A lot of times what we do for a living doesn’t really touch people in a visible way. I mean we hear ‘thank you’ and ‘good job’ but I think it soon fades into the background tapestry of our experience. I’m really impressed with the vignettes, the little scenes from Al‘s movie that he shares with us. They’re tangible, often palpable experiences for me when I read them. We’re really vulnerable when we’re sick and a lot of the pretext of our lives doesn’t follow into that space. I think it takes a special type of person to dwell in that area. … I guess what I’m trying to say is today’s scene with Mrs. P. reminded me of my Grandmother and it touched me to think of her. Thanks for doing what you do Al, and thanks for telling us about it.

Earlier, Al mentions “the discovery of a large patch of kudzu here in the Portland metro area.” I never supposed I’d hear ‘kudzu’ and ‘Oregon’ in the same sentence. The Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) is bad enough out here in the West. The one-two punch of Tamarisk and Kudzu out here would be like a vegetative Ice-Nine on the few native communities left along the waterways. We’ve done some extensive plant censuses in the local wetlands (AKA the Wash) and I thankfully haven’t heard any reports of Kudzu. Please act quickly local agencies …

Sadness in Santa Fe. sandra and garret’s beloved winslow is gone. Farewell little one, you made more friends than you could know …

from Mike’s Weblog: Stephen’s Guide to the Logical Fallacies. “A handy site if you’ve been reading through some polemic and are trying to put your finger on just what stinks about the argument they are making. Short descriptions and examples of 60 or 70 different fallacies, together with notes on how to prove that the fallacy has occurred.” Good for scrutinizing your own arguments as well.

David at Time’s Shadow Groundhog Day saw Space Cowboys last night. It sounds like we’re going to a matinée today with SirDeath. I’m looking forward to it. Later: Its a fun movie, but not a great movie. I’d have like to see more character development and interaction with the main four (Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner) and some secondary character’s chickens never came home to roost … but hey, its a summer movie. I enjoyed it and would give it a 7.5 out of 10. And … what Dave said about it too.

I haven’t been paying much attention to it lately, but I noticed this morning that the Seti@Home client on Hayduke (the 3400 PowerBook) reports 514 units done with 9016 idle computer hours contributed to the project…

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I am the non-admin personality of blivet tool & die I have been academically trained as a professional archaeologist (MA, RPA) and now live in Arvada, CO. Father, husband, scientist, geek of several trades, and high-functioning Autistic adult. Future planetary expatriate?

5 thoughts on “blivet”

  1. Hal – are you much of a Heinlein fan?

    Name at least two Heinlein references in Space Cowboys. There may be more, I haven’t really thought a lot about it, but two leapt right out at me.

    For those of you who have yet to see the movie, you may wish to avoid any further discussion of this topic.

    It’s definitely a popcorn movie. Which means I’ll see it again and again, but it doesn’t open many doors.


  2. at least two Heinlein references in Space Cowboys.

    I’m not well read enough in terms of his earlier works. I remember reading many, if not most of his stuff in Jr. High and High School, but I read a LOT of science fiction in that period of my file. I find a lot of those memories of Heinlein as well as the other works (Asimov, Clarke, Bova, Niven, Campbell, Smith …) have blended together in my memories as a set of tapestries or motifs. A lot of what I do associate with Heinlein I saw in the pilots’ banter and the redemption theme of ‘one last chance’ for the moon. I can’t remember which books they’re from, but they seemed familiar. The one that even I got was the final image of Hawk’s body propped against the rock, looking back at the green Earth. That also reminded me of the paperback cover art for Inherit the Stars whose author escapes me right now.

    That had special poignancy because Audrey knows that this is a motif that especially appeals to me, that of leaving everything for a chance at the stars. Of course, what’s portrayed in Space Cowboys isn’t possible, but she does know that I’ve applied to go on the Shuttle as a civilian. Nothing will ever come of it, but I knew that the catch in her voice after the film wasn’t just from the movie.

    It’s definitely a popcorn movie. Which means I’ll see it again and again, but it doesn’t open many doors.

    Yes, it will be one of the few that I’ll get and watch again. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the movie, especially the moments you felt were Heinlein-esque.

  3. The obvious one was the one I think you got, which was the final scene where Hawk is lying on his back looking at Earth. That’s straight out of Requiem, which was a short story about a guy named D.D. Harriman who funded much of the conquest of the moon, but never got to go because he was too rich and too old. He’s the main character in The Man Who Sold the Moon, though I think Requiem was published before the novel.

    In Requiem, Harriman manages to bribe two barnstorming rocket jockeys to fly him to the moon after he funds repairs and modifications to their ship. The question of his fitness dogs the crew, and he does die, but only after landing on the moon. Great story.

    The other Heinlein connection was The Long Watch, originally published in the American Legion magazine. It’s about a UN soldier who thwarted an effort by mutinous UN soldiers on the moon to commandeer a cache of nuclear missiles which are used to guarantee the peace. He dies from the radiation he was exposed to as he destroyed each of the warheads. It wasn’t as clear a link to Heinlein as Hawk’s death in Requiem, but there was the theme of saving Earth from a nuclear peril in space.

    I was disappointed in the movie from the standpoint of the physics and technology. But it made for entertainment as surely as any of the ’50’s space operas did. And Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and James Garner are three of my all-time favorite actors. Donald Sutherland was a joy in this one too.

    Obviously, I too was sympathetic with the notion of losing one’s opportunity to go to space because of age. I still want to be the first guy to open a bar on Mars. I’ve even got a name, Rhysling’s – who is another of Heinlein’s characters from Blind Singer of the Spaceways.

    Anyway, I try not to think too much about how much time and my life has gone by since we left the moon. I may not get there in this lifetime, but I will get there. And in many important ways, I’ve already been there.

  4. Thanks Dave, my reading list now stands at n + 3, though I think those three will be inserted fairly high in the stack. Thanks for those story themes, I’d say they ring pretty true, but not so much that the lawyers could be dispatched…

    My physics intolerance starts to ramp up with hearing noises in space, once that happens I go into a ‘it isn’t NOVA – just relax’ mode. I try to have it completely disabled for Hollywood films. I really enjoy Eastwood, Jones and Garner too.

    Look for me at Rhysling’s, I’ll be there.

    BTW, I always enjoy reading Time’s Shadow. I only figured out yesterday that you’re a dual-weblog housenold too.

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