Thursday, July 28, 2005

To ground or not to ground?

Well, John Shannon, of NASA, is basically saying that the Bill guy didn't really say that they were grounding the fleet last night. However, I heard the statement and that's what I understood him to mean. This morning, before the meeting that's being televised right now, I was telling my coworkers that when Bill said they were grounded last night he was kind of hesitant to say so. Almost like there was no meeting and agreement on grounding anything and that maybe he was going out on a limb by himself or he had just made that decision in his head. However, he seems like the guy that COULD make such a decision but I'm sure it takes more than just him to decide such a thing.

Anyway, just my two cents on that. Looks like Bill and John need to get in the same room and discuss this. Although, I guess I'm kind of curious as to why John didn't watch the conference yesterday anyway. I don't work at NASA and I'm watching all the conferences I can. I'd figure they'd be all over that stuff since they DO work there. But I guess maybe he was in a meeting or sleeping or something.

So, are they going to ground the fleet for now or not? I guess we'll learn that in the near future. They are supposed to roll Atlantis out on the 3rd of August.

Pitch Maneuver!

WOW! I just watched the video of the pitch manuever that Eileen Collins executed this morning prior to docking with the ISS. This is something that they've never done before but I can say that she looked like a pro at it. I just watched in awe as they flipped it over for the crew of the ISS to take pictures of the underbelly of the orbiter. That was certainly a sight to behold. They'll be playing that video on every news channel in the world for many days to come.

I'd like to know how the Discovery crew felt during that little acrobatic move. I bet they had to be elated. Or, were they apprehensive? I don't personally know what the risks of that move were. Here on earth you have winds and gravity to deal with. Could you imagine an F-16 flying through the air at 17,000 miles per hour (OK, not realistic but work with me here) and then doing a nose up rollover like that? Talk about slowing down fast, quick and in a hurry. But the shuttle is in orbit around the earth. There is no wind shear going on I would assume. Here on earth if you drive down the road at a snappy speed of 5 mph your hair is flying behind you. That's to say, if you have hair. But outside the earth they are moving at about 17,000 miles per hour, at least that's what I'm understanding, and yet they can strap on a space suit and go for a space walk! It's a good thing there are no bugs in space. Can you imagine what it'd feel like for a bug to hit your helmet shield at that speed?!?!?!

During the rollover they were only allowing 90 or so seconds for the ISS crew to take pictures of the under belly. Why couldn't they stay rolled over for longer than that? Inquiring minds want to know. Therefore, if you know anyone at NASA tell them to answer some of these questions for me will ya?

Maybe I need to start blogging for NASA so I can relay some of these things to the world. It's important to know the "bug on the windshield" affects of space I'd think. But that's just me.

Discovery Docks!

This morning I got outta bed like a woman on fire! I was in a hurry to get to work, and for me that's an oddity. Normally I'd welcome any delay in getting to my homey little cubicle, like yesterday when an 18 wheeler was hanging off a bridge about 15 cars in front of me leaving me sitting in my truck for an hour playing solitaire on my cell phone. But not today! I was shoving the kids in the truck and moving fast. I wanted to get to work in time to see the space shuttle Discovery dock with the International Space Station. I barely made it but make it I did!

Last night I was very dissmayed to hear Bill (can't remember his last name) and Wayne Hale relay to us that they were grounded again because of another foam incident. I remember after Discovery lifted off that the video from the external tank was showing something flying down the side of the external tank but not coming into contact with the underbelly of the orbiter. I had hoped it was a bird or something but it just wasn't to be. It turned out to be a piece of foam. Bill said that it grounds the shuttle fleet until they can figure out what went wrong because this was came from someplace that they were NOT expecting to see foam come off from that area.

They were supposed to launch Atlantis on or about Sept 9th of this year but that's looking slim now sadly enough.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Houston, we have liftoff!!

Wow! That was exciting! I've been watching NASA TV over the web since about 6:30 this morning. The modern marvel that is the internet.

I got to watch them strapping in the astronauts, testing the external hatch and all kinds of stuff. The goosebumply moments were when the different teams were announcing that they were "a go for launch" and when one of the guys on the ground were conveying to the crew that on behalf of the millions of people watching them today he wished them Godspeed and an enjoyable flight. Then Eileen Collins, the flight commander, relayed her good wishes for their flight as well. I got a huge lump in my throat and watery eyes. But I was at work so I had to take a few deep breaths and just watch the launch!

Another neat aspect was when they were testing the rudder and the directionals on the 3 jets on the back of the orbiter. You could see the pilot rotating them around and stuff. Then the engines lit and away it went.

I've never been to Cape Canaveral to watch a launch and I may never get there. But I almost think this was a better view anyway. When you're actually THERE you're 3 miles away and you don't get to see all the little things that make it so fascinating. Like after it launched and got into space you could see the orbiter release away from the external fuel tank. THAT was a really cool moment of live TV.

So, I hope everyone was as fortunate as me. If you weren't, I'm sure they'll be replaying the thing on NASA TV all day so watch it when you get home. Join the rest of the world in prayer for these astronauts to have a successful mission and a successful return flight to mother earth. May the angels sit on their wings until they are safely back on the ground and may God guide everyone involved so that they make wise decisions.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Speaking of blow up pools

We've had our pool up for a month and a half or more now and we haven't hardly used it. That's sad because I put so much darn work into putting the stupid thing up! Anyway, we have one of the Wally World pools with the blue ring at that top. It's the big one so it takes 3 days to fill it up. So I keep letting the thing get green and then I have to go work hard to clean it back out. I just keep forgetting to check it and then I kept forgetting to vacuum it out and besides that takes forever because you have to go really slow.

But, the kids play in it some. Just not as much as last year. Plus, last year, the pool sat next to the front deck, this year there's no deck next to it so they can't cannonball into it. That's way more fun than jumping off the ladder. Oh well, only a month or so left to use it anyway. Then I'll drain it, fold it up, clean it up really good and cover it with a tarp that's weighed down. I have no place to store that big sucker.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The big city of AUSTIN!!

Well OK it's Round Rock but if I said that everybody would say "huh??". So, RR is exactly 1 blink north of Austin. Dell Inc is located there and so am I until Friday! I'm down here for some training.

So the rental car sucks. I was set for an Intermediate car which means a cavalier or a cobalt. However, when I got there they didn't have one and I ended up with sucky neon. Which was made even more sucky by the lack of cruise control. What kind of company rents a car out to a woman who has to drive for 5 hours and doesn't give her cruise control?!?!?!!? Enterprise Rent A Car that's who. I didn't notice until I'd gotten on down the road and was going to set it. That literally drove me nuts all the way to Austin.

However, the hotel room more than made up for it. I'm in a Hampton Inn that's right across the street from Dell. The room is spacious, it has a frig and a microwave. The bathroom doesn't have a tub, it has a shower stall that almost tries to attempt to mimic granite or something like it and it has glass walls and door with a seat in it. Just like I have at home except the one at home is marble and I'll be paying on it for the rest of my natural born life. But I digress. The hotel room also has a HUGE king size bed with 6 very nice pillows. The headboard is just gorgeous. Two tone dark brown with a strip of what looks like leather in it. There is a table in front of the couch that looks like it has a big slab of stone on it. It's faux stone though. But it LOOKS very real and expensive. The bed is very comfy and they offer free internet. So, life in hotel exile is pretty sweeeeeeet.

I got to class this morning and they immediately gave me a handy dandy Dell backpack, Dell T-shirt, pen, pencil, notepad, highlighter and even those neon colored sticky tabs to bookmark pages with. They also gave me vouchers for breakfast and lunch. I had already eaten breakfast though. They also gave me a visitors badge that came with a lanyaird. (I don't know how to spell that word but you usually wear it around your neck with a badge clipped on the end of it) I get to keep that.

So, class starts and most of it I already know but I don't often get the opportunity to completely tear a server apart and then put it back together. So, that part was fun. However, since we were going to leave class 1 hour early for a tour of the manufacturing facility, I worked through lunch. They gave us a boxed lunch including a sandwich, cookies, banana and condiments so I didn't have to use my voucher then either. And, since my company allows $35 dollars a day for food allowance I figured I was gonna have a pretty snazzy supper. :)

Apparently a couple of the guys in class were severely misinformed about this class. They thought it was going to include waaaaaay more than it did. The part they wanted was the class that occurs on Thurs and Fri. But their company didn't send them down here for that long and these classes aren't free. So they got here last night, they leave tomorrow and it was a wasted trip for them. I thought that was sad. I'm sure they'll speak with their rep.

So, the tour was neat. It's not every day you get to see something like that. I'd describe it to you but then I'd get sued for disclosing their top secret computer building methods. I'll just stay out of jail, thank you.

So then I came back to the hotel and called the family to check in and then I went to Saltgrass Steak House for supper. They make a good sirloin steak there.

So, now it's just time to relax and watch a bit of TV before I sprawl out on this king size bed and wrap myself around all these pillows. Sleeping alone is cool for a while but I'm pretty sure that I'll be ready for some body contact by Friday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lunch Dilemmas and online Menus

Where I work we always have a dilemma when it comes to lunch time. Some of us work Mon-Fri, some work Mon - Thurs, some of us work Tues - Fri..... anyway, needless to say Thursday is the best day for us all to go to lunch together. We generally wing it the rest of the time. There's one guy that brings his lunch quite often, I almost never bring mine, others are iffy and it's always hard to get 7 or so people to agree on what they'd like to eat on any given day. Some people don't like Mexican food, some won't eat Asian food and I don't eat... A LOT of things! I'm the pickiest one of the group. I do try to be flexible though. For example, sometimes we go to this chinese buffet. Now, I don't eat chinese food. I just don't touch the stuff. It's gross. One guy likes to put the heads of those little octipusses in his mouth and let the tenticles hang out and then make faces at me. He's a hoot! However, they serve some decent fruit there. For the sake of the group I'll pay the 10 bucks to go to the chinese buffet and eat watermelon, peaches, pineapple and the biscuits they fry up as donuts and sprinkle sugar on. However, they bite the bullet for me and go to my favorite Mexican food joint so I can indulge myself of their tacos and tortillas that I dip into my refried beans. Oh and the chips and salsa are mouth watering!

There is sometimes the occasional dilemma where everyone is sitting around going "What do you want?" "I dunno, what do you want?" Nobody wants to throw out the suggestions because they are afraid that someone else will say "Nahhhh, I don't really want to go there". Sometimes one of us will just say "Ya'll go ahead, I have errands to run". But, there are lots of places that have a large variety of salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. Those places are usually good for me to grab a plate of chicken tenders and french fries. You just can't go wrong there. Well, most of the time anyway.

I do love the places that put their lunch menu on their website. Those places have saved me a lot of heartache. Who knew that a place called Rock Fish served dynamite chicken tenders? I certainly wouldn't have tried the place if I hadn't seen their menu online and knew I would be able to eat SOMETHING. As it turns out, that's now one of my favorite places to eat. Another place that servers gross stuff like coconut rice and black beans actually has a very nice personal pizza. The name is Spike's. I found their menu online too.

So, as a suggestion to any food joint newbie: If you have, or are thinking of having, any kind of food establishment, advertise your menu online! It can only help your business.

Another book review

Well I just finished another Dan Brown book. It was called Deception Point. Pretty good read but a bit drawn out. I liked it though. It's about a woman belonging to the NRO.... they validate data to make sure it's authentic. Anyway, she's supposed to validate this discovery that NASA makes and ends up in all kinds of trouble. All kinds of conspiracies and "who done it" stuff. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

One lazy weekend!

Well I had a very unproductive few days. I don't know about anyone else but I was totally lazy. I'm off on Fridays so I decided I'd get all my housework type stuff done asap so that I could spend as much time as possible doing absolutely nothing. The plan was quite effective I must say. I did more laundry in 2 days than I've done in 2 weeks! I not only did clothes, I even washed all the sheets and blankets off the beds. How's that for productivity, eh?

So I think I did something on Saturday. Maybe that's the day I made a run to Wal-Mart. I dunno. This might've also been the day that I went to the old house and cleaned some stuff up. Sunday.... well, that's a bit of a blur. I think it rained. Monday was the 4th! We watched a few fireworks off the front patio. We live far enough out in the boonies that people can shoot them off in their yard. We just watched. I took the day off on Tuesday to stretch out my nothingness and it was pretty much a lazy day too. I did make it to town and put some clothes in the dry cleaner's and we bought McDonald's for lunch.

I did get a bunch of TV watchin in over the weekend. I thought Dr 90210 was some kinda soap opera or something. Turns out its a sort of reality tv show where they follow these plastic surgeons around and watch surgeries. Pretty darn fascinating stuff I'd say. A friend of mine was thinking about having a tummy tuck done. I'd like to have one of those too. It might help the old baby having pouch look less pouch like. Anyway, I seen lots of those done on that show. Looks gross. There was this person that was born a boy but decided they'd rather be a girl. Guys have this .... bump, for lack of a better word, where their eyebrows are. Women's foreheads are more smoothed out. So they peeled this "chick's" head like a banana off the front a bit and sanded down the skull. Then pulled it back up and sewed it up. When archaeologists of the future dig that person up in 100 thousand years they're gonna be awefully confused.

I don't guess I've ever really thought of that until now, have you? We dig up stuff all the time and can only make guesses, educated or otherwise, as to how that person died, how old they were, when they died, what their lives were like. Granted, we document every blinkin thing we do now. Blogs are just one example. But still. If we dig up a person that had the body of a man, but maybe not ALL the body of a man, do we think they did gender changes in Egypt a gazillion years ago or do we just think this person had a deformity? Do we think they might've been some sort of glimpse into the "we came from monkeys" theory? It certainly stands to reason that we pull something out of the ground and make some absolute decision about it and never realize we are so incredibly wrong that it ain't even funny. (the "monkey" theory comes to mind here.) Anyway, something to think about.

But it was a pretty cool show. They did lipo and face lifts and boob jobs and so on. Tummy tucks look painful but I think I could do it.

I also watched Fire Me Please. Absolutely hilarious! I cracked up all the way through that show. To take a person and stick them in a job where they do all they can to get fired, only to have some sympathetic shop owner screw it all up by feeling sorry for the person or feel like they can mold them into the employee they'd like for them to be. It was a hoot! I wouldn't have been able to keep a straight face for nothin! Maybe that'd be my strategy, they'd think I was insane.

But, it was back to work today. That sucked but it just can't be helped ya know. I gotta earn a living until I win the lottery or a pot of gold drops from the sky. With my luck it'd just hit me on the head.