Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Superpower Dogs

It all started with a dog that did not have super powers so much as a super bad looking eye that was swollen shut. Tuesday May 7th, when Snoopy gazed up at us, we were shocked to see he was unable to open his left eye beyond a slit and we had no idea why. Did he run into something? Did he get part of a weed or a rock in his eye? Only a trip to the vet could help solve the mystery.

Did you know dogs have a third eyelid? I did not. One eyelid goes up, one goes down, and a third goes sideways. The vet numbed Snoopy's eye and he cooperated while they lift up that third eyelid and looked underneath. The cause remained undiscovered but we came home with Benadryl pills, eye ointment, and a cone of shame to prevent Snoopy from pawing at his eye.

He got the cone off two weeks later, yesterday. All is well but we never learned the instigating event. But see? Snoopy now has two big round brown open eyes, again! I could not get him to smile for the camera, though.

There was one positive upshot out of this whole experience. While we were at the vet's we saw this poster advertisement for an IMAX movie about dogs with "superpowers". We thought Alex might like it so I checked out the website and learned it was playing at an IMAX theatre in the Tech Museum at San Jose. I got tickets online and Frank and I arranged to take him the next Sunday, May 12th, which happened to be Mother's Day.

We did not need to pay the $25 admission to the Tech Museum to go to the IMAX theatre or eat in the museum's cafe. We only needed to pay the $10 movie admission. The theatre entrance, cafe, and store are all on the second floor in the next photo and the exhibits are on the lower levels. Frank and I decided we definitely wanted to come back, just the two of us, and take in the rest of the Tech Museum on another trip. A parking garage was only a block away and the trip to San Jose was just under an hour.

We entered the IMAX Dome Theatre.

As we passed along the curved walkway outside its perimeter, I had Frank and Alex pose in front of the long wall mural. I captured only part of it. Frank suggested taking a panoramic shot to get it all in but I was unsuccessful. My skill at panoramic shots is sorely lacking. I must aim too low or not compensate for position on the cell phone screen because I never capture the upper portion of what I am viewing. This time I had chopped off both Frank and Alex heads and most of the skulls of the dogs, not to mention over half of the movie title. I got a good photo, though, of the blue crowd control ribbons between the lane stanchions. 

I settled instead for this normal landscape version. Maybe it is not full width, but at least I can see Frank's and Alex's faces, as well as the profiles of the majority of the dogs.

Inside the theatre is a very steep array of seats arranged in rows that form arcs facing the huge dome shaped screen.

Alex and Frank settle in to watch the show. We sat as far back as we could since those are the best seats to take it all in.

And the show began. It is the training and story of six dogs with "superpowers". The photography and scenery are truly awesome. It was fun to watch Alex's head swivel around as he tracked dogs walking across the huge, super wide screen. From left to right in the next "screenshot" (literally, a shot of the screen) are a
  • Bloodhound who, with his brother, track poachers in Africa
  • Newfoundland who does water rescue of people in Italy
  • Golden Retriever who senses and fills emotional needs of traumatized soldiers and disabled children
  • Border Collie who rescues people in avalanches
  • Dutch Shepherd who does urban search and rescue missions.

After the 50 minute show let out, we paused for a few photos near the poster. In this first one Frank captured Alex and me imitating the stance of the bloodhound.

Alex liked the dogs and even pointed to them on the poster. 

Notice he is wearing his Disney dog shirt sewn for him by his sister Robin.

There was a long winding staircase after exiting the theatre. Alex and Frank carefully and painstakingly made their way down it. I tried not to trip as I took their photo and I managed to succeed.

So after seeing Superpower Dogs and enjoying it immensely I strongly encourage you to find one showing in an IMAX theatre near you. Here are some especially good YouTube videos to entice you further

We'd had lunch in the cafe before the show and when we saw the luscious looking sweets, we decided to save having dessert for a second trip afterward. Frank had the carrot cupcake on the left and I had the heavenly chocolate one on the right. There was a long curly chocolate stick coming out from the center but I ate that and cut a wedge out before it occurred to me to take these photos.

We gave Alex, too, his choice of whatever he wanted. He is not very fond of cake, so these were the favorites he picked.

We shopped in the museum store where I bought socks, a tote bag, and some books as gifts. These were two of the books I bought at the Tech Museum store; they are also available on Amazon. The first is mainly photographs and large print for the younger readers.

The second one, about Halo, a disaster response dog, is an easy book designed for the young adult reader but it covers more of the facts about the training of these dogs and in more detail than would be possible in the 50 minute movie about seven dogs.

Before leaving we stopped in the restrooms. I have a penchant for noting unique lavatories when we go on outings. The crystalline shiny blue and red walls on these entrances were not particularly unusual, but they were strikingly pretty, I thought.

It was the item above the sinks within that really caught my eye. These devices that looked like airplanes flying out of the wall served both as faucets and hand dryers. Water came out of the center and jets of drying air came out of the two side "wings". This arrangement prevents any dripping on the floor on the way from the water source to the dryers and also eliminates the need for paper towels. It is a Tech Museum. I would be disappointed if there were not some sort of innovation!

As we exiting the museum we encountered a marble rolling contraption titled Science on a Roll by designer George Rhoads. For many more of his ball machine sculptures and better images of this one outside the Tech Museum check out Per his website
George Rhoads, born 1926, is a painter, origami artist, and sculptor best know for his “audiokinetic” ball machine sculptures that are on display in public spaces around the world, as well as in private collections.
 Here is are two side views from different angles and an end view.

On our way back to the car in the parking garage we walked by movie posters behind glass on the outer walls of the museum, along the sidewalk, showcasing each dog individually.
  • REEF  – Newfoundland (water rescue)
  • RICOCHET – Golden Retriever (surf and emotional support)
  • HALO – Dutch Shepherd (avalanche) 
  • HENRY Border Collie (urban rescue)
  • TIPPER & TONY – Bloodhounds (poachers)

We just had to stop a take a photo of this license plate since it bears Frank's initials FWC.

Strange as it seems, I wanted a photo of this lamp post since all along the street each was adorned with this fancy gold paint detailing work.

On the short stroll back to the car we also saw this public scooter phenomenon we were unaware of called BIRD.

Using an app on your phone (much like Uber) you can rent this scooter to get about the city and leave it once you get to your destination. Per the website
Bird's mission is to make cities more livable by reducing car usage, traffic, and carbon emissions.

It is available in 100+ cities. Among some are Minneapolis, where we vacationed last fall, in Oklahoma City where we will be later this spring, and Nashville where we will vacation this coming fall. Can you find a city near you in the list?

If you have no desire to ride one of these, perhaps it can be a job opportunity instead. Maybe you can start your own franchise with a fleet of scooters or make some extra money as a scooter charger each evening. Maybe you can get super rich even if you do not possess super powers! Food for thought... No matter. Frank, Alex, and I enjoyed our super outing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Easter 2019

Frank and I had a quiet, low-key Easter, Sunday April 21, 2019 at home with Alex. Frank and I had returned the previous Wednesday evening April 17th, from a visit to North Carolina (blog post dated 5/10/19). We were too preoccupied recuperating from travel to hazard anything too ambitious for the holiday. (Note it also took me a month to get around to blogging about Easter.) The following photos are two views of the dining room table set up for Easter morning. Carrots, bunnies, canned sausages, and chips... all Alex's favorites. He also likes Hershey Kisses and M&Ms.

The set of plates with instructions on How to Dye Easter Eggs is my touch of whimsy.

The bunny mugs and rabbit plates also make me smile. The jelly beans are for Frank.

Alex watched videos and did puzzles. The meal was simply a ham slice and Mrs T's pierogis. This blog is short and sweet, too, just capturing a few images for posterity.

I include a couple pictures of the jigsaw puzzle Frank and I completed and cleared off the butcher block table the day before Easter to make space for Alex's puzzle work. I took these pictures to prove we completed this puzzle because I am NEVER EVER assembling it again. It was too dang hard to fit together to be any fun. The colors blurred into each other and appeared in multiple places.

Over my strong protestations, Frank offered this puzzle to our friends John and Marita with whom we enjoy a game afternoon/evening once a month. They too love puzzles and the picture is indeed pretty. We shall see when they start to put it together. I hope they remain our friends.