A museum is a zoo for old stuff

September 25, 2006 at 9:09 am (Uncategorized)

It is only four thirty here, but it is almost dark and really humid, I think there must be a thunderstorm on the way, or else it is about to pour with rain. We walked around the Museum of Natural History yesterday, Mark skipped his work and came as well. There was an exhibition of Native American history, based on some early European Immigrants Lewis and Clark (who I imagine as a couple similar to Lois & Clark, but who were actually two men..), who travelled around America ‘collecting’ things from tribes. Quite a few of the exhibits had been returned to the people they belonged to and so signs were hung that said something like “returned under the Graves protection Act” or something like that. I think that was an act passed in 1990 by GWBush’s Dad. There was also exhibits of Native American dance today, and the start of a sense that the original exhibition of the ‘other’ was being reshaped and given meaning by Native Americans today. I especially liked how a man had made a print out of all the Peabody museums aquisitions and drawn pictures of people on horses over it. I am not sure about what those pictures mean, but I think it is like an image of your ancestors.

I am really interested in ‘folk art’ at the moment, what is folk art, when does it become art, and I loved all the displays of quilts and weaving. I am reading a great book at the moment called Women, Art, and Society which is about women as artists and subjects of art. I won’t talk about it here. Anyway. There was a display of South American quilts or ‘mola’ which girls start doing when they are three years old. They were really beautiful; I liked how there would be tiny little stitches on the main quilt and then around the edges young kids must have practiced their stitches because they were not so neat.

The main attraction, well what I was most excited about seeing was the display of glass flowers. I really love natural science, and I especially love when it is combined with art. A man and his son made glass models of flowers and displayed them like those botanical illustrations, with the seed, a cross section of the seed, the flower and roots, and the fruit.

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I also loved this display which is sort of macarbe because it is beatles pinned to a board. You can probably see the same sort of thing at any museum, did you know that beatles are the most biologically diverse group in the world (i think…)

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Dear everybody,

September 21, 2006 at 7:47 am (Uncategorized)

An online weather site said we can expect about eight inches of snow at Christmas. The heaviest snowfalls are supposed to be in January and February which just sounds really weird. I think snow at Christmas is much more acceptable because until recently I think the New Zealand psyche, well especially the Pakeha one, felt a bit lacking for not having yule time snowmen around. I mean, you could go to a town in New Zealand and find pretend snow painted windows while outside people are in togs and jandals.

We are planning what we are going to do for Christmas this year. It will be our first one not in NZ, and our first one together. We had thought of going up to Montreal but are going off that idea because if we go up to Toronto next year we’ll be pretty close to Qubec. Also on our list: New York, Portsmouth, Northhampton, Cape Cod, Stay here, Vermont. I’d quite like to go skiing, and stay in an Inn with a fireplace.

Embracing the neo-craft storm that has swept the western world, I have joined a knitting club, a quilting club, a book club, and an international women’s club. All of this happened today at an open house full of women, mostly from around the world. There are evidently no male partners of staff at Harvard, or else they are all scared to come out, or don’t need a neighbors club. Or maybe they just aren’t into knitting, quilting, and books and things.I guess there was other stuff, conversation groups, a memoir writing club… I think I will go to the knitting club for sure because I have some wool, and no needles and they said they’ll give you some and plus it is only an hour at lunch time, one day a week. I found out the first book on the book club list is War and Peace which I think is a huge huge book which would need to be read Oct 6, so I might skip that. So now I am all domesticated. I sort of feel a bit weird about the possibility that it is only women who have come along with their partners from other countries. But that can’t be true…

I also have an application here to do a class in Art and Spirituality which sounds like a fantastic hippy fest:

Through the responsive medium of clay participants will explore the spiritual source within their being and the channels through which this source can be visually expressed.”
The last pottery class I did I sat next to a freaky, freaky, guy who made a giant 3D swastika from his clay, and in the following class brought along a pair of his white (really greying) Y-front underwear to model his next piece on.

I hope I haven’t missed the close off date for this class… x from SB

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pretty & poor

September 20, 2006 at 12:03 pm (Uncategorized)

Today there was a teenage beauty queen amongst the usual homless guys, shaking her cup for money to go to ‘nationals’.  She looked about fourteen, had long blonde hair, a little dress, a big white sash, high heels, and a tiara.  I wished I could’a taken a photo.

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back to work

September 19, 2006 at 2:34 am (Uncategorized)

Today I am back ‘at work’ after a few days off showing our first ever visitors around Boston. Back at work pretty much means in the lounge at our huge fake wood top imitation ‘queen anne’ (? Mum said it was that) table with my books set up to meet my deadline for my thesis which doesn’t come up for another seven or eight months. I am going to change my ‘deadline’ to December because that would be more fun.

So I am not sure how well we did showing the peeps around. Pretty much because I hadn’t shown myself around so good; so it was more of a practice so the next people (Katie and Ben!!!!! wooohooo!!!) will have the most AMAZING time of their lives. It will start off by a non-visit to Salem with a special stay clear given to the ever so tacky Salem Witch Museum. Although we did get to see a real witch out there who had a spiral tatoo on her face, big white hair, relics from her past life, and a pretty smart black cat. WEIRD (okay I missed her,(curses) I was too entranced by the snakeskin you could buy to do a spell). I guess the weirdest thing was that none of us got taken by aliens; Salem is supposed to have the highest per capita rate of alien abduction!

I haven’t been out to Concord yet (we are going in two weeks look at the mammals they have there!! foxes!!!) but I think that place could be the place to go.

It is pretty quiet without Rose and Rob, I wanted them to stay and flat with us but I think the futon we have might be a short stay incentive. It may also be the military style sheets, but was most definately not the hot chocolate, the ice-cream, or the dried mango. Okay so should do some work. Right now.

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Rob gifting Rose a flower at Salem. Rob’s face is the funniest part, but I won’t show it on here in case they object to internet fame.

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Mark, unaware Rob is about to pull a sneak attack on him. Also note Mark’s clutch of ‘free’ newspapers. There is one of everykind in that pile. He was hoarding them like he was a homeless man who needed something to sleep on.

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Sorted

September 12, 2006 at 9:39 am (Uncategorized)

Everything is sorted. Well most things at least. We have a full house of furniture, thanks to a huge sale that a Harvard group has been holding over the past few days. Got a really good computer desk, some nice chairs, another bookshelf. I am typing on a nice keyboard I have to plug into my laptop when I am at home, listening to national radio over the wireless internet we now have. Our other house finally got rented, so we won’t be homeless or in huge debt at the end of the year. Classes are interesting, if a little abstract. We are getting a schedule going, a shopping routine. Sarah works in the lounge, mostly laying about on the couch, and I sit at my desk in the bedroom, looking out the window at the trees and redbrick buildings. Harvard square is commercial, bustling, full of posturing, begging, busking, selling, lobbying. There are 3 of the same chain of bakery within 5 minutes walk, and 2 of a pharmacy within 2 minutes. But there are no McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Subway as far as I can see. We have found some nice food places, mostly mexican. There is a downstairs bar that seems stereotypically American – sorta like Cheers but more busy and with loud music; I like it cause you can get nice food for half-price at certain times. The beer is pretty good as well. Ok, those are things that are sorted. Better go try to sort the last big thing I need to cross off the “to do” list – my dissertation…

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a non-beach trip to the beach

September 6, 2006 at 5:49 am (Uncategorized)

There is a Starbucks near our house and a sign on the door said that they would be ‘Labouring’ on Labour day, we weren’t going to. Because it was sunny and we had the ‘day off’ we decided to go out to the beach. We consulted the internet and found ‘Pleasant Bay’ a nice place to swim with the option of a walk across to an island. It sounded good and worth a ride to the end of the red-line on the subway, and a bus trip after that. We got on the subway and rode all of the way, from one end to the other. We arrived at ‘Braintree’, the end of the line. No one had heard of the place we were headed and the old guy hanging around supervising people putting their tickets through was adamant we couldn’t walk anywhere from the station, and that there wasn’t any beach around. So we followed a path and ended up in a giant car park, with sprawling king size shops, gigantic cars and litter everywhere. No one had heard of Pleasant Bay, or Dorchester. We walked back to the station and waited for some buses. None came. Our beach day turned into an entrapment in a suburban wasteland. We got on the tube and road home. Braintree, which sounds like something from an early Peter Jackson movie will forever be associated with that crappy trip and the lost beach. I guess we know what is at the end of the line now, and got a nice view of Boston on the way back into town!

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happy birthday

September 6, 2006 at 5:44 am (general)

We went out to a bar on Sunday night for Mark’s Birthday, and stumbled upon half price dinners. I don’t think a wine has ever tasted so good as the ones I had at Glendals Den. It was New Zealand wine, I like the idea of drinking grapes grown in New Zealand soil, arg idealising New Zealand, which is pretty easy when you are far away. It comes in part from listening to Fat Freddy’s Drop and Fly my Pretties to often. Anyway here is a photo of Mark’s Birthday Cake, which was pretty nice and eaten on Saturday night, which was New Zealand Birthday day, followed by American Birthday day on Sunday. Yay for time zones and two birthdays. Can’t make it a big picture because I am on a Mac and can’t understand where the html button is…

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