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My twitter Updates









Pic: Mark Webber drives F1 car across Sydney Harbour Bridge

Monday, February 28, 2005

Australian F1 driver Mark Webber said it was special but eerie to have the Sydney Harbour Bridge all to himself today after having completed five up and down laps of the bridge. According to him, ride was bumpier than he expected, but everything went well.

"To drive across the bridge was pretty eerie obviously, having it shut off and it was special for the team, the amount of effort they have all gone to have the bridge shut off," Webber said.

However,there were no public viewing areas (this event was more made-for-TV, only a few photographers and journalists). In what many thought was an excess of conservatism, the bridge was closed for five hours while Webber spent only 10 minutes driving, and the public was steered away; even the vantage point of Observatory Hill was out of bounds. A few lucky fans sighted Webber afterwards when he made a brief appearance at Hickson Road Reserve, where a big TV screen had been set up for the event.

Quote of the Day
"Thundering with 900bhp over that time-honoured structure was an amazing feeling, the engine sound over the ocean was fantastic.” Mark Webber after completing 5 laps of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.






posted by Ivan Choe, 1:42 pm | link | 1 comments |

inova | webhunt 2005

Friday, February 25, 2005

Anyone interested in a webhunt? I've created a webhunt with an easy-medium level of dificulty. For those of you who are interested, the webhunt starts after this paragraph. :) Anyways as reward of completion, you'll get a gmail invite from me. 50 to give away. (yeah yeah.. nothing special now. Unless someone wanna sponsor prize.) If you already have a gmail account, you can still test your internet skills with the webhunt.. quite challenging I hope. Anyeays, the hunt will be open for 30days and the first 50 will get the invite unless the contestant state otherwise. I'll update you guys on the progress for the next 30 days. Cheers.


inova | webhunt

Starting line
Scattered around my blog are 11 red alphabets (use only those found in the post. Images are excluded). For example, the first one is found in the paragraph above. Find them all, rearrange them to form a word. Once you've got the word, put them into this URL for the next clue;

http://www.geocities.com/ivanchoe/___________.html

Where blank is the missing-rearranged word.

All the best.

:)

If you have queries or feedback, pls post them in the shoutbox on the left. Cheers!
posted by Ivan Choe, 10:52 am | link | 0 comments |

Playing Tennis on Top of the World

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Saw this on the news last night and I think this was pretty cool. Tennis stars Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played on a court 321 metres above the sea.

The two players knocked a ball around on the helipad of Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel. The helipad was temporarily turned into a tennis court for the pair, who are in the United Arab Emirates to play in the Dubai Open.

Then came the moment they must have dreaded - the ball went over the side.

Quote of the Day:
Could someone get that pls? - Tennis World No 1 Roger Federer after the ball went over the other side of the helipad of Burj Al Arab.








Hahaha.. on a bragging note, my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team reached the top 100!! :DD

Sentinels

Points: 2930.19
Overall Rank: 92
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: +30
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:48 am | link | 0 comments |

Xbox | 360

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Here's an update on Xbox 2. Having to own an Xbox, I am actually excited with all these news. Until Microsoft makes an official announcement, information below will be classified as rumours.

1, Name
engadget.com has gotten word from one of thier trusted source that Microsoft has pretty much settled on a name for the next Xbox: the Xbox 360. The source, who has worked on several projects involving the Xbox and the Xbox 360, has seen the proposed packaging and other design elements for the new console, and says that as of right now the console is being branded as the the Xbox 360. That’s definitely not that first time we’ve heard that mentioned as one of the possible names for the next-generation Xbox; last year a marketing firm conducted a survey where they asked people whether they thought Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo N5 sounded more “next-gen” (apparently Microsoft was worried that calling their new console the “Xbox 2” would make it seem older or less “cutting-edge” than the PlayStation 3).

2. The Console
Here are more info from engadget.com's reliable source: One, that the Xbox 360 is definitely going to come with wireless controllers; and two, that it’s going to have an optional hard drive that attaches to the top of Xbox 360 “in a really slick way, almost like the hood scoop on a muscle car.” Better still, “You’ll be able to add the hard drive afterwards without having to take the box apart if you didn’t buy the hard drive version of the Xbox 360.” Hmm... Looks like there are going to be (at least) two versions of the Xbox 360 available when it goes on sale, one with a hard drive, and one without.

Another source on the internet says that Xbox 360 is 'a sleek silver device worthy of counter-top display and features an inhaled design that turns the harsh angles of the original Xbox into sweeps and curves'. The device will also be able to stand upright or on it's side, much like the Playstation 2. The side of the 360° is dominated by an oversized, back-lit power button called the ring of light and the rest of the case can be customized with colorful designer face plates that you can pop on and off.

Wow.. looks like the console war will be fierce this time round with the realease of Nintendo's N5 and Sony PlayStation 3. Rumours are these consoles will be out in time for Christmas 2005.
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:17 am | link | 0 comments |

New Apprentice: Darth Tater

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I dunno, but I find this kinda cute...






A spud on the dark side. That's how toy maker Hasbro Inc. is promoting its latest Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater. According to Hasbro, Darth Tater will come with a light saber, cape and helmet, in addition to the regular Mr. Potato Head accessories such as eyes, mouth and nose. Thus, you will be able to "have all kinds of mix n' match, Mr. Potato Head fun with this wacky spud dressed as the infamous Star Wars villain, Darth Vader."

Was thinking, a Darth Bush figure would be much more fun. haha..
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:15 pm | link | 0 comments |

Female vs Male Bosses

Monday, February 21, 2005

Female or male bosses? Here are the poll results compiled by Singapore's Straits Times Life!

FEMALE BOSSES
Like them, hate them? Take the ST Life! poll.

1. My bosses have so far been:
Male
365 (27%)
Female
326 (24%)
Of either gender
667 (49%)
Total votes: 1358

2. I prefer working under:
Males
898 (66%)
Females
205 (15%)
I have no preference
256 (19%)
Total votes: 1359

3. Compared to male bosses, women bosses are:
Better
244 (18%)
Worse
842 (62%)
No difference
268 (20%)
Total votes: 1354

4. Compared to male bosses, women bosses tend to be more:
Capable
148 (11%)
Caring
118 (9%)
Meticulous
219 (16%)
Temperamental
723 (53%)
Indecisive
151 (11%)
Total votes: 1359

5. Besides gender, I assess my boss on this other factor:
Age
46 (3%)
Education level
43 (3%)
Marital status
117 (9%)
Physical appearance
66 (5%)
Ability on the job
1087 (80%)
Total votes: 1359

Myself, I've been working for two female bosses. From my observation, female bosses are more meticulous and they do tend to work till late.. very late.. Well for myself, I have no complains I guess.

This reminds me of a story by my friend Danny Wong (not real name) during a class reunion. Danny is an auditor with a small/mid-sized audit firm located in the Old Klang Road area. Anyways, he's got this female boss whom he describes as ... "Fierce like tiger, sting like a bee."

The female boss runs the company like boot camp. According to Danny, all employees (8 in total) must be in the office before she comes in. The thing is if you come AFTER her, she'll lock the office door and no one is allowed to come in and will be treated as if you're on annual leave. Ouch.. I was told they get 12 annual leaves per year. I jokingly said to him, "Wei.. you can come in late once a month..!" He just gave me that shut-up-or-I’ll-clobber-you look. Thus, he said, most of them will be in office at 7:30 am. Another thing is, no one was allowed to leave before her... he told me, once all of them worked till midnight just waiting for her to leave.

Danny said that on all his colleague's calendar, including his, have a warning marked once every month to notify them that it's her 'time-of-the-month' and everyone tries their best not to upset her... According to him, she got real nasty once during that period and thus, everyone agreed on a monthly 'early warning' system. LOL... I was laughing to tears at this point.

After 7 months working (salute!) with her, Danny and 4 other of his colleague decided that enough is enough and all 5 of them handed in their resignation letter on the same day. Danny said she was so furious but he didn't care and he said that for 30 days, 5 of them came in late, went off early. Everyday, he was hoping the door was locked so that he would not need to come to work. :P

Thus, Danny began to look for a job. He managed to get 2 final interviews, one with a mid-sized firm and the other a Big 4 audit firm. Anyways, the Big 4 audit firm was scheduled first. After passing the final interview with flying colours, they offered him a job. Still traumatized by his previous work experience, he asked the interviewer, "My supervisor, female or male?" The interviewer replied, "Female." Danny quickly declined the offer and decides to go for the mid-sized firm offer whose boss is a male but with a much lesser pay. hahaha.. I've never seen him so fearful before. In college, he used to be damn kia-su and money minded. hahaha.. what a turn-around.

Danny brags that now he leaves his house at 8:30am, reaches the office at 9:00am have breakfast and starts work around 9:30am. He has the flexibility to leave and work is much more enjoyable. He said compared to his previous work place, the current is like Paradise. hahaha...

This ends my story today. I am not trying to brand all female bosses are like that. Female bosses I worked for, works hard and meticulous but knows how to joke around and have a good time as well.
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:00 pm | link | 2 comments |

Singapore: Signs of Times

Friday, February 18, 2005

Got this 'letter' off todayonline.com entitled, Life is getting scary, Mummy ... An entertaining and yet informative read. In Singapore, at school or varsity, finding a job or getting married, it's not like it used be.


Dear Mummy,

I am feeling very sad.

Today in school, Zhong Guoren — my classmate from China — beat me again, in a maths test. That boy is an unstoppable genius machine. Last week, he beat me in sports too.

If he were not here, I would have come in first and gotten a gold. But because the Government says we must welcome foreign talents to increase our population and to improve our economy, I got a bronze instead. This sucks.

At first, we laughed at them, because their English was not very good. Their maths and science were good, and their Chinese was excellent (but who cares about Chinese language, right?). But then, their English got better and now, they are kicking our backsides in this subject too.

I think we should get the Government to do something about this.

Why didn't you have more babies, Mummy? I wouldn't mind having a brother or a sister to play with. I am an only child, and because you and Daddy are not making enough babies, we have to get people from other countries, people who make it hard for me to be number one in my class.

I think you are very selfish to just have me, Mummy.

I don't like to lose, Mummy. I am used to being first in my class. And my school was very small too, like Singapore, so it was easy to be first. Now my school is bigger, and I have to fight harder to be first.

Why can't we just compete with ourselves, among Singaporeans only (okay, and maybe Permanent Residents)?

Why can't they have a new category for all the tests and CCAs?

We could have a Best Local Maths Student category and a Best Local Sportsman category, then at least, if I don't win Best Maths Student, I can be Best Local Maths Student and feel better about myself.

Just like my school is ranked one of the Top 20 Value-added Secondary Schools with a Special Assessment Award for Knitting CCA, I also want to be a top student.

Maybe we need to have a new category like "Top 20 Value-added Secondary Schools (Got China Students)".

This is because our school has smart foreign students and should be ranked separately so that schools without smart foreign students won't feel so jealous. And, maybe, we should drop Literature as a subject too. I hate Literature, hard to score "A"s.

In fact, we should have streams like EM1 (Local) and EM1 (China and Others). Let the smart China students have their own stream.

I want to go to university when I grow up, especially the National University of Singapore (NUS), because our newspapers say that NUS is even better than Princeton and Cornell in the United States.

But I hear there are many brilliant China students in NUS, too.

I don't want to be having private tuition until I am 25 years old, just to keep up with my foreign classmates in the Uni. Or else, I will have no time to meet girls and then I will be forced to go to Vietnam and Kelantan to find a wife when I want to start a family.

In fact, I am very upset with foreigners competing with us even in this area.

All the girls I know say that when they finish studying and go to work, they want to marry ang mohs, because Singapore men are unromantic and do not want to know how to make a girl happy. So, the ang mohs are even stealing our women.

I prefer to marry a Singapore girl, of course, but only if she knows how to cook and wash, and peel my prawns for me (like you, Mummy). But nowadays, Singapore girls are so fierce, just because they study, and earn their own money.

Maybe that is why in Chinatown, I saw this big Singapore Rooster, and it was sitting on eggs. I think the Singapore Hen left him to look after the eggs, because she had to work and do all the things an educated Hen does.

I also worry I cannot find a job when I am older. My friend, Ah Hock, tells me his mother feels all these Chinese foreigners are stealing our jobs and our men (and the ang mohs are stealing our women).

That is very scary, Mummy. You told me many China women are in Singapore only to do naughty things, like relieve old men of their Central Provident Fund money.

Once an uncle wrote in the papers that we should catch those foreign women who are tall, have long hair and legs, and wear tight, revealing outfits in black or red and behave coquettishly.

I think we should only accept foreign women who are short, have short hair and legs, and wear loose, covered-up outfits in white or blue, and behave like a man.

Okay, Mummy, I have to go to my Chinese, maths and science tuition classes now. If I don't go, I won't be able to beat Guoren.

Your son,

Khia Soo
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:52 am | link | 1 comments |

Resigned and my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I have resigned from my current job. Not an easy decision but for long term purposes. Anyways, will post more once I've sorted out the necessary stuff.

On a lighter note, my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team soared to a new high...! :D

Sentinels

Points: 2867.72
Overall Rank: 122
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: +75
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:57 am | link | 0 comments |

Google in the 1960s

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

This is quite funny..

posted by Ivan Choe, 10:40 am | link | 0 comments |

Movie review: Seoul Raider

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Haven't been blogging for a week due to CNY hols. hehe.. anyways, I've managed to catch Seoul Raider over the CNY hols. Here's my take on the movie.

Tony Leung reprises his role from Tokyo Raiders in this sequel, as the cool, stylish and resourceful investigator Lam. In this highly anticipated sequel, Lam teams up with JJ (played by Shu Qi) a sexy thief with her own agenda. The two must find a pair of plates, used to counterfeit US dollar bills. The reward... USD 30 million. However, Lam was outsmarted by Owen (played by Richie Ren), a former employer of the US Embassy, who has scurried off to Korea with the stolen the plates. Thus, the hunt begin to retrieve the plates before it falls in the hands of the Korean Mafia.

In Seoul Raider, director Jingle Ma used the same formula that made Tokyo Raider a phenomenal success. One in particular was the matrix-style action scenes infused with a splash of Latino music. The action scenes in this movie are up to expectation with Tony Leung battling it out with a horde of baddies and as usual he normally wins. With the help of his gadgets and Jackie Chan-styled humour, the action sequences were entertaining and not too tedious to watch. Furthermore, these sequence were nicely choreographed making it really stylish.

The scenery in the movie was quite ok. For some reason, you don't really see much of Seoul besides Lam's three Korean female sidekick. ;D Nevertheless, the scenes of Seoul was sufficient (but not of those beautiful scenery you see in Korean serials) and interestingly, the Olympic stadium which has now turned into the Mafia's hideout in this movie.

Compared to the first movie, the story for Seoul Raider was less confusing, much more straight forward and predictable. There were enough humour and action to keep everyone entertained throughout the simple plot. However, the are quite a few 'holes' in the plot... but you will hardly notice or care due to the fun factor of the movie.

The characters were nicely played by the respective actors. Tony Leung once again was outstanding playing the stylish and wise-cracking Lam. Shi Qi's mysterious character JJ, however is a bit shallow. The writers did not expand more on her character. It's a shame really as her character could have helped reinforced the plot. IMHO, Richie Ren does make a good villian. His intense acting does help give more depth to the character he is playing. Overall, it looks like the cast had a great time making the movie and the tone is not as serious as the first one.

Overall, a fun movie for the festive season. It's entertaining, funny and stylish. Oh yeah... don't forget the three Korean babes as well. :)

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Cast : 3.5
Sound : 3
Picture : 3
Storyline: 3

OVERALL : 3.8
posted by Ivan Choe, 1:10 pm | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: New York Part VII

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Finally, to wrap-up our DIY tour, we head to...

New York: Part VII

If you still can't get enough of things Da Vinci Code, wing your way across the Atlantic to the headquarters of Opus Dei, in New York's Murray Hill district. With a facade of red brick and Indiana limestone, the headquarters, designed by the architectural firm of May & Pinska, opened in 2001. The building stands a few blocks east of the Empire State Building, but you won't find an Opus Dei sign on it. (The Prelature of Opus Dei in the United States, by the way, has issued a response to The Da Vinci Code.)
ADDRESS: 243 Lexington Avenue, at 34th Street.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Murray Hill.S
SUBWAY: 34th Street (Park Avenue).

Hope you've enjoyed the DIY tour. If any of you managed to complete it, do drop a comment. Cheers, and Happy Chinese New Year!

:)

posted by Ivan Choe, 11:57 am | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: Scotland Part VI

Friday, February 04, 2005

Scotland: Part VI

All Things Grail Lead to Rosslyn

In The Da Vinci Code
With a little help from Sir Isaac Newton, Langdon breaks the second cryptex code, after which he and Neveu journey to Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland's most famous Templar temple, but what they find is not what they expect.

On Tour
Rosslyn Chapel. The pretty little U-shaped miners' village of Roslin, with its rows of stone-built terraced cottages, is famous for the extraordinary Rosslyn Chapel. Conceived by Sir William Sinclair (circa 1404-80) and dedicated to St. Matthew in 1446, the chapel is outstanding for the quality and variety of the stone carving inside. Covering almost every square inch of stonework are human figures, animals, and plants. The chapel's design called for a cruciform structure, but only the choir and parts of the east transept walls were completed.
Some believe the Rosslyn Chapel is where the Holy Grail is buried. Brown writes: "For centuries this stone chapel had echoed with whispers of the Holy Grail's presence. The whispers had turned to shouts in recent decades when ground-penetrating radar revealed the presence of an astonishing structure beneath the chapel -- a massive subterranean chamber. Not only did this deep vault dwarf the chapel atop it, but it appeared to have no entrance or exit. Archaeologists petitioned to begin blasting through the bedrock to reach the mysterious chamber, but the Rosslyn Trust expressly forbade any excavation of the sacred site."

Cracking the Code
Getting There: Neveu and Langdon drive to Roslin from Edinburgh. You can either fly to Edinburgh or take the train, then go by car, taking "Straiton Junction" A 701 to Penicuik/Peebles. Follow A 701 three miles and look for Roslin sign. Once in Roslin Village, look for signs to the chapel, which rests on a bluff.
Where to Stay: Roslin is a mere 8 miles outside Edinburgh, which has several fine hotels.
Getting Around: Edinburgh is easy to navigate by bicycle, bus, car, or taxi.

Final destination: New York
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:54 pm | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: London Part V

Thursday, February 03, 2005

London: Part V

Cracking the Code

In The Da Vinci Code
A portion of the second cryptex's message, "In London lies a knight a Pope interred," finds new meaning for Langdon with the aid of a helpful King's College librarian's computer.

On Tour
King's College. According to Brown, "King's College houses its Department of Theology and Religious Studies adjacent to Parliament on property granted by the Crown." The college's religion department is also the home of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology, one of the world's most advanced religious research libraries. Brown describes the research room vividly: "a dramatic octagonal chamber dominated by an enormous round table around which King Arthur and his knights might have been comfortable were it not for the presence of twelve flat-screen computer workstations." King's College has several campuses on both sides of the Thames, just above Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is in the School of Humanities.
ADDRESS: The Strand.
NEIGHBORHOOD: St. James's.
TUBE: Temple.


A Final Clue

In The Da Vinci Code
As Langdon and Neveu scour the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton for a final clue that will crack open the second cryptex, they receive a message from a rival character to meet him in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey. In the ensuing struggle, they vanquish their nemesis.

On Tour
Westminster Abbey. Nearly all of England's monarchs have been crowned at Westminster Abbey, and many of them are buried here, but the abbey's origins remain uncertain. The first church on the site may have been built as early as the 7th century by the Saxon king Sebert. A Benedictine abbey was established here in the 10th century. At many points the view of the abbey is crowded by the many statues and screens.
The Chapter House, a stunning octagonal room supported by a central column and adorned with 14th-century frescoes, is where the King's Council and, after that, an early version of the Commons met between 1257 and 1547. Underfoot is one of the finest surviving tiled floors in the country. The Abbey Museum is in the undercroft, which survives from Edward the Confessor's original church, and includes a collection of deliciously macabre effigies made from the death masks and actual clothing of Charles II and Admiral Lord Nelson. Sir Isaac Newton's grave and tomb are near the choir screen, at the north entrance to the choir.
ADDRESS: South side of Parliament Square.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Westminster.
TUBE: Westminster.


Cracking the Code

Getting There: Neveu, Langdon, and Sir Teabing zip from an airport near Château Villette in Teabing's private plane and land at Biggin Hill Airport, 12 miles from central London. You're more likely to arrive at Heathrow, Gatwick, or Stansted airport. If you're coming from Paris, you can ride on the train through the Channel Tunnel.
Where to Stay: A night or two at a Bloomsbury, St. James's, or Westminster hotel should help set the mood.
Getting Around: All the London sights In The Da Vinci Code are in a compact area east and south of Trafalgar Square and are accessible by bus or the Tube.
Suggested Route: With one exception, Kings College London, you can easily walk this 2-mile route in the order the sights appear In The Da Vinci Code. Take the Tube to St. Paul's Station and head west on Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, continuing until you get to Temple, where you'll see the Temple Bar Memorial (1880), a young bronze griffin. Opposite the statue is an elaborate stone arch through which you pass into Middle Temple Lane, which runs south all the way to the Thames. Temple Church will be on your left as you head toward the river. After you've explored the church, reverse course to the statue and continue west.
Along the Strand you'll pass by Kings College London. After exploring the campus, continue west on the Strand to Trafalgar Square. Just south of the square on Whitehall is the Horse Guards Parade, which edges St. James's Park. Continue south to Westminster Abbey. Opus Dei's London office, which is not open to the public, is more than 3 miles west of Westminster Abbey, just north (on Orme Court, off Bayswater Road) of the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens. If you're not up for this much walking, an alternative is to take Bus 11, which travels along Ludgate and Fleet Street to Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

Tomorrow: Scotland.
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:42 am | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: London Part IV

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

London: Part IV

Another Cryptex, Another Clue

In The Da Vinci Code
Realizing that the clue to the cryptex might not be in France but in England, Langdon, Neveu, and Teabing board Teabing's private plane for London. In midair, the three manage to open the cryptex, but the contents, instead of revealing the secrets of the Grail, yield only another clue wrapped around yet another cryptex. Once on the ground, the threesome, hastily interpreting this latest clue, make a mad dash down Fleet Street to a Knights of the Templar fortress.

On Tour
Fleet Street. The famous London street follows the course of, and is named after, one of the city's ghost rivers. The Fleet, so called by the Anglo-Saxons, spent most of its centuries above ground as an open sewer, offending local nostrils until banished below in 1766. It still flows underfoot, now a sanctioned section of London's sewer system.
The street's sometime nickname, Street of Shame, has nothing to do with the stench. It refers to the trade that made the avenue famous: the press. Since the end of the 15th century, when Wynkyn de Worde set up England's first printing press here, and especially after 1702, when the first newspaper, the Daily Courant, moved in, the term "Fleet Street" has been synonymous with newspaper journalism. The papers themselves all moved out during the 1980s, but the British press is still collectively known as "Fleet Street." To find a relic from the old days, check out the black-glass-and-chrome art deco building that was once the hub for the Daily Express (the paper has since relocated to south of the river).
NEIGHBORHOOD: The City.
TUBE: Blackfriars or St. Paul's.

Temple Church. This house of worship, famed for "the Round," its rare circular nave, was built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. The Red Knights (so called after the red crosses they wore; you can see them in effigy around the nave) held their secret initiation rites in the crypt here. Having started out poor, holy, and dedicated to the protection of pilgrims, they grew rich from showers of royal gifts, until in the 14th century they were charged with heresy, blasphemy, and sodomy, thrown into the Tower of London, and stripped of their wealth. You might suppose the church to be thickly atmospheric, but Victorian and postwar restorers have tamed its air of antique mystery. Still, it's a very fine Gothic-Romanesque church, whose chancel ("the Oblong," dating from 1240) has been accused of perfection.ADDRESS: Inner Temple Lane, off Fleet Street.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bloomsbury.
TUBE: Temple.


Nefarious Doings in St. James's Park

In The Da Vinci Code
A character besotted with the Holy Grail has followed the trio to London, planning to usurp control of the secrets Langdon and Neveu continue to discover. Before he makes his move, though, he slips into St. James's Park to deal with an accomplice who has misbehaved.

On Tour
Horse Guards Parade. This square, on Horse Guards Road, at the east end of St. James's Park, is a fine place for mayhem. It was once the tiltyard of nearby Whitehall Palace, where jousting tournaments were held. The vast square is now notable mainly for the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony. From Horse Guards Parade, one gets an untrammeled view of Saint James's Park, to which it's adjoined.

Saint James's Park. Three palaces border this gloriously green park: the ancient Palace of Westminster, now the Houses of Parliament; the Tudor St. James's Palace; and Buckingham Palace. Acclaimed as the most royal of the royal parks, Saint James's Park is also London's smallest, most ornamental park, as well as the oldest; it was acquired by Henry VIII in 1532 for a deer park. Henry VIII built the palace next to the park, which was used for hunting only (dueling and sword fights were forbidden). James I improved the land and installed an aviary and zoo, and Charles II laid out formal gardens. St. James's Park makes a spectacular frame for the towers of Westminster and Victoria -- especially at night, when the illuminated fountains play and the skyline beyond the trees looks like a floating fairyland.
ADDRESS: Middle Temple Lane.
NEIGHBORHOOD: St. James's.
TUBE: St. James's Park or Westminster.

To be continued...
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:41 pm | link | 0 comments |