It’s been a busy few days, so I’m playing catch up with the blog again. I’ll just get right into it with some pictures.
As a motorcycle permit holder I got sent a couple of questionnaires last year, mostly about the explosion in moped/scooter numbers on campus. As an aside, just a few years ago riding a moped or scooter on campus or around town got you laughed at and yelled at by people. Now the same type of folk are riding around on them. Just saying. But anyway, the first thing different I noticed was the above picture and the displayed new parking spots exclusively for mopeds. Of course, this being America:
Flyer for a ska band that’s apparently native to Lawrence. I wanted to go see them, but I was pretty wiped out Saturday. I haven’t seen a local show in ages.
And of course there was a performing street clown on “Wescoe Beach” on the first day of school. Maybe you can see it, maybe you can’t, but his T-shirt is all about how his god is going to punish us for all eternity, or summat. I don’t know if he was serious or if he was just trying to be entertaining, like some kind of out-and-about Stephen Colbert style thing, but either way I think that “performing street clown” fits as a description.
OK, these are the pictures and commentary on pictures that I promised here, so here we go:
A Chinese character somehow etched into the bricks and then either highlighted or assaulted by spray paint. At some point I plan to look up what this means, because I don’t remember it from Japanese class.
All of these pictures were taken on my last day at Cambridge, and most of them were on the walk out to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, a place I felt I should visit since it was only a three mile walk from Trinity Hall. I probably mentioned it in the last Cambridge post, but the college porters thought I was nuts to walk so far, which I found amusing. But anyway, about the picture: SHOOTING STUFF IN ENGLAND! I wish I had known about this much earlier!
There are statues representing each service active in the area during WWII. Most of the names were U.S. Air Force airmen. Like I always do, I looked for names of people I might be related to, and found a couple:
I have the information of the two Maxwells buried there, and plan on looking up more information about them someday. They weren’t Southerners, so the connection would be distant, but I visited the grave I could find anyway because, hey, we’re all the children of Undwyn one way or another.
Tradition requires a final dinner at a fancy restaurant with the professors and students. I wish I had a shot of the waiter; he had one of those crazy little waxed and twirled moustaches and the attitude to be able to pull it off without looking ridiculous. Crazy.
I took these two photographs sitting on a bench in front of Cambridge Station, waiting for a fellow student to join me on the train to King’s Cross. He didn’t make the train, and I couldn’t wait for the next one, so it was strange, quiet trip to and through London to Heathrow.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first public drinking fountain I could locate during my trip to England. It was at Heathrow Airport, and I didn’t find it until I was on my way out after having spent four bleeding weeks there. If you ask for a water at a restaurant, they don’t bring you a glass of ice with tap water, they bring you a glass of ice and bottle of Perrier that costs more than all the other non-alcoholic drinks. So if you’re visiting England and trying to cut costs, keep that in mind.
Related to both my visit to the US cemetery and the river-wall, here is something I did early in the morning of the last day. I don’t talk about it a lot, but I am Asatruar, and occasionally use this website to shed some positive light on who we are and what types of things we do. To put it in layman’s terms: the cemetery visit falls in the category of “honoring heroes”. The above picture, and the afore pictured river-wall, fall under a category called “vaettir”.
If you know anything about Japanese Shinto, you could draw a parallel between the Shinto belief in kami and Asatru belief in vaettir. What I have pictured above is 1. an ancestor statue, 2. some short, runic prose I wrote about how much the river meant to me while I was there, 3. a traditional votive offering in the form of coins. Have you ever thrown a coin into a fountain and made a wish? Did you ever wonder where such a thing came from? I incorporate simple, intuitive things like that into my personal religious practice. It has a historical precedent, a certain logic to it, and it feels right.
That’s it. That’s all there is of England.
Following shortly will be a post about my friend’s new pizza shop, followed by an uncharacteristically perturbed blog about why I am disappointed with Books-A-Million. A new Iron Lawyer of Mars is in the works as well. It should have been posted yesterday, but the first two days of school combined with a busy weekend saw me going to sleep Sunday afternoon and not waking up until early this morning…