As You Were

Classes were not cancelled. Self had to teach in the city; traffic was the usual.

Son went to school. He asked for a bathroom pass. He walked down a long, eerily silent corridor of classrooms. Through the open doors, he could hear the drifting sounds of CNN from the classroom TVs.

Her brother-in-law walked from his office in Wall Street, along with thousands. Somewhere midtown, he miraculously caught a cab which took him the rest of the way home.

There’s an article in The Conversation about a doctor attending a medical research meeting in the Brooklyn Marriott that morning. While people streamed out of Manhattan, he and a colleague walked towards Lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge; most of the people were heading the other way.

Last year, self was in New York City on 9/11. It was a very anti-climactic experience. Life went on as usual. Crowds drifted on and off the subways. The Grand Central food court was bustling with people. Not one of the crowds milling about mentioned 9/11.

That night, she took a train to Connecticut. It was late; the cars were full of young people. Laughing, talking. Nothing was different from the day before. Nothing marked the day as “different.” There were the usual intoxicated youths, no more, no less. There were no visible signs of increased security, not even in Grand Central.

Self would like the world to know: this nonchalance, it’s so “New York.” And maybe that was the point. We don’t let it change our daily lives, we don’t stop taking planes or trains. We don’t stop trusting people. We don’t stop trusting in the kindness of strangers. We just go on as usual.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

9/11: Self Wants to Remember

dscn3829

New York Times Book Review: 9/11 Issue

New York Lives:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Numbers 3: More From Bletchley Park

Each building in Bletchley Park has specific displays and documentary films. In the codebreaking huts (a total of 11, self thinks there were), the lighting is purposefully dim, as if to give the impression of how much secrecy was involved.

Yet the grounds themselves are beautiful.

Self never got to see the Benedict Cumberbatch movie, The Imitation Game. The film has a special exhibit in the Mansion House — there’s very interesting information from the costume designer, about the thinking behind the way the actors — who played a constellation of codebreakers that included Alan Turing and Stuart Menzies — were dressed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Numbers 2: Bletchley Park

Since this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is NUMBERS, that’s all self could think of when she was in Bletchley Park, today.

The grounds are very beautiful. Self was so glad she decided to go.

Since she comes from Silicon Valley, she was most interested in checking out the claim that the world’s first electronic computer (Ahem!) was built on-site by Alan Turing’s team (And to think, all these years, self thought the first computer was made by IBM!)

Approximately 9,000 people worked here toward the end of World War II. All of them left the premises, the day after Germany made its official announcement of unconditional surrender. The documents were shredded, the machines dismantled, and the huts torn down. But the Bletchley Park Foundation has done a superb job at recreating the offices.

It’s only an hour away from London by train.

Self saw two Enigma machines and a fragment of a Colossus.

As well as tons of World War II memorabilia. One small cabinet in the Main House contains a series of memos, one dated December 1941 saying that Bletchley’s request for more material to build code-breaking machines had been denied. Right next to it is a message that came straight from the “Prime Minister’s Office” and was signed by Winston Churchill, May 1942. It’s only two sentences, the gist being: “Whatever they need, give it to them.”

Self imagined it would be inundated by people on a Saturday. But it wasn’t.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: The Sea City Museum in Southampton

Self is posting this as a tie-in to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET.

The Daily Post says:

Experiment with your angle. Stand as you snap your picture, or get close to the floor.

In July, self visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton, which has a fantastic exhibit on the Titanic.

Until then, self had no idea about:

  1. Where do icebergs come from?
  2. Where are icebergs made?
  3. Which part of the Titanic sank first: the bow, or the head?
  4. Poop decks: what are they?

Here is a floor map of the city of Southampton. The red dots mark the homes of the crew who went down on the Titanic. Apparently, a majority of the Titanic’s crew of 897 were from Southampton. Of the almost 900 crew members, only 212 made it home. Which makes perfect sense when you are reminded (by the exhibit) that the crew bunked in the bowels of the ship, near the engines. They had no chance to escape once the ship hit the iceberg (It took less than an hour for the ship to become completely submerged)

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum's Titanic Exhibit

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum’s Titanic Exhibit

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

As self said earlier, it’s a floor map.

Here’s her friend Joan McGavin, who lives in Southampton, pointing out other place markers to self.

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

It was a fantastic exhibit. Self highly recommends it to anyone who has heard about the Titanic, watched the movie, or just wants to know about social classes in England in the early part of the 20th century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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