Sunday, September 04, 2005

The California State Fair

Well, I have actually spent the last two days using my time very effectively. Yesterday was boring, so I'll only mention it briefly. You know how I used to video tape everything my senior year of high school? You know how I have 32 hours of combined footage, mostly of me using the camera as some sort of bizarre diary? A diary which consisted mostly of me screaming nonsense words and making faces so exaggerated that they looked like they hurt? Well, I finally am getting around to putting all those videos on the computer...Very slowly. One hour of video takes two hours to process on the computer, and during that time I can't use my computer for anything else since it taxes the processor and makes the video drop frames. Two things are annoying about this process. The first is the fact that I am using WMV format, which I am only using because Microsoft Movie Maker does everything for me (meaning I don't need to sit at my desk or in a computer lab for 64 hours). However, WMV is a garbage format. It looks bad, and for how it looks you would be amazed at how large the file is. The second annoying thing is myself. You know you have matured when you look at old tapes of yourself and you want to go back and slap yourself. Of course, then you realize that life did that part for you, and you are better because of it. For me, nothing pierces the myth of nostalgia like a good video. It has further reinforced something I already realized recently: this is the happiest I have ever been.

So, on to the stuff that you might be more interested in. Today Ralph and I went to the California State Fair. Now, since I went to the World Expo in Japan, some of you may be wondering "How do they compare?". Allow me to answer that question at the end of this entry. Here is the gate.And here is just inside the gate, looking over to the midway rides. We did not go on any rides because, you know, we just weren't in a ride mood I don't think.
However, we did go into the children's art show. We walked in looking for the insect exhibit, and when we found out it was art made by middle and high school kids Ralph said something like "Kid's art. I'm done." I agreed with his sentiments. I usually find children's art uninteresting, as it seems so much of it is contrived to please adults and win praise. Since the art in this exhibit had probably been created for the specific purpose of competing in the state fair, I was even more skeptical. However, as I walked for the door, this bizarre statue caught my eye. "What is that?" I though, and I walked back inside. It took us probably 45 minutes before we were ready to leave again. In fact, my assumptions were totally wrong, and the art in the exhibit was the best I have seen in years. Much of it was executed with skill equal to that of the artists in the professional exhibit, and the art in the children's exhibit, on a whole, was much more creative and less reliant on BS explanations than the art in the adult exhibit. Here is the statue that caught my eye.
After the art exhibit, we visited the "California Foods" exhibit, in which we encountered a professional beekeeper. Now, for those of you unfarmiliar with Ralph, he is an entomologist, which means he studies insects. But he is more than your average entomologist. Few people love what they study so much. However, what interested me most was that this beekeeper assumed that I was the entomologist. I wondered why this was, but I have my suspicions.
Then we went to the wild life exhibit. 見て、ふくろうです! Owls are sure patient.
Here is an indicator of some of the crowds. Not as bad as some of the crowding at Expo, but for CA standards, bad.
We finally made it to the insect exhibit. Ralph was quite disappointed by the quality of the mounting of the insects. I was a little disappointed by the fact that so many of the insects were dead. Even the cockroaches. Come on. You can't kill cockroaches if you try. Ralph is in the center of this shot looking rather displeased.
Well, then we went to see UC Davis vet students explaining about how cows give birth. This cow looked like she was about to pop, and had a very belabored expression on her face.
And this is the cutest picture I have ever taken. Nothing like having your brothers and sisters around you to help you sleep.

So, in conclusion. The Expo was bigger, with more displays, more people and cost a lot more. But there were no cute piglets at the Expo. Also, the Expo was a whole lot lonelier.

So, after the Fair, Ralph and I went to Costco, Fry's and then his house to pick up his brother. This is where an interesting story occurs. Ralph has explained to me that his house is in an area where police rarely go because it has occasionally been dangerous for them to be there. That fact is tangential to this story, but it does make it a little more fun. So we get to Ralph's house and are waiting for his brother to be ready out in front. I look up and I see one of Ralph's brother's friends playing with an airsoft gun. Not a real gun mind you, but one that looks VERY real. Well as he is playing with it, occasionally pointing it at the street, the police roll by. I can't tell you how fast I found a subtle yet effective way to make myself less of a target, just in case the police saw a gun pointed in their direction and decided to defend themselves. Once again, the squat I learned so that I could rest in Japan (where there are few chairs) comes in handy. Anyway, the police did see the gun I think, because a minute later they rolled by again.

Well, that's it. Time to change another tape in my camera. Only 24 hours of video left to go.

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