Woot Monkeys in Space!

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Actually, I’d like to have a running theme of the amazing things my friends are doing.  Here’s installment 2.0 after my initial segment on a business by one of my school friends, William Blackmore, who owns Cottage Industry Models

Next up we have Barksdale (Bdale these days) Garbee.  During 11th & 12th grades, I basically lived at his house after school, finding my way home as late as possible, provisioned with fresh pasta and good cheer.  Ah, the life of a teenager. 

When we met, Bdale demonstrated a “computer” that he had built – No one would recognize it as such today, but it did actually compute.  Pick an 8 bit number (in hexadecimal), and the computer would try to guess it.  Kids these days wouldn’t understand.  I didn’t understand back then, either, but it was an award winning endeavor at Regional and National Science Fairs.  At 17, Bdale about literally become our town’s local Apple expert, at a time when the Apple II was just making a splash and Steve Jobs was parting his hair.

In addition to Raster Blaster (pinball), Space Invaders, Alien Rain, and Alien Typhoon on said Apple, we had several other areas in common.  1) Sense of humor 2) a disdain for a particularly inept 11th grade Lit teacher plus and for an entrenched American History demagogue and 3) the language of music (Pink Floyd, Stevie Nicks, Billy Squier, and, among others, Bruce Springsteen – overexposure to whom finally persuaded me to recalibrate my hearing and understand that the Boss could actually sing).

Step forward almost 30 years, and music is likely the only common language we have.  His life is surrounded by jargon and acronyms that are, if not over Photo by Marc Nozellmy head, then certainly above my pain tolerance.  These include CELF, FISL, Debconf9, COSROCS, Altus Metrum, Debian, ARRL/TAPR, CeBIT, CONSOL, RUDAK, and others.  Such is a life that revolves around (not to the exclusion of his wife and kids) Linux, amateur satellites, and rocketry. 

It’s that latter part that speaks to the “amazing thing” du jour, but, really, all of his interests are natural progressions for someone who prefers an entree of computer coding with a side helping of soldering iron. 

Bdale has a friend, Dave Rutledge, who is one of the founders of www.woot.com, which offers one item a day for sale until it is sold out.  Woot made, in Bdales’s words, “a pile of silly screaming monkey dolls” and gave them away at a conference that Bdale attended.   Not to miss an opportunity, Bdale gathered more than a few and, noticing this, Dave asked him what he had in mind.  Well, here you are:

But wait!  There’s more!

Woot sponsored his launch by paying for the propellant and developing the video.  Bdale put their logo on the “monkey bay” extension that he built for the airframe, and as a result, I am quite thoroughly amused. 

Bdale’s latest pet project can be seen at http://www.rocketryplanet.com/content/view/3412/30/.  If you wonder who in the world comes up with stuff like this, Bdale is that guy.

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