Tuesday, March 01, 2005

los angeles (part 2)
by iggy

saturday was a big day. there were two really huge events that happened. the first was a trip to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. The second was the risk game. this post describes the first.

the morning after the interpoll show as uneventful. in fact, the most exciting thing that came of it could be summed up by this photo:

I don't get it either.

the afternoon was tons of fun though. alfie and I called up elliot (in LA for the Risk game) and the three of us went down to the LA natural history museum to meet mark, a friend of ours who works there.

we managed to get there right as the museum closed, which I thought was going to be a problem, but it wasn't. we met mark at the employee entrance and he said he could take us on a tour of the museum even though it was closed. the only problem was that many of the wings had been shut down already, meaning most of the lights had been turned off.

alfie and his keychain light.

at first, mark had a meeting he had to go to, so he let us loose in the bird hall. having 95% of the lights out in the bird hall meant we couldn't read any of the displays, so we just kept going further and further back until we got to the jungle simulation room (guided by only alphie's keychain light). once we got there, alphie turns out the light and shouts "marco!" and we start playing marco polo. well, it wasn't really like normal marco polo because the people yelling "polo" can't see either. it was more like a game of tag where everyone has their eyes closed and there are valuable things you shouldn't be stepping on.

best. course. ever.

the jungle room is multilevel (like a rainforest canopy, duh) and made for just about the best game of marco polo (ok, "blind tag") ever. someone said that we should make a new rule that the displays are out of bounds and that if you are standing in them when marco yells "fish out of water" then you're it. I don't know if we were actually using that rule though cause I know I just ignored it (good thing those guys dont read this weblog).

this is alfie cheating (note use of light)

we only got about four rounds in before mark showed up and busted my balls for standing in a display. I said I was only standing in them when it really mattered like when whoever was "marco" was near me, but he still seemed annoyed.

so then we went down to the dinosaur wing for a more traditional tour. mark really knew his shit and we learned a lot like how dinosaurs aren't actually lizards and you can tell the difference between them and lizards because the dinosaurs legs go straight down and a lizards legs go out. there's also some shit about the number of holes in their head, but that wasn't nearly as cool as this display:

jurassic poke?

which at first looks like a tyrannosaurus having his way with a tricerotops, but once you get up to it, it's just an elaborate fight scene. mark gave us a really great tour, which included going behind the scenes and even getting to handle some of the fossils:

alphie and a fossilized dino turd

after that we got to hang out in the kids area for a while. in the upstairs part of the kids area the walls are lined with these locked glass cases full of insects. some of these are just scary, others are actually deadly (three different types of lethal spider, apparently). if an earthquake were to happen, these glass cases would certainly break open and send hundreds of deadly insects into the children's center. it's a good think los angeles doesn't have earthquakes, or else the display might be a really bad idea.

after looking at them behind the glass, we got to go back to where they prepare the insects for display and get to actually handle them. this stick-bug looks intimidating, but it's not dangerous at all.

mark, elliot, the stick-bug and an unidentified child

on the way out, we stopped at this room that seemed to have displays about museum displays. elliot commented that the only difference was that they put the placards behind the glass in this room. there was one display full of fake indian artifacts made by some guy in the 30's. apparently it was the first time the fakes had been shown in a museum because the experts easily dismissed as fakes them back in the 30's. but apparently if you wait long enough, even fake artifacts become part of natural history. mark said if I liked this sort of thing, I should check out the "museum of jurassic technology," which is somewhere else in town. next time I am in LA I think I will.

up next, the third and final installment, the Risk game!

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