08 January 2009

What Do Barack Obama's Emails and the Polar Rink Have In Common?

Hello chickens.* Here's a very unusual back-from-AWOL post from me - the last few days, I have been terribly wanting to blog, but unable. My home internet's wonky, and my work computer, Monday afternoon, died a blue-screen-of-deathed death. Fun times. I am the electronic kiss of death. (Reports of my alarm clock's demise were exaggerated, though, owing to my weak understanding of the volume dial.) Anyway! I'm back, as back as I ever was, and just brimming with things to share. I've got a top-howevermany round-up of 2008's books and theatre, as judged by me, and some gushing to do about the as-beautiful-as-you've-heard production of South Pacific at Lincoln Center. But first, a very important PSA.

Well, two of them. First of all, why the hell is Barack Obama still asking me for money? To fund port-a-potties at inauguration? Um, no.

Second, the Polar Rink at the Museum of Natural History. Kate, James, and I went to the museum last Saturday. Kate had never been, and I love the place, and we finished the day with a session at the new synthetic ice rink. How did that turn out, you ask?

The museum, as usual, was wonderful. The halls of vertebrate evolution are so fantastic, and the Hall of the Environment of New York State is a great trip to 1955. It's always fun to find yourself accidentally walking through the "culture halls" and their highly problematic latent racism. It's weird enough to have human anthropology in a natural history museum, but when it's only people of color? Where are the Vikings?

Sadly - just a side-note here, because this isn't the real PSA - the new hall of human origins kinda sucks. It's atrociously laid out, cluttered and unnavigable, and the information is not any clearer. I'm a big nerd for human origins - a big nerd in general, yes, but this is one of my favorites, thanks, Jean Auel - and I recognize that the science is equivocal enough that it can make things messy. But don't make things messy! You're an awesome museum, and this dark, busy room is crap.

But whatever. Here's the PSA: the Polar Rink SUCKS BALLS. The idea of a synthetic skating surface is super cool, yes - we are nerds and we like to ice skate - but goddamn it's a piece of crap. The super-dull rental skates don't help (and btw - THERE ARE NO LOCKERS, so you either take your chances with your bag stowed under a bench, or skate with your shit with you - NOT GOOD FOR BALANCE) but you get absolutely no purchase, no dig into the "ice," so you've nothing to push off from. We did one shuffling circuit, and then gave up and went home (or wherever else we were going). SUCKS. FAIL. DO NOT WANT.

So don't do that.

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*It took me a good little while to remember who used to address her readers as "chickens" and "veal cutlets" and such. Heather Havrilesky, from back when I read Salon and had a TV. Always liked her.

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