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Shir Hashirim )

[ profile] thefridayfive:
1. What is your opinion on karma? I believe in it on a cosmic level but not so much in terms of daily life. I have a very strong sense of balance in the universe; however, I will never be able to rationalize things like the Black Death or the Holocaust in terms of any higher power or luck or fate.
2. If anything, do you think attitude makes any difference? If you believe the world and life are good, will good things radiate toward you? If you believe otherwise, will it all be a self fulfilling prophecy? Yes and yes; or, perhaps, not necessarily but your perceptions of them will be so.
3. How has luck/chance/facts-of-life/God/karma/nature treated you so far? Quite well, and I need to remember to focus on that on days when the little things are dragging me down. Compared to the vast majority of people throughout human history I have it so, so good.
4. What is your opinion of the concept of destinies? To some extent we are shaped by our circumstances at birth and through life but I don't believe anyone's path is laid out.
5. Are both bad and good things needed in order to truly live life? Can you have the bad without the good? The good without the bad? Yes, no and no, though I think that when people have enough bad to deal with, they can become incapable of recognizing the good, and ironically when people have too much good too easily, the same thing happens.

[ profile] fannish5: What five actors would you watch in almost anything?
1. Louise Fletcher
2. Anjelica Huston
3. Glenn Close
4. Lee Remick
5. Russell Crowe (yeah, this is fairly recent, but it's been every damn film he ever made, so it counts)

Why isn't Sean Bean on this list? Because he's made a couple of movies I literally could not sit through -- I can't tolerate a certain level of violence. For the sake of truth in advertising I should probably have included Kate Mulgrew, because there was a time when I would have and did sit through everything she had ever done, including some films so unwatchable that I don't know how I could stand it. But I haven't seen her in anything since Voyager in 1990, and she's a pale imitation of Remick crossed with Hepburn (whom I adore but I have not, in fact, come anywhere near to seeing her entire oeuvre -- same with Garbo), so Kate's off the list. ([ profile] totallykate: I will deny ever having said this anyway!)

My younger son's stitches are out so he is a much happier person, even though it is still uncomfortable for him to eat anything rough and dry (toast, non-soggy cereal, Cheetos, etc.) He has his first graded spelling test today and though we went over "responsible" ten times, he and I are both worried that he is going to spell it "responsable" anyway. This reminds me that when I was in fourth grade, I could not spell the word "friend" correctly to save my life; every single time I spelled it "freind" no matter how often I was corrected. I wonder whether there was something psychological going on, heh.

This morning as I was walking aforementioned younger son to school and testing him on spelling, there was an incredible sky. It had shifted and faded significantly by the time I got home and got my camera but I took a couple of pictures anyway.

Early Autumn Sky )

Have an insanely busy weekend coming up. This evening we are dining with my parents before Kol Nidre. Tomorrow we are going to the noon Yom Kippur family service. Then we are violating Jewish law because Brian Jacques, who wrote the Redwall books, is having a reading and signing at the book and toy store that's walking distance from our house, so since Sunday is our older son's birthday we are taking him to meet the author. Then we are breaking the fast with my parents and three generations of two families of friends with whom we have been breaking the fast for many years.

Then Sunday, for my son's birthday, we are taking two van-loads of kids to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The only things I know for sure are that we must see Fight Club, we are going to watch some jousting (don't worry [ profile] sanon, I will look out for your men) and instead of party favors we have been instructed to buy everyone wooden swords or axes. I am not sure how much this qualifies as an improvement over the initial stated plan by my son which was to go play laser tag and get everyone Yi-Gi-Oh cards, but at least it's idealizing historical violence instead of video games, right?
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Why the Classics )

Fall has arrived on the tails of Hurricane Ivan, which provided thunderstorms and winds that brought down many leaves and branches already weakened by cicadas early in the summer. The temperatures never rose above the low 70s -- for most of the day it was in the 60s, and damp -- and the streets in our neighborhood are now littered by small branches and clusters of leaves. It's gorgeous.

[ profile] the_reverand has sent me a most wonderful and awesome gift. I am not certain whether I am allowed to share the details for copyright reasons but I wish to express my affection and gratitude in public. *snogs [ profile] the_reverand*

The kids had a birthday party, the eighth birthday of the oldest son of my oldest friend. I met her when we were both six, which is rather inconceivable to me when I think about it now. At this point we have three regular dates a year: my son's birthday, her son's birthday and the annual Superbowl party she and her husband throw; we have been terribly inconsistent about getting together otherwise, which is more my fault than hers I suppose as she is better about telephoning than I ever am. Sunday's the birthday party for the oldest son of my second-oldest friend, whom I didn't meet until junior high school but whom I talk to far more often, not least because she has a LiveJournal. Hey [ profile] vertigo66, want an unopened DVD copy of The Grifters?

I ask because the party was at a bowling alley, so [ profile] apaulled and I left the kids there for awhile and wandered down to the Best Buy nearby, where I made a marvelous discovery: Miramax has released a collector's edition of The Grifters (a movie I very nearly put on my list of must-sees two days ago, but I figure it's famous enough and anyway I had the lesser-known modern noir House of Games and Anjelica in Crimes and Misdemeanors)! The new DVD has commentary by Anjelica, John Cusack and Stephen Frears! This is a movie I wrote a paper on for an academic magazine, a film I admire unconditionally, and one of the reasons for my affection despite its brutality is that Anjelica said such brilliant things about it and its use of noir convention (and how Frears made subtle reference to her father) in interviews when it came out. I am so delighted about this. And it cost less than I paid for the no-frills DVD when it first came out.

Testing LiveJournal's new pics feature. Look, a cock!

(Addendum: Photo from Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, a recreation of the Mayflower settlement. I am sure the Puritans would not approve of the rooster's use in this manner. *snerk*)
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Checkmate )

A poem for the date. I remember, growing up, how every November 22nd I thought it was strange and morbid how everyone born before 1958 would get going on exactly where they were, what they were doing, when they heard. Now I understand far better than I want to.

Rather than trying to talk about it, I'm just going to link to my post from last year.

Hebrew school starts for the year today. As does soccer. Must get into minivan and be Jewish soccer mom...

A skyline defined by absence, from New Jersey.
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Rhode Island )

Actual Rhode Island beach, to go with the poem. )

Related (I lied), [ profile] thefridayfive:
1. What is your favorite summer activity?
Swimming in the ocean.
2. What was one great thing you did this summer?
Went sailing on a clipper ship.
3. When you were a child, what was your favorite summer activity?
Walking on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach.
4. What has been your favorite summer vacation?
I don't know if I can choose among two trips to Maine and two trips to Yellowstone.
5. Summer goes well into September, but when do you feel like it is over?
When school has started; that's still my dividing point. It used to be Labor Day, but school never started before Labor Day in my childhood.

[ profile] the_reverand has made my day! She sent me Remus Lupin! Is he not lovely? Plan for the afternoon: get him matted and framed. Sending much love to Florida, and also vibes for everyone else in the path of the hurricane.

Given the amount of press the outright lies by Republicans about John Kerry's Vietnam record have gotten, why is this story not being reported everywhere? Why is Bush allowed to lie and lie and get almost no mainstream news coverage for it?

In other news, we went to the back to school pot luck, where there were four hundred different kinds of noodle dishes and other carbohydrates, and my laptop's case is fixed but the single USB port is not, and since the single USB port is on the motherboard and the whole thing will need to be replaced to get one that works, we are definitely talking more money than it's worth. Sigh.

What kind of luck have people had with compact flash vs. secure digital media for storage? Those SD cards look so flimsy but they're so inexpensive! Is it worth getting one of those little flash drives for storing pictures while traveling in case of another CD-RW crisis?

Quizzes. Jack Aubrey is mine and so are Lupin/Snape. Big surprise, I know. )
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Courage )

Yesterday there was a veritable explosion of Trek news. Patrick Stewart had an angioplasty, there were spoilers for episodes #1, 2, 4 and 6 of next season, official details, Shatner talking about his was hideous and I am never going to catch up. My wonderful co-worker Kristine bailed me out with one set of spoilers because she'd already read the stuff about the rest of the arc and could follow what was going on. But I want it to slow down!

Orientation went well. I thought the teacher was overdoing the emphasis to the third graders on the fact that even though they were in a 2-3 combination class, they WERE in third grade, then we walked out and my son ran into two friends, told them whose class he was in, and they said, "Hahaha, you're in second grade again!" Kids. My son appeared quite unaffected however as he really likes the teacher. Then my older son's afternoon play date cancelled out on him, so we had lunch at -- wait for it -- Burger King. Yay Yu-Gi-Oh toys. Fortunately I had a bagel before we left.

Then my parents took the kids to the pool for a couple of hours, and we discovered that my sons, who would generally rather splash around than actually swim, not only have no fear of diving boards but are willing to try to do FLIPS now that they have seen them at the Olympics. My younger one in particular -- he was doing somersaults in midair! (The younger one has a tendency to believe that because he has seen how something is done, he can do it; I don't know whether this is very brave or very foolish and arrogant but it has made him learn some things quickly just because he had no fear of them. This is why he is taking violin lessons -- figured that if Russell Crowe could learn it in six months, so could he -- and wants to take fencing, though he will not take any more tae kwon do because he keeps claiming he already knows how to do it.) And they were swimming fine in the diving well though they have not swum much all summer because of the lack of swimming at camp these past two years.

Have been doing this meme for other people and giggling, so...
1. Comment to this entry with a post you think would be totally out of character for me--something I'd never talk about, never discuss, never say, anything. It has to be completely out of character.
2. Post this in your own journal, if you want.

I'm curious to know what people think I would never say and how I would never say it. I also like this one: Recommend to me: 1) a movie, 2) a book, 3) a musical artist, song, or album, 4) a LiveJournal user not on my friends list, 5) what I should have for dinner, 6) a website, 7) a quote. Now must go eat and, hopefully, go to Baltimore to the Constellation birthday party.

A Last Batch of Boston Pictures )
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The Living Temple )

More Oliver Wendell Holmes for more Old Ironsides photos (first set here for anyone who missed them). I suppose I really should know more about what Holmes did as a Supreme Court justice as well as a poet.

Still rethinking this journal some. No more Friday Five, I don't think, the questions just haven't inspired me all that much, though I might do it on a week when it excites me. No more personal politics either for the time being. I suppose I'd been operating on the assumption that my friends, the people who comment regularly, are the people who primarily care about what's in this journal and no one else would waste time or energy worrying about it, but have been realizing that is an illusion of safety. Yesterday I got a phone call from a woman in my neighborhood whom I've never met, who had found an address from the Star Trek fan club I used to run and discovered that I live practically around the corner from her. I don't know why this struck me as any stranger than getting e-mail from someone who discovered me the same way, which has happened many times. But I think I need to redraw my online boundaries.

Off to school orientation #2 for the week. School orientation #1 seems to have gone well, knock wood; my son has a class with each of his friends from his elementary school at his new middle school, and he was the only one of the three of them who got off at the right bus stop (my mother ended up having to bring the other two to their destination, since I had made her drive, being unsure of my ankle). Today's is the meeting with the teacher my older son had in second grade, an absolutely wonderful teacher, so it should be a happy reunion. Later they are having friends over and then we are having dinner with my parents so hopefully I can get done the work I could not get done yesterday!

Happy Birthday, [ profile] maquismom!

The USS Constitution, From Different Angles )


Aug. 26th, 2004 06:15 pm
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Q: Where have you been all day?
A: (for my editor, my RL friends, people to whom I owe notes, work, etc.) I very cleverly tripped walking out my front door this morning and sprained the hell out of my ankle. So I've been kind of sitting on the sofa with my leg elevated and ice on it, accomplishing precisely nothing. It doesn't hurt much anymore but I can't put any weight on it at all. Sorry about having gotten nothing done.

Sea Walnuts, New England Aquarium. Are these not the coolest things ever? I wish I could have gotten an entirely clear picture, or an animated GIF so you can see how the rainbow phosphorescence moves around!
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A Confession )

One son is at orientation, the other's orientation has apparently been moved until tomorrow -- again, nice of them to tell us, as I was relying on a schedule from months ago -- good thing I called the school! Today is a day to track down glue sticks, which have apparently been snapped up by wild glue-stick sniffers or first grade teachers, and to make the kids clean their rooms in anticipation of school. This is a make or break day with the older one, who has been on a kick for the past several weeks announcing that he does NOT want to go to the magnet program but wants to attend the local middle school with his best friend; am hoping the orientation program is fantastic.

In between rushing around, I watched the Hornblower Retribution movie. Oh my god why did no one warn me. *sobs* I still think Horatio mostly has eyes for Pellew, but I completely and totally understand Archie now. Recs for angsty fic, anyone? Please?

Flowers. One of these things is not like the others. )
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LJers And Other People I Know )

In-laws still here. Younger son's orientation is tomorrow morning, not tomorrow afternoon, nice of the school to give us so much advance notification. Older son's doctor appointment delayed by nearly an hour, which I guess is to be expected in the current medical climate. But, you know, I did get to eat California Tortilla two days in a row, and was able to bring in Burger King for kids without having to eat any myself!

GIP, stolen from here. Want. But want the Geoff Hunt book even more.
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The Meal )

Another rushed entry because my son has a doctor's appointment this morning. I still haven't read anything anywhere in more than two weeks. The Yu-Gi-Oh movie was more entertaining than I expected, even though I had to keep asking my son stupid questions like "Is Pegasus immortal...well, then, how did he invent the game?" and "Is Kaiba's younger sibling a boy or a girl?" But now I have been informed that I must take my children to Burger King for lunch so they can get the tie-in toys! Woe!

This afternoon my in-laws are coming to return the gerbils and have dinner, tomorrow both kids have school orientations (of course, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon), Friday has been reserved for tracking down the school supplies we haven't managed to get yet -- teach us to go out of town for most of August. Am hoping to get to Baltimore for the Constellation anniversary this weekend but we'll see how much insanity is left!

Wildlife Photos )
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A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning )

LOTR always puts me in mind of that poem. Am still not caught up, nor close to caught up, and today I have to undergo torture in the form of the Yu-Gi-Oh movie, to which I promised to take my children since their grandparents are coming down from Pennsylvania tomorrow and they have orientation at school on Thursday. Sigh. In consolation it is a free chips and queso day at California Tortilla, so I get to go out to lunch with my family first.

My younger son, who is going into third grade, has been selected to be in a 2-3 combination class next year. That sounded at first like bad news, as the older kids in combination classes sometimes suffer, but it is being taught by my younger son's wonderful wonderful second grade teacher who is the reason that he is going to a magnet middle school, because she realized that I was not making up his mathematical abilities and really challenged him. Also, the younger one is so used to being the youngest and acting like the youngest that it may be good for him to be in a potential mentoring position. So I am thinking this could be a very good thing.

What photos I could get of the exhibit that aren't actually of the exhibit, as photography in the exhibit was prohibited:

LOTR Science Museum Geekery )
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Odysseus )

Poem stolen shamelessly from [ profile] ghazalah. I gave her a Russell Crowe poster so I don't feel so badly. *g*

Which reminds me, I had an amusing thing happen on the Boston Tea Party of the actors overheard my son talking about Master and Commander and mentioned that in the Liberty Clipper office on the wharf, they had a whole box of free posters from the movie (the folded ones that were given out in The Washington Post and, I gather, The Boston Globe). They gave me several, which I promptly gave away to people I had dinner with while traveling. But anyone in or near Boston who's a fan, if you are near the Liberty Clipper offices, it might be worth sticking your head in and asking if you can have a poster.

And: Geoff Hunt will be at Mystic Seaport on August 26th to sign copies of the collection of his paintings that they will be publishing! Is anyone here in or near Mystic or at least close enough to go, take pictures, etc.?

Must remember to post my LOTR exhibit shots...not inside the exhibit, but the museum halls, the outdoor banners, etc. Also the chipmunks in Concord, the frog in the Saint-Gaudens garden, the squirrels at Boston Common, the flowers at the Cornish Colony Museum, and the good aquarium photos. I'm following a strict "my LJ, my space" philosophy, with bows to courtesy but it's very obvious I can't please all of the people all of the time and "spam" is very much in the eye of the beholder. I have not posted more than a single photo uncut in a post, and I have not posted more than two posts involving photos in a 24-hour period. (It is rare for me to post more than twice in a day anyway unless I have fan fiction and something major going on.) So I am likely to continue to post single uncut photos in entries as the photos come up, because I like the way it looks when I load my journal.

Since I started the trip photos with the Delaware Memorial Bridge, here, to end, is a pic from the other side, and a couple of random images through the windshield.

The Leaning Tower of Pizza And Other Wonders )
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Gift )

American Museum of Natural History )

Things here in Armonk are very loud, in part because my two-year-old niece's favorite movies are musicals from my youth (Grease, A Chorus Line) and in part because when you put five kids in an exercise room, noise ensues. (Damn, young Travolta was hot. I thought I'd been misrememebering.) Also my brother in law is my hero because he gave me his copy of the September Esquire with Paul Bettany on the cover, though he has not yet read it and therefore does not know who to mimic to become a best-dressed man.

Quick pimp: [ profile] melina123's wonderful LOTR songvid "The Mountain", mostly focused on Aragorn and Frodo, available via her journal. Tonight we are bringing in Italian and hopefully going to bed early. We are leaving early tomorrow to drive home, which I greet with mixed feelings!
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Messy Room )

New Hampshire Scenery and Sightseeing )

I'm at my sister's, with five children under twelve plus my mother who is driving me insane about her transportation home (it is NOT my fault that neither my father nor my sister passed on the message that we have only four seats in the van to make room for our luggage!) Am trying to supervise baths, get this typed up, make sure laundry gets done and converse with my sister while watching the Yankees game where we can clearly see her husband in his front row seats behind the plate each time there is a focus on the batter. They are selling their million dollar home to move into a much more than a million dollar home backing up to the home of a Yankees player in is like being on a different planet, a very pretty one with great food and more toys than I've ever seen in a private home, but really I prefer the mountains and the Lost River. *g*

Must go and entertain kids...probably will not be around till I am home on Sunday! Have a great weekend everyone and sorry about the delayed comments!
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The Lovers )

New Hampshire )

There is a dataport here, connected to the single pay phone so it can't be used for any length of time and some distance from the caboose, so I can't stay online for mail. Tomorrow we are going to the Maxfield Parrish Museum, then driving back through Massachusetts via the Yankee Candle Factory on the way to my sister's in New York. Will be busy doing family stuff Saturday and home Sunday...will start trying to catch up then!
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Paul Revere's Ride )

Concord - Lexington - Boston )

At the art museum we also saw the delightful [ profile] mrkinch, [ profile] aesc and [ profile] the_reverand, with whom we walked a few blocks and had Indian food and fine conversation in between sessions of telling my kids to keep their voices down, stop kicking, stop using inappropriate language, stop hitting each other, be careful of braces while eating tandoori shrimp, etc. So there was not nearly as much discussion of LOTR, slash or hot men in general as there should have been, but I so love putting faces to people I know from here and anyway we ended up talking about things that might never have come up in LJ comments. And I got to see one of [ profile] the_reverand's drawings firsthand! We took photos but I want to make sure it's okay with all of them to post. In fact I may do a friends-locked post of pictures in which you can see me and various other family members in Constitution hammocks, throwing "tea" into Boston Harbor, standing by a miniature Argonath sculpture, etc.

We are going camping in the White Mountains in New Hampshire tomorrow night, so I will be completely offline from tomorrow morning until Friday night at the earliest...and we are staying at my sister's in Armonk, New York for the weekend so my online time will probably be severely curtailed as we try to keep our kids entertained. Before I go, however, I shall endeavor to post some of the paintings of ships in the American wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, which also had a wonderful collection of Thomas Cole paintings and a few by Church and Bierstadt; I had no idea, I only knew about the Impressionists and the Egyptian art, and I must admit that trying to do the museum in an hour is a pretty futile effort. On the other hand, an hour is better than not at all, and since we arrived after four the payment was a voluntary donation, which saved us a small fortune!

To my very great regret I did not manage to hook up with [ profile] jenwrites or [ profile] eklisiewicz due to time constraints, and we did not even manage to drag the kids on a drive through Norwood, where [ profile] apaulled grew up, to bore them with sights from his youth. But I must add one more photo. I really wanted to take a picture of Fenway Park for [ profile] all_ahoo, who has had to move away from her beloved Red Sox, but the one I snapped through the car window on the way into Boston only showed advertising on the back of the stadium, not even the lights. However, while leaving the art museum we did spot the blimp overhead, which enabled us to take a photo of the famous Indian sculpture admiring it as it deserves: Fine Arts Blimp. )
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Old Ironsides )

Boston History )

I'm very tired from a day of sightseeing and visiting with [ profile] windsweptaway and her family for the first time in three years, so you get only short captions tonight, sorry! Am hoping to hook up tomorrow night with [ profile] mrkinch, [ profile] the_reverand and [ profile] aesc (have confirmed via telephone that they actually exist, whee!) The Constitution is amazing in itself, particularly since we have been aboard her rebuilt sister ship the Constellation so many times, and hearing about the battle with the Java in this context after reading The Fortune of War was an utter delight.

I shall end on that note by saying I have encountered what may be my favorite moment in all O'Brian so far, in The Thirteen Gun Salute: Jack has just told Stephen that he cannot land him on an island Stephen particularly wanted to see, with many rare birds and insects, for which Jack is most apologetic, and Stephen replies, "Never grieve, soul...we shall go there at our leisure in the Surprise once that Buonaparte has been knocked on the head." Oh man, would I love that to have been the end of the series...
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The Wonders of Freedom )

Boston Museums )

Much of this trip has felt like a tease, because I couldn't spend nearly enough time in any place to see everything I wanted, and today was particularly so. Our ostensible reasons for visiting both the science museum and the aquarium were fannish -- the LOTR exhibit at the one, Harry Potter on the IMAX at the other -- and both of these were absolutely spectacular, but they necessitated rushing through both exhibit halls. We missed the planetarium entirely and didn't see the sea lion show (not a great loss as we had just seen the one in Mystic), and we spent only a few minutes at displays where on days with more time we would have spent half an hour. The aquarium was particularly frustrating to me because I can stand in front of a large shark and ray tank for hours just watching them swim, even if there's nothing else to see, and I also love spending time at touch tanks and tidepools with anemones and seeing shore birds and this aquarium, which reminded me of the one in Baltimore in many good ways and wasn't as crowded as that one usually is, had everything I love.

The LOTR exhibit was amazing -- this is a terribly inadequate word for it in fact but I am terribly tired and can do no better at the moment. I swear that my heart flipped when I saw Boromir in the boat; I think I knew that he was going to be there, on the assumption that this exhibit would have most of the same items from Toronto and London, but actually coming around a corner from a display of Arwen's costumes and seeing him there...I had chills, and I might have had sniffles were it not for a couple of girls who could have been no more than 18 squealing, "Ohmigod, this is, like, the closest we are ever going to get to SEAN BEAN!" which made me smile. Anytime I saw anything that had to do with Boromir or Gondor, I got squishy -- and I was counting White Trees. Other highlights: the various green-screen and effects demonstrations, the Middle Earth measurement wall (I'm a dwarf, as is my older son; my younger son is a hobbit, and my husband "might be human"), the detail up close in Aragorn and Theoden's costumes, all the armor of the Rohirrim...there was an unfortunate lack of Faramir and Denethor, largely because the exhibit was put together before ROTK I'm sure, and I felt that elven culture was emphasized over that of dwarves and men, but these are tiny quibbles; the experience is quite overwhelming.

Prisoner of Azkaban on the IMAX screen was also amazing...partly because I noticed things in Lupin's office and the Great Hall and Hagrid's hut that I had never been able to see before, and partly just because the experience is so all-encompassing with that kind of sound and scope that it feels less like being in a theater and more like being in the movie -- flying a hippogriff and riding a broom! The show was nearly full, which surprised me given that it's a weeknight and the movie has been out for a long time and the woman selling tickets said that the Spider-Man showings had not been particularly full. Alan Rickman, David Thewlis and Gary Oldman that much larger than life are just's also possible to see vicissitudes of Snape's expressions when Dumbledore introduces Lupin and when they're talking about Black breaking into the castle that are wonderful. This was viewing number six for me, and so perfect that I would say I probably won't see it again in a theater except that because it was so perfect I am of course craving it again. I am also absolutely dying to see M&C on an IMAX screen -- this is the first time I've ever seen a theatrical release as opposed to a documentary in an IMAX theater, and I would love to get used to it.

Tomorrow we are going to the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill and Boston Common (and, if we have time, back to the aquarium for long enough to see if some kind soul will get my younger son another penguin penny if we give them the 51 cents) before having dinner with [ profile] windsweptaway, a friend of many years' duration whom I have not seen since before she was pregnant with her second son -- we'll meet him in the evening! I'm hoping to get the one of the art museums as well, but am making seeing people a priority and am going to try to hook up with a bunch on Wednesday when we are also taking the kids to Lexington and Concord, so we will see what we see and not worry about the rest!
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I Am Afraid )

Salem, Massachusetts )

As far as witches are concerned, Salem is an astonishing mix of emotional history and extreme kitsch. The most hyped Wiccan store in town, Crow Haven Corner, isn't particularly better stocked than The Walnut Tree back home and is considerably less impressive than The Psychic Eye in Los Angeles. The Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum and Salem Witch Village, while earnest in their attempts to educate about the history, practices, hysteria and modern manifestations of witchcraft, are rather sensationalistic. I suppose they're aimed at people who know absolutely nothing about either the history of the region or about Wicca, but they seemed rather naive to me. (We didn't go to the wax museum but the pairing of the witch trials and "the exploits of bold seafarers" did not sound promising.)

On the other hand, the memorials and more significantly the number of residents and tourists walking around wearing pentacles and talking about Wicca at lunch and in maritime museums made me feel good; in general I've only met avowed Wiccans before in metaphysical stores or online, and while I've not encountered anti-pagan prejudice in my own neighborhood I suspect it's because of an incorrect assumption that there aren't any, because that prejudice certainly exists in much of the country. The New England Pirate Museum is set up much like the witch recreations and somehow (especially after Pirates of the Caribbean, both the ride and the movie) it seems more appropriate to see colorful dioramas of pirates. While there are a handful of artifacts from ships that sank locally, most of the fun of this tour is hearing the tour guide describe the exploits and captures of local pirates and to walk through the replica ship and "pirate cave" with fake bats and skeletons. The kids enjoyed it a lot.

For me, unsurprisingly perhaps, the highlights of Salem were literary and seafaring -- the Hawthorne houses and the wharf. Though the Friendship, the only three-masted ship permanently docking in Salem, had sailed a few days ago to the Cape, we saw the Fame, a replica of a War of 1812 privateer partially owned by Hawthorne's family. We also shopped in the National Park Service's West India Goods Store, where my younger son bought a bosun's whistle which we spent the afternoon rethinking as it was blown in our ears. I suppose I'll have to see the terrible Demi Moore film of The Scarlet Letter sometime...partly to see if it's as bad as everyone says it is, and partly to see Gary Oldman.

This is my fannish geek day -- we are seeing the Lord of the Rings exhibit in the morning and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the IMAX in the afternoon. The theater is in the aquarium, so we are going to see that too, as well as the science museum. I shall attempt to keep the squee under control!
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Butterfly )

North End, Boston, Massachusetts )

Because the remains of Hurricane Charley are expected to cause bad weather tomorrow, we are planning to do indoor things in Salem instead of Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution, which we will see up close on Tuesday instead. Now that I've seen the latter from the water, I am not so impatient, and I have always wanted to see the unofficial Wiccan capital and historical sites from the bad old days.


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