Apr 292011

Today was day one of the NASA Tweetup at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  For those of us lucky enough to have been invited by NASA to come down for the Tweetup, it was an experience of a lifetime!  We got to go to the NASA media area, share an airconditioned tent that was set up with lots of electrical outlets and wireless internet, and share the company of a diverse population of people.  I guess you can call us all geeks of some sort, but all I can say is WOW.


We started the day with introductions.  We learned where everyone was from which included about 47 states and several countries.  At noon NASA TV broadcast the happenings and we had several speakers including a scientist involved in design/2 young ladies who are in charge of the space suites the astronauts wear, someone who works with some of the experiments that are going up on the STS-134, and Astronaut Clay who really was fun to listen to.  One of the things that really made an impact on me was how enthusiastic each speaker was about his/her job.  It was just amazing.  I know that for many people working for NASA would be a dream job and these people are living that dream.  It is great to see their enthusiasm for their job, and I think they know how lucky they are to be doing what they are doing.


During the lunch break I found a representative from ThinkGeek who gave me a mini Timmy, their mascot.  I also got the chance to get my photo taken with Levar Burton (whom some know as Jordi LaForge from Star Trek, or from Reading Rainbow, or even from Roots) and Seth Green.  They were both very friendly and down to earth.  Seth was VERY enthusiastic and enjoyed every moment of the day, even going on the tour with us.  He wanted OUR signatures and I got my monkey from ThinkGeek signed by him.  I’d asked Levar Burton, but his signature was a little too complex.  Levar did give me an extra signature for a friend.  🙂


After the speakers we got a great tour, getting to see the landing strip for the shuttles, and even getting to go into the VAB (which is something few previous Tweetup attendees…if any had the opportunity to do.  Then we went to the Saturn Center and got to explore there.  Tonight we were supposed to go watch the retraction of the RSS, but alas, a couple storms came through preventing that because of how late it got.  The problem was the bus drivers who were to take us over…some couldn’t stay out late, some were volunteers who have other jobs to go to in the morning.  It was a huge disappointment, but as long as the launch is a go, I guess I can watch it on NASA TV and try to be content with that.


Tomorrow we’ll see where the rest of this adventure goes. Posted a few pictures here, to see the rest, go to my flickr site.  🙂





 Posted by at 12:14 am
Apr 232011

This weekend has been a time of preparing.  Thursday night I looked up the weather reports (which as know won’t be the MOST accurate, but gave me a guide as to what to pack).  I then packed clothes and toiletries.  I started thinking about what electronics to bring.  I know I’m taking 2 Canon 40Ds, my Canon G12, my 70-200mm lens, 24-70 mm lens, 10-22 mm lens, 2X Extender, 1.4X Extender, Kindle, Laptop, iPod, and of course my Android.  I have chargers and USB cables a-plenty!  I also made sure I had plenty of back up for my pictures/videos.  I have a 100 GB Hyperdrive I’m bringing and I’ll have my laptop.  I have a couple USB drives that may be going too, just so I can make sure.  I don’t want to loose my documentation of this awesome experience!  I made sure my iPod was updated, same with my laptop, and GPS.  I plan to take sunscreen, have a couple hats packed (including my NASA one!), and need to find some bug spray somewhere as I don’t have any.  My tripod is packed in my suitcase with my clothes and toiletries.  Friday I read up on some things I thought I should know and kept asking questions and trying to organize myself.

I’ve been talking with John Milleker (my boyfriend) who has been through all this before (as he was at the NASA STS-132 Tweetup).  He’s going to give me suggestions for photographing the event, he’s already suggested that I pack a lunch for both days as the place you can get food at NASA is quite a walk he said and entire break was spent walking back and forth.  Want to socialize, but want to best utilize my time there, too!  Hope I can find  somewhere to get a good sandwich and perhaps a cheap way to keep it cold, too (most sandwiches I like are best cold!).  Maybe I’ll pack a small lunch bag.  Plan to get water to take with me, too.

Today I’m formatting all my CF cards and my SDHC cards.  They will all be ready to go by the end of today.  I’ve also asked John to clean my gear (cameras and lenses).  I’m ordering a couple last minute things I think may help me at the event (pray they come in time!) and rethinking all I’ve prepared so far.  Have a few snacks ready to pack and my excitement is just building!  I have to do all this now because I work 12 hours in a PICU Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, so other then Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I won’t have too much time to finish this all up after today.



 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Apr 222011

Today I had the opportunity to attend a free lunchtime concert sponsored by WRNR 103.1 in Annapolis at the Annapolis Rams Head Live.  The band was Iron and Wine, which until yesterday I’d never heard of, but John won tickets to the concert and invited me to come with him.  I have to say that I enjoyed the concert quite a bit.  The band has a very folk like tone/feel to it.  There is a banjo and even a woodwind player who plays everything from Clarinet, flute, and sax to a weird almost harmonica but much larger.  There was piano music and a couple female back up singers, too.  It was a great experience, and needless to say my camera went along.  The songs were some of my favorite types: stories, at least on the first listen through that is what it sounded like and my toe was tapping as my camera was clicking.


Photographically this was a challenge for me because of the dim lighting and such.  I had my camera on ISO 3200, and did get a few nice photos, though not quite as many as I would have liked.  It is a constant learning experience and hopefully next time I’ll get even more clearer shots.  Have to admit I like some of the black and white shots though!  It does help when there is poor lighting sometimes!


This was an awesome experience and I grew both photographically and found a great new band to collect music from!

 Posted by at 11:37 pm
Apr 202011

So today it was decided that Endeavor was ready for lift off at 3:47 on 4/29 by unanimous vote!  So now the adventure will hopefully continue down a smooth road.  Things can still get detoured, but fingers are crossed that the 10 day delay is the end of those and that everything goes smoothly the rest of the way!  They promise us a schedule of activities tomorrow, can’t wait to find out what NASA has in store for us!  We seem to be a varied group with interests across the board, but that is as it should be.

 Posted by at 12:33 am
Apr 082011

I don’t usually talk politics, but right now I have a little too much frustration in me to keep quiet about what our congressmen are doing right now.


I know there is a lot of talk right now on the government shut down.  I admit that I am totally fed up with our Senators and House of Representatives as they have long forgotten their role in government.  They have been too busy lately catering to Non-US citizens (be it foreign governments or illegal aliens) or lining their own pockets to remember that they are supposed to be in Washington, D.C. representing their citizens.  For the most part they are supposed to be representing the majority of their citizens, without forgetting the minority.  For too long it seems to me they forget the majority and actually take rights away from most of their citizens in order to “protect” the minority.  I admit that I’ve never figured out yet why denying the majority of people increases the rights of the minority.


But back to the business at hand.  Congress is too busy protecting their own salaries (making themselves exempt from many of their own laws) to remember that they their positions were never meant to be permanent, they were never to be above the rest of the US citizens!  They need to stop funding delinquent accounts, they need to pay our servicemen and those out there giving up their lives with their families or literally laying down their lives to defend our way of life here in the US, they need to fund education, they need to fund necessary things.  I admit to thinking that our whole social services needs redone, but that is neither here nor there.  Congress needs to approve a budget and stop trying to throw in things for themselves or for people giving them a lot of money.  They need to do their jobs, cut out all the unnecessary things and actually represent the taxpayers.  I think there is too much waste and that their pettiness is slowly destroying this country.


If the government shuts down it actually affects our representatives little, at least right away.  Maybe the government needs to shut down to wake up the American public.  Make them actually see what they have allowed their elected officials to do.  Too bad that too many innocent/hard working people would pay the price of that, it truly in the end isn’t worth it.


I admit that I’m a little selfish in wanting the budget approved because I have a chance of a life time to go down to Kennedy Space Center and watch a shuttle launch, but if the government shuts down it could delay that again.  BUT I also see my friends and family who are depending on the federal government for their livelihood and it for them that I get the most upset.  Our Congressmen need some sense slapped into them and they need to get over themselves and actually do their job.  PLEASE, Congressmen, open your eyes, your hearts, and your souls and stop the nightmares you are creating with your better then thou attitudes!  See that you are all being ridiculous and spending too much time on something that shouldn’t be this hard!  Use common sense!  Don’t force the military to have very expensive equipment they have no use for, stop adding in things when you know the money isn’t there to fund it!  Get this budget approved so that life and move on.  It is already uncertain whether you’ll see another term of office, although I’m sure too many people are blind to see your flaws and some of you will be re-elected.  I hope the people wake up and see how stupid this all is and elect new people who want to be there, who want to benefit this country and not just make themselves rich.

 Posted by at 11:55 am