2012 Innovation Expo: NASA Avionics and Flight Controls

Uploaded by NASAKennedy on 29.10.2012

  Announcer: Please welcome John Speck, Musician and Avionics and Flight Controls Lead
  for NASA Kennedy Space Center
  John Speck: Hello. I was very young, I lived in Michigan growing up,
  I lived in Battle Creek, Michigan, that's where Kellogg's makes their cereal.
  There was an amazing thing in the music industry that was going on at the time,
  it was called Beatlemania and it didn't really affect me too much, but,
  because I was very, very young at the time but I remember going to school and my teacher,
  who was at the time I thought was maybe about 105 years old, she brings the class to
  the front and she says "I have an announcement to make."
  We think great, we're getting out of school early, or something like that, and she proceeds to tell us,
  she saw the Beatles at Shea stadium over the weekend, and she tells us about the screaming kids,
  and the limos, and police and she was like this giddy 16-year-old
  teenager reading a "beat" magazine, and I thought wow!
  This music really has an effect on people.
  So I go home, and I tell my parents about this, and pretty soon we have a 45 record player and
  my brother Jim and I are playing these 45s, these Beatle's songs "twist and shout" and we're into guitars,
  rock stars, we told our parents we need guitars, they said well sure, no problem.
  They go upstairs and come back downstairs and brought us our very first guitars,
  they were wooden tennis racquets and hard to tune and hard on your fingers but we really didn't care,
  we put straps on them and total rock stars.
  I just remember that feeling in my hand, it was so great. But then one day the music stops.
  This is not a Buddy Holly story; it is where I start to cleverly inject engineering into the story.
  The record player actually breaks. I'm not sure what all broke but I'm pretty sure the stylus or the wires.
  My mom in her great Michigan wires, well, john, I guess you have the knack.
  I don't know what the knack is. All I know is I fix things.
  So fast forward, move to Dayton, Ohio, get real guitars, take lessons,
  learn how to play, play in other groups and continue to fix things, of course,
  and then go off to college and study electrical engineering, and then
  I really started to play with other musicians, so basically doing music at night and engineering by day,
  and that seemed to work out very good and I played with a lot of really great musicians.
  And I thought well maybe this is something that I want to do,
  but then there were really three things that changed my mind.
  One was I was an extremely poor college student and I was very tired of that.
  The next was all of my engineering buddies, they're all graduating and they're
  getting real j-o-b-s and my musician friends were sitting around waiting for the next g-i-g,
  so I went with the real j-o-b, and never regretted it and now playing with a group of other engineers and
  they all have the knack, and we basically play music at night and launch rockets by day, and that,
  my friend, is basically how music has affected my engineering or my engineering has affected my music.
  So now I'm going to give you a little bit of innovation, inspiration,
  or the insanity of writing a song at least for me, and I'll tell you a little bit about it.
  I took a 20-hour train ride up to Washington, D.C., to visit my daughter, Emily,
  and I thought what a great opportunity to write a train song, because there are so many great train songs,
  and this is a perfect opportunity to do that, and this was working out really well.
  I got on the train, and I found some music that I liked, and I always find that's the easy part,
  and I actually wrote a train verse and I thought, this is a rockin' train song.
  So ten hours later I'm still on the train and I'm tired and I'm wired and I can't sleep,
  and I have this dark thought in my head and I go, hey, I don't think my wife likes me as much anymore.
  I don't think she thinks I'm as hot as I used to be.
  Then I write this dark verse and I go, this is no longer a train song, this is a dark song.
  Anyway, 15 hours later, I get some sleep, I wake up and I go, I am the stupidest person.
  I wouldn't last a day without my wife. She's amazing person.
  I don't see how she puts up with me, so then I write this, well, a romantic part of the song,
  and then finally, after almost 20 hours, I said it's just time to get off of the train,
  and I say, it's just time to say good night.
  So that's really the name of the song is called "just say good night" and I find with any new song,
  it's very rough around the edges, because it's brand new but I know you guys are all rough around the edges,
  too, so I thought I'd give it a go. Anyway -- One, two, three, four.
  Riding on the night train into the dark
  Riding on the night train into the light of the day
  Well it's hard to keep that spark and turn it into a flame
  I don't see that smile, that light in your eyes
  I don't see that spring in your step when you reach for my hand
  It's hard to keep that spark and turn it into a flame
  Time to say good night, well, it's time to say good night
  I love you more than water and the sunshine
  I love you more than words and my hands can possibly say
  Well it's hard to keep that spark and turn it into a flame
  Hard to keep that spark and turn it into a flame
  Time to say good night, time to say good night. Time to say good night
  Thank you all very much. I appreciate it. [ APPLAUSE ]