Monday, March 24, 2008


In last week’s episode, Baron Von Doviak’s car was stolen right at the start of my visit to SXSW 2008. The car’s stereo had been swiped a few weeks earlier...but then, in a humorous turn of events, police found the stolen vehicle, complete with a brand new stereo the thieves had installed. So there you go: crime DOES pay.

After an exhausted St. Patrick’s Day in Austin, I flew to meet Amy, my lovely Polish bride, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which reminded me very much of Los Angeles, except without the ocean, the film industry or the colorful flora.

But New Mexico DID have the following:

* The awe-inspiring (for me, anyway) Very Large Array, a series of 27 giant radio telescopes in the middle of nowhere (and featured in the movie Contact) used by scientists to map the universe and search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
* A pretty awesome zoo, with a very friendly giraffe.
Vacation Fun Fact #1: Giraffes have long, prehensile tongues like black snakes.

Speaking of snakes, we also visited the Rattlesnake Museum, one of the few non-turquoise-jewelry-selling establishments in Old Town, ABQ. The owner of said museum took a photo of the wife and me with an ancient Polaroid camera, and informed us that, because Polaroid no longer manufactured their classic instant developing film, ours was the second to last Polaroid photo of dorky tourists posing with snakes the Rattlesnake Museum would ever take. Oddly enough, the FIRST dorky tourist ever photographed with said camera was Ansel Adams.

Vacation Fun Fact #2: The Rattlesnake Museum, like just about every other business in Albuquerque, had its doors wide open for the United States Bowling Congress, whose Open Championships are evidently taking place in the city from February to July this year. Sadly, the wicked pissah rattlesnake bowling shirt on display in the Rattlesnake Museum was not for sale.

Vacation Fun Fact #3: While visiting the Ten Thousand Waves spa in Santa Fe, I finally became one of those fancy people with cucumber slices on my eyes. Sadly, no photographic evidence exists.

Vacation Fun Fact #4: If you’re ever in Santa Fe, there’s no better restaurant to visit after a nice relaxing spa treatment (or anything else, really) than the Cowgirl Hall of Fame on Guadalupe, especially on Saturday afternoons during the bluegrass jam.

Vacation Fun Fact #5: Mexican restaurants in New Mexico generally have honey on the tables, the better to enjoy sopaipillas, a local fried dough staple that may account for New Mexico’s ranking as one of the fattest states in the nation (although, to be fair, most of the people we saw were not especially corpulent).

Vacation Fun Fact #6: According to Frommer’s guide to New Mexico, some of the hippies in Taos live “off the grid” in half-underground houses called earthships. And after visiting Taos, I believe it.

Now we’re back, and I’ve got a screenwriting class tonight, where I plan to share a very astute quote from Georgia O’Keefe that I picked up at the Santa Fe museum dedicated to her work:

“Nothing is less real than realism...
Details are confusing.
It is only by selection, by emphasis,
that we get at the real meaning of things.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: No turquoise in the Rattlesnake Museum. Not true! They ALSO sold cheaper jewelry! You can't escape turquoise@

7:57 AM  

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