Wednesday night was one of the nights the Perseids was supposed to be visible, so I moved my chaise lounge out into the back yard and laid back to watch the sky for an hour around midnight. I didn't see any meteors for awhile, and my mind started to drift to my very favorite movie from my childhood, "Spacecamp." You know, starring Kate Capshaw, Lea Thompson, Tate Donovan, the chick that married John Travolta, Leaf (Joaquin) Phoenix. All actors who have done plenty since, but rarely starred in anything, with the noticeable difference of Joaquin, for whom I will always harbor a deep and abiding love, even if he is a terrible rapper. And he was a rather irritating little kid (Max) in SpaceCamp. Anyway, I adored that movie. The premise, assuming you've (tragically) never seen it, is a group of kids at SpaceCamp get the unprecedented chance to sit in the shuttle while they test the engines. Max says he wishes he could go to space, so his little robot friend initiates a "thermal curtain failure" (which apparently does not actually happen) so the shuttle has to launch. So you have five kids and one adult in space, in a shuttle that was not actually ready to launch, so they don't have radios, enough oxygen, etc., and they have to figure out how to get back. It was a true opportunity for growth, obviously.So, I spent the next several years desperate to become an astronaut. Way past the time it is still acceptable to want to be an astronaut. I never got to go to SpaceCamp, either, and I had a friend who did get to go, and she wasn't nearly as obsessed as I was. I didn't get over the whole astronaut thing until I was a junior in high school, and I discovered my allergy and bronchitis problems and my less than stellar math grades would likely prevent me from ever going into space. It was a rather sad realization. The death of a dream, if you will.
Two years ago, I decided to screen one of my favorite movies of all time for my children. Wow, the dialogue in that movie really was awful. I always found Tate and Lea's characters to be rather irritating, but I loved Tish - she was all cool and smart and stuff. But even her dialogue sucked. And I kind of wanted to drop the robot in a bathtub. Goonies was much better. But that's a whole other post.
Anyway, I must have dozed off while I was out there watching the skies, because when I got up to go inside, it was almost 2AM. I stood up and watched for a few more minutes and finally saw one meteor - then I could go to bed.
Last night (or this morning) was supposed to be the best time for viewing - 2-4AM. I went out before bed and didn't see anything, and then I woke up around 4:30AM and went out - but I must have missed it, because I stood out there for awhile, and never saw anything. I was thoroughly bummed. Next year I will definitely have to make plans and set an alarm or something. I may have given up my astronaut dreams, but I still love to watch the skies.