Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Red sticks for everyone

A pictorial journey through Baton Rouge:

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This is the old capitol building. I would know more about it if I paid attention during our reception there instead of mowing down on the free food and partaking of the free beer. It appears be very old, and they are doing some kind of restoration work to the outside. In addition to free food and drink, I also spent quite a bit of time in conversation with various cohorts, including these two:

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My friends Traci and Erin, posing just in front of the capitol.

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There were fleur de lys everywhere in Baton Rouge, including on the gate surrounding the old capitol building.

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Ah yes, the Mississippi River. Spell it with me folks, and feel the satisfaction.

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A blowsy and strange self-portrait by the river.

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One afternoon I snuck off by myself, got an awesome crawfish po’ boy at Poor Boy Lloyds, and took the free trolley around the downtown area. I got off at the current state capitol, which is very impressive. Almost as neat as the Nebraska State Capitol, which I still think is the coolest one I’ve ever seen. So many capitol buildings look the same. It’s nice to see someone doing something different.

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On the capitol grounds, there are all kinds of nice fountains, gardens and trees, including this impressive guy covered with Spanish Moss. Very Louisiana-looking.

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Governor Huey P. Long is ever present in Baton Rouge. Here is his statue in front of the capitol.

And we’ll end with some pictures from the fourth floor garden terrace of the LSU art center, at which museum gift shop we indulged in some fancy stationary purchases.

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Here’s Traci….

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And here’s me….

After these cheery pictures, we went to the Baton Rouge airport, where we were delayed for a couple hours due to storms in Dallas. When we finally took off for Dallas, it was storming in Baton Rouge, and we had a very shaky ride to the DFW airport. Once there, I had missed my original flight to Austin, but was able to hustle to the gate for another flight and made it home just two hours late. And very hungry. Luckily Josh was able to appease me with leftover pizza and some PBR.

Monday, May 30, 2005

I'm a celebrity!

This morning I received an e-mail from Michael Sims, the author of Adam's Navel, which I posted about earlier this month. A friend had sent him the link to my bloggy review of his book, and he just wrote to thank me for the kind words and to let me know that he will be mentioning my review in a talk he is giving about used books continually popping up in remainer bins and yard sales and being read.

After re-reading my review, I wished that I had spent more time on it. And, if I had known that the author of the book would be reading it, I probably would have. Still, I think my feelings about the book (that I really liked it) came through, and there weren't too many mispellings.

My celebrity was doubled with my discovery that Receptionista included a link to Spacebeer on her blog. I'm sure it would be much cooler for me to just post stuff and not care who read it or liked it, but I get such a tingle of niceness whenever I get a comment or a link from someone whose writing I really enjoy. I have never met R., but I read her blog everyday and just feel like I would like her if we met in person. So, Receptionista, if you read this, you totally made my day with your link.


In keeping with my book-reading posts, I should mention that I finished The Art of Spelling: The Madness and the Method by Marilyn vos Savant (the super-genius that writes the articles in Parade magazine.) This was another catalog purchase -- I bought it because I've been a little self-concious about my spelling lately (which is not awesome, but part of that is because I type at the speed of light and don't always proofread well), and because I have been thinking about spelling a lot lately for some random reason. My husband is an awesome speller, who even went to the state championship for spelling in Nebraska a couple times. I admire that and also just don't understand it. So this book was alright -- I liked the "madness" section, which was a history of spelling and how it has evolved, better than the "method" section which was more of a how-to improve your spelling guide. I could have done without the author's silly asides that really seemed like they belonged more in her columns for the Sunday circular than in a book. Overall, eh, it wouldn't kill a person to read this book, but I couldn't really recommend it. I had to chip away at it, and only because I really do finish everything I read did I end up finishing it. I think I'll probably try to sell it to Half Price, unless any of you would like to have a copy.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Fun and profit on my fridge

This is a bad copy of a bad copy of a newspaper clipping, but click on it to make it bigger and then just wait for the laughs. They shall come. If you are too busy to click on it, I'll just let you know that this gentleman "has been trying unsuccessfully to replicate the Utah fusion experiment in a steel washtub in his garage." And this was a photo accompanying a serious article about the physicist and his work. Just look at his sad face and his strange jumble of junk in a washtub. Wow.Posted by Hello

[Also, I am now back from Baton Rouge. Expect an exciting post filled with pictures of bloody red sticks shortly.]

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Em Eye Ess Ess Eye Ess Ess Eye Pee Pea Eye

I will be rockin' it archives style until Saturday night in Baton Rouge. I'm predicting zero computer access during my trip to Louisiana, but maybe I'll take a picture of the Mississippi River while I'm there.

[I used to love to spell Mississippi when I was a kid. I would spell it over and over again and the spelling would get stuck in my head. In fact, it still kind of does that....]

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rockin' the files

Another nascent band name from the archives:

Spatial Distortions and Plate Scales

Rock on!

Monday, May 23, 2005


This is kind of old news, but way back last week I read The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes by Chuck Zerby. When I bought this book, through a catalog, I didn't really look at it, and I thought it was Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig. So, I'm not always a careful reader, the book was only three dollars either way, and I'm an impulsive book buyer. As soon as I got the book in the mail and looked at it, I realized this was a totally different topic. And yet, this author is similarly obsessed. But with footnotes.

I never thought that much about footnotes before, although I've always liked them much more than endnotes. If I see the little number or asterisk or cross on the page, I'm going to have to check out what it refers to. If that is all the way in the back of the book and ends up just being a citation, I'll be sad. If its right there on the same page, you just have to jump your eyes down and your curiosity is satisfied. Zerby agrees with me on this.

He goes into the history of the footnote, with a focus on its use in books about history and in poetry. He makes a good case for the footnote's ability to give the reader a break from formal prose, to hide sometimes controversial or potentially censored comments, and to generally act as an entirely different mode of communication within a single text.

Apparantly the real downfall of the footnote has been publishers. They don't like laying them out, they don't like the extra space, and they think the general reader is not going to read something with a footnote. Which might be true.

But I think general readers would like them better if they were more prevalant, and not relegated to academic texts that no one wants to read anyway. Bring back the footnote! But not in a snotty postmodern, ironic, self-referential way. Bring it back because it really serves a purpose that no other writing tool can provide*.

*Goooooooooo footnotes!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Flying Solo, Part Deux

An illustrated guide to a Saturday in a temporarily solo gal about town:

After having some cereal, coffee, internet time, and completely cleaning out Josh's car, including vacuuming it, washing it, and washing all the windows inside and out (except the trunk, which is so gross and wet and moldy that I am no longer going to speak of the trunk. Just be satisfied with how clean everything else is.) And also after eating a nice salad with leftover rotisserie chicken, mandarin oranges, mushrooms and asparagus.. After all that, I made myself a nice martini with a lemon twist.
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...And promptly rubbed this clay cleansing mask all over my face and drank a martini and read magazines while I waited for it to dry. Then I took a shower and read the magazines some more. I also cut up a bunch of strawberries and drizzled balsamic vinegar over them, which I had always heard was good, but had never tried. It is very good, especially with a martini, and it makes you feel all rich and decadent, even though you already had the vinegar and strawberries are on sale for like 99 cents a pound or something.
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And after getting a little tuned up, cleaning out your pores, eating strawberries, and sitting in the sun reading magazines, what else would one want to do except go shopping at Savers! This was a really strange idea, as I don't really like shopping and I'd never been to Savers before. But I got in the clean car and went. I found some good bargains, although in my gin-soaked haze I thought it would be awesome to buy three skirts that are grey, dark gray, and darker gray. How many gray skirts does one person need? I also bought a gray shirt. I was apparantly in the mood for gray clothing items.

Then I found this game... That's right. The VCR Wrestlemania Game. Including a VHS tape with over 175 highlights.
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How could I not want this? Plus it was only two dollars.
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Just look how much fun the dudes on the back of the box are having! They love it! Wrestlemania!
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The box was all taped up at the store, so I couldn't look inside, but I was stoked just from the pictures on the box. And those dudes! They were having fun! I was so excited when I opened up the box at home and found... No VHS tape! I was totally screwed by Savers. I really wanted that damn tape. And even though you can still sort of play without it, what do you really do when you draw a VCR card now? Pop in Jaws or something? I think I'll write to the Wrestlmania corporation for a replacement tape. [Update: This guy on Ebay seems to have a completely functional copy of the "ultra rare" game. I don't think its worth $18 just to get the video though....]

As a consolation, the drawings on the backs of the four card types are truly awesome. I might just give these cards out as Christmas gifts this year or do some kind of art project with them. The "interview" cards are the best. You are supposed to pick one and read it to your opponent (only two people can play at a time) before you move. They are all great, but my favorite three are:
1. It's time to shuffle the cards, and I'll be the one holding the ace of spades...
2. I'm going to teach you a WWF wrestling lesson that you'll never forget...
3. You'll be in the eye of the hurricane when you meet me. It's thunder and lightening all over you...

I think the cards are all kept open-ended so you can totally improvise slams on your opponent. Just like on Wrestlemania! I still wish I had the tape, though.
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Finally, I had myself some dinner. I invented this recipe using leftovers from my fridge and it turned out awesome -- I sauteed a bunch of garlic and some mushrooms and chopped up asparagus in sesame oil, then shredded up some more of that leftover chicken and got that all nice and hot. Then I made a little sauce from chicken broth, soy sauce and corn starch and cooked it all up until it was saucy and thick. Put the stir fry creation over rice and I was completely satisfied.
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My camera ran out of batteries, so the rest of the night is visually undocumented, but it involved having A. come over, chatting, walking down to the Movie Store, renting Mean Girls and Valley Girl (for girl's night, dude!), and drinking beer while watching Mean Girls but getting to sleepy to watch Valley Girl. Which I'll probably watch today.

I really liked Mean Girls -- I super love Tina Fey, and I'd never seen Lindsay Lohan in anything, but she is really quite likeable in this movie. I don't care much for her Hollywood, real-life persona, but she isn't a bad actress. The Heathers references were all great, as I have seen that movie about a gazillion times, and it was really clever and funny. Plus I don't think Josh would want to see it, really, so I'm glad I rented a Kristy-only movie while he was gone.

So that was my Saturday. Who knows what adventures await me today....

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fridge time, y'all

Another fantastic find from the archives...

And lizards! Posted by Hello

I just now noticed this, but the guy is actually holding two snakes (the second one's head is poking out just behind his wrist, and you can see the two bodies overlapping). Maybe they are having sex right then in his arms and he is studying it! That is some serious research.


In other news, I just have to give a shout-out to Monopoly. I had the most awesome three hour game with A. last night. Together we had hotels all the way from Park Place to Virginia Avenue, plus three more on the red properties. We almost ran out of hotels to put on the board. It was amazing. I lost, but I put up a good fight, and it almost looked like I might win there for awhile. A very satisfying board game experience...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Flying Solo

So, Josh is out of town this weekend (in New Orleans with some dude-friends, if you wondered where the Can-Smashing Robot or Movie-Watching Robot updates were) and I have the apartment entirely to myself. I can honestly count the number of times I've been all alone on one hand -- I have always had roomates that were always around, or lived with my parents, or lived with Josh. So far this is what I've done with my time:

1. Went to the grocery store for supplies

2. Talked to Josh on the phone and verified that he arrived safely.

3. Drank a beer and watched Judge Judy.

4. Took pictures of a bunch of shoes and a couple of shirts to (hopefully) sell on Ebay.

5. Read some of a cooking magazine.

6. Posted some of the shoes.

7. Took a shower

During numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 I listed to the Flying Burrito Brothers best of album and sang every song really loud.

7. Heated up the rotisserie chicken I bought at HEB and steamed some asparagus. Josh hates asparagus and I love it, so I bought a bunch to eat while he is gone.

8. Set the VCR to record the season finale of CSI, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

9. Super cleaned the bathroom. I mean it. That sucker is clean. If you were to come over and pee in the toilet, you could even look into the shower and I would not be embarrased.

The Modern Lovers, cranked up, provided the cleaning soundtrack.

10. Drank another beer and posted some more things on Ebay.

While listening to Volume One of the Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs

11. Wrote this post

Right now listening to They Might Be Giants, Mink Car

Now, if I've already accomplished 11 things in the five hours since I got home from work, you know the rest of this alone time is going to be a blast. Either that or I've already peaked and from now on I just count the beers and sit in my own filth....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I woke up at five in the morning to the sound of water dripping from somewhere in the apartment. It seems to be coming from inside the furnace/AC closet. And then there were two weird damp spots on the floor of my clothes-closet, some distance away from said furnace-closet. Its things like this that make me really glad I don't own a house. One call to the landlord and (hopefully) the problem will be solved. Whatever that problem may be. How does water come up out of the floor, I ask?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Brain sex

I love everything about the BBC Human Body and Mind website, especially all the quizes and tests. Because I love to get good scores on things. Seriously, give me an A plus and I'll do anything.

Today I took the Brain Sex quiz and found out that overall my brain is a woman brain, but in some tasks I have a half-and-half brain, and in others I'm even more womanly than other women.

The test takes about 20 minutes or so, and you can save it and come back to it if you need to. It has some really well designed little quizes and surveys -- plus they use the anonymous results to track trends and further psychological research. I love helping research.

Other bits about me: I got 12 out of 20 on the senses quiz, I'm right brained (at least according to my thumbs), and I can spot fake smiles. Personality-wise I'm a planner (instead of spontaneous), I like facts (instead of ideas), heads (instead of hearts), and I'm an introvert, which together makes me a Realist. And not very fun at parties.

Really this whole BBC site is pretty cool, and can easily take up hours of your time.

Now go check out the inner workings of you brain... with sexy results!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Fridge Items, Part II

More exciting things that are hanging on my fridge. As a fun project, print them out from your computer and hang them on your fridge! Bonus points for most accurately reconstructing the exterior of my fridge in your kitchen.

Part of my job involves making photocopies of old newspaper clippings on acid-free paper for preservation purposes. This is not an interesting or exciting thing to do. To spice it up, I love looking at the back of the clipping to see what random thing (or usually part of a thing) ended up back there. This was on the back of a clipping I copied a couple years ago. I hope I don't have to explain why its hilarious. That suit will save the world someday. I swear.Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Archivist! The ending will make you barf!

Last night I finished reading The Archivist by Martha Cooley. This is a novel about an older University Archivist at an Ivy League school [at Princeton, although they never really say where he works], who is in charge of a valuable collection, including revealing letters sent by T. S. Eliot to his close friend, Emily Hale. Eliot wanted Hale to destroy the letters, but instead she deposited them at Princeton under the condition that they not be opened for research until 2020. The archivist was supposed to arrange and preserve the letters by date, but he went one step further and read them all. He is then approached by a grad student who really really wants to see the letters. She also reminds him of his wife, who killed herself decades ago.

I didn’t care for the ending of this book at all – both as an archivist (he does a really unforgivable thing that basically makes you want to throw up) and as a reader (I didn’t care for the last scene between the two main characters). But what leads up to the ending is interesting and compelling. This book is about betrayal, parents, religion, mental illness, the Holocaust, poetry, isolation, and T. S. Eliot. And also archives. It is really worth reading, even if it doesn’t totally succeed in what I think it was trying to do. And the ending will probably make you mad, but isn’t that a little fun sometimes?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hey mister driver man, don't be slow...

Most days I get up at 5:45 and leave the house by 6:10 or so, in order to catch a city bus that will get me to campus at 6:30. Then I walk from my bus stop at Speedway and Dean Keaton up to my work on Red River, arriving at my desk at about 6:45. For the past week, though, and the next two weeks to come, I’ve been driving to work. I always drive between school sessions when they open up some of the UT lots so that anyone can park there. This always coincides with a reduced and/or nonexistent schedule for the UT shuttles, one of which I generally take home. I could always walk an extra few blocks and time it so that I could take a city bus home as well, but the free parking and the slight inconvenience of taking a different bus home always win out, and I end up driving to work every day.

Driving saves me about fifteen minutes each way, and adds a whopping half an hour of free time to my day! Not that I’ve really been doing anything with it. And, the weird thing is, after a few days, I really start to miss the bus. I like seeing the same people everyday and making up stories about them in my head, even though I never know where they came from or where they are going. I do always know where they are at about 6:15 am on weekdays, and that they came from and are going to somewhere near the #5 bus route. The bus driver on my route right now (they change them around every 6 months or so) is awesome. He doesn’t drive too fast or too slow. He always waits for you to sit down before pulling away from the curb. He always smiles and says good morning when I get on the bus and have a nice day when I get off the bus. Nice and friendly, but not chatty or flirty. I had one driver for awhile that would always offer me candy, like jolly ranchers or gum. Another one would always always always comment on how tall I am. One even flat out asked me out one day, which made subsequent rides really uncomfortable. What I like about the bus is that it this communal activity, but there is also a certain anonymity. I like all being together at the same time every day, but not really having to talk to each other or acknowledge each other in anyway.

I also miss getting in a nice walk every morning – campus is pretty awesome at 6:30 in the am. I’ve seen all kinds of herons and ducks around Waller creek, plus possums and raccoons and tons of cats that live on campus.

So, while I’ll continue to drive while the parking is free, I don’t believe I’ll pay for a parking permit any time soon. Unless we move further away from campus and it becomes a giant pain to take the bus. Because I like the bus, but I have to admit, its pretty damn convenient for me to take it now. At least until I get my rocket jet-pack.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


I wanted to write something about Todd Solondz' new movie, Palindromes, which we saw last weekend. I just couldn't think how to put my conflicted, but overall positive, and generally hard to pin down feelings about the film (well about all his films really, but particularly this one). Then Mr. Krauter solved my dilema with his post about Palindromes on Film-Watching Robot. I'm going to throw my hat in that ring.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Only humans have asses

Perhaps you might think that I haven't even had time to read anything over the past week, what with all my attention being focused on the bathroom fixtures of the world. And you would be wrong. Because, my dudes, I read all the damn time.

This week, I finished Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form by Michael Sims. I bought this book from the Daedalus Books catalog on a whim. The description sounded kind of neat, it was only four bucks, and I have a weakness for buying books. I thought it might be interesting, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did.

Sims takes the reader on a tour of the exterior of the human body, from the hair on the top of your head to your toenails. Each part brings in literature, film, etymology, evolution, science, history, and about a billion other things in a kind of extended meditation on body parts. I came out of it with about a million exciting fun-facts about body parts. It also makes one really think about the human form, how it got to be that way, and all the weird things humans have thought to do with it throughout history.

So borrow this book from me, or go get your own copy since people are selling used ones for 85 cents. You will like it. I swear.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mad at Coffee

Half an hour ago I was happily grinding up some coffee beans, placing the ground coffee in a nice fresh filter, filling the carafe with filtered water, and flipping the switch on my coffee maker. I went to check my email and such while the perculations took place. Then I get back to the kitchen, expecting to simply pour a nice cup of coffee. Instead my coffee maker has somehow spewed coffee grounds all over the top of (and into) the carafe, gotten jammed up, is barely trickling out some super strong coffee, and is dripping coffee and grounds down onto the hot plate at the bottom. I attempted to rescue a cup of coffee, and I'm drinking it now. But one more mouthful of coffee grounds and I dump this batch out.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Items from my fridge

The first in an in-depth series analyzing all the stuff hanging on my fridge:

This lovely item was cut from the packaging of a totally rockin' set of knives given to us for our wedding. The ability to fully see the tang construction and bone small poultry are the highlights of these knives, although they also slice and dice really really well too.Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

U. R. thinking about the bathroom

Okay, so this is the third post about bathroom fixtures in a row, but stick with me, it is totally worth it. In my ever expanding quest to become distracted from my work, I googled one of the other names from our public restroom, Crane Plumbing. The resulting link caused a flush of bathroom fixture brand name nostalgia to run through me (get it, flush? run? bathroom?). All of the brand names associated with Crane Plumbing are good, but two in particular lived in bathrooms of my past and made me giggle almost every day:

Universal Rundle


They are even making me giggle right now. Seriously. All you have to say to me is Universal Rundle and I will crack up. If I ever have a band (which I won't, unless you can have a band where you don't play any instruments, sing, perform, record, or practice), I shall name it Universal Rundle. Or maybe Universal Rundle and the Sanymetals.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The mystery of Bobrick.... Solved!

So, I know you were all probably kept up all night wondering about the mystery of Bobrick. Is it two guys? Is it one? If so, what is his name? Does it have anything to do with bricks?

In fact, it has everything to do with George Augustus Bobrick, founder of the Bobrick Chemical Company in 1906, and inventor of the liquid soap dispenser. If you look under "Washroom Accessories" at the top of the page, you can browse through their collection of Tampon Dispensors (the pictures are really too small to see if they demonstrate the crab-grip method), Diaper Changing Stations, and Ashtrays/Wall Urns. No bathroom renovation will be complete without your own, easy to clean, Circular-Style Wall Urn.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


For some reason, I always notice the brand names on fixtures in insitutional restrooms. That rule also extends to other institutional fixtures. I still remember that all the pencil sharpeners in my elementary school had "Boston KKS" embossed on them. Since my initials are KKS, I always touched the embossing before I sharpened my pencils. I was a weird kid.

So, sometimes these fixtures have boring names and sometimes they are hilarious. In my current place of business, the toilet is labled "Crane Plumbing," the paper towel dispenser is something like "Fort Hudson" (so boring I didn't even bother to totally remember it), and the toilet paper holder is (this is the funny one): Bobrick. I love that. Its funny because it is either two first names (Bob and Rick) or the equally hilarious Bo Brick. I like to think about two friends who got together to design institutional toilet paper holders named Bob and Rick. Or one guy, Mr. Bo Brick, who does all the design work himself.

Okay, so your mission is now to go into a public restroom, note the brand names on any visible fixtures, and report back. I guarantee at least one fixture in every building is going to have a hilarious name.


Fun with Equations

I love me some math humor.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Harry P.

Yes, folks, that sad day has come. I have finished the 5th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and now I have to wait until July for the sixth book to come out. That's right. I have finally caught up with the Harry Potter reading public.

The good part is that I can now read some of the detailed, rhyming, and conspiratorial web pages out there, without revealing any of the plot details.

[also, I am sick today. bleh. although its nice to be home. but still. bleh.]

Monday, May 02, 2005

What we need more of are slime-mould beetles

I love science.

[Also, you may have to scroll down a bit to see the article on this link...]

Sunday, May 01, 2005

72 hour exhibits

I have been ususually busy with work stuff this week as there was a conference in town that I had to attend, and which brought lots of researchers and donors and such. The most exciting part of the week was the call I got on Monday afternoon telling me to put together an exhibit for the conference, to be ready early Friday morning. Here are some poorly taken pictures of my exhibit:

The left side of the table... Posted by Hello

... and the right side of the table! Posted by Hello

Its kind of hard to see what it all really looks like, since my pictures aren't so hot, but I got some nice comments on it. Its all reproduction material, color print-outs mounted on foam core by Kinkos.

Give me any topic, I'll create you a professional-quality exhibit in just 72 hours, people.


Also, happy May Day. Did everyone else do May Day baskets when they were kids? I really liked doing them, although there were hardly any kids in our neighborhood. Our "baskets" were usually more like decorated styrofoam cups with some popcorn and candy in them. We'd always bug the high school kids that lived on our street, but they were good sports and would chase us if they caught us leaving the baskets.

I also remember there being a May Day program at my elementary school every year, and six or seven sixth grade girls would get all dressed up in nice flowery colored dresses with ribbons in their hair and do that dance around the May pole where everyone holds onto a long ribbon connected to the top of the pole and as they dance around each other, the ribons braid themselves down the pole. I always thought that was so cool when I was a little kid, although I don't really have a memory of having the May Day program when I was a sixth grader....