Monday, July 21, 2003

Post-weekend rambles

It was a good weekend. Any weekend I get to launch rockets is a good weekend. The weather cooperated in a big way, with the sky almost cloudless, the temperature in the mid-80's, low humidity, and very little wind. Very beautiful day to be outside. Our club field is an equestrian center that is basically 200+ acres of mowed front lawn in the middle of some very peaceful and beautiful farmland.

Rachael brought a friend along, which is standard procedure for us. I enjoy watching her act cool with her friends (typical teen), while occasionally letting her guard down and saying something rocket-geekish. Yep, my daughter can discuss things like aerodynamics, motor selection for speed vs altitude, and the Krushnik effect. She also listens to Linkin Park, loves the comic Baby Blues, and has been reminding me that she can get her drivers permit in six months.

We flew almost everything we brought with us, with the notable exception of our newest rocket. After all the hassle we rocket hobbyists have been going through with the BATFE thanks to the Department of Homeland Security and the Safe Explosives Act, I've decided to make the move into hybrid rocket motors. The beauty of these is that the fuel grain is plastic, and it combines with Nitrous Oxide under pressure to produce thrust. So unless the government wants to regulate PVC pipe and hot rods, they've got nothing to gripe about.

Our newest rocket is called Ain't Misbehavin'. Mr. BATFE agent, do you get it?

The biggest problem with hybrids is the extra ground support equipment you need to fill the motor with nitrous before flight. At this point I'm still dependent on the kindness of others, and the guy with the equipment was busy all day long with a team of high school students he brought along. So no joy for me, but they made several fine flights.

We still had a great time and made 8 other flights. I helped a grandfather and grandson make their first ever flight, and it was a beauty! They recovered the model successfully and later made two more flights. We also watched some truly cool stuff fly, including a monocopter (link coming soon) and Rob Edmonds flying and shredding his typical assortment of glider prototypes. There were about 150 flights made throughout the day.

We got home around 6pm, tired but happy.

Yesterday was Rachael's party, which went well. I think she had a good weekend too.

I noticed that Kate mentioned that she reads 'about me' blurbs when she visits blogs, so I'll probably stick one in over on the right hand column in the near future. She also has a very timely reminder to update your windows and protect your computer from the newest vulnerability. We also did that this weekend. You should too.

Late saturday night - well, it was early sunday morning actually - I watched a movie recommended by a friend; Monster's Ball. Wow. If you like quirky films with intricate stories with surprising plot twists, or just wanna see and hear Halle Berry moan and groan while having (simulated dammit) sex, then this flick is a must-see. This friend is batting a thousand so far, he's recommended Momento and Gummo, both of which were weird and twisted and I liked 'em. Of course, to get even I turned him on to Day of the Triffids and Flesh Gordon. I can't believe he'd never seen those.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Rachael, I want my CD case back. I was in the truck, ready to head to work, when I realized you still had it. I dashed back into the house, snagged some music, and problem solved. The morning commute doesn't seem nearly so monotonous when you're jamming to Frank Zappa.