I’ve got those Selenian Blues

by guest blogger ‘Moon’ Murph

I don’t try to hide the fact that it’s my intention to become the most knowledgeable person of my generation with regards to the Moon. It’s a great slacker goal – I come from a small demographic and have picked a relatively esoteric niche (since most of my generation is all Mars-gaga). How hard can it be? So I began building a resource base and got started on broadening and deepening my knowledge. It’s an amazing subject once one begins digging into it, and one finds that all of the good ideas have already been thought of, but not necessarily all of the good ways of putting the pieces together.

This was going to be my approach for my paper “So Many Reasons the Moon” for which I submitted an abstract to ISU for their February symposium “Why the Moon?”. I was going to use the “25 Good Reasons to Go To the Moon”, born right here in the Selenian Boondocks, as the guiding structure. I sweated to get that puppy down to 500 words, and got the abstract in just before the deadline (like usual).

Today was the date of notification of authors. No notification. So in fine Texas tradition I’ve been working on a blues song…and whiskey.

My Lunar lorry broke down,
and my best girl’s frown,
with the Man coming down,
I hate this lovin’ crater town.

And just like the Earthlight
that blankets the Moon night,
I’ve got those Selenian Blues.

I seem to be entering into one of those quantum negative energy clusters, where all of a sudden things aren’t going right in a lot of different ways. Traffic lights conspire to slow you. Special photography orders for housewarming gifts that are prepaid are not delivered on time. Work continues to be oppressive with at least one more cart of crappy loans to re-underwrite before any kind of respite. Uggh.

Meteorites don’t thunder,
Confounded suit makes you blunder,
And all plans get rent asunder,
In this crappy old crater town.


And of course the ISDC is turning into a slog. I should be at the XPrize Cup to drum up business, with the big black cowboy hat. But I was anticipating having to pay a round trip ticket to Strasbourg, take a week of vacation, and rent a hotel room. Not easy on a cash budget since I’m finally getting the debt paid down from the disastrous aftermath of trying to parlay my ISU MSS into an industry change. Didn’t happen, and I’m comfortably back in finance ensconced in an investment bank analyst/underwriter job watching the slow-motion disaster that is our economy unfold and looking for bond and loan opportunities.

But of course, it’s too late now to go to New Mexico. Unless I overnight it Friday from Dallas, sleep in the car Saturday, and drive back Sunday. Uggh.

Just gotta keep trudgin’,
and the future keep nudgin’,
Physics won’t be budgin’,
in this despair-fraught Lunar town.


I also heard from Fisher Space Pen today, declining to buy a space in our exhibit hall. I knew that was going to be their response, as I’d talked with them at the SFF Newspace conference, but I had to try anyway. Coupled with a lot of other frustrating conference things this week it makes weigh on my mind the fact that I’ve been working at this for over two years now, from back when our NSS-NT chapter made the commitment to try to host one after the 2004 in OKC. They’ve been the one shining beacon in all of this, as we’ve always delivered on time and above expectations. That’s why I don’t need tooo much alcohol to deal with it. 😉

Well the still went kablooie,
and the work orders’re all hooey,
Ahh screw it, I say phooey,
to heck with this darned Lunar town.


I’ll probably go to the ISU conference anyway. I do kind of miss Strasbourg, and would like to pick up a copy of Ciel & espace at the little tabac around the corner from my old apartment on rue des Drapiers. I think my strategy at this point is to look at the average age of the speakers and see where it stands. That and the number of pretty girls.

But Cool Ed’s[©] is open,
Perfect Guinness[®] is foamin’,
In the dark Lunar gloamin’,
I love (sniff [wipe tear]) this dear Lunar town.


The Machiavellian twist to all of this is that as co-chair of the ISDC conference I do have considerable (but not absolute) say in the speakers and tracks. Everyone knows to back up off me when it comes to the Moon track, so I get to do pretty much whatever I want with it. I’m working with some guys over at the Moon Society on putting it together, and I made it very clear that I will get time to talk about the Moon. 1 hour, possibly in form of two half hour sessions, or half-hour with a long Q&A. I’m keeping my options open. There’s just, so much, too much to talk about.

So in the end everything’ll be okay. The seven months to the conference will fly by. It will be just fine no matter how much I worry about it. And after that I’ll move into a house and move forward on whatever path is next to be explored.

I will be the most knowledgeable person of my generation regarding the Moon. I can afford to be patient. Besides, the Lunar Library seems to be doing okay and generating some traffic, and I’ll continue to update it as I update the v1.0, the physical copies. Having access to that kind of resource base is a powerful tool in my outreach efforts. If I win the Heinlein Prize at some point I intend to write a magnum lunar opus, or at least a “Moon for Dummies” book. Perhaps a kids book as well.

Speaking of which, the holiday season is rapidly approaching, and I challenge all Selenian Boondockers to start a local “Santa Space Toy” drive in their local communities. Get other local space clubs to join in to collect space-related toys and donate them en masse to a local collection effort. If nothing else buy a bunch of “Kids to Space” books and donate those. That’s how you get attention for how important all of this space stuff is for all of our futures, even the disadvantaged.


Whiskey-free Update 10/19:

The confirmation came today. In lieu of fame and glory I’ve been offered the consolation prize of a space in the Poster Session. I recall from my days at NASA Academy that this sort of thing is a big deal. 60cm wide by 170cm tall. Hmmmm…

This becomes a significantly more difficult decision.

One of my initial motivations, that of having a work of writing in print (in this case in the conference proceedings), is now no longer a possibility. There is a possibility of a 5-page description of the poster on the Conference CD-ROM which will be distributed to all the attendees.

I of course don’t have access to the kind of graphics presentation capabilities that universities or corporations have. If I tried to sneak it in at work I’d get fired.

Which means ink or laserjet pages. If I had a printer. Hmmm…

It’s also a hefty investment for nowhere near as compelling a return. I derive no academic or corporate (or governmental for that matter) advantage from my space activities. It all comes out of my own pocket, from vacation days to airline tickets and hotel rooms and transport and meals and sundry expenses. Money that could just as easily go towards a down payment on a house.

So why do I need to be there?
1) To promote the ISDC. The first word is International, and this would probably be my best opportunity pre-conference to liaise with the Chinese and Indian delegations to try to talk them into participating. China launches its Chang’e-1 spacecraft in April, right before the conference. It would be great to have a presentation from them on the mission.

2) If I intend to be a Moon somebody then I should probably make an appearance at this Moon-centric event that’s not one of the usual conferences.

What’s frustrating?
I have to confirm by Nov. 1st, before I get to see who’s going to be speaking. The option here is to forego a poster opportunity to preserve the option of deciding based on who will be speaking.



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1 Response to I’ve got those Selenian Blues

  1. BradW says:

    Hey Murph:

    I live in Grapevine, TX, and have a color Laser Jet at home. Let me know if I can help you with printing. I wouldn’t mind reading your writings either.


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