Monday, December 31, 2018

The Final Post of 2018: Reliving 2008 (and then some)...

My tandem instructor and I exit the aircraft 13,000 feet above the city of Oceanside in California...on October 4, 2018.

Just thought I'd end this year by pointing out how 2018 reminded me of 2008...a year that I look back on favorably for personal reasons. 2008 was memorable because a spacecraft carrying a DVD that bears my name (NASA's Phoenix lander) successfully touched down on Mars, I attended my 10-year high school reunion in Pasadena, CA, I went to Florida and took part in a cruise (to the Bahamas) for the first time, and I did so many viewings of The Dark Knight in movie theaters because it was such an awesome film.

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off on its maiden flight from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida...on February 6, 2018.

In regards to 2018, my name landed on Mars for the third time (via two small microchips aboard the InSight spacecraft over a month ago; my name is also on the Curiosity rover as it safely arrived at the Red Planet in 2012), I attended a dinner cruise in Newport Beach, CA, to mark my 20-year high school reunion two months ago, I went to Florida and took part in a second cruise (to the Panama Canal and other locales in Central America) last March, and I watched The Dark Knight in Universal City (twice during the summer) after the movie was theatrically re-released for its 10-year anniversary.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft's shadow is visible on the surface of Ryugu after a target marker (the white point inside the green circle) containing the names of 180,000 people (including me) successfully landed on the asteroid...on October 25, 2018 (Japan Time).

Along with the highlights listed above, this entry also includes some non-personal events as well as cool, exciting activities that I did this year [namely, going skydiving in San Diego County for my 39th birthday (as shown in the pic at the very top of this entry)...and finally meeting 5-time NBA champ Kobe Bryant (as shown in the image at the bottom of this post)]. Check out the photos throughout this entry...and have a safe and happy New Year!


The Martian northern plain, with one of Phoenix's solar panels and a portion of the lander's flight deck visible in the foreground.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

NASA's Phoenix lander arrival (at Mars' north polar region): May 25, 2008

NASA's InSight lander arrival (at Elysium Planitia): November 26, 2018

One of InSight's twin solar panels and its flight deck are visible in this image taken by a camera on the spacecraft's robotic arm...on December 7, 2018.
NASA / JPL - Caltech


Batman (Christian Bale) surveys the wreckage following the death of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in THE DARK KNIGHT.

1st Theatrical Viewing: July 18, 2008

1st Theatrical Viewing (for 10-year anniversary release): August 26, 2018

About to watch THE DARK KNIGHT on IMAX at Universal Cinema AMC in CityWalk...on August 26, 2018.


Fireworks erupt above Bird Nest Stadium in Beijing, China, during the Olympic opening ceremony on August 8, 2008.

2008 Summer Games (in Beijing, China): August 8 - 24, 2008

2018 Winter Games (in Pyeongchang, South Korea): February 9 - 25, 2018

The closing ceremony for the 2018 Winter Games is held inside inside the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in South Korea...on February 25, 2018.
Chang W. Lee / The New York Times


Posing with the Bahamas' Atlantis Resort behind me...on August 17, 2008.

Bahamas cruise (from Fort Lauderdale, Florida): August 13 - 18, 2008

Panama Canal cruise (from Miami, Florida): March 11 - 23, 2018

Sailing through the Gatun Locks in the Panama Canal...on March 15, 2018.


Taking a pic with fellow high school classmates Sarina and Adam at our 10-year reunion in Pasadena, CA...on October 25, 2008.

10-year high school reunion (in Pasadena, CA): October 25, 2008

20-year high school reunion (in Newport Beach, CA): October 6, 2018

Taking a group photo during the post-reunion gathering at On the Rocks Bar & Grill in Newport Beach, CA...on October 6, 2018.

And lastly, it only took 11 years to meet the Mamba...on October 23, 2018!

Posing with Kobe Bryant during a photo op inside Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove in Los Angeles...on October 23, 2018.

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