Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Zoo, Intrepid, glasses cleaning-related breakdown

Long weekend. Sarah’s sister and sister’s boyfriend were in town from Milwaukee, and that was cool but also kept me very busy. On Saturday, we went to the Bronx Zoo. (Pics on flickr here.) The zoo wasn’t bad, although getting to the Bronx was a pain because of the usual MTA weekend issues. The zoo’s big, and I guess I haven’t been to another zoo in recent memory to have a basis of comparison. I think I went to the Seattle zoo about ten years ago, but all of the animals were asleep and the whole place was small, about as big as one of the “worlds” in the Bronx zoo. Everything was cool, though. My personal favorites were the polar bear, the apes, and some of the indoor jungle-looking scenery, which reminded me of the arboretum we saw in Amsterdam, with very high humidity and that jungle smell of very rich soil and plants.

On Sunday, just me and Dan went to see the USS Intrepid museum, while the girls did their own thing. I got a membership, so if anyone’s in town and wants to get in free, I’m your hookup. (Oh, flickr pics here.) The museum was basically the same as last time I went in 2003, except the planes on deck were moved, and they swapped the USS Edson for a big barge containing one of the Concorde SST jets. We walked through the Concorde – there were jetways on either door, so you could walk into the midsection and then walk up to the front and back down. The inside was all blocked with plexiglass to stop dumbasses from tearing out seats or trays, so it looked a bit odd. The cockpit door was open, but there’s such a long stretch between the plexiglass barrier and the actual seats, you could barely see the gauges and dials. The cockpit had a very distinct smell though, and then I realized it smelled like my old tape player in my first car when it was brand new, and the sunlight oven in the passenger compartment activated the new plastic smell of the 80s technology. It was a very distinct smell, and oddly coincidental that all of the electronics in the nose of the plane smelled the same way.

Anyway, the Intrepid was good, although those Navy ship ladder-stairs aren’t made for a gimp with a bad knee. By the time I cleared the gift shop (got a book written by one of the radar operators on the old ship), got a cab, and got us home, I was seriously hobbling. After some sleep and general rest around the house, I’m feeling fine now.

Re the flickr thing, I’m still not sure if I like it or hate it, but it’s easy to do, and I’m lazy, so I’ll keep dumping new pictures there, until I find something better. I ordered a couple of prints from my last Hawaii trip, blown up to 8×10, and they looked pretty good, and for an okay price. I like that aspect of the operation, especially for other people who want to print photos, without me having to set up some giant operation and move the sun over 28 feet to get it all to work.

I’m having a serious glasses cleaning-related breakdown right now. My glasses were very easy to clean when I first got them in December, and now it takes me 278 tries with 22 cleaning solvents and 97 sheets of three different types of cleaning pad or sheet to get them even vaguely translucent. And usually on about the 273rd pass at cleaning (and each pass involves me cleaning the glasses; cleaning my hands; cleaning the glasses; cleaning all surfaces of the room where I’m cleaning; cleaning the glasses; cleaning my hands; then seven passes of successive cleaning with additive and subtractive amounts of solvents and water of different temperatures, and if I mess up any of these parts, the pass doesn’t count and I have to start over) one of the lenses smears about to the same effect as emptying a one-pound tub of Vaseline on a contact lens. I’m very frustrated with cleaning my glasses, especially after 30 years of glasses wearing, and I really wish I could get LASIK, but I can’t.

Okay, I must go clean my glasses.