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2012-366 Day 362 – History

We all know the old cliche about those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. The funny thing about history is that we are always generating more, both in time continuing to pass and in discovering new things about the historical people, places, and things that have come before. All of this information provides the opportunity for days like the one I had today, where all of my activities covered over two thousand years of history.

It started with a visit to the California Science Center, where Jess and I had purchased tickets a couple weeks ago to see two pieces of history separated by the aforementioned two thousand years, the space shuttle Endeavour and an exhibit on Cleopatra. Our tickets had specific viewing times, with our shuttle viewing time starting at 1:30 and the Cleopatra reservation for 2:30. Initially we thought about having a special lunch down in L.A., but after eating so much over the past few days at all of our Christmas celebrations, we settled for a Jamba Juice and bagel breakfast and headed downtown with an ample time cushion.

We arrived at the Science Center around 1:10 and one thing became abundantly clear, the Science Center is a phenomenally popular place the week between Christmas and New Years. People were jammed wall-to-wall, there were lines for everything, and it was apparent that we were not the only ones who had this idea. We pretty much immediately got in line for our 1:30 shuttle reservation and were at the front of the line to get into the exhibit by 1:45. It is obvious that the current configuration of the shuttle exhibit is temporary while they construct the permanent pavilion, as the various sections are interspersed through the Center and require moving through several other exhibits to get from point A to point B.

The first Endeavour specific area features several artifacts from the shuttle and attendant items, such as the tires used in the last mission (we got to touch them), and the monitoring station from Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, which was pretty cool since we just drove by there yesterday.


We skipped the intro video, as by this point we were swamped by people and were looking forward to getting into a more open space. After going out of the initial room, over a bridge, down a staircase, through a lobby, out a door, across a pathway, and finally into the temporary building they built for the shuttle. The initial view coming in was pretty cool.


We worked our way around to the back, which was pretty impressive.


There were many references to the shuttle engines being built in Canoga Park until 1999, which where I remember seeing this guy all the time (except installed upright) in front of the aforementioned Canoga Park Rocketdyne plant.


The coolest part of the shuttle, to me, was the front left side, where the astronauts would enter the shuttle as it stood on the pad. There were mock-ups of the pavilion they are building, and they will actually be displaying it in the upright position attached to the fuel pods. So if you want to see it in the horizontal configuration, now is the time to go see it.


Finally, on the way out, you can get a pretty good shot of the shuttle from the front.


Of course, if you bought a shuttle duckie for your wife, it might sneak into the shot for a little fun.


We then went over to the Cleopatra exhibit and arrived just after 2:30 to a much shorter line. We were given a portable audio player for the exhibits and were ushered into a small screening room. After a brief introductory video, we were turned loose into a series of rooms with various artifacts related to Cleopatra and her reign. There were some interesting artifacts, although the audio players were abandoned about a third of the way through, as their “Cleopatra” was rather verbose, and we had just seen a documentary on Cleopatra’s sister that covered much of the same ground. All of the artifacts were neat to see, but fairly generic to the Egyptian style. The final piece, however, was a contract actually signed by Cleopatra, that actually warranted a picture.


After going through the exhibit, we booked it for the car, as our capacity for crowds had been exceeded. Of course, it being 3:30 in the afternoon and working our way from downtown back to the Valley, there was no shortage of crowds on the freeway either. We went to Senor Sol for dinner, made a stopover at home, and then went to the theater to complete our historical journey with a showing of Lincoln. The movie was fantastic, I’ll go into it more in a year-end movie wrap up in the next couple days.

History influences us all everyday, and it is certainly great to be able to experience such a wide range of it in a single day. Such is the power of the modern age we live in. History has always been one of my favorite subjects, and days like this feed my historical geeky side. Speaking of ancient history and my personal history, today is the birthday of my best friend since high school, so I’ll wrap by saying here: Happy Birthday Stephen!

Weight: 222 Loss: 18 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 363.7 miles
Fitocracy Level: 26 ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , .

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  1. Mom said

    Dad and I saw the Enterprise out in Palmdale back in the 80s. I like the full circle of you visiting one that has been in space.

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