joy magnetism: January 2011

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Monday, January 31, 2011


Magnet #1074 - James Buchanan's Wheatland

Ok. I dunno how I've managed to visit Pennsylvania a zillion times, and most of that through Lancaster County, and I've never been to James Buchanan's house? How?

My sisters and BIL brought this back for me from Wheatland, though you know, at some point, I have to go visit it for myself. This is the three-cent postage stamp the USPS issued in 1956, commemorating the centennial of Buchanan's election as our 15th president.

Besides being the last guy to serve before Lincoln and his Civil war, Buchanan held several civil servant positions - five times to the House, 10 years in the Senate. A stint as a Minister to Russia, Secretary of State and even Minister to Britain. That's a lot of years to dedicate to public service.

He never married, either - the only bachelor president, he usually had his niece Harriet Lane, host all of his functions and pretty much serve as nominal First Lady. "Hal" had been orphaned at eleven years old, and grew up with Buchanan as her guardian. She always plays his hostess, and it turns out she was a social favorite on both sides of the Atlantic. How cool is it that Queen Victoria gave "dear Miss Lane" the rank of ambassador's wife? Pretty cool, for a chick in her 20s.

Anyway, looks like once I've visited Wheatland, that will knock off the only presidential house in PA - Buchanan was the only president from Pennsylvania.

Hmmm, I wonder if he's related to the Buchanans on One Life to Live. I mean, I know they hail from Texas, but honestly, Llanview, Lancaster, what's the difference?
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

All others will be toad

Magnet #1073 - Princess Parking Only

I stocking-stuffered one of these magnets for my middle sister last Christmas. Heh, ya'll shoulda seen her smirky face when she saw it.

Couldn't help it, though, cuz it's such a cute magnet, and somehow I ended up with two. I kinda liked it for today because it's the SAG Awards tonight, yet another of a zillion awards nights where all the actors get to dress up like little princes and princesses and take some hardware home.

Love this time of year, because we do get to live vicariously through them, as they make their way down the red carpet, squeeing over each other and what they're wearing. My favorite is when the actors themselves get all giddy at seeing some of their favorite actors in person. For some reason, it always feels like they're all friends with each other, even if they've never met before.

Award shows always look like fun, but, I dunno about ya'll, I honestly couldn't do it.

Sure, it's fun getting dressed up for a night on the town, but remember last week or so when Christina Hendricks lost that 193 carat, $850k piece of jewelry? Uh, no way. I had a hard enough time freaking out when I lost my mom's 24c gold earring when I was 14! Ooof, and trying to pick out something that wouldn't land you on the worst-dressed list, plus trying to remember who and what you're wearing? Oh, no. Couldn't pay me to do that.

Though, I suppose if I had to pick one awards show to ever attend in my life, it would have to be the Golden Globes. Tv actors. Film actors. Alcohol.

Yep. Fun all around.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tattoo artist

Magnet #1072 - Norman Rockwell's Tattoo Artist

I've always wanted a tattoo. But, other than my name, I can't figure out what I wouldn't get tired of within hours.

I know this to be the case, because last year, at a trade show a client and I got the back of our hands henna'd at one of the booths.

Gorgeous work. But by the end of the day, I was tired of looking at it. A few days later and several meetings where I shouldn't have had any ink (henna or otherwise) on the back of my hand, and I was ready to chop my arm off.

Yeah, the obvious thing would be to get it where I won't ever see it. But then, what's the point?

That's why this Rockwell painting of The Tattoo Artist from the Brooklyn Museum (and their really cool Norman Rockwell exhibit)* cracks me up. The artist is busily scratching out the last name and adding yet another lady love to the growing list. Heh. Funny.

It's supposed to be a tattoo shop down in the Bowery here in town. I will say, if I ever manage to screw up the guts to get one, I probably wouldn't end up down in the Bowery. I'd likely go back home to my friend's shop. I trust him, mainly because I know him and know he'd probably laugh with me when my nervous laughter would inevitably give way to tears of pain. But, I'd go to him also, because before he ever touched the ink, he was always been the artist of our bunch in high school, so it'd be flat-out gorgeous, no matter what I decide to get.

For now, though, I'll just get jealous whenever I see anyone's ink on TV...usually Alex O'Loughlin's arms on Hawaii Five-0 (real) or Jax Teller's back on Sons of Anarchy (fake).

And you're welcome, for those links. :-)

*If you get the chance, definitely head over to the Brooklyn Museum for their Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera exhibit. Fascinating stuff. Rockwell's one of the few major artists who basically set designed and cast every painting he ever did. The exhibit takes you behind the scenes of those photoshoots, and shows you how he composed entire paintings by editing and cropping dozens of those images together.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

White cliffs of Appledore

Magnet #1071 - Childe Hassam's The South Ledges

Oh, there's the ocean again. Because you know how much I love the beach.

There's an amazing collection of American Impressionists at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC, and I was superexcited when I saw they chose this one for a magnet.

Despite the beach theme, I love, love, love this Childe Hassam painting of The South Ledges in Appledore, Maine. Hassam and a bunch of his creative friends all used to hang out at poet Celia Thaxter's house there during the summers, so there's more than a few Appledore paintings in Hassam's body of work.

Part of why I'm so drawn to this painting is because it's such a gorgeous color combination of blues and whites. Obviously. And always.

I'm also drawn to how the lady, presumably a well-to-do New Englander, is perched against the rocks, lost in thought. Honestly, the painting also reminds me of my favorite picture of well, me...against the world.

And, of course, the other reason I love it is because if you're just walking by the piece in a gallery, at first glance it feels like it's a Monet. Subtle differences show that it's not, and with each Hassam that I see, I'm getting better and better at telling the difference.

Or, I'm just getting better at reading the placards.
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Daredevil Spider-Man

Magnet #1070 - Daredevil

Oh, yes, Marvel. You included Daredevil in that Marvel magnets collectors set. Thanks for that.

I watched the movie along with a trillion other people, thinking it was gonna be awesome. I was slightly less than enthralled, but it could be because I never read the comics, nor knew the canon.

What I did like was that he was set in NYC, and for whatever reason - mock me if you must - I always think about Ben Affleck Daredevil, feeling a little safer whenever I find myself walking around Hell's Kitchen.

I missed yesterday's magnet, mostly because my wireless was out at home, but also because I saw another Marvel superhero in action last night: Spider-Man.

Ya'll know I hate being left out of anything, so of course, I jumped at the discounted preview tickets to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

But, apparently, to be taken seriously, the same rules apply to bloggers when it comes to reporting on previews. (Obviously, I didn't know that when I blogged on the Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins previews I went to a while ago. Oops.)

So, yeah, while I splurged for the $10 die-cut acrylic Spider-Man magnet, I will kindly wait til previews are over, supposedly on the Ides of March.

I will say a couple of things, though. The set design and costumes are to freakin' die for, and the actors are definitely working their hearts out.

Oh, and that Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat needs to come check out this version of the Racnoss.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Setting the bar

Magnet #1069 - I Just Don't Listen

I think this is one of my so-very-out-of-my-demographic Claire's Happy Bunny magnets.

When I was still an only child of four or five, I used to argue so much with my parents that it was then when they decided I would be a lawyer.

No, really. I remember sitting in the car pouting over something, and my dad saying, yes, you're going to be a lawyer some day.

That pattern continued straight on through to my senior year of high school, when my mother handed over the Carolina majors book, with acceptable prelaw majors checkmarked for me.

Uh, yeah. So, clearly, that totally didn't work out for them.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lobby got Capeside

Magnet #1068a & b - Boston Lobster

This two-sided magnet that I picked up at Quincy Market in Boston last year is freakin' awesome.

The lobster's grinning face reminds me of my messageboard friends whom I miss.

But how cute does Lobby look - so happy! You'd think he doesn't realize he's about to get eaten by people of Boston. Poor thing.

Using this magnet today because I finally - finally - finished my Dawson's Creek marathon. Seven seasons over the past three weeks or so, with a DC (Washington) break in between. I mentioned what started my Creekathon a few weeks ago, and it's been so much fun revisiting Capeside and Boston. Fun, and funny, watching a whole series back to back, and from so long ago.

It's slightly dated, with it's constant pop culture references and fashion sense. But mostly the fashion sense. I mean, the shoes alone made me giggle. Still, that cast had some of the most adorable outfits. Even "wrong side of the creek" Joey had some adorable stuff. Though, in later years, that Dawson Leery Scholarship must have paid off buckets, for she was actually wearing a DKNY Jeans winter coat, according to the tag on her sleeve. And good grief, she had a different coat for every occasion! And the scarves! They had the cutest, most adorable scarves!

The music made me crazy. They basically re-scored the show, to save on music rights - which I totally get. But some of the replacement songs were just not right for the seminal moments of the show, and made all the more upsetting when you've got a scene burned in your brain and it's totally not the same song they used in the original.

On top of that, in some of the scenes, some of the music levels overpowered the actual show dialogue. I shouldn't be hearing more of the lyrics than the dialogue, sound dude! And don't even get me started with the use of the international opening for seasons three-six, rather than the Paula Cole track. (Though I was happy they kept it intact for the series finale.)

The show really should have ended at season four - it was a perfect ending to the show. But no, we had to be subjected to the last two seasons...which were made bearable only by adding Busy Phillips. As my sister says, she was like a breath of fresh air to those seasons. It's true.

It was funny because I can recite dialogue from almost every episode from the first four seasons, but I had a hard time remembering some of the episodes from the last two seasons. Like, how in the world did I forget that Joey was Pacey's temp admin assistant for an episode?

It was probably because those last two seasons were very much uneven, and almost a totally different show, riddled with a lot of trial and error in terms of relationships and characters. They did a pretty good job of showing how each of them were leading separate lives, but in doing that, it lost a lot of what the show was about, I thought. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if they had done the One Tree Hill route and skipped college, and jumped right into "real life."

But I suppose the best part of revising Capeside and Boston were the guest stars and cameos. Eddie Cahill, Oliver Hudson, Andy Griffith, Pauley Perrette, Dr. Drew & Adam Corolla, Brenda Strong, Mimi Rogers, Jack Osbourne, Melissa Clare Egan (twice in 2 different roles), Greg Rikaart, and Jensen Ackles. And it just really cracks me up that Seth Rogen, of all people, will forever have Dawson's Creek on his resume.

Overall I have to say, the show held up for me. The same squees at Dawson & Joey and Pacey & Joey and Dawson & Jen 2.0, the same tears at the killer ice cream, all the proms and Jen's good-bye, and of course, the same sighs over Pacey Goo and "I remember everything."

I won't lie. Watching the final montage, there was a big part of me that wanted to run back and grab disc one all over again.

Of course, I'll wait.

But I don't wanna.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Cutesy Carolina

Magnet #1067 - Cutesy Carolina

How much do I love this magnet? No really. Adorable. Carolina and navy blue is one of my all-time fave color combinations, and all done up with little sweet polka dots and cutesy stripes? Love.

It's the kind of magnet you'd expect to find in a cute local drugstore on Main Street, the kind with an old soda fountain counter manned by local high schoolers aiming for the nearest highway out of town. Which is of course, where I found it.

Using it for today, because to this day, it still kills me that they picked Duke to be Joey Potter's Worthington campus. I'm sure it was easier to work with the private Duke folks, versus the bureaucratic state-run UNC, but still!

And, yes, I will grant you that Duke has a beautiful campus, but I really, really, really hate that all the college years promo shots on my Dawson's Creek DVDs have Duke in it, rather than Carolina.

What? I've been finishing up their college years, and all I keep seeing is Duke, Duke, Duke! Grrr. Argh!

Oops. Wrong show.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh [Miss] La La

Magnet #1066 - Degas' Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

It's another one of my National Gallery magnets. Man, that set had a lot of magnets. But, I think I'm coming to the end of this set.

Just in time, too, because I can't wait to revisit the National Gallery gift shop. I spent only a couple of hours there with my mom the last time around, and in June, I'd like to spend a good part of a day there. Much like the Met or the Uffizi or the Louvre, the NG cannot be done in a day, in a couple of visits, or ever really completely done.

For example, I may have this magnet of Dega's Miss La La, but I've never seen it in person. And I feel like I should, so it's a must.

I'm not a huge Degas fan, like at all, but I find myself both intrigued and freaked out by this image of Ms. La La hanging by the skin of her teeth. That's what Degas was looking for, interesting subjects in arresting poses, according to the site. I think this chick fits the bill.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maid of the Mist

Magnet #1065 - Maid of the Mist

Confession: I've been sitting here mulling over, researching, and writing this one little magnetpost for a good 45 minutes, just listening to the oddly lulling music track over the Maid of the Mist website. Try it.

It reminds me of my college summer job admin temping in a personnel office. The owner had a stereo system pumped throughout the whole office, and it was up to me to make sure the discs were changed.

Trouble was, it was the same 15 or so discs. Actually, the real trouble was, it was the likes of John Tesh and Yanni and Jim Brickman and George Winston. And? By the end of the summer? I found myself buying a couple of CDs here and there to take back with me to Carolina.

What? Maybe I was brainwashed by it, after all, I was the only 20-year-old in the world stuck listening to this music day in and day out for three months. Plus? That was the summer I was grounded, so it's not like my homelife was a barrel of laughs, either.

Yes. You read right. 20. Grounded. And, that should paint you a picture. Cuz there's not a magnet alive that can make me blog about that summer.

Moving on.

I really love this sepia-esque magnet that the Save the World Couple brought back for me from Niagara Falls. The very look of it makes me feel like it was produced back in 1846, when the first Maid of the Mist, a sidewheel steamboat, was launched.

If you haven't gone, go. Niagara Falls is something that everyone should see once in their lifetime. I've only been on the (current) Maid of the Mist once, many years ago, on a long-ago roadtrip to Niagara.

Such a cool trip - even when you're totally wet and somewhat freezing, and the boat's being buffeted about by the waves, and you can barely hear anything because you're wearing those silly-looking ponchos over your ears, and you can barely see for the water on your faces, it's still such an amazing thing looking up at more than three thousand tons of falling water.

And, maybe it's the music playing, but there's something comforting about knowing that many, many, many Maids of the Mists and 164 years later, those observation boats are still traveling as close to the waterfalls as humanly possible.

Hmmm. You know, I still own that John Tesh CD. Um, yeah. I'm gonna go close that Maid of the Mist tab now.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Protect Me!

Magnet #1064 - Protect Me!

Ah. If you know my Save the World Sister, you were likely expecting this magnet to be accompanied by another guest magnetpost on pandas from her. Eh, no worries, she'll be back talking pandas eventually, because somehow I've ended up with several panda magnets along the way.

We always manage to visit the Spicy Brown booth at New York Comic Con, and last time around, I picked up this pin magnet. Like all of their kawaii (cute) characters, the Protect Me Panda is freakin' adorable.

It's part of their Protect series, a best-selling collection designed by Kazuko Shinoka, and specifically aimed at helping raise awareness and funds for the WWF.

I picked it for this week, because the little panda kinda reminds me of my Aussie cousin. Halfway to 14, and on her first trip to America, she's now been exposed to about half of the 30 first cousins, in about 4 states and 1 District of Columbia.

I love spending time with my cousins, and this one was no different. We had a ton of fun hanging out, doing our walkabouts in New York, and a little bit in DC.

She's normal people size (which means a little bit taller than me), so was often hard to keep in mind she's only 13. Her age was all the more evident, when in the space of four hours, I had to explain what happened to the Twin Towers on September 11th (her mom brought her down to Ground Zero last week), Civil War/Slavery/Lincoln's Assassination (when we dropped by Ford Theater this week), and the Holocaust (when we visited the International Spy Museum and she learned about World War II).

I felt a little bit guilty, wondering how her mom would react when she learned that I'd explained those three examples of what a crappy world we actually live in sometimes. While a big part of me wanted to protect her, she did pose the questions, and I couldn't see a way around not answering them.

So I did. But all the while, I kinda felt like I was taking a bit of innocence away from the little girl from Down Under.

The protective stance continued, when we saw the September 11th footage at the Spy Museum - I wanted to cover her eyes, but also wanted to point it out to her. I winced when she winced when I explained how Lincoln was shot in the very theatre we were standing under, and that they eventually caught and hung the plotmakers.

And the next day, when we went to the Holocaust Museum (at her request), I wanted to pull her away from the graphic footage, all the while trying to help her understand the un-understandable. While it was a little hard, she made a few astute observations that showed she was soaking in the information. We ended the visit by buying her The Diary of Anne Frank, required reading at her age here in the States, but a book that she'd not yet heard of in Australia.

Oh! And that was something else I learned on this trip, trying to pick out the places and things that would the most interesting and worthwhile for my cousin and my aunt. I realized that no matter how much I love it, and love learning more and more about it, the plain fact is, American history is just not as interesting to those not from the U.S.

It was kind of a funny realization, one that seems to be uniquely American. I get that feeling whenever I travel in Europe, too. You know, when you walk around the corner and run into a building that's older than your country's history.

After all, it's really quite humbling to realize that your country's history, while interesting, is only about 234 years old, and really only about a spec in the terms of overall humankind's history.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Remember. Only YOU can prevent wildfires!"*

Magnet #1063 - Smokey's Office

Since the 1940s, Smokey Bear has been the spokesbear for preventing forest fires in America. Thousands of leaflets, posters, radio, print, tv and onlines, he's still one of our most recognized advertising - and government- icons. Talk about a campaign with legs!

And with the Ad Council and several other partner organization's help, he's still fighting the good fight at his website, still trying to help educate people on the importance of preserving our nation's forests.

My sister got me this magnet from the U.S. Forest Service, just off the Mall in DC. Of course, I've now visited the exhibit twice myself. Yes. Twice. Within a month.

What? Ya'll know I love bears.

And, even though animatronics freak me out like no one's business, I love visiting Smokey Bear's office!

*Smokey says his original "Remember. Only YOU can prevent forest fires." in the video I took, because according to the ranger on staff, it's the 1930s or 40s in his office. The Forestry Service changed over to preventing wildfires in 2001, in an effort to include forest, wild, and brushfires.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Issued by Woolworth"

Magnet #1062 - Social Security

My friends bought this magnet for me, an old ad and/or poster for the introduction of Social Security back in the late 1930s. Thanks! And, since I'm in DC this week, I figure I'd use a government-y magnet.

The Social Security Administration had several precursors in many ways, shapes and forms, but it wasn't until FDR announced his intention to Congress in 1934 to create a Social Security program that it became an official government agency.

It's pretty cool, if you think about it, how such an administration - no matter how you feel about it politically or socially - can manage to just launch itself, and still be around to this day. It's stuff we take for granted here in the U.S., our ability to create (relatively) stable administrations/offices for the public good, and keep them up and running.

Mind you, there was probably a ton of work to be done to get Social Security launched, and I bet a ton of things went into action the day that FDR said, let's do this. A year later, when FDR signed the Social Security Act into law, that's when the real work began.

Man, I would love to have seen the implementation and marketing plans for this project. They would need 100% awareness, and just think about it - a country in disarray from the Depression, millions out of work, and suddenly, it's about assigning, tracking and paying out Social Security numbers to every citizen in the United States. The United States! Whoa!

According to the SSA, the first number was assigned a New Rochelle, NY, resident, a Mr. John David Sweeney, Jr. But, funnily enough, his number wasn't the lowest number ever - a lady from New Hampshire - Grace Dorothy Owen - had SSN: 001-01-0001. Come on, I would totally play those numbers in the PowerBall lottery.

But, here's something even funnier on the SSA site.

A few years later, folks were still applying for SSNs and cards, and this wallet manufacturer wanted to show how SS cards could fit into their wallets. So they printed up some sample SS cards (no, really, it said "specimen" on it) to stick into the wallets, and went about their merry way, distributing them to Woolworth's and other department stores.

Sounds all well and good, right? I mean, even now, we all get those wallets with fake John/Jane Doe credit cards included.

Yep. Would have been ok, except that some whiz kid from the wallet manufacturer decided to use a real SSN from a real individual - his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher, SSN: 078-05-1120.

Um, what?

Turns out - in what I can only believe is proof positive that all my government clients aren't wrong for overthinking the simplest of things when it comes to the American public - some people who bought the wallet started using Hilda's number as their own! Seriously.

And I'm not talking just one or two silly people. Apparently in 1943, as many as 5,755 people were using that number. Almost 6,000 people!

Of course, the SSA folks had to cancel the number, and publicize that it was an invalid number.

And yet, even through 1977, a dozen people were still using Hilda's number that was "issued by Woolworth."

Good grief.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Living Memorial

Magnet #1061 - United States Holocaust Museum

When I was in high school, our band made a stop at Dachau Concentration Camp. Like most band trips, it had been a barrel of laughs, up until that day's tour, when we suddenly all the lessons we'd learned from books and lectures about the Holocaust became very, very real.

When they built the United States Holocaust Museum in DC, I put off going.* Put it off, in that way that you know you should do something, but you know it will make you sad, and really, who actively runs into that situation? But you know you must eventually do it, because it's something that you just must do.

I finally went late last year, and am convinced that it's something everyone must do at least once. Sad though it is, the museum itself is truly an amazing experience, one that's made all the more real by the footage, the artifacts, the castings, the stories, the exhibit design, and especially the stark museum design.

You start from the top floor, where the films and exhibits explain how Hitler and the Third Reich came to power, the beginnings of Antisemitism, and with each passing picture and caption, the groundwork is laid toward one of the biggest tragedies in human history.

Just before the end of the upper level, you're faced with the question...when all the build-up was happening and (judging by the newspaper headlines of the day) America knew about it, then why didn't we do anything? There's a multimedia room with several carrels that explain America's response, but even if you sit there and watch each video, there's no real answer to be had.

As you leave the upper floor, you pass through one of my favorite (dubious word, I know) sections of the museum is the Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection's Tower of Faces on this magnet. It's a three-story tower of photographs taken from 1890 to 1941, of everyday ordinary Jews from a town called Eishishok (now in Lithuania). Looking up and down at all the photos, they're all strangers. Just seeing their faces and both somber and happy poses, though, it hits home that these people could easily be folks you know. But you don't know them - because as you find out in the later floor, 900 years of a rich Jewish history in Eishishok were wiped out in the space of two days.

The next floors retrace the steps of what they call the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, the stories of the ghettos and containment, until finally you enter into the concentration camp exhibit halls. If the horrific feelings of what happened so long ago haven't come back to haunt you by this point, stand in the musty, darkened railcar for just a minute. Or, really, even just a few seconds.

Throughout the exhibit halls, there are fairly high walls that shield the monitors showing the most graphic of footage, of the abuse, the violence, the experiments, etc. The concrete walls are there to protect young kids and presumably anyone of any age who doesn't want to see the footage.

For me, there was a strange dissonance here, the need to want to physically pull away the young prying eyes from the footage, coupled with the need to make sure they watched, if only to make sure their generations didn't follow in these sad footsteps.

That's the nature of this museum. By the time you get to the Last Chapters of Liberation and the trials, you've learned more than you ever wanted to know about the evils of mankind. And that's good. The learning, that is. It's no longer some ethereal lesson you've had to memorize for an AP test or pop quiz. No longer something far away in some book you read long ago.

It happened, and the takeaway from the museum is to honor the memories of those millions and millions lost by learning from it, and not letting it happen again.

*Oddly, my reluctance to write this magnetpost is kind of why I put off writing this rather sobering blogpost for a week.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Can we watch Doctor Who?

Magnet #1060 - A little more sonic

Please. What do you think?

I'm hanging out with the fam this week, doing some roadtripping to DC, with a Jersey layover tonight.

And what have we been doing when we get together lately? Trying valiantly to catch the kids up on all of David Tennant's years as the Tenth Doctor. In fact, that was the first text I got, can we watch Doctor Who?

I figured another cousin marathon deserved another Cafe Press magnet - yes, another one. I can't stop buying them! It's pretty! And blue! And, yes, yes, I know, this one is from Christopher Eccleston's stint, but it works. Also. It's pretty! And blue!

Anyway, tonight's docket is Martha's first three episodes, including Shakespearean Code, which the two Jersey cousins, "had" to watch over again to catch up the Melbourne cousin. Yeah. They really suffered through it. Heh.

I think what I'm loving most tonight is how smitten they seem to be with David Tennant. In their world, Matt Smith and Amy Pond don't quite exist yet.

Scratch that. The preview for Daleks in Manhattan just came on, and the cousin just yelled out,

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Sunday, January 16, 2011


Magnet #1059 - Tmesis


Shootfire. I knew I should have waited so I could think of more of these that I use! Anyone else have any?

Tmesis is when people insert one word into another word, for emphasis, or usually to be funny.

That's why this Nic and the Newfie magnet is my all-time favorite of the six reclaimed words on reclaimed magnets that I have.

I seriously do it all the time, whether I mean to be funny or not. For some reason, it just gets freakin point across better when you've added a whole other word to your expletive. What? I always said I curse like a sailor. Don't judge.

Oddly, though, I also mix up my words and syllables every once in a while, too.

It's like that cartoon about the trolls - anyone remember that one from the 80s? Where they all drive around in a long white convertible, and there's one weird guy who always gets his syllables backward?

Am I the only one who remembers that cartoon? I don't even remember enough of the details to look it up on You Tube - I just remember his white car that looks an awful lot like Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Anyone? Anyone?
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's for dinner?

Magnet #1058 - K-Ration Dinner

I picked this K-ration magnet up at the Brooklyn Museum for 92 cents!

I don't even remember the last time I saw any magnet (or anything, really) on sale anywhere for less than a dollar! So of course, I picked it up. And you know I had to stop myself from picking up the Breakfast and Lunch magnets, too. They were supercute, but I didn't think I could field two additional magnetposts for them. Not really, anyway.

How cool is this magnet, though? I love that it explains right on the box what's included for the meal. There is something really funny about the government repackaging the rations boxes with something they called the "Morale Series," where each meal was color- and letter-coded. As if making the meals pretty on the outside were going to make it more palatable to the men.

K rations were introduced to our troops in 1942, right in the middle of World War II. They were supposed to be emergency rations only, but as the war wore on, it was increasingly used as their main staples.

I mean, just look at the contents - all that sugar! But, apparently, they went through all this rigorous field testing with each set of rations to see if they would be sufficient for the troops.

The poor guys got tired of eating the same rations day in, and day out, and truth be told, the rations weren't even really enough to keep them moving, because their calorie content were somewhat less calories than what active men need.

By the end of the war, the army moved on to the new and improved C Rations, leaving millions and millions of surplus of K rations to feed the hungry overseas.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Here and there

Magnet #1057 - Camera Work

One of the things I love about this town, is when there are multiple exhibits around the same subject at different museums. Whether it's planned or not, it still gives you a better grasp on a subject when you see it from multiple vantage points/exhibits.

The last couple of weeks or so, that's what the Seaport Museum and the Met (where I picked up this magnet) have done for me.

The Seaport just finished the amazing Alfred Stieglitz New York exhibit. I'm not a big photography fan, indeed, the amount that I know about it, could fill a teacup.

Yet, I've found myself captivated by his particular work, because he was born during the Civil War, and died at 82 in 1946, after World War II. So, his photography spans from horse-drawn carriages on the streets of New York, to the monumental skyscrapers being built all around him.

Plus, dudes. The man was doing more with his magic lantern camera in the 1890s than I can do with my point and shoot Panasonic in 2011. His photography is amazing. He makes me want to run out there and shoot anything and everything.

If you missed the Seaport exhibit, you can always hop on over to the Met, for the Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand exhibit. Though you can see much of what was at the Seaport, the Met's collection includes the Georgia O'Keefe portraits, plus additional halls focusing on Steichen and Strand's work as well.

While you're there, definitely drop by the Met's Masterpieces of French Art Deco exhibit. Very cool, made more interesting for me today, because it included more than a few pieces from the S.S. Normandie, which I magnetblogged about yesterday.

I know. I keep finding myself at the Met, over and over again. At some point, I really just need to get a job there.

Oh! I forgot. Each Friday, I've decided to post a new Floaty Pen video. Yes. Exactly what it sounds like. Yes. Just as silly as you would expect.

What? I can't figure out a better way to make use out of my Floaty Pen collection than showing you guys one a week!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ships in the night

Magnet #1056 - Seaport Museum

This past weekend, I visited the Seaport Museum to catch the last days of the Alfred Stieglitz exhibition, which I'll magnetblog as soon as I run and get that Camera Work magnet from the Met's Stieglitz exhibition tomorrow. Loved this museum.

Yes, yes, it's possible that I might love every museum in the world, but I really enjoyed my visit! The Stieglitz exhibition was superdupercool, but I was truly blown away by the DECOdence S.S. Normandie exhibit.

Before I get to the Normandie though, can I just say? I had the Coolest. Evening. Ever.

Today was the second-ever Royal Rendezvous in New York Harbor - all three ships of the Cunard Fleet met this evening near the Statue of Liberty...and made fireworks!

It was superdamn cool standing that the bottom of Manhattan island, seeing the three giant ships in the harbor, each like floating cities of light, each dwarfing the Statue of Liberty. They all poot-pooted their horns, and then paraded one after the other past Lady Liberty.

First, we saw Queen Mary 2 come into the harbor. She's the largest of the fleet, and can handle 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew. And dudes. Dudes! She came about right there in the harbor, as if she were Pacey's tiny True Love, rather than her 203 feet tall, 1,132 feet long and 150,000 tons! After she turned downstream, she was followed by Queen Victoria, and then Queen Elizabeth, all while the fireworks broke through the skies.

It was awesome standing on the esplanade watching these giant ships go by. Of course, it was 19 degrees, and I may never get feeling back in my fingers and toes, and my nose may have hypothermia, but it was worth it.

I've never before wanted to take a cruise before, but I've decided, if I ever do, I will totally sail either the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria. Talk about seaworthy!

But back to the French ocean liner, Normandie. At the time she sailed, she was the largest and the fastest ship in existence. And one of the most opulent ships ever seen. Kind of funny, given that she was christened during the Depression. When the war came, the French moored her in NY to be retooled into a troopship. Alas, she came to a fiery end through a bizarre construction accident. There's no doubt that had she made it through the war, that she would have seen many more years of service.

The DECOdence exhibit gives you a good background on the ship's history, how the French government heavily subsidized the building of her, the marketing and PR blitz it went through. Plus, it also gives you a guided tour of the ship, her luxurious features and amenities, the glorious art deco design by the likes of Lalique and other designers of the day. They have a ton of artifacts to look at, matched up with fantastic giant images that makes you feel like you're right there in the Grand Salon.

I swear, going through the exhibit makes you crazy, thinking of how wonderful it would have been to travel aboard the Normandie.

Mind you, I'd only accept first class passage. The better to meet Cary Grant, don'tcha know.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No woman's an island

Magnet #1055 - El Salvador

My sister brought this handpainted magnet back for me from her work trip to El Salvador last year. How cool is this one? It's painted on a tree!

Ok, fine. Painted on wood.

Still! Someone's little fingers painted this one. (Yeah, let's not delve too much into that, otherwise, I'll be forced to recollect all those sad books I had to read in International/Third World Politics at Carolina.)

I love that it's a little village of just two houses...with possibly a parrot over in the corner? (Or is that a shell? I dunno.)

I've been thinking a lot of the notion of home lately. It's funny, because when I'm in New York, I refer to North Carolina as home. And when I'm in North Carolina, I refer to New York as home. Truth is, they both are, really.

Someone FB-statused last week it used to be that once upon a time she couldn't wait to live in the big city, but recently she's realized that she loves living in a small town, because within 20 minutes of something happening, everyone knows, and has called, come over, cried, prayed or laughed with you.

That's kind of like my nightmare. That's the very reason I moved to the anonymous big city, so that I wouldn't have that issue of people knowing my business. (Not that I got called out as the doctor's daughter buying alcohol at Food Lion, or anything. Heh.)

So, for the past 14 years and up to late last year, I've lived in this building, not knowing more than my neighbor's name, the neighbor down the hall's daughter's name, the other neighbor down the hall's name and her dog's name. Annnnd, that's pretty much it.

Part of that was because I was a total workaholic getting home in the wee hours of the night. But the bigger part of that was because I was trying to be the most model tenant, making no waves, flying under the radar, truly embracing the comforting anonymity of a giant 23-story building.

Now that I've joined our tenants alliance (I can hear you laughing from here), in an effort to help us rent stabilized folks keep our homes in light of new owners, it's become the opposite. Last night, we gave candidate statements (shhh, I still hear you laughing), and as I looked around the lobby at our little community, I realized I've been missing out all these years, right in my own home.

Folks who have lived here for 20 and 30 years were friends with each other, were catsitters for each other. Some were joking around, even arguing with each other, but most with shared experiences.

Real neighbors.

People tend to think that in a city of 8 million people, that it's hard to create a circle of friends. I've managed to do it, collecting people from work and other places. I never thought to do it in my building.

It's sad to realize this now, now that we could possibly lose our homes. But it does make me realize that going forward, it probably wouldn't hurt to get to know the, and wherever I might end up next.

But hopefully it's here, in this building. I always swore I wouldn't leave this apartment (or New York) until they dragged me kicking and screaming. Despite my issues of the last year, I love it too much. It's home. Sigh. Wish us luck.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Harbor in Moonlight

Magnet #1054 - Harbor in Moonlight

I bought this magnet as part of a set from the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston last year. Such a gorgeous painting. That I've never seen.

I spotted it in the gift shop as I was leaving, and I knew I had to have it - mostly because it was pretty and blue. I really should have run back to see it in the gallery, but I was running late, so I just picked it up.

I didn't even know who the artist was until I started writing this magnetpost. A German landscape artist by the name of Jakob Philipp Hackert painted this piece, Harbor in Moonlight in 1773.

Though Hackert generally painted Italian landscapes, I haven't a clue where this image set, mostly because the painting is totally not on the web. Seriously, it's like my Monet all over again. It's no longer on the MFAH site, and the only other museum listed is the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, which doesn't have an entry for it.

Sigh. I guess I'll never know. So, I'll make it up. The painting was done in 1773, the year of the Boston Tea Party. Check out the patriots over to the left. Squint. Really hard.

Oh, c'mon. If you ignore the fact that there's a castle on the hill, and a tree on the shore, and no Boston buildings in sight, it could totally work.

My Goodness. How GORGEOUS is this magnet on that field of blue? Sigh. I really will have to find this damn painting to see it in person.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Slow down, you Tweet too fast

Magnet #1053 - Tweeting about Tweeting

Or, in this case, magnetblogging about Tweeting...again.

I've both extolled and reviled the virtues and vices of Twitter before, but when I saw yesterday that someone told Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran that he was Tweeting too much (he's not, by the way), I knew I had use this Cafe Press magnet! (Incidentally, Simon and my first crush John Taylor are both on Twitter. #FF!!!)

I decided a while ago that, despite my earlier hate-on for Twitter, (and you know this if you're following me) that I was just gonna Tweet when I feel like it. Unfortunately for you's a lot.

But it's fun telling and Twitpic'ing people where I am, what I'm doing, where I'm headed, what I'm thinking, what I'm watching.

If you want to know, great, if you don't, unfollow or hide me.

I like helping get the word out for certain exhibitions, museums, buildings and random places to visit. I like showing you my city and the things I'm seeing. I like sharing my random thoughts about current and not-so-current movies and tv shows (and cuteboys in them, let's not forget about cuteboys). Besides, it's not like I'm Tweeting about laundry or other chores (although I have), what I'm having for lunch (although I have), or what my hair looks like (although I have). (Oh, Rationalization, you are SO my friend. Are you following me?)

Ok. I do Tweet a lot, which is why I get so annoyed when someone doesn't know what's going on with me. No. Seriously. I do. Most of my Tweets feed right to Facebook. So, if you don't know what's going on with me, I really do look at you with a blank stare when you ask. (But, I suppose that's another magnetpost altogether.)

Speaking of breaking news also comes via Twitter/TweetDeck lately - sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad (see my incredibly erroneous and shameful RT of someone reporting on the demise of a very much alive Morgan Freeman - won't do that again!). Earthquake in Cali? Got it. Snow days in NC? Got it. David Tennant & Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing? Got it. And every time (well, maybe not for that Much Ado thing), you can almost count the minutes going by before it makes it to CNN on TV. It's nuts.

Oh. That Much Ado announcement? Totally bought my tickets within hours. Someone once called me the busiest unemployed person they know...mostly because even though I've lived in NYC since 1995, there's still stuff to do here. And it just so happens that a lot of the activities added to my calendar are taken directly from Twitter.

Does it seem like Twitter's too much to deal with? Yeah, it is. And frankly speaking, even when I'm employed, I'll always have time for Tweeting. It's 140 characters, who doesn't have time for that? I'll allow that keeping up with all the folks I follow is a bit of a pain, but that's where handy-dandy TweetDeck comes in.

I use TD because it's allowed me to find, follow and connect with fun random new people all over the world. The lists columns help me follow my favorite actors and TV critics. The cool search function also lets me follow hashtagged threads of certain shows (Hawaii Five-O, Downton Abbey) and events (SDCC, Much Ado, TCA)...which in turn helps me find and follow random new people who have common interests.

For example, last night's #downtonPBS thread was insane. The TweetDeck pop-up box should have just stayed up, because within seconds of Laura Linney's intro, 400 hashtagged Tweets popped up...and still hasn't stopped popping, even though the episode ended last night at 10:30.

While I was able to find new people with interesting things to say, the obvious downside of the incessant chatter, is that I was too busy giggling at what people had to say about the show, rather than actually watching the show. That's a slight problem, of course.

I have this same issue each week during #bulletproofvesttime on Hawaii Five-0. Which is ok, because I always rewatch that show anyway. (What? Didn't you see? #Bulletproofvesttime!)

I know. I've come a long way from hating Twitter. And it's true that I have a lot of friends who are already bored to death with Twitter. I mean, it's been around for a while, and for some, it's a little past the peak. But, for now, it's a fun diversion and useful tool.

And finally, speaking of tools...The folks over at Edelman have created this fantastic little thing called a TweetLevel, to measure your Twitter relevance across four different factors:
  • Influence - something about followers and if they're ReTweeting you
  • Popularity - based on how many people follow you and number of lists you're on
  • Engagement - how you're engaging with certain communities, based on @replies
  • Trust - how/if people are ReTweeting what you have to say
It's supposedly still in beta, according to their site, and they haven't yet solved the "Twitter influence" (Twinfluence?) question, but this tool helps gauge your own activity for better or worse.

Of course, I'm sure they're pointing and larfing at how often I check my own TweetLevel (it's a bit like ego surfing, it is), but it really is interesting to see how the numbers fluctuate based on your Twitter activity.

Goodness. Let us hope they don't create one for Facebook.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taking chances

Magnet #1052 - Michelle Williams, Dawson's Creek

I've been holding on to this magnet for a while, because along with me, a certain demographic will always remember Michelle Williams as the bad girl next door, Jen Lindley.

So of course, I had to use it for today's Blue Valentine Q&A session with Michelle and @ditzkoff for the NYTs Arts & Leisure Weekend.

Funny how my first impression of her was that she was so tall! Then I saw her four-inch Louboutins. But, goodness, I've always thought they looked alike, but she and Carey Mulligan really must do a movie as sisters, because they're practically twins with the same pixie cut that I heart so very much.

But what followed was a good conversation between the two of them, about
  • Blue Valentine (and how she and Ryan Gosling lived together for a month to have that couply background together- "except for the nighttime stuff")
  • about her latest project (just got finished shooting the Marilyn Monroe bio...let's take a moment to smile about how Jen Lindley ended up playing Marilyn Monroe, while Joey Potter ended up playing Jackie O.)
  • about her career (how she doesn't really map it according to what people expect her to do), and
  • about her choices (that she's learned that whenever she's been torn about doing something - making lists and asking people for advice on what to do, deliberating hard, that it usually wasn't the right decision for her).
Itzkoff even asked her about her Creek days (bless), and she was totally open to talking about it. Apparently, James Van Der Beek once told her she was lucky, because she wasn't part of "such a strong triangle" that of all of the Creekers, she'd get away from Dawson's scott-free.

And, she has, for the most part. George Clooney once said that once you've been nominated for an Academy Award, whether you win it, or not, you'll always have Academy Award-Nominee in front of your name. And that's what comes before Michelle Williams' name now.

I've never understood why anyone was surprised when she was nominated - it was always obvious from any one of Jen's downward spirals that Michelle Williams was the actor who wasn't afraid to take chances in her work. She was just good. Like others have said, their time on the show was like six and a half years of acting class, a place to get rid of bad habits, and try out new things, and figure out what works for her and what doesn't.

Dudes, she even mentioned the funny walk Jen started doing! So funny, because just last night I was like, what is up with Jen and this funny walk? (No, seriously. To the point where I was totes surprised when Michelle walked so gracefully across the stage in her four-inch killer heels.)

And, yeah. You read right. Just last night. I'm totally in the midst of a Creekathon. For a couple of reasons, really. First, because I have the complete series box set that I never really cracked open. Second, because almost every day, @Creek_Quotes Tweets a DC quote, and I can pretty much pinpoint every episode it comes from. Third, because I was looking forward to seeing today's session with Michelle, and wanted to see her very early work.

But, the real impetus for my Creekathon is because of James Van Der Beek's Jamesvandermemes Funny or Die site, part of Van Der Week, where there's four videos to watch. And, if you haven't seen the Vandermemes vid:

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Before Elvis...

Magnet #1050 - Young Elvis (again)

...there was nothing."
- John Lennon

Elvis would have been 76 today.

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is hosting the Elvis at 21 traveling exhibit of Alfred Wertheimer's photos taken the year Elvis became famous. Well worth a visit (or several), the exhibit's a mixture of quotes and Wertheimer's images, along with explanations behind them.

While the images are just incredible on their own, it's reading the personal situation set-up that gives the whole story and gives such a cool perspective of Elvis behind-the-scenes.

The most endearing for me was a shot of Elvis on the bus, clearly deep in thought, his hands absently holding an Archie comic. Come. On. Kill. Me. Twenty-one years old, reading comics, on the cusp of becoming God's gift to music and women.

And the women! There's an intense set of images where Elvis is totally macking on this chick, lost in her, not paying attention to Wertheimer snapping away. And then of Elvis at a diner, where he charmed the waitress and had his arm around her waist in under 15 flat.

There's the series where Elvis greets a young girl (with white gloves, no less) who got her father to bring her in from Long Island to meet him. They met, Elvis has her hand in his, says some lovely words, and then says he had to go to rehearsal, and takes his leave. Wertheimer kept the camera on her, as she broke down in tears after he left. You can just feel her raw emotion, having just met...Elvis.

I could totally go on (about Elvis ripping up his fan mail after reading it, or how he would get off the train a stop early, so that he could get home quicker, or where he bought his suits, etc.), but there was one image I revisited a couple of times during my one visit. Elvis standing in the waiting room of old Penn Station, surrounded by a very small group of fans.

At that point, he could still walk around the streets of New York pretty much on his own, without being terribly mobbed. But this image was just breathtaking. I was just blown away by the fact that I was looking at this photo decades after it was taken...and that both Elvis and that grand old building are gone.

Can you tell I loved this Elvis at 21 exhibit? And look, I didn't even mention how freakin' hot the man was at 21! Oh, wait. There it went. I know you're not surprised.

I will say that it was pretty funny walking around each hall, watching all the older women look at each photo with a sort of reverence, and faraway smiles. And a giggle or two. With their husbands trailing behind, totally forgotten.

All in all, a snazzy exhibit...and worthy of the cuteboy who would be king.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Words by Rice, building by Piano

Magnet #1050 - Times Square/42nd Street

I once fell into the N/R/W/Q subway tracks in the Times Square/42nd Street station. This is not that magnetpost.

I'm just using it for today, because I just got back from Times Square, and seeing the Sir Tim Rice and Friends performance.

I've been looking forward to this event, mostly because of my obsession with watching all of those (very late to the U.S.) BBC/BBC-A, Andrew Lloyd Webber reality shows casting parts in the West End's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sound of Music, then Wizard of Oz, and now Oliver! So when I didn't see any of Rice's work with ALW on the program, I was a little sad.

But, it was quickly explained by the funnier than I'd have expected Tim Rice, that the evening was being devoted not so much to him, but to Disney on Broadway's songbook. Being a Disney fan, color me sooo not disappointed!

And it was so much fun!

After Sir Tim did a tongue-in-cheek reading of all the not-so-great NYTs reviews of Disney shows, we were treated to fantastic numbers sung by seven original cast members of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, AIDA, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and King David (which you've likely never heard of, but the two numbers from it were fabulous, so I hope we will hear of them again).

The first song was Be Our Guest, and all I could think of was that it sure did not sound like when my sisters and I play Wii Disney Sing It. And for the whole song, all I could think was man, I bet that dude would rock out on Wii. What? It's true.

From then on, it was quite amazing watching these Disney vets as they performed their songs without sets, without costumes, with a two-piece musical accompaniment...and still they managed to place us in every single show. Maybe because it was on such a small stage, and we were all so close up, but it was truly uncanny how I felt like I was watching Belle and Mary Poppins and Rafiki and Ariel, and shoot, even Tarzan. In street clothes.

And now I finally understand what ALW and all the judges were trying to teach all those reality contestants - how to act out a song, feel the emotions, connect with the words. I had pooh-poohed that criticism, before but honestly, I got a little goosebumpy listening to several of the songs tonight. I guess that's how the pros do it.

But wait. There's more!

Last week, I used a magnetquote by architect Renzo Piano, where I surprised myself with all of the Piano museums/additions I'd been to. Tonight's NYTs Arts & Leisure Weekend event was held at TimesCenter, at Piano's New York Times building just off of Times Square.

I've been to TimesCenter before, but hadn't realized just how ingeniously multi-use they've managed to make this building. While I was sitting in the audience of a state-of-the-art, 378-seat auditorium, through the stage backdrop glass, I was able to see New York Times employees leave their office space across the indoor courtyard, dinner patrons dining at the gorgeous Montenapo Restaurant, and a chick shopping at supercool Muji.

All that, and, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the incredible performances of Sir Tim Rice's merry band of friends.

Pretty. Damn. Cool.
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hitsville, U.S.A.

Magnet #1049 - Hitsville, U.S.A.

According to my parents, I've been to Detroit. Being as I can't remember it, I'm guessing it doesn't count.

But, my friend dropped by Detroit on a work roadtrip to Canada, and brought back a magnet set for me from the Motown Historical Museum.

The museum's housed in the original building where Berry Gordy, Jr., began Motown Records, the label that gave us greats such as the Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.

Sounds like a pretty cool place to visit, because you can see visit the control room and the echo chamber and the infamous Studio A. Talk about standing where greatness stood!
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gorge-ous New York

Magnet #1048 - Watkins Glen State Park

It's funny to have magnets of places in New York State that I haven't been to, but my sister and BIL brought this magnet back for me from upstate. Thanks!

Watkins Glen is one of the most well-known of the state parks in the Finger Lakes region - check out their virtual tour, it does look gorgeous. The park has several miles of trails lined with gorges and waterfalls to hike through. Which, if you think about it, is probably the reason I've never been there - I'm definitely not known for my proclivity toward hiking. (Or camping. Or biking. Or outdoor recreation, in general.)

Although, the other reason we probably skipped the park the last time I was in the Finger Lakes, was because cold enough for people to be ice fishing on Canadarago Lake.

Still pretty cool, though.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The force is strong

Magnet #1047 - Read, You Will.

Confession: I wasn't a Star Wars girl. Sure, I saw all the movies, but when I was little, I never hearted Han Solo or wanted to be Princess Leia, or played with lightsabers (real or pretend).

In the late 90s, I ended up working a very short stint on the production side of the Ace imprint at Berkley Publishing Group. I was surprised there was a healthy list of books that continued the Star Wars saga, and ended up with a whole set of them. Which remained unread on my shelves for several years until I finally gave them away.

Cut to early November last year, when Harrison Ford was doing his Morning Glory press rounds and said that Han Solo should have died in Return of the Jedi. And early December, when the giant Millennium Falcon was like the coolest toy in the Salvation Army Toy Shop.

Both got me trying to remember Solo's storyline in the Original!Recipe!Star Wars. And of course, I couldn't rewatch O!R!Star Wars, without watching the prequels. And thus began my own saga...of going to sleep while watching every single one. Bad move to watch them late at night. Nevertheless, I made it through each one in chronological order, finishing Return of the Jedi this morning.

The original movies stand on their own - to this day, they're still pretty good. Simple stories, simple aliens, simple effects and all. And, though it may be an unpopular opinion, I do think the prequels, even with their overexposition, and zillion stories, civilizations and wannabe memorable characters thrown in, made a decent backstory for the original.

Second confession: Even if I spent New Year's with my hair in not-quite-Princess Leia braids, I'm still not a Star Wars girl. But, as someone once told me, you don't have to be a fan. But you have to respect the fans. And I do. You have to. They're the ones who have been keeping the saga alive for the last 34 years.

Oh! And hell no, Harrison! No way should Solo have died in Return of the Jedi! He and Princess Leia should live happily ever after!

Of course, now, I'm totally sad I gave away all those books I had, because now that I know who he is, I totally want to go back and read the Wedge Antilles series right now...

Yoda says I should.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Designing tomorrow

Magnet #1046 - Chicago World's Fair

Three. That's how many times I went through the Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s exhibit at the National Building Museum in DC.

The first time I went through in just over an hour, a tiny bit rushed, only because I was in rush to get to through the gift shop to buy this magnet and then join the hour-long docent tour through the exhibit. A week later, I ended up spending two hours wandering through the eight halls or so, reading the fine print.

I swear, if I didn't start recognizing the volunteers manning the exhibit and the security guards and the guys behind the store register, I probably would have gone a couple more times.

There's some sort of magic surrounding World's Fairs that I've never been able to figure out - most likely, it's a sense of nostalgia, having been to the Knoxville '82 fair twice and then New Orleans fair in '84. But nostalgia's not the only reason, because ya'll know how I love heading out to Queens to see the old structures, buildings, and markers of the 39/40 and 64/65 fairs held there. So much fun.

What I didn't realize was that the 39/40 New York fair was just one of six World's Fairs held across the nation in the 30s, the others being Chicago's A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933–34), San Diego's California Pacific International Exposition (1935-36), Dallas' Texas Centennial Exposition (1936), Cleveland's Great Lakes Exposition (1936-37), and San Francisco's Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-40).

And the Designing Tomorrow exhibit (and accompanying blog) was just amazing, delving into each fair, the exhibitors, but mostly the design components - architecture and building materials, lighting and landscape, transportation and innovation, etc. The breadth and depth of the exhibit is truly remarkable.

My only complaint is that most of the oldies (and me) were bending down too far (indeed, on my haunches a lot, I was) to read the incredibly fine-print captions in like 8-point type (for some of them). But I didn't want to miss an inch of what they had to teach me!

Besides those captions, the exhibit itself is fabulously art deco-ily designed, coupled with giant sweeping images of each fair, gorgeous posters and wall hangings, great artifacts, displays, and videos.

I totally got lost in the wonder of all the fairs, and the 1930s walking through the halls. I loved it. But, I'm sad there's not a Designing Tomorrow catalog, because I would have totally bought one, or two.

When you go see the exhibit for yourself (as you must), definitely spend as much time as you can roaming through it - by yourself, and then take the really good docent tour. For example, without that tour, I never would have known that the first year of the Chicago fair, all the buildings were multicolored, as this magnet suggests. People didn't take to the garish technicolor(y) approach, and so the next year, they painted everything white...which is why Erik Larson's book is not called The Devil in the Multicolored City. Neat, huh.

Anyway, when you're done with the World's Fair exhibit (and the Palladio one and the Lego one and the others), go spend as much time as you can at the museum gift's one of my faves in DC, and just in general. Fantastic book section, incredibly dangerous for me and my wallet, so I have to avoid it.

They do have a good World's Fair tchotcke section, where I bought a few stickers to turn into $10 for two, I couldn't justify (or pick between) all three sets. Hence the stickers, annnnnd maybe one additional one.

So yeah. In all, I'll eventually have seven magnets for one exhibit. Huh.

That New Year's Resolution to take it easy on the magnets is working out so far, I guess. Oops.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Toot, toot, Tweetsie

Magnet #1045 - Tweetsie Railroad

For all the places I've been all over the world, and for all the time I've lived in North Carolina, and shoot, and for all the times I've been to and through Blowing Rock, I've never been to Tweetsie Railroad.

I know! It's crazy! Especially given how much I love trains.

I've heard about it all my life, and had friends and family who have gone to the wild west theme-y park, indeed, one of them brought back this magnet for me. But I've just never been able to go.

My mother (who I think raided a toy shop this Christmas for us) gave my BIL the Polar Express model train, which made me superjealous that I never got a train growing up. I'm sure it's because only boys play with trains in their heads, so no train for baby Joy. Sniffle.

It's probably a good thing, though. There are just some things in this world, I have to keep my distance from, so that I don't totally geek out on them. For example, I know I can't read Harry Potter, because I have the potential to get sucked in too hard and become obsessed and suddenly wear invisibility cloaks and carry around magic wands...thinking they really will work.

Model trains for me is probably another one of those things. Like, I know if I start building model trains, I'll start building like a crazy person. No. Like, then I'll know the difference between O- and F- and G-gauge model trains, and start building little villages with lots of people, and the villages would have to be from all over the world, and every kind of environment and terrain, and then I'd have to find some sort of room somewhere to build my giant model towns, and then I'd go completely broke, and have only my trains and villages to show for it. Kind of like how Carrie Bradshaw had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in her shoe collection.

What? You've seen the magnet collection. You've read joy magnetism.

You can not be surprised that I have the potential to be a model train chick.

Oh. See? Even the cat likes playing with the model train. Errr, or maybe not.

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