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!