Friday, October 19, 2012

Space Is The Place!

Between my ears

Endeavor soars over LA on its last flight before being hauled off to the museum. Nice view of the LA skyline and Hollywood sign.   

NASA illustration
I've always been a space cadet.

I was born under the sign of the blazing payload. While I was being knit inside the womb, NASA's Redstone rockets were running dress rehearsals for the Mercury program. Just a few months ahead of my arrival, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova became the first woman in space and orbited the Earth 48 times.

An emergent model of human being, I was crafted for the new age, pre-loaded with space in my head and a built-in yearning to break free. 

 My surroundings reinforced this fixation on gravity clearance. My earliest memory was being held up to a window as a baby, to watch a neon sign flash like the burn phase of a booster rocket. A few years later, I would feel the love vibration of a sonic boom, a gift from a pilot crossing our prairie sky.

Throughout my childhood, the motifs of flight or high energy explosions pulsed through architecture and commercial design. Roofs had wings, cars had tailfins.

Satellites, boomerangs, arrows, launch pads and starbursts symbolized the freedom and motion I felt was my birthright. Even the high school in my small Kansas town had a parabolic awning, a popular style of the time, referencing the gravity-defying flight trajectory of rockets. 

It was my expectation that aerodynamics and lift would always be an integral part of everyday design. And that we would visit space forever.

 NASA had told us that space exploration would improve all our lives for the better, through new advances. It was true. I was eating breakfast cereal shaped like flying saucers, and watching TV shows like The Jetsons, I Dream of Jeannie, the Thunderbirds, and Major Astro. At the end of every show, Major Astro signed off in a cheery space vernacular, saying, "Happy Orbits, boys and girls ... Everything will be A-Okay and all systems will be go!"

Major Astro

The men in shiny pressure suits and helmets were part of the patriarchal order I was told to revere and trust. They ascended the heavens on my soul's behalf, leaving the earth by way of turbulent G forces, and enduring the fiery hells of re-entry. 

I remained on the surface, playing with dirt, cutting my feet on rocks...but I felt good, because the shiny men said the dirt under my fingernails was dirt busted loose from the stars. The rocks - pieces of meteorite, for all we knew. Buckminster Fuller, said, "We are all astronauts." As if to drive home the point, even Don Knotts became an astronaut, albeit reluctantly, in The Reluctant Astronaut.

I calculate that in my 49 years on this earthship, I have logged 28, 616,988,722 miles through space. Considerably more than the space shuttle Endeavor, which flew a mere 122,883,151 miles before it was hangared last weekend.

But I ride under a protective bubble of atmosphere, while the shuttle was continuously pelted with space clods. So no, Buck, I'm not such an astronaut, really. Passing through space is not the same thing as being in the soup of it. I wish I could have been in L.A. when the shuttle rolled through the streets.

Pretty dang awesome!!

Officials urged LA residents to "stay inside until the shuttle passes", as if it were the Angel of Death, but who in their right mind would have missed a chance to see it? Knowing where it's been, I want to touch it. Seven figure crowds came out to see it, prompting the fire chief to say, "Today, everyone in Los Angeles is an astronaut".

While the shuttle was crawling home, 89 year-old Chuck Yeager was climbing into an F-15 (as a passenger) to re-enact to the minute his historic breaking of the sound barrier 65 years ago that very day, at 10:24 am.  Felix Baumgartner was poised to break the sound barrier too. With his body.

Felix fall down, go boom!

His jump from the edge of space sent him into a free fall that broke records, but thankfully, nothing else. 

"This wasn't just a mild penetration of the sound barrier," said Baumgartner's doctor, Jonathan Clark.
"It was Mach 1.24. Our ground recovery teams on four different locations heard the sonic boom."

 Sweet sonic human. Rockin' the space-love vibration! We space cadets have been waiting for this our whole lives.

Apparently, so has Felix. See what he drew at age 5: 

"I had a dream. And this was it!!!"

From The Telegraph

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Simone's Birthday Parade!

New York City is throwing a birthday parade for me! 
They're rolling out the parade balloons and marching bands!

Okay, just a fantasy, but I cobbled together some video and music to show you what it looks like inside my head. 

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkins in Waiting

Their light still dim, but growing...

You can tell it's early October. The pumpkins have not yet gathered their strength. For now, they hang in large groups, murmuring. As it gets closer to Halloween, we'll need to keep an eye on them. Some of them grow hoary, confrontational, threatening to drop onto your foot. Rot on your porch.

Soon it will be time to send in the children, who will wrap their arms around them, and ask to take them home. Where they will gut them and carve them up, and stick burning candles inside their gaping mouths.

Some will be chosen for other purposes: Crowded against lesser squashes in a harvest centerpiece. Turned to pie fodder. Reduced to a spice haunting someone's oven. Reduced to a syrup, cloying in a way the pumpkin never intended, adding a phony seasonal cheer, which the barista, who has made one too many pumpkin lattes, dispenses begrudgingly. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is my Month Of Increasing Power!

Let the theremin playing begin!

What does October mean to people? Rusty leaves? Bewitching weather? October, in all its moods and colors, has so many possible shades of meaning, and raises so many questions. Such as, "Does everyone realize what it means to me?

It's not like I haven't told people, about the special claim I have on October. Time and time again, I have tried to get this through their thick skulls.

I have told them before of the robots who march across the land at this time of year, marching over cleft and butte to come do my bidding. "Sim One We Are Loyal....Sim One We Are Loyal .....Sim One We Will Follow..." Onward they come, marching closer and closer....

I have told them before of the large October throne that must be crafted from the deepest rosewood, and hoisted upon the shoulders of two, well-proportioned Polynesian men, with me lounging upon it....

I have described the music that must be provided at the start and finish of all of my comings and goings ---a triumphant blast of trumpets accompanied by pump organ and theremin.

I have named the crops to be harvested, the fish to be hatched, the worms to be plucked....

I have ordered Polo players removed from Polo shirts, and golf shirts exchanged for tees made of hemp.....

I have demanded rum cakes soaking in rum, and sea minerals brought in on horseback....

A spontaneous combusion,  a suspension of the laws of gravity....

The tables overturned, the jacks let out of their boxes.....

Bums to be rushed, hums to be dingered....

All this, and more, to herald the dawn of the beginning of the very first day of what is My Month of Increasing Power!

A month of power e'er waxing like the gibbous moon, until the eve of the day of my birth. This shall happen as it happened long ago. (Not THAT long ago.) It has been happening since the morning of the day I alighted upon this earth sphere. Which really, was not so long ago. But it happened then and it's happening now and ever more shall be.