Saturday, April 07, 2007

Travelogue: March 29, 2007

I Love Dinosaurs

Started today out by going to the Natural History Museum and re-learning about dinosaurs. Seriously, dinosaurs are fucking awesome. I have no idea why, but they have always fascinated me. For example, when I was 2 years old, I would often approach complete strangers and announce, "I can spell dinosaur! Wanna hear? D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R. Dinosaur!" This may have had less to do with my love of dinosaurs than with my precocious spelling talents, and my early-onset haughtiness about said talents.

Nevertheless, I spent about an hour and a half with the dinosaurs, including a special exhibition on what dinosaurs ate. That was interesting, but the Brits seemed to have an odd preoccupation with dinosaur excrement. The picture here represents 3 weeks worth of dinosaur feces, and was accompanied by an actual sample of fossilized dino-poop that challenged, "Do you dare touch real dinosaur poo?" Oh, I dared.

Bad news for all you Jurassic Park fans out there, though: turns out that velociraptors are smaller than you think, and have feathers. It's a pity too, because after they opened that door in the movie, I think many people crowned them as the new bad-ass dinos. And I really feel like the feathers take away from this pretty severely.

Clap Your Hands Say Tate

Ever wonder what going down a 5-story spiral slide looks like? Wonder no more, thanks to my handy camera:

Pretty cool, huh? The Tate Modern's big exhibition room now has a series of slides of various lengths, up to 5 stories, for spectators to slide down and "become part of the art" or whatever such pretentious concept the artist is embracing. I'm not a big fan of modern art (read: I usually actively loathe modern art), but the Tate Modern never ceases to entertain. In 2004, the big warehouse space currently housing the slides had a fake sun which cast everything in a monochromatic yellow-orange light. Also cool, I think, as you can see here.

I pretty much made my way through the whole Tate gallery listening to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on my iPod on repeat. I have formally determined, in my exclusive authority, that it is the ideal musical complement to modern art, since it's the sort of odd, eccentric, non-literal musical equivalent.

I also found it interesting how, when you go through gallery after gallery of abstract art, completely insulated from outside sound by your headphones and completely focused on the images before you, you completely lose a sense of place relative to the rest of the world. Anytime I removed my headphones every couple of minutes for whatever reason, I would always be surprised to hear British accents learn anew that I was, in fact, in England.

I Accept Marks and Spencer as My Personal Saviour

If you've been to the UK, then you must know what I mean when I say that Marks and Spencer is my daddy. I had an M&S ready-to-go lunch between my trips to the Natural History and Tate museums, and it brought back memories of my British Isles run in 2004, in which I was basically sustained by a series of delicious Marks and Spencer lunches. Each of which was very reasonably priced, and with so much variety available, I never had to have the same lunch twice! It's like Whole Foods on steroids, with rainbows and magic. Mila, if you're reading this: (1) I know you agree, and (2) I have goodies for you when you come to visit in Boston.

Use of the British spelling of "saviour" is intentional.

Law That Matters

Sometimes, the law can seem so esoteric and pointless. Today, however, while munching on a Jaffa Cake for dessert after my M&S lunch, I learned from Sek that it can answer really important questions. Like, is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? It's a quite significant question...there's a 17.5% tax at stake! Apparently, Sek informs me that in Australia, such penetrating legal reasoning has gone into answering a similar question: when is cooked chicken hot cooked chicken? Because if it's raw, you don't have to tax it, but if it's cooked, you do. Unless it's cold, in which case you don't. And what's the role of the spit on which it's rotating. What's the role of the spit?? See, people like to act like lawyers don't create real value in the world, but these are vital questions, and it's clear that we're the only ones who can possibly answer them. I demand that Harvard adds a class dedicated to comparative food classification law!


Mars said...

OMG i LOVE jaffa cakes!! i love how their commercials are like our eggo waffle commercials. "don't touch my jaffa," or some sort like that.

GlobalJanine said...

alright.. so I leave for CA for a week and a half, and this five entry journal wannabe becomes freakin' War and Peace to catch up on.

So I begin (working backwards as to not soil the integrity of the obvious effort put forth to write ALLLL this) and at first I am reminiscing about Morocco and the mint tea, then being in London and hanging out with you as a tour guide... but as I hit the part about you going to Marks and Spencer, I started to hate you for your ability to eat delicious daily-prepared goodness. Grrr...

Just kidding, I wouldn't wish it on anyone more worthy- but you better take me with you next time (or else I'll sick the ghost of JFK on you, and you know thats one bad-ass ghost)