Thursday, September 15, 2011
So let's see. Yesterday I saw a lecture at the Natural History Museum that was part of the Archeology series. It was by a Greek professor, about the excavation of a city called Sikyon. It was technical, the guy went into the geology of the area just like a guy talking to a room full of people he assumes know what he's talking about - conglomerate rocks and Pliocene layers, the shape of the coastal terraces. It wasn't that hard to follow though, there were lots of maps, and what really stuck with me was one satellite map he showed with an image of the old city grid. Old meaning oh my god old, not just sort of old. Streets six meters across, 20 feet, in big square blocks across the whole of the plateau stretching before the acropolis, and all oriented north south. What was interesting about this was that the streets were not laid out following the natural walls of the landscape, which would have not been the cardinal points but would have been easier certainly and made more sense space wise. They had pulled meteorological data for the area, consulted with experts who study ancient weather (I KNOW what the hell are we doing with our lives?), and it didn't look like it was done for any weather related reasons. So this professor is talking about their theories about the city grid, rectangular blocks versus square ones, and how there was no zoning because houses were right on top of the industrial quarter, and in my head like silly putty there poured in a sudden awareness of the real and true and tangible existence of ancient urban planning theory. Ancient so close to prehistoric it practically hurts men daydreaming up perfect civic centers, how to best shelter a populace, how to arrange the parade routes so they don't go straight through the kilns. Then the engineers! They dug up all this bedrock and threw it up against the natural slope to make amphitheater seating and stadium walls. It gave me a whole new appreciation for those of you I know who have careers in this stuff, a long hallowed classical legacy and what not, like doctors and farmers. Working in insurance does not have that same tradition, obviously. I mean, someday it will probably will. How depressing is that thought?
Afterwards it rained, and I met my sister up at a bar where I had a bourbon and she had a burger and we talked about shit. Then a friend who went to school for urban planning showed up, and the conversation turned pretty much how that last paragraph went. So that was Wednesday.
Tomorrow (Today) is Ingenuity. You're an idiot if you don't go to that. Seriously, I'm not being glib. If you live in this area and you do not go underneath the Detroit Superior bridge either tomorrow night (tonight) or Saturday night when it's all lit up and the most gorgeous place in the whole city to be, then I don't even know why you know me. A friend of mine from Chicago is coming into town to do the standup showcase Friday, and then Pechakucha is before that. Saturday and Sunday there are some bands I want to see. It's a highlight guys, a genuine highlight.
But Sunday I hope will be warm enough to go to the beach. I feel the beach slipping away from us. Today for instance I had to put on my fake Ugg slippers for the day because my feet were freezing. Oh Fall, when a young woman's thoughts turn from how long she can afford to keep the air conditioner on to how long she can afford to keep the space heater running. I came out of Labor Day weekend kinda tan, and I'm just getting attached to this new color of skin and now Ohio is gonna go mess all that up.
I finally watched Downton Abbey for the first time tonight. It was pretty much just another British serial, I don't understand why everyone is so gung ho about it, but I like those things, so I enjoyed it. Afterwards, there was a show about the history of India, and it was the episode about the reign of the Moguls, the legacy of Akbar the Great who believed in the Unified Theory of One God Many Religions, the beginning and quick end of an attempted Hindu-Muslim civilization of enlightenment and tolerance and reason. I turned it off before the British invaded, because I couldn't take much more English Imperialism at the moment.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 11:31 PM