Monday, November 16, 2009

Recalled to life

Finally slowing down a little on work; you can tell because I'm a little way into Colson's The Intuitionist, and today I bought Queen's album The Miracle, which I happily anticipate listening to tomorrow. Good times

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cliff notes

Twilight summed up:

Hi. I'm a teenage girl and I'm new in town. I'm extremely pretty and boys fall for me right and left, but I'm also really casual and klutzy and un-catty, so you can't hate me for it. I don't seem to have any real hobbies or interests -- well, I read a bit. My mother's flakey and lives at the other end of the country, and my dad's kind of clueless, so I have tons of freedom to have all kinds of ridiculous adventures.

My boyfriend is so awesome. Who needs hobbies when you have him? He's totally gorgeous and sexy and athletic, and so cool. He's also insanely wealthy. None of that is why I love him, of course; I love him for who he really is, 'cause he's also sensitive and vulnerable -- and he has some other interests, though we don't talk about them much. He absolutely dotes on me, but he's so respectful and protective that he won't have sex with me -- which is great, because then I don't have to think about whether I'm ready for it or not or talk about something like condoms, which would break the spell of my fantasy. He's never looked at another girl in school before me, which makes me feel really special.

This is crap, people. Run-of-the-mill teenybopper romance crap. The only thing that saves it is that the guy is a vampire. To get through, you really either need to want to read a Harlequin romance, or shut your eyes to that and focus on the universe. If you try it out of curiosity, just read New Moon, which is at least a little more interesting as Bella gets all crazy after her vampire leaves her, and spares you the exposition of the first novel. And for god's sake, spare yourself the last one, in which she has a half-vampire baby that nearly kills her and who her werewolf Native American best friend then forms a soulmate bond with... How they're going to film all that, I will never know, because I have no interest in seeing the movies. But yes, Robert Pattinson is pretty.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Return to Hobbiton

I can't help it; I am excited about The Hobbit. If you are too, you gotta read this interview with Guillermo del Toro.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Smithsonian day

Not much time for sightseeing in D.C., but I did do a remarkably quick run through three (three!) museums in less than three hours. I've never gone through a museum so fast in my life. First up was the Museum of American History, where I made sure to take a look at my friend Franklin Odo's new exhibit on Hawaii. Well chosen but rather utopian; I'm not sure that anything on the darker side of Hawaiian annexation would really fly unless it were on a much bigger scale, like the temporary exhibit upstairs on the bracero movement (the Mexican contract laborers from 1942 to the sixties). The permanent exhibits were fairly interesting; we only glanced at Julia Child's kitchen and the First Lady dress exhibit, which were very crowded. FYI, no Michelle Obama dress yet, but her photo has been added to the lineup. We did enjoy looking at the trains and the never-ending array of scientific inventions, including various light bulbs, engines, batteries, toasters, turbines...

Next we crossed the street to the Museum of Natural History, which has a great fossil collection. A brontosaurus, stegosaurus, triceratops, lots of wee dinosaurs I don't know the names of, primitive sea life, primitive horse hooves, you name it. Nothing quite as crazy as the T. Rex at Chicago's Field Museum, but a really interesting range. I towed my male companion upstairs to see the Hope Diamond, currently on display free of its setting for the first time, took one look at it, and said, “Eh... it's a diamond.” Jewels don't have much charm for me unless they have cool historical associations. Now the ruby at the Tower of London that Henry V supposedly wore at Agincourt, that one I stared at for a good long time. We jogged on through bugs, butterflies, Greek and Egyptian collections, quickly looked at a nice little Korean collection including some typical primitivist Cheju Island paintings which I'd never seen before, and finished up in sea life under the big whale.

Last but far from least, I speedwalked down the Mall to the Air and Space Museum. A friend had told me that this was really the most distinctive museum, in a way, and he was really right – you don't see rockets and planes in too many places. It would have been worth it just to see the Apollo 11 command module, which sits near the front encased in thick plastic. The planes were cool, too. I can't help thinking that early commercial travelers really had guts – some of those looked like tin cans. And don't even start on the tiny mail planes. Definitely good times all around at the Smithsonian, and don't forget, they're all free.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Whatever happened to Topher Grace?

I leave you with this thought while I jet off to D.C. Liberal Traveler musings on museums will no doubt follow. Weather cooperating, I am going to go see a panda.