Right Team, Wrong City

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N932AT, painted in Milwaukee Brewers “retro” colours at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

This was in 2010. At that time, AirTran had just been purchased by Southwest, and their Boeing 717s were eventually sold off to Delta and the 737s were repainted in Southwest’s colours.

This example? According to planespotters.net, it’s living at Litchfield Airport outside of Phoenix, possibly waiting the call-up from Delta to work in their fleet of McDonnell-Douglas products.

The Best Space Movie? OR…

The BEST Space Movie?

For only about the third or fourth time in my entire life I went to the cinema to watch a new release movie. All of the other movies that I’ve watched have been on either my TV set or on a computer monitor. Literally, these are the movies that I’ve watched in the cinema –

  • Look Who’s Talking Too (this one I’m questionable about)
  • The Santa Clause 2
  • Avatar
  • And now…

The Martian. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is –

The premise is quite simple – it’s the 3rd manned mission to Mars under NASA’s Ares program, and the crew is forced to abort the mission due to an extremely severe storm. When leaving, they lose signal with one of their party – Mark Watney – and are forced to leave him assuming that he had died from whatever cause the loss of signal.

It turns out that he isn’t dead…and that’s where we begin.

I won’t get into the whole story, and I apologize for not having screenshots, since it’s a movie still in cinemas, you should watch it yourself as well as read the original book by Andy Weir.

Immediately after the movie ended, I opened my phone and started creating a list of observations (while texting back and forth with Snoskred who was going into her theater simultaneously as I was leaving mine…something which didn’t click for me until she mentioned that it would end at 4:06pm, or about 3 hours after it finished for me). I’ll get back to the list in a moment :)

My initial impression? Wow, that was an awesome movie! After Snoskred and her other half had watched it, she asked me a question –

“Best space movie ever?”

I said right away that I thought it was equal with Apollo 13 (incidentally, the only movie I own on both DVD and Blu-Ray), but thinking about it more, I am thinking that The Martian might just have a slight lead over Apollo 13. 😉

I’m so glad that I went to see it in the cinemas on opening day. Why is that? Firstly, the room was full so you could hear when people’s reactions throughout the movie. Second – I could have gone to the nearest theater to me and seen it in either 2D or 3D with good seating; however, I chose to drive further afield (to what is, probably, the most affluent suburb in the area) where they have something called “UltraScreen DLX”, meaning that this is the seat that you are in –


And there isn’t another row of seats just inches in front of you – in fact, you have 7 feet (2m) of legroom in front of you – enough to fully recline the chair, which reclined like one of those airline lie flat seats you get in first class. BUT to the best of my knowledge, you don’t pay a penny more for this experience than you do if you take normal seating. In fact, my ticket cost me a total of $10.60 (of which I had prepaid $7.60).

The snacks I purchased – 1 litre of water and a small popcorn – cost more than the ticket itself!

I got to the cinema at about 7:32 for the 7:30 showing – I managed to get what I will say is the best seat in the house –


Just about dead centre of the theatre and not at the back or the front – thought I almost wound up in the front row since I thought it was displayed with the back at the top of the screen and the front at the bottom when I picked my seat!

Anyway, I make my way to the theatre just in time for the final three trailers, and the movie starts.

When Mark says one of “those” words, there was an audible chuckle from the audience, and that is the reaction throughout the whole movie. :)

Here’s the point where I’m going to put in the more tag as there will be spoilers

Continue reading


Kerbal Stories: The Ballad of Mitner Kerman

The folks on Kerbin are a strange lot. Consider the following –

  • They all have the same last name – Kerman.
  • Their space agency is literally the only thing on the entire planet they inhabit – there are no buildings
  • If you need to get someone for your space program, they cost you money (but to whom the money exactly goes, nobody knows since there are no industries on the planet, just a bunch of paper companies)

Just with those three facts, it makes the story of Mitner Kerman very interesting. You see, one day in my space program’s career progression, a contract came up –

screenshot45“Rescue Mitner Kerman from the Mun.”

That brings up some questions, such as how in the world did she get to the Mun in the first place. I had just barely made it to the Mun…with some help from a friendly Alpaca

Nevertheless, Mitner had somehow made her way up to the Mun and gotten herself stranded there.

So, the thought now is…how do I get to get her back? The first thing that you have to do is build yourself a ship. In this case, I also had some contracts to take some kind people on tours of Kerbin and other places, so I decided that this vessel would be the one to use, or something like it at least –


I also had attached a launch escape system which I had a contract to test while landed on the Mun as well, but forgot to add to this replica. The flight to the Mun went uneventfully, with many maneuver nodes created and followed, and then making the approach to the Mun.

It took a few tries to land safely (and many times of crashing into the ground), but the crew did land and knew nothing of the failures due to the magic of the F9 key in Mission Control. :-)

Valentina was so proud of her actions, she placed a flag to commemorate the event –


As with anything in Kerbal, there were more problems to come. For example – the site where Valentina, her alpacas and the Smart A.S.S. landed was about 100km from Mitner and his craft. Valentina’s solution? EVA to him.


But Mission Control got a handle on this problem (including the need to press W continuously for ages) and ordered the crew to fly to his craft. After many attempts, the crew were ordered to send an envoy to visit Mitner, and everyone was happy –


But, you’re saying, where is the ship? It was left in orbit. We’re a bit hazy as to what happened next, but one of the tourists did take a photo of an interesting sight they had while orbiting the Mun –


What is that thing??? It’s on the wrong side of the SPACE door!


Is that a missing Kerbal? I think it is. A few seconds later, we see this:


As it turns out, that’s Mitner Kerman! He looks especially happy after having to (quite literally) fly to the ship to get on board to head home.

And head home we do –


Heading to a comfortable splashdown in the ocean


…or not?…


Well, everything is there, but there were some issues in the mixed sizes used. Kerbin’s Navy were able to recover all parts successfully, and Mitner has gone on to a successful career with the Space Agency:


What’s next for Mitner? Who knows. Maybe he’ll be the first Kerbal to land on the surface of Dres, or one of Jool’s moons…

The Sign Says So…

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Going through some of my old photos, I found this picture of a sign that I took outside of Harrison’s Pharmacy in Manly, NSW.

Some things have changed in the nearly 4 years since taking this photo…

I think I took the picture because it was funny to see a plaque saying that a common pharmacy was opened by a government official…