Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ruby Tuesday Blast-Off

During a recent business trip to Orlando, my wife and I took one day to ourselves and drove to the Kennedy Space center.  It was a wonderful side trip.  We spent nearly the entire day at the center and still didn't see all of the exhibits.  I would recommend this trip to anyone.  Here are a few photos of our excursion.

Kennedy Space Center is home to the shuttle program and there are several large scale models of the shuttle on display.  Even these are impressive.  This one stands about 15 feet tall.

The largest building at the facility is the Assembly Building.  The shuttle is prepared for launch here, and then rolled out to the pad for blast off.  The launch pad is 3.7 miles from this building and it takes about 7 hours to move the shuttle from this building to the launch site.  Why so far away you ask.  Well, if you are within 1000 yards of the pad at launch, the noise and vibration would kill you...literally.  Currently, the shuttle Discovery is being prepared for it's last voyage.  After it's final flight, Discovery will be sent to Edwards Air Force Base in California.  The Endeavor is flying now.  It will return home on June 1 and be reconditioned, then sent to the Air and Space museum in Washington D.C. for permanent display.  The final shuttle Atlantis, will fly it's final mission later this year and then be put on permanent display here at Kennedy.

This was my favorite display.  It is the actual equipment from Mission Control circa 1968.  This is the mission control room that was in operation when Apollo 8 orbited the moon.  This is beyond cool.  This display is now set in a small theater and there is a moon launch simulation program that you can view from the gallery.  Are you starting to see why we spent the whole day here?

Still, another building houses a complete Saturn V rocket.  There is a Mercury and an Apollo capsule on display at the opposite end.  You cannot believe how big this thing is.  If you cut the wings off of a 747 you might get an idea of the size of a Saturn V.

It all started here, with the Mercury capsule.  This thing is tiny, and cramped.  It takes a special breed of person to strap themselves into this module, sit on top of a Saturn V and go for a ride.   

We've come a long way from that first Mercury capsule haven't we?  Most of the current shuttle is actually cargo space.  It is used to conduct experiments, deliver supplies to the space station and return used equipment to earth for further study.
It was a great day, and if I get back to the area, I will definitely return to the space center for another visit.

 We should not forget that our exploration of space has a price.  For some, the price to be paid is their life.  There is a memorial with this plaque at the Kennedy Space Center.  It is a fitting tribute to those who have sacrificed themselves for the benefit of all.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day was originally designated to honor those who gave their lives in service to their country.  Last Thursday my wife and I traveled to Ada, Oklahoma to take care of some family business.  It also gave me the opportunity to honor past generations of the family.  I do hope you take time to honor your past as you enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday.

This is the headstone of my great grandmother.  She is buried just north of Ada.  Her husband served in the Union Army during the Civil War and is buried in Repton, KY.  I actually plan on visiting that site one day.

This is the marker for my grandparents.  It is located in Madill, OK, which is about 40 miles south of Ada, and only about 30 miles from the Texas border.  My grandfather served in the Army during WWI.

This is the headstone of my parents.  It is located in Henryetta, OK, which is where I was born.  Dad served in the Navy during WWII.

I represent the fourth generation of my family that have served our country.  I was in the Army and served in Viet Nam in 1967-68.  While all of us would probably tell you that it was an honor and a privilege to serve our country during a time of conflict, we would also tell you we wish that it hadn't been necessary.  Peace to you and yours this holiday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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To Infinity and Beyond!

Lego Style

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

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Last week I spent four days in Orlando at a conference.  I took my wife with me and we spent an extra day to do something a little special.  We've been to Disney World twice and it just wouldn't be fun without some of the grandcrew, so we drove to the coast and visited the Kennedy Space Center.  We spent six hours there and still didn't see everything that was available.  I will post more photos in the next few days.  I know, the red is a little hard to find, but it still qualifies for a Ruby Tuesday.  Besides, we had a great time and I wanted to share some pics with you.  Have a great Ruby Tuesday, where ever you are.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Skywatch Friday Thoughts and More

This edition of Skywatch Friday isn't so much about the crystal clear blue sky as it is about the element in the foreground.  What is it you might ask.  Well, it's a monument.  A monument to what, you might ask.  It's in New Orleans.  Does that help?

It is a monument that honors the people and the city who endured the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.  Of all the sights that I saw in New Orleans last week, this was the most interesting.  It spoke to me in a unique way.  There is a small plaque at the base of the tree.  These are the words.

"Scrap House"
by Sally Heller Artist
Like so many remnants of cultural debris left dangling from branches
brought after Katrina, Scrap House is a monument to nature's
unpredictable powers.  Like all my work the pieces are made from common
materials and recycled elements, including the bark of the tree that was 
fabricated by Travis Linde out of recycled oil drums.

There are a lot of things in life that we have little control over.  We simply have to endure them and rebuild after the debris settles.  That is why I find my faith so important.  It is my anchor, my center point.  The God of all creation supplies my every need. I don't need fame and fortune.  I need comfort, strength, perseverance, compassion, and love.  The Bible tells me that God is Love (I John 4:8).  It also tells me that the fruit of the Spirit that lives within me is, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22).  See, He supplies everything I need.

Have a wonderful week-end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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The Grandcrew 2011





Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

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The logo below will serve as my primary Ruby Tuesday qualifier.  The rest is the real reason for the post.

Last week I attended the national AIA (American Institute of Architects) convention in New Orleans.  This was my first visit to "Nawlins".  I took my camera nearly everywhere I went, just so I wouldn't miss an opportunity.  Still, since it has a propriatary lithium battery, that I drained...and didn't have a spare on me, I missed a few captures that I would like to have had.  All in all, it was a great week.  The following are images that say New Orleans to me.  What do you think?

Walkin' Thru New Orleans

This last image is from a monument to the immagrants that first settled in New Orleans.  It is located along the River Walk about a half mile from the Convention Center.
The next couple of days I will share some additional images of New Orleans with you.  While you are viewing them, I will be headed out on business again.  This time, to Orlando.  Don't worry, I'll take the camera and share the results when I return.  I will be taking my wife with me and we will be celebrating a belated 37th wedding anniversary.  Our anniversary was Wednesday, May 11, but I was in New Orleans and we were not able to be together for the first time in all of those 37 years.  That won't happen again, I promise.  Have a great week.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Skywatch Friday Thoughts and More

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Sometimes different people see the same thing differently.  God made us that way.  Here are three examples of the same photo.  The first capture has minor adjustments made in order to sharpen the image.

 The second copy of the same image has a little more contrast added to it in order to enhance the colors and draw the eye into the image.  The viewer tends to focus on the warm colors near the bottom third of the capture.

Finally there have been major adjustments made to the color curves.  The result is that the viewer's attention tends to be drawn to the white space in the clouds above the colors.

Our lives tend to be similar to these photos.  There are days when we don't have a real focus.  We tend to just get through the day.  It is relatively uneventful and little changes are made to our life, much like the first image.
Then, there are days when we tend to focus on the world around us.  The colors, the activities, our busy schedules, it all just keeps our noses to the ground trying to make sense of it all, and hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.
For those of us who call ourselves Christians, we have the opportunity to focus on those things that are above.  We can focus on our relationship with our Creator and His plan for our lives.  Too often, we fail to take advantage of that relationship.  Too often, we settle for less than the best, because we don't have a real focus for the day.  Our lives could be so much better if we just changed our focus.  I know I need to get my eyes and mind off of the world around me, and look up to the One who created me, loves me, cares for me, and sent His son to die on a cross for me, that I might have eternal life.  I'm sure there would be more good days if I would just focus on 'How Great Is Our God."

"For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised."  1 Chronicles 16:25

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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Ground ball to Third

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

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This photo was taken several weeks ago during a business trip to Atlanta, GA.  While you are viewing this post, I will be headed to New Orleans, LA and the American Institute of Architects national convention.  There should be plenty of photo opportunities in Nawlin's.