Sunday, July 26, 2009

And he took a walk.

I realize this post is about a week late – heavy sigh. Life seems to find a way to fill my time.

On July 20th 1969 Neil Armstrong took his walk in the Sea of Tranquility. It has been a tremendously exciting 12 years. I remember all the excitement around Sputnik. School changed completely. Science and math were emphasized. New learning methods were tried. By the early 60s we had TV in the class rooms. Launches were televised and we watched every one. I have vivid memories of sitting in Ms. Atkins classroom in 5th grade drawing the outline of Florida and the flight path of Shepard’s first suborbital flight. I even remember the green fountain pen I used to outline the coast line.

Things continued to accelerate – John Glenn’s three orbit flight. Ed White’s first space walk. The first Apollo orbital flights. The loss of White, Grissom and Chaffee – a devastating event that took us all by surprise and reminded us this was uncharted territory with all the attendant dangers.

One additional connection to these flights was my Uncle Victor, a WWII bomber pilot that had become an aeronautical engineer. His project was the attitude jets on the side of the lunar lander. Very cool!

As high school came to an end, war was all around us. Vietnam was just coming out of the trauma of Tet 1968. It was before the lottery, you simply received a letter from Uncle in the mail. I volunteered instead – Air Force. Even then we were hell bent on getting to the moon! I read everything I could. Now I was working on some of the same systems used to communicate with the capsules. Again, very cool!

And, that’s how I ended up in Taiwan. I was at a number of locations, but in July 1969 I was in Tainan. To kill some of the evenings, I had started teaching conversational English at a regional Taiwanese military artillery school. On the evening of July 20th the commander invited me to the base to watch Neil Armstrong take his historic walk. It was an electric moment. There, on a black and white – slightly snowy – TV, man was walking on the moon. It has enthralled me ever since.

We were a more committed country then. We were willing to take on big endeavors. People were independent. Industries were confident in their abilities and ready for every challenge. Every kid wanted to be an engineer, a pilot, and astronaut. We were truly reaching for the stars.

All because of men like Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. They demonstrated what we were capable of. I pray we rediscover that again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alaska - 2009 - A video!

Again, it was a GREAT trip!!  Enjoy!

A Random Dropping

I noticed my last post was entitled "Busy, busy, busy!"  And was done while on our Alaska trip.  A month already!!  Really???  Yep, busy seems to be the right phrase.

Since the trip our local group of concerned citizens have held their first public forum on our country's direction.  Emphasis was given to the economy, healthcare, national defense and small business.  It was a genuinely interesting evening.  You can read the results of our group at: 

if you have any interest.

Preparation for a scouting trip to the Boundary Waters has been fast paced this past weekend with our shakedown paddle, trip planning, defining the individual groups (3 groups, 21 scouts and dads).  This week will be food shopping, repackaging and packing and then we hit the road at 5AM on the 11th.  Again, coming too fast!!

Have had lots of conversations with my daughter about her economics class.  Pretty interesting chats and a fun process to watch.  She is driven to get an "A" while pushing to learn everything she can but is saddled with a prof that just seems happy to do the minimum.  I feel her frustration and really admire her extra efforts and extra reading.  She will make a terrific school administrator some day!

Work has been nuts - even closed two deals on our Alaska trip!  I really like that feeling.  The follow on work is really intense with installation, training and the initial startup.  We have completed over a dozen training's in the past month - busy, busy, busy.  Not that I am complaining.  In an economy when many businesses are struggling we are fortunate to offer a product that can save hospitals tens of thousands of dollars each year.  Enough to get their attention and to move.  As a business, we are truly blessed.

And so it goes.  There are honestly days I feel truly harried - yet that is how I have lived my life and am not sure I would be satisfied were it any other way.  Next week, while in the Boundary Waters, my crew wants to paddle a bit and fish allot.  Sounds good to me!  Though not a big fisherman, it should provide ample time to enjoy the scenery, listen to the loons and allow my body and mind to slow a bit.

I have also taken time to create a 10 minute video of our Alaska trip.  It's processing even as I type!  When it's complete, I will post a link so you can see what we saw and enjoy it along with us.

So ends a random dropping update.  Enjoy the day!!