Tuesday, July 31, 2007

York Horse Races

This weekend, I traveled to the old Viking/Roman town of York to visit my cousin Lara and her boyfriend James. It was a wonderful weekend hanging out with them and James' parents and brother and girlfriend. Highlights included a huge curry (where we guessed the amount of food needed dead on!) and a huge tapas lunch in a Spanish Restaurant in the town center (to get me ready for my visit to Spain: T-17 days and counting!!!)

But the real treat was going to the annual York Horse Races, where we all participated in a spot of horse betting! The following photos will illustrate how posh the afternoon was - men in suits and ties, women in dresses and big hats. BIG HATS! The hilarity of the attire was brought out with the weather, which was sunny but windy! All the hats and dresses sailed off and billowed like yachts in a gale.

At 2 pounds a bet, it wasn't an expensive affair. As a newbie to horse betting, I needed to know how to choose the winning horse. We scrutinized the horses in the parade ring (looking for that 'fast look' and a heart-shaped bum, apparently), we studied the jockeys as they mounted their beast (jockeys are short!), and we compared statistics of past races and horse performance.

In the end, I just picked the horse with the name I liked best.

First Race: my money was on Nevada Desert... and it won! 10 pounds!

Second Race: I looked for a natural sounding name - Gull Wing... and it won!! 10 pounds!

Third Race: No way will I win again. I choose another nature/flying named horse - Wing Collar... and it won!!! Amazing! Another 10 pounds!!

I was on a roll of a lifetime! Up 30 quid, there was no stopping me!

Fourth Race: Continue the trend - Eagle Mountain... and it wo... lost. In fact, I think it came last.

Fifth Race : Lost. Sixth: Lost. Seventh and Eighth: Lost as well...

Oh well, my three win winning streak still rocked (3/8), and I took home 20 pounds! James probably had the worst luck, were one of his horses stayed in the starting gate, not to race at all. The horses must wonder why they are being made to run... perhaps James' horse had an epiphany and took a stand. Or perhaps it's just a bad racehorse.

Click on any photo to enlarge it!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life Size Blue Whale!

Just a quick post about an amazing website called Life Size Blue Whale.
Click on the link and you will be taken to a life size picture of a Blue Whale complete with sound and water particles. You can chose to look at any part of the whale, she is HUGE! The site was made by WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) and the level of detail is amazing. I truly recommend checking it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Change all around...

Man, everywhere I look I see change.

Robotic change in Transformers:

It opened in USA and New Zealand, and everyone and every review I have read yet has praised it beyond every other movie... BUT it does not open here until July 27st. Ugh, I have to wait 17 more days...

Work change in teaching:

School ends in 10 days. 10 more days (actually only 8 WORK days) of hour-long commutes. 10 more days of whining, bickering, tattle-tailing kids. 10 more days of ungrateful, uncaring parents. But that also means only 8 days of pay...

Creating change in film making:

The untitled sequel to Tony's Empire has begun filming. So far, we have filmed the Funeral, the MP Speech, the Secret Meeting, and the MP/Assistant Chat scenes. I am pleased by the footage so far! Momentum has been engaged, but needs to continue. The film is more ambitious than the last (car chases, fighting in a lake, police shootout, bordello raid...), but with the experience gained shooting Tony's Empire, we can do it!

Musical change in karaoke birthday party:

On July 20th, Lewis is having a karaoke party at O'neills. The twist is that you have to come as a famous musician and sing a song by the artist! I will be going as Bono. Black jeans, shirt and jacket, sunglasses, earrings, and wig! Cher and Gwen Stefani will also be in attendance...

Geographical change in location:

I finally bought my flight back home to Vancouver. I will be leaving from London on September 10th, after a three-week trip with Greg around Portugal, Spain and London. But I will not be flying to Vancouver directly, I will be stopping over for five days in New York City! After sightseeing and living in the AMNH for the week, I will arrive back in Vancouver on the 15th, ending my 2006-2007 England Adventure...

Change all around...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Canada Day in the UK!

Pete Bond brings Canada Day to Birmingham!

Sunday brought July 1st - Confederation Day for Canada - and my British friends and I celebrated in style! As the only Canadian, I was in the perfect position to educate the masses:

-Canada is the second largest country in the World.
-Canada loves Hockey (Vancouver Canucks!)
-Canadian Animals
-Canada is NOT American (we are Northern North Americans!)
-Famous Canadians (Micheal J Fox, Brian Adams, etc... but also Lois Maxwell (Mrs. Moneypenny!), Rachel McAdams, William Shatner (Kirk!), Alex Trebec (Jeperody!), James Cameron (Titanic/Terminator!), Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City!), Matthew Perry (Friends!), Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss (the Matrix!), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone!), and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane!) Whew!

We decorated the house with Canadiana (my info posters, map, and my flag!) and Emily cooked some incredibly tasty 'Canadian' food! Canadian Won-Ton, Pizza, and Soup. (Thanks so much, Em!)

And BEER!!! Unfortunately, we could not find Canadian beer (Is Coors Canadian?), so Ian and Lisa put Canadian stickers on Fosters (yeah, they thought Australian was close to Canadian... both colonies?) Karl and Catherine brought maple syrup, Canadian Dry soda, pancakes, and beef jerky! Claire brought Canadian Club whiskey! This is what the British think Canadians consume!

After a failed bonfire, we discovered an artifact from the past! While fanning the fire with a serving tray, it was hit too hard and broke. Within the tray we discovered some old newspaper. As the rain started to fall, we salvaged the old yellowed paper and brought it inside. Increadible, the newspaper was dated August 27th, 1950! I'll post pics soon, because the articles are fascinating! More on it soon...

With such a discovery under our belt, Canada Day couldn't have got better. Yet it did! At the end of the night, we went to the Harborne Legion (2 doors down!). They had an open mic for the regulars ('regulars' being of an average age of 81!), and the dancing began! 6 young fit single 20-somethings dancing with 40 old wrinkled frisky 80-somethings... It was a fantastically fun time!

Happy Canada Day!