It’s Been Far Too Long

26 02 2007

I am sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I have no excuses. Moving on.

This weekend was Mrs. M’s “Golden Birthday” (25 on the 25th). HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her first and foremost!!

Here’s just a basic rundown of some happenings and thoughts lately:

-Friday night we went to Montevallo to witness the final performance of the mighty Crosstown Sway. Luke Lucas is a rock star, and I really enjoyed being there and seeing him throw down. I am hoping that maybe we can jam out on some acoustic tunes sometime soon. I want to get back into playing my guitar, but I’m not good at playing by myself.

-My computer at work went through a massive reformatting process over the course of last week and so I am spending a lot of my day today trying to get it back up to speed with the programs I need and restoring the stuff I usually use on a day to day basis. Kind of tedious, but needed.

-The “year of fitness” is sort of plodding along right now. There have been marked improvements in things like my eating and drinking habits (much more water much less soda and sweet tea), and I have been trying to get to the gym consistently that is made all the more challenging by being in class two nights a week until 8:45 p.m. and at church on Wednesday night until 8:00. But I continue onward.

-I’ve been trying my best to get caught up on LOST so that I can watch the new ones when they are on TV right now. I’ve still got a ways to go, but the light in the tunnel is that Jackie and Luke may have the season 3 episodes I need to be all the way caught up.

-I think Al Gore is going to run for president again (and his vice president might even end up being Barack Obama). Gore is strong enough of a political force that he could even get in the game late (after Hillary and Barack have done whatever mudslinging at one another that they can) and still be an effective force to raise the funds and support to be a solid contender. All his face time in Hollywood is only serving to help him. I guess we will see.

-I need to be doing real work now, so I am done with this for now. Adios!


Space the Looney Frontier

6 02 2007


By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer


astronaut charged with attempting to kidnap a romantic rival in a love triangle with another astronaut was allowed to go free on bail Tuesday on the condition that she not contact the alleged victim.

The judge told Lisa Marie Nowak she could be released on $15,500 bond, then asked if she understood the conditions. She responded “yes.”

Nowak, a married mother of three, stood in a jail uniform, looking down during most of the hearing. She planned to return home to Houston, and the judge ordered her to wear a tracking device.

The 43-year-old robotics specialist faces charges including attempted kidnapping, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery.

Police said she drove 900 miles, donned a disguise and was armed with a BB gun and pepper spray when she confronted a woman she believed was a competitor for the affections of Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, an unmarried fellow astronaut.

Nowak rode aboard Discovery in July. Oefelein, 41, piloted the space shuttle Discovery in December. They trained together but never flew together.

Nowak told police that her relationship with Oefelein was “more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship,” according to an arrest affidavit. Police found a love letter to Oefelein in her car.

According to authorities, Nowak believed another woman, Colleen Shipman, was romantically involved with Oefelein. When Nowak found out Shipman was flying to Orlando from Houston, Nowak decided to confront her early Monday, according to the arrest affidavit.

Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers in the car so she wouldn’t have to stop to go to the bathroom, authorities said. Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.

Dressed in a wig and a trench coat, she waited for Shipman’s plane to land and then boarded the same airport shuttle bus Shipman took to get to her car, police said. Shipman told police she noticed someone following her, hurried inside the car and locked the doors, according to the arrest affidavit.

Nowak rapped on the window, tried to open the car door and asked for a ride. Shipman refused but rolled down the car window a few inches when Nowak started crying, the statement said. Nowak then sprayed a chemical into Shipman’s car, the affidavit said. Shipman drove to the parking lot booth and police were called.

An officer reported following Nowak and watching her throw away a bag containing the wig and BB gun. Police also found a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, $600 and garbage bags inside a bag Nowak was carrying when she was arrested, authorities said.

Two other astronauts attended the hearing. Steve Lindsey, commander of Nowak’s Discovery flight last July, testified that Nowak would obey the conditions of her release.

Chris Ferguson, a pilot on the mission, also attended the hearing. Asked afterward about Nowak’s behavior, Ferguson said “perplexed is the word I’m sticking with.”

Oefelein and Shipman, who the Houston Chronicle said worked at Patrick Air Force Base near the

Kennedy Space Center

, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

NASA spokesman James Hartsfield in Houston said that, as of Monday, Nowak’s status with the astronaut corps remained unchanged. “What will happen beyond that, I will not speculate,” he said.

Hartsfield said he couldn’t recall the last time an astronaut was arrested and said there were no rules against fraternizing among astronauts.

Police said Nowak told them that she only wanted to scare Shipman into talking to her about her relationship with Oefelein and didn’t want to harm her physically.

“If you were just going to talk to someone, I don’t know that you would need a wig, a trench coat, an air cartridge BB gun and pepper spray,” said Orlando police Sgt. Barbara Jones. “It’s just really a very sad case.”

According to NASA’s official biography, Nowak is a Naval Academy graduate who has a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. She has a teenage son and younger twin girls.

Oefelein has two children and began his aviation career as a teenager flying floatplanes in Alaska, according to a NASA biography. He studied electrical engineering at Oregon State University and later earned a master’s degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. He has been an astronaut since 1998.

Associated Press writers Kelli Kennedy and Jessica Gresko in Miami contributed to this report.