A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia] Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Pete 'Happy' Thomas" journal:

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April 20th, 2012
12:14 pm


On witnessing history
Space Shuttle DiscoveryIt really struck me as I walked in to the hangar housing Discovery--her home of less than 24 hours--that this really was a historic moment in the truest sense of the word. We go to museums, in part, to bear personal witness to history. There we can learn about from whence we came, and from that ponder difficult questions about where we are and where we are going.

Yesterday when Discovery was signed over to the safekeeping of the Smithsonian, a spacecraft that has been an active part of the space program for most of my life became an artifact in a museum. Consider an artifact of over 100 years ago--the 1903 Wright Flyer.  In 1948 that aircraft became part of the Smithsonian's collection [the delay from its last flight owing to bitter disputes between the Wrights and previous museum administrators].  You can see it on display today.

It is conceivable--actually quite likely--that Discovery will be viewed by curious museum-goers in 2112.  The difference, though, will be that for those viewers it will be one of those exhibits that have "always been there."  For us today, I feel like it is significant, important, meaningful to contemplate Discovery: blazing one last time to space and gliding to a final wheels stop a little over a year ago; out on the tarmac yesterday morning; this morning a museum exhibit.

As moving as this was for me a space enthusiast, first inspired by the Space Shuttle as a ten-year-old, what is this transition from machine to artifact like for the men and women that commanded and piloted Discovery? That flew in her as crew members? That supported design, development, launch, missions on orbit, landing, and then preparation to launch again. How hard was it to prepare her for her last flight up the coastline to Virginia, knowing that Discovery would not be launching again?

It's not easy to become part of history, is it?

Current Location: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

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June 5th, 2011
11:27 pm


N driving the car


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11:26 pm


Q collecting eggs


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11:25 pm


N Riding Benny


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11:21 pm


Q Riding Benny


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11:18 pm


Nixie Sweeping


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April 7th, 2011
02:40 pm


Voice Post
174K 1:04
“There's a part of me that really sympathies with the G party protesters(?) downtown who were crying out. Tighten or shut it. Although they been taken as extreme. I've been saying for years I did want to discuss this with but I got them into 2 games. He's trying to do too much. Professionally better on Milo. I believe that we need to look at both sides of equation and delay opposed taxes in general. ___ maybe the only way to pay for what we've already spent. So I think we need to balance actually our deficit with revenue and this time. Tyler needs to be extremely and we're not doing that so far. So let's see what happens in the next day or so. ___ it's going to be very interesting to watch.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post

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March 10th, 2011
07:11 am


An NPR Supporter calls for the end of public funding
Main NPR building in Washington DC on that sam...

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I depend on NPR and my local public radio station, WAMU for news and entertainment. I recognize, though, that there are many people who consider NPR anathema.  Now, I think they're misinformed--and for those willing to listen, I'll take the time to explain why.  That said, I cannot reconcile myself to a moral position that says that I have a right to enjoy NPR programming at their expense.

I often tell people that the way out of our budget troubles is not by taking potshots at programs we oppose, but rather to look at programs that we support--and propose cutting them anyway.

For my part, I'll double my total giving to public broadcasting for 2011.

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Current Location: United States, Purcellville, Sagle Rd, 13145
Current Mood: thoughtfulearnest
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February 11th, 2011
12:15 pm


My tweets


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January 9th, 2011
10:44 am


ASL meetups, kids, and dogs!
Image representing Meetup as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Poor prettypammie was feeling a bit sick [“… and tired!”] last night, so Q, N, & I went off to the Western Fairfax Silent Supper without her.  The organizer, David, has done a great job.  A lot of Meetup groups that I’ve looked into seem to be virtual entities—people who talk about meeting up, but don’t actually do it.  This is not the case here—we filled a long table, and even had a couple of satellite tables that I didn’t realize at first were part of the group.  One such had a 15-month old cute little girl who is at the 97th percentile in height.  N, of course, is 26 months and 5th percentile--so they were close to the same size!   N had a blast—she signed a fair amount, and also rejoiced in shouting out every sign someone made that she recognized.  Q was a bit more shy and reserved, content to chat a little bit with hearing [hearing, ASL student] neighbor, Kerri, reading The Hobbit and eating  his dinner.  He’s not quite as willing as I am to embarrass myself by signing incorrectly; if he can’t do it right, he doesn’t want to do it—at least not in public. 

The kids impressed, as they always do.  I think the sight of a 10-year-old devouring a book like that surprised and pleased many of the diners.  I guess I’m so used to him reading hours every day [and I was no different] so I’m just used to it.  I realized, though, that when I see kids in public these days they aren’t reading a book. They are generally head-down in a DS or PSP or some other such gadget.

Anyway, poor Pam got paged in to work at 6 PM, so even if she had come with us, she would have had to run off to work, anyway.  Of course, she would have been really close to work from the dinner.  The joys of wearing a pager.  Pam’s emergency ended just about as I was fighting N back into the car seat for the trip home.  I figured the kids would be asleep by the time we got home, so I brought them over to Pam’s office for a quick kiss goodnight before we all headed home.  We got everyone in bed at a reasonable hour—even me, if you consider just after 11 reasonable.  [The siren call of World of Warcraft called me before bed].

This morning, N fed the dogs.  At this point, both Jack and Grace sit at her command without any backup from me.  They wait very patiently as she fills each bowl, scoop by scoop, and then—at her command—they eat.  It used to be that she’d call out, “eat,” and they’d look at me for confirmation.  Now it’s all her.  Not bad for a 2-year-old, right?  When they’re done, they come back to the crates at her recall—though not as crisply—and go in their crates on her command.  Our impressive little girl!  Q got all the dishes loaded in the dishwasher…almost…and then took the dogs down the hill to release the chickens, since mom and dad were being a bit slow to get dressed and moving.

Great kiddos; keepers, both!

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