Went to the Fair today.
There’s an unforeseen switch-up. There’s a non-standard deviation. Complicating matters this year: the utter destruction of Washington Avenue for light-rail. A few years ago, it was the construction of the Gopher football stadium, an enormous structure that ate up all the free park-and-ride lots. So I had to go to St. Paul to take the bus. This year the parking is back, but one simply does not drive in to Mordor; through-streets encourage people to drive. You can go across the Washington Avenue bridge - erected, I suspect, to carry cars from one bank to the other, but that's just conjecture - but then you have to loop around under the U, because access to the north is now verboten, then thread your way through sidestreets to get to something arterial that says Yes! Cars, we love you. Come here. Gaze thirstily at our broad streets, and drink thine fill.
It’s always been a pain to navigate the U by car, and that’s fine; no reason it has to be car-friendly. But the entire surrounding area is one thick clot of Nevermind now, and the general effect is to make the entire community more inconvenient to cars. Which was the plan, I guess. It’s the plan on two other streets, Park and Portland - they’re one-ways that zip through the city. People use them., so we have to do something about that. They’re going to reduce them to two lanes, and put in a bike lane. Why the bikes can’t use the side streets, I’ve no idea.
Actually, I do: there’s stop signs every other block. Either this impedes the flow of bikes, or, more likely, no one expects the bikers to heed the stop signs, which means they fear bikers will be creamed by cars on the side streets. So come the winter, when there are no bikers except for one or two hardy souls, three lanes of traffic will be compressed into two, and everything will be slower and denser. One article I read praising the change said cars pollute, and go too fast - it actually said mothers clutch their children as the cars whoosh by, as if the cars are going to veer right, smash through parked vehicles, leap the boulevard and barrel into the front yard. Well, you’ll get more pollution now, because the traffic will crawl.
So people will say “no thanks” and take the bus, right? No. They’ll just be late for work until they learn they have to get up earlier. It’s a wonder we have streets at all. It’s a wonder the city doesn’t strew nails everywhere, just to teach you what-for.
Anyway. Went to Heritage Square, the old-timey part of the Fair where they have some of the lousiest historical exhibits you can imagine. They’re so old. They’re so very, very old - the Minnesota State Fair museum makes the Barnes look like the Guggenheim, with stuff crammed up on the walls under groupings like WAR AND SPACE. One note for a picture of a ride says it really shouldn’t be under “OLD TIMERS” because it was built in the early 60s - that tells you the last time they gave the place a refresh.
Among the jumble, though, some wonderful things. They’re all in tomorrow’s video.
On the way to the Fair last night I eavesdropped on a conversation behind me: two young guys discussing things with a reasonable amount of sincerity. Not entirely soaked with irony and sarcasm. When the bus pulled up to the lot we paused, and I saw the same thing out the window they did: a young tall policeman talking to a young woman in cut-off shorts. She was attractive, and not in the standard style - she had glasses, big black ones, which mean she might have been Alternative. You know, one of those interesting girls who’s into cool stuff.
“He’s making some time,” said one of the guys.
“Yep, this is a real Taser,” said the other, slipping into a caricatured macho voice. “Had to tase a guy the other day. Tased him right down to the ground.”
They both made fun of the cop in the same mocking voice, then fell silent. When they started talking again, it was about band. One of them was in pep, but he wasn’t going to do marching again. But pep was great because you could play at, like, women’s volleyball.
“Definitely,” said the other.
Ah, the quiet desperation of the beta males. Damned world with cops who impress their kind of girl. Damned world. Mockery counts for nothing, and they know it.
Here’s some early Echographs I did. More to come at the paper’s website soon, I hope.
Finished Battlestar Galactia season 3, having skipped a few episodes that seemed skippable place-holders. (I was right.) The finale had something - no, no spoilers here - that really made you think “okay, this is all Neil Armstrong’s fever dream, then” and a face-slapping final sequence that gave me cheevers. I heard a lot of bad things about the second and third seasons. Odd. I think this is some of the best sci-fi I’ve ever seen. I’m starting to wonder if people were so dismayed by the ending because it ended with some sort of traditional theological message - Gaius Baltar as Lucifer (Gaius? Really? Julius Caesar’s first name?), the Cylons as the fallen angels, Adama and Starbuck (highlight for spoiler) who I’m pretty sure is a Cylon, and wasn’t present at the meeting of the Final Five because she was off finding Earth) as Adam and Eve starting humankind anew on the ruins of the old world. Saul Tigh, who might be my favorite character. Took me a while: oh, Saul. Right. I mean, all the 12s - the twelve tribes, the 12 colonies, the 12 zodiacal signs, the pagan gods vs. the machine-creature’s monotheism -
It’s just delicious. And now to watch.
See you around!