Friday, April 24, 2015

Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center and NASA Wake Up Calls

... Finally the sun disappears altogether
and then the moon,
shining still more brightly,
proudly ascend the throne of the sun.
I greet you, Madam,
the stars seem to say.
~Anais Nin

California Science Center

After visiting my grandma, in Whittier, and doing our night out in Hollywood at the El Capitan Theater, we got up the next morning and headed to the California Science Center. 

There is so much to see at the Science Center, but our main objective was to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour!

But first a little history and context ...

Ben in front of the Apollo-Soyuz Command Module.

Click here for more info on Apollo and its 1975  mission.

Not much room in there for 3 astronauts! These modules carried those guys from the Earth to lunar orbit ...

Just a few days after visiting the Science Center there was a story on the radio about NASA's Space Shuttle wake up calls. It was interesting and moving hearing how songs are decided on, to start their day. The first ever wake up call was apparently "Hello Dolly." 

Often, the songs are picked by the family members of the astronauts. I started getting weepy hearing about a song picked for Columbia's last mission, when the crew members were killed on re-entry. One of their songs was Amazing Grace, on the bagpipes.

Some songs have been used more than once, like Elton John's "Rocket Man" and Louis Armstrong's 
"What a Wonderful World."

Here is the radio podcast of the great interview about NASA Wake up calls I listened to on PRI ...

Another song used for a NASA wake up call, was from Michael Stipe of R.E.M. ...

Above and below is the Mercury Redstone 2 capsule. This is the actual capsule in which they sent up the four year old chimp, Ham! Not very much room in there, but apparently it was a short flight. 16 minutes, 39 seconds. Click here for more about the mission.

How cool is this 1960 space suit?! I think Michael Jackson must have taken notes! It's on loan from the Smithsonian.

Now, this is the astronaut of my childhood! (Also on loan from the Smithsonian!)

Penny and Ben, below, checking out the spacecrafts ...

Pioneer 10 is the big blue one, at the bottom of the following photo. (A model)
It was launched in March of 1972, and was the first to cross the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. At the time, no one was sure a spacecraft could survive the trip. It took the first close-up data and images Jupiter and it was the first spacecraft to leave our solar system! In 2001 it was more than 7 billion miles from the sun!

My brain just won't wrap it's way around those numbers!

To read more about Pioneer 10, which sent it's last signal to NASA in January of 2003, click here.

The little round silver one, in the right of the photo below is a full scale model of Sputnik. 22 inches in diameter. Little huh? The 22 inches that launched the space race! For more on that, click here.

I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars
make me dream.
~Vincent van Gogh

Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhitibiton 

Ever wonder where astronauts "do their business?"

Endeavour was built to replace the challenger and first launched in 1992. It made 25 successful missions and below Penny and Ben are checking out the wall of missions, with photos of the astronauts who took them.

Samuel Oshin Pavillion 

From underneath the shuttle ... each individual tile has information!

I remember when they brought the space shuttle back to LA, piggy backed on a 747. I was pulling out of my garage and looked up. Let me tell you, it was a sight to behold! 

I didn't think I would see it because I'd heard about the flight path on the news, but what do you know? ... a perfect and seemingly close up view from my driver's side window, my mouth hanging open. It was flying low and the whole thing looked enormous!

The shots in the following video get more interesting at about 3:50, going by Dodger's Stadium, then downtown and the Coliseum.  After 7:15 minutes Univeral Studios then the Hollywood Hills.

My friend who teaches at an elementary school, said all the kids were out on the field waiting and so exited when they saw it go over!

Getting it from LAX and through town, to the Science Center, was no small feet and was all over the news! Here is a time lapse of the its journey through town, past shops, apartments and throngs of onlookers!

Some concept models of how it could be eventually be displayed.

This Chamber in the science center blows hurricane force winds. I think it went up to 80!

 And of course, we had to get a photo of Benjamin with Endeavour!

The Science Center is next to U.S.C., and not far from Downtown Los Angeles, so we decided to do lunch in Little Tokyo!


For more on the Endeavour, click here.

If you want to see the Space Shuttle in action, this is an edited piece from NASA, of shots from Endeavour's last mission.

One more musical gem, played for many an astronaut on many a mission ... 
Live in 1972

I loved the stars too fondly
to be fearful of the night.

Blessings and light!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hollywood El Capitan and Cinderella

270 yards of ball gown! 3 miles of hems, and 10,000 Swarovski Crystals ...

When my sister and nephew came into town, we had a night out in Hollywood. (My nephew's request.) We got tickets online for Cinderella at the El Capitan, the old 1920s theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It's owned now by Disney so they always play their new films and documentaries there, and usually have a pre-show. 

What I love is that they usually have costumes there, from the movies. You might remember that from my Muppet movie post. 

There is a beautiful old organ in the theater and, that night, an organist playing it ...

Below, you can see the organist going down into the stage at the end of his set.

From the rafters, a blast of confetti, just before the show ...

Unlikely that you've missed the trailer but just in case ... 

I think my sis and I enjoyed the film a lot more than Benjamin, who is 9. He did say he liked the mice though! I loved the actress, Lily James, who played Cinderella (Rose on Downton Abbey!) The film was beautifully shot and definitely worth seeing, unless maybe your are a 9 year old boy!

Of course, I always appreciate costumes! My grandmother did costumes for all sorts of productions, including the light opera. My mom has made countless costumes and I designed costumes, living in San Diego, so I have a huge love of the craft. (I also love wearing them, but that's another whole subject!)

Fairy Godmother ...

Stepmother and stepsisters' dresses for the palace ball ...

Little princesses everywhere!

This Cinderella doll actually looked more like Anna Paquin, from True Blood! Am I right?

Heading from the El Capitan Theater and up into the Hollywood and Highland shopping area, where we parked ...

Hollywood and Highland

My sister said that the one thing she missed in the live action film, was the music. So just for her ... (I could only find the sing-a-long version to embed in the post! Excuse the awful intro and the even worse voice over tag at the end! eek!)

And the original 1950 Disney Trailer, for the animated feature ... (Is it me or did the same person do every single movie trailer voice over in the 50s? Love it!)

Of course, I love "So This is Love" which is so beautifully animated! If you want to see, click here.
But here are the lovely voices of Ilene Woods and Mike Douglas. :)

So this is love, mmmmm
So this is love 
So this is what makes life divine.
I'm all aglow, 
And now I now
The key to all heaven is mine ...

My heart has wrings, mmmmmm
And I can fly
I'll touch every star in the sky.
So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of.

So this is love.
~Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman

(So sweet, huh?!)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Los Angeles ~ Signs of Spring

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Spring has sprung here in L.A. ...

The accountant from my old commercial agency sells roses at the farmers' market, in Larchmont Village. If I show up toward the end, and she has extras ...

Touches of pink are everywhere. Even through the glass at the pet store! Love this little chameleon!

Spring is when life's alive in everything.
~Christina Rossetti

Outside work ...

Oh! And I red about Daiso, this dollar-fifty store chain, and decided to scope it out. Turns out that there is one not to far from me, in a little shopping mall in Koreatown.

Almost everything is a buck fifty. I think I only saw a few other items for 3 bucks.

My best find were little stainless steel bento lunch containers, but these mini spice spoons and soft cheese knifes (at least that is what I am using them for!) below, were so cute and prettily packaged! Couldn't resist!

Cheap art supplies? What? Adorable.

I also bought some floral sponges that will be so cute in the kitchen. I am definitely going back! 

My grandma gave me this tray she found at the Assistance league thrift shop. Perfect for my little stones and crystals, and fits nicely in my bedroom window!

Never yet was a springtime, 
when the buds forgot to bloom.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangester 

Speaking of my grandma, my sister and nephew came into town and we went out to my grandma's, in Whittier, to hang out and have lunch. Don't you love blossoming trees? I mean, who doesn't, but it really might be my favorite sign of spring.

Love this painting my grandma did!

I took the next two shots on another visit. Aren't these delicate, old, coin purses and bags lovely?

This silhouette is of my mom and done by my grandma. It hangs with 3 more silhouettes of my mom's sisters and are on the way up the stairs. They remind me of my childhood when I had to stand as tall as I could to see them, while trying not to fall down the stairs.

That night my sister, Ben and I headed to West Hollywood to Yoshi Sushi and then to see Cinderella at the El Capitan Theater. The next day, we went down to Exposition Park to see the Space Shuttle and then to Little Tokyo. I will save that for another post! It was a very busy 28 hours!

Writing this post, I've been listening to my Elton John mix. Here's one to share ...

Expect to have hope rekindled.
Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways.
The dry seasons in life do not last.
The spring rains will come again.
~Sarah Ban Breathnach 

Blessings and light!