Its been a pretty busy past few days. Today (11/10/09) I flew (with help from Instructor Steve) from the Anoka County Airport to the Forest Lake Airport (which is located right next to a corn field!). Once there we did some hovering, landings and takeoffs and then headed back. If you drive it- its about 15 miles away and takes about 20 or so minutes straight up 35W. But flying via helicopter takes about 10 minutes! It was such a beautiful day too. We flew over the Running Aces Racetrack (which looks kind of sad with no ponies running) and on the way back near the Lino Prison. This was the first time that I was able to fly to another airport. My flying is coming along. I can hover for about 15 or so seconds before I veer off and I can takeoff without the left skid coming up (a no-no) most of the time, I can land with just a few little hops, and I can stay kind of even for a few seconds (before veering off) when I am taxiing the helicopter. Below is a photo of me taken today after our return from the Forest Lake Airport.
Then this afternoon I attended the lecture “The Mongols in Iran” by Dr. David Morgan, a History Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As I just reviewed a book on Mongolian history, I was interested in hearing about their adventures in Iran. It was an interesting talk and Dr. Morgan is a good speaker and had the audience laughing a few different times. The big thing to remember about the Mongols is their extensive trading network (a little thing called the Silk Road) which encouraged the cultural transmission/exchange of items like medicine, agriculture, printing, astronomy, art and architecture (including some possible design influence on Brunelleschi’s Dome on the Florence Cathedral. I know, a bit odd) with Persia and China.
Then last Friday (11/6/09), I was able to attend the 15th Annual James W. Cunningham Memorial Lecture on Eastern Orthodox History and Culture lecture “In the Shadow of the Holy Mountain, Athos” presented by Dr. Theofanis Stavrou of the U of MN History Department. I have been going to the Cunningham Lectures for a few years and this one was the best I have seen so far. Dr. Stavrou gave a good lecture and had some beautiful slides of Mt. Athos. I recall reading about Mt. Athos in William Dalrymple’s wonderful book ‘From the Holy Mountain’ and I something about it from Sir Steven Runciman (who was a totally fascinating scholar), so it was nice to hear about the holy place again (which I might mention does NOT allow women…grrr).