Posted by: Travis | August 5, 2008

Vomit Comet ready

Back in the spring NASA gave my company the chance to ride on the vomit comet and test some of our products as part of our contract with them. Eric (my boss) checked with me before writing up the proposal to make sure i was interested in doing it. After i gave an enthusiastic “HELL YES!” he warned me that agreeing to this might require me working some longer hours since it was on such a short schedule. I was so happy about the chance to experience zero gravity that i kind happily agreed. It was kind of like telling a kid that you’ll take them on the faris wheel if they agree to clean their room when they get home. They’re just so focused on getting on the faris wheel that they will agree to anything.

Well, the last few weeks i have been forced to eat my words. I worked long hours for a week, then put in 21 hours over the weekend and worked another week of long hours all to get the design finished up for our test hardware and get paperwork turned into NASA. Lukcily the end of the madness (atleast for now) was a company open house last friday night with two of my favorite things: beer and BBQ. Please note that by the end of working 10 hours a day for 12 straight days the contents of my last blog enrty were the farthest thing from my mind and i gorged myself on food.

Anyway, the flight is currently scheduled for early September, and i am managing this project so i will be pretty hard at work between now and then. I keep forgetting how cool it is that i’m only 23 and i’ve been put in charge of this project, which will end up being a huge bullet point on our corporate resume (i hate that term) and a big step closer to getting our stuff in space. Maybe i’ll be able to appreciate it after all is sadi and done. If the hardwork pays off and i get this thing done without working myself to death, the final result is a trip on the vomit comet and almost two weeks stay in Houston (where i haven’t been since last Christmas) without having to use up any vacation. I’d be willing to work pretty darn hard for that prize.

So after working so hard i was ready for a break last weekend. Rachel’s older brother, Tyler, is doing an internship at JPL this summer, so he came up from LA to visit for the weekend. After the compnay open house (which Tyler attended and enjoyed because he’s a nerd like me), we headed over to the movie theatre to check out the new Batman flick, the Dark Knight. I was surprisingly impressed. With all the hype about Heath Ledger i thought for sure it would dissapoint, but he really did an incredible job. Definitely worth going to see.

Saturday Rachl and Tyler slept in while i got up early and headed out for a long bike ride by myself. I rode all the way down south to Cupertino then headed up into the mountains for some serious climbing before descending back down into Palo Alto and returning home. I ended up being gone for about three and a half hours and riding just over 50 miles. I was sore the rest of the day, but in a good, ‘i did something usefull today’ kind of way.

After i got washed all the road grime off we grabbed lunch at a new indian place that was really good and did a bit of hanging out in Palo Alto, running some errands, hitting Target, Fry’s electronics, and the like. In the afternoon we went over to Mark and Pam’s house (Rachel’s aunt and uncle) just a few minutes north of us in Belmont to hang out and eat tacos. They really hit the spot. By the end of the night, i was so exhausted that i fell asleep on their couch while we watched Ratatouille.

Sunday morning we slept in and then drove up to Oakland to see the San Jose Earthquakes play the LA Galaxy (thats MLS soccer). For those not in the know, last year the Galaxy signed David Beckham, easily the most well known soccer player of the last decade. Rachel thinks he’s hot and wanted to see him play before he retires. I just wanted to see the guy play. The game was played in the Oakland Coluseum to handle the large crowd drawn by Beckham, most of which were girls wanting to look at his butt. At times it felt like an N’sync concert. But i have to say, the guy can still play. He’s not a prolific scorer, but he’s like Magic Johnson in that he’s sees the game in ways no one else on the field does. His ability to put the ball right at his teamates feet, or lead them around the defense with his placement of a pass had my jaw in the floor all game long. To make things even better, the Earthquakes won on a goal scored in the final minute. It really was a fantastic game.

After the game Tyler left for a long drive back down to LA. It will probably be the last time we see him until Christmas. I went for a bike ride when we got home and then we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out by the pool, getting some sun, and enjoying the weather.

On a totally different note, our fridge is broken AGAIN. I haven’t been counting how many times this has happened in the last 6 months, but it has to be in the double digigts by now. Our landlord finally told us that they didn’t know what was wrong so we had to take it up with the manufacturer. The fridge stopped working on friday and they offered to send a repair guy on wednesday because that was the next time they would have someone in Palo Alto. 5 days without a fridge? That sucks. We did out best to eat things like pasta that didn’t have to be refigerated, but there’s only so much you can do. I ate out more than i was comfortable with, especially since i had just published the Cycling Manifesto and was intent on staying disciplined with my eating. We had to throw away everything that was in our fridge. I was pretty mad. So the fridge guy shows up wednesday after i saty home from work all afternoon and find out that there is a lot of stuff wrong with our fridge, but its because it was assembled incorrectly and now everything is fixed. It starts running great as soon as he leaves, and he promises that its totally fixed and we can go restock it. So we head out to the grocery store and spend a bunch of money to restock the fridge. I wake up the next morning to make breakfast and find another warm fridge. That was last thursday morning. I call the manufacturer again to get someone to come fix the damn thing again and they tell me that wednesday is the best they can do. Great, another week without the fridge. Thats two whole weeks, with 12 hours of refridgeration. I put all the necessities in an ice chest and bear down. I called back to talk to the manager of the service department and abolsutely throttled the poor woman over the phone, which is something i’ve only done once or twice in my life. I spent a lot of time working minimum wage jobs in customer service and i know how bad it is. I felt bad because she was the messenger and it wasn’t her call how many technicians they had on staff, but i was furious and my stress from work mentioned previously certainly wasn’t helping. I’ve been keeping milk, yogurt, and lunch stuff on ice since then, and i’m ready to get my fridge back. Hopefully tomorrow the guy will be able to fix it. I’m not too excited about having to spend the morning out of the office.  Oh well. At this point i am seriously considering just buying my own fridge and telling the landlord to take theirs away. I’m just so sick of dealing with this.

This weekend should be a fun one. Friday night we’ll be taking the CalTrain up to San Francisco with some of Rachel’s freinds from work and going to see the Giants game. To be honest i’m more excited about going to their ball park than i am to see the Giants. They aren’t too great this year. I haven’t been to a major league game in a very long time, i’m looking forward to beer, peanuts, and a hot dog. Saturday i’m planning on getting up and going for a 40 mile group bike ride with some guys that work at a local bike shop. Hopefully it will be fun and i won’t get dropped. Then Rachel and i will grab some lunch and head over to Half Moon Bay to go surfing for the first time this summer. Time sure has flown by. We haven’t been surfing in months. Sunday we’ll probably go to church and then just have a lazy sunday. Maybe go for another bike ride, maybe go swimming at Stanford, maybe just hang out by the pool. I’ll probably have some work to do, but 2 or 3 hours a day isn’t too bad.

I typed this pretty quickly so this whole entry is probably loaded with typos. Sorry folks, I’m not stupid, just too busy to pay that much attention.

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