Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dating, Lists, and Updates

As the school year winds down, I've been busy, and so May has had only a single post. The past few months have been a bit taxing, though, for a couple of mundane-to-you / interesting-to-me reasons.

Between February and April I had to spend a lot of money on my car. This is a car from 2011, not some ancient hunk of junk. And so because my disposable income (and then some) was eradicated by these repairs, all of a sudden I had a lot of free time and no money: I couldn't make plans and do things, ('cause I had no money). My weekends were oddly long, sans plans.

One thing I did to pass these long spells of timefulness was not update my list of favorite movies and television shows, as I've done every two years, since March of 2010. A big part of the reason why is because I started seeking out movies on my list I'd only seen once before, of which there were a good many. And, on second viewing, some of these uncritically adopted favorites broke down. 'Notorious', by Hitchcock, didn't impress as it had the first time. Bresson's 'Mouchette' I found to be downright embarrassing. And could I really keep justifying the inclusion of the lumage animation 'Twice Upon a Time' alongside the likes of Kurosawa, Fellini, and Scorsese?

The same went for television. 'The Singing Detective' had wowed me at Bennington. Would it still now, almost a decade after first viewing? (As it happens, it did.) Or 'Brideshead Revisited' - I'd not seen that since I was a child. 'Pushing Daisies' was included after a single viewing as well.

So while I continue to track down television to review, such as 'Dekalog', along with hard to find movies, for example 'Ulysses' Gaze', the updates will have to wait. The benefit, of course, is that they will be far more accurate and discerning.

Without money these past months, spending more time in libraries was not the only adaptation. I also had to essentially stop dating. If I had $75 to cover a week's worth of food (typical for me, in a given week, with Bay Area grocery prices), then I can't easily justify spending $40 of it on a single dinner with someone. Single since the Ides of February I've had two dates, both ranking among my two most disastrous, ever.

It would seem the reason for these utter failures is that sitting around by yourself not doing anything except watching obscures movies and miniseries, and, although not previously mentioned, scouring up obscure vinyl and CDs, makes one a bad conversationalist.

Part of me is reverting to an earlier manifestation. I never used to be a story-teller, for I was more interested int he stories of others. Then, for popularity, flirting, and prestige, I honed the craft. But disuse has mean that I'm not very good at it, and more to the point, disinterested. On the more recent of the two terrible dates, I was given the following opening:

"You've taught all over. You must have some interesting stories."

My response teetered between the phlegmatic and outright biliousness: "Well that depends. What sort of stories do you want to hear? Funny stories? Quirky stories? What sort?" Note - this was not sarcastically intended. It was the response of one who'd lost interest, a sort of storied-out ennui. It was genuine inquiry: if I'm going to have to do this, tell me what you want, at least. Would I had approached the line conventionally I could have easily trotted out an anecdote to show off my amusing side - but these stories are ashes in my mouth, now. They don't interest me much at all, and enough life experience has passed under the bridge to mean most people have a similar set of stock tales to regale company with, not requiring me to add facilely to it.

At school I talk to no one. I have no prep period, and thereby have no encounters with the other faculty. I show up, go in to my room, teach, rest and work during lunch while remaining in my room, teach the afternoon session, and leave. In the typical Monday-Sunday, not including phone calls, my most sociable time, weekly, was about an hour and a half for a weekly meeting with my department on Wednesdays. The number of social visits I had outside of school during the three months of car-maintenance is fewer than ten.

Such lack of social conduct has not always been the case, as alluded to before. The issue, again, is money. April ended with a disgraceful $30 in my account. With one day left in May you may wonder what has become of all this? Have my routines changed? Have I been having such a lot of fun during this madcap month that I've no time to post updates on this sweet, forgotten blog?

Not quite. May, being absent of money woes, meant I had to save like nobody's business. So the same pattern of life was embraced as the months prior. By not doing anything, I was able to put two months' worth of savings aside, making up at least for the loss of March and April's ability to do so. This still meant I'd no money for dating. It still meant I was continuing to work on these old lists, in lieu of utter and total boredom.

June, then, is looking up, slightly. But it is offset by July. During that month I am paid almost nothing, since I am not teaching. This is problematic, obviously, because it demands frugality or savings. I have a big trip planned, and so the money I was supposed to have for the Big Trip went instead to the Car, and that means money wasn't saved for July. It's something of a juggle - but I should come out alright.

On a side note, can you think of a better example of the lack of middle class in America? The amount of money that went into the car was around $1,000. That quantity is going to throw off, in the end, six months of my life. Since I've returned to the Bay Area I've done nothing but wipe my savings again and again. As soon as I have a couple thousand saved up, it disappears on me. The car, health costs, moving costs, rent increases - it's always something. I'm fairly well off, all things considered, and that's worrisome - because at 30 you shouldn't be in a position where $1,000 wonks up half a years' finances. Compared to many of my Millennial compatriots, though, at least I can handle this stuff without going into debt. Or do so while not having to live under my parent's roof. Or do so and manage to make on-time, reliable student loan payments.

For the past few months, then, that's all its been - obscure art and Bernie Sanders-style socio-economic concerns. And, as my dating life has now proven, I can't make conversation when my only topics are unknown art house and political data.

Cyclically I spend my idle time on lists, and working on things I can control, all the while waiting: to get some money, to balance my social life, to update this blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


So here's a list I've never made. The museums I've been to.

Deep breath.

I am only including museums, not zoos or aquariums, but that can get blurry. (I also am not including little exhibition spaces / visitor centers for attractions which are not obviously museums.) Nor do I include houses or buildings which are now museums (The Alamo, John Adams' home); I'm only interested in spaces that were built more or less with the intention of being a museum. I think it makes sense to do this by category. So let's start with the easy and obvious - art museums.

It is almost certainly incomplete. Here goes.

Art Museums

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). California.
de Young Museum. California.
Palace of the Legion of Honor. California.
Cartoon Art Museum (*currently decommissioned*). California.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). California.
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. California.
Oakland Museum of California.(*also a science and history museum*). California.
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). California.
J. Paul Getty Museum, including the Getty Villa. California.
San Diego Art Museum. California.
Portland Art Museum. Oregon.
Seattle Asian Art Museum. Washington.
Nevada Museum of Art. Nevada.
Denver Art Museum. Colorado.
Carnegie Museum of Art. Pennsylvania.
National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, including The Cloisters. New York.
Frick Collection. New York.
Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). New York.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York.
Institute of Contemporary Art. Massachusetts.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Massachusetts.
Museum of Fine Art. Massachusetts.
Peabody Essex Museum. Massachusetts.
Yale University Art Gallery. Connecticut.
Yale Center for British Art. Connecticut.
William Benton Museum of Art. Connecticut.

Tate Modern. London, United Kingdom.
National Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
National Portrait Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
Scottish National Gallery. Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park. West Bretton, United Kingdom.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Venice, Italy.
Gallerie dell'Accademia. Venice, Italy.
Museo Correr. Venice, Italy.
Galleria dell'Accademia. Florence, Italy.
Vatican Museums. Vatican City.
Uffizi Gallery. Florence, Italy.
Tokyo National Museum. Tokyo, Japan.
Studio Ghibli Museum. Tokyo, Japan.
Prefectural Art Museum. Hiroshima, Japan.
Islamic Arts Museum. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Singapore Art Museum. Singapore.
NUS Museum. Singapore.
ArtScience Museum. Singapore.

Science/Interactive Museums

California Academy of Sciences. California.
Exploratorium. California.
Randall Museum. California.
Lawrence Hall of Science. California.
Bay Area Discovery Museum. California.
Oakland Museum of California.(*also a science and history museum*). California.
CuriOdyssey (*formerly Coyote Point Museum*). California.
California Science Center. California.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Oregon.
Pacific Science Center. Washington.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (frankly, I think this should count as a zoo.). Arizona.
Milwaukee Public Museum (*also a history museum*). Wisconsin.
Cleveland Museum of National History. Ohio.
Carnegie Museum of National History. Pennsylvania.
Museum of the Earth. New York.
American Natural History Museum. New York.
Harvard Museum of Natural History. Massachusetts.
Museum of Science. Massachusetts.
Peabody Museum of Natural History. Connecticut.
Connecticut Science Center. Connecticut.
International Cryptozoology Museum. Maine.

Science Center Singapore. Singapore.

History/Culture Museums

San Diego Museum of Man. California.
Oakland Museum of California.(*also a science and history museum*). California.
Musee Mecanique. California.
Walt Disney Family Museum. California.
Computer History Museum. California.
EMP Museum and Science Fiction Museum. Washington.
National Automobile Museum. Nevada.
Milwaukee Public Museum (*also a history museum*). Wisconsin.
Civil War Museum. Wisconsin.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Indiana.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Ohio.
Newseum. Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Washington, D.C.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Washington, D.C.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Massachusetts.
Mystic Seaport. Connecticut.

British Museum. London, United Kingdom.
The Beatles Story. Liverpool, United Kingdom.
World Museum. Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Naples National Archaeological Museum. Naples, Italy.
National Archaeological Museum. Athens, Greece.
Delphi Archaeological Museum. Delphi, Greece.
Ephesus Archaeological Museum. Selcuk, Turkey.
Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Bodrum, Turkey.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Hiroshima, Japan.
National Museum of Cambodia. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Maritime Museum. Malacca, Malaysia.
Asian Civilizations Museum. Singapore.
Chinese Immigration Museum - Haw Par Villa. Singapore.
National Museum of Singapore. Singapore.