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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Metta Smith Leaves the Assembly of Space Center Elders. Flight Director Nicole Shares a Fond Magellan Memory. And, The Imaginarium!

Hello Troops,
Last night the Elders of the Space Center gathered at the Fortress of  Solitude in Pleasant Grove to commiserate over this weekend's departure of one of the eldest Elders of the Space Center, Metta Smith.  

Metta recently graduated from BYU, and if that wasn't enough of an accomplishment, was recently promoted to Lieutenant in the Air Force.  Metta will be stationed at some Air Force Base in Oklahoma.  The posting isn't a state secret - I just can't remember the name of the base.  This position, while regarded as an stepping stone along Metta's career path, is a serious loss for the Space Center.  

Metta will be missed.  And in the spirit of true sportsmanship, we surrender our claim to her and bid her adieu and success in Oklahoma.  May she never forget the little people she leaves behind.  May she never forget the numerous Overnight Camps worked both as a Supervisor and Chaperon.  May she never forget the thrill of a successful mission and the love and respect of her comrades.  

The Elders of the Space Center gathered in a ceremonial circle in the darkened Great Hall.    Their shadows danced by candlelight over the grey stone walls.  Metta stood in the center,  wearing the crimson vestments of her position. Her hood rested upon her shoulders, revealing her face and head to the assembly.   

"Venture into this world," The Grand Master spoke from his position at the circle's prime.  "We release thee to go forth to serve those who call themselves human, for they are most dear to the Assembly"  He waved his hand through the musty humid air.  A large hologram of the Milky Way Galaxy appeared directly over Metta's head.  Earth's position was highlighted in blue, along with the other known space faring planets.  

"When we will we reveal ourselves to them; I believe the time is near?" Metta asked.  

The Grand Master paused for a moment before answering.  "It has been written in the Book of Time, what has been will be and want will be has been."

"So it is written," the Assembly chanted.

"I will accompany her and then return," Megan Warner took two steps from the wall.  She removed her hood to reveal herself to her fellow Elders.  

"This is good.  You both have the Assembly's blessing."  The Master stretched out his arm revealing a newly formed Space Time Portal.  "Go now and remember the Directive.  Prepare this race for their induction into our galactic community."  

Megan walked to Metta.  They both bowed toward the Prime Position, turned, and stepped through the Portal - into the River of Time.

Good Luck Metta.  Make us proud in the United States Air Force!

Magellan Set Director Nicole Shares a Story About One of Her Favorite Overnight Campers. 

During an overnighter when I was a volunteer, I excitedly offered to be the doctor for the Magellan mission. Over the course of the night, I got to know the different crewmembers, but the one who was always the most excited to see me was our young Counterintelligence officer. You could often see us chatting away in the corner of the Magellan bridge about the mission or our lives in Starfleet.

At one point during the mission, the crew was being forced off the bridge by intruders. In the next room, we decided that we could take our bridge back from the intruders with phasers we had found in our armory. The weapons were dispersed to the crew, but unfortunately we didn't have enough phasers for everyone; one person would have to do without. The Counterintelligence officer looked at her phaser and handed it off to another crew member. "It's okay, I don't need one," she announced to the crew. "I'm going to help the doctor heal people!"

The crew agreed with the plan, and so she and I stayed in the Discovery to heal any officers who had been hit by phaser fire. It didn't take long until the wounded were being pulled to us. I used my tricorder to figure out where the crewmember was injured. I told her that my pills were color-coordinated. I knew that if there was an upper-body injury they would take a red pill, and if it was a lower-body injury they would take a blue one. I scanned the first few officers, offered some comforting words, announced where the injury was, and then the Counterintelligence officer would give them the correct pill. Our system was working perfectly until she asked, "Can I try scanning them?"

It seemed like such an easy request. However, I knew that my tricorder wasn't giving me any information. What would happen when she tried to diagnose a patient and realized that it didn't do anything, that it was all pretend?
 I told her that I would love the help and handed her the tricorder. I waited with baited breath as she waved it across her fellow crewmember. "Hmmmm..." she said as she stared at the tricorder. After a moment, she announced, "I think it is an upper-body injury." She handed the tricorder to me. "What do you think, Doctor?"

I looked at the tricorder and then back to her. "It looks like you're right. Give him the red pill." She handed over a pill and moved on to the next person. After a while, she stopped asking me if she was right. I sat back and smiled as she began diagnosing all the crew members on her own.

This little girl has given me one of my fondest Space Center memories and made me realize how much I love working there. Since that mission, I've seen all types of crewmembers come through our doors. Some can't seem to get into the mission and instead find ways to criticize or complain. But there are some who can use their imagination. They embrace every moment of their time there and become a space explorer. Having an imagination like that can help you put on a role that you never would ever be able to take. That little girl may never be a doctor in her lifetime, but for a short while in the Magellan, she became one of the best doctors in the Federation of Planets!   

A now, join me for a slow stroll through Wonderland's Imaginarium.  Careful not to disturb those lost in thought.  

Creativity: A
Not as efficient as gas pumps lined up in straight row, but here in Wonderland
Efficient vs. Creative is a no brainer.  Creative always wins.

The Entrance to a Wonderland Book Shop
Not your typical Barnes and Noble is it?

Never let anything mechanical know you are in a hurry.
Wonderful advice.

Your World:  "Sorry man, I ate your cookies."
At the Imaginarium:  Look above.  How could Mitch get angry over his missing cookies?

An Open Mind and Open Heart is the doorway to a bright future.

Creative Advertising and a Public Service.
Only found at a Wonderland Bus Stop.

Brought to you by the Chocolate Growers of Earth.

Go Ahead.  Make his day.

Small, compact and loaded with Imagination.

Your World:  "Watch for Playing Children.  Drive 10 MPH"
Wonderland:  Look Above.

Creative Design: A
A solar powered outdoor lounge chair

Wonderland street art.

Oh Fortuna, Who hath displeased you?

The only bus I'll take when not in a hurry.

It's called, "Outside".  Its that place your Mother tells you to go to all the time.

I knew there had to be a use for those discarded breath mint containers.

 Give that man a raise!

A Wonderland Trailer Park.

Decorations compliments of soda bottle caps.

There was a malfunction in the Space Time Continuum Today.
Do not panic.  All will be well.

My day, the Old School vs. Today 

Finally.  Don't find an excuse not to go to the link below to find your place in the universe.  This is required.  Don't disappoint me.  I'll know if you don't and the consequences won't be pretty.

Mr. Williamson

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are Robots, Instead of Humans, the Future for Space Exploration? And, I've Got Warts!

 Mars as seen on August 23
Curiosity Rover.  
The inset picture shows a boulder
roughly the same size as the rover itself for size comparisons.

Hello Troops,
It's a Wednesday, in case you didn't know.  I'm in the trailer reviewing my math lesson for tomorrow.  Poor kids, they get another hour of testing followed by 30 minutes of new assignments in Chapter 3.  They will leave the trailer dazed, confused and questioning their parent's decision to put them in the advanced math class.  
No news on the Space Center's renovation.  Hopefully there will be something to report next month.  
My funny moment of the day came in Shelley Elementary's lunchroom.  I was standing near the 3rd grade tables.
"Hey," a young 3rd grader was after my attention.
"What can I do for you young man?" I asked.
"I've got a virius!" he exclaimed proudly.  
I stepped back and cupped a hand over my mouth and nose.  "What kind of virus?" I'm surprised he understood me with my mouth and nose covered.
"I've got WARTS!" he said loud enough to draw everyone's attention at the table.  The girls scooted away while the boys leaned in closer.  He held his arm up high and pulled down his long sleeve.  Yes sir, he had warts.  He counted them for me.  One had been cut out by his doctor but was in the process of reforming.  He made sure to describe the surgical procedure in detail.  
There is never a dull moment - that's for sure.
The Future of Robotic Space Exploration
I sat in amazement watching the live landing of the new Mars Rover on TV a month ago.  I've checked on its progress almost daily.  I'm fascinated by the pictures, video and science.  It is truly the little engine that could.  
It's this fascination I have with the Rover that has me worried.  Will robots be the future of space exploration in the future?  Are humans destine to remain Earthbound; and if so, why? 
Matt Ricks sent me a link to a anonymous post written by someone who feels the same way I do.    
I have long expected that I would see people step foot on the red planet during my lifetime. As I am in my mid-thirties, I never considered that this was unlikely.  However, while following the exploits Spirit and Opportunity, this question came to me:  Have robots permanently become the most attractive option for space exploration? 
I think the answer to this question comes down to this:
Humans are more mentally and physical flexible than robots. This is their advantage in space exploration. However, human space-exploration has a high cost and is very dangerous. Robots are currently less mentally and physically flexible than humans, but the cost of robotic space exploration is much lower, and their is no associated risk to humans.
Due to the advances in robotics and artificial intelligence over recent years, and the certainty of advances to come, I think we may have reached a point where robotic space missions will forever remain to be more attractive compared to human missions.
I feel that the only exception to this situation might be due to a great need for humans to "experience it personally"; but unless the costs of space exploration can be surmounted by a small group of individuals that share this desire, I think this factor will not counter the obvious benefits of using robots.
I hope I am wrong, but my gut tells me that I am right. Of course, there may be a point in the future where human space-exploration becomes much less expensive and risky. However, I am currently reconsidering my own chances of witnessing it.

Imagine the computing power of future computers driving robotic space exploration.  Those robots will have the ability to reason and possibly imagine.

I believe the day will come when we bring Mars to Earth through elaborate simulations - like in a Star Trek like holodeck.  Our robots on Mars will send detailed information to powerful computers on Earth.  These supercomputers will take that information and create a Mars virtual world in a Star Trek like holodeck for Earthbound astronauts to explore.  The human's actions would be carefully recorded and transmitted to robots on Mars.  The Martian robots would mirror on Mars what their human counterparts did in their simulation. 

You, the younger readers of this blog, have a wonderful future ahead of you with advances in science and technology so wonderful, they can only be envisioned using your wildest imaginations.  Don't let the doomsayers and pessimists convince you that your future is lost.  I believe mankind will have the bright future championed by Star Trek and not the dark destruction offered in Battlestar Galactica.  We can solve our planet's problems.  We can explore the universe.  And with enough imagination and fortitude, wrestle away the universe's secrets and learn who and what we truly are.

Mr. W.       

Monday, September 24, 2012

Deer Poop, Posts from the Past and the Imaginarium. Not Bad for a Monday's Post

Hello Troops,
A youngling at Shelley Elementary made me smile today.  I was walking by the 2nd grade tables during lunch, checking on the little ones, helping them open those cursed Gogurts and showing the terminally confused where to find a place to sit - even if an open place was right in front of them.  I love it.

"Mister?" A young boy's small hand reached out and grabbed my pant leg.

"What can I do for you?" I bent over to hear what he had to say.  Kneeling would have been the preferred way to get down to his level, but with my unreliable knees I knew the youngling wasn't strong enough to hoist me back up!

"What are these?" he asked.  He pointed to a collection of garbanzo beans gathered in the corner of the paper bowl holding his cafeteria lunch salad.

"Those are garbanzo beans," I replied.  Using his index finger, he rolled a few of them around to examine their shape and size.   His nose curled upward.  His decision was made.

"They look like deer poop," was his verdict.  I laughed.  He didn't.  He was serious.

"Try one, you might like it," was my challenge.  He shook his head and dismissed my suggestion. I moved on only to be stopped a few minutes later by a 3rd grader who had spilt his chocolate milk all over his popcorn chicken. 

"You can go back and ask for another tray," I suggested.  He said it was OK. 

"What are these?" he asked before I walked away.  He pointed to something on his tray I couldn't identify.  I ran the image through every memory circuit in my brain and came up with only one match.  The cylinder shaped, orangeish, mushy objects on his styrofoam tray looked like the futuristic globules I saw on the food trays of the Starship Enterprise crew from the classic series of the late 1960's.

"They're sweet potato tater tots," one of Shelley's know it all girls answered from across the table.  

I tried not to look shocked.  I didn't want to color their opinion of the day's menu.  "Are they good?"  I asked.

"No," was her reply.  "But I don't like sweet potato french fries either."

I left it at that and moved along.  There were hundreds of students to sit and dozens of Gogurts to open.

And Now, Posts from the Past, Taken from the Space Center's First Blog
April 13, 2000
Posted by James Porter
In this post from 12 years ago, James is referring to a proposed two person simulator I wanted built in the Spring of 2000.  The Spider was to function as a small engineering pod designed to travel through the ship on repair missions.  It was never built.  It is still on my wish list for the Space Center.  I think it would be a very cool activity.  

I am glad to announce the creation of a new simulator has been in the works for several months. Construction will begin in about a week.

The new simulator will be in the old Captain's loft. It is designed to hold two people. The ship is designed as an engineering scooter. It is assigned to be with the Voyager to repair any damaged
systems. There are two positions: Pilot and Engineer.

The simulator is due to open this summer. Yes, it will be "the smallest ship in the fleet," but the Galileo shall forever be none as "Mighty Mouse." Psst, if you're a claustrophobic, (you don't like
small, confined spaces) then don't plan on being in this simulator.

I, James Porter, am going to be the flight director for the simulator. I will try to keep you informed on it's progress. One of the features that will hopefully soon come is that the controls of
the pilot will be controlled completely by a joystick. I also shall try to write up a bio as Mr. Williamson requested. The scooter will be using Mac's and of course Hypercard.

-Talk to you later
"Bye James will miss you."
"Do you have my dollar?"
-No, I already paid you back.
"Can I borrow a dollar?
-No you take forever to pay me back.
"OK, Bye."

P.S. The proposed name for the scooter is "Spider."

This is the basic "l"ayout for the Spider. `8~)

l l MIXER ll l l l l
l l CD ll ll ll l PRINT l
l l ll l l l l
l l ll l l l l
l l ll l l l l
l ME l CPU ll ll ll l CPU l
l l ll l l PILOT l l
l l ll l l l l
l l MIC ll l l l CPU l
l l ll l l l l
lllllllllllllllllllll lllllllll l l l l
lllllllllllllllllllll l l l l l CPU l
l l l l l ENGINEER l l
l l l l l l l
l l l l l l CAM l

April 18, 2000
Posted by Mark Daymont

In this post, Mr. Daymont joins in a discussion we were having on the correct way to write good missions.

I'm bored...I hope it doesn't get scruntched weird, if it does go ahead and delete this message.

I thought that Aaron had some good things to say about stories at the space center, and I want to clarify some things and expound on others.

1) Science Fiction Stories
When I look to a definition of science fiction, I turn to the author who had more to do with me becoming a science fiction fan than any other: Isaac Asimov. If you have not read Asimov, you are missing out on a truly wonderful part of Sci-fi. With Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, and a couple others, they make up the vast part of the science fiction we enjoy today, for they influenced a great majority of SF authors.

Anyway, Asimov wrote: "Science Fiction is that branch of literature that deals with human responses to changes in the level of science and technology." Star Wars, for example, despite its technical
inaccuracies, is SF because the Death Star is a change in that technology and the Rebels must adapt. Teletubbies is not SF, even though they look and act like aliens, because they don't match the
definition. These stories then fit one of the following formulas (if they're good): Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Machine.

2) The Quality of Stories
I am a big fan of Disney Animation. Their big production animated movies are the best. In 1984, after Walt's death and the general failure of their animation division, Peter Schneider became President
of Feature Animation. He drills this principle into new animators:"One, create great characters with definite personalities. Two, give them exciting stories to act out.Three, push the boundaries
of animation as an art form and technology with each succeeding picture." There is no doubt this formula works, witness The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Great Mouse Detective, Alladin, and The Lion King which completely turned Disney around and morphed them
into a MEGAGIANT. Too bad their Live Feature division doesn't listen to Schneider. Their live action movies totally reek.

How does this apply to the Space Center?
1- Involve a character with a definite personality, whether an individual or a group.
2- Put them in an exciting SF story- but make it SF not space opera or fantasy.
3- Push the "envelope"; we don't always have to beat the last story with new props, but we need to definitely do something different or uncommon (not expected).

3) Space Center Stories
Folks, what we have here are EDUCATIONAL SIMULATORS working in a story environment. Therefore, education IS a central purpose to our existence. If you carefully look at each of Mr. Williamsons missions, you will soon see a pattern of education:
a) There is some special geographical location in space for the students to learn about;
b) The story involves a social studies background lesson from history as the context for the story; and c) the students are involved in one or more moral dilemmas which reflect directly on that social context.

Mark D.

And now, join me in a nice stroll through Wonderland's Imaginarium District.

 Leave it to the Imaginarium's advertiser to find unique ways to capture the public's attention.

An awesomely creative way to remind people that biking saves them money!

A sticky note creation.  Brilliant!

Unique in function and design.  An Imaginarium Classic!

 Polite and to the point.
Real imagination

 Aztec Oreos for the Doomsdayist in your family.

 Why not?  Brillaint

An open invitation to all who pass on Wonderland's sidewalk.

Awesome!  I'd immediately turn and give them my business just to show appreciation 
for the creativity displayed in their sidewalk sign.

A perfect birthday cake for the creative child.

A child's Imagination

Creativity: A
A unique wedding invitation.

Banned from every school worldwide.
Creative though...

In your world - odd and out of place.
Here in Wonderland - all in a day's work.

Find a need and make something to fill it.
The recipe for success.

Even professors can display a spark of imagination once in awhile.

 A perfect use for old technology.

The most creative napkin holders to date.

It can clear a floor in 12 seconds flat.



And finally, a scene from your world.
Yes, even in the days labeled by today's young generation as "Old as mud" 
certain groups were banned because they were too original.  
They pushed the boundary of acceptability. 

Enjoy Troops,
Mr. Williamson



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fun Highlights Taken from the Space Center's First Blog. April to December 2000

Setting the Way Back Machine to
the year 2000.  Location, The Space Center

Hello Troops,
I find myself growing a bit nostalgic for the good old days now that the Space Center is closed for renovation.  Along my trip down memory lane this Saturday morning, I pulled up the Space Center's first blog (a Yahoogroup called Spaceedventures).  I wrote Spaceedventures first post on March 14, 2000.

For the next several months I'll introduce you to best posts and comments from Spaceedventures.  These posts will introduced you to the old staff of the day, many of whom have disappeared to the four corners of the Earth.  I believe others can be found in nearby clinical psychiatric centers .  Some names you'll recognize, most you will not.  

Feel free to post questions and comments at the end of each post. I'll answer your questions in the follow up posts.  

Now, let's enter the Way Back Machine and set the dial to the year 2000.  Take care if you frighten easily for here come the ghastly ghosts of Space Center Past, dragging the chains they forged while in service at the Center.    

Mr. Williamson

P.S.  The comments in blue are mine, used to introduce you to the back story of each post.

 And off we go.....

April 14, 2000
This post was written by Aaron Yeager, Odyssey Flight Director.  In this post Aaron is referring to the staff working on the Falcon.  The Falcon was housed in the school's cafeteria along with the Galileo.

I would like to congratulate all of those who are working to create the new simulators. I am happy to know that the Space Center is growing. Some people may call us nerds, but I say that we are the
music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream. We are poets and philosophers. We create a new universe out of plywood, metal, and keyboards, and yet a familiar universe. We use this universe to explore the endless possibilities of existence.

As we grow let us always remember that the simulators we build are only tools for storytelling. Without interesting characters, without good story ideas, without the struggle between good and evil, we are
nothing. All the iMacs and ethernet in the world cannot make up for poor storytelling. Let us never loose focus of this. I wish the best of luck to all the new simulators. May your simulators work well, and may your stories be worth telling.

Your Friend,
Aaron Yeager

April 18, 2000
In this post Aaron discusses the process he uses when writing a Space Center mission.  It is an excellent read and well worth your time.  He hit the process spot on.  What are your thoughts?  Post your comments and questions at the end of this post and I'll answer them in the next post.

Okay, a few thoughts about creating stories for our simulators.  We normally start creating a story by saying, "Ohh, what would be cool to do?" We then create a few really neat ideas and things that the
ships could do. Throuought the years, the space center has been place to more acts of heroism than any other place on earth, except for, perhaps, Gotham city, which we all know is the most heroic place on

Anyway, the "cool" things are fine, but they are not the story, the "cool things" are what happens to move the story along towards it's conclusion. Without a definite direction towards an understood goal,
confusion and chaos reign supreme. The best way to start writing a story is to begin with a moral
question and a real-life problem. For instance, the Greenpeace mission that we all know so well probably began with the question: "Is cooperation possible between enemies" and a problem that could not be solved except through cooperation. No one would argue that Greenpeace lacks action, it is very exciting, but it would be MUCH LESS exciting if it's action did not have a purpose. Action without
reason is phony, and the kids cannot get into it. 

When I wrote the Stakeout mission I began with the question, "What happens to people who become addicted to drugs," and the problem of drugs being smuggled across the Federation Border. My current story that I'm writing asks the question, "Should we show mercy and kindness to an enemy who has no pity? and the problem of scientists using enemy prisoners of war for experimentation.

This moral question is what you will explore in the mission. All good science fiction deals with moral questions, and explores them. Take Star Trek Insurrection, which pitted the good of the many over the
rights of the few. Take Star Trek First Contact, which showed how hatred and revenge can destroy victims if they are not careful. Now, you can find examples of Star Trek that did not do this, and it can
be done, but remember that I'm saying the BEST stories deal with these human issues FIRST, and the cool stuff SECOND.

The moral question and problem will create a "spinal chord" for your story, to which you will add the "rib bones." By "rib bones" I mean smaller problems, complications, and, of course, cool stuff.
This pattern works for me, and I hope that the rest of my space center brothers and sisters find it useful as well.

Your friend,

December 27, 2000
Bill Neville was an excellent volunteer.  We've lost touch with him over the years.  This was an posting he sent after leaving Space Center service and venturing out into reality to go to school.

Vic -

Well, after a delinquent absence, I figured that it's probably about time to give you an update on my life.

I ended up graduating from Rowland Hall a year early and enrolled at Davidson College in North Carolina. It's a fantastic liberal arts college, though I seem more and more to be operating under the
assumption that it is a conservatory theatre program. While this isn't true (our department has three profs and only four majors a year), the faculty is outstanding and the level of passion that everyone brings to
classes, productions, and extracurriculars is truly mind blowing.

It's hard to imagine that I'm already halfway through my sophomore year - 2.5 years until the real world, right? Or at least Grad school... But it has been a blast and a blur. Living 24 hours a day
with some of the most intellectually challenging, intelligent, dedicated people I've ever met has proven to be more fun than I could have imagined. I've found myself drowning (and loving it) in
Shakespearean lit theory and in all aspects of theatre, and it looks like I'm heading for a career directing professionally. I'm also loving set and lighting design more and more, but I've found a passion
for directing that I could not previously have imagined.

It's been a great, wild few years, and I credit my time working with you at the Space Center with helping me find my own drive and vision, and especially with overcoming my fear of leadership. I ran into a friend from high school who mentioned that a RHSM crowd was coming down sometime over break. The craziness never really seems to end, does it?

I hope that all is well with you, and that you're taking some occasional time off from your overwhelming dedication to the kids you encounter each day.

If you get the chance to drop me a note, I'd love to get caught up on everything happening your way. Merry Christmas, and I hope I can make it down sometime soon to see how everything is going in grand ol' Pleasant Grove...

All That Jazz,
Bill Neville

January 15, 2001
This was a news update from me to the staff and volunteers.  This was the first week we ran our Submarine EdVentures for our school district's 4th graders.  
Deck 10 was a new method for running landing parties in the school's hallways.  I used red dots and papers describing actions and decisions the crew had to make when out in the school's darkened hallways on the overnight camps.  

Hello Troops,

1. The Overnight mission went well. The Falcon was closed so Mark could continue to prepare the submarine mission for Saturday.

2. A new landing party system was created called Deck 10. This system will be tested this Friday. It will also be a scoring system for overnight missions.

3. No Birthdays celebrated.

4. The First Submarine EdVentures went well. The students enjoyed the class. Debbie Wallis and Melissa Torvineo did an excellent job. We made contact with an oceanography instructor from Utah Valley State College and explored joint programs with her and her students. The Odyssey and Galileo Submarine Edventures went well for a first attempt. We discovered that several of the stations need to be improved and more work created. That was the number 1 comment from the participants was
they needed more work.

5. Very tired staff stayed until after 10 P.M. Saturday evening working out bugs and creating new story elements.

6. Our Monday evening Open House went very well. The school was crowded with visitors. We were kept busy from opening to closing. A special thanks to all that helped with the program.

1. New cool Star Trek like door for the Magellan coming this week.
2. The Voyager's bathroom tile has been replaced!!!!

........That is all.....
Mr. Williamson

 January 18, 2001
This is an posting by none other than James Porter.  Read it.  You'll learn a very important lesson on keeping your employers happy.  Yes, James learned by listening.  Volunteers and staff, us old timers have a lot of wisdom to share if you will just listen - like James  :)

I would like to tell you of the helpful experience I have received from volunteering at the center. As I have recently been employed by the Wynsong 12 movie theater near Orem but sadly in Provo, I have noticed some ... stuff. From the all mighty Mr. Williamson I have learned much.

First, is that, "It is better to look good, than to feel good."  This definitely applies with my new vest and bow tie I HAVE to wear.

Second, and this one has been the greatest help, "We are -getting gratuity- until 10:30." Sorry for the alteration, that is what Mr. Williamson meant to say anyway. In my job I cannot stand still waiting for customers. With the art of spray and wipe mastered at the space center I have no trouble always looking busy.

Third, always try to wear a smile. Pretty self explanatory.

Fourth and final, work hard while the employer is watching. I won't try to quote exactly, but it was something to the effect of, "I wasn't bumped up the employee scale because I worked the hardest. I
just worked the hardest when the boss was around." 

This helped out on the first night. We were cleaning up to go and were just waiting to get passed off. I noticed the manager coming and began to wipe down some of the cupboards. The manager gave us a pass so all that was left to do was mop. The manager asked who was going to and the other guys pointed out that the new guy always does it. The manager looked at me then looked back at the guy and smoothly stated, "How come he is the only one still cleaning? You will mop up tonight."
As she pointed to the guy who spoke up.

So in conclusion I must give thanks. To the space center for all it's help and future help in the development of people. And of course, to Mr. Williamson and his words of advice. Thanks!

-James Porter