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STS 135 Tweet-Up Day 1… Well, Day .5, Really…

Mattstronaut

Wednesday was early check-in at NASA for  Tweetup participants, or invitees, or Twitterers, or Tweeps, if you will.  I borrowed my mom’s car (just like I was 18 again) and headed down to the coast.  My folks moved from Massachusetts to Orlando in 2004.  It was only these last 2 days when it has seemed like it was a good idea.

Sad Ash

Sad Ash

I stopped off at Sam Ash in Orlando on the way. I needed to pick up an AUX cable for my mom’s car.  She didn’t have one in her car, nor did she know that you could plug an iPod into it.  Sam Ash in Orlando is great, if you like to be alone and appreciate first-hand examples of a crippled Orlando economy.  There were literally 2 other people in the store (not counting cardboard cutouts of Slash), a guy and his girlfriend, who looked helpless as he fumbled for the chord progression of “Stairway To Heaven.”  I am not kidding.  This actually happened.  After surprising the clerk with my mere presence, I was handed an auxiliary cable and a trip to the store’s only working receipt printer (roughly a half mile away).

I got back in the car and threw on last weeks Howard Stern Shows.  Travel Tip:  Don’t listen to Stern the week before a trip.  That’s 12 hours of entertainment at your beck and call.  I have been doing this since he went to Sirius in 2006.

On my way down the 50 I saw many things that reminded me of why I never moved to Florida.   Some of these things included a giant Alligator Farm, and some shirtless guys carrying cases of Bud miles away from the closest store and flat land.   Let me explain that last one: If you come from a place that has geographical features of any sort, flat land is very off-putting.  I can’t really explain it, it just seems wrong.

Rocket Land

Rocket... I'm takin' a rocket.

I eventually made it through the Everglades and ended up at Cape Canaveral.  The vehicle assembly building (once the largest building in the world; you know, the place where they assembled 360 foot tall space ships that brought people to the moon, YES THEY DID THAT IN A BUILDING) was visible to the left.  As I approached the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex I was struck by the rockets they had towards the back, Redstones, Saturns and Titans (seen above), all just there for the public to enjoy for a nominal fee.  Bonus: FREE PARKING.

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the early astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.  Seeing these things up close was a great pleasure.   I read each and every plaque, learned about the early days of the space race, and experienced the cramped quarters of a Mercury capsule. I was doing a lot of reading and learning…. then I saw this…

Trek Doors
Engage.

Yup, Turns out this is Sci-Fi SUMMER! That apparently means the Star Trek Exhibition is at the Kennedy Space Center.  I have been to the STE three separate times, twice in Long Beach and once when it was at the Kodak Theatre or whatever that weird empty space next to the Kodak is in Hollywood. There were things to behold; I took incredibly detailed photos of Captain John Harriman’s (I sadly knew it from across the room) captain’s chair and even more detailed ones of Captain Picard’s chair. I wasted entirely too much time in there, but I did this with the knowledge that I would be back the following day for a pretty regimented Tweet-up schedule, a schedule that for some reason includes 40 minutes with Elmo of Sesame Street.

Titan

Real Learning


Engineering

Fake Learning

If you look closely, the Port Plasma Conduit is glowing brightly to my left.  That’s pretty cool, right?   I took a ton of pictures, which I will upload to Flickr soon. I anticipate even more pictures tomorrow because of the tour and the Muppet and the Saturn V complex.    Tomorrow morning, I have to be at NASA by 8 am… I’ve always wanted to say  ”Tomorrow morning I have to be at NASA at 8am,” and actually mean it. Follow me on Twitter for less reading and more updates.

I’m @mattmira

or

If you prefer a link twitter.com/mattmira .

 

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29 comments

  • I want to know the answer to Dave’s question, too…..how do you save up episodes of Stern????????

    Great blog, also!!!!! Glad you are having a good time, looking forward to the next entry in your captain’s log ;-)

  • Yes! I’ve been looking forward to your posts since we found out your were going, and this does not disappoint. Love it. Hope the shuttle launches as expected for you. Not a metaphor.

  • I save up Nerdist podcasts for my travels. :)

    Thanks for keeping us posted, Matt. It’s so nice to see a true NASA enthusiast get this opportunity.

  • Thanks for the write-up Matt! This was so exciting and reminds me of the first time i went to Cape Canaveral. I still read the plaques each time I go though!

    Anyway, best of luck tomorrow! I don’t beleive there are any Koalas in Florida, so you shouldn’t get distracted.

  • How do you select which Stern shows to listen to (in reference to listening to last week’s Howard Stern shows)? That is a great tip, but I’m lame.

  • Oh Matt,
    You said “the 50.” It’s called Florida State Road 50 or SR 50. You crazy egocentric California’s “adding up-speak so everything sounds like a question.”

  • “I’ve always wanted to say ”Tomorrow morning I have to be at NASA at 8am,” and actually mean it” … I fucking love this.

    Also, looking real good man. yes due to lose of weight, but mostly due to you smiling. As a fellow apple employee, experience shows those smiles don’t come out to often.

    Thanks for blogging.

  • Tad: Doah! i didnt see your post until after i posted mine…it would appear you got to the “lens flare” joke first. well played sir!

    Matt: while @ NASA please find out some details on the following:

    - Faked Moon Landing.
    - Why Transformers 3 sucked SO bad (rhetorical question…my own fault for thinking it would be any better than the first 2).
    - Roswell
    - Have they made any progress on the freeze dried neopolitan space icecream..namely, have they managed to remove the gross tasting strawberry from the mix and just give us the choc/vanil.
    - Kirk vs Piccard? (rhetorical question…Kirk…duh!)
    - Is it true the water fountains (aka “bubblers” for you minnesota residents) only distribute Tang?
    - Weightless whoopie? when/who did it first? (hmmm…i’ll bet this one’s been addressed by The Straight Dope…to google!)

    Peace & Spaceeeeee the final frontier!

    ensign Three Toes of Fury, red shirt, beaming down with
    Bones, Kirk, and Spock to a
    peacefull planet where nothing
    could possibly go wron…ZZZAP!

  • Enjoying your posts Matt. But you should have taken the guitar away from that guy. Played stairway, handed it back to him and exclaim “THE GARAGE BANDIT STRIKES AGAIN!!”

  • Matt! Woot! Outstanding post…you’ve got a good eye and writing style….the stairway to heaven observation is spot-on-funny.
    Thanks too for posting the pix…keep em comming….oh, and correct me in im wrong, but do i detect some lens flare in the background of your ‘fake learning’ pic? somewhere JJ Abrams is silently chuckling at the irony of the situation.

    Keep up the great work!

  • On the left side of the photo, over Matt’s shoulder… I’m pretty sure that’s lens flare. So Matt is in the rebooted universe which means lots of excellent adventures in the future.