The first part of last week was spent running around trying to get stuff together for a case, the papers for which needed to go in the mail on Wednesday. The catch was that I wasn't going to be there on Wednesday; I was going to be in New York City for a conference. And I am a control semi-freak when it comes to work and really prefer to oversee things myself, even when I know I've left everything in capable hands. My state of mind was not helped by the discovery that things would have been ready on Tuesday, had I not been an idiot and overlooked something important. Fortunately it was all fixable and went in the mail properly—on Wednesday.
I spent Wednesday through Friday in New York City, at the National Association of Attorneys General's annual conference on corrections law (prisons and prisoners). I think it was probably pretty standard as such things go: a reasonable variation in the levels things were pitched at; one person who went on about "me, me, me, me, me" for far too long; and a widespread inability to speak into microphones. Unfortunately, the more advanced topics were ones that I'd happened to work on already, so there wasn't anything incredibly new to me. We did get a CD-ROM with our printed materials that looks to have a lot of very nice research on it, though.
I also took advantage of being in NYC by having a nice dinner with redbird on Thursday night, at La Bonne Soupe (mmm, cheese fondue), and then went to see Perfect Crime, a play that I'd gotten a half-price same-day ticket for. This is, I am told by the program, the longest-running non-musical in New York City theater. (It is technically Off-Broadway, based on the size of the venue; it's smack on Broadway, based on geography.) It's a thriller/mystery; in the first act, we apparently see someone get shot, and it all proceeds inexorably from there. It's a very tight script, only two hours total, and because of the conservation of plot required by that format, almost everything is a clue. Had I been reading the script, I could have figured it out easily, but the play stayed suspenseful because the momentum of live drama didn't give me sufficient time to put it together. I liked the theme of intergenerational perceptions of success, the acting was excellent, and I got a second-row seat for $23. No complaints here.
(Second row is sometimes not ideal. I saw Angels in America back in the mid-1990s when it toured Boston. That was in a much bigger theater, and the makeup was done with that in mind: what looked like a face ravaged by disease from the middle of the theater, looked cartoonish from up close. I squinted a little and then it looked right. [The production was marred by too much reverb on the Angel, but was otherwise wonderful.] A venue like the Duffy doesn't have that problem.)
My plans for Friday afternoon fell through when I never heard from the person I was going to meet, so I went to the Met before catching a train home. The Met is, of course, enormous, and while I didn't have to catch a particular train home, my feet already hurt from the past day's walking. I'd initially wanted to go to the Met to see my favorite work of art, Louis Comfort Tiffany's Autumn Landscape. (Here's an image from the Met, which looks a little dark to me.) I spent a while admiring that and the rest of the American Wing courtyard, and then discovered the spiffy new Tiffany gallery. My favorite there was the stained glass window Dogwood, because the label explained how Tiffany used texture, like wavy glass and plating (built-up layers) to achieve the effects—and then let you walk around the back to see for yourself.
After a snack, I decided to walk through Modern Art's two-and-a-half floors, go through Islamic Art, and then call it a day. (I still looked at the many other things I walked by, I just didn't stop and explore.) Of the Modern Art, I enjoyed an exhibition on African-American artists from 1929-1945, and a whimsical painting called The Innocent Eye Test. The Islamic Art galleries are going to be closed this month for renovations; I hope that those include air conditioning, because it was brutally hot in there. I cycled through amazed-depressed-angry in this exhibit, particularly when it came to the books. Some examples on the Met's website: the opening painting from Mantiq al-tair (The Language of the Birds) (my favorite); a folio from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp; a Rosette (Shamsa); a leaf from a Qur'an manuscript. I hope that when they put up selections from the collection, after the main galleries close, they include lots and lots of works on fragile, flammable paper.
It was good to be home.
Saturday, I actually did some yard work, raking and trimming hedges (fun with cordless hedge trimmers!) while Chad dug up bushes (breaking a shovel in the process) and improved our patio. Went to see X2 that night, which I quite enjoyed. It didn't rock my world—I got more of an adrenaline rush from the Matrix trailer—and I don't drool over the prospect of a sequel, but it was good clean mostly-non-stupid fun and I recommend it. Ian McKellen just oozes panache, and Hugh Jackman really ought to be a star—no, I don't find him attractive, but he just has terrific screen presence, dreadful hair and all.
As far as trailers: ooooh, Matrix Reloaded. I'm not sure which trailer this was—not the final theatrical, which is all that seems to be on the website now—but it had a beautiful sequence, towards the end, of intercut parallel shots of jumps/flips/pikes/general arcing motion. Ooooh, pretty. (It's like watching diving, only with better clothes.) The eponymous Hulk looks disturbingly like Shrek; I don't think we'll be seeing that. I could probably see The Italian Job, being a sucker for caper films, even though I suspect that we saw most of the movie in the trailer. Everything else looked dire.
On Sunday, we bought a swing (as in porch, though this one is freestanding with its own cover, not as in playground) and Chad spent most of the afternoon putting it together. I made a risotto with shrimp that, to my philistine tastebubs, is just as good when you boil the rice as when you simmer. (Is there really a difference?) I'd meant to update both this and the book log after dinner, but I was still so tired from the week (the hotel bed was dire) that I just stared the screen blankly for a while, mindlessly playing Bejeweled, and then went to bed in a stupor.
This promises to be an interesting week. I have the Mental Hygiene calendar this month, which basically means appearing every Thursday at hearings that determine whether people who've been committed to a mental health facility, stay committed; and on Friday, I have at least one oral argument. Also, though I told rysmiel that we wouldn't make Montreal this weekend because we needed the time at home, I have discovered that thanks to miscommunication here, we actually have a prior commitment for Saturday, and maybe a new one for Sunday too. Whee. Which means I should go to bed instead of writing enormous LJ posts . . .