I managed to see both the annular eclipse and the transit of Venus. The annular was from a restaurant parking lot in Hollywood (observed by squinting through an inadequate set of sunglasses), the transit from a big scope set up by the Astronomy division here at the school, which I didn't have to squint through at all.
Now I've seen eclipses before (always partial, though), so while cool, it has
been done. The transit was my first (and probably last), though (don't ask me how I missed it eight years ago, unless it was visible nowhere near L.A.). Now I've seen Venus before, obviously, both as a bright light in the sky and as a disc (or more usually, crescent) though telescopes. Seeing a whole 'nother planet at a tiny black dot against the Sun, well, somehow it's just different. You get a better sense that it's out there
, in the distance.
I'm glad I saw it.
we've discovered that, yes, there still are
some Drive-In Theaters left in Southern California – two are, in fact, within thirty miles of us. So, being children of the 50s/60s, we had to check them out. I personally haven't been to a drive-in since, well, I believe it was to see Herbie Rides Again...
The nearest is the “Vineland,” actually not too far from where I work. We went to it to see the double-feature (yeah, anyone remember those
...) of Avengers
and John Carter,1
and had a reasonably nice time except, well...
...from what I can tell, the Vineland still only shows movies because they haven't figured out how to have the flea market go on after dark. Maintenance is...light. The screens are...dark. The sound quality from the FM transmitter is static-y as all get out. And the snack bar! Well, I got some popcorn there, but I've always been a risk-taker...
Throw in the fact that the Metrolink goes right by the place several times during the movie and that street lights shine in your eyes from several directions and I suspect that, sans getting their act together, yet another drive-in will soon bite the dust.
The second, farther away, was the “Mission Tiki” and that was a whole different kettle of fish. For one thing, they keep it up. Trees block street lights from your eyes. The movie on the screen is visible, even right after sunset. The place has been repaved and the parking lines drawn in.2
The screen was brighter, the sound coming from our radio was actually good,
and even the audience seemed, well, nicer.
And the snack bar! When was the last time you went to the movies and were able to find affordable
food? And it's tasty too.
There we saw Pirates!
(disappointing, actually, for an Aardman film) and Think Like A Man.
And, all in all, it was a much more enjoyable experience and a lot
closer to what I can remember as a kid, way back when...
has TV taught us recently?
- It has taught us it always rains right before, during, or after a murder – unless it snows instead. Thanks to this effect, Las Vegas has over fifty inches of rain a year – which explains the lush green Vegas suburbs.
- It has taught us that most of the East Coast is covered in chaparral, while the area from Santa Barbara to San Francisco on the West Coast is a dense temperate rain forest.
- Florida is actually quite mountainous...which goes well with the chaparral.
- The Hamptons on Long Island is the disease “Hot Zone” for the entire planet. More exotic diseases affect this area of the world than anywhere else, including ones that only affect a single person a year: That single person will be in the Hamptons.
- The only job on the planet more dangerous than being a CSI, is being the Significant Other of a CSI. They have an almost 90% mortality rate within the first two years.
- Burbank is the center of the International Espionage universe.
- There is no substance on Earth that will not explode if hit correctly during a car chase...
“He's got an iron will, nerves of steel, and several other metal-themed attributes...”
Divergent Opinions - Comments on P.O.D. 70
Seven months after the windstorm, the back yard's looking a great deal better...