August 4th, 2011
Man, I am so ready to be in space.
I just watched Space Cowboys -- it's a goofy action flick with Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, ...well, you get the picture.
I've watched a fair amount of film and ridden in some simulators. Most notably, the shuttle launch experience at Kennedy Space Center (which quite a few astronauts have signed off on). Now, being obsessed with space travel, it makes sense that I'd have kept a lot of the memories of that simulation and some of the visuals and sounds from the films pretty close to me.
I didn't realize how close until I saw this film. There's just little bits of it where I was drawn completely in and I could feel the G-forces acting on me. I could feel my stomach dropping out. It took me a sec to realize that I was really, really, really trying to make it real completely unconsciously.
This did have a downside -- I think I caught just about every little bit that was plain wrong. Even in the logistics.
Apropos of which, a book which someone showed to me years and years ago has finally made its way into my collection -- The Space Shuttle Operator's Manual. I look forward to paging through it in the very near future.
In the meantime, my life has been pretty much completely consumed with three things: Helping fix technical problems, reading about rockets, and shaving down my list of projects.
The most interesting of those has been reading about rockets. While I was at Kennedy Space Center, I made a point of trying to memorize the shapes of various rockets so that I could identify them on sight. I'd always been mostly disinterested in everything except the Saturn V, but it really seemed like it was time for me to start learning about them.
(Mental note: Start pulling out those pictures and finish off the Florida travelogue!)
One thing that interests me about rockets is that we have such a vast array of experimental data. We've put up tens of thousands of rockets over the course of mankind and occasionally, we learn a little bit about what makes a rocket better. We start using different propellants. We start using multistage boosters. We design various fairings for payloads. So on and so forth. And yet, I can't think of a single place where all of those improvements are presented in a sort of history of rocketry.
So, I've been researching. A lot. As in, I have an 800 line outline and I've just scarcely gotten past the German Aggregat series of rockets -- the best known of which is the V-2. Three different countries to my count copied the V-2 and adjusted it in various ways. It's all damned fascinating.
Well -- to me anyway. I don't make any promises for the rest of you. At some point, I think I'll start organizing the material and writing about it.
I've been funemployed for about two weeks now. I've just started poking around the job I was supposed to have had by now to see what the hold up is. That way, I can make a decision of whether or not I want to wait. Since zetshia_gudani's away, I've been futzing around with things around the house, cleaning stuff up.
And then, there's the light reading I've been doing. I started off with Master & Commander which was all kinds of fun -- right before I was stopped cold by some of the nautical terminology. I've been around a sailboat and I'm familiar with the physics and some of the terminology, but I've never heard anyone say anything about t'garns'ls (topgallant sails, as quite a bit of googling finally led me too)!
Fortunately, my copy of A Sea of Words (which is a sort of nautical reference intended as a companion) arrived yesterday. That should make reading that a much less time consuming activity.
It's odd that someone who dislikes water as much as I do enjoys spending time on museum ships and reading about sailing. I still can't quite put my finger on it.
In the meantime though, I finally picked up Dune. I'm about 2/3s of the way through and I'm finding it quite enjoyable reading. It's odd in a way because he clearly drew inspiration from Arabic cultures. During the time he wrote it, I'd imagine that the names and traits were exotic. Some of that novelty has obviously rubbed off a bit.
Well -- there we are. I stop in to write about a silly movie watching experience, and you get a quick summary of the past week or so. ; )