Day 72 – Shadow ScienceWorks

My husband works at ScienceWorks near Melbourne, Victoria. So we thought we would visit Science Works in Ashland, Oregon.

I kept calling the Ashland one the “shadow” ScienceWorks. There were quite a few similarities between the two. Many of the exhibits were quite similar and were presented in similar ways.

The Shadow version just had its 10th birthday, the original just had its 21st.

The original is also quite a bit bigger, however the shadow version was doing pretty well with what it had.

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The emerald city

Seattle is known as the Emerald City. As in the book, the emerald city looks pretty, but has some secrets.

Seattle has the worst homelessness problems I have seen on this trip. Nearly every corner has someone who looks desperate and is asking for money.

Seattle itself also does not seem genuine. It seems like it is trying too hard to be alternative or edgy. The result is just frustrating and pretentious.

My total score for Washington out of 50 is 31.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 6. We had quite a nice hotel, although places to eat were a bit limited.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 6. I found the activities in Seattle a bit disappointing. The seemed o lack depth.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 7. Nice mountains, if you can see them through the cloud and rain.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. Lots of cultural activities, but nit a lot of history.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 6. Quite expensive for what you get.

Land of Potatoes

My total score for Idaho out of 50 is 32.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 6. Nothing too exciting to eat in Idaho (although I didn’t eat any potatoes).

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 6. Again, lack of anything too exciting.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 7. Nice trees next to pretty waterways.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. Everyone was very nice to talk to.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 7. Good prices, but less value.

Big Sky Country

My total score for Montana out of 50 is 35.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 7. Food and accommodation was pretty average, not terrible, just not great.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 7. A few things to do, but nothing too exciting. A few events which are pretty fun.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 7. Nice mountains and trees.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 6. A few reservations, but native culture is not as prominent as it is in other states.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 7. Pretty affordable.

Wyoming – Wow

Wyoming is old Skool cowboy country, horse riding, wildlife and adventure sports. Running rivers, snow covered mountains, rolling hills.

My total score for Wyoming out of 50 is 47.

Categories out of 10

Home comforts Quality of food, accommodation, etc. Score of 10. We stayed at the Spring Creek Ranch, which has open fires, beautiful vistas and free cookies! We also had great Chinese food here.

Attractions The quality of the attractions and generally how fun and interesting they were. Score of 10. Eco tourism in the flesh. Horse riding, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking.

Natural Beauty The aesthetic vistas of the state which make the drive easier. Score of 10. We saw buffalo, bears, deer, birds and all in the amazing Yellowstone national park.

Culture Historical and cultural sites and interactions with the locals. Score of 7. Everyone is really nice and talkative and passionate about Wyoming.

Value Financial value – bang for your buck, so to speak. Score of 10. We paid $95 for horse riding and whitewater rafting and $11 for lunch and dinner!

Day 71 – Portlandia

Portlandia is a statue located in Portland, Oregon and is positioned above the Portland Building. The statue is very popular in Portland and is iconic for the city.

Portlandia is also an extremely funny TV show based in the city of Portland. The show plays on the alternative nature of Portland and that the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland. If you haven’t seen this how, it is fantastic and does seem to capture the nature of Portland.

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Day 70 – Popped Culture

The concept of the EMP Museum in Seattle is very interesting. It is a museum dedicated to popular culture, including movies, music and narrative.

There were a range of interesting exhibitions when we visited today.

My husband is a fiction writer, so we were very excited to visit.

The Fantasy: World of Myth and Magic was presented very well. There were pine needles on the floor, a dragon and a range of small spaces to present different information.

The exhibition includes costumes from a range of influential movies, such as the Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, Pan’s Labyrinth and Labyrinth. The detail in the costumes is amazing and it was great to see the wedding dress worn by Princess Buttercup in the Princess Bride, one of the most quotable movies of all time.

There was also information about key contributors to the genre, such as CS Lewis, Lewis Carrollq, Tolkien and George RR Martin.

There were also a number of props from movies such as the US movie versions of the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which is not as good as the definitive British TV version.

There was also a section on role playing and included an original edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

The next exhibition was focused on Icons of Science Fiction which lead to an interesting discussion on what science fiction is, and how it differs from fantasy or horror. There were a number of interesting props and costumes from Star Trek, Star Wars and the Matrix. There are also a number of interviews with science fiction authors and film makers.

There was also an exhibition of the lure of horror films. Lots of props and costumes from a range of horror films, both old and new. There was also a fun, interactive “shadow wall” which creates shapes based on your shadow.

There were also exhibition on Jimi Hendrix and a discussed the Seattle music scene, with an area dedicated to Nirvana

The exhibits were all presented very well. However, there were some gaps in the exhibitions and an over emphasis on others. There was also a lack of context in the items, such as how these movies and novels influenced popular culture and what, if any, was important about them. Seeing the shirt from Shaun of the Dead is great, but it would be better to learn about how that movie impacted on popular culture, of the horror genre.

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