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Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolutions. Memories of the Past. The Imaginarium



Hello Troops,
Our oppressive inversions make some days in Happy Valley not so happy.  Today I see a thick blanket of yellow white muck nestled peacefully between the mountain ranges from my viewpoint on the east bench overlooking the valley.  I've sealed up the Fortress of Solitude tightly against the menacing fog.

Is exercise appropriate on days like this?  Some of our braver citizens must think so.  I see them jogging along the canal.  I realize the importance of keeping one's New Year resolution to get fit, but at what cost to your lungs?  I'm setting a more pious example by getting my Saturday morning workout in the great room's lounge/rocker.  Back and forth I go in beat to the music.  I  might work up a sweat if I keep at it for several hours and change my play list from New Age to Rock.  Got to be careful not to get carried away though.  One strong push and the lounge/rocker opens and I'm flat on my back, asleep.    

I didn't make a list of New Year resolutions.  I stopped performing that barbaric act of self-depreciation years ago.  What is the sense of listing my shortcomings and faults?  Sooner or later, the list will become evidence that I'm a slave to slothfulness and gluttony.  

My New Year's Resolutions were once my Super Ego's 95 Theses.  They were drawn up yearly and posted to the refrigerator's door in hopes of reforming (by guilt) an old decaying institution which refused to adapt and change for its own sake.  As time passed, those lists became my accusers, which condemned me to the eternal flames every time I reach for a decadent Klondike Bar.  There I would stand, ice cream bar in hand, knowing what I had done.  I'd confess my guilt, unwrap the bar and eat it.  What more could I do?

"I hereby resolve not to be short tempered with my class" I once wrote on a New Year's card catalog of character flaws.  I was successful, until the first day back to school.   My sixth graders pushed every button all morning long; yet I held firm to my resolution.  My determination held through math, reading and spelling, then cracked at lunch.   I walked my students to the cafeteria.  Several of them were marching down the hall out of line.  A few jumped into the path of oncoming students making a game of Chicken out of our walk to lunch.  Other students kept talking after being told not to.  The ice finally cracked when one of my more incorrigible boys tripped one of his friends.  Down he went, causing my long line of soldiers to break into a flash mob of laughter.

Needless to say, the return of my pockmarked "old school" teacher face soon calmed the savages.  Peace and tranquility was restored.  The Universe was at one with itself.

I don't need or want to keep lists outlining my 'areas needing improvement'.  I know what they are all too well.  What I do to become a better, fitter, kinder person must to be continuous with a "one day at a time" philosophy paired with the understanding that some days I'll succeed and some days I won't. Regardless, I'll soldier on until the final bugle blows.

A Look Back in Time. 

A trip down Memory Lane.  This is a repost from a decade or so ago taken from the Space Center's orginial blog, Spaceedventures.
Hello Troops,
We are back to work. Vacation ended Tuesday. Back to normal on Wednesday.  I decided not to have a field trip on the first day back. I felt teachers wouldn't have the time to brief their students or if they had before the Christmas break the kids would have forgotten the briefing anyway.

I was excited to reopen the Space Center. The Briefing Room has new carpet and some touch up painting. The Voyager's Bridge has some new paint as well. I walked up on the Bridge Wednesday morning, sat in the Captain's chair, and listened. The sound of the air conditioner lightly masked the whispers of a theater ready and waiting for an audience. The chairs neatly pushed in and keyboards at the ready. A slight mental hesitation opened the door of doubt. I was the one wondering whether I was ready. Would I remember the Supernova story? You may be laughing thinking how could I forget a story I tell two or three times a day four days a week - especially only after a two week pause. Sometimes you do, but it does all come back quickly.

We started the overnight missions again. Last Friday we had 46 campers. 43 from Cherry Hill Elementary School and 3 regular general public kids. The overnight mission was touch and go for the Magellan.  All week the Magellan's new control room has been on the front burner. The counter tops were put in on Thursday.

Wednesday morning, the first day back to school from Christmas Break,  I started up the Voyager to be sure everything was working. To my surprise it was! How odd - a long break and nothing broken. I couldn't be so lucky. On Thursday morning just as we were getting ready to start the field trip mission, I found Mrs. Remy bent over one of the Voyager's VCR's. The middle VCR - the one that has been with us almost from the beginning - wasn't working. Everytime you turned on the power it would begin fast forwarding. My theory proved true. On Friday evening I sat waiting to hear from the other simulators. The first news came in from the Falcon. I was told the network was down. Bill and Mark began working on that. I was surprised by the Galileo. Nothing to report unless it was something they took care of.

The Magellan was different. The programming had a few bugs and was also too warm in the simulator. The air conditioning wasn't working correctly.  The biggest problem on the overnight was the staff of the Magellan getting use to the control room and the extra controls programmed into the system. The general talk around the tables during the ice cream before bed ritual was the maddening number of buttons and indicators the Flight Controller and 2nd Chair have to monitor and operate.  All in all - the Magellan's first overnighter with a new control room went much better than I anticipated.

I had a pretty good crew from Cherry Hill. Many of them were from the 6th Grade A.L.L.program. They were excited to do the new Shadows story because of the comments they heard at school from their friends who had come a few weeks earlier. They told me they heard the story was really scary.

We got to the actually Shadow stuff Saturday morning. Josh Webb got dressed up in the costume and made his first appearance.  There was a significant amount of screaming. The campers found cover wherever they could.  The kids were focused - just too freaked out to do anything but hide.

Josh was down to the last two kids. All others were in Sick Bay. The first officer was hiding at engineering. He looked down and saw the computer on. Power was being restored. He shouted to all others to come and help get things running. Strangely enough no one came. He was alone. He did nothing. He got up and ran to a new hiding place. At the end I questioned him about his decision not to try to escape from the dampening field. "This mission is too freaky," was his complaint.  He was frustrated because he knew their survival was up to him but he couldn't bring himself up to taking a risk  by returning to the bridge.

Tuesday evening, David Merrell performed his last official duty as a Set Director at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. At 7:10 P.M. the ceremonial Passing of the Mic was performed. David stood by the Odyssey main entrance and handed Chris Call the Odyssey's main microphone. The event started at 6:00 P.M. A history of the Odyssey was given along with thoughts and comments from the current flight directors. David took a few moments and spoke about working at the Center. We learned that "The Great Space Race," was his favorite mission. "Comet Trap," was his worst. He won't miss training but said he will miss the moments when you get a crew that "gets it"
and rises to the occasion and completes a mission.

The meeting ended at 7:00 P.M. We enjoyed refreshments provided by Lorraine Houston in the Discovery. I want to thank all those who attended.

Chris Call is now the official Set Director for the Odyssey. I'm pleased to see him take ownership of the simulator. He is making changes to the set to reflect his own personal style. Scott Slaugh has been hired to create a new tactical stack. There are many new changes and upgrades coming.

I want to take a moment to voice appreciation for our outstanding female staff. This last overnight mission had six of them working.... Mrs. Houston, Mrs. Remy, Rio, Metta, Aspen, and Jennifer. They really brighten up the place and provide superb roll models for the girls that come to camp. They also provide a much needed female perspective to an overwhelmingly male dominated Space Center.

Thanks Ladies for what you do and your patience with "the boys".

And now, those famous words.

That is all..................
Imaginarium:


A new study shows that people become boring, mean spirited and drab if they
don't keep a spirit of fun and imagination in their lives.


Why didn't I find this little treasure before Christmas!?



A good story on second chances.  
Brilliant advertising as well:  


Shall we spent more time on the Outernet and less in the Internet?




"But where's the fun in that?" you ask.


JRR Tolkien


Something new from Toyota.
Don't understand the purpose, but I want one nevertheless.



Creative: A
True story from England.





  A study of ideas and language.





Symmetric Alphabet


Mars, as it may have looked a few billion years ago. 


Fast food workers enjoy the beginning of January when people still
cling to their New Year's Resolutions.

 Creative Advertising.  Imagination: A




Maglite Flashlights

Pringles, Hot and Spicy


Lazer Bike Helmets.

Scotch Tape

Children's Vitamins

 Listerine Mouthwash


 BOSE headphones




Take that King Kong Cone!



A poster in a High School hallway.



Creativity:  A


A treehouse with added imagination.


True, if the theory is correct.
Look it up and learn something.



An emergency flashlight which takes any kind of battery
Imagination: A


 One of the world's oldest stories.
Creative illustration.

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