Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Week at the Space Education Center and Other Things. Really. I'm not Kidding.

Where is this place of Perfect Children?
I've got an Idea. Let's adopt these outfits for our Simulator Uniforms. Your Thoughts?


Hello Troops,
It’s the kind of Sunday I enjoy. Its cloudy, its spitting with rain but not too cold. It reminds me of an unsettled early spring day. I was out and about today. While driving I noticed Pleasant Groves’ roads are getting pocked marked with blemishes. Some of them are large enough to feel in spite of my Battlestar’s (my Lincoln’s) luxurious feather bed suspension system. Dodging the pot holes meant dodging the other cars around me. It made driving entertaining. I think I’ll go out and drive some more once I finish this post.

People usually steer clear of my Battlestar. Its big, its heavy and its something they don’t want to mess with in their little shrink wrapped cars. And if the Battlestar’s size doesn’t convince them to give me a wide berth one look at me will. I wear my aviator’s leather cap with goggles and my Nottingham Forrest Soccer Team scarf wrapped around my neck. I drive with the window down and head stuck part way out so the scarf flaps behind me in the wind. If I’m feeling lucky I’ll open my sunroof, straddle the center arm rest, and stick my head and shoulders up through it. I steer with my knee. The cruise control provides thrust. Forget braking, so I do this on a long open piece of road. What a rush. The locals call me the Red Baron of PG as I dodge the potholes in a beautifully choreographed dance of rubber on pavement.

OK, back to reality. Forgive the way my brain works. I get a thought that sometimes get stuck in a loop as it works its way from my head to my finger tips. Its the potholes in my brain. They are the result of age and the company of 600 hyper kids a week. One day I’ll take a long rest in Willowing Acres Rest Home for Teetering Teachers. I’m paying a little bit monthly so the Home will reserve a room for me on the third floor. My family and friends know my thoughts on having a room with a view. Willowing Acres is quite a nice place - known for peaceful quiet and green gardens. Its attached to a monastery hidden somewhere in the Uintahs. The monks will subsidize your rent if you spend time copying their old books onto parchment. I suppose the monastery is a few hundred yards off Modern Road but I’m good with sitting on a hard bench and doodling on vellum with a quill and colored ink as long as I get help with the rent. I refuse to wear the woolen robe but will consider wearing the funny round skull cap. It would be something nice to cover my growing bald spot.

OK there i went again. Will somebody stop me!? I’ve got to get focused on what I sat down to write about............. What did I want to write about? If you know send an email and I’ll write about it next week. Until then I’ll talk about a few things that happened this week.

Monday:
We had Monday off from school so no field trip. I sat through teacher training meetings. They took us into the gym to show off Central Elementary’s new PE equipment. I got to stand near a cone and jump on one foot. After that they said to gallop like a horse in circles. I felt like a right twit! Wait, it gets worse. I was handed a hockey stick and plastic puck. We stood in the four squares painted on the gym floor and had to pass the puck around the square to the other three players. Kind of hard to do when the stick is designed for midgets. I may have slipped a disk in my back. After five minutes of that I used my stick as a cane and kicked the puck with my foot. What was the teacher going to say? One look on my face and she walked by with her eyes glued to the floor and her lips holding back the laughter. Willowing Acres was looking better and better.

Tuesday:
Don’t remember a thing about Tuesday at the Space Center. Funny to live through 24 full hours and not remember a thing about it. Kind of like driving to the store and realizing you drove the entire way unaware of anything. One minute you were getting into the car and the next you were fighting some messed up lady wearing sweats and carrying two snot nosed kids for the shopping cart shaped like a rocket.
Wait, something is coming through. There is a memory emerging from the fog in my head. I remember telling Kyle Herring he had the Voyager private mission that day. Of course he had forgotten. He is the only person I know with a memory worse than mine. I remember him as a young overnight camper. He was the kid that would arrive for breakfast still in just his underwear and Marvin the Martian slippers.
“Kyle, go put your clothes on,” I’d say to him as he entered the cafeteria. He’d stop, look at me, then look at the shocked faces of 44 other campers - all frozen in horror, some still in mid chew. A few, with weaker stomachs, swallowed down their rising partially digested doughnut . There was always one that fainted. Oh I forgot the screamer. Yes, you could bank on a screamer.
Kyle was the kid that always dreamt he went to school without his pants. We’ve all had dreams like that. In Kyle's case, it wasn't a dream.
“Is this a dream?” he would ask.
“No Kyle. This isn’t a dream. Now go get dressed.” I’d reply in a calm understanding way.
Once he was gone I’d explain to the kids that the whole thing was planned. It was a way to save him further embarrassment. I told them that the ghostly white thing they saw was a a lost alien trying to hitch a ride home on one of their starships.

Wednesday and Thursday:
Parent Teacher Conferences both nights. I’ll get a parent or two of one of my pre-algebra students wanting to visit. I’ve got a great class this year so the conversations were pleasant. We ran a few Odyssey missions in the evenings. One was a junior mission. Poor Emily, Aleta and BJ. They truly distress over Junior Missions. You want to see what someone looks like after getting run over a car? Come look at Emily, Aleta, or BJ after a Junior Mission and witness what an adult looks like after being savaged by 9 hyperactive, uncontrolled pre-humans! Oh the humanity! I feel for them. I truly do. CAUTION, they shouldn't mistake my sympathy for a desire to give them battle pay for Junior Missions.

Friday:
Overnight camp. We hosted 37 students from Cedar Hills Elementary. They were great kids. No throw up - the Gods be praised! They were kids from the school’s STY sixth grade class (they call it ALL - you know, the gifted kids. I call them STY standing for ‘Smarter than You’).

Saturday:
Brittney and I had a laugh Saturday morning as the kids ate breakfast. No, Kyle didn’t come walking into the cafeteria in his underwear - get that image out of your head please.
I usually hover over the kids to keep them from escaping to the rest rooms. If you let one go you’ve lost the group. We keep them in the cafeteria until they finish eating. The flight directors take them to the rest rooms for hand washing and drinks afterwords.

I saw one boy holding a banana sitting at the table nearest to me. Now remember, this is an STY child. The boy was staring at the banana in apparent confusion. He turned it one way and then another. He smelt it and ran it over his face to feel its texture. He started to peel it and stopped. He noticed that the peeled portion of the fruit would flap as he moved the banana up and down. He was totally engrossed in this wondrous work of mother nature. I was doing everything in my power to keep from bursting into laughter. I walked over to him.
“That is what we call a banana,” I said. “Its fruit and you can eat it.” He looked at me like I was the stupid one. Then came the smile. He understood what I was talking about. I turned away and started laughing. Brittney was sitting on a small table near the serving line. She was laughing as well. She saw and heard the whole thing. Sometimes Kids say and do the craziest things.

I Love My Job.

Take Care Troops and Have a Great Week,

Mr. Williamson

P.S. I made up the whole thing about Kyle and his underwear. He will kill me but I told him I’d get even. He always makes fun of my Cloverdale Blog. He tells me I need to get a life. So there Kyle. We are only partially even. Go ahead and say something derogatory about Cloverdale now. I’ll show you what a true Dunce is capable of doing when you get their dander up. ;)
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