Monday, May 28, 2012

On The Hawaiian Chieftain

Over the weekend we took a battle cruise on the Hawaiian Chieftain a historically-based sail ship circa 1850.  We were supposed to battle the Lady Washington, but between the winds and an incoming spring tide, Lady Washington got stuck on the dock.

We were really glad we'd gotten onto Hawaiian Chieftain instead.

We rode under the Newport, Oregon, bridge, and out onto the Pacific Ocean (about as far as the buoys with their bells).  The swells were about six feet, which made being in the bow of the ship a little rocky and damp.

Then we returned into Newport Bay and fired cannon at various objects.  Probably the most interesting thing I learned was that cannon fire echos off of sails, boat sides, and piers.   You can tell if you've broadsided a ship by the echo off of her sails.  You can tell if you've hit a jetty wall just right because of the zipper-like sound of the echo bouncing off of all the receding piers.

It wasn't the sunniest day, and at the east end of the bay, the wind picked up.  But that didn't stop the first mate from bringing out his guitar and the cook his accordion.  I didn't catch all the words to their songs (something about picks and the Devil).

I was glad that the diesel fumes were high above the ship, so I was only a little queasy. By the time we got back on shore, we were all starving, so we got (what else) sea food.

Battle Cruise Photos

 Arg!  We're back from a battle cruise.  We fired cannon.

 At a pure science vessle (because knowledge is the greatest treasure!)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flying Home


We woke up and managed to leave the condo at 5:30.

Although at one point I wondered if we would find the rental car return as we were stuck behind someone who was obviously lost -- they more-or-less parked their car in the middle of a lane and got out to ask a kiosk attendant a question.

Security was uneventful, except for almost losing the green bag with Disney Treasures in it (thank you fellow traveler for pointing out that I'd left it behind).

The sun is about to rise. It will seem weird to me how the sun will get an extra three hours in the sky today.

Here's how fill a 757 fill with nervous laughter: mention over the plane's PA system that there's a slight delay to the tarmac while we wait for maintenance to come and determine if the jet fuel found on the ground came from our plane's leaking engine or from some other plane. Be sure to start to say something awkward, then trail off before you conclude, "as soon as we're sure we're safe, we'll be on our way.". The wings are not on fire.

I'm kind of tired.

We worked it out; if we go by West Coast clocks, we got up this morning at 2AM to leave Orlando, Florida, and touched down at our house at 1:20 PM. Which meant that we were home in time for our daily naps. I had a nightmare, which I hope was caused by rich food. Now it's 9:30 PM, which feels like half-past midnight. If I have any more nightmares or work-related anxiety dreams, it's going to be hard to want to go to sleep.

However, re-reading (and editing out) the grammatical mistakes in this missive is revealing how tired I must be.

Early this afternoon, as I was walking about, a wave of pollen hit me. It's funny how one gets used to a runny nose and itchy eyes . And how quickly one forgets them until the pollen returns. Also, it's in the high sixties right now, whih feels very cold compared to th e mid eighties.

In between sneezes, I came to the conclusion that I like Disney World becaus it's really easy to be interactively friendly there. Yes, it's artificial; yes, it's like Christmas; yes, it's a vacation--and we're privileged to be able to spend money on a lavish stay. But still, there's something to be said for reassuring a girl in the swim with the sharks line by sharing that it was my first time snorkeling ever; or spontaneously helping someone figure out what attraction they were looking for was; or joining in with a merchant shaking a rattle to try to help her sell some drums; or smiling and waving at strangers and having them wave back; or

-- oh my Goddess: an army of people hasn't cleaned our house while we were gone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Parks Revisited


I woke up after work anxiety dreams and discovered that I had sunburned more severly than I thought. Not so bad, but sore enough to make wearing a shoulderstrap uncomfortable.

We walked into The Animal Kingdom around 9:45.

This was the hottest day of our visit. Probably the funniest line from the tram attendant was, "as you exit watch your step and watch your head; and if you don't, watch your language."

We watched The Festival of the lion king. They do a pretty good job with the animatronic animals. I would say that "Be Prepared" is my favorite number because of the drums and the fire dancing. The fire dancer's presentation was impressive, mostly when he started flames dancing everywhere, including the stage. Purposefully. Which he stepped over. I did wonder, however, when he laid down on the stage in order to twirl flaming batons over himself A) if he meant to light his loincloth on purpose, B) just how large and hot the flame burning over his groin was going to get. Everyone was professional, because he kept on twirling that baton, and no one broke character. And then the flame died out.

After the Festival, we stood in lines to meet people in costumes forging signatures of fictional cartoon characters. Yes, it's sweet to see how happy children get hugging mice; I guess it falls into that sentimental area between belief and imagination. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if the woman playing Pochahantis got many awkward questions.

We went on the safari ride, which was even better the second time. The giraffes were much more close. Alas, just before they appeared, I discovered that I had filled up my camera card with pictures of children hugging people in cartoon character costumes.


Our final visit was to Epcot. Just as we arrived the heavens opened up with a heavy shower. We managed to stay mostly under cover and then took the ride in the Bucky Sphere. Afterward, we went counter clockwise around the showcase of nations. I found myself rocking out to a four man band doing Beatles covers. It was kind of goofy, but they all had waist long hair which they whipped around in time to the music--as they stood before wind machines (I knew it! I knew it!  Long hair does require a wind machine!).

We half-watched the fireworks display outside of Italy, but after the first initial fireball, it was mostly a floating LED show on a giant globe.

Mark and I had another hour of time to ourselves, which was nice. I particularly enjoyed sitting with him on a bench at night looking over model of the Eiffel Tower reflecting off of the lake. We had just managed to get into the room with the Chinese terracotta warriors, which Mark found interesting.

We stole into the Moroccan hall of arts and lingered over the artifacts there. Mark especially liked the silver Burbur spiked bride's bracelets. And after much hunting, I showed him the way over the to jeweled snake bracelet. We discussed the tiles for sale there, and agreed that the tiles were interesting, but not quite what we were looking for.

And then it was time to go.

Return to Hollywood

Thursday Evening, May 17

After our mandatory afternoon nap, we went back Hollywood.  I wore my Malicifent lapel pin, and at least three Disney cast members wondered where I had got it.

Mark and I wandered through the shops looking at expensive Disney Schlock. I confess; I like the lapel pins, at least the smaller more tasteful ones. I purchased a pin of Snow White's Evil Stepmother holding up the heart box. Mark looked at mugs shaped like Mickey Mouse's hotpants, which we agreed was a weird object to drink from. I considered purchasing some of the Unbirthday Teas, but I refuse to drink a loose-leaf tea that has "orange flavorings" listed as an ingredient (if it were orange peel, I'd be fine).

In one store I had my Big Gay Fag moment--they were selling the cutest little top hats, similar to what the Mad Hatter wears, only with more ribbons. They were so small, at first I thought maybe they were hat pin cushions; but they had elastic pin straps.

The next thing I knew, I was posing in front of a mirror and squealing, "Ooh! This one matches my shirt!" I wanted one that looked a little more butch or Mr. Darcey, and as I picked one up, I said, "Oh, all this one needs is a peacock feather." Prompted by some Spirit of Disney Wishes, I turned it around and viola!  A peacock feather!  Of course I put it on. I was seriously tempted to buy it because I know a certain six year old who would be mortified if I wore it....

But, alas, it was like the snake charm bracelet; I'd wear it once at home, by myself, maybe while sipping a cup of tea while sitting on a cushion and listening to bellydance music; and I'd glance at myself in a mirror and quote George Hamilton quoting Lauran Hutton: "I am comical, and absurd; willing to do or say anything to please my man." (I really do want Lauran Hutton's hat from the closing scene in Zorro, The Gay Blade).... and then I'd pack it with some of the other clothes I wear maybe once every three years or so.

Ah well.  I'll always have Paris.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Swimming with Sharks

Thursday the 17th.

This afternoon I am slightly sunburned. Not too bad, and luckily only on my shoulders and upper back (and five days later, my back is itchy itchy itchy).

We went to Typhoon Lagoon. The best part was swimming with the sharks. We got to use face masks and snorkels so we could swim about forty feet over a saltwater tank filled with manta rays, bonnet-head sharks, and leopard sharks.  And pretty blue fish.

I was surprised how many folks quickly swam over the surface. I sculled my hands and kept my arms next to my body, which was warmer. The water was seventy degrees Fahrenheit; they warned us a lot that the water would be cold, but actually, the cleansing showers when we got in were worse.

I think the oddest experience was another Parents Behaving Badly moment when a mother and a father forced their screaming nine year old daughter to get into the water with them. Even with my ears under the water, I could hear shrieking protestations and loud arguing and a life guard calling to them, "Ma'am, do you need any help?" I'm not sure what it is about the water parks, and maybe it's the time of year that we've visited, but it's the place I seem to notice the most Brits Behaving Badly.

Anyway, the blue fish seemed to like me a lot and came right up too me. It was slightly alarming when one of the sharks became curious and angled up from the bottom to about the mid-level of the tank. I liked the manta rays, and seeing the sunlight ripple along the aquarium bottom and on the fish was beautiful.

This was my first time snorkeling, so I did the classic "look too far to the left and get a load of salt water in the snorkel" move. Of course I did this after I had just exhaled, so I had to stop floating, tread water, and fiddle with my snorkel to get a breath and clear it. Something about floating face down in the water looking a pretty fish is relaxing, and I noticed my breath slowing to a hypnotic exhale-inhale rhythm; it reminded me of how I breathe when I dream I can breath underwater. Then a blue fish came right up to me and startled me.

After the forth time through (there wasn't much of a wait), I found myself shivering a little, so I trouped over to the monster tidal wave pool. For about a half hour, I was in a pool with about a three hundred other folks. There would be a kind of hydraulic popping sound at the far end of the pool, then a giant wave of water would swell up from nowhere, and everyone (who had been waiting for this moment) would scream and try to catch a massive, six to four foot wave. Repeat randomly every two minutes or so.

The combination of the sun, saltwater and other chemicals has tightened my skin. We'll see if that's a good thing or not. Swimming instead of walking everywhere was kinder to my feet, and I felt much more limber by the end of our pool park visit than I did when I woke up. We'll see if the muscles I used swimming complain tomorrow (editor's note:  they didn't).

Buzzed in Tomorrow Land

Wednesday Evening, the 26th.

We returned to the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.  OK, and ride the Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin rides.

Rain threatened as we arrowed our way to the pirate ride.  I've been leaving the details out, but most of the rides we got on we would try to use Fastpass.  This involved someone taking all our tickets, running ahead, and using them to get an assigned Fastpass entrance time that the rest of us would use once we got to the attraction.  Some of the times we were able to ride a ride twice by getting a Fastpass ticket, waiting in the regular line once (if the wait was under ten or fifteen minutes), and then going through again in the Fastpass line.

In Adventure Land, we rode the Pirate Ride twice.  I think they turned up the lights on this ride since I last rode it in 2005.  On one hand, this is probably a good thing for folks who have problems seeing in the dark.  On the other hand, I remember the initial entrance had a ghostly pirate face wailing "Dead men tell no tales" and a skeleton pirate sailing a raft.  This time, the lights were much brighter and the sailor looked less spectral.  At the end of the ride, you are forced to walk through the Pirate Schlock Shop.

Then it started to rain, hard.  We broke out our rain ponchos and continued to the next adventure.

In Tomorrow Land, we rode the Spin three times.  I don't know if it was the late hour or the rain or both, but there was almost no one there.  The first time through, I rode with Mark. The idea is to get into a cart and then ride through a futuristic arcade using a laser gun to shoot Z's -- for Emperor Zurg -- in an attempt to foil Zurg's wicked plot.  You can turn the cart with a joystick in order to be able to aim at targets behind you.   At the end when you get out, a picture of you on the ride's cart shows up.

My picture was hilarious. I think I was getting a little annoyed because I wasn't sure what my laser was hitting, and I was getting into the game. So in the photo I'm hunched over the gun, gripping it with both hands, and my teeth are bared. You can almost hear me muttering, "Eat hot photons, Martian scum." Mark looked serene as he calmly fired.

Since I had to own so funny a shot, I rushed up to the photo counter, told them the photo humber (222220) and decided to order a big copy of the photo. I must have gushed a little, and it was 9:30 on a really rainy night, and I guess since I was a greying 47 year old in a Tigger sweater with a matching Tigger park pin on my collar, and because the photo was sooo Space Man Spiff, the photo clerk put the photo into my hands and said, "From us to you, we'd like you to have this as a gift."  (I didn't realize it at the time, but in the print, she switched my and Mark's scores so I'd be a Galactic Hero; but I guess I should say that for the record, Mark got the high score).

And then it was time for the Wishes Fireworks Show.  I like the fireworks, especially the signature white blaze arcing over the signature Cinderella castle.... and, I wish the narrative included something about how a wish is the first step to getting something you want instead of the final step. My and Mark's favorite quote from this show is The Wicked Queen from Snow White proclaiming, "I can make a wish, too!" (and I like the accompanying green and purple fireworks.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Epcot Wednesday Morning

Wednesday the 16th.

Today I had a large chunk of time by myself at the Epcot Center. I specifically wanted to visit Morocco, to photograph tile design; Norway, to photograph the Stave church carving of a dragon; and Mexico, to get a photo of the Mayan carving. My feet are still throbbing and sore.

We went into the future world exhibit in the giant geodesic globe. I love the globe, and could happily spend an entire day and camera memory card photographing it in different lights, angles and distances.  The Future World Ride was an interesting review of the history of communications. I liked the way that flames were projected onto a fine mist in ancient Egypt and Rome.  I'll have to see if I can do that at home--perhaps we could have a flaming goblet or something for Halloween.

I rode with Mary, and as we were progressing backwards and down to disembarking, the ride generated a cartoon using our faces. In the future, Mary and I went skiing and I broke my arm. But nanites healed the bone while we sipped cocoa in the futuristic ski chalet.  (Oddly enough, the video that I e-mailed to myself has Mary braking her arm instead of me.  I'm not sure if they switched things or if my memories are from an alternate universe.)

I entered the Display of Nations right as it opened at 11. It was interesting to see it before it filled with tourist families.

Morocco was fun. I almost bought some Moroccan tile to take home. I had hoped that they had something that wasn't so heavily octagonal; and the clerk there tried hard to invent new systems of counting to six, but he still kept coming up with eight-fold designs. I almost bought an articulated snake bracelet (jewel studded) but it was kind of expensive, and I thought, "Where would I wear this?" I did grab a light lunch of a falafel roll.   I avoided the deadly red pepper someone slipped into my couscous (Mark doesn't believe me, but I'm pretty sure that calendula was in the couscous), and I was harassed by a live duck (not named Donald) who waddled into the restaurant.

Then I sketched out the basic design of the tilework done on the cafe table.

The Stave Church was disappointing. Seven years ago, I tried to photograph a dragon sculpture. This time, the sculpture had been removed (apparently they'd removed a lot of things to make way for a Kim Possible feature, which is in the process of being paved over for a Phineas and Ferb ride).  It's possible the carving was only on loan and was returned to Oslo or something.

In the Italian Pavilion, I struck up a conversation about clocks with a mask maker. He used a plaster mould to make cat masks he was working on.

At the Japan Pavilion, the torii gate there reminded me of my Second Life friend, Pomona, so I had to take a photograph of it.  This proved difficult, as there were topiary characters from "Cars" there.  I wanted to enter the pagoda, but it was closed.

In China, I overhead someone saying how cool the temple there was during a hot day, so I went inside.  At the top of the temple was a medallion of a dragon and phoenix.  A little further on, there was an exhibit of terracotta tomb soldiers.

I stuck my head into various shops (especially in Germany) thinking that I might find a nice Christmas orniment for my Mom, but nothing really jumped out and said, "Buy Me!"

Magic Kingdom Tuesday

Tuesday, May 15.

After battling my West Coast circadian rhythms, I managed to haul myself out of bed just before 7AM.  At one point during my wake-up routine, I starting singing "Tale as old as song / song as old as rhyme / Beauty and the Mime", which meant that I got to fast forward the movie in my head an imagine villagers storming a dark castle chanting, "Kill the Mine! / Kill the Mime!" And giggling. (Mark thinks this is not funny and just plain weird.)

We drove from the condo, took a short ferry ride, and managed to get to The Magic Kingdom just after it opened at 9AM.  The Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite parks because of the iconic Disney Castle in the center, through which one can see a carousel. OK, and there are monorails.

 We rode the Small World ride; I like how they managed to do so much without computers or special digital effects.  And I like the squealing can-can dancers.  I especially like how they do the suns. But I wonder how much of the strength of the Small World ride works because it's the ride that we as children remember.

We did the Peter Pan ride. We managed to go twice, and I saw a lot more the second time through. I appreciated the use of black backsides of clouds and creative sail placement to hide the fact that there were other sailboat gondolas zigzagging much closer to ours that we probably realized in a space much smaller than it seemed.

We did the Splash Mountain ride, and I was really grateful for the Fast Pass option as walked by the folks in the really long line.

The Haunted House was fun... although, I sort of liked it more seven years ago. Maybe I was reliving the ride forty years ago when I was on the ride seven years ago. This time, maybe I was in a different head space, or maybe the sound was different. I think they've toned the ride down in terms of things popping out of boxes and the visual ghost effects have improved. Maybe this time around I really wanted to just stop and look at the details of the set. I think the best part of the Haunted House was the interactive graveyard--if you touched different instruments on a musical headstone different instruments would play. I also liked the headstone bookshelf.

We visited The Hall of the Presidents. I remembered someone telling me long ago that when Abraham Lincoln stands up out of his chair, it's a chilling moment. They were right.

Keeping in mind Nina's advice to look around for writing ideas, the only thing that kept repeating was Difficult Parenting Moments. The Magic Kingdom attracts many families with small children, and sometimes the kids get tired, the parents get frustrated, and around noon the blood sugar levels crash, which culminates in the moment when the adult's competency as a parent is called into question. Probably the least worrisome was the imperious mother getting into a "Nuh-uh," argument--with park eviction as the parent's trump card--with her defiant pre-teen son.

I suppose the other writing idea comes from the ibis and cranes in Adventure Land. While most seemed to be fine avian specimens, the ones that I saw up close and personal were the shabby looking ones hanging out in the picnic area scavenging scraps from folks eating fast food. They looked like there was something wrong with their feathers; they seemed to be falling out and dirty. The crane had red skin showing on its neck, and the ibises were picking at the mostly meatless bones from one couple's fried ribs basket.

Today's observation about Disney is:  Which came first, Disney or the Wedding Industry? I mean the Wedding Industry works hard to instill the notion of a Special Day filled with memories. And Disney instills the notion that one documents one's Special Day with photographs, autographs (which are like guest books), and personal wishes coming through.

And, yes; we did see several newlyweds at Disney World.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Animal Kingdom

Monday morning, the 14th was Animal Kingdom Morning.

I had a stupid tourist moment as I entered the park. The ticket I had looked so much like a Metro Pass that I missed the place where a reader photos your fingerprint. So I stood there stupidly wondering where my ticket was going to be spat out before a nice guide instructed me to put my fingerprint on the gate. 

Wow. All Disney has to do is hook up with the FBI and I'll bet they could collect a lot of data. Come to think of it, if there are any finger prints on the on-site scene of a crime, they've already got ticket info.

I was going to go all crazy taking photographs of everything when I realized I probably already have photographs of everything. So I had a pleasant experience remembering things like lampposts and lamp shades that I hadn't seen in over seven years.  I like the way many of the artifacts in the Animal Kingdom have intertwined animals on them.

We went on the Safari, which no longer has the poachers or a shaky bridge. I'll have to see if we got close enough to take photographs of the animals. I'm going to bet Mark got some pretty good shots. My camera is better for close up objects and architectural details.

When I told her I was going to DisneyWorld, Nina wished me fun and lots of opportunities to get story ideas. So this morning's idea is the Komodo Dragon keeper.

I wish I could have placed her accent. It wasn't' Georgian; it sounded almost rural Oregonian because of the way the keeper said, "don't got no," and "ain't got none."

The Komodo Dragon is canabalistic. Mating is hard on the females. And bigger males will kill and eat smaller males. They look after the eggs, but once the kids hatch it's dinner time. The baby Komodo Dragons instinctively know to climb trees so that Mom and Dad don't eat them. Probably about half the kids make it. The Komodo Dragon Disney has is a male, because a solitary female is hermaphroditic, and can self-fertilize. In fact, there were no baby Komodo Dragons at Disney, because, "Then they could climb trees and get at us."

The Komodo dragon--which had been eating something near the back of its enclosure--turned around, came a little forward, and looked at his keeper.  He appeared to have gold eyeliner.

"Yah," she said, "You looking at me? I'm talking about you, Mr. Evil." The Komodo Dragon's tongue licked out as it stared at us. "What were you eating? Why didn't you show me?" The hypothesis was that a baby rabbit had wandered in too the Komodo Dragon's area. (Where would a wild baby rabbit live in Disney Worlds Animal Kingdom? I hope there were no pocket watches involved.)

Mark has taken something for his motion sickness, so he can go on some of the rides (hes still refuses to get on the Mission Mars ride) We went on the Kahli River ride, some of us got completely soaked (Hot Tip: If you don't want to get soaked, sit between two small children; on the big slide at the ride's end, the heavier side of the raft tends to turn to the lead and then splash up against the current at the slide's bottom, swamping the riders at that end). We went on it twice.

Then we went onto the Mt Everest Yeti ride.  I liked the Yeti temple we climbed through on the way up.  They make clever use of track switches and backwards falls. Now that I think about it, just looking at the ride, you'd never know that large portions of it go backwards. And corkscrew. Mark only went on that one once.

Back at the condo, we took a nap. A really long nap.  This set the pattern for our Disney crepuscular existence of early morning entrances and late evening lingerings.

Then we went to Disney's Hollywood park. I like the fake sets.  At the Imperial Palace Theatre, I took a picture of the dress Dame Judy Dench wore as Queen Elizabeth I

Sunday Nun Stories

Sunday the 13th we had a pleasant visit with Mark's Mother's Sister, Carol, and his cousin, Maura.

The most fun was hearing all the stories about Mary and Carol's lives when they were girls going to catholic school (insert crazy nuns and high school shenanigans here).

The way they told the stories was kinesthetic memory in action:  one would say, "I was takling Latin from Sitster... Sister- oh what was her name?"  This would accompanied by a hand gesture for a big nose, or for a fat nun, and the other would name the nun.

I think my favorite nun was the French teacher nun who would poke students with a transom rod, and who subsequently went crazy and "was carted off."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Boarding without Seats

Saturday the 12th.  Whew. Out of Salt Lake City. For a few moments I thought we might not get seats. Luckily, Mark kept calm and we got on. I was not filled with confidence that we were in good hands when the ticket agent said, "You guys can get on the plane." Uh, gee; we'd like to, but we're waiting for you to give us our seat assignments.

Oh well. We'll see if our carry-on luggage, which we checked, gets to Orlando with us.

Later... We landed in Orlando on schedule. This left us about a half hour to rent a vehicle before the rental desk closed.  The first thing we noticed upon exiting the plane and walking down the terminal bridge was the air. It was damp. And humid. It smelled of a harbor and maybe palm trees. (Actually, there's a lot of sulfur in the water, which tastes terrible.)

My ears are still equalizing. The sensation of a worm trying to tunnel out of my ear reminds me of our last visit here, where it took like what seemed like forever for my ears to feel right.

After retrieving our luggage, I waited for Mark to appear with the car. I made the mistake of sitting downwind from a cigarette bin. Ugh. I don't know what they smoke here, but it smells sour and tarry and dirty. As soon as I could, I moved upwind.

There are more languages here than in Oregon.

The arrivals area looks like the inside of a space station. The concrete curders streatch to the right and left , threatening to merge in the perspective of the lace. In front of me, yellow metal girders curve away from the builing a support canval awnings (I think) At first I thought they were sheets metal painted white.

Mark has called and can't find me. So I will stand. (It turned out he was looking for me at the wrong terminal.)

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Going through my virtual Disney things.  I could have sworn I was the one with the broken arm in this video.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Airplane Geomancy

Tapping on an iPad's glass keyboard is not the best way to type. I'm trying to do geomancy by looking at the hills valleys and mountains below. The rivers ran through valleys. Long valleys penned rivers within their undulations.  Sometimes, the shadows of hills look like letters, but not on this flight.

There is a great haze lying over the globe. We're in a bowl of has the rim of which hovers above the horizon. Instead of white clouds, a kind of brown haze blurs the boundary between air and land. Below, the brown and tan plain is a wrinkled parchment for the strokes of roadway and the dark green squares and circle of fields.

Features on the land disappear into a band of grey brown haze. Mountains are vague shadows. Rivers, roads and snowy ridges are retreating reflections.

What I took for a river is actually a river canyon. Considering how the shadow of the bridges are, the canyon must be fairly deep.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Eugene Airport

Apparently, the Eugene airport has a Full Body Scan. I got to stumble through it. I kind of didn't realize that I'd been shunted through it until I was walking under a sign about scanner wavelengths. I actually thought I was walking through a metal detector until I was instructed to rise my hands over my head. Sigh. Alas, you're supposed to hold still, as I was instructed after I started to go-go dance. If we're going to have naked pictures taken of us when we travel, we should be able to be photographed as if we were dance extras from "Laugh-In" or "Barbarella."

I think I would have preferred a pat-down. But I'm willing to try anything once. So I put my feet on the yellow feet marks and played along. The little booth is disconcerting. The rotating clear plexiglas shield is just a little too reminiscent of the Old Trek disintegrator booths. And the yellow feet reminded me of the appartment scanning scene in "The Fifth Element."

My right thigh pocket was folded up oddly, because it showed up on the scan and I got patted by a TSA agent after the scan. (Note to self, don't wear the tan slacks through security.)

Our next leg will be through Salt Lake City. Since our plane got changed several days ago, our seat assignments have become swizzled around. So we are not sure if we will sit together or not.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Eliza Doolittle Eclipse

Next week on the 20th of May / I declare a solar eclipse day !

It's happening around here in the late afternoon.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Obligatory Chessboard

It was inevitable.

 Eventually, after playing around with Blender, I was bound to create a chess set. So I did this one. It's a copy of one by a Bauhaus designer; it has a manifesto attached about doing away with anachronistic kings, queens, bishops and knights. I kind of like it, but I noticed when I rendered the black pieces that it looked a little like playing with Borg ships.

And there's something about this piece that seems cold. Maybe if I print out the pieces on a 3D printer and fill them with LEDs...