Spaceport America

3 11 2011

So again I am somehow the luckiest person in the world. I went to the unveiling of Spaceport America. It was a great feeling to be there for something you truly love and support.. the endeavor of human space travel. This year in particular it was great to be with all the people who are a part of it and to make friends with many of those working to make this possible and those paying, ‘the future astronauts.’
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We started the day out with registration and then we’re sent off on a 2 hour bus ride to the middle of nowhere New Mexico to the Spaceport. After Richard Branson gave his welcoming speech we all ran out towards the runway to watch WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo take off together. Then we went in for some long speeches where I spent my time spotting people like Wally and Buzz Aldrin. ūüėÄ Wowa. We had lunch, took photos, and Branson did his epic induction of the Spaceport. After we got back in El Paso we partied at a Historic venue… Double Eagle de Mesilla. I met and danced with Kate Winslet, the Bransons, and the ‘family’ that is Virgin Galactic. It was all pretty surreal at the moment but looking back it was just a great party with a bunch of interesting people for a very cool reason. ¬†Here are pictures of the future astronauts, ¬†a couple of the flight, Richard Branson, the ceremony, and the festivities…..

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Thanks again, to my buddy Craig Wichner.  He rocks.  If you want to see more photos just go to my flickr account.  And if you would like to see a good video, I have a link to the Virgin website:

http://www.virgin.com/travel/news/virgin-galactic-spaceport-highlights-video





Silly Boys… Aerospace Toys are Made By Girls :

6 01 2010

So what does a female aerospace engineer do at work… I get to play with these bad boys:

I meant the hover craft, unmanned aircraft and ground vehicles of course! (not the men themselves) ;-D

Unmanned Helicopter ūüėÄ (Unwomanned? too)

Blended Wing Body w/retractable wings (I am not talking about myself) ūüėÄ

You are able to see that even unmanned aircraft can still be very large.

Above are some of the Robots that are used in warfare or to scope out safe areas.

I got to personally play around with the armed robot below…. really COOL.¬† It is fast and very agile. WATCH OUT!

The red truck is remotely driven and operated; there will probably be a dummy in the vehicle.

Some UAVs are launched off of a platform.

The UAV above has a rotating propulsion unit which enables it to vertically takeoff and land.

The UAV depicted above is the famous Predator!  Predator is known for its surveillance and recent video feed leaks in Afghanistan :-p

Many of the robots and UAVs are operated from small portable laptops and control stations all over the world.

Thanks for following me on a hard day of work. ūüėČ





Life Lessons Learned in 2009

31 12 2009

The list of what I have done is¬†too long and no one wants to read a self-congratulatory “look-at-me” list. But I hope you will reflect on your year and challenge yourself to do more in the coming year.¬† I have had the best 2 years of my life, single and fancy free. So what have I¬†learned in the past year:

1) “Luxury is Artificial Poverty.” ~Socrates; Having fancy things and everything catered to you is not all it is cracked up to be.¬† Being¬†rich and famous¬†is much¬†like being a caged bird.¬†Really, if¬†you have nothing,¬†you have nothing to hold¬†you back.¬† Only keep or concern yourself with¬†things that are actually important in your life… in mine: family and friends. Everything else is dispensible and merely¬†for entertainment value.

2) My family is truly my inspiration. I used to think they held me back. Now I see¬†my family¬†allowed me the¬†room to grow.¬†I felt behind the curve because none of them had a college degree and could help or understand my endeavors.¬† When in fact a family’s unwavering support was always¬†a 100 times more¬†valuable than their help.

3) ¬†Education is a necessary evil. It often holds us back but it also gives us a facility to learn things that may¬†improve the quality of our life.¬† Always question what you learn.¬†“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” ~Benjamin Franklin

4) Stop listening to the noise of other people telling you the way it has to be¬† or how to live happy… most of those people aren’t themselves. Even if it is family and friends telling you that you need to get a “new” purse/tv/crap, you should slow down or that working your life away is a neccessary evil…. Drum to your own beat. Don’t listen!

5) “Stuff”¬†holds no value in my¬†life…people do.¬†If you are working to buy big tvs,¬†designer purses,¬†and cars you may need to re-evaluate something. I only see people, intimacy, love, laughter, conversation¬†and learning.

6) He’s just not that into you… and frankly my dear, you’re not that into him either. I have learned to recognize when my ego gets in the way of my rationality in men.¬† If he is not actively pursuing you or is with anyone else he is not that into you.¬† Period.¬† It is not because he is busy.¬† Men will put you in their life if you are worth their time.¬† And again, often times¬†you are not that into him either, your ego is…

7) Your relationships¬†should not¬†be love/ hate¬†or hold you back.¬† I think the best relationships are the ones that allow both people the room to grow.¬† I had a 4.5 year and 1+ relationships, etc.¬†like this and I have had very short ones that were love/hate.¬† I know the former can be done and is much more fullfilling. My parents and grandparents have been good models for me… the best kind of love is that which grows. ¬†The same goes with friendship.

8 ) Reject Social Stigma against Women by good example not with combatant words. Women can fly airplanes and design them. Women can enjoy sex.¬† Women can be smart, sexy and fun. Women don’t have to be a bitch to get respect. Focus your energy on the right people and don’t try to please those unworthy.





Top 10 Gifts Men Should Never Give a Woman

20 12 2009

Because I am snowed in at my house a gift blog for the holidays seems appropriate. At first I was going to say gifts women don’t want but most women are smart enough to know what women don’t want. So here it is, the top 10 gifts men should never give a woman (this applies to mothers, wifes, girlfriends, friends, co-workers, etc.):

1) Exercise Equipment

This includes exercise balls, videos, clothes.¬† These gifts make a woman insecure.¬† I don’t care if she is a personal trainer, exercise fanatic, she does not want this as a gift. Period.¬† She will buy it for herself if she thinks she needs it.

2) Self-help books

This says you need help on whatever level that may be.

3) Cleaning Equipment

This includes those new vacuum cleaners that do all the work themselves or anything that is an improvement to the junky stuff she uses now. This says you don’t do enough or it could be done better. Either way, why give this?

4) A Picture of Yourself

Unless you are her son or grandson giving a gift like this says you are arrogant or self-indulgent.

5) Clothes

Unless you know her exact size, I would avoid this.  Even if it is her size and it so happens to not fit she MAY feel insecure or upset. Plus women enjoy picking out their own clothes.

6) Makeup

Unless you work in the makeup department of a store and know all about foundation, texture, just don’t!

7) Cubic Zirconium

Unless you can afford diamonds, just get something else….really. Get a completely different stone, her birthstone, a sapphire, anything else… even no stone is better.

8 ) Electrical Appliances

Unless they were specifically requested…

9) Cooking utensils

Unless she is a chef or a big enthusiast

And Last but not LEAST:

10) A Gift Certificate to weight watchers

This includes gym memberships or any other weight loss program.

SO WHAT THE HELL DO WOMEN WANT:

Honestly, when it comes to gifts I think we are the simpler creatures.  Some women still want the gadgets or the toys but usually they will tell you about them.  Jewelry is always a winner but mostly women just want time and appreciation.  Trips are good gifts, event tickets, a spa treatment, and sometimes high-end lotion (non-sexual).  If she is just a friend or acquaintance: a plant, a good wine (or liquor), a candle, a christmas card, event tickets, or something you specifically know will give her joy or a good laugh.

The link to the boyfriend pillow is: http://www.findgift.com/gift-ideas/pid-64094/





SpaceShipTwo Unveil – VSS Enterprise

10 12 2009

So how did I get invited to such a high-profile event? Well someone pretty cool discovered my last blog. ūüėÄ hehe. I don’t like to get too wordy but what a great opportunity to be at the release of the first Commercial Spacecraft. WOW.¬† I was inspired if nothing else.¬†I talked to so many amazing people, the pilots, the engineers, entrepreneurs, authors, and well even…. socialites (people who carry their own camera crew…haha).¬† I¬† didn’t get to talk to Arnold Schwarzenegger;¬†he was ultra protected from really interacting with anyone.¬† I¬†probably would have been too nervous to approach him anyways…haha.¬†¬†He was definitely the most “entertaining”¬†speaker of the night.¬†¬†Ended with “I’ll be back!”¬†Of course I got a picture with my man Sir Richard Branson ūüėȬ† Here is my Photo/Video Blog:

Richard now¬†kissing the Governor of New Mexico’s butt ūüėÄ hehe

Arnold Schwarzenegger

These videos¬†make my heart race a little now…at that moment I was freezing to death

Virgin Galactic is definitely a good insurance policy for aspiring Astronauts ūüėÄ

A¬†huge thanks to all the pilots, engineers, entrepreneurs¬†who make wonderful things like space flight happen.¬† You are my heroes ūüėÄ

And a special thanks to my new friend Craig Wichner and future Astronaut.  You are the best!

The End (hehhehehe) -Richard Branson’s Butt





Sir Richard Branson

24 11 2009

Richard Branson arrives at Air Venture with White Knight II


Sir Richard Branson comments he got the first ride because he is the Virgin ūüėÄ

Rich Branson kisses Burt Rutan

Pretty much the least fashionable and happiest day of my life ūüėÄ

My pics from inside the cockpit (check out the Simpson sticker):


My New Ride Home ūüėÄ

I had at least 5 sales guys at Oshkosh say to me (like I was a little girl): “I bet you want to learn to fly now.” No Mo**** F***** I know how to fly! :-p¬† See if I ever buy a plane from you ūüėÄ Not sure whether to correct them, slap them, or smile and be a “lady” ūüėÄ





Rate East Africa

18 11 2009

1) Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls)  3.5 Stars

Pro:

  • intriguing¬†political atmosphere and its effect on the people
  • Many action packed activities: Walking with lions, riding elephants, the infamous bungee jump, Gorge jumping
  • Enjoyed the hippy dive bar I went to

Con:

  • Victoria Falls did not live up to its name (atleast in May)… I like Niagra
  • Activities are high priced

2) Zambia (Zambezi River) 2 Stars

Pro:

  • Campsite on Zambezi River was beautiful
  • I love monkeys and there¬†were thousands everywhere, also animals invade your campsite.. ever see the book “Monkey Portraits” (LOVE IT!)

Con:

  • lack luster overall

3) Malawi 4 Stars – Personal Favorite

Pro:

  • the reason it is my favorite is not because it is the best but because it involved connecting with the culture and the people
  • People in Malawi are very friendly and happy even though they are the poorest (makes you open your eyes ALOT)
  • The Area is beautiful, very lush, very¬†relaxed and most of Malawi is on Lake Malawi

4) Tanzania 3.5 Stars

Pro:

  • All about safaris, and Masaii Mara culture, Snake Park is¬†a must campsite
  • Ngorongoro crater is absolutely the most amazing spectacle in¬†nature

Con:

  • Serengeti was lack luster, in fact¬†null luster (but only because of bad timing… MAKE SURE TO GO ON SAFARI WHEN THE MIGRATION IS THERE BEFORE YOU SPEND $400

5) Zanzibar 5 Stars

Pro:

  • An island in the Indian Ocean almost speaks for itself. All Day Snorkeling, boating¬† and huge lunch was well worth the $10?!?!? what
  • GO TO KENDWA ROCKS BAR ON HE NORTH SHORE AND DON”T FORGET THE MARKET ON THE SOUTH PART
  • It is not just an Island, it has sooo much culture, history, and don’t forget to take a Spice Tour… well worth it!

6) Nairobi, Kenya 3 Stars

Pro:

  • It is Nairobi, you must say that you have been there
  • You are instantly a celebrity if you are White. I felt like Britney Spears (maybe not a pro)

Con:

  • People Stalk you and hassle you
  • It is not particularly safe
  • Sites are nothing spectucular, unless you go kiss a Giraffe like me ūüėČ look at my travel page

7) Masai Mara (mostly Kenya) 4.5 Stars

Pro:

  • The GREAT MIGRATION WAS HERE…. sort of. Not in full force but it was here.
  • Felt like I was on the National geographic, scouting around… Kenya¬†has more liberal laws¬†about driving right up on animals
  • The Masaii Mara culture is interesting. From circumsizing girls/boys to killing lions for manhood.

If you would like to see pictures check out my Flickr or you can facebook friend me (let me know who you are and why you are adding me!!!)  And as always, leave comments and feel free to ask questions.





How I Cracked Travel to Europe (under $1800 for 21 days in 13 cities)

9 11 2009

ab2So I just broke up with my boyfriend who told me the only reason we had to split was because if I didn’t like Italy or the things he did it would always be a problem.¬† Um, ok…Some Men are really good at making up fictitious and ridiculous¬†scenarios. Nevertheless, I won a $1400 Final Cut Studio Software from one of¬†his film festivals.¬†Lucky, eh? Perfect consolation prize¬†I say for being a supportive girlfriend¬†;-).¬† I¬†had no use for it even though he did… So I Sold it soon after! Time to plan a trip.¬† Cheers! ¬†I was¬†only making $25,000/yr¬†from graduate research¬†at Georgia Tech and living in Atlanta. So how do you travel when you are¬†strapped for cash¬†and avoid debt at all cost.¬†Count your pennies,¬†travel really dirt cheap¬† and ask advice from an Indian guy ūüėČ

The two keys to my savings:

  1. Fly in to London ($600). Most expensive city so I saved money by never staying there but traveling through it twice to see all the sites.
  2. Book with Eurolines Bus ($300 for 15 nights unlimited travel) I saved all my money by busing overnight except from Amsterdam to Rome(where I spend a day and a night)…It was beautiful to see the landscape and meet unusual people on the bus.¬† Otherwise, I woke up everyday in a new city, in a new country.¬† Perfect for me.

Eurolines is only for International Tickets at all times so the rest of the rules apply based on this premise:

  1. List your TOP cities before hand¬† but don’t worry about the order (you must be flexible but have priorites as tickets are not always convenient or available)
  2. BOOK Next ticket AS SOON AS YOU GET THERE….wait till they open if you must (you can purchase first ticket prior to entire trip)
  3. Go to further destinations first then work your way back just in case 15 days run out and you are not back in London
  4. Move on to next location¬†if ticket isn’t available for days in a place¬†you don’t really want to be….come back or not
  5. I recommend extra days in Rome, Paris, London, Munich, and French Riviera
  6. I took Day trips to Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels, Barcelona
  7. I traveled in early May (other off seasons would be even better) for less packed buses
  8. Traveled to French Riviera via train from Marseille…went to Nice and¬†bused for¬†1 euro between there and Cannes, and Monaco
  9. If you are really cheap like me…. Make sure whatever you bring is something you can carry around all day.¬† If you are not sure you’ll¬†need it, you won’t.¬† I would say the only thing I really needed was my neck pillow to¬†sleep and something to keep me warm…ponchos can be useful if it rains, good shoes are always a must.)
  10. Cool trick: use only neck pillow case and stuff it with your socks and underwear…etc. Saves space, keeps things organized.
  11. I stayed with some friends too¬†(tell people you are going…. you never know who knows someone or who is willing to open their house to you, and there is always couchsurfer.com) Good Luck!

Downside:

  1. Eurolines does not care about you…they will drop you off at 4:30 in the morning and you must wait for Metro and to book tickets…mornings were cold.
  2. No bathrooms (pee on the bus before they drop you off!!!)
  3. Sometimes where they dropped you off was not the same place to purchase tickets (but usually in a reasonable walking distance)
  4. If the bus was full (only once or twice in May) you had to master sleeping up straight (my neck pillow is my friend)

The other $800 was for museums, food, souvenirs, and the few cheap hostels where I stayed.  They ran about $16/night (sometimes with free food).





Thoughts on East Africa

28 10 2009

My trip to Africa was not to¬† feel like a more enlightened “white¬†person” so I could go back to the states and brag about how it has added meaning to me life or that I helped save a tiny village…. I hate phonies.¬†It was primarily for personal growth and to learn about the world around me. Everyone has asked how was Africa? How was Africa? I wish I had finished putting my thoughts into this earlier but here are some short stories and thoughts:

‚ÄúIdle Men, Laboring Women, Frolicking Children‚ÄĚ

These are words I read from the Dark Star Safari as I was experiencing it around me. I‚Äôm sure he writes it better so if you want to know more just read his book about his travels from Capetown to Egypt. Why does he say ‚Äúidle men, laboring women, frolicking children.‚ÄĚ First I got the jist that most of the men just don‚Äôt like real work. I came to Africa with the opinion that of course Africa needs help, food.¬† Now I truly believe, You can not help those who do not help themselves. As we drive along the bumpy road men are passed out face first on the ground. What are they doing? Probably passed out drunk. Women are walking the streets carrying 50 pounds on their head with a baby strapped in a towel on their back while men are doing nothing. Kids are running about dirty, shoeless half the time, and completely unattended. Why is this? Their parents fathers are drunk and their mothers are either working or infected with HIV and dead because their husband slept around and infected them. This is told straight from a friend I made over there, who hates his father, his¬†mother was dead and his grandmother raised him.¬†I am not saying they are all like this obviously but if you are going to help you need to get to the root of the problem. And, I am not saying if they are in a¬†crisis like a¬†natural disaster or water shortage you don‚Äôt help people. Otherwise, only education will help.¬† There was plenty of food and resources but without parents willing to work and provide for their children there will be hunger no matter where you go….that is just the way it is. Food is not the problem… people are.

Christianity

When I went through Malawi I had a weird conversation with the¬†oldest African¬†man outside his house about how Malawi is a friendly country because they are a Christian country. This was probably the poorest country we stayed and also the friendliest. I am by no means an advocate for religion but if it gives someone hope when they have nothing to hope for is it worth it? Sometimes I think maybe so.¬†But what if it is really causing them to have blind hope for a distant future and thus be stagnant about their current predicament. ¬†Is being ignorant to reality or truth worth the happiness and contentment it may bring some people¬†for the moment? I don‚Äôt know you will have to answer that for yourself. They are a peaceful country and one makes me question why this is¬†when nothing but the worst is happening around them. Many of their family member, parents are dead from HIV and many of them are starving and survived a serious drought. A simple water bottle made a young boy run off like he had the ‚Äúgolden‚ÄĚ ticket.

The Smell

 Half of the people had a very strong, strong odor. It was pretty consistent. One person I traveled with gathered that it was probably because they were not getting enough water and their kidneys were excreting odor. I thought it may have been the food. And, I am sure it had to do in part to their bathing habits but… At the end of this trip it may have been my imagination but I started to smell like it. So either my clothes and everything was just soak in the odor from playing with children or I started to smell bad too. I thought it may have been the addition of curry to most of the meals but that was just a crazy Morgan hunch. And maybe it is my imagination but it seemed to linger quite a big after the trip :-/

Dinner at the Locals

A small group of us were invited to dinner somewhere in the village. We stayed at the campsite on the beach and walked with one of the merchants into town for at least 45 minutes.. He went to buy a few things from the very nonexistent market. A girl on the side of the road selling something green. And a few small tomatoes. He asked us if we wanted to sample the rotting fish. We were not sure if this was a joke but I don‚Äôt think it was. The fish were covered in flies, hundreds of flies. We tried to give a polite no and continue on. We headed back off the road onto ‚Äúsomething‚ÄĚ of a trail through shrub and haphazard gardens. We arrived at a few houses constructed from clay and straw roofs, maybe some were aluminum. Our host was a younger guy and so we ended up at one of the smallest homes not much bigger than 200 sqft with 4 rooms. He asked us to wait in the foyer. He came back through the old wornout sarong that was hung in the doorways with a bamboo mat for us to sit on the floor. We chatted briefly then he headed out the back to chop up fire wood. The food was prepared in a small structure (hut) separate from the house. I have an excellent video of his female ‚Äúlandlord‚ÄĚ making the food. He had a young baby girl and wife and was taking care of this nephew for whatever reason I can imagine. He had two women, both not his wife prepare the food. It seemed almost as if they were friends but I didn‚Äôt understand the social reasoning behind it. The best I got was that when he paid to rent the house it came with a cook so his wife wouldn‚Äôt have to. This cook may have been cooking for the whole area, it was not quite clear. We ate with our hands and the mealie-mea (doughy to gather the messier foods).

Being a White Girl in Africa

Was it safe? Well for me..hmmm‚Ķ Mostly. I was on an overland tour most of the time so I felt fairly safe. However, I had a few big scares to say the least‚ĶNairobi and Zambia. Zimbabwe felt fairly unsafe at the time as well.. the government was in shambles and people were extremely intense in their begging tactics. It seemed Malawi was the safest country‚Ķ our tour guides let us wander the town freely, visit, make friends, eat dinner, drink at the ‚Äúlocal‚ÄĚ bar which was no bigger than a 10 by 10 room a mile away on a beatin trail. I sat on the bar and it was¬†lit by a single candle because the power was out (very normal occurrence). Zanzibar was also very safe and cool to meet other interesting white people if this was your intent‚Ķ. Tons of white hippy types hanging at the market square on the south side. Also, Kendwa Rocks is probably the coolest bar on the North Shore and a must go place (we swam to this bar but you can lodge there).

Conclusion

I have so many other stories and I could probably write a 1000 page book on this if I wanted to but I just won’t. So what have I learned from Africa: (1) Africa is not all about HIV, Starving Children, and Animals. It is a Beautiful Country and the Most Amazing shock for me were the stars. Sometimes the unexpected is the more rewarding experience. In the U.S,¬†you never¬†see even¬†a small fraction of all the stars, galaxies¬†I saw in the sky. Look at my pictures, you will mostly see what I mean. I felt like I¬†had experienced¬†‚ÄúHeaven on Earth‚ÄĚ. (2) You can‚Äôt help those who aren‚Äôt willing to help themselves. Of course if a much richer person is giving you a hand out you will take it and feel no sympathies, you will also take it for granted like it is chump change to them. The hand that feeds will keep on feeding. Yes people are poor, they allow this. Half of them are pretty content with the way they are living, they know of no different and everyone else lives the same. Otherwise, the men are LAZY and half the time corrupt and you won‚Äôt find one person who would try to debate to me otherwise. This is not a resource problem, this is a cultural problem and I am sure they¬†will change with handouts unless they were taken away and they felt they had no other way. Otherwise, they just¬†don’t care, are happy….¬†some do¬†feel helpless to their corrupt¬†governments¬†and people (but honestly, I work the Intelligence Community, our government is not all peachy keen…there are people involved).

Back in America

My first impressions upon coming back to the U.S. was ‚ÄúWow, look at all this shit. How did it get here?‚ÄĚ ..particularly since I arrived in NYC. This was probably the biggest eye opener of all…COMING BACK.¬† Home looks so different when seen through different eyes.¬†¬† I¬†looked at a¬†simple¬†4-legged chair differently.¬†¬†Life was so simple back in africa. You had the clothes on your back and maybe a pot to cook in. I miss that…I really packed nothing, and traded anything I didn’t need anyways, including underwear. ūüėÄ

Sorry if it is not perfect grammar or spelling… I don’t have time for perfect.¬† You read it! ¬†I will have other posts on Africa…advice,¬†more fun less serious topics,¬†how to, anything you want to know in the next posts?





21 Suggestions for Success in Life

24 10 2009

21 Suggestions for Success by H. Jackson Brown….

  1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
  2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.
  3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
  6. Be generous.
  7. Have a grateful heart.
  8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
  9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
  10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
  11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
  12. Commit yourself to quality.
  13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
  14. Be loyal.
  15. Be honest.
  16. Be a self-starter.
  17. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.
  18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
  19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
  20. Take good care of those you love.
  21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud.

http://www.21suggestions.com/