Monday, March 30, 2009

Games, Museums and Photographers

And the Reds continue their two game winning streak...Great hit by George the Younger who (according to sources who actually attended the game) ripped this one out for an infield triple. If only George the Elder had had a camera he could have caught the look of pure unadulterated joy when he ran into third. (Or, so I heard. I did not go to the game. I stayed home and played Gin with Henry who summarily beat the crap out of me. A sobering experience.)

Yesterday we took some time for a little family outing and went to the new(ish) California Academy of Sciences. This was only weekend day in the foreseeable future where we could all go - given the rigorous baseball scheduled for the next few months. Henry had already been there for school and had gotten a family pass. Whoopee! We were going for a "free" day at the museum.

When we got there, the line stretched as far as we could see for people getting "regular" tickets. We quickly realized that our "free" pass would send us directly to the end of that line. Then we spied the "Membership Only" line. It was short, they were walking right in, and we LOVE walking right in. We are not really Line People. So to avoid the hour long wait, we were inducted as Members of the Academy of Sciences.

There wasn't an actual oath or anything. You just needed a valid picture ID, but being a member of an "academy" makes one sound really, really smart and capable. I mean, not just ANYONE can become a member. Well, yes they can, but it still sounds really cool - like something you could put on your resume to make you sound cerebral and in-the-science-know. I'm gonna carry my temporary card with aplomb. And, armed with these little snippets of paper proclaiming us "Members Extraordinaire" we hopped the line and our "free" day at the academy ended up costing us more like $150 bucks. Still, we can go back whenever we want. Yup, that's the rationalization we used. Oh, and the membership fee WAS tax DEDUCTIBLE. Another swell selling point to make us feel better about shelling out the cash to avoid standing in a damn long line.

Turns out the place is pretty darn neat, so it is likely that we will go back. Or at least Henry and I will go back. If Henry could rent a room at this place, he would go there and live. This kid LIVES for visiting museums. The Exporatorium, another SF science related institution (to which we are ALSO members) is Shangri-la for him. Can we make bubbles the size of hippos? I don't know but LET'S TRY! Can we get the metal ring to spin on the rotating table? I don't know but LET'S TRY! He even wanted to stand in line (yes, we were still forced to stand in a line) for 45 minutes so that we could see and explore the rain forest encapsulated in a very cool dome underneath the living roof of the museum. I mean, how THRILLING is that? To Henry, it's pretty doggone fabulous. If you ever want the best companion at a science museum, we will lend you Henry.

And as a last note on visiting museums... I continue to be flummoxed by people who take pictures and videos at museums, and for that matter, let's include zoos. There they are, camera in hand, zealously capturing images of the itsy-bitsy green and red tree frog as it does its thing. (Which is the case of tree frogs, is actually very little. Unless you consider that sitting there motionless is actually doing something). You arrive home with thousands of frames of photos of tree frogs, or rain forest butterflies or, I don't know, the common hippo or a GREAT photo of the Rosetta stone. Whatever. What in the name of all that is holy do you do with these photos? Show them to your friends? Make your kids watch the video? (Hey Kids! Grab the microwave popcorn! We're gonna watch the VIDEO of the Academy of Sciences trip. LOOOOK at that moss! Remember the macaw exhibition? Wonderful! Fabulous! OOOOOH!). Why? I simply don't get it. See it. Experience it. IN PERSON.

My point is, that unless there are people in those photos emoting some reaction over the stellar qualities of a particular section of rain forest moss - - it just doesn't have any context. Doesn't it make more sense just to buy the photo book at the Museum Store, where folks with far more experience than you have taken far better photos of that stuff? If you really, really want to look at photos of a common zoo zebra - - get the little packet of 6 postcards. Put them on your coffee table. Leaf through them with joy and abandon. I know this is kind of snarky, but that's just my observation.

And finally, a George the Younger skin update. He still looks like The Thing. But, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Somewhere during week 4 of the red scourge we started seeing tiny patches of his "real" skin inbetween the seething red masses. We know that things are improving. Still, he spent some time in tears on Saturday night 'cause it just hurt and itched so bad. Our hearts break for him. We are keeping our fingers crossed that things are moving in the right direction. (Oh, but we made him go to the "free" day at the museum anyway. Better to be itching and learning than just plain itching. Our new family motto...)

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