Tag Archive for 'body worlds'

B’s Visit Part One

Not having posted about B’s visit (and many other topics by this point) makes me a bad blogger, I know. But life has been hectic enough recently that I’ve had a hard time living it, let alone blogging it. All the same, before things get too far away from me, I’m going to write some about the visit of my co-blogger B, known here as Bangladesh.

B and Gnome As I mentioned previously, B and I have been friends for about two-and-a-half years, but this was our first “real life” meeting. Mark, who is one of my flatmates, and I met her at the Cleveland Airport late Friday (August 19th) evening. Because Cleveland is stupid and doesn’t bother giving people a clear idea of which security gate people are coming out of, we nearly missed her. But, during one of my purposeful strides across the length of baggage claim, I happened to see her Ireland t-shirt and thereby caught her. We picked up her stuff and headed back to my temporary housing on the south side of campus, where I discovered that sleeping on tile floors really can be comfortable.

Day One

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and, sadly, my sneaking-around-the-room skills have worsened since freshman year. With no one trying to sleep in the same room as you, you tend to get a little louder. I think B forgave me, though. We started with a trip to the grocery store to get some cereal that B could eat, and I pointed out some of the sights of the Cedar-Fairmount stretch of
Cleveland Heights. The day was already heating up, and the humidity was substantial.

After breakfast, we grabbed Mark and headed off on a grand campus tour. Walking from one end of my university campus to the other takes between 25 and 30 minutes without stopping, and I’m guessing we spent about an hour-and-a-half walking her all over the place. We paid particular attention to spots where we frequently hang out, like the biorobotics lab in Glennan and Nord atrium. And, naturally, I demonstrated my obsession with the automatic moving bookshelves in the library. I never cease to be entertained by those.

The real thrill was probably that the “No trespassing” signs had been removed from the new “Village at 115”, where Mark and I were scheduled to move the next day. Throughout construction, the policy was that students found trespassing onto the construction site would be immediately expelled. And, since I lived on the opposite side of campus for the past two years, I really hadn’t seen the
place at all. The buildings are gorgeous, and, as one professor put it, “palatial” in comparison to what we’ve had. There will be more on those (including pictures, I hope) later.

Rain was just beginning to fall when we reached the University Circle Rapid station, and, by the time we made it to the platform, there was a pretty good rainstorm going. Excellent timing on our part. Lunch was enjoyed at the Panara Bread inside Tower City, and the rain let up long enough for us to walk to the waterfront to see the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The real reason for going to see the science center this time was the Body Worlds 2 exhibit there. Logan posted a couple of weeks ago on his visit to Body Worlds in Chicago, and I definitely had that on my mind as we went through the exhibit. Firstly, I should note that Body Worlds 2 was packed that day because it was the weekend. There were lots of families with kids there, and, in some cases, I had to ask myself what these people were doing there. One poor toddler, in particular, was just squalling the whole time, and I can’t blame him. I really don’t think the kid was old enough to be anything but scared by the exhibit.

Body Worlds 2 Secondly, B is a 6th year Irish med student. So going through the exhibit with her was like having my own personal guide. It was pretty entertaining, actually, because she’d be discussing all the medical aspects of the bodies and body parts on display while I was analyzing the mechanics and design of it all. We made quite the pair, and I don’t doubt that we frightened a few people.

Although I found the exhibit fascinating and informative, one moment gave me pause. Toward the end, they had a specimen that was more or less a thickly sliced plastinate meant to show how everything fits together inside the body. On a couple of the slices, though, you could see the man’s face with skin and hair just the way you might see a relative as they lay in their coffin. That was disconcerting for me. The section with the fetuses was also uncomfortable. I understand that they died before birth of natural causes, but seeing them so tiny
and perfectly preserved…

At one point, a woman nearby remarked to the woman next to her that the human body was a miracle. I don’t think I left the exhibit with quite that impression. Yes, we are amazing beings. But, physically, there weren’t many differences between the human plastinates and those of other mammals. It’s hard to look at the muscles of a man and not think about how similar they look to the cut of beef I had the other day. Not that I’m advocating cannibalism or vegetarianism here, just observing.

I do think that I left with a new appreciation for the human body, though. It’s impossible for me to stretch now without envisioning what that looks like from the inside.

Once we’d finished our adventures in the Body Worlds 2 exhibit, B and I headed over to the Rock Hall where we spent a couple of years in the exhibits on the lower level. We got a lot sillier. For instance, listening to examples of early rock influences and influential rock songs of various decades were accompanied by much dancing in the aisles. We also spent a lot of time perusing interesting quotes from rock figures, several of which B wrote down in her notebook. (Care to post some of them, B?) My favorite parts, I think, were admiring some of Jimi Hendrix’s childhood drawings and checking out John Lennon’s hand-drawn comics from his schooldays. John’s report cards also had some choice criticisms from his teachers that left us laughing. It’s odd to imagine having my report cards displayed for random people to read someday. There are definitely some funny notes on them, though!

Once we made it back to campus, the three of us went to Aladdin’s for dinner and smoothies. As promised, we hit La Gelateria afterwards with Brian. I had cinnamon and pistachio (alas, no coconut!) and B tried chocolate and hazelnut, if I’m not mistaken. Brian was on a real roll that night and had us in stitches. The night was topped off with a late showing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at B’s request. I enjoyed the movie even more the second time around, and I think it may well be beating out my devotion to the original (although the song “Pure Imagination” will always be a favorite).