Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ring Bell with Style

Instead of the usual desk bell and a sign reading, "Ring for assistance," this creative person placed a small gong on her desk.  Kinda awesome.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Times Change

After 42 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is going to stop issuing the little metal buttons as proof of admission and go to a paper ticket.  The metal has gotten too expensive, and they'll be able to sell ad space on the paper.  The passing of an era!

I think I still have a few little buttons somewhere in a drawer, as souvenirs of seeing artful wonders.

Over the years of its existence, the button became an accidental tourist totem — evidence not only that the city had been visited but also that high culture had been revered. And the button became a kind of art object in its own right, described once by Met curators as a kind of coin with a “multilayered tissue of readings and meanings.” 

Check out the dress above, created out of hundreds of buttons for a recycled materials project at Parsons School of Design in 1973!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Orlando - Epcot Center

For our last day, we hit Epcot Center, which believe it or not, had its 30th birthday last year.

I remember that the original ride inside Spaceship Earth (the huge silver sphere) was quite disappointing, so my expectations were low when we walked in. However, they've revamped it very nicely!  Judi Dench does the narration, the material is pretty interesting, and it wraps up with a fun interactive design experience during the descent back to the exit.  I managed to capture one of the images generated for Q-ster and me.

The boys enjoyed a game where they had to sweep "power pucks" into a city grid.  It kind of looked like electronic curling.

 When we strolled through the World Showcase, of course we had to stop at the pavilion for my favorite Scandinavian country.

They had a pretty nice replica of a stave church. The originals are all wooden pieces fitted together just like the Viking boats.

I sent a text to my nordic colleagues, teasing them that the fortress guarding the capital city has defended the fjord from invading fleets for seven hundred years, all in preparation for this new event: Princess Storybook Dining at the royal banquet hall.

We had a fabulous week.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Orlando - the Magic Kingdom, and More Water

(BlogHer13 was wonderful and I'll write about it later this week! In the mean time, back to Orlando . . .)

Since we were just at Disneyland in April, those memories were fresh and it was interesting to compare the Magic Kingdom parks.  It's clear that after they worked things out well in Anaheim, they had the space to plan to their hearts content after purchasing basically all the land in central Florida.

The castle seems a lot bigger than the one in California.  There were four lanes of the Autopia/driving ride, there were two side by side Dumbo rides, etc. Scale!

We went to Autopia (now called the Tomorrowland Speedway) first.

Then teacups, which Buster adores.  Q-ster and I rode a teacup too (without extra spinning,) and were quite proud that we did it.

After about a zillion other rides, we ended up at the confectioners, where I got Mickey Mouse-shaped rice krispy treats with chocolate dipped ears and Buster fell in love with the cotton candy.  "It's So Fluffy!"

I don't know why I'm sticking out my arm so oddly, but it's a fairly decent photo of the four of us.

After we got back to the hotel, it was time for another foray to the pool.  It was almost a miniature water park of its own.

Q-ster and cousin H check out the waterfall feature.

And this clever bucket arrangement. They are filled with water from above, and when they hit a certain fullness, they tip over, spilling water below.

Buster, of course, went down the waterslide a few more hundred times.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In Chicago with Thousands of Other Bloggers

 We interrupt the Orlando post series, since my sister and I are now in Chicago for BlogHer '13.

Hope to see you!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Orlando - More Cousins, Water Park

I love how tech savvy the little crew is.  They each have their own devices, but Vi has captured everyone's attention with her app.

We went to the very impressive Disney Typhoon Lagoon, which has a massive wave pool in the center.  Across the park, you could hear the PHOOOMP of the waves being set off, followed by wailing and screaming.

Not many photos, since we rented a locker for all the valuables.  I joked that the "FindFriends" app was not so useful when all the iPhones were in the same locker.  "My friends are here with me in the dark, in this locker."

We had rain every afternoon, but the only time all week we were really caught and battered by a torrential rainstorm was this day, when were were all in swimsuits and water shoes anyway.

The children tucked themselves under towels and sat in the choice warm seats (above the engine) for the bus ride back to the hotel.  Toasty!

The beautiful hotel lobby.  If not Chihuly, then certainly Chihuly-esque!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Orlando - Cousins, Hollywood Studios

Buster and his little cousin V hit it off particularly well.  Above, they are giggling together over something silly on the iPad, and below they are strategizing coloring books.

In the meantime, Q-ster cast many Harry Potter spells with V's older brother, but it wasn't really possible to photograph them, since the action was constant and involved view-obscuring pillow forts.

We spent the day at Hollywood Studios, beginning with the ever popular Star Tours (twice!) and visiting the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground in between other shows.

The lunch place was decorated like Pizza Planet from Toy Story and  featured a bunch of arcade games.  Hey, does that "claw" game have what I think it has?

Indeed, little green three eyed aliens!  I love those guys.  Even though the Despicable Me crew are from Universal and not Disney/Pixar, I think of the green guys as sort of spiritual ancestors to the Minions.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Orlando - Water, Water

We spent the first day in Orlando in a nice low key style.  We joined Ryan's parents, his sister and her her family at the pool (Buster enjoyed the twisting, spiraling waterslide immensely), and then we strolled around Downtown Disney with the intention of getting dinner.

The boys and their cousins admired a giant Lego Loch Ness Monster, much like the one that used to grace San Diego Legoland.

Shortly after, the skies opened up and rain dropped to the ground in a way that we Californians never see. Thunder, lightning, the works.  Q-ster pretended to be unamused, but we were all mighty pleased that we had rain jackets.

Back at the hotel, I unpacked new travel tooth brush packs for the boys.

The toothbrushes had little suction cups, which held them off the counter nicely, and also made it look like they were conversing with each other.

And this is kind of geeky, but I remembered how difficult it was to dry eight swimsuit pieces (tops and bottoms for all four of us) on the shower curtain rod from our April trip, so I brought plastic hangers with us this time.  While the clothes were still really drippy, I hung them on the clothesline (with clothespins to hold the hangers apart, since the gear was so heavy that the clothesline drooped.)  After they dried out enough to not drip on the bathroom floor, I moved them back to the shower curtain rod.

I wouldn't have normally bothered with the hangers, but since we had a lot of free suitcase space, I figured why not. Everything dried out nicely in time for the next adventure.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Orlando - The Outbound Journey

We just got back from a grand vacation to Disneyworld!

The boys have become such great little travelers.

Those two orange dots in the distance are the pair of them in the almost-empty terminal, throwing our breakfast trash away.

 I'd found some tiny shoeboxes while cleaning house last week, perfect for storing sandwiches for the plane.  It still seems to odd to be on a six hour flight with no lunch.

Once we arrived, of course everything was Disney-fied, even the towel arrangements on the bed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Legendary Orthanc in Little Tiny Bricks

SwingDaddy and the boys have completed the Lego Orthanc!

It's enormous and cunningly detailed.

Check out the scale.  The little creatures by the foot of the Ent are minifigs.

There's Saruman in his white wizard robes in the tower.

And the eagle coming to rescue Gandalf from the roof.

We love Lego! We love Lord of the Rings!  Geek family, I know.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ooooh Banana

My dad and I had to stop for a quick lunch last week, and where should we go?  McDonald's for Minions, of course!

I had the poor manager digging through the whole bin to find two of the Minion with Banana figures that Buster and I adore.  It giggles and says, "Banana.  Oooooooh, Banana!"