Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Needles and bodies and chocolate, oh my!

Yeah, so ... no updates lately, huh? I am a slacker.

I've been unusually busy (not so much with work) and yet still have nothing to say, it seems. Today I am struggling with crankiness, which is really hindering my making any kind of real progress.

On Thursday I decided that I wanted to make part of my present for Darren and Angie's little girl, Dana, who I kind of fell in love with while I was staying with them over part of the summer. I bought a wonderful, soft, and cuddly brown plushy teddy bear, and decided to make a hat and scarf for Dana, with a matching hat and scarf for the bear. This I decided on Thursday night. Yeah.

So Thursday night was knitting half-size scarf. Friday lunch and breaks were knitting bigger version, finishing up Friday night, and then beginning a full size hat. Saturday morning was a bit of hat knitting, then out to the Science Centre. Saturday night was knitting the rest of the full size hat, beginning the smaller hat, and then deciding that a kid's scarf and hat set needed a fringe, so that involved learning how to do that (then figuring out a better way to do that using a rug latch hook tool (pack rats do prosper sometimes)) and staying up late to make some progress on both. Then Sunday morning was a ridiculous amount of knitting, made easier by a super movie line-up on the superstation. First was the last half of As Good As It Gets (finish fringing large scarf), followed by Serendipity (finish smaller hat, begin fringing smaller scarf), and then by the first half of Stepmom (learn how to make pom poms, find better way, make two pom poms, attach to both large hat and small hat). It was at this point that I realised that I was still in my jammies and had to leave in 20 minutes. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

So non-knitting activities this weekend were also interesting. (Or just 'were interesting, if you think knitting is Dullsville). On Saturday was the company Christmas party, which was a family thing (yeah) at the Ontario Science Centre (yeah!). Rose came with me, and we saw the BodyWorlds 2 exhibit first. It's a very interesting and thought-provoking exhibit, I have to admit. I also have to admit that it affected me in ways I hadn't anticipated. I was very blase about the whole thing, "Yeah, dead bodies. Freaky cool. Nothing unusual here." But when you're standing next to an exhibit that used to be a person, looking at every part of their body, it's different. It's harder to forget that these were really moving, living, breathing people when they're posed as if they are still dancing, or walking, or swinging a baseball bat. And they're so vulnerable - you're seeing parts of these people that they never even saw themselves.

One display that I found to be fascinating was a man who had been separated into two figures. The first showed all of his outer layers - his nerves and some blood vessels, some skin, and most of the outer muscles. The second was just his skeleton. It boggled my mind a bit. Which part could be said to actually be this guy? Were both? Were neither? Is what makes a person inherently tied to the physical portions of our bodies, or is identity entirely separate from the physical? And if it's a combination of the two, then what does that say about this man's identity? Has it been split? Doubled? Halved? Changed in any way, or in none? The same questions can be asked of the figure who is seated, and has before him on a table all of the blood vessels that fuel his own brain, still in the shape and structure they had during his life.

I recommend the exhibit. Even if you just go to gawk and giggle. And yes, you do giggle, if only on the inside. The first time you see that, yes, most of the figures are male, and, oddly, although they have no skin or hair, they for some reason still have their genitals.

It was funny watching people notice it. You're looking at a leg inside a case (this is before you enter the open display areas). You can see the muscles, and the tendons, the footbones, the ankle bones, the lower leg, the kneecap, the tibia, and then - yikes! You can actually see people jump a bit, or try to suppress any kind of reaction, instead suddenly developing a very studious, disciplined expression. "Hmm. Yes, yes, I see." And then you're left with the decision (for the rest of the exhibit actually). Do you look? Do you not look? And if you don't look, does the very fact that you're looking everywhere except the crotch area make it even more obvious that you're aware of it?

The best line was from a friend of a coworker. She looked at the pole-vaulter, who was suspended upside down, as if in the middle of a pole vault, and declared, "That's not gravitationally accurate."

Moving on.

After the exhibit, we wandered geekily about the Science Centre, playing with the different exhibits and toys and just being nerds, which was fun. But I don't know if we were both very high strung that day, or if there was some kind of conspiracy of fear involved. In so many exhibits, we were frightened. Several times, we'd push a button, wait for a moment for something to happen, then when nothing did, we'd assume the exhibit just wasn't working (which was the case with some). But for a few of them, we would have just shrugged it off, turning our attention to something else, when a loud voice would boom out through the speakers, or a bright flash of light would unexpectedly blind us, and we'd both jump and then laugh a bit at ourselves. The final was the worst, though. We spent several minutes putting together a little puzzle about genetic codes that involved putting little plastic cards on a strip on the tabletop in the right order, then punching in the corresponding code. We'd just succeeded, and opened the little door that unlocked, when the little strip suddenly popped up, flinging the cards upwards and scattering them like a game of Frustration. Of course, we both jumped and yelled, and right then, the lights turned out.

We are Ubergeeks - we closed the Science Centre, and they had to turn off the lights to get us to leave.

Then we went to Swiss Chalet for dinner, where I tried mightily not to think about BodyWorlds while I ate my chicken.

As for the chocolate, that'll have to wait, because the end of the day is nearing and I have to finish up some work.

No comments: