Tag Archives: nerdgasm

Life in London Part V: Silly Things and Lovely People

6 Jul

Things I’ve fallen in love with while in London…

General Sillyness

The is the last stop on the Picadilly line going North. The trains announce where they are travelling to, so in this case, you hear: "This is a Picadilly Line service to: Cockfosters". What makes this so great is that it is said by an almost robotic sounding British lady. And I take the Picadilly line about ten stops. So I hear this over and over. Does it get old? Nope.

Of course.

I'm just silly. But I don't care, I have fun.

People

I love love love Sam to death. She and I went through a lot together at the beginning of the semester and our friendship is solidified after this experience together. Our mutual love of Robert Downey Jr.'s wax figure certainly helps.

Matt and I have intellectual conversations about literature and the state of the world while enjoying a glass of wine... or two or three. We also enjoy pretending to be hipsters and having a photoshoot, lounging in the parks on sunny days and dancing the stress away at night.

Obviously I love Jack and have loved Jack for years. And next to Jack is Meggie, who is probably the funniest person I have ever met. Her angry cat noises and Wisconsin mom accent will always make me laugh uncontrollably, no matter where I am.

Life in London Part IV: Royal Wedding Mania

7 Jun

You should have seen this one coming. And now that I’ve had a month to bask in post-wedding tabloids, entertainment news programs, and Barbara Walters specials, it’s my turn to write about the Royal Wedding.

William and Catherine. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Future Prince and Princess of Wales (once Charles is finally king). Future King and Queen (once the current Queen dies, Charles becomes king and dies). Quite a lot of titles and future titles. I like to think of them as Will and Kate, this blog tends to be informal (see: awkward statues, nerdgasms, my new boyfriends).

How adorable is this photo? Answer: too adorable.

I’ve always been in awe of royalty, it kind of comes with being a girly girl. Then I went to London in 2005 and, in two short days, I was hooked on all things House of Windsor. Add an obsession with Shakespeare and the History Plays and a fascination with all things “sparkly” and my current obsessions are warranted.

One of my favorite things that was shown to me so graciously by my dear friend Sam, is this blog:

Kate Middleton for the Win

Now, I love Kate Middleton. I think she’s an incredibly classy lady who will do wonderful things for the British monarchy just like Diana before her (but in much better clothes and hair, naturally). But this Tumblr takes images of Kate and slaps snarky phrases on them, such as this:

What makes these so funny to me is I don’t picture her to be at all like this, and I doubt the blog’s creator does either. But nonetheless, they’re good for a laugh.

I was lucky to be in London during the lead up to the Wedding, and saw much of the preparations…

Like people camping out and camera crews setting up at Westminster Abbey two days before.

Some of my friends joined the chaos by camping out by Buckingham Palace! I flew out the day of the wedding (no lines, no waiting!) but I waited to leave for the Tube until Will and Kate were officially married. I couldn’t leave without seeing that part of the ceremony.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: What did I think of the dress(es)?

Kate wore a dress by British designer Sarah Burton, the late Alexander McQueen's protege. She took over the label after his tragic suicide last year. To start, I love the modest train. Diana had a 25 foot train which was, let's say it, RIDICULOUS. A tradition of respect at Westminster Abbey mandates that shoulders be covered, which is why the dress has sleeves. I love that Kate went with a lace overlay for the sleeves and collar of the dress. It gives the look a classic feel while still being a little sexy underneath. As for the veil it's quite sheer, which I like as I detest most veils. Plus that loaned tiara suits her.

Notice the detail of the lace: it is completely sheer at the sleeves but a bit denser at the shoulder/collarbone. The edging is lovely. Her makeup is flawless, and as most people (well, most royal wedding obsessees like myself) know, she did her own makeup. Is there anything she can't do?

For the after party Kate changed into another Sarah Burton design. The overall silhouette is similar to the first dress, but this is a little less church and a little more party. The shrug is playful (but looks kind of itchy to me) and the crystal belt highlights her slim figure. As usual, her hair is glorious.

Pippa Middleton in Sarah Burton. Who wouldn't want to look this good in a dress this beautiful? She (almost) upstaged her sister. I want this dress. Also, perfect hair clearly runs in the Middleton family.

How can I resist posting a picture of the ever-charming Prince Harry? Especially when he is in uniform...

I should note that, since being back in the states, two people have told me I look like Kate. The highest of all compliments, if only my hair looked like hers every day…

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre: The nerdgasms continue

6 Apr

Last Friday I finally made it across the Thames to Shakespeare’s Globe… Well, the recreation of the Globe. The original Globe Theatre is long since burnt down.

The Globe is located in the South End on the River Thames, right next to the Tate Modern. It is the only wooden building within three miles of the city of London since the Great Fire. It was built using the same materials that were used for the original: English Oak, wooden pegs, thatched roof, goat's hair plaster, handmade bricks

The Millenium Bridge, recognizable from the 6th Harry Potter movie. I walked across and back, enjoying my nearly daily dose of Harry Potter referencing.

I like to take pictures of all the signs. Like a total nerd. You can imagine how many signs I photographed at the Globe.

A timeline of the plays and the life of the Globe along with some history of London

This prop made me think of Hamlet. Alas, poor Yorrick.

The Globe is an open-air theatre and therefor has no roof. In Elizabethan England plays were performed during the day when it was light because it would have been too expensive (and dangerous) to light an entire theatre by candlelight. The Globe is still run as it was in Shakespeare's time, with the plays performed in the day. However, the only lights in the theatre simulate daylight so that they may also perform in the evenings. There are no special effects lights, spotlights, or strip lights in the Globe.

The Royal box where her Majesty herself has sat to view a play. In Elizabethan England the actors travelled to the palaces to perform. These boxes would be used for Lords and other nobility. Technically speaking they don't offer the best view but in those days you came to hear a show, not see it. This is why Shakespeare's plays contain context clues in the dialogue about location, weather, etc.

The Heavens, or roof of the stage. The trapdoor is used for heavenly bodies to speak from and fairies to ascend the stage from. Today invisible wires are used but in Shakespeare's time they used large ropes for two reasons: Safety and to assure the audience that the actor was not flying with witchcraft.

We sat in the top of the stands, which was amazing. The Globe is the only building in London with a thatched roof. Because of the fire codes in London (and being the only wooden structure for miles) the Globe is fully fireproofed, including the thatched roof. As an added precaution there are sprinklers all along the roof.

When we visited they had just finished repainting the stage and preparing for the spring season.

This poster was displayed in the exhibition and of course I had to get one at the gift shop.

Stratford-Upon-Avon: Shakespearean nergasms

28 Mar

This past Saturday I took a bus tour with one of my roommates to Straford-Upon-Avon, the Cotswold’s, and Oxford. I’ve wanted to go to Stratford since I first learned about William Shakespeare. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon (the River Avon runs through the town, thus it gets the name) in 1564. The house he was born in and grew up in stands to this day thanks to his popularity before and after his death. The house has hosted a number of famous visitors including future U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, authors Mark Twain and Charles Dickens and poet John Keats. Needless to say, I was in good company in Stratford.

The first stop on our tour of Stratford was about a mile outside the town to see where Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, was born and grew up. Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne when he was just 18. Oh and she was pregnant with their child at the time of their wedding. Fun fact.

The Hathaway family and then its descendants lived in this cottage until the early 1900s when the Shakespeare's Birth Trust foundation acquired it. The Hathaway's would charge visitors to see the house and would tell lies about furniture, saying, "Shakespeare sat here!" just to make a few extra bucks.

The house itself is neat because it is a medieval/Tudor style home with a thatched roof. Throughout the years the Hathaway descendants kept the house in its original design with little to no updates to the inside. Though there weren’t any artifacts that Shakespeare himself would have seen/used, it was still interesting to see a little bit of what it would have been like to live in the cottage.

Next we headed to the heart of Stratford to see where the Bard was born. I could feel my heartbeat quicken as we walked toward the house, passing all sorts of sights and signs of Shakespeare.

A Statue of the Fool; "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool"

O, had I but followed the arts! -- Twelfth Night

How well he's read, to reason against reading. -- Love's Labour's Lost

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. -- Julius Caesar

Soon enough I was walking the ground that my literary hero once walked on. Breathing the air. Taking it all in and savoring each moment.

Shakespeare's actual birthplace, still standing after almost 450 years.

The front entrance to Shakespeare's house, complete with the Shakespeare family crest above the door.

I feel like I can share this with you all: whenever there is a “do not touch” sign, I am about 80% likely to touch whatever object it is I am not supposed to be touching, 99% likely if there are no “guards” there to yell at me. So of course when we walked through Shakespeare’s bedroom, past the four-poster bed he slept in, I had to feel the intricately carved wood. Not only was it beautiful, but the wood was soft yet sturdy. As it must be seeing as it is 400+ years old.

On the way out I signed the guest book. They’ve been keeping a guest book for over 200 years and the very first visitors were American! Just goes to show that Shakespeare has been loved around the world since he first became famous. I had to write my favorite quote in the comments box: “This above all, to thine own self be true” from Hamlet.

After some fun in the gift shop, we had a few minutes to walk around town before getting back on the bus. We went into the bookshop and then passed a few awesome shops.

If music be the food of love, play on. -- Twelfth Night

The Creaky Couldron, an homage to both the witches of Macbeth and Harry Potter

Butter Beer and Pumkin juice: the two beverages consumed most frequently in the Harry Potter books

And soon enough we had to get back on our tour bus and bid adieu to Stratford (for now).

Our tour took us on a drive through the Cotswold’s, stopping for lunch at a pub before continuing our journey to Oxford (more on that later).

The Cotswold’s is a quaint, countryside area of England. Absolutely beautiful with lots of these little guys:

Baa Ram Ewe