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Everything posted by 2112

  1. Well, I couldn't sleep tonight, so I went downstairs to "the batcave" in my garage (or man cave if you will), to troll the web. I started feeling nostalgic about the good ole days, like when HAIF was hopping and I was a regular here (circa 2003) And, it made me remember something else... anyone remember before the internet exploded..."bulletin boards?" BBS's they were called. The one I remember was "Houston After Dark". Wow, that was some cool stuff, it was all text based, with dialup modems! I remember my computer during that time, it was a 386SX clone, years before Pentiums came along. With those BBS's, you could download programs, files, share stuff. There were "chat rooms". And, there were real socials where people could meet and get to know each other. It was a lot of fun. Man, I miss those days. They were simpler. No frills. No complication. Just pure innocent coolness. It seemed more magical, as computers were starting to take over, but before they became the common appliances we now take for granted. Sometimes, I want to go back to those simpler times...
  2. Houston19514 you are still here! Well, thought I would check up a bit on the old forum.... wow, was a year when I last posted! Anyways, I see so much building downtown going on, so here checking up on all the projects. Was in the heights today looking for, uhh.... well, a disco shirt and leisure suit.. (don't ask) OK, SINCE YOU ASKED, I play bass in a Disco and 70s band! And we wear vintage appropriate costumes at our shows. The crowds love it!. ANYWAYS, while driving back from the heights, couldn't help but admire all the new buildings going up. Amazing. Reminds me of the years leading up to the last superbowl. Well, anyways, I'll stick around more often. Always was a cool site! -2112 p.s. In case anyone needs to book a groovy 70s band, check us out... www.that70sthing.com
  3. HI EVERYONE!!!!! I've been away from the forum for years and finally decided to come visit again! I was surprised my account was still active! Guess having 2 daughters, and just life, I guess, got in the way Anyways, I don't know if anyone remembers me, but I use to enjoy terrorizing our Dallas brethren just a little, for the sheer sport of it, remember? Anyways, I am much more mature now....much more (ahem, sarcasm enabled). Just thought I would say Hi.... Do you guys still have the HAIF socials like the good old days? Just wondering..... 2112
  4. I have to admit I was a little shocked when I read the Forbes article...and I immediately thought "oh I cant wait to read all the trash talking that will be comming out of all the Htown haters". Sure enough, I went to the Austin Stateman website, and there it was, a huge article written to dump all over Houston, and to re-proclaim that superior "cooleness" and "weirdness" that Austin supposedly has. Actually, in the comments to the article, there were surprisingly a lot of supporters defending Htown believe it or not. So it wasnt all bad. And it was fun to read comments on how everyone is tired of all the "weird" references comming out of that town. "But Austin is WEIRD...please please please think that we are Weird" LOL.
  5. Actually, I wasn't going for the cafein jitery jumpy excited cant stop talking cafein tone. I was going for sarcam. Guess I failed.
  6. Hi everybody! So what’s up these days up there in Dallas? Haven't heard much in a long time. Ok, actually I have heard quite a bit. For starters, is it me, or have they reincarnated the old J.R. Ewing show? I could have sworn I saw a commercial for a new series called “Dallas”. I can almost hear the Dallas theme song playing in my head already. Oh, yea, I also read an article yesterday (was it yesterday? I think it was yesterday)…regarding a piece in the Chronicle, regarding Dallas yet again. Anyways, there was supposedly a response from our neighbors to the north, summarized in yet another piece entitled: “Dallas gets it’s panties in a wad”. With a title like that, I had to go investigate. Regrettably, I couldn’t seem to download that response. My computer is a bit slow these days, so I gave up trying. But it sounds like there were words exchanged or something. I mean, I’m no rocket scientist, so I may be wrong, but it just SEEMS like there might have been some edgy discussion worth reading. So back to the show, when does it start? I can’t wait for the show to start on my television, so I can watch it.
  7. I heard that negotiations were held with Tampax for stadium naming rights, but the city withdrew the contract on the count of there were too many strings attached. (sorry)
  8. More cool news. The wife and I went to the final SAIL "get together", at the Gilruth Center (outdoor pavillion for employee picnics and get togethers). There were people there we havent seen for over 10 years and more, plus all surviving SAIL employees. People that started the place since 1974, Mostly, everyone will be layed off, so this was sorta a final time to get together and celebrate the Shuttle program. To our surprize, the center director showed up, and spoke elequently. There were several astronauts there...but surprize number one...the commander for the last final shuttle mission was there...he hung out with us and spoke and all was good. That was a huge honor to have him aknowledge the laboratory and its history. What I was really happy to hear was center director Coats' vision on making the SAIL a real awesome historical presentation for the eventual public Space Center Houston tour. His vision as he spoke to us, is to make the SAIL look like the real thing. (I dont know...maybe add the payload bay doors??) The cockpit will be showcased, along with all the avionics. And in many ways it will be better than the retired orbiters that Houston didnt get, because ours, the SAIL, will showcase the real complex electrical, avionics, wiring, and engineering that makes the shuttle fly. The way it was described, I sorta see it as a testament to the engineering of this incredible machine. In short, it will preserve the work that Houston played in the Shuttle. I can now feel proud to one day take my future grand children in there, and show them where we once worked for many years! I'm so excited about this! It's a sorta of justice, we all felt it tonight. Here is a cool pic with the wife, STS 135 commander, and yours truly...
  9. I notice the feel you are refering too, when comming into Houston from being out of town for some time. Things start becoming more industrialized quickly...more concrete, more buildings close together, steel structures of the many freeway interchanges all over the place, the huge industry on the east side and the port, with the sea of refineries and factories with the smoke stacks, and so on. And then there is the mass of cars and humanity. It sorta actually wears me down too. By the time i drive into Houston and finally get to my house, I feel drained of energy. I know all this stuff is what many people outside of Houston point to as the negatives of this city, but I actually kinda like it, believe it or not. When you finally arive into the downtown area, it really feels huge. After not being here for days, the buildings really look massive. It's kinda crazy how the 59 elevated has old warehouses on the east side, some butting up against the elevated itself, and the older downtown buildings to the right with the GRB practially right up against the west side of the elevated, with those bizzare freeway ramp looking things that goes right into the building itself! Having said all that, we go to Austin alot, and it's completely the opposite. The north west part as you exit Austin around Bee Cave, wow. The natural hills and lakes. Houston of course has nothing like that at all. I get a little jelous that we dont. But I'm ok with Houston just the way it is I guess.
  10. I have some positive news on this topic. I just found out that the SAIL (Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory) - the prototype of the Shuttle here at JSC/Houston...the first one to which the real shuttles were eventually built to....will not be dismantled, but instead will become part of the Space Center Houston tour...it will live on!!! If you dont remember my post early on in this thread, this is the engineering and electrical "iron bird". It is in fact the first Space Shuttle prototype. ALso, the article in the above post has a good write up on this. My wife has worked there 23 years...and of course is being layed off along with the 2000 shuttle workforce. But we are both happy that the laboratory will live on as a historical portrait to the complexity of the shuttle. Yea, I know, a real shuttle in Houston would have been the right thing to have bestowed to us. But preserving the SAIL lab is at least something to be proud of, and a reminder of Houston's role in the design and engineering that went on behind the scenes.
  11. LOL! Never seen that sign. But I have seen other weird stuff. Like helicopters hovering over my building at JSC, followed by doods sporting black military outfits and machine guns (I work in bldg. 44, where my old project lead decided to go shoot someone). I drank heavily that night. Oh yea, and one time before that, I had to change lanes and pass a slow moving X-38 spacecraft being transported on a flatbed. That was kinda funny to me, because I remember thinking: "Wow, I'm peed-off at this slow moving spaceship that wont get out of my way." Distant memories now. Good thing that NEW memories will be forthcomming: "would you like fries with that?". Sorry, I'm in a sick humurous mood right now...
  12. You might recall in a past post I mentioned the Houston based Space Shuttle that never flies, but is a very high fidelity electrical replica - in fact the first prototype - to which the real shuttles were built. In that post I mentioned some detail of this place, the Shuttle Avionics Integration Lab, or SAIL. Here is a cool article from ABC. It's a pretty good write up on it. LINK: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/space-shuttle-atlantis-retires-ghost-shuttle-houston-johnson/story?id=14084176
  13. “Once those volumes start through the canal — it’s three years away, but when customers look to setting up distribution networks, this area will definitely take off,” Hoof said. "...HOOF said..." In my older age, and to the despair of my wife, I still cant seem to shake my childish impulse to laugh at any mention or suggestion of...well....things like "HOOF". I cant imagine this poor soul's 4th grade experience and the teasing for having such a misfortune of a last name. Granted, the great rocket scientist Max FAGET (pronounced Fu-jae) probably had it worse. Be that as it may, I can only fantisize that our 4th grader friend may have had a classmate with the last name of "CAMEL". I actually had a classmate by the name of Jill Camel, down in south Texas. So it COULD happen.
  14. Hello all. I was just wondering how things have advanced with the Port over the years...how has business evolved, that kind of thing... -2112
  15. ...oh, by the way. Last week there was an official corporate announcment...1,200 Shuttle layoffs in Florida, and 800 in Houston. All Space Shuttle related. 800 in Houston is by far the largest RIF I have ever seen at once. But I think there has been close to 3,000 during the last 1.5 years, but those were spread out over time. This new one will be staged in a 3 week period if I read it correctly. Probably because they can't process that many people at the same time. Hopefully, the year 2012 will see an upswing in new work. I keep my hopes up for the new heavy-lift rocket, although I dont know what part JSC will actually get to work. Either way, I try to be hopefull as that keeps my sanity intact! Beer helps, too -2112
  16. An interesting update: As part of the layoff/RIF for Shuttle workers here at JSC, there is a “dismantling” effort to, well, dismantle the Shuttle Avionics Integration Lab, which as you may recall, is a full engineering, full scale shuttle simulator, but without wing or engines. It has a real cockpit and all the avionics exposed – the fuselage is full length, but you see no outside skin. You instead see all the wires, cables, and all the “innards”. Someone brought up this: “maybe after the dismantling, it could then be re-built inside Space Center Houston”. It’s all just talk right now, and who knows if this will ever really happen. And I suspicion it could never be done in time, as the dismantling will begin probably this summer, and it would cost additional money. But my opinion is it would be better than nothing for our city. It would give insight to visitors of the REAL workings of the Shuttle, which to me, is more important as that is how the thing actually works. This would showcase the real role that Houston has – engineering all the complexity that is underneath the hood. Probably a long shot. But I hope it happens, not only because it would temporarily delay some layoffs, but also because it would give a tiny bit acknowledgment to Houston’s role. I know it would definitely mean a lot to those who worked on it for so many years and decades. -2112
  17. Ok, there seems to be a lot of discussion on other sites regarding the role that California and Houston had in the design of the Space Shuttle. As the negative feelings have not left me yet (it will be a long time), I want to say some more things about that subject of the California/Houston debate, mainly, as a sort of therapy for me that will keep me from writing some really ugly things on some NYC forums, but also, to add some insight, for whatever its worth. And…there is a lot of trash talk out there on what city did more for the Shuttle design, and the talk is coming from a lot of writers who are speaking from zero experience. I want to tell them some things about the Space Shuttle…because I was there. The bottom line: Both California (Palmdale and Downey) and Houston had important roles early on. For example, the development of the on-board guidance computers, known as General Purpose Computers (GPC’s) was largely an effort that occurred in many places. The Primary Avionics Software was written by IBM in Houston, but the Backup Flight Software was written by Rockwell in California. And thier were individuals here and there who where the only experts in thier field. The alogirthm for the final approach and landing? This one guy named "Howard". The couple of experts that did the reliability analsys? I think it was 2 people, one from Houston and one from MIT. Yet, it was all integrated as a whole and tested, in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) in JSC Houston. This was the central place. Always was. I will add that the computers themselves were manufactured in upstate Owego/New York. But all the integrated testing – as a complete Shuttle system - was done by Rockwell, Bendix, and Lockheed, in Houston, who had different roles in the laboratory at JSC. In fact, when I joined one of these avionics teams (for an upgrade to the onboard GPC computers in the mid 80’s), there were people from all over the place working on it. I worked with California folks who did the backup flight system (BFS) software, with the teams in Houston for both the hardware and the primary flight software, but I rarely worked with Owego folks. But they all came here to JSC. As time went on and the shuttle program matured, most of the effort consolidated in Houston, until Houston was the primary place for fully integrated Shuttle avionics operations. So, for the majority the program, it was here, period. But at the beginning, California had a big role – for the orbiter, not the whole Shuttle. But they didn’t do everything, just like JSC/Houston didn’t do everything. So I will say this in summary: in my opinion from having worked intimately with the Shuttle avionics: I will say that Houston and Palmdale/Downey had the largest roles in integrating the critical avionics systems that fly it, in the beginning. I think California should get recognition for their early orbiter design work. And they got that on Tuesday, they are going to get a Shuttle. Florida should have gotten recognition for Launch operations, that is undisputable. And it did. But of course Houston should have always gotten the recognition too, as it emerged as the prominent central location for Space Shuttle design and mission operations, for the longest amount of time. The SAIL laboratory was a 3-shift, 24-hour operation for decades. I worked some of those shifts. A lot of people did. And of course there are all the other non avionics systems that JSC worked on which I haven’t even talked about (thermal systems, power, simulators for the astronauts, mission control, etc. etc. etc.) Houston is the undisputed central location for the Shuttle, of any place. There were enough Shuttle orbiters for all three locations, and the Smithsonian. Yet Houston got snubbed in a very suspicious way, given the decades of its history. And that history is undisputed.
  18. Where is 35, over by the "vacuum chambers"? Thanks. FYI, I'm bldg. 44
  19. Bigtex, thank you so much for your kind words. As has been recently discussed in the local pubs around NASA...it is somewhat comforting that the entire city seems to be on our side, and is just as upset about what happened as we are. It's like haveing people backing you up in a fight, even though we dont know thier names or who they are. Let me tell you the pubs and bars around here the last several days have been filled with much cursing!! And Redscare...good to hear from everyone again! Yes, I remember that happy hour in the heights! That was several years back...I wanna say.....5 years ago or so?? -2112
  20. If I may add to my post above, as a side note, and to clarify some of the history of Space Shuttle…Houston has indeed been the center of the design of the spacecraft from the very beginning. I am talking about the 1973 timeframe when it all began. The full integrated spacecraft avionics, that is, all the electronics, the main guidance computers, the engine interface units, the main engine controllers, all the data bus wiring, the power systems, star trackers….all of the complex systems or “guts” that make the shuttle fly…live in one central place where it all came together. That place is within one building inside JSC. It is called the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). From the very beginning, this is where it all happened. To this day, it is the only fully integrated space shuttle testbed. It is physically the same length and size, complete with cockpit, and is always used prior to every shuttle mission to confirm that the software that fly’s the spacecraft is reliable and performs with integrity, for every mission , and before the actual launch of the real bird. In fact, all space shuttles have a vehicle number, which starts with “OV”, for “orbital vehicle”. This is the technical term for what is known as the space shuttle orbiter. And guess where the first serial number “OV” is? It is this SAIL laboratory in JSC, in Houston. In other words, it is essentially “serial No. 1”. And it is still there. I know this because I worked in that building in the 80’s and early 90’s, and it is where my wife has always worked since the 1980’s. It is essentially a space shuttle with all its skin removed, such that all the wiring and electronic “black boxes” are fully exposed for the engineers and technicians to perform work on. Obviously the engines and rockets are not there inside the building, so those 2 things are simulated, which is also another part of the SAIL laboratory. This place in JSC is where any problem that may occur on a real mission…is actually troubleshot, and solutions found. I mention this because although the orbiter of the space shuttle was manufactured in California, the true and fully integrated testing and full validation...where the critical systems were first proved, and blessed, occurred at JSC. It started in Houston in 1973, and it is still operational today.
  21. It's been a while since I posted, I think it's been several years. For anyone who remembers me, I work at NASA as a contractor engineer, and have a huge love affair with the City of Houston. I spend my time between my home and work in the NASA area, and also enjoy being in the city every chance I get. The space program and the city of Houston are two things I am extremely passionate about. So as you can imagine, I along with many others feel the gut sinking emotion of the loss that this city has taken with not being selected as home for a retired shuttle. I am putting this politely, because in reality, I am so angry I can almost not function. This is such as huge punch in the nose for not only us who have spent most of our professional lives in the space program, but also for the city that has had its identity stepped on with the asinine decision that occurred on Tuesday. To put things more in the vernacular, there have now been around 3,000 space workers laid off in the JSC community just within the last 2 years. We have seen project cancelation after project cancelation. The losses are now weekly in this place. I myself have moved from project to project in recent years just so that I can continue to feed my family and keep a roof over their heads. And my wife…her last day after 24 years on Space Shuttle will be this July. She will be amongst the final group laid off from the Space Shuttle program. Even though, she and I still feel the pride, and understand that some things must eventually come to an end. I move from project to project without hesitation as needed because I love the space program and because I love the fact that it is a part of the great city of Houston. What I do not have any more tolerance for, however, is the steady kicks in the stomach our programs has received continuously this past 2 years. Amongst what is being allowed to be thrown away are extremely unique talented people, many of them our elders whom we are fortunate to work with, with their years of corporate knowledge of what it takes to put humans in space, and do it correctly. I will tell you that a lot of these people simply cannot be replaced…they have stored in their minds the lessons learned, their innovations, and most important their realism on what it took to design the great machines of Space Station, Space Shuttle, Apollo, and its predecessors. This knowhow can only come from having been there a long time. Yet this unofficial brain trust is steadily being thrown away. They are quickly disappearing. In the face of all this, it would have been nice for our leaders to show some compassion, to place a symbol of all this work in its rightful home. This did not occur. And so my disgust will most definitely be reflected towards those leaders, come election time. -2112
  22. In some ways, the look and feel of Dallas mirrors the look and feel of its mind-set. Dallas’s skyline looks like it is trying to be something big, and that reach is mirrored by the many proclamations one hears coming out of the area. You hear a lot of “New York”, “cosmopolitan”, “fashion” and that kind reference. And then there is all that other innuendo that, again, point to a reaching for something bigger, like when the phrase “city” is used by those folks to mentally “annex” some of the surrounding cities, including the annexation of Fort Worth, in order to present an implied increase in the appearance of size. I see that kind of thing a lot too. This, again, is that reaching for something…something it wants to be, but that right now, isn’t. I’m not really sure what to make of all that. Because when you look at New York, and then you look at Dallas, there is divergence in just about everything: size, impact, sheer magnitude, etc. It’s obvious. I mean, New York stands on its own almost like an entire different planet. The closest second is half it’s size, and that city in the west coast looks nothing like New York. But seriously, I like the look of Dallas. In fact, the natural beauty of the rolling hills as you approach its downtown coming from the south is something that is lacking in the more flat parts of Texas. It feels more like Texas in many ways, with its beautiful prairie and rolling hills all around it.
  23. Minor Chimminie Dammage and fence fell. Lost 2 large trees - but luckily they fell away from the House. So we did well. Sent my wife and 2 daughters to northwest side for the storm, while I rode it out in Clear Lake. Glad to see all HAIF members surviving.
  24. Back on line finally. Just got power on around 2:00am, Wednesday morning. Man, it's nice to have power, cant wait to get some ice made, and A/C!!! Hope everyone is ok here on HAIF.
  25. I'm not sure what I said to warrant the "CBD feitshism" comment. The great downtowns and cities that are really exciting happen for a reason. They happen with time and vision. Maybe some of them start out as simple dreams. That's where I am at this point. Sure, I think it's bad to simply copy another city, that's cheasy. But I know our city can do better with time and persistence. And since I will not ever give up on Houston, I refuse to stop dreaming about what it could become. We can have a blan central city if we allow it and just sit around and delicate flower about it. Or we can be persistent and drive a consistent message "out there" so that maybe someday it will force something good to start happening.
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