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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This Weekend at the Space Center

Hello Troops,
Wonderland Bakery, through its WalMart distribution Center in Lindon, is the official supplier of baked goods for the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.  Every Friday Morning I can be found at WalMart perusing the Day Old Rack of baked goods near the Yogurt and Fancy Drinks isles at the back of the store.  I'm looking for a bargain.  Some say I'm "being cheap", while others consider my frugalness a sign that I'm a good steward with the Space Center's limited funds.  Regardless, the fact is irrefutable - a penny saved is a penny earned.  My mission at WalMart is to provide an inexpensive morsel of bread to the starving volunteers and staff at a reasonable cost.

Some items on the Day Old Rack look and smell their age, while others appear edible, despite the date on their Sell By Stickers.  Looking for mold is one thing a discerning Space Center Director does in his quest for passable, yet cheap staff sustenance.  Mold, while completely edible, tends to put the staff off.  They won't touch it meaning I've wasted a couple dollars (abhorrent).  The Space Center's staff and volunteers are also picky about eating rock hard rolls.  To avoid their complaints, I have a policy of squeezing a roll or two through the plastic bag to get an idea of the rolls' digestibility.  Rolls showing signs of rigamortis are disregarded.  Bags populated with pliable rolls are a real treasure and find their way into my shopping cart.

"Attention Shoppers, the Day Old Bakery Rack is out"

Shopping the Day Old Rack at WalMart can be dangerous, especially when the rack is first put out.  I'm good at muscling my way to the rack through the mob of old ladies hoping to stretch their Social Security dollars, students wanting cheap carbohydrates on limited budgets and moms looking for ultra cheap alternatives to baking.  With one had I grab everything that looks edible and put it in my cart. My other hand is used to keep others from snatching things before I've had a chance to look at them.  The Old Ducks do protest and some bite (I've many bruises to offer as testimony and a set of dentures that got stuck in my sweatshirt) but succeed they do not.  I am the Master of the Day and Lord of the Day Olds.  I use my cart as a battering ram to push my way out of the scrum once I have what I want.  I move quickly out of foods and set course for the calmer camping department.  I have a special place near camping cots where I review everything in my cart, looking for things to keep and things to disregard. The rejected items and shoved behind the propane stoves. 




My bags of wonderfully inexpensive and nearly tasteless rolls (made with bleached flour, cardboard and sawdust filler and yeast) are brought to the Space Center and kept near the Voyager Simulator's Staff Entrance.  The staff and volunteers know to go there when they are hungry.  On good days, when the camps are full, the sky is cloudless and I'm feeling oddly generous, I'll provide a bit of something to garnish the bread rolls.  Its a special treat to the staff for jobs well done.  This weekend I have a yellowish margarine like substance called "Wow, I Totally Thought This Was Butter".  It is a multipurpose, slightly salty gel, good for both rolls and lubing a car (WalMart's knock off of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter".


         
 Other News



Thursday of this week Megan Warner flew the Phoenix's first public mission using the new Cocoa controls.  The mission was staffed by Logan P. and Brooks H.  The Phoenix's old Revolution controls were no longer reliable and needed to be put to pasture.

"They worked very well," was Megan's assessment of the mission when I questioned her the following day.  "I'll never go back to the Revolution controls.  I'm converted, I've seen the light and know the path I must take!"

Megan has been assimilated into the Cocoa Collective.  Matt Long, our Programming Guild Master, is slowly but surely winning converts in his struggle against the archaic programming practices of the past.  He threatens to drag us into the 21st century, kicking and screaming if need be.





The Phoenix Control Room flight and 2nd chair computers displaying the Cocoa Phoenix interface.  The Phoenix is light years past cool with these controls.  We are on the edge of the unknown, a place were adjectives needed to describe this level of cool haven't been invented yet.

What, More News?



This is a rather poor picture of the Space Center's newest Galileo Flight Director.  Erin received her Flight Director's shirt from Stacy a couple week's ago.  That is old news.  This is the new news.  On Thursday, Erin flew her first solo mission with a paying group.  Stacy guaranteed me all would be well.  I went down to check on her.  She was in the ship instructing.  I took this picture.

Today Erin is running her first Galileo five hour mission.  I have to admire her bravery.  She just interrupted me at my desk, and with quivering voice, asked for an additional staff member!  Yes, you read that right - she interrupted me!  Can you believe the cheek of it!  Stacy trained her well.  Let's hope her moment of insanity wasn't noticed by other staff and volunteers.  My ordered and predicable world could be thrown into disarray if word gets out that I can be interrupted at my desk and peppered with requests.


Finally



This is Nabil on the receiving end of a Mr. Williamson handshake.  I decided to shake his hand on account of his having just received his Year of Service pin.  Nabil comes to us from the Provo School District.  You'll be pleased to know that Nabil can read and write reasonably well.  Those who have taken the time to actually talk to him tell me he is pretty good at mentally constructing and verbalizing complete sentences.

Thanks Nabil for giving us one year of fun times and good laughs!



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