A CalAcademy iPad 2 Spring Break Photo Fest

Last week was Leo's spring break, this week is the girls'. And because it wasn't awesome enough for the girls to have nine consecutive school-free days in a row, one of their favorite cousins is in town, along with his dad, my brother Chet. How much Bay Area fun can a quintet pack into a single week? We're exploring that idea to the fullest.

We spent yesterday at CalAcademy. If you've not been, well, damn, I'm so sorry. Please know that the CalAcademy.org site provides an extensive and immersive virtual experience. I especially recommend the new Planetarium show Life: A Cosmic Experience - did you know that CalAcademy members get their own special Planetarium show right at opening time? We do now. No line at all, which is something during spring break.

Our big experiment for the day was taking photos exclusively with the iPad 2. The photos were grainy, especially in low light situations, but mostly usable enough. You can tell that Mali and her cousin would pass through the wall of this aquarium and become fish themselves, were it possible.

Backlit Aquarium

Well-lit photos look better, as when Iz found out that starfish are not exactly helpless -- even though she was prodding this one according to the docent's guidelines, it turned around and latched onto her with its tube feet, and wouldn't let go. I told her she was lucky to get away before it turned its stomach inside out over her finger and started digesting it.

When Tubefeet Attack!

In case you think it was evil of me to invoke that starfish to terrorize Iz, she earned it. She has been encouraging her good-hearted but easily cajoled cousin into ganging up on Mali at every possible opportunity. Mali needed a lot of consoling each time her current very favorite cousin in the world turned on her, in the name of what he was told was good fun but which Iz had orchestrated with pure malice. (She took this picture, by the way. Time to dye those roots, ahem.)

Comforting India

One extra-cool iPad 2 benefit: Every time a sign was too high for Mali to read it easily (short, plus thick glasses), all I had to do was take a picture with the iPad and then hand the iPad to her. Gawking passersby thought this was nifty, too, apparently.

Another iPad 2 Use: Photos of Signage for Short Kids

We won't be giving up our regular camera, but the iPad 2 camera was certainly fun - especially for the kids. (A warning - it is almost too easy to take pix, so give your kids clear photo-taking-volume instructions, unless you don't mind photo culling.)

There's a whole lot else going on this week - PBS News Hour's autism series, Leo's med changes, some really spectacular Autism Story Sharing Month essays on The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. Spring break exhaustion is hampering my documenting these things as fully as I'd prefer -- there is no daytime downtime, which is problematic for keeping these introvert's batteries charged -- but every day is also full to bursting with fun and family. It's a completely acceptable trade off, unless you've been waiting on me for correspondence.


  1. What a coinkydink, we were there Friday. Fabulous place, but bloody expensive for a family. (The membership is worthwhile if you plan to go 3 or more times.)

    SquidBoy and La Principessa had a grand time, too. (Other than the Rainforest, which freaked SquidBoy out. Lesson for mom: go nowhere where there is only one way to exit.)

    Glad your wee ones had fun, Iz's interpersonal issues aside.


  2. Squillo, imagine, we could have met up twice within the span of a week! Thanks for sharing your lessons learned, for spotting us a delicious second breakfast, and for being as charming as advertised (kids too).


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