Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 1834

I received a letter from NASA today saying that I'd been accepted to cover the launch of the SMAP satellite at Vandenberg Air Force Base early next year. Now, I need to figure out where Lompoc, California is and how to get there. I was really kind of surprised that my application for NASA press credentials was accepted. NASA only invites a small number of social media correspondents to these launch events and I wasn't really sure whether a blog about a guy and his two Dalmatians was what they were looking for. Apparently this is as good a place as any to talk about space travel, so I'm glad that NASA likes the blog.

I'm a bit apprehensive about this upcoming adventure, but I really think I need to do this. I've always thought that if you don't keep trying to expand your horizons, you slowly whither and die. I haven't done anything really new in quite a while, so maybe it's time. This really isn't as implausible as it sounds. I'm a good writer and I've been a huge fan of the space program for most of my adult life. This could be the start of something. Just having the opportunity to interview NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers and take photos at Vandenberg Air Force Base is quite an honor. I just hope the launch doesn't get delayed by bad weather or something, since I have to pay for travel and lodging myself. A delay in the launch could get expensive. The SMAP satellite is actually pretty significant, since it will map soil moisture over the entire planet, helping to predict droughts, provide an early warning for floods and landslides, improve weather forecasting, and help farmers improve crop yields. I'm looking forward to this as only a slightly reclusive science nerd can.

It rained this morning, so I wasn't able to get my Christmas shopping completed before the crowds descended on the shopping malls. The dogs come first, so I patiently waited for a break in the rain to get them outside to poop and take their morning walk before I went shopping. Despite the late start, I was still able to find a parking place at Northpark, so everything ended well. Hopefully I won't need to go shopping again for a long time.

I've been worried about Dot's increasingly shaky rear legs, so our vet gave her a thorough examination today when we went for our physical therapy appointment. Dot's mobility has decreased since her last exam, and she appears to be experiencing some sort of neurological damage. The vet said that we could get an MRI of her spine to see if we could isolate what was causing the problem, but that an MRI or CAT scan wouldn't really give us more options. Dot is too old and frail for spinal surgery and this type of surgery is risky even for a young dog. Probably some sort of pain management program is the best we can expect at this point. The good thing is that the acupuncture and water therapy that we are already doing has been very beneficial and has significantly slowed down her inevitable decline. We've just got to come up with a way to keep her active without causing her any more pain.

The only thing I wasn't able to do today was get the nail removed from my tire. Luckily, the tire is still holding air and shows no sign of leaking. I was able to make an appointment to get the tire fixed at the dealership early tomorrow morning before the place closes early for Christmas Eve. You'd think I could just go to a nearby gas station to get the tire fixed, but my tires are filled with nitrogen instead of air. I always have a way of making even simple things difficult.

Ziggy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day