May 25, 2004

Amusing myself on the way to work

This morning during the commute I was listening to one of my big band CD's. A song came on and brought back memories of classic black & white cartoons I used to watch on saturday mornings. These cartoons were before Hannah-Barbarra developed their cookie-cutter scenery style, and the music was lifted from the popular radio hits of the day.

The name of that particular song is "Song of the Volga Boatmen" and always seemed to be used for cartoon funerals or 'scary' skeleton dances. Another popular tune often used was "Sing Sing Sing", and I'm sure there are many more I'd recognize now.

I'll have to do some more research on this, because I don't have enough things to fill up every waking moment of my life. In the meantime, here's a site called Mike's Classic Cartoon Themes & Images. It concentrates on stuff newer than I'm talking about above, but it's still pretty cool. Seems to be fairly complete too, I mean, who else besides me remembers Marine Boy?

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May 24, 2004

1300 miles

Back. Tired. All good. Work tomorrow. Sleep...

Posted by: Ted at 10:07 PM | category: Seriously
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May 23, 2004

Family matters

Life happens, be back in a day or two.

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May 22, 2004

China changes space program focus

Moon, no. Space station, yes.

Thanks to Buckethead over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 04:44 AM | category: Space Program
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May 21, 2004

Oh fer cryin' out loud

If you're here because of a Google search for "Calgary Flames Breast". You'll find them here (not work safe).

Credit where credit is due: Eric of Off Wing Opinion.

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This story was posted to the newsgroup Rec.Models.Rockets by Chuck Rogers, one of the team members who launched the amatuer rocket that reached space:

Fred Brennion and I were traveling back from the awesome flight to space of the CXST rocket. As we're heading back from Black Rock, being the yuppie that I am, I had the hankering for a raspberry mocha with soy milk, topped with whipped creme. Of course, heading back from Black Rock, once you're past Reno, you're traveling through the middle of nowhere. But, low and behold as we went through Bishop, CA, we found a great coffee shop, the Kava Coffeehouse.

Well, Fred and I are in the Kava Coffeehouse, and as I order my raspberry mocha with soy milk and whipped creme, Fred takes note of a good looking young lady at the other end of the counter. I don't really notice her, being totally enamored with my lovely wife Brenda, but Fred moves on down the counter to introduce himself to her.

Well, Fred says "hi", and then says "I'll bet you'll never guess why I don't have my driver's license". The young lady looks at Fred like that's the lamest pick-up line she's ever heard, and she says "let me see, I bet you had a DUI". And then Fred says "No, I put my driver's license in a rocket that went into space, but they haven't found the rocket yet."

I wish I could have taken a picture of the young lady's face! It was a mix of incredulousness, but yet a strange realization that Fred's comment was so completely off the wall, it probably was true!

Yes, in a strong vote of confidence that they'd recover the rocket, Fred asked the CXST team to put his driver's license in the CXST rocket payload bay. Bruce Lee also put one of his credit cards. These guys were confident that the CXST team was going to get that rocket back!

I told the nice young lady that the CXST flight was already on (the Kava Coffeehouse had a couple Internet terminals, we checked Internet news sites and found it), and that she could check it out herself. Another incredulous, stunned look. If she caught it on TV later, she probably turned to her friends and said, "you're not going to believe this, but I talked to these two geeks in the Kava Coffeehouse...", etc., etc..

Needless to say I drove the entire way home. Although if Fred was driving and we got pulled over, it would have been hilarious to watch him explain to the Highway Patrolman how he'd lost his driver's license. "You see officer, I flew my driver's license into space on a rocket, and they haven't found it yet".

Yea, right buddy!

I'm sure the CXST team will be mailing Fred his driver's license. Fred's already getting a new one, because his old one has been to space and needs to be framed, or something!

Kudos' to the CXST team! Great flight! Fred knew he'd get his driver's license back! And if you're going through Bishop, stop in at the Kava Coffeehouse for a great mocha.

Word is that there was quite a collection of keepsakes and momento's in the payload (also posted to Rec.Models.Rockets, from Pat G):
You left out the part that Bruce Lee threw his credit card in, and after the launch and recovery, he used it at Bruno's, still worked, btw, after being in to space.

Plus Ky recovered an Aerotech 38mm motor case that went to space, plus a lot of other memorbilia, coins, letters, etc.

There was mention in the reports about plastic in the nosecone melting from the friction heat generated by going mach 5.5, so apparently this stuff wasn't that far forward. Still a neat story. Congrats guys, again!

Posted by: Ted at 06:39 AM | category: Rocketry
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Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

The hockey season isn't over, it just seems that way now that my beloved Sharks are out of the playoffs. Apparently there's another sport being played this time of the year...

Let's lead off with a little baseball history, shall we? The question is: "who is the ninth man?"

He is out there somewhere in spring training. He's probably 20 or 21, maybe 22. And he will retire in the year 2016. He will be the grand old man of baseball. And they will say, 'He's so old that the year he broke in, Eddie Murray was still playing.' And he will become the ninth man. Eddie Murray's the eighth man. When he broke in, Brooks Robinson was still playing. And when Robinson broke in, Bob Feller was still playing. And when Feller broke in, Rogers Hornsby was still playing. And when Hornsby broke in, Honus Wagner was still playing. And when Wagner broke in, Cap Anson was still playing. And when Anson broke in, Dickey Pearce was still playing. And when Pearce broke in, Doc Adams was still playing. Adams played for the Knickerbocker club inthe first organized game of baseball in 1846, number one of the eight men whose careers cover the 152 seasons since. And somewhere out there is the ninth man.

Thanks to Off Wing Opinion for the pointer to this one.

In the #2 spot we have Roberto of DynamoBuzz telling us about taking the family to see a minor league baseball game.

Moving the runners along, QandO reports on "Terror Math" and what exactly it means to find a single sarin-filled artillery shell in Iraq. This is scary stuff. In related developments, John and McQ have added Dale Franks to the blogging team, removing them from the Beeblebroxian category and placing them squarely in the realm of three-headed knights of Holy Grail fame. Ni! (I know)

Batting cleanup, we find this from the flea ethereal:

Bruce Campbell says there is "some validity" to rumours Ash could take on Freddy and Jason.

The mere thought makes me grin like an idiot.

Up next is Lemur Girl, who says:

...we all have the same love for the sun. So when it next peeks out from behind a cloud and people rush down to bathe shirtless and in tiny tops I will gladly join them.

Film at 11 (he wonders hopefully)?

Batting sixth is Angelweave's Heather, who has figured out that the cicada's are actually Zerg! Yikes!

In the seventh slot, we have Daniel, who brazenly displays a deep and penetrating understanding of mysterious technological mysteries. Jen steals the sign and calls the balk!

Seventh inning stretch! Jello shots, courtesy of Lawren.

Batting eighth, and consistantly going deep, is Debbye Stratigacos. Way to shut the home team down!

And finally, batting ninth with a funny bat, we have Simon. If you love football, you're daft, according to him.

Hitting the showers was never this much fun.

That's it, complete game. Now will someone please tell McCarver to STFU?!?!?!

Posted by: Ted at 05:28 AM | category: Links
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May 20, 2004

Television coverage

Tune in to CNN on May 22, 2004. They will be broadcasting live throughout the day from Great Meadow, The Plains, VA, covering the 2nd Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge finals!

Who knows, you might see Mookie or yours truly.

Posted by: Ted at 04:22 PM | category: Rocketry
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Conflict Map

An interactive map showing the locations of 20th century wars. Nifty.

Thanks to J-Walk Blog for the pointer.

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Air Force Blue (part 13)

Welcome to another boring story about my days in the United States Air Force. These are in no particular order, and this one takes place about midway through my twelve year stretch. My first four years were spent as Security Police, and then I cross-trained into Computer Programming.

IÂ’d been stationed at Gunter Air Force Station in Montgomery, Alabama for a few years. Gunter was home of the AF Data Systems Design Center, where many of the standard Air Force computer systems used around the world were developed and maintained. Ever do a DITY (do-it-yourself) move? I wrote that one, way back when.

But this story isn’t about computers and programming, it’s about an extra duty I picked up – “supply guy”. I’m sure there was an official name for it, but I don’t remember what it was. Basically, when someone in our unit needed some equipment or supplies, they’d come to me and I handled the paperwork and legwork needed to get it done. There was nobody to teach me how to do the job, so I spent a lot of time on the phone asking the base supply unit lots of questions, and I visited with them quite a bit, building a relationship (because everything goes easier for a friend) and asking more questions. The supply people saw I wasn’t trying to get around the system, I just wanted to make sure I did things right the first time, which would save me time and frustration, as well as make folks in my unit happy (and less likely to bitch).

The Design Center was a unique military environment because there was a large civilian component. These weren’t contractors – although there were a few of those – they were federal employees who provided the long-term stability to the place. The military folks would get rotated out periodically, but the civilians were there forever.

One of the ranking civilians in my unit was tasked to set up a new branch, and he got to work. Besides figuring out how many new people he would need, he made arrangements for new office space and then came to me. We went through his requirements and put together an order for desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and all the other bits of furniture you need for offices.

Contrary to popular belief, the military doesnÂ’t waste tons of money (notice the average age of our bomber and fighter aircraft for instance). One of the things I had to do as supply guy was to make a visit to the warehouse where used but usable furniture was stored. When someone wanted new stuff, we were required to go to the warehouse and see if we could find serviceable things instead of buying new.

I wandered through the stacks – the place was huge – picking out the best available. There was nothing wrong with the furniture I selected, other than it wasn’t new, and I even went to extra trouble to make sure partitions matched and such. And because it was a rush job, I set it all up to be delivered via flatbed truck during the following week, even though I’d be on leave.

The civilian big-boss wasnÂ’t happy. Like most people, he wanted brand new furniture and raised hell with me and my supervisor, but there wasnÂ’t much he could do. I'm not a big fan of 'by the book', but in this case the rules made sense and I had no reason not to follow them.

Two weeks later, back at work after my leave, I got a phone call from the supply folks. Seems that they had a requisition to order new furniture and nobody had done the ‘used furniture’ check first. I arranged to go down there that afternoon, and went to find out what was going on.

Turned out that when the flatbed of furniture showed up, Mr. big-shot Civilian refused delivery of the entire load. Then he submitted paperwork to buy everything brand new. And he did all this knowing I was on leave, hoping to get it processed before I got back.

That afternoon at the warehouse I found a nice pile of used furniture that hadn’t yet been re-sorted into it’s various areas, and – wonder of wonders – it exactly matched what big-boss needed. I wonder where it could have come from? Heh.

Two weeks later I got another phone call. A delivery flatbed was out back, full of furniture. I called big-boss and let him know it was here, and he was tickled pink, thinking that heÂ’d pulled a fast one on me.

Imagine the look on his face as the forklift started unloading his ‘new’ office furniture. I even included some horrible framed “art” for the walls of his new offices. These were my little revenge, because I only had one requirement for those: heart-stoppingly ugly. Anything that also had a shitty frame was especially welcomed to the pile.

He didn’t speak to me for a long time after that. As for the “art”, I later found where he’d hidden those and personally hung them up for him one evening.

Posted by: Ted at 11:37 AM | category: Boring Stories
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More details about the first amateur rocket to reach space

First mentioned here.

From the Rocketry Online release [emphasis added]:

Amateur Rocket Reaches 77 Miles
May 19, 2004
Web posted at: 2:48 PM EDT

(ROL Newswire) -- Rocketry Online received a call from Ky Michaelson from the lake bed at Black Rock Nevada reporting the Civilian Space Team had launched their amateur high power rocket on Tuesday May 18 to an altitude of 77 miles with velocities up to mach 5.5. The rocket is reported to have spent about eight minutes in a weightless environment before descending back to earth. The booster section has not yet been recovered, however the team was able to recover the payload section completely intact. The motor for the flight was provided by Korey Kline and Derek Deville. A full report is expected on the flight after the team returns home.
Source: ROL

Update: Even more detail, plus a link to video of the launch, over at RocketForge. The motor designation was an S-50000 and contained 435lbs of propellant. As explained in a previous post about rocket motors, each letter designation is twice as powerful as the previous one. The largest I've ever flown (so far) is an "I" motor, so the "S" motor is a little more than 1000 times more powerful than what I've done.

Casey at the Gantry Launchpad has a bit up about it as well.

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Just saying thanks

Mookie and I hadn't had any luck getting her PC connected to the internet on the new cat-5 cable we ran. Yesterday I asked a friend in the PC shop at work if he could put new jacks on the ends and test it for me (yeah, I was going to un-install the cable - we were that frustrated).

Instead he lent me a line tester, and when I got home last night Mookie and I got things up and running in about an hour.

I'll tell him 'thank you' this morning, and even though he doesn't read Rocket Jones, I thought I'd tell him thanks here too.

Posted by: Ted at 05:20 AM | category: Square Pegs
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May 19, 2004


That's how I'd describe the San Jose Sharks play during the last two games of their season.

Congrats to the Calgary Flames, you deserved the win.

And big thanks to my beloved Sharks, it's been a helluva ride.

Posted by: Ted at 11:40 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Right up your alley

If you're one of those people who loves to jump on the bandwagon, join the parade, be part of the 'in' crowd, can't say no, or never met a cause you couldn't get behind, well, today is your lucky day!


Posted by: Ted at 02:35 PM | category: Links
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Blue Ox droppings are hell to get off the car

Last week, we got a notice that they were going to be trimming trees around the building at work. When I came in monday morning, three huge trees in front of the building had been completely removed. It was amusing, because a lot of people knew something was different, but couldn't put their finger on exactly what it was.

These were mature trees, taller than our two-story warehouse, and they had been planted way too close to the building. Sidewalks were being lifted and the last major trimming they'd had done had lopped all the branches off of the building side to keep them from smashing windows in the wind. So they were badly placed and wildly off-balance. People here at work are throwing a hissy fit. I hate that they're gone, but I understand why. Now I hope someone is talking about planting new trees, about 15 feet farther out from the building would do nicely.

Posted by: Ted at 07:36 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Are you sick of hearing about Cicadas yet?

After 17 years they suddenly become a huge nuisance. Experts tell us that they're special and we should be nice to them, although they serve no useful purpose. They're noisy as hell, individually screeching until collectively they become an unintelligable droning. The only thing on their mind is sex, after which they disappear again until the next generation comes along.

To sum up, they're teenagers.

Posted by: Ted at 06:44 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Tang? He's my brother

On Wednesday, Col. Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut is expected to arrive in New York to begin a multi-day tour of the United States that will bring him to the United Nations and to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, among other locations.

Posted by: Ted at 06:24 AM | category: Space Program
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I didn't know this

In 1997, NASA was sued by three Yemeni men who claimed that they owned the planet Mars, and had the documents to prove it.

"We inherited the planet from our ancestors 3,000 years ago," they told the weekly Arabic-language newspaper Al-Thawri, which published the report Thursday.

Thanks to Jeopardy for the pointer.

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May 18, 2004

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Blogger had issues, there's no argument there, but the new version added comments and more style to several of my regular stops, so that's a good thing. Here we go on the Blogspot edition of Rocketing Around the Blogosphere...

First up is The Eternal Golden Braid, which is a great space blog. He's got comments now. Woot! I also found a link from his place to a page about StarForce, which is the space wargame and company I couldn't remember the name of here. That makes me happy too, although I'm guessing you're less than overwhelmed. May I suggest you go visit and check out his awesome Martian Pictures of the Day.

Check out Blogeline's snazzy new design. That's what I mean by new Blogger style. She was invited to be a Munuvian by notGeorge, and I think she wants to, but she's shy. Pixy, is she on the waiting list? If not, may we get her added?

The Llama Butchers are moving from Blogspot to new digs within the ever-expanding borders of Munuviana. Are they anti-Llama? Or are they Llama's who enjoy a little of the ol' ultra-violence, eh? Check 'em out, and decide for yourself. Warning though, they're definitely the thinking person's wooly mammal. Mammals. Whatever.

The Cheesemistress of Chaos (who I'm sure has noted that the term 'fairy floss' sounds like something Tinkerbell would wear at her evening job on the seedy side of town) has found a new friday funfest called Blogmaze. I followed her maze and came across CowDog, who was automatically added to the blogroll just for being an adult cowpuppy.

Somewhere and somehow I also wound up on the beach at the end of the world (not Mookie-safe, but fun nonetheless). She's Aussie, mentions breasts a lot, has pictures of submarines in her photo album (and we all know how much I love breasts submarines), and she's quite funny. Welcome to the blogroll dear. I can call her 'dear' because annika says I'm the "great elder statesman" of Munuviana, which also means I can be grouchy too, so back off ya whippersnapper.

And look what I found there on the beach, this video of a girl folding t-shirts. Go on, watch it. You know ya wanna. It's safe for work.

Publicola is another former blogspotter who's now a Munuvian. If you want to know about firearms rights and the second amendment, he's a good place to start. And if you're interested, check out Alphecca, Say Uncle, Murdoc Online, Spoons and the Shooter's Carnival for more about guns and shooting.

More recent additions to the blogroll, maybe you'll find something new and interesting to add to your lists:
Opinion8 - he's also a regular commenter at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy
Serenade - a Brit, I believe.
Republican Atheist Rocket Scientist Man - almost as descriptive as the literal Rocket Jones, eh?

That's it, I'm outta here. Dinner and a hockey game coming up.

Posted by: Ted at 04:14 PM | category: Links
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Finding rockets with GPS

There's been a misunderstanding about how I intend to use GPS when tracking and recovering my rockets. I'll talk a little bit about what's available now, the excellent suggestions given, and then explain the technique that I'll actually use.

(in the extended entry) more...

Posted by: Ted at 11:24 AM | category: Rocketry Resources
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