Sunday June 19, 2011
Sunday morning, the Academites rose to pack up a campsite drenched in a miraculous 4 inches of rain. The breakfast crew attempted to redeem themselves with a hot, filling breakfast of oatmeal, bug spray-soaked clementines, and a pièce de résistance of leftover apple sauce. Completely filled and content, the rest of the Academites attempted to tear down a very wet camp in order to make it to their 11:00 rafting appointment.
An obscene amount of garbage bags and an impressive game of car trunk Tetris later, they found themselves at Laurel Highlands Rafting, signing their names in blood. Danny, their trip guide, insightfully informed them of proper rafting technique and divided them into three teams, Space, Aero, and a motley crew.
They cast off down the river and the Space raft started things off right on the first rapid. Captain Logan led the Space raft head-long into a rock. A propagating shock wave rocketed their fearless leader into the air where he exhibited a mastery over aerodynamics that would make the Aeronautics Academy jealous. Although the Space raft couldn’t quite get a hang on the whole going straight thing, they proved to have a special flare for impressive spin moves that left the other rafts jealous and David and Mike J. rather wet. The Motley raft demonstrated their skills as a rescue team, saving swimmers in peril after a raft flipped, at one point gaining 3 more members. While eating lunch, the theme of the weekend continued with a torrential downpour that limited visibility and made the river into a raging fiend. At a particularly exciting rapid, Danny the guide lost his raft to the river gods and another guide took off downriver like a banshee to recover it. Throughout the rafting fun, the Academites, of course, stayed in their boats, did not splash the rivaling rafts with their paddles, and did not attempt to play bumper-rafts.
After an impressive display of driving skills by a bus driver through the hills of Pennsylvania, the Academites were finally headed back to the good ol’ Studio Plus. They made a stop at Fox’s Pizza for some grub from a “local” establishment. The group almost lost David to a maliciously hypnotizing pledge drive for oldies music. The strong of mind had to rescue him from his inevitable doom.
The car ride home was a sleepy one and the Academites returned to their own beds in the midst of a strangely appropriate rainstorm. After arguably the best shower in the history of showers, they turned in for the night in preparation for the upcoming work day.
Monday June 20, 2011
Monday began in a haze and as the Academites struggled to recover from the weekend. The day continued at the Glenn Research Facility until the weekly RAP session at 4:30. Here, the Academites covered their second week in the program and retold stories that made them laugh and cry. Immediately following the weekly session, the team went to Giant Eagle for a few groceries. Returning “home,” Mike J. was tasked with making the traditional BLTs for “Party Room Alpha”. Initially, he had requested the help of Logan and/or Mike N. to prepare the tomatoes but they instead decided that their time was better spent rearranging furniture one more time. With a new party-inducing setup, the alpha room was joined by Cameron and his legendary sandwich dubbed the “4-3-2” for a relaxing evening. The final task of the day was to wash the festering sleeping bags which had been molding in the bathroom.
Tuesday June 21, 2011
Tuesday’s adventures had a rather hallowing beginning, with silence at the breakfast table. The favorite breakfast song was no more. Instead of humming along, the Academites were forced to communicate and instead got into an interesting discussion as to why the ocean was so salty. At lunch the silence continued and the group used the opportunity to discuss PHAME and the issues associated with it.
After work, the group headed to Walmart to pick up some grilling supplies. “Party Room Alpha” decided to grill up some burgers and corn by the pool, making it the perfect opportunity to test out that high-tech volleyball net. The group divided into teams, David, Mike N., Logan, and Mike J. in the deep end and Michelle, Andrew, Cameron, and Michael B. in the shallow end with Molly as the impartial line judge.
The game was intense, with Team Deep dominating the first round with a large victory. The next game, Team Shallow fought back and annihilated Team Deep. Team Deep overall showed their watery poise and skill and won the third game and overall.
After the game, the team had a thirty minute meeting to hash out some aspects of the group project proposal. Two hours and 17 YouTube videos later, everyone headed to bed.
Wednesday June 22, 2011
June 22, 1886
It’s been seventeen days on the trail. Life has consisted of hunting buffalo, squirrels and fording rivers. David is beginning to look a little pale, some say that it’s the lack of the city-goers food, pizza, but the Doctor Townsend believes it might be the onset of dysentery. The wagon convoy has made significant progress despite this fright of illness though. Today we passed through a large trading post. Southerner Barton attempted to trade for a jacket made of Ohio’s finest beaver pelt but instead could only barter for a few toiletries and supplies. Every day I wake and think that I can see the white sands of the Florida territory but realize that we are still days away and await difficult and arduous travel.
– Mike, the Drumming Bard
Thursday June 23, 2011
Thursday’s workday passed quickly, with the team brimming with excitement over the Florida trip. After work, the Academites were lucky enough to hear from the brilliant Matt Melis, who gives an outstanding lecture on the inner workings of the Space Shuttle.
The team rushed back to the Studio Plus after stuffing themselves with pizza and snagging some hidden-Melis posters and began to work frantically on the PHAME proposal. The Academites who had finished their homework decided to go see Transformers 3 Super 8. Pleasantly surprised by the realistic storyline and action sequences, they headed back to the Studio Plus to stuff their suitcases for the long weekend and pray that they didn’t forget anything.
Friday June 24, 2011
Still a little sleepy from staying up late seeing Super 8, the team made it into work on time. The day moved onward with each of the Academites having one eye on the clock, counting down the hours until close of business. At 4:30 sharp, the team hustled out of their offices and left straight for the airport, brimming with excitement and anticipation. Many things were discussed on the car ride down, including Andrew alluding to Haley Reinhart, saying how we NEEDED to hear her cover of “Rolling in The Deep.” Things started off smoothly at the airport though, as everyone made it through security with no problems. Everyone was able to see Mike J.’s anxiety about travelling by plane for the first time as he walked through the full-body scanner.
Waiting at our terminal, time was at first passed twisting and turning a nerd’s favorite puzzle, the Rubik’s cube. After Andrew and Cameron showed off their 3-dimensional spatial understanding, the Academites turned to a new game, “Kemp.” Teams were made and the game was underway in no time. David had paired up with Michelle, Molly with Michael B., Logan with Mike N., and Andrew with Cameron. The powerhouse teams were soon discovered when Andrew showed off his years of experience, clever signs, and even fake tells to catch the most attentive player. To make things fair, Logan and Mike N. had decided to play at a less strategic level, giving other players the chance to fully understand the game. Or it might have been the fact that Logan can’t sit cross-legged and a lack of team communication, but we’ll never know for sure. At this point, our flight had been pushed back a few hours but there was still a chance that we could make it out to Atlanta, and if we were lucky (or didn’t have Molly’s travel karma), to Florida that night.
After Kemp, many of the Academites went their own ways. Few slept, one played with a Rubik’s cube, one wandered, and some were involved in a make-shift ping pong tournament where even strangers joined in. After a few hours of waiting, the plane was prepped for boarding. Arriving in Atlanta was a welcome sight and after figuring out the location of the new departure gate, the Academites hustled to their destination. At this point they had a chance; some even believed that they would make it to Florida. All of their optimism was flushed away in an instant when the flight attendant let out an exasperated sigh as Molly, Cameron, and Mike N. tried to secure their TBA seats. So began a wild night at the airport, one that may even rival a Night at the Museum. Learning that the Academites weren’t going anywhere that night, the group took off to the new gate to set up camp. Making the most of bad situation, the group committed various levels of shenanigans, consisting of everything from acrobatics to ultimate Frisbee to exploring new lands. When the night was over, most Academites had walked miles of the Atlanta airport and returned to camp with burritos from the far and distant land of Concourse E.
Saturday June 25, 2011
Saturday morning came in a rush, as the Academites realized their plane was about to board. Thankful that they decided to sleep in the A terminal, they rolled off of their benches and elbowed some businessmen in an attempt to get some Cinnabon before boarding. A mad dash later, they were all (thankfully) on their way to Orlando.
Landing in Orlando 20 minutes after their skydiving appointment, the rush continued to make sure they were able to jump. The Academites arrived at Skydive Space Center and began signing their names in blood and initialing their lives away. As the jump grew closer, excitement began to brew. Cameron seemed especially nervous as he was pulled aside and interviewed for his video. They were split into two groups, the inexperienced: David, Cameron, Mike J., Michelle, and Molly; and the mostly experienced: Andrew, Mike N., Logan, and Michael B. They all donned their harnesses, and waited for the two flights in front of their group to complete. Andrew got a bit fidgety and locked his harness most awkwardly. After the group tried to free him, Andrew was forced to ask the “Swiss” jumper for help.
Crisis averted, the first group of inexperienced jumpers boarded their plane. Cameron looked like a movie star with his own personal camera crew to capture all of the excitement that would result from jumping from a plane. The plane climbed and David asked if they were almost there. The eyes of the newbies widened when they found that they were at a mere 5,000 feet, a third of the total height they would be jumping. The professionals thought it was interesting that this was Mike J.’s third plane ride. Ever. And he wasn’t going to be landing. Cameron’s camera lady was the first one out of the plane at altitude, followed by Cameron himself. Next went a very pale David. Molly was next and Michelle brought up the rear. They plummeted 10,000 feet in free fall, doing back flips and screaming like banshees. At 5,000 feet the chute was pulled and they began to float back to the surface of the earth. Off in the distance they could see KSC and the VAB. They each were given a chance to pilot their own chute, spinning wildly in the process. After a not-so-graceful landing and grins from ear to ear, it was the experienced-and-Logan plane-ful’s turn. After everyone from the second group landed safely and semi-popped their ears, they all watched Cameron’s rapidly turned around video. They saw his mouth grow bigger than human possible and heard him scream for his life.
The group left to forage for food, leaving Molly’s phone behind. They stopped for some Mexican food at a restaurant with the most attentive servers ever and chose to have a nice lengthy meal of some delicious food. They checked into the hotel and settled in to their rooms. Originally the plan was to take showers and then head to the Astronaut Hall of Fame, but their sleep cycles did not agree.
Three hours later the Academites rose groggily, staggering into the setting sun to begin the search for essentials. It was decided because of the weather to enjoy each other’s company around the hotel and hang out by the pool as much as possible. After a late dinner at Denny’s, all of the Academites headed to bed to prepare for the early morning at Cape Canaveral.