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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Phoenix has a New View Screen (And Other Things)

Hello Troops,
We had a good weekend punctuated with a couple hiccups. Alex stopped me as I walked into the office Friday evening. It was almost 6:00 P.M. and I had several things I needed to do for the Overnight Camp at 7:00 P.M.

"Our main viewer is down. I couldn't get it to turn on." Alex was neck deep in a Phoenix private mission so he had to speak quickly. "I'm using the two side TV's only."

I asked if he'd clicked the input button on the remote. He said he had but I wasn't convinced. I'm usually pretty good at making what some classify as impossible, possible. I found the remote, walked into the ship, told the kids to carry on and pretend I wasn't there and fiddled with the viewer. It was obvious the TV had power - the red light on the front control panel flickered whenever I pushed a remote button, but no matter what I did, no matter which button combination I pushed, that TV wouldn't cooperate. I pronounced it DOA when I came out of the ship.

I was left with one choice - I had to purchase another TV for the Phoenix. The old set would be removed and taken to the repair shop for diagnosis. If it could be repaired at a reasonable cost then it would be. If it couldn't, then it would be carted off to recycling - or whatever else you do with dead large screen TVs.

The Phoenix private mission ended at 7:00 P.M. That gave Dave and Alex just 20 minutes or so to come up with an alternative plan for the Overnight camp. They found an old 24 inch TV in the Animation Studio and installed it. Mind you, it looked odd having this large wall of black plastic with a 24 inch screen shining through but would the campers know? Most likely they wouldn't - thinking what they saw was how the ship was designed.

The second hiccup was discovered around 8:00 P.M. Several volunteers failed to show up to work the camp. That immediately put us into 'problem solving' mode. Within fifteen minutes we had the problem worked out. I want to thank Erick B. for answering the email call for additional staff and coming when he did. It made a big difference.

Saturday morning I called Brady Young, a Voyager Flight Director and a member of Best Buy's Geek Squad, and explained the problem. Brady said he would talk to the store's manager and see if they would sell us a TV at cost. He called back saying he'd worked out a deal.

Later that afternoon, Bill Schuler picked me up in his truck and we drove to Lehi's Best Buy. We met Brady near the Geek Squad's area. He introduced me to the asst. manager and we worked out a deal. One thousand dollars later and we were out the door with a nice 47 inch LCD television for the Phoenix's main viewer. We got back to the Space Center just as the afternoon mission was wrapping up.

The Center closed at 5:00 P.M. Alex and Jon stayed until 7:30 P.M. installing the new TV. It wasn't easy, considering the number of cables that had to be stretched across the Phoenix's ceiling.

The new TV is in and, according to Alex, looks awesome!

"There is one problem," Alex said when he called me to deliver the news. "Whenever we switch between inputs, the TV displays the word 'Component' in the corner for a few seconds. It's something we can't make go away so it will be something we have to live with."
Alex and Jon will come up with some "sci fi" explanation for the word's appearance in the context of the Phoenix being a starship etc. We are good and dishing out the bull when necessary.

I'm anxious to see the TV in action on Monday. I hope its worth the $1000 paid. I want to thank Bill, Alex and Jon for helping with this small crisis.

And how about a few things from the Imaginarum to wrap up this post?

This is exactly what we had to do this weekend. It is what we do well. We have no choice. Try running this program on a tight budget. You'll see what I mean.

Now this is what I call a real man's 'Captain Crunch'.

Have you ever succeeded from walking away from a sheet of bubblewrap without popping a single bubble? I haven't. Self control was never one of my strong points.

I couldn't resist. The perfect St. Patrick's day picture for The Troubadour's Irish readers.


And finally, this is what I heard all the time as a teenager. I'm sure you teen readers out there hear the same from your parents. Well, guess what - read and memorize because you'll be saying the exact same things to your kids. It is just one of those eternal things passed down generation to generation. Yes your own kids will think your stupid because you "Don't Get It". Well here's news to all you teens - Yes we Get It, just like our parent's Got It when we were teens. It's just that the role you play in life changes as you get older. So, be good to your parent's. They aren't stupid. There is merit to what they say.


See you in the Trenches!
Mr. Williamson
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