Summer 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Visit 2 - Days 12 and 13 - Of Patch Panels and Flights Home

Wanted to give everyone a heads up on what happened Friday and how my trip home went.

Friday was a great day to remind me why I am a theologian and not a) an accountant b) a computer engineer or c) anything that requires physical labour. 

I literally spent the entire day working alongside the Dead of the College setting up the patch panels for the network in the new library.  This involved: 1) stripping wires 2) cutting down wires to go into patch panels 3) poking in four two wire sets of wires into each and every little hole on the patch panel 4) tying down all the wires so they don?t elope with one another and go and make new networks 5) lather, rinse and repeat. 

Wow, I would love to tell you this was thrilling work.  Imagine, hot humid day, wearing pants, shirt, and bright (hot) work vest, standing on hard concrete floors, bending over in a little space, using a little tool to punch down wires, all while experience intestinal duress ? Yes, it beats EuroDisney, but it certainly did not change my calling to be a theologian. 

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Posted by Christopher on 08/10 at 03:10 AM
ManchesterSummer 2004 • (96) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Visit 2 - Days 10 and 11 - Of Printing, Presenting, and Travel Woes

Sorry this did not go out Thursday night, but I quite simply fell asleep while trying to type. Wednesday and Thursday were packed days. Not exactly ?fun filled? but filled with something.

Wednesday morning dawned early (sounds like the start to that silly novel that Snoopy has been trying to write since the 1950s) and I was up and out of bed at 6. Had to get the last few edits done on my 10K proposal submission that morning, so as soon as I was awake I had grabed my laptop and headed under the tree on the back 40 where I do all my work (when it is not, as Thursday night, doing its best Hurrican Keswick impression and flooding the grounds).

By 9 am I was done, ready to print it out and hand it in and start working on the presentation I had to make.  I was thinking that with 24 hours to work on my presentation, I could write a nice 10 page article that surveyed the sweep of my thesis, and, who knows, maybe even submit it to the Scottish Journal of Theology.  Well that was my plan at least.

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Posted by Christopher on 08/07 at 03:08 AM
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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Visit 2 - Days 4 and 5a - A Great Conference

Hello Friends.

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). 

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Posted by Christopher on 07/31 at 03:04 AM
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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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Posted by Christopher on 07/30 at 03:02 AM
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Visit 2 - Days 1 and 2 - Getting to England One Line at a Time

Hello all,

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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Posted by Christopher on 07/30 at 02:57 AM
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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.

Posted by Christopher on 07/08 at 02:51 AM
ManchesterSummer 2004 • (11) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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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Posted by Christopher on 07/06 at 02:49 AM
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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????

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Posted by Christopher on 07/06 at 02:47 AM
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Days 7, 8 and 9 - Church, IT destruction, and the Tyndale Lectures

Hello!  Well, we managed to splice into a wireless network of the church that shares the space here at Regents Park Retreat Center (a Pentacostal church, so I may start writing in tongues any minute). It has
been a busy three days:

Sunday - Church and study
So, woke up early Sunday morning, enjoyed a prosperous run (apperently the English are still bummed about the loss to Portugal, so there were no “vomit” puddles to leap). Spent a little time studying, showering (I am getting the hang of showering in the shower at the lovely Beech Wing housing complex where I am staying, that has a rust spot the size of Maine, making it needed to shower in a position similiar to that of the starting blocks in the Olympics).  Then a nice walk to church.  The regular vicar was on vacation, so they had a brand new ordained pastor there. Apperently they do not teach here how to wrap up your sermon.  He went on and on, about nothing in particular, having long since lost the congregation (the only ones paying attention were the infants at that point). Longest service I had been to since I’ve been here - about 1:45).  Still, a great communion service (yes, they use port here in their communion wine). 

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Posted by Christopher on 06/30 at 02:41 AM
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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Days 5 and 6 - Of Professors, Rain, Spaniels, and Snails?

To be honest, life in Manchester can be quiet boring.  I mean how often can you sit and wait for a bus for half and hour (yes, somehow I managed to offend the bus drivers again)?  So here are the ?highlights? of my past few days?

Professors ? I am here for reasons other than football matches.  Met with my professor, Dr. Noble.  Its weird, I could never imagine calling any of the professors here by their first names. It is so ?un-British.?  Had a great time with Dr. Noble, by which he thinks I am right on target, is fascinated by my topic, and wont let me get rid of Anselm from my thesis (for those of you who know the medieval theologian Anselm, feel free to cry for me).  Had a great rabbit trail in the middle of our talk (one of many).  Dr. Noble?s brain works like mine ? scrambled and in constant motion.  So, for ten minutes we discussed this little theory of mine that the famous Rahner Axiom only makes sense in potentiality, not actuality because of the fact that in humanity?s fallen state our finiteness limits our ability to experience the perichoretic revelatory nature of the being indwelt by any one of the Trinitarian members of the other two, and that therefore for the Axiom to be true one must be in a state of theosis. 

Looking at that paragraph I am not even sure what I am saying now.  But it sounded brilliant yesterday.  It seems that Phd is the Syriac acronym for ?confused, unintelligible babbling.?  Needless to say, I am in my element here.  Where else can someone like me find someone to actually listen to my inspired verbal doodling. 

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Posted by Christopher on 06/27 at 02:58 PM
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Friday, June 25, 2004

Days 3 and 4 - Life as an Englishman

Well looks like I will be writing every other day for a while.  Without internet connection in my room, like slows down quite a bit.  I am truly an American.

Or am I?  Signs that you are becoming an Englishman-

1) You go to the grocery store and you actually think that Prawn and Salt potato crisps could be tasty.  (yes, I am still a vegetarian, but my taste buds are becoming English)

2) You find yourself explaining to the Chinese student at the bus stop how to wave down the bus (and it even stopped for me).

3) You see the last two days of downpours as ?good summer weather? (okay, this one doesn?t apply ? I tried to enjoy the rain, but now every part of my body is growing mold!)

4) You are buying clothes in a store (clothes are the only thing cheap here) and when you ask where to check out you actually say, ?Where?s the til love??  (Yes, I referred to a woman at the store as love ? but so was everyone else ? she was about 90)

5) You pick up the daily Manchester paper, read the stories, and they all make sense (scary!)

6) You correctly explain to someone that the flag that is white with a red cross in the English flag, not to be confused with the Union Jack, the flag of the ?Kingdom.?

7) You go into a pub an order a ?lager? and know what it is you have just done.

8) You learn how to walk, read the paper, and carry your umbrella! (This is not as easy as it sounds)

9) You actually begin to wonder if you should get your nose pierced, show your navel (its back from last summer), and grow your hair into the rope-like dreadlocks (this would make me appear just like the average Manchesterite under 40).

10) You find yourself caught up in ?Football Mania? ? the Euro Cup

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Posted by Christopher on 06/25 at 11:24 AM
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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Days 1 and 2 - Problems Problems Everywhere

Well, greetings from Manchester everyone. It is Wednesday morning here, and sorry for not writing earlier. Jet lag is much worse in the summer than the winter.

I had great plans for a smooth trip to Manchester went I left the house Monday morning. Out the door at 9am for my 1:26 flight.  Things were going to go smoothly, I was sure of it.  They did until I made it to DIA.

I really do like United.  They took good care of me. But can someone please explain why the international check-in area had two people working it for a line that looked like the one at Space Mountain at Disneyland?  Two people?  When half the people I was in line with didn?t speak English as their primary language?  So? I waited, and waited, standing on the oh so ergonomically healthy hard tile floor at DIA.  After an hour, I was finally first in line.  The attendant waved me on, I was moving forward?when out of the middle of the lien jumped this lady who, because she had already missed her flight, figured that she didn?t need to wait anymore.  I was stopped dead in my tracks. Well, the check-in woman was having none of that. She, um, filled her in the workings of lines in America, and sent her off to? well, I am not sure.  Then she waved for the next person.  I was crestfallen? but wait, she see?s me, and waves me forward.  I am finally checking in.

Put my first bag on the scale and, rip, the bottom plastic slider thing rips off.  Hmm? An omen?  No, just a bit of bad luck. After about twenty feet of tape to bind up the bags wounds, the bag was sent through the conveyor, as was my second bag (total weight 82 lbs).  While was she was checking me in, I put my backpack on the scale, just, you know. A solid 41 pounds. Well, not a problem. Lots of lead time everywhere so I wont have to walk to fast with it on my back. 

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Posted by Christopher on 06/23 at 07:26 AM
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