Monthly Archives: September 2010

I Touched the ISS with My Son

I’ve seen the International Space Station fly over twice. The first time was in Houston with a bunch of space tweeps after having spent the day touring Johnson Space Center. The second was tonight with my two year old son. The space tweeps were awesome, but tonight took the cake. We headed to the Oakland hills, watched the crescent moon set over San Francisco, looked at the airplanes in line to land at SFO and OAK, and then started looking for the space station.

It was a 2 minute pass, so I wanted to make sure we saw it. The ISS appeared in the Big Dipper and started rising. It was very bright (-3.6 magnitude) and started moved slowly upward. I pointed it out to my son and he started tracking it with his eyes and finger. He then said, “touch it?” We spent a solid 30 seconds reaching out as far as we could trying to touch the station. Asking the expert, I said, “did we touch it” and he said yes. The station kept rising until it was nearly overhead and then it was gone… I said, “The station disappeared,” which he repeated almost all the way home.

My son is two, he doesn’t know what the space station is, though he can identify a space shuttle, so this probably didn’t have much significance for him, but for me it meant everything. We shared and experience that was truly awesome.

On the way home he asked if we could “see it again?” I said yes, we would definitely go out and see the International Space Station fly over again.

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My New Job and My Runaway Mind

Every once in a while, I end up with a case of run away mind. I’m not sure whether it’s my conscious mind spilling over into my unconscious or vice versa, but the net result is that I end up awake, my mind full of very loud thoughts which won’t let me go to or stay sleep. This morning it’s about my new job. The loudest thoughts are about my new desk and how it will be organized, but that’s just the symptom. Really, what’s going through my head is whether I’m going to be able to do my new job well and what mistakes I’m going to make.

My mind jumps from one thought to another in a seemingly endless string. Which files do I bring upstairs -> Where do I put them -> Item X lives in file Y -> Did I get the thing done I needed to on Item X before I left on Friday -> I have a meeting on Item X on Tuesday -> Am I ready for the meeting -> and so on and so on.

Usually, when I’m tired my body can silence these thoughts and let me sleep. However, when something big is coming up, in this morning’s case my new job, my brain goes in to overload and I can’t sleep. I try all my tricks but I just can’t get back to sleep. I’m writing about it in the hope that getting some of it out of my head will allow me to break the chain and get back to sleep.

So, I’m about to undertake a very large change in my job. I’m becoming part of management; I’m becoming a supervisor; I’m joining a team of people most of whom are at least twice my age; I’m unsure of myself and my abilities; I don’t want to mess up, I’m afraid I already have; I don’t know how to make the transition into this team; I don’t know what to bring to my new desk; I don’t know what to leave at my old desk; I don’t know how to let go of the parts of my old job that will be someone else’s responsibility; I’m afraid that the change will make some people unhappy because their service level will change; I don’t want to mess up, but I know I will; I’m not sure how the balance between family and work life will change; I’m not sure how much of this to write about on the internet;

The list goes on an on. My head keeps on spinning and I can’t sleep. Usually, when I take some action, I can get back to sleep. Hopefully writing about it will work this morning, but if not, my plan is to go work on my desk later today, which I hope will help my brain get out of this mode. When I get into runaway mind, this commercial always comes to mind (watch the whole thing, I’m the father at the end).

True to the title of this blog, I’ve been rambling on… Thanks for reading…

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