Friday, 20 September 2013

One small gift

Last night my suspicion was aroused by unusual behaviour by two people I THOUGHT I knew well - Mrs PeriodicVideos and YouTube buddy Destin (from Smarter Every Day).

I have since found out they have been in secret contact for weeks.

But it's okay - they were only conspiring to get me THE BEST PRESENT EVER!

It was this signed photo of Neil Armstrong!


I am a big fan of the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s.

Many years ago - when I finally had a job and some money - I started collecting Apollo memorabilia.

Most notably the autographs of moonwalkers.

I know it is silly - but we all have hobbies!

Over time I've accumulated quite a collection but never Neil Armstrong.

This is because he had "retired" from signing autographs and buying a second-hand version is super expensive (and risky, with forgeries everywhere!).


I left my collection in Australia when I moved to the UK in 2002.

But eventually I had it shipped to the UK.

Mrs PeriodicVideos admires my passion but does not particularly like space photography plastered everywhere.

BUZZ - sits on my office mantle

So most of the collection lives in a secure trunk, with just a few pics on "public display".

For very special (and nerdy) guests I unlock the trunk and show off the collection.

Many of them are framed with elaborate plaques and mission patches, etc.

One such guest was Destin, who stayed with us in the UK last year (along with his wife Tara).

Destin has a long family history with rocketry and NASA.  I am sure he will be an astronaut one day.

He loved the collection and, like everyone, was told that it is missing a Neil Armstrong.

The elephant not in the room, I guess!


Unbeknownst to me, Destin and Mrs PeriodicVideos plotted to acquire a Neil Armstrong autograph.

(Of course, the great man sadly died last year - an older signature is the only option)

I had no idea, but my wife was being suspiciously guarded about her email communication in recent weeks!

(I have since learned it was because Destin was using "Neil Armstrong" in the email subject fields!!!!)

And last night - very much out of character - she asked me to switch on Skype so she could test something!?

Then Destin called me and the trap was sprung.

The signed picture was revealed and Destin was able to enjoy (and photograph) my bemused response.

CONFUSED - Destin watches me get the gift

I later learned that Destin - ever the stickler for detail like Armstrong himself - had put the autograph through a rigorous and costly authentication process.

I feel a bit disappointed that I was perhaps not excited enough about the gift - but honestly after all these years, I was just a bit shocked.

Best present ever.

Thanks guys!


  1. Hey, I couldn't find a place to put suggestions for video topics, so I thought this would be as good as any. I was hoping you could maybe ask the physics people to explain what this means: . Apparently it's the "Langrangian equation of the Standard Model." Before the Higgs results came out of Cern, people were saying something to the effect of "once we prove that the Higgs Boson exists, we could put the equations that describe the the universe on a t-shirt..." and I think this is what they were talking about. Anyway, it's math that's probably way over my head, but I'd be interested in at least the basics... keep up the good work!
    Tom in Tokyo

  2. Your videos and enthusiasm on the subject make it really fun to read your blog. Cheers to being avid fans of Apollo missions!

  3. Its great to know the Apollo missions inspired you. But even today, there are lot of speculations that the whole thing was just a setup, that man never went to moon.

    Could you do a video on the Apollo missions Hoax theory ?

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