Wonderland — Angie Aparo

Take a piece of the sky
Make it rain cherry wine
Give her love, give her life
Give her mine

She’s a child, young and willing
In a world that’s unforgiving
That in time takes all the living
From your soul

I stand in the night with a silver sword
Killing her demons, beating them off her door
Sleep, baby, don’t you cry
Daddy’s got a worn-out lullaby
And I’d live forever dark and damned
To see you spend one minute
In wonderland

She can run free forever
Still our blood runs us together
I’ll be there if she runs home
For worse or better

I know you like Adam knew Eve
Every tear you cry is a tear that I will bleed
Sleep, baby, don’t you cry
Daddy’s got a worn-out lullaby
And I’d live forever dark and damned
To see you spend one minute
In wonderland

For Katelyn


OK, I kinda like the poster for the STS-130 crew, whom I will be (hopefully) seeing make the shuttle’s final night launch in about a week. The randomness of the accessories amuses me.

No Words

What do you say? What can you say?

I’ve had a long-standing tradition of writing something on this day. A tradition of marking the anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Challenger and her 51L crew. I haven’t done it every year, but, 24 years later, I’m still doing it. I remember their loss, and honor their sacrifice. And take a look at where we are, where we’re going. What we’ve done with the price they paid.

And the truth is, this year, today, January 28, 2010, I have no idea where we are, or where we’re going. Everything NASA is doing in the area of human space exploration and development is in flux. This is the last time I will write one of these during the space shuttle era. The lifespan of the International Space Station is under debate. If the news is to be believed, the program the agency has been working on for the last six years is about to be cancelled; six years of work and progress abandoned. A vehicle that was tested successfully three months ago about to be dropped. The moon is slipping away. And in their place, who knows?

So what would we say to Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judy Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe? What would we tell them about what their sacrifice meant? What would we tell them about how we are honoring their legacy? About how their journey continues today?

“Thanks, guys”? Somehow, it seems a bit insufficient, inadequate.

Late last year, President Barack Obama spoke to an audience of West Point cadets, about U.S. military activity, primarily in Aghanistan. During the speech, he told them, “As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service.”

Would that we could say the same to the seven astronauts who gave their lives 24 years ago today, and to Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, and Rick Husband, Willie McCool, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Mike Anderson, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

Would that we could say the same to their families.

Would that we could say the same to those willing today to make the same sacrifice.

Would that we could say the same to the children who lack the inspiration to be the scientists, engineers and explorers of tomorrow.

Right now, the future is unwritten. Right now, the possibilities are endless.

As a nation, what do we say?

Epic Fail

This is the latest in my series of blog entries taking a fresh look at a variety of topics over the next year. I’ve set up a page on the blog explaining the project and linking to my entries. This week’s topic is “Your Spouse.”


I’m not sure who you are as I write this post. I don’t know if you even know me at all right now. But I was thinking about the writing prompt, and what I think about the woman I’m going to marry. Thinking about what you’re like, what about you and our relationship is important to me. And I remembered this song, and, you know, it’s just perfect, isn’t it? It’s like it could have been written about us.

I am not a perfect girl, nor are you a perfect man
But we have found each other here inside this wild and crazy world
And somehow make a perfect match

You bring out the worst in me but it’s the side I need to see
And through the conflicts and the difference and damage done
We are strong and still are one

You will fail me, you will fail me again and again and again
And I will fail you, I will fail you again and again and again
Again and again and again
But we will learn to love in spite of failure
Yes we will learn to love because of failure
And we will stay together

We are broken human fools, we are selfish, we are cruel
But there is hope for the exception to someday become the rule
Let it start with me, let it start with you

May the grace of our Lord be with you, now and always; may you stay blameless till He comes.


Lyrics from Fail by Kendall Payne


One more leftover from my Vegas trip:

So while I was in Vegas, I happened to run into none other than James Bond.

Now, Vegas is no Monte Carlo, but, you know, Bond wasn’t totally out of place there. You could kind of see him hanging out somewhere like the Venetian. In fact, that is where we saw him standing around.

Now, sure, he could get a decent meal and a drink at any of the casinos, but where does James Bond go when he needs cheap eggs or a greasy burger?

Why, the Casino Royale Denny’s, of course.

Even before I saw the Bond wax figure, I had already gotten a picture of the Denny’s. Given the spirit of the movie, it struck me as an amusing dichotomy.

A Little Bit Country

And so, my journey to the dark side is complete.

As I’ve mentioned before, two years ago, I didn’t care much for country music. In fact, disdain was probably a not inaccurate word for my feelings. I was starting to thaw a little by that point; I liked the Lori McKenna and the Johnny Cash and … well, maybe a couple of individual songs here and there. But, in general, the bias stood.

I’ve written on here before about the gradual evolution of my tastes — friends giving me stuff and insisting that I listen to it, with various results; fairly extensive exposure for a while a year ago; more directed advising over the course of last year; and a series of concerts, including Sugarland, Trace Adkins, Sara Evans and Sammy Kershaw, among others. (As I’m typing this, I’m adding a few previously missing Rascal Flatts songs to my iTunes.)

But today, I crossed yet another line. It’s been a while since a CD came out that I just had to have the day of release, but I’ve actually been waiting for a while now to buy the new Lady Antebellum CD, Need You Now. iTunes has been releasing the singles for a while now, and I’ve been enjoying them rather much. While, for the record, I’m not expressing or endorsing need for any person, I do loves me the title track rather much. Play it again, Sam.

This weekend, I compared the offers on iTunes, the band’s Web site, Best Buy and Target to figure out where I wanted to get it. I generally prefer physical CDs, unless there’s a compelling reason to buy something digitally.

It turns out, in this case, there was. I got a tweet this morning that you could buy Need You Now on Amazon for $4, which isn’t bad at all. So by 6:30 this morning, I’d already bought it, put it on my iPod and burned a CD for the car.

So far, good stuff.

Weekend Update

— Today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Hope you have a good day nonetheless.

— The picture at the top is from yesterday morning. I taught kids, believe it or not!

The leader of the kids program at Sojourn is starting a new program of bringing people in one week a month to lead the children’s lesson as different characters. (That is, you have a character that you come back as each month for the lesson.) Yesterday was my first week doing it. For my character, I picked a detective-type based on the one I use for the Film Noir game in Face2Face shows. (Which, apparently, we’ll not be doing anymore — the game, not the shows.) I was supposed to pick a name for the character, so I went with Mike Kincaid, which amused me greatly. Mike Kincaid was head of the education office at Johnson when I started working at NASA, and from the first time I heard his name, it struck me that it would be perfect for a hard-nose Mickey-Spillane-type private eye. The trio of K-sounds just exude toughness. So it made me happy to finally get to use it.

Anyway, me being me, I felt like I could have done better, of course, but I got positive feedback from the leaders of the children’s programs, so hopefully it wasn’t too bad.

Going into it, everybody said, “Oh, don’t be nervous.” And I’m thinking, “You know, I get on stage practically every month to perform, I’m not going to get nervous talking to a group of kids.” So I’m in the little room where they have me waiting until I’m called out to come do my thing, and I can’t look over my materials again because I’m pacing back and forth, and I’m thinking to myself, “It’s a good thing I know I’m not nervous, ’cause this looks an awful lot like nervousness.”

— It’s funny how you can not even realize you missed someone until you see them again.

There’s been a greater trend in my life than usual over the past two years or so of old friends being reintroduced into the story; some of them people I’d not seen in several years coming back to play major parts again, some of them cameos by old favorites, and some of them new incidences of on-going cycles. My pastor, Greg, was one of the latter; God brings him into my life in different ways over the years when I need him, before diverging our roads again.

Saturday I spent time with another friend like that; we first met each other in a class at Southside many years ago, and then encountered each other again at Whitesburg before he moved on. This time, I accepted an invitation to come to a group he is starting on apologetics. The group was very interesting, and I’m looking forward to learning from it as it progresses. But as interesting as the class was, it was really great just spending time with my friend again. He and I have relatively different worldviews, albeit rooted in some common foundations, and he’s intelligent and articulate and knowledgeable and more than able to hold his own in a debate, which we’ve had a few of over the years. My own views have evolved a good bit since the last time I saw him, but it was fun how easily and comfortably we fell back into our pattern.

— Have I mentioned I’m going to be signing books at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Saturday at 1 p.m. with my co-author Owen Garriott? If not, I am.

I’ll also be at the gala event that night, though I’m still finalizing my plans for that. And I need to buy a new, proper dress shirt, apparently.

I also had the opportunity to donate a couple of copies of Homesteading to an auction last night to raise funds for aid to Haiti. It was an incredible honor to be able to participate like that. Unfortunately, I helped the auction as much with what I bought as I did by donating books. Oh well. I also got to hear Microwave Dave & the Nukes for the first time, despite having spent the bulk of my life in Huntsville. It was a fun evening.

— I went to see Theatre Huntsville’s presentation of Almost, Maine this week. It was cute, a collection of little love-story vignettes, some sweet, some painful, some funny. Great music; I found myself surreptitiously using the iPhone to Shazam some of the songs. I went to see it in part because it featured Face2Face’s Fred Sayers, who did a scene with another great Huntsville stage veteran, and it was a pleasure watching them; their work seemed so facile.

— Also on Thursday, the STS-129 crew visited Marshall on Thursday, and reported on their recent flight. Always cool seeing how much the station has grown up. And people actually asked technical questions, which made me happy.

— Right now, it’s looking increasingly likely that I’m going to try to go to STS-130 to see the last night launch. Yay!

— Gee, my 365project work has been kind of dark lately. I need to find some color, stat!