Wednesday, October 27, 2010

hereafter -- here and now

My weekends in Oregon are dwindling.  I make it to be two more before I head off for the bloggers' conference.

A week ago, it was the beach.  This Saturday, it was OMSI, a movie, and dinner.

If you did not grow up in Oregon, that acronym may baffle.  Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  An idea that grew out of Pacific Northwest Victorian curiosity in the 1890s. 

But that was not the OMSI I knew.  My first memory of the museum in its old home next to the Washington Park zoo.  It opened in 1958.  We went there as a family soon after.

My favorite exhibits?  The meteorites, the pendulum. and the visible woman.  But, my favorite was the visible bee hive -- with the queen marked on her "hump" with a dot of red finger nail polish.  For those of us who were slow enough not to notice that she was gigantic compared to her worker sisters.

Due to an ever-increasing population of swarming school-children visiting the place, the museum moved to larger quarters on the east bank of the Willamette River in 1992.  Handy for freeway passersby to look down from the Marquam Bridge for the startling sight of a submarine -- the USS Blueback -- moored next to the museum.

Even though I have been to the museum for IMAX films, I have not been to the museum since I was in college.

That changed on Saturday.  We arrived with only an hour to look at exhibits.  We decided to limit ourselves to "Identity: an exhibition of you."  Something in the title appealed to me.

We got to change our gender and ethnicity through photos.  Determine whether we were introvert or extrovert; traditionalist or innovator; wired or laid back; male or female-brained.  And the results were not too startling -- even though the photo-morphing was.

And in the midst of it all, there she was.  The visible woman with light up organs.  When I was in the sixth grade, I had her smaller counter-part -- the visible man with painted, but unlit, organs. 

I thought of meeting her acquaintance again when we went to our movie. 

The Clint Eastwood-directed Hereafter.  The story of three disparate characters who have had a close encounter with death.  A talented male psychic in San Francisco with a gift to contact the dead.  A beautiful French woman  telejournalist who nearly drowns in the 2004 southeast Asia tsunami.  And an English boy who survives the death of his identical twin.

The film spends most of its time building the individual tales of the psychic hiding from his talent.  The journalist trying to publish her book on the afterlife.  The boy looking for a way to contact his dead twin.

The psychic's love of Charles Dickens's books ends up pulling the three of them together for the film's climax.  Thoughtfully, combining Dickens's fascination with dreams, ghosts, and orphans.

But the film is not really any more about the hereafter than The Christmas Carol is about Christmas.  It is about relationships and people coming to terms with their lives amongst each other.

And it is well worth seeing.  As long as you are willing to be patient and watch simple threads weave together.

One last weekend in Oregon well spent.


Anonymous said...

I can relate to your facination with the OMSI. I was raised in Dearborn and was lucky enough to be exposed to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village multiple times. You could spend three days and not see everything.
Barra/Melaque on the!

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

I absolutly Loved tahtbuilding that crazy roof. I remember when it moved. But the children's museum is cool there too.

Gloria said...

Sounds like a weekend well spent. Glad you had a great time. I love Clint Eastwood movies. Thanks for sharing your fun times Steve, take care.

Anonymous said...

Well, you have finally gone over the bright golden Victorian edge! I did not think I would live to see it on your blog, but there is it is, an absolutely pornographic image of illuminated naughty bits!

If the Almighty had intended for us to be so preoccupied with our nether regions, He would have placed them on our foreheads, which He didn't, anticipating, I believe, the invention of the automobile and our need for wide vision.

May I suggest, Sir, that you not only widen your vision, but clean your mind out with soap!


Marilyn said...

Stop, don't use the soap! I understood your attraction with the visible woman. That was as high tech as it gets when we were kids and darn interesting.
I saw the Hereafter as well, your review was right on!
It's amazing that Clint, the cowboy when he started, had all this talent wrapped up inside. My brother was a cowboy and he too had a whole bunch of talent wrapped up in architecture.

Irene said...

I worked at OMSI for a few years when I was younger and even got to be the beehive "explainer" on occasion. It was a great place to work.

Matthew Smith said...

Steve, I have been reading your blog for over a year now and have enjoyed it immensely,but I must confess I have also been using your blog roll to catch up on other Mexican blogs. Today when I came to your site all I see is a list of blogs you visit but no longer saying when the update time was. I go to these blogs and it says I must subscribe to their feeds. Also there is no comment sections on these blogs. I am now subscribing to these blogs but am wondering what happened? Can you clue me in? Jan in Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Francisco said he was raised in Dearborn. In 1955 our full family (my husband, Bob, our two sons, Darrel and Steve, and I) went to Dearborn to pick up a Ford station wagon we had ordered. We viewed the Ford Factory. Steve was terrified of the fire areas. We wanted to view Greenfield Village, but we would have had to wait an hour for the horse and buggy. However, Bob could not stand to wait. He wanted to get back to Oregon and work. He loved working; not necessarily for money, but for the sheer joy of working. On the drive back, he asked me if I wanted to see the painted desert. I said: "Yes." He pulled off the road, spread his arm pointing, and said: "There it is." One day he drove 1,300 miles. My chin kept hitting my chest, as I tried to stay awake and take care of our two small boys.


Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- I had a tale about Dearborn, but my mother beat me to the punch. As for the crying, I was six. Besides, the tour guide has just informed us if water came in contact with the foundry's molten metal, the whole thing would explode. And what did we see next? Water being sprayed on the red hot metal as it was being rolled. What was a logical lad to think? Certainly, doom was upon us. (Too defensive?)

Rosa's Clan -- I don't think I was ever in the children's museum.

Gloria -- A weekend well spent.

ANM -- You can only imagine what we sixth graders lit up. Little changes.

Marilyn -- I am glad you enjoyed the review -- and the movie.

Irene -- Beehive explainer? You are my idol.

Jan -- On my screen, I still see the most recent post in my blog roll. Now and then, acts up.

Mom -- Nice trip down memory lane.