Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Time: The George Eastman House

As of Friday, Hye-Sung's internship at the ThinkTank ended.  The next phase of her internship was to begin the very next week at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.  Here she is, pictured in the Eastman House's garden, ducking out of the rain.

Every time I've been to Rochester (this trip marked my second visit) it has rained.  And I've been caught in it.  Wearing this very same coat.  And have sought shelter both times under this trellis on the grounds of the Eastman House.

Like a bumblebee, Hye-Sung is attracted to the flowers.  She kept going, "So much green!  I cannot believe!  No!  I cannot believe!  It is real!"

While in Rochester, Hye-Sung and I ended up hanging out with Saori, a mutual friend.  Saori was in town for only a day, driving to Rochester from Buffalo to visit the conservation labs and galleries at the Eastman House.  (She was in Buffalo for a grad school interview- go Saori!)

The only permanent exhibit at the Eastman House is the gallery of historic cameras.  It is also the only space in which you can sneakily take your own photographs.  The guards are very sharp-eyed.

While it was not raining, it was actually nice and spring-like.  The grounds are pleasant (though quite small when compared to Winterthur).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The American Chemical Society Loves Me

So I was feeling down, and somehow the American Chemical Society (ACS) knew.  They sent me another 'thanks for being a member' present.

Dad is going to be so jealous.  Now I have a set of mugs.  Hydrogen and Helium! 

Note that the element is profiled on the opposite side of the mug.  The Helium mug is not personalized, but it says congratulations in extremely large letters, so I feel that that makes up for it.  And I'm especially delighted that the picture on the mug corresponds to the element.  I'm never leaving the ACS... I want a mug with Cobalt or Zinc profiled on it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spontaneous Frost

Found on the wall of a women's bathroom stall in a diner in Montreal.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Paper: Helping Hye-Sung

As part of her treatment project at the ThinkTank, Hye-Sung needed to turn a big sheet of Japanese paper a kind of orangey-brown.  The color needed to be even across the paper.  Using smaller pieces of paper wasn't going to work - it needed to be one big piece, for reasons I won't go in to.  We ended up working through ideas on how to tone the paper together, and because the paper was so big, she needed my assistance to actually carry out the process.

Hye-Sung standing next to the paper that we needed to color.  For reference, Hye-Sung is about 5'1" - she attempted to calculate her height in feet/inches (she knows her height in centimeters) and then told me that she was ten feet tall.  I laughed and told her that the panorama was twelve feet long.  She yelped in surprise and admitted that she may have made a mistake in her calculations.

Hye-Sung mixed up this huge tub of watered-down acrylic paint, in which we would briefly dip the paper.  Easier said than done: Japanese paper is very strong but very thin.  The tray wasn't big enough to float the paper in, so she held one end, I held the other, and we sort of 'rolled' the paper through the paint.

We rigged this drying device so that the paper would hang to dry.  If we dried the paper flat against a table, the watery paint would pool and cause streaks of color.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Shout-out to M. Foulkrod and all those 8th graders who pronounced crepe as creepie.  

Hye-Sung and I went to a crepe-shop for lunch.  She informed me that she was going to get two crepes, a lunch crepe and then a dessert crepe.  Peer pressure: I got two crepes too.

Lunch crepe: veggies and cheese.  You can tell that it is a lunch crepe because of the vegetables on the plate.

Dessert crepe: butter and sugar (a typical crepe filling) and cinnamon.  Sooo good.  I ordered simply butter and sugar and then waitress asked me if I wanted cinnamon in it too.  Hye-Sung then jumped right in and answered for me, "Of course!" - apparently you always request cinnamon with the butter/sugar crepes.  Of course.  How could I be so silly?

In the Heart of New France

Somehow the street vendors selling prints of paintings and drawings are still selling things, in the Quebec cold.

Place-Royal, in the Basse-Ville.  The place where Samuel de Champlain first landed in 1608 and planted the flag for New France.

This is a house museum off the Place-Royal.  In it, one of the security guards, being curious, asked us where we were from.  Upon hearing our answers, he started quizzing me about how much money the fines are for speeding.  He apparently has difficulty making the switch between miles and kilometers.  And my answer of, "It depends on the state and how much over the limit you were going, and if there is construction," didn't quite cut it.  Though it could have been the language barrier.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway, from the Haute-Ville.

The Saint Lawrence from the Basse-Ville.  Though still icy, the river is not safe for skating.  Clearly.

Being in Quebec really felt as though I were at some northern outpost and that beyond it things started to get...  wild?   Or like a Roman centurion stationed along Hadrian's Wall.   

Stan Rogers' Northwest Passage.


There is a funicular, or a cable-operated incline, that travels from the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town) and vice-versa, naturally.

At the bottom on the funicular is the Rue Petite-Champlain, which is lined with little galleries and boutiques.  

Like my own mum, Hye-Sung's mom never permitted her to eat these giant lollipops.

If you want to be a bit healthier, you can take the Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs) instead of the funicular.  Which we did.  Going up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quebec City: I Think I Love You

Samuel de Champlain (see statue pictured above) founded Quebec on July 3, 1608 on the point where the Saint Lawrence river narrows.  Though significantly larger today than it was 400 years ago, Hye-Sung and I concentrated our visit to Quebec on Vieux-Quebec, the old city.  Vieux-Quebec is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is one of the oldest cities in North America and the only one north of Mexico to still have the fortified city walls.  Quebec is also notable in that it is where everyone's favorite French-Canadian professor, Bruno, went to undergraduate school.

Our main purpose in traveling to Quebec was to visit the CCQ (the Centre de Conservation du Quebec).  The CCQ is somewhat like the ThinkTank CCI in that institutions across Quebec (instead of Canada, in the case of CCI) can request conservation assistance for their collections.  It is unlike ThinkTank CCI in that there is no real scientific branch.

The Chateau Frontenac, a large hotel originally part of a series of hotels tied to the Canadian Pacific Railway, dominates the Quebec skyline.

Unfortunately for the citizens of New France, in 1759 at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the French lost the city of Quebec and the entirety of their colony of New France to the British.  Happily, their new British overlords didn't really care what the locals did, so they were able to retain much of their own culture.  

Hye-Sung and I stayed in a little youth-hostel place in Vieux-Quebec.  Even though I had sworn off youth-hostels after this summer, complaining that, "I'm too old for this hostel stuff."

Proud-V.  But tired after walking all day.

Why are youth-hostels always painted such lurid colors?  (Granted, the green blanket is my own, but the walls are not very soothing).  

It was still really cold in Quebec.  Though no substantial amount of snow fell during our visit, it was clear that it had in the recent past.

The Ursulines (nuns) arrived to Quebec in 1639, to found a school for girls/women.  The school is still operating.

These tiny buildings are labeled, 'Saint Joseph' and 'Saint Augustin', as though the saints live there.  Maybe in the summer.  Maybe they are just creatively-named garden sheds.

Hye-Sung takes her turn defending Quebec against the English.  She informed me that, in this photograph, she is being 'strong'.

Port Saint-Louis, part of the original fortifications.