Hejira

 

 

star gazer

December 5. 2000

self portraits, from Thanksgiving:

me

sky

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me

this one cracks me up cause i look so pissed off and sleep deprived

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now

ever so mysterious and shit

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Tonight the Endeavour's crew unfurled the solar wings of the International Space Station. It's some 240 feet long, and it's said that we here on Earth will be able to see the light it reflects in the night sky.

How amazing. When I heard this, I was filled with the same quivering excitement that I was feel when I think about space. I am obsessed with space, but not the science of it - the romantic aspects of it. I have no desire to ever go up in space (afraid of heights, see), because my dreams of what I think it would be like would probably be ruined by the actual reality. Having to pee into a tube and such. No, my reality of space was walking down the bridge of the Starship Enterprise D (I am a Next Generation girl, thank you very much), standing in the middle of the bridge, looking out at the viewscreen, extending a hand and saying "make it so", like Patrick Stewart always did, thus sending the massive ship into warp drive.

So, yes, I think it's high time that we have a permanent space station up there. And I'm confident we'll discover warp drive. Oh, heck, let Einstein be wrong. I want my warp drive, my holodeck, and my transporters.

I haven't been alive for most of the defining moments in this planet's history of space travel, so I can only guess what I would've felt like, and vicariously live through my parents' and John's stories of Where Were You When This Happened. I dimly remember the Challenger exploding in 1986, though I don't remember where I was or who I was with. But the one event in space travel that really moved me (those over 40 may find this incredibly lame and cheesy), was when John Glenn went back up in space a couple years ago.

It was my senior year of high school, and it was happening during the last period of the day, in my Advanced Biology class (i.e., science class for those too wimpy to take Physics or Chem II, which was completely, entirely me). I had to beg my teacher to turn on the TV so I could watch it live. I admonished my classmates into silence. I cried, I was so moved. It may have been a publicity stunt, it may not have had any scientific value, but I didn't fucking care. To me, this man is a hero.

It's funny, I may have injected more drama into the quest for space and the moon than actually ocurred. Most of my knowledge of space comes from movies and TV. I remember one summer my sister and I watched "Apollo 13" almost every day ad nauseam til we could recite the dialogue verbatim. Then we got HBO just to record the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon". And of course, since the age of 8 or 9 it's been my constant orgy of The Original Series of the Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and all the related movies. I got into Star Wars much later (not til high school), but it never affected me the way Star Trek did.

Star Trek is so special in that it's a completely constructed alternate history of what happens to humankind. I have a book called "The History of the Future" which details this history, citing all the episodes of the various series. According to it, right now we should be recovering from Eugenics Wars, where the superhuman Khan Noonien Singh (the guy in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) is banished from the earth along with his cohorts only to meet up with James Kirk a couple centuries later.

Ahem.

During Christmas vacation a couple years ago, I rented, in its entirety, Carl Sagan's PBS miniseries "Cosmos". How utterly fascinating. It opened my mind to these possibilities in so many ways. If not to the scientific aspects of space (which I haven't the mind to contemplate or the interest to pursue), then to the existential aspects of it. I think the reason space is so appealing to all kinds of artists is because its incredible vastness and emptiness forces us to realize just how small and insignificant we are, and conversely, how special and precious each of us is.

One Year Ago:
"I entered a Bath and Body Works shop today for the first time in several years. I stay away from them as a general rule because I am allergic to virtually everything in that store, but I managed to get in and out without sneezing my head off."