Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Day at the National Gallery of Canada!

The last day of January was my last day at the National Gallery of Canada.  It was also my last day of walking to/from work, in the snow and the wind, which is exactly what it was doing on this day.

It was a busy day - lots of ends of things to wrap up, two trips to return all the books I borrowed from the library, checking to be sure everything was on my flashdrive, packing all my stuff up, remembering to get my tea cup...  the usual last day of your internship stuff.

I have now begun work at a Canadian government conservation and conservation science think-tank.  It's cool.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Snack Foods: America Rocks

Since Hye-Sung and I were driving to and from Phoenix/Tucson, I took the opportunity to introduce her to American snack foods.

On warm days, things like ice cream sandwiches are nice.  Hye-Sung agrees.

Hye-Sung's first ding-dong.  She kept asking me if I wanted a piece.  I kept saying no.  I'm not really into ding-dongs, per se, but I knew it was something she needed to experience.

Good-bye warm Arizona!

Oh, it's you.  Hello Canada. 

In the parking lot at the Ottawa airport.  There was frost on the inside of my windshield.  The long-handled ice scraper was not so effective.

Casa Grande!

On returning to Phoenix, we made a detour to Coolidge, Arizona, home of the Casa Grande Ruins!  I told anyone who asked that I was exposing Hye-Sung to interesting cultural sights.  The truth is that I really wanted to see the ruins, and since I was driving, we saw the ruins.

This Protective Pagoda of the Future was built in the 1930s.  Sometimes I like how stuff from the 1930s looks so retro-y futuristic, like this.  Other times I just hate it for the same reason.  I like this because the Pagoda looks so out of place.  I mean, really, People of the 1930s.  Come on.


In case you're wondering, I'm wearing my sunglasses over my regular glasses.

This has apparently not eroded since the Pagoda was installed.  I find that difficult to believe.

Casa Grande is a three-story building constructed not out of bricks, but of two-foot-thick layers of mud just slapped down on top of each other.  Considering this building method, it is rather amazing that is has lasted as long as it has.  It was named Casa Grande by a Spanish  missionary in the 1600s, and at this time it had already been abandoned for centuries.

Saguaro National Park

After the conference we went to the eastern half of the Saguaro National Park.  I needed more giant cactus-sightings.

This is a river.  Sometimes.  When it rains.  Lots.

This landscape is so strange it just does not get old!  Obviously, since I took ten gazillion photographs of it.


We clambered about on some rocks.  Unbeknownst to us, it was in an area that Africanized Bees had been frequenting, terrorizing others.  Though we did not see the warning sign until leaving the rocks, we luckily did not encountered any bees, Africanized or not.

This is my superhero pose.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

PMG Conference

It may appear from all of those photographs that I was only in Arizona to visit the cacti, which, though highly enjoyable, was not the purpose of my visit.  I was really there to attend the Winter Meeting of the Photographic Materials Group (PMG) of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC).  Every two years all of the photograph conservators get together and have a conference.  It is mainly attended by photograph conservators in North America, though a good portion of people come from Europe as well, depending on their funding.

Though I did not give a talk, I did participate, giving a Tip on my experiments inpainting brass mats.  I even had a hand-out.  It was the last thing on the last day, and since I always make droll comments during a lecture, everyone had a good time and learned something.  

My old supervisor from Harvard, Brenda, gave a awesome talk about vectographs, which are crazy 3-D photographs manufactured by Polaroid.  She also passed out these futuristic polarizing Polaroid glasses so that we could see the 3-D-ness of the slides she brought to share.  Whenever a new slide went up, everyone went, "Ooooo!!!"  We must have looked like lunatics.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gate's Pass

Gate's Pass is through the steep but narrow mountain range that runs west of Tucson.  And it's covered in cacti!  It's like a different planet!

Hye-Sung did not want to return to Canada.  Understandably, since it is currently in the process of snowing 35 centimeters.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The first day in Tucson may have started out a little cool and rainy, but that did not dampen our enjoyment of it!  Hye-Sung and I picked up my major supervisor Barb (professor, photograph conservator, etc) and we all went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - which was super fun and where we ended up meeting with at least ten other photograph conservators, all in town for the conference.

Not all desert plants are cacti: this is an agave, a succulent, I learned.

My major supervisor Barb, dressed to match and crouching next to a cactus.

Part of me doesn't even believe that these things are plants.

So strange.  I won't easily believe that it is a plant, but I'll believe that it is a small fuzzy sentient life form from another plant.

Proof that I was really there!  And not wearing winter clothes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Searching for Warmer Days in the Arizona Territory

It's not really my own genius that arranged this, but it is pretty awesome that the massive photograph conservation conference in being held in Tucson, Arizona, this year.  Especially since I'm currently wearing three to four layers of clothing at all times and wallowing through at least a foot of snow and slush for hours in sub-zero temperatures every day.

I am so excited to go somewhere I can wear short sleeves!  And maybe a skirt!  I don't even know what my elbows and knees look like any more!  Classmate Lisa will also be attending the conference, and we'll both be staying with Classmate Meghan, who is doing her third year internship in Tucson, so it promises to be really fantastic.  The only downside is leaving Ottawa before the crack of dawn tomorrow...

Snow Bank Graffiti

I just really like this poster.  It's so good.

I passed two incidents of snow bank graffiti on my way to work today.  Also along the street, right by the Embassy from Mali, was written "I love you," in multiple languages.  All are swept away by the Obama-love.

It took a lot of tinkering to make the Obamas easy to see.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

The curatorial building at the National Gallery of Canada had a live video set up somewhere on the third floor, where everyone could come and chill and watch the election.  National Gallery of Canada.  Crazy!

In the paper conservation lab, we kicked it old-school FDR-style and listened to the inauguration on the wireless radio!

Then, after work, because it was only 'freezing cold' instead of 'its so cold I think I might just die' I stopped at the BeaverTail stand to get an Obama-themed BeaverTail!  Nutella must have been for the fancy Canucks at their embassy in Washington.  But, whipped cream and chocolate syrup is nice too.  It's really all about the "O" shape anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

Major American artist Andrew Wyeth died yesterday.  

Obama-Mania and BeaverTails

BeaverTails are flat pastry versions of funnel-cake, not just for powdered sugar though.  Since it is flat, the BeaverTail becomes kind of like a crepe in that is a flat receiving area for sugary things such as Nutella, sugar/cinnamon, maple, fruit, etc.  They are really good, but it is so cold out I can't bring myself to stop at the BeaverTail stand long enough to buy one, photograph it, and then eat it.  When it gets warmer.

When I do finally get to the BeaverTail stand, I'm going to request an Obama-themed BeaverTail!  Can we get some applause for the O-tail?  Yes we can!

Pictured above is the creator of the BeaverTail, holding up an Obama-themed one.  It has a big Nutella 'O' on it (for Obama, naturally) and maple syrup.  I just now realized that he is wearing an apron with Obama's face on it.  According to the Canadian tv news networks, if you're lucky enough to be invited to the Canadian Embassy for the inauguration, you'll get a free Obama-BeaverTail, made by the creator from ingredients shipped in specially from Canada.

Meanwhile, I'm still awaiting my invitation from the US Embassy here, for the Fancy Dress Cocktail Party which they should be throwing for all the Americans in Ottawa.  (Hint- hurry up with that US Embassy!)

Obama-Mania and Canadian Public Radio

There is just something about paper conservation and public radio.  They're buddy-buddy.  Back in the US we'd listen to NPR in the conservation lab.  Here, we listen to CBC Radio 2, Canada's version of NPR.  I love CBC Radio 2.  And right now, CBC Radio 2 loves Barack Obama.

They love him so much that they're putting together a playlist for him.  Behold!  Text from their very own website:

49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel: Canadians choose 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel that define Canada to the new President.  Beginning Monday, January 5th, CBC Radio 2 invites Canadians to help select the top "49 songs from north of the 49th parallel" that would best define our country to the incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

Canadians have been calling in all week and voicing support for various songs.  If I were Canadian I'd vote for If I Had $1,000,000 (Barenaked Ladies) and Wreak of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Gordon Lightfoot) because, to me, those songs are what Canada is all about.  As an American, I'd vote for American Woman (The Guess Who).  Lucky for Barack Obama, all three of these are on the top 100 list.  Hopefully the Canadians will select them!

The funniest thing was on the radio the other day.  The DJs talk about all the songs and give periodic updates on how many votes the various songs have.  Apparently the Gordon Lightfoot selections have been sweeping all of the other songs away!  The DJs announced to everyone listening, "Don't worry!  Gordon Lightfoot is in the top 49!  There is no way that we could make a playlist for Barack Obama and not have Gordon in it!  Gord is safe!"  I like the thought of Canadians getting all worked up and calling CBC Radio 2 to make sure that Gordon Lightfoot is on the Obama Playlist!!!   Because he is SO AWESOME!!!  Eh?!?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hye-Sung Models What to Wear in the Canadian Winter

It has been ridiculously cold lately.  And promises to get even colder,  before it is all over.

(She's actually doing the V for victory sign, though you can't see it through her two pairs of gloves.)

Pennsylvania Holidays

Over the holidays I got to visit with several people whom I usually only see during these days, as they're off on their own fabulous adventures the rest of the year. 

The fine atmosphere of Scotty's Dounuts of DuBois.

I think I look a little dumpy in this: must have been the fluorescent-pink-sprinkle covered doughnut.


I also got to sit in a traffic jam on interstate 80, apparently because two tractor trailers ran into each other and then proceeded to explode.  I'm picturing it Hollywood-style.