Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

Mercury gnooze

From When Marta pulls out the paper bag, and starts talking about the recent Mercury Messenger flyby, I was rolling with laughter. Hey, I’m a space nut – I don’t mean any disrespect to the Messenger team – but it’s healthy to laugh at ourselves.

my midlife crisis will be…

I’ve told my wife that I’ll forgo that Mercedes Benz I’ve always wanted if she’ll let me spend $50K during my lifetime for a ticket to ride on SpaceShipTwo. It’s $200K for a ticket right now (which is north of my tax bracket), but hopefully the passenger volume will warrant a reduction in price while I’m still hanging out on the right side of the dirt. Yeah, $50K is north of my tax bracket, too. But c’mon! We’re talking midlife crisis here.

Congratulations, Burt Rutan. Congratulations, Sir Richard Branson. It’s a beautiful ship design. I bet Glen, Eric, and Todd would be extremely proud. I look forward to seeing the real bird. I will start saving my Interstellar Kredits.

(Updated 11:22pm) Wow, from pictures now up on, WhiteKnightTwo (which they’re calling “Virgin Galactic’s Mothership”) looks like a piece of marketing & engineering genius. A significant upgrade from WhiteKnightOne. Elements of Rutan (reuse two identical fuselages on the same bird), elements of Branson (hey, let’s put passengers in that thing, too! They can get a front row seat for the high atmosphere launch!) Too cool.

hometown history

Mom & Dad gave me a great Christmas present this year: a day-long historical tour of Orange County, Virginia (where I grew up) and surrounding areas. Mr. Frank S. Walker, Jr. guided me for this one-on-one Civil War-themed tour.

Connections are the “hook” that draw me to history, and there were quite a few personal ones for me on this day. Mr. Walker’s wife, Mrs. Bernice Walker was my science teacher through most of my formative years at Grymes Memorial School. Truth be told, I never was Mrs. Walker’s best student. My interest in growing the biggest crystals in the class had far more to do with a crush I had on lab partner Ms. Phillips than it did with any true interest in science. I also remember Mrs. Walker calling me aside after class one day and telling me that she didn’t care whether I sat in the back of the room not listening, passing notes, and throwing spitballs. She did insist, however, that the peers with whom I was distracted truly did need to pay attention.

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men greater than I

I’m currently reading an unabridged version of “We Were One, Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah” by Patrick K. O’Donnell on my iPod during commutes to/from work. Having just returned from a break to go grab some dinner, I reached the post-battle roll call. I sat behind the wheel in the parking lot bawling my eyes out for about 10 minutes.

Thank you, Marines. Your service and sacrifice is admirable beyond my ability to express. Without qualification, I support you, and I support your mission.

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