Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kevin's first soccer game

Click on the pics to see bigger versions.
To see all the photos from this set you can click here. Be sure to click on "all sizes" to see the bigger versions

This fall, Kevin is playing his very first team sport, soccer. He absolutely loves it! Once he get's out on the field with his teammates, he always has a blast. In just about every picture I take of him, he has a huge grin on his face.

I don't really know the rules to soccer, so I am reluctant to yell things like, "Go get the ball!" because he may need to stay in a certain on the field to guard it.

The most important thing to me is that Kevin is having fun, getting exercise and learning to be a good teammate.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

STS-127 Space Shuttle Launch

Please click on the smaller pics to see the larger versions.

Also, click here to see more pics from the launch.

I have always dreamed of watching a Space Shuttle launch...

I never dreamed that I would be able to take my boys with me to actually see one!

This mission was supposed to have launched in June, 2009, but was delayed because of a hydrogen leak. I had already planned our vacation to Florida before that. However, when the shuttle launch was delayed, they pushed it back to the exact week we would be in Florida!

Through some of my co-workers (Thanks Bob!) I was able to score some seats at a prime viewing area!

We traveled to the Kennedy Space Center from St. Pete for two failed launch attempts and we were hoping that the third time would be the charm and not "three strikes and your out!"

Going from St. Petersburg, FL to the Kennedy Space Center was a 300 mile round trip, so each time consisted of an entire days worth of driving there, waiting and then driving back

While there, the boys were so well behaved and waited patiently...snacks helped.

We were at the Banana Creek viewing area and the view was awesome! There were A LOT of folks here with us...

At 4 minutes to liftoff, the announcer asked everyone at the viewing area to stand and sing the National Anthem...

Finally, at 6:03 pm EDST, the Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off the pad. I took this picture with my very own camera, with my longer lens.

It was incredible and my eyes welled up with pride as our shuttle raced skyward! People were shouting "GO!!!" and "Come on Endeavour!" The sound was not as loud as I had anticipated, but you could still very much feel the power!

In less than 1 minute it was so high that you couldn't really hear it or see it much...they boys were both very impressed (as they should be!) and we all had huge grins on our faces...

After 2 failed launch attempts because of weather, almost 900 miles of driving back and forth, back and forth and back and forth, and about $50 in dang tolls, we finally experienced something that I had only dreamed of...the launch of the Space Shuttle.

It did not disappoint!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What is Love?

I think Haddaway said it best with his 1993 hit,

"What is love..."

I am learning that love is so complicated and yet can be so easy. (So I hear)

Being single was something that I never anticipated when I was married and was a stage of my life that I was glad to be past. Well, I am single again and I find myself wondering, "what true love really looks like?"

I thought I knew at one time...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kevin's 10th Birthday Weekend

Click on the pics to see the larger verisons...

Click HERE to see all the pics from the birthday weekend.

Technically, Kevin's birthday isn't until next Friday, but this is my weekend to have them and I decided to make this the best weekend ever!

The weekend started with Kevin opening up his birthday presents from me...a Hot Wheels track, some Pokemon cards, 3 Bakugan Battle Brawlers, and a remote control Mustang GT.

On Saturday morning I took the boys to the US Space & Rocket Center (thanks Al!) and we toured the new Davidson Center, where the real Saturn V now lives and watched a 3D movie!

After the movie, we went outside and enjoyed some Dippin' Dots at the base of the full sized upright replica of the Saturn V...

While touring the grounds, Eric and Kevin decided to strike some "poses" in the lunar crater.

The boys were fascinated with the rockets and really enjoyed the many features of the US Space & Rocket Center, especially the gift shop!

Later that night, after going to the pool for a quick swim, we headed to the von Braun Center (space reference there...) to watch the Tennessee Valley Vipers take on the Kentucky Horsemen.

Here the boys get to meet Vinnie the Viper...

Tickets to the game were so cheap, $6 each for the boys and $7 for me. We really need to go back (but next time eat at home! $19 for tix, $40 for food...) The Vipers won 41-13.

Finally, after going to church we headed to our local water park, Point Mallard.

Sun is no friend to the Bilbrey boys and we slathered on the sunscreen...however, after 4 hours, we still got a little burned.

They absolutely LOVE Point Mallard and we had a great day...both boys really like jumping from the high dive and diving boards. However, the highlight for them was the wave pool.

Well, that's it. Another quiet weekend at the Bilbrey abode...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Days...

Ahhh, summer vacation!

Summer is such a magical evokes images like swimming, baseball, hot days and warm nights. To a kid, summer is that golden ring that always seems just out of reach and then one day it is suddenly here!

As an adult, summer isn't such a magical word anymore because life and work continues no matter what the outside temperature is or what the calender says...

But that doesn't mean we can't get out there and make the most of the daylight, right?

We only live once and I don't want to waste a single day (although I have been known to waste days and I am not proud of that fact...)

So with that thought in mind, I took my boys to their first minor league baseball game this season. It was a day game and we got to pick our seats, so we sat behind home plate hoping to catch a foul ball or two. Although some foul balls came close, we didn't manage to get one...

We stayed until the very end, which was a first for us. Through the years we have been to baseball, football and hockey games and always left before the end for one reason or another.

But they really enjoyed the baseball game and we will definitely be going back!

This past weekend I did not have the boys so I ventured to the apartment pool by myself. Everyone seems to know each other there and I always feel like the odd man out, but I made my mind up to introduce myself to a few folks per visit.

Last year I was in no frame of mind to be social, but now that I am officially single, I feel more comfortable mingling with folks I don't know.

Don't worry, I hope to have more actual NASA related stuff here real soon...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ares I Parachute Test


Greetings from sunny Yuma, AZ!

We have come out here to shoot video of the parachute test of the Ares I first stage. These parachutes are designed to slow the spent first-stage motor so it can be used again.

They drop them here at the Yuma Proving Ground because this area is almost the size of Rhode Island and there is plenty of space to drop large payloads.

Here is the video we shot and edited in one day...

Speaking of large payloads, below is a picture of the three parachutes before the drop. The parachutes are 150 feet in diameter and weigh almost 2000 pounds each.

While out here, we shot some interviews with folks who talked about what will happen and why they are doing it...

After the video and interviews were shot, Lee took all the footage and used our Tricaster to turn it into a video which we posted online within hours of the actual test.

The payload is loaded into an Air Force C-17 and dropped from a very high altitude

They dropped the payload at 6:30AM, so we had to be out there at I am at the drop zone waiting for the actual drop...

After exiting the C-17, the parachutes opened up beautifully and brought the 41,500 pound load to a soft landing on the desert floor.

Just another day at the office!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First swim of 2009

Last weekend the boys begged me to take them to our apartment pool. I knew that the pool had recently been re-filled with water and that it would be super cold...but what does Dad know, right?

Just to prove a point, I agreed and we all made the 100 foot walk to the very inviting (yet cold) pool.

I announced that I bet the boys would last no longer than 10 minutes in the water.

While the boys inched their was into the frigid water, dear old Dad did the easy (and stupid!) thing...that's right, CANNONBALL!

Kevin and I lasted almost 15 minutes in the water...after a while I was beginning to worry because the water was starting to feel warmer. I was afraid that hypothermia was setting in!

Eric, on the other hand, only lasted about 5 minutes before he got out and covered up with his brand new towel that I got him when I went to Hawaii a few months ago.

All in all, the first swim of 2009 was a bust, but we did get wet and had fun doing it!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flippin' Sweet!

I went viral last week!

No, it has nothing to do with the swine flu...

Someone decided that my Napoleon Dynamite post was pretty cool and he (or she) decided to submit the link to, which is a website that people go to see "what's hot" today. Well, apparently a lot of people go there to see "what's hot" because when I woke up the next morning, I had over 3,200 hits to my blog in a 4 hour period!

Keep in mind that I maybe have had 2,000 hits to my blog in the last 15 months!

All day Friday I kept checking the numbers and it was increasing the end of the first day I had 15,964 hits!

Here are some interesting facts from my 1 day of going viral...

I had people from all 50 states, with a high of 1,359 from California and a low of 12 from Wyoming.

I had visitors from 94 countries, including Afghanistan (1), Iraq (1) and China (40).

Also, I had another website link to my blog because of the is a website called that said some nice things about me.

The second day saw the number of visitors drop to a more reasonable 751, then it was 289 and then 134 on day 4...

Anyway, it was pretty neat to see my little old blog get some worldwide exposure. I am pretty positive that none of these thousands of people will ever come back, but that's ok. I don't do this blog to entertain the world, just the people in my world.

If you like my blog and want an e-mail telling you when it has been updated, then all you have to do is just click on the link that says "Follow" near the top of the blog.

Here is a complete list of countries who visited on the first full day of going viral, listed from the country with the most visitors to the countries with the least.

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Finland, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Mexico, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, South, Africa, Poland, India, Romania, Greece, Israel, Brazil, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Malaysia, Argentina, Philippines, Estonia,Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Slovenia, Iceland, China, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Russia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Macedonia, Bermuda, Peru, Grenada, Cyprus, Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Panama, Vietnam, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Malta, Latvia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Guernsey, Macau, SAR China, Lebanon, Jamaica, Aruba, Haiti, Iraq, Honduras, Egypt, Bahrain, Venezuela, Cayman Islands, Belize, Paraguay, Afghanistan, Isle of Man, Albania, Qatar, Nepal and Kuwait.

Napoleon..............Peace out!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Napoleon Dynamite's hometown

I am a big fan of the movie, Napoleon Dynamite...the movie is quirky and there are lots of great movie quotes!

The movie was filmed in Preston, Idaho in the summer of 2003. It cost $400,000 to make and it grossed over $46,000,000 in the theaters.

I am in Ogden, Utah on business and Preston, Idaho is a 90 minute drive, so I decided to make the drive and see if I could find some exterior locations from the movie.

I went online and found this website that gives the address of the movies exteriors.

In the below pics, I have the pic I took today, followed by a screen cap from the movie...

Please click on my pic to see the bigger version

To see all of the pics click here...

First on my list was, of course, Napoleon's house. It sits mostly by itself on a dirt road outside of town.

Next to the house is the area where Tina, the fat lard of a Llama lived...the fence is gone, but the fence posts are still there.

The pic below is the actual mountain Uncle Rico bet Kip he could throw a football over...good luck with that!

Next, I swung by Pedro's house, no sweet jumps to be seen here...

Literally around the corner is Preston High School...

There are a lot of scenes in the movie that were filmed on these steps, the liger scene is one...

The tetherball scene does not actually take place at Preston High School, but at a nearby elementary school...there was no tetherball to be found on this day.

This next house is Tricia's house, the girl that Napoleon took to the dance. It took him like 3 hours to finish the shading on her upper lip...

The Pop'N Pins lanes is where Uncle Rico and Kip decide to have some ID's made so they "look official, like they have all the answers."

Summer's house looks like it is being renovated...I guess she moved out.

This is Kings, which is a drug store in town. This is where Uncle Rico embarrasses Napoleon in front of Summer, telling him to go get some Pampers for him and his brother.

Last, but not least, this is Rex and Starla's house, Rex as in Rex Kwan Do and his American flag pants!

It was a lot of fun driving around town and looking for the various exterior landmarks. I felt like a bit of a fool taking pictures of peoples houses, but it's been almost 6 years since the movie was filmed and I am sure I was not the first to do it.

I am off to go get some chapstick because my lips hurt real bad, gosh!