Saturday, July 31, 2004
Visit 2 - Days 4 and 5a - A Great Conference
Stepped out of the conference to send a quick hello and let you all know things are going great. Now that i have found my way around i have been enjoying downtown London far greater than I ever imagined. Dining out at a pub called the Mad Hatter. Great Lectures at Kings College (with the big statue of George III, who i reminded my English friends was the one we rebelled against). Dodging traffic (I have now begun to look right! - Of course, when I get half way across I am forgetting to look left).
Manchester • Summer 2004 • (3) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Friday, July 30, 2004
Visit 2 - Day 3 - Warning, do not travel with Christopher Morton
Sorry for the delay in sending these out. Had to by CD-RW to burn these files and take it to Kinkos. No
where in London can I hook up my laptop.
So, I wake up at 3:30 Wednesday morning, knowing that I have to catch a 4:30 bus to make my 5:15 Manchester
to London train. Alarm goes off (I set it at some point the previous night, though I have no
recollection of doing so). Shower, shave, pack my bags (realize that somehow I can to England with only
one running shoe ? oops), and head out at 5:20. Walk part way, realize I left my confirmation number in my
room, run back to the room, grab the paper, run back to my bags, and then on to the bus stop. Its 430, its
raining, its dark (barely), and I am ready to go. The plan ? work on the train, figuring that 8500 words
cant take that long to write. Bus comes a little late (4:43), so I am a little worried about making my
train. That worry goes away when I get on board. The driver tells me the fare is 85p. I give him a ten
pound note. He yells at me: ?It 4:30 in the bloody morning and your giving me ten pound note!!!? Ah,
that?s all I have. ?Dumb American, do you think I want to count out coins all morning.? I guess he has
low job satisfaction. So, I slink to my seat, nine 1 pound coins in my hand (I think he had special
?sticky? coins, because they are all covered with gum and the like. We head on our way. Pick up and drop
off passengers. Arrive at the end of the line at 5:03. I have 12 minutes to walk the 10 minute walk,
get my tickets from the machine and make the train. I walk fast, get there at 5:11. It takes a few minutes
to get my tickets, I run to the train, literally stop in front of the door, and the whistle goes to take
off. I quick jump on! I made it. This is going to a good trip after all. Find my seat, and realize ? they
have no power ports. Oh well, I guess I will work til the machine dies, which it does about 1:30 later. At
that point, I have 3000 words written. Uneventful trip. Beautiful morning. Realize I am way
overdressed (75 in London today).
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Visit 2 - Days 1 and 2 - Getting to England One Line at a Time
Well, I have returned to England and ready to fill you all in on the trials and travails of getting here.
Monday started out great. Got to the airport at 10:30 for my 1:53 flight. Checked in by 11, heading to
terminal B and had plenty of time to do some work. I did some work, used the restroom, came out and saw in
flashing print - Flight 248 to Chicago - Cancelled - See Gate Agent. Lets be clear, this is not what I
wanted to see. But, hey, no reason to panic. Still had two hours til flight time and have an extra 1:40
in Chicago, so no problem, right?
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Thursday, July 08, 2004
Days 15 and 16 - Just ready to come home
Well, I am just waiting for my ride to the airport, so a couple of quick thoughts on what I have noticed this trip around (since the past two days were boring to say the least):
? The definition of a salad in England is very different than the States. A salad here is composed of brown leaves, wishing to be dead but unable to get all the way there. As green as this country is you think a green salad would be easy. Word of advice, never order the Ceaser salad at the Bell Tower pub?I don?t think I need to explain.
? No matter how long I am here I am still looking left instead of right to cross the street. Funny thing is that the only motorists who have ?flipped me the #1 sign? the entire time I am here are Muslim drivers ? three of them so far.
? You know that the world changed after the Madrid bombings when you go to the train station and there is no a single waste basket to be seen anywhere. I finally gave my bag of trash to the conductor. Not sure he appreciated that.
? They have something going on here called the Manchester Cow Parade. This is some sort of worldwide art thing where all these life-size cow statues are shipped to a city, painted by local artists, and then displayed all over the city. The previous two spots were Kansas City and Dallas. Hmmm, KC, Dallas, Manchester??? You have no idea how weird it is to see all these painted cows all over town. Kind of a weird, alien takeover thing.
? You know you are eating at the same place too many times when you enter the pub, and they tell you take a seat, bring you your drink and ask if I am putting this on my VISA. Hope they didn?t memorize the numbers.
? In a country known for a lot of things except food, I have ate well here, smelled lots of flowers (The flowers here are gorgeous, but not one has had any smell ? plastic?), and generally starting feeling at home.
? Why are cigarettes here so cheap and pipe tobacco so expensive? And why will some coffee houses let you smoke a cig but not a pipe? I was under the impression that pipes smelled better. Maybe that is just me.
So, I am ready to return to Colorado, work hard for three weeks, and come back over for my next conference and?to defend my progress for the first year and present my findings. Until the 27th then, hope to see you in person.
Manchester • Summer 2004 • (11) Comments • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Days 13 and 14 - These things always happen to me
Well, its Monday morning here in Manchester and I wanted to give you all an update on my trip to Oxford and my Sunday in Manchester. I was just able to send out the Weblog for last week, since the internet has once again decided to visit our lovely college. Sorry for the delay?
Speaking of delays. In the year I have been coming to Manchester I have made three previous trips to Oxford. Its my hang out place ? love the museums, the cathedrals, and bookstores, the food, the pubs. I love going there, even though I had always taken the first train out in the morning (5:15) and it meant some rather expensive taxi rides. Not this time though, I was smart. I booked the 715 train out. Plenty of time to take the bus or intra-city train (which was down for repairs until last Friday). So, I awoke at 5:20, showered, packed, and said goodbye to Phil (since he was heading home that day) and headed out at 6:15. An hour to get to downtown, a mere 4 miles away. No problem?.
Problem. First, I waited for a bus (they were supposed to be running starting at 6). Well, yes they were, but unknown to me many of the bus companies in town have had problems with their unions, and the drivers have been performing a slowdown this year to bring about new negotiations. So? 6:20, 6:30, 6:35. Panic set in. I decided I had better sprint down to the train platform and catch the next train to downtown. I ran (in my dress shoes ?ouch), umbrella out (it was pouring, of course) the mile to the train platform. Run up the platform?no train. I wait, I wait. 7am, no train. Oh boy. Turns out they had some electrical issues that morning in restarting the line (don?t they test these things before they say they are ?in-service??), so, consequently, the first train did not run that morning until 7:30. Back I ran, past bustop and bustop, trying to catch the first bus I could. 7:10, 7:15?7:20. I had missed my train.
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Days 10,11 and 12 - Shouting, nosehair, snoring, bums and lost internet connections
well, this is going to be an interesting weblog to write, mainly because the internet connection at the school is now down for everyone, so i am typing [if that is what you can call it] from an internet phone booth. Talk about your different experiences...here I am in a phone booth, waiting for my bus, typing on this metallic keypad that gives the feel of an old telegraph machine. Ah, the wonders of our age. Okay, lots to catch up on.
When last we were together, I was still in the middle of the conference?
I learned a great deal about the British way of shouting down your opponents. This first is to treat their paper they just presented, one which presumably they have spent hours upon and which they have sought to present some aspect of God as an act of worship as the rough equivalent of Russian toilet paper. I have never seen such disregard for quality academic work in my life. The next thing to do is to bring in the academic version of the hired assassins, the philosophers. One very brilliant and passionate theologians had about ten philosophers come in just for his paper. The result was a lot of heated interchange (from the philosophers end), a lot of irenic banter from the presenter, and a sense of stunned silence by the three Americans in the room who knew nothing about the fifty year squabble that began with this presenters father and with one of the philosopher?s mentors. I tell you, the Hatfield and the McCoys have nothing on British academic circles. I was worried that blood was going to be found on the carpet outside the room. Its own thing to take your work and faith seriously, another all together to have your blood pressures rise to 210 over 160, all over points that were really not major. Ah well, if you can?t win, you might as well at least bludgeon your opponent. The funny thing is that almost all of the attackers, during all four days, were Scots, a country where less than 2% of the people actually attend church. You think maybe, just maybe, they could spend their time and energy on something, oh, I don?t know, that will actually advance the gospel????