Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Rocket Men

Science has never been one of my gifts. I love the science channels on television and all types of smart inventions and ideas. I was talking with a group of young teenage boys recently, and they were telling me all about video games and gaming systems. They were explaining new gear that has been created or are coming out that makes the video games more interactive. One of the ones I thought quirky was a helmet and suit you put on that popped you on the head or body when you were struck by another gamer’s virtual bullets during the game. It sounded to me like it would hurt.

I shared with them that back in my days, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the show “Star Trek” had a room on the ship that you could program to be any environment you want and then enter the room and be in the place you created. On the beach, in the mountains or at an event, it was all just a few keyboard strokes away. They didn’t know the show, but they thought that that idea was not far from reality and I have to say I think they might be right, virtually.

Like I said I have never been good at science. I remember once when I had signed up for a science fair at school. I waited until the morning of the event, got up early and went out in the garage. I took some scrap wood, nailed some plants from the yard on it and wrote edible and non-edible. I somehow snuck it into the fair and forgot about it until later that day when my class was to go see the projects. I was horrified, thinking it was going to be seen and I would look like the total loser I was that day. Much to my surprise, it was gone. I never asked about it again and never heard what had happened. Obviously someone learned a great lesson of science and ate the edible stuff, discarded the non-edible poisonous stuff and threw away the debris. Good science? I don’t think so. A lesson learned? Somewhat.

I did love model rocketry when I was young and to this day enjoy a good rocket launch. I grew up in Nassau Bay, Texas, and the Apollo astronauts’ kids were my friends.

My youngest son, Jon-Michael, and his pal, Luke, have taken model rocketry to the next level. Recently they began a series of rocket launches with a slight twist. They are launching things.
The first launch was a car. It never went up; it just kind of went sideways then burned up. To some, it may be considered a failed launch. To them, it was totally cool. The next launch was a vertical success. They launched a Barbie doll strapped to a rocket. It went really high, and, except for the parachute malfunction, it was flawless. That went so well they figured that, heck, maybe if they taped her arms facing up hands together, she might be aerodynamic and fly. They strapped a giant D-something engine on her and launched her away. Fantastically, she went really high and came back to earth really fast.

I feel like that Barbie rocket on some days. I have a really wonderful encounter with God one moment and then find myself in a ditch the next. My desire today is to try and live in the high parts, the parts where I feel I am in His presence, doing His will. I hate it when someone says you have to accept the ups and downs in life. My friend Jimmy told me once he was at a place in his life where he accepted things to just be God’s will or His plan. He said, “You get a flat, it keeps you stranded for a while and you get mad, when maybe He was keeping you safe from an accident you may have otherwise had.”

I don’t know yet how to live today without an encounter with the world and not get drug into the ups and downs. I like the big G rocket engine on my back, and I am learning to go to God more often, learn to talk to Him before, during and after I do life launch each moment of the day. I also find solace and answers to my life science questions in the book of direction, encouragement, love and life -- the Bible.

Good science for me today is mixing the right ingredients for a barbecue rub or a homemade salsa. My days of mixing salt peter, sulfur and charcoal together creating smoking blobs of stink are long since over. Good science for me today also seems to include cash donations to the rocket guys’ engine fund so they can continue their launching operation and get it on their Web site for scientific documentation.

You ask what kind of science is that crazy Barbie rocket stuff? Well as a matter of fact, that is rocket science in its purest form.

Check out the boys’ launches under Random Rocket Men on Youtube …cool.