They gave us a lab rat while we were up there. I knew it was a bad idea from the start. Actually, I was anxious about looking after it and the possibility of it escaping from its little cage. Little did I realise that the problems would be far more complex than that. You see, my fellow astronaut, Boris, and I, we got fond of old Ratsie. We bestowed upon him the affectionate epithet “The Great Ratsby”. While our command officers were instructing us to complete our in-space experiments on him, we could no longer bring ourselves to… Meanwhile, my wife’s great aunt had passed and she was dealing with a funeral director in Perth. She would describe the funeral[…]

How I long for the days when I was floating in the heavens. In a spaceship, that is. People think being an astronaut is all glamour but the reality is far more profound. It takes years of hard work and discipline to get into the position for a start, and actually living in a space shuttle orbiting the earth is a lot like camping — it’s hard work. Aside from all the technical stuff you need to do in the job, day to day living itself is meticulous. You never get a break from the job when you’re up there. Lately my wife has been getting cosmetic treatments like dermal fillers. Ballarat beauty clinics can take years off your face[…]

Yesterday my wife and I went to a kids party. Venues like the one we went to become crowded very quickly, too quickly for my taste in any case. Remembering to inhale and exhale while three foot children tore around practically underfoot was, at some points difficult. I’ve found readjusting to crowded spaces one of the hardest things about being back on Earth, a fact my wife knows but seems to conveniently forget more than she remembers. Noise is another thing. While it isn’t true that in space, no one can hear you scream, a large space occupied by five quiet intellectuals is always going to be a little on the quiet side. Colour is also a strange one. Being[…]

I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Damon’s recent film, The Martian, his performance as a lonely abandoned astronaut was sublime and in many ways I could completely relate. He finds joy in his solitude and his personal mission to grow food and create life on Mars. Whilst some of the science was a little far fetched for me I enjoyed the escapism. For most watching that film I am sure they struggle to place themselves in his shoes, for me it is no problem as I have quite literally worn space shoes. I do not usually enjoy space related films but this one got me because I could understand his psychology. Of course the only thing I managed to grown on my[…]

I recently found my old diary while I was cleaning out my parents house. I couldn’t face reading theawkward teenage years so I skipped to five years ago. I found a page with a title ‘The 5 year plan’. Be married to Zack Goodyear, own a house in Melbourne, maybe pregnant but definitely considering it if not, and owner of my own cafe. Ok so I’m not married to Zack Goodyear, I rent a place just outside of Melbourne and I definitely am not considering being pregnant. However I do own my own cafe! Not bad, one out of four! Although I am in the processing of selling the business. The craziest thing happened. Feeling fairly down about my failure[…]

I went on a date with a very handsome doctor last week. He ticked pretty much all the boxes. He has all his hair and not only is it there, but it is blonde and beautiful as well. He owns his own home and it has a spare bedroom which pretty much means he wants kids. He also does a lot of charity work and regularly takes his mother to the ballet! Did I mention that he is also a doctor?! The only thing was he just couldn’t stop talking about dry needling courses. I know, I hadn’t heard of it either but apparently within the medical profession it is a very popular way to treat muscle pain. I guess[…]

When I returned to Earth I was immediately struck by how much technology had advanced, particularly in its efforts to connect people to the solar system and beyond. There is a fantastic initiative run by NASA each year to encourage technologically savvy people of all backgrounds to compete to develop the most cutting edge and useful space relevant apps. This year I have asked to be a judge on the panel for the competition. Whilst tech isn’t my strong suit, space is. Between us judges we had the skills and knowledge to critique each entry from every angle. I was most impressed by an app submitted from a beginner, a young girl who had just completed an app development course.[…]