As you might have guessed, a lot of research goes into to putting astronauts in space. And it’s not just figuring out how to launch them up there, but also keeping them alive and comfortable.
Enter Ryan “Shaggy” Hull. Houston rock fans know him as the bassist for Bring Back the Guns. But the space program is about to know him as the dude who boldly volunteered to take no steps for mankind … for three months. Hull recently signed up to be a part of a NASA bedrest study.
It sounds like a dream job for any slacker, but Hull will be required to lay down with his legs elevated above his head … for 90 days. But he’s not that worried, even when it comes to the less-than-pleasantries.
“They went through and said ‘You’re going to have to get familiar with a bed pan’ and I was like ‘Sweet, I get to shit in bed? Sign me up,’” Hull tells Hair Balls and laughs, but admits he does have his concerns.
“What if I get ‘the hate’ or something?” he says in reference to bowel movements. “If you’re using a bed pan and you gotta like go No. 2, the only way to do it is like lift off your feet or shoulders and how do you that without clinching your butt cheeks? … That was one of the first questions I asked.”
Hey, it is something to think about. And he’s doing it so future Buzz Aldrins don’t have to.
Hull also inquired about more serious side effects of the study and was given plenty of literature, which he brought along to the interview.
“Loss of muscle mass and bone density,” he says, reading from the list. “Apparently the [special] stockings I wear … they might be uncomfortable and they might also cause chaffing … Then normal things like you know headache, back pain, muscle ache, joint soreness, stuff like that.” But he says he does get massages.
“Then there’s an activity log that I have to fill out. But apparently ‘there is no risk associated with completing an activity log.’ I was worried about that one,” he says and laughs.
What will he do to bide his time? Well, Hull is actually known amongst friends to be quite the hobbyist. On tour he’s taught himself how to successfully pick locks, solve a Rubik’s cube in record time and master martial arts. He says during the bed rest he’ll probably brush up on his Korean and begin learning Spanish. During the study, he says, he’s provided with a computer, the Internet and a television.
As for his band? Bring Back the Guns is currently on hiatus after their lead singer took a mean spill on his scooter. Hull says the members don’t mind him taking the time off and neither does his boss at Warehouse Live. His girlfriend, however, is a little less than okay with it.
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“I guess she’s just like, ‘Fine … idiot,” he says and laughs. Actually, his lady is the one who told him about the study. She works in the Medical Center is always suggesting studies for Hull to volunteer for.
“There was one where you play video games and they take pictures of your brain,” he says, but he didn’t do that one. Hull says as the date nears (he’ll start sometimes in January) she is becoming more supportive. For 11 days in December, Hull will participate in a shortened version of the study which the doctors say will help prepare him for his longer venture.
He’ll earn $17,000 for his efforts – or lack thereof, as it were – in the three month study. And we’ll be there. Checking up with him and seeing if he makes it all the way to the end. So check back to Hair Balls for updates.
— Dusti Rhodes