Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Monday, August 30, 2010

North Korean People's Army Funky Get Down Juche Party

What, Funky in North Korea?!
What makes this so funny is also what makes this so sad. A nation of people brainwashed into a personality cult of their Dear Leader.

This is why we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights my friends. Be grateful you live in a country where you can Get Down anytime you want! Defend our Liberty and please Continue to Have Independent Thoughts. Don't let anyone tell you that asking "Why?" is a bad thing.

Live, Laugh, Think, Read, Write, Create and Imagine.
The Best is Yet to Come.

Mr. Williamson.

P.S. If we were living in North Korea, I'd be arrested, imprisoned and most likely put to death for posting this. Gulp........

The Walls Shook and the Foundations Trembled.

The Imaginarium's Receptionist diving for cover
at the first jolt and cheer heard from the Space Center

At 9:40 A.M. Saturday last the walls of the Space Center shook. In fact, the tremors were felt throughout the Imaginarium and Wonderland. I was sitting at my desk working on the September Volunteering and Staff schedule when the shaking started.

The jolt was preceded by Christine Grosland, one of the Odyssey's Flight Directors, announcing to her crew that they had successfully finished their Overnight Mission. A millisecond later there arouse a sound from the bowels of the Odyssey rarely heard at such a deafening volume. The cheering was so enthusiastic and energetic it caused my desk to rattle. The light fixtures overhead shook, sending me in a panic under my desk to cower in fear the fluorescent light bulbs would explode and shower my desk and chair with shards of glass.

"What the ..." I heard Alex shout from the Phoenix Control Room. "Hold on, Its the Big One," he shrieked, and in a panic so unlike the normally placid Alex, shoved his young staff out of the way so he could stand in the doorway for protection. "Its every man for himself," he spat, wildly kicking at anyone who came near him.

The cheering continued for what seemed like minutes. Dust from the overhead rafters began falling. Ceiling tiles broke free and chairs bounced around the room like popcorn in a hot skillet. The youngest of our staff took hold of anything that seemed stable. Their eyes, wide as saucers, as shock set in.

Students, attending Wonderland's School for the Imaginationally Deprived, dive for cover as the shaking started. These students are brought to Wonderland for specialized treatment designed to reignite their imaginations and creativity. For some, its too much TV, or video games. For others it is a lack of play. And for some, it is the result of their school's overemphasis on standardized testing.

Finally, the cheering stopped. The Odyssey went silent and the shaking stopped. Its said the Wasatch Fault moved a good six centimeters Saturday morning, thanks to Christine, her staff and the excellent job they did - which resulted in a cheer heard throughout Wonderland.

Needless to say, the Odyssey scored a perfect 1 across the board, the first for the summer season. Congratulations Christine and your staff. What an awesome job.

Mr. Williamson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Join Us at the Orem Public Library.

Hello Troops,

I'll be attending the following event at the Orem Public Library on Wednesday, September 1st and encourage all of you with an interest in Space to attend as well. Mr. Barber will be in Utah to attend the Timpanogos Story Telling Festival. This is his only public appearance (you can see him at the Festival as well).

As a special bonus, all of you that attend wearing your Space Center T-Shirt will be given a certificate for two class hours to go toward your Space Center Rank. This event is not sponsored by the Space Center or the Alpine School District. This event is a part of the Timpanogos Story Telling Festival.

I hope to see many of you at the event to listen to this Mr. Barber talk about his fascinating work at JPL and NASA.

Mr. Williamson

NASA's Science Outreach has accepted an invitation from Orem Library and Timpanogos Storytelling Festival to come to Utah!

Todd Barber, Lead NASA Propulsion Engineer on the Saturn-Cassini Equinox Mission

Will be Speaking at the Orem Public Library on

Wednesday, September 1 at 7pm

Todd will speak on highlights and memorable moments in his career as a NASA engineer. He will share images and recent findings from the ongoing Cassini Equinox Mission studying Saturn, its belts and the planet's 53 moons.

Todd Barber, Award-winning NASA Propulsion Engineer:

*Lead impactor on Deep Space mission (a la "Star Trek") of near-Earth asteroid, Braille

*Award-winning engineer on the launching of Galileo spaceprobe and orbital insertion around Jupiter

*Engineer on several Mars projects including Mar's Rovers

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 8

This story is just for fun. Any resemblance to the staff at the space center is intentional. Any resemblance to a real space center mission is your imagination.
Aleta Clegg

The emergency lights flickered on, very dim and red.

“Hold the door!” Rafael shouted. “If it shuts, we’ll be locked in here.”

“What’s Vasha doing?” Harken whispered. “Is she trying to kill us all?”

“I wish I knew.”

“Shut up!” A pirate slammed his rifle butt into my back.

I spun on my heel and punched him in the face. He reeled backwards. I grabbed his rifle, pulling the trigger. A spray of plasma bolts caught the other guards, cutting them down. Turner ducked behind me, grabbing Harken on the way.

“Negotiate this, Rafael!” I clicked the trigger.

Rafael was no longer in the doorway. His footsteps faded down the dim corridor.

I dove for the door, jamming the rifle into the opening. A plasma bolt struck the wall next to me. I dropped behind the door, out of range.

“Now what?” Harken asked.

“Unless you know another way out, we’re stuck in here with Caligula.”

“And he isn’t going to be happy when he wakes up.” Turner nudged the prone cyborg.

I slumped against the wall. “We need information. Harken, you were working with Perry. Did you sell out the Federation to these pirates?”

“It was a cover. We were looking for the leak in Starfleet. Although I think Perry decided it paid better than Starfleet ever did.”

I winced as another plasma bolt zipped through the opening. “Admiral Williamson assigned me to do that, too. He said they suspected someone on the Voyager.”

“Captain Herring? The rumors were true?”

I shook my head. “Not him, someone else.”

Harken sank into Caligula’s chair. “We thought it was you, Stevens.”

“Then who was it?”

“Vasha.” Turner smacked his fist into the floor. “She set us up. She’s working with Rafael. I thought he looked familiar. She met him at Starbase a month ago.”

“Why were you following Vasha?”

“We were dating. Sort of. She dumped me after three dates.”

Caligula moaned.

The air vent cover on the other side of the cabin wiggled. I signaled the others to be quiet as I eased the rifle out of the door. It slid closed as another plasma bolt ricocheted down the hall. I aimed at the vent.

It dropped to the floor with a clatter. A petite blond woman in a torn Starfleet uniform crawled out. She sat on the floor, raising her hands. “Y’all want to put that rifle down? I’m here to help. My name’s Evangeline. Call me Angie for short.”

“You’re working with Vasha. Give me one reason we should trust you.” I eased my finger onto the trigger.

“Because I’m your only hope.” Angie raised her hand, showing us a computer disk. “I stole the protocol when Vasha wasn’t looking. She’s gonna be real mad when she finds out none of her commands work. Admiral Williamson warned me to watch out for you, Adrian. Said you’d get me in a heap of trouble if I wasn’t careful.”

“How is Delphi going to help us now?” I shifted the rifle to aim at the ceiling. Any hope was better than none.

“We’re on our way back to Starbase Fourteen. And there ain’t nothing Vasha can do about it. I stole the computer chips that control course settings. All she can do is stop the ship.”

The engines whined to a stop right on cue.

I sighed. “You had to say that.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Subway to Wonderland Station

Hello Troops,
Today I took the Subway to the Wonderland Station. It is time for the Space Center and the Imaginarium to open for full normal business. The train was packed with Wonderland employees returning to work after their forced vacation (thanks to the Space Center closing for three weeks). There were smiles on many faces, the kind that come from knowing one still has a job to return to in these tough times.

Yes, even Wonderland has been hit by the Great Recession. It seems millions of Americans have had their dreams shattered by the world's faltering economy. Instead of having time to imagine and dream, more and more people are struggling to just make ends meet. Parental stress is also effecting the nation's children, whose imaginations are the primary fuel powering Wonderland.

Regardless of the situation out in the real world, I was happy to be back on the subway and back to my normal routine, surrounded by the kind of people that think outside the box and look at the world a bit differently. We are a befuddled group suffering from eternal optimism and bewildered by the dark forces of despair. We will work to ensure that creativity, wonder and imagination remain vibrant in this world. It is our goal, it is our mission and it is what we are paid to do.

You never know who you're going to bump into on the Subway to the Wonderland Station.
Just a few on the train today.

Volunteers and Staff. I'm glad to be back, glad you're back with me and glad to be in the trenches. Let's have a great year!

Mr. Williamson

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Space Center News. At A Glance.

Hello Troops,
I don't have to be back to work until Friday. Why am I back to work on Wednesday? That's not the question you should be asking. The question you should be asking is, Why did I come back to work on Monday!?

If I waited to come back to work until Friday I would be so buried in emails, phone calls, mission bookings, teachers booking field trips, registrations, and Everything else I would be caught up until this time in the year 2012. So, here I am, up to my eyeballs in "things to do".

Me, earlier in the day. It only got worse. Paramedics were called,
oxygen administered and I'm feeling much better

So, just so you don't think I'm the only one buried in work at the Space Center as we heroically try to open for private missions on Friday, let me show you a few other pictures.

This is Christine and Adam. They just took off their Environmental Hazard Suits and are reviewing the new, almost clean Odyssey Control Room. The Odyssey was built in 1991/92 and, to my reckoning, hasn't been deep cleaned since. They even found an old bottle of salsa that expired in 2008! We might put it on Ebay - what perfectly stewed poison. Some demented person would pay big money for that.

I reminded the Odyssey staff that unlike wine, salsa does not improve with age. I chastised them once again for eating in the Control Rooms and then we 'disposed' of the salsa.

In addition to the good cleaning, the Odyssey's drawers and cupboards were cleaned out. They found old training tapes, VCR tapes of missions told long before humans discovered how to make fire, and props last used on the stages of pre revolutionary France.

This is where the overflow of 'stuff' was deposited during the delousing of the Odyssey Control Room. Yes, that is my desk. As you can clearly see, my staff have no fear of me. I can cuss all I want about the sheer volume of junk piling around me and they just grunt, shrug their shoulders and proceed. I get no respect around here......

While the Odyssey was being scoured, Stacy was in the cafeteria working on the Galileo. This is a prop used in one of the Galileo's missions. You see that Stacy is tidy and well organized. Even her messes are tidy. Let that be a lesson to all of you that work and volunteer at the Space Center. Cleanliness is our Creed!
"What was that? Just what I thought. Another grunt and a cold shoulder shrugged in my direction. No Respect I tell you from that Odyssey Gang!"

Stacy also had the Programming Guild in today to install the newest version of Cocoa Controls for the Galileo.

This is one of the new Cocoa Control screens for the Galileo. Our programming boys do good work, as long as we feed them a steady diet of Coke, chips, and red meat when they're good. Oh, we let them out once in awhile for fresh air but not to long in the sunshine mind you. Their white skin burns quickly leaving their work to suffer.
Now, on a happier note. I bought new chairs for the Odyssey. The Captain's chair was replaced. The old chair was splitting at the seams. The result of hundreds of nervous children scratching the leather of the chair in sheer desperation when faced with overwhelming obstacles all associated with a good Odyssey mission. I'm hoping the new Captain's chair will last more than a fortnight.

What do you think of the new blue chairs? I spent a few hours online, visiting every school furniture site I could find, looking for chairs that resembled something more modern than 1955. I found two styles that met the objective and went with the cheapest. Let it be known that I firmly believe that a penny saved is a penny earned,
(and I'm talking about real American Money, not that phony Canadian stuff).

Here you see two of the chairs at the Sensors and Tactical stations in the Odyssey. Cool aren't they? Modern, Yes? Ultra Modern? Don't tell me I'm pushing it because in my opinion, I would classify these chairs as UberModern! And yes, you may quote me on that.

Our younger Kyle (Not the Fish) has spent much of the week so far in the Discovery Room. It needed a new coat of paint. The carpets were cleaned as well. The Magellan staff may not recognized the clean and freshly painted Discovery (which is why I'm posting this picture so they will recognize the room and not think they've somehow entered the twilight zone and evaporated into an alternate reality where the Magellan staff actually CLEAN and MAINTAIN their Briefing and Staging Room).

Yes, the room is messed up as we paint and clean but that can all be put right when the endeavor is completed - hopefully by Thursday evening.

And finally, to wrap things up, I'd like to update you on other items of interest.

This is Emily, Odyssey Set Director, congratulating Devin for getting his Odyssey Pin.
Devin really knows how to turn on the charm when a camera is nearby.
Emily, on the other hand, is just........... Emily.

This is Devin actually getting his pin. This is the real Devin we all have to put up with when the camera isn't visible. I shot this picture before he saw the camera and could react.

This is Devin getting his Phoenix pass from Alex, the Phoenix Set Director. Again, he wasn't aware of the camera before the picture was shot. He was upset but quickly got over it when I said the camera failed to take the picture so it wouldn't be posted.

This is Alex presenting Josh A. with his Phoenix Pin. Alex has been studying the Roman classics this summer in preparation for his Art History Class he will be taking this school year. This is his 'Julius Caesar' pose. I think he's got that Roman statue look down, don't you?

This is Stacy. This is Joseph. Stacy is giving Joseph his Galileo Pin. Joseph is happy.
Stacy is happier. We are all happy at the Space Center. The Space Center is a happy place.
This is Stacy. This is Alex. Alex also got his Galileo Pin. Wait, is this Alex? Hard to tell sometimes. Alex is a great worker, when he isn't walking into walls.

This is Stacy. This is Matt. Matt is one of our long distant volunteers. He lives in Logan! We don't know how he gets here or how he gets home. We think he uses some form of technology unknown to mere mortals.

And finally. This is Logan. Logan looked sad during our Award Ceremony so we brought him up to the front and told him to pretend we were giving him an award. He perked right up.
(Logan actually received his Year of Service Pin. Great Job Logan and thanks).

Well, that's about it for today. I'm tired of typing and my neck hurts. Time to go home and ponder the mysteries until I'm needed.

Mr. W.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Little Vacation Fun

Yes, those Communists know how to Rock!

Hope Everyone is Enjoying their time off.
Don't get to comfortable. We survived the Long March of Summer Camps but the Long Arduous March of the School Year looms ahead.

And just in case you're a bit bored, may I suggest the activity above.

Mr. W.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trapped in the Wonderland Station. Eating Pop Tarts.

Hello Troops,
Mr. Daymont read my Wonderland Subway Station Post
and decided to write a continuation. Thanks Mark.

And Now, Mark's Story

Day 66

I stepped out from the men’s restroom back onto the waiting platform. It’s the only place I’ve been able to freshen up and perform my morning obligatory each morning. Even so, I think I could do with some more deodorant, but the station platform store hadn’t opened yet. Grim metal bars barricaded its windows and doors waiting for the clerk to arrive and open for business.

That wouldn’t happen for a while yet.

As usual, the platform was empty except for the early shift custodian. I could tell by his nearly aimless shuffle that he was none too excited about living his working life sweeping and cleaning the station platforms along the line. He lifted and swept, lifted and swept in an endless monotony of pointless effort. Boy I’ll bet that job brings top dollars.

No one else on the platform this morning. No one to talk to. I had tried engaging the custodian in conversation once but all he replied was something about looking forward to waxing the floors and keeping the lawns manicured. Weird. No lawns on this platform.

The platform was my home for the last 66 days. I relied on the single turquoise bench under the Wonderland logo for a bed at night. Thankfully there was food I could purchase from the station shop but it only seemed to open at unusual hours and only for a few minutes before the impatient clerk rolled the bars shut on the windows and locked the door again.

I’m really sick of living off candy, untoasted Kellog’s pop tarts, and beef jerky. Would it hurt so much to stock some fresh donuts? Geesh. Still, I should count my lucky stars. There was a working water fountain on the platform, although the water had clearly picked up a strong metallic taste lately.

I glanced back up the stairs. The way I had come in.

As usual, the lights at the top of the stairs were off and the escalators silent. They hadn’t worked since the iron gates had clanged permanently shut the moment after I had arrived. That ominous event singled out the fact that the only way I was getting out of here was to board a train passing through the platform and exiting down the long dark tunnel.

I had once thought of trying to escape down the tunnel. I was put off that idea the when I realized that it’s opening was just wide enough to accept the girth of the subway cars, and I would be killed by a speeding train before I could find my way out in the dark.

And the trains came often enough. Problem was, they hardly ever stopped.

The ones that did, left before I could wake up on the bench and race to the closing doors. Believe me, that little event was getting old.

Some people actually got off and made it to other trains. I remember a pleasant family of three, a father, mother and little girl with their luggage. They smiled pleasantly at me but did not engage in small talk while they waited for their connection. Foreigners, I supposed.

Another time I awoke on the bench to find a nice young man on the bench as well. He seemed focused on something far away, as though he were lost and planning his own escape. Conversation with him was brief and filled with metaphors about life, the universe and everything. At least I was able to talk with someone for that short time. I must have dozed off at one point, for when I awoke again he was gone. He had left his long, black leather coat behind on the bench. I was grateful for that, as it was cold down here in this bizarre bunker of a station. It fit me just fine.

The sound of a push broom swishing on the cement floor behind me shook me out of my pondering. I quickly turned and surprisingly found the custodian right behind me. In my personal space. I stared into his eyes, which I noticed for the first time were sharp and clear, but yet had the wisdom of time behind them. He squinted his eyes at me when he spoke.

“You got the coat. Good. You’ll need it.”

The screech of an electric train erupted from the end of one of the tunnels. I glanced in its direction, but when I turned back the custodian was gone. I looked up and down the platform and he was nowhere to be seen.

Lights down the tunnel grew closer and the metallic screeching louder.

Could this be a train that stops? I doubted the possibility, but moved closer to the platform edge. Suddenly the subway cars burst from the tunnel and the train braked to complete stop. The car lights illuminated empty cars as they passed by my face. A set of sliding doors remained closed, tantalizingly inches from me.

I turned to the right as the sound of sliding plastic and metal came from further down the platform. A door was opening! Alas, I feared it would be too far away for me to reach before it shut again.

I stopped in mid stride. Two men stepped out from the car door. Dressed in black suits, dark sunglasses and black gloves. One of them pointed some sort of handheld device with buttons at the doorway and the sliding doors closed. The subway cars began moving down the other tunnel.

Drats. Missed another ride. Where do I get a remote like that?

The two men turned in my direction and a feeling of apprehension came over me. They seemed familiar, and not in a good way. I remembered the old Harrison Ford line, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

One of the men, slightly taller than the other, reached into his suit coat and pulled out a paper. He looked at it, then towards me, and then showed the paper to his companion.

“That’s him.”

Um… crap. Not good. I didn’t know or care about what this was all about, but I was definitely involved in something. And these weren’t missionaries.

Both men reached for items in their coats. With swift motions they drew out pairs of black MAC-10 submachine guns and started walking towards me.

I ducked behind a cement pillar as bullets glanced off the pillar sides, chips and shards of cement and tiles flying in all directions. Man those guns were LOUD! I tucked in my arms and hands to make sure no lucky bullet would strike home. Crap oh crap.

They kept walking towards me, with swift hand movements to drop empty clips and insert fresh magazines. I ran for the next pillar further down the platform. A hailstorm of bullets cratered the floor along both sides of my path as I ducked and dodged a retreat behind the next pillar.

Breathless, I suddenly realized that the custodian was calmly taking a drink from the water fountain nearby. I called out, “Is there any way out of here?” He stood, turned and smiled at me. “The coat,” he whispered.

Ah, there must be something in the coat I can use! I realized, ignoring the obvious question of how the old man would know anything about that. I could hear the two assassins discarding the empty submachine guns onto the floor. Probably going for their backups, I thought, while I reached into the pockets of the stranger’s coat.

Oh, there was definitely something there. In both pockets. Funny, I hadn’t noticed that before. I grasped the objects and pulled them out. A matching pair of 45-caliber semi-auto Colt Model 1911 pistols. That stranger knew what good hardware was. I quickly cocked back the sliders on the pistols to load rounds into the chambers and pulled back the triggers. With a gulp of air I spun around to face the attackers.

They were about 10 feet away, and cocking back the sliders on their Glock 9mm’s. Even through the sunglasses I could see their expression change from certainty to surprise, they looked at each other and instantly dodged away from each other. Doing handsprings.

It all seemed to go in slow motion. Without time to aim at separating targets in motion with two pistols, I fired away at both of them, my arms moving away from my center of vision. Empty brass casings flew from the pistols up into the air and pinged onto the floor tiles. Somehow the bullets seemed to miss their targets as they spun and tumbled away. My peripheral vision noticed that something tugged at their suit coats and pants, nipping little holes in the fabric. I was close.

And then I was out of ammo. I dropped one pistol and with the hand free reached into the pocket to see if there was an extra clip. Nothing. The two villains stopped their gyrations and posed into a kung-fu position. Oh man, I didn’t want to get into that. I dropped the other pistol as well and tucked my arms into my chest expecting a blow to land soon.

And felt a weighty bulge in the coat’s upper pocket.

The suits flung themselves forward at me, posing their clenched fists into strike mode.

But I was faster. I yanked out the Mark II phaser from its hidden pocket and used my other free hand to deactivate the safety. A sure line of sight to the man who was now only two feet away. As I pulled the trigger a bright flash filled the platform room and the villain was flung backward through the air, clutching at his chest, which displayed a glowing red center.

I took a step to the side and the second warrior slid by, inches from me, missing his mark and rebounding off the platform wall. I spun and aimed the phaser at him. He tried to turn away toward the pillar but I nailed his back with my second shot. His body made a double flip forward and he crumpled to the floor.

I heard the custodian chuckle behind me. “Yep, that’s a nice coat.”

The taller man was still mumbling on the floor and reaching for something in his coat. I walked over and removed the device from his hand. As I did, he looked up strangely at me. “Wait…” he croaked. “You’re… not the director…”

“That’s right,” I said. As the light went out in his eyes, I said, “I’m just the assistant director.” As his head thunked to the floor I looked at the device I now held in my hand.

A screeching sound and tow spots of light came from the tunnel. I walked to the end of the platform holding the dead man’s door remote. Time to leave Wonderland Station. Yes. Time to get back to work at the Space Center.

Mr. Daymont

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Waiting at the Wonderland Station. Our Vacation Starts.

I stood on the platform and waited for the next train. It was quiet, no sound at all except for the humming of a young lady waiting on the station's one turquoise bench. She was dressed in white. Her yellow handbag and jacket rested beside her.

“It’s not very busy tonight.” I tossed the statement in her direction to test the waters hoping for a bit of conversation to fill the quiet induced by the cold concrete.

“Everything is either closed or closing for a few weeks.” She accepted the invitation. I was relieved. Sharing a train platform with one other person is similar to riding an elevator with a total stranger - except the time between trains is longer than a journey between floors.

“You’re the director of the Space Center,” she spoke with a questioner's tone.
“Yes I am,”
“So you’re the reason then.”
“Reason for what?” I asked.
“The reason I’m off for a few weeks. You’re closing and that puts Wonderland on minimal staffing. Thanks a lot!” Her voice sounded angry. A moment later a faint smile delivered the sarcasm.

“Where do you work?” I questioned.
“The Imaginarium. Its a sub section of the Ministry of Wonder. I’m an office assistant in the Office of Joinings," She replied.

“Oh, I see. And how does the closing of the Space Center affect the Ministry of Wonder?” My question was an honest one. The Ministry of Wonder was enormous in scope and size with the Imaginarium only a small division of the whole.

“My office is responsible for the inspiration that comes from imagining what might be from what Is.”

I walked closer and asked if it was OK to sit with her. She nodded and extended her hand in welcome. I sat on the opposite side of the bench leaving one square of turquoise between us.

“So, let me see if I understand what you just said. Your office creates images of the future based on what we experience around us in real life?”

“Got it in one,” she smiled and reached into her purse for a stick of chewing gum.

She opened the package and held it out. “Would you like a piece?” ‘

“Yes, thank you,” I replied. I took the gum. The gum had an odd taste, sort of a mixture of hazelnut and raspberry. “Where did you buy this?” I inquired.

“There’s a little shop around the corner from the Ministry. It’s awesome, you walk in, wait for a clerk and then imagine your favorite flavor or flavors. A moment later you're handed the gum you imagined.”

“Is this shop a product of the Imaginarium?”

“Yes, mine actually," She replied with pride. "An imagination came across my desk several weeks ago from a young girl in Nebraska. She had it while waiting to purchase a pack of gum at her local WalMart. The line was long so she had time to daydream. And when you day dream you open the door to my Departement. Her thoughts told me she was tired of her usual brand of gum and was looking for something different. Well, I also knew from reading the print out that she had just come from lunch at a pizza restaurant with a build your own salad bar.”

“Stop, let me take it from here,” I interrupted.

“Go right ahead.”

“You put the two thoughts together to create a vision of What Could Be from What Was. You took her memory of a build your own salad bar and combined it with a desire to build her own gum flavor.”

“You got it. We call that a Joining in the trade. I do Joinings all day long. That is what I do.”

A strong gust of wind moved through the station announcing an approaching train. It was the Express from Inspiration. Express trains never stop at the Wonderland Station. We had to wait for the local train.

The train sped by. The people inside were framed in the windows. They looked tired and ready for home and supper. Their work was grueling, having to managing Inspiration day in and day out. My hat was off to them.

A few moments later and the platform was still again.

“So, you Joined the images and created a thought. Then what?” I continued the conversation with my bench mate.

“The girl imagined such a place where you could mix and match your gum flavors and when she did, it became real here in Wonderland.”

“Will it stay?” I asked.

“Only as long as she revisits the thought. The shop becomes an anchor point in her imagination. A place for her to mentally visit whenever she chooses. What’s cool is how the shop changes its shape and design every time she imagines something different. Today it looked like that wand shop in Diagon Alley. Tomorrow it may look like something else.”

“And when she gives up the idea?” I asked.

“Then the shop disappears?” she replied.

"Never to come back?"

"Not unless someone else Imagines it." We sat quietly, each staring a some point in the concrete.

I thought back to the starting point of our conversation.
“OK, so getting back to the original question. How does closing the Space Center for a few weeks so we can recharge our own imaginations, affect the Imaginarium - A Sub Section of the Ministry of Wonder?”

“You have no idea how busy we are when the Center is running at full steam," She answered. "The imaginations you help create in those kid's minds pour into our Department filling our In Baskets to the point of burying us. You fill their minds with Wonder at what could be based on what they’re experiencing in the real world. Our job is to Join the two images and inspire them to go out and make what they experienced real. Now, Suddenly you close and the cascade of ideas and thoughts goes from the raging Niagara to the dribble of a leaky faucet.”

“And the department lays off its staff.” I said.

“The Department has a budget. With this economy every penny counts.”

“Well, we open for the school year on August 20th. You’ll be back to work then," I assured her.

She smiled and reached for her bag. A strong wind from the dark tunnel blew across the platform. Our train was approaching. We stood and walked towards the platform’s edge. The train’s powerful headlamps appeared first, piercing the darkness with 3 yellow lights. The lights grew brighter and brighter until the body of the train emerged. It slowed to a stop, a moment later the automatic doors slip open to welcome us aboard.

“After you,” I said while reaching out to hold the automatic doors open until we were both safely inside.

“Thank you,” she replied.

The train started with a jolt. I reached for the nearest hand strap which was attached to a metal bar running the length of the coach. The Wonderland Platform, with its blue and red sign, disappeared into the dark.

My vacation had started.

Mr. Williamson

On the Nature of the Human Condition

Hello Troops,
I present a true enigma on the nature of who we are as seen from two perspectives. Both are true in their own right as they present the universe's greatest achievement - mankind.

Mr. Williamson