Last night’s dream.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2017 by roninsherpa

I dreamt I was in in a Europe at an event thrown by a social group I was a member of. It was not work related, the feeling I had being around these people was relaxed and joyous. None of us had ever met in person, maybe we were an online group. It seemed we were meeting for a convention of some sort. I’m not sure, it was dream vague. It was late in the day. Chilly. I wore a jacket. We were in a park which looked like it had been designed with fitness obstacles where you would go along the path to the next thing like loops or bars. Our group was 10 or 12 people with other members who had already left. When I remember the dream starting we had come from a lecture and were now wandering in this fitness park. The next obstacle was a maze which was literally cut into a hill. The path descended, with walls on each side, and turned sharply at a few points so you could not see past the next turn. It was open to the sky, but it descended to the point you could not see over the top. The walls were painted yellow in contrast to the green grass. The path was small granite blue pebbles which crunched when people walked on it. At the other end of the maze, things opened up to a small flat green with large leafed plants and large older trees bordering it. Some vandal had taken blue paint and flung it all over the walls, the grass and the large leafed plants. There was graffiti. It brought everyone’s sprit down. There was an unattended information desk which had maps of the park and a chair where the absent attendant were to sit. The rest of the people were turned off by the vandalism and agreed we would leave and find a pub for a pint and some dinner. I was inspecting the paint which had been flung all over the plants, thinking what a shame that they would all die, when I noticed there was only myself and the actor Luke Mitchell who was speaking German on a cell phone. He wore a black turtle neck and a tan corduroy blazer with elbow patches like some cheap villain from a cold war era movie. He was looking at me as he talked. A girl who I knew in the group, had left a written note on a piece of paper under a small stone on the information desk. It was the address were everyone was going. I had my iPhone and was typing it in when a large 1960’s European sedan with four or five menacing people in it drove up to Luke Mitchell. They were gesturing toward me as they all got out of the car. So there I was, on my own in a strange old European fitness park, strewn with vandalism and graffiti, at dusk with German Luke Mitchell and his band of thugs ominously lurking toward me. I knew I was going to be late for that pint.

BUZZZZZZ!!!

Alarm goes off.

This true dream occurred this morning, 02/07/2017.

 

fifteen years…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2016 by roninsherpa

I was in my truck headed to install an alarm in a house when my cell phone rang. She and I had spent time in New York and she wanted to tell me an airplane had hit the Tower. I remember her saying the word “Cessna.” She also said there was a live shot of it on television. She worked in an office building, managing an entire floor of people in cubicles, so for her to know about something on TV at 9:00am was odd. I thanked her and hung up. At the next intersection there was an old, run down convenience store and I pulled in. I remember that place felt really dirty and grimy. I remember the rebel flag and the taxidermy deer. There were very few windows and the light came from fluorescent bulbs. The walls behind the counter were painted a pale yellow. The entire place was cluttered and messy in a sad run down way. I have no memory of how the person behind the counter looked, only the way they made me feel. They did have a television and I clearly remember the huge wad of aluminum foil on each of the TV’s rabbit ear antenna. I bought a Coke because I wanted to be a paying customer. I remember having to ask the cashier something about either switching on the TV, or changing the channel, but my memory is not clear about which. What I do remember clearly is the World Trade Center burning. I stood there in shock, finally saying to the cashier that I had lived and knew people there. The cashier made openly prejudiced remarks about people from the north, and about his indifference toward what was happening there. The rhetoric went something like “Damn yankees, probably deserved it. Kill’em all.” I remember feeling disgusted about being in there, and felt badly having contributed money toward this person.

The second plane hit the Towers as I stood in the dirty store with the prejudiced cashier.

Fear gripped me and I remember I did not want to waste energy being submersed in the ignorance of that place, so I walked out. I sat in my car in that parking lot for a moment trying to think of a way to get out of installing this alarm, but I went anyway.

He showed me around the old house and we discussed the alarm he wanted. The whole time my mind was on fire with the events I had witnessed, so I was hardly paying attention to him. I remember how old the house was, wooden in construction with peeling wall paper and prevalent water damage. It seemed the cliché setting  for any horror movie. One room had hundreds upon hundreds of newspapers stacked from floor to ceiling except for a path which led to a window. If there were any furniture in this room, it was under this ridiculously massive glut of newspapers. He had a full grown Doberman Pinscher, a ferret, and massive macaw parrot, all of which had free roam of the entire house. The odd bit was that the living room had $100,000 of audio visual equipment. It was like the Space Shuttle in the middle of a swamp. He had the largest TV I had ever seen which was not a projection screen. I understood why he wanted the alarm. He said he was going to leave me in the house to do my work, and he would return later. He warned me to be weary of the macaw. He was right, that damn bird bit me more than once. Before he left, I asked if he would be so kind as to turn on the TV so I could watch what was happening in New York. I remember his saying he didn’t want to pay me to watch TV, but when he turned it on almost immediately they reported that the Pentagon had been hit. We stood there, with the dog, the ferret and the fucking murderous bird, watching our country erupt into chaos.

After that my memories blur…

 

I remember Dan Rather getting choked up on David Letterman’s first show back on the air.

I remember President Bush throwing out the first pitch a Yankee Stadium.

 

Fifteen years.

Damn.

The Premier! The Polar A360 strapless HRM’s

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2015 by roninsherpa

The Premier! The Polar A360! 

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As you know, I am a Polar Brand Ambassador. A select few of us scruffy looking, nerf hearders, have been granted special permission to give the new A360 unit a unique, once in a lifetime test! I will be wearing this unit during the premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along with my Polar V800! I will be posting my own personal heart rate as I visit my life long friends R2D2, C3PO, Han, Luke and Leia along with all the new faces like Rey, Fin and the new Dark Lord Kylo Ren! It will show you the difference between the accuracy of the two units, and the data each collects. That way you can see Polar’s flagship: the ultra advanced, highly accurate V800, and the new strapless A360! I have already been given tickets to the IMAX 3D show on Thursday night, so the whole world can see just how nerdy I am and how badly I flip out seeing the Millennium Falcon! (It did the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, you know…)

I assure you that while my posts will show where all the excitement is in the movie, they will be spoiler free! I welcome the entire world into my Nerddom and Geekness. May the Force be with you!

“Put the A360 in the cargo hold.”

 

That time I broke a bone on a vegetable…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2015 by roninsherpa

I’ve cracked a rib.

How did it happen?

I would love to say I was scaling El Capitan, free style and slipped…

OR that when base jumping my parachute failed to open and I careened off of a glass skyscraper falling into the top of an ice cream truck…

OR as I was saving the orphans, nuns and pet rescue dogs, part of the burning building collapsed on me…

But no…

None of that happened.

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I was putting away the groceries and trying to organize the frozen veggies into a stack in the freezer. I was holding two or three in the crook of my right arm while stacking them in the freezer using my left. I smashed them against the door frame of the freezer to break up the ice and make them stack a little easier. So now I was standing there with the last package of California Blend Veggies pinned between my right arm and my chest, while I was breaking the ice on another one with my left hand. I could see there was a perfect place for the last one, but the large ball of ice/veggies needed to be broken to fit. I squeezed my right arm against my chest trying to crunch it when suddenly POW! I physically recoiled, stepping away from the freezer. It felt like I had been shot! It took my breath away.

It took a second, but I realized what had happened. I cracked a rib.

Crap.

Just below my right pec there is an area the size of a dime where when I take a deep breath it lights up. There is nothing a doctor can do for a broken rib, you just have to take it easy and let it heal. It just sucks for a while.

So no shit, there I was, no burning orphanage, no attacking Martians, and no skydiving accident…

I broke a bone on a vegetable.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

“100 Things” or “The Bucket List”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2015 by roninsherpa

Welcome to my updated list of:

 

100 Things to do before I die

This list is not in order of importance.

I recognize some of these are well outside my grasp but complacency is the mother of death.

Some are frugal while others are quite indulgent. Some are outright silly, but a man has to be able to laugh at himself. I encourage you to write your own list, and keep it in a place which can been seen daily. A goal is a dream with a timeline and ‘someday’ never comes unless you change today. You are worth big dreams.

1. Big Feet

2. Qualify for the Boston Marathon

3. Run all 5 Space Coast Marathons in the “Big Bang” Series, earning the 7 available medals

4. Run a marathon in all 50 states.

5. Run a marathon on all 7 continents

6. Badwater 135

7.  Marathon des Sables

8. Norseman

9. Ironman World Championships in Kona

10. See the Worlds Largest Frying Pan. It is in Wilmington, Del.

11. Buy a new car

12. Drive a Ferrari

13. Convince Congress to pass legislation to control electronic cigarettes as cigarettes and mandate displays be put behind the counter

14. 6 pack abs

15. Get over my anger and disappointment toward Lance Armstrong

16. Own a Range Rover with a winch

17. Restore a 1969 Mustang fastback painted red with a black hood

18. Visit Easter Island

19. Bora bora

20. Ride a bicycle in France

21. Organize a long weekend getaway with my girlfriend which she knows nothing about until I drive her to the airport

22. Own an Armani suit

23. Learn to speak French

24. Help pass legislation where electronic cigarettes are treated like cigarettes

25. Learn to cook 100 different meals

26. Own a condo

27. Visit the Sengaku-ji shrine in Shinagawa, Japan

28. Snowboard Aspin

29. Be a father

30. Learn to speak Danish

31. Fill my passport with stamps

32. Write a book

33. Know true love

34. Be in a movie or TV show

35. Meet Col. Chris Hadfield (astronaut)

36. Build my business

37. Sell my business

39. Earn someone’s complete trust

40. Play my sax in front of others with no fear

45. Learn to play “Lisa” “Pick up the pieces” and “Chicago Song”

46.

2014: A year’s adventures

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2015 by roninsherpa
Walking to the Start Line through The Siq

Walking to the Start Line through The Siq

2014 has been a busy year. There have been more events than what I’ve recorded here, but these are the highlights.

Winter

The first of the year had some of the worst snow in this area we’ve had in many years. Over 10 inches in some places with freezing rain, hail and sleet on top of that. People walked away from vehicles stuck on the interstate. The local municipalities do not possess equipment to deal with that type of weather, so we just had to wait it out. I was one of the lucky ones and never lost power.

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I stayed at home and watched the Sochi Olympics.

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I am a biathlon fan and Ole Einar Bjørndalen has been the man for many years. He has won more Winter Olympic medals than anyone, ever. He took a Gold medal in the Biathlon Sprint and helped the team take the Gold for Relay… and he’s 40. Most Olympians are in their teens or early 20’s yet Ole beat them solidly. It was awesome to watch.

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This year my volunteer work in the fight against cancer has continued. Working with The LIVESTRONG Foundation progressed to my being elected Senior Leader last year. The position brings the responsibility of training and directing new and existing Leaders within my region: NC, DE, VA, MD, and KY. I also assist LIVESTRONG HQ with their efforts, in building and maintaining relationships with our affiliated partners, like the YMCA and Camp Kesem. Over the winter I volunteered as a member of the Leader Training Advisory Council where I worked diligently with HQ and a select group of other Leaders helping to develop the new online training platform which will bring a clearer focus and better understanding of duties and responsibilities to an appointed volunteer Leader.

Spring

 

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In March I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to run in the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships. 30,000 other runners from all over the world came to take part. I was there working with my fellow LIVESTRONG Leaders, Anne Chen, Karen de Kerk and Jacob Elkjær. It was through Jacob’s hard work and organizing we were joined by over 100 supporters all wearing shirts bearing the LIVESTRONG Foundation logo.

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Over 30,000 runners took to the Copenhagen streets in the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships

Cancer does not care what nationality you are, who you pray to or what colour your skin is. Cancer is a bastard who wishes to rob you of joy. The LIVESTRONG Foundation works with their extensive network of survivors to bring hope, options and yes even joy back into the lives those dealing with cancer right now.

While at the World Half Marathon Championships I was able to meet with the reps of Polar Denmark and view the new V800 and V650. At the time, the V800 had just being unveiled to the public, but the V650 was still just a prototype.

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Copenhagen was founded as a city more than 600 years before the United States was even around. The food, culture, and atmosphere of Copenhagen is addictive. I look forward to spending more time there.

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LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman addresses the Leaders at the 2014 Assembly in Austin, TX.

In April, I traveled to Austin, TX for the LIVESTRONG Leader Assembly. While this beautiful group of people does not get together every year, when we do, it is fantastic. Leaders are people from all over the world who have but one common element: We hate cancer. We also love life and when we get together, it is easy to see how much. The Assembly is how we have received training, guidance and direction from HQ, not to mention fellowship with other survivors and caregivers. Every time I have the chance to be around other Leaders it fills me with purpose and hope.

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Dinner at LIVESRTONG HQ.

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Copenhagen Crew in Austin!

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Unity is strength.

Summer

I was asked to once again to travel to Washington DC and address Congress and the Senate for One Voice Against Cancer’s OVAC Lobby Day. 27 different cancer related organizations come together to ask Members of Congress and the Senate for their support of a $32 billion package which supported the National Institutes of Health, (NIH), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cancer Programs, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, (HRSA).

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With Congressman George Holding R-NC in The Rayburn Room of The Capitol Building

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Presenting Senator Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) with a lifetime achievement award for his work for Cancer.

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With Senator Kay Hagan in her DC office in Dirksen Senate Office Building

The 2014 OVAC was a wonderful success, gaining a lot of commitments and support. Congressman George Holding (R-NC) came off of the floor just to meet with me. It is wonderful to meet with professionals who care so much. I was also able to take part in presenting Senator Tom Harkin a Lifetime Achievement Award for is unending support.

While in DC I was also able to visit with a fellow Polar Ambassador, Cheryl Hori. Cheryl works on Capitol Hill and rubs elbows with the President like it’s no big deal. Cheryl was nice enough to give me a tour of the Capitol Building pointing out some really crazy details like bullet holes and beautiful out of the way art few tourists ever see. She also allowed me access to the secret underground Senate train which runs from the Capitol Building, to the Russell Senate Building. It was a very special thrill to ride the same rails as Presidents, Senators and heads of state! The ride only lasts a few minutes, but it is a part of Secret Washington I had only heard and read about. Thank you Cheryl!

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In the room intended to be George Washington’s tomb in the Capitol Building. That Star is the geographic center of Washington DC.

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In the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda

 Late Summer

Most of the rest of my summer was spent working, eating right, watching the hummingbirds fight over the sugar water and training for the Petra Desert Marathon.

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Training for Petra

The idea of traveling to the Middle East and running a marathon through the desert came from speaking with friends about their travels and adventures. Jacob earned the Norseman Black T Shirt, Anne summited Kilimanjaro… wanderlust and adventure burn deep in my soul like the red hot magma of a volcano. I trained in the middle of the day to prepare myself for the desert heat.

The Middle East

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Amman, Jordan

The sights, the sounds, the foods and the culture of Jordan brought adventure at every turn.

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Freshly squeezed juice from a street vendor in Madaba, Jordan.

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Anne and I visiting the Madaba Mosaic Map in the early Byzantine Church of Saint George at Madaba, Jordan.

Seeing the Madaba Mosaic Map was a real thrill. It was made sometime around 542 AD. Years later, in 746 Madaba was destroyed by a massive earthquake and the entire town was abandoned. The mosaic was not rediscovered until 1884. More than just art, the Madaba Map has proven to be a very accurate map of religious locations once thought lost, or even fictional.

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The 2014 Petra Desert Marathon

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Atop the desert precipice.

The arid desert heat was not the only challenge of the Petra Desert Marathon, the relentlessly brutal hill climbs would have taken any runner to task. The terrain was brutal with its steep pitches, and undulations. The 5km climb which happened at the deep end of the marathon, took its toll on me and I had hallucinations while on the course. I had been running with a woman named Odette from Cape Town until we got to that bloody hill. In the photo above you can see the road half way up becomes a wall which you have to somehow climb. I had to walk, I had to crawl, I had to… I blinked and as clear as day I was sitting in my mother’s winged back chair in the house I grew up in. The large red brick fireplace was in front of me with the huge, black steel, wood stove in it. I have the memory of this vision as clear as if it had actually happened. I saw the brass knobs on the wood stove and the small brass kettle which always held a bit of water. Then… things… shifted… and I was deep in the heart of a Middle Eastern desert, running a marathon again. It was surreal. I realized I had pushed my body’s reserves of sugar past a place I had ever been before. But then I remembered the my hidden trick for it: Pepsi. One of my running flasks held a few ounces of flattened Pepsi. It’s sugars react in my body much quicker and in a different way than Gatorade. Within minutes my mind was working again and I was able to catch up to Odette and Finish with her. It was the hardest bloody marathon I’ve ever done. I would do it again in a second!

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Running a marathon through a city carved from the living stone thousands of years ago was an adventure of a lifetime.

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Winners Dinner in Little Petra

Our Winners Dinner was held in an ancient smaller place known as Little Petra which is some 600 years older than Petra itself. We dined under a night sky so clear and so uninfluenced by light, we could see the Milky Way. We ate, we drank and we rocked out to German House Music.

The Jordan Adventure was awesome. The food, the friends, the history, the professionalism of our guides and of course the challenge of the marathon itself. I would go back and do it all again in a moment.

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Cancer doe not care what nationality you are. Cancer does not care what colour your skin is. Cancer does not care who you pray to. Cancer does not care about your hopes, dreams, goals or loves. Cancer does not care. I do.

Back home I moved into a new place. While I did not move far, I did move. My parents also moved. Their move was much more significant as they were coming from a house they had been in for almost 20 years.

Then it was time for Florida.

Fall

This is the fourth year in a row I have run the Space Coast Marathon in Fla. It is always held the weekend after Thanksgiving which makes it a perfect event. I see family, have a wonderful meal and then fly out of town the next day, and explore Kennedy Space Center. Over the years, I have witnessed rocket launches, made friends with actual astronauts and collected photographs of all manor of space craft. I am a total NASA Nerd. This marks the second year in what race organizers have called The Big Bang Series. For five consecutive years, each medal for both the Full and the Half, commemorates one of the Space Shuttles: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis. If a runner completes any three of these events, another medal dubbed the Milky Way will be awarded, and should a runner complete all five events a seventh medal titled the Intergalactic will be earned. I totally dig the Space Bling and intend to earn them all.

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All the Full and Half Big Bang Medals! 

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With Anne and Space Shuttle Atlantis

This year I was joined by my fellow LIVESTRONG Leader, Anne Chen. This was to be her first full marathon! It was also her first visit to Kennedy Space Center.

The Space Coast Marathon is special in a number of ways: First it does have the ‘space’ theme and each of the water stations have people dressed up in costumes like Mr. Spock, Jabba the Hutt, and Stormtroopers. The other thing to remember is that this event takes place in Florida, and is entirely on the waterfront. You can see pelicans, seagulls and if you are lucky, dolphins!

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Stopping at mile 4 for a moment to capture the sunrise

Anne and I separated during the start and I did not see her again until mile 20 or so. I had held onto a GU energy pack which had a little caffeine in it to give her, I knew she would need it. She looked tired, but was soldiering on. I said “You are doing it! Look at you!” She said her knee was bothering her, but she was OK. I gave her the GU, gave her some more reassuring words and I was off again.

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On the left is at mile 5 just after sunrise. On the right is just a few meters from the Finish Line.

This is my fourth Finish of the Space Coast Marathon, but I wanted to make sure it was special for Anne as it was her first ever. I collected my medal, (a lovely one by the way) found a Pepsi, and had a piece of pizza in the Finishers Village there in the park. While I was waiting I bumped into a few people I have only ever met through this race and congratulated them on their Finish. The announcer called Anne’s name and we all cheered and clapped! The final time did not matter because she Finished and we were all very proud of her. Anne collected her medal and mentioned her knee again. We found the med tent and had a nice sit down. A lovely attendant wrapped Anne’s knee with a large bag of ice and I got her a nice cold soda. I am very proud of Anne for pushing through the frustration of things not going exactly right and I commend her for having the awareness of not injuring herself further but accomplishing the goal. In my past I have at times “soldiered on” yet hurt myself worse.

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Finishers of the 2014 Space Coast Marathon! Anne’s knee wrapped with ice.

2014 has been a year of adventure and change. Last year I chose to end my career in the cycling world, so much of this year has been spent taking various classes and state proctored tests to acquire my licences to work in the insurance world: Life, Health, Property and Casualty along with a few others. Without the help, love and support of my family, friends and sponsors, this would all be impossible.My mother’s lasagna and a hug cures the darkest moments of self doubt. My father’s words of wisdom and his advice ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS works if I do what he tells me to.

It is my humble honor to be a Brand Ambassador of Polar Electro, makers of the finest, most accurate self monitoring devices on the planet. As a 46 year old athlete who travels the world and puts himself into new and different atmospheres, with new foods and differing qualities of water, I have to listen to my body and understand what it is saying in simple terms, and Polar does that.

X-Bionic manufactures articles of clothing which improve your body’s performance simply by wearing them. Whether it was the chill of the Scandinavian winter, the arid heat of a Middle Eastern desert, or the humid autumn of Florida, I have found X-Bionic provides tangible improvements to performance.

This year I have run my events in the Asics GEL Nimbus models 14 and 16. I hiked the ancient city of Petra in the Asics GT-2000. I believe Asics provides the highest quality, best fitting off the shelf running shoes on the market.

These adventures and this effort would not be worthwhile alone. A special thank you to my friend, colleague and partner in crime, Anne Chen.

Birthday Space Station

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2014 by roninsherpa

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I subscribe to http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ and you can too. It is a free service that works almost anywhere in the world and will alert you some 6-8 hours before the International Space Station flys over you.

I was thrilled that for the second year in a row I was going to have the chance to see the International Space Station on my birthday! I got the following message at 3:59am:

 

“Time: Sat Dec 27 5:39 PM, Visible: 6 min, Max Height: 48 degrees, Appears: NW, Disappears: ESE”

 

I was thrilled! When the ISS is visible for 6 minutes it means it is passing almost directly overhead. Most of the time it is 3 or 4 or 5 minutes, but at 6 minutes it covers the entire sky. When you are looking for the ISS, understand you are not seeing a spaceship. What you see is a dot of light. NASA says it is the “third brightest object in the sky,” the other two being the moon and sun. You can’t mistake it for a low flying airplane because it doesn’t blink. It is also traveling faster. Relative to the ground, the ISS travels some 17,500 miles per hour, circumnavigating the entire Earth in only 90 minutes. It is moving damn fast!

Last year on my birthday I watched a Russian Cosmonaut on NASA TV, live from the ISS taking a space walk to do repairs to the outside of the Station itself. That night we watched as the ISS orbited across the night sky.

This year I was poised and ready to see the station again. I was going to try to get a photograph of myself with the ISS in the background because I am just a massive nerd like that. It is bright enough to be in your selfie on a clear night. My trouble was that a massive cloud cover was drifting across the sky just at 5:25 when I was outside waiting. It seemed to be a race. 5:39 came and I knew the dot of light was overhead but those clouds had come from the NW and were traveling ESE. I was going to have to be lucky and wait for the final few seconds to try and get the photo. The issue is that the lower the ISS gets on the horizon, the atmosphere distorts the light and you may not see it go all the way to the treeline. It was a race. I was either going to run out of visible time, or visible sky.

Then it happened, with only the narrowest of views, between the clouds and a building, one little speck of light dropped from the clouds! As you see with the photo above there was only the narrowest of margins.

Fuzzy, off in the distance, through the haze of clouds, and atmosphere, there is a little dot of light in my photo. It is the International Space Station and seeing it on the same day two years in a row is pretty fracking awesome.

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