Sleep is good when you can breath through both nostrils. It was so good in fact that I almost didn’t wake up for breakfast. Aimee was ready to go before I was. When I was almost awake I realized that my voice sounded like crap. Most of the conversation had in the room before going down to breakfast was Aimee talking and I pantomiming.
Breakfast this morning was a chocolate filled crescent roll along with a little bowl of applesauce and one and a half glasses of orange juice. We were asked what our plans were for the day and Aimee answered. Eventually a question was directed to me, thankfully I was able to speak without sounding crappy.
My first class wasn’t until 11:30 so I took an hour or so nap after breakfast. It wasn’t a deep nap, because the cleaning lady was moving about on the landing. She had good news: new sheets and towels would be placed out side our room tomorrow and that the dirty ones should be placed outside the door on Thursday morning.
Today Dr. Chapman talked about Queen Victoria herself and her contribution the the 19th century. Again I will type up my notes and post them to here on a later date, when I have a spare moment to breath. I love Dr. Chapman’s classes he really makes them come alive and not seem so boring.
Lunch was a chicken leg with corn and potato wedges. I had another class after that with Emma, the teacher hates being called by her last name I guess. Today we talked about Jane Austen. Every time I have that class I leave it feeling slightly stupid, or at least not as well read as my other other classmates. Emma talks about Pride and Prejudice and other Austen works that I haven’t read or seen the movies. When she asked the class if we thought the ending of Sense and sensibility was alright by us, I had to answer first. Seeing how I had to dig back to what I remember about the book I think I gave a less than academic answer. Elinor got the guy she had loved and waited for throughout the whole book and her sister Marianne marries Colonel Brandon who I had hoped she would because he didn’t come off as a playboy sleaze right off the bat. Everyone else’s answer sounded better. There is one thing that I did like about class today, and that was a spoof trailer for a Jane Austen Fight Club.
Once released from the class Aimee and I along with the same girls we went to London with went to the Ashmolean Museum. Can you say, “Geek out Heaven”? Well that’s what it was. There was so much in the four floors of artifacts that one can’t take it all in on one day. We lost the rest of our group again, no real surprise there. Aimee, I might be putting words in Aimee’s mouth but, she wasn’t all that interested in what had me geeking; so she followed where I lead and waited at each exhibit that caught my attention. Which was the better part of the ground and first floors.
On the ground floor are exhibits for the Ancient world: China, India, Rome, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Nubia were all there. Statues from the Greeks and Romans, a couple of Mummies from Egypt, Pottery and Textiles from each different area was on display, along with a few interactive displays. I got to see what was under the wraps of a mummy, see how the use of levers helped life heavy stone blocks for building and I even shot a miniature bow and arrow at some deer.
The first floor I could have spent more time at, but there will be other days to explore. Here was the Asian Crossroads, Eastern Art, the Mediterranean, Islamic and Indian worlds.
Now, here are some of the things that had me seriously geeking out. To start out are the Shabti. These little guys are the servants of the dead in the after life. The blue coloring of some of them is unique to Egypt and was used from 2500 BC to about Ad 800. I recognized these little guys from a manga that I read as a child. No judgment here folks, Yu-Gi-Oh!-Duel. See you can learn something from anime and manga. There was one chapter where the character Shadi plays a shadow game for Anzu’s safety. Holding Anzu are three ushebti, another name for Shabti.
Staying with the Egyptian theme here for a little bit longer, to the right is a picture of statues of Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti. These two were two controversial figures in Egyptian history. They are from the Amarrna period where Akhenaten moved his capital and family to Amarrna. During this time the polytheistic religious practices were tossed aside by the Pharaoh in favor for his one god Aten. The new religion and capital didn’t last longer than Akhenaten’s reign. The old ways were restored by the famous boy king Tutankhamun, Tut for short and his queen sister Ankhesenamun. Recently I had watched a documentary where they traced Tut’s family tree and talked a bit about the Amarrna period. King Tut Unwrapped: part one and two, from the Discovery channel.
Moving out of Egypt now and into something that I am studying here in Oxford with Nigel Frith. Before coming to Oxford he had asked us to read the Iliad, the tale of the Trojan war and the wrath of Achilles. Just a quick recap of the Prologue: the Trojan war started when Helen was taken to Troy by Paris, one of the Princes. He had been given Helen as a gift for choosing Aphrodite in a competition for best goddess. Helen’s husband Menelaus was fine to let her go, but his brother Agamemnon saw it as a disgrace to him and his brother to not go after Helen. So they go to war for ten years. I’m guess everyone has at least seen the movie and know how it all ends. Well, on display at the Ashmolean is Agamemnon’s death mask. He didn’t meet with a happy ending when he got home. His wife had her lover kill her husband because he had sacrificed their daughter so the gods would bless the voyage to troy and bring them victory. I think she was killed while in the bath tub. Rotten way to go mate. In fact in the Odyssey Agamemnon makes an appearance to Odysseus in the Underworld and tells him to be careful of his wife when he returns to Ithaca. You see pictures of this mask all over the place, but its another thing to stand before it.
Jumping to another part of the world, the next geek out session came when I saw theses guys: figures of Rama, his wife Sita and Lakshman. They are characters in the Hindu epic, The Ramayana. This epic consists of seven books that tell the story of Rama from the time of his birth until he returns from exile in the Jungle and a whole mess of events in the middle. Rama is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, who is one of the three major gods in the Hindu religion. In the story Sita is an avatar for the goddess and consort of Vishnu, Lakshmi. Their friend Lakshman is one of Rama’s younger brother’s who accompanies them into exile and helps Rama get Sita back from the demon king Ravana. If you want to read this epic there are two options: its a free ibook or you can go to The Ramayana Index to read the text there. its a little hard to read at points and if you’d rather watch it in movie form: Sita sings the blues works nicely.
It was drizzling when we left the museum. Seeing how both Aimee and I were running low on clean clothes, today was laundry day. We had heard from others who had done laundry earlier in the week that the washers were tiny, so we washed some of out things in the sink in our room with dish soap “borrowed” from the kitchen. Oh, to be in country where the idea of $1.60 is pocket change is something different. I guess it is in the states but… its not the same. I went to the laundry room and washed my jeans. A wash and 32 minute dry cost me 2.20 pounds, approximate 3.52 dollars.
Dinner tonight was a sesame seed salmon egg roll with sweet and sour vegitable, coconut rice, a chip/rice cake thingy and rhubarb crisp for dessert. I tried everything so be proud of me, but I still didn’t eat everything. After dinner, Aimee and I started planning for our trips to London and later Dublin over the weekend. We searched and found a day and night package for the London Eye for 24 pounds, which we plan to do the Monday we get back to England. I was also looking at tickets for the Tower of London which is on my list of “I gotta see this.”
There was a little distraction while I was working on this post tonight: the sharing of youtube videos. Maybe you would be interested in seeing what was shared? I shared the video “After Ever After” and “The Movie Villain Medley” by Paint. She showed me “John Williams is the Man.” In response I played a parody of Gotye’s Somebody I used to know called “The Star wars I used to know.”
Well its getting late here, so I’m going to call it a night. The fun starts tomorrow. Tell you all about it tomorrow.
In case you missed the Links
Ashmolean Museum: http://www.ashmolean.org/
Egyptian Blue: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/articles/e/egyptian_blue_on_objects.aspx
Yu-Gi-Oh! -Duel (to read): http://www.mangareader.net/285/yu-gi-oh.html
Amarrna period: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amarnaperiod.htm
King Tut Unwrapped: http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/other-shows-unwrapped-videos.htm
Trojan war: http://www.stanford.edu/~plomio/history.html
Three Major Hindu gods: http://www.rudraksha-ratna.com/hindu_trinity.php
Ramayana Index: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rama/
Sita Sing’s the Blues (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzTg7YXuy34
The London Eye: http://www.londoneye.com/TicketsAndPrices/Tickets/Default.aspx
After Ever After (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diU70KshcjA
Movie Villain Medley(video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExAt1pQ9IwE
John Williams is the Man (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5_OSsawz4
The Star Wars I Used to Know (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJlbPXZEpRE
P.S: wow that’s a lot of links!