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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Latest News from the Space Center. You'd be a Fool Not to Read.

Hello Troops,
It's Fall Vacation in Utah. The Starships are safely docked at Starbase and many crew members have beamed planet side for a bit of well earned rest and relaxation. A few of us remained on board to deal with maintenance and clerical duties. You see, Federation Starships need constant pampering, tweaking and good helpings of TLC.

I'm taking a bit of a rest from my work to put my feet up and stare out the main viewer. The Pacific is passing below us with what appears to be the coast of Chili off in the distance and growing larger. A good Diet Dew in hand would make it a perfect moment.


This is Dave. Dave is the Set Director of the USS Phoenix. Beside him stands his 2nd, Megan Warner. Dave is making a list of ship wide programming issues that need addressing when our programmers return from surfing in Hawaii and mountain climbing in the Andes. It's amazing how much distance one can cover in a few days of vacation when you have access to a transporter!

Dave appears frustrated. These programming issues have haunted the ship for some time. Just the other day the Phoenix's computers hiccuped as the crew battled with the dread Orion Pirates over the Olive Moon of Panthea.

"Fire Phasers!" the Captain shouted. The Tactical officer hit the 'fire' button. Straight flames of pure plasmatic energy were expected. Instead, the life pods jettisoned - empty of course. You can imagine how hard a crew will fight to stay alive and win a battle when they see their life pods drifting away into the darkness of space! The captain's next words, while entirely fitting for the occasion, are not printable in this post.

Then there was the time a young 7th grade crewman ordered a nice sausage lasagna from the food replicators. Instead he got a meatloaf surprise made of shredded slime devil liver, topped with marshmallow and finished with sprinkles of ground chicken talons. It ended up on the cafeteria wall.

Have no fear, the Phoenix will be right as rain in a day or two. Lt. Ricks is pretty good at spotting a temperamental line of code and coddling it into something readable.



While Dave and Megan worked on the Phoenix, Jon Parker was on the Magellan, two bays down along the Starbase's docking ring. I caught Jon sipping a 52 ounce Dr. Pepper. I asked him if he was aware of the mountain of sugar he was consuming.

"Sugar doesn't bother me," Jon answered. "My pancreas churns out insulin faster than your average human's. It's all in my superior breeding."

"Superior breeding?" I questioned.

"We Parkers are all soda addicts," Jon bragged unashamedly. "We don't worry because we've got these babies," he tapped the part of his chest covering the pancreas. A moment later something fell from his face. Jon quickly drew his hand over his mouth.

"Great Pancreas, Lousy teeth?" I said while pointing to the white object spotted with black on the carpet.

Jon nodded. "It's a small price to pay to maintain my long relationship with the Dr."

I changed the subject and asked him what he was doing working on the Magellan's armory.
"The phaser rifles don't store correctly. The shelves are to weak," he replied while examining the tooth.

Two weeks ago one of the rifles fell to the floor as Nicole distributed them to the crew. A beam of pure energy shot out of the closet. Nicole jumped out of the way leaving the laser a clear line of shot towards the head of an unsuspecting 5th grader who, like most ten year olds, wasn't paying attention. The hair on the left side of his head was instantly removed.

"It burns, It burns!" He ran screaming out of Discovery towards the school's restrooms leaving a thin contrail of smoke behind him. Nicole followed with one of the school's famous iced sponges in a baggy.

"A bit further down and he'd be minus one ear," she told me later.

The stench of scorched hair hung in the room for the rest of the week. It was nasty.



Take a look at this new addition to the front of the Magellan. This box sits directly under the Main Viewer at the front of the Bridge. Kyle Jones (our maintenance director) did a suburb job. Emily Paxman did the artwork. I gave suggestions, direction, and encouragement; but most importantly, I paid the bill :)

This is Kyle Jones. He stands proudly, awaiting your approval for his newest project - a stand for my laptop, complete with drawers and a cup holder!!!! Kyle you are too good. Who else, I ask you , has a cup holder on his desk? This alone increases my coolness factor by 10.

Be sure to ask me for a cup holder demonstration when you visit the Space Center. After my fascinating demonstration, you'll enjoy a five minute video on its construction. There is a small charge for this demonstration - a 32 ounce drink from Harts. Make it a Diet Dew with one squirt of Cherry; Not a half a squirt and definitely not a quarter of a squirt. Don't be creative, follow directions and make it one full squirt.


Nathan Young completed an Eagle Scout Project at our host school (Central Elementary) a couple weeks ago. I asked him to paint a map of the United States on our playground. Nathan gave Dr. Carter a curriculum to accompany the map afterwords.

This map will be a God send to our teachers who struggle year after year trying to convince our students that Utah is not the center of the United States or the largest and most important State in the Union. I know their pain. I'm a victim of State discrimination having immigrated to Utah thirty two years ago. I have yet to convince my Utah neighbors that the real social, cultural, economic and religious center of the nation is SOUTH DAKOTA.

"Is that in Canada?" I'm asked repeatedly.
"How many states are in the United States?" I answer.
"50," is the usual response.
"Can you name any of them?"
"Utah," is the answer given most often.
"And any others?"
"Nope, Ya only have ta know the most important. Them others don't matter."

You see my dilemma? I'm sure you kind readers who are also transplants to Utah understand.


You did a great job Nathan. Thank you!


And finally, an embarrassed and ashamed Miranda; caught with Rolos in one back pocket, a Babe Ruth in the other and a Sour Patch Kids in her right hand. Her pancreas isn't as efficient as Jon's. She staggers a bit when she's had "one too many" if you know what I mean. There's a reason I keep the candy locker locked. It's to help people like Miranda cope with their disability.

Volunteers are given one candy every time they come in to help with a mission, so I wondered where she got three candies. I walked out into the hall to ask around.

"She was begging," I was told by one of the new 7th grade volunteers who was unaware of our policy not to enable Miranda's addiction. "She got my Rolos and that kid's Babe Ruth and her Sour Patch Kids." He pointed to another new volunteer standing near the fish tank.

She begrudgingly surrendered the candy back to their rightful owners. I escorted her to the Phoenix Control Room.

"Dave, keep an eye on her." Dave nodded and pointed to the 2nd chair. She sat down in a huff and crossed her arms in defiance.

New volunteers, do not feed the wild life at the Space Center. That's an order!

Have a Great Weekend Troops!

Mr. W.
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