Fiftieth Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 lifted off on July 14th, 1969 so in three weeks we’ll be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of that historic mission.  I was thirteen years old in July 1969 and several years into a deep childhood fascination with the space program.  Not surprisingly I was glued to the television and newspapers for every aspect of the Apollo 11 mission and still remember how I felt watching and following along.

I’m looking forward to repeating that experience this July and am delighted to have the Internet to help me out.  For my own part I’ve taken a timeline of mission events from NASA, wrapped it in a bit of JavaScript, and created a simple web page that will help me keep track of the flow of the mission in real time (though fifty years after the fact).

I don’t have a rich collection of mission photos, videos, and artifacts, or the time to find and weave any into my mission timeline, something I knew other folks would be better positioned to accomplish.  Ben Feist and team have done precisely that in creating Apollo 11 in Real Time so I’ll also have that open continuously between liftoff on July 14 and splashdown on July 24.

Last night I watched Todd Douglas Miller’s “Apollo 11” documentary on CNN (which released it) and it brought back vivid memories of July fifty years ago.  I expect I’ll watch it several more times over the course of the next three weeks — highly recommended.

Happily both July 14th, liftoff day, and July 20th, landing/EVA day, fall on weekends so I expect I’ll set aside time both those days to reconnect with the event that was such a powerful and formative part of my youth. Might also be a good time to build a few space-themed model kits I’ve squirreled away, attend a Splashdown 50 event on the nearby USS Hornet (which recovered the Apollo 11 capsule and crew) or just listen to the official mission mixtape.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone.  I think of my father every day, but Father’s Day is always special as it bridges the relationship I had with him with the indescribable joy of being a father myself.

My Dad
Me, aged six months, with my father in our house in Nashville, TN

If you have a chance to talk to your Dad today I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity.  Miss you Dad, love you always.

For the record the blog you’re viewing is based on the open source WordPress content management system, which is widely used for blogs but also has broad, general web site capabilities. WordPress enables easy customization through add-on themes, hundreds of which have been created by the community and shared freely across WordPress sites.  I’m using the ‘Admired‘ theme by Brad Thomas with its Orange skin, plus some minor modifications by me to better match the rest of and suit my personal tastes.

Most of the content is rendered using the open source ‘PT Sans’ font by ParaType, available through Google Fonts.  The page headline, footer content and some other random bits use the open source ‘Mountains of Christmas’ font by Tart Workshop, also available through Google Fonts.

Where I need to embed source code in a post or page I’m using the ‘SyntaxHighlighter Evolved‘ plug-in for WordPress, based on a nifty JavaScript package by Alex Gorbatchev that can also be used separately in web applications and content beyond WordPress.

Oh, and all this is running on DreamHost, a web hosting provider that came highly recommended by friends. I’m still learning my way around their services but I’ve been very impressed so far thanks to the open environment and excellent compatibility with the tools necessary to create content and manage my site.

Welcome to my “new” blog.  Part of the overall reason for is to provide a place for me to capture and share what I’m up to, both just generally as part of my work, home and hobby life, and for any of the steady stream of projects I can’t seem but help to undertake.  I’ve made attempts at blogging before, first on Tumblr and then on, but failed to develop the regular habit of posting. That struck me as odd as I post to Twitter quite frequently and often struggle to fit my answer to Twitter’s “What are you doing?” question in 140 characters. Meanwhile my blog had never gotten beyond a very small number of longer, carefully constructed magazine article-style posts and so failed in its intended role as a diary shared via the web.

So, the blog idea is reborn with two key tweaks. First, I’m going to lean towards more frequent, shorter posts that complement (and probably extend) my Twitter utterances.  Second, it’s part of where I’ll be more regularly tending a variety of posting efforts including software, web applications, and shared media, and therefore where I can work separately on detailed expositions as articles outside the flow of my blog.

Let’s see if it works…