All that aside, when I wasn't working on Qwicap, I did find time during the holidays to see a number of friends, and even wound-up with a few pictures that're worth showing-off....
Old friend Susan Karasoff, who I've known for more than thirty years, models a real, next-generation ACES (advanced crew escape suit) spacesuit, intended for use in the Orion CEV (crewed exploration vehicle). She was working on the suit proposal for Harris and unexpectedly found herself with an opportunity to try on their suit. She couldn't resist, and very sensibly had photos taken. I, of course, am seriously jealous. The fact that she was in Houston in order to work on the proposal meant that we crossed-paths for the first time in years.
Other friends. From left to right, Sallie Delahoussaye, Margaret Bamberger and David Bamberger. (Margaret looks a lot healthier when she isn't motion-blurred, as she is here.) The owl is, oddly enough, a western screech owl (Megascops kennicottii), who was found injured in south Austin. Either the western screeches have expanded their range a lot, or this bird had a very strange life even before it was hit on the head with a car. (Or this isn't a western screech owl, after all.) In any case, after recovering from the head injury that had landed it in Sallie's care, she decided to find it a safer home, and the Bamberger Ranch inevitably sprang to mind. As luck would have it, a few phone calls provided us with permission to release the owl at the ranch, and an invitation to new-year's dinner with David and Margaret. (My own reason for being there was installing software updates on Margaret's Mac, but that's a lot less interesting, and photo-worthy, than the owl.) The owl was released near a creek, the dinner was delicious, and the fire and company were warm. Best new-year's day I can remember.