Thursday, August 31, 2006

Let's Nerd it up a little

So I hardly ever really show my total and complete nerdy-ness in this forum. I don't know why, nothing has really made me want to write about it, until today.

NASA announced that Lockheed has been awarded the CEV (crew exploration vehicle) program.

This is freakin AWESOME!

To really explain why this is so cool I'll have to give you a little background about the aerospace industry. During the really cool days of JFK and the space race everyone was stoked about getting to the moon. Not just geeks like me, but EVERYONE was amped. People wanted to explore space and the western cowboy in every American heart really liked the idea of conquering the "final frontier."

After the initial push to explore space the industry started to settle into a research phase. It was necessary, but kind of boring (from my perspective). We needed to learn more about it up there. We had to figure out what weightlessness or living in a pressurized shell for months on end did to a person. We had to figure out how to keep spacecraft from leaking air out into a vacuum. We had to figure out how to keep people from going crazy up there. We even had to figure out what to do with poop.

Needless to say, those types of things weren't that interesting to the general public, and the fascination with being in space has waned. As evidence, fewer and fewer people are studying aerospace subjects in college.

The cool thing is that the culture is swinging back the other way. We've finished up much of the research required to be up there and people are getting excited to go back to the moon and beyond. The government is starting to move their money from research endeavors to cool exploration missions.

This is where the CEV comes in. NASA has money to design a new vehicle that will work on the moon, and also be usable on Mars.

Not only that, it has awarded the contract to Lockheed here in beautiful Colorado.

This is great for many reasons.

First, Lockheed is right down the road from my company and with some connections I could probably make a move to go over there if the offer became too good to pass up (although the likelihood of this is small because I actually love my company).

Second, having this program here means that a lot of great engineering talent will flood the area making my company's options for picking up some serious talent great.

Third, my company is in a perfect position to get some sub-contracts to design some instruments for the vehicle. This way I could end up working on it while staying with my company. Bonus.

Last, this is a huge step in a very cool direction at a perfect time in my career. I love that I could contribute to the second wave of great American advances in space exploration.

So cool.

(end of the demonstration of my ultimate nerdy-ness)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Good Idea Bad Idea

Good Idea:
Inviting some people over to your house for Sunday night dinner.

Bad Idea:
Not having the ability to limit the guest list or tell anyone they can't come so you have no idea how many people are coming over.

Good Idea:
Making homemade pizza dough and letting each person build there own personal sized pizza.

Bad Idea:
Not realizing that each pizza will have to cook separately meaning that people were eating at all different times.

Good Idea:
Serving a delicious salad with the left overs of your bushel of fresh peaches.

Bad Idea:
Realizing way too late that you only have 1/3 of a bottle of salad dressing left. Dry salad=gross.

Good Idea:
Suggesting that after everyone had eaten we play a game.

Bad Idea:
Playing "Riff" on a Sunday night and throwing all attempts at keeping the day holy out the window. ("Riff" is a game you play with a DVD that shows clips of music videos and you have to name the video or the artist or another hit song from the same CD as the song on the video. BTW I totally rocked the Incubus question.)

Good Idea:
Since the spirit of the day had already been ruined, giving your friends a demo of the ear doctor's wicked cool swing dancing moves in my tiled foyer.

Bad Idea:
Him kicking the wall so hard that he almost broke his toe. (Though, to give him mad props he didn't stop dancing. He's so hardcore he totally played through the pain)

Good Idea:
Bring out the guitar so everyone can enjoy my friend Jed's awesome rendition of "Every Rose has a Thorn"

Bad Idea:
Letting my roommate bring out her bongos and incessantly beating them. Quelle headache!

Good Idea:
Going to bed early (midnight) before my guests even left.

Bad Idea:
Leaving the mountain of dishes scattered all over the house.

Good Idea:
Choosing awesome roommates who did the dishes without me the next day.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back to School

This morning as I step out of my front door I half expected to see my breath billowing out of my mouth. Not that it was really that cold, but compared to the last two days of 90+ degree weather, 67 this morning seemed shocking.

It was like Mother Nature new that it was the first day of school for most kids in Colorado and decided to act accordingly.

My mind seemed filled with thoughts about work and school and my life and I sat my rear down on the slightly chilled charcoal black interior of my car. Today is my last day of full time work for the summer. Next Monday I'll only spend half the day there and then make the trek over to campus for my first class of the semester. I started to realize that I didn't have books yet, didn't know where my classes were, didn't really know when they started and only half knew which professors I was taking. The nagging trepidation started to churn in my stomach, reminding me of the first day of middle school, high school and college.

I revved up the engine and took off to make my 6 minute drive to the office. As I slowed down to safely take the round-abouts in my neighborhood (which, BTW why are they there? They make no sense) I noticed a small girl, about 11 years old, standing on the sidewalk. She was slight, with shoulder length straight nut brown hair. She stood aimlessly and watched me drive by. After taking in her oversized black jeans, ill-fitting long white T-shirt, 3" wide black wrist band with a skull and crossbones and oversized black cross dangling from her thin, white neck I met her eyes.

I was shocked to note the same apprehension in the eyes of this little girl that I was feeling. I realized she was waiting on the corner, all alone for her school bus to come and whisk her away to another year of school. A year filled with both the promise and fear of the unknown.

At that moment I knew how she felt and it made me smile.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Wake me up

School starts next Monday.


I can't believe that summer went so fast. Yet, on the other hand, it seems like forever since I've been in class.

This will be my last school year of my life and it's kind of cool to realize that. It's not like I'll ever stop wanting to be in school. I love school. I love being around people all learning new stuff. It's really such a part of my personality. Still, it'll be nice to be done and to have accomplished something pretty impressive for myself.

Anyway, that's all I'm thinking about this morning.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear Tyra,

So I'm going to have to say sorry up front because growing up I had a really great friend named Tyra but she pronounced her name like Tee-rah. When you pronounce your name Tie-rah it kind of mixes me up. However, since you are a super star (and are thrust upon my consciousness as the most beautiful woman alive by every media source there is) and she's just a girl on whose bed I used to jump after church while wearing my Sunday white tights under my jeans, I guess your pronunciation may take precedence over hers. Although, just slightly.

So you used to model for Victoria's secret, right? Oh wait, I guess me playing like I didn't know that is kind of dumb because every person who doesn't live under a ROCK knows that.

Back to the reason for this letter.

I was digging through my drawers getting dressed this morning when I was momentarily taken aback by one of the tags poking up in my view. It read the following,

"hand wash cold, lay flat to dry, do not iron"

This would not have been particularly interesting at all until I realize it the tag was not attached to a delicate knit top, as I would have expected, but to a pair of underwear.


Are there really people out there who, without this tag, would attempt to iron their underwear, ruin it and sue Victoria's Secret for not warning that their underwear was un-ironable?

Do you iron your underwear Tie-rah?

Does your maid do it for you?

How can you sleep at night knowing that your maid may be ironing and ruining all of your bounteous (and probably free) delicates?



PS ANTM is my guilty pleasure. However, I truly feel that what you're doing with your show is changing lives and empowering women. I've never been able to watch more than 2.3 seconds of your talk show without realizing that I love my body for what it is. This is a lesson I could only learn from a woman who used nothing more than her near perfect body to get where she is. You really know what it's like to be me!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dear fellow blog writers,

Sometimes I love my posts, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I come back to ones that I wrote a year ago and laugh until I'm blue in the face...not because I think they're all that funny to laugh with, more funny to laugh at. Its kind of like going back to my journal from early high school and reading about the afternoon that,
"my crush totally stopped me in the hallway and was standing a little too close to just be friends and then he asked me if I liked the Simpsons. I don't really like the Simpsons as much as he does, but I said I did and then he totally smiled and TOUCHED MY ELBOW. I think he totally likes me but I don't know. At least I do know what he totally likes me more than he likes (insert name of whoever was my secret rival for boys attention). I hope he does because homecoming is coming up and I just turned 16 so I'll totally be able to go. And maybe we can even double with (rival) so that she'll see how totally cute crush is and how he picked me. Plus he's a year older than me so he can totally drive us. Everyone at school is going to think I am SO cool!"

Anyway, back to my point. By and large it seems that I have way different taste than people who read what I write. The posts I think are somewhat decent go un-remarked, un-noticed and pretty much un-inspiring. On the other hand, the ones I write when I've let my brain take a 5 minute time out to sit in the internet corner tend to elicit much more responses (in both comments and hits). This baffles me so I wanted to ask you if you ever experience the same thing?

So do you?



Friday, August 11, 2006

Dear Chicago,

Over the course of my life I've heard many great things about you. It seems like everytime someone has visited your welcoming borders they have left with warm reviews and a heart full of great memories. People I've met from your shining beacon of a city have had nothing but great things to say about their formative years and your positive impact upon them.

The fist contact I had that helped establish in me your glowing reputation was my college roommate. She had the funniest yet endearing Chicago accent and, to my somewhat inexperienced Washingtonian ears, it was quite pleasing. Add to that all the great and hilarious stories she told about her adventures in and around your city limits and I was hooked. I started to have an unconscious bond. I felt that I would just like you so much if we ever had the chance to meet. Kind of how I feel about Alison from Project Runway this season.

Anyway, adding fuel to my flame of Chicago-an love I met a really cool girl the summer I spent interning in Logan, UT. She wasn't from Illinois, but she went to Northwestern and told me all about how, despite it being so hot and humid in the summer that it killed some Northwestern football players (yikes!), it was just the coolest place to be for culture and jazz.

The next summer I had a crush on a boy who loved the Bears.

Then my best friend from high school moved to an apartment 1 block from Lake Michigan. She told me about the nightlife, the interesting people she's met, the salsa class she's taking and this image of how cool and awesome it would be to live there was almost too overpowering to stay away.

Unfortunately, that all has come crashing down with your actions over the past few days.

You've taken the ear doctor from me (for the weekend) and I miss him terribly. I never thought I'd be the type of girl to miss someone so badly when they've been gone only 2 days. What have you done to me? You've duped me my entire life into thinking you were a great city. A place to be. And now what? You've pulled the rug out from under my feet.

I feel so exposed and ashamed. Rendered naked and powerless by my own susceptibility to be manipulated. How could you do this to me?



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dear 7th grade PE teacher,

So, I'm sure you realize that the students you are responsible for "teaching" are at a vulnerable age. I don't think there is one 7th grade female in the entire country who is happy with how she looks or who feels completely accepted by the other girls around them. 7th grade girls are the centers of their own universe. Every comment made leaves an indelible mark in the psyche of that girl. A mark which many times stretches deep into their adult lives. A mark that lingers deep, hidden, buried inside that girl affecting who she is and how she views herself.

I would be willing to bet that every woman can trace the inception of a current insecurity back to this age.

My biggest insecurity (that I'm going to share with the internet)?

I'm athletically challenged.

Guess where that comes from?

Remember the day we were practicing our "speed walking" on the track outside Ferrucci Jr. High?

I'd missed class the day before and didn't get the instruction about proper speed walking techniques. Anyway, that day was cold and damp, like almost every day in early spring in Western Washington. I could feel the steam from my breath develop before it even left my mouth. I already didn't really want to be doing this, but as I walked down to the track mud stuck to the bottom of my converse all-stars making each step an even more monumental task. A shrill whistle sounded and we were off. I hung back with my friends talking and laughing until we were absolutely forced to move. I was walking along, keeping pace with them for the first lap, but then I got annoyed at their speed. I've never really been one to do what I don't want to, so I slowed down and made them slow with me. Then, half way through lap two I hear a pop and static and then your loud booming voice coming over your megaphone,

"Timothy, that doesn't look like a speed walk"

Complete. Horror.

Not only had I been called out of the entire class and my last name bellowed over a loudspeaker but my athletic ineptitude announced for the world to hear.

Thus, we see the inception of my fears.

From 7th grade small similar experiences built upon that foundation. I was picked last for a softball game. I missed an important shot at basketball. I hit the volleyball clear into the other court. I had totally convinced myself that I belonged to a class of girls to awkward for their own good.

That weakness has stayed with me into my adulthood.

Last night it was ended.

At kickball for the past two seasons I have relegated myself to right field. Knowing that the co-ed team needed alive and breathing females to be able to play, but not wanting to let everyone down with my lack of skillz, right field was the place for me. I haven't seen much action in the field, but I also haven't had a chance to let down my team, and I was ok with that.

Last night a left-footed kicker stepped up to the plate. There were two outs and the bases were loaded. We were down by 5 runs and at the top of the last inning of our last game of the season. If we didn't get this guy out the game was over.

I steeled my nerve.

The pitch was fast and right down the middle. The 6'3" David Beckham look alike wound up for the kick and booted it. As if in slow motion the ball hurtled up and out in my direction. For a moment I thought, "this is it. Catch it or die."

It dropped down, and because I wasn't perfectly lined up (darn stadium lights), it bounced off my left shoulder and shot straight up into the air. Time stood still. My heart broke. I'd let my team down, the season is over and everyone will remember that "Timothy can't speed walk".

Then, I realized that the ball was still hovering in the air. The red rubber was calling me, beckoning me to it. I realized that there was still a chance I could get it. I reached out with both hands, bobbled it up in the air, secured it with both hands while diving and rolling onto my back. I held it aloft from my grassy bed and was stunned at what just happened.

I stood up, ball of victory in hand and for 2 seconds just took in the scene. David Beckham was rounding first, looking back in total disbelief. The opposing team was jumping in my shared amazement. The ear doctor was running toward me at full tilt.

When I regained my senses I spiked the ball and jumped into the ear doctor's arms. I'm not a dork. Someone with those kind of crazy good kickball skillz is not an awkward loser who would get picked last for a sport. I saved our shot at the game. I did it. Me.

I am a jock.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Dear Will Ferrell,

Saturday night my lover took me out for some Spicy lamb shanks and to see Talladega Nights.

Cinnamon and Gravy was it good!

That's why I go to your movies. I love your work and you made me laugh so hard I actually had to bend over to prevent my gut from rupturing. You always do.

The only critique I have is that there should have been more cowbell.

I've got a fever.



PS Tell Cal that I also like to picture my Jesus with giant Eagle wings singing back up for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Classic.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dear Alissa,

Hey girl nice hat!

I'm really excited to see you tonight at the Boulder county fair and get to know you. There are so many interesting facets of rodeo royalty that I have always wanted to know.

For instance:

Where do you get those shirts? The ones with the glitter fringe hanging from them. You can't find that stuff in normal stores so do you order it off the internet or what? Are they one of a kind? Special order?

Is it hard to hold up those flags while the horses are racing around the arena? It sure looks tough. I mean, with all that drag so far away from where you hold it there must be some pretty killer moment loads that you have to react with your little, delicate hand. (just watch the nerd in me come out)

Is the size of your belt buckle related to your status? Do they give them to you when you win the crown?

Do you have to wear jeans that come all the way up to your armpits?

How do you keep your hair so curly? My hair would never hold curl long enough to last from the National Anthem all the way through the bull riding, no matter how much aquanet I used. Is this one of the criteria for winning the title because if it is that would be discriminatory against straight-haired people. And that is just wrong.

What do you have to do to win the title? Are you just selected or is there a pageant of sorts? If so, do you have to ride a horse during the swimsuit competition because I think that would be a little awkward.

Anyway, lets get together tonight after the bull riding/fighting rodeo that the ear doctor and a bunch of friends and I are going to.

You can split a funnel cake with me and ride in my car on the Ferris wheel. That is unless you barf easily. If that's the case you'll have to sit in your own car.

Later pal!



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dear Cesar Millan,

Last night all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with the ear doctor and watch a movie. We were going to go swing dancing (like we usually do on Tuesdays) but I was so tired from moving most of my boxes of stuff (no thanks to Mr. T) that I just couldn't even consider driving all the way down to Denver. Anyway, that's not important.

What is important is this: We rented two movies from Blockbuster and brought them home. I really wanted to get some Spumoni ice cream (which, BTW they don't stock at Safeway...very frustrating).

We popped the first movie into my DVD player....home movie. It was a documentary about 5 families and their home videos. Sounded like it had the potential to be hilarious.

Anyway, the DVD player started to spin up and then crapped out. I was so pissed that my year old player had decided to be lame and not work. Why is it that DVD players are such pieces of junk? I've had 3 in the past 5 years. It's not like I really work them all that hard and they just stop working. I freakin hate that I am forced to go back and buy yet ANOTHER one. Ugh.

Anyway, that's not important either.

What is important is that because we couldn't watch our rented movies we stumbled upon your show in the National Geographic channel.

You, my friend, are amazingly entertaining to watch! I really couldn't get enough of your advice and the role you play in rehabilitating dogs.

Your show is both educational and insightful and if you applied your advice to people and children a lot more people in this world would be a whole lot better off. This is what I mean:

You say that there are three main things a dog needs in life: exercise, discipline and affection. Are these not the same things people need? In fact, don't you think that our society in general is having a wicked backlash because people are not raised with these three basic necessities? Why is it that people are so interested in teaching their dogs this lessons and providing these integral tenets to the dogs in their lives but fail to do so in their children? See what I'm getting at?

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for providing such a rad show.

I've already got the next episode waiting for me on my TIVO.



Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dear Mr. T,

As I mentioned to you on the phone yesterday, I'm planning on starting my move from one side of Boudler to the other tonight.

During our phone call I was pretty sure that you committed to helping the ear doctor move my broken futon because I am totally unable to lift and maneuver it at all and the ear doctor could use some help.

However, the email I received from your agent this afternoon informed me that instead of showing up to my house to help move you've instead decided to rip off your shirt, don way too much gold jewelry and fashion a belt buckle out of letters and numbers you ripped of someone's apartment door.

I find this completely unacceptable.

Add this behavior to the subversive measures you went to last night to misdirect half of my kickball team and you start to understand my frustration. Seriously, we had to forfeit because you told everyone that other things were more important and/or the game was an hour after the posted schedule reported.

Please shape up or ship out of my life.



PS I have to give you props on choosing gold over silver....much more this season.