August 2006

Well, that’s it then.  I woke up to the news that NASA will be rolling the shuttle back into the hangar and tropical Ernesto is bearing down on us.  So, I guess I’ll pack up our stuff and call corporate travel and try to get home.

My coworker seems to have slept all day yesterday and gotten over his cold so now he’s ready to go and there’s nothing to do but head back to the airport I guess.



Well, things don’t look too good at the moment.

I awoke this morning to complete and total fog.  It stayed cloudy all morning but all that finally burned off and it’s clear now.

The news says that the prospect of the shuttle launching is pretty dim – either the looming tropical storm will mandate rolling the shuttle back to it’s hangar or the lightning strike investigation will take too long.  I’m getting pretty bummed about our prospects of getting any data.

Meanwhile, my sick coworker has been abed all day trying to ride out his cold.  He may as well since there’s nothing else going on.  I’ve been out a few times; first to buy a power cord for the computer since the one we packed was the wrong type, then to the excellent bagel shop across the street.  I also drove around a bit and took a walk along the beach before it got too hot.

I hope NASA makes a decision one way or the other.  I hate just hanging around in limbo.

We made it down to New Smyrna Beach, FL this evening.  My room is situated as I had hoped and I should have a clear line of sight to the entire shuttle launch trajectory until it goes out of sight or goes over the horizon.

My coworker seems to be coming down with a cold and has been quiet except for the sniffling.  If he doesn’t feel better, I may have to do this all myself.

We’ve already learned that the launch has been postponed from tomorrow until Monday due to a lightning strike on the lightning rod of the shuttle service structure.  So I’ll be here at least one more day than I had hoped.

I love having a cellphone now.  While waiting around in airports, I called Linda, Tom, Erin (who had been shopping for a swimsuit), and finally, Melissa.  It’s nice to be able to stay in touch like that.

I suppose I should have unpacked all our gear and set it up and checked it but we’ve got all day tomorrow.  That should be enough to see if it all works and if it doesn’t, go find a Radio Shack and buy replacement parts; which is pretty common.

Hopefully, it all boots up properly and we’ll be good to go.  I hope the weather holds up and there aren’t many clouds for the launch.  Clouds will totally screw up our observations.

I leave for Florida tomorrow to take our sensor and try to detect the launch of the Space Shuttle.  I get to see a shuttle launch and get paid for it.  Readers can now be jealous.  Unfortunately, we’ll be over 50 miles from the launch site so it will be a mere dot in the sky but it’s something.  Also, I’m traveling with a fragile (homemade) camera lens and am a bit concerned about getting through security with it.

OK, now that I’ve actually had and used my phone for a few days, it’s worth it.  I haven’t actually called anybody (except to play around while I’m sitting right next to one of the kids) and Mel has only called me once but I’ve had immense fun playing with all the non-phone functions such as the camera, voice recorder, file transfer infrared thing, etc.  Evan used two phones together to record two guitar tracks and mix them into a song.  Erin associated photos and ring tones with specific people in the contact list.  So we’ve all had some fun.

… of cellphone activation.  What a clusterf&^k!  Erin and I both received our phones yesterday but they both had the same number!  We drove directly to the store up in town where they are reputed to have the smartest people.  We had to sign in and wait for 45 minutes while the two (only two!) people helped the interminably indecisive idiots who also wanted phones.  Finally, I was helped and immediately shuffled off to the phone-based customer service.  I could have done that from home but instead I ended up standing in a store on 71st street for about an hour while one customer service rep after another misunderstood what my problem was and tried to help with a slightly different problem than the one I really had.

Finally I got a guy on the phone (not my cell phone though! Ironically, I had to use a land line for all this) who created a new phone number for me.  Then after hanging up, it still didn’t work!  I went home and spent another 20 minutes on the phone and finally it works now.

After all this, I don’t even want a cell phone any more.  I hope it’s all over now.

The time has come. This has been quite hard on me since I’m descended from my Dad – the world’s most extreme gadgeteer but I don’t have a cell phone. Until now.

Actually, we decided that Erin was old enough that life would be more convenient for us if she had one and I insisted on having one too. I just can’t stand it any more – all that gadgety coolness out there with voice, camera, speakerphone, and text messaging all rolled into one. Erin and I ordered ours last Sunday night. Now we’re waiting very impatiently for our new phones.

Evan and Mel upgraded theirs and got them almost immediately.

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