Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 234/365 - In Seattle

After a 2.5 hour flight, a 2 hour layover, and a 3.5 hour flight, I finally arrived in Seattle this afternoon. Once I got checked into the hotel, I met up with my brother and the rest of our small herd (there are 8 of us all together – me, my brother, my sister-in-law, some of their friends and some of her relatives) and we headed down to the Pike Place Market (that’s it pictured above) to get a bite to eat and wander about for a bit. It was a rather touristy spot, but still kinda cool. Some of the street performers were interesting. There was one guy who kept four hula hoops spinning while playing the guitar, balancing a second guitar on his chin (and occasionally reaching up to strum it), and blowing on a harmonica. I had to tip him after that. I figured he earned it. Who says guys can’t multi-task?

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 233/365 - Post-It Note Impression No. 6

I was long overdue for another installment in my occasional series of Post-It Note impressions, so here it is!

Quick, who am I this time?

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 232/365 - Ready to Ship Out

Saturday morning I'm catching a flight to Seattle so that the next day I can board the Norwegian Pearl and get underway on a 7-day Alaskan cruise. I am 'redtago" (ready to go). Well, mentally ready to go anyhow. Still haven't started packing yet. I think I've picked out the shore excursions I want to do, though. In Juneau there's the Mendenhall Glacier hike, in Skagway there's the vintage railway scenic tour/Sawtooth Mountain rainforest hike combo, in Ketchikan I'm leaning toward the floatplane mountaintop sightseeing and crab feast outing, and in Victoria it will be the killer whale watching boat trip.

The excursions sound cool, but I'm still not sure how much I'm going to like this cruise. I've been on two Caribbean cruises before (not counting the half-dozen times I deployed there in the Navy on various ops) and my favorite part of those cruises were the days at sea where I could just lay in the sun on the Lido deck and read and listen to my iPod. Don't think there will be much working on my tan on this cruise given that the temperature is supposed to be in the mid-50s. Guess I can just sit by a window and read and listen to old radio programs, though. I've got one mystery series I recently loaded onto my iPod called "Passage of the Tangmar" about a group of heirs onboard a ship steaming from Australia to Jamaica to inherit a millionaire's estate and who are slowly getting bumped off one by one before they can reach their destination. It should be cool to listen to on my cruise. Plus I have a few books set on ships or at sea that should make for good reading.

This cruise was my brother's idea. I sent my parents on an Alaskan one last year and they raved about it, so my brother decided he wanted to go on one as well and he invited me to come along. This wasn't my first choice of vacations, but he and I usually have a lot of fun when we take trips together so I figured 'what the heck.' If nothing else, it's a week away from work and an excuse to take lots of photos. As if I really needed an excuse for that.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 231/365 - Legacy of Light

Tonight I went to see the new play "Legacy of Light" at Arena Stage's substitute venue in Crystal City. This piece was specially commissioned by Arena from local playwright Karen Zacarias and is having its debut a half-block from my apartment. It's always exciting to see a brand new work, although about half the time the play turns out to be disappointing. Most new plays are more along the lines of rough drafts when they premiere and still need a fair amount of shaping and polishing.

That's not the case with "Legacy of Light." It's an absolutely brilliant, fully-realized play. The story takes place between and betwixt two sets of characters in two different centuries, Enlightenment Era France and modern New Jersey. In each setting there are four primary characters, two men and two women. The Enlightenment cast consists of historical figures such as Voltaire and pioneering female physicist Emilie du Chatelet, her daughter, and her young and impetuous lover, while the modern cast is composed of a female astrophysicist, her schoolteacher husband, and a struggling young woman and her brother.

The characters move around each other in various orbits and while initially they are confined to their own eras, as the play progresses the Enlightenment characters also appear in the modern setting. Whether these time travelers are ghosts, hallucinations, or something else is never fully addressed and surprisingly it doesn't really seem to matter. Their simultaneous existence in both the 18th and 21st centuries further reinforces two principles of physics discussed in the play: first, that energy is not destroyed but persists (an idea first put forth by Emilie herself) and second, that time is not constant but varies as energy increases (an idea which Einstein derived from Emilie's work).

The plot of the play focuses chiefly on women scientists who are simultaneously on the verge of important discoveries and the verge of motherhood, but it is not about just that any more than the dictionary is just about words beginning with the letter A. The writing is razor sharp and the play is dazzlingly smart, consciousness expanding, and utterly original. If you have a brain and a heart you'll enjoy it a great deal. If you're deficient on either count you probably won't care for it much, and more's the pity for you.

The set design is facilitative and unobtrusive and the costumes are, in the words of one of the characters, amazingly amazing. Many of the actors play two roles, one in each of the play's eras, and the peformances range from excellent to merely adequate. Interestingly, some of the dual performers are excellent in one part and merely adequate in the other. Standouts among the cast include the actresses playing Emilie and Olivia, the astrophysicist. The performers portraying the modern sister-brother pair are also quite good.

As if you couldn't tell by now, I enjoyed this play immensely and it's something I can't recommend highly enough. Beg, borrow, buy, or steal a ticket but by all means go. GO!

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 230/365 - Clean and Dry

This week's self-portrait is the latest in a series of shots where I ask the timeless question -- "hmm, what can I put my camera inside of now and turn on the self-timer?" Following in the wake of such 'classics' as "Inside the Fridge" and "Inside the Oven," I now bring you "Inside the Dryer!"

Where will my camera go next? Stay tuned and find out!

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 229/365 - Memorial Day

In memory of all who have given their lives so that others might live -- military and civilian, wartime and peacetime.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Clouds of War

This week's bonus photo from my archives is another shot I took on my trip to Philadelphia today, this time illustrating the 'war' side of the equation. This is the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62).

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Day 228/365 - Art and War

I Amtrak'd it up to Philadelphia this morning for a day trip to tour the battleship USS New Jersey and check out the Cezanne exhibit going on at the Museum of Art. It was an interesting juxtaposition of the power of destruction and the power of creation, not to mention the machina and the deus.

When you think about it, creation and destruction aren't opposites as much as they are different points along the same continuum. They're both forms of affected change, ways of altering the world either through addition or subtraction. That being said, art generally doesn't kill or maim anyone -- so the world could do with much more of the former and considerably less of the latter.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)