Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,
Mark
mhaithaca

Flighty thoughts

Darn! I never installed the iPhone LiveJournal app on my new phone, so I'm composing in Mail and will copy and paste later. (Hard to imagine just a few weeks ago there was no copy and paste.)

I'm a couple of hours into my flight to Phoenix, and though there wasn't a first class seat for me, at least I got an aisle, unlike the middle, back-row seat I had for the longest leg of last year's 36-hour ITH-DEN odyssey. My seatmates are both going to Phoenix, and the one I got to talk to most during boarding was an 18-year veteran spaceflight engineer on TRW's variable thruster project. He seemed surprised that I understood what that meant, and its significance; in contrast to the on-or-off rockets of the Apollo era, thrusters that can fire just a little, or all the way, have made possible a lot of what we take for granted now in manned and unmanned spaceflight.

We talked quite a bit about the Apollo 11 anniversary, and to my surprise, he'd been unaware of the online realtime audio feeds of the last week.

He spent a couple of years commuting to Andover, MA, where he worked for Raytheon, while his wife and daughters stayed in Phoenix, but recently switched to a job in Tucson, "just" a 2.5 hour drive for weekends at home.

Janice as Amanda GraysonAnother of today's treats was that I got to fly down with the Topoleskis, whom a bunch of us know from Shore Leave. (They live in Ithaca but we never see them because they go to church Saturdays.) I sat next to Janice and behind Leonard, and chatted with each a bit. I was surprised not to see Janice at the blood drive at Shore Leave a couple of weeks ago, but she said they had so many volunteers that she got to skip it for the first time in 14 years! I did see Leonard and his cameras a couple of times, though.

I've got a turkey pastrami sandwich to eat in a bit that actually looks quite good. The flight attendant was sympathetic that I had a first class ticket and should be eating free, but the food is provided by an outside vendor and has to be accounted for. Not that surprising; I'll ask the airline to reimburse me, though I'm not holding my breath. (I did just go use the first class lavatory, though. So there!)

I'd be typing this on my laptop, but the laptop bag is pretty well wedged into an overhead bin, and I don't want to risk dislodging the precariously perched duffel bag near it. I'll get to use it in Phoenix briefly, I'm sure. I should have 45 minutes or so outside the plane to stretch.

OK, time to eat my sandwich, then get back to dozing for a minute or two at a time. :-)
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