Some Haiku

I really like writing (and of course reading) haiku. The best have a mental incongruity that takes you by surprise and makes you think, and the brevity required is a fun challenge. I just ran across some that I’d written and archived and thought I’d share.

Written for the Northrop Grumman Lunar Landing Challenge during Armadillo Aerospace‘s final (successful) attempt:

Armadillo flies
John pounds keys furiously
Concrete Pad melted

A thousand miles?
Just fifty meters today,
mach diamonds alight

Go for the million!
A nail-biting three minutes
and then back again

And here’s a few I wrote a few years ago in response to an email my mom sent me.  The hummingbird reference is that she always had hummingbirds around her house and used to live near Ocean City MD (she’s since moved):

The band plays this week.
Somewhere in my harried mind,
a hummingbird flits.

It’s now 10 A M
Another document rev
demands attention.

I stare at my white
 mindless machine, keyboarding.
 The beach calls my name.

(this last is one of my favorites)

Anyhow, hope you enjoyed, I’m still working on writing up a post about the STS-135 launch Tweetup – yes I know, it was 6 weeks ago…

Follow me on Twitter @VAXHeadroom


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#NASATweetupContest – or ‘how to really scare yourself with Twitter’

So in chatting with folks on Facebook, I decided that for the final launch of the Space Shuttle Program – STS-135 I would, first, sign up for the NASA Tweetup for the launch.  OK, that’s probably a no-brainer, but then folks on FB started guessing as to how many would sign up.  There were about 4,105 for STS-134’s launch Tweetup, so guesses started almost as soon as the registration was closed (which was only open for 24 hours).  So I figured, heck, I’ve got some interesting swag around that I don’t really need, let’s spread the love a little bit!  So I posted the following on Twitter:

Contest announcement! For @STS_135 #NASATweetup I will give a spacey prize for closest w/o going over for # of applicants. #NASATweetup

followed up by:

For my #NASATweetup contest use #NASATweetupContest hashtag. In case of tie, earlier guess wins out.

thinking I’d get 30 or 40 guesses and I’d send them some stuff:

NASATweetupContest prizes

NASATweetupContest prizes

The Skylab patch is an original that’s never been on anything from the early 1970, so that’s kind of interesting, everything else is duplicates or stuff I didn’t really need or CDs I’ve done in my studio.

Then this shows up on Twitter:

NASA TweetupNASATweetupNASA Tweetup
RT @VAXHeadroom Contest! I will give a spacey prize for closest w/o going over for # of #NASATweetup applicants. #NASATweetupContest

Ack!! The power of social media has just pretty much aimed a rapid-fire rabid bunch of space geeks at my Twitter feed!  NASATweetup has about 21,200 followers, so all of a sudden I got a little bit nervous, because this could get WAY bigger than I had anticipated!

OK, it turned out not hard at all, and I had less than 300 applicants for the contest (whew!).  I found TwitScoop the easiest client to search for hashtags and paste them into a spreadsheet in which I could sort and find the numbers.  20,000 applicants would have been intractable in this manner, but 300 wasn’t bad at all.  I posted statistics (Min,Max,Avg,Mean, and Count) every night for about 5 days and garnered about 100 new Twitter followers in the process – a very NICE side affect!

So be warned!  The power of social media is great, but be prepared to have it go WAY bigger than you originally anticipated!  Users generally find a way to use your contest/programs/rules/etc in ways you NEVER anticipated!

From where are you watching the VERY LAST SHUTTLE LAUNCH EVER?  Hope it’s from as close as you can possibly get!!

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Hello world!

Greetings Programs!  This blog will be used for longer stuff than I usually post on my twitter account, but no firm plans to update it on any regular basis (at this time)…

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