September 28, 2012

A trip to the NJ Aquarium

I went to the NJ Aquarium.  I know it's called the Adventure Aquarium now, but if you say that, people will just ask if that is the NJ Aquarium in Camden.  Also, I think Adventure Aquarium sounds silly.  It's right on the waterfront, so you have a nice view of Philadelphia from the place.

I would like to be able to go here and take some night shots of Philly from across the water.  Too bad Camden is not a place you want to hang out after dark.  Apparently someone took my photo while I was taking photos...

I was not aware that was happening.  The only problem with this photo is that you can't see my awesome killer bunny/Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch shirt.

After I wasted time taking photos of Philly, it was time to actually go in the aquarium.  It was smaller than I thought it would be, but it had some neat things.  I liked the hammerhead sharks.  There was also a walkway in a tube running through one of the tanks which held the majority of the sharks at the aquarium.  When you were in the tube, if felt like you could reach out and touch the sharks.  They could swim over your head or come right up to you.  It was a little creepy at times.  I kept imagining what it would be like to run into one of these sharks in the ocean.

There were plenty of exhibits with colorful fish and seahorses and all the stuff you'd expect in an aquarium.  There was also an area with two hippos in it.  I felt kind of bad for them because they didn't have much room.  The sea lions didn't have much room, either.

The main attraction for me in going to the NJ Aquarium was the penguins.  What I mean to say is, PENGUINS!!

I love penguins!  I'm a little peeved that March of the Penguins made them so popular because I have always loved penguins.  Here is a random penguin cam.  The aquarium's penguin exhibit left a lot to be desired.  It was tiny, and all the penguins were hiding except for this one.

I want to give this little guy a hug
I've been told that they are expanding their penguin habitat soon.  I hope so.  They can come stay with me in the meantime.  Overall, the aquarium was worth visiting, but I wouldn't go there often.  The aquarium in Baltimore isn't that far, so it would be worth it to drive there instead.

September 25, 2012

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is great.  Let's just get that out there.  I've loved Sherlock Holmes for as long as I can remember.  What elementary school kid reads Arthur Conan Doyle?  This one.  I think it was in fifth grade that I was Sherlock Holmes for Halloween.  It could have been when I was younger than that.  It didn't matter to me that I was a girl and Sherlock Holmes was a boy, or that when people asked what my hat was and I said a deerstalker, they still didn't know who I was supposed to be.  I had a pipe, too!  And a magnifying glass.  Come on!  I also wore a trench coat.  I'm sure that made sense to my fifth grade mind.  I reread The Hound of the Baskervilles a few months ago, and recently I've been working my way through the Granada tv series with Jeremy Brett.

Jeremy Brett is, to me, the definitive Sherlock Holmes.  It's hard for me to put my finger on exactly why.  He just does everything right.  He is arrogant, condescending, occasionally manic, and brilliant. The way he speaks, his mannerisms- all are how I imagine Holmes when I read him.  I enjoy Basil Rathbone and Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, but they don't beat Jeremy Brett.  
I first saw the Granada Sherlock Holmes series as a kid, when it aired on PBS.  It was shown as part of the Mystery! series, but it was produced by a British channel called ITV.  Mystery! was memorable to me because it had the Edward Gorey opening.  Even now I can picture the macabre illustrations on the screen and the woman tilting her head back, putting the back of her hand to her forehead saying "Oooh!"  The funny thing is, I don't know if I watched anything else on Mystery!  Aside from Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, I never read mysteries, and I hardly ever watch them on tv.  

Along with Holmes, there must be an excellent Watson.  The Granada series had two different actors fill the role- David Burke and Edward Hardwicke.  Burke only played Watson for the first two years, and then Hardwicke took over for the other eight.  I like them both as Watson, but I prefer Hardwicke.  Poor Watson.  He has to put up with a lot.  Holmes can be pretty rough on his friend sometimes.  

Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke
Of course there are the major recurring characters of the Doyle stories in the Granada series, too.  Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, and arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty all appear.  I personally love when Mycroft shows up.  Mycroft may be even smarter than Holmes, and they have an interesting relationship.  

Jeremy Brett died at the age of 61 from heart failure, ending the series after ten years with adaptions of almost three quarters of the Sherlock Holmes canon.  

Brett brought to life the resident of 221B Baker Street in a way that no one else has.  

September 22, 2012

Photography highlights

From time to time I'll highlight some of the photography I have for sale.  Click on the images to see larger versions.  I like these antique tractor photos.  They were taken at the barn where my cousin rides.

Art Prints

Art Prints

Art Prints

Here is a striking black and white of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Art Prints

Here are a few flower photos.

Art Prints

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

I'll end with a photo of my beagle.

Sell Art Online

More photos can be found at

September 4, 2012

A is for Asimov

Being the geek that I am, being the devourer of books that I am, with decades of reading under my belt, one would assume that I had read the works of the man some consider the greatest science fiction author of all time.  Nope.  How I got to this point in my life without reading anything by Isaac Asimov is a question I can't answer.  I suppose I thought that the ideas contained within the books would be brilliant, but that the writing itself would be stuffy and overly wordy.  I've had the three books of Asimov's Foundation trilogy sitting in my to-read pile for a couple of months now, but I've been hesitant to pick them up.  I bought them because I saw them in a used bookstore and thought, well, I should have read these by now, and for less than ten dollars I can find out if Asimov is all he's cracked up to be.  The Foundation books did win a special Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series," after all.  It was the only time a Hugo was awarded in that category.  The Foundation series beat Tolkien's Lord of the Rings!

The trilogy books, Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, were the first of the Foundation series to be written. Four additional books followed, two of which are prequels.  No, I'm not reading them in "in-universe" order.  I decided to read the original trilogy first.  If I liked that, I could read the following two books and then get to the prequels last.  The first three books were written in the fifties, but the others weren't written until thirty years later, with the prequels the last to be published.  So, I'm reading them in order if you take into consideration publication order.

After I started reading Foundation, I discovered that the trilogy is an interconnected compilation of short stories.  They weren't originally written as novels.  The books span hundreds if not thousands of years (haven't read that far yet).  In each new section, time jumps forward, and the main characters change.  In a way, that is a little frustrating, because you start to like these characters and then their part in the story is over.  However, the books are driven by the plot, not by character development.  That's not to say that Asimov doesn't know people.  The events of the books show a depth of understanding of human nature that other authors would be hard-pressed to equal.

I have not described the plot.  It's hard to say what these books are about, because doing so does not convey how addictive they are.  A description of the plot makes them sound like they could be boring, when that couldn't be further from the truth.  I can't put these books down.  Granted, I'm only on Foundation and Empire right now, but I blew through Foundation, and I don't see how I'm not going to have to go out as soon as possible and get the rest of the series, ignoring the to-read pile of books as it glares at me for buying new books when I have unread books sitting right there.  The premise is this: the Galactic Empire is in decline and has been for some time, although the residents and rulers don't see it.  A man named Hari Seldon not only warns of the fall, but also, using mathematics and science, predicts that there will be 30,000 years of dark ages (chaos, war, loss of technological and scientific knowledge) before a Second Empire will rise and restore peace and civilization to the galaxy.  Unless.  Seldon has a plan.  His predictions also show that there is a way to shorten this interregnum to 1,000 years.  He establishes two Foundations.  They are on the fringe, at opposite edges of the galaxy.  Their mission is to preserve and advance science, art, and technology.  They will bring about a better Second Empire's rise from the ashes of the first.

So far, the books have only dealt with the first Foundation and the crises they face as they wind their way along Seldon's path to the Second Empire.  I probably should have waited until I finished the trilogy to blog about the books, but I am THAT excited by them.  I don't know if I know many people who have read Asimov's books.  Geeks are aware of his laws of robotics and acknowledge his greatness, but how many have read his work?  This needs to change.  These books are brilliant.  Asimov was brilliant.  I wish had known sooner.  The bright side is that now I have his whole body of work ahead of me, and he was a prolific writer.  Both his Robot series and his Empire series he later connected to the Foundation series, bringing the total number of novels taking place in this universe alone to fourteen.  It's time to stop writing now and go see if the Foundation can handle the next crisis...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...