Saturday, 19 May 2018

CENTAUR 2017 AWARD WINNERS

Now little more than a distant memory, but these awards are so important that I thought it worthwhile to remind everyone of the winners from 2017. Awards are made each year with additional commendations being made during the year. Any crewmember can nominate someone for a commendation and full details can be found in our handbook available from the LIBRARY on our website.

Junior Member Of the Year: Sandy Joe Reid
Sandy may be our only cadet but he is a delight. He attended the Klingon Banquet with us and takes part with crew members and contributions to our newsletter. He may be only five years old, but he does so much to enhance the membership with his input. He has contributed so much to the station and its crew with his interesting stories and artwork. He's a fine cadet and really deserves this award. Well done, Sandy.

Enlisted Member Of the Year: Kevin Hightower Baker
Kevin has stepped forward to host the second get-together, which is something to be admired. Well done, Kevin, for taking the lead on this. He also posts in the Jupiter Lounge regaling us with tales of Jenny.

Officer Of the Year: Holly Bowler
For dedication to the Centaurian and the station. Her production of the Centaurian magazine for the chapter is amazing. She has far exceeded the CO's expectations, imprinting her own style on it to make it a truly wonderful addition to the Centaur Library.

Department Of the Year: R&D
A lot of excitement and fun on the Centaur takes place around the Research and Development department. There are always new experiments and things happening in there, with interesting posts by both Tony Burr and Ian Moore. It shows how important trial and error is to true science. There's an air of mystery in that department, of things unknown, questions about the truth of reality.

Leadership Ribbon: Colin Barrow
Colin has excelled in his Leadership skills. He took the lead with regard to the vessel readiness program and brought it to fruition. And let's not forget that he keeps the CO on the straight and narrow.
"He listens to me when I'm in a quandary and helps me to make the right decision.”

Academic Achievement Award: Tarin Breckin Teague
Tarin has very quietly taken a good number of exams in the Academy and has achieved some very excellent results. Well done, Tarin.

Federation Ribbon: Tony Burr
Tony has supported Centaur from the very beginning. He thinks of things from angles the rest of us have never anticipated and is a valued member of the Command Team. Thank you, Tony.

Diplomatic Ribbon: Anni Potts
For sticking up for the chapter and crew when it was needed. She is a true leader... and if she is ever wrong she will admit and learn from it. She is always there when we need her and always has the Centurion's best interests at heart.

Morale Ribbon: Erika Stroem
Erika feels like the emotional glue that holds us all together. She shows how much she cares for everyone on board and always makes herself available to talk when you need her. She's supportive of all the crew and regularly makes encouraging comments and posts that make people feel welcome. She's great for laughter and fun, which is always essential to good crew morale.

Centaurian Recruitment Award: Holly Bowler
For introducing new members to Centaur and promoting the ship at every opportunity.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Starman

By LTJ Holly Bowler


The SpaceX launch of Falcon Heavy was a moment in time I’ll never forget. I was chatting with Emily Jane when Josh hollered up that the launch was about to happen, so I joined him at his laptop and kept Emily close by on Messenger while we watched history unfold.
There’s something absolutely breathtaking about watching such a sight, remembering that we humans are still searching, still striving, still trying to find our way out there in the universe, despite the backwards turn many would have us take. So much effort, thought, focus and resource invested in a single moment, with the ringleader standing wide-eyed and waiting, expecting this crazy endeavour to be met with failure yet still holding onto hope. I can’t image what must have gone through the minds and hearts of Elon Musk and his crew when they watched their gigantic baby take its first
steps.
All I know is the feeling of experiencing the countdown, the unity of humans taking part throughout the world, excited and just waiting to exhale, watching the powerful rise of the gargantuan rocket, the almost perfect return of the boosters, the images of this beautiful vehicle and its driver clearly not panicking as Starman was ejected into the vastness of space with an endless journey ahead. To see our beautiful world from afar, from ‘out there’—the profound epiphany of being. Let us hold out for hope still.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Poor Klone

A true story by Cmdr Erika Stroem


Klone was a black cat, who was an offspring of another black cat who used to live with us; hence the name.
We were at the vet, for hopefully Klone’s final check-up. He had contracted some sort of unknown disease or poisoning that attacked the brain, which had baffled the vets. I had lost so many of my loving pets through it: Ozzy, a very young long-haired kitten, Tipsy and Topsy my daughter's two rabbits, Blue the parrot and Shera, my beautiful twenty-eight year old tarantula. The vet said that it may have been coincidental with Shera as she was very old
and on her last two legs, so to speak.
But Klone was the only one of our pets who caught this killer disease and actually survived it. However the vet did say that he would more likely to be left with some brain damage. Although I felt happy that he was on his way back to better health, I couldn’t help feeling guilty and embarrassed.
While most people transported their cats in up-to-date cat baskets, all I had was a cardboard box. I could not afford many things in those days and had to suffice with what we
had at home.
While sitting in the waiting room, with the box on my knee and being an hour early, as the next bus would have made us late, Klone got a bit restless. It
was a long time for him to be stuck in his container, especially not being able to see anything, so I opened the lid, just enough for him to pop his head out. I saw his eyes smile at me with gratitude for not making him have to suffocate any longer in his limited space. Having nursed him for so many weeks, I had become so close to him in a spiritual way, as though I had touched his soul and him, mine. I was unconditionally in love with him and so grateful for his survival.
We sat for a while, just staring at each other, when we got distracted by someone laughing. It was a lady who was accompanied by two children and a pink
toy poodle and she was pointing in our direction. Maybe she was referring to Klone with his head peeking out of the box. I suppose it must have looked quite funny. But how dare she point when she is the one with the pink dog, for crying out loud.
We watched as other people and their pets went through for their appointment with the vet, waiting eagerly for our turn. New batches of people came in and
as soon as they sat down in the waiting room, they also started pointing at Klone in his makeshift cat basket. One woman even went into fits of hysterical laughter. I smiled back at her, thinking, “I agree it could be cute, but surely not that funny.”
As time passed, people came and people went, who all pointed. They giggled, laughed out loud or tittered to themselves. One guy even asked if he could take
a photo. Another lady who had already been in to see the vet, deliberately grabbed the vet’s arm for him to come out of his consultation room to have a
look; who in turn beckoned the receptionist to come and see.
By then my smiles turned to frowns, as I was confused and paranoia was just about to settle in, until one abrupt lady came and sat next to me.
“I don’t know how you could,” she said, raising her eyebrows.
“Could what?” I replied anxiously.
“Have you not seen what is written on the front of the box?”
I hadn’t, as I’d just grabbed the first one available out of the porch. I gingerly turned the box around and when I saw it, I closed my eyes in disbelief. I wished for a hole to appear for me to make my escape. However, I at least then understood why people had found it so amusing. Nevertheless, it would have been better if it had not been written in such huge red letters. I cringed when I read it ... MEATY DOG FOOD.
Poor Klone!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Mission Report: In Search of the Paranormal

by CAPT Ian Struthers

At the start of April I took my wife Marsha, who I usually refer to online as Mrs S, to Edinburgh for her birthday for a couple of days, we had a great time despite me having a head cold.
When we arrived on the first day we went to the Edinburgh Dungeon, which is great fun as long as you go along with what the performers are doing. If you are ever in Edinburgh I highly recommend it; it only takes about an hour and a half.
The first thing they do is get you to stand and get a couple of photographs taken ... one with your (or a friend’s) head on a chopping block. The second is against a plain background.
You then go through to be judged for crimes that were common at that time. Not everyone gets judged, and the best bet is to stand near the back and not stand out. The judge is really comical and a couple of “eyewitnesses” are called. Once sentencing is done you make your way down to the torture chamber. Once you get into the torture chamber they explain and show how “confessions” were obtained.
You make your way around other rooms where they tell you about the grave robbers, dissections and “Burking” which was how Burke and Hare killed their victims. There is a haunted graveyard and room, and they tell you about the plague; that bit is funny as you stand in an old style close (street) where you get squirted with water.
There is a wee boat trip where they also tell the story of Seany Bean and his cannibal family. One of the best bits is the “Long Drop”, a ride that lets you know what the gallows felt like and when you take “the drop” they take a picture. I’ve not gone into too much detail in case some of you visit it. There is a chance to get items and a copy of the pictures taken; they Photoshop the background onto the blank one.
Mrs S loves all those programs about the spirit world and ghost hunters, a lot of which you really need to take with a large pinch of salt. I’m not saying whether I do or do not believe in ghosts, etc. However, there have been things I’ve seen and heard that have left me scratching my head, which is why later on we went on a Ghost Bus Tour. The bus had the registration 666 and was supposedly haunted because they used to use it for funerals; the casket would be on the lower deck and mourners on the top deck.
We went along Princess Street, turned left and parked outside a graveyard. The bus conductor, who was also the narrator of the tour, took us down into the graveyard and told us about some of the strange goings on and how people who had been “ghost hunting” had been left with scratches.
He told us about Burke and Hare, and about being “saved by the bell” and the “Graveyard Shift” which related to folk being buried alive. Nasty.
We boarded the bus again after about ten minutes, and the tour continued around Edinburgh where we were told about cannibals, murders ... you know the usual fun things. The bus has cameras and screens which enhanced the experience. I loved the “Low Bridge”. Again it was great fun and well worth going on.
On the second day we spent most of the time wandering around the tourist hotspots doing a bit of shopping. It was nice as I found a couple of Harry Potter related places I hadn’t seen before. We ended up in the cafĂ© in St Giles Cathedral. I loved the stained glass windows and gothic architecture.
The only drawback of the weekend was there were works on the railway line which resulted in having to take a coach between Aberdeen and Dundee. No one from Scotrail was on hand so the coach drivers did their best to sort out the chaos.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Mission Report: Brighton Beach Comic Con

Emma Dilemma Filtness

Saturday, 8th April 2018


On the sunny planet of Brighton, we encountered some intriguing items and had some fun re-enacting scenes from an alternative history of the planet known as Game of Thrones.


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Words

© Copyright 2002 Tarin B Teague


Some of the things you talk about make me really sad,
Some of the things you talk about make me so mad.
Some of the things you talk about make no sense at all,
Some of the things you talk about make me feel small.

It’s not just the words,
It’s the way the words are said.
And even the way they are written,
Can affect the way they are read.

Words are wonderful things,
But they can be dangerous things as well.
They can be more painful than bullets,
They can tear hearts apart and can make life hell.
But words can soothe the heartache,
They can chase away life’s pains.
They can bring separated lovers,
Back together again.

Words are not just spoken,
They are written and they are sung.
Some are awkward to say,
While others just roll off the tongue.
Some words come easy,
Some just don’t come at all.
Sometimes it’s good to talk,
But sometimes it can be like talking to walls.
Some words are said with a smile,
Some are said with a frown.
Some are said to make you happy,
Some are said to put you on a down.
But of all the words in the world,
None are quite so precious as this,
When a person says, “I love you” from the heart,
And then seals it with a kiss.

Saturday, 7 April 2018