Remember Challenger (STS-51L): 30 Years Today

Challenger

Greetings all…

Today, marks 30 years go that we lost the Challenger crew of the STS 51L mission to an explosion of The Shuttle, 73 seconds into flight. It was, as many tragic accidents (and not just in spaceflight), a very sad day.

I remember it almost like it was yesterday. I was still in Bridgeport, CT….a fresh college graduate looking to see if I’d land my first career job in that state. While that was not the case, I took a small job while interviewing ine area. That job was working at a cable company working on cable box electronic assemblies.

That morning, we had the TV on at work, anxious to see another successful Shuttle launch. I had always had an interest in space and space exploration. While it was greater at some points in my life than others, nonetheless it still remained (like many young boys, I, too, wanted to be an astronaut at some time).

The liftoff was nominal, ascent was the same way, telemetry was downlinking with no issues as I remember, and it was a gorgeous morning. At a little over a minute in, tragedy ensued, as I watched the Shuttle explode right before my eyes. Even awhile after it happened, I still couldn’t believe what I saw, nor could I believe the sadness that over took me. I’ve never seen a space exploration accident happen before, and have never seen one since, but that day still lives within me.

When I’d heard what the cause of the mishap was, I could immediately understand it, though I no where knew about space vehicles what I currently do today. What I didn’t know, is something that learned of while listening to NPR on the way home from work today. Something that made me want to post this weblog. I have to admit that I was all over again saddened as I drove home listening to this, but in an entirely new and different way. What I listened to was the first time ever released story of Morton Thiokol engineer Bob Ebeling, who up until today, remained an anonymous source for NPR’s 1986 report on the disaster. He told NPR about he and another engineer basically begged NASA not to launch the Challenger mission that day due to temperatures being too cold to launch. He, for 30 years, carried the guilt of feeling he could have done more than just presenting the data to NASA providing they should not have launched. You can read the story and listen to Bob, who is 89 years old today, by clicking here.

I may listen to this excerpt again, but not any time soon. I can only imagine what he has carried inside of mental state for so long after this tragedy.

Another story that elaborates on report the facts of this mission and crew loss (again by NPR can be found here.

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The crew of the Challenger mission are as follows:
Commander Dick Scobee; co-pilot Michael Smith; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judith Resnik; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; Christa McAuliffe; and Gregory Jarvis.

Today there was a special memorial held at Kennedy Space Center. where June Scobee Rogers, the wife of then CDR Dick Scobee, addressed the crowd with words of hope.

The crew is now longer with us, but you are far from being forgotten. Ad Astra.

Thanks for reading.

Peace,
F!

A Southern Road Trip

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So…greetings readers. First off, Happy 2016 to you, wherever you maybe. I hope this post finds you well. It’s 10:13pm EST and I decided to get this post out before I turned in. I’m sitting in the studio sipping on some iced green tea, listening to the latest by The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Step It Up.

I took a road trip to Georgia this weekend to drop my daughter back at college. It was a quick one, as we left yesterday morning and got back this evening. I’m used to the drive now, but fortunately can split it between me and my wife.

The “OJ” (for those who are not familiar with that term, it’s slang for rental car, the term came from the old OJ Simpson commercials for Hertz Rent A Car. If you don’t know who OJ Simpson, I’m not the only one dating myself LOL) was a Ford Fusion Titanium, which may just be my next car. The ride is very smooth AND it’s entertainment systems fully recognizes my iPod and all music/playlists on in via a USB connection. MAJOR PLUS.

One thing about a roadtrip of this length is that there is plenty of time for napping, conversing, laughing, reading, being quiet, etc. Got a lot or organizing done, plus began reading a new novel I got for Christmas.

We stayed in a hotel (which I won’t name) that was pretty decent, but the oddest thing I found about it is that, while it was fully equipped for cable TV channels, I don’t think it was equipped for internet because it had one of THESE in there (I am still surprised and chuckling big time, and if you know what this is, you’re dating yourself AGAIN).

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Left GA this morning at 8:15pm and with minor traffic in VA, one gas two food stops, we made it back in exactly 9.5 hours to the minute. Was a good and efficient trip, we didnt seem to eat up the entire weekend (well, even though it did, it didn’t feel like it).

The bridge above is a shot I caught if it as we left Savannah, which is on the edge of South Carolina. For a non-abstract shot of it, here it is, the Eugene Talmadge Bridge in Savannah (U.S. 17)

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Thanks for the read, I’m out.

Peace.
F!

A Mountain Christmas 2015 – The Recap

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Greetings…

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your Christmas (and New Year’s Day – if you are reading this after the 1st) was great. This year was the first time I’ve spent Christmas day in neither of the usual places for the last 20 years…and this was in Swanton, MD, not too far from the West Virginia line.

This was a trip set up by my sister-in-law, Julie The Cruise Director (just kidding – she’s just been the one to plan a lot of family trips over the years), primarily for my mother-in-law to relax, as it’s been somewhat of a challenging year, health wise.

The name of the “resort” escapes me but the amenities are basically high multi-bedroom, finished basement units all overlooking the lake. So nice, that I’d recommend it to others.

So, the squad numbered a whopping 19 people….good thing the house was big enough to accommodate everyone, it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all for the three days there, as there were plenty of bedrooms on all three levels.

The afternoon of Christmas Eve, I finally got on the road to pick up my wife’s nephew, his two kids and his aunt’s step son. We left the DC metro area at 4:45 pm and arrived three hours later, shaving a slim three minutes off the Google Maps prediction. The ride was smooth and we encountered no traffic at all, though we were the last one to arrive (most of the family arrived the day before).

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Since we pulled up the rear, hunger was at an all time high. After greeting everyone (and finding our we got there a half hour after my other sis-in-law (who left 90 minutes before us) I ate, and chilled out.

The remainder of the trip was really cool, hanging out, watching TV, shooting pool and eating, and eating, and eating :-). Three little ones and an infant made the trip enjoyable too.

One thing I found I need the most was…..sleep. I slept…A LOT…which I had no bones about doing. None, because I know that opportunity probably won’t happen for some time to come. Yeah, I brought my laptop, which never got booted up…but then again, I had three novels with me whose pages didnt see the light of day either. I was just super lazy.

Though I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I expected, the landscape was super scenic. The weather was quite agreeable as well, so all in all, it was a good trip.

Driving back in the day time this morning, I believe, afforded me even a quicker trip back. It was a total of four major arteries and there was no traffic at all. One of the most pleasant parts of the trip back was educational, in a way. I got schooled on the residential solar panel industry that my wife’s young nephew works in. Seeing that this is his first real careeer, it was great to hear how happy and enthusiastic he is about the field. It seems he is well on his way to become a team supervisor after a year in the job. For a three hour drive, even in the short amount of time we talked (close to an hour), I got to learn things about him I never knew….all good at that.

Got home in enough time to catch the 1pm NFL games but peeked at a few…all the teams I’d hope would win (except for the Jets) lost. Oh well…today was definitely relaxing. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Peace…have a great week.

Fresh!

A blog post about…blogging.

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Greetings readers. This is a blog post about…well, blogging. I, along with a few friends here on the net, did a fair amount of blogging in almost the last decade. This was when both Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone were just born. Needless to say, the instantaneous realism of social media’s ability to be constantly in your face was non-existent. It was then that many of us were blogging regularly.

Lately, (as I mentioned to my fellow blogger AND podcaster and geek brother DarrenKeith, we’re bombarded with social media notiifications and updates via our mobile devices and desktop computers that it seems blogging has gone by the wayside.

While I don’t profess to be a writer to any extent, blogging gives one a sense of ownership in a way that posting other media doesn’t (at least to me). So, once again, I think I’ll make an earnest effort to start blogging more – not with the hopes of gaining a large amount of comments (like all secretly desire on FB, Instagram, etc), but just moreso for the joy of expression and sharing via writing. Never know WHO will enjoy the read.

Peace,
Fresh.

San Francisco – A Nice Two Day Trip

LucasFilm

Greetings readers,

It’s been awhile since I posted a blog, so I thought I’d share a short summary of trip I took to San Francisco earlier this month. I accompanied my daughter on her all-expense paid trip, sponsored by the Keds/BraveLife Foundation. She was chosen by this foundation based upon an essay she submitted about her dreams and aspirations of becoming an animator. The foundation will be filming a mini-documentary of her doing a one-day mentorship with Maya (last name), an animator and illustrator employed by LucasFilms.

Day 1 – San Francisco Trip – 3:00 am

Our trip started out by leaving the house at 3am to catch our respective flights on Delta Airlines out of BWI. It wasn’t her first time flying but was her first time flying without any family and having to make her connecting flights, as well as arriving in San Fran two hours earlier than me.

8L03 am: With one carry on each, she seemed to pack a little lighter than me, but I’m carrying more reading material than her (insert pics)

Caught a little nap shortly after we took off but it already seems we’re preparing for descent to the ATL with a layover of 90 mins. My daughter should be wheels up out of Detroit.

9:08 sm: At the gate for the connecting flight to SFO…already dreading a possible two days out of the gym. Here’s hoping the hotel has a workout facility. This just in: “Hey Dad, dunno if your flight left yet, but I’m still here in Detroit, I’m on the plane but I guess their waiting for something, so we may come in close to the same time”. Turns out it was an hour delay in the ground.

She gets to SFO at 11am and me an hour later. Now, waiting for our rep to meet us and have lunch.

1:34pm – Taking our first Uber drive to the hotel. So much for the shuttle. 

2:15pm – Lunch at Sweet Woodruffs. Excellent good, quaint corner restaurant that allowed us a view of some guy with a mohawk and his female friend involved in an argument and beatdown with some other woman. A citizen was crossing the street and whipped out his phone to catch all of this on video. Next thing we know, three police cars and an SUV were on the scene. Even the SF Fire Dept. showed up (the fire department ??)

3:15 pm. Back to the hotel, the semi-swank Kensington Hotel, for a break before my daughter when to be filmed talking about this mentorship, etc with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Me? I chilled #jetlag

7:45pm. We venture out for dinner, initially heading to explore Chinatown but got confused via what Google Maps was telling us. Some more nearby exploring in Union Square brought us to a nearby. Cheesecake Factoey, in which we found that we probably wouldn’t be taking te first bites of our meal until 10pm. Our final eat stop: Jack In The Box lol. We eventually walked to the tip of Chinatown then back to the hotel. Our room is $300/night (penthouse is $400), nice amenities but I no gym, which I won’t see until Thursday…grrrr!

Day 2

6:00am – Four alarm clocks go off so we’re not late for a 7:45am meet at the front desk. My daughter, not knowing how to turn off te fancy iHOme alarm, proceeds to hit me in te head with a pillow so I can turn it off. 

8:00am – We depart the fabulous Kensington Park Hotel (with no workout facility) and pack into van with the film crew and company reps and head through downtown San Fran towards LucasFilms.

9:00am – We arrive at the campus of LucasFilms and meet our host for the day, Allison. The lobby area is pretty much all Star Wars regalia. As the film crew follows, we get our badges and proceed to the conference room on the second floor for breakfast and a small briefing as to what happens next. After snapping many pics and shooting video shorts, I’m kindly told that nothing recorded above the second floor is to be posted on social media :)

10:00am – The film crew is all set up and ready to start recording Danielle and Maia’s face-to-face which, in the end, went smashing! Maia let me know she really enjoyed talking with Danielle and that they shared a lot in common. Afterwords. Allison gave us a mini-your of the campus and the film crew shot more footage of Danielle around campus.

1230pm: We depart LucasFilm as head back to the hotel area where even more B-footage is shot of Danielle walking downtown, boarding a streetcar, etc.

SFS

2:30pm We head uptown to The Fly Restaurant for a great lunch, shooting the breeze with the film crew as company rep, wrapping up with a recap of all the great activities of this trip. I highly recommend this restaurant if you ever visit, the food is phenomenal.

Fly

530pm: We say goodbye to all, hop in an Uber car to the airport, with plenty of time to spare. Ironically, both our flights suffered massive delays to the point where we coincidentally ended up on the same red-eye non-stop headed back home.

11:19pm – Wheels up, Danielle is sitting next to me half asleep. I have a feeling I won’t be too far behind her. Thanks for reading.

Peace. 

The Journey To Coding Nirvana

WelcomeBackPython

Greetings all,

It’s been awhile since I posted a weblog and this is a return to fulfill a desire to blog more often. Today I decided to write about “restarting”, in this case, it’s about my return to teaching myself how to code.

Like many things, picking up something, learning something out of sheer excitement and desire is often very easy in the beginning. It’s not until you encounter obstacles (of any sort) that you learn just how mnuch you really want to accomplish what it is you’ve set out to achieve. I can directly relate to this from my experience in working out/maintaining a physical fitness regimen. For me, it began with working out in the gym. It came easy and I was able to achieve satisfactory results as long as I maintained a regular habit of doing things. As often happens, life situations may prohibit those habitual activities for a day or two, which may turn into a week, then maybe months, even a year or more. The key is to sometimes force yourself to get back in the saddle and reinstate those habits that were netting you the results you were hopping for.

I draw this direct correlation to coding. I took my first programming courses a very LONG time ago in college, but did well in both – to the point that even took the skills I learned and coded simple programs to help me complete duties that were given to me as a young engineer. Coding and programming wasn’t a regular hobby for me, so I didn’t do much of it for years to come. That said, since my last go at coding, things have changed a GREAT deal, and in 2013, I felt it was time for me to ride that wave again and take advantage to explore all that was new in programming languages and what they can do, not only in the professional workforce arenas, but from a hobbyist standppoint. After all, I did well in coding way back then, I know I can do well in it again. In addition, the approaches to learning coding on your own today gives far greater flexibility than having to be confined to a formal classroom setting.

So there I was, back in 2013, after some research, finding myself on Codecademy to learn Python, a scxripting language that I dound was very relevant in my field of work as well as for programs I want to code for my own personal use. Python is a scripting language that is widely used in areas like software testing (spaecraft software, etc) and has wide ranging use in other scientific and technical fields. Along with Python, there is a long list of other languages (high and low level) that are suited for various things that I found I’d like to learn as well, such as Java, Javascript, Ruby, CSS, Hadoop, Linux, and this goes on….and on…and on.

coding nirvana

In my net travels, I ended up subscribing to adn.net (The Application Developer’s Network), a network much like Twitter, originally created for developers to forge relationships and discuss softeare development, but has turned into a nice social network as well. It was while I got to build me followers list that I met a programmer there by the username bayprogrammer who became very helpful and unselfish in sharing all he could about the nuts and bolts of coding with respect to the major (and minor) languages out there and what they are best used for. I’ll take a moment to thank him for investing the time he took to share the knowledge (and he continues to) with me.

So, here I am, starting again at a place where I got stumped. The difference is I know that if a push is not made, the achievement won’t be either. That being said, there are tons of resources on the net as well as two regular Python coding meetups every week here in the DC metro area. I know the satisfaction I can achieve in learning to code (and this is in line with and beyond the pish to get “everyone learning how to code” in the US these days). I’m a techie, a builder, and a creator….coding, I know, is for me. Wish me consistency and good fortune in this journey.

Thanks for the read, have a great day.

Chronicles of A Remix – For A Time (Fresh’s Continuum Edit) – Part 1

Greetings readers…

Hope all are well. I’m taking a break from watching the SB, it’s half time (Go Seahawks!). I’m starting another edition to a the series, Chronicles of A Remix, that I began back in 2011 when constructing a remix along with Bill Cammack from NYC. This time, I was invited to try remixing a track given to me by a DJ and music producer in Baltimore, MD. After view some of my Instagram videos, he noticed I use Logic and happen to have a track he was working on in Logic. He decided to “gift” me the track to play with. After getting the stems and the Logic project from him. I set out to regroove this. The downside was that the Logic project he sent to me is in Logic X. I still use Logic 9 so I couldn’t open it to hear what the original track sounds like. Actually that’s not a bad thing because the key to moving forward is one piece of information – BPM (beats per minute) or teemp of the track. Once I got that from him I was golden. Below is a short video basically summarizing what I said above. Stay tuned for subsequent installments.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Halcyon Sky: The Regrooves EP – Day 25

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Greetings all…

9:24 pm… In studio checking out one of the remixes just sent to me for the EP. As I thought, stellar work, and the vibe is exactly what I expected. I’m looking forward to dropping this project as soon as possible. I’m equally excited to have an artist from the Netherlands remixing one of my tracks from the Halcyon Sky release. It remains to be seen as to whether his track will make this EP, based on his daily schedule and my predicted drop date but either way, you will be hearing it in the future. It marks the beginning of a collaborative effort between him and me, so stay tuned throughout the year for some tracks by us.

I’ve received some rough mixes from the two other artists who’ll be featured on this project and I’m definitely feeling the flow of both tracks. Music composition and the technology of the internet, a beautiful thing… :). Back to work on mine.

Have a good night…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP – Day 24

HSREP6

Greetings all.

Happy 2015. I hope the start of the new year finds you well and vice versa. As predicted, the start of 2015 has jumped off, music production-wise, as expected. Most of you know, the debut release by AfterSix Productions (Dan and I) What Love Is, is available on Bandcamp, another CD recording project for the band I play in, Divine Intervention, is underway, I’m tightening up some tracks for a show that will be “airing” on FB this quarter, along with a few other things. This post, obviously, as about the upcoming release: Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP.

This morning I had a great conversation with one of the remixers about the status of the remix he’s working on for the project. He began to tell me about how this opportunity really stretched his ability as a producer, made him realize the criticality of how he sees his work, wanting to make sure the vibe of the track fit the essence of the project, etc. These things were not foreign to me at all because I’ve often had the same thoughts when produce music to be used in other capacity, let alone just listened to and hopefully enjoyed by the masses.

Within the discussion I had learned the track was already delivered to me on New Year’s Eve, but I hadn’t checked my email to know it was even there. I shared that a big aspect of releasing Halcyon Sky was to meet my own deadline and achieve the goal or releasing the product as planned. The remixer also shared that it was a driving factor in getting it to me when he did but like all conscientious artists, he is very critical of his work. I asked him if he wanted more time to submit a new track. He accepted but asked me to listen to what he had submitted first. I assured him I would, but that I was certain I’d like it because of the time I took to listen to all this particular artist had shared on IG videos, YouTube videos in terms of music snippets he’s composed. In addition, his posts showed his passion for creating music in the genre he likes most – all that played a part in me choosing him for the project.

Thirteen hours later, I finally remembered to check the mail for the track and give it a listen. As I thought…I was 100% spot on. I’m feelin’ the vibe of this track and cant wait to release it on the project. In case you’re reading this bruh….much thanks (I know you got my text message already! ha!)

Slumber time….enjoy your day.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!