Tag Archives: Beer & Bones

The Last Beer & Bones?

Museum of Nature & Science Lobby

I’ve touted the Beer & Bones events at the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas’s Fair Park for a while, and last week’s “Space Cadets” B&B involving space science was one of the best yet. It was also a little bittersweet, too, as this was the last one to be held in the old Fair Park Museum of Fine Arts building. Starting next January, while the old buildings will remain (considering that they’re historical landmarks from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition), most of the Museum’s activities are going to the new Perot Museum in downtown. In my case, I realized that I’ve been causing trouble at the Museum for half my life, back when this building was still The Science Place. Man, where has the time gone?

Museum of Nature & Science lobby

Crowd-wise, this was one of the most diverse as well. Any time you have a space-related event in Dallas, there’s at least one twerp who comes out in his Star Trek uniform (the best I can figure, someone’s still nostalgic for the Federation Science exhibition that ran there back in 1995), but the vast majority of attendees were there to learn something. Oh, and to meet other local science junkies: I suspect that about half of the attendees were high school and middle school teachers on vacation, and this was perfect for them.

Museum of Nature & Science lobby

As has been the case since the beginning of Beer & Bones, what really makes the event work is a combination of exemplary activities and events orchestrated by MNS staffers and the presentations made by outside volunteers. This time, the National Space Society of North Texas came out to display samples of simulated lunar soil, discuss upcoming robotic and manned space missions, and generally turn vaguely interested bystanders into space science enthusiasts. I’ve been an enthusiast since the Mariner missions of the Seventies, and they made me excited.

Museum of Nature & Science wall

Then again, that’s what the Museum has done best from the beginning. The old walls have plenty of stories: the robot dinosaur exhibitions, BodyWorlds, the long-running human body and hands-on physics demonstrations…this place has a lot of good memories associated with it.

Mercury

Finally, as I was leaving for the evening, a small mystery. The Museum terrazzo floors feature inlaid constellations and planets across the lobby, with the terrestrial planets right near the ticket counter. For instance, here’s Mercury…

Venus

…and Venus…

Mars

…and Mars. However, off to the right of Mars was this strange little body that I first thought might have been the asteroid Ceres or Vesta. Then I saw the name.

Cecil Green

Now, seeing as how the IMAX theater in the Museum is dedicated to the founders of Texas Instruments, this might be a reference to Cecil H. Green, the geophysicist who helped found TI. Of course, this being Dallas, it might also be a reference to Cecil Green the Dallas race car driver. Considering that “Cecil Green” appears to be a green and pastoral world, I also wouldn’t be surprised if it had been discovered and named after Canada’s one and only Time Lord. I’d ask for elaboration at the next Beer & Bones, but since there won’t be one at the old museum…

Thursday is Resource Day

Believe it or not, today is a beautiful day for miniature garden discussions. It isn’t just that Janit Calvo at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Gardens keeps giving me all sorts of interesting ideas for projects. It isn’t just that the new issue of Reptiles and the new issue of Carnivorous Plant Newsletter arrived on the same day, and they always inspire. No, it’s because I promised Janit that I was going to get around to giving her a guide to several very unorthodox books that should be essential in any miniature gardener library, and I might be able to get that written up this weekend.

As a taste, though, I’d like to pass on word about an event this weekend that should be essential for any serious miniature gardener. Squadron, our friendly neighborhood mail-order plastic model kit supplier (quite literally, as its headquarters is right down Highway 190 from my house) hosts the regular model kit expo EagleQuest, and EagleQuest XXII (PDF) starts tomorrow and runs until Saturday evening at the Embassy Suites Dallas Hotel in Grapevine. I’ll explain later, but any serious miniature gardener NEEDS to be out here if necessary. The cross-pollination will do both miniature gardening and plastic kit modeling a world of good.

Likewise, here’s a tip for those needing miniature gardening tools. Micro-Mark, one of the best sources for modeling tools out there, is holding its annual summer sale, with lots of specials. Again, I’ll explain later, but I’ll leave you with one word: Milliput. If this stuff isn’t already your best friend for construction, repair, and modification, then let me introduce you and hope you have lots of babies.

And before I forget, the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas’s Fair Park hosts its latest Beer & Bones adult museum event tonight, with the subject tonight being “Space Cadets”. This also ties into gardening in its way, because arriving early means getting a good view of the Leonhardt Lagoon and surrounding environs, which is just rotten with animal and plant life right now. I’ll explain exactly why this is so important later, so don’t worry about taking notes.

Things to do in Dallas when you’re dead

Tyrannosaurus (worst view)

It’s only a matter of time before the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas’s Fair Park moves to its new home near downtown, and that means that we’ll have a new home for the Beer & Bones events on Thursday nights. If John Simon Ritchie here can’t convince you that it’s worth the trip, what will?

Tyrannosaurus back view

The next Beer & Bones event is June 21, with the subject being “Space Cadets”. I think this might have to become a costume event.

Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

Thursday, December 15. You could watch the annual recreation of the end of Dawn of the Dead at the local malls, or you could go out to the latest Beer & Bones event at the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas’s Fair Park. Cash bar, snacks, interesting company, and sharks.

Discovery Days: Day Two

I’ll have pictures from this weekend’s Discovery Days: Discovering Reptiles & Other Critters event at the Museum of Nature & Science after we’re done, but now it’s time to go back. Saturday’s crowd was extremely impressive, with a lot of kids stopping by on their way to see the mineral or light exhibits, and a lot of parents coming back after taking their very young kids to see the Bob the Builder Project: Build It! exhibit. (The only issue so far, and it’s really minor, is that the Triffid Ranch booth is right next to a big Bob the Builder display, with a motion sensor that makes Bob utter three inspiring messages when people walk by. The motion sensor was apparently damaged a while back by well-meaning kids walking on the display, so Bob goes off randomly, all day long. In other words, he’s just like me. Interestingly, a few buzzes with my scorpion detector, brought specifically to light up plant structures with UV, and Bob quiets down for a while.) Either way, everybody’s having a blast.

Although this has been like a typical show, where I’ve rarely left the booth, this encourages me to do more reptile shows. In particular, the turtle exhibit on the ground floor is full of the expected wonders, including softshell turtles and a huge Sulcata tortoise that begs for romaine lettuce. I won’t be ready for a big show right away, such as next February’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference show in Arlington, but I’m definitely getting lined up for the 2013 show. In the meantime, if the folks at the Museum want me to come back next year, or to participate in any of the Beer & Bones evening shows for adults, I’d have to be an idiot to say “no”.

Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of the Museum of Nature & Science since it was the Dallas Museum of Natural History, and it’s also no secret that I’m a firm believer in getting adults out to the museum as often as possible. Likewise, passing on word about the Museum’s Beer & Bones Mad Scientist Mixer on September 15 should be no surprise, either. My only regret is that I couldn’t put enough birds in ears to have the Museum hire the Consortium of Genius for a show, seeing as how they kinda wrote the theme song for Thursday night.

And on the subject of the Museum, the Triffid Ranch has a more active role at the Discovery Days: Discover Reptiles and Other Critters weekend on November 5 and 6. Any excuse to go to the Museum, or into Fair Park in general, is a good one, and this one involves carnivorous plants that encourage frogs and other herps. I probably won’t have any tree frogs in Sarracenia pitchers to show off, but I’m working on it. More details to follow.

Upcoming Triffid Ranch lectures

It’s amazing what you find in the E-mail box these days. Today, it was an invitation from the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas, asking about availability to man a booth at its upcoming “Discover Reptiles and Other Critters” Discovery Days event this coming November 5 and 6. Considering the various connections between carnivorous plants and amphibians (particularly the Nepenthes ampullaria that threaten to take over life and sanity), I was honored, and I also volunteered to do a similar display for the Beer & Bones adults-only event in September. As we get closer to the Discovery Days date, I’ll keep everyone abreast with further information.