Sunday July 13, 2008
Tom, Mary Beth, Kristin and Ephraim get up early in the morning to go see the beach before they leave Cali. The rest of the group slept in for a while longer. The four beach goers quickly grabbed a bagel from the hostel cafeteria and were on their way. On the way back they stopped by a gift shop and Tom tried to buy a T-shirt for Cassie. Mary Beth wanted this super awesome cute shirt but they didn’t have it in the right size. The four of them got back quickly showered and quickly packed up their belongings. We stuffed all of our suit cases in the maroon convertible and then headed off to the crepe place for breakfast. We arrived at the restaurant to see Jay, Kim and some Ames Academyites. We wished them farewell as they left and moved onto the crepes…mmmm.. crepes.. Sabrina, Tom, Ephraim, Mary Beth and Kristin have a nice little brunch while Jay stays a little longer with the Ames Academy. During the meal Sabrina asks to use the restroom and the waitress gives her a coin. Some of us never had experience with coin toilets and are slightly amused. Mehran goes on to explain to us that he has seen it before and the doors will close on you if you are not quick enough.
We finish up eating and meet up with Kimberly and Jay and then we are off back to our cars in the parking lot. On the way out there was some confusion about what to do about payment for the garage and so we stayed put for a little while. An impatient guy in the car behind Mehran gets out to say something to him. The guy almost got to the car when he realized that the driver was none other than Ramone of the West Virgina Mafia. He was like, "Oh snap, I’m so sorry" and quickly got back into his car. Anyways…parking was free..yay!
We made our way to the airport and checked in for our flight. Kimberly and Mary Beth disappeared for a while and Ephraim and Sabrina sat and talked at the gate. Jay sat down and read his book and he managed to have another complete stranger start up some conversation with him again. Mehran, Tom and Kristin talked about getting something from Starbucks. Kristin had to use the restroom first so Tom and Mehran waited around until she got back. It took a while and Mehran and Tom thought that Kristin was having a bathroom adventure which turned out not to be the case. Just a lack of communication had occurred. Well anyways we got onto the plane and made our way back to Cleveland, Ohio. Nothing particularly special happened on the ride back except dinner was served on the plane… whoop, whoop. Once back in Cleveland we got our luggage and got into the NASA airport shuttle which took us back to Racing Red Shivv and Sexy Blue at the hangar. As we were loading the luggage back into the trunk, Tom noticed a strong smell of bananas. To his surprise, Ephraim had left a bag of bananas in the trunk that were mushy to the feel. Aw geez. Ephraim volunteered to throw away the bananas in the dumpster across the parking lot and then the Glennterns were on the way back to the Stud. Most if not all of us passed out not even bothering to unpack.
Monday July 14, 2008
Monday morning was rough for some of us since we were getting used to having late nights. On top of that we were also used to the three hour time zone difference. Luckily, we had something to look forward to. We were finally back to Glenn Research Center for another round of bagels, hot water, tea, eggs, etc… you name it. They would do anything for their best customers, they would even whip up a parfait on the spot. Well the rest of the morning proved to be a typical morning, the Academyites just had to switch back to work mode instead of tour mode. We headed back to the Stud for lunch and Tom would be taking Jay to the airport to head back home and do some Air Force paperwork/ physical tests. Just another afternoon and Tom and Mehran took the rest of the group back to the Stud at five.
Since Jay wasn’t around and Kristin was feeling sick, Tom goes on a lone run. In lieu of a rap session we decide to have a group meeting at eight but of course since we are on Academy time and forgot to build in flex time the meeting started past 8:15. Another thing that made the meeting start later was the issue of having only a couple of chairs in the conference room. We passed this information on to the service desk clerk. She began searching all over for the chairs but to no avail. Tom decided to go ahead and grab the chairs from the coolest room in the stud, room 119. It is the coolest room because of the inhabitants of course, but rooms 118, 117 and 116 do get an honorable mention. If you asked Ephraim he would reassure that yes he is indeed in the coolest room but no thanks to Tom. Tom brings down the coolness of the room not one but two notches. Well anyways, Tom got two more chairs along with his plastic totes providing four additional seats for the meeting. The meeting started and Ephraim lead the meeting and presented the game plan. The meeting went relatively well for the first 45 minutes to an hour. At this point some of the attendants, not all, started to become a little restless. In fact, some of us became distracting and rude. Ephraim was able to keep his cool and maintain his composure and did not flip out at us. The meeting ended and Tom, Marybeth, and Kristin watched the comedian he had been mentioning to everyone. It was fun right?
Tuesday July 15, 2008
Today was the first breakfast with no Jay around… Kimberly was not feeling well so she did not make it in that morning. The rest of the group went on to get the usual GRC breakfast. Tom dropped off the rest of the group and would be picking them up for lunch. Mehran stayed for lunch so Ephraim, Mary Beth, Kristin and Sabrina squeezed into Tom’s car. On the way back, Tom realized that if Kimberly decided to go to work, there would not be enough room for everyone after lunch. We quickly solved the potential problem by volunteering Ephraim to riding in the trunk. We thought that might turn out bad if they tried to search our vehicle on the way in. It would have been pretty awkward when they opened the trunk and found out we were trying to smuggle in a young Asian man. Luckily, Kimberly decided to stay at the Stud and we were able to avoid the whole situation.
At 5:00 o’clock everyone was getting ready to leave. Tom decided to try to record people coming out off work. He opened the trunk, grabbed the camera, dropped in his keys and started to record. Being as cool as ever, he absent-mindedly closed the trunk leaving himself and four other Academyites stranded at Glenn Research Center. It started with a coat hanger and punching thrpugh the water proofing of his side door. Mary Beth contacted her mentor and asked him for the number of the security office. Security guards came with a bag of tools to help break into the car. Initially, they said they would not be able to help because of liability issues and just presented the tools and a brief explanation of how to break in. It was no easy task with the tools in hand and Tom tried to get in as everyone watched. No pressure. Other members had a go at getting the door unlocked but without any success. This was only motivation to Tom and a few other members of the group to stay in school and get a good education. There was no way that they would ever make it as car thieves. Another security guard came that actually tried to help get the door unlocked as well but he also had a very difficult time.
After getting back to the Stud and dropping everyone off, Tom was just not having the best of days so he didn’t go for a run. In fact he left to deal with some personal issues at home. Since he was gone until past midnight he had no idea what people did that day. Strangely enough, this is where the summary ends for Tuesday.
Wednesday July 15, 2008
There is an HBCU conference this morning and Dr. Kankam tells the group that they should at least show up to the morning session. Kimberly and Mehran have work to do so they skip out.
-Mary Beth does not feel well that morning
-Tom takes home Sabrina and misses third presentation but he is told that he didn’t miss out on much
-Tom picks up the other three Glennterns to work for another hour
-Tom picks up Jay from the airport
-Tom thinks about becoming a taxi driver
Thursday July 16, 2008
As usual the Rap session carries over a little… except the Weekly Summary goes like this: read the summary… quick chicken check break…weekly summary…chicken check…weekly summary.
Friday July 17, 2008
Jay’s friend Andrew flies in for a visit.
Kristin, Jay and Andrew went to Shooters for some dancing. Kristin gets the death by chocholate.
Tom leaves to go for a wedding for friends from high school.
Mehran, Ephraim, Kimberly and Sabrina chill out at the Stud getting ready for the next day.
Saturday July 18, 2008
The crack of dawn greeted the NASA Glenn Academyites on Saturday…well, at least some of them anyway. By a few minutes after 6:00 a.m., Jay, Andrew, Tom, Mehran and Ephraim were ready to get started on the long drive to Dayton, OH for the famed Dayton Air Show. However, they ended up merely staring at each other in the empty StudioPLUS hallway with MaryBeth, Sabrina, Kristin and Kim all absent. By 6:4a.m., MaryBeth had been dropped off at the hotel after a night spent at home and we were able to take off. A quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts allowed a few of us to get a quick bite before hitting the road. Jay took Andrew, Sabrina and MaryBeth in his Ford Focus rental car. This was relatively comfortable; on the other hand, five people had to squeeze into the other sedan. Ephraim drove Tom’s car with Kim, Mehran and Kristin to let Tom rest from the late nights and all of his hard work with the group project. Thank you for all of your blood, sweat and tears, Thomas.
We ignore Jay’s car for this analysis. Ephraim’s car was painfully aware of the fact that a one-way trip to the Dayton International Airport takes 3.5 hours, so, after the usual tomfoolery and bizarre conversation topics, the Academy members struggled to stay awake after a short night’s sleep with the hum of the highway droning in their ears and their collective body heat numbing their minds. All but the driver tried to catch up on work, read or stitch, but in the end, they gave in to the drowsiness that engulfed them like the large fish that engulfed Jonah. Glorious Lord of the Rings music kept the driver awake, happy and well. There was a stop at a Panera Bread in Columbus for more food and restroom usage. Jay and Ephraim were also glad to see an inexpensive gas station during the drive—they made a mental note to visit that station on the way back.
We arrived in Dayton to be greeted by Huey helicopters flying through the skies above us—we were under attack! Actually, the choppers were giving rides to Air Show visitors, and we could see a massive C-5 Galaxy strategic airlift transport in the airport; we knew we were in the right place. After driving over dusty dirt roads and bouncy green fields, we were able to park and walk over to buses that took us to the main Air Show entrance. Everyone was impressed with the KC-10 tanker and other US Air Force aircraft that were on display at the entrance, but airplane enthusiasts Jay and Ephraim were practically bug-eyed and drooling from their gaping mouths. We saw parachutists display American flags as the National Anthem was played over loudspeakers; US soldiers who were present promptly saluted at the flag and others listened in honor of the visual and audio symbols of what our country was, is, and will be.
While waiting for Kim to return from the lavatory, the Academyites began going around to aircraft like the A-10 Warthog, T-38 Talon, and F-16 Fighting Falcon to look at the airframes and cockpits, chat with the pilots and service crews, and take photos. We saw the NASA Twin Otter aircraft that we watched take off from Glenn a few days earlier. There was also a truck that boasted three rocket engines that made it the fastest truck in the world. Meanwhile, Kim had rejoined us in time to watch aerobatic flying demonstrators, more skydiving teams and military aircraft demonstrations perform in the skies above us. Jay and Ephraim were hoping for a live weapons demo from the AH-64 Apache attack helicopters that would have Hellfire missiles, rockets and cannon fire strafe into open fields that never materialized—and for good reason, they later surmised. Jay’s drool mass flow rate doubled upon spotting a pair of F-22 Raptor fighter jets in the distance.
After some Academyites abandoned the idea of getting dog tags due to the stringent process and passing by a NASA-modified F/A-18 Hornet and a CV-22 Osprey, the Academyites were able to walk through and visit the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III transport that would later perform a flight demonstration for the crowds. Unfortunately, especially for Jay, we had missed an F-104 Starfighter demo. While Jay and Andrew waited to see the cockpit of an F-15 Eagle, the others got lunch at the very cheap and healthy concession stands at the Air Show. We browsed through stands with T-shirts, airplane models and other trinkets, all the while soaking in more UV radiation from the sun that we would later enjoy gleefully. Although the Academy members were separated in the midst of the chaotic ebb and flow of Air Show visitors that surrounded us, we still found the roar of the jet engine from an F-16 demo to be very intimidating and appreciated the naval aviation heritage demonstrated by a side-by-side F/A-18 and World War II-era Corsair flight.
At that point, we had received a call by Jay, who announced that he and Andrew had met up with Kamara, the Glenn Academy 2007 staffer, who talked with us about the NASA Academy Alumni Association, of which she was the President. We met at the fence that separated us from the vaunted F-22s, where we watched the C-17 demo as well as more aerobatics and skydivers. But then the grand finale of the day arrived: an F-22 demo. The US Air Force’s newest and most deadly stealth air superiority fighter yet performed unthinkable maneuvers with the help of its powerful engines and thrust vector control system. It seemed more like a spacecraft that could rotate and coast at will in gravity-free space rather than a heavy aircraft that was constrained to aerodynamic concepts. After that, the Air Show demonstrations finished with a fine display of US military aviation history with a P-51 Mustang and F-16 Falcon joining the F-22 Raptor in aeronautical salute to the brave men and women who paid the full measure of devotion and final sacrifice to ensure this country’s existence and the welfare of mankind.
We made sure to quickly walk through the massive C-5 Galaxy transport before Ephraim and Tom proceeded to visit the E-2C Hawkeye early warning radar aircraft while Sabrina, Kim and Kamara went up to the entrance and Jay, Andrew, Kristin, MaryBeth and Mehran took a final look at T-shirts and souvenirs. We then drove to Le Meson, a nearby Mediterranean restaurant that Kim suggested, where we were finally able to wash up, cringed at our sunburned, raccoon-like faces, watch marks and other tan lines, and had a tasty yet expensive meal. Tom and Kamara had a bit of trouble getting there and arrived after Jay’s and Ephraim’s cars despite having a good 15 minutes head-start and advanced GPS navigation systems. Mehran and Tom secretly threw out some "Well well well’s”. Somehow, we started to look at everyone else’s driver’s licenses, and Kimberly noted from his license that Mehran has nice eyebrows. She completely calls him out on it and asks if he had someone pluck them. Mehran, at a loss of words, just tells everyone to shut up.