Sunday July 3, 2011
Bright and early Michelle, David, and Cameron headed out to meet the rest of the gang for breakfast, but ended up at crowded but delicious waffle house, while everyone else dined at Steak and Egg, which sounds like the best clogged artery ever. While waiting for everyone to make it to downtown D.C., Michelle, David, and Cameron rented some cheap bicycles and took off for a quick glimpse of the glory that is our nation’s capital. David got so excited, he went head over handlebars for an especially exciting curb.
After ditching the bikes, the group was reunited in the museum of natural history. The Smithsonian had so much to take in, and while some explored the maze of exhibits, many of the academites fell in love with the cutest baby orangutans to ever take the 3-D I-Max stage. From Natural History, to Space and Flight, to American History around every corner there was something new to learn and something new for Logan to point at. At one point during the day a light drizzle had everyone sprinting through the mall for their lives. All except Cameron and Molly that is, who do not have the same irrational fear of melting.
In need of some food before continuing with the sights, the Academites headed to Julia’s Empanadas for some delicious empanadas, possibly made by a Julia, or maybe a Jillian in disguise. We ate on the sidewalk with Michelle’s friend and explained the quandary that is David. For desert, Cameron grabbed a custard-filled milkshake, while Michelle led the rest of the group to lavish in some frozen yogurt. Of course Logan couldn’t be reasoned with and enjoyed more desert than any one man should ever undertake eating both a milkshake and a fro-yo. The frozen yogurt shop was called Mr. Yogato and provided entertainment in the form of trivia, board games, old school Nintendo basketball, and large noticeable stamps on volunteering foreheads. Mike N. found out that his hand does not make a good eraser.
Stomachs full, and imaginations eager, the Academites headed back towards the National Mall to take in more stunning sights. The first stop was the White House where a beautiful picture was taken. Although the house was white, it did not display the magnificent presence some have dreamed about. As the group walked in the direction of the Washington Monument, David and Cameron split off from the group in a very sneaky fashion. For you see, Michelle, David, and Cameron had held their tongues, not telling a soul about the amazing rent-a-bikes parked around the city. In a flash, David and Cameron took the group by surprise whizzing by on their bikes to beat the rest of the flabbergasted Academy to the monument in record time. Unfortunately, the monument closed early and today would not be the day David would climb to the top.
The Lincoln Memorial was next on the list, and it was truly inspiring. After Michelle’s friend learned how to ride a bike, David severely overestimated the average person’s walking speed, and Mike J. was frightened by a ghostly crew, we felt we had seen all we could handle. The night ended with music, mummies, and goggles.
Monday July 4, 2011
After an early Sunday night in the capital, which naturally led to great communication amongst the well rested Space Academites, they split themselves into two groups and very patriotically drove away from the capital in celebration of Independence Day. Michael B. took the wheel of a car and sped away taking the lead of the trek across the Appalachian Mountains. Meanwhile, back in D.C., David was caught off guard as Michelle and Cameron both called shotgun no quiz bowl for the back seats of Andrew’s spacious two-door boat, forcing him to stay conscious the entire way back to their beloved den. And so, the second herd, departed with only one thing on their mind: the plush beds of Studio Plus–oh, andSheetz. Instead of sleeping the ride back to North Olmsted, the second car decided to pass the tortuously slow passing time with word games and guessing music from the CameronMac a.k.a. Cameron’s mac and then ’Chelle’s Dell, when the CameronMac ran out of juice.
Upon returning to the extended stay hotel, everybody retired to the long awaited beds. The 4th of July evening was spent with Big Mike, Cameron, and David driving to Starbucks to get a sizeable chunk of work done on the PowerPoints due in the morning, while the rest of the Space Academy watched a sparkling fireworks display from the streets of Lakewood.
Tuesday July 5, 2011
After an unusually uninterrupted day at Glenn and a lightning fast RAP session, everyone returned to the welcoming arms of StudioPlus to practice their midterm presentations. A rushed Logan attempted his presentation with some spectacular accents that would have left the crowd speechless had he followed through. Later in the evening, Mike J. and Cameron added a half a star to Studio Plus’s luxury rating by hauling home a Craigslist procured ping pong table that had to be strapped to the roof Michael B.’s car one half at a time. Surprisingly, rope came in handy for the first time in recorded history. A rotting volleyball net and some classy bathroom rugs were included in the deal. Mike N. and Logan were in a spaghetti coma unable to move during the process. With Andrew’s parents taking him to watch a baseball game, the Cameron-Andrew ping pong throw-down would have to wait.
Wednesday July 6, 2011
Wednesday was one of those days, when nothing special, or exciting, or eventful happened at all. Just kidding, today was David’s 19th birthday! But before any celebration could happen, it was also the day of midterm presentations, which started a little after eight. The Academy and a dozen of other interns all shared a room and gave 10 minute presentations on their individual research. The presentations went off really well with few hitches. It was a sad day when Cameron failed with both his video and his use of the smartboard. Homemade cake and some mini donuts made the 6 hours of presentations feel somewhere in between amazing and awesome.
With presentations complete the academites were able to squeeze in a couple hours of solid work. Back at the pad, David started his birthday bash off in fitting style by mandating a birthday a nap. Awakening refreshed it was time for dinner at the Olive Garden. Cameron taught everyone a new game while waiting to be seated, and shameless David tried to convince the hostess that she was blind and deaf, by insisting the device he was holding was actually lighting up and vibrating. Between the eight Academites, 10 giant bowls of salad and close to 50 bread sticks were consumed. Intelligent people saved their entire for lunch the next day, but others had already drummed the point of no return. The highlight of the meal was an appeal to the court to have David’s nickname modified to BD (Bear Dog). After many appeals and convincing closing arguments it was determined that the “little” shall stand except for extremely rare and deserving situations (singing of happy birthday is not one of those cases). A new trial is scheduled for one year from this day!
David’s birthday was then taken to Giant Eagle, and David was surprised with a special treat from the bakery. Back at the ol’ Studio Plus the night ended quickly as stomachs were full and eyes were heavy.
Thursday July 7, 2011
Thursday at GRC, everyone worked diligently on their individual research and enjoyed some refreshing Italian ice at lunch. Mike J. had an especially interesting day as he was shadowed by a high school student with hopes and dreams of shadowing Mike J. forever. I mean who wouldn’t want that, Mike J. even planned out activities! With the summer flying by, the work days left where there is legitimate time to focus on work are precious indeed. After work, the Academites packed up and made the long journey to the other side of the gate to Ohio Aerospace Institute where an elevator can take you all the way up four stairs (but this is only for the shameless). Here the gang broke bread with Dr. Mike Heil, President and CEO of OAI, and listened to stories of Ohio’s Aerospace legacy and how all our OAI helps facilitate synergy between academia, government, and commercial entities.
Following the talk, the gang headed back to Studio Plus as both table tennis and pool volleyball awaited. Logan was a little late having to get his car back on the road. David was also held from the festivities as he enjoyed a second dinner with some relatives. While Cameron held down the table, some other NASA interns tried their luck in the pool of spiked dreams. One intern seemed to sprout wings as he smashed every available ball into the water taking the MVP for the night. The evening was topped off with some gourmet meat on a stick provided by Michelle. After the festivities, there were hours left to get plenty of group project work accomplished.
Friday July 8, 2011
Due to Andrew getting stuck behind slow-moving construction on route to the usual parking spot, Friday morning’s race to breakfast was especially close with Mike J. falling short by only a minute and 42 seconds behind the Solara. The Academy then attended the launch party hosted by GRC for the last launch of the America’s Space Shuttle program. With ominous weather threatening the fearless flight of the penguin, everybody was expecting the launch to be delayed. Sitting patiently the Academy enjoyed a cookie cake Andrew bought for David’s birthday. All of the sudden, the 9 minute countdown had commenced, and the launch would have been flawless if not for the technical difficulty experienced but thirty-one seconds from the countdown’s grand finale. Just as the attendants of the launch party were becoming disillusioned, returning to their original predictions of the outcome of the last launch, the oxygen vent arm issue was resolved and at 11:29 a.m. EST, Atlantis launched from Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center, making the end of the Space Shuttle age a chilling reality.
The Space Academy also watched as the Space Shuttle main engines were throttled down for its last passage through Max Q, as the SRBs fell from the space shuttle, tumbling towards the Earth, and as the main tank disconnected from the orbiter and plummeted towards the Atlantic Ocean for the last time. The launch being a success, the Space Academy patiently waited in the lines to acquire Space Shuttle memorabilia. After taking pictures in front of the inflatable scaled down model of the Space Shuttle, which Andrew apparently would fancy to erect in his front yard, the Space Academites migrated to the cafeteria for lunch, where discussion of the PHAME midterm presentation followed. In preparation for the presentation to Dr. Kankam, a mad dash for the deadline ensued, where some confusion was had trying to work out who would present what. Thankfully, Molly was on her toes and smoothed the small error and other than that early mistake, the group presentation was an almost flawless success, having only minor corrections via Dr. Kankam’s suggestions. After the long work day, one car headed back to the hotel dropping Logan at his new hotel where he rendezvoused with his girlfriend a.k.a. Logannette, while the other sped off to the airport to pick up Cameron’s girlfriend, a.k.a. Salsa.
That evening, the Space Academy, Salsa, and Logannette enjoyed America’s favorite pastime, a baseball game, particularly the Indians game in downtown Cleveland. The ball game was spent rooting for the home team, watching an almost fight from a couple rowdy fans, and spinning. Sadly, the Indians could not pull a victory away from the Toronto Blue Jays. David and Michael B. left a little early to catch Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, while the rest of the group enjoyed a taste of downtown Cleveland. Everybody then hustled to the train station to catch the last train of the night without so much as a bathroom break. The train finally arrived, and the rugged crew clambered onto the train and proceeded from train to car, back to the Studio Plus for a night’s rest.
Saturday July 9, 2011
With nothing scheduled for the day, the Academites finally had a chance to get some well deserved rest. Sleeping in until almost seven AM, everyone arose to watch a group of NASA researchers led by Dr. David Snyder launch a balloon. With only the finishing touches left until the launch of PHAME, it was an excellent chance to observe firsthand how to handle, fill, and launch a balloon. Michael B. was taking good notes; mapping out the entire process. Among the observers were a group of high school students and some young children who were very disappointed when they discovered they would not be riding in the balloon. The balloon was pumped full of helium and then carried some boxes of cutting edge experiments high into the sky until even Logan’s laser eyes couldn’t track it any longer. On the car ride back, it was discovered that salsa and wind do not mix and Mike N. was momentarily abandoned at a gas station.
Arriving back at the palace, the sun was out and the day was ready to be seized, but 5 weeks of minimal sleep finally caught up to everyone and a brief 7 hour nap ensued. At the same time, Little Bear Dog’s 5 weeks of napping caught up to him, and he was unable to fall asleep (this almost caused the universe to collapse).
For dinner, some ate at home, others had a date night, others still stuffed their faces at a Chinese buffet, and one went into hibernation. Most of the Academy went out to the second movie of the summer to see Horrible Bosses.