Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Cell

Even the word terrorism sends chills. 9/11 has brought the threat, thoughts and awareness of terrorism to my generation. It is no longer something we thought only threatened countries outside the U.S. and rarely heard about. It is real, and as “The Cell” exhibit will teach you, it can happen anytime, anywhere. Not meant to scare anyone, but to bring awareness and confront myths and facts regarding terrorism.
The facts are simple, lives are shattered, they are worldwide, can hit home, and many different tools are used to carry out the violent acts. How about when cell phones or lunchboxes are made into bombs, and sometimes disguised in the mail. One of the most shocking parts was to see children under the age of ten, gripping machine guns, trained and forced to kill. For a lot of them, it is kill or be killed.
The interactive exhibit goes through the history of terrorism , along with the methods terrorists use to help understand why and the impacts it has worldwide. It might not leave you with the creative effect of an art museum, or the history of the Natural History Museum, but it is important. Terrorism isn’t going anywhere, but the knowledge and education to learn how to be aware of it and what you can do to help can be found right in Downtown Denver.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Body Worlds

It could be debatable, but I would say that the heart is the most intricate and involved muscle in the human body. Go ahead; let’s hear from anyone who disagrees. The liver, the intestines, even the phalanges (come on a cool name like that, definitely a contester ) could all rival, and I am open to hearing arguments, but I stand firm, the hearts goes on!

Head to Body Worlds at the Denver Museum of Nature Science and there will surely be another tally on my side, the heart side. The exhibit is only here through July 18 FYI! Warning: this exhibit, nothing less than fascinating, may not be for everyone. These are real human bodies, collections and specimens you are setting your eyes on. I will note that many children under the age of ten were present.

You will find over 200 specimens from whole bodies, to single organs and body slices. The heart is the focus, and rightfully so…this organ works harder and intertwines with every other organ. In less than one minute your heart can pump over 100,000 times and over 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels in our bodies. And it’s only the size of a fist. What do you think about that?!

It is the invention of Plastanation that has brought BodyWorlds to be a ‘have to see, ASAP.’ Some find it controversial that someone could donate their body to medical research and be put on display. But it’s not for the mere fact of marveling over it, but to learn from it. There is a difference between recreated displays and textbook pictures, and an actual human body that develops an appreciation when you know you are looking at the real deal.

There is no question that a smokers lung is tarnished with black smut that leaves you wondering why you would ever light up. Or the clogged arteries that leave you questioning why you would not pay attention to nutrition and exercise. Or how about some bodies on display hat are in mint condition and who would not want to model after that?

It’s no longer just known to the medical world, we are let in. We are drawn to appreciate the inner workings of our body. To see the neuron system in a preserved state, the network of blood vessels and or the development of a child from the age of two weeks to right before birth. It really is necessary to see, it is heartfelt.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Take me to the Underground; Seattle Underground Tour

We have all heard, “What if walls could talk?” Well, after my trip to Pioneer Square, in Seattle, WA, I think “What if the underground could talk?” We would hear stories dating back to 1800’s, of old banks, hotels and sewing shops. These businesses are all one story beneath businesses that are laid on top. Seattle, of course, is a city overflowing with history, and Pioneer Square is a full on contributor.

Settled in 1852, Pioneer Square was just like any other city neighborhood. Commerce and the city folks kept it alive with their shops, handy work, hardwork and ingenuity. Then, a fire changed everything in 1889. This wasn’t just any fire. This one, uncontrollable, ravaged 25 blocks of the city. Yes, 25 blocks…think about that.

This fire that destroyed Pioneer Square became known as the “great fire.” But at the time the firefighters were rushing to tapped out water supplies, who would have ever thought a destructive fire would revamp the area and land it on the national register of historic places? Work had to be done of course.

Following the fire, rules were set that the new city would be built upon the old city. New brick structures replaced wood and shop owners were going back in business, one story higher. The original Pioneer Square was soon forgotten, and eventually even the remodeled Pioneer Square would join the forgotten ranks.

You see, Seattle was a stopping point for thrill seekers and adventure goers on their way to Alaska for the Yukon Gold Rush. Trashing the city and bringing in a sort of grime, many of the distinguished businesses moved uptown. Pioneer Square was no longer a place for commerce or community.

Business owners had no interest in opening or reopening business here because traffic was slowing and the neighboring buildings were in threat of getting torn down. After the public showed an interest in touring the underground and seeing the original city the government started to act.

Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act. I am a fan. There is a certain mentality that revolves around newer is better. To me, the fact that someone stepped up to realize that buildings can age well with the right care, keeps history and the stories behind these walls alive.

Without preserving this area, it would have most likely been torn down and rebuilt into a modern state. And don’t get me wrong, I love modern architecture. But walking around the historic Pioneer Square, looking up at the brick buildings and handcrafted woodwork gives me a good feeling knowing history won’t escape.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Denver Derby Party

The first Saturday of May marks one of the greatest days in fashion history, and a great excuse to wear a dynamite hat. The Derby! I will admit, I paid more attention to hats, than I did the actual Kentucky Derby. There, I admit it, I fell in love with the beads, feathers, flowers and scarves that gave each hat a personality. And here's why. The fashion of the Kentucky Derby is one of the integral parts. I love that the history of the Derby continues, and the fashion stays classy.

Men walked across the red carpet at the Denver Botanic Gardens in seer suckered suits, pastel plaid jackets and spiffy sport suits. Women stuck to classic spring dresses covered in floral patterns or polka dots, and of course the wide brimmed hats that I wish I could wear everyday, or at least every other.

The Denver Derby Party at the Botanic Gardens was more than an excuse to dress up in classic Southern Style and aerate the lawn with stiletto heels. The special occasion will put scholarship winner, Fred Herrera through four years of school at Colorado State University and room and board. The derby is not out to make a killer profit, 100 percent of the proceeds go toward funding a scholarship each year. I will tip my hat for that.

Colorado Media Tour

My wine glass was always half full last week. The Colorado Media Tour took flew us to Grand Junction, Cortez, Boulder and Winery Row (Denver) to get the latest on Colorado Wines. Lets be honest, I am not a proclaimed wine expert. Before this week long extravaganza, I would order either A. House Merlot or B. House Cab, and I felt so wine savvy abbreviating cabernet. If I ordered cabernet sauvignon my tongue would become tied, so I always stuck with just plain cab.

So now fast forward after a week of being surrounded by wine makers, grape growers, research experts for growing grapes and sommeliers. My questions, usually rather armature, such as when you see “Vintage” on a bottle what does that mean? Or, what types of grapes have the highest alcohol content. And, what is the difference between aging wine in a French oak barrel or a Hungarian oak barrel. And can you seriously taste a difference? The answer YES! My questions were always thoroughly answered.
My proudest moment was being able to blind taste a wine, and pick out an oakey flavor (This does not mean it was produced in an Oklahoma Barrel) and a bell pepper taste, that was the last day of the trip. Had it been then first day of the trip, I would have guessed it was a House Cab. My palette was learning. My appreciation for wine grew. When I see passion in a quality product, I am an instant fan. Knowing the history, the localness and people behind the wine left me wanting more. Even if I haven’t quite developed the palette to taste the distinct differences in each, the distinct character of each vineyard was enough to satisfy my senses. Colorado's strongest point is not our wine. From what I gathered, Colorado has a ways to go on making the map on being the top when it comes to being recognized for wine. Our wine pairs best with the atmosphere of the Colorado mountain tops, water rafting and scenery Colorado displays. However, winemakers agree the wine is stepping it up more and more each year, and they won’t stop till it’s a highlighted destination on the winemaking map. I’ll follow the Colorado Wine Trail to support local winemakers, promote Colorado and our land, with a glass of Cab Franc in hand.