Almost 50 Years Later – Apollo 11

There are still people walking the face of the earth who wrote Assembler code to get the Lunar Module to the surface of the moon.

47 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and onto the surface of the moon.  For the first time in human history, a man walked on the surface of a different celestial object (can’t really call the moon a planet can I?).  All of seven years old, I sat in front of our family’s tiny black and white tv watching the historic moment.

In 1969, we all used rotary phones and rotating platters of vinyl under a thin needle to produce sound.  Everyone smoked cigarettes thinking they were cool.  Presidents were Presidential. Starting with 2001, A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien, Battlestar Galactica and their ilk, the idea of space travel feels almost commonplace. But in 1969, nothing was certain – and nothing was easy.

This modest tweet made its way into my feed earlier today:

And by source code, we mean Assembler code.  Yea – we made it to the moon with Assembler code.  I’m guessing most everyone reading this has little understanding of what it takes to program in an environment that measures space in Ks – not Ms, not Gs, not Ts.  The phone I slip into my pocket every morning has several orders of magnitude greater storage and computing capacity than the one cubic foot computer which rode to the moon.

There are still people walking the face of the earth who wrote Assembler code to get the Lunar Module to the surface of the moon.

If you are a real nerd, you can read the actual source code on Github.  Yea, that’s right. The actual Apollo 11 source code is on Github.

Crazy.

July 21st came and went and I neglected to post this.  I’ve post-dated the post, but this is actually being published in August.

Updated 12/28/2016:  The link in Brian Carpenter’s original Tweet no longer redirects to the article URL.  The Hackaday link was likely renamed after the Tweet was posted with a forwarding link being provided.  Here’s the current link.

Highpoint on Columbus Commons

Michelle successfully secured a design role with R.G. Barry in Columbus. We are really pleased for her and happy both kids now are employed in jobs they consider rewarding.  The company looks to be really progressive in their policies and is well thought of in the Columbus market.

She was hired on a Thursday and committed to starting six business days later (a Monday).  Finding a place to live quickly became a priority.  To her credit, Michelle found an apartment in downtown Columbus just 15 minutes from her employer.

 

Taylor Communications

The only constant is change. For the third time six months, my employers name has been changed – this time to Taylor Communications.

I work for a new company.  Earlier this month my employer changed its name from Standard Register Incorporated to Taylor Communications.  In reality, this is the third company I have worked for in the past six months – all without getting out of my seat. The last time I went through this many employers was in 1986.

In March of 2015, The Standard Register Company declared bankruptcy. On August 1st, the company name was changed to Standard Register Incorporated (a wholly owned subsidiary of Taylor Corporation).  People bemoaning the name change and the loss of a Dayton-based institution ignore the first transition.

I am excited by the name change and the opportunity it represents.  Over the past 15 years, change has been a constant.  The Standard Register Company has had cycles of success and failure in that time – but serving a contracting market ultimately resulted in more failures than success. The leadership team in that period worked hard to ‘rewire the plane in flight’ and transition the company to a different marketplace.

To be very honest, the loss of the company name does sadden me.  It is hard to work for a company as long as I have and not have a sense of loss.  Part of my identity has been attached to the company name.  I understand the business imperative behind the name change and accept it – but I will take some time for me to transition to the new world.

Bourbon Trail

In keeping with my longstanding tradition, I’ve written some notes from our latest jaunt through the countryside.  This past weekend, Becky, Michelle, Matt and I followed the Bourbon Trail  (Bourbon Country).  Specifically, we visited a handful of the distilleries between Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky.  We started with the Bulleit Distillery in Louisville.  The next day we visited both Makers Mark and Four Roses.  On the third day (Monday) we visited the Buffalo Trace and Woodford Distilleries near Frankfurt.

We decided back in August our grown children would enjoy a family vacation if we visited the different distilleries in Kentucky.  Being able to tour distilleries with your children is best done when they are adults.  We could only afford to spend three days, so we needed to be efficient with our time. We avoided several of the larger distilleries in the Louisville area so we could visit the less commercial manufacturers. We resolved to purchase those bourbons less likely be found on local shelves. Not every bottle we purchased is obscure – but several can only be purchased at the distillery.

My recommendation to anyone interested in enjoying the Bourbon Trail would be to spend some time researching the distilleries understanding the hours of operation for the tours and the length of time individual tours can take.  Were I to sample the distilleries again, I would focus on those which offer unique varieties for sale. While the Buffalo Trace distillery produces a number of labels, the three they sell at the distillery are all available in our local liquor store.  Woodford Distillery and Maker’s Mark both offered unique bottles unavailable locally.  The tours are great – but you’ll enjoy the unique bourbons when you get home.

Bourbon-Trail

Below I have included pictures (with commentary) of the different bourbons we purchased on our trip:

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Earick Family Photo

As you grow older, your role changes.  As a member of a younger generation, I tolerated the stories my parents shared with the family history.  The oldest generation feels they have an obligation to ensure their heritage is not lost.  As each year passes, I’m getting closer and closer to being that person.  I’m not there yet – but I can see the corner I’ll be turning when that’s true.

So here I am sharing a few stories from my Mother’s childhood.  I am fortunate both of my parents have preserved their respective family records. We closed my Mother’s house in Danville in March of this year.  I was able to save more pictures and have started digitizing here and on Flickr.

This photo is from Adalene’s collection.  The house in which she and Ray lived in 1942 did not have a back yard, so they are posing here in their neighbors yard.  It was a bright day with the sun at the photographer’s back – and in everyone’s eyes.  Marjorie is in the lower right with Tom looking over at her from the center of the photograph.  She appears to be four or five.  Tom is two years younger than Marjorie, so he is three years old (or less).

As I started putting this picture in historical context, I realized that it was very likely that my Grandfather would have been in, or entering the armed service around this time.  I brought the question to Mother. She explained that Ray worked in a munitions factory – or the Proving Grounds – near Sandusky (I believe it’s known as Bogurt, Ohio today) and was exempt from the draft for that reason.

As a side note, this is the only photo I can currently find of Joe (lower left corner).  Joe died of electrocution at a very young age – Mother doesn’t remember how old.  It was traumatic for her and resulted in Mark and I receiving constant directions to be careful around electricity.

Back Row: Uncle Lewis, Aunt Janet, Adalene, Ray. Front Row: Joe Earick, Adalene’s Mother, Tom Spielman, Adalene’s Father, Marjorie

European Adventure

Earlier this year while working at the Kenwood Mall in Cincinnati, a patron at the store where Michelle worked struck up a conversation with Michelle. The woman (Charlene) was purchasing apparel for her daughter (Grace) who had recently graduated from High School and who was planning on taking a tour of Europe in celebration of turning 18. Michelle and Charlene found that they got along very well. It turns out that only recently Grace’s parents had discussed the idea of finding a travel companion for her as she traveled. Although I’m compressing the conversations that ensued, Michelle agreed to be that travel companion.

What follows are the various pictures taken on that trip.

The Ashes Follow the Willow

After finally succumbing to the Emerald Ash Borer, we have had the two Ash trees removed.

If you live long enough in one home, you eventually outlast the trees you planted.  I’ve written before how barren of trees our property was when we first moved into the neighborhood.  We could look out our back window into the farm field across the two-lane state route 41.  We spent the first few years hauling small saplings in the trunk of my father-in-law’s LTD out to the house.  Our property has a healthy four inches of top soil covering (at least) two feet of clay (I’ve never been able to dig a hole deep enough to judge the depth of the clay).  Digging holes for each of those trees was not something I enjoyed.

But now those trees are dying off.  In the spring, the Corkscrew Willow came crashing down across our back yard.   The Ash trees we purchased as a set twenty years ago were our most recent departures.  Both trees have spent the past two years slowly eaten away by the Emerald Ash Borer.  It was obvious they were struggling.  Entire limbs were suddenly devoid of leaves and in the fall the leaves fell earlier than they had in any previous year.  This year, in a desperate attempt to stay alive, each tree had started sending out new shoots from the base of the tree.

We’ve been talking about having the tree removed almost a year now (we are at times a little deliberate in our decision-making).  We had a few companies in mind and planned on having a few out to give us quotes.  The plan was to be deliberate and get quotes from a variety of contractors and select the one with whom we were most comfortable.  So like many of our plans, the opposite happened.  The very first contractor showed up, gave us a great quote and said he’d have the trees out that same day.  Like any spontaneous couple (that’s sarcasm folks), we accepted his offer. Continue reading “The Ashes Follow the Willow”