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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tyler Gardner's Experience at Space Camp. Huntsville, Alabama. Part 2,

Area 51

Wow, summer has really gotten away from me!  I tried to get this post out much earlier, but other things have taken up my time.  Anyway, I will try to be short and to the point.  For those of you who did not read my previous post, this is post 2 in a 3 post series that I am writing about my experience at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Most of us know Area 51 as a mysterious military base somewhere in the deserts of Nevada.  Area 51, as far as Space Camp goes, is a team building ropes course used to teach teamwork and leadership.  At Area 51, I participated in multiple activities which included a 50 foot rock wall and a 30 foot panic pole.  Amazingly, I made it to the top of both of those!

Area 51’s 50 foot rock wall!  It’s higher than you think...

Climbing the rock wall.  Don’t look down!

Both the rock wall and the panic pole build trust between team members.  How so, you ask?  Well, while climbing the pole or rock wall, you are hooked on to one end of a belay line.  This safety line literally feels like a lifeline as you reach the top of the pole or wall.  On the other end of this lifeline are your teammates, making sure you don’t fall.  This means that the whole team has to work together to get every member up the pole and wall safely.

Team huddle!

Some of my teammates preparing to belay the next climber.

Many of you have probably climbed a rock wall before, but I doubt many of you have climbed anything like a panic pole.  As you reach the top, you realize that you are above most of the trees around you.  The wind blowing occasionally, making the pole wobble beneath you, does not help your confidence at all.  The worst part?  Stepping up onto the small platform on top and then making a 180° turn to jump and touch a rope.  Trust me, it is very nerve racking!

Me climbing the panic pole.

Attempting to turn around while feeling like you are going to fall at any moment.

In addition, my team also completed an island bridge challenge where we had to use planks to get our team from one ‘island’ to another.

Bridge Challenge

Evaluation of Area 51: very fun!  I almost wish the Space Center had something similar.  Almost...  Then again, the Space Center really doesn’t need anything like this.

In my final post, I’ll talk about how Space Camp runs their missions.

Monday, July 30, 2012

News Late in Coming (Sent by Pigeon Post)

     Space Center Pigeon Post
     Late but Reliable

Photo by Victor Williamson (Staff Photographer).  Expert Photoshopping by Victor Williamson

Pleasant Grove
Pigeon Post Extra
Sometime Last Month

Odyssey Directorship Changes Hands

In a solemn ceremony held at the Space Education Center and in full view of several staff and young volunteers, Odyssey Set Director Christine Gosland handed the Odyssey's Flight Director's microphone to Emily Paxman, and by so doing successfully and remorsefully ended her carrier as Odyssey Set Director.

Emily Paxman received the microphone graciously (well, sort of).  In her acceptance speech, Emily described the time Christine held the Microphone as "The Odyssey's Golden Age".  She went on to say, "Christine took the Odyssey from the depths of deprivation into the radiance of the Enlightenment.  It can only compare to Europe's transition from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance."

After a moment of applause, Emily turned to Christine and asked her to remove her shoes.
"How can I possibly fill these shoes?" she exclaimed as she desperately tried to insert her feet into shoes noticeably too large for her feet.  "You see.  It's impossible."

Christine reassured Emily.  "I have full confidence in your abilities. You will be a great leader. Take what I've done and Soar!"

Christine emphasised the point by running around the Briefing Room while flapping her arms to signify 'Soaring'.  Emily followed, flapping her arms to signify that she was ready to soar with the eagles.  It was a touching moment, a moment this seasoned reported may never forget.

Christine flew from the room and out the school's front door shouting,
"さようなら, ごきげんよう, ではまた
And with that, Christine was gone like the the missionary training center to prepare for her mission to Japan.  

Congratulations Emily on your new positions as Odyssey Set Director.


The Space Center's Last Super Overnight Camp


Flight Director Jon Parker and his Doppelganger (pretending to be a reflection)  
Arriving to Fly the Space Center's Last Super Overnight Camp

Pleasant Grove
by Pigeon Post
Not as Late as the Previous Story

Jon Parker and his faithful Troubadours gathered last Friday evening to perform the Center's last Super Overnight Camp.   The performance began at 5:00 P.M. and ended Saturday morning at 10:00 A.M.

"A Super Overnighter is different than a normal overnighter because we stay up later and get more tired," Jon explained.  "I get so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open.  Its a struggle, but we manage."

Jon wasn't kidding.  The campers were kept up until 2:43 A.M.  I should know because I was on hand as a chaperon.  The staff staggered to their sleeping mats and collapsed.

"Oh, I forgot to add that on a Super Overnighter the campers get fed a mighty fine supper and snacks for later.  The breakfast is better than a normal Overnight Camp as well.  It's good eatin all around!"  Jon exclaimed.

Aleta With her famous Paklid Spaghetti
A real treat for those with a functioning pancreas.
What she does with a pair of scissors and a platter is unbelievable! 

 Aleta after a rough day in the kitchenActually, when not preparing camper meals, Aleta likes to get into character and join in the fun in the simulators.   With a bit of makeup, Aleta transforms to Adrian Stevens.

Jon wasn't kidding.  Just look at the supper spread compliments of the Space Center's Head Cook, Aleta Clegg

Flight Director Jon hunted me down once more before I could get away.  "I got something else to add," he said as he pulled on my arm.  "A Super Overnight Camp is different than a normal Overnight Camp because we bring in a make up artist to transform the staff and volunteers into the story's characters." 

 Jon wasn't kidding!  Just look at the Space Center's make up artists at work.

Ben Murdock before his transformation

 Ben Murdock after his transformation.  Hideous comes to mind.

 Devin Sudwicks before his transformation.

Devin's Transformation at the hands of Amanda Hadley   

Devin after our artist had her way with him.  He brought several of the campers to tears when they first saw him moving toward them in the darkened halls

A surprise visitor crept into the Center during the early hours of the morning.  Was it a bird?  Was it a plane?  No, it was The Red Blemish - Ordinaire!  Arriving on his trusty Red Scooter to help the campers defeat the evil Galactic forces of Mad Dog and the dread Orion Pirates.

It was truly a Super Overnight never to be forgotten.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The First USS Voyager. Scenes from 21 Years Ago

Hello Troops,

We finished our last Super Overnight at 10:00 A.M. Saturday followed by several private missions.  Our weekend ended at 8:00 P.M. last night.  Next week the Center is open Monday and Tuesday for private programs.  We are closed August 1 to August 14 so the staff and volunteers can enjoy a few weeks out of the trenches to bask in the warmth of family and friends.  The Center reopens August 15th.  The calendar for the rest of August is filling rapidly.

Did you get a chance to attend one of our summer camps?  If not, you should consider attending our Galaxy Camp on August 16 from 2:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.  The Galaxy Camp is the Center's summer version of a school year Super Saturday - a five hour mission in one of the simulators.  You may register by phone (801.785.8713).

There are a few pictures from the last couple camps I'll post sometime this week.  Today I'd like to post a few pictures from the Space Center's first year of operation (school year 1990/91).

I'd like to introduce you to one of the first captains of the USS Voyager.  I don't know his name.  He is wearing the original headset radio connecting the Voyager Commanders to the Voyager Control Room.  Notice the first captains sat behind a large desk.

This young man is now 32 years old!  My, how the years have past.

The Voyager's Communication's Officers busy at work on the original Voyager's Bridge.  The young lady opened the frequencies by computer, the young man got to do the talking.  Two people doing a one person job.  That's how it was on the Voyager back in the day.

The original Voyager Bridge computers. The Mac Plus had an external hard drive that sat below the computer.  These were high tech back in the day.

A few of those old Macs had serious attitude problems.  I'd turn them on and nothing would happen.  Their hard drives wouldn't spin up to load the operating system.  I solved the problem the old fashion way.  Any computer with attitude got a good smacking.  One hard smack to the side usually got the drive spinning and the program loaded.  

One day the old Right Wing computer was throwing a super tantrum.  I smacked it once, then twice and finally the third time did the trick.  The computer came to life, although the wheezing sound from its lungs gave me a reason for concern.  

The field trip started.  I stood at the front of the Bridge giving my 'getting ready to take off' speech.  Mrs. Houston stood behind the Right Wing officer.  

"SMOKE!" she shouted.  

Yes sir'ee, that old Mac chose to go out on its own terms and not mine.  It committed suicide right there in front of me, the staff and a bridge full of students.  Smoke poured from the ventilation slits on the computer's top.  I unplugged the computer, excused myself from the bridge and gave it a proper send off.  I walked to the metal dumpster behind the school, opened the rubber top and threw it in. 

The Voyager's Control Room circa 1990.  I'm in the red sweatshirt running a mission.  Bill Schuler is sitting to my left.  Mark Daymont is on the Voyager's telephone talking to the Communication's Officer.  That was it, except for a few elementary and junior high students that helped out.  Everything you enjoy about a Space Center mission today was thrashed out during those first missions by the Bill, Mark and I.  We experimented with different story telling techniques.  We tried different approaches to running a mission.  There were many successes and several failures.  It was stressful and nerve racking yet so much fun.

That old red black and white TV had a 6 inch screen.  We used it as a preview monitor.  One of the jobs required of 2FX (2nd chair today) was to cue the upcoming bits of video tape footage for an upcoming scene.  It was my old TV from my days at BYU.  

A better view of the Voyager's Flight Director's Station.  I didn't have a fancy chair.  I didn't have a computer.  I did the talking (without a voice changer), ran the music, ran the sound effects, directed the mission and called all the shots.

The other half of the Voyager Control Room.  We had two computers to run the ship.  Video tapes were used for special effects.

The old Briefing Room - today's Space Center office and home to the Phoenix and Odyssey.
The Odyssey's control room sits today where the Gift Shop once was.  The staff bunks were inset into the room's wall as seen on the far left of the picture.

The back of the Briefing Room where the Odyssey is today.  

 There have been many changes to the Space Center over the years.  There are many changes still to come.  It is a work never ending.  We still try new ideas.  Many of them are successful and many are not.  The Center is a one of a kind.  We are it.  No where else on the planet can you go and experience something like this.

I appreciate the hard work and efforts give the Center by hundreds of staff and volunteers over the last 21 years.  I appreciate all of you who have come to the Center for camps, field trips and classes.  The Space Education Center is truly a community effort.  We are here because of YOU.

Thank you,
Mr. Williamson


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Camp Scores. Overnight Camp. July 23-24.

On the Voyager looking at the Bridge Security Station

Hello Troops,
Here are the results of our Overnight Camp held on July 23-24, 2012.  There were 45 campers in attendance ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old. 
The following scores on on a 1 to 5 basis: 1 the best.  5 the worst.

Voyager:    1.23 
Phoenix:    1.24
Magellan:  1.20 
Galileo:      1.04  (Top Ship of the Camp!)
Odyssey:   1.09 

The Galileo takes the Camp with a 1.04  (And a great cheer was heard throughout the valley!).  Awesome performance Ben M., and his staff:   James M., and Sam M.

Our Lord of the Votes

Our SubLord of the Votes
Bradyn Lystrup

The Other Camp Scores:

Coming Back:  1.00  (On a 3 point scale where 1 is the best)
Satisfaction Index: 9.21 (on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the best.)

Thank you campers.
Thank you staff and volunteers.

Mr. Williamson

What's Up in Space

NASA's SLS Rocket System Passes Concept Step

SLS transportation system concepts.

Today marks an important step in NASA's plan to replace the Space Shuttle as the nation's primary space exploration vehicle. According to NASA reports, the SLS (Space Launch System) program has passed all the necessary milestones to move from the concept phase to the actual design phase. The next major milestone will be a design review later next year. Actually, spacecraft components for the system are already in material assembly and testing, such as the Orion capsule, and the core stage (Boeing) and upper stage engines. ATK in Brigham City, Utah (Yay!) is testing the solid rocket boosters ahead of time. The first test launch is scheduled for 2017.
Keep in mind that the SLS is NOT meant to replace the shuttle's use as a transportation system transferring astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station. NASA (and space exploration fans) are pinning their hopes on privatized commercial transportations systems (such as SpaceX's Dragon or ATK's Liberty) to provide that function. SLS would only be used in that purpose in the case of an emergency. 
The purpose for SLS is to provide a heavier lift system to move astronauts into exploration beyond Earth's orbit. Under the Obama Administration's plans, NASA is exploring possibilities of sending astronauts to explore asteroids and prepare for future Mars exploration. The are also many who would like a return to the Moon for further exploration and development of mining opportunities.
Opinion: Overall, there is much that is similar between this design and the cancelled Constellation program design. One has to wonder at the political maneuverings that took place to cancel the Bush administration's exploration plan (admittedly underfunded and late) and the commencement of a bigger, more expensive Obama-administration design (which will no doubt end up underfunded, and late). Only time will tell. But I am pleased to see actual progress in a system that I think the nation needs for exploring anywhere beyond Low Earth Orbit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Astronaut Sally Ride passes away

Astronaut Sally Ride in space on Shuttle Challenger.

Sally Ride, America's first woman astronaut in space, passed away yesterday at age 61, from a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  Not only an astronaut, but a brilliant scientist also, Sally Ride inspired millions with her journey to space and her continuing work afterwards to interest girls and women in science and space exploration.

Challenger blasts off on June 18, 1983.

Her first, and historic, spaceflight was on space shuttle Challenger on mission STS-7, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983. On that mission, as a Mission Specialist she helped deploy two satellites into orbit and conducted a series of science experiments. That mission lasted six days.
Her second flight was on mission STS-41G in 1984. During that 8-day flight, the crew deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, and tested satellite refueling and made Earth observations. Although she was assigned to a third mission, the Challenger explosion occurred. She was assigned to the accident investigation board. After that assignment, she accepted a position to help the NASA administrator with long range planning. After leaving NASA, she was recalled to participate in the AUgustine commission, which investigated NASA's future space flight options in 2009, and resulted in the cancellation of the Constellation program. She was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame and received a long list of awards and honors.

Progress re-docking suffers a glitch

Progress M-15M seen during docking.

On July 22, ground controllers in Russia remotely undocked the Progress M-15m (US designation 47P) cargo spacecraft from the ISS Pirs Module. The idea was to test a new "Kurs" automated rendezvous and docking system. However, something went wrong. It may have something to do with the new antennae used in the system. In any case, the re-docking effort was postponed while new procedures are considered. Another reason for the delay is that the ISS is expecting a visitor, the HTV-3 cargo spacecraft recently launched by Japan, which is expected to dock with the station on Friday. Completing that maneuver, the flight engineers will attempt again to re-dock the Progress spacecraft. 
Progress M-15M has been docked with the ISS for three months now, and having delivered its supplies, it is now used as a giant and expensive trash container. When its usefulness has expired, it will be undocked and re-entered to burn up in the atmosphere.

NASA works on new Re-Entry designs

Inflatable heat shield in test chamber.

On Monday, NASA successfully tested a new design in heat shield technology. Launched from Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia, the IRVE-3 (Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment-3) sounding rocket took off and reached 280 miles over the Atlantic Ocean. The payload then separated and the HIAD (Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator) was inflated with nitrogen gas.

IRVE-3 launches from Wallops Island, VA.

Screaming back through the Earth's atmosphere at 7,600 mph, the shield inflated to 10 feet in diameter and approached temperatures expected during a typical reentry from space. Parachuting into the ocean, the package was recovered and scientists began studying the data retrieved. The entire flight lasted only about 20 minutes. The science learned from these tests will help NASA make newer, better, and safer reentry shields for future space missions.

Orion parachutes deploying.

In a completely separate test, NASA engineers in Arizona completed another successful test of the parachute recovery system that will be used with the Orion space capsule. An Air Force C-17 cargo plane dropped the capsule from an altitude of 25,000 feet above the desert. This Orion was a capsule mockup, designed to have the shape and size of the eventual capsule and filled with special sensors to monitor everything related to the deceleration and impact landing. The recovery system will be used in an actual test mission from space in 2014.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Japan launches Supply Spacecraft to ISS

H-2B F3 blasts off from Japan. Credit: JAXA.

Japan sent an H-2B rocket into space this morning, lifting the Kounotori-3 cargo space craft into orbit. The cargo vessel is the HTV-3, robotically controlled cargo spacecraft designed by Japan to transfer needed supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The launch took place at the Tanegashima Space Center located on Tanegashima Island just south of the mainland of Japan.
The weather at the center was a bit for the worse, with rain and a slight wind. The flight seems to have gone well, and the Kounotori-3 is expected to reach the ISS on July 27th. Currently, Japanese astronaut   Akihiko Hoshide (just arrived on Soyuz TMA-05M) is performing duties as a Flight Engineer on board the ISS. The HTV-3 cargo craft is carrying over 4 tons of equipment including several small satellites which will be launched into orbit from the ISS.
Akihiko Hoshide.

Astronaut Hoshide first flew into space on board Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124 in 2008. On that mission, he used the station's robotic arm to move the Japanese station module JEM-PM and attach it to the station. During his 13 days at the station he worked with other astronauts to outfit the module and prepare it for science work at the ISS., Currently, he is part of the second "shift" of the Expedition 32 astronauts living and working on the station.

50 Years Ago: Mission Control Center future announced

MSC under construction in Houston, 1962.

We're all so familiar with the phrase, "Houston, the Eagle Has Landed." And certainly, "Houston, we have a problem!" Forty-three years ago, Neil Armstrong proudly proclaimed that first phrase as the lunar module of Apollo 11 touched down on the surface of the Moon. On this day, July 21st, he and Buzz Aldrin walked on the dusty surface and communicated with the flight controllers back on Earth, at Houston. In 1970 astronaut Jim Lovell uttered the second phrase which made everyone at Houston (and the world) hold their breath as the astronauts tried to fix their critically broken Apollo 13 spacecraft and return to Earth.
On July 20, 1962, NASA Administrator James Webb made a public announcement that future space manned missions would be controlled from the Manned Space Center being built at Houston, Texas.
James Webb, NASA Administrator 1961-1968.

The MSC (not yet named for upcoming President Johnson) would be the flight control for missions in the planned Gemini and Apollo space programs. Still under construction, Webb promised the entire complex of communications, computers, control rooms, simulators, and other facilities would be ready by 1964. For the time being, mission operations were being controlled from control rooms and launch bunkers at the Cape Canaveral US Air Force station.
Also on July 21, NASA selected final designs for the Advanced Saturn launch complex facilities under construction just north of Cape Canaveral launch pads. This area would eventually be dedicated as the Kennedy Space Center, but in 1962 they were just starting to build the complex.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ISS: The next shift arrives

Soyuz TMA-05M on approach to the station.

At 10:51 p.m. MDT Monday night, a Soyuz spacecraft carrying the second half of the Expedition 32 crew arrived at the International Space Station. The spacecraft launched two days early from Baikonur in Kazakhstan commanded by cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, accompanied by NASA astronaut Suni WIlliams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

Astronaut Hoshide is welcomed by the prime crew of Expedition 32.

The hatches opened on the Russian Rassvet module and the three newcomers joined Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin, and astronaut Joe Acaba. Interestingly, the docking took place on the 36th anniversary of the famous first docking of an Apollo spacecraft with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 1975.

Current locations of several docked spacecraft. reports that there were several maintenance issues with a couple other spacecraft docked with ISS. One of the cabin air fans on the European ATV-3 cargo ship has malfunctioned, requiring replacement. On the Russian cargo ship Progress-15M, there was a temporary failure to transfer fuel from the spacecraft to the Russian Zarya module. The problem seemed to have been a computer problem, which was resolved and the operation completed. Progress-15M is expected to undock on July 30 to make way for the next Progress resupply mission.
By Mark Daymont
Space Center Educator

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Day Off and New Space Center Awards Given

Hello Troops,

The Space Center closed today at 11:30 A.M.  I practically had to push the staff and volunteers out of the building and into the sunlight.

"Please don't make us go out there!" they pleaded.  "Its so bright and hot.  What are we suppose to do?"

I bellowed back using my most sinister laugh.  I rubbed my hands together and pushed all the harder.  Connor L., fell to the floor in a failed attempt to barricade the school's front door.  Others clung to the new benches (the scratches in the wood will be noticed by Dr. Carter when she comes in to work tomorrow).  Rich S., tried to disappear by squeezing between the aquarium and the brick wall.  It didn't work.  He easily popped out when I applied enough pull to his belt.

 I expected one or two would make a run for it down the dark hall, and I wasn't disapponted.  Morgan saw her chance when Connor hit the deck.  She sprinted for the cafeteria.  I removed the 5 pound key chain from my pant's pocket, spun it round and round over my head like a sling (think David and Goliath) and released it.  The keys flew through the air like a missle, striking Morgan at the base of her neck.  She went down hard, bouncing once or twice before coming to a dead stop near the Faculty Room door.  I sent Megan down to tend to her wounds with the Voyager's medical kit.  Morgan was back on her wobbly feet a few Skittles and one gummy watermelon later;  mind you, she didn't know where she was at first, but the disorientation went away after sleeping the concussion off under the large tree in the school's front lawn.

I had to use the business end of a broom to push the staff and volunteers out the door so I could shut and lock it.  What I saw next could have been taken from the opening scene of a Zombie Apocalypse movie.  They pressed their faces against the glass begging to be let in.  Some were bleeding from the brute force I applied to get them outside.

Logan P.,  calmed everyone down.

"Its OK.  We can do this," I heard him say through the double glass.  "The sun is our friend."
He took a few baby steps to the demarcation line separating the school's shadow from the brilliantly lit sidewalk.

"Don't do it!" Mark pleaded as he pulled on Logan's arm.  Logan shook him away.

"Stand back."  Logan hesitated for a moment, then stepped into the sunlight.

The fire started on his left ankle.  His pants instantly combusted.  The whole scene reminded me of the Zeppelin Hindenburg igniting into flames as it tired to moor in New Jersey in the late 1930's.  Logan's scream rattled the front door's glass.  He ran burning onto the school's front lawn.

"Drop and roll!"  Bradyn shouted from the safety of the shadowed area.  Logan fell to the lawn and rolled several times.  The fire went out.  Logan found shelter to tend to his wounds in the shadow of the front tree.  I couldn't watch any longer.  I gathered my things and exited the building through the south doors.

"Mr. Williamson.  Mr. Williamson.  Don't leave us!" the staff and volunteers shouted pathetically when they saw me climb into the Battlestar.  I pretended not to hear and set a course home.  I went the long way so I wouldn't have to drive by them.  I'm hoping Logan will be OK.

Why the down day?  I wanted the staff and volunteers to enjoy Pioneer Day with family and friends.  Tomorrow we will be back to work running the season's last Day Camp.  Perhaps you're on the Day Camp?  If so, I guarantee you'll have a blast (providing enough of the staff and volunteers got home safely today).

And now, the latest news from the Space Center as we honor some of our own.  

Devin was happy to present the Odyssey Pin to Addie.  Addie finished her two Odyssey simulator passes and asked me for her pin.  I told her she might have to wait.  After all,  there are only so many hours in a day.  I can't be expected to make everyone's wishes come true at the drop of a hat.   Addie understood what I was really saying and return with a bit of cash.  Cash is a wonderful lubricating agent.  She got her pin and I got enough to enjoy a nice All American Burger at JCW's in American Fork (you can see me counting my 'tip' in the background).  

Congratulations Addie on your Achievement!

Megan L., earned her year pin during the same meeting.  Congratulations Megan!

Mark S., earned his year pin during the same meeting.
Neither Mark nor Megan needed to provide 'motivation'.
Addie's donation to the cause was more than enough to adjust my mood in the
generous direction.

Congratulations Mark!

"Mr. Daymont, did I earn my Phoenix pin?" Mark asked after his eleventh attempt at passing off Phoenix Second Chair.
"You did good," Dave said using his New York gangster accent.  "Was it pass worthy good?  Ah..... that's the question."
"You said I did everything right." 
"Did I.....?"  Dave scratched his goatee, looking confused.
"You did."
"I'm having trouble remembering.  I got so much on my mind.  The misses wants to go to the pictures tonight and I'm a bit skint on cash - if you know what I'm sayin."  

Mark got his pin as seen in the photo above.
Dave and his Misses went to the pictures, with enough money left over for popcorn and a drink to share between the two of them.

And Again... Congratulations Mark!

Lauren L., challenged Ben to a hand squeezing competition to help him decide whether or not to give her a Galileo Pin for her outstanding work in the Galileo. 
Ben nearly went to the floor seven seconds into the contest.  He capitulated at 10.  Lauren got her pin and Ben got several bruises and has trouble writing his name.

Congratulations Lauren!

The Tale of Two Blue Shirts 

Once upon a time there were two boys.  One was called Scott and the other was called Connor. They both worked for an evil taskmaster named Williamson.

"Mr. Williamson." Scott approached his employer timidly with eyes cast to the floor.
"Speak Lad!" Williamson shouted, rattling the globe of the one kerosene lamp illuminating the counting house office.
"I've finished what you said and earned my Supervisor Shirt."  Scott gulped and tried to breath normally.
"And you shall have it," Williamson answered ever so softly.  His eyes sparked with delight.

"Mr. Williamson." Connor approached his employer timidly.  His eyes were also cast to the floor.
"Speak Boy!" Williamson shouted, shattering the globe of the one kerosene lamp illuminating the counting house office.
"I've finished what you said and earned my Supervisor Shirt."  Connor gulped and tried to breath normally.
"And you shall have it," Williamson answered, rubbing his chin with the two inch yellow cracked nail growing from his right index finger.  "You shall have it."

Nicole and Jon presented Scott a new over sized blue shirt.  It was far too big.
"WEAR IT!" Williamson bellowed from the back of the room.  
"Its too big?" Scott tried to show him.
"Wear it," Williamson answered.  "NEXT!"

(Good job Scott.  Job well done.  You earned that Blue Shirt!) 

Connor walked to the front of the room to receive his Supervisor's shirt.  Jon pulled out a purple shirt.
Connor was confused.  "This is purple," Connor whispered in Jon's ear.  "Supervisors wear blue."
"THE SHIRT IS BLUE!" Williamson bellowed from the back.
"Sir, I think its purple."  Connor mustered all the courage he could for a 14 year old.
"Jon, is the shirt blue or purple?" Williamson asked his clerk while tapping his two inch nail on the table top.
Jon hesitated.  Correcting his employer was dangerous. 
"Purple or blue Jon.  Which is it?"  Williamson grew impatient.  "Will one be working tomorrow, or will one be lost in the crowd of so many looking for meaningful employment?"
"Blue.  The shirt is blue," Jon said.  Connor pulled a smile from his back pocket and wore it bravely for the picture.

(Sorry Connor for not having a Blue Shirt on hand for you.  Congratulations!  I'll get more Blue Shirts in soon so you can swap the Purple for Blue and be a real Supervisor :)