Monday, July 07, 2008

Houston, we have a Wookie!

Well, I arrived in Houston on 2 July, picked up the rental car and decided that as it was nearly 6pm, the best way to learn to drive on the wrong side of the road (which is the right side of the road, not the left side of the road (which is the right side of the road)) was to just do it. Somewhat like Nike!

So I just did it. And it wasn't anywhere near as freaky as I'd thought. I'd sat on the left side of any bus I'd caught over the past few days in preparation for this and made sure to pass people on sidewalks on the right side. So I think that must have been good prep as the actual driving wasn't really much of a headspin at all.

On Thursday (3rd) I went out for a bit of a drive and then headed into Johnson Space Center for the Level 9 tour. This was great - we got to see Shannon Walker (Andy Thomas' wife) in the floatation tank (ok, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab) getting her feet into the foot restraint that's used on the Canada Arm and various other places when there's the need to restrain an astronaut during an EVA - such as during the operation of any power tools. This was interesting to watch as there's simply no way an astronaut can see their feet during this procedure and they have to go by feel (through an EVA suit) and experience alone, and as this was her first time, it was all new to her.

We also went to Mission Control Center and saw the original Apollo Mission Control Room and walked around in it for a while, watched the Shuttle and ISS Mission Control Room and went into a few other areas of JSC that were not on the normal tours, including the shutrle/ISS testing facility where we saw interns working on the new moon rovers and a full size training mock up of the ISS and Shuttles.

The Level 9 tour was well and truly worth it and I'd recommend anyone as interested in space/NASA as I am does this tour. Next stop, KSC. :)

OK, next stop was actually back in Houston and we're almost ready for the 2008 WPC to get underway. The 2008 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (which is actually in 2008 - something unusual for those living in Microsoft Time) starts for the SBSC PALs this afternoon, and for all other participants - over 10,000 - tomorrow. This should definitely be an interesting experience, especially as I have a genetic resilience to KoolAid and after all, WPC and the .au Partner Conference (and all others) are Microsoft trying to sell Microsoft to their partners. Believe me, I'll be posting on this during the Conference. :)

Dean Calvert and I went into the "Chevy's Freedom Over Texas" event here in Houston on 4th July, then left around 9:00 for dinner with The Sarahs (Thiele and Arnold) which was good. LOADS of people in there, country music (it *IS* Texas) and seriously unhealthy food stands.

A few of the PALs caught up with Chris Rue for dinner last night and a good time was had by all. This should definitely be an interesting week.


The Outspoken Wookie

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