Category Archives: Paul

REAL Space Camp For Adults

Something got me going the other night (God knows what it was, but then again, who knows what it ever is – some random piece of BS and my brain is off to the races with my mouth in tow, sometimes the other way around) and I started wondering why adults can’t go to Space Camp┬«.

I know that there’s an adult version of the famous camp for kids, and it sounds okay. A week away from “the real world” isn’t a bad start to any adventure, and building model rockets, robots, riding a zip line, spinning around until you puke, and going SCUBA diving in an NBL-like (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory) tank would all be fun.

I don’t want fun. I want to be a couple of steps closer to actually riding the elevator up the gantry next to a few million gallons of supercooled high explosives.

So, what if I don’t want to just spin in the six-axis trainer – but take a flight (or two) in the zero-G training jet? (Otherwise known as the “Vomit Comet.”)

What if I don’t want to sit in a flight simulator in a hanger – but take a flight (or two) in a real, live, supersonic T-38?

What if I don’t want to ride on a glorified merry-go-round – but take a spin up to 6G or 8G in a real centrifuge?

What if I don’t want to SCUBA dive in a pool they’ve put together – but get into a real training space suit and go floating next to the full-sized ISS mock-up in the real NBL?

Expensive? You bet, and it should be worth every penny.

Impossible? At least two of those things are available just about any time if you’ve got the cash, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that you could get the third. That puts us in the ballpark…

How much would a week doing that cost? $10,000? $25,000? More?

Doesn’t matter. I still want it. Of course, I really REALLY want to go all the way and go through some real-life training and then get to ride up that gantry with the next stop being Low Earth Orbit – but in the meantime, I would take this as a substitute.

Why is no one offering this package for idiots like me?

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The Night Returns

It’s always a melancholy night when the Christmas lights come down. The tens of thousands of festive lights, marking and celebrating the weeks surrounding the Winter Solstice, driving back the long nights – they’re all gone and the the night returns.

Tonight the moon, a couple of days past full, is helping to keep the darkest of the dark at bay. It’s always a pleasure to see it rising beyond the trees and the lights of Los Angeles.

Up near the zenith, winter’s guardian, bold Orion is bright – but not as bright as normal. (One of these days we need to talk about Betelgeuse. What’s up with that?)

The cycle will go around again. Spring is coming, the days will get long, we’ll roast through the summer, then the days will start to shorten again and next Thanksgiving we’ll decorate and light up the night.

Until then…

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Filed under Astronomy, Castle Willett, Christmas Lights, Paul


What’s the use of having a blog with a readership of … dozens? on a good day? … if you can’t use it to post pictures of yourself looking like a dork?

First of all, it was “Flannel Football Friday” at work and as the only one there with a team still in the playoffs, this new Christmas present shirt was perfect.

When I got home the whole house was open and a bit on the chilly side (49┬░ outside) and I wanted to listen to some music while I got some work done for the hangar tomorrow, so I found a really big ski cap and put it on over the Officially Really Nice Bose Headphones.

I was told, “It’s a look!”

Yes! Yes it is, and no one pulls it off like me!


Filed under Paul, Photography

Seven Minutes Left

…to another day that feels like it was spent wrestling rabid alligators from 6 AM to midnight.

The good news is that I’m getting a SHIT TON of things accomplished. Feeling successful. Feeling accomplished.

The bad news is that I’m not sure I’m even making a decent sized dent, let alone finding the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s that marathon thing again. (Search for it on this site – I’m too freakin’ tired to find it and link to it.)

Two minutes left…

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What’s The Over/Under?

Sending text messages to friends and family in the last week, we found the Easter Egg in the iOS Messages app. (It wasn’t hard, this was not an achievement of spectacular investigative skills.)

When you type “Happy New Year,” you get:

It’s about a five-second fireworks display. Cute! I love fireworks!

It apparently doesn’t trigger if you’re just got the “Happy New Years” phrase embedded in a longer text. My guess was that it would work for a day or two around January 1st, but I was surprised to see it still working today.

So, what’s the over/under on when it stops working? January 10th? January 31st? March 31st? July? Thanksgiving?

I’ll be testing. Feel free to help. Text “Happy New Year!” to me every few days. Yeah, the Apple and Google and Facebook and Cambridge Analytica systems that are watching every keystroke will think that we’re weird as hell – but that’s probably a good thing.

(It’s also not inaccurate.)

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Chaos 2020

You know that infamous rant by Jim Mora, coach of the Indianapolis Colts, when some reporter asked him about making the playoffs?

In that same squeaky voice (with pretty much the same graying hair, pretty much the same sagging chin, and pretty much the same sense of frustration) imagine me saying, “Routine?! You want to talk about ‘routine’?”

What’s up with this 2 days off, 1 day on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 2 days off, 1 day on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 2 days off shit?

Granted, it’s better than not having any of those extra days off in there. But when you put that on top of the year and the decade changing, I’m having a tough time remembering what day of the week it is, let alone which month or year.

It’s like being on one of those bull riding machine that’s set up for almost 100% chaotic movement, no predictability, no pattern, nothing to do but hold on for dear life.

At least next week will have five work days in a row, which means only one “Monday.” (My god, has it come to this, that I’m grateful for five work days in a row?)

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

No Context For You – December 30th

As the end of 2019 (and the end of the decade? a pedantic rant for another day, perhaps) comes barreling at us like a runaway freight train, everyone’s doing those “best of the year” and “best of the decade” lists and on and on…

It’s too much work.

But, I did see one suggestion I liked. Instead of looking forward and making resolutions for 2020, look back to 2019 and see what happened that you never saw coming or never thought would come true.

Good one.

In my case, the answer to that was obvious. Since starting college, I’ve worked at four places and was at one of them for twenty-seven years. Being approached by a recruiter, following through the application, getting involved in the process, getting a new job and leaving the old one was ***HUGE*** for me. And before mid June I wouldn’t have thought it was likely in a million years.

What happened to you this year that came straight out of left field?

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