Paul Gillebaard's Blog

October 10, 2012

Moonwalker Endorses MOON HOAX

[image error]Charlie Duke">

During the many long hours of writing Moon Hoax, my dream was always for a moonwalker to read the book (of course the title made this a challenge).

Unfortunately there are only eight (now) of these men left. I found moonwalkers are very much in demand and their time is limited.

Three of these men were given the book. As time went on, I realized Charlie Duke, the tenth man on the moon, was my best hope. I am honored that he gave the book a chance. Below are his words:

“I finally got around to reading Moon Hoax on my way to Australia. It was a fantastic read. I could hardly put it down. You did a great job. Some twists and turns in the plot that I didn't expect. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope it is successful for you.” - CHARLIE DUKE, APOLLO 16
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on October 10, 2012 09:56 Tags: apollo-16, book-review, charlie-duke, moon-hoax, moonwalker

September 26, 2012

Sneaking into The Tonight Show

[image error]Photobucket">

I thought I would take a break from the world of space and tell a past story about myself, allowing those following this blog to get a better idea of who I am.

Back in high school (years after Neil took that famous first step), my friend and I use to sneak in everywhere, such as the movies, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm…etc. During Christmas break our senior year, we decided to head to Hollywood and see what we could get into. Our first stop was CBS studios, where we quickly learned nothing was going on due to the holidays.

We drove over to NBC studios and saw a crowd of people outside. We hastily parked the car and hopped into a line that linked partially around the building. Having no idea what we were waiting for, we struck up a conversation with the girls in front of us and casually asked what the line was for.

“This line is for The Tonight Show.”

With an innocent smile I asked, “Do we need tickets?”

They informed us we did and fortunately had a couple of spare ones which they kindly passed onto us. When we were about ten people away from getting in, an usher came out and yelled, “Sorry everyone, but the audience is full.” The girls gave us a quick wink before leaving along with everyone else. We quickly had to decide if we wanted to chase down the girls or try to sneak into the show. With one look at each other, it was obvious the challenge was too good to pass up. We had to try and get into that show.

We started to case out the large complex, slowly walking around the outside perimeter looking for any way of breaking in. We first came upon the main entrance of the large building which was loaded with security guards, each looking over monitors which were surely showing views from security cameras located all along the perimeter fence. This was not going to be easy.

When we were out of sight of the entrance, I saw a secluded area and suggested hoping the fence. My friend wisely talked me out of it.

While we continued to investigate I came upon a sticker on the ground that read, “NBC Studio Tours” which also had the NBC logo. I picked it up thinking it might come in handy. After almost completing the full circle around the complex we came upon a back entrance that had only a single security guard. “That’s it!”

We hid behind some bushes as we observed the people walking in and out of the exit. We noticed those entering were opening their wallets, obviously flashing some type of card. We each got an evil grin; we needed to make one of those cards. Knowing I had the sticker, my friend went hunting for something sharp in the parking lot and found a broken piece of glass. I searched my wallet for the perfect card and found an old library card with a red boarder. Like two mad scientists, we started working together under a street light to create our phony card, cutting out “NBC Studios” and the logo. We placed both on my library card and admired our handy work. It looked official to us (of course what did we know, we were just a couple of naive high school kids with no fear).

The plan was I would have the card in my wallet and lead. We each took a deep breath before my friend gave me an encouraging nod. My heart rate increased as I lead us towards the entrance, keeping my eye on the guard through the window the whole way. I swallowed hard before opening the door. As I approached I saw a sign that read “Show membership card.” I tried to appear confident as I opened my wallet and flashed the card before quickly closing it.

The guard abruptly stuck out his hand for me to stop. My heart rate jumped. “Uh oh, we’re busted.”

The guard pointed to my friend. “Is he with you?”

I exhaled. “Yes Sir.”

He gave a slight nod, and off we went. Though we were both ecstatic to be in, we knew we needed to keep our cool and look like we belonged. We had no idea where we were in the complex or where to go. From past experience we knew we had to avoid anyone talking to us until we had a realistic story on why we were there. We walked at a brisk pace giving the impression we were late for something. We proceeded down the sparsely filled hallway making sure not to walk into any dead-ends, which would be an obvious sign we were lost and could draw questions. Those in the hallway all looked preoccupied. As we passed by large opened doorways we peeked out from the corner of our eyes and saw elaborate sets for television shows, such as Hollywood Squares and Midnight Special. The studios were all empty since it was early evening. No matter what we saw, we never lost our composure.

The main hallway went around in a large square. After being around once and getting no curious looks, we decided to be more adventurous. We started venturing onto some of the sets. We were having a ball.

Soon we came upon a small door with no markings in the big hallway that had a red light on above it. We saw a couple of ladies walk out. Without saying a word, we did a quick glance at each other confirming we should go in. Not losing a beat, I grabbed the door before it closed. As we entered it took a few seconds for our eyes to adjust to the dim light. There were a few people sitting on barstools with clip boards and headsets watching The Tonight Show on small televisions. They all looked over at us. We just gave a self-assured wave, which seemed to convince them we belonged. As they went back to work, I turned around and my jaw dropped when I saw a big mural of Johnny Carson on the wall with a sign underneath that read, “Back Stage of The Tonight Show.” I nudged my friend to take a look. His eyes widened with shock.

We ventured along the curtain until we found a crack that allowed us to see Johnny interviewing his guest, less than ten feet away. We stood in awe as we watched most of the show, occasionally shaking our heads amazed at where we were.

We heard Johnny say during the taping there would be a “big party” for the New Year’s Eve show later that week. I nudged my friend saying that would be the perfect date with the Homecoming Queen. He knew I had been trying to get the balls to ask her out for weeks. A light smirk crossed his face before saying she would never agree to sneak in. I rubbed my chin for a moment before saying, “Why does she have to know we’re sneaking in?”

---Read in a future blog how I returned with the Homecoming Queen, sneaking in the unsuspecting beauty and the unfortunate aftermath that followed.
 •  1 comment  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on September 26, 2012 11:05 Tags: johnny-carson, sneaking-in, tonight-show

September 5, 2012

Political Hot Button Issues

[image error]Buzz Aldrin - Visor">

With the Presidential race heating up, the season is upon us to dust off those hot button topics and start debating which side is right, such as abortion and gun control. Well I have found another subject Americans seem very passionate about, the moon landings.

At my book signing last weekend I was reminded how fanatical some folks are on this subject. Some of my first book signings early in the year were at Costco stores (eat your heart out Joan Rivers). Two to three thousand people walk through a Costco on any given Saturday and the last thing on their mind is to buy a book. They are there to buy 80 rolls of toilet paper and eat some free food. So I definitely had to “sell” them the book. During these pitches I decided to do a poll to see how many felt we landed. In my “very” unscientific poll at seven stores, I found 25% said “absolutely not,” 20% didn’t know, and around 50% said “absolutely yes,” (5% just didn’t want to be bothered). So that means almost half of average Americans question if we ever landed on the moon, which I found amazing and sad.

However, what really surprised me was how passionate some of the folks are on the subject, and how there was no way of budging them from their belief. I had a married couple come up, and I asked the question. The husband, thinking my book was a conspiracy book, stuck out his chest and arrogantly said, “Absolutely we landed and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot.” You should have seen the look on his face when his wife proudly stated, “there is no way we landed!” They proceeded to have a mini argument as they walked away, unfortunately without book in hand.

Of course I believe we landed. In fact I think it’s one of the most amazing feats by man, and it was the inspiration for my book. I have tried to determine the best comeback or argument to those who believe we didn’t land, and the best I have come up with is, “Why would we fake it…six times.”

Note: Ironically this blog was written the morning Neil Armstrong died.
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on September 05, 2012 22:48 Tags: astronaut, hot-button-topics, moon-landing, nasa

August 25, 2012

A Sad Day

[image error]neil 1">

We lost an iconic man today. Though I had another blog planned, I had to write one in tribute of Neil Armstrong. It’s because of Neil and the other men who went to the moon that I was inspired to write Moon Hoax. Of all the men who went into space, I feel Neil will be the astronaut remembered most and forever be in the history books.

I was asked if Neil would be remembered more than Lincoln. I said maybe not in America, but definitely in the world. He was the first human being to stand on another celestial body. He didn’t go there to represent the United States; he went there to represent all of humanity. He even stated this when he took that first step with those historical words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

We were deep into the cold war at the time and he could have made some proud (and arrogant) statement about America. But instead he chose words that represented all humans, and amazingly he thought of these words on the way to the moon. I think he handled himself with class during the mission and with his life afterward. Thank you Neil, you will be missed!
2 likes ·   •  2 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on August 25, 2012 17:34 Tags: astronaut, moonwalker, neil-armstrong

August 16, 2012

Head of NASA...Opps....Sorry

[image error]final">

My wife and I were fortunate to go to an Apollo astronaut gala a few years back on the aircraft carrier, Midway, in San Diego. During the VIP cocktail hour I was searching out some astronauts to mingle with (I’m not shy). There were none in sight (just before dinner all the Apollo astronauts made a grand entrance by being lifted up on the carrier’s aircraft elevator to God Bless America).

I finally saw a gentleman with a gold astronaut pin (meaning he was an astronaut). I figured he was probably a Shuttle astronaut (with so many out there, I know very few). I introduced us both. He was very friendly (as I find most astronauts are). I told him I use to live in Nassau Bay, Texas during the moon shot years, he proceeded to quiz me on the Apollo astronauts I knew from back then. We had a great conversation.

Finally, I asked if we could have a picture taken with him, which he happily agreed. He was just given a full glass of beer (a big glass might I add) and he oddly said he would be holding it behind my wife’s back (for some reason he didn't want it in the picture…which later we figured out why). Well I had a few cocktails by that time, so I casually said "okay."

As you see from the picture, all looks great. As soon as the picture was done, I of course forget his beer was behind my wife and quickly moved my arm as he was pulling his up, knocking his glass out of his hand. The glass flies up in the air and the astronaut and I watch in horror as the beer spills all over my wife’s back before crashing to the ground, shattering in a million pieces. Everyone within twenty feet stopped what they were doing to stare.

The astronaut was overly apologetic, since it looked like he dropped the glass. I try to explain it was my fault as we scrambled to pick up pieces of glass. Within seconds, waiters were there to clean up, including wiping off my wife.

Later that night in a makeshift auditorium on the deck of the ship, the MC of the show said he was "Proud to introduce our new NASA Administrator, Charlie Bolden" I practically fell out of my chair when I realized it was the same astronaut. I looked at my wife who also looked stunned. I mouthed, “We just met the Head of NASA, and he spilt a full beer on your back.”

After we got over the shock and a brief chuckle, we heard Charlie say he had a special treat for the audience. He pointed to the sky and said, "see that bright star passing over, that's our Space Station." After watching the amazing sight fly quickly overhead, my wife and I looked at each other again with our jaws dropped.

It ended up being a wonderful evening, even though my wife smelt like beer the rest of the night.
 •  5 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on August 16, 2012 08:49 Tags: accident, head-of-nasa, nasa, space, space-station

August 14, 2012

My First Blog I go, giving "blogging" a try. This is my first time attempting to do a blog and I hope to provide a unique perspective on becoming an author since I had no background in writing or inspiration to be a writer. Through these blogs, I will explain steps I took and obstacles I had to overcome to be able to hold my first novel, with the hopes it might inspire those that have a great story in their head to put it in writing. I will also discuss the subject that I am most passionate about, Apollo astronauts and America landing on the moon. I know many of these men, and will share stories and pictures (when I figure out how to add pictures) in my blogs. Finally I will occasionally address current activities going on in space and give my view point (which may not mean much...but might generate some conversation among those who might read this). Finally...finally, I will discuss the current book I am working on as well as future books. So fasten those seat belts, and let’s enjoy the ride.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on August 14, 2012 23:04 Tags: astronauts, moon, nasa, space