Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Glasgow, Scotland

I've been in Glasgow for the past couple of days now, and it's been a lot of fun. I'm staying in a dorm room at the Glasgow School of Art, which is really convenient since it's within easy walking distance of everything you'd want to see downtown.

Supposedly, this is a 2-star hostel, but if that's true, then I don't really understand the rating system here. Here I get my own quiet room, with my own (albeit small) bathroom. I stayed at a "4-star" hostel in Inverness, and it was much worse. Of course, I was sharing a room with 5 other guys, and the bathrooms were shared, that's to be expected---but the walls were incredibly thin and you could hear things going on in the rooms next door and above and below. I really don't see why it should be rated higher than this one. Oh well!

As I was saying, Glasgow has been pretty cool---lots of neat museums, lots of good places to eat. I ate at a noodle bar called Wagamama last night, and really enjoyed it. Okay, I'll admit, it's actually a chain, they're all over the UK and even have a couple of locations in Boston. Doesn't change the fact that my noodles were excellent.

I ran across a really great exhibit today by an artist named David Rokeby. It's the first "new media" exhibit that I've seen that I really enjoyed. (Normally I cringe whenever I see a piece of "video art.") His works are all computer-driven, and they're usually interactive in some way, usually through a camera somewhere. One piece is an "interactive audio environment" that responds to your movements. Another has a camera that automatically follows people around inside the room and projects their image up onto a large wall; sometimes it mixes it up by showing a random assortment of people who have been in the exhibit recently; sometimes it even starts putting random adjectives under people's photos. Whatever it's doing, it really draws you into the exhibit. The other pieces are probably best described by the show website. Anyway, it was cool, I really liked it. And it's only a couple of blocks from where I'm staying.

In current events, Elise pointed out to me that there was a protest in Myanmar today... Hopefully that won't cause any problems for our trip. I'm certainly not going to try to join any protests while I'm there!

And finally: rant alert: Normally I don't like to rant about our president. Yeah, I think he and his administration have done some awful things to this country, but I feel powerless to change that right now, so I don't see the point in complaining. I'm basically just waiting it out, knowing that I'll get a choice next year, and that we only have to suffer through another year and a half until he's gone.

But sometimes---the nerve! Claiming that it was a mistake to withdraw from Vietnam, and using that to justify not withdrawing from Iraq? If only it were that simple! If only I could believe that Iraq would settle down to be a peaceful nation if we withdrew our troops! W's ignorance of history and the situation in Iraq really astounds me sometimes. Of course, if he knew anything about those topics, then we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place... Sigh.


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