July 21st, 2013


Some Excitement

First LUNAR.org launch at NASA Ames of the summer for me, Took 500+ pictures but nothing spectacular - that Tamron lens didn' really keep up. May need to switch back to the Nikon, or buy their new one. There was a long line when  I got there at 10:30, and there were two more ranks of launch stands than last year. But that didn't last long, by noon there was almost no line (most of the rest of the launches were repeat offenders) and the crowd was mostly gone - half of the crowd was Cub Scout Pack 80 from Mountain View. The whole pack was there to launch a single rocket - with an egg on top. As designed it flew about 100 feet, then headed straight for the concrete runway. I think the egg snapped off on impact, it looked like it was intact (but I was far away). There was also an unruly gang of Indian boys, whose family made a nice picnic with four large pizzas. These kids kept running out into the launch area while rockets were firing, and mobbed the launch ops table way before their little rockets were due.

But the big surprise was seeing a guy in a South Bay Musical Theater show hoodie in line. I had a hint he would be there - he's the new science teacher at a school across the bay, and asked on FB about ideas for teaching rocketry. Me and two others suggested this launch as a great way to get a foot in the water and a killer field trip for students. I took a lot of photos of him and his launches, which all went well. Excellent for a first timer.

Left a little before 1 pm, home, watched the last bit of Sharknado on Tivo. I would critique the continuity of this video, but there really wasn't any. Or acting. It probably took less time to write the script than it did to show the movie. Glad I saw it, though, makes it easier to review for BASFA.

Lunch was melted cheese sandwiches, cole slaw & a pickle. While I ate I let the cats out onto the patio, Kaan curled up on my chair, Domino on hers.

Tried to take a nap, but watched TV instead.

6-ish, got in the car and drove to Redwood City, where there was no parking. I ended up way down on Jefferson at Veteran's Avenue, many blocks from Broadway. Had time for a snack at my favorite bakery cafe, then on to Dragon Theater and Becky's New Car. It's by Steven Dietz, whom the program lavishes with praise and lists many awards. This is a very strange play which breaks most of my rules for an enjoyable acting/audience experience. Almost everything is a monologue. A LONG monologue. The first 15 minutes is a monologue by Becky. Toward the end some dialog emerges, and things start to get interesting. Another rule is about breaking the 4th wall. I like it when it's done for a reason, but Becky launches herself into the audience area many times for totally inane things like to have an audience member put a wastebasket under an imagined leak, and to give someone a can of Sprite, since she is drinking one and wants to be hospitable. That can was still unopened, under a seat when I left. I was handed a stack of automobile flyers and asked to collate them (there was nothing to collate, and it was too dark to see). She later took them back, also for no apparent reason. And at one point she pulled two women out of the audience to help her change clothes onstage. Just Plain Stoopid.

It's also one of those plays where everyone ends up being related to everyone else. Telegraph City.

The cast is excellent. Huge chunks of words were memorized and delivered in character by everyone. The light operator was also a key player, since Becky also gave light cues. The set had four scenes in place, and we knew where the action was by where the lights were. Stage left was Becky's office at the car dealership. Center was the sofa in Becky's livingroom. Stage right was Walter's house on the island which one had to take a ferry to get to. When the couch was lit dimly, it was Becky's car.

The ending is a feeble attempt at an O. Henry twist, without the courage to stay twisted.

Bottom line: they play didn't work for me, despite a massively talented cast and director.

Home, but first a long long walk to the car, and a quick stop at a fast food place to use the restroom.

Minimally massaged the rocket launch pix, and uploaded them to Flickr:

Science teacher's rocket launches


Chute deploys

And lands

More photos here

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe fix the valet button
Palo Alto, Stanford Theater to see Desk Set with librarian friends, maybe


Round Tuit Day

Finally got around to it:
- Fixed the valet button for the car alarm, added a foot of wire and repositioned it where it can be reached
- Took all the month+'s cardboard from online purchases out to the dumpster
  and also the last used crystal litter container
- Started a full backup of drive E, which has all the big stuff (photos, videos, etc) about 1.6TB
- Adjusted the settings for the car audio so the same source plays in the whole car. I'd guessed wrong previously, and had the iPod playing in the rear speakers no matter what was playing in the front. This also disabled the equalizer

Lunch of baked beans and ham with a pickle, out on the patio with the cats.

4:30, drove to Palo Alto, went to Stanford Theater with a group of librarians to see Desk Set, and stayed for the organ interlude and Adam's Rib. Two very different movies, despite having the same leading players. In the first movie, a little old lady named Ida Moore showed that small actors in small parts could make a big impression.

Home, though I was starving and very tempted to have dinner in one of the many open-late places on University. And oh, so much Stanford eye candy.

Had falafel with hummus, pickles and orange crystal lite for dinner with a banana for dessert. With chocolate syrup. And malted milk. And whipped cream. 

Plans for tomorrow: