Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ad astra per aspera

Internet is currently down at the house and unfixable. Wi fi from next door is intermittent and weak. So I am relying on my good old phone as modem again. Yay Orange. I just really wanted to blog! Let me know if you prefer the larger text...

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I read this book a couple of weeks ago:



It is powerfully and tightly written, impossible to put down, and haunting once you've finished. The detailed descriptions of dog fights between MiGs and Sabres in the skies above Korea are totally thrilling. More than that, though, Ascent is about the men who dedicated their lives to the Soviet space programme, never destined to become heroes like Yuri Gagarin. The ultimate sacrifice necessitated total anonymity, expurgation from the files, even. But no one can erase a man from his comrades' minds, can they?

Mostly, it is about flying ace Yefgenii Yeremin and his devastating struggle to break the bonds of earth to fly amongst the stars. He would walk on the Dark Side of the moon, but no one would ever know, not even his colleagues....

You
have to read it to find out why.

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I rarely remember my dreams anymore, but last night I finally captured one. I was part of a large team of astronauts gathered in a large facility. Some of us were coming, some of us were going. We were on non-stop relay missions in one-man capsules, to do what I do not know. I had just returned, put on my pyjamas and was off to join the others (also in PJs) in a lounge area to keep an eye on the status of those still on missions. As I went, I passed one of my friends (who in real life did used to work at Space Center Houston, next door to his father at NASA's Johnson Space Center!).

One dream I will never forget I had in my teens. I was in the space shuttle on the perilous re-entry into earth's atmosphere. I can still remember the vivid orange glow outside the cockpit windows...




Sadly, this image was captured during re-entry seconds before Columbia broke up over Texas in 2003. Crew likened the glow to a "blast furnace".
(Courtesy of NASA/Spaceflightnow.com)

11 comments:

amillionpieces said...

Oh that book looks and sounds brilliant, I really must read it!

Sorry to hear that your net is gone again! You can't seem to win with broadband!

nikkipolani said...

1. Yes, I like the bigger text ;-)
2. Sounds like a terrific and tense book. I downloaded Christine Falls (by Benjamin Black) at someone's recommendation and am hoping to listen to it soon.
3. Sorry about your internet. Wouldn't you know, it would happen when you're in the mood to blog!

Flighty said...

I also prefer the larger text!
That's a book that gone on to the top of my must read list.
We really do become dependent on the internet don't we. Fingers crossed that it gets fixed soon. xx
.
Nikki I read and enjoyed Christine Falls, but didn't finish The Silver Swan which follows it!

The Moody Minstrel said...

That does sound like a great book! Aviation and space flight, two of my favorite topics!

Ah, the Columbia tragedy. That and Challenger. For some reason they have and still do weigh heavily on me, especially since neither disaster had to happen; both were found to have been the result of incompetent management on the ground. Both were followed by Discovery, meaning that shuttle must carry some serious karma.

As for your dream, I somehow get the sensation of being trapped from it. In it your work consists of doing a repetitive task sealed in a tiny capsule. And even during your rest time you are still forced to remain with the same team monitoring others doing the same task. You're both a prisoner and someone not allowed to have her own identity. Your thoughts of London, perhaps? But then out of the shadows of your stifling life steps a vision of Houston!

M'lady, you really do want to escape back the the U.S., don't you?

BTW, you've been tagged!

Jahooni said...

i love it when i can remember my dreams.. why is it when we get older it is harder and harder to remember?

AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia-how've you been?I've been a bit busy at work.But,today,blogging away since the last hour,catching up on my fav. blogs.:)

Ascent seems to be a great book..and,wow to that dream of yours.And,brr,to the dream before that.(vivid orange glow ...)

Olivia said...

Pete - gosh, if it's not one thing, it's another, hey?

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Nikki - then I will keep it large.

I guess on your commute you have plenty of time to plow through audio books. Seeing as you can't read and drive simultaneously ;)

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Flighty - thought you'd like this post.
T'internet is now fixed!
xx

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Minstrel - Challenger is the first tragedy I can remember, even though I was 9 at the time.
Then there was Chernobyl. Both of them made a huge impression, since the latter I've had a morbid fascination with radiation and the ensuing effects...

As for the dream, seriously are you hacking my brain? How did you know my job was like that?

Sorry haven't been round for the tag yet, I will Endeavour (get it?) to visit tomorrow.

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Jahooni - oh nooooo, don't tell me I am doomed to forget dreams for the rest of my days! Disappointed.....!

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Amit - All I've done for the past few months is work eat and sleep, so haven't been blogging much lately. Wondered where you were.

Anonymous said...

I vote for smaller print. :))))))))))
interesting stuff.....

love, Vanessa

Palm Springs Savant said...

Olivia- I always like bigger text, so "mercy buckets" (hee hee). Hope your internet come sback up...what a hassle. Interesting book btw

Olivia said...

Vanessa - you have to be contrary don't you? :P xoxo

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Palm Springs - Hehe, I used to know it as "mercy bowcups".

Internet has been back for a couple of days now, so I should be back on blogging form ... any minute now.

Pandabonium said...

That book sounds fascinating. I will have to read it. In the US, books and movies focused on the USAF victories in the Korea air war, so few Americans are aware that over 50 Soviet pilots became aces during that war.

The shuttle Challenger was a blow to me. My kids were 8 and 3 at the time, I was pilot so we followed the space program with great interest, and we belonged to the same Buddhist temple as Ellison Onizuka as well.

Don't know how to interpret that dream, but Moody's explanation sounds right. Sort of like my elevator dream...

Thanks for the book review.