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On Visiting Santa (and Chewbacca)

We took the girls to visit Santa this week; something we've tried to do every year. The line was long, the girls were impatient and when they were finally seated on Santa's lap, Sammy asked Santa for the one thing we weren't able to find for her.

But our Santa is a skilled Santa. He saw how Mommy and Daddy cringed at the mention of the word "Hatchimal" and modified his response accordingly. He said the elves were having a hard time making enough of those up at the North Pole. He asked if there was anything else Sammy wanted and she replied, "Surprise me." Clara and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

Well done, Santa. Well done.

We know the number of Christmases where our kids will believe in Santa are finite: for all we know this may be Sammy's last year to believe. But that's OK. I think she'll still want to visit Santa. I still do. Even as an adult whenever I interact with someone in a Santa suit I do feel something. Even though I know it's just a guy in a suit there's still a part of me that gets a little excited and a little nervous like I'm meeting a celebrity. It was like when we had our photo taken with Chewbacca at Disneyland. Of course it was just a tall cast member in a furry suit, but it was still pretty cool for the girls. And for Daddy.

We suspend our disbelief not because we choose to but because it's part of our nature as humans. We want to believe there is magic in the world and so we invent stories and legends and architectures to amplify that world and give it meaning. In doing so we do indeed make the world a more wonderful place.

And so from all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas.

Santa's Workshop

One of the advantages of being a small business owner is that during a certain time of the year, that small business can also serve a storage, staging and assembly area for Santa. Although it's cool to draw for a living, it's also cool to take time to help the Big Guy build some toys.

And so from the HiWorks family to your family, happy holidays.

To All Of You On The Good Earth

image courtesy NASA

In December of 1968 - a year that was challenging at best - the three man crew of Apollo 8 made the first manned flight from Earth to the Moon.  Although they didn't actually land on the moon  (that would occur 7 months later on Apollo 11) They did experience things no one had ever seen before.   This including seeing the Earth "rise" over the surface of the Moon.  The photograph of this has become one of the iconic images of the twentieth century.

It's important to keep in mind that NASA's astronauts weren't sent into space to take pretty pictures.  The ones they did capture were in many cases unplanned snapshots that could very easily have been missed. 

In a new video made for the 45th anniversary of the flight, NASA has created an animation that combines the existing voice recording of the astronauts overlaid with the images they took to recreate the somewhat frantic moments that proceeded the creation of the "Earthrise" image.  Frank Borman was in the process of executing a roll of the spacecraft when Bill Anders, who was surveying the Lunar surface for potential landing sites, happened to see the Earth beginning to rise out of his window.  He snaps a shot of it with the camera he has, but realizing its loaded with black and white film, he calls out to the third member of the crew, Jim Lovell, to grab a canister containing color film.  As the spacecraft continues to roll, the view disappears out of the small window Anders is using before Lovell can retrieve the color film.  All three of them think they've missed the shot when the Earth comes into view out of Borman's window.  It is through the round window of the spacecraft's hatch that the iconic image is ultimately taken.

And so in conclusion to this blog post (and this year), I will quote the final line from Apollo 8's Christmas Eve Broadcast that was made from Lunar orbit that same day: 

...and from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas - and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.