– By William Cooper
My father was a died-in-the wool, WW2-vet patriot who used to get me out of bed at the crack of dawn on national holidays to help him hang the flag outside our house. With his guidance, I’d sleepily lean over and steady Old Glory into one of those aluminum holsters that was attached to our aluminum-siding-covered residence. Aluminum was all the rage and my father probably owned half of the country’s stock.
This whole waking me up nonsense had started at a young age when in 1969, three years since I had been thrust into this bright, new world, I was torn from my drooly slumber and propped up in front of the television to watch Apollo 11’s Eagle land on the moon.
I have no actual memory of this event. I say no actual memory because the story of my father and the moon landing was a story that was told and retold in my family for so may years that I think I have acquired a second-hand memory of it.
Point is, I didn’t sleep much as a child. I’m making up for it now.
Regardless of the toll on my REM states, I believe this event raised in me a certain fascination or maybe just a deep, deep respect for space and space travel. What little kid doesn’t want to become an astronaut? Sadly, this was not to be the case for me. I have horrid eyesight. My endurance is not, what you might call, endurant. And the thought of going into space fills me with the urge to defecate and throw up in equal and perhaps alternating measures.
What I did want to be and could have been was a technician at NASA, one of those guys who fiddle with knobs and get to say “Go!” or “No Go!” very confidently at certain times. I followed this dream for about as long as a teenager follows anything, probably until I found out I’d have to move to Florida (had I done a bit more research and discovered JPL, things may have turned out differently). Then girls came along, and then video games, and the rest is history.
Instead, I became a podcaster, which honestly is about the same thing, right? And even though I don’t wake up now until noon on national holidays, I still try to watch every spacecraft’s launch and landing.
In this episode we get the GO for manned podcast flight. William blasts off into a hair-singeing story of his burning undercarriage, explains the convoluted and time-intensive process of quality podcasting, and learns the hard truth about husbands. Scott reveals the identity of a hardcore fan who leaves us our first Fanbook facepost. Then we slingshot around the topic of Mythbusters and edutainment programs as William struggles with denial and endings and Scott rankles at rusted logos and announcersplaining. We settle in for a long orbit around the Word of the Week of “hobbies,” covering the distance from the world’s hardest card game to slot cars dreams and hot wheel afternoons to the inevitable avocation vocation. Then it’s suddenly all about sine waves, meter bands, and megahertzes as, armed with an ancient Radio Shack instructional clay tablet, Scott plans his trip to Hamvention, with acres of tables of old computer crap and vintage video games. At the end of our journey, we do reach the moon – “Music Out of the Moon,” to be exact, a 1957 gem that served as Neil Armstrong’s road trip mix tape and sneakily introduced the Theremin to the wider populace, whether they wanted it or not. FIDO! It’s a Go No!