it is starting to be springish here in Houston, and I’ve been out doing some yard work. In our front yard there is a section which used to have a couple of large trees in it (as you can see in this picture from Google street view).
Here is what that part of our yard (to the right of the driveway) currently looks like.
One of the things that we’ve done in that area is planting a couple of peach trees. It will be at least a couple of years until we get any peaches, but here is a picture of one of them with some blooms on it.
This one had blooms on it when we purchased it so, We can’t lay claims to having green thumbs yet. We also planted some raspberries and grapes in the back yard, and are also hoping to plant a lemon and a pomegranate tree as well.
On Christmas morning (after we opened stocking stuffers, but before we opened presents), we sang some songs, read a scripture passage and then did a wee bit of reminiscing about Christmas’ past. Here’s the video of the reminiscing part. http://youtu.be/2m2pGP1vJV8http://youtu.be/2m2pGP1vJV8
Hmm, according to my thesaurometer, I’ve already used up my quotient for the year for the word “reminisce”.
One of our family traditions is to open stocking stuffers during breakfast on Christmas morning (and to make sure everyone has a few small stocking stuffers). Part of this tradition is that the Huber guys get one or more matchbox cars as part of their stuffers. For your enjoyment is a timelapse video of our fun Christmas morning breakfast together. The young man in black with his back to the camera is Rett, who was able to spend a couple of weeks with us around Christmas this year.
I opened one of my regular gifts before breakfast, as I knew that it was a kit for the iPad which provided a tripod mount for it. I setup the iPad on a tripod, and kicked off the time lapse video recording, taking one shot every 5 seconds. Post video, there was some additional doctoring done to slow to down a bit (extending the video from the original 35 seconds out to about 2.5 minutes, adding some old video artifacts, and a (questionable) soundtrack.
Hope you enjoy it! Today we’re hoping to head off to Galveston and to hit Rudy’s BBQ with Rett.
One of the areas at Space Center Houston that the younger set enjoyed was the kid’s play area, with an Angry Birds theme. Many thanks to Daelynn who took most of these pictures.
When dealing with the gallery format, you can get the full picture by double-clicking on it which opens a window with full gallery mode (which also allows you to comment on individual pictures). Enjoy!
The Fun Of Having a Big Brother Visit (and, yes, being able to heat the pool on warmer December days helps)
The Houston Hubers are enjoying having son and brother Rett visit us for a couple weeks! We heated the pool yesterday when we had company, and there is a bit of residual heat left today. Rett joined joined the rest, and hilarity ensued.
What a great way to celebrate Heidi’s 11th birthday today!
You’ll notice that the two younger guys have their wetsuits on, which keeps them a bit warmer and gives them a bit of extra buoyancy.
Rather than comment on each picture, I’ll just point out that even though several pictures look alike, notice the stages of water gun streams snaking their way to their intended targets.
The second stop on the tram tour was at the Rocket Park. Out front, they had some older rockets which were used for early Mercury missions and to push early satellites into orbit. The big feature was inside the building, where a Saturn V rocket was on display. This is the rocket that got men to and from the moon back around the time that I was born. My photos from this part aren’t really complete, as I was engaged in some other creative work, which will show up in one of the next couple of posts. But there are pictures of people here who you know and love, so if you want to find out more about just the rocket side, there’s some good sources on the Internet.
This is a picture of the lower fuselage (I’m sure there is a more ‘rockety’ term, maybe ‘Stage 1 ancillary exterior’).
By this part in the tour, the younger ones were done with reading exhibits and walking slowly.
A couple of pictures trying to capture the size of the rocket.
Some facts about the Saturn V rocket.
Some of my most favorite people in the world.
And to finish off this particular post, here are some pictures of us looking closeup at the rocket. These pictures were taken of the top of Stage 2 showing the fuel (or possibly oxygen) tank, as well as looking up into the next stage. I haven’t taken the time to really understand how this rocket worked, but I’m guessing that the big open space that we are looking at was where the lunar lander was located during the trip into space.
This was the second and last stop on the tram tour, I think I have two more posts and then we’ll be done with Space Center Houston.
On the tram ride, there were two buildings that we stopped to tour. This post is about our tour of the
Space Vehicle Mockup facility. We were pretty happy to get there, as we were all pretty cold from the Tram cross-campus trip.
This building is one that the astronauts use to train on different space vehicles, mocked up in real life. The tour consisted of walking down a second floor hallway with full glass windows overlooking the facility. I didn’t see any astronauts, but took pictures of some of the other nifty things.
The Soyuz capsule is the current way to get to and home from the International Space Center. (At this point I need to make the caveat that the knowledge being shared here is not extensively researched, but is from my memory, so while I believe it to be the case, it may not be strictly true). It is launched on Russian rockets from Kazahkastan, and currently is the primary vehicle to and from the ISS.
I’m not sure what to say about Brock, other than he and I stuck closely together during the tour.
Some of the things, particularly the work areas didn’t look really cool. You’d probably never try and sell lockers as “designed and used by NASA”, but I guess to keep costs down, you don’t really need outer-space looking designer lockers, computers, screens or tools.
On one of the tables, were two of these sewing machines. Just image the sales pitch that you could come up with for those… “Singer sewing machines, used by astronauts for holes in their suits, just imagine what they could do for you”.
This particular item was used for training in docking vehicles. Apparently, the docking apparatus has to be pretty versatile, as I guess you don’t want to bounce off it, or dock haphazardly in space. It looks less unwieldy (maybe you could say “it is more wieldy”) than the apparatus seen elsewhere used for docking supply ships to Skylab.
I didn’t quite catch the tour guide’s talk about these, but I’m thinking that they are different robotic prototypes that were in development at some point, or are really great and will be used going forward.
Here is a bigger picture of the quad-sort of thing. I’m not sure what use it would be, other than the obvious quad like functionality that it seems to have. Do you talk to the robot front half of the machine? “Let’s go a 2.3 miles southeast, but watch out for barbed wire”. Do you pull on his ears to steer? The seat also looks a bit uncomfortable for bouncing around the lunar landscape.
I also am not sure the functionality of this particular robot is or was. The tour guide talked about how sensitive the touch and movements were in that the robot could turn individual pages of a book. Come to think of it, Brock can do that too!
This one is interesting as it is one of the new Orion capsules, the first of which they just flew on its first test-flight this week. It is supposed to be the next version of NASA space vehicle, likely more functional and comfortable than the old Mercury and Apollo capsules ever were.
These were possible future space habitats, maybe picture them on the surface of the moon or Mars, or the pages of a Popular Science magazine from 30 years ago. I guess if you are going to live on the moon you have to sleep and eat somewhere. They seem like they would feel a little constricting though.
This is a possible vehicle for getting around some distant planet, moon or asteroid, maybe while wearing a bulky space suit. The tires and undercarriage seem like massive overkill- they remind me of the wheels and tires that we used to install on cultivators (an oversimplification of my Dad’s business while I was growing up). It would have been fun to have seen someone trying to drive this around, but alas no astronauts were training that day. I guess that astronauts get Saturdays off as well.
That wraps up the first building of the tram tour. Please forgive any mocking tone that you detect while discussing NASA technology. I’ve heard (but need to get this post done without being sidetracked any further, so am not researching this) that the computers in the space shuttles were 386 computers, like the one that I bought in 1990. Given that the last one flew in 2011, that’s pretty old technology.
I didn’t get a picture of this, but one of the strange things about driving around the Johnson Space Center campus were all of the classic-type bicycles (i.e. pre-dating 10 speeds, anyone remember those?) parked around the campus. My take is that people use them to get around the large campus from building to building, or maybe ride them from their cars to their offices. There certainly wasn’t room for any of them to hop on the tram.
Right after we arrived at Space Center Houston we needed to find bathrooms. Right after the bathrooms, we saw the lineup for the tram ride, which was leaving in just a few minutes. So, we decided that it would be good to go for the tour.
So, this is all 14 of us on the tram. We took up the front 3 rows of one of the cars. Prior to getting on the tram, we had to have our picture taken as a group for security reasons, possibly since we were going on a tour around the Johnson Space Center.
Ben figures that he should be in on the picture as well.
At this point everyone is pretty happy, once we go out into the wide open spaces, and the blowing cold everyone got pretty cold. Being used to Houston weather, I don’t think that any of us were dressed warmly enough.
At this point, you are probably wondering if this post is only pictures taken of people on the tram, while they are still happy because they aren’t cold yet. You’re right! More pictures coming up.
We (or rather I) hadn’t read the description of the tram tour, or understand that there were actually two different tours (we took the blue tour, but there was also a red tour available). This particular tour made two stops where everyone got off and went into a building for a tour. But those details will be part of future posts, so I won’t cover them now.
Huber boys and face-making, I just don’t understand it. Also, did you see Danaya and Daelynn in the background taking a picture of themselves?
November has been a busy month, and a big hilight was having the Cam & Coralie Koch family visit us. (By way of explanation, Coralie is my younger sister, Cam is her husband, and they have four children Ellie, Kayli, Kiersten, and Ethan who are good friends and cousins). They spent a week at our place in early November 2014, and we were able to spend two Saturdays together on outings in the Houston area .
On the first Saturday together, we spent the day at Space Center Houston, the tourist part of the Johnson Space Center. I have a lot of pictures that I will post (likely spread over 5 blog posts). Rather than a lot of words of explanation, I am going to attempt to use the Gallery format, and embed a lot of the stories into the “Description” field of each picture. OK (says Ben about a week later – that is not going to work – so it is going to look like a traditional post with inserted pictures). On to Space Center Houston.
Upon arriving at Space Center Houston, the first thing that you see is this large, real Boeing 747 carrying a real Space Shuttle. The technical NASA term for the aircraft is the SCA – Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. It (and a sibling) were used to take the Space Shuttles from wherever they landed (typically at an Air Force base in California, although I could be mistaken) back to Florida for the next mission.
And a bit later (on the tram tour which you will hear more about in future posts) we had this view of the Shuttle and the SCA.
The next picture taken in the parking lot was this great picture of Heidi. It was pretty cold that day, so she is sort of bundled up and is possibly shivering.
The rest of this first SCH post is just going to be some of the random people pictures (random pictures of people you know rather than pictures of random people – although upon review, there are random people in the background of some of the photos). Most of these were taken waiting in line for a specific theater showing of current happenings in space.
Here is Heidi and Kiersten, good friends.
Next up are some pictures of Lori, Danaya, and Daelynn.
And last up are some pictures of Brock, those are always a hit (with us anyway), and we always end up with quite a bunch of them. He’ll be growing up quickly, so enjoy them while you can.
And that’s it for this post. The next posts will have a little more detail about the rest of the Space Center Houston visit.