Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Days 9-10: A Flaming Torch and a Classic Bath

Bonus Nacho Uno:

For an American, traveling 7 hours is not a big deal. It takes me twice that time to drive to Denver, Colorado, to see my brother and sister-in-law. 7 hours is longer than it takes me to get to San Antonio, but it's not too bad for a drive.

Now, a 7 hour flight could be classified as "substantial." If you add 2 hours and a few quarters to those 7 hours, you can go from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to London Heathrow. That’s a substantial flight there, a long 7+ hours.

But you do cross an entire pond, so it’s worth the time.

But this is American thinking.

When I went to Scotland for that weekend trip, taking a 7 hour train ride and travelling (almost) length of Britain in the process, the Scots said I was crazy.

14 total hours of travel for a weekend (round)trip isn’t ideal.

But then again, Oxford is closer to Dundee than Fort Worth is.

Bonus Nacho Dos:

Bonus Nacho Uno was entirely unrelated to the point of this post. Bonus Nacho Dos seeks only to clarify this truth.

Oxford Strikes Back Days 9-10:
A Flaming Torch and a Classic Bath

Stardate: Monday, July 16, 2012

“Christian Orders a Sandwich and We See the Olympic Torch at Blenheim Palace”

On Monday, we saw the Olympic Torch at Blenheim Palace. I went with Dr. Wright, Sarah, Christian, Linda, and Whitney.

We arrived at about 1pm – although our group was separated when Christian ordered a sandwich*.

*There are some important details to this story, which involve a hungry man, a patient professor, and a bus pulling out of Gloucester Green with some Americans on the top floor wondering if the hungry man and the patient professor are going to "make it". I have omitted those details from the main portion of this blog, relegating them to a footnote with small font.

Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Sheep next to a monument celebrating the first Duke of Marlborough's great victory at Blenheim.

The Torch was scheduled to come to Blenheim sometime after 3pm. We occupied ourselves by:

a) standing on the side of the road
2) playing Egyptian Rat Slap (inside the restaurant inside the palace)
d) taking a walk to the monument commemorating the victory that the first Duke of Marlborough won at Blenheim, which led to Queen Anne rewarding him with Blenheim Palace.

Also, I recited Psalm 23 to some sheep.


Finally, the Olympic Torch arrived! It was met by much British enthusiasm and a smattering of enthusiastic American enthusiasm.

The Olympic Torch!

The torchbearer runs the Olympic Torch through the Palace gate.

Then the Duke of Marlborough said some nice things, some people played a song we couldn’t really hear (which is to say that we had the words for it but we couldn’t sing it because we couldn't hear when it started or when it finished).

Then another lady ran the torch out.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Stardate: Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“I Visited My Friend Tom in Bath”

On Tuesday, I Visited My Friend Tom in Bath.

Bath is famous for its Roman Baths.

I learned a valuable lesson on Tuesday: just because a ticket is 10 pounds on nationalrail.co.uk doesn’t mean that it will be 10 pounds when you arrive at the station 20 minutes later to purchase the ticket. In fact, that same ticket might cost 12 pounds more*.

*The specifics of this valuable lesson do, in fact, reveal a lesson learned in reality, and not in the vague space-time of hypothetical thought.

A valid question must be asked at this point, which is, “What kind of stupid person would check the ticket price on nationalrail.co.uk, find a good deal, and not purchase the ticket online?”

A valid answer would be, “The same stupid person who forgot his umbrella when he went to Scotland.”

Next time, buy the ticket online, you silly muppet – and bring your umbrella to Scotland!

At any rate, I bought my ticket at the station – and ended up with a one hour train delay because I missed my connecting train at Didcot Parkway by one minute. By a happy coincidence (like Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*), I had left Oxford an hour early**. So I ended up arriving at Bath Spa at precisely the correct time.

*Dumbledore didn't leave Oxford an hour early, but he arrived at the Ministry of Magic early.

**A valid question must be asked at this point, which is, "Why didn't you just order the ticket and stick to your original schedule instead of leaving an hour earlier and paying more for a ticket that had an hour delay? Silly muppet."

Somehow, Tom and I made the connection, we met at the rail station, and then he led me on a tour of the city. First we went to see the Roman Baths.

A bath at the Bath Museum in Bath.

Springs beneath the bath.

Bath Abbey overlooking the bath in Bath.

For lunch, we went to a pub for a delicious meat pie. I miss those delicious meat pies. We need some of those here in the States.

Then Tom took me around Bath to see some of the beautiful Victorian architecture. Bath is a gorgeous city. I was impressed.

The Circus, a beautiful set of buildings that encircle a traffic circle.

The Royal Crescent in Bath, site of a world record.

We visited the Jane Austen Museum, which is next door to a house that Jane Austen lived in for 6 years.

Ben's Cookies! A big store! It am delishus! Nom nom nom!

We ended the tour by visiting Bath Abbey.

Bath Abbey

Inside Bath Abbey

Then Tom bought some delicious fudge and we walked around some of the shops (namely, toy shops and bookshops) before I took the train back to Oxford.

The train back was delayed, but I won’t mention the delay because it wasn’t a big deal, and I ended up on a train with Leah and Melinda at any rate, so we all came back to Oxford together from Didcot Parkway.

Oh, Didcot Parkway.

I’ll leave you with the best photograph of the day – from the Jane Austen museum!

Two fashionable gents wearing top hats at the Jane Austen Museum in Bath.

As Tom said, “Suave, so suave it's painful.”

Truth, sir. Truth.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Days 6-8: Scotland, Rain, and Haggis (Crivens!)

Notas Buenos:

It is commonly understood that haggis is a traditional Scottish dish. It is not commonly understood* why the consumption of haggis has not become popular in the United States of America.

*This statement may not be entirely true, but no matter…

It is commonly misunderstood outside of Scotland that haggis is an unsavory dish made of unsavory things. For example, take dictionary.com’s scandalous definition:

haggis: a traditional pudding made of the heart, liver, etc., of a sheep or calf, minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned, and boiled in the stomach of the animal

It must be understood outside of Scotland (as it is certainly understood within beautiful Scotland) that haggis is, in fact, a delectable dish made from a three-legged mammal that inhabits the Scottish highlands.

The haggis, this a rare mammal that inhabits those aforementioned Scottish highlands, has three legs, and it runs in only one direction for the entire duration of its life*.

*Perhaps a slight exaggeration. It has been suggested** that a haggis would, perhaps, change course by a few degrees for a liter of Irn Bru***.

**Most recently suggested, as in, in the duration of this writing.

***Irn Bru is a soft drink, like Coca Cola, except that Irn Bru is orange and it’s not allowed in the United States of America. So, in that respect, it’s not like Coca Cola. At all.

When caught and prepared traditionally for a traditional Scottish dinner, the haggis is a feast much to be savored.

In summary: Ah dinnae ken why ye wouldnae eat haggis.

Oxford Strikes Back Days 6-8:
Scotland, Rain, and Haggis (Crivens!)

Stardate: Friday, July 6, 2012

“Train Delays and Dead Salmon”

This was that day I went to visit my friend, James Shrimpton, in Dundee Scotland. (Actually, it was the first of three days that I went to visit him.)

On Friday morning, I left my room in plenty of time to catch my train because I didn’t want any train-travel-disaster like that Nottingham-Birmingham-12-hour-debacle that I’ve mentioned before.

On the way, I realized that I had left my umbrella in my room. (I realized that because it started raining on me and I didn’t have my umbrella.)

But I was going to Scotland for a weekend. I didn’t need to turn around and get my umbrella, because why would it be raining in Scotland? (Besides, I had left my room with plenty of time…but not that much “plenty of time” to turn around.)

There was some travel drama when flooding delayed my train from Birmingham New Street to Haymarket in Edinburgh. After making up lost time over an hour or two, I had hopes that I would make the connection in Haymarket, but we had to take some strange detour or another just when we had the advantage. Advantage lost. So I missed my connection by two minutes.

Fortunately, my international phone didn’t work, and I wasn’t able to text James that I would be an hour late.

Er, let’s try that again, shall we?

Fortunately, a nice man texted James on my behalf, and told him that I would be an hour late.

That’s better. Almost.

Unfortunately, James misread the text and thought that I would be an hour early. But we made the connection nonetheless.

Crivens! I had arrived in Scotland!

For dinner, we had chicken fajitas, dead* salmon, and stories of defending the chickens in the war against the foxes. For dessert, we had cold stewed rhubarb** and strawberries and cream.

*It was certainly dead. Very well cooked, very dead, and very delicious.

**It was sweetened cold stewed rhubarb, but I didn’t know it was sweetened at the first taste.

James displays his Tower of Orthanc diorama.

Then James showed me his Lord of the Rings miniatures and Terry Pratchett books, and we all discussed Saturday’s travel plans to Saint Andrew’s while sitting on the stairs. (The stairs in James’s house – not the stairs at Saint Andrew’s. James’s stairs were quite comfortable. I cannot comment on any stairs in Saint Andrew’s, not having sat on any of them.)

Stardate: Saturday, July 7, 2012

“Saint Andrew’s and Three-Legged Mammals”

On Saturday, we went to the city of Saint Andrew’s (as per our plans set on the stairs in Dundee) to see the sights and the sites. Saint Andrew’s was an important religious center a few hundred years ago. Pilgrims would travel days and weeks for the festivals in the city. It was a solemn act of penance for some, who would weigh themselves down with rocks or other things to remind themselves that this was no holiday.

Thankfully, hundreds of years later, I was on holiday with friends and without rocks weighing me down.

Old gateway to the city.

A tree said to have been planted by Mary, Queen of Scots.

Ruins of Saint Andrew's Cathedral and adjoining graveyard. It rained all day, and I (of course) had forgotten my umbrella. Why would I need it? It's only Scotland.

The coast. That's the North Sea, and France is somewhere thataway.

Walking to Saint Andrew's Castle.

We stepped inside a café to get out of the rain, and there we had scones and hot chocolate with (whipped) cream, (marsh)mellows, and (delicious chocolate) flake.

I think we must make chocolate flake mandatory in all of our servings of hot chocolate here in the States.

Part of the campus of Saint Andrew's University, the oldest university in Scotland. The campus is spread throughout the city. Prince William attended Saint Andrew's University.

We stopped here to eat our packed lunches, and there was a timeline of Saint Andrew’s University history that I found instructive…and most amusing.

I recorded the events that I found most interesting:

1470: Several Masters and students expelled for attacking the Dean with bows and arrows.
1544: The University bans beards, the carrying of weapons, gambling, and football.
1930s: University bans Raisin Monday for excessive rowdiness.

I looked up Raisin Monday because the name was too bizarre to ignore. The explanation from the first article I found was predictable enough: a rite of passage for the first years involving alcohol, frivolity, and assorted traditions which, no doubt, endear Raisin Weekend every year to the hearts of the Saint Andrew’s populace and the city’s police force.

West Sands. This the beach from the opening scene of the film Chariots of Fire.

That night, we had a delicious dinner of haggis, turnip, and mash.

Mmmm, haggis.

Mmmm, Irn Bru.

Then James, myself, and two of the students at their house (Kate and Joshua), played a board game based on Terry Pratchett’s city of Ankh-Morpork in Discworld. It was hilarious and entertaining. Each player is a different character from the books, and they each have different winning conditions. James won (of course) as Commander Vimes.

Stardate: Sunday, July 8, 2012

“Burger King and the Green Wobbly Bit”

On Sunday, I went to Saint Peter’s Church with Mr. Shrimpton and James. Saint Peter’s Church was famously home to Robert Murray McCheyne, an influential minister of the Church of Scotland.

Memorial of Robert Murray McCheyne

In the service, we sang “Amazing Grace,” (quite appropriate in Scotland) and a version of “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” but with 1 John 1:1-3 used instead of the original words.

Then we went to a sister church of Saint Peter’s (which was just concluding a weeklong event like our Vacation Bible Schools in the States) to have a lunch of burgers and sausages. I met some of James’s friends, and they were absolutely fascinated by the fact that Adam’s Center (dorm) at the University of Oklahoma has* a Burger King on the first floor**.

Some of the girls wanted to come to the States for university so they could enjoy Burger King in Adam’s Center.

*Had, actually. Burger King has, thankfully, given way to a Cane’s Chicken.

**First floor in the States is the ground floor in Europe. First floor in Europe is the second floor in the States. If you were looking for Burger King on the European first floor of Adam’s Center, you would be disappointed and confused, and you would confuse some freshmen. Whether the freshmen would be disappointed or not would probably depend on the day and the circumstances in their individual lives.

I can’t say that I shared the girls’ zeal for Burger King. I’ll have to introduce them to local hamburger places here in Fort Worth. Either way, I must have been too absorbed by the conversation, because Mrs. Shrimpton reminded me to “stop talking and get more food!” (Those are orders I can follow without delay!)

I got dessert just in time, because after I loaded up my plate with sweeties, someone came along and took away the sweeties.

Then it was time to pack a lunch (a very generous packed lunch, with those excellent Scottish strawberries that I miss here in Tejas) and catch my train for England.

About seven hours later, at ten o’clock, I was back in Oxford. Thank God, in spite of floods and train delays around the country, I had no problem getting home, in spite of the fact that I went through Wolverhampton and Birmingham*.

(I had about 2 minutes to change trains in Wolverhampton, and I had to run over the bridge and around the station looking for my train before learning that my new train was pulling into the same platform that my other train had just left. Ha.)

*Wolverhampton and Birmingham were part of that notorious 12 hour travel-disaster episode that I’ve mentioned before.

And thus concluded a wonderful weekend with great people in a beautiful country.

Unfortunately, while I was in that beautiful country, I could not remember that the driver’s side was on the right, so I kept on walking to the right side – and then I just had to keep on walking around the car to the passenger side.

“I’ll be driving, Steven, if you don’t mind.”

Oh, well. Maybe I can return someday, and then I’ll remember which side is the passenger side.

But you would be proud of me, James. I remembered not to eat the green wobbly bit*.

*An obscure reference to Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, and an even obscurer reference to a clever comment made by James whilst we were packing the packed lunch. There, now you don’t feel so left out, do you?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 5: The Beatles and London Bridge (Mind the Gap!)

Pre Face:

I always knew that the Beatles were a hit band from Liverpool, but I didn’t know that both of their cassettes were such great albums!

Their first cassette, the Beige album, blew me off the curb and down the street the first time I heard it.

But then when I heard their second cassette, The Beatles’ Greatest Hits: The Beige Album Remastered, I was blown further along the street - and I collided with a small girl holding a lollipop, a lorry, and a waste bin. The small girl and the lorry driver were very angry at me – until I explained to them that the Beatles’ Beige album had blown me away.

At which point, the lorry driver said, “Oh, that’s alright then.”

And the little girl said, “You sound like you’re from London!”

That was a very insightful thing for that little girl to say, because this was the day that we went to London.

It was, in fact, the day we were to Mind the Gap.

Oxford Strikes Back Day 5:
The Beatles and the London Bridge (Mind the Gap!)

Stardate: Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Thursday, I went to London with Christian, Hayley, Taryn, Dylan, Lindsay, and Linda.

Westminster Abbey

The London Eye peeks over the buildings beside Big Ben and Parliament. Get it? The London Eye peeks? I'm quite proud of that one.

Looking at an unobstructed view of the London Eye, which stares at the surrounding area.

Naturally, since I’ve been to London before and most everyone else had not, I was the unofficial guide for our little group. As a good little guide, I tried to make sure that everyone was together, that we got on and off at the correct stops, etc.

We took the Oxford Tube to Victoria, we took the Underground to Westminster, etc.

Everything was going well. We weren't going to leave a man or woman behind.

Right? Right.

So imagine my shock and horror on the Underground when I do leave someone behind.

Several someones, in fact.

We were all deep in conversation about something. Linda and I must have been a few steps ahead. Or everyone else must have fallen behind a few steps.

But what’s falling behind a few steps on the Underground?

We’re taking the Northbound to St. Paul’s. Linda and I successfully Mind the Gap and we step onto the Underground. I turn around to see everyone else step on –

And the door closes in front of my face.

I see Hayley and Christian standing on the opposite side of the door.
They see me on the opposite side of the door (different opposites, you see), and apparently I have the most hilariously-horrified look on my face.

I can’t see my face, but I can feel the utter horror.

In the face of this huge error, I have* the presence of mind to very calmly shout (shout, mind) through the glass: “Northbound to St. Paul’s! We’ll meet you there! Northbound to St. Paul’s!”

*Have you noticed that I changed, somewhere back there, from the past tense to the present tense? Instead of correcting this inconsistency, I'm turning it into a humorous footnote. Did it work?

Christian shouts back to confirm, and then Linda and I are whisked away from everyone on the platform. I felt rather stupid.

We got off the Underground, and two tubes later, our group comes off to much joyous shouting and hugs in a joyous and hug-filled reunion.

Now successfully at St. Paul’s, we walk over to the Cathedral. I do my best Chris Martin impression at a painted piano outside of the Cathedral.

Saint Paul's Cathedral

Our highly photogenic group next to the Millennium Bridge. Some Americans may know it as the bridge that the Death Eaters destroyed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

On the Millennium Bridge.

The London Bridge

This is more or less how I heard the story.

While we were on the bridge, Dylan started talking to the group about a bridge. We were looking at the Tower Bridge (commonly mistaken as another bridge).

Dylan: Isn’t there supposed to be a famous bridge around here?

Everyone: Um…? Is there?

Dylan: It’s really important. I think it’s around here. There’s a song about. I think the Beatles wrote it.

Everyone: Um…

Dylan: It might be a bridge from Liverpool. I can’t remember how the song goes. It’s something like, “bridge…crumbling down.”

Everyone: Erm…

Dylan: “Falling all around. Liverpool Bridge is…to the ground.”

Everyone: Hmm.

Dylan: But I can’t remember what it’s called. Maybe it’s -

At this point one of the natives, a Local English Lady standing behind Dylan, offers her opinion.


This story was to be repeated in many forms and varieties for the rest of the trip. Without fail, it completely incapacitated Crystal and Erin with fits of hilarity. Everyone else thought it was funny, but no one quite got the full force of the joke like Crystal and Erin.

Except for Dylan. And John. They understood it entirely. So they kept saying it. Everyday. Even Corbin got in on the action.

Maybe everyone did.

Oh, those Beatles. Oh that Beige album. Oh that…London Bridge.

And Another Thing

During dinner, I told my friends the story of last year's travel disaster – when I missed my train from Nottingham to Oxford on a Sunday afternoon. That mistake turned a standard 4 hour train ride into a traumatic 12 hour adventure.

You haven’t heard that story? I’ll have to tell it to you sometime.

I’ll include all the funny bits at the best times. Preferably when you’re drinking milk.

We finished the night with some delishus ice cream at George and Davis. Nom nom nom.

The Last Hero

I was thrilled this last week when I found a brand new copy of Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero at Half Price Books for $4.99.

This is a very entertaining story (9/10) with brilliant illustrations by Paul Kidby.

I've read the graphic novel before, but obviously I had to reread it now, didn't I?

Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde are old. They're dying. Mad Hamish is in a wheelchair and his hearing is gone ("Whut?" "I SAID YOUR HEARING IS GONE, MAD HAMISH!")

It's just not right that the gods let men grow old and die.

Cohen the Barbarian is going to return to the gods what the first hero stole.

What did the first hero steal?

Fire. (That may explain what the keg of explosives is for.)

Lord Vetinari and the wizards of Unseen University find out about Cohen's mad plan, so they send a daring rescue mission* over the Edge to save the world. (How can you get to the Mountain of the gods by going over the Edge? Dunno. But it should work...right? After all, the wizards and Leonardo da Quirm** are behind the plan.)

*Unfortunately, the rescue mission will rescue all of Discworld, and not just Ankh-Morpork, but you can't be picky.

**Leonardo da Quirm is the Discworld equivalent of a real life Leonardo who invented things. And painted a lady with a strange smile.

The gods know about Cohen's plan too. But mortals can't hurt them.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 4: Flowers, Mud, and Independence Day

Nota Bueno:

It has always amazed me that the 4th of July falls on the same day every year.

Oxford Strikes Back Day 4:
Flowers, Mud, and Independence Day

Stardate: Wednesday, July, 4, 2012 (Independence Day)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012, was the 4th of July. This was an important day for us Yankees, because it’s Independence Day!

This was the first year that I’ve celebrated the 4th of July out of the United States of America. How appropriate to celebrate it in England, right?

Unlike Christmas and Secretary’s Day, not many countries outside of the United States of America celebrate the 4th of July. For some reason, England (and the United Kingdom) fall within that category of countries that do not, in fact, celebrate the 4th of July.

(On a serious note*, I must note that our Oxford hosts were still very gracious and hospitable on this political holiday, in spite of the occasional…*hem hem* outburst of patriotic fervor from a few Americans at Brasenose.)

*Serious? In this blog?

Independence Day celebrations were to be held Wednesday night at Gerties, the Brasenose Bar. But in the morning, it was still morning, and it wasn’t time for celebrations yet, so I went to the Botanic Garden.

But I didn’t just go to the Botanic Garden. I went with Christian, Crystal, Erin, Michael, Linda, Dylan, Leigh, and Laura. It was an event. Umbrellas were brought along and fun was had.

Veronicastrum Virginicum

Achillea Clypeolata X Filipendulina with Magdalen Tower in the background.

A guide said that one of those lily pads was strong enough to support an infant. Don't try it at home though.

Captain America? Captain...er, Union Jack? Captain Union Jack and A Distinguished Sweater'd Handsome Man with An Umbrella.

After lunch, I took a 2 mile walk to the Victoria’s Arms pub with Dr. Velie, Dr. Wright, two of the judges from the OU Law program, Crystal, Erin, Megan, John (my hallmate, who I met at 1 a.m. Tuesday night), Erin, and Linda.

Dr. Velie told us that the walk would be “a little muddy,” so I brought my boots and cuffed up my pants.

…but that wasn’t nearly enough.

We waded through ankle-deep mud and splashed and squelched our way through dirty puddles and high brush for about 2 miles on our way to the Victoria Arms.

My best-laid plans, those which I did lay to avoid getting mud on the bottom of my pants, were entirely successful. I did not get mud on the bottom of my pants because I cuffed ‘em up.

So instead, I got mud splashed on my pants all the way up to my calf – mud on the inside of my pants, since I had cuffed ‘em. Savvy?

I was moderately irritated. I think a few of us were. But then Crystal pointed out that if we weren’t all like family by the end of this little trip, well…we probably wouldn’t be.

But we were (which is to say, we were to become like family)! Even if some good shoes gave their lives in the fires that forged our fast and hardy friendships.

After we got through the English mud and pastureland (stopping occasionally to realize that we should enjoy the view, but then remembering that we needed to keep our eyes on the mud), we reached the Victoria Arms and it started raining.

At that point, Crystal laughed, got out from umbrella-cover, and ran off into the rain. She and Erin both, as I recall.

If we were going to trudge through the mud to this pub, it had better be a good pub, right?

And it was, because it had cheese. We stayed at the Victoria Arms for 2 hours eating bleu cheese, apples, and cracker. The professors rode back in two taxis, and we waited a bit longer for a van.

On the van ride, we talked about cookies, and someone said, “Nuts,” and everyone went nuts. It was all a little confusing for most of us, and a little hilarious for some of us.

Dinner was magnificent, with an incredible bread and tomato-cheese and pesto and ugula (er…dunno if I got that right?), a guinea fowl entrée, and a chocolate brownie with clotted cream chocolate ice cream for dessert. Divine.

After dinner, we went to the Brasenose Bar (Gerties) to celebrate the 4th of July. The Brasenose staff was very accommodating to our boisterous patriotism.

I played fussball* and darts with Christian, and then another round of fussball with John, Lindsay, and Dylan.

*Not the German Bundesliga fussball, but the one on the little table with the little men on the little sticks that hit the little ball. You know that one? You’re good at it? I’m not.

After that, all of the OU Honors and Law students sang the national anthem twice, “Party in the U.S.A.” twice, and we ended the night with a rousing chorus of the OU fight song.

Happy 4th of July.

When in the course of human events, if Dr. Velie tells you that the walk to a pub will be a little muddy, we hold this truth to be self-evident that you must take old jeans and sturdy boots…

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Today I finished So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, the fourth book in Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's trilogy.

Since these books have no plot or structure to speak of, it's hard to give a more helpful review than: I laughed a few times and I wanted to keep reading.

Arthur Dent is back on Earth (at his old house, and with the most beautiful fish bowl he's ever seen). He has some puzzling questions to answer*:

*Answer? Ha.

a) How is Arthur back on Earth if Earth was destroyed by the Vogons?
2) Who is this stunningly attractive girl - and did she just give Arthur her number?
d) Where did all of the dolphins go?

Oh, and where's Ford?

Incidentally, Ford is wondering why Arthur never answers his phone...

And you have to read until the Good Bit at the very end, where our intrepid hitchhikers finally read God's Final Message to His Creation.

Arthur reads it. Ford reads it. Marvin reads it.

But will the reader read it? Or did Douglas Adams's typewriter run out of ink just as he wa

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 3: Eggy Bread and Trout

Notas Buenos:

a) In England, French Toast is called “Eggy Bread.”

2) Remember that sneak preview from yesterday? The one that was for tomorrow? Good. Because it is, in fact, the sneak preview for tomorrow.

d) Get thee to a nunnery.

A nunnery. Get thee to one.

Oxford Strikes Back Day 3:
Eggy Bread and Trout

Stardate: Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In the morning, I went to the Ashmolean with Christian, Crystal, and Linda. The Ashmolean is one of the greatest (and oldest) museums in the world, and it has a mind-boggling collection of paintings, coins, statues, clothing, inscriptions, and mucho más.

I spent a good hour in their Egyptian exhibit. Christian and Linda more or less accompanied me, and I think Crystal contented herself with getting lost (or wandering off, depending on your perspective). I hope she made it out.

Giraffe-cats will smite thee, Thou Enemies of the Pharoah.

And Thus Were Many Smitten.

Ram God doing his thing.

Ram God (or just a really big ram) protects Amun between his legs.

There was also an exhibit on Akhenaten, who worshipped Aten, the Sun God (represented by a sun disk). The worship of Aten was one of the earliest forms of monotheism. Akhenaten worshipped Aten as his Father, and Aten was worshipped as a loving god who created everything and provided for everyone. Some of the hymns to Aten are very similar to Biblical Psalms.

Lunch included curly fries, which threw me for a loop because I didn’t know whether to call them chips or fries. The lady in the cafeteria line said that they’re chips if they’re straight. Fair enough.

I also drank banana-flavored milk. It tasted like a banana Runt-candy in milk form.

Yesterday I drank strawberry milk. Tomorrow I will probably resume normal milk-drinking habits.

In the afternoon, we went to the Eagle and Child, the Perch, and the Trout Inn.

Trains. I find them all fascinating.

Enter the secret garden to the Perch.

A Weeping Willow.

The Perch.

All of the beautiful people who trekked to the Perch and the Trout Inn.

Hey, cow. Hey, cow. Hey! Hey! Hey, cow!

The Trout Inn. The Inklings used to come here for weekend retreats. Steven Thorn came here once last year.

On the way back from the Trout, Christian charged through a gaggle of geese with his umbrella, á la Sean Connery in The Last Crusade.

He may not be Sean Connery, but he's got style.