Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Art after dark

Last Friday I went with some friends to the Honolulu Academy of Art's "Art after Dark". Basically, this is the Academy's way of making some extra money and getting people to come to the gallery to enjoy all the beautiful and amazing art. The theme for last week's event was "Bombshell" and it included a live jazz band with swing dancers, a catered bar and grill menu, and of course, all the galleries were open until 9pm. And the bonus: the mingling of all the beautiful, young professionals actually dressed up without a single aloha shirt in sight. Don't get me wrong, I really dig the causal vibe here, but it is nice to see a man in a polo shirt now and again.

The biggest surprise of the evening for me? I had no idea we had such amazing art on Hawaii. A lot of the collection were pieces shipped at the turn of the 20th century to one of the wealthy mission ladies, Anne Rice Cooke. She collected an array of Asian art, as well as some amazing pieces you would see in a French museum. The most interesting tid-bit? This Gaughin, Two Nudes, is the only one of his Tahitian paintings to hang in a gallery in all of Polynesia. And boy, was it beautiful.

Next month the theme is "Let them eat cake" and I am really looking forward to it. I didn't make it to the Impressionist gallery in the Academy, so this will be my first stop next time. I also plan on exploring the Hawaiian gallery a bit more, including this exhibition on Hawaiian drawings. Anyone want to come with?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Quick Dawk-days update

So K and I went to both Dawkins lectures these past few days. The first, "Queerer than we suppose: the strangeness of science" was the public lecture, given at 7pm Tuesday night. It started 40min late due to projector issues and hundreds of people needing to be accommodated on the outdoor lanai because the ballroom was too tiny. As far as we could tell, pretty much everyone there seemed to be an admirer; K and I were both surprised at the relative lack of protestors, although there were some Humanists holding down their corner in bright yellow shirts.

The talk was genuinely intriguing and basically touched on parts of his new book, The God Delusion as well as older ideas from The Selfish Gene. Loaded with lots of examples from nature, he talked about arms races that drive evolutionary change. I was most impressed with his ability to answer questions from the public. One of Dawkins' least favorite questions was asked after the talk, "What are we going to evolve into next?" Dawkins replies, "Silicon robots, of course!" followed quickly by "Actually, I have no idea."

Yesterday's talk (sorry, I don't recall the title), at 3:30pm, was a mish-mosh of examples which Dawkins used to show that life will always evolve to fill in certain niches, and that there are evolutionary commonalities that will arise in some form or another no matter what. In other words, repeated patterns will always emerge in life that evolves in the same context. For instance, "the" eye has evolved at least 40 times because light waves are useful for living in the world we live in. Had we lived in a different type of world (ie. a dark one) we would most likely not develop eyes. He called our niche the "Middle World", where our scale of distance and time are not tiny nor cosmic, rather in the middle. Our brains, therefore, evolved to perceive these middle functions, and can probably not comprehend either the very small or the very large. Thank goodness I finally have justification for not being able to understand the end of A Brief History of Time. A weight has indeed been lifted from my sorry shoulders.

Of course, a Dawkins talk would not be complete without a hit at the Creationists. When asked what he thought about people who believed the world to be designed, he answered, "They are not properly functioning human beings" and they are "missing the excitement of the universe".

While I agree that the universe is pretty exciting, it is hard to think about a world in which human beings are entirely secular. Not everyone gets to sit around and think all day and be paid for it after all (lucky bastards!). Perhaps I will comment more on this topic another day, but in the meantime, I just want to add that Dawkins himself admits that he is just a middle-minded man who can't possibly comprehend everything either. So we should probably not ask him what he thinks about the South Park episode anymore, because he apparently did not get it. By the way, Kyle's student asked Dawkins before his first lecture what he thought about the South Park episode. He said he wished they would have gotten a better British actor to do his voice, har har har. Then, he grabbed the students pen and whistfully autographed his kitten-decorated Econ folder. "To John, may you evolve into something great".

True story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ultimate buggering

What a busy President's Day weekend! K and I played and watched Ultimate frisbee in the 20th annual Kaimana Klassik Tournament. Here is a picture of the Lady Sippin' Sally team:

K was on the men's Sally's team, but I am pretty sure after 3 handles of bourbon, rum, and tequila, they were not quite organized enough to take a picture. What a crew.

Tonight is the Richard Dawkins talk. K told his students they would get extra credit if they could go and then write a paper relating Dawkins' ideas to economics. The students had no idea who Dawkins even was until K mentioned the South Park episode in which Ms. Garrison and Dawkins, er, um, hook up. Dawkins comments on his website:
Finally, I have repeatedly been asked what I think of South Park and of Ted Haggard’s downfall. I won’t say much about either. Schadenfreude is not an appealing emotion so, on Haggard, I’ll say only that if it wasn’t for people of his religious persuasion, people of his sexual persuasion would be free to do what they like without shame and without fear of exposure. I share neither his religious nor his sexual persuasion (that’s an understatement), and I’m buggered if I like being portrayed as a cartoon character buggering a bald transvestite. I wouldn’t have minded so much if only it had been in the service of some serious point, but if there was a serious point in there I couldn’t discern it. And then there’s the matter of the accent they gave me. Now, if only I could be offered a cameo role in The Simpsons, I could show that actor how to do a real British accent.
I can't wait to hear him talk about selfish genes, buggering, and other hot topics. Full report in the morrow, ladies and gents.

Good day!

Friday, February 09, 2007

ProBowl Weekend!

Pro Bowl this weekend, ya heard? Last football "game" of the year, which is fortunate for poor Kristen, and also fortunate for us because it means a big block party down the street tonight. K and I even got invited to a big kegger so we could preparty down in Waikiki before the event. Too fun.

This afternoon, Gaffers and I decided to go check out the festivities down at Kapiolani park. We got to see lots of fun games (kick a field goal, run a 40 and have it timed, watch cheerleaders, etc) and there were even some football greats signing autographs. We got to see Bart Scott! Yeah, I know, Bart Scott! I couldn't believe it. I was easily within 50 yards of him when I was kindly asked to leave due to my and Gaffney's excessive drooling. Apparently, LT and Troy Polamalu were supposed to be there, but Bart Scott, man, that was better by far than seeing those guys. Speaking of awesome guys, Steven Jackson is sponsoring a party down at the W tonight. Maybe I'll get to touch him! Or at least thank him for the 359 fantasy points he scored this year, leading me to a fantasy league championship (Thanks, SJ!)

We aren't actually going to the game (or probably any of the above mentioned parties, except, of course the kegger. Who could miss that!). Kyle predicts the AFC will prevail in the big game. Peyton, after all, received more votes than any other player in the league. Who do you think will win? Cast your votes now! Or don't. It is, after all, just the ProBowl.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Da Bears or Da Colts?

Who cares who wins the Super Bowl, I'm watching this:

Gaffney is even more psyched than I am:

I predict the Colts will win. After all, Manning said he could do the tango.
What a guy.