St. Louis - Day 3

Friday, November 13, 2009
Day three was a bit rainy and cool, but still filled with fun!

We started off with a visit to the St. Louis Art Museum. The museum features a wide-variety of art from all time periods (including some big names like Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, etc), plus some other interesting items such as antique swords and guns.

There is also an interesting selection of items from some of the south Pacific islands. You know you are viewing something serious when they have descriptions like this:

"The men of this region kept a number of wooden figures in their sacred men's houses that they would use to call upon their ancestors for help in hunting animals or revenge killings. To entice an ancestral spirit to enter a figure, they would smear it with animal feces, pieces of human meat, and blood taken from a man's penis."

What a fun-loving bunch of people these guys must be! I can't wait to have my ancestor's spirit possess a doll by merely poking at my dong with a knife!

After checking out the art museum we hit up Pappy's Smokehouse for the best barbecue I've had in my life. I can't decide if the ribs or the brisket was my favorite, so get both.

Our bellies full of meaty goodness, we wandered back west to check out the Cathedral Basilica. It was pretty over-the-top like these cathedrals tend to be. I wish I could have jammed on the pipe organ.

The trip concluded with seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform downtown. I'm not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, but it was still a great show, with Bruce bringing people on stage to dance, a little kid to sing, taking audience requests, etc. I'm glad I caught it!

The rest of the photos can be found here.

St. Louis - Day 2

Sunday, November 1, 2009
We started off Day 2 in St. Louis by driving into Illinois to see the Cahokia Mounds, which are some piles of dirt that were made about a millennium ago. The natives back then had an abundant crop of Caterpillar tractors and bulldozers and since the market for them was nil (diesel gas had not been invented yet), they decided to build random piles of dirt with them.

I took a few photos of the area, but it's really hard to take interesting photos of piles of dirt, so I passed on posting them. However, I did see this little guy cruising around:

Oh, here's a photo from the top of the tallest (100 ft) mound, with St. Louis in the background.

The evening was spent at the City Museum. I cannot put into words how amazing this place is, although the Wikipedia article on it may be useful. Basically, imagine an abandoned warehouse that an eccentric guy started stashing crap in. Pipe organs, skateboard ramps, vintage pinball machines, you name it. Then paint everything bizarre colors. Install some slides that go down several floors. That just gets the tip of the iceberg of the City Museum. If you ever go to St. Louis, it is a MUST see. I cannot emphasize this enough! I mean, they have a ball pit for ADULTS for hell's sake!

The rest of the photos can be found here.

How Pathetique

Last night I caught a Utah Symphony performance of the Tchaikovsky Sixth Symphony, known as the "Pathetique".

The symphony is one of his most popular and is performed quite regularly - probably every 2-3 years at the minimum. One would think I would have seen it several times by now. However, this was actually the first time I've seen it live. There is an odd story behind this though.

I've had other opportunities to see it in the past, but for some reason, I have always had an odd nagging feeling that I would die shortly after hearing it live. Where this came from I have no clue - I don't remember dreaming of it, and I don't know of anybody who has died after hearing it, and I'm not superstitious in any way. But still, it was an odd nagging feeling.

Yesterday I sucked it up and caught it. And you know what? The drive home was uneventful. Midnight passed without incident. And I'm sitting here typing now.

I guess Tchaikovsky is safe after all.