ENTRY 0016, October 6, 2004

It has been quite a while since I updated here.  I've been busy doing lotsa summer stuff, (home repairs, working in the garden, tenaciously being lazy) followed by preparing for school, actually starting school, and going along with the flow of the first month of school.  September is always the roughest month at school.  You have a whole crop of new students who need to learn the routine, in addition to teaching them stuff.  So, it takes a while to get into the correct cadence.  No that October has rolled around, things are starting to even out, and I get a chance to catch my breath.

It's worse for Sheila.  Not only does she start a week earlier than me, but she has Kindergarten.  That means that half her kids have never been to any kind of school before, so they are getting a totally alien experience.  It takes the little ones a bit longer to learn the routine than my kids.  Mine have been in school for years, so 7th grade comes as something less novel.  The worst thing to my kids is the fact that they have seven teachers each day, as opposed to the one they had last year.

They have me doing extended day, which means that they gave me an extra class to alleviate the overload in the 8th grade classes.  This means my workload is increased by 20%, but my pay is also increased by 20%.   Not too bad.  Of course, when I'm grading another 32 science fair projects, I might be cursing.  For now, it's a good thing.

I have picked up yet another hobby (like I even have time for the ones I already had).  It's geocaching.  What is geocaching?  Simple.  All you need is an internet connection, a GPS unit and a desire to play treasure hunter.  People hide small treasure boxes all over the world.  They publish the GPS coordinates on the web.  People then go looking for them.  The treasures are not anything great.  The prize is finding the cache.  The finders then post information about their experience.  If you are interested you can visit the main geocaching page  here.   I have hidden one cache.  The information for my cache can be found here.

Apart from that, things seem to be going along pretty much as usual. 

Oh, I got to meet some of my heroes in August.  There was an autograph convention for astronauts in Los Angeles. 

Me and Guenter Wendt
This is me with Guenter Wendt.  He was pad leader for all of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and early Shuttle launches.  No astronaut went into his craft unless Guenter was there to button him in.  He's a great old guy.  Very personable with lots of great stories.  His book, The Unbroken Chain recounts his adventures as pad leader.  Pick it up!

The late Gordo Cooper
The late, great Gordo Cooper.  It was sad to realize that we saw him at his last public appearance.  He died about a month after this photo was taken.  He was the last mercury astronaut to fly, but his flight was the highest, fastest and farthest.  He will be missed.

Me and the guys from Apollo 12
Apollo 12 has always been my favorite mission.  I guess that is because I actually followed that one from start to finish.  It was a priviledge to meet these gentlemen.  Alan Bean is on the left, and Dick Gordon is on the right.  They were the most "human" of the astronauts.  They were not clear-eyed, square-jawed paragons of virtue.  They were Guys on the Moon.  If you are unclear as to what I mean, watch the episode of "From the Earth to the Moon", the HBO production that features thier story.  It is titled "Is That All There Is?"  Great guys.

So, what do you get as an astronaut?
the astronaut's pin

The astronaut's pin.  When selected to be an astronaut, you get a silver one.  When you go into space you get a gold one.

I want a gold one.

Now that Burt Rutan has won the X-prize, maybe that goal is closer to reality...

Anyway, what's new?

-Bush is still a lying moron.  However, he got his ass handed to him in the first debate, and it will happen again in the second and third.

-We still have two working rovers on Mars.  That is still Too Cool For Words.

-Burt Rutan has won the X-prize.  That is also Too Cool For Words.

-Rodney Dangerfield has died. Kinda sad.

-My bullfrog, Ferdinand, has also died.  Also kinda sad (At least to me and my students)

-Janet Leigh has died, once again, sad.

Well, I gotta run.

Blogs                                                                                           Main Page