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SEA-MONKEYS,ANT FARMS AND TANG A YEAR INSIDE THE BEEROSPHERE

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Part Two of my plan is walking. Every day I walk to the curb to get the paper. Every two weeks or so, I do distance work by walking to my trailer park's laundry room.

Part Three is a hand-eye coordination exercise. I strongly feel that any exercise program is doomed to failure if it's not enjoyable to the participant. I also strongly feel that some kind of technological gizmo has to be employed if the program is to succeed over time. My hand-eye coordination exercise--putting golf balls across the Beerosphere's living room into an electric ball-return machine--incorporates both of these philosophies.

MDRVMay 25, 1990

Well, I went away for a couple of weeks, and most of my experiments flopped. The Sea-Monkeys now sleep with the fishes, and my ants have bought the farm. The shower-stall fungus experiment proceeds successfully, however, because the cleaning lady won't go near my bathroom. I'm hoping to make a big deal about the fungus when I meet with the NASA people in the fall. Not surprisingly, the space program honchos have taken a pretty keen interest in my work from the very beginning. When we begin to more fully colonize space, not all of the astronauts are going to be studly, fighter-jock types with advanced degrees in physics. Extended space trips and long periods of isolation with big bunches of similarly steely-nerved eggheads is easy for your typical astronaut type. For these guys a journey to Pluto will be a lot like college: Study, sleep, do pushups. Study, sleep, do pushups. I'm pretty sure that every floating space city and distant planet base will need slugs like me to provide ironic commentary. And that's where the Beerosphere fits in. If they can't send chronic complainers, lazy bums or sarcasm experts into space because of lack of research, then the gene pool of Earth's emigrants will get kind of close-knit, you know what I'm saying? Without projects like the Beerosphere, there may never be bowling alleys or doughnut shops on Pluto. MDRVAugust 5, 1990

It's Dan Rather, of course. The big question is, how soon before his head explodes from the pressure? MDRVAugust 30, 1990

Well, my year is up tomorrow. Conclusions? It is possible for a human male to exist for a full year inside a semi-enclosed, semi-self-sufficient environmental space, as long as he's got delivery access to good Chinese food. Trailer life isn't all that bad, especially if you've got covered parking and cable.

None of my biology experiments turned out. In May I went to Mexico for a couple of weeks and left the air conditioner off, killing my Sea-Monkeys and ants. The shower-stall fungus colony gradually evolved into a slightly higher life form and decided to run for the state Senate.

The Beerosphere itself isn't in such great shape. A year of experimental living has taken its toll, and I doubt that any tourists are going to want to see this mess. There are huge mounds of beer cans (recyclable) stored around the perimeter of the facility, big piles of pizza boxes and a totally gaudy burial shrine for the brave Sea-Monkeys that gave their lives for science. I'll probably lose most of my deposit money because of that. Progress marches on. And so do I. The Beerosphere Foundation has decided to relocate in a strip mall in Vegas, not far from the Liberace Museum. We'll re-create the original Beerosphere project there, and maybe put in a water slide or two. A traveling Beerosphere exhibit, complete with multimedia light show and fog machine, will be stationed weekends at the Phoenix Park 'n' Swap at 3801 East Washington.

USA Today hasn't called yet, but I've got a couple of TV movie deals in the works, as well as a diary serialization contract with New Times. In other words, I'm pretty much set for life. I did it for science. See you on Pluto.

The fact that I don't actually intend to totally lock myself inside this thing may be what proves I haven't gone totally nuts.

After a full year, I should be able to say for certain which one of the network newscasters is the biggest idiot.

I've found that, for the most part, it gets warmer in the Beerosphere during the day and cooler at night.

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Cap'n Dave