A Bit Of My Personal History
Jan 19, 2016
Like many others, I fell in love with the Nautilus from the Disney film in 1954 at the age of twelve. But for reasons I can’t recall now, I was very familiar with the story and the boat before then. Yet I know I didn’t actually read the book for the first time until after seeing the movie. But after all these 60 years, I’ve read the book in several English translations from a juvenile rendition to the outstanding Walter James Miller version, and even a French edition while attending school in Switzerland. Now, after all the months last year, while re-working my graphic representation of the Nautilus, I’ve been through the WJM translation possibly another ten times. My old paperback is now falling apart and filled with notes, highlights and markings. All in an effort to get every detail as accurate as I can manage.
I’m a very detailed person with extensive experience in the Communications Satellite industry, where exactness is critical to the tune of millions of dollar worth of investment. And that’s for one spacecraft, while for a period of time we kept twenty-two in orbit simultaneously. So I know about making sure I get it right, as well as having an innate passion to do so.
As a result of my becoming fascinated with the Nautilus in ’54, I further developed a firm interest in submarines in general. I have books on their history and manage to see every movie I can that involve submarines. I find it interesting that I’m also claustrophobic to a very high degree, so actually being on a submarine isn’t likely for me.
I’ve also been a serious fan of Science Fiction in general since my brother introduced it to me at age seven. As a result, I have a fascination about spaceships of all kinds as well. So I’ve gleaned much detail and practical design elements from studying spacecraft from fact and fiction.
Over the years I have developed an intense interest in design of every sort, but workplace environments specifically became my strong point. I seem to have the ability to impart a great deal of practicality along with functionality to plans and arrangements for computer work centers, satellite operations centers and the like. Having had the opportunity to work out technical, functional and logistical issues in the real world, I feel as though I can bring these to fictional design as well.
Two of my favorites were The Intelsat Launch Control Center an arrangement I developed and implemented. (At left, the drawing and the results in action) , The other is our Orbital Mechanics Operations Center at the Intelsat building in Pod 4J. (On the right) That project I designed and implemented from the new, open floor up, including daily supervision. Turned out extremely well, I think. I regret there are no longer any photos, but I’m including a detailed Visio drawing. One aspect maybe worth noting is that I also designed all the computer tables, satellite monitoring consoles in the Work Room and Conference Room, as well as the Reception work station.
However, I must note that creating original designs is not my forte. All my best work is done in making modification, adjustments and, hopefully, improvements to existing environments. I just seem to be very good at coming up with ‘a better way’. At least most often, that seems to be true.
For this project I wanted to be as exact and true to Vern’s time for the technology and aesthetics of the period. As it turns out, all the hours of research I did was the most fun I’ve had working on this.
I’ve traveled extensively and spoke French nearly fluently when in my teens. But alas, that which is not used is soon forgotten. But my love of the French and their language remains to this day. That is certainly one reason how M. Verne’s words are translated means a great deal to me. This regard I have for French makes me want to be true to the original narrative as closely as possible. For this I found outstanding help in the person of Michael Crisafulli and his remarkable web site; vernianera.com/Nautilus. Michael went to great efforts in making serious translation of Verne’s words to be as accurate as possible. The web site and the man have been an outstanding guide, motivator and inspiration to me and my efforts. I truly hope Michael enjoys the results of my current endeavor.