Traveling: Yes! We Are Going to Disney Again

“Y’all are going to Disney, again?”

We get that question a lot…like there is a limit to the number of times one can go.

The first vacation we took as a couple was to Walt Disney World. I took over a new responsibility at work, that was making me feel really stressed.  (Funny, now it’s the one I worry about the least).  I just wanted to get away.  Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s best friend lived in Orlando and so we had a place to stay.  In fact, her sister was going to UCF so we had two places to stay.  This covers the biggest hurdle for repeated visits: having a place to lay your head.

However, we still have a blast.  Yes, we still enjoy riding rides even though we don’t just ride rides.  We enjoy the food if you go beyond just quick service (and even some of those are better than others). We enjoy shopping at the different shops, even though we don’t buy all that much.  We definitely love people watching.  We look for meltdowns by kids and parents. We look for the newlywed couples that are starting their new lives by returning to their childhoods for a week.  We enjoy watching the family reunions and seeing the oldest in the group act just like the youngest when seeing a character.

Other vacations are work for us. Going to Europe, driving across country, doing study abroad, these are not relaxing vacations.  Because we have been to Disney so many times, it is relaxing for us.  We don’t have the pressure of making sure we have to do everything. We don’t have the pressure of running to a fast pass across the park.  The closest we have to pressure is making sure we are at our reservations if we have time.

Sometimes, we do enjoy staying on grounds, and in particular camping at Disney.  In fact, if your child is old enough to recognize Mickey Mouse, but not ride rides, then Fort Wildness is a perfect way to have a Disney experience.  They have two major pools, tons of activities, and character experiences. There is a character themed restaurant, and Chip and Dale often have a campfire event. If you are tent camping, it can get really cheap.

For us, Disney World will always be special.  It’s where I had the courage to tell Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple I love her for the first time.  It’s where we took my sister after she graduated from college.  Her family has more than one reunion at the park.  We have run races there. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sisters have completed their first half-marathon there (you can read about one of those stories here).  It’s a place where memories do get made.

We will be going at least once over Spring Break since we will be there for Star Wars Celebration. We will bring our new camera and try to see the parks with fresh eyes again.

I know we are not the only Disney fanatics out there.  We have tons of friends who go, some even more often than us.  I think it’s because we have one thing in common.  We forget how old we are there and turn into kids ourselves.  Sure, we are falling into the marketing trap, but if we are having fun, who cares?

Parading: The Krewe of Apollo

Yes, there are plenty of parades in the New Orleans area.  If you are one of our readers from outside of New Orleans you are probably familiar with these parades.  However, Mardi Gras extends throughout Cajun country (and into the coastal parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida).  Mr. Nola Nerd Couple hails from the small town of Lockport, Louisiana.   Every year, on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Lockport rolls throughout the town. It’s a special parade because literally it one giant family party. Here is our posts on the last two years of this parade.

2016 Krewe of Apollo

2015 Krewe of Apollo

Of course, we will be at the parade this Saturday.  It rolls at noon, and sure promises to be a good way to pass the time, cher.

Hope to see you there!Krewe of Apollo

 

Traveling: The Science Museum

During our study abroad in Scotland and Ireland, we had a free weekend.  We had three things we wanted to visit: Hampton Court Palace, The London Comic Con, and the Science Museum.

Being a computer science teacher, the Science Museum was definitely a must see for me.  We only really had an hour to visit the museum but that was enough to see what I wanted.

The museum is located in South Kensington in London and the entrance is free.  Some of the items that are there are the first jet engine and a reconstruction of the Francis Crick’s and James Watson’s model of DNA. We took some time during the first floor and toured the Power exhibit which helps tell the story of the Industrial Revolution in Britain.  We also looked as some of the space and flight exhibits.

However, most of our time was spent in the computing section.  There they have examples of Napier’s Bones and other computing devices.  I was in awe when I came across Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine.  The science also has the coolest odd exhibit I’ve ever seen in that they have Charles Babbage’s brain on display.

Here are some pictures of our trip to the Science Museum:

 

It was truly great to see some of the items, such as Babbage’s Machines fully built after years of reading about them and teaching about them.  If you want to learn more I highly recommend The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua.

Many of the great museums of London are publically funded which means they are free to go.  They do accept donations which we gladly gave.  If you plan a trip to London, plan a museum visit.  And we highly recommend the Science Museum.

Traveling – Hampton Court Palace

During a free weekend during our Scotland-Ireland study abroad, we took the opportunity to go to London.  There was a huge comic con going on that we wanted to attend, plus we would also have time for the Science Museum and Hampton Court Palace.

On our first day in London, we headed to Hampton Court Palace which is upstream on the Thames from London. We thought about taking a boat ride but logistically we couldn’t make it work.  The palace belonged to Cardinal Wosely, Henry VIII seized it when Wosely’s star fell. Only St. James’s Palace in London and Hampton Court survive from Henry VIII’s time.  Hampton is a huge estate and one that, even though we spent most of the day there, we only half explored.

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Traveling: LIGO in Livingston Parish, Louisiana

We originally planned to post this before the third Saturday, or Science Saturday, of August.  And then the rains came.  They didn’t stop.  LIGO is located in Livingston Parish, one of the parishes that received the worst of it. LIGO made out ok.  They will be having their Science Saturday this week on the 17th. 

Mr. and Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple craves adventure and excitement. It’s the reason why we are not Jedi. We love to go explore new nerdy things. And what could be nerdier than touring a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO for short.

LIGO is a research facility used to detect and understand gravitational waves. Its a facility that “use laser interferometry to measure the minute ripples in space-time caused by passing gravitational waves from cataclysmic cosmic sources such as the mergers of pairs of neutron stars or black holes, or by supernovae. LIGO consists of two widely separated interferometers within the United States—one in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana—operated in unison to detect gravitational waves.”  My physics knowledge is too weak to paraphrase that long quote.

That’s why we went to LIGO for Science Saturday.

On the third Saturday of every month, LIGO Livingston hosts a Science Saturday so we took the opportunity in July to attend one. The events are free and include a tour of the facility including the control room. There is also a hands-on area to demonstrate how physics works in the real world. Each month there is a different theme. The week we went was “Swing into Science” that had some homemade (read: you could recreate at home) pendulums with explanations.  We did one that had a pendulum that swung back and forth.  I had to wear a set of glasses that had one lens dark and the other clear. A volunteer came, without us asking, and explained how to conduct the experiment.  He  moved the pendulum and while I was wearing the glasses, I could see the pendulum move in a 360-degree circle.  Mrs. Nola nerd Couple confirmed that it was not moving in a circle just back and forth.  I switched the dark and clear over my eyes: the pendulum rotated the opposite direction.  Moral of the lesson: don’t drive with only one lens in your sunglasses.

The tour of the facility was interesting, but I would lie if I said that I understood it all.  They did talk about megaparsecs which  as everyone, but Han Solo, knows is a measure of length not time.  We also learned that to discover the sounds of gravitational waves, you had to subtract other sounds. They had different monitors that measured sounds. Of course, between 10 pm to 6 am, we as a species are a lot quieter than from 6am to 10 pm. By eliminating different waves from different sources could start focusing on gravitational waves. Then on September 14, 2015, they detected gravitational waves.


The best part is the hands-on educational exhibits.  Besides the science project ones, they have more sophisticated permanent exhibits.  All teach you about physics.  We learned a lot while we played.  Families were enjoying their day and the place was busy the entire time we were there.

So, if you are looking for something fun and free to do with your kids or just because you are nerds like us, we can’t recommend LIGO high enough.

Traveling: Historic Philadelphia

Happy Fourth of July! As we are celebrating America’s independence today, we thought it would be appropriate to showcase where the birth our independence started: Philadelphia. We took a fantastic vacation to Philly last month and being the history buffs that we are, fully immersed ourselves in early America’s history while there.

Ben Franklin was everywhere we went in Philadelphia.

Ben Franklin was everywhere we went in Philadelphia.

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Traveling: Last Day in Dublin

The last day of our trip in Dublin was spent mainly riding the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus. We didn’t take many pictures, mainly due to bad weather, but also do to what I call travel exhaustion.

I really don’t remember much about this day except that we were practically out of Euros, so this is just a picture post.

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We did board a plane to London that night. We stayed in a Nice section of Shepard’s Bush not too far from Earl’s Court.  The next day we took the train to Hampton Court so we could time travel to the time of Henry VIII.