Friday, July 29, 2011

Shop Til You Drop It Like It's Hot

Maybe it's Michelle Obama. Maybe it's Kate Middleton. I don't know. For whatever reason, the American fashion industry has actually started making clothing that is modest enough for us Mormon girls, and I'm in heaven. Last year was an abomination. Last year my super summer shopping spree turned out to be a bust - I bought a mere handful of shirts that I then spent the rest of the year being bored by. I was resigned to more of the same for this year, thinking that if I could find a handful of good clothes, I'd take them back and make the tailors copy them ad nauseum.

I was pleasantly shocked when I went into Westroads Mall that first weekend home with my sister and ACTUALLY had things to try on...and as of last night I was still shopping. Although that has to stop. No, really. My suitcase is completely full. I could tell you how much I've spent on clothes in the last four weeks, but my parents read this sometimes...suffice it to say that I've done my part to support the economy while I've been home.

What makes this season work so well for me particularly (as opposed to other Mormon girls, who just need sleeves)? There are a lot of cowl necks and ruching. Ruching helps hide lumpy bits (which I seem to have more of after a month home - gah!), and I just like cowl necks. All of the clothes in my New York posts, and any in upcoming DC or Santorini posts - in addition to these are from these seasons. Now I just have to see what the Shanghai tailors can make of them, and whether or not they are creative enough to adapt them with long sleeves and heavier fabric for winter...

And yes, that's Rupert Jee, of Late Show with David Letterman fame, posing with me and my Babysis on our last day in the Big Apple!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nerding Out

My ideas on what to do when loosed upon the Big Apple quickly devolved into the realms of the tourist. I wasn't too nerdy last summer - I didn't have the energy for it. So last Thursday I decided I'd go to MOMA via Central Park. It's not really on the way from Times Square, but, you know, whatever. When we were talking about this trip the day before Babysis and I left, our mom expressed some concerns about going to Central Park. I wrote this off to the fact that most of what my mom knows about New York comes from watching Law and Order. However, as I was walking through the park, I started thinking about my Dark Lord and Master, who once counted himself amongst the denizens of Manhattan, and I happened to remember a night when he, B, and myself went out to dinner, passing a neat looking park in Bundang. I said something about going to the park, to which he replied, "I'm from New York. We don't do parks at night." Hmm. Maybe there's something to that.

Next, on the roundabout way to MOMA, I found something to eat, and took it to Tiffany's so I could have - Breakfast at Tiffany's! Probably I should have dressed up or something but it was hot and I was in the middle of a walk.

Babysis quickly glommed onto the idea of buying CityPass booklets to take care of most of our sightseeing needs. They were about $80 each and included admission to 6 of the city's hottest tourist destinations. I - being totally cheap - felt that I needed to use ALL of them, to make sure I got my money's worth, which had the result of making my 2011 New York experience a little more frenetic than it otherwise might have been. I already mentioned the 3 museums that were part of it. The Harbor Lights Circle Line Cruise was another. It let us get "Face to face, cheek to cheek with Lady Liberty," but just the feel of the boat and the totally different vantage point on New York, as the lights of the city came up, was pretty cool...and we had a really knowledgeable old dude sharing facts and figures about "Gotham" with us, which made it that much more interesting.

After the cruise we decided to go for the Empire State Building. The line was horrendous, but as long as we waited, we knew we were lucky it wasn't longer - there were plenty of roped off areas that we didn't have to walk through, and thanks to our CityPass we did get to jump at least a little bit of the line. It's a beautiful building, and the view from the top is just incredible.

The next night we followed up the Empire State Building with Rockefeller Center (aka, 30 Rock! Yes, I know, I am totally a nerd). The entrance we went in through took us straight past Radio City Music Hall, and the wait was not nearly as tedious as for the Empire State Building. The view was similarly spectacular. It's not a bad building to look at by daylight, either.

What's that, you say? We didn't go see a show???? Yes, as a matter of fact, we did. Babysis left it in my capable hands to get us tickets. I was supposed to stand in the TKTS line and buy us something good and cheap...but...well, I took a look at the line. Then I took a look at what was playing (the big name musicals Babysis had already seen). Then I heard a voice say, "Avenue Q - New World Theater - $55!" and I decided that we'd go to a show that I'd been wanting to see for two years, ever since Bobby talked it up at B&N when it came to Omaha. Avenue Q isn't exactly your traditional musical production...think Sesame Street meets Rent. It may kind of ruin your childhood - and you will totally be okay with it. Obviously I don't have any photos from it, but here for your viewing pleasure, is....Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, from Avenue Q!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Going up, Coming down: Manhattan Museum Experiences

I began this entry standing in line at the Natural History Museum and thought it would be appropriate to share some thoughts about the museums I've seen here. I am continuing it now, sitting in the hall of primates, because it's a...errr...compound fiasco...of a design and there are WAY too many children here (don't get me wrong...I love kids. But it's summer. I don't wanna see those little snot-nosed faces for another month).

So anyways. I say it's a...Charlie Foxtrot...because it's a totally confusing design. Museums shouldn't have dead-ends. As helpful as museum maps are, I much prefer to be able to wander my way through. That doesn't work here. I actually had to download an app for my iPod so I could find my way. And I'm kinda over it. The Museum of Sex, on the other hand, was a different experience: you go up. You come down. (I wonder if that's a metaphor for something...)

I didn't realize there WAS a museum of sex here til I started looking at my Manhattan pop-up map (another coincidence?). When I found it, I knew I had to come. After all, I visited the Musee d'Erotisme in Paris - it would be interesting to compare the French with the Americans. For a subject that you'd think would have a limited number of ways to approach it, the two were surprisingly different. MOSex seemed to focus on sex in the media (porn, mainstream, and even in the comics) and had an exhibit on animals and the variety of behaviors that we think of as abnormalities that occus quite naturally in the animal kingdom.

For example, the fact that dolphins will, uhm, make use of each other's blowholes - the ones on top of their heads - or the first recorded instance of homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks, which won the discoverer an Ig Nobel Prize (if you want to read the story, try here.) It even talked about elephants, although the ones pictured were in the Natural History Museum). The Musee d'Erotisme, on the other hand, was much more multicultural, much more artistically focused, and far less graphic. Those romantic Frenchies.

However, as you may know if you know me at all, the best museums, in my humble opinion, are art museums. I made it to two this trip: the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thursday morning I decided to hit the MOMA, since Babysis went while I was stuck in DC (another story - I'll cover it later...maybe), and went via Central Park and Tiffany's. Well, Central Park and Tiffany's aren't really between Times Square, where I was staying with Babysis, and the MOMA, but they were the way I was walking. The problem? It was really hot. In fact, it was

THIS HOT. That's a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture, in case you were wondering, but it is a very good demonstration of how hot it was in New York.

All jokes, aside, the MOMA is a great museum, as is the Met, where I was happy to introduce Babysis to a number of beautiful Louis Comfort Tiffany pieces, including some jewelry she'd never seen before. And as for me, well, I'd seen it before, but a night at the art museum is never complete without naked men......

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And we have....FUSION!

I'm an idiot. Photos would be a great thing for this post. Actually, I've decided photos would be a great thing for every post, and my failure to remember my camera is probably a very big reason I haven't done more with this in a while. Oh well. Life goes on.

So I've been back in Iowa for two weeks now. It is not the best place for me. I tend to sit around too much and eat poorly when I'm here. But you can't choose where you come from, so here I am...for another three days. I don't even want to think about what the last two weeks have done to my body; I will just have to fix it when I get back to Shanghai. In the meantime, I have been shopping til I drop, and visiting with family. Mom, Dad, and I took a roadtrip in which we cut across the great state of Missouri, seeing my grandma and her hubby, hit the family farm and spent some time with my great uncle, dropped in on my cousins and their anklebiters, and along the way witnessed the tornadic destruction in Joplin and the flooding along the Missouri (wow, Mother Nature. Suitably impressed. Now back off and send the rain down south where it's needed). I'm trying to finish up a few things here; I had taken my computer into a repair shop, only to be told, 8 days later, that it was probably the motherboard (apparently it was so screwed they couldn't actually get the diagnostics to finish running, so that was their best guess). I was planning to either buy or borrow Socrates' baby laptop, but no sooner had I emailed to ask him about it than my parents offered to combine my upcoming birthday present with Christmas (since I'm not planning on coming home this year) and get me a new one. So this post is coming to you from my brand new Toshiba laptop, which is not bogged down with a bunch of other crap that my family downloaded before I took it over. IT IS ALL MINE...and it's red. I've named it the Junior Tamale (my old Dodge Neon was the Hot Tamale - it was the first thing that came to mind).

Anyways, I'm boring myself with the recap, which means I'm probably boring all five of my readers, so I'll just cut to the chase, the reason for trip to RAINBOW ARTISTIC GLASS ( with Babysis. She is a groupon junkie, and this was one of them. For a pretty reasonable price, they supplied us each with some inspiration, a little instruction, a base square of glass, and different glass bits to use to decorate it. When they are fired, the glass will get hot enough to fuse together. Babysis decided to make a bunny piece. I thought briefly about doing a dragon (it would have looked really cool if I'd used the glass pebbles to make his scales), but in the end decided I needed a bigger piece of glass and curved "stringers": thin pieces of glass which make great outlines. Unfortunately there isn't such a thing, or they didn't have them - whatever the case was, I decided (after a brief stab of guilt as I thought my mom might like me to make something for her) that I would make a phoenix instead. So that's what I did. I made the thing almost entirely out of fine frit in red, orange, yellow, and black (in that order). I did add a bit of a border at the bottom, and a few yellow dots for accents at the top.

Like I said, I forgot to bring my camera, but Babysis sent me this photo of our finished work, since I wasn't there when they were finished. I was really pleased with how they looked when we left, and can't wait to see them after they've been fired. If you have the chance to try this art, I highly recommend it - it's pretty easy and a lot of fun.