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, July 17, 2011

A Short Weekend and Our Fallen Lady on the Rooftop.


A Cream Cake and Candy Apple?
Today Phillip is a happy boy.
Isn't it always the simple things in life?

Hello Troops,
A few weeks ago I opened the 4th grade hallway's custodian closet and climbed the ladder to the rooftop to check on the air conditioners - the true workhorses of the Space Education Center. Three were working perfectly. One however, was not. The unit responsible for cooling the Space Center's office, Phoenix and Odyssey simulators sounded tired. The cooling fan's motor was layered in an orange coat of rust. The unit looked like it belonged on the roof of an long abandoned factory.

"Hold on friend," I whispered as I patted her on her dark gray metallic housing. She responded with a gurgle followed by a stoke of wheezing and the sound a vacuum cleaner makes when you accidentally suck up a screw left on the carpet after your last attempt at home decorating.

It is with sadness that I report the old girl gave up the fight with summer's heat yesterday morning at around 9:00 A.M. Dave stopped at my desk asking me if there was something I could do about the air conditioning. The temperatures in the Phoenix were uncomfortable. Right then and there I knew we had a problem. The office, Odyssey and Phoenix are always the coldest places in the Space Center.

I climbed the ladder and found the unit's blower was working but her compressor wasn't. The large fan was motionless. I knew we had a real problem, especially with the temperatures that day expected to get dangerously close to 100. I drove home and got two fans for the ships. During lunch one fan was put in the Odyssey and the other in the Phoenix. I found the school's large carpet drying fan. It too was drafted into service, blowing air into the front hatchway of the Phoenix.

The campers survived our unintentional Amazon rain forest simulation and came out at the end of the camp none the worse for it. I can't say the same for the folks that came for the 3:30 P.M. private missions. The emerged noticeably drained. Their skin was red and blemished. It looked like they were saved from becoming the main course of our new rain forest mosquito's supper.

I'll go to work extra early on Monday and call the school district's maintenance department. Hopefully a knight in shining armor will arrive, kiss our fallen rooftop princess and restore her to her former glory. We have a full plate of private missions tomorrow and a four day camp starting Monday evening. We need a happy ending to this fairy tale.

We are down to our last two weeks of July. Our main summer season is racing down the tracks toward the end of the line where all will disembark to enjoy a nice two week rest before we reopen again for normal operations on August 16th.

I'd like to thank all of our Troubadour readers who spent some time with us on the Space Center Railroad's Summer Express! We've had a fantastic journey so far with only a few minor setbacks. Hopefully the tracks ahead are clear and the ride smooth.

I'd like to show you a few things from Wonderland's There and Back Again Lane. We took a stroll down the lane last week but didn't get very far due to constant distractions. Today I thought we'd give it another go. Remember, you never know what you'll see on and around the streets and lanes that lead to and from the Imaginarium.


The Hollands are gone for the weekend and contracted their home's security to one of Wonderland's creative home security companies. The Janus group prides themselves in their effective, inexpensive, carbon neutral home safety system.

It moves when anyone approaches, then speaks with the vocal patterns one would expect from a deranged clown.

"Are you sure you want to come any closer?" it asks.

Imaginative solutions are the norm here in Wonderland. Thinking outside the box is the standard.


What is imagined can become real in Wonderland. The good folks that work in the Imaginarium see to it with precision and attention to detail. I imagined how cool it would be to have a new lobby for the Space Center. What do you think?


The newspaper for those that would like their daily dose of depression summarized. Pretty much always the same, isn't it?


Thomas Tinker fell asleep on the sofa while his parent's watched a National Geography Special on the nation's National Parks. The Imaginarium took it from there.


Little Helga, captured forever in wood.



The Tour de Middle Earth races through Sauron's Realm.


The Treecloud in the field where the lane turns north.



The Spatsky sisters enjoy a moment to themselves after hanging their wash on the lines to dry. They live with their husbands in side by side cottages. The odd traveller would be mistaken to walk by without accepting their sure to be offered invitation to tea and biscuits. Be ready for the best gossip Wonderland has to offer highlighted with several good chuckles and a warmth that comes from lives richly lived.


Morris is waiting for us at the Lanes' Cherry Apple Inn. Checkers is his game and hardly an afternoon passes without him talking someone into playing who happens by the Inn looking for a cold drink and heaping helping of the proprietor's greatly admired Shepard's Pie with mushy peas. I'm hoping you have an appetite and are ready for the challenge. Mind you, Morris has a tendency to drift off from time to time. This can be used to your advantage. Let him sleep for a minute or so after you make your move then loudly wake him up...

"Morris, Make your move!"

He wakens slightly disorientated and confused. That's when he rushes and makes mistakes.

Finally, a thought for all of us who have lived long enough to understand its true meaning. Remember, life is a journey we stumble through together. Let's help each other and don't forget to remind those we walk beside that embarrassment is a cloak we each take a turn wearing.


Now, let's rest up because we've got a full week ahead of us. Fingers crossed about our rooftop friend. May she find her second wind and continue to help us brighten the days of all those that visit us at the Space Education Center (despite her rattling, groaning and wheezing). We really miss her.

Mr. W.
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