joy magnetism: June 2008

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Friends of the band

Magnet #129 - Duran Duran

A girl never forgets her first superstar crush. And for me, it was John Taylor of Duran Duran. Hell, to this day, I would totally run off with my Jaunty John (/tm 16 magazine) if he asked me to.

Outside of school, I had a group of friends who were huge Duranies. They were a couple of years older than me, which skewed me younger than the average D2 fan.

Which also meant that during school hours, I was pretty much the only 6th and 7th grader in love with these guys. I was the British invasion personified, running around with magazines and tapes and bandannas and singing "Planet Earth" and ooohing over Seven and the Ragged Tiger. In fact, I even remember being at a sleepover, and while everyone else was off snacking in the kitchen, or playing outside, I was the only one camped out in front of the TV anxiously awaiting the MTV world premiere of "New Moon on Monday."

And, twenty-odd years after that first cassette tape, I'm still buying their music, they're the majority of albums on my mp3 player, and they're the wallpaper on my cell phone. Oh, and I'm still going to their concerts.

I picked up this pin-now-magnet, two concerts ago - when the little fangurl in me squeed at finally getting to see them play MSG. Freakin' awesome. Back in 84, they had sold out several MSG dates, and it was the most rad place to see them, and my little tweenie self was never able to make it up here.

But nothing - and I do mean nothing - tops my last Duran Duran concert - last year, for the launch of Red Carpet Massacre. We went as (and I say with this with quite the hairtoss) friends of the band, names on the list and everything. Oh, be still my little fangurl heart.

And, so what if we didn't get backstage in the end - I'm thinking that perhaps maybe, that's a good thing.

For John, anyway.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Elephant walk

Magnets #128a & 128b - Elephant Magnerine

How cool are these guys.

Last year, some friends and I visited the American Museum of Natural History here in town, and I saw these in the little shop. (There I go again, with the little shop.)

And, of course, the second I saw these, I fell promptly in love. It's like twice the magnetic goodness! It's two magnets, that become one 3-D figurine that stands all on its own.

It's called a Magnerine, which is just the most clever name to ever clever. Seriously, I raved about them for days and days after I saw them. In the interest of full disclosure, I've actually been in touch with these folks, hoping to work with them on a project for work. But I was thrilled to see all the different types of magnets they've produced - including, one I've already blogged about - the Monet tube of paint!

As it turns out, apparently, there's several of these Magnerines - just in the AMNH shop alone was a gorilla, a polar bear, and even the giant blue whale (a la the newly refurbished blue whale room at the museum). And, the Met has them as well, for their Egyptian collection and their Met store bags, which are also supercute as well.

But I have to say, I think this little guy's my absolute favorite. I mean, look how cute is he!!!

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The War to end all wars

Magnet #127 - National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

So this is kinda freaky.

This day in history, in:

1914 - Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife were assassinated, setting off World War I.

1919 - The Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I.

I guess it's also kinda neat, though.

My sister brought this one back for me from Kansas City, MO. It's from the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial. From the looks of it, a supercool interactive/experiential museum - especially if it was designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who have designed some of my favorite museums.

Have ya'll ever noticed how sometimes our general appreciation of history feels kinda trendy? Like a few years ago it was all things WWII. Years before that, it was all things Vietnam. And, now, it feels like it's all things American Revolution. Funny how it feels a little driven by Hollywood.

Still, I suppose one shouldn't complain, after all, any attention paid to history is probably a good thing, what with the doomed repeating and all.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Of sound mind

Magnet #126 - Smithsonian Institution

My sister and I are constantly debating the merits of her town (Washington, D.C.) and my town (New York City).

Usually, it's arguing back and forth about how the NYC subway system is pretty dirty and is always crowded and has no padded seats or carpeting, and most important, has no air conditioning in the stations. Versus the DC Metro with its shiny clean air conditioned stations, its fancy padded seats and carpeting, and the handy signs (and even-more-handy blinking lights) that tell you when the next train is approaching.

The biggest qualm I have about the DC Metro, is that it's form over function. What good's a train, when you have to walk a million miles to get to the nearest station.

Any. Way.

The one thing I will concede, is that Washington has a veritable treasure trove of free museums. I mean, how cool is it, that you can just walk into any of the Smithsonians for free! You guys haven't a clue how lucky ya'll are - versus paying $20 for the Met or the Moma or the Natural History Museum. Between the Smithsonian and the memorials, you could spend days in town without having to drop a cent.

Funnily enough, you have a Brit scientist to thank. On June 27, 1829, James Smithson passed away, and left an endowment "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."

Some thought he was a little weird, since he didn't know anyone in America.

My theory? I think he either met some silly American and wanted us to be better educated. Or, he thought that if the colonies were going to last, we'd better get some knowledge increased and diffused asap.

Pip-pip, cheerio and all that rot, Mr. Smithson!
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Magnet #125 - Borgata, Atlantic City, NJ

Today in 1870, they opened the first section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. That stretch of beach developed pretty rapidly, with luxurious hotels, retail shops and fine restaurants and other attractions, making AC the coolest thing on the eastern seaboard - a turn-of-the-century playground for the rich and famous.

Now, that same boardwalk is still there - the hotels, shops and restaurants have all come and gone and come again, and people still make their way to AC with the sole purpose of having fun.

Well, that, and to win their fortune at the slots, I suppose. Of course, AC is trying to make itself a little more family friendly, but to me, it just feels a little seedier now, and when compared to Vegas, it seems to give off an air of desperation.

What's funny is that the last time we went, I made my sister traipse up and down the boardwalk, following the trail that Danny Ocean followed inside the Trump casino, buying saltwater taffy, visiting the mall with the requisite (and a little sad) water fountain show. After that, I took her off the boardwalk, and over to the Borgata.

It was like watching a heavenly chorus of angels, the way she lit up at the happy place that IS the Borgata. Why? Well, for starters, it's the sister hotel to my beloved Vegas Bellagio. And, the majority, if not all, of the glasswork is done by my beloved Chihuly. And, honestly? It just feels nicer than anything on the boardwalk.

Well, at least until their slots eats all your money.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A cut above...and beyond

Magnet #124 - Holbein the Younger's The Ambassadors

But, where are they? Talk about cropping out the important stuff!

I can't believe this magnet from the National Gallery in London. It's of Holbein the Younger's Ambassadors, and it makes me giggle, from the second that I saw it.

First, this is the full image. Jeepers!

Second, they not only cropped out the guys, but they took out the cool anamorphic part of it.

And, third, here we go again with the reading into art, again. Supposedly, the broken lute string is discord, and the Lutheran hymn book is a plea for harmony. And, you don't get to see the sundials or the globes, to represent man's ability to measure time or chart the heavens.

But c'mon, someone at the museum had to make this cropping decision. I mean, how you gonna crop out the anamorphic skull - the very thing that makes the gallery visitors walk up to this very painting and actually look at it!
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Maybe I should have given her shades?

Magnet #122 - Psychic Advisors

I want to say this was a magnet tchotcke from a stock house, either Corbis or Getty.

But, it seems somewhat apropos, in light of Saturday night's Doctor Who in the UK. And that's all I have to say about that, in order to respect the US broadcast schedule and not post any crazy spoilers.

Anyway, if storefront signs are to be believed, psychics seem to be everywhere, and who knows for sure if they're real or not. Over the years, I've gone to a few, mostly for fun. At Manhattan street fairs, at their storefronts in the Village and Midtown, and even to a private home in North Carolina. They've all given me various and sundry predictions, none of which I've remembered enough to take completely to heart.

But, last year, on a family trip to the Philippines, we met this elderly great-great-aunt-ish relative, who actually reads palms for a living. The whole family seems to be a little in awe of her, only because supposedly what she says is usually true - and it freaks them out a bit. And, we're a superstitious lot, Filipinos.

We'd never met the old crone before - and she was this tiny, tiny thing, bent over with age, with a weathered face that looks like she's lived a million years and then some. That old face was balanced by some rather youthful salt-and-pepper twin braids, a la the old Sun Maid raisin girl.

When she walked in to the house, the first thing she did was read our palms. She took my youngest sister's hands, and my middle sister's hands in hers, and mentioned (in native tongue) that they both have happy and bright futures - actually went so far as to say how many kids, marriage, etc., etc.

Then, she took my hands in hers, and she looked perturbed. She spoke to my aunts, and the gist of the conversation was that she couldn't read me.

Seriously. She said my future's unclear, and that she couldn't read my palms.

Hello. The woman's been reading palms for longer than I've been alive, and she couldn't read my future.

Yep. Officially freaked out.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Doctor, our dads, and a couple of loose screws

Magnet #121 - Doctor Who - Ten

Ok. So I've seen a few Doctor Who articles/interviews where David Tennant says that he's not very handy with the practical stuff, like putting up shelves, or fixing the plumbing, and the like. And it always gives me a bit of a point-and-laugh giggle, because he's 37, and he should be able to wield a power tool by this time, without having to call his dad to come do it.

(Hey, get your mind out of the gutter. I mean, literally - a power drill or even a non-sonic screwdriver.)

So, it was with a great sense of gleeful pride, that I, myself, (in my own mid-30s), bought my first power tool just yesterday - a Ryobi 18v power drill. (insert Tim Taylor/Home Improvement growl here) It's pretty! And blue!

And, okayfine, so I asked my dad to put up one of my magnet boards this morning. But, I decided to let him drive home to NC, leaving me to put my DVD shelving all by my do-it-yourself self. I mean, really - how hard could it possibly be.

Doot-de-dooooo....a few hours later...

This is what I get for making fun of David Tennant, I suppose.

David, since my dad is on his way home, if you could pack up your dad and ship him over to my place, to put up these stupid IKEA shelves, that would be fabulous. Please and thank you.

Right now, there are eight semidrilled holes in the wall, a few mollies sticking out here and there, a drillbit or three sitting on a tray, and about six packages of loose screws of varying sizes sitting over there in the corner.

And, I don't think the funny sounds coming from the wall bode well. I'm just sayin'.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Always. Only you.

Magnet #120 - Zen

Today's magnet is in honor of last night's Daytime Emmys, which I have on DVR, and may get around to watching, at some point...but probably not.

Oh, how the times have changed. Not so long ago, I was stalking Radio City for when the tix went on sale in town. Now, I can't even be bothered to watch. How sad.

An online friend of mine gave me this magnet - apparently, the Zach and Kendall (Zendall) fanbase did some sort of campaign to lobby ABC Daytime not to break up our favorite little soap couple on All My Children.

As with all of my obsessions, my little Zen candle burned hot and bright - through fake marriages and real affairs, and real divorces and fake affairs; through blackouts and serial killers, crazy parents and crazier best friends; through secrets and lies; through divorce island and lobster slaying, and balloon New Year's and belly button balloons; through gardenias and pencil doodles; through many pregnancies and a voiced-over coma; through myriad "Always. Only you. / Always. Only us." declarations followed up by "where's the trust" conversations; through stab-stabbings and kidnappings, plus Shelters of Suck and Mardi Gras igloos.

But alas, The Powers That Be finally managed to turn me off of the show after three years of shipping the good ship Zendall. And, there's no real explanation for it.

However, I will say that had it not been for Zach and Kendall, I wouldn't have met a really great crew of online folks - folks that have become friends in real life as well. So, it looks like the soapy angst was worth it in the end.

And look! I got a magnet out of the deal, too!
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Café con joy

Magnet #119 - Columbia Restaurant

Writing this post as I've just polished off my second café con leche to help me power through the night...

I may never drink Starbucks again, folks. The Cuban Roast Coffee from Columbia is probably the best coffee I've ever had - and that includes the fanTASTic coffee with brown sugar I had in Toronto. Good gravy. It's just freakin' awesome.

This magnet was given to me by a friend who just recently visited from Tampa - she and I recently reconnected on Facebook (hmmm, I seriously need a FB magnet). We spent quite a bit of time together growing up down in Salisbury, NC. Then her family moved, and though our parents kept in touch, us kids didn't.

So how great is it, that even though we hadn't spoken since 1987, we were still able to spend two hours on the phone, just gabbing away and catching up. And, after spending a couple days hanging around NYC, we realized that even though she moved a few states away - we still shared many of the same experiences - with our parents, our sisters, our cultures and our upbringing in small Southern towns.

They say no one knows you better than family...but I guess it's really family - plus those who knew you when...
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shiiiiiine like the top of the Chrysler Building!

Magnet #118 - Chrysler Building

And, it really does shine, too!

I love the Chrysler Building - it's one of my favorites here in the city, and in the world.

Completed in 1930, it was the winner of a skyscraper contest between architect Van Alen and the folks down at 40 Wall Street. Everyone thought 40 Wall Street would be the tallest building in the world, but little did they know that a spire was being constructed - in secret! - inside the building.

So, when they neared the end, they ran the spire up through the building, and boo-YAH, 185 extra feet!

C'mon - how awesome is that?

Also, besides being supershiny because of the stainless steel at the top, it was basically one big ad for the cars. The 61st floor has Chrysler eagle hood ornaments. The 31st floor are basically Chrysler radiator caps. The exterior ornamentation is just gorgeous - especially on a sunny day.

Then, if you run into the lobby, you can see even more of the Art Deco treatment - in the windows, the fixtures, the elevators. It's just the coolest building - ever. Apparently, there's some dentist who has his exam room chair facing out the supercool windows near the top.

The Chrysler Building lost its tallest building in the world status to the Empire State Building shortly after, but it's supposedly still the tallest brick building.

Eh, tallest or not, it's still one of the prettiest buildings around.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Old Man River

Magnet #117 - Time magazine, Life on the Mississippi River

We've been hearing a lot about the flooding in the Midwest, and each day, as the waters flow south, towns are doing their damndest to keep the levees from breaking.

It's kinda scary that towns are being evac'd, and major bridges are being closed, and the worst of it still has to make its way down to the Gulf.

I've nothing to wax poetic about, so I'll stop here, and offer up this Charity Navigator blogpost instead.

Oh. And I have not a clue where this magnet came from. Knowing me, I probably lifted it from some media goody bag along the way.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not even a fair-weather fan

Magnet #116 - Atlanta Braves

I'm not a huge baseball fan - my allegiances toward the Yankees or Mets (or any sports team, really) tend to sway with either the guy I'm dating, or how cute the roster is. Even so, having lived in NYC since '95, I know this magnet's sacrilege around these parts, as is the ballcap that I own.

I picked this magnet up at Turner Field in Atlanta. My sister and I took the tour, something we like to do whenever we're in a major city with a major sporting venue. Backstage tours are fun, we've discussed this. And, it's a pretty good one, complete with going up to the press box, and the dugouts and the bullpens and even the cool Coke-sponsored little area up top.

So, that's how I've come to own a Braves magnet.

And the ballcap? Well, it was on sale for like $6, my last name starts with an A, and goshdarnit, when you find a ballcap that looks cute on you, you buy that sucker.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Peep show at Bellagio

Magnet #114 - Bellagio, Las Vegas

Yep. I've done a Bellagio magnet before, and I've mentioned it on joy magnetism quite a few times. What can I say, it might be my most favorite hotel in the world.

And, one can't say enough about the fabulous water fountains out front. Well, I guess you can if you've seen them do Hey, Big Spender! Which is a touch scarring. Plus, who can forget the Claire de Lune scene at the end of Ocean's 11, with my boy Clooney and the rest of the O11 gang.

But, the real reason I'm using it for today's magnet, is because one of my fellow bloggers and poster to this site, goldengait, has shared the funniest damn story about the Bellagio water fountains that I've ever heard.

Hope my sister's fiance reads this and takes note. Heh.

And, by the way, if you're hanging around GG's blog, take note of the fun show recaps she does - they're fun, concise, and has a way of making you think Hey! Me, too!
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Symbol me this

Magnet #113 - Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait

I've dubbed the front of my refrigerator my own little magnet art gallery - paintings and other classic pieces of the grand masters. There are quite a few, and we'll get through them all in time.

But, look, I wasn't an art history major, so I'm going to keep these entries as short and sweet as I can, mainly because:
  1. There's a part of me that thinks that the grand masters really shouldn't have their paintings on magnets. Like if Van Gogh knew I had any of his work on a magnet, that he'd likely cut his other ear off.
  2. Honestly? While I love art, and think it's beautiful to look at and marvel at the skill it took to paint it and whatnot - I can't stand when people stand in front of the painting and try to dissect every. little. thing. that the artist was thinking. Sometimes, a bowl of fruit really is just a bowl of fruit!
Having said that, van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, which I saw at the National Gallery in London has some weird aspects to it. Like for years, they thought that it was the portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini guy and his wife Giovanna Cenami in their Flemish bedchamber. But then, they found out that the couple was actually married 13 years after the date on the painting...and hello, like six years after van Eyck died. Do what?

Now they think it's actually the guy's cousin, and either his first or second wife. Really. The painting was done in 1434. It's ummm, 2008. Does it really matter who the guy was? I'm just askin'. Honestly, I just thought it was a pretty damn good painting, no matter who the subjects were.

Oh, but then there's like all sorts of stuff about the symbolism: like how the dog's the symbol for how they wanted kids (maybe it was just a pet), or like how she's looking down and nearer the bed and farther into the room and he's nearer the window and looking directly at us that it's a symbol for gender roles (maybe she likes standing on the right and he likes the breeze from the window), and how she's wearing green symbolizes hope (maybe she loved the color green), how the one lit candle in the chandelier is the Holy Ghost (maybe the lighting was better with one candle).

But, you can read all that here, in the surprisingly robust wiki for it. Actually, I'm not kidding - read the wiki, it got some pretty intriguing some of the symbolism they've come up with for this painting...and how there's controversial views about whether or not it's a memorial painting or a wedding painting, and why they're wearing winter clothes when it's spring. Oh! And they actually show the detail of the writing on the wall, and the two people reflected in the mirror.

As for me, I'm thinking if I wanted a short blogpost today, I should have chosen that bowl of fruit over there on the fridge.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Where swallows fly, or not

Magnet #112 - San Juan Capistrano

Remember when we discussed that every once in a while I end up in places and sometimes missing the biggest thing to see? (And that's why I generally do an itinerary for every trip I take to avoid such a fate?)

Ummm, yeah. San Juan Capistrano. Famous for the San Juan Capistrano swallows.

On that Woman on Her Own roadtrip I took through Cali, on a whim, I decided to drive through SJC.

I saw no swallows. None. I went to San Juan Capistrano...and completely missed the damn birds. Truth be told, they fly in March, so I really missed them because my timing was off. But still.

Now...if you know me well enough, you know that this is perfectly fine by me, given my hatred of all things fowl. (Except chickens. And cute and not-so-cute ducks. And maybe baby chicks. And owls.) I also get scared of Mother Nature en masse - and apparently - the skies go black when the swallows fly! Gah. Scary, scary, scary.

So, I've made my peace with not seeing the swallows. Sort of. I mean, it's a shame, but really? Lots of birds = lots of bird poop. Ewwww.

But, SJC itself was a lovely little town. Got to see the mission where the swallows used to hang, got to see a bit of the historic district-y area, and of course, the shops.

And as we all know...I like a little shop.
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

They broke up! Oh, happy day!!!

Magnet #111 - George Clooney

Look. I'm just gonna come right out with it. I've got a thing for George Clooney.

I'm not a stalker, or at the very least, I'm a very, very poor one. And in fact, I've no real desire to ever meet the guy in person (lest the fourth wall be broken, and Clooney disappoint me).

This magnet was made by a friend of mine after he saw how scandalized I was that my boyfriend George brought THATwoman to the Oscars. Obvi, my people neglected to pass along my own invite. :-)

I'll cop to having a Google alert for George Clooney, too, which keeps me up-to-date on all the latest Clooney news stories and blog entries, Googlewide. However, these last few weeks, I've been tempted to turn off the alert, because seriously, how much more do we have to put up with silly-ass news stories about Sarah freakin' Larson.

They broke up. Oh, happy day!!!

We knew from the beginning they would. I mean, who really thought they were meant to be?

So now that it's finally happened, can we stop with all the reporting and re-reporting and new speculation as to the whys and wherefores already?

I, for one, think it'd be supergreat if we could just let THATwoman sink back into the oblivion from whence she came.

(And take that dress with her.)
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to THE ROCK

Magnet #110 - Alcatraz

I've been to San Francisco only twice - once when I was a baby, and then a few years ago for fly-in/fly-out hand-delivery for a new business pitch.

I've not been to Alcatraz. My sister brought this back for me on a trip out to SFO earlier this year, because she knows I have a thing for The Rock.

And, here's where I unapologetically admit something that boys can't understand, and girls just think I'm weird.

I loved The Rock - it's one of my favorite movies of all time. FFS, I own the Criterion Collection version of it!

Yes. The Michael Bay film. Yes. With Nic Cage. Yes. With Sean Connery. Yes. With Ed Harris.

Yes. The silly movie where Ed Harris leads a group of renegade special forces to take over Alcatraz and point rockets full of gas at San Fran, holding the city hostage to force the government to release the secret funds to help the families of lost black ops soliders, and the only people who can save them are desk-jockey FBI agent Nic Cage and disappeared former agent badass Sean Connery, the only man to successfully escape Alcatraz. Whew.

Why do I love it? First. It's Sean Connery AND Ed Harris. Second. I love Michael Bay popcorn flicks. Third. I loved the Hans Zimmer score...this was just before every action score sounded like a Hans Zimmer action score. Fourth. Hello. Boys. In Uniform. With Guns. Fifth. Don't ever watch with me, I can still recite the darn thing backwards and forwards.

This movie's so damn quotable, it's ridiculous.

My favorite? When the tour guide and his group get locked up in the cell, and the man yells through the bars, "What kinda F**KED UP TOUR is this?"

Gets me - every time.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chivalry. Rivalry. Revelry. Jersey?

Magnet #109 - Medieval Times

Leave it to America to commercialize the hell out of history...we love doing it to our own (National Treasures 1 and 2, HBO's John Adams). But, we also love doing it to other countries' history and cultures, too (Epcot, Busch Gardens). And, really, who hasn't been to a Renaissance Fair in the last ten years.

However, one of the best examples of commercializing the past, is Medieval Times. For those of you who haven't been - it's where you pay a lot of real money to go to a fake castle, sit in a real grandstand, to watch fake knights on real horses participate in a somewhat real jousting tournament hosted by fake royalty, while eating a real (and pretty darn good) chicken dinner with your real hands.

I. LOVE. IT. It's so darn cheesy that you can't help but have loads of fun. And, I'll admit to falling a little bit for the romantic ideals of knights of the realm.

You get color-assigned to a knight's team, and he's your knight for the night, as he goes through the knights' competition - throwing the javelin, hand-to-hand combat, and then the jousting. There's even a whole overarching storyline of royal intrigue and betrayal. And, if you're really lucky, you have a supercute knight. The funny thing is, that the actors are so genuinely into their roles, you sort of forget that they're actors. Which makes them very, very good...or me, very, very gullible.

Here's what I want to know. One has to wonder if Medieval Times exists in Europe. The closest I've seen for myself was a big military tournament at Earl's Court in London many years ago. And, I know they have Highlander festivals throughout Scotland. Oh! And then there's that game that's not quite football that's played over miles and miles of hill and dale for days and days - again in Scotland (or at least according to the last book I read).

But, I gotta wonder if there's anything that's as commercially cheesy as Medieval Times in the land of medieval times, or is it yet another thing that we've co-opted for our own amusement.

I chose MT for today's magnet, because last year, we went to the fake castle in Jersey (!) to celebrate a friend's birthday last year. So much fun to be had, right down to the official roll call of birthday announcements.

Speaking of: Happy birthday, Ro!

eta: Huh. I just looked at the history of MT. It's the 25th anniversary. And started in Majorca. Who knew?

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Mickey Mouse!

Magnet #108 - Donald Duck

Donald Duck!

I always feel sorry for the attention-starved Donald during the Mickey Mouse Club theme song.

So, in honor of the most recognized Disney character after Mickey, I give you: Donald Duck Day. No, I swear! Look it up for yourself. This day in 1934, he made his first appearance in The Wise Little Hen.

Sigh. Oh, the places I could go with this Donald post.
  • My high-school crush which resulted in a penchant for all things Donald.
  • My identification with Donald's anger management problem.
  • My wonderment as to why he wears a little sailor hat, but has no sailor bottoms.
  • My realization that Huey, Dewey and Louie were his nephews...but does that mean Donald has a brother or a sister I don't remember?
  • What prompted him to head to Latin America to become one of the Three Caballeros? (Which by the way, I totally added to the top of my Netflix queue. Why am I the only one who remembers Jose Carioca?)
Yeah, ok. So, obvi, too much time spent wondering about this duck. Which is weird, since I hate birds. But, that's a magnet for another day.
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm still standing

Magnet #107 - Top of the Rock, November 1946

So, Top of the Rock, Part Two.

Yeah, true to form, I couldn't make up my mind which historical image I wanted, and just went ahead and bought both.

Which is fine, because there are a just few other reasons to visit Top of the Rock.
  • The somewhat interesting timeline of the Rockefellers and the building, wallpapering the walls of the waiting line.
  • The really interesting introduction video that everyone else ignores when they blow through the waiting line.
  • The always interesting and fun psychedelic lightshow during the elevator ride up and down.
  • The weird Target light experience room. But don't get me started on the fact that Target is a corporate sponsor of 30 Rock. Target, which doesn't have an actual store in Manhattan. (Bah!)
  • The fact that Swarovski, as another corporate sponsor, has supposedly hidden several tiny crystal figurines in the glasswork walls at the top. And, I've seen only 2 or 3 of them. Security likes to shoo you around, making it superhard to stare at every crevice along the wall. Of course, people look at you crazy when you start staring at every crevice along the wall, so maybe security's a good thing.
  • The Swarovski crystal chandelier-esque recreation of an upside-down 30 Rock in the lobby.
Well, there's more but you'll have to come play tourist to find out.

Today, we played NYC tourists - always a fun thing to do. The Snapple Big Apple BBQ Festival is this weekend, so in the 90-plus-degree weather, we waited in line for some good old-fashioned BBQ sandwiches topped with proper, proper coleslaw. Yum!

Then, we did the Met, to see the Superheroes Fashion exhibit. Some of the fashions were a little weird, but it was pretty interesting. Plus, it gave me a giggle thinking what George Clooney thought when he saw the Batman section. Because for sure, he said two things: 1) I'm so glad I didn't kill the franchise with my crappy Batman movie. 2) Christian Bale's Batman costume from The Dark Knight is WAY better than mine!

I'm telling ya'll. NYC - best town in the world. Thirteen years running, and I still haven't run out of things to do here.

Incidentally. In less than a week, I've managed to acquire a dozen new magnets. Five from Asia, four from NY, one from West Virginia, and one other one that I can't remember. At this rate, my magnet mission of never running out of magnets will definitely be fulfilled. Heh.
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Standing on top of the world...or rock, at least

Magnet #106 - Top of the Rock, April 1943

This weekend's supposed to be the first scorcher of the summer, so I'm going for a two-fer this weekend. No. Get your mind outta Swingtown for a sec. Today is Top of the Rock, Part One.

My most favorite place in the city is Top of the Rock, the recently revived observation deck at the top of 30 Rockefeller Center. I love this place soooo much. Let me count the ways.
  1. Less of a wait than Empire State Building. Because TotR has only been around these last couple of years, less people know about it. And that means, less of wait, nicer facilities, and less people. I know it's odd, I get superimpatient with crowds, and I live in one of the top destination cities in the world.
  2. Just as good a view as ESB. It's true. The view from upper Midtown is just as good, if not better than ESB. And, this way, you can take gorgeous photos of downtown (with ESB in the shot), and of uptown (with Central Park in the shot).
  3. Both have amazing art deco detail. Although, ESB edges 30 Rock out a bit - I mean, Doctor Who didn't do a 1930s-centric episode centered on 30 Rockefeller Center.
  4. Fab outdoor viewing. What I love about 30 Rock is that it's outdoors, on two different floors. It may not be as high, but here, you really feel like you're at the top of the world and it feels so open and free. When you're at ESB, you feel totally caged in, and in a parapet of sorts.
Need I say more?

(Yes. But that's why there's a part 2.)
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Friday, June 6, 2008

To be eyesore, or not to be

Magnet #105 - London Eye

I still haven't any tickets for David Tennant's Hamlet. Yes, I know we've discussed it before. Be prepared, it'll be popping up again, I feel sure.

The funny thing is that I don't even like Hamlet. I don't like the story, I don't like the character. Yes, yes, I know, I can't exactly talk smack about Shakespeare, since it's a trillion years later and we're still performing his work. I see the merit in the play, I swear. I just think - no matter if it's Olivier, Burton, Branagh, or Tennant - the prince of Denmark's a bit of a whiner. Drives me nuts. But, Hamlet's a definitive Shakespearean role, and one that obvi, DT will knock out of the park.

I do wish the papers and bloggers would stop reporting that tickets are still available, or going fast. I've called the RSC three times, and each time they've been sold out - and rehearsals just started Monday. There's to be a decision taken in the next couple of weeks or so, whether or not they're extending the run to London in December. So, I guess we'll wait and see.

Anyway. Moving on. The London Eye. While I'd seen the pictures and footage, I still wasn't prepared to see a big damn ferris wheel slam in the middle of the city nestled on the banks of the Thames, just down the street from Big Ben.

Don't get me wrong - I think it's an amazing structure. I just find myself questioning what it does to the London landscape. And, it's an amazing ride as well. Takes a while to do a rotation, but it really does give you a fabulous aerial view of the area. And, Londoners seem to have adopted it into its hearts and skyline, so I guess it's not quite the eyesore that I thought it was at first site.

The one thing that I would encourage is to buy your timed tickets before you land on UK soil - that'll save you buckets full of time. Oh! And, mind the darn pigeons hanging out by the McDonald's down the way from the Eye. Eww.

June 6. How fitting to use a UK magnet on this, the 64th anniversary of D-Day. No worries. I can do a D-day story next year for the 65th. Meetcha back here, then.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

There's a surprise inside every...egg

Magnet #104 - Fabergé Egg #1, Moscow Kremlin

You don't know this yet, but I also have a thing for Fabergé eggs. I love them. I want one of my very own. I don't suppose anyone has a spare they can give me, do they? No, I suppose not. That's ok, I have one of those magnet sets of 10 eggs that I got at the Bellagio's Treasures from the Kremlin exhibit many years ago.

Once, at a do on the Forbes yacht, rather than networking, I had a whale of a time tucked away reading one of their massive self-published, cloth hard-backed tomes on the eggs - both in their collection and not. I used to visit their
nine-egg collection all the time at the awesome Forbes Gallery. Well, that is until Steve Forbes decided that the collection should go back to its motherland. Sad for me.

The last egg was produced back in 1917, and apparently there are now plans to revive them. Not sure how I feel about that.

This one's the Moscow Kremlin, or the Uspenski Cathedral Egg. There's always a secret fun thing inside each egg, and this one's no different - apparently, you can open it up to see the inside of the Cathedral... and, it's a music box, that sings hymns. There's a whole story about the egg, about how it's important, because this cathedral is where all the Tsars were crowned, and how the presentation of the egg was delayed a few years because of political issues, but that's more than one little magnet should explain. But, the full story's here.

Just enjoy the pretty, because I swear, the design on these things are so damned intricate, it's like Fabergé had tiny fairies to actually manufacture them! Twould be fitting, since honestly, these eggs are like bits of magic when you see them up close.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

This is our moment. This is our time.

Magnet #103 - Mount Vernon

Those who know me know that I'm not a political person - at all. But, this election has (at least) kept me somewhat engaged, and for once, no one's talking about just getting out the vote. Hopefully the momentum keeps up, and come November, we'll see how those votes go.

I thought a magnet of the home of George Washington might be just the ticket today.

I visited Mount Vernon before they built the two new facilities - the Orientation Center, and the Museum and Education Center - so I'm very anxious to go back. Mainly because as we've discussed, I'm a presidential fan, and I have a crush on Alexander Hamilton. Do. Not. Ask.

Anyway, the friend who bought this magnet for me is a true GW much so that when he actually wrote a letter to their president - in 18th-century English. So charmed was that president that he invited my friend to one of their glitzy fundraising events, and my friend was able to roam free around much of building.

He didn't, however, get to go on that superduperawesome National Treasure exhibit that they're staging - it's an hour-long tour of where they filmed National Treasure 2, where they go in-depth about the basement rooms, and behind-the-scenes of the film. Methinks they probably concentrate more on the history aspect, but methinks I don't care. I'm soooo taking that tour.

Hmmmm, I wonder if they have magnets. With like Bruce Greenwood on them. Yeah, I'd buy that.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daleks are to Who, as Klingons are to Trek

Magnet #102 - Dalek

At the risk of letting my inner geek run rampant, I'm about to share an extreme and possibly inflammatory UOA. (That's Unpopular Opinion Ahead.)

Daleks. I don't get 'em. I know they're the UberEpicEnemy of the Doctor in Doctor Who. That much I get. What is completely beyond me is why they are so popular. And so scary. Is it their lack of humanity? Is it their toilet plunger suck-ery thing? Is it their flashing lights and funny voices? Is it their need to conquer the Universe(es)? Was the Last. Great. Time. War. all that bad?

Take me out back and exterminate me, but I gotta say, I'm not a big fan of the Daleks. Every DW episode with a Dalek drives me nuts - it's probably blasphemous, but I skip rewatching any episode with them. Or, at the least, I fast-forward through their scenes.

I was the same way with any Star Trek: The Next Generation / Klingon episode. First, I didn't buy in TNG that the Klingons were no longer enemies. That'd be like the Doctor saying to the Daleks, yes, let's bury the hatchet - I forgive you. Second, while I loved Worf (and even his spawn from Family Ties), I hated every Klingon-centric episode. It was the grunting and the made-up language and the war cries and the scary weapons.

Maybe it's the mythic enemies that I have trouble with - because my dislike might also extend to the Cybermen and the Borg. Or, maybe it's that I haven't a clue of their rich show history - I'll admit that I was never a Classic Who fan, and go even further by admitting I'm one of those annoying fans of only the newest incarnation.

And, yes, I totally get that this post outs me as an unworthy and not-true blue Who/TNG fan, but I'm willing to entertain anyone who can give me good reasons why I should admire and/or fear the Daleks or the Klingons.

And, yes, mean comments will be deleted - I'm looking for reasons to like these guys. Obvi, since I chose a Dalek as my first actual Doctor Who magnet. Otherwise, I'd have used the supercute David Tennant / Ten magnet first. I'm just sayin'.
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Monday, June 2, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled magnets...

Magnet #101 - Krackel

This morning, I woke up to a news story about an 8-year-old who swallowed 30 magnets. Thirty. 30. As in 3 x 10. Because she thought it was candy.

It's an honest mistake when you eat one or two steel balls, thinking it's candy. She ate thirty - 10 Lincoln Log sized magnets and 20 steel balls. She's awfully lucky she's still alive to tell her story, no matter how silly it sounds.

I mean, they were steel balls! It's not like they looked like this Krackel magnet! Thirty?! Really?

Well, it's no steel ball, but this magnet looks real enough for a friend of mine to return to me after several months - sheepishly confessing that she had picked it up off my desk at work, thinking it was real - only to find out at her desk that it was a magnet.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

The prodigals return - GAR Day #17

Magnet #100 - I Heart NY

So, after a long drive from Montana back down to Salt Lake, we were to fly home to New York (and North Carolina) today, the end of a superlong trip.

After 17 days on the road, I was planning to take Monday off, just to recuperate from the trip. I probably would have just gotten into bed, and not left it until Tuesday morning. Oiy - I'm tired just thinking about it.

It was a lovely trip, and superfun trying to find magnets in my collection for joy magnetism to take the original Great American Roadtrip. And, I managed, too - with only a slight cheat here and there. Thanks for coming along with me!

Ironically, this magnet was the only one that I went out and specifically bought for this GAR series. Despite living here for 13 years, I didn't have a real I Heart NY magnet.

Anyway, this is doubly fitting, since I just saw Sex and the City on Saturday, and New York was truly a fifth major character in the film. Well, you know, what I saw of it through the tears and tears and tears. I'm not normally a big movie sobber, but I seriously was Sobby McSobberson for this flick. And, believe you me, I wasn't even a huge SatC fan to begin with!

But, whether you thought it was awesome or not, it seems that most women seem to be having the same reaction to this movie - which is, leaving the movie theatre, desperate to call and reconnect with every single close girlfriend you've had over the years.

Luckily, I just spent the last 17 days with two of them - thinking about it, it probably would have been great fun to end the trip with a midnight showing somewhere in Montana. If anything, had the trip gone insane and we with it, SatC would have sorted us right back out again.

GAR Track of the Day: New York, New York
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