Monthly Archives: June 2009

Astronaut Class

During my site-hoping morning, I came across this quick brief on NASA.gov:
2009 Astronaut Class

Now, why would I be excited about this? Well, judging based on previously-inducted astronaut classes, I can expect the recruitment to occur every three/four years, which is pretty nice. So, 2013, 2016, and 2020 will see a couple dozen new astronauts each, with 2020 being my first possible inclusion into the selection process. Each class usually accepts less than 1% of the thousands of applicants, and that won’t change any time soon.

Now, checking out some more stuff about this newest class, they will never fly on the Space Shuttle. The aging shuttle fleet will be retired before they complete their two-three year training, leaving them a three-year window before the Orion is ready for manned spaceflight (Source: SPACE.com).

In other news, I found this nice timeline about the entirety of the selection process, based on NASA’s published one with some edits made. There are also a bunch of graphs helping to predict class compositions and other variables in the new astronaut classes. While slightly off, the timeline is still a nice resource for myself and anyone else looking to become an astronaut.
Astronaut for Hire

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Summer Vacation

I feel that this weekend was my first of summer vacation. A weird feeling, especially as I’ve been out of school for almost two months (seven weeks, to be precise) and I have basically just been relaxing the whole time. Let me take you on a quick run-through of what my weekend was:

1230 Saturday: My friend was dropped off at my house, and we left for East Lansing.
1330 Saturday: Stopped to get some McDonald’s and fill up the tank with gas.
1410 Saturday: Arrived at second friend’s house and left for Charlotte after a quick tour.
1450 Saturday: Arrive at second friend’s cottage; all of our other friends were already there.
1515 Saturday: Went kayaking with Friend 03.
1600 Saturday: Ate some food before heading out on the Wave Runner for tubing and a driving lesson.
1830 Saturday: Second round of food accompanied by s’mores and bug spray.
1900 Saturday: A little girl declared her love for me, followed by a bunch of awkward photographs.
2030 Saturday: Fireworks over the lake begin.
0000 Sunday: My four friends and I retreat back into the cottage, followed by long discussions about our opposite sex problems.
0120 Sunday: Rowdiness ensues despite the paper thin walls (eventually quelled around 0230).
0915 Sunday: My friends start waking up; I take this opportunity to actually get some sleep.
1200 Sunday: I get up, eat some food, then go for a swim.
1530 Sunday: I take a quick nap, only to be awoken by my friends jumping on me.
1645 Sunday: Departure from the cottage: I head back to East Lansing.
1750 Sunday: Drop Friend 01 (the one who was dropped off at my house on Saturday) at her apartment, then head to Friend 02’s house.
1810 Sunday: Showers, followed by a departure to see The Hangover, starting at 1850.
2050 Sunday: Depart from friend’s house for Beverly Hills.

Well, I didn’t really need to go through all of that, but I figured for completeness I’d include it. Most of the times, especially once we arrived at the cottage, are mere guesses, since I obviously couldn’t take my phone with me to keep track of time, nor would I want to.

Anyway, I did a lot of fun things, most of which I hadn’t done all summer and some things I did for the first time (like driving a jet ski). I enjoyed myself the entire weekend, ate some more burgers and hot dogs, and saw some friends I hadn’t seen since school got out. All in all I had a great time.

Which brings me back to it being the beginning of summer. Needless to say, I haven’t had the best summer with an increasingly-declining work environment, an almost complete absence of all of my friends, a failing relationship juxtaposed with a growing one, and the negligence of a younger sibling. This really was my first opportunity to just go out, be myself, and have fun, something I will be hard-pressed to find once my Junior year begins in the fall.

Either way, I’m looking forward to these next two months of summer.

Two stories that everyone should read

Today, while eating a dinner of Arby’s Beef ‘n Cheddars and wondering what to do for the rest of the night, my dad passed me the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, opened up to an article. “You need to read this, and make sure that your brother and sister read it, too.” I knew that it was going to be an emotional story, akin to some e-mails he has sent me in the past about economic hardships and any other touching story he’s ever told us or mentioned.

Link to The New York Times article, written soon after the game last year. The SI story is recounted differently, but the essence is the same.

When reading the story, I couldn’t help to stop some tears welling up in my eyes. What Mallory and Liz did for their opponent is nothing short of inspirational. Once I put the magazine down, the only things I could think about were how many people in this world would not do the same, and how I would help a fallen opponent in a similar fashion if the opportunity ever arose. So many people don’t have the common decency to look out for their fellow human beings, to be a kind person no matter what it does to your stats or position or anything else. Being the best person you can be should be all that matters.

Which brings me to my next story, this time coming from high school basketball: Link to ESPN’s article

Missing those two free-throws, normally something that would cause the entire team to run lines or stay an extra hour after next practice to “redeem” themselves then becomes a symbol of human kindness, decency, compassion, and understanding. Who cares if you lose the game, which both helping teams did? Who cares if you miss your chance at a title for being a good person?

If only more people could show the heart to help out a person in need, whether it’s in a sporting event or while walking down the street, this world would be a much better place.

BOLS Competition

Photobucket

Earlier today, I finished the above Imperial Guard Command Squad for the Bell of Lost Souls Painting Competition to win a Valkyrie model. This was my first IG unit, and in fact the first unit that had a relatively large amount of exposed skin, faces, and cloth. My current army, the Tau, has no visible skin whatsoever and is largely composed of tanks and armored battlesuits. My army before that, the Space Marines, were completely enclosed by armor.

Anyway, I feel pretty proud of this squad, even though I would be a long-shot to win. This was my first squad that I completely based, and based well, which was great. I also did some minor highlighting, which I think helps gives it an even greater 3-Dimensionality. The photograph is also way better than some of my previous attempts, which is always nice. I also wrote up some good fluff (background) for the Captain (center, above) and the company as a whole.

All in all, this was a nice start to my summer hobby season. I’ll be buying some more models soon, but probably for my Tau army, plus finishing up the two Valkyries I currently own and the last couple of models for my Tau army. Should be a good summer…

Promotions and Academia

Like many of you may or may not know, I am one of currently ten Moderators/Administrators on Advanced Tau Tactica, the premier site for everything Tau and a couple things that aren’t Tau. I’ve had this honor for closing in on one year, and I’ve loved it. Sure, dealing with some arrogant or lazy ‘Saals has been frustrating, but they are ‘Saals after all…

Anyway, I am partially in charge of recommending members for promotion, since currently (as a ‘Vre) I do not have the ability to do it myself. It’s not too bad, and I usually just check members that happen to be on at the same time as myself to see if they’re fine. Recently, however, I and the other moderators have somewhat fallen off the promotion wagon, resulting in a ton of members that should have been promoted long before to wallow at their current rank.

We’re rectifying the situation right now, but it is a lot of work. We have almost 4000 members, and only maybe three hundred of them can be ignored during this process. Not good, if you ask me… Anyway, just thought that I’d throw up a quick summary in case some fellow ATT members read this. We are working on it!

Oh, this and the Academy Curriculum Development project. We haven’t forgotten that either…

Summer Breakdown

So, first bit of news: I got the job at MST! This means that for two weeks I will be at Michigan State as a camp counselor taking care of middle school kids. Should be pretty fun, and it will be a much-desired break from my usual life so far. Two weeks away from home? Yes please!

I am still slowly working on Moonshot. I am still revising the chunk of manuscript that I have printed off, mostly because I keep get distracted by other projects or sleeping.

Speaking of other projects, I ordered (and received) Battlestar Galactica Seasons 1 and 2.0. Right now, I’ve watched the miniseries (included in Season 1) and the first eight or so episodes. That means that I still have around fourteen hours of new episodes left. Plus, I may just extend this into a full marathon by watching Seasons 2.5 and 3 (I don’t yet own Seasons 4.0 and 4.5, but will before school starts again).

EDIT: Just ordered both 4.0 and 4.5 today. 4.0 will be here in a few days, while I will need to wait until mid/late July for 4.5 since it hasn’t been released yet.

But lately, I’ve just been trying to enjoy my free time and not worry about things, even though I still do. I’m trying not to even think about the next week, or the next day, unless I have defined plans for something coming up. It’s a lot easier on my mental fortitude to just relax and not think, really. It did get me into trouble at work when I said that one-third of three-fourths was nine-fourths…

Mental Rant

Well, I have some ranting to do. I like ranting, as it helps me get my thoughts out of my head, which in turn allows me some level of relaxation before I start thinking about other things that may cause another rant (sort of like earthquakes and aftershocks). It also helps to vent off some anger, frustration, or any other feelings I may have that I don’t necessarily need right now and don’t want to have in my system.

First, work. Currently I will not be a counselor at MST (a two-week camp for smart middle school kids) as they have only fifty-two students signed up. The way the camp is designed, each counselor keeps track of ten or more kids. Based on this, there needs to be sixty kids signed up for me to be called, as I am second in line to get the job. What I don’t know is that if there are fifty-nine, or even fifty-eight kids, will they call me and my corresponding female counselor to show up? I mean, that’s only one or two below what they want, and having four counselors look after basically sixty kids is probably not what they want. Or they can follow the other option, which I thin is what they will do, where they will only call me and my counterpart if they reach or exceed sixty.

Now, normally I wouldn’t care if I got the job or not, since I’m pretty laid back when it comes to employment and I already have a job. I just really want to go to camp, be back on MSU’s campus for a while, and get away from my house and current job.

Right now, Mathnasium is starting to resemble a negatively-sloped line. I’ve gained more responsibilities at my job, including having a key to the building, but I have not gotten a pay raise (unless my next paycheck has that raise). I’ve been cleaning the entire center every day, I did some private tutoring stuff last week, and I handled a few students’ initial check-ups that everyone needs to take before being officially enrolled. But I still make $9/10 per hour, minus taxes, which is less than my little brother will be making at his landscaping job.

I told him that if his employer needed more help that he should recommend me, but I can’t rely on that. He probably wouldn’t even mention it, since it would be pretty weird to have two brothers on the same crew, especially since it would just be us.

I am just sick of my current job, and I wish that I had gotten the internship in Germany or somewhere at State so that I could be doing something I like and be paid more, since I’ll be needing a lot of money come August/September, and even this summer when I’m tasked with buying furniture.

Removed for the Greater Good