Archive for July, 2000

Universal Studios Hollywood – 07.31.00

Monday, July 31st, 2000

It’s an exciting Monday here at the Boeing Company. I got in at 6:30 AM this morning so I could get all of the papers on my desk organized and I have been running around all over the place since then. Things slowed down about a half-hour ago and I have some time to write about my weekend.

Maybe I should give a short explanation about my week since I wrote the last entry on Tuesday – I worked. Looking at my online timecard for last week I am supposed to get paid for working 61.5 hours between last Monday and Saturday. Yes, I had to work on Saturday and I put in a full eight hours too. My supervisor went out of town yesterday but before he left there was a lot of paperwork that needed attention. Although I had little life outside of work last week I think I gained some important experience in the process. The main goal of this summer internship was to see how engineers spend their time at work and I definitely got a taste of that last week. I would like to learn some useful engineering skills from this work experience also but I guess I won’t know if I have been successful in this venture until sometime in the future. Maybe reading all of these load reports and cargo manifests won’t have gone in vain. At least my paycheck for last week will be a success as long as all of my overtime hours get approved.

So I guess part of my weekend has already been explained. I was at work between 9:30 AM and 5 PM on Saturday so that left little time for much else. The weekly grocery shopping did get taken care of, however. I know you were worried about that! On Sunday I went to Universal Studios Hollywood with Nikki, Liz, and Jacob. A lot of the other interns went to camping on Catalina Island for the weekend but I was not one of those so I had to find some other way to amuse myself. We left Oakwood at 12:30 PM and arrived at the park quite a while later due to heavy traffic. Somehow we were able to take advantage of a price deal and only pay the kid’s price of admission ($31). Cool. Here is a list of rides/attractions that we rode/saw: Back to the Future, Backdraft, Nutty Professor Soundstage, ET, and Terminator 2: 3D. I was a bit disappointed because some of these (T2: 3D, Back to the Future) were exact duplicates of the ones I had already seen at the Universal Studios in Orlando. Somehow I think that discourages people from going to both parks. Anyway, I really loved the ET ride. It was pretty cheesy but very cute. I realized that I have never actually seen that entire movie owing to the fact that my dad and I left the theater halfway through when I was a little kid. I didn’t make it through Return of the Jedi either. I guess I was a wimp. We also went on a studio tour that takes you around the soundstages where movies and TV shows are filmed. That was kind of interesting but I have a feeling not too much filming was going on if a dozen trams full of tourists were driving around outside.

The Universal Studios visit was a lot of fun but I would have to say that the Orlando experience (especially Islands of Adventure) is a lot more exciting. We got home around 11 PM and I wasn’t ready to go to sleep until a little after midnight. I know Sarah wasn’t too happy about that but neither was I. When the alarm went off at 5:30 AM this morning it was the last thing I wanted to hear. My manager came back from his two-week vacation today and told me that I shouldn’t work any more overtime. Say goodbye to early mornings for me! That also means that I can leave today at 3 PM with eight hours under my belt. I am thrilled to be able to go back to my aerobics classes this week and kickboxing today will be a great start.

23 Hours – 07.25.00

Tuesday, July 25th, 2000

NOTE: The Drawing Board is back after being out of commission for the past week.

In the past two days I have worked twenty-three hours. This comes after spending my first seven weeks at Boeing doing next to nothing. Now my supervisor just won’t let me go home in the afternoon. Last Thursday he told me that there was a lot to do this week because he was behind on important paperwork and he needed me to help him finish it. I was also told that I would probably put in fifty or sixty hours at work this week. The good thing about that it I get paid time and a half when I work at least two hours each day over my regular eight. I can always use the money. The downside to this scheme is that I spent eleven hours in my office yesterday and a whopping twelve there today. And I never ran out of work to do. My paycheck is going to be quite inflated for this week but my deflated energy will be apparent when I want to sleep all weekend.

Even though I am doing pretty mundane work I can still say that I am supporting the International Space Station (ISS) in the process. Pretty cool, huh? By the way, the Russian ISS module called Zvezda docked successfully with the current orbiting structure today at 5:40 PM PDT. I was at work when it happened and got an email from another intern about it. This is a major accomplishment for everyone involved and it actually impacts my Boeing department significantly. Now that the Russians have fulfilled their part of the bargain (two years late, I might add) it is time for the United States to step up to the plate. There will be an average of nine shuttle launches per year for the next several years to assemble the rest of the orbiting laboratory. Since my department works with orbiter payload integration they are going to be very busy during that time. This is all so exciting to me. I am a part of this incredible project that is going to build a habitat in space! For those of you who don’t know, the work I have been doing this week is supporting the launch of an ISS structure called the Columbus Orbiter Facility (COF). I have been reviewing loads and clearance data of the orbiter payload bay accommodations for a technical memorandum. I was curious to know when the COF was actually going to be launched so I checked on the web today – October 2004. So it’s a long time from now but I am still helping the ISS effort.

I realized something funny as I was driving home today. You know you are working too much when the sun it too low to use the sunshade in the car in the morning and likewise when you are driving home at night. (I left for work at 6:15 AM this morning and got home at 7:15 PM.) In other words, you need to reevaluate your work schedule if you arrive when almost no one else is there in the morning and when you leave the office is deserted. I keep making myself remember the money I am going to make out of this deal! Let’s hope it can make up for lost sleep and sanity.

I am nearing the end of my summer Boeing internship. Soon I will be packing up my stuff and heading back to the hot and humid climate of Florida. Yuck. Maybe it’s just the weather consideration but I don’t want to go back!

At Home in Hollywood – 07.23.00

Sunday, July 23rd, 2000

Who was involved: Sarah, Rebecca, Alex, Marie, Nikki, Chris, Beth, Mike, Jacob

Somewhere in my mind I have a list of things I would like to see while I am in California and yesterday I was able to mark off a couple of them. A guy Sarah works with has lived in the Los Angeles area for a while and he offered to give us a tour. Our plan was to see Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and several other famous spots around there. We were all excited to be able to see some landmarks that people would recognize and that weren’t too far from where we are living.

We left Oakwood around 8:45 AM and the first place we stopped was for breakfast in the “French Quarter” of Hollywood. The inside of the restaurant was made to look like it was an outdoor garden and since we had a group of eleven (ten interns and our tour guide) we got to sit on a terrace in the middle. You could tell by the contents of the stores around us that this was the gay section of town. Our guide said that some of the best restaurants are located in the French Quarter, so as long as you can stand the surroundings it is a great place to eat. After our first meal of the day we went to Mann’s Chinese Theater, the place where famous people put their handprints in the cement and stars bearing their names line the sidewalk. That was a neat place since I have seen it so many times on TV or in the movies. It’s actually quite a tourist trap and you would never notice that it is a movie theater inside if the show times weren’t listed off to one side. A guy was giving out free tickets to see a taping of the TV show Change of Heart and our group decided they wanted to go. I was against the idea but I didn’t say anything because I always seem to be the one who doesn’t agree with the group. I didn’t want to be a party pooper this time since the others seemed so excited.

The studio was in Burbank so we drove there for the taping. It turned out that we were supposed to watch two different shows being taped. If you have never seen Change of Heart it is about a couple who want to go on dates with other people to see if they want to stay together or split up. Pretty dumb, I know, and I think it airs on UPN or some other strange unsyndicated network. We were there from 2:30 PM until about 5 PM. In between the two shows being taped half of our group thought we could leave and there was a big fiasco trying to figure out what to do. We did stay for the second show because we felt bad for taking away half of the audience due to the size of our group. So went spent a good deal of the afternoon watching Change of Heart rather than sightseeing.

Our next stop was Rodeo Drive. There were only a few stores where I could have made a purchase but it was fun to see the items in the windows of the exclusive fashion designer’s stores. I wanted to go into Tiffany’s to look at the diamonds but it seemed that most of the stores were closed and I wasn’t sure if they would have let us in anyway! We took some silly pictures with a Rodeo Drive street sign so those should be interesting to see. In fact, our guide offered to take pictures of the whole group several places we went and he had to manage ten cameras in the process. Poor guy. The final attraction for me was the Third Street Promenade, a shopping district where about five blocks are designated for pedestrian traffic only. We had dinner there and got to go into a few stores before one carload, including me, left for home. I would have liked to spend more time there because there were several clothing shops I didn’t get to visit. Maybe I can find some time to go back before I go back to Florida. Time is certainly running out! We got home at 11:30 PM and I was exhausted.

I have decided to spend most of today relaxing and running errands. I did my weekly grocery shopping this morning and still got home before my roommates got out of bed. I am in dire need of some more workout shorts so maybe I can find some at Target or Kmart. My supervisor tells me that there is a long week ahead of us because he is behind on some paperwork and it’s my job to help him finish it. I was told I might put in sixty hours at work this week. At least I’ll get a lot of money out of this deal but I have to sacrifice my free time to get it. That means no aerobics for me this week. I really hate that idea.

A Miracle – 07.20.00

Thursday, July 20th, 2000

The most amazing thing happened at work today – I had work to do! Yes, I know most of you were sure the day would never come but you were all wrong and no one could be happier than I am about it. The funny thing is that I was inundated with things to do this afternoon and I wasn’t sure I would be able to leave in time for my usual step aerobics class at 4:20 PM. Also two of my supervisors were competing for my time! One of them was angry with the other for giving me a trivial task when I was supposed to be working for him. The world is a crazy place sometimes. (That might also explain why Jeremy got a job offer from his department today when he really hates what he is doing there. Go figure.) The feeling of usefulness is certainly one that I hadn’t experienced yet at Boeing. Let’s hope that I continue to be busy for the last nineteen days of my internship.

I really can’t think of anything else that is interesting enough to spend much time writing about now. I am starting to prepare for Rush, which will already be taking place by the time I get back to Gainesville. Emmy found the words for my preferentials song so now I need to actually learn it. And I am dreading having to pack up my belongings again for the drive back to Florida. I really miss my sisters and I can’t wait to see them again. What a mess my brain is right now!

Cast of Characters – 07.19.00

Wednesday, July 19th, 2000

I thought that it might be helpful for me to present the cast of characters for my diary so that everyone knows a little bit more about the people I mention. Since I started keeping this journal online I have lived in several different places where different sets of people became a part of my daily life. I will attempt to refer to as many people as possible here so that they will be recognized if their names appear in my writings. I will also place a link to this entry on my main diary page so that it will be available at any time. Updates may take place if others enter the arena that I call my existence. Listings will be by location unless otherwise stated.

I attempted to make this list as chronological as possible.

BOEING in SEAL BEACH, CA – May to December 2001
Anna – my “room”mate and California Polytechnic Institute junior
Sarah – another one of my roommates and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign junior
Crystal – another one of my roommates and University of Michigan junior
Dan – my amazing boyfriend, Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate (May 2000), and one of my group co-workers
Hal – my work group lead and native Texan
Ed and Dick – two of my other group co-workers who love to tease and torment each other (as well as the rest of us)

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA in GAINESVILLE, FL
Katherine – my first Alpha Chi Omega little sister (fall 1998)
Amanda and Melissa – my “twin” Alpha Chi Omega little sisters (spring 2000)
Catherine and Tonya – my two grand little sisters, Catherine is Katherine’s little sister (spring 2000) and Tonya is Melissa’s little sister (fall 2000)
Irene – fellow Alpha Chi Omega sister and roommate from August 2000 to May 2001, graduating December 2001
Lelaine – fellow Alpha Chi Omega sister and roommate from January to May 2000, graduated December 2000
Emmy – fellow Alpha Chi Omega sister and my favorite person to watch X-Files with, graduating December 2001
Stuart – fellow aerospace engineering student and ex-boyfriend, graduated May 2001 and currently working for GE in Cincinnati, OH
Danny – fellow aerospace engineering student and fall 2000/spring 2001 AIAA and Sigma Gamma Tau chapter president, graduated May 2001, currently working somewhere in the greater LA area
Mod SQUAD (Modified Smart Quick Universal Autonomous Disconnect) – Andrew, Chris, Andy, Tim, Cory, and Melissa (August 2000 to May 2001)

BOEING in HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – June to August 2000
Sarah – my “room”mate and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University senior, graduated May 2001 and currently working in Houston, TX
Rebecca – another one of my roommates and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University junior, graduating May 2002 (interning again summer 2001)
Kelly – another one of my roommates and University of Michigan junior, graduating May 2002 (spring 2001 intern as well)
Jeremy – another summer intern I shared a cubicle with and Iowa State University senior, graduated December 2000 and currently working for Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA
Marie – the summer intern I could usually count on to go to step aerobics with and University of Virginia senior, graduated May 2001 and currently working for Boeing in Seattle, WA

LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL in TALLAHASSEE, FL
Meghan – a good friend during the high school and college years and Florida State University student, currently working full time, the person I always turn to for advice and gossip
Danny – a good friend from elementary school through college and a Merchant Marine Academy student, graduated May 2001 and currently working in St. Louis, MO
Kathe – a good friend during the high school and college years and Florida State University student
Jennifer – my best friend from middle school through college and Florida State University student, graduated May 2001 and is currently a graduate student at University of Michigan
Allen – fellow Lincoln Trojan and University of Florida engineering student, graduating May 2002 (???)

Accomplishments? – 07.16.00

Sunday, July 16th, 2000

Since there isn’t one major topic to write about I think I will describe several small things that I must consider my “accomplishments” for the week since my job doesn’t provide such success. Maybe these happenings don’t sound like such a big deal to anyone else but I was almost entirely unproductive this weekend so I am resorting to telling you guys about my lesser activities for sheer entertainment value. Enjoy!

1) Mindy and I went to see the new movie “X-Men” tonight and it was excellent. No pun intended, if you caught that. I have been a fan of the X-Men since the Saturday morning cartoon premiered and I know a lot of the storyline foundation so I was excited to see this stuff on the big screen. People who know me will remember that I have the hardest time sitting still for long periods of time so going to a movie usually includes a lot of fidgeting on my part. Not this time. Before I knew it the movie was over and my feet weren’t even asleep yet. I guess a characteristic of a good movie should be that it leaves you wanting more, and I must say that “X-Men” does just that. The only disappointment came when I realized that my favorite character, Gambit, wasn’t a part of the movie. Mindy said that the end was abrupt so that sequels were possible and I am hoping that, if more movies are made, that Gambit will make an appearance. He was really cool, for those of you who don’t remember him.

2) If you didn’t see my entry on The Drawing Board I finished HP4 (Goblet of Fire) on Friday night/Saturday morning at 1 AM. I was practically falling asleep when I finally reached the last words of the book but I was so anxious to find out what happened that I couldn’t even blink my eyes. It was a sort of pleasant anxiety, as I wrote on my news webpage – the sort of thing only a good author and an entrancing story can provide. I have read both good and bad reviews of the latest Harry Potter installment but I must say that I am thoroughly in love with the series so when I say that it was superb you might think that I am a bit biased. I do have reservations about making any of these books into a movie, however. When you provide the visual representation of a story for a viewer you seem to undermine the process that creates the reality inside that persons mind when they read. If a book is really gripping then half the fun of reading it is being able to see the action in your head. You design the scenes, you picture what the characters might look like, and you feel like a part of the story rather than a person sitting on the other side of the silver screen in a movie theater. Maybe I am just being too analytical but reading a book is a more intimate experience to me than watching a movie. Not that I don’t love movies.

3) I cleaned my apartment this weekend. Sarah was in San Francisco, Kelly was in Yosemite, and Rebecca just isn’t around very much anyway. We don’t have a mop and our tile kitchen floor was looking quite gross. I resorted to some cleaner with bleach, paper towels, and my foot acting as the absent mop. Fun, huh? It stayed clean for about four hours. The next step to cleanliness is to wash my sheets. That is going to take a lot of quarters and since the newspaper dispenser ate five of mine this morning they are not overabundant at the time being. We’ll have to fix that, I guess. Isn’t my life great?

The Ups and Downs of Mass Popularity – 07.13.00

Thursday, July 13th, 2000

Here’s a little something that made me laugh this morning. That’s not an easy thing to do since my job is so boring. It is an article from the Chicago Tribune online. So now you know what I do when I am having computer networking problems – I read about Harry Potter, the man (boy) of the hour.

*****

THE DANGER OF HARRY POTTER

Daniel T. Zanoza
July 13, 2000

The Harry Potter children’s books are not as innocent as they seem.

While some educators rave about the Potter phenomenon as something positive for children, there is a troubling aspect concerning the content of these books, which should give pause to parents and our society as a whole.

I’m sure there are many who will scoff at what I am about to say.

But I believe the Potter books are introducing an entire generation to magic and witchcraft.

As sales of the Potter books continue to break records, millions of children are mesmerized by the literary series.

Children are being exposed to the occult, while naive adults praise the books–simply because students are reading.

Using this type of logic, we also would be happy if kids were reading pornography.

Obviously this is a ridiculous premise; yet tampering with the occult is potentially far more dangerous for children, often leading to spiritual confusion, psychological problems and, in all too many cases, suicide.

Those of us who believe there is a spiritual aspect to our world are not surprised by the popularity of the Potter books. The occult is a dangerous and seductive thing that the three major world religions warn against. In fact, the scriptural teachings of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are emphatic about the dangers of such practices.

The Potter books, under a cloak of innocence, are infecting the minds of millions.

Unfortunately traditional religion has been scrubbed clean from American society. At the same time, things like the Potter books, which elaborate on magic and witchcraft, are welcome in public schools. Subsequently many children have nothing in their lives concerning personal faith. Therefore the occult continues to become an answer for more and more young people.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Potter series, said the idea for the books came to her while she was riding on a train. I have no problem ascertaining what spiritual force was behind her enlightenment.

Most troubling, however, is how readily accepted these books are in public schools. We actually have a friendly wizard, conjuring his way through one adventure after another, and no one even raises an eyebrow. Imagine if Potter was a priest or rabbi praying his way through each episode. We all know such a character would be taboo in modern public schools. Yet, in the books, Potter is a wizard, practicing the faith of Wicca, the only religion not subject to the so-called rules concerning separation of church and state.

I believe the Potter books represent something dark and sinister under the guise of entertainment for children.

As the saying goes, wolves will come in sheep’s clothing. In the Potter series, this certainly seems to be the case.

*****

Never Drive in Mexico – 07.10.00

Monday, July 10th, 2000

When I got to work this morning it seemed like a long time since the last time I was here. I know it has only been since Friday but somehow my weekend had the appearance of lasting for longer than usual. Now I am sitting at my desk with a song from “Titan A.E.” in my head. At least it’s a good song – I bought the soundtrack on Saturday and it rocks. So what did I do that made the weekend seem to last so long? Several things actually.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” arrived at my doorstep via FedEx on Saturday around 10 AM and I couldn’t have been more excited. This is the fourth book in the series. I intended to read the first three books again before getting my hands on the new one but I couldn’t find any extra space in my car to bring them to California with me. The newest edition is over seven hundred pages long, twice the length of some of the others, and on Saturday I read the first two hundred and fifty of them. My bookmark is still sitting at that point today but that’s another story. It’s funny how much I enjoy the story that is written mostly for kids. I do know that adults are reading these books too considering my dad is one of them. It will only take me a few more days to finish the entire book and maybe I will have more to say about it then.

On Saturday night I was dragged away from Harry Potter to go miniature golfing with Sarah, Marie, Dave, and Chris. There was a really big theme party that night also but none of us had any desire to go there. Since I am one of the worst miniature golfers in the world I was quite content to place third out of the five people there. In the beginning, believe it or not, I was the one to beat but that didn’t last too long because some of the holes were hard! There were lots of people who had the same form of recreation in mind that night and we had a little line forming behind us at every hole. I felt bad for these people but having five pitiful golfers in our group made us rather slow. We left the Family Fun Center at midnight, when it closed, and didn’t get to sleep until much later than we should have.

The reason I wish I had gotten more sleep was because we (minus Chris) drove to Mexico the next morning. I offered to drive without know what a bad idea that really was and we left around 8 AM yesterday. The drive to the Mexican border was uneventful, crossing the border was a little confusing, and getting to our final destination of Rosarito was a really big pain. The highway system in Mexico is really confusing and we got onto the wrong road almost as soon as we got out of the city of Tijuana. Luckily it was easy to get back to where we wanted to be that time. There is so much poverty and desolation where we were and it was very depressing to know that only a few miles away, in the United States, there is a wealthy country where you can’t see such destitution. In Rosarito there are small children trying to sell you candy and jewelry while older women mostly are begging for money. You feel bad just ignoring them when you walk by but you really can’t help them.

I can say that I did have a good time in Rosarito, though. The little city is located about twenty-two kilometers south on Tijuana on the Baja Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. We were told that the beach is beautiful there but I must disagree. The sand is quite dirty and since horses are for rent everywhere there is sure to be a lot of droppings around. Vendors selling food, jewelry, and other souvenirs are usually trying desperately to get you buy something and people wanting you to pay them to braid your hair just won’t leave you alone. It’s kind of like a circus. The water was very clear and blue despite the beach appearance. I am not sure if they protect the ocean in someway or whether the lack of large industries keeps it clear without effort. No one seemed to be swimming in the water, however. In fact, there were very few people there who had bathing suits on at the beach. That seems strange to me but I guess that is normal for them. We went shopping at an outdoor market located near where we parked our car. There were dozens of carts and displays there with everything from Mexican jumping beans to huge sombreros. Sarah and I were looking at the jewelry and I bought an anklet while she got a toe ring. It was funny when I was looking at the anklets and the vendor kept lowering the price just because I wasn’t buying yet. At first the one I wanted was six dollars but when I bought it I only paid four dollars. I got a kick out of that. We also went to a club before we left but since it was the middle of the afternoon it wasn’t in high gear yet. Around 5 PM I was ready to leave and eager to get back across the border so that my car would be insured again – it wasn’t that easy to get there.

I got us lost AGAIN on the way back to the border. I must just be a really bad driver. By the time we got in the right place it took at least an hour to get from the back on the line of cars to the other side of the Mexican/American border. On the way there were so many people trying to sell us junk like blankets and hammocks. At least we weren’t harassed by the border guards. The only things we brought back from Mexico were extremely small and cheap souvenirs. Somehow I don’t think they require a formal declaration. I was very relieved to be back on the US side of the border but the drive home wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped. We stopped in San Diego at the Sunset Cliffs to watch a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. How beautiful. Then I had the pleasure of driving on major interstates at night trying to keep all of us alive. I am surprised that Americans don’t have more accidents considering I was driving seventy miles per hour with about a million other people on the freeway last night. The first relaxing breath I took yesterday was went we got out of the car at Oakwood.

What a mess my weekend was! No wonder it seems like Friday was forever ago. Today I can look forward to kickboxing at 5:20 PM and then curling up with my Harry Potter book tonight. Somehow I think I will sacrifice reading for hours so I can get a good night’s sleep. I think I need it.

STS-101 – 07.06.00

Thursday, July 6th, 2000

It’s about fifteen minutes to one here at Boeing and I have already had an interesting day. I’ll skip the part where I forgot my badge and had to drive all the way back home to get it this morning. That was embarrassing and I don’t want to have to explain that you can’t even get inside the gate without one. Forget I even said anything about it. Anyway, the STS-101 astronauts are visiting the Huntington Beach Boeing campus today and I must say that a very big production has been made of the event. The STS-101 mission flew earlier this summer and did some maintenance on the International Space Station (ISS), including replacing power sources and boosting it to a higher orbit. At the top of this entry you can see the picture of Jerry N. Williams, one of the mission specialists for that flight who made a six-hour space flight to work on the ISS. He was the crewmember lucky enough to get a tour of my department this morning. I got to meet him and shake his hand plus Jeremy and I were singled out as summer hires. Great. All of the hard working full time employees got to stand by while we, who don’t spend much time here at all, were recognized instead. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair.

Three of the STS-101 crewmembers were visiting our workplace today and there was a short ceremony in their honor at 11:30 AM. Several souvenirs were available at the assembly so now I am the owner of a Boeing hat, visor, poster, and two pens commemorating the occasion. I have collected so many items that have the word “Boeing” on them that by the time I leave I won’t have room for it all in my car. Like I was saying, the ceremony started with what must have been a tape of every song from a popular science fiction movie ever written. I think I might have been embarrassed to be one of the astronauts if I had to walk down a red carpet, lined with hundreds of Boeing employees, flanked by the sounds of the Star Wars and Star Trek theme songs. Talk about cheesy. Speaking of cheese, the current Miss America sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the ceremony began and it was just terrible. I kept cringing when she needed to raise the pitch and the interns all agreed that she didn’t win the pageant with her “talent.” I am focusing on the bad parts of this event but as a whole it was an honor to have the astronauts thank the Boeing employees for making their mission a success. Granted I had nothing to do with it but I am temporarily a part of the shuttle team.

We have an intern meeting at 3 PM today so I have about two hours left of work for the afternoon. I hate having the meetings so late in the day because I can’t get to aerobics by 4:20 PM. Marie and I were late last Thursday and it was a mess. I have my gym bag in my car just in case I can make it over the Seal Beach in time but I may have to be content with a home workout instead. I had better get back to work before someone notices that I have extended my lunch break longer than I should have.

Independence Day – 07.04.00

Tuesday, July 4th, 2000

Boeing is paying for me to relax today. That’s right, the Fourth of July is a paid holiday for all employees – even coops and interns. So what have I done today to celebrate this small amount of freedom? What I am going to tell you might be shocking so brace yourself.

Sarah and I got up at 5:30 AM (which is a half hour earlier than usual for those of you who don’t know what time I get up for work on weekdays). We left the apartment at 6 AM headed for Huntington Beach and the annual Fourth of July 5k race. Now those of you who know me are saying, “Lauren doesn’t run!” You are absolutely right – I hate running besides the fact that I am completely terrible at it. Luckily I wasn’t the one participant who was planning to walk the entire route. The funny thing is that I wasn’t even close to the end of the pack by the end of the race either. I kept a good pace (my muscles ached until they got warm so I know I was walking pretty fast for me) the whole time and finished in forty-two minutes flat. Figuring that five kilometers is about three and a third miles – 1 mile = approx. 1.5 kilometers – that means I was walking faster than my usual four miles an hour. I am proud of my time even if I only beat the people who were intending to run the race and then pooped out halfway through. Sarah is quite the runner and she was happy with her time of about twenty-two minutes. I am impressed but since I am the worst runner on the face of the earth just running for that long seems like a miracle to me.

After the races (yes there were several) were over Sarah and I stayed for the parade. Boeing had a float in the procession and we just wanted to see it before we left. The parade started at 10 AM. The sun came out. Two and half hours later the Boeing float lumbered towards. By that time our rear ends were screaming at us, the sun had burned our exposed skin (even after we applied sunscreen that one woman was kind enough to give us), and at least half of the parade viewers had left. The float was pretty impressive but it was unfortunate for both us and them considering that it was the 315th entry. There were other interesting things to see in the parade, though. Two of the celebrity guests were Alan Thicke of “Growing Pains” fame and the actor who plays Mr. Belding on “Saved by the Bell” – I can’t remember his name. I can’t believe how sunburned I got today. I put on sunscreen before I left and once during the parade but that wasn’t enough to keep me protected. My skin is radiating heat and my face is bright red. I don’t even like for my face to be tan at all and now this. I guess I’m just a big baby. I’ll be more careful next Fourth of July.