oxymoron67: (snoopy)
This April, I was flying into Pittsburgh to attend a conference and to visit the family. While the sky was overcast throughout the flight, the rain actually held off until right when the plane was landing. By the time we got to the gate at the terminal, it was a downpour.

I wasn’t all that surprised. See, I have a superpower. When I travel, I bring bad weather with me. Call me Low Pressure Lad.

My friends spotted the pattern over twenty years ago. Every overnight trip I’d take, be it for work, family or vacation, involved bad weather.

And they’re right. Over the years, I’ve brought an ice storm into Indianapolis with me… the remnants of a tropical storm hit Atlanta the day I flew in for a family get-together… the first tornado to touch down in the city of Pittsburgh in over fifty years hit the night after I arrived in the city for a break from grad school.

The list goes on. I mean, the above examples are championship-level events, and I can’t manage weather that extreme all the time. Sometimes, it’s just drizzle or fog.

You’d think that this would be really useful: I could be called in to douse forest fires or end droughts, for example.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t control it: sometimes I produce ice storms; other times, just really uncomfortable humidity.

Before you ask, I’ve tried to get this power under control, but I just can’t figure out how. I mean, which muscle do you flex when you want it to rain? Is it different than the one for snow? What if I want some combo-pack of weather, like, say, fog and freezing rain? How many muscles does that require? I haven’t been able to figure it out.

Before you say, “Well, what if this power is psychic in nature?”, I’ve thought of that, too. Do you know how difficult it is to concentrate on CLOUDS? I’ll be sitting at some outdoor café looking at the sky thinking, “C’mon, get cloudier! More clouds! FOG!” and then some really hot guy walks by and I’ll be all, “Oooo… he has a nice ass” and I’ll have to start all over again.

Or I’ll be trying to influence the weather while I’m wearing my headphones, and my taste in music will betray me: “Bring the lightning! Bring the thunder! Make it rain!... It’s raining men! Hallelujah! It’s raining men! Amen!”

As you can imagine, that ruins the whole “weather-controlling” mood.

Even if I COULD manage to concentrate long enough, I have to wonder if I’m concentrating on the correct thing. I mean… do I concentrate on clouds? Temperature? Wind?

So, my powers are likely to remain uncontrolled for the foreseeable future.

Still, I have to wonder why I have this power. I mean, no one else in my family has a superpower. Trust me, I’d know: we’re talkers, all of us. We suck at keeping secrets.

Maybe it’s a queer thing. Maybe Mother Nature gives some of her queer children an extra gift to even things out, and possibly to take vengeance on the homophobic world.

If that’s the case, then Pat Robertson would be right to blame us queers for all the natural disasters that strike the U.S., though he is wrong about the underlying cause. It’s not God saying, “Hate the queers” so much as it is God saying, “Be careful or my queers will FUCK YOU UP!”

That would be cool.
_________________________________

This was in response to the prompt "No Capes." I worked with the delightful [livejournal.com profile] porn_this_way, whose similarly themed entry can be found here.

You can read them in whichever order you please. And... who knew? Queers with superpowers are more common than you'd think.
oxymoron67: (snoopy)
I met up with [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant, his sister and his girlfriend Nom at The South Street Seaport Museum.

I'd bee there once before, for the FDR and the Sea exhibit, which was amazing.

Between then and now, the museum had serious financial difficulties and faced closure. It may have actually closed for a few months, I'm not sure. To save it, the Museum of the City of New York took it over.

Which is great for me, since I;m a member of MCNY, so now I'm a member here, too! It puts me one step closer to collecting allt he NYC museums.

Anyway.

We met around 3:30, primarily to see the Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions exhibit. This was split up into four galleries, each one discussing one aspect of the history of the Seaport: exploration, communication and society, shopping and the weather.

The first gallery, exploration, included maps, statues of animals, paintings of cities, things people took with them while traveling, and, my favorite piece, a Noah's Ark quilt.

The woman (probably women) who sewed it included pairs of animals embroidered or appliqued on it. The animals included both dromedaries )one humped camels) and Bactrian (two humped camels), ostriches, chickens, spiders, snakes, crickets.

It was just fun to look at.

The second gallery included lots of paintings of sea captains and the like. My favorite piece here was the mathematics book used by the Pennsylvania Dutch. One page was sums and other math stuff, but the facing page had a drawings of men on hirseback with pistols drawn.

It was an odd juxtaposition.

The third gallery was about the goods shipped via the South Street Seaport. So, tobacco (a statue of a Turkish man in a genie costume), a hanging sheep (for a shop specializing in wool) whale bone pie cutters, furniture, all sorts of things.

The most interesting pieces here were the canes made of whale bone, with various carvings on them. The detail work was amazing.

Oh, and a creepy Santa Claus.

Gallery four was the weather gallery. Lots of weather vanes. There was a painting of a ship sinking, and a memorial quilt for the Titanic.

My favorite piece here was a painting of a waterfall, because of the materials and techniques used, there was a very impressionisitic 3D feel to it. IT was neat.

This exhibit was organized by the American Folk Art Museum. This isn't really surprising, since they lost most of their gallery space not too long ago.

We also watched Timescapes, MCNY's 22 minute documentary about the history of NYC. If you have the choice between watching it here or at the MCNY*, watch it here. The screen is bigger and the chairs more comfortable.

*Although I can't imagine that anyone would go to both the MCY and the South Street Seaport Museum on the same day, since they are on opposite ends of Manhattan.

From the museum, they went to visit their father while I wandered around for a while. We met up again for dinner at Pete's Tavern, where the short story writer O. Henry wrote. I met two more of [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant's friends, who were fun.

I had the chicken with mushrooms and peppers in a tasty sauce. The serving was so large that half of it came home with me.

After dinner, I grabbed a cab and came home. A great day.

A great day!
oxymoron67: (history)
My friend the soap opera writer and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum.

I love the Morgan. I can go to the Rotunda and Library and just sit and absorb the beauty.

Anyway, my friend had never been there before.

So we got there, and started with Morgan's office, the Rotunda, Bella da Costa Greene (his librarian)'s office and the library itself. He loved the Gutenberg Bible on display (the Morgan has three), and the music sheets from Mozart, Schubert and DeBussy that were on display.

The Morgan has its Near East seals collection and some cunieform tables on display in da Costa Greene's office.

The Rotunda is beautiful.

If you ever come to NYC... you must visit here. It is amazing.

From there, we went to the Winston Churchill exhibit, which focused on his letters and included an extraordinary 21 minute multimedia presentation of excerpts from his most famous speeches.

The letters included things from his time at boarding school and in the service through his time as Prime Minister. Several of these letters were addressed to his remarkable mother, who was an American heiress named Jennie Jerome. One of the most touching was a Churchill quotes (and one from FDR*) covered the walls.

On the other side of the multimedia area, there was a section on the Nazi portrayal of Churchill, and then some more of his writings.

From there, we went to Renaissance-era Venetian drawings, etching and printing. If you name a famous Northern Italian artist from the period, you will likely find a piece by him/her there. It was glorious.

This exhibit explains why I love the Morgan: it focuses on things that most museums don't: drawings, etchings, printings, manuscripts.

I will go back for both of these exhibits on my own, as we kind of rushed through them.

From there, we had dinner in their cafe, which was essentially a tapas menu. We had the deviled eggs (needed more paprika), salmon croquettes on pumpernickel (tasty), mushroom risotto (which had raisins in it, which gave it a sweeter finish than I expected, but it was tasty... oh, and bright yellow because of the saffron), a cheese plate (stilton, manchego and edam), olives in a citrus and jalapeno brine, and baba ghanoush, which had apple in it, giving it a little crunch and, again, a surprising, but not unpleasant, sweetness.

There plates were all appetizer sized, but it was enough to satisfy us.

Anyway, I have said before and I will say again: The Morgan never disappoints.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I am not sure what jarred this memory... but I was thinking about it while heading out to the museum today.
Set the Wayback Machine to 1990ish )
oxymoron67: (Default)
I met up with my friend the Soap Opera Writer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I lured him there with the phrases "Frank Lloyd Wright Room", "Fabrege" and "Tiffany Room".

Who could resist that?

We actually started in the Greco-Roman section, which was fun.

Especially since we had exchanges like this one:

Him: This is clearly a baseball player.
Me: The card says it's a fighting Gaul.
Him: Is he their mascot?
Me: No, maybe it's the name of the team: The Fighting Gauls.

Him: Ooo... what are these.. they're really pretty.
Me: The card says that they're two glass bowls.
Him: It does not. (reads) Why bother including that? I can SEE that they're two glass bowls.

From there, we went to the Medieval Art section -- the museum is in the process of changing the displays, and many new statues are up. Here is one:



These gentlemen are witnessing a crucifixion... and disco dancing.

I don't RECALL a "Crucifixion Dance Party" in Jesus Christ Superstar, but I haven't seen it recently.

Here is the single most smug Baby Jesus I've ever seen:



Doesn't he look like he's saying, "You're a sinner... and I'm not. And that's how it should be."

And here is St. Anne holding her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is, in turn holding the Baby Jesus.



Apparently St. Anne was a giantess.

From there, we went to the Fabrege exhibit, which was neat. They;ve rotated the items in there as well. There are new things since I saw it last.

And then the Frank Lloyd Wright room, which was delightful.

Then we went to the Cinema Cafe for dinner.

I had the tuna tacos appetizer and the Kobe Burger. Delicious. (Prix Fixe menu: choice of appetizer and entree for 25ish dollars).

Tomorrow? Back to work!
oxymoron67: (Default)
A friend of mine who is attending Parson's for Design needed to see The Radical Image exhibit at The Jewish Museum for a class assignment.

We went today. I did not realize that Saturdays were free days at the Jewish Museum. I never go to museums on "free day". They're packed and it's ridiculous and I like my museums quieter so I can contemplate... You kids, get out of my museum! *shakes cane*

Well, I was part way there when I got a text from my friend telling me that she'd be late. I should have planned for that. So, I got off the bus at the right stop and wandered around for a while. I'm in this neighborhood a lot, but I never actually explore it.

Of course, the wind picks up right then and it starts spitting flurries despite being a bright sunny day.

Anyway, I see a Ciao Bella Ice Cream and Coffee Shoppe about a half block from the museum, so I stop in there, have some ice cream (single scoop, Tahitian Vanilla, with chocolate sprinkles. Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best.

As I'm getting ready to leave, I get a phone call from my friend who has arrived at the museum. I tell her that I;m almost there and to wait for me.

I check in, drop off my coat and bag and we go into the exhibit.

Before we see anything, I ask to see the assignment. This particular friend had only been in college for one semester and sometimes needs direction on how to approach assignments. It's not that she's dumb: she isn't; it's just that she's never thought this way.

The assignment was straightforward: pick a photo, defend why you chose it, describe it and sketch it.

For somebody into art and design, this is a nice assignment.

The exhibit itself was about The Photo League, a group of photographers who were active in NYC (and other places) from 1936-51. It was wonderful.

The exhibit actually started with early 1930's photos from the Works Progress Administration, which is what the Photo League pun out of. These photos included shots by the amazing Berenice Abbott among others.

From there, it was the Photo League running around Manhattan (mostly) in the mid-to late thirties. The shots here were of neighborhood events (San Gennaro, for example) or everyday snippets of neighborhood life (kids drawing on the sidewalk with chalk).

Next was a section on Harlem. Some amazing photographs here, including one of a dance studio that trained, among others, Nat King Cole and Marlon Brando.

WWII was next. Many of the photographers went to war, and more women photogrpahers rose to prominence in the league, though there had always been some women. It was never exclusively male.

Finally, there was the port-WWII section. In the "Red Scare" days, the Photo League's early ties to radical movements caught up to it. Several members were blacklisted and, by 1951, it shut down.

Still, these photos were AMAZING.

Go to the Jewish Museum. It's wonderful. Also, it has a WALL OF MENORAHS. Just saying.

Then the two of us drafted out her assignment. Usually, I tell her to cut stuff because she can get on a tangent really easily. Here, I was encouraging her to add information, like, when discussing what photo she chose, I wanted her to explain what her favorite photos all had in common.

Finally, we met friends for dinner. I had the salmon over a mash of fingerling potatoes and wild mushrooms. Mmmmmm.

Tomorrow? An Oscar party!
oxymoron67: (Default)
I met up with [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant and his sister at the Morgan Library and Museum. They're fun to spend time with.

I love the Morgan. The Morgan is the study and library of J. P. Morgan as well as a museum, with several rooms for rotating exhibits.

The study is beautiful: filled with Renaissance-era art and a few portraits of J.P. Morgan scowling down at us. The office of the head librarian is now home to Classical Mesopotamian Seals and (these were new: I guess they cycle things in there) some Medeival jewelry.

The library itself is stunning: the ceiling is painted with mythological scenes and the Zodiac. The men are all famous scientists and philosophers and there are women representing various things. At first, I thought the women were the Muses, until I saw that one of them represented Architecture.

There is no muse of Architecture.

Which is unfortunate, I think something like "I am Lucrazia, the Architectrix!" would be fun.

Various mythological figures there? Perseus, Bellerophron, Hercules, Eros (who was riding a ram), Hades and Persephone and I think Orpheus and ...um... Eurydice. (Took me a minute to remember her name.)

On display were one of the the Gutenberg Bibles that the Morgan owns as well as music manuscripts and illuminated manuscripts.

Seriously, sitting in the library alone is worth the price of admission.

From there, we went to the Rembrandt exhibit. This was less a "Rembrandt" exhibit and more a "masters of the Dutch Renaissance" exhibit. These were all drawings. Seeing drawings is fun because most of the time you see paintings or sculptures (of course, I see these all the time as well).

Then we quickly went through the Dickens exhibit.

We left, heading out to an Improv show, which was fun, but some of it was a little flat. I managed to trip on the way up the stairs. Didn't hurt anything (well, my pride).

Fun!
oxymoron67: (Default)
This was my last day of vacation, so I decided to go to The Museum of the City of New York.

They had a free ice cream sandwich promotion, and they were debuting two new exhibits on the development and growth of the grid in Manhattan.

I met up with my friend the Soap Opera Writer, who was only a half hour late. This is as close to on time as he gets.

The lines were huge... I've never seen lines this big there.. and once he had gotten through the line, well, all the ice cream was gone. Honestly, it was probably gone earlier, which is fine.

After several years of renovation, the museum reopened one of the second floor wings, which is currently hosting an exhibit on the future of Manhattan growth and the grid system.

We didn't spend much time in that exhibit. We did, however, spend a lot of time in the history and development of the grid system.

In 1811, NYC was pretty much Downtown Manhattan, which, if you've ever been there, is a confusing maze. For those of us who tend to get lost ANYWAY, Downtown Manhattan is a horror show. Anyway, in 1811, the powers that were decided to survey the rest of the island of Manhattan and layout a grid.

This exhibit is about the original contracts and surveys (which are on display) as well as all the excavation and work involved in the development of the city. There are lots of maps, photos (especially by Berenice Abbot) and contracts that show how the grid was adapted to the different terrains of Manhattan and how some landholders actually added streets (MAdison and Lexington weren't part of the original plan) and hoe Broadway, which was laid out before the grid, survived.

Fascinating.

Though, honestly, the way it was laid out was... an interesting failure. The curators decided to mimic the grid system in the space, but this meant that they divided the space into a bunch of little cubbyholes that were difficult to maneuver in.

From there, we went to the Cinema Cafe for dinner.

We split the small plate combo, which included truffled risotto croquettes (delicious!), steak kebabs in a tamarind sauce (A little too chewy for my tastes but delicious), dumplings and spring rolls both fine, but the dipping sauce was wonderful.

Then we split the meatball pizza. It was a margarita pizza (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) base with meatballs, prosciutto and mushrooms on top. It was delicious, too.

Wonderful.

Next up? The Morgan has a new exhibit for Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne. Or... on Thursday night, a German recording artist is going to sing the songs of Kate Bush at Lincoln Center.
oxymoron67: (Default)
I was talking with my friend D, and he was talking about his last semester as an undergrad when he took Sex, Law and Society.

Most of the class was about the laws restricting sex in the United States. In Pennsylvania*, for example, only heterosexual missionary was legal. All I could think was "My friends and I... we're all breaking the law."


Yup. We all were.

*Where we lived at the time.

Storytime

Jul. 24th, 2011 03:15 pm
oxymoron67: (snerk)
Somebody, somewhere on the many sites where I waste spend my time mentioned the raccoons she was dealing with, and I remembered this.

As most of you know, not only was my mom a schoolteacher, she was my teacher for Chemistry I when I was in high school. When I took Chem II, I had one of her best friends. It was very much a case of "Chemistry II: The Mom-ening", only with more guilt and less Planet Zeist.

This particular friend, we'll cal her Joan, lived in house near the woods, and fed much of the local fauna. She also had two massive freestanding terra cotta pots of flowers out in her backyard. Joan noticed that the flowers in one of the pots were fine, and the others were kind of smashed down, as if someone was rolling around in them.

One summer morning, fter putting the food out, Joan discovered why.

A massive raccoon came out of the woods, followed very closely by a much smaller one. The massive raccoon would not let the smaller one near the food, so the smaller one took refuge in the flowerpot. The flowerpot was just near enough to the food that the raccoon could sneak down. grab some and jump back up into the pot when the enormous raccoon wasn't paying attention. Even when the giant raccoon was paying attention, the flowerpot was just high enough and far enough away that the little raccoon could hide there, the big one never followed. Too high? Thought the little one was treed? Who knows.

So the little one got a good bit of the food, though it had to work for it.

Joan noticed the same two raccoons and this pattern for a few weeks.

When she told my mom this story, she ended it with, "You know, that little raccoon shows more problem solving skills than a lot of my students."

I would be offeneded (as I WAS one of her students), but I know who I went to high school with. Joan's assessment was spot on.
oxymoron67: (history)
Yesterday, I went back to Discovery Times Square for the Pompeii exhibit. Scott wanted to see it, and I enjoyed it the first time, so I didn't mind seeing it again.

To change things up, when I made our reservations, I threw down the extra $7 per person for the audio tour.

Anyway.

Scott was late, which isn't unusual, but it was because the train he was on was delayed. It's okay: we still got there in time, though we got wet, as it was raining.

Discovery Times Square has timed tickets. We made reservations for 6:00, so we had between six and six thirty to get there.

The exhibit was just as good as I remembered, though, trust me, you can skip the audio tour. The adult audio tour was filled with people who would just talk and talk and talktalktalk. Of course, one of the narrators had the last name of Growcock, so every time he was introduced, I had to giggle.

The "family" audio tour was better. We followed the lives of Portia and her son, Lucius, as they traveled through Pompeii. Portia's husband was a fisherman and was off at work.

Still... not worth the trouble.

The exhibit itself was not particularly crowded, and we took our sweet time.

From there, we went to La Mediterranee, a French restaurant and piano bar, where we had a magnificent meal. We both had vichysoisse, and he had the striped bass while I had the salmon dijoinaisse, which was served on a bed of sauteed spinach, with some grilled tomato slices. Dessert was chocolate mousse.

Mmmmmmmmm.

Today is a low energy day, so I'm taking the day off from my Adventures in Cultural Elitism.
oxymoron67: (Gay Army)
I met up with my friend the soap opera writer (FSOW) to visit The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY).

Lots of fun! )
oxymoron67: (Gay Army)
Conversation with colleague, re: X-Men First Class

Him: It just should have been closer to the comic books. Beast was there, and that was it.
Me: You have to look at the comics and the movies as separate universes. Besides, Banshee was a longtime X-man, as was Havok.
Him: I suppose.
Me: I'm more upset that the minority heroes turned triator and were killed off, repectively.
Him: That was a problem, too. But I still don't think they repescted the canon enough.
Me: You know, sometimes, the canon needs to be ignored.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Well, to use an exampke from The Avengers, The Celestial Madonna storyline.
Him: Never heard of it.
Me: Let me summarize it for you: Vietnamese Martial Artist super-heroine marries a pacifist, telepathic space tree who reanimated the corpse of her recently killed in battle boyfriend. And that's canon. We don't need to see this in the movies.
Him: I guess.

_________________________

Conversation with friend, re: life and The Sound of Music

Him: ... so once again, I feel like Im fifteen going on sixteen...
Me: And there you are, during a thunderstorm, dancing in a gazebo with your hot blond boyfriend.
Him: ... who cares if he's a Nazi? He looks hot in a unifrom.
Me:... he wasn't a Nazi at that point, so he wouldn't be in a uniform.
Him. ....
Me: You CANNOT be judging me over The Sound of Music. You've suggested attending sing-a-longs.
Him: I'm not judging you about The Sound of Music. I'm judging you for knowing THE COSTUME CHANGES in The Sound of Music.
Me: I... um... point conceded.
oxymoron67: (reading)
I met up with friends ([livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant and his sister) at the Museum of American Folk Art.

[livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant was in NYC and wanted to do something geeky, and, let's be honest, if I'm not NYC's one-stop shop for geekiness, who is?

I suggested the Folk Art Museum because this branch is closing due to financial concerns (and MoMA is buying it, so they can screw up the climate control of another building. YAY!

Also, they were showing part two of their Quilts Extravanganza.

We went through the whole museum and saw a=some amazing paintings, the most dour dolls EVER, and this wall painting that had bears, elephants and a troop of soldiers painting along the bottom. The first time I looked at it, I missed all the people and animals. You had to really look for them.

The collection of weathervanes was neat, too. This museum's collection is really offbeat and interesting. I need to find its Lincoln Square locations.

The main reason we were there, though, was the three floors of quilts. It was amazing. Unlike part one of the Quilting Extravaganza, which was organized chronologically, part two was organized more by techniques and styles of quilting. It was interesting, especially since both [livejournal.com profile] warriorsavant and his sister know a great deal about stitchery and quilting.

We didn't stop in the gift shop, which is just as well, since it's so expensive.

Great conversation was had. Then we went to dinner (Indian food -- delicious) and talked more.

Then we went our separate ways. I got back to my neighborhood, and since it was so nice out and it was dusk, I wandered around the neighborhood for a while.

If you can, go to the Museum of American Folk Art before the 53rd St. branch closes.
oxymoron67: (Default)
So, friends were talking about smugglers and border searches, and one friend, who is from Canada said something like:

Oh, I understand. Once, coming back from Canada, I was stopped because of the jam I had with me.


My friend the soap opera writer and I just couldn't let this go. I mean, our friend is part of a vicious jam-smuggling ring.

This has taken on a life of its own:

"She is the head of a criminal jam-smuggling cartel. She is Queen of the Maritime Jam Smugglers.... she is.... LADY MARMALADE."
oxymoron67: (Default)
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I've always wanted to spend a summer (or year) traveling in Europe. So, let's go with that.

Understand, it wouldn't be the beach. As I sunburn scarily easy* and bright sunlight gives me a headache, the beach is a bad choice.

Besides, imagine my geekgasms as I went from museum to museum in Europe.

*I may have told this story before... if I did, please forgive.

Back in the early to mid-90's, I would go to a Memorial Day picnic with friends at my friend's mother's house. This particular friend also is pale.

Well, one bright, shiny Memorial Day, I was at the picnic, and wasn't paying attention. We were outside playing badminton and croquet and generally having fun. I did not use sunscreen.

By the time dinner rolled around, my arms weren't just red... they were almost purple. I was in an immense amount of pain for two days. My arms cramped up, like my skin had shrunk and was squeezing my arms. Then everything started to peel.

As I discovered when my chest was sunburned the last time, peeling skin and body hair? Not a happy mix.

Anyway, I was sunburned SO badly that next Memorial Day, my friend;s mother brought out sunscreen specifically for me.

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