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And where did all that time go?
2008-01-09 23:23
by Bob Timmermann

I had a couple of friends from Canada visiting me Wednesday and before we ventured down to Anaheim to watch their beloved Maple Leafs get taken apart by the Ducks, 5-0, I took them to show them around my alma mater, UCLA.

UCLA is not an easy to place to get to and you have to time it just right to avoid some hellacious traffic, but we cruised in around 1 pm and I discovered that there is underground metered parking. Who knew?

We came out of the lot at the base of the Janss Steps leading up to the Dickson Royce Quadrangle, where UCLA's original four buildings are located. But I walked the other way to show them Pauley Pavilion (which was not open to the public) and we made our way up to the main part of campus via the gauntlet of Bruin Walk, where various student organizations try to thrust leaflets in to your hand to get you to do something. But as three guys in their 40s, we were not considered good candidates to join the various fraternities that were looking for members and I think the campus socialists were suspicious of us too.

For those not familiar with UCLA, the four buildings making up the Quad are Royce Hall, Powell Library, Haines Hall, and Kinsey Hall. Except Kinsey Hall has been renamed "The Humanities Building" as the last of the physics department was moved out. And the late Professor Kinsey's name is now attached on the outside of Knudsen Hall and there is a "Kinsey Court."

Eventually, I wandered by the site of my first ever college class. It was in the Mathematical Sciences Building, Room 4000A. The room was open and we all found seats and I looked down at the room where I was introduced to college in the form of Math 31A, Differential Calculus.

Even though I took this class 25 years ago this coming October, the whole experience just rushed back at me. I was in college. There were lots of smart people around I assumed.

Would I be able to keep up? Would I know what was going on? Why am I taking calculus? I'm going to major in history! Why is this place so big? Why are so many people in this class? What do I have to take notes on? Why didn't the professor introduce himself? He just walked and started talking. Why? What? How? Why is this class introductory yet have the number 31?

As it turned out, it all worked out. I graduated in four years, although I stopped after two calculus classes as I realized that I really didn't understand the subject all that well, although I got an A in integral calculus. My tip for people taking the class: memorize the textbook.

Now, I'm sitting at home 25 years later and I'm getting ready to leave for a trip to Europe for 10 days. I've more or less planned it out, but I'm still willing to ad lib parts of the trip as I go along depending upon weather and jet lag. The time it took for me to go from the scared kid writing down everything the professor wrote on the chalkboard (I gave that up after about two weeks) to a man who just figures that he'll figure out what to do in Prague when he gets there doesn't seem like a long time ago. At least not today.

2008-01-10 01:38:20
1.   bhsportsguy
Somehow I believe you took more care in planning your Westwood to Anaheim trip than you did on what you will do in Prague.
2008-01-10 07:22:37
2.   bobsbrother
So I'm heading back from New York on Sunday night and at LaGuardia Airport, I run into Hockey Hall of Famer and former Blue Al MacInnis, who was on his way back from the world junior championships in Prague. He raved about the Prague Marriott. That's all I have to report. Had I been thinking, I'd have gotten a restaurant recommendation.
2008-01-10 08:02:11
3.   Bob Timmermann
We had a GPS unit to give us directions from Westwood to Anaheim, which I chose not to heed and went my own way. 405 to 105 to 605 to 91 to 5.
2008-01-10 08:19:55
4.   Ken Arneson
I imagine things are a lot different now, but back in '95, you could spend $150/night to stay in one of the international chain hotels, or spend about ten times less and stay somewhere else.

We had heard that the cheapest thing to do was wait until you get off the train to decide where to stay. There were people on the platform waiting for the train holding pictures and offering rooms in their homes for about $8/night. We stayed three nights, and got not just a room but a whole apartment to ourselves, and spent a total of $24.

2008-01-10 08:25:40
5.   Stevenalpert
I thought that was called Royce Quad and the Dickson stuff was way up past Bunche Hall near the sculpture gardens. In any event, I was there and you were never intimidated by academics at UCLA. You were too busy doing the intimidating.
2008-01-10 09:07:23
6.   Bob Timmermann
Sheesh, I called it by the wrong name all these years.
2008-01-10 10:47:40
7.   Linkmeister
Larry Powell was a nice man; I liked him the few times I met him, and my mother swore by him as a librarian.
2008-01-10 14:00:38
8.   Jon Weisman
One of my favorite posts of yours, Bob. Have a great trip.
2008-01-10 16:31:35
9.   El Lay Dave
3 When will he have GPS units smart enough to optimize routes for carpools?

Thanks for the post Bob. As a slightly-older, fellow alumnus, that made for a nice trip down memory lane. Math 31A was the second class I ever attended, but in Kinsey 169, I think.

Enjoy your trip; upon your return, will we be getting the blog equivalent of your vacation slide show? Does your trip coincide with Prague Spring Training?

2008-01-10 16:44:42
10.   Eric Stephen
Bob, you have the best secretly reflective posts ever. May the streets of Europe flow with Timmermannia!
2008-01-10 17:10:38
11.   Jacob L
3 I imagine strictly following a GPS unit, or google maps for that matter, would lead to a life of pain in Southern California. People always give me grief for my unorthodox routes, but I swear to god, I know what I'm doing.
2008-01-11 04:54:00
12.   overkill94
3 Good call on the 105; it's got about a 95% quickerness factor over the 91 at any point during the day.
2008-01-11 08:51:27
13.   GoBears
Have a great trip, Bob. My wife and I were in Prague 2 summers ago, and loved it. We stayed just below (and a smidge east) of the castle, on the West Bank. IT's a great walking city - really no need to take the subway at all.

The Jewish quarter tour is impressive. And of course the castle tour. The Strahovsky klaster (monastery) is awesome. Klementinum (the observatory), and of course Old Town Square.

As for food, we only ate at brewery-restaurants. You can't get into real Czech pubs without a Czech friend (they challenge your language skills at the door).

One place I remember as particularly good for lunch or dinner was Novovetsky Pivovar, a block or two off Wenceslas Sq, but I'd have to sniff around to find it again. Another was U Medvidku, in Stare Mesto - get the real Budvar here.

I imagine it will be completely different (and it HAS to be less tourist-filled) in January than it was in July. I'm jealous. Need someone to carry your bags?

2008-01-11 08:53:23
14.   GoBears
Oh, and don't sweat the UCLA building names. I've been there 14 years now, and I still know only about 4 buildings by name. Whenever I teach a big lecture class, I need to ask a TA to lead me to the right place on Day 1.
2008-01-11 11:16:49
15.   Xeifrank
Have a great trip, will you have the Griddle automated while you are gone?
vr, Xei

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