Author friend, Sophia Ann Montoya produced an interview with me. Here is Part 1 of the fun conversation we had.
It was comprised of an amazing collection of the city’s paintings, mosaics, statuary, jewelry, furniture, fountains, bath items, kitchen utensils, fishing implements, engineering tools, medical instruments, bowls and glassware… What turned out to be my favorite part of the exhibit—the gladiator armor and weaponry… And ultimately a glimpse of the poor souls caught in Mt. Vesuvius’ violent expulsion. There was even an adults-only room with household items decorated in phallic imagery intended to enhance a family’s virility, strength and power both at home and within the community.
The history lesson opens with a look at a the layout of the houses, which not only served the family’s needs, but also hosted guests and business associates, as well as political attachés. The dwellings were arranged around an atrium or garden, ornamented with elegant Frescos and marble statuary, designed to display the family’s wealth. The residents often brought the furniture outside and dined beneath the stars in good weather. At least that was the life of the elite. The majority of Pompeii residents were poor, and lived in modest apartments.
In the next two rooms, the lesson continues with a glimpse of residents’ sea-dwelling life—implements of fishing, farming and commerce, and associated furniture and kitchen-wares. Amphora, or jugs, for olive oil and Garum stand as tall as a ten-year-old child. Garum, a fermented fish sauce used for flavoring bland food, was one of Pompeii’s largest exports, and they were known throughout the Roman empire for it. One of their wealthiest citizens, Asulus Umbricius, amassed his fortune from producing and selling garum.
The next big room is a plethora of artifacts representing Pompeii life, ranging from a temperature controlled bathtub and bathing implements, to blown glass, gold jewelry, a glimpse of theatrical life, engineering and medicine, and a gladiator’s tools of the trade. It is truly amazing how advanced their technology was in the first century, as evidenced by the tiny, tiny links in the gold chains, the intricately formed glassware, the elaborately adorned bronze armor and helms, their hydraulic valves, and even a sophisticated specula.
After a well-rendered cinematic recreation of the 48 hour period during which the volcano erupted, the movie screen rises to allow admittance to the final room of the exhibit. Lying in what amounts to Plexiglas coffins, a few of the victims of the ordeal express their pain. These are not the actual plaster casts excavated from the Pompeii dig site, but rather resin copies. Photos of their actual discoveries line the walls behind them.
It certainly paints a clear picture of the fragility of life, no matter how sophisticated its origins.
ORIGINALLY POSTED: May 23-26, 2014
How do you spell Triskaidekaphobia?… Memorial Day Weekend at BayCon in Santa Clara, CA
At least, that’s what I found myself asking over the holiday weekend. I’m not sure I ever gave myself a satisfactory answer…
I’d been looking forward to BayCon for months, given that my GLAWS author friends go on and on about the event with glowing excitement, especially regarding the BayCon goers who tend to be avid readers and SF/F/H aficionados.
In other words — the BayCon peeps are my kind of peeps.
I dare say, the convention did not fail to live up to their praise, despite the unfortunate drop in attendance due to a rash of newly competing conventions in the Bay area over the holiday weekend.
I spent most of the weekend manning the signing table, meeting lots of fun and interesting people, and sold a respectable number of books, book bags and T-shirts. My favorite visit was from Wiggles, the trained assitance pup — a sweet little black lab who reminded me of my childhood pet, Lady.
Saturday night was awesome. After the Dealer Room closed, I found myself immersed in Star Trek culture, complete with drinks at the Klingon bar, a Klingon slave auction, and even Captain Kirk on the sales block. All the money collected went to charity, including the $5 I threw down for a drink called “Revenge” served to the tune of a room full of Klingons shouting, “Revenge is a drink best served cold!”
I even got to enjoy some Taiko drumming!
I will definitely be back next year if they’ll have me. =)
Another Opportunity to Nerd Out…
No Nerd girl is complete if she goes to the USC campus (even if it IS for a book festival)… Without running across the street to pay homage to the California Science Center – new home to one of my favorite vehicles on the planet – the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
I was there when they delivered her to Los Angeles International Airport, and then again as they began to truck her slowly through local Los Angeles neighborhoods to finally reach her new warehouse accommodations. So it was nice to see her snugly tucked inside and enjoying a huge crowd of appreciators.
My friend Ace Antonio Hall and I slipped away from the LA Times Festival of Books to say hello to the old girl, just for a little while. I will of course make my way back to the Science Center again to spend more time with her and with the rest of the exhibits as well. I make it a point of going as often as I can. After all, who doesn’t love dinasours, rooms full of rocks, gems, lattice-works of crystals and mineral specimens, butterfly pavillions, ancient Egyptian artifacts and the like? Am I right???
I know I’m right. Science is awesome!