Jolly Old England

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Random Pictures

I took a few random pictures on the way to college yesterday. Basically, they are:

821 - The engineering building, where the computer lab is on the 6th floor.
822 - The construction!
823, 824 - My department.
825 - A cool looking building of some sort across the street from my department.

The rest of the pictures are in the crypt at St. Edmund Hall. I really expected there to be plaques at least, as I had seen in crypts of other places, such as St. Paul's Cathedral. It was really quite empty. But, I'm glad that Annie and I toured it, or we would've forever wondered what was down there. Getting in was funny... You have to get the key from the porter. The conversation went like this:

Annie: "Someone said if we asked you, we could get shown the crypt..."
Me (thinking): "No, not 'get shown', 'see'. I hope he doesn't get confused and think we want him to give us a tour."
Head Porter: "Where are you from?"
Annie, immediately: "California!"
Head Porter: "Sorry, that was my fault. Are you a member of the college?"
Us: "Yes"
...We tell him we're from Norham Gardens....
Head Porter: "What's the name of the guy there?"
Annie said later she thought he was asking who I was.
I was totally confused, and said, "The Sub-Dean?"
We both figured he was like quizzing us or something to see if we were from the college. As it would turn out, some guy lost a mobile phone up in Norham Gardens and it was found or something.

But yeah, "'Where are you from?' 'California!'" was funny, even Annie admits.

Anyway, the pictures are available here.

I'm just leaving... I'm going to hop a bus to Gatwick, then I fly to Detroit. After that, I fly to Minneapolis, then to Thief River Falls via Bemidji. It's going to be a long day of travel. I'll be back in less than 24 hours though!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pictures! ... and such

I did a fair amount of "being a tourist" in the past few days. Also, there was the college Christmas Dinner. Here's the quick run-down...

I went to the Ashmolean Museum. It was good, but very similar to what I had seen before. There was a lot of art and historical things, arranged in the usual manner. A couple pictures are available here.

I visited the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. I enjoyed both of them. They were different from the other museums I've visited so far. It was good to have something different.

The Pitt Rivers museum, tucked in the back of the Natural History Museum, is full of cases of objects of various cultures. It's arranged by object type/function, rather than by time-period or geographic area. The intention is to allow you to compare objects with the same purpose from various cultures and time periods.

The Natural History museum had a lot of displays of various species. It's quite similar to the Museum of Man and Nature in Winnipeg, for example. There were a lot of parents there with their children. I had a run-in with some kids at one display. The display was showing fluorescence. It was basically a little enclosed structure about the size of tent, but taller. It was dark inside, with ultraviolet lights. The kids were of course enjoying this a lot. I didn't realize they were in there and parted the curtains to check it out. They reacted as if someone was invading their fort. I laughed and commented to their parents (who immediately appeared to tell the kids it was my turn... not that I was in any rush... I didn't want to ruin their fun.) that they appeared to be loving it, as kids would.

Sunday night, I went to the college Christmas Dinner. It was basically like formal hall, except:

1. There was no fish course.
2. We got "crackers" (a wrapped package with something inside so when you pull the two ends, it makes a cracking noise... similar to the snappers you throw on the sidewalk). Our table tried to set them all off at the same time, but it didn't work. We must have been the dumb table, as others pulled it off.
3. Inside the "cracker", there was a little plastic prize thing. I got a small millipede-like thing. I left it, accidentally, but I wasn't too disappointed.
4. Inside the "cracker", there was also a fortune/joke thing. I didn't understand mine and neither did any of the other Americans.
5. Finally, inside the "cracker", we got paper crowns. YEAH!

There were too many people to fit in the main dining hall, despite it being one of, if not the, biggest one in Oxford. I was in the JCR Party Room. After the dinner, we all piled into the main hall to sing some Christmas carols. Those that had seats in there stood on their chairs. It was a great time.

Pictures from Sunday are available here.

LOTS OF WORK! I actually worked in the library for the first (and last) time.

Today, I had my last tutorial. I got my evaluation from my tutor. It was basically along the lines of, "You struggled due to your lack of background in the maths elements. You overcame that and learned a lot." It was very positive. I should pull off at least a B+ when it's all converted into US grades. That's pretty cool.

After that, I had lunch. After lunch, I went to Magdalen college. It's HUGE! HUGE! They have acres and acres of land. There's a deer park inside, for example. I walked forever.

After that, I went to Christ Church to visit their dining hall. The third time (this time) was the charm. I had a good chat with one of the porters there. It turns out that none of the Harry Potter stuff was actually filmed inside that hall. They took all sorts of pictures, measurements, sketches, etc. and built a set based on it. They did film outside the dining hall though. Also, there were a couple Rembrandts in the hall. They were good, as were all the other paintings. I'm not really an art expert.

Next, I went to visit the Bodleian Library (aka the library with the name I can never spell and always have to look up). I obviously couldn't take pictures there. It looked at a few of the reading rooms. It looks like quite the library.

Pictures from today are available here.