Monday, December 12, 2005

Weekend at No1's

One of the tough things about moving out of the state you have lived in your whole life is that suddenly, 34 years into the existence you are without support structure. Friends and family are very happy for your success but are suddenly hundreds of miles away. I am a pretty easy going person, but it isn’t really easy to get to know me. In my new company people kind of defer to me because I am a member of the senior staff, but I wouldn’t say making friends is something I have done. I can’t hang out with the people that work for me, obviously, and the other senior staff members are a bit different demographically. I think I make them uncomfortable. What does all this mean? It means when my brother flies in unexpectedly to visit, I am one very happy No1. We had a fantastic visit with much laughter and silliness that culminated in me taking Monday off and visiting the new Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. It is absolutely spectacular. As with most tourist destinations a season pass is only the price of a couple of visits so I purchased a season pass and anticipate visiting many times over the course of the year. Unfortunately my digital camera wasn’t behaving properly, so next time I go (New Year’s Day) I will take some pictures for your enjoyment.

The highlights:

The Ocean Voyager exhibit is truly amazing. To enter the exhibit which contains a 6.5 million gallon seawater tank you must walk through a 100 foot acrylic tunnel which essentially puts you inside the exhibit. The exhibit contains almost 100,000 fish, including whale sharks, huge grouper, saw fish, hammerhead and nurse sharks and one of the only bow mouthed guitarfish in captivity. The exhibit contains the largest viewing window in the world and as I sat there, drinking in the serene sights, it was impossible not be humbled. The majesty of the whale sharks is hard to describe. They are named Norton and Ralph after the Honeymooners characters.

The Cold Water Quest Exhibit was also very cool. We really enjoyed the Beluga Whales. There are five of them. They have their own tank and are very playful, swimming toward the large viewing windows and then dodging away. They swam around on their backs and did little flips in the water. They were a lot of fun to watch. We spent about 30 minutes watching them swim and I could have stayed an entire day, just enjoying them enjoying themselves. Two of them had been rescued from a Mexican aquarium where they did not have access to expert medical care or enough space to really thrive.

One of the more interesting things was that there was an entire Georgia Explorer exhibit dedicated to the life off the coast of Georgia. Most museums, despite being located somewhere try and be universal in their scope. It was nice to see that they decided to pay some attention to the “local” wildlife. Also, this exhibit had a sea turtle and this blogger is a huge fan of the sea turtle. It makes me sad they are endangered.

The other two exhibits are River Scout and Tropical Diver. They both contain magnificently colored fish and are quite cool in their own right, but pale in comparison with the other three exhibits.

There are five main corporate sponsors of the aquarium. I will link to all of their sites here because I really believe in what they did. Home Depot, BellSouth, Suntrust, AirTran, and Georgia-Pacific all sponsored one of the main exhibits. This is the kind of corporate responsibility and attention to community that can really advance us as a society. When corporate America stands up and pours money into its communities we really have a chance. I would have loved it if they underwrote the entire education budget of Atlanta instead, but we can consider this a victory and hope for the future. As I get into a writing groove again we are going to talk more about corporate community, collective responsibility and sacrifice. I am still working my way back there.

Other tidbits:

A real live knucklehead conversation overheard between me and my brother this weekend:

Him: I hate Black Eyed Peas.
Me: The band?
Him: No, the legumes.

Same old Jets… they could lose and make sure they have a really high draft pick and a shot at Reggie Bush but instead they whipped up on the Raiders and sentence us to about the 5th pick in the draft barring a long winning streak by the Packers and Texans. Just brutal, brutal, brutal. Being a Jets fan sucks. Being a Jets fan that has to pay for Direct TV in order to watch the games is just masochistic.

I will be slowly rebuilding the blog. Links will be coming again soon.


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