Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shooting for the Stars

After a conversation cropped up at work about shooting homemade rockets, I decided it would be fun if a bunch of us got together and had our own launch day.  To this end I sent out the following email to everyone in my section: 

Greetings, Earthlings!

You are hereby invited to participate in an informal rocket club, whose name is TBD, but for now we will  just call it the Recreational Orbit-seeking Club using Kits assembled In Texas, or ROCK IT!  I know there are some of you who would argue that this really spells ROSCUKAIT; I invite you to come up with a better name and we will vote on it.  There are no entry fee or dues associated with club membership, which consists of 2 levels:

Level 1 (Rocketeer): Build, paint, and name your own rocket.  Shoot it into space (or at least into the lower troposphere).  Bonus points awarded for originality of name, paint job, or other external modification.  Extra bonus points for unique payloads.  Don't worry if you know nothing about building a rocket - I don't either, but I hear there are kits you can buy that are fairly cheap and easy to assemble.

Level 2 (Spectaculator): You're more than a spectator, you're spectacular!  One part fan club, one part heckler, it doesn't matter, so long as you show up to watch the rocketeers' amazing successes and possibly more amazing failures.  Can a horned toad really launch on a rocket?  You don't want to settle for second hand stories around the water cooler (or under powered microwave), you want to see for yourself!

If you're interested in joining this exclusive club (only people with a working pancreas can participate) let me know what level you would like to be, and you will get to help pick the first build and launch dates!

If you are not interested, no negative replies required - I realize some of you have active social lives/are not particularly enamored with the idea of shooting things into the sky.  I don't understand it, but I accept it.

The amazing thing isn't how many people are interested in building a rocket (nearly everyone, as it turns out), but how many responses I got with suggested acronyms for the club's name.  Apparently the only thing more fun than blasting a rocket into the sky is coming up with a group of words that acronymize (yes, I said it) into a witty name.  Who knew?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Loving the Redbox

As I was renting a  movie today from my local Redbox, I couldn't help but reflect on how amazing it is that I can rent a Blueray movie for less than a buck fifty, with tax.  When I was a kid, a VHS movie was 2 bucks.  At least, I think it was.  We didn't actually get a VCR until I was in 8th grade, and even then we rarely rented movies, but from what I remember it was $2 at Blockbuster.  The last time I went to that establishment which is not surprisingly headed for bankruptcy, it was $4 for a rental.  And yet here it is, a few years later, and I can get a new release for a fraction of that price, and I don't even have to interact with another human being to do it.  You gotta love America.

Speaking of movies, Abraham Lincoln has had a busy year, as his second movie is coming out this week.  Apparently this one was less physically challenging than the last, where he purportedly turned to a body double for some of the more intense action sequences.  I still haven't seen either movie, and will look forward to getting them at the Redbox in the next few months.

The one bad thing about the Redbox is that the outdoor one I use comes with a sunscreen that is totally worthless at actually preventing the sun from washing out the screen, but that you have to hold up the entire time you're browsing movies.  Really, no one could come up with a button, clip, or velcro to keep this thing out of the way if I don't want to hold it?  C'mon guys, you're letting me down here.  Not just me, but millions of other lazy, cheap Americans.  I know you can do better.

I will close by advising you not to take your significant other with you to the Redbox.  It's much easier to just come home with a movie to watch.  There's nothing more aggravating than watching movie after movie that you would like to see go scrolling by, only to have the other person pick some lame Romantic comedy to watch.  At least that's what Heather tells me.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vote Early, Vote Often

It's early November, which means it that time of year again, when politicians spend millions of dollars to convince us to not vote for their opponents.  As much as I hate the negative ads and political punditry, we still live in one of the greatest nations in the history of mankind.  I think Luxembourg has us beat, but that's only because they offer free pizza for life.  Takeout only.

Remember, there are starving kids in China, and if that country were a democracy the politicians there would be forced to pander to those kids' parents by making promises they never intend to keep.  Sure, their kids would still be starving, but at least they could go to sleep at night believing that their government really cared about them, not just about becoming the world's next superpower.

We already are a superpower, and with great power comes great responsibility.  (If you don't believe me, just ask Spiderman.)  Part of that responsibility is making your voice heard.  So do some research on the issues.  Look into your heart.  Then head to the polls and for goodness sake ensure you punch the hole cleanly through.  In a few weeks you can tell your kin around the dining table that you're thankful that you live in a free country where you get to help decide who is in power, whether your candidate won or not.  And be even more thankful that you won't have to watch any more political attack ads for at least 6 months.