Saturday, 16 January 2010
Righty, because I did not do 7 Quick Takes last week, having been in Edmontonia and all, I will cover 2 weeks with 7 takes. Deal? Deal. Also, I don't think I have that much news in the first place.
1. Last weekend we went to Edmonton, driving down Highway 63 on Friday. It was the first time I'd been south of the airport since September. Man, it is nice to be heading south on that highway. Of course, eventually we drove north on it as well, returning to Fort McMurray. In that direction we saw more of the land around us; southbound it got dark before we were too far down and we couldn't see much. Before it was dark, though, we got to one of the more visually interesting sections: to the edge of sight to the east and west, short, thin evergreens march over low rolling hills. While the forest is tangled, it isn't thick. There are few needles on the branches. This area was struck by forest fire maybe not quite a decade ago, and the trees we see are the survivors and the since-grown. Here and there, often on tops of hills, are pockets of taller thicker trees, sometimes deciduous. The look, to me, is Cretaceous.
2. First thing Saturday morning, we went to the Royal Alberta Museum. We stayed until 3:00. This was likely the coolest part of my weekend. I won't go in detail about each exhibit and display, but I will say discuss two: 1) in the front lobby there was a collection of photographs of endangered cultures from Tibet, India, Mali, and elsewhere, and 2) upstairs there was an insect-related exhibit at which we got to hold some cool specimens. The photographs were black and white and exceptionally beautiful. The insects, arachnids, and other arthropods were awesome, too. I got to hold two species of stick insect and I got to pat or stroke a tarantula. Best of all, I got to hold a giant African millipede, something I have always wanted to.
As I always do in museums, I began to feel saturated before we finished the Aboriginal Culture exhibit. I had taken in too much info before the day was up and I could not take in any more.
3. After this we went to Value Village. While Mom was spending forever in the clothing section, I was trying not to buy lots of books. In the end I got Samson Agonistes, The Dante Club, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Deception Point, Saint Augustine's Confessions, The Dead Zone, The Witch of Portobello, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde/Weir of Hermiston. I may have failed just a little bit. (As you may now know, I read Samson Agonistes on the drive home.)
4. Then, and this was getting late, we went to the West Edmonton Mall. We had all been before, so it wasn't as though we were gawking around like tourists any more. That's not to say it isn't an interesting place, but after your first visit it stops being quite as spectacular. Mom wanted to get some supplies from DeSerres and I wanted some CDs from HMV. I have lost much of my music when my computer crashed, so I have only been listening to the music I took from Cait's and Quinn's computers. Now I have the soundtracks to Gladiator and Pan's Labyrinth. That was the last place we went that evening and we left for Fort McMurray pretty much first thing Sunday morning.
5. Reading. I finished The Dead Zone this week, not to mention getting through most of The Elements of Style, which if you have a prodigious memory you know I bought a little while ago now. I have started lullabies for little criminals, which I bought almost a year ago by now. I don't know about it yet.
6. On Thursday I finished my exhibit at work. So that's that. I am doing other things at work now, but it still feels odd not to be working on my project. I have been working on it since September. I understand now how it can be odd to finish a Master's. How can I be done? What comes next? etc. I'll let you know when it launches.
7. Last night, the folks and I went to see the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour at Keyano College. It's a two-night thing, but we only saw the last night. There were a number of great films: Revolution One, about off-road unicycling, which is actually pretty slick; Deep [something in Japanese], a very brief one about skiing in very deep powdery snow; A Little Bit Mongolian, an excellent film about an Australian boy who learns horse-racing among traditional Mongolian nomads, the quality of which film was mitigated only by the main character's mild sullenness and by his mother's silly colonial phrasing ("He's a real Mongolian now!" she says at one point); one the title of which I'm forgetting, about taking solar ovens to African countries while white-water rafting across the continent; Spirit Songs, about a Tibetan family connecting through music despite being separated by exile; To the Rainbow, about a famous mountain-climber who broke his head and is now returning to one of his favourite climbs, called The Rainbow, despite being in much lower physical condition and not having the use of his right arm (this was something to see); and The Ultimate Skiing Showdown, consisting of stunt-skiing and skiing accident clips put to "The Ultimate Showdown (of Ultimate Destiny)."
7 Quick Takes is hosted by Conversion Diary.
Posted by Christian H at 12:01