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I had kind of a crazy weekend.

I realized that, since I’ll be in Atlanta next weekend, this weekend was my last chance to do all the summery things that I’d been planning and putting off.

So I rushed out of work on Friday and went to the Museum of Modern Art, which is free and open until 8pm on Friday nights. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, as the line was huge and around the block, but it moved quickly and I was able to spend nearly two hours in the museum. I went to the top floor for the Salvador Dalí: Painting and Film exhibition, which was really interesting; it was all about how film influenced Dalí's works. I think my favorite thing was these film noir/German expressionist-inspired black and white watercolors he did in his early years. It was also weird to see The Persistence of Memory right there among all these paintings that I'd never heard of. It's tiny! I thought it would be bigger. Needless to say it was amazing to see all of this in person, although the crowd really sucked. You had to push through two or three rows of people to see each painting, most of whom were couples. Look, I get that Dalí's work is highly sexualized, but do you have to make out right in front of the painting I'm trying to look at?

The exhibit also had several films that Dalí had worked on, but I didn't have the patience to stop and watch them (I wanted to see all the paintings). Did you know that Dalí collaborated with Walt Disney? That one I'm going to rent or something, because what I saw of it was really cool.

I wanted to go through the rest of the museum, but I only had time for the fifth floor. They're having a Van Gogh exhibition in the fall, so obviously I'll just have to go back.

Afterward I wandered around Rockefeller Center (hey, a part of NYC I've never been to before!) and decided against Top of the Rock (too many tourists). Then I wandered into H&M and wandered out with a pretty (and way more conservative than usual) purple dress for DragonCon.

Saturday I got up early (er, for me), cooked (I have to stick to the meal plan so I use up all the food before I leave for Atlanta), and left home at 2pm for Coney Island. I got there a bit after 3pm, which wasn't bad at all; I took the L to Union Square and transferred to the Q to Coney Island.

I'd never been to Coney Island before, and I wanted to see it before it all gets torn down and replaced with condos. It's exactly what I expected, only bigger, sleazier, and more crowded. Seriously. There's a reason why this place is huge in popular culture! You get off the train and you're surrounded by crumbling old buildings and urban blight, but you walk forward toward Surf Avenue and the boardwalk and it's absolutely packed and alive and, I don't know, authentic. You see tons of families with kids running around having the time of their lives, tons of adults and teenagers partying and drinking, and tons of freaks just... hanging around and being freaks, I guess? It feels very working class, very rough, not at all slick. It's like the anti-Disney World.

So, I can see the benefits and drawbacks of this. Everywhere you turn, there's a concession stand selling the most unhealthy junk food you can imagine. Hot dogs (the original Nathan's), cotton candy, pizza, pretzels, popcorn, endless amounts of candy and soda. You get the sense that if you asked for something vegan they'd laugh their asses off at you! And I didn't particularly enjoy the sleazy men making comments at me, or the guys running carnival games who yelled rude things when I ignored their entreaties to play the games. And the bathroom situation was insane--not only are the bathrooms disgusting and lacking soap, but they actually have guards at all the restrooms to make sure no one changes. It's the beach! Where else are you supposed to change your clothes? And if you're going to pay guards to stand there all day, couldn't you have them refill the soap and do some cleaning, instead of yelling at twelve year olds who are hurriedly trying to slip into a bathing suit? Or why not use the money you're paying the guards to build actual changing rooms, since there's obviously a need for them?

The amount of obvious copyright infringement was also hilarious. Do you think they're paying Disney for the painted pirates that obviously come right out of Disney's Peter Pan? Or whoever created the Ninja Turtles for the giant ninja turtles painted everywhere? Or the obvious bootleg Betty Boop? It's kind of charming, actually. This place seems to exist outside the law. (Also of note: tons of little stands on the street selling pina coladas and daiquiris and beer. Is it legal to wander the public streets drinking a pina colada?)

But what I loved was the chaos of it all. It's not cleaned-up and sanitized and focus-grouped and inoffensive. It's wild and uncontrolled and insane. They've got all these little amusement parks, and everywhere you see kids who are delighted by it all. Bumper cars, carousels, mini-roller coasters, spinning rides, everything. And wilder rides for the teenagers. It's kind of amazing that you can still ride the Wonder Wheel, which was completed in 1920. And the Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster from 1927, now a National Historic Landmark, which you couldn't pay me to ride (did I mention it's made of rickety old wood?) but it's awesome that people still do.

Since I don't like heights and didn't want to get killed, I played a game of Skee Ball (I suck) and then went on two dark rides, Dante's Inferno and Spook-a-Rama. I have to admit their appeal was more historical than actual. It costs $5 for rides that last about a minute, go so fast that you can barely make out what the things are that are supposed to be scaring you, and need to have a lot of lightbulbs replaced. Seriously, on one of them (I forget which), so many lights were out that I couldn't see at least half the scenes. And on the other, the cars were so rickety that the guys in charge of the ride had to give you a running start to get you moving. I'd say it was half charming and half annoying.

I also went to the Coney Island History Museum, which is pretty cool. It's amazing how much used to be at Coney Island, and how nice it once was. Also, they have one of those ancient pre-movie machines where you put in a penny and crank a wheel to flip through a series of cards which makes "moving pictures," ie an early movie. This one was of Edison electrocuting Topsy, an elephant, which is horrible and made me cry. And outside the museum (near the freakshow) they've set up a "waterboarding" scene. You peer into this room from outside, where two mannequins are set up in a waterboarding pose, and if you put in a dollar I guess the water runs (I didn't). Er. Okay...

Then I went to the New York Aquarium, which was fun. They've got beautiful penguins, and adorable friendly sea lions, and huge walruses. They've also got a really cool octopus, and lots of gorgeous transparent jellyfish, and sharks and rays and sea turtles. And, y'know, endless tropical fish, but I've seen enough tropical fish in my life. It was fun, though, to wander through and look at everything.

Oh, and I went to the beach. I didn't feel like trying to thwart the changing room guards, so I just took my shoes off and went in up to my knees. The water was actually really nice (a lot warmer than when I was in Asbury Park) and the beach was packed full of people swimming and sunbathing. I'm not sure if I'd go back, though; there's got to be a beach somewhere where you don't get treated like a criminal for trying to change your clothes in private, right?

I walked along the boardwalk past the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium thingy (eek, baseball). A game was on and it was packed full of people. Outside, on the wall I walked past, they've got the best September 11 memorial I've seen so far. It's got photos and names for all the Brooklyn firefighters who were killed. (This also made me cry.)

And then to finish up the day, I bought a lime snowcone to get into the junk food spirit (OMG sugar rush) and went to the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. It was, um, okay. A guy with "lobster hands" did stand-up comedy about the stupid questions people ask him, another guy juggled a knife, torch, and apple, and took a bite from the apple (he also dropped everything twice), a electrified goth woman lit things on fire with her skin, and another goth woman swallowed a lot of fire. (I was annoyed that the men were wearing normal clothes and had speaking roles, while the women were dressed to the hilt and neither spoke.) I left after that and apparently missed half the show, but I did pay $1 to see a glimpse of "the future of Coney Island." It was four wooden panels where you look through and see a diorama of parts of Coney Island as it stands now (the Wonder Wheel, Cyclone, boardwalk, etc) and of what will replace it (condos, MacDonalds). Depressing. :(

On Sunday I had to get up early (again!) to meet my brother for lunch, since he's in town and it's sort of an obligation. So we had appetizers at GoBo; he bitched about the expense, bitched about his job, and told me he thinks he's probably a sociopath (because he agrees with the Joker in The Dark Knight). Which... yeah, he also idolizes Eric Cartman, so probably.

Then I came home, watched parts of "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel" because I haven't seen them that many times (seriously, fandom, that thirty-second clip of Mickey feeling ignored makes you OMG HAAATE the Doctor and Rose that much????), and then got ready for the Writercon meeting on IRC that we've been planning for a month (today was the only day that worked for the group).

And then my internet died. Restarting, resetting, unplugging, phone calls, on hold, tech support... long story, turns out the connection was out in my part of Brooklyn and I just had to wait. I couldn't think of anywhere else to go, so I called [livejournal.com profile] 10zlaine and asked her to read the chat to me and type my thoughts, which she generously agreed to do. And then her internet died and she couldn't get in! The only other phone number I had is [livejournal.com profile] kellyhk's (the rest are in my Gmail... I now realize the problem with switching to web-based email!) so I called her and she told the group why I wasn't there and had [livejournal.com profile] scarlettgirl call me. So poor [livejournal.com profile] scarlettgirl had to read the chat out loud and type her thoughts and mine. (THANK YOU!!!) Meanwhile I sat there reloading, restarting, resetting, until finally, about an hour and a half in, my internet returned!!!! And I was able to join the chat and actually type my own thoughts, yay.

Luckily, the meeting went well despite the melodrama. You guys, Writercon 2009 is going to be awesome.

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rusty-halo.com

I blog about fannish things. Busy with work so don't update often. Mirrored at rusty-halo.com.

June 2017

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