julie contacted me about going to the galleria mall to cash in some 30% discount coupons at the borders bookstore; since i've been working diligently throughout the week, no one can blame me if i go to the mall an hour or two. despite the discount, i still couldn't bring myself to buy anything there, knowing that i can get any books online at a cheaper price. afterwards we wandered the mall a little bit more, before getting something to eat at the food court. while i had an omelette for lunch, julie was operating on an empty tank. nevertheless, i still had some room for burger king and got their new chicken fries. julie had a wedge of pizza from sbarro.
soon after i got home i went back out again, this time to the harvard natural history museum, where there was a lecture:
|"the smaller majority. lecture and book launch reception with piotr naskrecki. with an introduction by edward o. wilson. conservation international's piotr naskrecki has explored six continents to photograph the smaller majority -- the 90% of animal life that are smaller than a human finger, yet dominate the ecology of the world's tropical biodiversity hotspots. in this lecture, naskrecki will discuss his photographic journey, and the critical need to conserve these vital organisms and their vanishing habitats... "the smaller majority" (harvard university press) is a large-format volume of over 400 exquisite, full-color photographs, some depicting animals never before captured with a camera."
this, not king kong, was the highlight of my week. during the introduction the slideshow accidently exited out of its program and i saw that the whole presentation was actually running off of a powerbook (OS 10.4 no less) using iview multimedia pro (that's what i use!). squinting so i could read the small text, i could see that there were only 100 photos, sized to 1024x768. if only i could get my hands on those images! they'd make amazing desktop patterns. once the lecture started, i was in heaven. i don't think naskrecki is the best speaker, but he had a passion for bugs, and often times the stories from the inverterbrate worlds just write themselves. listening to him talk about his work made me realize that's my dream job. almost every image drew "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd: the goliath beetle, the lantern bugs, army ants, land crabs, leaf-mimic katydids, velvet worms, transparent critters. the photos were amazing and i just wanted to know how he made them. he ran out of time before we got through all 100 slides (i would've happily sat through 1000 more), and answered a few questions. most of them were about his techniques and the kinds of equipments he used, but he didn't offer any substantial answers, other than "any camera with a macro capability" can take photos like these (uh huh, yeah right). a little boy got up to asked a question, something about what if bugs took over a country, which drew a chunkle from the crowd, but i just rolled my eyes in disbelief that a parent would let his/her child ask a stupid question like that. to his credit though, naskrecki answered honestly, said something about plagues, and how some people eat grasshoppers. i smiled. i know.
back at home, i almost fell asleep on the couch again before waking up and remembering i had some things to order online. i ended up getting some books from buy.com (with their crazy 10% off amazon.com prices sale). gary called me and chatted my ear off for almost 80 minutes (i think he called last week but i said i was busy; turns out it was his birthday). i think we might be planning a NYC christmas weekend trip with some of his friends. close to midnight i finally managed to get some dinner (soup from a can, folks, nothing to see, move along). leno had on comedian/actress natasha leggero, who's like the funny doppleganger of eliza dushku (look for her on your future celebrity radar). craig ferguson had on michelle yeoh (too bad memoirs of a giesha is such an awful movie, i'll elaborate more another time) while conan rocked out with jack black and rachel mcadams.