Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wind power so popular we need more

Electric customers in Colorado were disappointed to learn that all of the available slots for wind power are filled. The reason for this popularity is not necessarily a yearning for clean power sources but the fact that the wind power option was less expensive than conventional power and it looks like that will continue:
"The utility intends to make another fuel-cost filing on December 1, which could change the price difference between wind power and conventional electricity. Wind power will likely remain less expensive."
I think that this is good news. As conventional electricity produced with conventional electricity becomes more expensive consumers and producers should turn to cheaper alternatives. This is capitalism happening. As oil prices go up other types of energy exploration takes place because it is more cost effective. Once these new sources exist market forces act on them to make them more efficient and less expensive.

The same can be said for other products, like plastics, that come from petroleum feedstocks. Higher raw material prices force manufacturers to look for less expensive raw materials, more efficient production, or completely different technologies to achieve the same end, just starting from different materials.

If oil remained cheap forever there would be no pressure or need to switch away from it. If greenhouse gases are a concern, harness market forces (for example: trading carbon credits) to address that issue.

Coincidences, serendipity or the selection effect?

Coincidence #1: Today I was driving to work and the same guy, driving the same truck (it was blue and has an Irish flag on the rear window) was driving too slow in the left lane in front of me just like yesterday. What are the chances of that? I was too stunned to get out my phone and take a picture for proof, I will try to get in the habit of that.

Coincidence #2: Before I left work I actually checked the weather on my Treo because I was unsure what coat I would need, and I thought to myself how this week the weather has been so changeable (45 one day up to 70 the next and down to 50 today, rain and sun). Then today I get to work and on the way in a random coworker who I have never seen before says hello and comments on how it has been so difficult to know what to wear this week due to the changing weather.

Are these two incidents coincidence or serendipitous? If these type of things happen all the time and all I did today was notice them then I am suffering from the data selection effect wherein the observer only counts the times when a coincidence occurs but not all the times when it doesn't. Do two coincidences in one day count as a coincidence in and of itself?

Have you ever wondered how in the stories in novels and in the movies everything tends to fit together really well. There are no wasted pages or film (Siskel and Ebert's law of conservation of film), and coincidences bring the main characters together to make a good performance. I imagine the films and books as alternate universes much the same as our own but where the serendipity meter is turned up. Sometimes it is turned up real high, like in Spielberg movies and in British crime black comedies.

I wonder if someone turned up my serendipity meter today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The philosophy of Bring and Take

We all know that you "bring" toward and "take" away. This mnemonic for the correct usage of bring and take has hidden in it the deep philospophy of location, willfullness and purpose.

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner you were taking what you took, once you get there you were bringing what you brought. The people left behind, and the people waiting for you experience the exact opposite. This knife thin edge of being and its relationship to space is the description of your actions.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Brussels Sprouts the true story

Brussels sprouts on the stalk in imminent danger of being picked, cleaned and eaten.

The cleaning begins.

The steaming. Oh, the horror (the very tasty horror).

The final delicious dish - Brussels Sprouts in a cream sauce. The sprouts went from stalk to pot to table in one day for our wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A test of the order of my mobile posts with found objects

2-- The two prongs of a tuning fork. I got several for almost free at a school closing sale.--2

3-- Three candles in a candelabra. --3

4-- Four stages of corn germination. Also from the same school sale as the tuning forks. This corn is forever frozen in midlife cycle in plexiglass. --4

5-- Five fingers. No turkey outlines were made in the course of this project. --5

1-- I am having trouble figureing out how Verizon (besides the advertisement) sends my mobile posts, so I thought I would test it in an interesting way with six found objects (How artsy) for the six pictures. I expect either the pictures or these posts to be out of order. Number one is my #1 TMBG foam finger.--1

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Disco (deep fried turkey) inferno

It is so close to Thanksgiving and I haven't seen a warning on deep frying the turkey yet. Doesn't anyone have the holiday spirit? I guess deep fried turkey is so last five years. I don't care because that is the tasty way the bird will be cooked where I am going. Here is my brother in appropriate protective gear showing the step by step process of cooking the turkey. I think in this case he injected a gasoline marinade.

Maybe after the holiday we will get to see some burning down the house - splashing the turkey in the oil video. For goodness sake, be careful people!

Happy Thousandth View

I want to thank my loyal readers and the 90% of the people who click through the from Blogger for pushing the page view counter on my page to 1000 and beyond. I noticed today that the counter was at a magical 1111, which is probably five different people reading, 100 Bloggers blinking through, and the 900 or so edits by me.

Still, I declare this a milestone and I welcome you all to continue reading. I will attempt to entertain. Any issues you have can be discussed openly in flame wars in the comments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Like lambs to the slaughter

A favorite TV chef of mine, Jamie Oliver, is embroiled in a controversy in which he slaughtered a lamb on television. He gives some pretty convincing reasons for why he did it. He said,
"It's a beautiful creature, but it is tasty and we are top of the food chain. A chef who has cooked 2,000 sheep should kill at least one, otherwise you're a fake."
I realize that there are a lot of reasons why people become vegetarians
  • Some vegetarians are vegetarian because they are squeamish.
  • Some because they are principled about the suffering of animals.
  • Some because they have thought about the impact that man has on the planet and the energy and resources it takes to raise animals for meat.
The general responses to the article were of the squeamish type. Most were offended that the slaughter was on TV pre-watershed, which I think is the time after which it is expected that children are not watching. The other funny thing was that people complained that the procedures for slaughtering animals in Great Britain were not followed. That's OK, the animal was slaughtered in Italy, beyond the reach of the UK legal system. The hysteria surrounding the incident was palpable.

I have never slaughtered an animal, though I have eaten many, maybe I should try it before I offer an opinion on the topic.

How to Thaw a Turkey

I had the greatest news story to submit to FARK today, but by the time I heard it on the radio I was too late to get it in. Turns out I missed by 5 minutes. Anyway, not to be perturbed, I will submit it here for your enjoyment.

Local6 - Man frustrated with thawing 20 lb frozen turkey, tosses it into burning car. Incidentally breaks window and saves elderly couple trapped inside.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Academic Studies of crypto-utopias posing as dystopias

Boing Boing has a post today about utopias hidden in dystopian novels. They pulled some interesting paragraphs from the Boston Globe Ideas column about Fredric Jameson's new book on utopian ideas hidden in dystopias. During the Cold War when it was unpopular to write about future utopias in science fiction because you might be perceived as a radical, writers like Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Samuel R. Delany put utopian themes in their otherwise dystopian novels. The contention is that these others tried to describe utopia by what it is not and provided the object lessons in their literary work.

I of course have a great love of dystopian (distopian?) futures especially the scary one we currently inhabit (see for instance "Our new Spoke-Robot Overlords", a lack of flying cars rant, and the Rifter series review). The article in the Boston Globe reviewing Fredric Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future points out Jameson's premise that these science fiction novels allow us to explore different alternative future utopian ideas even if they are hidden in this literature. There also seems to be some discussion about communism vs. capitalism and to finding an alternative economic system that is neither. It sound like some of the ideas that Ken MacLeod explores in his fiction.

How does all of this tie in to the current science fiction trend of writing about the Singularity, I don't know, but I plan to read the book and maybe find out.

Supermarkets not so super!

In the days before Thanksgiving the supermarkets are crowded with dazed shoppers who couldn't think of a clever way to get someone else to make the turkey this year. I of course just wanted my normal weekly groceries and some Ice-cream. I attempted to find a time when everyone would not be at the store, but didn't want to spend my Saturday night shopping so I gave up and went out.

Actually I wanted some Lactaid Double Chocolate Chip ice cream for reasons that are self-explanatory. Note how specific I am being on the ice cream, a particular brand a particular type. There are only two grocery store that I carry it in my area. Super G, which ain't that super and the Acme. My adventure started at the Super G where of course they didn't''t have the ice cream in the case or the ten other things I needed. On to the next store, because any shopping adventure requires two stores.

The Acme at Rt202 and Rt141 just north of Wilmington, Delaware has seen better days. Because of the general seediness and decline of the store it earned a few nicknames from me: The Crapme for how crappy it is, the Crackme for the drug of choice of its clientele, and the Smackme, which is what you should do to me every time I insist on shopping there.

I found my ice cream after actually stuffing my body into the freezer to get to the very back of the shelf where it was stashed. Do the stores expect to sell the stuff that is behind everything? Did the self-evident thought that "out of sight out of mind" is not a way to move product off of the shelves never occur to them? And because no trip to the Smackme is complete without it, I again suffered in the only line they have open and I pined for the pure simplicity of self-serve checkout with no human interaction.

Here is what the perfect super market should be:

1.) Have everything I am looking for.
2.) Have it at low prices, without all of the shopper card and coupon nonsense.
3.) Be clean and neat, and make it easy to find things.
4.) Did I saw low prices? I really mean that several times.

Don't tell me about the stores that have all of this, there are none! For all of the "consumers are important", "customers are number one" attitude - I must admit that I am not feeling it. I suspect that they just want to make as much money on me as they can. I like the "power of the consumer" part of capitalism more than the "There ain't no such things as a free lunch" and "all the market will bear" part.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pretty Mums for the Fall

Last weekend we did get to go to the Chrysanthemum festival at Longwood Gardens.

When you think of this festival you mustn't think of the big ball of flowers that you get at the local grocery store to jam into dirt in the final cooling days of summer into fall. Longwood had every conceivable shape of chrysanthemum flower you could think of, or actually more than that. While I did read the different types, I do not recall enough of them to recount them here. Perhaps this classification from the Chrysanthemum society would be helpful. As if all of these classifications were not enough the horticulturists at Longwood also trained the mums in to different shapes. Some were trained to cascade, some were grown to be a single long stem, some were aggressively arranged onto grids. Anyone could do it...if they had the time, the skill, the patience, and the mums. I have a picture of a flock of pompon mums, plus a single perfect pompon.

They have also redone one of the large rooms in the conservatory. It has a spare far eastern style to it, with a large water feature in the middle connected to smaller ones around it by water flowing in troughs and fountains. There was a lovely fountain with an Assyrian feel to it. There are tall bamboos and for the season it was full of every mum imaginable.

A bird of paradise flower

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Won't somebody think of (getting) the children (some laptops)?

There are some nice people out there trying to think of useful, and more importantly, feasible, ways of bootstrapping the third world up to a level of competing economically and participating in the global information revolution. I plan to talk about microloans and microcredit eventually, but this one "One laptop for every child" (from Engadget) is a good idea, I just hope it is workable.

The group is trying to make the laptops for under $100, and they are thinking about things like lack of power infrastructure (just wind the crank) and ruggedness (this one is encased in rubber). I still wonder if $100 is still quite a lot of money for the places this is targeted. The consensus on the Engadget comments is that these things will show up on eBay and be sold back to gadget hungry Americans. Would it be bad if I admitted that I would want one? Maybe they should be offered for sale in the US and each sale would subsidize a laptop for a child in the emerging economies.

I have high hopes that getting children in the third world access to the internet and all of the information and learning that can be reached using it would pay incredible dividends to the children and to the world as a whole. Imagine these kids having access to MIT's free courses at open courseware , or the learning networks they could form with each other, or the ideas we haven't even thought of that would grow from the mind of a child for whom computing and the internet is commonplace and just another tool to use or toy to play with.

Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter in their collaborations, Time's Eye and Sunstorm, have a minor backstory in which the main character remembers when they were a child and the UN mandated that every child in the world have a cell phone, and the societal changes this engendered. I think that is a good and immediately workable idea, even while the group above works on their laptop.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Correction: Tin foil hats are not protective

I need to apologize to my loyal readers (reader?). I may have led you to believed that the government was jamming garage door openers and implied that tinfoil hats might have thwarted them.

I was wrong.

A new study at MIT reports that aluminum foil hats may not actually protect you from the government's intrusive radio waves. In fact the conclusion of the study was that the hats allow through and may even amplify the very frequencies set aside by the government for GPS and satellite communications, the same ones they use to locate us!

I always thought that Gauss's law implies that no radio waves can leave or enter a closed conductor (in this case, an aluminum foil hat), and that this is the basis on which a Faraday cage protects equipment inside from an electromagnetic pulse or from snooping and detection from outside of the cage. Maybe the aluminum hats don't work so well because they are not completely enclosed, or it is due to a near field effect. You can play with a simulation of a charge and a room with a door (or a aluminum foil hat with a hole, use your imagination) here.

There was no word on how to reduce the hats crinkly sound for when I sleep with it on.

Found at Slashdot (like they need my link)

Where have all the flying cars gone?

The Slacktivist is asking an open question about the future and where are all the flying cars, just as I have ranted about before. There is even a song by Daniel Amos in which he expresses the same concerns.

Here is the first verse which captures my frustration of what's missing in our cold distoptian future exactly:

(It's the Eighties, So Where's Our) Rocket Packs

from the album "Vox Humana"

Words and Music by Terry Taylor
©1984 Twitchen Vibes Music (ASCAP)
It's the eighties
It's the eighties so where's our rocket packs
It's the eighties so where's our rocket packs?
Go anywhere, we strap them on our backs
1. (It's the eighties so where's our rocket packs?)
I thought by now I'd walk the moon
And ride a car without no tires
And have a robot run the vacuum
And date a girl made out of wires
No thing's don't change that much, do they?
We are still out of touch, by now we should discover
Just how to love each other, like Klaatus' robot man
Your looks have killed again
I do have a robot that runs the vacuum, but the rest is sorely lacking.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

All hail the conquering trivia heroes

Tonight an intrepid team of trivialists successfully negotiated a series of ten rounds of ten questions and guessed closest to their final score to break a tie to emerge victorious at the St. Ann's Trivia Night challenge.

This is the third time that the team, "8 smart people and Paul", has entered the contest and only the second time we have participated. Each time the team has entered Paul has recruied more people to finally get to the required eight.

Tonight we pulled ahead to first in round eight of ten. This isn't a simple contest, the questions range over all knowledge but are grouped in ten different catagories from round to round. We kept our lead and won! Yay! The trophy is Rodin's "The Thinker" in the picture above.

By the way I did not win the 50/50 raffle, I only won second prize - a 2GB iPod Nano! How cool is that. I would have to say I'm having a pretty good weekend.

Friday, November 11, 2005

My taxes pay your salary!

When you are in trouble with the police never say that your taxes pay his or her salary, it makes them really mad and then you get a ticket or you go to jail.

I heard a new one last night. I attended a talk by a Sister of St. Joseph on Socially Repsonsible Investing (see here for more info). When you own stock in a company you can use that influence to try to get changes made in the behavior of the company. She related a story where she was meeting with a CEO of a company in Ireland and asked for a policy change at a company. The CEO got very upset with here because it was a sensitive topic and then said,
"Well I am catholic and my donations pay your salary..."
And then he seemed to think that he could order her around because of it. I don't think it is wise to use the taxes/donations line on nuns or priests either, it usually backfires just like with the police, but the idea of it is very funny.

Dr. House's past oeuvre

I have been watching House on Fox. It is an entertaining show in which Dr. House a world famous diagnostician and his crack team try to figure out what obscure disease a patient has each week. They perform a lot of tests, usually painful, and they apply many cures based on what they think the patient has in that particular 5 minute slice of the episodes. Please, if I am ever sick, do not let Dr. House treat me, I beg of you.

Did you know the guy in the picture above, Hugh Laurie, is English, and is the same guy as this picture? Apparently he has been in many British sitcoms over the years. The most surprising one is this picture from Blackadder where he play a buffoonish fop as the Prince Regent who eventually became George IV. The Blackadder series is Rowan Atkinson at his best, none of this Mr. Bean stupidity, just the scathing dry-witted British humour (spelling intentional) that I love. I am struck by the contrast between Hugh Laurie as Dr. House, crotchety crippled brilliant doctor and the foppish Prince Regent from the Blackadder series. I will remember that the next time I watch House.

More on House at TVSquad and Blackadder can be found at the BBC.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

FARK reminded me today that 30 years ago the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with all hands in Lake Michigan. This most famous lake Michigan wreck inspired the song by Gordon Lightfoot and was a sensation because it happened in relatively modern times while most people think of shipwrecks as a long ago thing.

As a big fan of the Michigan's Upper Peninsula I didn't want to forget to mark this day. I have been to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum near the Whitefish Point Lighthouse and seen the exhibits and learned the story of this wreck very close to where it occurred. The Toledo Blade has an article detailing the story.

My frequent readers will appreciate that I am a bit of a lighthouse buff and that I try to get to and see lighthouses in my travels. Vacationing on the Upper Peninsula affords a lot of chances to see lighthouses. One summer we went Northeast from Escanaba to visit the Whitefish Point Lighthouse and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, and we also went to Crisp Point Lighthouse which was tough because we were driving a borrowed car on dirt roads and running out of gas. I also got attacked by Sable flies on the same trip when we visited Au Sable and walked two miles to see that lighthouse. I will do a lot (maybe too much) just to get a picture of a lighthouse.

Get out your tin foil hats! Is the government jamming garage door openers?

Recently Boing Boing pointed out that garage door openers have not been working in Ottawa due to a mysterious radio jamming signal. This is a topic new and dear to my heart because I am certainly not going to get out of may car to open my garage door. It's un-American (uh, un-Canadian). It's also a great story that combines paranoia about radio signals and government control of the basic niceties of our lives (open, garage door, open!) with incomplete journalism.

The CBC article points out that the garage doors work on a similar frequency to some US military systems.
The signal was being transmitted at 390 megahertz, a U.S. military frequency used by the Pentagon's new Land Mobile Radio System. The same frequency is used by garage doors openers, which started to malfunction around the city about almost two weeks ago. A similar problem has popped up around military bases in the States.
By the time anyone could get to the area to track the signal it was gone, but mysteriously:
The powerful radio signal causing the problem stopped transmitting on Thursday afternoon, around the time CBC News contacted the U.S. Embassy to ask if it knew anything about it.
Correlation is not causation. I do like to write that, but in this case I can believe the interference is actually causing the failure. The issue is that this article and an earlier news article more than hints that it was the embassy broadcasting and that it stopped when people complained, without any evidence, but with the required government denial of activity.
The U.S. Embassy denies any transmissions on that frequency. So does the Canadian military.
These modern times have taught us that denial is admission, but couldn't the paper have found someone who actually has evidence of the broadcast location or done a little more than report accusations and innuendo. I do love a good conspiracy theory combined with lazy reporting.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, my tin foil hat keeps out their transmissions but it is so crinkly and loud when I try to lay down to sleep.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Apologies mean actually saying I am sorry.

I am not a big football fan. And, as I have described earlier, I am more of an anti-fan than a fan. But, the Terrell Owens vs. the Eagles saga is quite humorous. I find it amusing that he annoyed his teammates, the coach and the team management so much that he is effectively fired, dismissed. Although I would like to get fired like him - he gets paid but he doesn't play, plus or minus the suspension games. I need that kind of "paid, but not working" firing.

Terrell does apologize to his quarterback and to the owners in his statement, so he knows how to, but here is the phrase for his coach.
To my head coach, Andy Reid, I owe you an apology. You and I were in a tough spot this year. I know you were just trying to coach this team and we did not see eye to eye sometimes. On the practice field and on game day, you knew you could count on me to give my very best. We had a lot of wins together, and I thank you for that. I respect you as a coach and as a person.
There is a lot of gushing about the wins and seeing eye to eye, and respect but he never utters the magic words "I apologize" or "I'm sorry" to Andy Reid. I guess he will still owe him.

Maybe without Terrell gone the Eagles will slump below the news radar in this television market and I won't have to hear stupid Philadelphia sports reporting for a while. No such luck.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Flow vs. The Rules

They resurfaced and then repainted the parking lot where I work. One of the things they are very serious about here is walking on the crosswalks, even across parking lots. The crosswalk above used to go straight across to the building, which was OK because the traffic flow is to the door, towards the right as I have indicated. When they got around to painting the crosswalk and parking spaces, I think they realized a little too late that the spaces might need to line up across the lot so that the crosswalk could line up also. They must have done some planning because you can still see the chalk marks (which they didn't follow) they put down to guide the painting.

The conclusion of it is that the crosswalk now turns left, which is the total opposite direction of the flow. Great job. Also heaven forbid that one leaves the crosswalk around here to go with the expedient direction towards ones destination. I guess one instance of this isn't so bad, but just to have taken one more minute to think about it could have been a major improvement. Imagine a million of these missed optimizations and you have modern urban planning, and a subtle wrongness and inefficiency about everything that can slowly drive you crazy.

You see this effect on college campuses especially. Students walk where they will, often across the grass. Usually this produces little deer runs of paths where no grass grows because of the traffic. Some campuses use this to their advantage and then pave those spots and let the flow define the paths. Some campuses fight and fight by putting up fences and replanting grasses and putting hedges up. Anything to stem the flow. The students still walk were they will, now over fences and through the hedges, and the path remains.

Which type of mind set painted the parking lot?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Isabela's on Grandview - a hot, slow and overpriced disappointment

When we were in Pittsburgh last Saturday night we dined at Isabela's on Grandview up on Mt. Washington where you can get the great views of Pittsburgh.

The view was terrific, everything else fell somewhat short of expectations.

The restaurant was hot. It was so warm that we were sweating and it detracted from the dining experience. We were told that is was because of the kitchen. Am I to assume that the restaurant is always hot?

The service was slow. These restaurants on Mt. Washington are always crowded on the weekend, but we had an 8:40pm reservation, the menu is prix fixe, and the restaurant has been there for many years so any issues with service should have been worked out a long time ago. The slowness of service was highlighted even further by mismatched service. My fiance received her wine immediately, mine arrived after the first course. They finally coordinated the courses correctly but it took forever to get the next one after the completion of each. I don't think the pace was to enhance a relaxed atmosphere since the server kept apologizing for the delay in service.

The meal was expensive. How expensive? It was the most expensive dinner that I have ever taken my fiance to and we have dined in New York, Philadelphia, London, and Edinburgh. I don't mind so much that it was expensive, but the cost was out of proportion to the quality of the experience. I expected some premium for the view, which was fantastic. But, even taking that into account the price did not match the value.

The food was good. It wasn't the best contemporary cuisine that I have had. The first course was an Amuse Bouche - some pate on a Carr's water cracker. I can make that at home, I even use Carr's water crackers. The rest of the courses were good quality but not outstanding in originality or presentation. The food isn't really this issue, it was fine, but was overshadowed by the heat, the slow service, and was shockingly inadequate for the price.

I guess we had high expectations based on the website and reviews, and we should have noticed that the reviews are from a few years back. If you want a nice view while dining in Pittsburgh, it can be had for less at any of the other restaurants up on Mt. Washington. If you are looking for a place to eat fine food in Pittsburgh, I suggest you skip Isabela's, and look elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh has everything

I have to hand it to Andrew Carnegie, after he made all his money as a robber baron he turned his guilt into many philanthropic institutions. I have benefited directly because I got a college and the Carnegie Museums out of it.

We visited the museums this past Sunday since we were in Pittsburgh for my college reunion. The Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are part of one complex that also has the Carnegie Music Hall (which I got to perform in, back in the day). We pretty much did a whirlwind tour of the place. We tried to get to see the The Mysterious Bog People exhibit and some minerals and definitely wanted to see the art museum.

From a great Porky Pig cartoon from the 30's (Porky in Wackyland), Porky: "Are you really the last of the Dodos?" Dodo: "Yes I'm really the last of the dodos!" This dodo and many other stuffed birds, some lifelike, some not, were on the way to the Bog People.

There is a difference between a Mammoth (left) and a Mastodon (right), and these huge animals roamed North America thousands of years ago. The museum has both!

I just had to get a picture of this Camarasaurus Lentus taking a bite out of my head, for obvious reasons.

The Carnegie Museum of Art is known especially for its modern art collection and for Carnegie International which is a an exhibition that they run every few years to feature new contemporary art and artists. I really want a bureau in my house like this piece. The Scaife galleries are laid out so that a patron can move through the history of art from the early middle ages through to the modern. They also have art from different regions of the world as well. My two favorite things to see in the galleries are the large Monet painting and to tour the modern art installations.