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  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:09 pm on March 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Albert Einstein, Charlie Taylor, food courts, Literature, Lovecraftian Costco warehouse, , , Mythography, , , , Swastika, Symbolism,   

    National Air And Space Visit 

    While in Washington, I visited the National Air and Space Museum. It is like some kind of Lovecraftian Costco warehouse filled with a mix of priceless artifacts encased in layers of plexiglas and cheezy recreations, carnival-like educational attractions, and disguasting food courts and kiosks.

    Overhead, like beached whales or a giant boy’s toy models, hang famous air and space ships. They have just about everything you could think of – Spirit of St. Louis, Space Ship One, a Brietling Orbiter, even the original Wright Flyer. They all look lifeless and sad, especially the spacecraft.

    I was a bit overwhelmed by the craft collection, but it’s the little things that I enjoyed seeing the most. They have, side by side, Nestler sliderules that used to belong to former z/k Korolev and former Sturmbannfuhrer Von Braun. Missing is the Nestler that used to belong to Albert Einstein. I also wonder who now owns the two two-copek coins that were Korolev’s lucky charm. I also wonder if Von Braun used to have a lucky charm.

    The only remaining piece of the original Sputnik – an arming device that was removed prior to launch, an equivalent of little strips of paper you sometimes find in remote controls and other battery-powered gadgets.

    It was interesting to notice how many aircraft were put together using slotted instead of philips screws, like these huge ones on the Soviet ICBM.

    I don’t know why, but I stood for a good while admiring the hypnotic twists of a handmade screwdriver that used to belong to Charlie Taylor, Wright’s mechanic.

    Soviet space kitch collection is vast: from magnetic Mir-flown chess (something of a 70s vintage space look to them)

    to all kinds of space crappers (a low-tec suction bulb is probably safer where your privates and vaccuum are involved).

    The nose cone from the Spirit of St. Louis is signed on the inside, but you have to cram yourself into an uncomfortable niche to see the swastika and signatures of well-wishers, including Wrong Way Corrigan. Apparently early aviators frequently used not yet befouled by Nazis swastikas as good luck charms.

    One of the last things I saw, a crazy looking British pusher airplane had such an amazing Star Wars look that I maybe even gasped a little.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:28 am on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dreamscapes, , illusionist, , Literature, Publishers Weekly, ,   

    Nightmares and Dreamscapes 

    Wonderful…an illusionist extraordinaire, King peoples his fiction with believable characters. (Publishers Weekly)

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:21 am on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Casio, , , helicopter pilot, Literature, My Pretty Pony, , ,   

    The Sense of Time 

    There are a lot of scary things about getting older, but the scariest and the weirdest is the change in perception of time. I’ve encountered this idea twice, once in Stephen King’s short story “My Pretty Pony”, and another in the movie “Blue Thunder”. At the time, in late 80s I thought that time “flies” only when you are enjoying something, and “creeps” when you don’t. Saturdays go by faster than Mondays. Turns out, as you get older time picks up pace, everything becomes a blur, good or bad.

    Cult 80s movie “Blue Thunder” has this little bit about a helicopter pilot playing with his fancy digital Casio watch that had an interesting analog countdown feature. He was using the watch to test his time perception, claiming that “it was the first thing to go when you go over the edge.”

    Watch buffs know this watch as Casio AA-85 and the analog feature as Module 101. I always wanted one of these, and now I finally picked one up on eBay for a song. I know I need it – it seems to me that I am really losing the proper perception of time, it really sped up for me.

    In Stephen King’s short story “My Pretty Pony”, an old man is instructing his grandson on the nature of time after watching him lose in a hide and seek game to a kid who counted too fast. He says, that there are three times, only one of which is real. When you are little, it seems that the time goes by very, very slowly. I remember that very distinctly – days were very long, even the summer vacation took forever. Then, when you are about 14, time starts to be “real” – neither slow nor fast. As you get older time picks up pace, only slowing down when you are badly hurt. He called time “a pretty pony with a wicked heart.”

    I don’t know about you, but time is definitely speeding much more now than when I was younger. It’s pretty scary.

    [Update] Bought on eBay, fixed and even found a similar watch band:

     
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