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I don't remember the launch, but I do remember watching the landing. In fact, it's the earliest memory that I can still attach to a date (for obvious reasons). I was not quite 4 years old. Watched it in the family room of my parents' house on a black & white TV. I can remember being pretty excited about it, but that's about it.
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...there are a few I can detect. One in particular brings back interesting memories.

I'm not big on pesto. I used to think it was decent, but thanks to this association, it's definitely not a favorite. My office mate, C, just had a microwave lunch with it, and I shared this story with her as well.

Way back between 11th and 12th grade in high school (summer '83), some friends and I visited another friend who was doing some sort of summer internship experience at Fermilab outside Chicago. He was rooming with some post docs and other visiting scientists in a small house in the little village on the property, so we crashed with him for the weekend. On Saturday, our 2nd night, close to 1:00am, I was awakened by the weirdest odor I think I'd ever encountered. I wandered out toward the source, into the kitchen, where three of the older residents were making spaghetti with homemade pesto.

With marijuana.

They asked if I'd like some. I politely declined, saying I wasn't hungry, and, thanks to the scent, that was true.

I'd smelled 420 before, and I'd had pesto before, and my brain couldn't figure out what in the combination was doing this. To my nose, anyway, take about as much methyl mercaptan (the stuff that's added to natural gas to give it an odor) or hydrogen sulfide (farts, rotten eggs) you can handle and double it.

Marijuana pesto. Sheesh. :-)
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Leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember. Don't send a message, leave a comment on here.

Next, re-post this in your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses.
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I've not talked about it much before here on LJ, but I grew up with and still have a great love for, kick-ass Baroque and Classical pipe organ music. In order to play my mother's old spinet organ, I took lessons at a local Wurlitzer from when I was around 5 or 6 until I was 13. At any time I would have been just as likely to be asked by my dad or my sister to turn down a recording of Bach pieces as I would have say a Rush or ELO record.

One of my best friends growing up, A, was also very into pipe organ music. And he had access to an instrument: during our teens we would walk to the Episcopal church his mom attended and tinker on the three-manual one there when nothing else was going on in the church. The priest never minded at all and was amused by our interest. Also nearby was a crummy restaurant/pizza palace (crummy in terms of the quality of food) that held the old, refurbished, mammoth organ that came from the old Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA, the Paramount Music Palace (that restaurant long having been closed and demolished, the Mighty Wurlitzer now appears to be housed in a similar pizza place in Florida). A and I would go there often just to sit and listen. Once, when we heard that Lyn Larsen was coming, we had to go. It was a moral imperative.

Not long before the Lyn Larsen concert, A and I had checked out from the library a record of French organ pieces, including Widor's Toccata from Symphony No 5 in F, Op 42 No 1 (a RealAudio recording in its entirety is on the linked page). This piece rocks. A and I ended up checking out the sheet music and trying to figure out bits of it. Page after page of black - sixteenth note chords for the left hand, thirty-second note arpeggios for the right, and a busy pedal melody. When we went to see Lyn Larsen at the Paramount, I think we were 14. For the second half of his show, he took requests. A and I marched up to the base of the organ stand and asked him to play "the Widor". He was amazed and impressed that two 14-year olds even knew what that was. And his rendition brought down the place. I would have loved to have gotten a bootleg recording (I have since found a CD him performing it elsewhere).

I even remember going to the church in which Toni and I were going to be married and, having already decided on our music, hearing the organist there playing the Widor and thinking, "D'oh! If I knew she knew how to play that..." Although that church organist did a fabulous job with Pachelbel's Canon in D, which I also find very moving (and now has an extra nice association).

Anyway, this morning, on my way to get my haircut, I had forgotten I had burned a number of classical pieces to one of the MP3 CDs I made for the new car, when the Widor started. I have a tendency, if I am really into a piece of music, to air play. Especially if there is a prominent instrument I know. Let me say that driving and air playing the Widor is dangerous - the pedal part involves both feet. I had to be restrained and avoid the car pedals. :-)


Jan. 28th, 2006 10:14 am
quasigeostrophy: (STS-51L)
I was in the shower.

It was the middle of my sophomore year at IUPUI (first time there). I was still living with the 'rents, working part time at Sears in the small electronics (cameras, phones, typewriters) department. I didn't have class that day, but I had to work from 5 to 9pm.

While drying off after my shower, the phone rang. I was the only one home, so I answered it. It was my sister. Not the one also (and still) living with my parents, but the one closest to my age, who at the time was working at a bank HQ in downtown Indy.

"Do you have the TV on?" she asked.


"Turn it on. Now. Something happened with the space shuttle."

"Okay." I said and quickly ended the call.

I turned my TV on to CNN and watched, dumbfounded, while I got ready. After a short while, I decided to go on into work early. At around 1pm, I came in and watched the big wall of TVs in the electronics department (right next to my department) until I actually had to clock in at 5pm. The TV wall had a crowd in front of it until we closed that evening. I remember just sort of listlessly going through the motions at work. Fortunately, it wasn't very busy.

I remember that I hadn't been following every mission anymore, but I had a lot of interest in this one, not just because of the "Teacher in Space" thing with Christa McAuliffe, but also the TDRS-2 and SPARTAN/Halley projects. And, I'll admit it, I thought Judy Resnick was a babe. :-)

I followed the accident investigation very closely. Already fascinated by physicist Richard Feynman from stories and reading recommendations from my high school physics teacher, I thought it was so cool that a) he was not only on the Rogers commission, but he also had the chutzpah to differ with the majority in his opinion of the cause of the accident. A few years ago I read The Challenger Launch Decision which confirmed with an explanation point, the cultural and organizational aspects of the cause.

To the memories of Frank Scobee, Michael Smith, Judy Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe, and everyone else who has been affected by their and others' losses, let us hope this doesn't happen again for the same cultural/organizational reasons.

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
-- Richard Feynman


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