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Sunday, December 31, 2006

So anyways, one of my friends commented last week on how I should write more about my personal life besides doing all these journal entries on NASA and movies I’ve seen (what, you don’t find that countdown for upcoming space missions at the top of this page interesting? Don’t answer that). So I’ll do just that. A few days before Christmas, one of my co-workers— let’s call her Nina (since she’s Norwegian)— decided to head back home for about a year-and-a-half to focus on taking classes for acting, which she ultimately wants to do as a career. I won’t say where she lives...except to point out Nina’s home country is at the northernmost part of Europe (if you guessed Norway, you guessed right!). She plans on going to London and enroll at an acting school there. Maybe Nina will take a class taught by Ian McDiarmid, an acting teacher who also happened to play Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious and the Emperor in the Star Wars films! Just felt like going off-topic and being facetious (and nerdy as well as random) there. Anyways, I wish Nina all the best, since she’s one of the nicest, most out-going, socialable, nonchalant (am I being repetitive?) and hard-working persons I’ve ever met. Did I also mention she’s extremely attractive? ‘Cause she is. Nina’s the only female co-worker I know who had a moviegoer go up to her while we were working and try to put the moves on her (saying things like “I think you’re really cute” and “I would like to get to know you better” and all that jazz). Being the gracious person that she is, Nina just politely told the guy that we were busy at work, instead of telling him to piss off and die a miserable death on the way back home. There were supposedly other times where moviegoers wrote love notes to her on the back of questionnaires she collected during theater exit polls she worked at (the company we work for conducts test and press screenings, as well as exit polls, duh, for some of the major movie studios like Fox and New Line Cinema... FYI). And at her going-away party that she had at a pub in Hollywood two weeks ago, Nina got a few kiss on the cheeks by some of the other male co-workers who attended (those f***in’ rat bastards! Just playing... Not really. And NO, she doesn't act scandalous. My apologies to Nina if this last sentence implied that). And at the office Christmas party a week before that, there were lots of people (Yours Truly included) who took pictures with her since we all knew that was the last party we were gonna see her at for a while. That’s popularity for ya.

Anyways, to briefly summarize this journal entry for ya (heheh), I’m very fond of Nina. To see the picture I took with her, go here. That photo doesn’t do justice to how beautiful she really is in person. Oh, and she's actually the same height as I am (she's wearing heels in that pic). Later.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein getting his hood removed by an executioner.

Saddam Hussein executed... Other than the fact the Iraqis fortunately proved me (and a lot of other people) wrong by actually showing photos and videos of the dictator about to meet his fate at the gallows, I have no other opinion about this. Well, maybe one more: Hussein will finally be able to have a real relationship with Beelzebub.

Saddam Hussein dining with his boy Satan in an episode of 'South Park'.

My blogs don't get anymore mature than this.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

An F-14 Tomcat does an extremely close flyby of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Stennis.

"I feel the need. The need...for speed..." I found the picture above on this website...though you can find it anywhere if you use Google. In this image, the pilot decided to do an extremely close flyby of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Stennis. He was grounded for 30 days afterwards, but the pilot liked this photo so much he thought it was worth it. Apparently, he watched Top Gun one too many times.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

REST IN PEACE...

President Gerald Ford.
1 9 1 3 - 2 0 0 6

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
1 9 3 3 - 2 0 0 6

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

TOP 10 APOLLO HOAX THEORIES. For all of you conspiracy theorists out there... "We went to the Moon to beat the Soviets. If the Soviets had suspected that we faked these missions in any way, they would have been screaming at the top of their lungs." (This article is courtesy of Space.com.)

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands before an American Flag erected on the lunar surface

10.) FLUTTERING FLAG: "The American flag appears to wave in the lunar wind."

The Science: If you look closely, you will notice the flag's edges are pulled taut. This effect, which was done purposely as to not allow the flag to just hang flat, was created by inserting a stiff wire into the fabric. The "flutter" was created as the astronauts worked to erect the flag. As the wire was adjusted, "Old Glory" appeared to wave.

An illustration of the Van Allen Belt surrounding Earth

9.) GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ASTRONAUTS: "If the astronauts had left the safety of the Van Allen Belt the radiation would have killed them."

The Science: The Van Allen Belts are created by Earth's magnetic field, and protect the planet from dangerous solar radiation. The Belts collect this radiation, and traps it in a layer surrounding the Earth. But unless you deliberately caused your spaceship to hover within this layer, for many hours or days, the radiation exposure is well below dangerous levels. The Apollo astronauts passed through the Belts in less than four hours total for the trip. "It's not much more serious than getting a chest x-ray," said Phil Plait, an astronomer at Sonoma University in California. Outside the Belt, the radiation drops to low levels that are only dangerous over extremely long periods of time.

An Apollo astronaut sets up an experiment on the lunar surface

8.) THE SHADOW KNOWS: "Multiple-angle shadows in the Moon photos prove there was more than one source of light, like a large studio lamp."

The Science: The astronauts were taking their photos on a hilly, brightly-lit landscape while the Sun was close to the horizon. Imagine taking a photograph of someone on a rolling, uneven field of snow during a full, low-hanging Moon. The contours of the ground would produce shadows of many different lengths.

Buzz Aldrin poses for the camera

7.) FRIED FILM: In the Sunlight, the Moon’s temperature is a toasty 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The film (among other things) would have melted.

The Science: No one was leaving bare film out on the hot lunar surface. All material was contained in protective canisters. In addition, at the time the Apollo missions landed, they were either at lunar dawn or dusk. As a result, the temperature was more easily manageable.

A footprint created by that 'one small step for man...'

6.) LIQUID WATER ON THE MOON: To leave a footprint requires moisture in the soil, doesn’t it?

The Science: Not always. If you take some dry fine-grained dust such as talcum powder and dump it out, it's easy to make tracks in it that hold their shape. The particles hold their positions due to the friction between them.

Leonid meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere

5.) DEATH BY METEOR: Space is filled with super-fast micro meteors that would punch through the ship and kill the astronauts.

The Science: Space is really amazingly big. While there are indeed an uncountable number of tiny pieces of debris traveling through the Solar System at speeds in the neighborhood of 120,000 MPH, the volume of space keeps the density low. The chance of any given cubic yard of space having a micro-meteor passing through it is incredibly close to zero. Additionally, the astronauts' suits included a layer of Kevlar to protect them from any tiny fragment they might encounter.

A Lunar Excursion Module

4.) NO CRATER AT LANDING SITE: When the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) landed, its powerful engine didn’t burrow a deep crater in the "dusty surface".

The Science: Beneath the layer of dust, the Moon is made up of fairly densely-packed rock. What dust and loose dirt there was though, was "kicked up" as referenced by the astronauts and captured in their landing films.

The ascent stage of a lunar module takes off into space

3.) PHANTOM CAMERAMAN: How come in that one video of the LEM leaving the surface, the camera follows it up into the sky? Who was running that camera?

The Science: The camera was controlled remotely from Earth...by Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

An Apollo astronaut cruisin' around on a lunar rover

2.) BIG ROVER: There’s no way that big moon buggy they were driving could have fit into that little landing module!

The Science: The rover was very cleverly constructed to be made out of very light materials, and designed to fold up to about the size of a large suitcase.

Earthrise as seen by the Apollo 11 astronauts

1.) IT’S FULL OF STARS! Space is littered with little points of lights (stars). Why then are they missing from the photographs?

The Science: If you've ever taken a photograph outside at night, you'll notice that faint distant objects don't show up. That's not because the air blocks them—it's because the brightness of the nearby objects washes out the film. In fact if you were standing on the day side of the Moon, you'd have to somehow block the landscape out in order for your eyes to adapt enough to see the stars.

Also, check out any modern-day photograph of a Space Shuttle or the International Space Station in orbit, and you won't see any background stars in those pictures as well. This also applies to images taken by interplanetary spacecraft at Mars, Saturn, Venus and all the other planets.

LEFT IMAGE: Astronauts working outside the International Space Station (July 8, 2006)... RIGHT IMAGE: Saturn in an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft (December 22, 2005)

Monday, December 25, 2006

HOOOWWDY HO, EVERYONE...AND MERRY CHRISTMAS! Since I'm too lazy to post up a longer entry about wishing y'all a Happy Holiday, I'll just post a pic of everyone's favorite feces from the TV show South Park here. Season's greetings!

Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida...completing STS-116 on December 22, 2006.

TWO DOWN, THIRTEEN MORE TO GO... Actually, it's fourteen shuttle missions if you count the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing flight in 2008. Anyways... Because of bad weather at the primary landing sites of Florida's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Edwards Air Force Base in California, White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico was activated as being the potential site where an orbiter landed for only the second time since 1982 (space shuttle Columbia landed there after mission STS-3). Fortunately, the weather cleared up enough over KSC for Discovery to touch down there instead (on its second landing opportunity. The first try was scrubbed due to rain showers near Cape Canaveral)...and thus complete the third and final space shuttle mission of 2006, and only the fourth shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster. The next mission, STS-117, will be with Atlantis and is scheduled for launch on March 16, 2007.

The International Space Station's new look as of December 19, 2006.
ABOVE: The International Space Station's new look as of December 19, 2006.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

INTO THE NIGHT... Following Thursday’s launch scrub due to cloudy weather, space shuttle Discovery finally lifted off into space tonight...and is now set to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Monday afternoon. This is the third and final shuttle flight for this year, with more interesting missions to come in 2007 with the planned additions of Europe’s Columbus, (the first component of) Japan’s Kibo and the United States’ Node 2 modules...plus another set of huge solar panel wings. Discovery is scheduled to return to Earth on December 21st. Godspeed, the crew of Discovery...on mission STS-116.

Space shuttle Discovery lights up the night sky on December 9, 2006.

A camera onboard Discovery's external fuel tank captures this footage of the orbiter separating after main engine cut-off following launch.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The UCLA Bruins emerge victorious against USC, 13-9, at the Rowl Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

UCLA: 13, USC: 9... So not only did today's game pose a pain in the ass for me in terms of parking, since I was working right near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but the Trojans had to mess things up even more by dashing hopes for a third national title in four years, and losing against the Bruins for the first time in 7 years [this last one would be a bit more forgivable...if it were not for the fact UCLA is already at the top of its game in men's basketball (Number 1 in the nation. Wow)]. Bah! At least USC will be playing against Michigan in the Rose Bowl on January 1st. Then again, SC lost in the two games it played at Pasadena this year (today's game and last January's loss to Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns)...so maybe that isn't much of a consolation prize, after all. Good thing I won't be working that day, obviously. Parking would really be a bitch.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Venom from next year's SPIDER-MAN 3.  Word.

More on SPIDER-MAN 3... Last night, FOX aired the ‘world broadcast premiere’ to 2004's Spider-Man 2, and during most of the commercials, showed brief clips from the newest trailer to next year’s third Webslinger installment. Right before the movie started, however, there was a promo to these sneak previews, and a quick shot of Venom from the film was shown for the first time! In the words of Eric Cartman from TV's South Park: "Kiiick. Ass! Kiiick. Ass!" Thanks to the folks at SuperHeroHype.com for providing a video that combines all clips from the sneak previews. Word.


New SPIDER-MAN 3 poster...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

SCREW THE DMV! The Department of Motor Vehicles has some of the most incompetent bastards working for it. Useless, bureacratic BS that that lousy agency likes to dish out... To hell with it! By the way, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 17, 2006

A screenshot from the video showing a shark getting ensnared by an octopus' tentacles.

SHARK VS. OCTOPUS... If you type that on Google, you'll find tons of links to a video showing nature's most ferocious sea predator getting ensnared by the arms of the multi-tentacled, um, creature. This took place at an aquarium, and was videotaped after employees wondered why their sharks were dying off one by one each morning. Pretty crazy. And who said sharks had no known natural enemies?

Here's a direct link to the video.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Spider-Man wearing the black alien symbiote over his suit.

SPIDER-MAN 3 Trailer... Check out the newest preview to the third Spidey flick on iFilm.com, and in front of the next Bond flick Casino Royale...which comes out this Friday. Hopefully, a downloadable version of the trailer will be made available online once Royale is released. By the way, there's no sign of Venom in this preview (except Topher Grace playing Eddie Brock...Venom's human alterego). Sam Raimi is trying to keep the character under wraps, eh? Hopefully, Venom will look awesome when we finally see him on the big screen next May. That is all.

PIC 1: Mary Jane Watson.  PIC 2: Harry Osborn in the new Goblin outfit.  PIC 3: Sandman.
PIC 4: Spidey in his regular outfit.  PIC 5: Harry Osborn confronts Peter Parker over the death of Osborn's father, the Green Goblin.  PIC 6: Sandman getting owned by Spidey inside a subway tunnel.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Roselyn Sanchez doing nudesy for a PETA ad.

According to this PETA ad, Rush Hour 2 star Roselyn Sanchez would rather bare it all than wear any kind of animal on her body. Err— Does anyone have any complaints about this? Anyone? Now if only every other actress/female celeb could share the same point of view as her and do their own PETA ad like this. Well— Any actress/female celeb except Rosie O'Donnell, Kathy Bates, Star Jones, Roseanne and all other, um, meaty non-Jessica Alba lookalikes, that is.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

LOST.

So I watched the hit ABC show for the first time last night, and needless to say, I had no idea what the hell was going on. Something about Sawyer about to be executed with Kate looking on while Jack threatens to let Ben die if those dudes don’t let Sawyer and Kate run away...when Jack doesn’t know he’s on a different island than them (a morning talk show I heard on the radio station today helped me with that last part). Granted, I’ve heard countless of times that Lost is one of those series where you have to watch it from the very beginning to know what the heck is going on, but even then, it didn’t grip me the way 24 did when I, um, began watching it during season 4 (with that one episode where Jack Bauer and a Marine Corps strike team has to rescue Secretary of Defense Heller and his daughter from that compound filled with terrorists). Or I might just be biased, haha. Lost is scheduled to return with 16 new episodes starting February 7th of next year. Won't— err, can't wait. Next week, a new show called Day Break premieres on ABC. That show, from what I saw in the commercials, is about some African American dude who was accidentally convicted of something and now needs to go off and clear his name. Hmm— I wonder if anything like this has ever happened before in real life? By the way, why am I not surprised that that African American dude (played by Taye Diggs) has an Asian girlfriend? ‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Borat sings his own version of the U.S. national anthem at a rodeo.

"Kazakhstan is the greatest...country in the world..." So I saw Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan on Saturday, and what did I think? In the words of Mr. Sagdiyev himself (that’s Borat’s last name, in case you didn’t know yet): HIGH FIVE! The movie was hi-larious! From pointing out the town rapist in his home village at the beginning to trying to kidnap Pamela Anderson at the end, the movie was a non-stop crackup! Sacha Baron Cohen is one devoted comedian...considering he was willing to have a naked fat man (Azamat, Borat’s producer in the film) sit on his face and pretty much ‘69’ him during that hotel room wrestling scene, poking fun at his Jewish heritage (C’mon now... Who won’t admit they found guilty pleasure in laughing at him trying to pay off those two ‘Jewish cockroaches’ so they wouldn't kill him? Or videotape the Running of the Jews in his village? It’s good, satirical fun... Mel Gibson should be amused), commenting on the current US and A political climate ("We support your war...of terror. May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq.") and even mingling with a couple of male participants at a gay pride parade. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprise if he brought "Not" jokes back into popularity again. And one phrase I’ve never heard of that I'll probably incorporate into my own screenplays is the term "Make romance explosion on her stomach." If you don’t know what that means... Well, you haven’t watch enough pornos then, haha.

Borat commentates on the Running of the Jews festival in his Kazakh hometown.

All in all, Borat delivered. Though I don’t know about buying it on DVD since, once again, that now-infamous wrestling scene doesn’t lend itself to repeat viewings (unless you like fat and skinny, butt-naked Kazakh reporters). This is similar to what I said about the last Sacha Baron Cohen flick, Talladega Nights. Anyways... Since I (and millions of other people who contributed to the movie’s $26.5 million opening weekend) watched the film, does that mean Borat will no longer be execute? If so... HIGH FIVE!

Borat and his producer/wrestling-partner Azamat high-five in their $600 ice cream truck.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death on November 4, 2006, for the 1982 killings of 148 Shiite Muslims in Iraq.

SADDAM SENTENCED TO DEATH... Two days ago, the former Iraqi dictator was found guilty in the 1982 killing of 148 Shiite Muslims in the city of Dujail. He is to meet his fate by hanging.

...

So— Does this mean Hussein will actually start a homosexual relationship with Satan in the afterlife? Or have I watched old reruns of South Park one too many times?

Saddam Hussein spoons with Satan in one TV episode of SOUTH PARK.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Carrie Underwood and her million-dollar smile.  Wow.

HELL NO, I don't watch American Idol...and even if I did, it would be to start a lame conversation with those who still can't get enough reality TV shows (Fox is beginning to air commercials for the next season premiering in January. When are they gonna start showing previews to season 6 of 24, dagnabbit?). But I just wanted to post up pics of Kelly Clarkson and all the other hot chicks who managed to win or be the runner-ups to the final Idol winners. Granted, there are tons of other babes from the show who should be mentioned—but like I said—I don't watch Idol...so I don't know who they are, haha. Sure, Katharine McPhee dabbled in Scientology, but it's all good. Everyone makes at least one big crappy mistake in their lives (gee, am I taking a subtle potshot at Tom Cruise's, um, religious denomination? Absoluuutely not). And Kellie Pickler...looks like a former co-worker of mine at Paramount Studios (she was a page like me, and had the same first name as her Idol counterpart! Though my co-worker's name ended in 'y' and not 'ie'. I'm sure you wanted to know that one...). By the way, there are lots of great pics of Carrie Underwood online, so I didn't know which one to choose to put here. So she's the lucky gal who gets to have two pics of her randomly posted on this Blog. You rock, Carrie!


American Idol babes--err, contestants/winners: Kelly Clarkson, Katharine McPhee, Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"The secret to happiness is a good sense of humor and a bad memory!" I read that on someone's MySpace page this morning, and you know... It's actually true. Ignorance is bliss, haha. That would probably explain why people who tend to dwell on the past, *cough-cough*, happen to be serious and glum mofo's most of the time. *Cough-cough.* I wonder if brain surgery will one day advance to the point where all the neurons that contain crappy memories and thoughts can safely be removed from our gray matter? Actually— Scratch that question. It was lame. Now if only I can try to forget that I asked that in the first place. Well— So much for being happy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shaq's championship ring with the Miami Heat.

2006-07 NBA Season: OPENING NIGHT... So the Miami Heat raised a championship banner and got their bling on right before getting a royal ass-whupping by the Chicago Bulls (108-66) last night, while the Lakers handled the Suns at STAPLES Center, 114-106, despite not having Kobe on the floor with his new jersey on. Hmm... Could these odd turn of events signify the kind of season we’re in for over the next six months? Or am I just exaggerating? Who’s the favorite to win the title next June anyway? Will it be San Antonio once more...or are the Spurs destined to become the New York Yankees of basketball? The Derek Jeter squad, that is (always being favored to go all the way in the postseason but falling short of reaching the end of October). We shall see.

The Miami bench react after getting blown out by the Bulls during their opening night game.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hubble Space Telescope following release from a space shuttle during a previous service flight.

HUBBLE MISSION A "GO"... Earlier this morning, NASA chief Michael Griffin officially gave the go-ahead to prepare for one last space shuttle flight to repair the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The orbiter that will rendezvous with it will be Discovery, which launched HST into space in April of 1990. Lift-off for this next flight is set no earlier than May of 2008. Two new scientific instruments will be installed onto the orbiting observatory, and its batteries as well as devices used to point the spacecraft (such as its gyroscopes) will be replaced. Also, HST will be fitted with a docking mechanism that will allow a small rocket module to be attached to the telescope in the future...to guide it to a controlled re-entry of Earth's atmosphere once HST finally stops operating about 5 years after the next servicing flight. This will be the sixth shuttle mission—and fifth servicing flight overall—devoted to the space telescope. Astronauts revisited HST in 1993, ’97, ’99 and 2002, respectively, to upgrade it. The next modifications to Hubble should allow it to last at least till 2013, when its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch.

On April 24, 1990, space shuttle Discovery launches on STS-31...the flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope.

The upcoming mission was originally scheduled for 2005...but cancelled in 2004 by then-NASA head honcho Sean O’Keefe following the 2003 Columbia disaster. The reason for this was because astronauts visiting the telescope had no place to seek refuge should a Columbia-type hole be found punctured in Discovery’s heat shield. All shuttles so far have been headed to the International Space Station, where astronauts could seek a safe haven should severe damage be found on their vehicle before the trip home. A rescue mission will be made available for the upcoming Hubble flight...with another shuttle being launched within a one week’s notice should Discovery be deemed unfit to return to Earth. Enough supplies will be placed onboard the spacecraft to allow astronauts to stay in orbit for about 25 days.

Scores of galaxies grace this photo of the Hubble Deep Field...one of the most popular images taken by the space telescope.

In other Discovery-related news, the orbiter is scheduled to be rolled into the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida's Kennedy Space Center no earlier than 7 PM (Pacific Daylight Time) tonight...where it will be mated with its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters for its upcoming flight. Discovery is still scheduled to launch December 7 on the next space station assembly mission, designated STS-116. The 2008 Hubble flight is designated STS-125.

UPDATE (November 1): According to NASASpaceflight.com, Atlantis might be used for the Hubble mission...making this the first time the orbiter flew to the telescope, as well as the very last mission for the vehicle before it is retired in 2008.

An astronaut works on Hubble during the last service mission, which took place with space shuttle Columbia on 2002's STS-109 flight.

One more thing... Happy Halloween, everyone!