After 30 years, it seems sensible to look back a bit and reflect on the life that was, and the life that will be. It would be wise to think about the contrast between my first decade, the second and third, all of which led to to where I am now. After all, it is the ability to learn from the past that can help secure the future.
But I won’t. I will, however, share a story from the day. Jodi and I hopped the Caltrain late this morning, after a fine breakfast at “Stacks”:http://www.stacksrestaurant.com/ in Menlo Park. Our ultimate destination was “the Tech Museum”:http://www.thetech.org in San Jose. I’ve wanted to go for a while, and a birthday is a prime opportunity to hang out at the premiere interactive museum on this side of the peninsula. I had insisted we catch the light rail in Mountain View, since it takes you right past NASA Ames and Lockheed Martin. Besides, I’d never in five years taken the light rail anywhere on this peninsula.
Needless to say, the light rail trip was fun. Not only did we get a “NASA commuter’s” view of the road the Ames, we got to see all the cool “No unauthorized sketching or photography” signs around Lockheed! The trip was long, and less direct than just staying on the Caltrain the whole time. But it was worth it – I always like seeing the world through public transportation. It’s so freeing to abandon the highway, hit the rails, hop from train to train.
The Tech was great. The interactive exhibits, including a dummy with a small probe and a camera inserted into its “liver”, were a lot of fun. Kids and adults alike were having a ball with all the goodies there. Jodi and I even checked out a mocked-up clean room, where they had a wafer handling machine with a huge mirror over it, so you could see into the machine without leaning.
In addition, you could sit in a chair inside a 3-D scanner and have a full image of your head taken. They give you a wrist tag when you enter, and when you wave it in front of exhibits (including the scanner), you can later re-explore your adventures on the museum website. I had my own adventure getting a windows machine that could run the VRML plugin. Anyway, the result is a remarkably creepy likeness of myself!
To close, here is the story I mentioned at the beginning. Jodi and I were checking out a series of remote-control submersibles. I got engrossed and lost track of Jodi, so that when I turned to look for her she was gone. I took a few steps, looked past the single-occupant submarine simulator and around toward the Mars bio-dome. I went a few more steps, still didn’t see her, and started to head into a small theater with a Jupiter flight simulator playing inside. A boy, maybe 11, walked up to me and said something like, “Excuse me, mister? If you’re looking for your daughter, she’s in the spaceship.” He pointed to the sub simulator I’d walked by. My first reaction was to correct him, saying, “Oh, my wife. Thanks!”
I’m 30. Do I look old enough to be Jodi’s father already? CREEPY.