Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sports Fans (12 f 104)

Last night I met up with a couple of coworkers in the Hotel Lobby to watch UCLA beat Stanford in the PAC 10 tournament final. It was fun since one guy is a Stanford alum and the other is a UCLA alum and both are rabid NCAA basketball fans.

As I watched the game I suddenly had the realization that the only reason I knew what was going on was because my Dad watched so much sports when I was a kid and would sometimes get conversational about it and explain to me what was going on. Then I realized that A)we watch absolutely no sports in my house since we have no TV coming in and B)my son isn't going to be introduced to sports the way I was and so many other kids are.

That means I have to make up the gap.

We already throw a nerf football and he loves to kick the little soccer ball around so I'm not too worried about it. And maybe I shouldn't be such a prototypical American male and worry about sports at all. But sports have been a casual fun part of my life. Anyone who's ever played some basketball with me knows it's 90% passion for me and 10% talent (which leads to mostly really poor playing with too much emotion and having a lifetime 1-on-1 win average somewhere around .010) but it's still fun. And don't lets forget what a HUGE part of my life bike-racing was for so many years.

I thought I had a wonderful tie-in to wrap this all up but it's not there! Sometimes we write well, and sometimes we don't...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Travelling by Commercial Air Sucks (11 of 109)

I'm back in Wallops Island Virginia already and traveling by commercial air carriers yesterday reminded me of all the things I don't like about it...

1- Waiting.
2- Standing in line waiting.
3- Standing in line waiting with people behind you who don't understand that pushing you won't make the entire line go faster.
4- Sitting in a small area with way too many other people sharing the same air.
5- People who carry a carry on briefcase or laptop bag plus a backpack and then for some reason think it's okay to carry one of those suitcases that barely fit in the overhead.
6- Waiting behind the people from number 5 to get the hell out of the way.
7- People who "dress up" to travel and end up looking quite silly since they don't seem to realize that the people in the real world don't look like the pretend people on TV and in magazines.
8- Generally all the other people who are also traveling with exception to old people and children who get a break since they are too old or too young to know better.
9- Waiting in line and looking over to see the "premier" or first class or "rewards" assholes breezing through while I stand feeling like a peasant with his pitchfork at the castle gate. "Please milord! Won't you please cast down your scrap so that I might have a decent meal this week?"
10- The fact that at least 50% of the time your destination is taking you farther from home.

Bonus- Any small luggage with wheels. Stop being such pussies everyone. The exercise of carrying 20 pounds on your shoulder will do you good.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Floatin' (10 of 104)

We rented a two seat kayak with a "child seat" in it today as a test drive. I want to buy a canoe but Kris wants to buy a kayak so we're going to rent both and test them. The two seat kayak did not do well to make its case today. It was simply too cramped. Our first configuration had Jasper in the middle getting clubbed by me from behind on the occasions when I wasn't full-on drenching him with my paddle. And I felt only slightly more affective than a T-Rex with his little arms all curled up since Jasper was crowding me so much. Configuration Two was with Kris' seat moved back and Jasper sitting in the front. This was wonderful for me to stretch out and paddle but with so much weight in the front we were all messed up and the trim was bad and it was a little bit miserable with the kayak at the whim of the wind and lake current more than my fruitless churning.

So we'll rent a canoe next and see how it goes. If the kayak thing is the way to go we'll have to buy two of them: one for one adult and Jasper and the second for the other adult and gear and a dog (or two).

Speaking of dogs we've been pretty sad around here that our little dog, Simon, has disappeared. He simply vanished about five days after we got back from Hawaii. He was really Kris' dog and I mostly just yelled at him to "SHUT THE HELL UP" since he was a little bit of a barky terrier. Despite that, he is missed since he was another member of the family.So adios Simon. Sorry I yelled at you so much.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (9 of 104)

Well we kicked so much butt we were able to come home a day early! With pretty much every other instrument still scrambling to finish or needing some nitpicky little thing to finish that felt really damn good. It's always nice to not be the guy holding everyone else up.

There were two young engineers working on another instrument from Goddard and it put a smile on my face to see a couple of early to mid-20's KIDS trying to figure things out and being really polite and obviously trying to solder, bend, crimp their way through getting their stuff installed. It really took me back to my early days at Goddard trying to do the same stuff all while being intimidated by the aircraft ground crew, the other very senior folks around and being generally insecure about your own abilities.

I've never been what you would call a confident person and lord knows I could use some help on my self esteem (despite how I may write and maybe brag about myself, I'm really my own worst critic and rarely allow myself moments of triumph). But I have come a long way. The pressure of an aircraft integration like this probably would have killed me a mere six or seven years ago. And don't get me wrong the work hours and stress definitely added a few more gray hairs to my beard over the last five or six months but the confidence of experience and some wisdom of my place in life really made the get-it-done part of things alot easier.

I guess there are some benefits to getting old.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What I Do (8 of 104)

Here I am away from home again. Right now I'm in Wallops Island Virginia. I'm here to install our instrument on a P-3 Orion. We had a marathon day and got alot done. In fact, we got so much done, I'll probably be able to get back home a day early. Good thing since I have to turn around and fly right back out here next Tuesday...

Kris began her new career today. Consequently, Jasper began his full-day school as well. It pretty much kills me to be away right now given those events since I'm sure Kris more than has her hands full.

I really like the aircraft and fieldwork parts of my job but it's a bittersweet thing since it means being away from home and missiong out on things and putting extra work on Kris.

Pretty tired tonight. It's only about 7:30 back home but I'm beat. Time to get some shuteye and be ready to get back in the hangar and finish things up tomorrow.