Monday, November 05, 2012

One day at a time.

Elections are tomorrow. I was worn out on the media hype, attack ads, and pithy Facebook posts back in March, so I sincerely hope that all the people who have an opinion one way or the other go out tomorrow, do their civic duty, and then graciously accept the final decision and look forward as a country, and not hate-filled, polarized individuals intent on striking out at anyone who disagrees with them.

*sigh* Now that I have that off my chest I'll get on with the events of the day.

A few weeks ago we RSVP'd for an open house night at the local university's planetarium. They've done some heavy renovating over the past year, and this was a "teaser" evening to allow the public in before they have the official grand opening in February. We weren't 100% sure what the program would be, but we thought it would make for an interesting diversion, and perhaps Small might enjoy seeing the ceiling full of stars. It turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable hour- the head of the department gave a brief overview of the night sky and pointed out the constellations currently visible in our hemisphere, and then they had a slide show discussion regarding Curiosity and some of the photos coming back from Mars. Small was suitably impressed with the star-gazing aspect and piped up several times when Dr. Hurd asked the assembled group questions (which had most of the college students laughing).  There were perhaps two dozen people in attendance all told, and the department had a small reception with star cookies and punch for afterwards, which Small thought was the absolute bees' knees... Dr. Hurd even dished her out a cup of punch and thanked us for coming personally. Earlier in the evening I wasn't feeling well and had considered blowing it off, but in hindsight I'm really glad we went. We had an enjoyable family outing for just the price of gas, there was a positive educational aspect, and now we have plans to go back for the grand opening to see what it will be like when everything is fully up and running (which should also be a nice distraction from the typical gloom of February).

In the few university towns where I've lived there appears to be a large demarcation between the university population and that of the townsfolk, as though the university is some sort of strange parasite that the town is forced to live with. Would that attitude change if more people took advantage of events like the one we attended tonight? Or would people continue to gripe because they are forced to deal with college students in their midst and pay taxes to support the institution, whether they want to or not? The Sunday paper regularly has "free to the public" events hosted by the various area colleges, ranging from concerts to lectures to gallery openings, and half a dozen other things besides. If the offer is there, why not take advantage of it?

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