Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Best Weekend Evah!

Hey look, a new entry!  I’m not dead after all.

Good times last weekend, atsa fer sure. So much so that it calls for an ordered list!

  1. Special talkback performance of One Red Flower, with author Paris Barclay, Bernard Edelman (who edited the book the play was based on), Robert Santos (the guy who commissioned the book), Debbie Brudno (wife of character Alan Chisolm), and Stephen Gregory Smith, who played the lead in the Signature production a few years ago.  It went great!  Everyone thought it was very well done, and the veterans all approved.  The only thing we did wrong was the way they tied their pants to their boots, and having them wear ponchos in the field in one scene.  Great party afterwards, thanks to the prep help from Y.T. and the setup help from all the not-appearing-in-this-play KAT folk.
  2. Baby gorilla!  Mandara keeps poppin’ ’em out down at the National Zoo, so we went with Y.T. to see the new girl.  Hey, a girl baby!  That’s a first.  Cute as kittens.  Man, I don’t see how anyone can watch any apes for more than 10 minutes without jumping to the assumption of common descent.
  3. Mandara still recognizes Jenna.  Long story, involving an ape teaching a person how to say hello, a long absence, the startling realization that apes do double-takes, an even longer absence, and a slow but certain recognition.  Jenna kinda melted.  And I reiterate what I said above about evolution.
  4. Another good performance of the show, and Mary Ann Redmond at the Harp & Fiddle in Bethesda, with Y.T. again.

I’m not expecting to top all that any time soon.

Oh, That Needle!

So I’m putting my vinyl copy of Live Rust (yeah, vinyl, what are you looking at?  Vinyl sounds better.  Not better than digital, better than nothing.  Which would be my other option.)

Um, where was I?

Oh yes, The Needle and the Damage Done.  I think that’s referring to what happens if Wee Thomas jumps onto the turntable before I get the cover down.

Back in high school I wanted to release an album called ‘Tis But a Scratch.  I had the artwork all figured out and everything.  Just didn’t have a band.  And now it’s too late for that joke.

Emotional Response

After looking at the picture in the previous post, and watching Obama on 60 Minutes (hey, how about that; I actually watched something on TV that didn’t come off a DVD and wasn’t sports!), I realize I do have an emotional reaction to the next prez.

It’s always seemed intolerably stupid to vote for a candidate because he’s the kinda guy you’d want to have a beer with, but in my case it’s that he’s the kind of a guy I’d want to work for.  (Hey, come January, I will be working for him.  Modulo N levels of intervening management.)  But he seems like someone I’d want as a direct boss.  Organized, confident, intelligent, and cheerful.  Probably (hopefully!) a sonofabitch if you screw up, but that’s okay.  It’s bosses like that who can change, oh, say, the Hubble Space Telescope from a national embarrasment to the best-loved science facility ever.

Now let’s hope that reaction is correct.

Wee Thomas

And so whaddya think happens? We find a Wee Thomas, of course.

Basement cat has a fierce!

Basement cat has a fierce!

Someone had to have another kitty. And there this one was, all black and friendly-like. And so, in honor of Martin McDonagh, it’s Wee Thomas. He’s quarantined for a week or two, since he just came from the shelter. This is very troublesome to Raoul, who is sure there’s another cat behind that door. More photos below.

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ACS-R is Locked and Loaded

Check this out! The ACS Repair hardware is loaded into the LOPE (Large ORU (Orbital Replacement Unit) Protective Enclosure) and ready for launch. Hubble’s best camera will be working again soon!

The ACS Repair hardware in flight configuration, stowed in the LOPE

The ACS Repair hardware in flight configuration, stowed in the LOPE

You got your Low-Voltage Power Supply Replacement (LVPS-R) up at the top, and your CCD Electronics Box Replacement (CEB-R) at the bottom of the picture. The aluminum-colored plates on the top of each box swing up and out of the way by turning the T-handles, then the boxes slide out. Well actually for the CEB-R you also have to flip the green handles and move them out of the way first as well.

Once installed on Hubble, the harness you see sticking out of the LVPS-R gets connected to the CEB-R, where you see the red shorting plug on there now. There’s more info on ACS Repair at their website.

So now it’s up to the installation crew to get the carrier loaded into the payload bay, and then our astronauts to install it. And we have to not get eaten by alligators, which doesn’t seem too difficult.

In Which I Endeavour to Avoid Geek Fanboy Syndrome

Here are some more shots from yesterday’s tour of Endeavour. This post really should be put into my standard slideshow format, but when my hard drive died it took my /bin folder with it. I had /Applications and the important parts of /Documents backed up, but /bin is the poor cousin in the Mac hierarchy. So I don’t currently have the script to build a slideshow page. I’m sure it’s on some hard disk somewhere, but I don’t have it now. So you get ’em like this.

Let’s start outside the Vehicle Assembly Building. Look, it’s Cepi’s Angels!

Erin, Kathleen, and Becky in front of the VAB.  We didn't go in there.

Erin, Kathleen, and Becky in front of the VAB. We didn't go in there.

But nothing was happening in there, so we didn’t go in. Later this week they’ll be stacking Endeavour in there (attaching it to the external tank, and boosters). With any luck I’ll get to see that too.

Continue reading ‘In Which I Endeavour to Avoid Geek Fanboy Syndrome’

Brush Past the Shuttle

We are an amazing species, aren’t we? I mean, check this out:

The back of the bus

The back of the bus

This thing is going to go into orbit in November, and come back a week later. Unless something goes wrong with my shuttle flight (and I say “my” in the sense that a stage manager refers to “her” actors). In which case it’ll go up next month to rescue my astronauts.

I got the Amazing Dr. Ed Tour of this bird today. It’s really pretty amazing, when you stop to think about it. More posting when I have a bit more time.

I can haz turkeys?

Okay so plants is one thing.  This is even better!  (As usual, click to embiggen.)

We noticed a herd of turkeys in a yard one street over sometime last winter.  Well, we noticed a herd of something, and upon investigation it turned out as turkeys.  So apparently someone around here keeps turkeys.  Much to the amusement of our friends Mark and Eric, who had already decided that we live out in the middle of the country with cows and barb wire and such.

Well, two of ’em wandered into our yard this morning.  It certainly amused our monorail:



Note added 9/26/08: Shawna assures us these are Guinea Fowl. Yep, sure looks like ’em.

And Now with Plants

Hah!  I knew there was a use for all that comp time!  Another load of topsoil arrived today.  It wasn’t as excellent as the first load; had some clay clods in it, and a bit more extraneous mulch, but at least it wasn’t manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts.

We got all the plants in, and ground up as much as we could of a recently removed dead oak branch for mulch, but I think we need a bit more.  Good thing the Behnke sale is still on.

The hostas sure look nice.  There's lots of Japanese grasses too, and some ground cover that claims it'll spread real good.

The hostas sure look nice. There's lots of Japanese grasses too, and some ground cover that claims it'll spread real good.

And the only downside is it seems to have become mosquito season all of the sudden.  Which is weird since it’s only just now stopped raining 3 out of every 5 days.

Look I Made a Wall!

…where there never was a wall.

Look what you can do with 6000 pounds of stone, a good mason's hammer, and two weekends.

The first course goes below grade, for stability. On about 4" of crushed rock. That's about 16 bags of it, if you buy it from Home Depot.

Look what you can do with 6000 pounds of stone, a good mason’s hammer, and two weekends.
Started with a vision in SketchUp, but y’know, having just a vision’s no solution. Everything depends on execution. You gotta start with a solid foundation.

Continue reading ‘Look I Made a Wall!’