December 27th, 2005


Playing Catchup

First things first. My laptop is having problems... most likely the logic board. Unfortunately, due to being basically an idiot who neglected to back up a lot of important stuff I will have to take the computer to a facility to have the data recovered from the hard drive before sending it out to have Apple fix the computer. At least it's still under (extended) warranty, so I shouldn't have to pay for repairs.

Annoying, though -- the time cost is rather a pain and the flexibility cost is an enormous pain. I have become very spoiled by having a laptop on which I did everything, so I just got in the habit of taking my work with me and working from home, Ted's place, coffee shops, BART, etc. Basically working from wherever it happened to be convenient... and then going into the lab to do data collection almost exclusively.

Although I suppose increased lab time isn't such a horrible thing.

Anyway. The hard drive isn't making any evil or ominous sounds and seems to be spinning appropriately, so hopefully the data is recoverable and it truly is "just" the logic board.

I can't wait until May.

(Oh, and knowing me, it would be something like that -- my computers have a way of working great for a while and then basically dying -- as in having some major failure happen to them. Ah well.)

In other news, I spent the last week (roughly) in New York City -- I had gone "early" with the intention of seeing friends on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, before people got too too crazy with family and Christmas and whatnot, and also before my own family arrived to spend the weekend seeing shows and eating in good restaurants and so on. Unfortunately, the NYC Transit Strike foiled my plans. I laugh because somehow, since I first visited New York in winter of 1999, I have managed to be there for pretty much every catastrophic event that has happened. 9/11 - Check -- class at NYU and all. 2003 Blackout -- was away for the better part of the month of August that year and still managed to fly in the day the blackout occurred and be around for most of it. Manhattan at night with no lights is rather eerie, really. 2005 Transit Strike -- yup, caught that one, too.

My friend Dru says it's a sign that either I should never visit (since evidently every time I do, something bad happens. But I can think of many counterexamples to that, so I will ignore his sentiments on that matter) or that I should move back. (I plan to ignore this sentiment as well as I really love the Bay Area... I love New York, too, but I think I love it more to visit than as a place to really live out most of my life).

What amazed me was how though the strike did prove an impediment to my plans to catch up with friends, it didn't slow the city down nearly as much as I would have expected. And I did make a new discovery in the East Village, which is always welcome.

Thursday, family arrived, and we saw The Producers courtesy of the availability of a great many tickets (and short lines!) through TKTS. Mom and I had been before, Ben hadn't... it was still funny as I'd remembered, but there's nothing like the energy of a Broadway show with the original cast and a New York audience. (Yes. I am a spoiled theatre brat. And the trouble with tourist audiences is that you get far too many people who think that theatre is something that you watch from a distance in order to be cultured, not something alive that you engage with, laugh at, cheer for. Which is a real pity.) After the Producers, we had dinner at Sardi's (yay!) to celebrate Ben's graduating from HTC -- he is now the proud owner of an associate's degree in Manufacturing Engineering with a specialty in Fluid Power, though he really has no interest whatsoever in that profession. He's worked really hard for a long time for this, so yay for him!

Friday was a two-show day featuring The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (yay! many notable-quotables from that show) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (not quite as many notable quotables, but great songs, general hilarity and much love for John Lithgow who is perpetually delightful to see on stage).

"It's a real pity you couldn't meet my sister, she's such a nice girl."
"Oh? What's she look like?"
"Oh, a lot like me. Except for the moustache." (beat).
"But you don't have a moustache." (beat).
"I know."

hee. Would have been fun to see with Sheri Rene Scott, as she has better comic timing, I think than her understudy did, but, still. An evening of great songs and smiles.

And all of this built up to the whole reason for the trip in the first place, which was seeing Spamalot on Saturday afternoon (following a rather large breakfast at Serendipity -- yay for chocolate french toast!). There are not words to describe my love for this musical. Or my desire to see it at least 80 more times. ;-)

I do very deeply miss Broadway.

Things wound down from there... Christmas Day I spent wandering (trains were running again so I went to the East Village to acquire sushi at Zen Noodle Cafe because their sushi is both cheap and tasty), read some LJ in an internet cafe in Times Square, got so annoyed with the rain that I finally invested in an umbrella. I am sure I have two or three lurking about somewhere, but I seem to have misplaced them. Impetus to clean house. :-)

Monday saw my first visit to the MoMA, which I visited mostly to see their exhibit on 20 years of Pixar animation. It was really cool to see all of the concept art behind these animated movies. I remember being 12 or so and completely fascinated by the animation process -- I think that at one point I wanted to be a background animator for Disney (it seemed like there would be at least a bit more variety in that than in drawing the same character over and over again. Ah the dreams that fell by the wayside) and all of the planning and art that went into creating scenes and characters and colorstories (I remember noticing, as I collected trading cards from a few Disney films, around the same age that most kids collect baseball cards, and some were collecting Magic cards, how each film had a different feel in terms of overall color scheme...). I was startled to see how similar the process is for the creation of CGI films -- the drawings and storyboards and concept art and resin models are all similar... what changes is how the actual production of film works -- instead of being many photographs strung together, it is instead a series of rendered frames.

The most interesting part of the exhibit, however, was "artscape" which was a film of sorts that delved into bits of the concept art for the assorted Pixar feature films -- the way in which it was put together made me think differently about depth in paintings and layering and so on -- how depth is created in a flat image and what would happen if you could somehow really fly into that image, sort of like the ballet at the end of An American in Paris or the "Jolly Holiday" in Mary Poppins.

Left the MoMA with a drive to create and a pleasant sense of renewal that I had been craving recently.

Left New York (after dinner at Rain and dessert at Cafe Lalo, yes, the one from You've Got Mail) with a happy knowledge that I need to go back, and soon, to see and do old things that I love that are part of my New York, but also to see some new and interesting things -- to generally enjoy the city's perpetual state of flux and turnover.

Flight home today... and time spent mostly on computer, some reading about dyslexia. And seeing the boy. Which is quite lovely as I had really missed him.