Monday, April 30, 2007

Exploring at the Museum

How far can the human eye see? Why do magnets attract? What is the speed of light? These are just some of the many questions the Exploratorium answers in their exhibits. Located in the Marina District overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, the museum of science, art and human perception provides visitors with experimental, hands on learning experiences. The museum welcomes people of all ages, but is mostly popular with children and their families.

It was established in 1969 by Dr. Frank Oppenheimer, a noted physicist and educator. According to the Exploratorium website, Oppenheimer felt there was a need for science museums in the United States. From its opening to his death in 1985, Oppenheimer devoted his life to the museum, acting as the director. The museum's brochure states that "more than half a million visitors, including 128,800 children and teachers on school field trips, come to the Exploratorium each year." Over 650 exhibits are contained in three collections: Traits of Life, Seeing, and Listening. A fourth collection, Mind, is currently in development.

The not-for-profit museum receives support through donations, sponsorships, partnerships, and fees for services. As well as the participation of 10, 100 members and 250 volunteers. It currently operates on a $29 million annually.

Although it has a lot of interesting interactive exhibits, the museum fell short of my expectations. Granted I was basing it on my experience there when I was in elementary school, at a time when I didn't know a lot about science. The most entertaining and the highlight of the museum was a live cow's eye dissection by two orange-vested student staff. It was the most repulsive and coolest thing to see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

the best part of waking up (early)...

is finding parking.

Parking in the city sucks. There just aren't enough parking spaces to go around, especially around college campuses, like USF. Because of this, 2 hour time limits have been enforced on street parking. Money hungry entrepreneurs have caught on and opened up parking lots charging exorbitant amounts of money. Even the gestapo-esque meter attendants have realized that they can make a killing around the university.

They seem to slap the ticket for just about anything: parked during street cleaning (even though the street cleaner already came), wheels were not turned on an incline (hello!? even a coin won't roll off that!), parked too far from the curb... Driving around in their small blue and white tricycles while chalking up tires, they aim to terrorize the innocent students and professors.

Numerous times I have found myself driving aimlessly around campus 6 or 8 times trying to find parking sweating from stress because I'm late for class. Recently, I've tried to cut this stress out by waking up at the crack of dawn to score a space. While some would view this as taking the initiative and being responsible, I have a different view.

Who the hell wants to wake up at 5:30 in the morning when it's still dark out (and extremely cold) to drive to school for parking? Countless times I've cursed the parking situation at school, but now I've come to appreciate it. More so this morning when I got to school a few minutes before 6:30 and found ample parking spaces all whispering, "Park here." By this time, the street cleaner had rounded the corner of Parker and Golden Gate Avenue, continuing down to Masonic. The sloshing of the machine was accompanied by the revving of engines as cars, parked along Golden Gate and side streets, wheeled into the clean spaces. This phenomenon is defintely worth seeing.

It must have made the day for those select few who came early this morning, I know it did for me. Funny how something like parking can make or break someone's day. It's definitely one stress I avoided, even if just for today. No $40 ticket, no moving the car after 2 hours, no driving around the block. It's a great feeling.