A small history lesson, pardon me

October 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey my sunshine friends,

finally I have time to write a couple of sentences. A fucking cold struck me last evening. As I’m studying only one term I was not allowed to register for NHS (national health care system) which means, that I have to pay 65 pounds for a chat with the Doc. Well, I could go to the hospital, the ambulatory care is still free for everybody, but after all it’s just a cold…

Did you know how good UCL’s reputation is? I didn’t know it until I’ve read this message.
I thought UCL would be a good university but not comparable with Oxbridge.
Some more facts about the UCL which are I think quite interesting:

    Founded in 1826, UCL was the first university institution to be founded in London, the first British university institution to be established on an entirely secular basis and admit students regardless of their religion, and the first to admit women on equal terms with men.
    Jeremy Bentham, is seen as the moving spirit behind the establishment of this new university for London, he personally took no part in the university’s creation. Crucially, however, it was Bentham’s powerful, radical ideas on education and society that had inspired the institution’s founders, particularly the Scotsmen James Mill (1773–1836) and Henry Brougham (1778–1868), and shaped its creation.
    Bentham’s position included arguments in favour of individual and economic freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the end of slavery, the abolition of physical punishment (including that of children), the right to divorce, free trade, usury, and the decriminalization of homosexual acts. He also made two distinct attempts during his life to critique the death penalty.

Considered the era he has lived (1748 – 1832) he was far ahead of the times. Today you can watch J. Benthams Auto Icon, his mumificated body, in the main building of the UCL.

    The Auto-icon has a wax head, as Bentham’s head was badly damaged in the preservation process. The real head was displayed in the same case for many years, but became the target of repeated pranks of students from the rivaling Imperial College, including being stolen on more than one occasion. It is now locked away securely.

Last week I had been to the Tate Modern and an exhibition on the campus of UCL called “Exquisite Bodys”. It was like an exhibition by Gunther van Haagen, except that the bodies were made out of wax. The intention was to show the knowledge of the body, medicine had between the 18th and 20th century. The Wax bodies were used to teach medicine students about the anatomy of the human body. Some samples were really authentic for that period. Others were just created to fulfill the peoples desire for sensationalism and was similar to a freak-show.
Upstairs you could found some funny relics like Napoleaons toothbrush, Charles Darwins walking stick (made out of ivory) with a little skull on top of it, or Nelsons Razor blade…
I’ll end with these phrases.

Cheerio

Edit:
I forgot that the panoramic pictures would be to big (~15 mb) for you to watch them. I have a great bandwith here in my hall (1mb/sec), so it’s no problem for me. Will you have the patience to watch the pics?

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I like London in the rain

October 8, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Uncategorized)

After one and a half weeks of nary drop of rain, the god of statistics struck us hard on this monday. Just when I started to believe the saying “In London it doesn’t rain often” the great condensation began. Since that horrible day there was scarcely a day without rain. That’s especially sad because I was planning to go by bike to the UCL. Now I have to catch the small little dry timeperiods.

Last Sunday I went to the “Brick Lane” market in the district of Shoreditch to buy me a bike. After half an hour of straying through the market, I finally found the bikes. Actually, it was rather a small little mobile garage. While the boss was selling the bikes, at least four other men were fixing some old IDonWanaknowwheretheygotthesebikesfrom bikes. I picked myself a fancy little MTB. After checking the price, I had to wait for one and a half hours to let it repaired. Paid 35 pounds for it, 45 less than I would have paid in a bike shop. Cool deal!
I’m sorry that I can’t serve with a photo of the garage, they didnt’t want me to make one, I don’t know why…
While I was waiting, I was visiting the famous Beigel Shop of Brick Lane and the cool music shop called “Rough Trade” where they sell Krautrock.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the bike in the tube to drive back home. So I had to drive half an hour through London with the queasy feeling that my bike would fall in 1000 pieces if I only drive over one more pothole.
Luckily I survived the traffic. The day after, I got 2 punctures (I see the surprise in your faces). So I had to take my red little devil to the Camden Bike shop where they fixed it for another 20 pounds. I hope it will hold on for the next 2 months…

My first lecture week was ambivalent. On the one side, I had to struggle to find enough courses that suit me, on the other hand the lectures themselves were quiet short and only introductive…
There were 2 lectures I really wanted to attend but I couldn’t get a place. The first one was “Ancient Egypt in London” and the other one was “London before the great fire of 1666“. Both were managed by the archeological department. The courses would have taken place in the museums respectively at places where the original London was preserved. That would have been the best way to combine studies with living in and discovering London.
Unfortunately that was not the only problem I had with the choice of chourses. The head of the physics department kicked me out of the course “Physics of the Universe” after having approved that i may attend it. He said sth like “things are changing rapidly… the lecture is oversubscribed…blabla…“. But nevertheless I think I’m going to attend it anyway but without assessment because it just interests me.

Altogether I have 4 chorses.
One of them is just writing an essay of any geological topic I want. Has to have about 15 pages.
(Dear Geos) Any guesses what topic I could choose? Should be sth where I can find some Informations in Library & Papers…
On Wednesdays two chourses are shortened by one hour. That means only 2 hours instead of 4 on Wed. In this point the lecturers are quite relaxed…
The prof of Physics of the Universe told us that the chourse on Wed would be from 10-11.
A girl aked: “Why? On the timetable its written that its from 9-11!”
Prof: “Ya, I see, but do you want to be here at 9 o’clock?”
I’m afraid I’ll have to do a lot for the chourses. At the UCL essay-writing is quite “in”. For one lecture I have to write weekly 3 handwritten Essay pages + one great essay + some kind of exam at the end of the term.

Sainsbury is still a great mystery to me. They seem to break all the rules of modern kapitalism and nevertheless they are successful. You won’t find as many emloyees in any german supermarket as in SB. Today I saw an employee helping an older disabled woman with the shopping. I was looking for some tea, preferential Sainsbury tea. Then I found Sainsburys Basic Tea.(The basic products of SB can be easily identified by a white package and orange writings and are alwas the CHEAPEST) So the Basic Tea contains 80 bags, is Fair Trade and costs only fucking 35 pence… WTF? How…? I’ll never understand it, maybe anyone of you can tell me their secret?
Here are some more examples

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’bout stolen bikes and fat pigeons

October 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey folks,

I’m sorry for not having written sth. for so long but Freshers week was hard. Although I had no courses my freetime was fully stuffed.
Somehow time is running faster here than in germany. The Londoner citizens are the fittest in hole Britain, they are walking the greatest distances, keeping themselves healthy and the life vivid. As a trained postman, I had no big difficultys catching up with them. Nevertheless my friends here are disappointed with me because I don’t accord to their stereotype of a german. Since I’m here, I’m always to late. If it’s a lecture or an appointment with friends… I can’t quite understand it. I think it’s really time to buy me a bike, maybe it could help. For about a week I’m looking now for a cheap bike but it’s hard to find one for 60p or less. A guy at a bike-shop told me if I don’t have the money to pay his prices, maybe I should go to the Bricklane market. They might have stuff for low money but theres always the risk to buy stolen products. Maybe I’ll have a look tomorrow.

What I really enjoy at the UCL is the connection between university life and social-cultural-sportiv activities in clubs & societys.
The UCLU (University College London Union) is a part of the University, run by former students and is similar to our Studentenwerk/Fachschaft. They are running
bars, cafés, shops, organise events like “Pub quiz” or a Jazz-night, offer places for volunteering in a broad field of interest. Furthermore they run all kind of sport-activities or can help you to find a job. They are also responsible for the “Give it a go” programm which is mainly a well sponsored programm of activities you can attend in your freetime. For example, I took part on a London by night Bustour in one of the red doubledecker buses without roof for only 2 pounds! Ok, I have to admit that it was quite cold up there and I was sitting in the front row, behind a dirty window so I couldn’t really enjoy the view. Additionaly, the speaker sytem was useless and we couldn’t hear a word of what the guide was saying.
Ok, it was really crap…
On Thursday and Friday there was the “Freshers Fayre” at the UCL.
That’s kind of an advertising-programm where all the societys (that are also part of the UCLU) are presenting themselves, informing students about what they do and try to convince them of the benefits of a membership in the Bongo-Society or even the Chocolate-Society. Ok this sounds ridiculous now, but there are also more reasonable Sc’s
which deal with creative writing, all kind of cultures and languages, sports or social projects.
The Societys are really a great feature of the UCLU, there’s sth for everyone.

Today I was running in the nearby Regents Park which is the second biggest Park in London. It provides about 10 football courts, tennis courts, the London zoo, a boat lake and some gardens. On my run, I also went to the Primpose Hill which is just norht to Regents Park. From there you have a good view on London.

Afterwards I went to the Camden Market.
On Sundays it’s so crowded that u can’t really make your way through the mass of people. At every weekend the market has about 100.000 visitors.
If you want to know sth about the history of the Camden Stables Market, just have a look on the Pciture.

Did you know that…

1. … Pigeons in London are fat and lazy
2. … peeing in the public costs you 80 pounds and a date with an angry police officer
3. … a cider has as much alcohol as a normal beer (5,3)
4. … most international students come from the states cause they are paying higher fees
5. … my english number is 00447760872791

So far for today. I hope my first Lecture week won’t be to stressful.

Kind regards
Gabriel

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