Archive for April, 2008

Exploring Cal – Senior Hall

Every April, UC Berkeley hosts Cal Day an open house for neighbors, alumni and prospective students. Most of the departments have presentations. Life sciences always draws a crowd with life, stuffed and preserved animals. This year our favorite activity was a geocache treasure hunt around campus. We also visited Senior Hall (above). Built in 1906 by the Order of the Golden Bear, the large log cabin was the de fact student union. Currently an effort is underway to raise the funds to renovate the building. In 1974 the Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and has landmark status.

Nettie on the Lady Washington

On Friday my class went to the tall ships in Sausalito. The Lady Washington is a trading ship from the mid-1700s, and the Hawaiian Chieftain is another trading ship from the mid-1800s. We sailed around the Bay on the Lady Washington, and it was really cool! While we were on the boat, the sailors taught us different sea words. Avast means to stop, hold, and listen. If you are pulling on a rope when someone says “Avast!” you don’t want to let go of the rope, or it will go shooting back up. We also learned how to hoist the sails! Pulling on ropes makes you a bit hot and sweaty after a while. All the sailors who work on the boat dress as sailors from the mid-1700s. At the end I took this picture of “Martha”, who’s named after the boat, or the boat is named after her, whichever.

Cologne Space Invader

I saw this orange space invader on the way out to dinner. You can find dozens of these little guys in cities around the world. They’re mosaics created and placed by street artist, Invader. According to his web site, this is one of 24 in Cologne. You can see pictures of space invaders from around the world here on Flickr.

Europe’s Largest Garage

This parking garage in Cologne is, on the authority of my driver, Europe’s largest. It stretches over 4KM, but only has three entrances. Many of the parking stalls have elevators that allow one car to be parked above another. According to my driver, it has been built to withstand the periodic flooding of the Rhine, although any cars left in the lot will be completely submerged.

Buran on the Rhine

Just as we were wrapping up a day long meeting at the EA offices in Cologne, we stepped out of the conference room for some fresh air and noticed a space shuttle floating up the Rhine. It was a former Soviet Buran (Blizzard) orbiter on its way to the Technical Museum in the city of Speyer. Scientific American has a news item on it.

Miss Driftwood

The beaches we visited this week were piled high with driftwood. Using found lumber, Nettie instructed us on the proper construction of a Laura Ingles log cabin. We also built sculptures including this life-sized girl.

Dam Building


While Annabel watercolored, Nettie, Peabody and built a three yard wide dam to contain a small creek that fed into the Pacific. The creek was the source of several activities including: driftwood races, rock throwing and throwing rocks at driftwood.

At Land’s End


We’re back from a couple days on the Mendocino Coast. This was our third stay at the cabins at Mar Vista between Gualala and Point Arena. Nettie and Peabody love that the owners have rabbits, goats and chickens that they can get eggs from in the afternoon. The cottages are near some great beaches including Schooner Beach (above).