Monday, August 16, 2010

August 2010

I'm crazy busy but I finally managed to write an update.

Family Stuff
We've done several small vacations at Ocean Grove , a quiet little town just south of Asbury Park on the Jersey shore. Great beach, clean and well groomed sand with excellent lifeguard and beach operations staff.  Plain boardwalk that's well maintained, with clean changing facilities and showers. Ocean Grove is particularly interesting as it started as a Methodist camp town. The original tent homes are still used and definitely worth a town committee tour. My wife loves checking these house tents out every time we go.
There are no bars, so Ocean Grove attracts more family oriented visitors. If you like your beach without rowdy, partying crowds check out Ocean Grove.

The shops are neat and Barbaric Bean on the smallish main drag does a fairly decent espresso.
For fantastic, fairly priced ice cream: Forgo the mess over at Nagles on Main and walk several blocks over to 48 Pitman to relish the superior product and service at Day's Ice Cream.

We made the trip to Pine Island, NY for METRA's NERRF 6 rocket festival on June 25-27, 2010.
Like last year it was oppressively hot. Thank god for EZ-Up tents, ice cold water and good company.
The kids and I were joined by my brother Dave and his wife Pattie, Friday and Saturday. Our friends the Walkowiaks came on Saturday.
My girls flew their well-used Performance Rocketry Little Dogs as well as their newly made 29 mm Stealths.

Art Applewhite's Stealth's are great, look like stealthy pyramids. These rockets fly low and slow and recover extremely well, even in high winds. I'm considering buying the 54 mm to use with one of my favorite motors, Aerotech J275W.

I managed to put my favorite rocket, Smoke on the Water, a 4" diameter Binder Design custom fiberglass job up on the incredible Kosdon KBA L2300 motor. This quick-burning, green flamed L motor is the largest I've flow to date and it's quite impressive that it fires it's whole load of propellant within 1 second.
The flight went quite well with a tad of wind cocking on the way up. It computer simulated to Mach 1.2, however my data acq altimeter didn't operate properly so I can't confirm if it passed MACH. I recovered well thanks to a GPS tracker in the nose and a helpful farmhand. Final altitude was approx 7400 feet-would have done 9,000 if it hadn't cocked.

L-R Myself and brother Dave prepping Smoke

Smoke launching on KBA L2300-FAST!
I'll redo the data acquisition altimeter and fly the KBA L2300 again at Red Glare 9 and see if I get past Mach on this rocket.

My friend Steve and his daughter had some cool flights. Steve flew his largest motor to date an I600 Red on his finely crafted Binder Design Galaxy.

Steve W's Galaxy on an I600 Red

Finally after trucking the thing to three different launches Steve put up his Q-modeling Vega. A very nicely detailed low power rocket. I missed the flight but from the pictures the thing flew arrow straight. The rocket is designed with cool outerrigger pods with working shock absorbers, and Steve's rocket recovered nicely on them.
Steve's Q-Modeling Vega, exquisitely finished

Upcoming launches: We are eagerly awaiting the announcement for when our club: Maryland Delaware Rocketry Association Red Glare 9 will be scheduled, either October or November. This launch will benefit the Susan G Komen for the Cure. Our group will be my twin girls, my brother & sister in-law and some friends. Perhaps Marisa will join us...

Level 3 Certification
Still chugging along with my Level 3 certification scratch-build rocket, Cerberus. My unique homebrew carbon fiber rocket design with outrigger engine pods. I plan to make major progress with this build in September 2010 and flying it at Red Glare 9.

Mixed Martial Arts

My MMA/Kick-boxing training at Tiger Schulman's in Hoboken proceeds well however I did pull my right calf muscle last month during training. Occurred when I was starting to execute a right roundhouse kick. My legs are pretty strong and I did stretch well before so who knows why it happened.

The calf  was pretty swollen so saw an Orthopedic doctor. She said it was a partial pull but didn't seem like any ligament damage. So my kicking exrcises are keyed down until I see the Ortho later this month.
Been training twice a week with 9 PM core courses and one adv kick boxing class. Currently a high-white belt with a secondary stripe. I feel much stronger and look a lot fitter than when I started 8 months ago. Go me!
Our sensei, Kat Diaz is competing this September in a pro MMA tournament at the Capitale on Bowery St. It will be the first MMA pro event I attend and my wife will be coming with me. Buddy Jeff and some other friends at class will be there.

Science Fiction
I finished reading Windup Girl. It was...exquisite. As one reviewer mentions, it's similar to Neuromancer but without computers..I really hope Bacigalupi offers us more of this world.
What's funny is the cover art put me off when I initially saw it--the picture of the elephant and bazaar background...just ew....

To-read list: Amazon just delivered my copies of William's Machinery of Light the third and final book in the Autumn Rain trilogy. This one looks to be the best of the three. Also got River of Gods,  the first book I'll be reading by McDonald.
Some great science fiction discussion can be found here at SFF World Forums

Inception: Director Christopher Nolan did a great job on this. Cool, layered dream sequences that flow together. The movie asks the ever important question: What is really real? Highly recommended but there are some fundamental flaws: Parts of the film were a bit dumbed down with unnecessary explanations being made to 'supposed' experts in their field. There's some interesting discussion regarding every bit of the film at the fan forums here.
After seeing Inception I had to go back and watch his Academy Award Nominee, Memento again, which is his best film in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May 2010

I have a LOT of irons in the fire but will attempt to keep this update concise. House projects, my kids activities, MMA workouts, barbecues,....

I celebrated my 18th year Anniversary with my delightful and lovely wife, Marisa. I owe the woman my life. I am a very fortunate guy to have her as mine.
We arranged for a sitter for 24 hours and booked us at the very hip and COOL Bryant Park Hotel. Suffice it to say we had an excellent time both outside and inside the hotel, I upgraded to a park view studio, which gave us an awesome view of Bryant Park. We had a great dinner at the outdoor restaurant in the park. Shopping on Park Avenue at night was great too.
Here's to another fabulous 18 years with Marisa!

My 8 year old twin girl's travel soccer team won their final game. Woot! I believe they clinched the 2010 record in their league. The whole team played with lotsa heart. My girls play outstanding defense but also play forward and scored some great goals throughout the season. Big thanks to Coaches Andy, Kyle and Tony for their time and commitment to the team.


Red Glare 8, Price, Maryland 4/09
My twins and I attended the FANTASTIC MDRA Red Glare 8 rocket Launch April 16-18, 2010 RG 8 photo's. There were some pretty awesome flights/projects there..from Burl Finkelstein's 450 pound @@ V2 rocket, BIG V2 on an O + two N class motors to the four-way Wildman drag race on N 10,000 CTI motors.

We flew the most of our fleet, the girls flying EVETHING in their arsenal. Even my brother and his delightful wife Pattie got into the action. We had given them kits for Christmas and they showed up at the launch with the rockets built and painted. Pattie flew her Binder Design Dragonfly and Dave did the Wildman Darkstar light. Both rockets looked great and flew well twice each.

Our crew had a nice honorable mention by the LCO, Neil McGilvray, as we managed to put together a 5 way Foberg drag race--

the twins with their Little Dogs, my brother with his Wildman, sister in-law with the DragonFly and my Smoke on the Water. Was a definitely a cool race and we were applauded by the enthusiatic crowd!

There was some erratic winds so we lost one lower power (Dr Zooch-Saturn V) two medium power and one minimum diameter high power carbon fiber rocket..who knows, maybe we'll find at Red Glare 9, if a tractor hasn't eaten them...

Upcoming we have a trip to Pine Island, NY for METRA's NERRF 6 rocket festival 2010 launch June 25-27, 2010. Our group will be my twin girls, my brother & sister in-law and some friends. Several MDRA members-The Wacky Corporal crew-will be attending. Possible guest of honor will be my wife on Saturday..she might even fly a rocket or two!

Level 3 Certification
I'm chugging along with my L3 certification scratch build rocket, Cerberus a fairly unique homebrew carbon fiber rocket with outrigger engine pods. The rocket is coming out nicely and I hope to fly it at MDRA's fall 2010 Red Glare 9 launch.

Mixed Martial Arts

I took Tiger Schulman karate course about 4 years ago but dropped out for various reasons. Well being at my my highest weight ever in January and encouragement from my wife, I decided to go back.
The Tiger Schulman's Hoboken school instructors, Sensei Diaz and Bonet, were very nice in that they honored my unused hours so it was easy to get restarted.
The major change was TSK has transitioned focus from karate to Mixed Martial Arts.
The uniform has also changed from a karate Gi to standard martial arts bottoms and a T-Shirt for core classes.

At first it was very tiring and training--I could barely breathe at the end of the class exercises. After five months, with 2 to 3 one hour core kickboxing classes per week I'm doing quite well. I feel much stronger, and my kicks are quite accurate and fast. My current schedule is two 9 PM core adult classes and one 9 PM intermediate Kick boxing class. Tough times to train, but I want to see the kids after work so after 9 PM works best.
Overall the Sensei's & joshu's are fantastic. They are great motivators and teachers. My fellow students are very friendly and helpful also.
I highly recommend Tiger Schulman's if you are looking to lose weight and get in shape. The claim is an 800 calorie workout which I feel is very accurate.

Science Fiction
Writing:: Finally got back into some books and writing. Skimmer is enroute to being completed.

Books: I just finished Neal Stephenson's Anathem. I enjoyed most of Neal's books, in the same league as William Gibson, father of post modern Sci-fi and cyber punk. Anathem is a little off the beaten track for a best selling science fiction work as it starts out with a laborately descriptive monastery setting. Neal's brilliant. 'nuff said.
Movies: Avatar was very fun to watch. Great job, ALMOST same league as Star War's although it got a little too cutesy at moments. Cameron also violates some basic technical rules as well, but it's easy to overlook. A lot of people are saying Avatar is Pocahanta's on another planet. I disagree and look forward to the next film.
Iron Man 2, what a disappointment. The first film was outstanding and kind of novel- so any sequel would have some difficulty in comparison. Iron Man 2, even taken on it's own, is flash and trash, full of inconsistencies & lazy writing.
The film is an obvious cash-in for furthering other Marvel properties. Too bad, the 'movie series' could have been great, but I highly doubt it

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 2010

Bought a small brick house in Hoboken so been pretty damn busy with projects and stuff. Although small, it's very nice. We like the two decks and the master is roomy with 13' vaulted ceiling..Only problem is neither of the bathrooms located on our floor, will need to drop $ to build a bathroom in master.

Red Glare 7, Price, Maryland 11/09
I took my girls down to our club's Red Glare Nov 2009. The weather was for crap, due to the hurricane but we did manage to have one good launch day!
My brother and Sister in-law came down and I belive they enjoyed themselves, especially with my girls and their high spirits. We gave Dave and Patti some cool medium power rockets so hopefully they will launch them at
MDRA's April 2010 Red Glare 8
My girls managed about 8 or 9 flights each on Saturday, they got to see Jackie C who they adore. She gave them some nice models of her L2 Pink Cobra, which she successfully did her L2 on, congratz Jackie!

I launched my Devastator on a cool J270W, which creates a huge fireball at the nozzle at ignition, just awesome and sinister looking...

ESL 140, Price Maryland 01/10
I managed to extract Steve from Hoboken in January to attend MDRA's ESL 140 launch. We both had a good launch, although there was a dearth of vendors. I flew my Devastotor on a HARD-HITTING Aerotech K1275,was a successful flight. One probelm was my rocksim calculated 5100 feet, however the altimeter reported 7200 feet, need to review the model parameters to see whay a huge discrepancy. Used my modified Garmin GPS dog collar, Astro 220 Tracker to recover the rocket, which landed several miles away from launc. Via country roads was about a 6 mile hike for me. Thank God for that tracker, rocket recovered intact!
Steve got one flight in on his awesome Binder Galaxy,nice recovery and several glowing compliments from MDRA RSO. I just need him to send me the pic's for that days launch so I can post.

Upcoming we have planned a trip to Price for MDRA's March 2010 launch, hopefully several friends will be coming. THEN Red Glare in April for three fun filled days with my twins and friends.
I'm working on a possible L3 certification attempt with a fairly unique scratch built carbon fiber rocket with outrigger engine pods that will airstart, calling it Cerberus

The twins and I are also working on several cool rockets scratch built with Starbucks materials as rocket body and fins....

After reading about DIY stuff in MAKE magazine for half a year and seeing some nice homebrew CNC machines over at I decided to try my hand at design of a sturdy 3' x 1.5' capable of cutting complexly shaped composite fins for my rockets, bulkheads and probably cool light gauge aluminum doodads. I chose 8020 Aluminum T-Slot 1530 & 1515 extrusions to create the frame, CNC Stepper motor chopper drive kit , completed build last night as electronics. For the actual motors I'm bidding on several different Vexta motors and still evaluating what i want to use for lead screws for all three axis.
X Axis rails will probably be 1/2 case hardened Thomson rail, Y and Z axis I've bought really nice THK low profile linear bearing and track.
Received the 8020 T slot last night, bought from 8020 ebay store, was nicely packaged. Pricey, but definitely worth it for the versatility and strength of the material. Stuff is EXTREMELY fastener friendly

3rd Ward
Found an awesome NYC area workshop with great metal working/woodworking equipment-- plus a nice paint spray booth in Brooklyn, 3rd Ward.
Selected the basic membership $39/mo for now,hope to get there one or two days a month in to work my projects and take some welding classes.

Science Fiction
Saw the movie Moon, was pretty good, little bit reminiscent of Space Odyssey. I must have a deep mean streak in me, i was laughing so hard when various 'Sams' get into the capsule for the launch 'home'. Highly recommended!
Absolutely no progress on Skimmer, I have faith I'll get final edit done in 20101 and submit it to Analog, more pressing priorities right now.