Sunday, February 05, 2012

the long weekend

nick is a tiger cub scout. that's right. jr. boy scout. the kid loves the activities and has a blast at den and pack meetings where he can with the other boys in the den play, wrestle, yell and chase each other till their voices are hoarse and their legs rubbery from all the running. it's great fun. as a parent i get the great, great pleasure of accompanying my child in his adventures.

we just returned from one such adventure. the whole scout pack, which includes tiger cubs and webolos [slightly older cub scouts], to an over night expedition at the chabot space and science center which is located in the hills above oakland. i'm a born and bred northern california boy and i never heard of the chabot. while the museum is relatively new the first telescope designed for the wealthy industrialist anthony chabot was built in the late 19th century. later chabot bequeathed funds to oakland to build a site for astronomers and astronomy education.

the place is pretty cool. we got a tour of the first telescope, an eight inch, built for chabot in 1883, and the second 20 inch telescope built in 1915, and finally the most recent addition, and the most used telescope, a whopping 36 inch lens, built in 2003. the 36 inch telescope was awesome. with it we got to see the moon, jupiter, and orion's belt where the image was so clear we can see the green gas clouds [which we are told is oxygen and is the area where new stars are forming].

mind blowing really. nick asked one of the astronomers what contains the universe. the answer nick was told was that everything that exists is in the universe. even the word, universe, 'uni' meaning one and 'verse' meaning word, is 'one word'. it is everything. which blew nick's mind. then another question nick asked, what happens to light from a flashlight after you turn it off. answer, the light keeps going even if it becomes too faint for us to see it.

the kids went nuts. i mean that in the most positive terms. but they did. go nuts. among each other and within the safe confines of the museums that they had to for the better part of the evening to themselves the scouts were difficult to keep track of. food was pizza, and lots of it. i'm all pizza'd out. we, parents and scouts, unfolded our sleeping bags around 11:00 pm on the floor of a classroom. the chabot screened a movie for the kids, zathura [2005]. nick went nuts because this is a favorite flick, and most of the boys i think have seen it several time too.

parents. what could we do. we slept as best we can. i tried. which means hardly sleeping at all. you know, no farting, no belching, worries about the rat's nest your hair becomes when you wake in the morning. a rough night. the scouts were utterly in heaven.

then this morning we pretty much had the place to ourselves until opening for the general public. after that, we still pretty much had the place to ourselves. because of the superbowl i'm guessing because when nick and i left around noon the museum was still pretty empty. we were the last of the scouts to leave. the weather was gorgeous. mid 60s and the sky crystal clear.

then we came home. i took a nap for about an hour then we headed to grandpa's house to watch the superbowl. um. grandpa and grandma watched the superbowl. nick and i hung out and ate even more pizza. and chips. lots of chips. such is the way of the world. anna, you ask. she went to berkeley because it was supebowl sunday, and what better day to go out into the world then on a day when most of the world is hunkered before tv sets, laptops and i-phones to watch a football game. amen sister.

below is a pic of nick taken this morning from the chabot in front of a photo of the international space station to simulate weightlessness.


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