“Is that a butterfly on your head, or are you happy to see me?” Well, actually it’s an Owl butterfly. If you look closely at its wings, you can see each circle looks just like an owl’s eye, right down to the little white line of a reflection. Paul Berger gave me and a friend a tour. We had many different species land on us, and one even tried to sneak out of the conservatory on my friend’s shoe. We caught it just seconds before they locked the door for the night. But the coolest part of all was when the workers kicked everyone out of the conservatory, but because we knew Paul we got to stay and watch them release a box of butterflies. They released about five dozen new butterflies of perhaps two dozen species. It was wild.
I also got to see the “Roving Mars” IMAX film about the twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. That was amazing. They mixed actual photos with computer animation to make the journey from Earth to Mars a true cinematic experience. It was pretty cool watching a giant airbag pummelling down onto Mars and coming to “crush” the audience on a 100 foot screen. We also did a quick tour of “Gold,” the history of the world’s gold industry. I was underwhelmed until I saw racks of gold bars. One of them was said to have been worth $17,000 in the 1860s. I weighed myself too, and the machine said I was worth $1.3M if I was made of gold. Well, my mother said I was.
In other news, about three years ago Jeff VanderMeer created something called “The House of 87 Cabinets” on the Night Shade Books message board. Anyone could sign up to create a strange cabinet in this house. Well, as it turns out, Jeff is now planning on publishing the cabinets, so if you wrote one, you need to contact him. But first, make sure to read this. If you’re interested, my cabinet is number 86, and can be read by clicking here and reading the second to last entry that begins, “This dark-faced cabinet sits squashed between eight others…”