Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Balloon Fighting Spirit

So Easy Franzese and I hightailed it to the best thing within an hour of my house: the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's too good to be true, really: an interesting, relaxing and relatively inexpensive place to look at widgy, squidy sealife without getting eaten by it. Also, money to the aquarium helps promote welfare of marine creatures all-around, so it's even and act of good will just to buy a ticket. The only time I ever go, sadly, is when we have visiting Kiwis or Swissies, in which case take them since, as I mentioned, it's the best thing within an hour of my house.

I'd forgotten, however, than the nature of an aquarium makes photography difficult, what with the low lights, quick moving subjects and massive glass reflection. So here are my best efforts.

Sea otters are just as adorable as they ever were, yet this is the only photo that comes close to capturing that adorableness and cropping it into a neat little jpeg.

Fortunately, we were blessed with a multitude of skulky, lazy fish who have nothing better to do than stare at passers-by with unimpressed expressions. Did I say the aquarium was cheap? Well, you get what you pay for. I guess you have to go to Sea World if you want them to make with the floor show.

Here we have an eel in a bottle. Behind him are other fish frolicking in garbage in what Dave guessed was the aquarium's trash-on-the-ocean floor exhibit.

This is the sardine tank, where they case each other in an endless circle. Yes, what would appear to be wavy silver lines are the fish. Personally, I feel bad for them. They're like kids at community college — always going forward but never getting anywhere they want to be.

In fact, the only place a took a good many pictures was the jellyfish exhibit. Jellyfish, knowing they are the weirdest and therefore best of all undersea life, have no qualms about simply bobbing about and allowing everyone to observe their their translucent coolness.

Meet Shirley. Shirley the Jellyfish. She either looks like something my grandma would own or the remains of a pink candle that burnt irregularly. In other words, cool.

And then there's the evil jellyfish horde. Still cool, just less pretty and more imposing. Not anything like Shirley. She's quite a lady, that Shirley.

And here's the same jellyfish horde attacking the silhouetted head of Mr. Franzese himself. (He survived, thanks mostly to the protective silhouette.)

Features like the swirling sardines and the psychedelic jellyfish have long made the Monterey Bay Aquarium a nice spot for local teens to get high and then stare at things. But the new exhibit, a gallery of art based on jellyfish, seems to make this draw official. They even play trippy 60s lounge music and showcase lava lamps. Personally, I think it's a great idea. If you're going to encourage people to do drugs, you should always do so in a place where they are separated from the vicious sea predators by a breakable glass wall. As a precaution.

One of the decidedly less psychedelic pieces of art, this diagram depicts what people thought jellyfish and the like looked like back in the Victorian age. Apparently, they looked like fancy Christmas ornaments and large bacteria. Or possibly stylized genitalia.

Of all the pictures, this is my favorite. Me, two Mr. Franzeses and some jellyfish, all gathered in the room I think they intend you to do shrooms in. And then walk into mirrors.

So when's the last time you visited my Flickr account? There's not sense putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.

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