It's in the stars II

SagittariusHaving a good time is more work than it’s worth. Yield to your fate and work like a dog (from The Baltimore Sun).

I know that most horoscopes are made up on the spot as a way to fill that awkward gap between “Dear Abby” and Sudoko, but every once in a while the stars prove to be right.

As anyone who’s seen the news over the past week knows, Baltimore (and much of the rest of the country) was hit by a massive snow\ice storm that made any kind of travel next of travel next to impossible (especially since no one in this city has heard of rock salt). Because of this storm and its aftermath, I’ve been stuck inside all week waiting for conditions to improve – suffice to say my errands were beginning to mount (I nearly killed myself trying to get milk on Thursday).

First stop, the bank, and then I went to go across the street to GameStop to trade in my DS games. The staff was friendly enough, but they were in the process of restocking and the other associate was always interrupting about needing the key [for the display case]. The third stop was going to be the Dollar Store (as it was on the same level as GameStop), but I decided to skip that step and go directly to stop four – the Barnes & Noble at Power Plant.

I step into the store, and the security alarm goes off. They never desensitized the games I bought before I left GameStop (though oddly enough their security gate didn’t go off as I left the store). Sadly it’s not the first time I’ve been the victim of sloppy check-outs (not at the same store) just the first time I’ve had a blog to talk about it.

I browsed through the magazines and decided to look for books about my new hometown. I found the magazines I was looking for, but nothing in the Maryland section really caught my eye. I made my way to check out, showed my B&N card, and proceeded to leave with the security team’s blessing.

That meant all my work was done for the day (and it wasn’t even noon yet), but that didn’t mean I was going to waste a perfectly good Friday afternoon. No sir, I was going to tempt fate and try to have some fun – big mistake.

Sometime fate gives us subtle warnings of what’s to come; in this case it was the fact that the entire walkway leading up to the entrance to the Maryland Science Center was one gigantic sheet of ice (and the very definition of “a lawsuit waiting to happen”).

Inside the museum, I follow the empty cue to a rather bored looking cashier whose associate was chatting idly with one of the security guards. I take my ticket and the Hurricane Orange wristband and head over to put my jacket\bags in the coat check area when I’m chased down by the same security guard who was leaning against the counter less than a foot away from me when I bought my ticket and demanded to see said ticket. Seriously, MSC, what the fuck?

It was just as well since there was no-one over there anyway. Anyway, I re-cross the lobby and look for somewhere to have a quick lunch. I found the museum cafeteria, and true to form, it offered sub-par food at super-par prices. It also offered a variety of bodily sound effects (from the third floor) that were at such a high volume that it made the entire atrium eating area vibrate, but my meal was officially ruined when they reached the extra loud canned pissing noise. Burps and farts I can handle, but I draw the line at “water sports.”

I head back to the lobby and quickly pass through the Maryland dinosaur exhibit. I stop by Terra Link, a high tech infill designed to educate museum goers on “the latest and greatest” in geologic\earth science news using a series of interactive videos and hard copy mini-reports on “Green Power” and “Winter Weather Preparedness.”

As I’m in this section, an announcement comes over PA system about a show starting shortly in the planetarium. One of the main reasons I stopped by the museum was to see their new Dark Matters show in the planetarium, but the volunteer attendant told me that that show wasn’t until 2pm so I ignored the announcement – bigger mistake.

Dark Matters is at 1pm (2pm on Saturdays), but there was another show at 4pmthat’s three full hours!

This wouldn’t have been so bad except that the museum was installing not one but two new exhibits simultaneously (thus explaining the deafening body noises). This meant that much of the second floor was inaccessible, and, sadly for me, the third floor was dedicated mainly to young children (who like canned body noises).

I didn’t buy the IMAX package so that option was out too (just as well since the only thing playing during that time was that horrible CGI flick Fly Me to the Moon)

I toured their Space Link area (another infill exhibit – this one, obviously with a “space” theme), watched their “Science on a Sphere” show, and took in half a show at the “Demo Stage” (how NASA scientists use liquid nitrogen in the space program).

I now had two hours to kill. Sure, I could have left, but where I go? There was no possible way I could find – no less go through – AVAM and be back in time for the planetarium show.

I walked through the gift shop (which took all of five minutes), and marveled at how the same IMAX films they were showing for $7 in their theater cost 5 times as much on DVD in the science store. I then took a seat on the bench outside the science store and read the new issue of B (ditto).

I somewhat reluctantly sat in on the regular planetarium show at 3pm, and with 25 minutes until the show I wanted to see started, I headed out to the stairway to the lobby and stared out at the harbor until they announced the opening of the show (apparently, they sent someone out earlier with a shovel as there was now a narrow path leading from the museum door down to the promenade).

I was going to write a full review of Dark Matters for this blog, but frankly I don’t get enough visitors [to the blog] to justify the effort. The show ended, and I could leave to take the train back to midtown – just in time for rush hour.

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