I haven't made a blog entry in the last few days, not because I've finally lost interest, but because I've been out of town. Went on a little road trip with a friend from Albuquerque, who recently got a new car and wanted to give it a good breaking-in.
So, we drove down to Alamogordo and did the tourist schtick. Along the way, we stopped at the Valley of Fires to take a little walk among the lava flows. Then we continued into the city, got a hotel, and drove out to White Sands. Amazingly enough, I've lived in New Mexico for, what, 12 years now?, and I have been to Alamogordo once, but I never had visited White Sands. What an oversight! I mean, OK, yeah, they're sand dunes. They're white. It doesn't sound all that exciting. But, somehow, the visual effect of being in the middle of all that whiteness is astounding. Anyway, we drove around the dunes, and took the little nature walk across the sand, which was made vastly more entertaining, I think, by the fact that the only trail guides left were in Spanish, and we had to rely on my high school Spanish-and-guesswork attempts to translate, with much ensuing hilarity.
Then we went bowling. I used to be a regular bowler, back in my youth, but 12 -- or, no, it's actually more like 13 -- years living in a town with no bowling alley has seriously atrophied my skills. I didn't disgrace myself too badly, though, which was a pleasant surprise.
All that was on Friday. Saturday we went to the International Space Hall of Fame museum. They were celebrating "Space Day," with free admission to the museum, half-price IMAX shows, and a few special programs during the day. So we took advantage! We even went to a class on the building of the International Space Station, in which we were challenged (in groups of 4) to design a structure out of straws and paperclips, with each of us having to build a piece of the structure separately. The idea being to illustrate the difficulties of international cooperation in the building of the ISS. Or something. Alas, our attempt was both ill-designed and behind schedule, and with time running out in the construction phase, we discovered that our structure could not even hold its own weight against the force of gravity, let alone survive the drop to the floor specified in our instructions. We ended up engaging in a massive, random, utterly uncoordinated clipping-together of straws in a doomed attempt to shore the thing up before we were called upon, and ended up with something strongly resembling a piece of modern art. Or possibly a special effect meant to represent the intersection of a hyperspace object with our 3-dimensional universe. Definitely nothing remotely like a habitable structure. I don't know that this taught us anything about the ISS, but it seems to me there must surely be a life lesson in there somewhere.
After this we drove back into White Sands again, and did a little bit of hiking among the dunes. Admittedly, a very little bit -- I think we managed less than a mile, round trip. That sand is very difficult to walk on.
And then we came back to Socorro and watched 17 episodes of Farscape. Believe it or not, this was not my idea! Nor was it exactly something we intended to do. But my friend (who doesn't get cable) had watched a few of my DVDs the last time she was in town, and caught another episode on TV after we'd gotten back from bowling and were lying around in the hotel, and was interested in watching some more of the show. And every time we got to the end of an episode, she'd say, "Just one more!" Eventually, we realized it was 4:30 AM and we really needed a few hours of sleep. I woke up at 9:30, and she was already playing the next one! If I'd had more episodes, I half suspect we'd still be watching them. I must say, it is immensely gratifying to see this sort of first-hand evidence that I'm not the only one who has this reaction to this show. It really is like science-fictional crack...
And now I've finally got to go back to work. Sigh. Well, it was nice while it lasted.