And Now a Story About this Picture Written by Bracken and the folks at his Creatorium :)
Jack: The Snowman Hunter
Very little is known about the history of Jack Frost. In the early 1900's his legendary hunting skills moved him into a position of fame. Later, in the late 1970's, he became immortalized in a stop-motion movie about the beginning of Santa. But, in all reality- Jack was a snowman hunter, and a very good one at that.
Before Jack- Snowmen weren't the cute, cuddly creatures they make them appear to be on television. In fact- Frosty isn't like his actor portrayed at all. I know they made Jack Frost appear bad, but in all reality, they were switched in roles. Frosty was causing the blistering cold that was causing global freezing- starting in about 1883. Global freezing was scaring environmentalists, they were afraid that all the world oceans would freeze, and our precious water resource would vanish, until a massive flood would wipe everyone out (please refer to the documentary called ICE AGE, put out by my agency for more information).
Frosty was behind it. He had created a machine that would spiral the freezing cold weather out of control. It was a terrible problem for everyone around. Nobody knew that the source of the problem was actually a machine- most people were blaming el nino at the time.
Jack was working for an organization called the counter-freezing unit (CFU). He worked with several other people attempting to counter the freezing cold. A snowman attempted to blow up their headquarters, and that was the end of it. Jack was instantly on the job. He was able to take care of multiple global freezing threats. (For a completely revamped version of these missions- please watch the hit television series "24". The character Jack Bauer is based on Jack Frost).
This trophy wall- even though it looks evil, and sadistic- holds the heads of the snowmen that were attempting to freeze the world. Because of this trophy wall though, Jack Frost will forever be considered "evil"... Even though he saved all of us from an certain doom.
Just remember troops. Never judge a book by it's cover.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Our First Item for Consideration. Hmmmmmm. Yes, A delicious Motherboard. Gosh, what will they think of next at that Imaginarium? Don't they ever do real school work or is it all play?
Answer....... Yes, our students at the Imaginarium study, but perhaps in a different way. For instance. The assignment, Genetics; and the result from one of our senior students above.
Always giving what isn't expected........ The Imaginarium.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
This is a post on the History of the Space Center from Brian Hawkins he sent some time ago and since we are taking time to learn the history of the Center I thought you'd be interested in learning about our great staff from the past.
Brian was our first 'Chief Programmer'.
Enjoy his post and learn more about the Space Center's history.
And now Brian's Post:
As long as everyone's throwing out history, I thought I would add my two (or more) cents. My journey from Space Center participant to flight director was unique, and perhaps the first of its kind-- although it's much more common now. So here goes . . .
I first attended the Space Center not long after it opened as part of my sixth grade class (Cherry Hill Elementary, Orem, Utah). I need not describe how amazing it was--all of us know that feeling. I immediately resolved to return as many times as the Space Center and my parents' pocketbook would allow. Generally, that meant once or
twice a year--always a summer mission, and sometimes a private overnighter during Christmas break if I was lucky. Again, I need not waste words describing how excited I felt about each trip to the Space Center.
After a few years of attending missions I wanted to do more. First, I knew that the Space Center computers ran on HyperCard, and I knew I had HyperCard on my Mac at home. I started wondering whether I could program Space Center-like controls on my home computer, so I taught myself HyperCard. Also, I was a soundtrack junkie, and I began to hear a lot of movie music that struck me as Space Center- appropriate. Finally, I was big into theater at school, so I was gaining a lot of acting and fake-accent experience.
All of these tendencies began to converge when Vic announced a new class at the Space Center--a "story development" workshop. This was in the Winter of 1993. My personal suspicion was that Vic was running out of story ideas and decided to teach a class on the subject as a way of milking new ideas out of us. :^) In any event, it was my first opportunity to interact with Vic in a "personal" setting. It was also during this period that I volunteered to show him some HyperCard tricks I had learned--things that could make the current stacks look and run better. He was somewhat impressed, but, if I recall correctly, nothing came of it.
At this same time, however, I was participating in a Star Trek club (the USS Alioth), which had agreed to do some volunteer work for the Center. In return for a free 8-hour flight, we built an "engineering station" on the Bridge. It was located in that corner room off to your right as you come up the short set of stairs (that is, not the
spiral stairs, but the stairs coming up from the control room area). It's all torn out now and replaced by bunks, but at the time it included a place for isolinear chips (the first ever at the Space Center) and "cooling rods" for the warp reactor. I helped to design and build all of this, and thus gained more exposure to and interaction with Vic and some of the other Space Center staff.
Soon another opportunity arose. The following school year (1993-94), Vic organized the Voyager Society. Initially, the Society included only Space Center attendees who had more than a certain number of flight hours. Having been on a number of overnighters, 48-hour flights, and even the famed 5-day mission, I had plenty of hours. I was "Captain" of the Society for some time.
One of the best parts of the Society was the chance to volunteer on missions. My first volunteer experience was a 48-hour flight during the summer of 1994. I finally got close-range interactive experience with Vic, Mark, Dave Wall, Steve Wall, Bill Shuler, Tony, Jake, Nate, Bart, and all the rest. I also began showing off my HyperCard
experience a bit more, and Vic liked what he saw. He asked me to make a few changes here and there. Then I shared some soundtrack ideas, which Vic also picked up (Clear and Present Danger and the heavy-drums Yanni excerpt come to mind--although Yanni's not a soundtrack). And I had fun with accents.
I volunteered for a few other missions that summer and volunteered for as many overnighters as I could during the 1994-95 school year. Finally, sometime in the winter of 1995, my "big break" occurred. At that time, Steve Wall was driving down from Logan every Friday afternoon to meet his brother Dave (driving from Salt Lake) and run the "X-Craft"--a makeshift simulator inside the Starlab (a primitive
version of the Falcon). However, on one particular Friday, Steve could not make it down. Perhaps it was snowing too much. In any event, Dave was all alone. Vic assigned me to work with him. Dave and I didn't hit it off right away, but we got to know each other and I showed him that I was competent as a "second chair."
From that point on, I almost always worked with Dave and Steve. More importantly, what we now call the Odyssey (then called the "ISES" and after that the "Seeker") was in the planning stages. It was to be built over the summer of 1995. Dave and Steve had heard of my HyperCard skills and tapped me to create the controls for the new ship.
At this point, I began spending so much time at the Space Center that Vic took notice. At the end of an overnighter, he announced to me nonchalantly, "Brian, you're doing all this stuff . . . we're just going to hire you, okay?" I was taken aback. I had wanted to work at the Space Center for a long time, but I thought I would never get hired. Aside from adult employees, it had been Vic's policy to employ only students who had attended Central Elementary. So, as far as I am aware, I was the first volunteer to break the "Central ceiling" and actually get on the Space Center payroll.
Meanwhile, as the new "Chief Programmer" (an informal title at the time), I was working away on the controls for the Odyssey. Because the new ship would be the Space Center's first to have color computers, I created the Space Center's first color stacks--very primitive by today's standards, but they looked cool to us back then. The Odyssey launched in the fall of 1995, with my stacks, and so I spent most of my time working in the Odyssey control room-- usually as second-chair to Dave Wall. Dave and I became good friends, and still are.
It was in the fall of 1995 that my second "big break" occurred. At that time, both the Odyssey and Voyager kept track of what the kids were doing on their computers through the Timbuktu system, which slowed down the computers immensely. I had come across something in a HyperCard book that could help us break free from Timbuktu-- AppleTalk messaging. For example, if Left Wing goes to Warp 6, instead of having to see a graphical representation of that kid's computer screen showing the ship at Warp 6, the kid's HyperCard stack could send an AppleTalk message through the network telling a control room computer, in effect, "Left Wing has taken the ship to Warp 6." Then the control room computer would have a little text box labeled
"Warp Speed" and HyperCard would insert a "6" into that box, and perhaps even make a noise and/or use the computer's "speech" function to say, "Warp 6." And everyone would know that the ship had gone to Warp 6, but without wasting so much processor time. (This should sound familiar--it's the way things run now.)
Well, this was a great idea, but I could not get it to work. Specifically, I could not get two computers to permit the other to send messages to it. Then along came Kirby Glad, who had also taught himself HyperCard. Kirby had programmed his own stacks for use in the special missions he was developing, and I noticed he was using AppleTalk messaging. I asked him how he got it to work, and he graciously showed me what I was doing wrong (it had to do with "Users and Groups," for all you old Mac hands).
Suddenly, everything worked. (Thank you, Kirby!) Within a month or two, I reprogrammed the Odyssey computers to use AppleTalk messaging rather than Timbuktu, and it was like a whole new ship. All the computers ran at the speeds of which they were capable, and we in the control room didn't have to worry about those silly Timbuktu windows. Half the time, we didn't even need to look at the control
room computers. They would simply speak to us: "[Ding!] Warp Six." (Sometimes I programmed them to say something sassy, like, "Warp Six, you fool.")
Soon, Vic wanted the Voyager computers to run on the same type of system. Over the next several months, I completely reprogrammed the Voyager stacks to look better, and to use AppleTalk messaging. The computers were still black-and-white, but it was nonetheless a needed facelift and internal upgrade.
Also during this time, I produced all the Tactical and Sensor stacks. I found those projects pretty fun, and I amassed a wealth of Star Trek bitmap clip art (which I still have on my hard drive-- somewhere).
As the years progressed, it became more burdensome for Dave Wall to come to the Space Center every weekend, and so I gradually assumed the Odyssey flight director's chair. Although Dave and Mark Daymont would still run the ship on occasion, I got to direct numerous missions from about January 1997 through September 1998. During that time, Allan Stewart and Stephen Porter became my second-chairs, and Allan Stewart took it upon himself to learn HyperCard. As I prepared to leave on my mission in September 1998, he was the obvious choice to assume the role of Chief Programmer, with Steve as his back-up.
After my mission, I maintained contact with the Space Center (a few small HyperCard projects, and a short-lived programming class--the first "Multimedia Development Academy"), but it dwindled gradually. School was just too demanding, and I had a job on campus. Then I graduated and moved away.
I'm now a lawyer, graduated from University of Michigan Law School. I'm married and have a family. Nonetheless, I confess that the Space Center is still on my mind. I
get the daily digest e-mails, of course. But more than that, I see a new sci-fi show, play with a new gadget, hear a new soundtrack, etc., and my first reaction is almost always: "Wow, the Space Center could really make use of that."
I'm also pleased that a lot of my innovations live on. I visited the Center briefly in August 2005 (my most recent visit). Although the Space Center's stacks have now all been completely reprogrammed in a new programming language, they all contain graphic design elements and programming processes that I helped to develop.
the Center for so long has seemed so... soo undeparmentalized. That's not entirely true- the imaginarium just has a lot more time to advertise themselves. The rest of us, of course, are doing the real work.
Space Center FD
Friday, April 16, 2010
PBS HAS A NEW SCIENCE SERIES .... VIEW IT ONLINE FOR FREE....THAT EVERYONE AT THE SPACE CENTER AND ANYONE INTERESTED IN SPACE MUST SEE. IT IS CALLED "HUNTING THE EDGES OF SPACE"....PART ONE AND TWO....
FASCINATING INFO ABOUT LIGHT, TELESCOPES, DISCOVERING THE ESSENCE OF DARK ENERGY/MATTER..GREAT SERIES!!
AKA ST. SHEILA
SPACE CENTER EDUCATOR
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
STS-131 Second spacewalk hits a snag
By Mark Daymont
From his Blog:
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Several members of the staff and volunteers came over yesterday to Bradyn Lystrup's farewell lunch. Bradyn enters the MTC on Wednesday to serve an LDS mission to Boston. We feasted upon delicacies prepared in the cavernous kitchens of Walmart. Well, I say delicacies.... actually just a six foot subway sandwich, but good just the same. In fact, I had this fear the sandwich would come as an actually six foot sandwich sitting atop a six foot cardboard board. I became a bit self conscious entering the store wondering how I was going to manage maneuvering this six foot monstrosity through the the store balanced on top of a shopping cart. My vision conjured images from those old slapstick comedies of someone holding a ladder across their shoulder. I saw myself turning the cart to change directions and knocking several people over in the process.
To my relief the sandwich was cut into several slices and put in boxes. The boxes fit into the cart! I could exit the store without drawing attention to myself. It was good.
The lunch started at 1:30 P.M. I wasn't expecting many people. It was Spring Break and many of our adult staff were out of town. I'm happy to report that more people arrived than I expected and we had plenty of food. The sandwich of course was supplemented by Lorraine Houston's lip smacking potato salad, my baked beans ala tincan and a delicious chocolate cake topped with several chopped up Snicker's bars. Bottled water was the drink of choice.
Most of us sat around and talked. Bracken and Alex played pool. Alex was loosing so he did what I would have done, He rolled a billiard ball across the table and right into Bracken's fingers. Bracken was leaning against the table and was distracted in conversation. Alex apologized in a very believable humble tone. Bracken cussed. I won't record the exact word used but it was definitely something you'd never hear spoken at my home. Stacy, Emily, Metta and Lorraine nearly fainted in shock. We hurriedly rustled up bottles of ice cold water to revive them. Bracken seemed indifferent to the damaged done - he was too busy jumping up and down while rubbing his injured digits in an attempt to restore the flow of blood. Alex excused himself and began texting his victory to his co conspirators.
Casey Voeks is running for Alpine District's School Board. He updated us on the campaign and sweet talked a $49.99 contribution from me. Ohhh that hurt writing that check. Imagine me writing a check to help someone win a political race! Imagine me writing a check for anything!
I'm known for my extremely tight fiscal policies at work and at home. Some people think money is power. I believe you could make a good argument for that. I believe money is security. You can keep your power - I want security. You should work, earn and save. Spend only if you must and only on those things that are needed. Save Luxuries for Christmas and Birthdays. Too many people in this country believe you should Work, Earn, Spend, Borrow, and Save only if you must. That is a recipe for disaster. Enough Said. Casey got the contribution and Good Luck to him.
Everyone went home around 4:00 P.M. Emily and Alex had a Voyager mission at the school. I wished Bradyn all the best, shook his hand and out the door he went. You know, its sobering to think that this will be the first time in nearly ten years the Space Center hasn't had a Lystrup working or volunteering. It started with Bradyn's older brother Bryson and continued with Bradyn. It is the end of an era.
Bradyn ran the Voyager mission "A Matter of Honor" for his older brother Friday night. Bryson helped write the mission with Kyle Herring. The following pictures were taking during the mission. This is Bradyn, telling his last mission at the Space Center (I would have preferred to see him wearing his Flight Director's shirt but what the heck).
The Voyager ran like a charm for both the five hour and Saturday's 2.5 hour missions. Our Poltergeist seems to be exorcised. Fingers crossed our field trip missions go without a hitch tomorrow.
All the Best!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Well lookey here. Ya'll come all the way out here to visit me did ya? Couldn't think of anything better to do with your time? How delightful, how bloody delightful..........
Oh, nothing. Just mumblin to myself.
Come on up to the porch and sit yer serves down. Its a nice day so we'll look at the snapshots outside if you don't mind. Those seats are open near the potted plants. The swing seat is nice, two of you can sit there. I'll be right out, I don't move so well these days with this walker; keeps me from falling don't ya know. I'm running a bit behind this morning. The old pipes ain't what they use to be. Some things I eat get them rattlin so bad I feel like a jack hammer bouncing around the living room. There should be a manual on getting old.
Would one of you get the door? That's it. Mind the screen door. Keeps the bugs out don't ya know. Well, where's my seat? Don't think I'm going sit on the steps while we talk. I'd never get myself up. I need that rockin chair so you get out and find some other place to sit. I need a rocker so I can propel myself up when its time to go inside.
Watch yer feet there. I don't want to trip. Last week old Bill Schuler from down the road tripped over his cat. The cat took off screechin and old Bill came straight down landing on the coffee table. Course, he was home alone at the time; nobody around to help so he lay there on the floor moanin and groanin. Broke his hip didn't he? Finally the mailman showed up and heard him yollerin for help. Called the paramedics and they carted him off to the hospital. He'll be laid up for weeks and weeks. Us old timers have brittle bones. Match that with stubbornness and you got the perfect recipe for disaster.
Ahhhh, I'm down. Whose got the picture book? Hand it over here. Now, I'm guessing yer all here to see old pictures of the Space Center. Well, I've got a few here to show ya so if you'll be patient I'll get this open and we'll talk.
Don't stand so close, yer crowdin me. Not to mentioned breathin my air. You younglings can sit around my feet. Watch the slippers, don't go droolin over em.
You olders can stand close but again, don't go breathin my air. OK, lets get this album open and see what we got.
Will ya watch the lemonade? You nearly spilled it on the pictures! What do ya mean you're shocked to see me smilin?
Ya, I was a lot younger then but don't let that smile disturb ya. I'm sure I was cookin up some scheme to kill that crew just like I've been doin for the past few decades. I'm standing near the telephone station on the Voyager. Had a lot more hair in those days. I miss that lush forest, mind you I spent good money on hair cuts as well so there are advantages to havin it all fall out instead.
What did ya say? The logo on my sweatshirt? Yep, that's the same symbol you see outside the Voyager's outside door. That was the first logo I paid an artist good American money to design - none of that phony Canadian stuff. What's it mean. How would I remember that!? I have a hard enough time rememberin where I put my readin glasses don't I? Let's move on...... and you there scoot back, your kneelin on my lap blanket! I'd say something if it weren't for mixed ages bein present.
Here's the old main viewer. I'm proud to say that I did all the tacticals back then. That's what the crew saw when they took the Voyager out of Space Dock. Course we had to do it the old fashion way. It was all done in Hypercard so we had to have someone sittin at the tactical computer and moving things manually. You'd have to draw a box around the ship then click and drag. Whatever was in the box would move with the mouse. Mind you, if you didn't get the entire ship selected in the box you'd leave part of the ship behind as the kids would fire the thrusters. Had to have a steady hand if you worked the tactical station. Who ever worked there had a fear of me somethin fierce. I was like ole Mt. Vesuvius - I could blow at any time.
The screen was monochrome.
Lookey here at the face of that youngling over there by the potted plants. What's yer name? Mary? Why yer a boy if ya hadn't noticed. Oh, its yer nickname is it?
What kind of people are you attrackin to work at the Center these days anyway?
Well Mary, ya don't know what monochrome means do ya? Ya, we could tell by the stupor on yer face. It means black and white, or in this case, kind of a green and white. High tech in its day. Kinda like the VCR today - High Tech! Don't know what I'd do without it.
OK Mary, you think about what I just said, let it stew around up there in yer head for a spell and you'll get it. Bless his heart - he must be one of them special kids.......
OK everyone, this is a picture of one of the Voyager's Bridge Computers. They were monochrome as well....... Ya, there ya go Mary...... Ya get it now don't ya? Bless his heart, someone give the kid a cookie.
I'll have all of ya know that I'm the one that programmed the first controls on the Voyager. You're lookin at the screen I designed for thrusters. Some of my best work that is. I think I'll pause for a moment and let each of you comment on how awesome it looks. Wake me when yer all done........
Finished then? OK. I'm gonna let Bill write about how the ship actually worked, too much talkin is makin my throat dry........... I SAID TOO MUCH TALKIN IS MAKING MY THROAT DRY...... Now look at that, Stacy caught on and is fetchin my lemonade.
No, not that one. Its the other one. Ya that's the one. Its got a little something extra to calm my nerves. Don't go all wonderin. Only for medicinal purposes.
AHHHHHHH that hits the spot. Real American Lemonade, none of that..... All Together Now....... None of that "PHONY CANADIAN STUFF"..... We're sure havin a great time ain't we. Sorry..... aren't we. Gotta remember this porch has mixed ages.
Ya know, there was this one time when Lorraine slammed one of these old computers (we had to do it on some of these older models to get the hard drives unstuck and spinnin) and somethin popped. Smoke started pourin out right during training. Added a real extra somethin to the mission that day. Nearly gave old Lorraine a heart attack but it was sure funny.
I SAID IT WAS SURE FUNNY! ........ Someone wake old Lorraine up. She asleep over there. Ah look, she spilled her refreshment. Emily, you go clean her up will ya. Listen, if you're going to bring Lorraine to these get togethers you got to stay with her. She nods off easily these days. Bless her heart.
What's that? What did the Control Room look like back then? Well, there's a picture right here..
Your lookin at my station there at the end. You'll notice in them days I did'nt have a computer. We all worked from the 2FX station. I talked in the mic and played the music. I shout my orders to 2FX and they'd better be on the ball or all hell broke loose. Ah Crap! I keep forgettin we got mixed ages on the porch today. You younglins ignore my ignorant use of language.
Anyway, you'll also see our mammoth collection of video tapes. In them days we sometimes needed to pull us scenes on the fly. No DVD's in them days. The boom box was use to find music on the tapes for background stuff. Didn't have a voice distorter either. Had to do all the voices myself. Nearly destroyed by vocal chords didn't it? I used to be one of Utah's best shower singers. Now I'm not so sure I can carry a tune.
Last picture of the day. There's a chill in the air and these younglings need their noses wiped. Someone had 'em a Kleenex. OK here you see the preview VCR and Tv. That was the old TV I had during my days at BYU. Monochrome......... Yes. Look at Mary over there. He's noddin his head. He get's it. Learned ya a new word today didn't ya?
Bless his heart? How long does the poor boy have to live did ya say? OH, not terminal. Well I didn't think dim wittedness was? That's a joke Mary, don't you take offense. They all think you're something, don't ya?
OK, well let's see. There's the first phones we used throughout the ship.
What the?????? Did you see that? His nose dripped on my slipper. Didn't I say get them younglings a Kleenex? That's it. Enough for the day. Everybody back to yer cars and head home. Someone help Emily with Lorraine. Wake her up gently. Don't know what a sudden shock will do to someone with frail nerves. Stand back while I rock myself up. A one and A two and Blast OFF! I'M UP!
Well, ya all have a nice day. Ya all come back and see me again real soon, like in a month....... or two. Just kiddin. How about three?
See ya. Yes, right back at ya...... Love you to. For the love of........ would someone show, what did you say his name was? Will someone show Ginger where the bathroom is. He's never gonna make it back to town if ya don't.
Ginger? It's a boy for Pete's sake. What kind of people ya got workin at the Center these days......... Good Lord!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The second installment from Mr. Schuler's exploration of the northwest during this Spring Break. He is scouting out new touring locations for his summer job (tour guide).
On the Road Part II
Been a busy day so I shan’t go on for long. I am now in Newport Oregon. If I step out of my motel room face west and spit I will hit the Pacific Ocean. I had a fine day taking in the sites. On my way to the coast I visited the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, http://www.sprucegoose.org/ The Tillimook Blimp Hanger/Air Museum. These museums are unique in that they maintain most of the displayed aircraft in flyable condition. The Evergreen Museum is by far the best.
The centerpiece of the collection is the famous Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose. While not in flying condition it is in great physical shape. The sponsor of the museum is Evergreen Aviation, which is into everything from crop dusting to cargo and passenger charter services. In fact they have one of there own 747s parked out front. These guys have very deep pockets. The museum is a memorial to Captain Michael King Smith son of Evergreens owner. Captain Smith (He was an F-15 pilot in the Oregon Air National Guard) brokered the deal to move the Spruce Goose from Long Beach to Evergreens McMinnville Oregon facility. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident before the aircraft arrived. He was 26 years old. The facility is state of the art and has a very strong emphasis on education. Our Space Center would fit very nicely into their program. If only we could get a patron like that. This is not exactly the high travel season but a substantial number of people were there. Also there were about a half dozen classes they’re being supervised by guides who were obviously teachers themselves. They just added an IMAX Theater and a Space Museum to the existing aviation facility. Both are very well laid out. The current construction project is an indoor waterpark. With a real 747 perched on top and the slide tubes coming out of it as though they were emergency exits. This place is a destination by itself. But you can see the project is a true labor of love.
The Tillamook Blimp museum. By comparison looks a little shabby. They too have a large number of classic aircraft in flyable condition but you can see they have to scrape for money wherever they can. This facility is housed in an old WWII Blimp hangar made entirely of wood. It is amazing to see how it was constructed. What is more amazing is the amount of unrestricted space here is inside of it. Something like 7.5 acres. Movies are often filmed in the hangars that still exist. They make great studios. Question: Name 2 science fiction films that did a substantial amount of filming inside a Blimp Hanger?
Of course no trip to Tillamook in complete without a visit to the Cheese Factory. A fun place to visit and if you haven’t had lunch you can fill up on cheese and ice cream samples. Another Question: What is the definition of cheese making.
Near Tillamook I discovered the fabled city of Cloverdale. I have photographic proof. Actually I have more proof than I care to have. When I stopped and got out to take the picture I stepped square into a pile of cow manure. Upon retreating to the safety of my truck I discovered the aroma retreated with me. (I can’t make this stuff up!) At least Victor could have warned me as to the mainstay of Cloverdale’s economy. Forewarned, I would have watched my step.
I finally reached the coast late in the afternoon. The Grey Whales are supposedly migrating north this time of year; all I saw were a lot of waves. The coastline looks fine but the really rugged coastline is to the south. Did I say this would be a short blog. I guess it is short like Vic’s final bridge talk, before he starts a mission.
I’m done, Goodbye
Pictures From the Road:
The Business End of a Russian Booster
In Want to Own This Plane!
The Apollo 17 Capsule.
The Yukatat Lighthouse
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Hello Troops,Greetings Space Center Staff, Volunteers and Fans.
While all many of us are stuck at home during this Spring Break Bill Schuler, our Space Center colleague, is on the road hunting down new destinations for his other job, a tour director for West Tours. This is Bill's first report 'On the Road'. Written just to make the rest of us jealous I'm sure.
I am writing you from beautiful Woodlawn Washington. Doesn’t that sound like a private mental institution? “Sorry Bill isn’t available, he’s resting at Woodland.” Truth is I am on the road for spring break. I generally do this every spring break. I pick a direction and go. I love snooping out new places. One year I even ended up in Mr. Williamson’s home town, Rapid City, South Dakota. This helped me understand Vic much better. Any town with concrete dinosaurs, 7 story churches, the worlds largest drug store, and statues of dead presidents peppered through its downtown streets is going to have a profound impact on any young intellect residing there.
Well I’m not in South Dakota, This year I decided to come up to the Northwest then drive down the coast. This isn’t entirely for pleasure. Being a Tour Director in the summer, the better acquainted I am in an area the more valuable I am to the company employing me. As I am being sent to run more tours of the Northwest and Coast It is in my best interest to better acquaint myself with the area. I took off about noon on Friday and made it as far as the Idaho, Washington boarder before calling it a night. I wanted to get closer to Portland that first night but I ran into 2 blizzards on the way. Fortunately I have four wheel drive and new tires, so chains did not come into the picture.
Next day I cruised through the Columbia River Gorge, which is very beautiful. Among other things I stopped at Vista House on the Gorge’s scenic highway. It gives you a fabulous view of the Columbia River Gorge. That however, was not its intended purpose, it was a fringe benefit. In reality it was at the time, the most expensive bathroom ever built. It was built in 1918 for the ladies who complained of the primitive nature of the comfort stations on the then new road. I also drove the Mount Hood Loop, a very scenic road here in Oregon, when you are not driving through a blizzard. I even stopped at a famous ski lodge that had snow up to the third story window. There should be a photo of the lodge with this post. Can anyone tell me what 1980s movie was filmed here, exteriors only.
The next day I spent in Portland, mapping out a more definitive tour of that city than I have done in the past. Portland is a beautiful city, if you don’t happen to need to drive through it. To put it mildly, this town is very motorcoach unfriendly. Imagine yourself as the Flight Officer aboard the Voyager and you must navigate through an asteroid field, except when you do it you are hung upside down by your ankles, blindfolded, hands crossed behind your back and tied, wearing headphones playing Nirvana at 300 decibels.
That done I headed for Seattle. This town I know well because I used to spend the summers up here while I was working for Holland America Line doing tours of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. I hadn’t been there in ten years so I needed to refamiurize myself with the area. It can be rather grueling to map out a tour route cold turkey, I knew where all of the important sites where but the ballet of getting from point A to point B is another story. I was not looking forward to this day.
Then a bit of serendipity came in. While inspecting the hotel my company uses, I hear what sounds like a world War II tank rumbling down the road. I also hear strains of “Saturday Night Fever. Over this I hear very enthusiastic, nearly hyperactive commentary. I turn and behold a 1944 war surplus General Motors Amphibious DUK. Once used to deliver troops and supplies to World War II beachheads. As it races past propelled by some demented soul, I read the side of the vehicle, “Duck Tours!”
I think, Why not! I grab my faithful iPhone and type in duck tours on google maps. A moment later I see they are based near the Space Needle about 1.2 miles from my current location. The weather this morning was clear and warm so I went for it. With clipboard, paper and pen, I was able to rough out a suitable tour of the city. The tour guide had a very enthusiastic, bordering on silly, delivery but it worked fine for the 1.5 hour tour. I would never get away with that kind of frantic delivery on a 7 to 10 day tour. At the end of 2 days the group would mutiny, skin me alive and tack my skin on the side of the motorcoach as a warning to all other tour directors.
Tomorrow I head to the coast, the part of the trip I am really looking forward to. I am done with all the big cities, now its time to putter along, see the sites, hike and such. Looks like it will be wet and cool. That’s OK I grew up on the California Coast where fog is elevated to a religion. With sites like the Tillimook Cheese Factory, Blimp Hanger Museum, Sea Lion Caves, Worlds 2nd shortest river and Trees of Mystery, I won’t let a little rain get in the way.
So much for life on the road.
Reporting From the Road
Monday, April 5, 2010
Students of the Imaginarium are anxiously engaged in exhaustive exercises to strengthen their imaginations. Try one of their mental exercises yourself. Here is a photograph. You provide the caption.
I knew something was wrong at 1:17 P.M. Friday. I was directing “Supernova” for the Voyager crew from Deerfield Elementary School. I tried to move my mouse to change the Sensors and found it frozen. My entire computer was frozen. Metta confirmed the fact when her computer at 2FX also seized up. Restarting didn’t help. I could hear the crew commenting on their frozen computers over the PA system. I knew then and there someone had released the last of the Titans!
The final scene was yet to be played out. The star was about to supernova. With the computer’s frozen the story had to be played out verbally. Tex yelled to the crew from the engine room telling them the damage to the ship was so severe all access to the bridge was cut off. The bridge was useless.
“Tex, What do We Do!?” the Captain shouted back.
“I’ll do my best to run the ship from down here!” Tex answered. With that said, I ran the ship from Engineering. The crew was along for the ride. The star exploded, the ship narrowly missed a certain death by fire and all was well. We got the desired cheer when they learned they survived the blast.
The last scene was the formation of the black hole and the ship’s rescue by the Romulans, all played out without any crew input. I was in pure story telling mode. Thanks to Metta and Jon’s fine work we pulled it off. The kids were none the wiser, thinking the damage was caused by them.
Jon and I rebooted the Voyager after the field trip. Everything froze again. I checked the network hubs. They were all blinking. Something else was wrong. Something dreadful had come this way and stopped to pay us a visit.
Whatcha Gonna Do? There is only one thing you can do in a situation like this. Call the Ghostbusters! I picked up the phone and called Todd Hadley. He was returning to home base in Lindon after dispensing a particularly gruesome Class 4 Poltergeist at Forbes Elementary.
“Describe the problem,” he asked over the phone. I started to explain, then the phone delivered a nasty shock. I dropped it. Swirling blue ectoplasmatic light swirled around the receiver. A moment later it dissipated into thin air. That was all the proof I needed. We were slimed by something out of sync with our dimension of time/space.
“Jon, we’ve got a ghost to bust,” I said to Jon Parker when he emerged from the ship looking like he’d seen a ghost himself.
Twenty minutes later Todd walked through the doorway. The race was on. Could the ship be exorcised before the 4:30 P.M. mission arrived from Nephi? I had an uneasy feeling about this haunting. It was similar to the ones we used to get in the early 90’s when the ship was networked on Appletalk using daisy chained phone lines. Bach then the network would go down in the middle of a mission leaving us no choice but to voice prompt the control room.
“Left Wing, Warp 1,” the Captain would say. I was in the control room, unable to see for myself whether or not the command was obeyed. The Bridge Staff walked to the station given the order, watched the student carry it out and send a voice prompt.
“Good Job on going Warp 1!” I’d hear over the microphone. That was my cue to start the sound effect and move the story along.
I called the 4:30 P.M. Voyager crew in Nephi and explained the situation. It was someone’s 18th birthday party. The young man was understanding and decided to reschedule rather than drive one hour to the Center only to discovered the repair wasn’t successful.
He made the right decision. The spirits haunting the Voyager were nasty indeed and didn’t give up their secrets easily. Todd, Jon and Matt Long used every tool at their disposal but even our professional Ghostbusters seemed perplexed. Luckily our overnight numbers were short. Thirty-five students were coming to the camp instead of the normal 45, meaning I could close the Voyager. I called Bradyn and gave him the bad news. This was to be Bradyn’s last overnight camp before entering he MTC.
At 6:00 P.M. the three Ghostbusters made their final report. They had successfully captured the illusive wandering, mischievous spirit.
“This ship is Clean,” Todd pronounced with arms folded across his chest. Ectoplasmic slime dripped from the tip of his nose to the carpet.
I reopened the Voyager, giving Bradyn his last overnight camp. The Voyager was indeed ‘clean’.
8:17 A.M. I was informed the Voyager’s computers were seizing again in some form of paralyzing curse just as they had the previous day. Our Poltergeist had returned with a vengeance. All attempts to free our network failed. All counter curses, potions and spells failed. In addition to the Voyager, the school’s computer lab network was down. Our programmer’s couldn’t access the internet. Once again, something wicked this way had come. The Ghostbusters were called.
10:17 A.M. Todd reported the Computer Lab was ‘clean’. He arrived just as the Overnight Camp ended. We survived the final two hours of the camp thanks to the mission we were running (Shadows) which had the ship’s computer’s blacked out for much of the last two hours of the mission anyway. Bradyn, Brock and Spenser, along with their fine staff, did a marvelous job faking their way to the end without their crew knowing their ship wasn’t working at all.
“What caused the network outage in the Computer Lab?” I asked. Todd produced a small strand of ethernet cable.
“This,” he said. “Someone created a feedback loop using this bit of cable on one of the servers in the lab. The feedback was sending so much information through the network it overloaded the systems.”
Todd thought for a moment and realized that loop might also be the cause of the Voyager’s problems. The Voyager was connected to the network through the VOIP phone system, therefore a problem in the school’s computer lab could affect the ship itself.
We restarted the Voyager. The computers ran perfectly. There were no problems.
I wanted to pronounce the ship ‘clean‘ but remembered the ship was running fine at the start of the Camp yet failed the following day.
I’ll restart the Voyager on Monday. We will try overloading the ship with commands to see if it freezes up. If it doesn’t then I’ll reopen with fingers crossed that whatever demon saw fit to roost in our networks would find better hunting grounds elsewhere, perhaps in a neighbor’s toaster or can opener.
I want to thank Todd Hadley, Jon Parker, Matt Long and his wife for dropping everything and coming to our aide. The Space Center's friends are awesome. Without them we wouldn't be here today. My job would drive me to drink and insanity were it not for these awesome folks.
And as Always, I'm hoping for brighter, uneventful days ahead,
Friday, April 2, 2010
I will be out of town for Spring Break so it will be a week or so before the next installment of the Space Center's early history. I have sent a few video capture photos of the Space Center during its first year of operation. I have quite a bit more media that I will be posting later. Some of you had questions
- As far as Kyle Herring's fears and phobias concerning the Space Center, You need to ask him personally about how his exposure to the Space Center warped him.
- In 1990 Mark Daymont wrote the first adult mission. In 1991 Mark was not directly involved with the the Space Center on a regular basis. He would come down to work on an overnight mission, from time to time. In 1992 Mark and I went on the Space Center Payroll. I was the classroom teacher and Mark took the planetarium out to all of the schools that would be doing missions. About a week to 10 days out he would go to the school do a planetarium show and brief the classes on the mission they would do. This involved traveling all over the state (that will be the subject of a future installment).
- Since opening the Voyager has always had 2 decks.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This weekend's Overnight Camp will be Bradyn Lystrup's last mission at the Space Center as a Voyager Flight Director before entering the LDS Missionary Training Center. Bradyn will be a full time LDS missionary in the Boston, Mass. Mission, entering the MTC on April 14th.
Bradyn started as a volunteer many years ago while attending junior high school. He rose through the volunteering ranks, becoming a Supervisor and then a Flight Director. Many of you that have attended our Overnight Camps recently may remember him playing the role of the Grand PooPah on the Voyager mission.
We will miss Bradyn's very very bone dry sense of humor and his never ending quest for a laugh. Bradyn never sweated the small stuff and always tried to look on the bright side of everything. If Bradyn was on the Titanic he would be the one lounging on one of the deck chairs enjoying a Coke as the ship sank from under him!
Good luck to you Bradyn. You'll be leaving behind many many friends.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
David Andrus was a camper from long ago who has since grown up, married and lives a fairly normal respectable life. You see, it is possible for Space Center fans to grow up normally and live productive lives :)
David sent this comment on Bill Schuler's last post on the History of the Space Center. I enjoyed reading it and thought you might also.
Thanks David for taking the time to write.
And Now David's Comments.
I've got to comment on this one. The original run of the Canada mission was my second (of many) trip to the Space Center, and incidentally it was while working that mission that Kyle Herring and I developed a friendship that is still going strong nearly 20 years later.
I remember fondly being scared, yet also kind of amused in some weird way by the strict disciplinarian of Admiral Schuler. I believe he loudly questioned to my face (drill sergeant style) why I was smiling and made me do push-ups.
I'm also one of the few oddballs who somehow was able to do the Canada mission twice. Being a strict devotee of the enjoyment of the journey rather than being in a rush to reach the ending I never divulged anything about the mission to the rest of the crew, and did my part to act like I was just as clueless as anyone else. However I did make the decision to be the chief of security (back when it was at what is now the weapons station). Being the captain would've just been wrong.
I have fond memories of obsessively worrying about the slime devil popping out of the vents in the ceiling, and we had a very nervous communications officer covering a hole in the floor with her foot. I was one of the "lucky" people to find a slime devil egg nestled comfortably in my sleeping bag. That sock puppet was the source of some serious entertainment.
As far as those off-bridge activities go...I know that one of them was security training in the hallway with those buzzing lasertag headbands. I don't recall doing anything else.
I actually asked Vic about the "terrible" stars once and he said told me that they were from the very end of Star Trek 5. It was 5 or 10 seconds of footage that he looped over...and over...and over. I also remember that the visual that was put up on the screen when there was nothing else to show was a freeze frame from Star Trek 1 that was showing off the laserdisc.
The thing that really made me laugh on the Canada mission though - waking up to opera music with the computer explaining that we were listening to Admiral Schuler singing in the shower. Oh...and I accidentally shot Admiral Schuler at least once. That may have been revenge for the wake-up call.
I can't believe I remembered some of these details from 20 years ago. Maybe my memory's not as bad as I thought. Now where did I put my car keys?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Many of you commented on Mr. Schuler's last post on the Space Center's History. I asked Bill to continue the series. He grasciously consented. Today we read the second chapter in the series. I hope you enjoy reading about our early days. Please send your questions. I'll ask Bill to answer them.
Bill will find pictures of the early Space Center and get them posted soon.
Victor approached me about continuing with more installments of the early history of the Space Center. After seven years I figure its about time. With my position as Chief Pizza Picker Upper secure ( Have you ever walked into a pizza place to pick up 12 pizza’s while dressed in a full regulation Star Trek uniform?) It was time to move onto the fun stuff.
Before continuing I would like to build you a mental picture of the space center as it was then. First there was one ship only, the Voyager. Mission control contained 3 computers. The video system consisted of 2 VHS Tape players 1 to play the mission video the other to play stars, I don’t remember what we used for stars but it was pretty terrible. The main fixture of the video station was the laserdisc player. Just think of a laser disc as a really, really big DVD.
The sound equipment consisted of a Microphone, Amplifier, 1 tape cassette player with 2 cassette bays (state of the art then) and one of those new fangle CD players with 1 platter bay. If you wanted to record or edit music you had to do it on tape as consumer disc burning hadn’t been invented yet. The Tactical screen was projected using a monochrome LCD device connected to the Tactical computer. The device was then laid on top an overhead projector and the computer image was rear screen projected onto the Voyager’s tactical screen.
The Tactical Stacks were generated by Vic using Hypercard, with almost no animations. If you wanted something to move you had to click and drag, all the while Vic would give gentle encouragement. Now lets move onto the bridge. The bridge stations were old style Apple Macintosh all in one computers with a huge 9.5 inch monochrome screen. I think most of them had 20MB hard drives. We had a few Mac SE’s with massive 80MB hard drives. Who could possibly fill up an 80MB hard drive? The bridge computers were networked through their modem ports using the then radical Appletalk network parodical. Ethernet had not been invented yet. A program called Timbuktu was used in mission control to see the bridge computers. All the bridge computer screens were tiled onto 2 macs so the control room staff could see what the kids were doing. Mind you this is all on 9.5 inch computer screens! This system was far from elegant or streamlined but somehow it worked, if not particularly fast. Most of our flight director’s these days would refuse to work under the the conditions that we considered normal.
The overnight mission for 1991-92 was the “Canada” Some of you may think you have done this mission but the resemblance is transitory. Victor cobbled together video from Star Trek 1 and 2 into a rather crude mission video. No offense to Vic but using the consumer machines of the day with the generational loss of non-time base corrected VHS recording, crude was all you could really come up with.
An overnight mission was an entirely different animal in those days. The mission lasted from 6:00pm Friday night to 11:00am Saturday morning, and all of that time aside from meals and sleeping was devoted to 1 mission. This gave us an unparalleled timespan to develop the mission story. Unique to this time the crew did several breakout sessions meaning the crew would break up into several groups and do various educational activities under the supervision of the staff. I’m a little hazy on what those specific activities were, a few of them where exercise training, building robots. and designing circuits to do various things. While all of this is going on there is a skeleton crew up on the bridge. The ship is on course to a stable wormhole that is guarded by a Federation Outpost (and yes this was several years before Star Trek Deep Space 9 premiered).
Part of the bridge routine at this time shows a cargo ship on a collision course with the Voyager. Communications is supposed to call the ship and tell them to change course. Now that I am in charge of the phone, I think to myself: If I were the cargo ship captain, why should I be the one to change course. I filed an approved flight plan, I am following the most economical course to my destination so as to maximize profit for my cargo, any course changes are going to cost me money, Why should I change course! My cargo ship captain absolutely refuses to change course. This requires the Voyager to change course. Lets say the exchange gets a little heated. So a simple course change turns into an important story element.
I also introduced one of the most enduring story elements in Space Center history, The Slim Devil! Again, I’m the guy with the phone, remember. My job is to develop the second story line. In the beginning the slime Devil had no substance. It was merely a nuisance that gets loose from the Zoology lab. People from various decks call an report its location and security has to figure how to track it down and capture it. As I recall it was very fond of hanging out at the swimming pool where it frequently laid eggs. Despite having no substance the Slime Devil did make some of the kids nervous. One night on a whim I threw a stuffed tribble into decontamination, where a returning landing party was patiently waiting out their decontamination time. As I threw it in a made an appropriate snarling noise. This action produced a few well modulated screams, we knew we were onto something. That night when the crew was bedded down Vic and I were talking about the crews reaction to the slime devil. Vic off handedly mentioned how cool it would be if you could see two red eyes floating in the darkness. The moment I heard that I thought “Hey I can do that”.
That week I scoured the nearby Radio Shack for the necessary parts and created the first corporal slime devil. The beast consisted of 2 red LED’s soldered to a frame inside a brown sock and powered by a 9 volt battery. My first test subject was Mark Daymont. He reported that he was suitably startled. During the next overnighter the slime devil made his first physical appearance in decontamination with the appropriate snarls and growls. I don’t remember much after that as the entire landing party scattered while producing screams at the highest decibel level the Space Center had heretofore ever recorded.
The next step was to give the slime devil a longer reach. I believe Vic suggested we might have it spit venom. Easy to do, get a super soaker and let fly when nobody is looking. If a crew member got “slimed” they had to go down to sick bay for the anti-venom treatment, which took about five minutes. These days I cringe at the thought of spraying copious amounts of water without regard to the 20 some odd computers on the bridge.
The power of suggestion is a truly amazing thing. One girl who was slimed remembered how the venom burned her flesh, Yep PG tap water is pretty corrosive.
one camper recalled how the slime devil would grab his feet under the communication station. This never happened as there is no access to that part of the ship from the outside. But to this day he will swear that he was being attacked from under the desk.
Late in the year a new wrinkle in the slime devil saga surfaced. How would the crew react if the slime devil started laying eggs all over the ship. Easy, I picked up a half dozen wooden eggs from a craft store, painted them up an appropriately sinister fashion and planted them in various sleeping bags on deck 2. Oh the memories of watching little campers shake down all of there belongings to ride themselves of the embryonic horrors. I always collected the 6 eggs. But they didn’t know all of them were accounted for. It was enough to give a young Kyle Herring nightmares. Oh the bliss.
Although the Slime Devil is seldom used as a plot device these days, it is the hereditary ancestor of the Grishnocks, Zitherdons, Targs, Spiders, and flesh devouring insects now in use today.
That is enough for installment 2, my memory cells are starting to melt due to overuse.
Installment 3 coming up later.
Monday, March 29, 2010
From the Imaginarium, a picture waiting for a story. This is your chance. Your imagination is talking to you. Are you listening? What do you see? Who's finger is that and why does this person contemplate such a violation of the universal laws of physics?
The Imaginarium......Simple yet sublime so why aren't you writing?
Our Flight Director Bracken Funk typed up a story to go with the picture. His contribution is below.
Bracken's Story to Accompany the Picture.
Vic slinked down the basement stairs to where the old microwave had been hidden, hidden for a very long time. Since Central had been opened is what he'd been told. The only ones who knew about it were Mr. Henshaw, the District Superintendent, and himself. He recalled the evening where Mr. Henshaw had shown the magical microwave to him.
"We don't know where this came from, Victor,"Mr. Henshaw told him sternly, "We don't know why it's here either. We don't know what it does exactly, and it's never been used. From what the owners manual said, that button stops time. It stops it as soon as you press it... But as far as exact sciences- we haven't the slightest idea. We are showing this to you, because you are doing something here that no other teacher has done. A simulator in a school, with all sorts of potential problems, and thousands of students promised to come here. Should anything go wrong, we want you to know where this is."
He smiled, that had been 1990, two days after the Voyager officially opened. He knew back then he wouldn't be able to resist nearly weekly use of the device, there was never enough time for anything. His mind wandered back to review the day.
"Mr. Williamson," it was the voice of Jon Parker that started his daydream.
Without giving a second thought, the tone of Jon's voice insisted that somewhere very nearby, trouble was lurking, Fortuna, the arch-nemesis of Victor Williamson was waiting to place a card in something that was supposed to be left alone. He looked at Jon, without saying anything to allow himself time to keep the imminent explosion of anger inside.
"It's the Dragon Lady... She's angry about everything again... The lights, the sound, the pet perrett... We don't know what to do..." Jon sounded sheepish, Vic could tell that Jon really wished he could've solved the problem on his own.
"I'll take care of it," He didn't even need to ask for the location of the problem. He headed directly to the Odyssey. Upon arriving, he found the dragon lady breathing fire across thousands of dollars worth of equipment, breathing threatenings with every burst of flame that protruded from her black lips.
"May I help you, Miss DL?"
"YES!! I'm trying to train my future dragons, and your raucous over here is much more than I can stand. The occasional yelp, the 30 seconds of loud music at the end of your mission. The every once-in-a-while hum of your alarms from this place is too much for me to focus. It ruins everything... Why... It's so noisy, I have a constant migraine."
"Well, we'll do what we can if you'll stop burning down my ship," Vic said wryly, watching her walk away still muttering about how she never has any say.
He had completed the first task of the day, but that wasn't going to be the end for sure.
Upon his first field trip flight, the projector went out, a typical Friday happening. The Voyager felt like it was closing night for it's performance- it had to pull it's pranks. And so, the projector died, frustrating him slightly, nothing he couldn't deal with.
Several minutes later, an angry woman with a phaser should up. She wasn't angry with him, just with the phaser. Had the phaser been an animated object, I'm sure she would have beat it. It had been left in a hallway.
Filch came in to tell him that he was the ONLY person that was allowed to move the curtains, seeing as how he had his curtain pass from a young age. This was going to cost him money.
Several students puked in the middle of the day flights- he hoped to get time to REALLY clean that up.
The Voyager, Magellan, and Phoenix sound systems decided to die in the middle of the private flights later, as well as several phone calls that he had to deal with, which generally consisted of mothers crying on the other end begging him to let their kids come to the overnighter. And... Several of the Voyager chairs broke.
With all of this, there were still several things which needed to be handled. He now came back to his senses, standing in front of the microwave.
"I must be the only human being who has a 120 hour work week... I hate Fridays..." He thought.
And with that, he pushed the button, stopping time so that he could attend to all the things that required his attention.