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48 hours to kick off

Come Sunday night, you'll be parked in front of the TV, waiting for the Pats to take the field. Here's what you can do to keep busy until then.

FRIDAY

6 PM Quitting time at the Museum of Science involves electricity, robots, and vodka, but happily not in that order. Start with a martini at the Science Street Cafe. At 6:30, the 40-foot Van de Graaff electric sparking generator becomes the centerpiece of a concert called ''Zap!" featuring real and robotic musicians. $14 adults; $12 senior citizens; $11 children. Science Park, Boston; 617-723-2500.

7 PM A clutter-holics dream, ''Honey Bunches" is an art installation at the Allston Skirt Gallery, featuring random collections gathered into artful heaps. Painter Maura Vazakas uses old Archie comics under her paintings, while Robin Dash layers found photographs and thick paint into pop treasures. The opening party runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free. 450 Harrison Ave., Boston; 617-482-3652.

8 PM The Harlem Gospel Choir busts out the choir robes for a clap-along spectacular at Northeastern University. The ministry has performed with such celebs as Diana Ross, but please don't hold that against them. $25. Blackman Theatre, Ell Hall, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston; 617-373-2247.

9 PM The party is called the Bourbon Street Blow Out at the Big Easy, but most attendees will only be paying attention to the first and last words of that title. The band Bob's Day Off provides the music, and, of course, people engage in demeaning behavior to collect beads. Such a fuss for a little plastic. Tickets are $25 at the door. 1 Boylston Place, Boston; 781-444-7771.

10:15 PM It's hard to believe that comic Christopher Titus's sitcom didn't last, what with plot lines involving mental illness and a character played by Phyllis Diller. Supporters of the show have seasons one and two on DVD to look forward to, along with Titus's live performance tonight. Tickets are $25. Comedy Connection, 245 Quincy Market Place, Faneuil Hall, Boston; 617-248-9700.

11 PM The DVD of ''Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" may have all those deleted scenes, but the Coolidge Corner Theatre has something your home doesn't: A full-size movie screen. Tonight, the theater shows the first installment of the trilogy on the big downstairs screen. Tickets are $6. 290 Harvard St., Brookline; 617-734-2500.

SATURDAY

MIDNIGHT Superstar DJ Dave Ralph hits the climax of his sweat-drenched house music set at Avalon. Admission is $15. 15 Lansdowne St., Boston; 617-262-2424.

1 AM The late-night dining institution known as Ginza in Chinatown serves amazing spider maki and California rolls into the wee hours. The restaurant's decor is a tad dowdy, but all is forgiven thanks to the eatery's extensive sake collection. 16 Hudson St., Boston; 617-338-2261.

2 AM Faux pas at the sushi bar? Brush up on your Japanese etiquette with a visit to www.how-to-bow.com, a charming flash animation website created by New York artist Nora Krug. Whether you're a tourist or a business traveler, you'll learn the proper way to introduce yourself, enter a home, or order a beer. FYI: Be sure to click around until you reach the cigarette-puffing executives at Mama-san's bar.

3 AM The heist goes smoothly. It's the aftermath that's trouble in John Huston's gritty 1950 noir ''The Asphalt Jungle." Sterling Hayden stars and Marilyn Monroe has one of her first juicy roles. Turner Classic Movies delivers it uncut and uncolorized.

4 AM Eagles be damned. It's time to think owls, and the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary opens before dawn to let you do just that. Mass. Audubon educator John Galluzzo leads an early-morning Owl Prowl at the sanctuary, Winslow Cemetery Road, Marshfield; 781-837-9400. It's $8 to join the search.

5 AM ''Gaming news that matters" arrives at the top of the hour on night/zone, Emerson College's overnight radio show devoted to music from video games and anime. Along with tunes from ''Cowboy Bebop" and ''Grand Theft Auto," the broadcast promises ''bleeps and bloops" from '80s-era games, too. WERS, 88.9 FM.

6 AM Will Sunday ever get here? Kill a few hours -- OK, 24 of them -- with ''24 - Season Three" on DVD. You may have given up on the show when Kim and the cougar faced off during season two, but the third time had its charms. And DVD extras on real-life biological weaponry, not to mention 45 deleted scenes, will gobble up even more of your time. Fox Home Entertainment, $69.98.

7 AM Beat the lines spilling out of the Deluxe Town Diner. Slide into a red vinyl booth and treat yourself to sweet potato pancakes or blue corn flapjacks. 627 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown; 617-926-8400.

8 AM Work on your biceps without opening your wallet. The Boston Fitness & Swim Club has a special weekend health fair that allows you to use the facilities for free. The $35 you'd spend on a day pass can be wagered on the Pats instead. At the Sheraton Boston Hotel, 37 Dalton St., Boston; 617-375-6512.

9 AM Jellyfish and starfish aren't fish, but seahorses are. Who knew? The experts at the New England Aquarium, that's who. Be there when the doors open and be ready for a guided tour on ''What's in a Name?" starting at 9:30 a.m. Adults $15.95; seniors 60 and over $13.95; children 3 to 11 $8.95. New England Aquarium Central Wharf, Boston; 617-973-5206.

10 AM Motorcycle fanatics from all over New England descend on the World Trade Center for the Dave Perewitz Invitational BikeXpo. Go for the choppers, stay for the Texas Bikini Team. Admission is $15 adults, kids 6-12 $6, under 6 free. Seaport Blvd., South Boston; 877-245-3976 or www.kevmarv.com.

11 AM Spending money. On a Saturday. In the Back Bay. Sounds like most every weekend -- you retail animal, you. Today, fork over the cash for a good cause. Visit the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library Book Sale in the mezzanine conference room of the library's main branch. 700 Boylston St., Boston; 617-536-5400.

NOON Looking for a slight detour from your usual museum rounds (MFA, Gardner, ICA)? Drop by Paint! an exhibit of brightly painted sculpture from Africa at Hamill Gallery of African Art. Think masks, puppets, and headdresses -- and nary a Sargent to be found. 2164 Washington St., Boston; 617-442-8204 or www.hamillgallery .com.

1:30 PM Where does James Levine go after he hops off his conductor's chair and disappears offstage, only to return to thunderous applause 45 seconds later? Does he wait in the wings? Grab a Pepsi? Inquire at today's Symphony Hall Tour, held the first Saturday of the month. Free. 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston; 617-638-9390.

2 PM You can't let the kids stay glued to ''Madden 2005" (set to Pats vs. Eagles, natch) all day long. Load them into the minivan and head to Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway, where beloved storyteller -- and beret wearer -- Brother Blue spins yarns for kids of all ages. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids 4-14 (those under 4 are welcome, too). 255 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville; 617-591-1616 or www.jtoffbroadway.com.

3 PM Maybe it's the drunken revelry, but Mardi Gras has never struck us as a particularly wholesome holiday. Guess we're just hanging out at the wrong parties. Today the French Library/Alliance Francaise holds a Mardi Gras For Children. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members, $20 at the door, children under 8 free. 53 Marlborough St., Boston; 617-912-0400.

4 PM Thirty-three-year-old playwright Tristine Skyler has led something of a charmed life: From the ritzy Chapin School to Princeton to being toasted by The New York Times in 2003 for her first play, ''The Moonlight Room." Tickets to today's matinee at the BCA Plaza Theatre are $35-$40; students and seniors get a $5 discount. 539 Tremont St., Boston; 617-933-8600 or www.bostontheatrescene.com.

5 PM Major sporting events tend to turn into major noshing events -- the guacamole-flavored Doritos, two tubs of hummus, and 12-pack of Sam Adams you just bought attest to that. Flip on VH1's ''Celebrity Fit Club" and see what your backside could soon look like if you insist on eating like Pats' veteran Keith ''Truck" Traylor.

6 PM There are a lot of restaurants in Harvard Square, but there's only one Harvard Square restaurant -- Casablanca. David Omar White's murals from the movie (featuring the odd local character as well) add to the place's conviviality, which reminds you of what the square was like before it got malled. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-876-0999.

7 PM You won't be the only person wearing cobalt face paint at Blue Man Group. These blue brothers are from another planet entirely as they turn the Charles Playhouse into an avant-garde amusement park ride. 74 Warrenton St., Boston; 617-931-2787, www.ticket master.com.

8 PM The world's best football team tackles Freddie Mitchell in Jacksonville. The world's best string ensemble, the Emerson String Quartet, tackles Felix Mendelssohn at Jordan Hall, playing selections from its sublime new recording. Tickets range from $43 to $58. 30 Gainsborough St., Boston; 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org.

9 PM You wouldn't want the lead singers of The Dents, Michelle Paulhus or Jen D'Angora, on your case, particularly if you're of the male persuasion and got them riled. The garage band celebrates the release of a new CD, ''Time for Biting," with an Abbey Lounge show. The Pug Uglies are among the openers. 3 Beacon St., Somerville; 617-441-9631.

10 PM Some people don't need first names -- Shakespeare, Napoleon, Belichick. Or Almodovar, the world's best living film director. ''Bad Education," his latest, isn't quite in the same league as ''Talk to Her," but the story within a story within a story, about a priest's sexual abuse and its aftermath, is the one movie to see these days. At the Kendall Square Cinema; 617-499-1996.

11 PM Time to move those hips for Salsa Night at the Brookline Community Center for the Arts. If you don't know how to do it, get there early at 9:30 and take a lesson in Puerto Rican salsa and Cuban cha-cha-cha. No partner necessary. Admission $10 ($12 with lesson). 14 Green St., Brookline; 617-738-2800.

SUNDAY

MIDNIGHT Since the 8 and 10 p.m. shows are called ''Lies, Half Truths, and the American Way," the late show at Improv Asylum, ''The Gloves Come Off at Midnight," must be pretty wild. Tickets are $10. 216 Hanover St., Boston; 617-263-6887.

1 AM For that early-morning pep rally, there's only one place to fuel up: Krispy Kreme, for those perfect, hot, glazed, sugary doughnuts. 35 Revere Beach Parkway, Medford; 781-393-8888.

2 AM With Newbury Street snowed in and asleep, head to the next best people-watching destination, the MBTA's Night Owl Bus. Two bucks get you a ride to Wonderland along with your own, personal schnapps-soaked companion. Pay up at Government Center.

3 AM As much as we'll miss snacking on a spicy Slim Jim at the now-defunct Davis Square White Hen Pantry, there are still other late-night dining options. Try News on Kneeland Street, a space once occupied by the Blue Diner. You can consume fried clams under the warm glow of an Expressway onramp. 150 Kneeland Street, Boston; 617-426-6397.

4 AM They say you can't just show up at RISE, the ''private" after-hours club. You must be a member. We say bring along your autographed, miniature Doug Flutie Heisman Trophy helmet. How could those hipsters turn you away? 306 Stuart Street, Boston; 617-423-7473.

5 AM Try to get a handle on your inability to get any shut-eye by clicking on http://www.getsomesleep.com. It won't work, we promise.

6 AM Beat the schmatte ladies for once and get to Kupel's Bakery before the line stretches out onto Harvard Street. There's nothing more satisfying than wandering the dark streets of Brookline with a fully-loxed pumpernickel. 421 Harvard Street, Brookline; 617-566-9528.

6:52 AM It's sunrise, time to take advantage of the natural beauty of Deer Island. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch the first morning sludge barge heading to sea. 617-660-7607, www.bostonislands .com.

8 AM We saw Joe Namath present the AFC championship trophy a couple weeks ago and frankly, we were disappointed. It was as bland as Paul McCartney's halftime show promises to be. Here's hoping ESPN Classic's ''SportsCentury: Joe Namath" will provide us with at least a couple of Broadway Joe's Dean Martin moments.

9 AM No sleep. Morning ski. Need we say more? Blue Hills Ski Area is just 10 minutes outside Boston. Lift tickets are $15 to $33. 781-828-5070; www.thenewbluehills .com.

10 AM Irrational impulse purchases of sports memorabilia are optional, but retail therapy is guaranteed at the Malden Flea Market. Admission is 50 cents. Route 60 and Ferry Street in Ruderman's Furniture building, Malden; 781-324-0113.

11 AM An animated film adaptation of the classic children's book ''Giggle Giggle Quack," is the last installment in the Coolidge Corner Theater's monthlong Kids First! Film Club series. A vacationing farmer and an industrious duck face off over how to care for the animals. Admission is $2. 290 Harvard Street, Brookline; 617-734-2500.

NOON There are no smoking guns, no fingerprints, no paper trails to be found -- only a few empty follicles. Be there for the kickoff of the ''Court TV Super Bowl Bad Hair Day Marathon," 24 hours of ''Forensic Files" and ''The Investigators" episodes that have one thing in common: cases that were cracked by a hair left at the crime scene.

1 PM An interactive adventure experience that's a museum, haunted house, and video game rolled into one, Tomb offers the swift and clever the chance to triumph over evil Pharoah in 40 minutes. Losers face the ancient ruler's wrath. Adults are $18; children under 12, $14. At 5W!Ts, 186 Brookline Ave., Boston; 617-375-WITS.

2 PM ''the far side of the moon" investigates the limits of human perception in a story about the space race and the relationship between two brothers, written and directed by Robert Lepage with music by Laurie Anderson. Tickets are $62 and $36. At the American Repertory Theatre, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-547-8300.

3 PM ''Flamenco de Camara" is possibly the only cultural event that approximates the emotional highs and lows of a championship football game. You can catch it today at the Flamenco Festival 2005 at the Cutler Majestic Theater. 219 Tremont St., Boston; 800-233-3123. Tickets are $50, $45, $35.

4 PM ''A Century of French Cars" sounds like an oxymoron. A century of French pastries is more like it. How many models of Renault and Peugeot can there be? See for yourself at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. 15 Newton St., Brookline; 617-522-6547.

5 PM Beethoven is no match for Brady. That's why the Lydian String Quartet moved their fifth of six concerts presenting the complete string quartets to the early evening, to avoid competition with the big game. Tickets for tonight's show are $18. At the Center for the Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick; 508-647-0097, www. natickarts.org.

Globe staff writers Christopher Muther, Scott Heller, Hayley Kaufman, Ed Siegel, Geoff Edgers, and Joan Anderman compiled this report.

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