November 30th, 2009


How November 2009 was like August 1985

Last week, Dan and I were walking towards the Oxo Tower and made an unscheduled stop at the Hayward Gallery to see the Ed Ruscha exhibition (which was awesome: if there's anything better than LACMA, it's LACMA on fire!).

On the way out, we made a quick run through the gift shop. I noticed a really interesting looking book and took a picture of it as a reminder to see if I could find an inexpensive copy after returning home (after all, English museum shops are predictably more expensive than buying it used from an American bookstore). Here's my pic:


Strangely enough, I found myself thinking a day or two ago about a paperback book that my aunt Lisa and uncle Randy gave me shortly before leaving for Germany as an exchange student in 1985. I loved this book: it had a bunch of pictures of America in it and I always thought it was really cool to show it to Germans who seemed to think that there wasn't anything worth seeing outside of New York City. After all, I'd already spent time in fine places like Polaris, MN and Panguitch, UT and heck, even parts of Stockton, CA (my home town) looked like places in this book. I couldn't remember anything about this book other than what the cover looked like, which meant searching for it wasn't going to happen (because online book searches can't read your mind for sketchy 24 year old memories).

However, after checking Amazon for the book above, I remembered that the publisher was the same: Aperture. This led me to searching Aperture's Web site for a while in hopes of finding that other book, to no avail. I then searched AbeBooks for all Aperture publications from 1983 through 1985; finally, after scanning 900+ results for that, I finally found that treasured book from my childhood:

Guess what? The book at the Hayward Gallery was the same damned book, just a newer edition.

Funny, that.

Bonus: Here's a random picture from the men's toilet at the Hayward:


Oxford fail

When Dan and I visited Oxford for the first time last Wednesday, I was shocked at the sloppiness of the signage of the museums we visited. After all, this was Oxford, right? I mean, they wrote the frickin' dictionary and gave us the serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma (or the "most awesome comma evar!" if you're Californian, of course).

If you'll excuse the poor photography, here are thirteen random examples. They're all from the Ashmolean museum (with the exception of the first two, which are from the Museum of the History of Science). There are even a couple of ringers thrown in just for grins. Enjoy!

1. The plural of "activity" is not "activitie"

Eye opening activitie!

2. It's a long way to Februrary

21 Februrary 2010

3. There are apparently seven continents in the Ashmolean Museum

The Seventh Continent

4. Older? Younger? My head hurts

The Elder Younger

5. Where the extra comma goes

London 2009 045

6. Brackets[ off center]

[ Two Women]

7. Another missing Oxford comma

London 2009 037

8. What button do I press to get to the third floor?

LG, G, 1, 2 > > -1, G, 2, 3 (Display is always G)

9. Curious indeed


10. Wrong, in principal

Principle riches

11. And did those FedEx / In ancient time?

On display: FedEx envelope?

12. Museum signage is at once confusing and reflect incompetence

Coinage is Christian and reflect changes

13. Random comma usage a go go (with sentence fragment)

Sugar casters, Ashmolean