Wednesday, March 14, 2018

She's Got a Ticket to Ride



          As the firstborn kid, I’m the “responsible” one.  Dependable.  Boringly normal.  Not a risk taker.  And yet, as a child I was mesmerized by NASA’s space program.  I like my own backyard and I hate math, so it was a no-brainer that I wasn’t astronaut material.  But I was a great cheerleader, crossing all my fingers and holding my breath during each launch.  Never did counting backwards from 10 seem like such a nerve wracking miracle as when a rocket was on the launch pad.
            My only “geek” moment came about several years ago when NASA issued a commemorative medal for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. I always thought it was interesting that I was 11 that year.  I don’t think I ever looked at the moon the same after that.  The medal contained, “actual flown spacecraft metal” from one of the missions.  I’m sure it wasn’t from Apollo 11 and it was probably a bolt that was shaved down and sprinkled into the mix.  But the point was, it had been in space…to the moon!
            That medal sits on my computer desk, just above my head.  It’s like a silent reminder of all the good, wonderful and amazing things that humans are capable of.   It’s a physical representation of a childhood filled with wonder and awe.  And I thought it would be my only geek space moment.
            Until last week.
            Granted, seeing William Shatner, my childhood Capt. Kirk, speaking in a promo with a NASA logo intrigued me enough to stop and turn up the sound.  (Okay, I admit it: there is too much noise sometimes on the internet so I keep the sound off unless something peaks my interest).  I reached for the sound button.
            NASA is sending the Parker Solar Probe into space to study the sun.  According to their info, the probe, will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.”  The probe, which launches between July 31- Aug. 19th, will provide data on solar activity, aiding in the ability to forecast major space-weather events impacting Earth.  A recent survey by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that without advanced warning, a huge solar event could cause $2 TRILLION dollars in damage to the U.S. alone and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. could be without power for a year!
          But it wasn’t the gloom and doom aspect of this mission that caught my attention.  It was the words “historic”, ”extraordinary” and “you can be a part of it!”
          Me?  How?
          In one of the coolest free offers ever presented, by merely signing up, my name has been added to a microchip that will be placed on the probe.  From the safety of my home, I will take winged flight toward the sun and not become Icarus.  Better yet, I’ll be part of a space exploration…and no math was involved.
          To get your ticket visit go.nasa.gov/HotTicket.  There’s more info on the mission at http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu



Saturday, March 3, 2018

It's Worth a Try

Some of my senior citizens have conquered e-mail...even if they fear pdf documents and asked me to send their newsletter in the regular mail.  And because this is a "younger" group than I inherited over 20 years ago, they are beginning to embrace technology, rather than think it's a sign of witchcraft.

Last week a woman, her husband and 17 year old granddaughter came by.  They'd just retired here from Bakersfield, CA and were looking for something to do.  She exclaimed she'd driven by before and didn't know we were there.  How long had we been here?

Forty three years, I sighed.

Ten minutes later, another woman walked in to join us.  I thought she was with them.  She said she'd been at the car wash out front and noticed our sign.  How long had we been here and why didn't she know about us?

Over 40 years, chimed in the other woman, still surprised. 

Because they built the car wash in front of us and made us move our sign back, I added.  Way back...off the road.  The ones placed at my begging...um, urging, by the Highway Dept. point to everywhere but where our driveway is on the highway.

The second woman was looking for something to do as she'd just retired here.  From California.  Amazingly, she'd lived 30 miles away from the other couple.  They all promised to return.

The next day, a woman came in and said she'd been riding by and just saw our sign.

Yep, same conversation.

I'm sure part of this new "noticing" of our Center is because they built a Walmart Neighborhood Market next door.  It's increased traffic in the area...which is really horrible at quitting time when I'm trying to turn left to go home.  But I digress.

In an effort to make us more noticeable AND bring them into the world of technology, I received permission to create a Facebook page for us.  Oh yeah, pdf documents are scary, but FB they like.

So if you're in the Facebook neighborhood, you can find us at Spectrum Senior Citizens Center.   Come on by, maybe give us a LIKE so I can prove to the Boss that all my begging...um, requesting, wasn't in vain.  And thanks to my Blog World buddies who've done just that.  Any guesses as to who the 1st LIKE was?  Hint: he can really sing and if I raise a glass to him, I'll have to hand it over for him to drink for me.

Hey, if nothing else maybe it will cut down on the phone calls I get for the Spectrum CABLE company.