Friday, January 22, 2010

In Great Neck, New York, they call it a "pussycat"

Yes, this does mean that Vagina Monologues season is upon us! Last night we did our second night of auditions, and having so many talented incredibly vocal women for to cast is a thrill. The hallway of Kerckhoff heard smatterings of utterings of words and sounds that I can imagine it doesn't usually hear until this time of year. I like to think that we shocked some people, and intrigued others. The show is slated for April, and I hope the turnout is magnificent. Exciting to meet so many people, and establish a new vulvar vocabulary! Cant wait until cast is set and the rehearsals are running!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A whole new...continent or something Day 2

Sleep came to me that night like a good idea, even though the Ikea beds were something dreadful. Amsterdam becomes light at around 9:30, and by then I had already managed an egregious error in calculations. I wasn't quite satisfied with the heat level of my curling iron, and having conveniently forgotten that the voltage is quite different, I managed to finally realize the inconsistency when I smelled something burning quite close to my face. Something that smelled quite like hair. I'd heard stories of hair appliances being finicky etc with travel, but it was never an issue for me. (Then again, I never really brought my own with me). So it was a tragically hilarious start to the day. Even more hilarious was the fact that there is no way to open a window at the Holiday Inn Schiphol. Hm. Well. At least I was leaving for the whole day! (And, at least I started curling my hair with a section low and close to the nape of my neck, such that it wasn't quite visible, my misadventure).

I got to Centraal Station and was almost sorry to say goodbye to the gentle lull of the train, but was glad to get out and see the station itself. Pretty gorgeous. My first order of business was to buy a ticket to the canal tour, which was well worth 16 Euro. I dont think I could have seen the charm of the city any better than from the water, and alongside the swa
Architecture in Amsterdam is incredibly interesting, with so much personality afforded to each building. Each has facades and moldings such that before some certain year, they didn't even have numbers for addresses-- you knew where you were going just by identifying the decorations on the brick, or wood, or whatnot, which gave indication to who lived there: their occupation, religious affiliation, etc. And each has a lovely little beam coming out from the highest point such that pulleys could be utilized in case elevators weren't working, or weren't quite existent. Very adorable. Very charming.

Frantic tourism is no fun, especially when one has to sprint through such marvels as the Van Gogh museum. I didn't even go into the Rijk due to lack of time. But the former was gorgeous. I had no idea that Van Gogh was such an avid reader and writer-- seeing his thoughts on Uncle Tom's Cabin and witnessing the wonder that were his letters to brother Theo (usually set with the most impressive pen and inks) was marvelous!
Afterward I traipsed to the Heineken Experience, where the original brewery was located on some Straat or another. :) (Much of Dutch is quite manageable, if you use your imagination.) I zipped through this one too but was not nearly as heartbroken about it as not being able to spend a whole day at the Rijk and Van Gogh. During the tour, I realized that I know more about beer than I thought I did, as I answered all the questions that the tour guides asked. Hm. Is now when I admit to having a problem of some sort? Nah. Just intellectual vitality and exceptional curiosity. (By the way-- the green bottles are termed "WOBO". Google that one. You can use the empty bottles as bricks for a wall-- as seen in the picture below)

As part of the tour, they give you 2 pints of beer. Delish. But seeing as how I was on a time crunch, I had time only to down those two pints, and make a run for the train station
. There's more to be reported, but it's stuff that I'll relay over the phone. Call and ask.

A whole new...continent or something

An overdue account of my whirlwind trip to Amsterdam:

Day one...ish. (With time change, it coalesced into one very long day)

I had never seen the clouds cast shadows on the crepe-papery Pacific, but it's an
image I won't soon forget. I have no picture but the one in my mind, as the nice people on Continental hadn't yet proclaimed kosher the use of electronics. I wonder how many people really heed those warnings anyhow. I got really quite lucky this flight around, because I ended up sitting next to a hilarious girl from Texas. We tussled around and completed a whole crossword puzzle, which is quite a feat. Between the two of us, and a few drinks, it was done before we got halfway across the Atlantic. I was thrilled.

I also managed to sleep a couple of hours on the flight, and consider it quite a feat, because of cramped quarters, tight jeans, and my excitement for a new city, country, and continent.

My first glimpses of Europe were green and grey, of fields, and sky. Came into light showers, and the most holidayish airport I had ever seen, complete with Santa Clauses and Christmas cows. Yup. And I think I was satisfied to see that Europe was not the glitz and glamour that I had associated with it. My Europe was a bit chilly, cool enough to make you remember that you in fact, are alive. Sensory nerves ignited. Euros are an interesting currency to hold in your hand. They are shorter and fatter than American dollar bills-- looks like play money, but is worth quite a sum more than our bucks, buck.

I think what Im most excited about are the canal tours, and the museu
ms. More than whores and weed... but I think I will try to frequent the Heineken museum/factory. Indubitably!! Yet it seems that what I really should spring for is some peanut butter-- chatted with a girl about it, and apparently its something to behold. Or be-taste. :)

After checking in and dancing around the Ikea page of a room for a while, I did what any weary traveler would do: I took a nap. Dangerous liasons I made with that pillow-- I almost didnt wake up until it was too late. Dinner was at an Indonesian restaurant. Interesting to see immigration patterns in different countries. In Amsterdam it's mostly from North Africa, etc. Very few Asian people. I think I saw one other one. (Excluding at the conference, enter-Asian-scientist-joke-here).

Funny how academia feels a bit like high school, where friends like Biff and Billy, Ph.D. invite their friends Smitty and Archie to these conferences, mess around, get drunk, and pontificate about the funding they're getting etc etc etc. Pretty soon, you have Delta Sigma Nu Class of 1973 at the continental breakfast table. Or worse, drunk at the hotel bar. This of course, is me after too many hours of flying, and how impressed I am with the social abilities of most basic scientists.

Schmoozing is a sport. You have to be agile, and have endurance enough to smile, nod, be attentive, and seem like you are thrilled to be there when you really quite.. arent. In the vein of happy discoveries, I have discovered that I quite like port.

Friday, January 1, 2010

And another thing:

This is the year that I stop getting in my way.