Nature, Landscape, and Night Sky Photography by Zach Schierl

Friday

All times are NZST (New Zealand Standard Time)

9:30am-Rise to cell phone alarm which is still my only method of awaking myself since I have yet to find a store that sells alarm clocks.

10:00am-Reserve rental car for day trip to the Otago Peninsula on Sunday.  Resist reservation agent’s not so subtle attempt to up-sell me into renting a luxury 4WD instead of a Toyota Corolla.  I know its early and I probably sound half asleep but with gas at $8 a gallon, I’m not that dumb.

10:15am-Chat online with friends studying abroad in Europe.  They laugh at me because it is nighttime there and I still have a whole day of classes to get through.  I laugh at them because I am in New Zealand and they are in Europe. Muwahahahaha!

10:40am-Debate whether or not to go to Philosophy class discussion period that has absolutely no bearing on my grade and is my only Friday class.

11:15am-Philosophy class. Wondering why I decided to come seeming as how I can never organize my thoughts into a cohesive enough statement fast enough to say anything anyways.  On the bright side, discussion periods here never have those long awkward silences like they do at Whitman.  With 100 people in the class, someone always has something to say.

11:25am-Philosophy class.  Professor splits class into groups of five for discussion.  Discussion is productive as my group comes up with a great point that we think really illustrates a flaw in the professors reasoning.

11:35am-Philosophy class. Professor brings everyone back together for discussion and has each group summarize what they discussed.  Begins by calling on the group in the front row that is composed of the five people that do 99% of the talking in class.  Annoying “supergroup” proceeds to make the exact same argument that we have formulated.  Professor calls on our group next.

11:50am-Class over. Shoot piercing glances at supergroup on the way out.

12:00pm-Walk home.  Nearly get run over by various motor vehicles that are still coming from the wrong direction.

12:15pm-Eagerly prepare lunch since earlier waffling about whether to go to class or not prevents me from having time to make breakfast.

Sunset over Mt. Cargill from Pilot Beach on the Otago Peninsula

12:30pm-Sit down at computer to continue working on poster for the Whitman Undergraduate Conference which (SURPRISE!) is only 5 days away!  Read the following tip on website about making academic posters: “You should produce a rough draft of your poster at least one month in advance.”  ROTFL.

1:00pm-Incoming Skype call. A welcome distraction from working on poster.  Proceed to advise my housemate’s girlfriend on what sort of NERF weaponry and supplies she should buy him for his birthday.  Talk with various Whitties about class options (or lack thereof) for next fall.

1:30pm-Forget about poster. Spend next hour becoming increasingly pissed off at the Fall 2011 class schedule.  Everything conflicts. End up deciding to register for Film Studies and Intro. to Theatre so I don’t have to wait til 2013 to graduate. Blech.  However, I note that there is also the possibility of putting my evil organic chemistry plan into action which improves my mood slightly.

2:30pm-Resume work on poster.  While it may not be ideal to start a poster 5 days before it is due to be presented, I am living proof that it CAN be done.

3:30pm-Distracted by lots of yelling and general merriment outside.  After much trial and tribulation, someone has managed to procure a bona fide American Football.  All of the American males in the complex (3) excitedly emerge from their flats to throw some passes.  Kiwi hosts look on in bewilderment.

4:30pm-Time for dinner.  Pita sandwiches.  Frustration ensues over size and meat holding capacity of New Zealand pitas.  Seriously, why can’t they be more than 3″ in diameter?  It is a struggle to fit more than one slice of ham inside much less the cheese, lettuce, sauce, etc…WHY MUST LIFE BE SO DIFFICULT!

4:45pm-Return to picnic table outside to consume what now looks like a ham, lettuce, cheese and ranch salad interspersed with pita fragments.  Females have now taken over the football throwing which necessitates constant vigilance on my part.

5:15pm-Make valiant effort at turning my Philosophy paper outline into a bona fide paper.  End up becoming hopelessly confused by my own logically inconsistent thoughts and retreat to check on my fantasy basketball team.  My team is in the finals against a friend who is also in NZ and I am winning.  I text him to gloat. 10 minutes later, I am losing.  Crap.

6:15pm-Get ready to go to professional rugby match across town.  Feel odd going to sporting event without wearing some sort of team apparel or other paraphernalia.  Flatmates appear wearing matching bright blue and yellow Otago Highlanders jumpsuits.  I resign myself to a Patagonia jacket.

6:30pm-Walk across street to the Baaa Bar & Grill (whose logo is a sheep…go figure) to catch shuttle bus to the stadium.

6:45pm-Guy next to me on bus turns out to be a Sports Marketing Professor at the University as well as a rugby fanatic.  Spend next 10 minutes getting grilled on the state of rugby in the Unites States, a topic on which I obviously know absolutely nothing.

7:00pm-Arrive at Carisbrook Stadium.  Stadium seats 30,000 but is only about 1/3 full tonight because the visiting team (The Bloemfontein Cheetahs) is from South Africa and, as I am told by sports marketing guy, no one in NZ cares about the South African teams.  It also may have something to do with the fact that the Highlanders are apparently the Detroit Lions/Los Angeles Clippers/(insert appropriate laughing stock of professional sports league here) of the Super Rugby league.

Carisbrook Stadium: Home of the Otago Highlanders

7:30pm-Game begins.  Fans cheer madly at a play 60 seconds into and I have absolutely no idea why.

8:00pm-Beginning to understand rugby.  Blocking is either not allowed or rugby players are a bunch of wusses.  Ball security is horrendous.  Makes Adrian Peterson look like that dude in the Bud Light commercial with the football glued to his hands.  Players surprisingly nimble and agile for their build but still can’t help thinking that Devin Hester would freaking own these guys.

8:30pm-Halftime entertainment.  20 fans race oversized shopping carts across the field while shooting other racers with water pistols.  WAY better than the Black Eyed Peas.

8:45pm-Eat horribly overpriced corndog. Cheetahs score a try to bring them within 3 points of the Highlanders with only a few minutes to go.  Highlanders manage to regain possession of the ball with only a few seconds left on the clock.  Player boots ball clear out of stadium in celebration as time expires.  Totally would have been a $50,000 fine in the NFL.

9:15pm-Bus ride back to town. Grilled by slightly intoxicated Kiwi about the popularity of rugby in the United States.  Emphatically states that his favorite things about the US are Vegas and that grocery stores stock 20+ different varieties of PopTarts.

9:45pm-Return to The Baaa.  Redeem free drink coupon (good for either beer, wine, or a coke) that came with game ticket.  Hunger returns.  Decide to go get fish & chips.

10:03pm-Discover that fish & chips place closes at 10. 3 minutes too late.  Settle for Filet o’ Fish at McDonalds.  Remember why I don’t eat McDonalds.

10:20pm-Return to flat.  Watch Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles” with flatmates while commenting (and laughing) at its complete lack of political correctness: “Where the white women at?!”

12:00am-Consider setting alarm for 9am in order to go to Farmer’s Market.  End up just giving $4 to flatmates and asking them to get me a loaf of Ciabatta bread.  Bedtime.

Dunedin and Otago Harbor at night from Signal Hill

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