I'm not saying I dislike London, I'm just saying I dislike certain aspects of it. The crowds, for instance. The apparantly omnipresent delays and closures in the Underground. The mid-afternoon ceiling work in the Victoria Station that actually closes the ticketing area. The expensive taxi fares, unbelievably expensive train tickets, and Pickadilly Circus. Of course, other parts of London I love. I love the concept of the Underground, though it's clear that the execution of the Underground lacks finesse. I love the architecture and old buildings, especially Parliment and Westminster Abbey.
Gina and I left Bristol early today. Can't say I'm sad to go, although I will miss the sauropod symposium and the poster sessions (there's one about Carnotaurus' arms), but I have people seeing things for me and they will hopefully report back to me, perhaps over a glass of chai back home. Why did we have to leave so early? Checkout time is 11:00 a.m., and our train leaves...today. Gina didn't want to just hang out in the lobby with our luggage, and I don't blame her, so we shoved off after seeing Phil Currie's "new" phylogeny of the Tyrannosauroidea, though it's hardly new. There were actually a lot of "repeats" this year--somebody will have to tell me if this is normal. Examples:
1) At least two presentations about how crurotarsians were twice as diverse as dinosaurs going into the Permio-Triassic extinction. Dinosaurs won, we're not sure why. I'd heard this last year, and I've read a few papers about it since, too.
2) I didn't stay for it, but there's a presentation about Spinophorosaurus, which was published before I flew out here. We all know about it now. Will anything change significantly between the publication of the paper and the presentation?
3) Two new coelurosaurs: Xiongguanlong and Beishanlong. I read about them months ago. And here's the shocker--no new material or information was presented today.
None of the talks blew my mind, but what WAS awesome was Julia's Second Annual Paleo-Blogger (and Blogger Groupies) Get-Together. It was held at a pub across the street from the Wills Memorial Building. Lots of people, new and old, showed up. Mo Hassen and Ville Sinkkonen, Scott Elyard and Raven Amos, the SV-POWer Rangers, Julia Heathcote, Andrew Farke, Mark Witton (briefly), Patty Ralrick, Darren Tanke, and a bunch of a new faces. I got the SV-POW sauropod neck posture paper signed by all of 'em, and two of Darren Naish's books signed by the man himself.
When we got back, we came back to the Curzon and rested for a bit, then headed across Hyde Park. It's beautiful, and I wish we'd gone sooner! It features some absolutely enormous swans. We saw Princess Diana's "house" (read: palace) then headed toward home. We ate very good pizza on the way home, but it was getting cold and I only had a T-shirt on, so we tried taking the Underground home. Oh, sorry, no dice there: the Jubilee line was closed. So we got back on the Central and tried to hit the Victoria. Guess what? Victoria is closed, too! So we got BACK on Central to Picadilly and eventually got back to Green Park. It was a hassle and a half. Is this normal, British readers, for the Underground to be constantly crippled by construction and repair?
Tomorrow we head to Kent for Down House. Should be fun.