Tuesday, April 18, 2006

science teachers and space aliens

so, now that things have calmed down a bit, I can catch you all up on the last two weeks. after the conference in san francisco, I headed down to Anaheim for another conference, NSTA. there were a crazy amount of people there, we were guessing like at least 5,000 teachers. massive. the conference was held in the convention center and three nearby hotels. seriously. I got to see a few good talks. Jean-Michel Cousteau was there and K.C. Cole, a science writer who used to write for the LA Times. there were a few other interesting things, but mostly I remember the exhibition hall, otherwise known as science nerd heaven. basically, there were all these booths set up by different organizations and companies, most of them giving away lots of free stuff. I got bags full of NASA posters and hurricane stuff from NOAA and free waterbottles and stickers and computer software and things like that. it was cool. the Sea World booth had two little penguins visit one day (sooo cute) and there were some weird bugs at another. all in all, the conference wasn't all that bad and the weather was definitely an improvement over san fran.

the best part was probably Friday afternoon, though, because I snuck off to Disneyland for the evening. they have these twilight tickets that are good after 4pm, so it was actually a pretty good deal. I hadn't been there in a while and I really really wanted to go on the new and improved space mountain (my all-time favorite ride). I had to wait in line for about 45 minutes when I first got there, but it was definitely worth it. it was much faster, darker (they took out that orange star in the middle), and had a cool soundtrack. and I even managed to go again right before they closed. I did the Disneyland sprint and got myself on all the major rides except for pirates of the caribbean (closed for renovation) and splash mountain (too cold) in about six hours. yes, I went by myself, but it was ok for two reasons: 1. this way I could do exactly what I wanted to when I wanted to and not worry about dragging someone else along. this allowed me to get on all the rides and see the fireworks and everything. and 2. I wasn't really by myself. I have been there so many times with so many different people, that I had all those wonderful memories with me as I walked along main street and waited in line for star tours and bought a churro in front of the magic castle. it was really nice.
oh, and there was a new ride involving buzz lightyear and the little martian dudes. it was pretty fun, you get to be a space ranger and shoot a "laser gun" at targets to take down the evil emperor zurg. the best part, though, was at the end. they took your picture just like a bunch of the other rides, but this time instead of charging you $8 for it, they let you email it to yourself for free! how cool is that? here's my awful picture:

I'm a level 3 space ranger!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

san fran pics

well I made it back from Anaheim safe and sound. except, my luggage decided to keep on traveling without me and made a side trip to Baltimore. luckily, it decided to come back later that evening so I wasn't without it for too long.
I will post more about NSTA later. for now, here are some pictures from the rainy trip to San Francisco.

the famous cable cars

riding along the street on the cable car

a look down on Lombard Street

Ghirardelli Square

me being a total dork

Jen, with some big boat behind her


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

city of rain (and science educators)

so, today ended my time at NARST this year. tomorrow morning I am leaving rainy San Francisco for hopefully sunny Anaheim for NSTA. the last three days have been really good. sunday was spent mostly travelling and getting situated here.
monday morning we had sometime before the conference started, so we did a bit of touristy sight-seeing. we took the cable car from our hotel near Union Square up to Ghirardeli Square. it was raining a bit, and very foggy, so we couldn't actually see the Golden Gate bridge from where we were, but we knew it was there. we then walked down the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. we had a nice lunch at Boudin's and then took the F street car down to the Embarcadero Center, where our conference was. I think I got a few good pictures, so I will post those up later when I get back home.
the conference itself was great. I went to lots of interesting talks and was able to talk to some people about my research interests and future things. I have plenty of reading to do now.
also, even more excitingly I was able to see some old UCSD friends today. I had lunch with Mike Ficken, one of the fellow infamous seven RAs. he is going to law school here and it was nice to catch up with him. also, it was pretty hilarious yesterday when I was registering for the conference: someone yelled "Cynthia!" and I turned around and it was Emily! I wasn't expecting to see her at this conference, but it makes sense she was here and it was really good to see her. we went out to dinner tonight and caught up on all sorts of things, from our physics education programs to stuff going on with our group of friends. hopefully we will be able to keep in touch better from now on.
so, I will be a bit sad to say goodbye to San Francisco tomorrow, but I must move on to my next conference this week. hopefully it won't be raining in Anaheim.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

the week ahead

so, I finalized plans on Thursday as to what exactly I will be doing this coming week. the original plan was to go to the NSTA conference from wednesday to sunday, but after my class last wednesday night, my professor was really insistent that I try to get myself to the NARST conference in the first half of the week. she was so insistent in fact that she volunteered to pay for part of my trip if I could get the funding for the rest. so, I emailed some people the next morning, and next thing I know, I have a flight Sunday morning (that would be about eight hours from now) to San Francisco for one conference, and then another flight on Wednesday from San Fran to Anaheim for the second conference. I'll get back next Sunday, so it will be a long week away.
I am looking forward to it, though. it should be great to meet some new people and talk about all this stuff I'm interested in. hopefully it won't rain the entire time in San Francisco so I can get some good pictures. I will update from the road.