenses, including a headbutt and a kick between the legs.
I was pretty sure I was hitting both of them noticeably harder than they were willing to hit me. And this isn’t like I was being mean, we were actually supposed to knock each other around a bit, using a bit of force. I was always very gentle with the kicks when it was my turn, and I warned them when I was about to do it, but when they went to kick me, I’d be like “Come on! Kick me! I’ve got no stones for you to hit! Yeah!”
The other is OH MY GOD this is going to be hard, like, I’m still a little out of breath. But I can feel everything and my arm doesn’t hurt really at all, like I thought it was going to from taking hits, but it’s fine, so that’s good!
Okay now, but the week is over, tomorrow I’m jetting off on another excursion, but for now, it’s time to enjoy my Valentine’s date, with Chef Gordon Ramsay.
It is Valentine’s Night in Northern Ireland. Love is in the air, mingling with the raindrops, floating through the clouds…
And what will I be doing on this rainy Valentine’s Night?
I shall be kicking ass and taking names.
While at the Refreshers* Fair (the second semester club fair) I put my name down for the Music Society (as expected) and for a number of Northern Irish political parties, both sectarian and not (as planned.)
I also signed up for the Boxing Club and the Taijutsu club.
Taijutsu is (quoting from the club fair pitch) a street-based martial art, which I signed up to learn because, well, why not, yeah?
The first meeting is in about an hour and aaaaaaaaaaaaah oh my.
*Freshmen, or first-year university students are (at least here) referred to as freshers. Refreshers events are events that take place at the beginning of the second semester, when all the freshmen come back. Such events include the club fair mentioned above, and the general holiday “refreshers week” when first-years celebrate their re-release from parental supervision by swarming the local bars and clubs and getting absolutely plastered.
Log, Supplemental, Stardate 91711.17
Our final stop, the Dark Hedges, also used for filming “Game of Thrones.”
The distinctive trees were put in place by the Stuarts, who wanted the entrance to their house to be incredibly memorable. Judging by the thousands of photographers, professional and amateur, who flock to this place every summer to try and capture the elusive perfect photographs that can be taken here, they succeeded.
Log, Supplemental, Stardate 91710.89
Final photos from the Giant’s Causeway.
The Scotch Giant’ finally arrived at Finn McCool’s house, shouting for Finn McCool so they could fight. Mrs. McCool, all calm and collected, emerges from the house and tells the Scotch Giant that Finn’s out in the fields, and he’ll be back in a wee bit, and in the meantime would the Scotch Giant care for some tea?
The Scotch Giant, unsure what to make of this, but not willing to refuse Mrs. McCool’s hospitality (they take hospitality rules very seriously in ancient Northern Ireland) comes inside and sits down to the tea and scones that Mrs. McCool has made.
So the Scotch Giant taken a scone, and bites into it. When he bites into it, he realizes that, as she was baking them, Mrs. McCool but stones into the scones. He’s about to yell in pain, when he thinks to himself, in another brilliant example of machismo, “If Finn McCool eats these, then so can I, yeah?” and so he continues to eat the scones, breaking all of his teeth in the process.
As he’s eating the miserable scones, the Scotch Giant hear the sounds of a baby cooing from the next room. He takes a peek and sees the giant crib - hiding Finn McCool. “Who’s that there?” he asks Mrs. McCool.
"Och, that’s just Baby Finn," Mrs. McCool tells him.
"BABY Finn?" cries the Scotch Giant. But he doesn’t believe it, so he goes to pull back the blanket from Finn McCool’s face. McCool, again being the original Irishman that he is, bites off all the fingers on the Scotch Giant’s hand.
The Scotch Giant rears up in pain, and screams, “If that’s Baby Finn, and if that’s what Finn McCool eats, then I don’t want to meet the man Finn McCool!” And he sets back off across the bridge they had built, tearing it up as he goes so Finn McCool can’t follow him. The remains on the Irish side are now the Giant’s Causeway.
Log, Supplemental, Stardate 91710.89
More scenery from the Giant’s Causeway.
After Finn McCool and the Scotch Giant had built their bridge, they went to meet each other in the middle and hash it out. But as Finn McCool was crossing, he noticed something: “The Scotch Giant is twice as tall as me, and twice as wide…I’m going to be killed.” And so McCool raced across the bridge back to the family house, where Mrs. McCool was cooking.
"Mrs. McCool, I’ve made a terrible mistake!" cries Finn, and he explains to his wife that he’s about to be killed.
"All right, Finn, it’s alright. I have an idea. Go to the back room, and build a big crib, a baby’s crib, big enough to hold you. Then get inside and cover yourself with a blanket."
"Okay," says Finn. Off he goes to do what she says and Mrs. McCool puts on the kettle for tea.
Log, Supplemental, Stardate 91710.89
More slightly adventurous photos taken at the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim Coast.
According to Irish Legend, the original Irish giant, Finn McCool, was working in the fields when he heard someone shouting. It was the Scottish giant next door, whose name I can’t remember. He was shouting insults at Finn McCool. McCool, then doing what any true-blooded Irishman would do, picked up a rock and threw it at the Scotch Giant. It only made it about halfway across the Irish sea, but the Scotch Giant was still not happy about it, so he picked up a rock, and threw it back at McCool. Again, it only made it about halfway across. They kept throwing rocks at each other, and eventually built a bridge between Ireland and Scotland.