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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I'm Thankful for ..... Surviving Thanksgiving. Theater Imaginarium.

Whew,
     Thanksgiving is over. It was nip and tuck there for awhile.
     This season I'm thankful for family and friends.  I'm thankful for all the years I spent with an outstanding dedicated staff and volunteers in a happy place we call 'The Space Center'.  I'm thankful for the 310,000 people who came through our doors on voyages of imagination. I'm grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support this program has received over the last twenty-six years and continues to receive from great people like you.  Your support has played, and will continue to play, an important role as the different space centers advance and expand.  I'm grateful for institutions like Renaissance Academy, the Alpine School District, Lakeview Academy and others who've invested so many resources into pioneering this new brand of simulator based experiential education. I'd like to especially thank the following outstanding school administrators:  Dr. Vicki Carter, Mark Ursic, Rick Veasey, and Julie Adamic.       
     There are many decisions to be made as this program morphs under the careful direction of visionary leaders like James Porter, Casey Voeks, Skyler Carr, Brandon Wright, Ryan Anderson, and my right hand student director Isaac. How much of the old will stay as we envision the new?  It is an exciting time.


The Eight Williamson Siblings. In response to anyone who looks at this picture and thinks I'm looking old. Just so you know, I'm the one who doesn't color his hair. My siblings use chemical, surgical, minor embalming, paper mache, snake oils, chin supports, industrial strength whalebone body wraps, and cosmetic scaffolding in an effort to fool the bystander into thinking they've cheated the effects of time. They even need FDA approval before they can fly (they could trigger allergic reactions among the passengers). Yesterday Janice got a $100 fine for failing to disclose her formaldehyde cream as she went through airport security. My siblings demand you keep your distance when you talk to them fearing you'll see through the mirage and glimpse what lies beneath - warts and all.  There, full disclosure.
     The Williamsons converged for our Thanksgiving meal at my sister's dance school in Orem.  Family has come from near and far for the event.  This was the first time all eight of us (my brothers and sisters) have been together in ten years. 
     You never know what you'll get at a Williamson holiday gathering.  In the best of times,  the event could pass peacefully with little to report other than Great Grandma Luella managing to keep a portion of her meal on her plate and off her blouse and the children survive with little or no blood loss.
     In the worst of times, there could be fireworks if family members aren't strategically positioned around the Thanksgiving table.  I'm hoping my sister remembers to seat our family's few remaining independents between the rabid Republics and the Peace, Land and Bread Democrats.  Great Grandma Luella has already been chastised by my sister Lisa for attempting to convert her teenage daughter to socialism.  Great Grandma has been brushing up for this holiday reunion by watching hundreds of hours of PBS and CSPAN.
     We sometimes have a problem with religion.  Not only must my sister separate family members with strong political views, she must also take into consideration the family's diverse religious beliefs as she sets out the name places around the table.  Those who favor reincarnation are generally tolerated by the liberals. They will be sat at the end of the table. Our Mormon majority are too numerous to separate so they must be sub categorized by conviction. Forgiving, back of the chapel Mormons, are good to mix with the minority agnostics. Front row, hymn singing Mormons are good to sit near the old people's section at the front of the table. It makes it easy for calling on someone to offer the Thanksgiving blessing on the food.
     One of my jobs at all holiday reunions is to monitor the gathering and inject myself into any conversation or situation that appears to be approaching the boiling point.  My 34 years in the classroom uniquely qualifies me for the task. I know the family very well, having been a part of it  for 58 years, and can generally detect the raising of voices quickly enough to bolt across the room, squeeze in between the combatants and turn a phrase fast enough to cool the waters and redirect the conversation's flow.  I've been brushing up on anecdotes and feel confident I can keep things civil and peaceful until everyone goes home to debate whether or not they'll ever go to another gathering again.
     I have the nuclear option if my efforts to keep the peace fail.  I walk over to 80 year old Great Grandpa Charlie, pull him away from the poor soul he's trapped in a conversation for 30 minutes, and tell him that so and so had a question on the how to prepare for the fast approaching apocalypse.
     "You've come to the right person," he'll say as he struts across the crowded room to find his new prey.
     Great Grandpa Charlie believes the world will end by the end of the year.  He has believed the world will end at the end of every year since 1968, which is why he purchased six acres of farmland in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
     "We won't starve if I keep the land," he answers proudly whenever asked why he doesn't sell the land and pocket the profit.  His survival plans unravel when we press him for details on how we are suppose to get to South Dakota if things suddenly head south and starving mobs ravaged neighborhoods.  
     Anyway.......  I'm hoping you and yours had a very enjoyable day.  Now it's time to return to reality.  

Mr. Williamson

Theater Imaginarium
The best gifs of the week, assiduously edited for gentler audiences, minors, and the terminally offended




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