BEA in a Nutshell

For a somewhat detailed blog about my BEA experience, see my book blog. 

I woke up super early for this, but, see my badge? I’m legit!

Saw Ally Condie and got a copy of her upcoming book, Crossed. I liked Matched, but I didn’t like the protagonists’s love interest. I think this might be the first dystopian novel in which I’m rooting for the Society.

I am a fan of the covers though! Some girls standing behind me were wondering out loud what the colour and the bubble would be for the third book. I wanted to join in on their conversation, but I didn’t …

After a few more lines, I stood in another rather long line for Scott Westerfeld. See the ipad on his desk? That’s geektastick!

Leviathan is one of my absolute FAVOURITE trilogies, so it was my honour to hold Goliath in my hands, months before it’s release date. This will probably be one of those books I get a signed copy of from Books of Wonder or something.

After a long morning, lunch was AMAZING. Putting chips in my pulled pork sandwich = awesome!

Apparently he’s got a book coming out ….

This is a working, steampunkesque, reading apparatus. This photo does not do it justice. I would like to have one of this … just for fun!

The books.

The End of Days

While I believe that Harold Camping has a few screws missing in thinking that he could predict the end of the world, I will admit that I do like having a bit of fun with his prediction. End of Days party, anyone? However, when I woke up this yesterday to find a retweet in my feed, I stopped short and did a bit of thinking.

My first reaction was, “I wish people wouldn’t lump this craziness with Christians. We don’t think the world ends this Saturday!” and this is true for all the Christians that I know. However, along with this, a number of other thoughts rolled through my mind. No man knows the hour; generalization of a people group is often incorrect; I am hungry, what’s for breakfast? The last thought is irrelevant, but after that another thought tumbled by – suppose the world does end, but more specifically, suppose my life comes to an end, am I ready for that? What would I have left behind?

In the broader sense, if the world was to end and everyone dies then what? Well, we will find the answer to the much argued question – is there life after death? If there is no life after death then we are forever gone, and for me, it makes living meaningless – like running a race with no one knowing (or caring) that you’ve finished. If there is life after death, our souls will be wondering through eternity, forever trapped or freed due to our decisions on earth. Eternity is a long time. Eternity is endless and that’s awfully long to be wrong. More on this topic in another post! 😉

In the narrower sense, what if my life comes to an end? In regards to my soul, I am content in my beliefs and have the hope that my soul is accounted for eternally, so that’s not something I worry about. However, I do wonder about the people that I will be leaving behind on earth. My family, friend and my church are all an important part of my life, they are the people I spend most of my time with (outside of work).

I also wonder about my legacy. Will I be missed? How will I be remembered? Will lives be touched because of me? Will I pass from this world as a whisper or will I go out with a bang? I like to think of myself as a wallflower, but I do want to go out with a bang!

As these questions ran through my mind I took a look at my life and thought about all the projects that I’ve started this year and all the ideas that I am trying to implement. Perhaps there’s a part of me that woke up when 2011 came along and shook the cobwebs off and started moving. Perhaps that part of me can sense that an end is near. Perhaps there is a primal urge inside of me to live on in the things that I create. Perhaps I am no longer content with watching life pass me by. Whatever the case may be, if I had only a few days to live, I know that the life I am living now is the life that I want to be living and in that I am content.

End of the world? Bring it on.

Tea Service at Cha-An

I went with my bookish friend, A, to Cha-An last week for dinner. They are located on the second floor and as of last week they only take cash.

They are rather small, and have a tea room in which they do 30 minutes Japanese Tea Ceremonies. Inside it’s very nice; the decor is very earthy and peaceful.

I decided to do the Afternoon Tea Set ($18) which came with two bagel sandwiches, scones with preserves and cream, an assortment of sweets and tea of your choice. The bagels were on the small side but were soft and yummy. I loved the salmon that came with the sandwich. I chose the genmaicha tea, which had a very earthy taste due to the rice that sits soaking in the tea. I loved it! I forgot the tea that A had, but I remembered that it was a fruity one and she liked it as well.

The bagels came in a little basket, but I was too hungry to remember to take a photo of it. I did remember to take a photo of the dessert though. It came with a green tea macaroon which was yummy. The scones were crunchy on the outside — due to some sugar-like crystals — but was soft on the inside.

The mochi dessert was A’s choice; all three were chocolate mochi and it was delicious!

The portions were small but filling, which was good. Usually tea services are so large that it’s difficult to finish it all; however, I was able to finish everything without issue. I’d definitely go here again; their lunch menu looks delicious.

Brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup

I’ve been a patron to all three Chapters of Alice’s Tea Cup and every time I go I usually get the tea service, as there are usually people in my party who have never had tea or been to Alice’s. So when my friends and I decided to go to Alice’s for brunch, I was excited. Ecstatic. Practically giddy with excitement, and I must say, Alice’s did not disappoint.

The brunch menu had a lot of choices, including the regular tea service; however, while I did want tea, I wanted something more breakfast-like and so I decided to go with French Toast. The toast was infused with apricot brandy and it also had fruit coulis, vanilla creme anglaise and a few berries alongside.

I have to say, this was the best french toast I’ve ever had! I want to go back just to have the french toast! It was amazing. Fabulous. Fantastic. Magnificent and such.


My companions had some egg dishes which they enjoyed. I heard the potatoes were delicious! As usual, Alice’s did not disappoint.

The Whitney Museum and Foursquare

The Whitney Museum of American Art partnered with Foursquare back in February. Their partnership offered a badge to users – after checking in to certain places – so that the cost of admission for anyone with the badge would be $5 (as opposed to the usual $18). I visited the museum this past weekend, using the discounted price, and took a stroll through the exhibits.

A few of the exhibitions stood out to me. The Glenn Ligon exhibit was pretty heavy. It is available until June 5th and has a number of prints, photos, drawing and even some neon lights. It’s not light hearted and whimsical, it practically reaches out and punches you in the gut. I’ve never thought about my minority status in society as much as I did while walking through this exhibit.

I’ve been lucky to be unaffected by racism or prejudice when it comes to my colour and womanhood — or, if I have been subjected to any prejudice I haven’t noticed. However, while walking through this exhibit one thing struck me, that thing is, at a young age I never knew colour. I never looked at my brown hands and thought, oh, I’m brown and that person is white or black. I just saw people. Even now all I see are faces and humans and I’m glad for that bit of colourblindness.  However, it was only when another person voiced it that I realised that we were all different. I appreciate the differences and can understand the need to cling to your own “group” so to say, but I still don’t quite grasp it as I never feel comfortable with only one race or one social class.

One of the things that stood out to me about this exhibit wasn’t just colour, but also the need to be a part of a group, or to have an identity. It’s a longing inside everyone to be a part of something greater. That’s what grasped me most of all.

One of my favourite pieces was on the fifth floor. It was the Walk, Don’t Walk sculpture by George Segal, made to represent pedestrians in New York who move along in a zombie-like state as they carry on with their day.

I can understand this piece. Sometimes I feel the same way. When I walk down the streets it’s usually to get from one place to the next. Many times I have my ipod in my ears and I hardly pay attention to the people around me. No smiles, no chatting with strangers, just pure focus on getting to my destination. It amazes me that I could stand so close to someone on the sidewalk, waiting for the light to change and not even realise that they are there. How robotic it seems. Then there are times when I make an attempt to be aware and to see what’s going on around me. During these times I get a glimpse of beauty of the city I live and work in, or snatches of conversations that reveal a lot about the people around me. For example, there was a time when a woman on her phone was arguing with her significant other. I felt sorry for her, I wanted to give her a tissue so that she could wipe the tears that she was holding back. Couldn’t the other person wait until she was home to have this conversation? I thought. I didn’t act on my impulse, because if I did I would be breaking that unspoken rule, you do not listen to other people’s conversations, even if it’s happening right next to you. You just pretend that you don’t hear and you carry on your life.

The Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection was perhaps my favourite exhibition. According to their website:

At the turn of the twentieth century, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an heiress and sculptor born to one of America’s wealthiest families, began to assemble a rich and highly diverse collection of modern American art. This group of objects, combined with a trove of new works purchased around the time of the Whitney Museum’s opening in 1931, came together to form the founding collection.

The portrait of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was my favourite in this exhibit, I’m not sure why, it just caught my eye and reminded me of another time and another society. Then of course my imagination took over. What happened in that time? What happened right before, or after, or even during this painting? What was the world like?

I’m really glad that Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney decided to follow her dream as a sculptor and open a museum for American Art. I think it’s important to see our culture captured through art of all forms. The expression of an artist – what they are going through, how they view the world – is very important for others to experience. I think that once we can see the world through another’s eyes, it becomes difficult to ignore others and to stay in our little bubble. I was glad to have experienced a bit of the past, a bit of another person’s point of view and also to understand a bit more of myself through the art I saw.

The partnership and lower admission cost goes on until May 31st, I would highly recommend foursquare-ers to take advantage of it! Also, all images here were from the Whitney Museum website. I couldn’t take photos while inside, which is sad, but understandable. I’m just glad the website had the images that I wanted to keep in memory.