Monthly Archives: April 2013

Final Friday in Station North

It took slightly less than 20 minutes to get from my apartment in Bolton Hill to the new Annex Theater\Station North HQ on North Avenue. It wasn’t the most impressive space I’ve ever seen, but considering it was only drywall and ceiling beams they could only improve (fortunately painting and moving furniture are two things that can be done relatively quickly).

However since there was no-one there I slid back out and headed into the McDonald’s next door. Who cares if it’s “healthy,” it was next door! Normally, that location takes 10-15 minutes for me to get my order, but today I was lucky as I get my food in less than three (there were five people ahead of me). When I returned to the theater, there was someone inside giving a tour of what little there was to see, but I’m sure it will look different by the time “Macbeth” opens sometime next month.

The walk over to Baltimore Node seemed to take forever, but I eventually made it there. Naturally, they were serving free pizza and Boh in a space that looked like a combination machine shop and frat house. The people there seemed nice enough even if I had no idea what they were talking about which is such a downer since I always considered myself at least somewhat smart.

Next door was the new Station North Tool Library and whose opening was the excuse for holding this little night out. It was exactly like I pictured a tool library to look… except the crowd inside was standing room only. I like the idea of the space, but I hate crowds so I went back to watch little kids set off rockets outside Node.

If I wanted to, I could go all the way back to Charles Street to see a bilingual play about Peruvian miners. Speaking two languages is great, but anyone who’s ever talked to me can tell you that I barely speak one…that is unless I’m talking to myself in which case they can magically understand me perfectly.

Fortunately, there was one other theatrical option in the area, and it was located almost directly behind my apartment. It was the “classic” 1989 musical “Meet Me in St Louis” at Memorial Episcopal. The play was a little overlong with spotty acting, but, on the plus side, I can take Missouri off my “bucket list.”

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, Bolton Hill, Station North, theatre | 1 Comment

Earth Day 2013: Part 1

I didn’t leave the apartment until just after 10am, but worse than that I hadn’t counted on the single tracking on Metro Subway which meant that the trains were coming at 20-30 minute intervals meaning any semblance of schedule I thought I had was now completely shot.

I arrived at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore at 11:20am having officially missing enrichments for the lions\hornbills (10:30am) and polar bears\otters (11am). Fortunately, I had a good half hour after leaving the tram (which every parent in line insisted on calling a “train”) to get lunch (which was actually edible this time) before the next animal enrichment.

There was no line in their food court area so I arrived at the warthog exhibit nearly 10 minutes before their enrichment\keeper chat was slated to begin. Every parent who whizzed past the small enclosure helpfully asked their kids: “where is Pumbaa? Oh, I see him, over there! He’s behind that bush!”

The invariable spousal follow-up which got wittier and wittier each time I heard it was “Yeah, but where’s Timon?” Ha! Get it? Timon and Pumbaa from the The Lion King, see isn’t that just the funniest joke ever? For the record, the zoo does not have a meerkat exhibit.

Today’s enrichment was a brown paper bag filled with various fruits. Not the most creative enrichment in the world, but I guess it’s better than just throwing it away. BTW, the bag lasted all of ten seconds and our keeper kept the chat going by throwing some additional fruit into the enclosure while she was talking.

That was fun, but what is the next enrichment? Leopards at 1:30pm – that means I have an hour and 27 minutes to kill. I walked through the giraffe house, took some photos of the bloom around rock island, bought a basket of nachos, and rode the real zoo train (which according to a guest behind me who told her daughter that the train is operated by the “conductor” rather than the engineer like most trains). I still had twenty minutes left over, which was too long to sit idly on a bench…but nowhere near enough time to wander through “The Maryland Wilderness.”

I meander over to the leopard cage, stopping to watch the animals around the “African Watering Hole” where a boy about 5-6yrs old insisted that those hippos lying near the side wall of the enclosure. His mom tried to correct him that they were in fact rhinos, but he was adamant those were hippos until one of them raised their head and he shouted “Whoa, look they’ve got HORNS! Those are RHINOS!”

I was going to walk through the aviary… but why ruin a good sweatshirt (that already smelled like giraffe shit)?

I stood around the leopard pen for a bit, the male (“Hobbes”) was asleep on the grass near the north fence, and his mate was along the fence closest to us. One guest repeatedly asked his three year old son if he could see the “cheetahs” (which were in another enclosure), while a 3 year old boy on the other side of me shouted “JAG-WAR” (jaguars are native to Central\South America, hence not found on an “African Expedition”)?

Hobbes however popped his head up when the keeper jumped over the outer fence and followed her back to the enclosure entrance, the female (whose name I can’t recall) remained asleep until she heard the enclosure door open. The keeper put the cats into holding pens and gave a brief spiel about their names and histories, and then put the two paper bags in front of the large tree and in the logs where visitors could see them before going back to retrieve the cats.

Hobbes took all of 30 seconds to find, devour and destroy the paper bag at the front of the exhibit. His female companion took a nonchalant stroll around the perimeter of the enclosure before finally ripping into the bag at the foot of the tree, but that too was gone in a matter of seconds.

I looked at my map. The next show was at 2:30pm in the Chimpanzee Forest. That left me with one question – do I stay the extra 57 minutes to see what the monkeys do with their paper bags…or do I make my way towards the exit?

Categories: adventures, attractions, Baltimore, maryland zoo, metro subway | Leave a comment

Earth Day 2013: part 2

I had the misfortune of arriving at the platform just as the southbound train was pulling out. That means I was waiting there for a long time – a really long time. In fact, I probably could have made it downtown by 3pm if it wasn’t for the single tracking thing.

“Day ain’t doin’ no ‘single trackin,’” said a young black woman either in her teens or early twenties, her words sounding more like a demand than a statement. “You down know what the fuck you talkin ‘bout, fuckin’ moron.”

However, 15 minutes later – yes, fifteen – an announcement came on saying: “On April 19th – June 30th MTA will be operating on a single track between State Center and West Cold Spring stations for track maintenance starting at 10pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. MTA apologizes for any inconvenience.”

I know being RIGHT is its own reward, but I get the distinct feeling that a certain “fuckin’ moron” isn’t going to get an apology anytime soon (from the rude girl). Five minutes later two trains come in succession, and, of course, both are going in the opposite direction of where I want to go.

As I tried to say above: If it wasn’t for the single tracking, I would have gotten downtown before the chimpanzee chat, but as it as was, I arrived at the National Aquarium shortly after 3pm.I had the added fortune of getting the slower cashier, but I was able to walk straight into the aquarium without its trademark timestamp or legendary lines.

The only reason I came to the aquarium was to see that new “4-D Immersion” show, but that wasn’t until 4:15pm. That meant I had a full hour to browse through the various Earth Day displays and activities…that they were packing up because said festivities ended at 3pm. 😦

Also, the new Black Tip Reef wasn’t open yet so visitors had to make our way around the construction area to the original escalator leading to the back of the existing 2nd level. It took me about 25 minutes to get through the rest of Pier 3.

The only thing of interest on the tour was talking to the old man acting as the exhibit guide on level 4. I told him last time I visited the aquarium someone got extremely mad at me in this very spot I was standing in for “misidentifying myself” by wearing a navy blue polo shirt with the aquarium’s logo on it (aquarium staff wear cobalt blue polos with the institution’s name written across them in large letters) even though I told upfront that I couldn’t help him as I didn’t work there and that I bought it in the gift shop (in case you’re curious, said gift shop no longer sells navy blue polo shirts, possibly for this reason).

Then I quickly transitioned to explaining how I’ve applied a few times to work for the aquarium, and even considered volunteering to get my foot in the door. The problem was I wasn’t sure about the full year commitment, but he assured me that “there is no commitment; it’s just 4 hours a week.”

volunteer-commitment

I still had about 30 minutes so I went upstairs to the “Animal Planet presents Australia: Wild Extremes.” By the time I came back downstairs, it was close enough to enter the Lyn P. Myerhoff Auditorium for my show.

The most interesting thing about the 4-D show wasn’t the spawning behavior of the salmon or the bears catching them with their gaping mouths, but that all of the preshow ads were for the aquarium itself – more specifically: their Australian exhibit, their restaurant, their gift shop and their membership program, but no mention of their famous dolphin show.

It was too early to go to the restaurant, and too late to see a dolphin show (the aquarium closes at 5pm on Sundays) so I simply went downstairs and began walking back towards the light rail which was a lot further away than the subway, but a lot less wait as well. I may be a “fuckin moron,” but I’m not an idiot.

Categories: adventures, attractions, Baltimore, Inner Harbor, metro subway, national aquarium | Leave a comment

Hurricane promotes proposed overpass

The Miami Hurricane is doing its best to promote a proposed pedestrian bridge over US 1 between the University Metrorail and Mariposa Court which has resulted in 8 deaths since 1989. It was my experience as a student the intersection that I had the most trouble crossing was US 1 and SW 57th Street (South Miami Metro on the west and Sunset Place on the east).

The paper ran a story last week (April 10th) about the online petition to get the owner of University Centre Plaza to allow the city to use five parking spaces to build said bridge. In a related story, the same author similar offers a somewhat incomplete guide on how to handle rude\impatient drivers in this car crazed city without ending up another fatality (dress like a jogger) – conveniently using Mariposa Court as her primary example.

This week, the paper reports that the project is apparently going through in a nearby area that doesn’t involve sacrificing the Plaza’s valuable parking spaces.  If you think losing five spaces is no big deal – here’s a story (from 2002) about a student outraged because the university paved over six parking places for an outdoor seating area.

Categories: Coral Gables, South Florida, UM news, University of Miami | Leave a comment

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