July 7th, 2015


The California Science Center

So this track on the Noragami soundtrack ("The One") has lyrics on it, but they're mostly just shouting, so I feel like somebody is shouting at me and it does disrupt my concentration a little bit. I think that if I were working, I could easily tune it out and focus anyway...a theory which gains credibility as we realize that this is the third time we've listened to this soundtrack but only the first time we've really noticed the shouting. Or, more importantly, the part where the music is interrupted by a "BEEEEP" that makes it sound like they're censoring expletives, which is especially funny because that's in the part without lyrics. It's followed shortly by a whistle, of the PE variety.

Anyway, we just finished our first draft of Noragami 7! Woohoo! We have no idea how long it will take to edit, but we're hoping not too. And then Athena muses, "We still need to write a review for that thing we just finished." She was able to remember what it was eventually by looking over to the desk where it's still sitting. It was Say I Love You 11. Tadah! ...Our life is such a blur lately.

But more importantly, today was a nostalgia trip in so many ways. A friend from church wanted carpool buddies to go see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the California Science Center, so she invited us, and today was the day we went! The California Science Center used to be called the Museum of Science & Industry, and we used to go to it all the time when we were little kids. ...Well, all the time after Dad convinced us that there weren't mad scientists there waiting to kill us. Longtime followers may remember that we were terrified of everything when we were little kids. The museum is a lot different now, but it still has some airplanes hanging from the ceiling (another cause for major alarm--what if there was an earthquake and the cable snapped and it fell on us and we died!?), and we spotted the outside eating area where we used to feed french fries to little birds.

Anyway, first, we went to the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit, which had a lot of cool artifacts from the caves and didn't allow photography at all period. It was neat, though. First, they put you in a room with five screens set up to make you feel like you're standing on the shore of the Dead Sea, and then they have a very excited museum person (docent? are they called docents? I don't think "curator" is quite appropriate...) give a spiel about the kinds of jars they found the scrolls in, and then they let you in to see the rest of the exhibit. One of the things the exhibit talks about is how people used to think that Judaism and Christianity developed independently of each other, and then the Dead Sea Scrolls came along and were so very Christian and yet so very Jewish at the same time, proving that the religions are more similar than we thought. And we were like, "Why is that a surprise?" (We've actually been reading about that here.) But then, we've always believed that Christianity started with Adam and Eve.

The display also talked about how new technology is helping us read the scrolls better, and how they're going to use DNA to find out which fragments came from the same animal, to help them piece it together, and it's all very fascinating. And it made us want to learn Hebrew, assuming we had time for that kind of thing. We remembered how we had a Hebrew alphabet coloring book many years ago, which I think was given to us by Grandpa, and we foolishly never took advantage of it, and we regretted our folly.

They had a short movie that talked about the discovery of the scrolls and how they brought scholars to study and translate them, but none of them were trained in handling relics and ancient manuscripts, so they would be piecing them together with Scotch tape, and smoking, and leaving them out in the sun. They also had one guy say that they had the oldest copy of the Book of Isaiah, which prophesies about the restoration of the Jewish state, and the main guy who was all gung-ho about it went to retrieve that scroll on the very day that the UN voted to establish Israel.

Then they had some interactive displays, including some pottery puzzles, but there were always a bunch of kids around those so we didn't get to try them. So we told ourselves that's okay, we'll just go buy some more crystal puzzles, and we moved on to the gift shop section, which had the best camel plushes! So we had to buy one. We also bought a couple of t-shirts, because somehow I got it into my head that intellectual types look down on t-shirt wearing types, so I was really hoping they'd be selling t-shirts so I could buy one for the delightful irony. And! best of all! they had the coloring book! The very same Hebrew alphabet coloring book we so foolishly ignored many years ago. So we bought a copy. Tadah!

After that, we went to see all the displays they had relating to the Endeavor space shuttle, which came to rest in the California Science Center after its retirement a few years ago. It was fascinating to see, because it looked like it was made of papier mache! And we saw it and thought, "Wow. That's been in outer space!" The...the...the jet things, where the fire comes out. They looked like cosplay props! Only giant. Except they didn't look giant, but they obviously were giant, because it was a space shuttle, I mean come on. (They even had a little display comparing a school bus to the space shuttle, and obviously the latter was much bigger. And yet somehow, it didn't look that big up close. But it was. It just didn't look like it.) Anyway, it reminded us of something our astronomy professor at BYU told us. He said a lot of space projects happen because of scenarios like this: a bunch of astronomers get together and somebody says, "I'm bored, let's do something." "I got some spare parts. Wanna build a mission to Venus?" "Sure!" And that sounds like a pretty good attitude to have. I mean think about it: you just...do something, like send a probe to Venus.

Anyway, I forgot to mention that both of these exhibits--the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Endeavor--have family history ties to us, because one of our grandfather's studied the Dead Sea Scrolls extensively and the other is a rocket scientist who worked at NASA.

After we looked at the Endeavor (which also had some pretty neat accompanying merchandise, but which we refrained from buying because most of it would have been great to buy for our nephews, but it was expensive and that's a grandma's job), we looked at some of the other exhibits at the museum. They had one on kelp forests, which, disappointingly, did not have a replica kelp forest for us to hide in, but did have a fun aquari-tunnel (that's my new word for those things) with sharks and moray eels and other big creepy fish (we find fish to be creepy in general, except for sharks--they look pretty cool). And they had a river exhibit that teaches you about flow and made us wonder, if water goes faster when it's in a narrower channel, why can't people do that? And they had a desert exhibit with a flash flood every ten minutes! Complete with splash zone! It also had poor, scared-looking roadrunners hanging out with a vulture. (They were still being trained, so we imagine they were new and not used to people. And there were kids screaming about the flash flood even when there was no flash flood. The tortoise was understandably in hiding.)

In short, there was a ton of fascinating stuff! And we didn't even see the big incubator where the chicks were hatching! But we did see a penny smashing machine that would put a picture of a chick coming out of an egg on your smashed penny, so we assumed it's still there, unless they just do that out of nostalgia. It's one of the things we used to always see. And we probably could have stayed there for hours, but it was past lunch time, so we went to the gift shop--the Explora-Store, no food or drinks allowed. But we assumed there must still be space food in there, because what good is a museum gift shop without space ice cream?

And they had so much cool stuff in that store! A lot of it was the same kind of stuff we used to buy from Natural Wonders (and the museum gift shop) when we were kids. And they had the coolest starfish plush! Aaaaaaahhh! And they had more crystal puzzles! But we didn't buy them because those t-shirts were not cheap! And we were feeling like we should try and be frugal now, especially because we just splurged at CD Japan last night. We did buy space ice cream, though, because how can you not buy space ice cream? And they had Audubon plush birds that had real bird call sounds! Which we also didn't buy. We were good and only bought space ice cream. And they had the best connect-the-dot books! And science kits! And those little styrofoam glider things that we used to buy! Oh, the nostalgia. And the best sea turtle plush that was so cool and cost forty bucks! Maybe forty-two. And these cool sets where you build sea creatures and you can buy multiple sets to mix and match creatures to make your own and the proceeds go to organizations that help abandoned children and animals! Museum gift shops are dangerous places.

Anyway, we had a lovely time, and then we went to lunch where we got cow crowns in case we want to go to Chick-Fil-A on Cow Appreciation Day (free entree if you wear the cow crown, free meal if you come dressed as a cow), and then we came home and worked on Noragami. So all in all, it was a very lovely day.

Today I'm thankful for having a great time at the California Science Center, not being destroyed by mad scientists while we were there, being reunited with the long-lost Hebrew alphabet coloring book, super awesome camel plushes, and Dead Sea Scroll t-shirts. And we have a Relief Society activity on Thursday, so we can wear them somewhere!