Weekend notes.

On sleeping in the car. On far too many occasions recently, I’ve had to camp out in my car up at the barn, waiting for a mare to give birth or keeping an eye on a baby who has already arrived, but has health issues. I can lean the set back to sleep for a bit, but there’s just no way around the fact that being in that position for long periods of time, even when broken up by the occasional moonlight stroll with the herd, is a one-way ticket to some serious back and butt pain. (I’d love to see, just once, some new pain reliever advertised openly to the lucrative back and butt market.) It reminded me of Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, the crew of Gemini 7, who went aloft in a Gemini capsule for two weeks in 1965. Gemini 6 was originally meant to rendezvous with a specially-designed “docking target,” but when the unmanned target craft didn’t even make it to orbit, NASA decided to provision Gemini 7 for a two-week stay – the mission was already slated to be a test of human endurance for the long haul that would be required for the upcoming flights to the moon – and launched Borman and Lovell to be the new target (minus the docking, since Gemini capsules weren’t quite equipped for that). This, of course, is where we get all those stunning photos and film clips of a Gemini capsule in orbit (photos and film shot from the other Gemini). Now, keep in mind, a Gemini was about the size, in terms of internal crew space, of a compact car. There were no compartments – just two seats. Two seats in which the crew stayed put for the whole time, barring any planned spacewalks. And Borman and Lovell sat in those two seats for two weeks. I’m going nuts after about two hours. Do I have the right stuff? Probably not.

But I do have a Tix Clock. Again, certain to be of interest only to the geekiest of my readers (not saying that I have geeky readers, mind you), I’m enjoying the heck out of my Tix Clock. 11:19How this thing works is fairly simple: four grids of LED lights are arranged along the rectangular length of the clock. You look at the number of lights glowing in each grid, arrange those numbers sequentially, and that’s the time. For example: the first grid (three blocks) has one light on; the second (nine blocks) has two lights on; the third (six blocks) has three on; the fourth (nine blocks) has six. That means it’s 12:36. It’s kind of incongruous way to tell the time, but damned if it doesn’t look neat in a 1970s BBC sci-fi glowy-lights control panel kind of way. Naturally, I’ve situated it on top of Orac’s monitor, next to HAL.

Tix Clock
Tix Clock
Tix Clock

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