Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Serene Science

Speaking of happy accidents, today I came across this photo in my files. I knew I had taken it at Caltech, but couldn't remember exactly where.

One day nearly two years ago (and I assure you I'm not digressing), Boz and I met a woman walking her dog. I had my camera, as always, and when I called to Boz the woman recognized his name. "You're the Pasadena Daily Photo lady," she said, or words to that effect.

Long story short: we became friends. It turned out she worked at Caltech and she invited me for a tour of the campus. I took this photo on that tour in March of 2009.

I don't know why I haven't posted it before except I forgot I had it, and in all that time I forgot what it was. So when I came across it I dashed off an email to my friend to ask her what it is.

She said this room is "on the second floor the Guggenheim building on campus (one of those flanking the Olive Walk between the Athenaeum and the turtle pond). This building houses GALCIT, the Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology." She sent me the link, too. If you click it you'll see a photo of a fantastic balloon. I got a picture of it deflated, which is cool but not as cool as seeing it full-blown. The Guggenheim building has an attractive entryway. Maybe I'll post that tomorrow.

My generous friend is Bellis, a regular commenter here. I'd say meeting her was a happy accident except it wasn't an accident. We both have dogs, we both live in Pasadena, and we both like to walk our dogs in natural settings. You could say our meeting was a happy accident waiting to happen.

The Caltech campus is one of Pasadena's most beautiful places to walk. The sun has returned and we're having a gorgeous autumn. Enjoy.

20 comments:

J+P said...

If an alien were dissected in a 1950s sic-fi movie, this would be the room.

photos on canvas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gunn said...

I agree with J+P..... :)
Also a very special and "arty" shot.
I like the composition, light, shadow, details and colors.

-K- said...

Not everyone will get this reference but when I first saw this photo I thought "Klaatu barada nikto."

But aside from this, it has a striking presence to it.

Petrea said...

From the comments so far, maybe "Klaatu barada nikto" should have been the title of the post. J sent me an email that tells you what to do if you're the first human the aliens contact. I'll send it to you, Kevin.

J, you never know what they're doing over at Caltech.

Thanks, guys. I'm glad you like it. It's a beautiful, simple room, or it seemed say the day I was there.

Bellis said...

Aw shucks, Petrea, Abby and I are blushing.

The room is neat, because if you want to convert it into a small lecture theater, you can close those semicircular curtains, bring in some chairs, and give a Powerpoint presentation. It's the first thing an alien would do.

TheChieftess said...

I have to say...my first thought was "Beam me up Scotty"!!! There seems to be some reflections going on that look like they're coming from the ceiling to the table...definitely someone just beamed up before you took this shot!!!

Susan Campisi said...

Oh, I really enjoyed this tale of your first encounter with Bellis, perhaps particularly so because I just met her.

pasadenapio said...

May I just lie down on that sculpture (or whatever it is) and get a massage? Please?

J+P said...

Sure! Unfortunately our regular masseuse is out, so your servant today will be Norman X-21, our new Personal Massage Droid, brought to you today by Windows 7, The Operating System for the Rest of You! Norm'll be wheeling in any minute … now, If you'll just put on this USB-powered robe and fill out these indemnification forms, in triplicate, I'll just see if its last vict—um, client—is, uh, through …

Irina said...

Interesting shot.
Reading your texts becomes the every day pleasure for me).

Virginia said...

WEll I"m gonna fuss right here Missy. WHY did you not post this fab photo the next day? Maybe you have a better stash than I so. That is most certainly the case. ANYWAY, love it . Glad we got to see it.
V

altadenahiker said...

You're giving out massages? I'm next.

pasadenapio said...

Forms in triplicate...does not compute.

Petrea said...

Bellis, very funny--"the first thing an alien would do." I need to send you all that email J. sent me.

The reflections are because I took the picture through the glass doors, Chieftess.

"Encounter!" Susan, yes, of the third kind.

It's a table, PIO, and yes you may, although you might have to sit through an alien PowerPoint presenta--oh. I see J+P has answered your question.

Thank you, Irina! What a nice thing to say.

Missy V, I had a lot of beautiful shots from my tour. I posted Caltech shots for a week! Caltech is BEEYOOTIFUL. I was afraid I'd bore everyone if I went on for another week.

The aliens are giving out massages, Karin. You might want to rethink that.

Petrea said...

PIO, you've got enough paperwork. We'll have Boz fill yours out for you.

Anonymous said...

Looks more like a dissection table to me. Be careful what you wish for.

Jean Spitzer said...

So what if it's an alien,if it's still a massage? The massage is the message?

I do miss Caltech and the olive trees.

TheChieftess said...

No Petrea...I'm sure it's molecules swirling around from someone beaming up!!!

Petrea said...

Anonymous, thanks for the warning.

Jean, shh! Didn't you hear what Anonymous said? (Jeez, people.)

Chieftess, I was trying to protect you but now the word is out.