Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cranky Complaints-Lady Visits the R.O.M. - and other weekend expotitions!

Email feedback sent to the Royal Ontario Museum (complaints department link here) today.  Boy, do I continue to be Not Impressed at the quality of this museum (especially for what you pay - $22! - though we got in on a free pass)...
"We visited the museum today and I wanted to offer feedback to indicate how disappointed I continue to be by the new dinosaur exhibit area.  This was our second visit since the dinosaurs "returned" to the ROM.
 
Besides the annoying fact of life that it's housed in a "pointy" part of the crystal (which I admit I don't like), causing a couple of dead-ends and areas where exhibit flow is compromised due to the awkward architecture, the exhibits themselves now seem dull & uninspiring to the most crucial visitors - kids. 
 
In the old setting, the dinosaur skeletons were displayed against realistic "diorama" backdrops, as they are in other museums (like the Tyrrell museum, which we enjoyed immensely).
 
That kind of display is vivid and makes the dinosaurs come to life, especially for the youngest visitors.  As seen in the new ROM, they're just bones, bones, and more bones.  There are helpful videos showing the settings in which they may have lived, what their skin might have looked like, etc., but the dinos themselves are just dead, dry bones. 
 
This was particularly true of the marine reptiles, especially one "turtle-saur" creature (sorry, I didn't catch its name) that appears to just float within the point of the crystal. 
 
I honestly didn't believe it was possible for a Tyrannosaurus Rex to be boring to kids... but, as evidenced by the number of them walking past with glazed eyes today, it appears (if that was your goal) that you have succeeded.
 
If you venture into the Natural History section of the museum (not an easy thing to do if you're coming from the dinos and pushing a stroller, by the way) and stand in the bat cave for a few minutes listening to children and adults talking excitedly and learning together, perhaps you'll regain some sense of what it takes to put together a fascinating exhibit that combines science and entertainment.
 
I hope we will be rewarded at some point in the future by a revitalized dinosaur exhibit that will truly showcase the latest thinking about dinosaurs and how they lived in a way that engages all your visitors, especially kids. 
 
Thanks!"
 
The Diamonds exhibit wasn't thrilling, either.  I didn't realize it was so totally sponsored by De Beers... nothing much about the treatment of black workers in South Africa covered in the exhibit; I wonder, not knowing much about it, if there was much history there... I'm thinking probably.
 
Went downtown to "see the lights" with the Littles last night... didn't realize it was the official "lighting of the tree" ceremony and concert.  I figured we'd just go, watch the skaters for a bit, see the shop windows, come home.  Well, when I saw the thousands of other people at Nathan Phillips Square, I realized something was up.  A helpful policeman clued me in when I asked.  Naomi was very impressed, Gavriel Zev not so much, so I had to keep walking around. 
 
After the tree lit up, the concert ended (I thought), so I figured we'd look at the Bay windows and then walk up Yonge to Dundas and back down again to catch the skaters on the way home.  Well... the Bay windows were so Xmassy... no longer the excellent Narnia windows they had a couple of years ago, they're back to the Xmas theme of elves and toy shops and Santa and whatnot.  Last year, we told Naomi they were having Shabbos dinner.  Maybe this year she's a little more clued in and wondered why they were all wearing red... and why they were all elves...
 
Actually, she just referred to all the figures in the windows as "dollies."  She asked me if they sell them inside the store (The Bay) and I had to tell her that while, usually when you see something in a store window, you can buy it inside, in this case, they do not sell the "dollies" inside.  Good thing, or else she'd probably want a bunch to take home.
 
Yonge Street was nothing much, a bit lit up - and I thought for a split second of stopping in at St Mike's, half a block away, to visit my father, but he's supposed to come home tomorrow, so decided not to bother.  We walked up to Dundas, where nothing much was happening, and then back down through the Eaton Centre.  As we were coming out the Eaton Centre into Trinity Square, I heard fireworks high up above City Hall.  Couldn't see them, because they were apparently being set off inside the bloody oyster-shell design of the City Hall towers.  So I quickly ran with the carriage around to the front where we had a good view of the stunning finale.
 
As lousy and disappointing as the fireworks were that we waited and struggled and elbowed our way in to see for Canada Day, these were about fifteen times better.  I think we will try Nathan Phillips for fireworks next time, as they seem to have the knack.
 
As a bonus, the subway home with now-tired kiddies was super-fast and easy (why is always twice as quick to come home by subway?), and by the time I was pushing the carriage up our street, somewhat exhausted myself after a Shabbos of not feeling well anyway, I spotted our car in the driveway:  Ted was home, already, from work!!
 
Anyway, so it was nice, nice, nice to be greeted by him outside as we pushed the rest of the way home and super-amazing-nice to have help putting everybody to bed.  I guess it's the one good thing about his having to work motzaei Shabbos:  in the winter, there's a bit of a chance that he can have an almost-normal evening at home.
 
MEANWHILE, the big kiddies... YM slept over at his friend Elijah's, on the condition that he go to night seder (a classmate's parents picked him up from Elijah's house and brought him back there when they were done) and daven at the Village Shul in the morning (Sunday).  The only catch was he still had on his black dress shirt from Shabbos, instead of the regulation white one he's supposed to wear to school.  What a rebel.  Meanwhile, Elisheva had a surprise party for her friend Shula and then a melava malka at her teacher's house.  I picked her up at 10, just after we got the littles to bed.
 
Belly button continues to be anguish, this seems like almost the worst it has ever been... as if it wants to go out with a bang.  And going out it IS... I am now only 2 lbs away from my weight goal - enough that, as Abigail pointed out, it could count as just normal fluctuation, as your weight does tend to go up and down a bit during the course of a normal day/week etc.  Currently, 131:  goal, 129.  I don't think I have weighed this little since I was a teenager... amazing. 
 
I don't feel smaller, but Ted says it shows.
 
More about my body later - it's for a different post.
 
<3 J

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