Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kittinger and His Jump

This is my commemorative speech for speech class.

Imagine this, you jump into a balloon and take off. After an hour and 31 minutes you finally reach an altitude of 102,800 feet and then jump out armed only with a parachute. This is what a man named Joseph Kittinger did in 1960. And this was his third time doing so.

He started out flying as a test pilot for the Air Force (a dangerous job in itself) but was recruited for a project called Man High. In 1957 Kittinger took a balloon up to 96,000 feet to see if humans where actually able to survive in a space like environment, no one really knew for certain at the time. He paved the way for future manned spaceflights, and earned him his first Distinguished Cross.

After that he moved onto Project Excelsior. This project was designed to ensure that pilots of high altitude aircraft and space capsules, where able to eject and survive a extremely high altitude jump. In 1958 he took his first and almost his last jump. Taking a balloon back up to 76,000 feet he jumped out.

Unfortunately for him his stabilizer parachute opened up prematurely and wrapped around his neck. This caused him to spin out of control at 120 revolutions per minute giving him a feeling of 22 times the weight of gravity after all was said and done, his stabilizer parachute was actually supposed to prevent such a spin. He of course passed out, being spun like a tire on a car tends to do that to a person. But lucky enough for him his main parachute opened up automatically at 10,000 feet.

So since surviving his first attempt he did it again 25 days later with a better parachute design. Jumping out at 74,700 feet. He fell for 55,000 feet before pulling his chute. The test was a success but wasn't enough for Kittinger.

So on August 16, 1960 5:30 am Joseph Kittinger climbed into a foil balloon and set off. 5 Soaring up to an altitude of 102,800 feet into the stratosphere. 4 Experiencing temperatures at 94 degrees below Fahrenheit. 3 Loaded with equipment that doubled his weight . 2 Staring out into the blackness of space when it was daylight below. 1 Looking down at a plaque that read "This is the highest step in the world." 0 He took the final plunge. He fell for 4 minutes 36 seconds reaching a top speed faster than a speeding bullet at 614mph, before opening his parachute at 17,500 feet above the surface of the earth. This jump earned him his second Distinguished Cross.

It should be noted that while he was floating up for that jump a problem with his pressure suit caused his right hand to loss circulation and swell to twice it's normal size. But not wanting to abort he fought through the pain.

He did one more high altitude ballooning experiment called Project Stargazer. Floating up to 82,200 feet and staying there for 18 hours making atmospheric observations and testing redesigned life support equipment.

So not wanting his success to go to his head he volunteered for 3 tours in Vietnam flying a total of 483 combat missions. But his luck ran out one day when he was shot down and put into the infamous Hanoi Hilton. After spending 11 months in captivity he was finally returned to American hands.

He retired 7 years later and decided to start ballooning again. After winning some balloon races he became the first person to float across the Atlantic Ocean between Maine and Italy. He ended up flying in 78 different types of planes over the years and still flies to this day.

So in the time it took me to give this speech, Joseph Kittinger was freefalling down from the stratosphere closing in on the speed of sound before pulling his chute, a feat that has never been attempted since.

The House

Disclaimer: Most of this will make no sense like usual, but I love my dreams.

This might be a little long winded but I felt like putting every detail in here. Yet again I can't remember the exact beginning of the dream, something about BSing with some friends or what not. So I decided to head home in a go cart, fast little bastard too. Pretty much the beginning of what I can completely recall is driving north on beal just past sonny's bbq around the same spot that one bum was giving the entire roadway the goat. Just too let you know, heading back from doing laundry and seeing that was up there on my most hilariously disturbing images I've seen in real life. But anyways, I was hauling up the road at a top speed of 45mph in the cart, passing all sorts of cars because like usual when I end up driving the speed limit everyone else is doing 10 under instead of the florida 5 over like usual. Just around that time it looks like it starts snowing and the ground instantly has a white blanket minus the blacktop from all the tire tracks on the road. That's when I get my first taste of the snow. Have you ever seen the episode of the simpsons where homer decides to go in the grease selling business? Let me sum up if you haven't seen it. Towards the end of the episode homer tries to steal grease from the school cafeteria with hoses routed through the schools ventilation ducts. Like as to be expected the hose bursts and shit hits the fan, well grease hits the fan. It starts flowing down like snow onto a dance already in progress. Not that great of a sum up but you should get the jist.

So I'm driving up beal with grease falling from the sky looking like a light snow storm and I turn down my road past the golf course. But as soon as I made the turn I was in a country type landscape, nice open green fields, a couple trees and a few houses. It still looked like a snow storm but no more falling grease. So now I'm in a cabin looking house, nothing like instant travel. Didn't even have to stop the cart. I think I exchanged a little banter with the residents. An old man and woman lived in the house who seemed to be a helpful group. A few other people where there, like my buddy Tom and my other buddies kid Troy. Tom really didn't show up till later but I'll get to that soon. Well me and Troy where moving from room to room looking around the house, really dark cherry logs with dim lighting and a musty odor filled the place. The floors were concrete with a few rugs and one spot with a black overly fluffy as hell carpet. But enough about the damn cabin here is where it starts to get exciting and my reason for writing this.

So I glance out the window to one wicked sight, good job brain I will reward you later with blueberries. The snowstorm was gone and pillowing black plumes of smoke were rising all over the horizon. There must've been 30 or more separate flowing black geysers with tornado shapes out in the distance. I was able to zoom in on one of them, actually saw more plumes behind it but they looked CGI. Really fake as hell like a video game. That was pretty cheesey thinking about it now, but was soon made up for 1000 times over. By the way I was now thinking that falling grease was actually ash a la dantes peak. You think it would've tasted like ash, but hey read the disclaimer. So around 6 or 7 fiery cylinders appeared made up with double helixes constantly changing their length in the chain started running around the green landscape. They never got closer than a couple hundred yards at least. But they where realistic as hell, as far as twisty cylinders of death come across as being real. They shot down from the white cloudy sky to the ground moving around like the crazed raccoon that lives behind my apartment.

While I was looking around I stopped on a house that seemed to be right in front of me the entire time. Holy fuck this 2 story house was awesome looking, I doubt I will be able to do it justice explaining here. I'm sure you've seen the ring before. Awesome movie with that creepy video with the burning tree in it. In it the video was black and white but the colored flames on the dead tree jumped out at you like a mugger in a dark alley. The house was completely black with an abnormal amount of small windows with a screaming white light that shot out from them like the flames on the tree. The grass on the ground around the house was a beautiful green while the snowstorm clouds turned into more of a fog. The entire house pulsed slightly while the outline was hazed over. The light coming out of the windows twinkled slightly with such amazing intensity complimented by the darkest of houses. I only saw the house for about a second because in my dream I wanted to go get my camera and take a picture. Even in my dream I was stunned. I'm actually at a loss for words trying to describe the utter awesomeness of this house.

So after I turned to go grab my camera I told Tom to grab his also to partake of this intense image. We both grabbed our cameras and headed outside. Upon exiting Tom headed off to the left to take pictures of the cylinders and I headed towards the house. I took a couple shots and was reviewing the pictures and let us just say they weren't quite right. Yep they turned out to be a couple about to get it on. Of course this really confused me and I looked up from my camera. I ended up being right next to a window with partially opened black curtains and saw the couple in mid coitus. I slammed on the window and yelled, "Hey your fucking house is on fire!!" They jumped up and where immediately outside clothed and all. Well the old guy from earlier saw they had some supplies and told the couple to grab what they can and stay with them in the cabin. So a few people helped rush some boxes out of the "burning" house and over to the cabin, which was right across the now gravel road. I think I grabbed one of the boxes from someone and started heading towards the road. You'd think everyone would've gotten the hell out of there but this is where the dream ended. Oh well it was awesome though anyways. All I can say is we don't need no water let that motherfucker burn. Damn that house was sweet even though it glowed from within, (or behind not quite sure) and wasn't on fire.

List of past dreams

Partial Lucidity

So I actually had partial control over one of my dreams. The entire dream lasted about 15 minutes, but in there I was finally able to fly. I've always wanted one of those dreams, didn't work out quite like I planned though. It was over some sort of desert type landscape like Arizona, all sandy with some green shrubbery and some small mountains in the distant. So maybe California then. It started out with me floating in the air around 9000 feet on a cloudless sunny day. I then started flying forward enjoying myself and realized I was in a dream. That's when I lost control and started spinning in circles like I was a sock in the dryer stuck on spin cycle. It was really fast and really annoying, I could feel the blood and my eyeballs trying to rush from my face like this was actually happening to me. It seemed like my unconscious mind realized I was lucid and didn't know what to do. After feeling like I was going to rip apart I woke up with some heavy breathing and a feeling of WTF was that. All in all it was a fun time and hopefully it will happen again.


So it has been awhile since I last posted one of my crazy dreams, even though I've had a plethora of REM induced madness. Let me just say that my dreams are getting more realistic every time I have one. Sounds are getting louder, situations are more believable, touch is constant, visuals are amazing, taste and smell are getting more rampant, all in all realism is definitely there. It is annoying having to ask your roommate if a conversation actually took place every now and then. Of course they still have aspects that make no sense what so ever. For example running into a medical type building trying to find a cure for some person. Leaving said person on a gurney on the bottom floor. Taking the elevator up 10 or 15 floors to find a rundown warehouse and people shooting at you. Then finding aforementioned person in the warehouse and then taking the elevator back down with them.

I'm going to attempt to write more of these down on here, more for my benefit than for the 4 or 5 people that will actually read this. Whenever I reread one of these I can remember the exact details of that dream. I do wish I would've wrote down others that I had. Like the tornado/parade one, the shotgun deer/crop duster one, the eglin housing/deafening gun one, and all those others that I can't remember.

45 Strange Minutes

So, I had another crazy dream. The dream started out with me being in some strange wooden apartment. Has some sandy wooden planks on the floor with polish wood making the walls. There also was a bunch of the leafy vines along the tops of the walls and entrance ways. There was some other crazy stuff going on that I can't remember, I think I got laid in one part. But I decided to go to sleep on the couch, like I do alot in my real life apartment, same couch too. So I lay down and almost instantly get sleep paralysis. If you've never had sleep paralysis it's pretty weird. I've only had it a couple times, when I was about to fall asleep I felt myself being lifted towards the ceiling, wicked ass feeling. But back to the dream. In my dream it was making me shake, stumble, and have some euphoric sensations. After I regained my senses there was a bunch of cats in the room. I keep trying to pet this one, but the bastard kept biting me. I've incorporated feeling into my dreams so I could actually feel it's teeth biting into my pinky. After that I walked into the bedroom that had a bunch of stone walls that reminds me of a cave. There was more cats all over the place. After that I woke up and found out I was only asleep for 45 minutes. So after a period of being weirded out I feel back asleep, didn't dream during that one though. I love having dreams.

Sharks, bears, and airplanes oh my

Dreams are the best. The other night I had a dream I was on a 757 flying into Idaho Falls airport. It was weird, some of my old classmates were on the plane. Well the plane goes into a nose dive and slams into a lake. No biggie. But for so reason I put my wallet in the overhead and didn't have time to get it, that was annoying. So we open the side escape hatch and depart our floating wreck. I jumped out, almost ran on water and made it to the bank. Everyone escaped and the plane was perfect, except for being up to the wings in water. That's pretty much the end of that dream.

So the next night I have a dream that my parents work in some sort of zoo. I was hanging around in the aquarium section and start digging through one of the tanks. I find all sorts of old but pristine condition coins. Made my day having such luck. Now for the weird part. Right next to the tank was a pool with a shark in it. The shark pukes up a brown bear and the bear starts chasing me. So I run to the door, trying with all my might to close it while the bear continually swings it's mighty claws at me. After I got the door closed I woke up wondering what the hell was going on. Can't wait to see what the next dream entails.