That Feeling When – February 10th

That feeling when you’re indulging in a little bit of “musical therapy” to unwind on a Saturday night and it’s a good night on the Sirius Channel 33 “1st Wave” Saturday Night Safety Dance show and they keep playing favorites and when they do of course you turn it up REALLY LOUD and your phone keeps pinging alerts and you finally give in and look at it and find out that the music is loud enough to be triggering the security camera on the front door three rooms away and you’re disgustingly pleased by that fact.

I’m easily amused.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Music

First Light

Among this week’s crises (some of which approached almost comic proportions, like where you want to raise your weary eyes to the heavens and plead, “Really? REALLY? That’s just lazy writing!” – line blatantly stolen from the new “Deadpool 2” trailer because it’s freakin’ hilarious) were a terminally ill phone, which lead to the move up to the iPhone 8 Plus.

Of course, with a new, much better & faster smart phone comes a new, much better & faster camera. Let’s be real – they’re actually pocket-sized high definition video cameras that can take really good still photos with a supercomputer attached for kicks and a phone tacked on as an afterthought today. Oh, and they play music.

Alas, my train of thought has derailed once again.

Given the new phone and a foggy, dreary grey morning on Tuesday morning, the first pictures to come out of the new device were of the flag hanging in our front yard.

It is not lost on me that our house’s flag might well be an accurate symbol for the current state of our country – faded, a bit tattered, beaten up, feeling a bit worse for wear, adrift in a fog with no clear direction in sight.

As with the phone, perhaps it’s time for a replacement and upgraded flag. While we’re at it, let’s keep working on that upgraded and refreshed country as well.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Politics

Someplace Special – February 08th

Staples Center, Los Angeles (about row ten or eleven – February 2010)

(About row ten or eleven, almost ten years ago. February 2010. Great concert, not sure that he’s capable of doing a bad one. I remember being freezing cold all night, even though we were indoors – the ice surface that my beloved Kings play on was right under us with just a layer of padding and some sort of hard flooring surface to protect it from us.

Go see a concert. Country, classical, rock, punk, whatever. Stadium seating, a big indoor arena, a place that only holds 100 with no chairs, whatever. Live music is good for the soul. Our souls can use some good these days.)

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Music, Photography

No Context For You – February 07th


The anger sneaks up on you. You think you’re over it, living back in your head instead of your gut. Then in a flash, you’re back in the fire, wanting to set all the bridges ablaze and laugh while you watch them go up.

You don’t, of course. (“This time,” the little voice whispers.) You know how horrible the consequences would be.

But the anger’s like acid, wearing away at the walls of your self-restraint and decades of congealed adultiness.

Which will happen first? Will you find a solution and temper the flames? Or will the anger find a chink that leads to a crack which widens to a fissure which leads to your “responsible as-if” personality cracking like an eggshell with an M-80 inside?

So you breathe. You listen to the Brandenburg Concertos. You calm down. You watch videos of the Falcon Heavy launch. You adult.

And you wait.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul, Photography

They Went! Congratulations!

It’s been said about rocket launches that when you get to 0:00:00 on the clock there are a million things that can happen and only one of them is good.

Especially on a first test flight, we knew SpaceX was going to be cautious, and the weather is one of the things they can’t control. But they had a two-hour long window today and they waited out some high-level wind shear issues.

DAMN was it worth it!

This is the full stream of the launch (which occurs at the 22:00 mark), fairing separation (exposing Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster to space at 25:56), and the landing of the two side boosters (at the 30:00 mark).

If you think the video is spectacular…

That one in the lower right might be THE iconic picture of the year.

And this view from the beach:

The video of “Starman” (the mannequin in the space suit in the Tesla Roadster) kept going for over four and a half hours with the Earth getting a bit smaller with every view:

Congratulations, SpaceX!

Now, when do I get to go?


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Go SpaceX! Go Falcon Heavy!

Tomorrow SpaceX will attempt to launch the first Falcon Heavy, which will be the biggest currently flying launch vehicle. The Saturn V was bigger, as was the Space Shuttle – but they’re not flying any more. (Don’t get me started…)

You can watch it online – I might have to have some “executive time” about then to go sit in the car and scream a lot. (It freaks out the office mates.)

What’s SpaceX been up to recently, besides this?

Last week they launched a satellite. Normally these days the recover the first stage booster, but this time they weren’t going to try because the barge they use to land on out in the mid-Atlantic Ocean needed to be used to land one of the three boosters on the Falcon Heavy launch.

Oh, did I forget to mention that they’re going to try to land ALL THREE BOOSTERS from the Falcon Heavy launch tomorrow?

Anyway, because of that they decided to not land the booster last week from the satellite launch. But not ones to waste an opportunity, they experimented with the “landing” anyway. Normally the landing is done by re-lighting one of the nine engines. But what happens if that engine doesn’t re-light correctly? You’re falling like an arrow at a couple thousand miles an hour and you have only seconds before you make a smoking hole.

Maybe you could make up for the delay and the extra speed and the fewer extra seconds by, say, lighting three of the other engines and really freakin’ stomping on the brakes? It’s a high-G maneuver and timing is critical, but on paper it works.

So why not try it when there’s nothing to lose? This booster’s going to be tossed away one way or the other, right? Let’s get the data and fly that profile and have it “land” on the ocean’s surface (no barge) and if we can make it non-violent enough to work if you’re forced to use that method as a backup when there IS a landing spot under you, be it a chunk of Florida coastline or a robot barge.

It landed so gently that it simply tipped over and floated on the surface of the ocean. (Makes sense. If it didn’t crack open it’s 99% empty fuel tanks that that point.)

Even when these folks are deliberately trying to “fail” to get the test data, they still do shit that the rest of us can’t even dream of trying.

Good luck tomorrow, SpaceX! I’ve got an alarm set to try to sneak out of the office.

Give ’em hell.

I’ll be the guy screaming in his car down on the bottom level of the garage.


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Do We Know How To Party Or What?

Well, not “us” exactly, not in the “us = this household” sense. In that definition, no, we don’t know how to party. We’re dull as two-day old dishwater. But if you mean our neighbors here in the West San Fernando Valley, well then, party on!

At least, one of “us.”

Because of some major sporting event today, the grocery store was as crowded as I’ve seen it outside of maybe Thanksgiving morning. So I had some time while waiting in line to observe my fellow citizens.

Next to us in the “15 items or less” aisle was a couple. Not exactly dressed for church on a Sunday morning, but who am I to judge? It wasn’t their choice of attire that caught my attention however. It was what they had in their shopping cart.

  1. A four-pack of bargain toilet paper.
  2. A half-gallon of the expensive, name brand drinking water.
  3. One cucumber

I’m not one to be jumping to conclusions or looking down on my fellow man, particularly on a Sunday morning in the checkout aisle. But I do give my brain free rein to wonder about the universe around me, and I had to wonder about those facts.

What set of circumstances leads a couple, not just one of them or the other, but a couple together to get dressed and come to the big grocery store, not the convenience market or 7-11, to get those three items?

If you’re going for the premium drinking water, why the bargain toilet paper? Or vice versa.

And the one cucumber?

The mind boggles.


Filed under Paul