MAIN / INDEX / GAMES / JOURNAL ENTRIES & UPDATES / ASK PARMAN! / VIDEOS / FRIENDS' GALLERY / GALLERY 2 / FAVORITES / FICTION / DRAWINGS / LINKS / AUTOGRAPHS / FILM NOTES / NAME IN SPACE / HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT BLOG / CREDITS


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in MIAMI VICE

MIAMI VICE... Since the movie opened Friday, and I watched it during a press screening in Hollywood last Wednesday, I guess it’s safe to give a full review here. Actually, I don’t feel like giving a full review. All I’m gonna say is, cinematography-wise, the movie looked great (especially during the aerial shots of the planes soaring through the clouds over South America, and that scene where Colin Farrell is driving that nice-ass speedboat across the sea to, um, Cuba? Got confused with that one)...and action-wise, there was hardly any. But when there was an action scene (re: gunfights), you rooted for Sonny (Farrell) and Ricardo (Jamie Foxx) to start blasting away at some drug dealers and white supremacists. Or did I spoil the plot for you? Anyways, I thought Collateral was a lot better than this film. For starters, I could understand the dialogue in Collateral (I know, I know... Michael Mann is trying to convey realistic cop talk in this latest film), and the story wasn’t convoluted in the 2004 thriller. So anyways, again, that’s all. What’s the next film I want to see this summer? Don’t know... This summer blows.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Just your typical journal entry... I won’t give names, but it’s pretty humbling when there’s a lady I like, who even though I already knew for quite some time now that she was with someone, I didn’t realize the pointlessness of thinking about her till I actually met her boyfriend in person (for the second time, that is. I already met the dude a few years back). I’m thinking, "Good God... Why the f**k do I keep going for girls who are already taken?? Move on!" And, of course, to make things worse, I’m sitting next to this girl and her boyfriend as they hold hands (but at least they didn’t smooch in front of me! And no, I’m not gonna be specific about the event where this took place today). Yea, that oughta’ put someone back in their place. Believe it or not, I’m not talking about Denise here!! But I did meet this other lady during college. Again, I won’t be specific about when and how I met her, since I already wrote several entries about this lady as well [You'd have to browse through the 2003 and 2004 archives (to the right) to find out]. Don’t know how many of you can relate to or even understand what the heck I’m talking about, since I’m sounding cryptic as hell in this entry, but whatever. Just felt like getting this off my chest.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A HALO tandem dive about to take place...

HALO Tandem... Prior to my last skydive two months ago, one of my brothers mentioned how there was a skydiving school near Memphis, Tennessee where regular civilians could do a High Altitude, Low (parachute) Opening drop that usually only military Special Forces (like U.S. Navy SEALs) do. I didn’t think much about it, till a few days after my jump at Perris Valley. I went online to check out this so-called HALO tandem, and lo and behold, I came across all these pictures—and now I’m achin’ to soar in the sky once again.

I sooo wanna wear that jumpsuit.  Special Ops rule!!
[All four images in this entry are courtesy of Incredible-Adventures.com. Click here to watch a brief video clip of a HALO jump (2.4 MB). NOTE: The clip ends at the 1:27 mark even though it is suppose to be 3 minutes, 40 seconds long.]

Just to let you know how a HALO skydive is different from a regular skydive, the HALO jump takes place from about 30,000 feet above the ground (which amounts to about 5 miles above the Earth...or the normal cruising altitude for commercial passenger jets...or a few feet higher than Mt. Everest. Did I also mention that this is in the stratosphere?), the freefalling speed is about 200 mph as opposed to 120 mph for regular skydives, the freefall lasts about 2 1/2 minutes as opposed to 45-60 seconds in a regular skydive, and you have to wear a mandatory jumpsuit and oxygen mask in a HALO...or else you’ll black out within’ 30 seconds because of a lack of oxygen up there, and possibly suffer brain damage from hypoxia.

You can almost see the curvature of the Earth.  Not really.  But that view rocks!!

Ahem—the hypoxia issue aside, I really wanna do this! Darn it, why did my brother have to tell me about this dive?? To make things even more excruciating, the HALO jump is only available in a state that’s on the other side of the country from where I live (California). Not only that, but the jump price is in four figures...and I obviously assume that that doesn’t include the cost of an airline ticket, food, a hotel room, a taxi and a lot of other expenses a non-Tennessee resident would have to pay for. Bah! It’s gonna be forever till I’m able to try this jump...meaning I’ll keep talkin’ and talkin’ about it with other people in the meantime, which is a huge ‘no-no’ for me in the sense that I don’t like mentioning my plans till after I do ‘em. It was a lot easier to keep mum on my two previous skydives (casually mentioning that you’re risking your life by leaping out of a plane isn’t exactly the same as casually saying you’re going out to play miniature golf)...since they took place in-state, cost only a few hundreds of dollars—as opposed to thousands—and I was able to jump within a week of setting up a reservation. I would have to set up a HALO jump weeks or months in advance since I would also need to secure a plane ticket to Memphis (despite the fact that most Tennesse-bound flights from LAX land in Nashville, which is a lot farther from the skydiving school than Memphis is. The school is in Somerville).

Dagnabbit— Why couldn’t that skydiving school be a lot closer?? Like in Colorado?? Or Arizona??

Another happy landing.

Now, I’m not writing this blog so I could get the urge to HALO jump out of my system. I’m writing this blog to let all of you know (that is, those of you who skydove before and want to try the ultimate freefall) that there’s something out there that’s even better than what you did before, and that you should try it. It’s not everyday that most people wake up and think, "I think I’ll drive to an airfield and jump out of an aircraft 13,000 feet above the ground"...let alone think, "I think I’ll fly out of state to visit an airfield where I can jump from a plane 30,000 feet above the ground". I have no idea how business is doing at that school since I doubt few people outside of professional skydivers and thrill-seekers would do this, and I would like to go before the HALO tandem is unexpectedly discontinued because of a lack of customers. On the other hand, if business is doing so great in Somerville that I could wait a few years to HALO jump (Arg!), then I’m all for it. In the meantime, if the rest of you have the cash and gusto to do it, support my cause and HALO jump! I’ll mail you 5 dollars if you do, haha. I don’t do PayPal, though.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An updated design of the Crew Exploration Vehicle.  Image courtesy of Chris Bergin/NASASpaceflight.com.

CREW EXPLORATION VEHICLE Update... By now, you should’ve all noticed that I’m currently interested in talking mostly about space-related stuff on my journal page, so here’s another space-related update! According to NASASpaceflight.com, engineers were having issues with the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) in that it was 10,000 pounds overweight...meaning that the command and service modules (seen above) were too heavy for the solid rocket booster (the long white "stick" making up the bottom half of the vehicle, seen below) to handle during flight. In the process, engineers obviously began making changes to the CEV, and at the end, pulled off a remarkable feat of eliminating the excess 10,000 pounds from the spacecraft within a short amount of time. In fact, the CEV is now 100 pounds underweight! Sure, that amount is miniscule, but for engineers to be able to shed thousands of pounds from the launch vehicle—and then some—to make it work is astonishing. Again, go to NASASpaceflight.com for more details. (You’ll also see that the image I created below is also used in the CEV article on that website...but that’s not the reason why I decided to talk about the CEV on my page, haha. NSF webmaster Chris Bergin gave me credit for using that image.)

Engineers construct a mockup of the Crew Exploration Vehicle at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (November 2005).
Engineers construct a mockup of the Crew Exploration Vehicle at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (November, 2005).

In terms of naming the CEV, there have been rumors that NASA is close to choosing a name for the command and service modules [Not the Crew Launch Vehicle (the solid rocket booster and orange external fuel tank shown below)...that’s the Ares 1]. The name they’ve apparently selected is Orion. In case some of you are confusing Orion with NASA’s Constellation program (assuming at least some of you are space geeks like I am... Err, hopefully?), the Constellation program is the main organization that is responsible for the CEV project and all other missions supporting the Vision for Space Exploration effort (click here to read more about Constellation). Orion will be the name for all the actual missions...similar to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spaceflights. Go to Space.com for more details.

An early composite image of an Ares 1 test vehicle being rolled out to the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The gray mobile platform that the craft is sitting on will be replaced with a newer, lighter transporter that will be able to move the CEV and its 4 million pounds worth of ground equipment to the launch area.
An early composite image of an Ares 1 test vehicle being rolled out to the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The gray mobile platform that the craft is sitting on will be replaced with a newer, lighter transporter that will be able to move the CEV and its 4 million pounds worth of ground equipment to the launch area.

One last thing about the Crew Exploration Vehicle (for now)... As early as next April, one of the space shuttle launch pads will be transferred over to the Constellation program to begin modifications for Crew Launch Vehicle test flights (I’d mention when the test flights are suppose to take place, but that info came from a section of NASASpaceflight.com that is for paying members only). Operations from Launch Pad 39B—the pad from which the shuttle Discovery lifted off from about three weeks ago—will cease on March 31, 2007. All remaining shuttle missions will lift off from Launch Pad 39A...which as of this typing is undergoing an overhaul that will last for another six months. Click here for more details.

The Ares 1 rocket with the re-designed Crew Exploration Vehicle on top.
The Ares 1 rocket with the re-designed Crew Exploration Vehicle on top.

UPDATE #2: Well, it turns out that even though NASA has shed the 10,000 pounds that made the CEV/Crew Launch Vehicle overweight, there are other issues that the space agency still needs to deal with during this developmental phase of the program. The issues may be so numerous that NASA has an alternate look for the Ares 1 vehicle in case the current "stick" design doesn't work out...one that'll make it more closely resemble the space shuttle of today. However, this design has so far remained only a concept. Click here for more details.

The alternate design for the Crew Launch Vehicle...making it more closely resemble the space shuttle.  Image courtesy of NASASpaceflight.com

A comparison chart showing the size of the space shuttle relative to the current Ares 1 'Stick' (left) and the 'Stumpy' (right) design.  Image courtesy of NASASpaceflight.com
A comparison chart showing the size of the space shuttle relative to the current Ares
1 'Stick' (left) and the 'Stumpy' (right) design.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

CLERKS II

CLERKS II... I didn’t watch the first one in its entirety, but now I should just to see how it compares to the sequel, which was totally hilarious and witty! Don’t know about you, but Kevin Smith writes some of the best damn dialogue in movies...especially when the dialogue is about movies. That one scene where Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) is getting in that heated argument with Elias (Trevor Fehrman) and a customer (played by Quentin Tarantino look-alike Kevin Weisman) about The Lord of the Rings was a crack-up...and true. Of course, the dialogue about "Mannequin Skywalker" and the Star Wars prequels (well, only Star Wars: Episodes' I and II, that is. Ahem) was also true. Jay and Silent Bob, those crazy potheads, almost stole the show. And Rosario Dawson was waaay better than Dante Hick’s (Brian O’Halloran) fiancĂ©e, Emma (played by Jennifer Schwalbach Smith... Do any of you even care that I list the real name of the actors? Don’t answer that). By the way, that one shaggy-haired diner patron sitting at a table who utters the line "F**kin’ ay" was a former classmate of mine (Steve R.). We both graduated from film school at Cal State Long Beach in ‘04. How he made a small cameo in Clerks II, I do not know. Lucky punk. Then again, I was in 2002's $400 million behemoth, Spider-Man, so all is forgiven.

About the scene where Dante and Randal go Go Cart racing... That looked like it was filmed at Speed Zone, which is only a couple of miles from where I live (in southern California). If that is Speed Zone in Clerks II, then this would be the second time the SoCal racing park was featured in a movie that ironically took place in a northeastern state (Clerks took place in New Jersey, while the other film I’m talking about, 2005’s Guess Who starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, took place in New York...which I’m heading to next month, by the way). I’ll stop wasting your time with meaningless trivia now.

Jay and Silent Bob

Monday, July 24, 2006

The mission logo for STS-115.

STS-115 Update... Around 5:45 (Pacific Daylight Time) this morning, the orbiter Atlantis was rolled out of its hangar and to the Vehicle Assembly Building...where it will be attached to its external tank and twin solid rocket boosters. Rollout to the launch pad is scheduled for next Monday, July 31st, and lift-off is being aimed for August 28 (though I currently listed August 27 as the launch date in the countdown at the top of this page, since that’s what space shuttle program managers are aiming for. It’ll either be changed or unchanged depending on what NASA leaders decide on after the Flight Readiness Review on August 16).

The orbiter Atlantis is being rolled out of the Orbiter Processing Facility on July 24, 2006.

Atlantis is rolled over to the Vehicle Assembly Building on July 24, 2006.

Atlantis is being rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building on July 24, 2006.

A crane lifts Atlantis into a vertical position prior to mating with its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters, on July 24, 2006.

Atlantis is attached to its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters on July 24, 2006.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Space shuttle Discovery touches down at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida following a 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

"WE'RE BACK, BABY!" Those were the words that astronaut Scott Kelly uttered on the phone last week to his brother, fellow astronaut Mark Kelly, who was the pilot onboard Discovery for mission STS-121. Around 6:14 AM, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) today, Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida...successfully completing STS-121 and thus the second and final Return to Flight test mission. Assuming everything goes well in the upcoming 6 weeks, the next space shuttle to launch will be Atlantis...on an assembly mission (designated STS-115) to attach the next metal truss segment and solar panel wings to the International Space Station.

The International Space Station (ISS) in its current configuration (July 6, 2006).
The International Space Station (ISS) in its current configuration (July 6, 2006).

The highlighted parts represent the segments that will be delivered to the ISS on mission STS-115: The Port 3/Port 4 truss and solar array wings.
The highlighted parts represent the segments that will be delivered to the ISS on mis-
-sion STS-115: The Port 3/Port 4 truss and solar array wings.


An artist's rendition of the ISS in orbit.
An artist's rendition of the ISS in orbit after shuttle flight STS-115.

How the ISS will hopefully look when it's completed in 2010.
How the ISS will hopefully look when it's completed in 2010.

An artist's rendition of the completed ISS.
An artist's rendition of the completed ISS.

Below is a timeline of events to take place prior to the August 28th launch of Atlantis (obviously, the schedule may change):

DATE.......EVENT

07/25/06...Atlantis rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building (tentative...now July 24)
07/27/06...P3/P4 Truss payload transported to Launch Pad 39B (tentative...now July 26)
08/02/06...Shuttle stack rollout to Launch Pad 39B
08/02/06...P3/P4 Truss to be installed inside Atlantis' payload bay (tentative...now Aug. 5)
08/07/06...Crew flies out to Kennedy Space Center
08/08/06...Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) begins
08/09/06...Astronaut Q & A at Launch Pad 39B
08/10/06...TCDT ends with dress-rehearsal countdown
08/11/06...Pre-flight briefings at the Johnson Space Center
08/15/06...Flight Readiness Review (FRR) begins
08/16/06...FRR ends; official launch date announced
08/25/06...Countdown begins...now August 24
08/28/06...Launch (now August 27 at 1:30 PM, PDT, because of schedule issues related to a Russian Soyuz flight to the space station in mid-September)
09/07/06...Shuttle launch window closes
Schedule courtesy of SpaceflightNow.com

A photo of the P3/P4 truss structure (right), taken on May 12, 2005.  Prior to the Columbia disaster, STS-115 was originally suppose to be flown on May 23, 2003, onboard the shuttle Endeavour.  Endeavour is currently grounded for maintenance at the Kennedy Space Center, and should fly again by next summer (on STS-118).
A photo of the P3/P4 truss structure (right), taken on May 12, 2005. Prior to the
Columbia disaster, STS-115 was originally suppose to be flown on May 23, 2003, on-
-board the shuttle Endeavour. Endeavour is currently grounded for maintenance at
the Kennedy Space Center, and should fly again by next summer (on STS-118).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Paramount Studios in a pic taken by me on December 15, 2005.

Farewell, Paramount Pictures... Yesterday was officially my last day working at the studio, after being there for a year. All in all, it's a great place to work. I'd write a longer entry, but I don't wanna. Maybe later. Click here to check out several photos that I took while I was at Paramount. Some of the photos include a prop vehicle from the upcoming Spider-Man 3 and the Batmobile from the old 1960's Batman TV show.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ADVICE OF THE DAY: For people who don't have driver licenses yet (and are old enough to get one), do not, I repeat, DO NOT get a job yet. Unless it's only a mile away or something. No license and having work where you have to commute on the freeway simply don't mix. It'd be a huge mistake...especially if you have to start and end work at times when there's major traffic on the freeway (that would be for almost every job! Duh). If you're gonna get a long-distance job, be prepared to take the bus often or get the angry, silent treatment by those who have to spend gas money, wake up early when they don't have to, and cause unneeded wear-and-tear on their car to bring you to work everyday. That is all.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bill Nighy as Davy Jones in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'.

SQUIDHEAD... So about an hour ago, I came back from the theater after watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The movie was okay... I could see that the filmmakers were obviously trying to make the film a lot more complex and darker than the first installment (in the same vein as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Empire Strikes Back...though neither of the two aforementioned films compare to Empire’s excellence). A major flaw in the movie was that much of the dialogue was inaudible—either because of the heavy British accents, or Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score (which I still liked...though some of the music sounded very similar to his work in Gladiator, Crimson Tide and even Pearl Harbor). Heavy accents are what marred the viewing experience of the last Harry Potter installment for me as well, but I’m not talking about the Goblet of Fire here. Um, obviously. The prosthetics used to turn actor Bill Nighy into the multi-tentacled Davy Jones were well-done.

Back to Pirates 2. I can’t wait to see (Warning: a major spoiler ahead for those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet) how a certain character’s comeback from The Curse of the Black Pearl is explained in the third Pirates film...to be released next year. I also hope the dialogue will also be more intelligible. Other than that, I have nothing else to say. Oh yea... End Spoiler. $132 million in three days. Good Lord...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

24.

12 EMMY AWARD NOMINATIONS... Daaamn straight. Go to this CNN.com article for more details. Congratulations to Kiefer Sutherland (for a Best Actor nod as counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer), Gregory Itzin (a Best Supporting Actor nod for portraying U.S. President Charles Logan) and Jean Smart (a Best Supporting Actress nod for playing U.S. First Lady, Martha Logan). So, um, what went wrong with Lost and Desperate Housewives? I've never watched those shows.

A group photo of 24's Season 5 characters.
A group photo of 24's Season 5 characters.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off on mission STS-121 on July 4, 2006.

LIFT-OFF! At 11:38 AM, Pacific Daylight Time, Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off on NASA's first ever manned space launch on Independence Day. The countdown and launch appeared to go smoothly, but I still hate Florida weather. You suck, Floridians. Just not today.


Onboard Discovery's flight deck, three of STS-121's seven crew members can be seen during the shuttle's ascent into orbit on July 4, 2006.  The curvature of the Earth can be seen outside the window (far left) as the space shuttle's main engine cut-off is moments away.

A camera onboard a NASA aircraft took this shot of the solid rocket boosters being moments away from separating from Space Shuttle Discovery, as it launched into orbit on July 4, 2006.

The camera onboard the NASA aircraft took this other shot of the solid rocket boosters separating from Space Shuttle Discovery, as it launched into orbit on July 4, 2006.

A camera onboard a solid rocket booster took this never-before-seen shot of Space Shuttle Discovery as it soared into orbit on July 4, 2006.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

DISCOVERY Launch Scrubbed... Originally, I wasn't gonna post anything if the space shuttle didn't launch today, since the chances of it not getting off the ground because of bad weather was known since the July 1 launch date was first announced on June 17. But G*DDAMN, Florida sucks. Well okay, Florida's weather sucks...but I'm still pretty peeved. It's summer...and looking at the 10-day forecast for the "Sunshine" State online, it's all nothing but scattered thunderstorms till next weekend. Thunderstorms...during the summer. Florida blooows.

At least here in California, it's nice and sunny even if the long-awaited Big One (a giant earthquake, for those of you who don't live here in the Almighty Golden State) was to finally wreak havoc. If Discovery isn't able to launch by July 19, NASA will have to wait till the next launch window to open from August 28 to September 14...which is reserved for the next space station assembly flight (mission STS-115). God, I hate Florida. It blooows. Did you hear me, Floridians? You suck. Anvil clouds and lightning... You guys really suck.

The weather above Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, July 1st.
The weather above Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday,
July 1st.


UPDATE (July 3): So not only was Discovery's launch scrubbed for a second time yesterday due to bad weather, but it may not launch tomorrow because of a small crack found on the foam insulating a large pipe outside the external tank. Of course, if Discovery was able to have launched on July 1st or yesterday, the stress caused by the constant pumping and purging of the ice-cold rocket fuel into the tank wouldn't have taken place, and that crack wouldn't have formed. Thank you, Mother Nature. God, I hate you. Let's hear it for urban sprawl and pollution, bitch. I can't believe I just called the weather a bitch. Meh, oh well.

As you can see, I'm one of those people achin' to see the shuttle return to flight. Don't know why, I just do.

This footage was taken during the afternoon on Monday, July 3.  Is it just me but the weather looked pretty damn good for a launch?  Eh... Would've, could've, should've...
This footage was taken during the afternoon on Monday, July 3. Is it
just me but the weather looked pretty damn good for a launch? Eh...
Would've, could've, should've...


UPDATE #2 (July 3): It is 6:00 PM here in Southern California, and many news websites are stating that Discovery will be launched tomorrow as scheduled. YES!

The tower's Rotating Service Structure rolls away...revealing Discovery as it stands poised for launch as of 12:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on July 4th.
The tower's Rotating Service Structure rolls away...revealing Discovery
as it stands poised for launch as of 12:14 AM (Eastern Daylight Time)
on July 4th.


A flame shoots out from the launch pad's hydrogen tank as the gas is being burnt off during the filling of Discovery's orange external fuel tank, on the morning of July 4th.
A flame shoots out from the launch pad's hydrogen tank as the gas is
being burnt off during the filling of Discovery's orange external fuel
tank, on the morning of July 4th.