Wednesday, July 27, 2005

'Catastrophic Success,' or 'Mission Accomplished'

So, I didn't post yesterday, so technically my goal of posting every day for 30 consecutive days didn't happen. But, you'll live. i'll attempt to make up for it by talking about some success stories by other people.

Return To Space

First, the shuttle launch. I was in Vegas the morning of the launch, so since I didn't have to start my work duties out there until 10 AM Vegas time, I was able to watch the launch live at 7:30 AM. It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. The utter speed of the shuttle was so incredible. The reporters said at top speed, the shuttle could fly from New York to LA in ten minutes. Too bad we can't all get around that quick.

Here's video of the launch:

Here's video of the fuel tank seperating from the shuttle:

NASA's official page on the shuttle mission:

Tour De Lance

I tried earnestly to follow Lance Armstrong's attempt to win his 7th Tour De France. I read the daily reports several times, and I have come to realize I have no idea how cycling races work. Somehow it is a team sport, but I can't figure it out. I have heard that NASCAR is a team sport as well, though I'm not sure if it's the same type of thing.

Anyhow, I did learn something this week. And yes, I am aware that practically everyone else already knew this, but I didn't know that Lance had never won a Tour De France before his comeback from cancer. Again, I do realize he wrote a bestselling, highly inspirational book on this, which led to the proliferation of those yellow rubber wristbands to be worn everywhere, but I can't be the ONLY one to have not known this, so I am writing it anyway. He said that the reason he was always a failure in the French races was because he always dreaded going to Europe. He was consumed by his own negativity, and ultimately the cancer helped him focus on how fortunate he was, and what an amazing opportunity it was to be racing in this famous race. I now have a greater understanding of Lance Mania, though no better an understanding of the rules of his sport. Now, can his girlfriend release her new album already?

The Klosterman

Besides accumulating frequent flyer miles, time for leisure reading is the major benefit of travelling via airplane. I have always enjoyed reading Chuck Klosterman's columns in Esquire magazine, but I just discovered his book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. A hysterical read. I am not even done with the book yet, but he's already become one of my favorite authors. Somehow managing to be ludicrous and dead-on insightful at the same time, I can't wait to share this book with friends. Klosterman examines small items in pop culture and analyzes them for clues on how they make statements on society as a whole. From The Real World to Billy Joel to John Cusak, it's the most interesting and funny book I've read in forever.

Thanks, Mr. Klosterman. You made being stuck in McCarren Airport for 6 hours not such a terrible experience. And that's despite having to listen to Rich Little's dreadfully unfunny impression of Kirk Douglas, warning passengers of the dangers of the moving sidewalk, on electronic loop over and over and over again for that same six hours.

"Hi this is Rich Little as Kirk Douglas, reminding you to watch your step. Otherwise you might fall on your dimple."

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