I had to go to work on Monday and Wednesday when our profile drafts were originally due Wednesday night. Basically, I knew I had one day to interview and write the profile. No problem, I’m a superhero.
I did a bunch of research last weekend online and through Friendly Area Neighborhood’s website I found that they host events by the Eugene Astronomical Society. Cool beans, a bunch of nerds to interview! In my few hours between classes and work on Monday, I followed the trail of nerd and found science-fiction writer and telescope-builder Jerry Oltion.
If you read Jerry’s website you’ll understand exactly why I got super excited to interview him. I called Jerry right away and he just so happened to be available to interview the next day. He said he would have been in Wyoming but he got in a car accident and had to come back to Eugene. It was probably the happiest I’d ever been to hear someone had been in an accident.
I apologized for the short notice of the interview, hung up and did a fist pump. I went to work until midnight then got home and wrote out a bunch of questions I wanted to ask Jerry. My boyfriend helped a bit with this since he was a bit of a Star Trek geek back in his day.
Tuesday after class I put on a nice shirt and clean pants and drove to Jerry’s house. The interview was so much fun, Jerry and his wife Kathy (both wearing tie-dyed shirts) could be the quirkiest people I’ve ever met in Eugene — obviously that’s saying something. They’re the kind of people who get passionate about something and then do something about it. Their house was filled with nerdy bits and bobs. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to meet with them.
At one point Jerry said, “Do you want to try to see a star with one of our telescopes? There’s a star out right now.”
I replied, “There’s a star out right now?”
“Yeah, the Sun.”
Duh, Ponta. DUH! He tried to make a fool of me on purpose. I had to listen to that about five times when I was transcribing and I face-palmed every time.
Jerry and his wife showed me how and where they build telescopes, showed me where he writes and then, when I got really excited about the telescopes he built, he asked, “Do you want to try to see if we can find the planet Venus?!”
It was a difficult task BUT WE FOUND VENUS WITHOUT A TELESCOPE! Sorry, I’ll calm down. But it was so neat. Venus is one of two planets you can pretty much only see during the day.
You probably can’t see that well, but it’s a picture of Venus. Look how adorable and crescent-y it is!
Anyway, then I went home and got to transcribing for around three hours before I finally had to give up because I wasn’t working off much sleep and I had to study for my Spanish test.
The next day I found out the deadline was extended. I was grumpy but not for long, if the interview had been extended I might have put it off until the cloudy weekend and I wouldn’t have seen Venus!