Thursday, June 29, 2006

Houston, we have an idiot

One of the most interesting aspects of living in the section of Orlando in which we do, is that many of our neighbors work for NASA. I know for some people this may not be interesting at all but I am intrigued by the fact that I actually know rocket scientists. It is pretty cool hearing different stories about space flight and NASA on a regular basis.

Now I am not the most brilliant person in the world (as noted by my awful grammar here on the blog) but I can hold my own having somewhat intellectual conversations. And, as my wife will attest to, I can pretty much bullshit with anyone and act like I know what I am talking about. Except when I am talking to the NASA neighbors about their work. I immediately become a 10-year-old kid asking all sorts of retarded questions. Or I make suggestions on how the NASA program could work better because, you know, I have seen Apollo 13 and Armageddon.

When I bump into the NASA engineers or scientists at the playground or pool I get all excited to hear about their current projects. The conversations start with me asking, “So, what are you working on?” And the responses vary on whom I am speaking with and which department at NASA the individual works.

After listening to long answers about fuel boosters and foam insulation and instrumentation and flux capacitors and wave motion guns (okay I added the last two because that is really what I want to hear from them) I usually end up blurting out some type of idiotic question or response. Usually it is an attempt at humor but most of the time they don’t see it that way.

Here is a list of my responses or questions to my NASA Neighbors.

After hearing about how Kennedy Space Center has one of the longest runways in the world.
“Is the end of it shaped like a skateboard ramp? Because I am sure that would help with take off.”

After hearing about my one neighbor being in the Firing Room.
“Do you get to wear a head set and say GO or No GO?”

After hearing about the instrumentation panels used for launching.
“Do you get to push the button?”

After one guy told me he analyzes photos taken from space.
“C’mon you can tell me and I won’t say anything to anybody, do you ever see UFO’s in the pictures?”

After hearing about budget cuts and trying to start new programs.
“What you guys need is a corporate sponsor. Like Nascar. NASA? Nascar? It is a perfect fit. I am sure you could throw a Home Depot decal on the side of the shuttle. You know for a couple of mil.”

And it usually after I have spoken that the conversation comes to a screeching halt.

26 comments:

Andrea said...

I would totally have asked the "Go or no go" question! I love that part in Apollo 13!

kalki said...

Why don't they put advertising on the shuttles? Seriously, that's freaking brilliant.

Also, yesterday I ate my first flutternut sandwich and today for the first time I ate Brussels sprouts. Both because of you.

Kami said...

Oh, William...

samantha Jo Campen said...

All those questions you asked? I was thinking them too so I am glad you embarassed yourself instead. Cuz if it were me, man, that would suck.

kimmyk said...

You crack me up!

The whole Home Depot thing still has me laughin. But you're right....

OMG the skateboard ramp...lmao. I can't take it.

TBG said...

I think that your questions and
suggestions are very intelligent!

OddMix said...

I love, love, love the idea of corporate sponsorship for shuttle missions. Can you imagine how much some companies would pay to have their logo on the bay doors?

You are a genius!

teri said...

alright, I have to piggyback off all the other responses. You are brilliant, why can't the rocket scientists see this in you??

Keep up the good work and don't let their blank stares when you ask a question put you off.

Circus Kelli said...

LOL! I like the corporate sponsor one! :)

Kami said...

Speaking of Houston, don't forget to take that boy out to the backyard to watch the shuttle go up!! And take a picture for me! I miss that...

ieatcrayonz said...

You have to remember that most engineer/scientist types lost their sense of humor long ago along with the funding of their projects.

It's a lost cause, but keep doing it cause it is so damn funny.

MetroDad said...

Clearly, rocket scientists have no sense of humor.

Bear said...

I don't think I could live near NASA staff - I mean, who would ever get tired of this joke? Friend over, steaks on the grill, friend says, "I think they're done." You say, "What're you, a freakin' rocket scientist?"

Suzanne said...

A screeching halt due to laughter I hope and not due to them turning around and walking away. But I want to know the answers to all those questions too :)

Anonymous said...

"I won't tell anyone...UFO's" I laughed out loud.

Anonymous said...

None of us want to pay taxes EVER again. AND Is there any chance you could could tell us who shot kennedy?

Jillian said...

hahahah! Better you than me!! Look at it this way, we would have all looked like just as much of a jackass.

Michael said...

Ask them why NASA actually just made odds on a death at the next mission.

eclectic said...

Oh Bill... you're fab-a-lus! It's sad your neighbors don't get how funny you are!!!

soleclaw said...

I would have totally asked the same questions. Those NASA guys are people, too, they had to have thought some of your questions were typical or at least funny.

Friggin rocket scientists, think they know everything and have the right to be smug!

Anonymous said...

What .. those are stupid questions? I don't think so. I would have asked each and every one.

And don't think these people don't have their moments when they're just as goofy as us. I once interviewed Roberta Bondar, who was Canada's first woman astronaut, about orbitting Earth in the Shuttle. We got a standard interview, yadda yadda NASA is great, yadda yadda space research blahblah. And I was about ready to shut the whole thing down when - out of frustration more than anything else - I said "OK, you can tell me, it'll just be our little secret ... (said in a radio studio with a live mic) ... there had to be ONE goofy thing you did once you got up there that you had been promising yourself you would try."

She stopped, surprised, and giggled and said "Well ..."

"Come on ..."

"OK, you know those Goldfish crackers? I liked a bunch of them up, floating in the air, then I was the shark ... gulp-gulpgulpgulp ..."

Hee! I totally would have done that.

Nilbo said...

I have no idea why that last comment wasn't attributed to me. It was mine. As was this one. Or, IS this one, I guess. Whatever. both mine. Mine mine mine.

-Nils (because now I don't trust Blogger comments to attribute properly)

Nilbo said...

Christ. Should have read "I LINED a bunch of them up ..."

This is a bad commenting day for me.

Rude Cactus said...

Look, I think you've stumbled onto something brilliant here. The corporate sponsorship would rock! Drop NASA a line.

suzanh said...

Oh, my god. I so want to be your neighbor, just so I can be nvolved in those conversations.

Booster MPS said...

Another Rocket Scientist checking in here........

I was a Booster Flight Controller here in Houston for 5 years, Kimmy sent me over here. Very cool blog.