Sunday, January 22, 2006

Visiting OMSI

Tara and I checked out OMSI again yesterday, cruised Turbine Hall, cafeteria (twice), made a fast track through animations [see it looping in the background...] -- didn't make it upstairs at all.

We toured Blueback again (Tara hadn't been in years and specifically requested it). USS Blueback is the latest and greatest to be cast in electric-diesel technology, and she's still in mint condition (admittedly, the Willamette is sort of shallow for a boat of her kind, but our kids love it -- OMSI staff even organizes sleepovers sometimes).

Food was really good on this sub, in compensation for living cooped up like that, fewer beds than personnel (a deliberate design: you don't want everyone asleep at the same time on a sub). Only the captain could actually sit up in bed, without smashing his face into dirty laundry. I say "his" because these early subs were guy things. Women didn't have their own subs yet. Cooks competed ("Think Ney") and the best got bragging rights, and maybe a gig at the White House. The cafeteria (smallish), was also a place for pre-LCD TV amusements, like watching movies 'n stuff.

In officers' quarters, we all squeezed around a table and the lights went low, revealing some scaled silhouettes. Which one of these is the Blueback kids? Having made a fool of myself at SeaWorld, on that huge TV display, I kept my mouth shut this time, but one kid got it right: the smallest one. All of the others were US except the one on the bottom, a Typhoon class Russian, double-wide, and clearly biggest. But there was no sense of an enemy in this revelation.

Subs are these cool underwater boats, not themselves blameworthy for all they've been used for. We should keep them around, invent some new ones, invite more civilians aboard.