1) Culture: Meg and I had a little cultural experience on Sunday and went to the New York Historical Society to take in their 'Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet' exhibit. Between our travels and those of Meg's brother and sister, we're very fortunate to have a nice selection of woven and felted rugs from Central Asia ourselves.
It was my first time at the NYHS -- and being in the process of finishing Richard Rhodes's biography of John James Audobon, it was nice to see a fair number of Audobon's mammoth plates hung on their walls. As for the pieces in 'Woven Splendor' exhibit, they were a really nice selection from west Africa to southwestern China, with a fair number of pieces from Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan. It was great to see some of the motifs we have on our rugs and tuskiiz echoed in the textiles on display, although seemingly from very different parts of Central Asia. Here's a nice pic of the boys on one of our felt rugs from western Mongolia.
There is a nice blog entry here from a quilter who also acquired a tuskiiz on her travels. We bought ours from the craft shop in the museum in Bayan Olgii when we were there in 2004. We don't have a wall space big enough to hang ours -- and so when we take them out from time to time, we still get that great smell of lanolin and stove smoke when we open them out. Like Karen the quilter, we chose ours because they are 'signed' and dated.
In a lot of ways the exhibit affirmed one of the pioneers of art history, Alois Riegl, and his groundbreaking treatise Stilfragen (1893), or put another way, the idea that decorative patterns may have histories of their own, independent of whatever symbolic or technological factors may have inspired them originally. What the NYHS deserves true credit for, perhaps, is that it has another exhibit running as a prelude, 'Allure of the East: Orientalism in New York, 1850-1930.' This exhibit is useful for helping viewers understand how the Hajji Baba Club, the nation's oldest rug collecting club, came to collect the rugs that now comprise the 'Woven Splendor' exhibit.
2) Customer Service: here's a little applause for a couple of companies that still believe in good old-fashioned follow-up.
a) We were pretty sure we were having problems with our newer Tri-tronics e-collar transmitter that probably stemmed from the time the battery compartment somehow detached from the rest of the transmitter. As promised, all their repairs were complete within 72hrs and the unit on its way back to us. Everything is working great again.
b) I just eBayed a cool, out-of-production Spyderco knife, the Bob Lum-designed Chinese Folder. (I have Eric @ Quixotic Bicycles to blame for first introducing this beautiful knife to me.) I should know by now that when someone doesn't post pictures of the other side of a knife, there's an issue... in this case, no pocket clip. But I called Sypderco and the very nice customer service person happened to have a replacement clip for it in her desk (which she shipped to me at no charge). Bob Lum, incidentally, recently passed away in December.
3) Dog health compendium: Kim has a horror story about a night at the Vet ICU and a serious word of caution about keeping Gorilla Glue in the house; Ziggy the Unfortunate has been having some nose-bleeds; and poor Charlie Morph has been chomping sticks and spiking himself in the throat. At the other end of the spectrum Patti Khully has been helping out with K-9 Down, a not-for-profit organization that provides first-responders (police, paramedics, and military personnel) with critical first-aid training for their working dogs. Her original blog about the group was here -- and her subsequent adventures helping out in NYC are here.
Happily, both our boys' feet appear to have recovered just fine, but I am now dowsing them with Tuf-Foot to help them toughen up.
4) Fun: Off to do some dog-training on Wednesday... looks like we'll be able to meet up with the Team V- Eastern MA chapter as well as Dennis + Sally.
5) More fun: It also looks like I may have my debut as a hunt test judge at the beginning of June. Will keep everyone posted, but I'm excited that I may get to judge before the end of the spring hunt test season.