How many scientists does it take to… Oh, sorry. Did you nod off there, or was that just me? How can a planet as sexy as Venus, with her tempestuous atmosphere be made to sound so predictable and dull as it was in the not-so-sensational media today? If the Venus de Milo had arms, she would have gnawed them off herself to get away from whatever was chaining her to the room full of astronomers taking turns giving play-by-plays of what they were beholding through the telescope. Hmm… Maybe that was the last time Venus was in transit in front of the sun, back when the Venus de Milo was being sculpted? Another mystery solved!
In any event, today was a terrific Tuesday, chock-a-block with several mini-firsts, all of which were infinitely better than a day in the office. It started with a walk across town to meet LeLa to return a book I had borrowed – yes, that is now considered a remarkable event in my day. Ah, retirement, my newfound lover, I am not sure if I ever want our fling to end! On my way over there, I decided to randomly meander and took a new-to-me route through the recently built CityPlace condos on Navy Wharf Court behind the SkyDome (I still refuse to call it the Rogers Centre, because some changes, like Donkey in Shrek said, are bad). It’s really lovely in there – who knew?!?
Later on that afternoon, I stopped by the inaugural Good Food Market in ‘South Riverdale’ (aka West Leslieville), whose mandate as part of FoodShare is to improve access to fresh, affordable healthy produce from field to table. A lovely woman there proudly sold me a piece of her pretty pottery that she had made as part of a woman’s initiative. The positive vibe perfectly reflected the afternoon glow of the sun on everyone. I then swung by the River Rock Café, which also emanated amazing energy, as exemplified by the proprietor when I asked her what their usual hours were, and she replied that it depended on who came in towards closing time, and if they wanted her to prepare some evening meals to go. Talk about service!
Back home, I finally figured out how to cache content from Slacker Radio on my phone, which made it infinitely better for playing back stations continuously without buffering, not to be confused with Buffy-ing, although the battle I was having with my phone before that was indeed leaving me with thoughts of slaying it. And so I giggled the afternoon away listening to its comedy station, as I waited patiently for the day’s main attraction to begin from the comfort of my own couch.
You see, I had intended to go to Varsity Stadium to see this once-in-a-lifetime Transit of Venus across the surface of the sun along with 5000 other nerdy types, but, unbelievably, the event, with its limited number of specially made protective viewing glasses, was completely sold out. Personally, I blame the Big Bang Theory. Serendipitously, a real-time webcast was available of the University of Toronto’s telescope, so I could be dazzled by this far-from-action-packed journey as I sipped a delicious beverage in air-conditioned comfort, all the while sparing my corneas from blinding damage. It was a win-win from every possible angle!
Now, I wouldn’t exactly categorize myself as an astronomical enthusiast. In fact, a telescope, in my opinion, is fantastic for seeing what the neighbours are getting up to, but, unless there was a meteor shower full of unicorns, I would rather be doing just about anything else. So, after the first 5 minutes of excitement passed once the planet appeared on the scene, it was kind of like watching paint dry, only with fewer fumes. I checked out the Hawaiian broadcast on the Nasa live website, and even they were struggling to find anything interesting to say, which had to be a first.
The pictures from Norway were pretty cool, but it still felt like a really slow-motion version of those old commercials when you would follow a bouncing dot to sing-along to the words, or, in this case, the dot was merely superimposed on the single letter O, being the sun. Hmm… Maybe it was all just a big publicity stunt for Oprah’s magazine? Let’s face it – if anybody could get a planet to orbit the sun on a given day, it would have to be her. But I digress… Survey says? Catch the highlight reel, and be grateful that you spent this once in a lifetime event doing something else entirely with your life.