Sunday, August 18, 2013

On her Jets - 20 years ago - DC-X first flight

Twenty years ago today (18 Aug) was the first flight of the Delta-Clipper (eXperimental).

I was there at the 1993 WorldCon, when Jerry Pournell showed us one of the test flight videos and said those famous words:

"That my friends, is a SPACESHIP!   And she lands like God and Robert A. Heinlein intended, ON HER JETS!"  

Jerry also pointed out an important psychological aspect of the test program.  She was flown remotely, but the full size version would be flown by test pilots, not astronauts.  Why?  Because when a test pilot drives on into the desert you name a street at Edwards after him and move on, when an Astronaut dies it's a national disaster and it puts your space program back 2 years.


Those were hopeful times.  Of course, the USAF eventually gave the program over to NASA, and NASA had to kill her, because nothing could challenge the white elephant/eternal money pit known as shuttle.

The things we could have had.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


A newer song that I wrote especially for my concert at CopperCon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

CopperCon 2013 Review

Just back from CopperCon.

Worst CopperCon Ever. 

Possibly even the worst Con ever, but definitely the worst I've ever been to:

No Music Guest
No music track
No Science track
No Regency Dance
No Masquerade
No Artist Guest
No Art Show
Con Suite: Calling the Con Suite pathetic would be an insult to the pathetic.

The dealer's room had one bookseller (Massoglia Books) and a whole bunch of comic book dealers.  Yeah.  Let's just say that not a lot of commerce was taking place.

 I ended up volunteering to do a concert on Friday night. Thanks to last minute rescheduling of the rooms, we didn't even have time to run a proper sound check, so I suspect it sounded pretty bad. I know the mic was popping like crazy and one of the guitars was a lot hotter on the board than the other.

Clearly the Con Chair had no clue what he was doing.  Anyone who lets this guy run (and ruin) their con has been warned.

The convention hotel is actually pretty good.  It's an older property on the old/former US-60.  Although the bones are clearly pretty old (slump block construction and popcorn ceilings) they are in the process of fixing it up and were actually doing external painting while we were there.  It's one of the most affordable convention hotels in the area, which actually encourages locals to stay rather than commute.  Also since the place is probably 40-years old all of the trees are huge and provide plenty of shade.

The good: I did manage to sell one (1) CD, and we had a rather decent room filk going in Gary Swaty's room Saturday night.

This is very sad. CopperCon used to be a very nice convention in years past. Needless to say, until there is a major shakeup in the organization, we won't be doing another Copper.

Note, although there is some overlap, the folks who run LepreCon are a completely different group of people.  Lep has really gotten their act together lately and is putting on a much nicer con than in years past.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I've been asked to do a concert of "NewSpace" songs for CopperCon.  This will be on Friday at 17:00.  At 18:00 Henry Vanderbilt will give a talk on NewSpace, so it's a nice tie in.

Henry is of course the founder of the Space Access Society.

Tentative song list:

Countdown Toward Tommorow
Fire, Fire Fire, (Tim Griffin)
Modern Myths
Space Ship One
Bloody Bastards (Jordin Kare)
Dreams of Tungsten
Spaceflight in Mohave
The Right Question

I'll have a few extra in reserve just in case.

Most of these are on Space and Freedom, but Dreams of Tungsten is newer, and Dragonflight was written a couple days ago so is brand new.  I also like throwing a couple of other folks songs into my concerts which is why one of Tim's and one of Joridin's songs are in there.

The "plan" is to get a decent recording with the Panasonic HD camcorder and upload a few to youtube.  We'll see how that goes.