Belated NASA Pictures

Back in December, Steph and I took our usual vacation to Walt Disney World but we added a twist this time – a day trip over to Kennedy Space Center. We’re both big space geeks and neither of us have been to KSC since we were kids (probably 20+ years ago). So this was going to be a highlight of the trip for us.

And it was. It was a cold and somewhat rainy day but that kept the crowds down and we had a good time spending almost the entire day there. So without further ado, pictures!  Here’s a few choice ones but a completely gallery is here: http://imgur.com/a/oI94f

 

Tis the season!
Tis the season!

 

Space X uses some of the facilities at KSC. This is them prepping one of the pads for launch.
Space X uses some of the facilities at KSC. This is them prepping one of the pads for launch.

 

Pads 39A and 39B - the two most historic launch pads at NASA.
Pads 39A and 39B – the two most historic launch pads at NASA.

 

Vehicle Assembly Building - where all the rockets, space shuttles, etc were put together. It's really hard to express how big this thing is. It's huge.
Vehicle Assembly Building – where all the rockets, space shuttles, etc were put together. It’s really hard to express how big this thing is. It’s huge.

 

The Saturn V Rocket that transported the Apollo project to the moon. Big. Very, very big.
The Saturn V Rocket that transported the Apollo project to the moon. Big. Very, very big.
In all it's glory.
In all it’s glory.

Bonus! Since our last visit there, the Space Shuttle program was retired and one of the shuttles – Atlantis – was sent to KSC. This is the first time either of us have seen a shuttle in person and it was fantastic. A very neat addition to the tour.

The Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle

 

Drafty Progress; 2015 Total

The phrase “It’s only a draft, it’s allowed to suck’ really doesn’t fly when that draft is coming through your office window and it’s -6 outside.

It’s been incredibly cold up here in NE Iowa. Yesterday was something around a high of -9 with wind chills in the -40s. It made walking to work quite fun, I must say. That aside, another progress update that’s long overdue.

December: ~2,000

No picture this time because I forgot to take one this morning before leaving the house. December was slow though due to vacation, the holidays, and generally me re-thinking a lot of things about the plot and other aspects of my writing. Hopefully more updates on that later.

Yearly: ~65,550

Wow. That … that is more than I was expecting to be honest.  I wish I could say that was the majority of a novel written but I had major re-writes and re-drafting in there with parts of the story thrown out and completely re-written. But looking at that number now, I’m not upset. I’m hoping 2016 is a better year – with more writing and more frequent updates to the blog. I still owe some vacation pictures from Florida (visiting NASA was awesome) so maybe that’ll get done yet this week. *knocks on wood*

Progress and Going Away

Welp, there I go again. Not updating for an extremely long time. At least I have been remarkably consistent in my inconsistency. As December rolls around, I’m hoping that 2016 will be a better time for blogging and updates. I am finding myself missing the blog and just in general writing about whatever I want to write.

On top of that, I’ll be starting the new year sorta fresh. Why, you ask? Well, that’s because Steph and I are going on first away from home vacation in over a year starting this weekend. We’re headed off to Florida which, of course, means Disney and warm weather but we are also doing a little side trip that both of us are extremely excited about:

JFK Space Center

That’s right – we’re going into space! Okay, close to space. We’re going to see the stuff that makes it possible for other people to go into space so that’s close enough, right? Both of us are big space geeks so this is going to be pretty neat for us. We’ve also both been to the Space Center but it’s been ages. I think I was in 7th grade or maybe even before that. It’s been a really long time. Expect many pictures of big rockets and stuff when I get back and hopefully a re-energized Matt.

Now, onto the progress report:

September

September
September

Total Words: 6,000

October

October
October

Total Words: 6,250

November

November
November

Total Words: 6,500

All in all, remarkably consistent. Just like my blogging 😛

 

May, June, July Progress

I am a horrible human being.

Here I was, planning on making monthly posts (if not more) about my writing progress. Then I blink and three months pass without an update. So … uh … oops? Let’s rectify that.

May

May
May

Total Words: 6,500

Not a terrible month with a strong finish. I stumbled across some good ideas and revelations that made the words flow.

June

June
June

Total Words: 3,750

Ouch. Not a fun month at all. Work threw a couple of big writing/editing projects at me that were due on short timeline. As a result, the creativity and energy that I normally used for my ‘fun’ stuff was sucked away into a pit of withering Corp-speak and frustration. Even when the projects were done, it took some time to get the words back up and flowing again.

Oh yeah, I moved to Stars instead of Dots. Because I ran out of Dots and Stars look better.

July

July
July

Total Words: 4,250

Better but still not there. Work was still annoying and then I had a four day vacation in the middle in which I did no writing whatsoever. Still, I’ll celebrate the upward trend.

So that’s three months. Let’s see if I can do August in September instead of December, shall we?

Return to the Invasion of Normandy – 2015

Last July, a group of friends and I went to ION (Invasion of Normandy). This past weekend, I went and did it again. And like last year, I had a blast.

For those who don’t recall (and who don’t want to click on the little link above) – ION is a massive scenario paintball event that takes place in Albrightsville, PA. Approximately 4,500 people come out to shoot one another and attempt to win the day for their side. We were once again Allies.

Fortunately, this year I traveled with not one but three other folks from Iowa. Okay, just two others joined me on the trip from Iowa out east but we swung by Michigan to pick up my brother who is an Iowan at heart so that counts for something. From there, we headed down to PA. Along the way, we listened to the audio book of The Martian, which helped pass the time. (Hint – If you haven’t read the book, go read it now. It’s awesome).

In any case, we camped Friday night, fought on Saturday, hung out Saturday night, and left early Sunday. We stopped in Michigan for the night and then finished our drive the next day. All in all, a really good time.

Highlights

  • Last year storming the beach took less than 20 minutes. This year? Almost 90. It was a lot harder fight and required a lot more strategy. The group I was with worked together and led a number of charges that overran enemy positions. For the last 30 minutes, I had no paint in my gun and was simply leading charges and getting other folks to move. It was a sight to behold.
  • On occasion, ‘props’ are dropped in certain locations that will give the side that controls that area points (with which to ‘win’). We learned that a prop was going to be dropped near a place called the Museum at 4pm. Our group of 30 (plus about 15 regular folk) marched for the Museum. We found it unoccupied and setup defensive positions. And for the next 45 minutes, we held that place against 200-300 Germans determined to take it. It was one of the more glorious moments I’ve had in my life and was immense amounts of fun.

And now, some pictures:

After the beach.

 

The most grievous injury. I have no idea where it came from or what caused it.

 

My vest and name patch (Harrier is my nick within ShackTac).

 

Happy to have survived.

Full gallery of pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/c2A8h#3Rbou1A