The Boeing Museum of Flight

museum-of-flightLast ‘Holiday Season,’ we visited the . By ‘we’, I mean most of the extended family, including my parents, sister, and my brother-in-law. One of the cliches of living in any town is that you never really visit the attractions nearby. In my case, that included the Museum of Flight, and I was really happy I finally went.
As museums go, this one is excellent. There is a fantastic exhibit on the start of aviation, including a very detailed Wright Brothers fabrication shop. I was amazed by the the wind tunnel that they constructed to test lift of their wing designs, and was further amazed to learn that they actually ‘fixed’ the drag co-efficient algorithm to achieve flight. There was also an incredible ‘Space’ exhibit, with interactive displays documenting the beginnings of rocketry and the Space Program here in the United States.

red_barn_and_galleryAs cool as the indoor displays were, my favorite part was outside. You walk over the adjacent street over this really cool covered walkway, and then, there before you, are an actual British Airways Concorde (that you can walk through!), and a retired Air Force One. Whoa!

I had a very difficult time fitting the whole Concorde into a picture. I was using my cell camera, but that thing is LONG. L O N G. Really long. Walking through was very interesting – the plane is tiny inside by today’s standards. One very narrow aisle, with two sets on either side. That’s it. I have no idea of how the flight attendants managed it, pushing carts laden with Dom Perignon.

Air Force One was equally interesting (and also primitive). Cabin room seemed almost as restricted, and paled in comparison to modern jet accomodations. It also reeked stank smelled bad still had the odor of stale cigarettes, 50 years later.

Check out the very cool website for the museum – on top of being an excellent museum, they also have an excellent site. I highly recommend going there if you are in Seattle. If you actually live here, don’t wait 30 years like I did.

Big day

Last night, I dreamed I could dunk. Actually, in my dream, I could stuff the ball up to my elbow. When I was growing up in Spokane, my Dad installed a hoop on top of the garage. The rim was exactly ten feet above the driveway, and I spent many happy hours shooting ball with my friends. But I never grew tall enough (or the ability to jump) to dunk the ball.

Last night, it was no problem.

In my dream, I could stand flat-footed on the driveway in the sun, crouch, and then spring upward so fast I could hear the wind in my ears. When my eyes got level with the rim, I would grab it with my right hand, pull myself up an extra foot with the momentum, and then jam the ball into the basket left-handed, landing on the driveway like a cat. It never got old, even after dream-dunking one hundred times or so. The feeling was a mixture of disbelief and elation at mastery of this ability that had eluded me for so long.

‘I can actually dunk now? Really?’

‘Yes I can.’

Focus

I’m having a hard time staying focused. There are so many things I need to take care of! And so many things I’m trying to do. It’s almost impossible for me to stay with one task long enough to complete it, as other tasks keep grabbing my attention and distracting me.

Take blogging, for example (take my blog, please!*). This is the fourth draft I’ve created over the last few days, trying to get a blog post out. Oops, hang on, bath time for the girls. IB flooded her bed last night, which earns her a trip to the tub.

OK, I’m back. The girls are watching a new episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Have you ever seen an episode where Mickey says, ‘Maybe one of our Mouskatools can help! Oh, Toodles!’ Toodles trundles over, they look at the tools, and there’s nothing that can help. Yeah, I haven’t seen that episode either. Toodles is amazing. It will be a sad day at the Clubhouse when he gets laid off.

[‘Beautiful wife just asked for a phone number from my cell phone. I got it, and let the dogs out, let the cats in, and made sure they all had food.]

My number one task is trying to find a job. I had two interviews last week, but no job – wait, beautiful wife just announced she’s going to interrupt me now, hang on… OK, back, sorry. She wants me to take something back to the store when I’m out running errands this morning. So, interviewing is good, and my job search seems to be picking up steam. It’s like any marketing exercise, I guess – you want to fill up the queue with leads, and eventually, results start popping out the end.

Is anyone else distracted? Anyone have advice on how to focus on something for more than three minutes at a time? I’m really – hey, I wonder where my Matrix soundtrack CD is, I haven’t heard that album in like, forever. No! No time. I’m going to get dressed, start the Departure Procedure with the girls (kiss, hugs, pirouette, kiss again), and leave.

Focus…

*I don’t get no respect.

10 minutes

I work in a fast-paced environment. My employer (it’s a contract) is a website builder, and the team is made up of five people who all communicate over IM and email. My ‘b0ss’ is very demanding, and I’ve noticed that he really likes instant status updates. Looking through my chat logs, I have lots of messages that look like this:

Boss: Try to connect to the server
Me: OK, trying to connect…
Me: Server error, trying a different login…
Me: Connected, running server scripts…

Instant status reports, handed out on a minute-by-minute basis. Crazy! But it seems to work. I’ve learned how to Get The Job Done Right Now, even if I only have 10 minutes to get something important out. Or, just a blog post. Like this!

5:07 PM

My high school band director used a great metaphor. He said that the secret to a great performance is emulating a duck on a pond: on top of the water, the duck just seems to glide serenely across the water. Underwater, however, the little web feet are paddling like crazy. My own Father (a physicist) has studied paddling a canoe, and can tell you that there is a fairly massive amount of science that goes into ‘paddling’, so it’s not quite that easy.

And THAT is how I feel: it’s not easy to crank out work that is correct, on-time, and FAST.

5:11 PM

But that’s what I’m doing, both at work and in my own personal life. I had an assignment due at the University of Phoenix last week, with only 40 minutes left before the deadline. So, I just waded in, learned the material as quickly as I could, and aced the assignment! OK, the acing part was a bit of a surprise, but it was proof-positive that it can be done.