Jerz Nerdcation 2013

On a visit to the Washington DC area for my father’s 80th birthday, we did nerdy things.

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Cryptologic Museum

Using an Enigma machine (Nazi WWII code); standing with a replica of the Rosetta Stone (Carolyn was bummed it wasn’t real); standing with a Cray Supercomputer. (A decoding activity for kids kept my tween occupied. Plenty of opportunity to discuss visual rhetoric, as the NSA version of what it does is squeaky-clean. I give it four-and-a-half out of five secret listening devices.)

Medieval Times

Medieval Times dinner & tournament. (Completely silly concept, but the great horsemanship & swordplay really sells it. Lots of overpriced stuff in the lobby. Four out of five goblets of mead.)

The website for Medieval Times says to get there an hour early, but it's only because they want you to sit around, get bored, and buy stuff. I sent my bored daughter into this dungeon-like corner.

The website for Medieval Times says to get there an hour early, but it’s only because they want you to sit around, get bored, and buy stuff. I sent my bored daughter into this dungeon-like corner.

My son with a mud beard (supplied by his sister). A beach on the Chesapeake bay. The sun was Just hot enough to make the water inviting. Narrow beach full of rocks and fossils from the nearby eroding cliff. Not crowded at all. We had to drag the kids away. Wish we had brought water and sandals, though. (Five out of five mudbaths.)

My son with a mud beard (supplied by his sister). A beach on the Chesapeake bay. The sun was Just hot enough to make the water inviting. Narrow beach full of rocks and fossils from the nearby eroding cliff. Not crowded at all. We had to drag the kids away. Wish we had brought water and sandals, though. (Five out of five mudbaths.)

Lots of critters on this beach. Jellyfish in the water (we stayed away from them), and critters like this guy. We had started off with a nature walk, courtesy of my brother-in-law, Robert.

Lots of critters on this beach. Jellyfish in the water (we stayed away from them), and critters like this guy. We had started off with a nature walk, courtesy of my brother-in-law, Robert. I told my drama-queen tween I wanted to title this picture “Two kinds of crab.”

Admission was a bit expensive, and I always dislike a "no outside food" policy (since we like bringing picnic lunches). Still, there was plenty so see and do. While the dolphin show was short, it was utterly charming.  Four whistle-clicks out of five.

Admission was a bit expensive, and I always dislike a “no outside food” policy (since we like bringing picnic lunches). Still, there was plenty so see and do. While the dolphin show was short, it was utterly charming. Four whistle-clicks out of five.

Site of the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner"

Fort McHenry, site of the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” almost 100 years ago.

The Star-Spangled Banner waves 24/7, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The Star-Spangled Banner waves 24/7, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Shark: "Om nom nom."

Shark: “Om nom nom.”

Warp Drive

Obviously someone had a sense of humor. We saw this sign on the way to the Dulles annex of the National Air and Space Museum.

This plane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945. On display at the huge Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia (an annex of the National Air and Space Museum).

This plane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945. On display at the huge Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia (an annex of the National Air and Space Museum).

Discovery

The mothership model used in the filming of the cult 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind." (The true nerds out there are right now humming a certain five-note tune.)

The mothership model used in the filming of the cult 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” (The true nerds out there are right now humming a certain five-note tune.)

A Mego Star Trek bridge playset.  I had one... the figures are in a shoebox somewhere in my house.

A Mego Star Trek bridge playset. I had one… the figures are in a shoebox somewhere in my house.

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