Sunday, 27 April 2008

I think this is pigs ear....NY take 2

We had our second visit to New York on the weekend, and caught up with Lyd who was in town for work. This time was a bit more relaxed since we had ticked most of the tourist boxes last trip. Here are the highlights:

  • We did the Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl, and saw the drinking holes of various literary giants like Edgar Allen Poe and Louisa May Alcott. It was pretty fun, although the "facts" were fairly dubious - the guides had to frequently refer to their script, which looked suspiciously like a whole lot of stuff they had printed off the Internet :) Sadly most of the historic pubs are going out of business due to the ridiculous rent.
  • Mary Poppins on broadway. Awesome. They even did a good job of the English accents (well, at least to my colonial ear)
  • Went on a quest to find H&H Bagels, which Lonely Planet was billing as the best in NY. After finding the store in a fairly dodgy semi-industrial area, we decided we would much rather have gone to a nice cafe with mediocre bagels :)
  • The Cai Guo-Qiang exhibit at the Guggenheim was awesome. His medium of choice is gunpowder :)
  • Lyd and I went to the Museum of Modern Art, while Em headed to the UN. MoMA was also amazing, they had a special exhibition Design and the elastic mind, which was one of the best museum pieces I have ever seen. One guy was making smiley faces out of folded DNA(!?), and someone else has written a computer algorithm to construct impossibly complex origami. Awesome.
  • Dinner in Korea Town. I love having to ask how to eat food. I think I might have eaten pigs ear...
  • Subway rat count = 4

Monday, 14 April 2008

Stormtroopers Garrisoned in Philly

Philly is cool. It had a good vibe, nice bars and restaurants. We went and saw the Star Wars exhibit at the Franklin Institute. It was pretty sweet - lots of stuff from both new and old movies, and an entire stormtrooper garrison were wandering around, you can see them on the steps in the photo (see flickr for better photos). The guys who do this pay about $1200 for full stormtrooper outfits.

My favourite was the stormtrooper who was pretending to be a statue inside the exhibit who would wait for people to get accustomed to him then suddenly move, and freak out adults and kids alike. It was also pretty funny seeing a random stormtrooper here and there in the parks near the museum just walking around or sitting on the edge of a fountain.

Other notable bits:

  • The Mutter Museum. A fairly nauseating but fascinating medical museum featuring many different skulls of murder victims, deformed foetuses, and dried corpses. I thought the case with hammer/anvil/stirrup ear bones from lots of species (including human) was amazing.
  • Liberty bell - big crack, no ringing.
  • Reading Terminal Market (sadly no Obama or Hillary present, they have been hanging out there drumming up support for the Pennsylvania primary)
  • Independence hall. Our tour guide seriously hated the National Treasure movie with Nicholas Cage, which is party set at independence hall. I got the feeling her job changed from answering questions about the declaration of independence to answering questions about which brick Nic Cage pulled out of the wall in the movie...

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Deep fried hamburger, and worlds largest hamburger

I've just been watching this show called Deep Fried Paradise - this country is awesome. I found out you can get a hamburger from Dyers in Memphis that has been deep fried in grease they haven't changed since 1912. I'm also seriously disappointed that we didn't go to the home of the largest hamburgers in the world in Clearfield PA when we stayed there for Groundhog Day! You can get 2 ($15.95), 3 ($21.95), 6 ($35.95), 15 ($49.95), and 50+ ($179.95) pound burgers - that's 0.9 kg to 23 kg!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Dirty, gritty, corrupt, violent, depressing, sometimes unintelligible and amazingly good

Is how I see HBO's The Wire. It is a super-realistic, gritty cop drama set in Baltimore written by David Simon and Edward Burns. Simon is a former Baltimore Sun reporter who spent a year embedded with a Baltimore City Homicide unit, which inspired both The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street. Between the two, The Wire is soooo much better.

In fact, The Wire is so good it has become my all-time favourite TV show of any genre. And I've only watched 8 episodes.

There are so many good quotes from the show, but unfortunately none fit to repeat here (hi Mum and Dad). Most of the story is set in West Baltimore, but is actually filmed in East Baltimore because "entire blocks of abandoned buildings make for a quieter set". "The towers" no longer exist, but the "low rises" are the McCulloh Homes public housing blocks.