A Travellerspoint blog

The Cape and Virago

Weekend of July 9-11

overcast 72 °F

It is official: Boston traffic is worse than Chicago traffic. Hell, Cape Cod traffic is worse than Chicago traffic. My poor steering wheel was the recipient of a lengthy and profanity-laced tirade this Friday evening while ‘driving’ through Boston, far worse abuse than it has ever received crawling along the Dan Ryan. Worse still, being stuck in traffic in Boston means you stuck in a claustrophobic tunnel underneath South Station. At least in Chicago you can agonize while catching some rays.
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But it was well worth the wait. I visited a friend from school, Alex Grip, at his place on Cape Cod Friday night. I got to see the bayside beach and eat some first rate haddock. I had never been to the Cape before and it was awesome to see. Now I just got to make it to a Hyannis Mets game, right?

Saturday I made my way to Newport, Rhode Island and met up with my Aunt MarrGwen and my uncle Stuart aboard their sailboat, Virago. All of MarrGwen and Stuart’s sailboats have bore this name—and I was curious to know the actual Italian definition of the word. When I got back home, this is one interpretation I found—Virago: A noisy, scolding, or domineering woman. While the sailboat Virago is undeserving of any of these attributes—it is actually quiet, welcoming and, (okay fine, it does have a dominating presence but that is not a bad thing)—I still find it to be a great name. We went to a charity event Saturday night at IYRS in Newport, and had a gorgeous sail Sunday morning and afternoon. The sailboat is captained by a Englishman named Richard Archer who is assisted by his wife Carole. Michael, the boat’s chef, provided welcome relief from my own failed cooking experiments at school. Thanks to all of them for a great trip—especially MarrGwen and Stuart for their hospitality. I’m looking forward to the next one!
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This week is pretty crazy at school, wish I could write more…New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking this Friday on campus so hopefully I can let everyone know how that goes…Pictures are all aboard Virago[i].


Keith

Posted by kchapman88 09:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Clear

sunny 68 °F

In the spring of 2008 I took a lifeguarding class in Indianapolis. The job that I took that summer, and later quit, required me to be CPR and Lifeguard certified. Despite my sizable and blatant shortcomings in the pool, after three weekends of class, I somehow persuaded the Red Cross to provide me with two business cards—each one respectively showing that I was capable of providing potentially lifesaving care, and the law requiring me to in some instances. Thank god I have never had to those skills. Now, I have a greater challenge ahead of me than trying to continuously swim 800 yards: reviving this blog that has lay dormant for over a year. Anyway, this is my first attempt in breathing some life into this thing, and like any doctor would say, there are no guarantees. Stay tuned. I hope none of my captive readers have held their breath…
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Since we last caught up, I have arrived back in America. Which has been great. I worked another summer as bionic blue day camp director, which was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my last year of school, which is probably partially to blame for not updating this thing. I graduated from college, which was kind of absurd (though probably not as absurd as my brother, Ross, making the commencement speaker rip a double shot of Jack Daniel’s the night before he gave his sea turtle speech, thanks for the memories, J.) Drove to Florida for spring break. I took a couple train rides last winter term as well.
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Now I am a week deep in graduate studies in Hanover, New Hampshire, aiming to successfully put off the real world for another year a half or two. Back to square one. For those of you who don’t have jobs yet, you are welcome to come join me out here for any indefinite amount of time. Consider this your open invitation to procrastinate collectively with me.

I am not living on campus, at least not until August. Right now I’m living about five miles away and across the Connecticut River in Vermont, in a friendly town called White River Junction. I am not going to tell you what my living arrangements consist of currently.
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All right, fine. I am living in the Hotel Coolidge, which is old and big, as well as old. A good friend, Wicks, visited this week, and he raised a first-rate question in asking when there was ever a demand for three hundred people to sleep comfortably in one building in downtown WRJ. Everyday I walk by the Calvin Coolidge room, which undoubtedly was once a most happening place, but I’m confident it has seen decisively better days. But in all honesty, it has been fine. Karen the maid runs a tight ship, and cleans my room twice a week. The people at the front desk have been more than accommodating and my fellow renters seem nice enough.

My program has been great, I am enrolled in two Cultural Studies courses and a Creative Writing class. My professors are engaging and sharp. My fellow students seem like interesting people and the surrounding area is gorgeous. I have been on a couple of hikes that past few days and have really enjoyed the landscape and scenery. I’m looking forward to hitting the slopes come winter.

Right now I have class only three days a week, so I have a lot of free time. I am poking around for a job to hopefully fill some of that time. Wicks suggested that I consider picking up tobacco use, which has great benefits in passing the time and in helping to meet new people. The problem with cigarettes is that they cost money, and unfortunately I am on kind of on a tight budget. That idea probably won’t happen, but Wicks’ head was undeniably in the right place. I’m hoping to try some other new things including enrolling in a hockey class come winter through the college’s P.E. department.

Anyhow, as you can tell, I don’t have a whole lot of anything interesting to say in this post. But hopefully, through this post, I will get motivated and start keeping this thing in a halfway respectable order. I am even going to ask my mom to send my camera to me, so hopefully I can get some more pictures up. (Mom can you send my camera? It is in the top left drawer of my desk, and if you could figure out how to get it to charge without using the European adapter, that would be great).

To all my friends who just graduated, congrats. I hope you keep me updated on everything.

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment.

Keith

Posted by kchapman88 15:40 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (0)

Leaving Copenhagen

overcast 53 °F

Well, well. This looks to be my last night here in Copenhagen. It has been a good trip.

I have biked the streets of Copenhagen, walked the streets of Paris, Prague, Arhus, Madrid, Oslo, toured the scarred battlefields of Verdun, drank fine Champagne in Reims, drank beer cheaper than water in the Czech Republic (literally), I've played football professionally, I've knocked a French woman to the ground in Paris (her fault), I've visited the Royal Palaces of Denmark, France and Spain, I've stared at Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Picasso's Guernida, dozens of Monet's Impressionist paintings, saw the skeleton ring the bell at the astronomical clock in Prague, climbed the rocks of the Czech Republic, rode an overnight train, rode two overnight busses, two overnight ferries, I fell asleep to gunshots in my apartment one night, fell asleep to the train every other night, drove through Luxembourg, I've learned to cook a little, clean occasionally, saw a soccer game, visited countless museums, taken numerous walking tours, and done a little school work as well. All in all I made it to eight different countries. But I am ready to head back to my favorite one.

Thanks for reading...

Keith

Posted by kchapman88 23:21 Archived in Denmark Tagged educational Comments (0)

Winding Down, Wrapping Up

Last Days In Copenhagen

semi-overcast 59 °F
View Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark on kchapman88's travel map.

Wow. Serious blog drought I've been going on here. I see it has been over a month, and my last entry was even relevant to my travels but just me ranting about the Bears. Despite having a month to soak in, it still hasn't seemed like the right move to me. Enough about the Bears however. Though, I did like what they did in the draft...

It is difficult to comprehend that the semester is almost gone. It has gone quickly for the most part. There have been times when it has absolutely flown by, especially when I've been traveling. It has been great to travel--I've seen things and place and taken in cultures that have been absolutely incredible. I am very grateful for being able to have this opportunity to travel like this, especially at my age. I know that many people are not nearly as privileged as I have been. As much as I have enjoyed these travels, I always am thrilled to get back in Copenhagen. I really have enjoyed this city.
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Last Friday marked the first day of May, which is accompanied in Europe with the May Day celebration. Like every other celebration I've experienced here in Denmark--it was well beyond my understanding. The festivities took place all over the country (and continent, from what I gather) but the biggest gathering in Denmark was in a place called Faeldparken in Copenhagen.

Some of my Danish friends, Thomas and Signe (pronounced SEEN-a) invited me and an American friend, Jennings, to come celebrate with them. We set off on our bikes at about 1:30. It was a pretty short ride, but once we got about a kilometer from the park, there was bicycle traffic like I'd never seen. We eventually hall had to dismount and park our bikes, and walk the remaining distance.

The park was enormous, but it was overflowing with people. There were dozens of stages with accompanying video screens, loud speakers, and endless walls of polser (hot dog) stands and port-o-pottys. People laid down blankets everywhere and were sitting on them, it was so crowded, though, that it took us about twenty minutes to find a clearing large enough to lay our blanket down. It was a mosh-pit of picnic setups, an extravagant maze of blankets and people so large, that after using the bathroom, I got lost trying to find my way back to our camp. It was like a European country concert on steroids.
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But there was no country music, rather, there were politicians giving speeches. Though you could hear their voices, they were largely unnoticed except for the occasional faint cheer. My Danish friends seemed completely disinterested in them, they both sat with their backs facing the nearest stage. Eventually, when daylight faded, we all got back on our bikes and rode back home.

These pictures, unfortunately, are not from May Day. These are rather from tonight, for I just got my camera back after sending it in to be repaired. These are some pictures I took when I went for a bike ride downtown tonight. To get a sense of how late the sun goes down, these pictures were all taken from around 9-9:30 p.m. Pretty incredible.

-Keith

Posted by kchapman88 12:47 Archived in Denmark Tagged educational Comments (0)

International Perspective on the Jay Cutler trade

sunny 52 °F

This blog is usually dedicated to my travels abroad, but with the Bears making their biggest trade in decades, I will give my thoughts on the deal.

Since when did Bears GM Jerry Angelo start taking advice from Cubs GM Jim Hendry? I hate to be the obnoxious naysayer who immediately degrades a move by their favorite sports team, and usually I might just keep my mouth shut, but this time the stakes are so high I have to let my conscious speak.

Like Hendry, taking the kid-in-the-candy-store mentality, Angelo caused major waves by giving up way too much to get an unproven but talented player who doesn't really fit the system or the locker room. This feels to me like when Hendry spent enormous amounts of money on players like Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome. Both made huge headlines, when the Cubs really needed was some speed and defensive players instead someone like Soriano who can hit the long ball but is a liability defensively. I have always liked Jerry Angelo, he always seemed to address the team's weaknesses head on, slowly building a solid team that got to the Super Bowl in 2006. The Chicago Bears, who pride themselves on their history of team-first, run the ball, tenacious defense, smashmouth football, have just given up the farm to get a loud mouth player in Jay Cutler who apparently cannot handle the pressures of being an NFL quarterback. At 17-20 a starter, why wouldn't the Broncos try to ship out the strong-armed quarterback when his stock is at its peak? And the Bears took the bait, giving up Kyle Orton, who's numbers were not as good as Cutler's, but then again he was throwing to Rashied David and Brandon Lloyd rather than Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, while not having an o-line anywhere near the caliber of the Broncos.

Secondly, was Lovie Smith even consulted about this trade? I find it hard to imagine that the conservative Smith would seek to get Cutler at such a high price--especially a coach who has preached the importance of defense and running the ball. This is the coach who doesn't tolerate selfishness, remember how quickly he ran Cedric Benson out of town? Well, now Lovie, you have a crybaby quarterback, and no draft picks to fill those porous holes in your defense. Everyone keeps defending Cutler by saying that he was 13-1 when his defense allowed 21 points or less, well guess what, that is not something the Bears defense is prepared to do week in and week out in 2009. Are we forgetting how the Vikings put up 40 points in '08? Brian Urlacher has apparently lost a step, as much as I love him. But I am more worried about the secondary. Who the hell is going to play safety? Craig Steltz and Danieal Manning? The defensive line has additional holes to fill, with rookie sensation Mark Anderson falling off the radar in the 2008 season.

Additionally, who knows how offensive coordinator Ron Turner and Cutler will gel, seeing that Cutler was furious after withdrew a scholarship offer to him the University of Illinois back when he was the head coach there. That seems like a much greater crime than anything Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels did to Cutler in Denver, (what exactly did he do that was so bad?).

One thing the Bears did do was get style points. Now Devin Hester will have a quarterback that even he cannot outrun. Yes, respect for Cutler's arm will make defenses back out of the box, which should help running back Matt Forte. But Cutler has a record for throwing a lot of interceptions, and this is something that our defense is not going to be able to absorb. As bad as a rap as Kyle Orton got at times, he didn't turn the ball over a whole lot.

Let me follow this rant by saying that I hope that I have to eat every word I just wrote. I hope my opinion is just that, an opinion of a retired bench warmer of a bottom dweller division III football team, who doesn't know squat about the NFL. And while I don't think it is going to be work out, I am willing to support the decision and back Cutler fully during this honeymoon. I will keep my mouth shut from now on until Cutler gets a chance to prove himself. But in the meantime, perhaps Angelo should be talking to Jim Hendry again: This time about getting Cubs pitcher (former Notre Dame star) Jeff Samardzija about returning to football and playing receiver for the Bears. That way Cutler would at least have someone legitimate to throw to.

Posted by kchapman88 03:29 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

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