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Yes I know it's a little "over the top". But you can kill the music by clicking the STOP button on your browser!

Another really busy year - this retirement business is becoming altogether too frantic.......

The major event of the year for me was organising the Apollo-11 35th reunion with a couple of others - one here in Canberra and the other in Sydney. In Canberra, Mike Dinn (my old boss from Honeysuckle & later Tidbinbilla) did a great job with a lot of printing and multimedia items. I ended up with a lot of the organisation, lists, 1100 plus emails, collecting monies, etc. See http://www.pcug.org.au/~jsaxon/space/hsk/35th/a1135th.htm or http://tinyurl.com/3ojyp for short for more details. In Sydney, Colin Mackellar has created the great Web site at www.honeysucklecreek.net in time for the launch at the 35th - like all web sites it is a work in progress, but there is a huge amount of stuff there already. With some help from us in Canberra, Colin also created the 'piece de resistance' - a special DVD which we played in synchronism with the date and time the events happened 35 years earlier. Take a look at the web site and you can also read all about the DVD. Colin was not directly involved with Apollo (not old enough :-) but is a huge enthusiast and has put in more time on creating the web site and DVD than we probably did supporting all those missions! I also had the great privilege of launching (picture right) a book by a good friend from those days - Bryan Sullivan and his wife Jackie French. The book is called "To the moon and back" - see http://tinyurl.com/25mxz (The other address is way too long), and is aimed at 10 -14 year olds to encourage them into careers in science. Jackie is a very well known Author and broadcaster here with around 100 plus books to her credit - her web site is at http://www.harpercollins.com.au/jackiefrench/ Aparently the book was sold out before the launch - so a second printing was organised just in time!
About 170 people came to the main reunion function from all over Australia, from NZ, and our friends Bill and Frances Wood from Barstow California. Bill was one of the main players for Apollo and later, at the Goldstone tracking complex in the Mohave Desert.
Here we are (on the right) looking cold in the snow at Honeysuckle on the 22nd July.
A lot of people stayed on for the second day when we had a good time visiting the old Honeysuckle creek site and the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Communications complex.

 There are over 200 pictures from the reunion at our webspace at http://community.webshots.com/album/166303670BYzjJJ  While you are there - take a look at some of the other albums - specially Betty's bird pictures - mostly in our backyard.

The other major thing for me was getting elected as the President of the Canberra PC User's group - see www.pcug.org.au We started a campaign for a new Committee in July/August and were eventually elected unopposed. The big mistake on my part was agreeing to be President! The group has been going since the early 80's and currently has around 1,500 members. We run our own Internet services (one of the first ISPs in Canberra) and we have around 1,000 of our members on the net through our services. We turnover about $250,000 per year. At our peak we had over 3,000 members with more than 1,500 using our Internet service. Changed member demographics and heavy competition with large national ISPs has caused a lot of the steady decline. Our committee was elected to try to change all that and we have been making quite a few rapid changes to try to improve both member and internet services benefits - without spending too much money! But it's turning out to be a very heavy workload at the moment, and I'm putting in many more hours per week than I did most of the time when I was officially working......

For our net enabled friends who might be interested - Betty's letter has much more family oriented news - you can find it at http://tinyurl.com/5823s or navigate from the menus on this page. For the non-net enabled who are receiving this by snail mail, you are missing out on a colour infested multi-media extravaganza! So pop along to your local library or Internet cafe and start browsing {:-))
We are both well and Betty is her usual efficient self. She is rapidly adding DVD creation skills to her already long list of 'crafty' things.


Have a great Christmas and a simply superb 2005.
Love and best wishes from John, Betty and all downunder.


P.S. Click any photos for a larger version...

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