Europe 2006

Science Museum

Dateline London.

On Sunday, Me and mom split up today so she could go do the National Gallery and I could venture off to the Science Museum.

It really was a Museum. Covering everything from the Industrial Revolution and the first steam engines all the way to Internet.

I spent time in the Steam Engines section. They had what looked to be originals or at least very high quality replicas.
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Then wondered over to power flight, including space flight.
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They had a section on the history of home appliances that was cool.

Can’t forget the computers, a including a Difference Engine circa 1832 (yes, 1832, not 1932) and a Cray super computer.
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Speaking of Cray, funny bit of Cray trivia courtesy Wikipedia:

From en.wikipedia.org:

When in 1986 Apple bought a Cray X-MP and announced that they would use it to design the next Apple Macintosh, Seymour Cray replied, “This is very interesting because I am using an Apple Macintosh to design the Cray-2 supercomputer.”

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Notes About London

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Dateline London.

The Underground is awesome. Even better then Metro.

You notice the standard differences:

  • Car park vs. Parking lot
  • Mobile vs. Cell phone
  • Queue vs. Line

But there are some weird things too. For example, everyone knows that they drive on the left-hand side of the road, but when I cross the street (as a pedestrian), I almost always look the wrong way first.

Many times are expressed in the 24 hour format.

Dates are written as Day Month Year (e.g., Today is 6th August 2006). This makes sense if you think about it in terms of significant digits.

There are very few trash bins. People just pile trash where ever.

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Internet cafes run about £1/hour.

Speaking on computers, the keyboard layout is kind of funky too. The major issue is that the @ key and the ” have moved. Here’s the US Layout:
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And the UK Layout:
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There are not a lot of homeless people. I’ve seen perhaps a half dozen homeless persons.

People don’t sag their pants. No durags either.

It seems like there are more tourists then actual citizens here.

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Chicago

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Dateline London

One of things I noticed while walking about is all the signs for theater productions: Mama Mia, Stomp, The Rat Pack, We Will Rock You, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables. The list goes on and on. And while it probably isn’t that much cheaper to go to a show in London than in the States, it certainly is more casual and impulsive.

So we went and saw Chicago today.

Wow. What an amazing show. I wish I could have taken pictures during the performance. If you’ve seen the movie, the set design is nothing like it, but the story and the music is same…as far as I could tell.

We sat in Row H, which was maybe 10 rows from the front. Cambridge Theater was smaller then I thought it would be, and significantly smaller then, say, The Paramount or The 5th Avenue Theater. But I suppose that when you have this many shows in town, you don’t need incredible large theaters to hold mass of people wanting to see a single show or two.

We sat next to a young woman named Molly Bond. This is of no consequence, except that her mother is Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny in the last 4 James Bond films. The only real reason I remember that is because I thought it ironical that a person with the last name of “Bond” would play secretary to the character “James Bond.”

Molly was seeing the matinee performance of Chicago and was then going to see her mother in Donkey’s Years later that evening. We chatted for a little bit. Molly’s in Grade 10, which is the same as our 10th Grade, and has aspirations to perhaps be a lawyer some day.

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Starbucks in London

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Dateline London

I went in to get a Carmel Frappachinos and the barista asked if I wanted it cream or coffee based. I said do it however they do it in America, he didn’t know so I made it coffee based.

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The Underground

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Dateline London

Getting through customs wasn’t all that bad. You fill out a little card (with the address of where you’re staying whilst in London) and they give you a stamp. Then off you go.

The bigger deal was using the Underground. The learning curve was huge and it probably took us a good half hour to figure out the best (and least expensive) way to get from the airport to Paddington Station.

It didn’t take long for me to decipher the Tube Map and before long I was picking and riding trains like a pro, or least how I imagine a “pro” might pick and ride trains.

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The Flight Over

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Dateline: London – 16:56 Local Time

After playing one last game of Settlers, I hit the sack at 3am Thursday (-0700 [i.e., Seattle time]). I slept ’till 9ish and then finished up my packing, which entailed going to REI to get a new Nalgene bottle, a carabiner, and some webbing to make a holder for it.

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The flight from Seattle to LAX left at 2:43pm Thursday (-0700) and got in around 5:30pm Thursday (-0700). I slept for most of that flight. We were in a Boeing 757 and did a simultaneous landing with an Air India 747 on runways 24L and 24R.

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It’s a crappy picture, I know. But I was in another airplane, going some 150 knots.

Once we landed, we pretty much hopped off one plane, walked 50 feet and hopped on another one. And thus began 9.5 hours of flying. The flight over was as expected: long, boring, cramped, long, and restless.

I watched not one, but two movies: Inside Man and Mission Impossible: III. Pretty good movies, although there was this big gap in MI:III where they decided they need to do something important and critical to the movie and then it’s all done. Weird.

I also started into a new book: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the sequel to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (see also Canyonlands: Ontario Int’l Airport).

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I did manage to catch some more sleep in the last few hours of the flight. Although I have to say, it was pretty weird seeing the sun at 6pm Thursday (-0700), watching it set and then rise again and be back up at its apogee at 12pm Friday (+0100 [i.e., London time]), and all in 9.5 hours.

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