28 January 2009

A trivial pursuit?

Damn I'm tired. I can't figure why, either. I went out last night but I was home and in bed by 11:15 which is when I typically go to bed. Even when I woke up this morning it took everything I had to get out of bed. I feel like I didn't get but 3 hours of sleep or something. Weird. I'm at my desk with a double-shot Americano from the coffee shop on the first floor listening to "You in Reverse" by Built to Spill and trying my damnedest not to fall asleep. By the way that is a fucking spectacular album. If you haven't heard it yet stop what you're doing and go borrow it from a friend or just buy it. I'll give you my copy if you want. It's that good.

That reminds me, I've got a couple of albums in mind for a possible return of Apollo's Awesome Album Areview. I'm also still taking suggestions. If you ever have an album you'd like for me to listen to and review I'd be more than glad to.

Like I said I went out last night. It was the first time since I've been in Huntsville that I knowingly put myself outside of my comfort zone for the sake of meeting new people. Some acquaintances of mine were going to a trivia night on the other side of town. I only knew maybe three of the people and I didn't even know them very well. While I'd hardly call the evening buckets of fun or a smashing success I don't regret going which, for me, is saying something. I talk a good bit on here about wanting to meet new people but I am always hesitant to put myself out there and actually do it. I feel like I need to have someone there with me that I know well as an escape route. Otherwise I'll just sit by myself and drink while watching people have fun. I almost did that last night because the place was so packed I couldn't find a seat at the table with the folks that I knew. So I sat at a different table and just ordered some food and a beer. It ended up working out, though. It was better than sitting at the house alone at least.

I hope that I never come across on this blog as an unhappy person. I'm not unhappy. I just wish things were a little different here and I hope that some day (sooner rather than later) they will be. Either I'll find something that I enjoy more than going out with friends or I'll make more friends that enjoy going out. I really hope it's the latter.

27 January 2009


So I'm sitting here at work and I'm pretty bored. You'd think what with being a rocket scientist and all that I'd constantly be surrounded by astronauts and things on fire. Or space. Well let me tell you that is just not the case. Of course my current boredom all stems from the fact that I don't yet have all the access I need to do any real work. I've got an untold number of pages of documentation concerning the project that I'm to be working on. I could be reading those, I suppose. I am, periodically. It's not very riveting, though.

Now for some movie updates. I watched Cloverfield on Sunday night with a couple of friends. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I'm not typically into monster movies but the style was novel and it hooked me. There are talks about making a sequel but using a completely different style. I think that the whole queasy-cam thing is really what made the movie interesting. Last Sunday I watched Juno and didn't really enjoy it that much. Some parts were funny but I couldn't ever really get into the story. Probably because I'm not 16. Or a girl.

I think that tonight I'm going to try making spanakopita. Some friends and I have started getting together every other week for a potluck dinner and every time we pick a new theme. The last two times I just brought booze so this time I'm going to try a new recipe. The theme is Mediterranean. Spanakopita looks tasty. Any other suggestions?

To round out yet another completely random entry I'll say that I'm excited about the two books I just ordered: Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age by Steve Knopper and Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz. It's been a while since I've read any non-fiction so I think it'll be a nice change.

26 January 2009

Yakety sax ftw

Benny Hill-ifier

It takes youtube videos, speeds them up, and plays Yakety Sax. Hilarity ensues.

I'm at work so I don't have time yet to go crazy with this but I damn sure will when I get home.

Obviously the greatest instant-comedy tool on the internet since gizoogle.

23 January 2009

What a way to make a livin'

I've been working now at NASA for three days. So far it's been good. I've had to do a bunch of lame orientation stuff but that comes with the territory. Also, it's kind of frustrating that I don't have a government computer yet and likely won't get one for at least a month. I've still got my work lappy, though, so it definitely could be worse. Not having a gov't computer means that I can't access the multitude of server-goodies that I'll be needing for my job. I'll make do somehow.

The folks I'm working with all seem pretty intelligent, which is nice. They also seem amicable enough. I had lunch with a few of them yesterday and while I don't envision myself going drinking with 'em or anything they will probably be good folks to work with. It looks like I'll be primarily working in a group of about 6 engineers. I'm still adjusting to the whole 'cog in the machine' feeling, though. Unfortunately I don't work with any sassy ladies like Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin.

I went out last night with a couple of friends and had some beers. One of the guys is a party boy* like me. He said that when he first moved to the Rocket City he thought it was boring and shitty, too. Now he really likes it and manages to carouse and enjoy himself, which is heartening.

I'm heading back to Birmingham this weekend. I'm going to call that girl from New Years and see if she wants to get dinner or something. It's hard to imagine what this'll be like seeing as I've known the girl for 12 years or more. Of course I could be way off target and she really just gave me her phone number because she wants another booze-buddy or something. I need to stop thinking about shit like that or I'll drive myself crazy.

*Did I mention that someone in Auburn told me that I was a 'party boy'? We were talking about my troubles with Boring Ol' Huntsville at the time. I'm not sure if I should accept the title or be offended. It doesn't sound good to me but maybe it's not so bad. Maybe it's the 'boy' part of the title. How about 'party enthusiast'? That's pretty lame. Uh, 'party dude'? Too Bill and Ted. Fuck it I'll come up with something later. Suggestions? I still don't like 'party boy'...

19 January 2009

Putting the ass in NASA

So there has been a lot going on in the last week. First and foremost I found out that I got the job working on Ares I. That's pretty awesome, y'all. It's really what I interviewed for back in the summer. That means that I'll no longer be working on the missile defense stuff that caused so much strife. I actually never got to the point where I was really working on the program as much as attending meetings where people talked about working on the program so I guess that's something. I guess we can thank the slow-moving nature of government work for that. Too many cooks in the kitchen and all that. Back to the main point: I'll be working for NASA! That's cool not only because I get to tell people that I work for NASA* but also because I'll be getting back to the type of work that I want to do. More accurately I'll be working on This Complicated Stuff:

Aren't you excited?

Tomorrow I move all of my stuff from my current office to my new office on Redstone Arsenal in the Marshal Space Flight Center. It really is like starting a brand new job. I'm still technically working for the same company but I'll be in a brand new location with an entirely new group of coworkers and a working on a completely different task. One of the only bad things about this whole change is that I'll be sacrificing my big cushy office for a cubicle. I'll also be losing the convenience of having about one billion places to eat within 5 minutes of my building. So I've taken to saying that the work will be more rewarding but the work environment will be more, uh, shitty. Another thing I'll doubtless lose is the excess of free time that I've had over the past few months in my current position. This may lead to less blog updating but I'll try to find the time somehow or another.

Outside of work I've been pretty busy as well. This past weekend I took a trip down to Houma, Louisiana for a late Christmas celebration with some extended family. I always enjoy seeing that part of my family and I'm hoping that since I'm out of school and have some expendable income and free time I'll get a chance to go visit them more often. I'd fill you all in on the minutiae but it was pretty boring for me so I wouldn't torture you with it. Oh, and when you do a Google Image Search for Houma, La you turn up things like this:

Happy MLK Day, everyone! Go punch a racist.

*This does not get you laid so guys don't you go climbing into an aerospace program just to pick up chicks.

14 January 2009


Daddy's going to work for NASA! Hell yeah. Updates soon.

13 January 2009

Bikini girls with machine guns

The title of this blog will unfortunately/fortunately have nothing to do with the content. It's just the first song title that popped in my head for some reason. I'm sure that says something disturbing about me.

Okay I just had to throw that in there. We're done with that now.

So those nice folks at Auburn University actually handed me a large piece of paper saying that I have been awarded a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering. You're probably thinking to yourself, "Well yeah dude, duh." But what I'm thinking is, "HAHAHHAHA NOW THEY CAN'T TAKE IT BACK!" Imagine me standing in front of a castle lit only by occasional lightning strikes while I scream that, eyes maniacally widened and gesticulating wildly. I think this mad scientist thing could be a good move for me.

Aside from the relief of actually holding my degree in my hand the trip to Auburn was a fun time. I got to see most everyone I wanted to see. I got to drink large amounts of cheap beer. I got to hear some good music. I got to relax and reminisce (I just learned from the ever-informative Sarah that the literary term for that there rhetorical device is anaphora).

Friday night I went to the bar where I probably spent most of my student loans, Roosters. Always good to see the place intact. You never know with that crowd. Then I went to my friends' house with loads of cheap beer in tow. It was fun but a little strange for two reasons. One is that their house was right down the street from somewhere that I used to party and pay rent which lead to some major can't-go-home-again feelings. The second is that the house my friends were renting had at one point been occupied by some characters who had a stripper pole in the living room. I know because I went to some parties there. Cringe.

Question: does anyone know if Bradford Health Clinic has a program for Hershey's Kisses addiction?

And now this:

09 January 2009

How about a quickie?

I'm about to leave Huntsville and head to Auburn for the weekend. Fun times. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I'm still not 100% sure that I've actually finished my master's degree so I'm hoping that'll be laid to rest once I have the diploma in my hand.

In other news I did a pseudo-interview for a job today that would be much more hands-on and much more space-propulsion-y. I'll still technically be working for the same company but in an entirely different capacity. Should everything work out, that is. Wish me luck.

08 January 2009


Okay I know I'll probably be denied admittance to any film-snob parties for this but I've got to get it off my chest. Whew, this is hard for me. Here goes. I really liked the new Indiana Jones movie. There, I said it. Man I feel better already. Now that I've got that off my chest I can't even remember what most people's complaints were about it. I think some folks were having issues suspension of disbelief or something. In an Indiana Jones film.

In other news I also enjoyed Don Cheadle's new movie, Traitor. It wasn't fantastic and I don't think I'll be purchasing the film but it was relevant and entertaining which is more than you'll find in a lot of movies these days.

Oh, and everyone should check out this band: The Low Anthem. Here's one of the tracks off their newest CD, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. It's called "Charlie Darwin".

[It starts with some cheesy advert for a website, but it only takes about 10 seconds]

If you're not a fan of that sound I can tell you that their music has a lot of variety in it and they're still worth checking out.

07 January 2009

Weekend worrier

I spent this past weekend in Huntsville and it was very low key. Too low key for me, in fact. A lot of my friends were out of town and there was nothing going on. Friday night I didn't even leave the house. I feel kind of stupid saying this but god damnit staying home on Friday night is no good! Maybe that makes me immature or juvenile or some shit but you know what I don't really care. That's how I work. I'm a little fucking social butterfly. I spend enough time sitting on my ass by myself at my apartment during the week. I've never been the type to go to a bar alone. I'm not there yet. To be perfectly honest if I had known Thursday that there wouldn't be anything to do in Huntsville on Friday then I probably would've driven back to Birmingham. I feel kind of like I should be grown up enough at this point in my life that something like this shouldn't bother me but it still kind of does. I suspect I'll be this way for a long time. I'm okay with it. I really enjoy going out to bars and hanging out with friends. I really don't enjoy not going out to bars and hanging out with friends.

Saturday night I went over to some friends' house for dinner. We had planned on going out after dinner and having some beers but, yet again, there was nothing of interest going on so we just stayed in and drank at their place. It was fun. It was definitely better that sitting at home and doing nothing. I still would've rather gone out somewhere, anywhere, just to get out but it was probably better that we stayed in, truthfully. I don't know what my obsession is with going out on the weekend. Maybe the fact that I spent the last 7 years going out every weekend? Whatever it is I probably need to get over it. It certainly seems like it would be for the best living here in Huntsville.

As for this coming weekend it looks like there's a good chance I'll be heading to Auburn. With any luck I'll be able to pick up my degree while I'm down there but I'll need to leave work pretty early on Friday to get there in time. It's been a while now since I've been back and from what I hear the town has kind of become Dullsville but I still think it'll be nice to get back. If nothing else I'll get to see some folks I haven't seen in a while. Hooray for a potentially exciting weekend!

06 January 2009

News from the high frontier

So there is a lot of interesting news coming from the aerospace industry. Most of this stuff is science-nerd interesting, but that's beside the point. Here's what has recently got my rocket-senses a-tinglin'*:

- The Hubble Space Telescope, along with a bunch of other telescopes, has created the largest, most detailed image of the center of our galaxy. Sure it's false color, but it's still pretty damnit. Here it is, the center of the galaxy in all of it's glory (not actual size):

[To download a better version and read a better explanation of what you're actually seeing, go here.]

- Straight from our "My God, it's the future" desk comes a story about how astronauts should probably be steering spacecraft with their minds.

- Are you familiar at all with the concept of a space elevator? I think it's gotten enough news coverage by now that most people are at least passively aware of the idea. Anyhow, a scientist from the European Space Agency has demonstrated a solution to one of the more complicated problems with current designs - how to transfer energy to the actual climber. And he did it using a broomstick and an electric sander. Go here for a short video showing his concept. Occam's razor, anyone?

- Finally, in less scientastic, more industry-riffic(?) news, FloridaToday has an article detailing what they think will be the biggest headlines from the aerospace industry this year. It talks primarily about the importance of the decisions that the Obama administration will be making but it also discusses the final Hubble repair mission, the workers at Kennedy Space Center who will lose their jobs when the Shuttle program ends, NASA's lunar pathfinder, and a few other interesting news goodies.

I'm curious to know if anyone else actually interested in this stuff or am I talking on a dead line here? Is there any point in even wondering about that kind of stuff when you write a blog?

*I hope this statement gets taken out of context by someone.

05 January 2009

28 days beyond escape from thunderdome

I don't know what you guys thought but I can tell you that Doomsday movie was pretty damn terrible. I watched it last night and spent a good portion of the movie with my 'WTF face' on. I don't have much to talk about right now so I guess I'll talk about movies I've watched recently.

I got Hancock for Christmas. I like Will Smith and all but that movie was pretty damn terrible as well. Good cast, bad story. It almost worked. I also got I am Legend for Christmas. I saw it in theatres and really enjoyed it. I'm excited to watch the alternative ending that comes with the Blu-Ray because I heard it was totally different. I think I'd like to read the book, too. A friend of mine that went to the movie with me said that he enjoyed the movie and the book but the two were remarkably different.

I saw the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace, not too long ago. That was pretty good, too. I like the new direction the Bond films have taken and I've been a big fan of Daniel Craig since I saw Layer Cake.

I watched Mongol a couple of weeks ago. It's the first in a trilogy of foreign films about Genghis Khan. I liked it, though I wasn't really sure what to expect. I'm interested in seeing the next two films.

I also watched Vantage Point recently. It sucked. Here's how I imagine that movie pitch went: Oooh, let's tell the same story from 5 or 6 different perspectives then totally change directions and tell it from a non-party perspective because people are dumb and won't be able to figure out our harrowing plot from the disjointed narrative we've already provided. How clever! They could've made the movie thirty minutes long and still told the whole story. It was like a bad episode of 24.

Hellboy II was good. I like Ron Perlman, I like Selma Blair, and I like the director, Guillermo Del Toro. I'm excited that he's been given the directing job for the two upcoming Hobbit films. Apparently he wants Ron Perlman to do the voice of Smaug which I think is a great fit. I really like his teams' stylistic interpretation of fantasy elements and I can't wait to see what the Hobbit films look like. Unfortunately for me the work they're doing on the Hobbit is delaying the Blu-Ray release of The LoTR Trilogy until at least 2010. That makes me sad.

I think that about covers all the movies I've seen recently. I've reestablished my tradition of Sunday Night Movie Night so hopefully I'll be getting the chance to watch more movies this year. I'll keep you all posted on my opinion of the films I watch as you're obviously all dying to know it.

02 January 2009

What a year for a new year

I feel refreshed. Having a week and a half off of work was a nice break, even though I spent half of it feeling less-than-par. But I don't think that's what I mean when I say that I feel refreshed. I think that this is going to be a good year for me. A lot of this new-found optimism is probably stemming from the fact that I finally finished my masters degree. It's just starting to sink in, honestly. It seems so apropos me finishing my degree right before the end of what had been a very trying year. A lot of things changed for me in the last year. I left Auburn - my home for 7 years. I moved back to Birmingham - my home for the previous 18. Then I moved to Huntsville - my home, I suspect, ad infinitum. I got my first big-boy job, which I've enjoyed though it's led to some dilemmas. Most of all I feel like I learned a lot in 2008. I learned a lot about myself and my field. These are lessons I intend to carry with me through the next year and beyond.

I feel refreshed like I am starting a new and significant chapter in my life in which I can become a new person. I feel like my options are limitless. I am hopelessly hopeful. I feel unburdened. I wonder what direction I will end up taking? I really feel like I'm going to change a lot in this next year.

I rang in the new year with some of my closest friends. I wish they all could have been there. I wish you all could have been there. You know how I know 2009 is going to be a good year? Because not even 2 hours into this annus miribalis I got a girl's phone number. Since she lives in Birmingham it's hard to imagine that it'll be a lasting relationship but hey it's a start, right? She's cute, too. I've actually known her for a really long time but only recently did I start seeing her around Birmingham. In the past I've always used a woman's attraction to me as some sort of validation. Bad, right? I still do though I think I'm getting better about it. Maybe that's one of those flaw things I will be able to finally get rid of this year. I certainly would like to have a girlfriend right now, though. It'd surely alleviate some of this boredom. People always say that you'll find someone when you stop looking. I think that's a load of horseshit. I'll keep off the topic off my love life though because this blog is supposed to be mood: hopeful.

I don't have a new year's resolution because I think new year's resolutions are crap. If I did, though, it would probably be something cliche like getting healthy. I don't have a new year's resolution but I do have a perpetual resolution that I feel has fallen by the wayside a bit since I left Auburn. My perpetual resolution is that I will constantly, actively be trying to make myself a better person. I intend to return to that in force. Hopefully it'll be a lot easier without the distractions of this past year. So here's to 2009; I hope it's a fantastic year for all of you.

From the folks at NASA: