UCLA Archaeology Open House 2013.0

Two weekends in a row of archaeology at UCLA—that’s gotta be a record. . .
So the first crucible of the day: celebrations at Olvera Street for Cinco de Mayo are starting on Saturday the Fourth, so Union Station is making sure everyone knows about it by having strolling mariachis throughout the cavernous building. . . all day long. There aren’t that many things in the world I hate, but mariachi music is definitely one of them. Coming out of the bus and crossing the loading circle, I enter the building and get on the escalator, wary for the bedazzled-suited ones. . . and almost as though they were waiting for me, they start up at the foot of the escalator! Yeow! I could even hear them in the restroom over the flushing! Fuck, what god did insult now? And don’t say the god of music, there’s no way a deity could stand this stuff either. . .
Then coming out of the subway, a Wilshire Express flashes by, empty. Unfortunately I’m going to Subway {sandwich shop this time} first, and as I wait in line another empty zooms by; looks like that kind of day. By the time I’m ready to move along I have to wait 20 minutes for the next one, and even then it’s scrunching in next to big people in the back. . . better than standing, but not by much.
The walk from Wilshire to campus was nice, though, and pretty empty, though not as much as last week. Quick detour to the newsstand to get my usual mother’s day gift–word searches–and then straight on to Jamba; I may be in a rut with Subway and Jamba, but it’s a delicious rut, so. . .
Again just like last week, I’m way early. A quick glance down at the little plaza shows no one has set up yet, so I take a stroll over to the powwow, which was pretty much the same as previous years, although I think there were less vendors. Still way too early, I go back to Ackerman, having to pass what looked like a kendo exhibition on Bruin Walk; wonder who scheduled that and Cinco de Mayo at the same time as Archaeology open house.
Mmmmmm, Jamba. . .
Finding a seat in the bookstore, I grab what I’m sure is the same copy of Clockwork Angels I’ve been reading piecemeal for the last few months. Wasn’t sure where I’d left off, but found it quickly enough; Owen was off the airship and was about to go hunting for the seven cities of Cibola. Read through that part, then stopped, though I’m anxious to get to the section described in The Wreckers song.
Good enough. Time to head back to Cotsen, this time for good. As always my first stop is Rock Art, and yes there’s Deidre, remembering me and showing me the book is finally out. And Rachel is there, remembering me! Or at least the shirt. . . {you should probably read about last year’s event to get why all this is important; do so here}
Some students entered the room and Dr. Von Tillburg was happy to talk to them, mentioning how African, Oceanic and Native American art got lumped together when they had nothing in common. I mentioned they were the leftovers, which she didn’t take well, but she then said there probably wasn’t enough room for all of them to be individual, which was exactly what I meant. Then I told Deidre, “I got out of that one smoothly,” which made her giggle.
Soon after a quick trip to Egyptology, where I spent a few giggly minutes with Dr. Bernard, I found the Kinneys in the childrens’ area, of course, making masks. Took Sean on a quick tour of what would likely be the most kid-friendly labs, and he and Deidre hit it off really well; luckily he didn’t embarrass me the way he likes to with babes.
So the kids were happy in conservation, especially with Vanessa doing the UV–she was really into it too, more so than I have ever seen her. After that came a lot of fun in Egypt, with some great time with Rachel, who I found even more interesting this time. I love how all the Egyptologists know their glyphs, which comes in handy when writing them for kids. . . and Christiane, who of course needed her name in hieroglyphs too; I guess when you have a band called Riddle the Sphinx you’re allowed such a moment. After one last moment with Rachel, where I told her about a Facebook conversation I’d had with Dr. Cooney about Moby Dick in glyphs–there’s no sign for “whale” in Egyptian, and when I said “fat crocodile” she really hooted–we ushered the kids out, where Ireland instantly had a tantrum outside of Southwest. Zaiden didn’t want to go into Rock Art either, so Sean took him out to flint knapping and I went into the lecture, and that was that.
Having had such fantastic speakers in the past few years, from Drs. Cooney to Stanish to Vranich to Cooney again, how could I expect any less from such an enormous figure as Lord Renfrew, famed archaeologist and member of the House of Lords? His speech was titled Before Religion and had to do with his excavation in the Cyclades. Maybe I was so pumped up for it I oversold it in my mind, but in the end I was disappointed and couldn’t wait for it to be over. Dr. Monica Smith, on the other hand, showed what an awesome speaker she is in her intro for him.
There were still plenty of highlights. I’d never seen Early Greek/Aegean sculpture, which turned out to be very angular; I could see why he said it had influenced Picasso and Braque. Some of the statuettes looked funny with the crossed arms, and there was one a little more refined that sure looked surprised, but I don’t believe I got the name right, as there was no sign of it on the internet.
Lord Renfrew spent some time comparing various cultures around the world, one being Caral, Peru, which had a small steppe pyramid I’d never seen. But soon enough we were back in Greece, where he spoke about “ritual deposition,” where sacred objects were broken on purpose, like Greek dishes or Viking cups, so no one could use it in a profane way.
Monkeys painted on walls in the Aegean? That just seems weird. . .
With the lecture starting at 2:30 and food not allowed in the auditorium, I got hungry pretty quickly, but wasn’t about to walk out on Lord Renfrew. . . not that I was afraid of being hanged or anything, but I didn’t want to be seen as disrespecting him. Didn’t stay for Q&A though. Back to some more labs, but nothing really to see, so feeling suddenly very tired I’m off to Ackerman for another Jamba, barely getting there before they closed, then to the lounge, where the TV showed the Kentucky Derby had just finished, for a very late lunch and, more importantly sitting down in a much more comfortable chair.
Even then as I walked out a half hour later I was still plenty tired. Immediately missed the Sunset bus, just like last week, and by the time I got to Wilshire I was really dragging. The Express came quickly, but there was quite a crowd, so I let it loud, about to wait for the next one when a regular 20 came around the corner, about to start its run and therefore EMPTY! Yay. Although on the run we got passed by another 20 and 3 720s, so it was pretty slow going.
I don’t remember much after that. . . which is damned scary. . .


One thought on “UCLA Archaeology Open House 2013.0

  1. Pingback: Top 15 outings of 2013 | LoganBruin--An Unauthorized Autobiography

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