Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's our turn

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:35 AM 0 comments

After seeing Goose's images of the Shuttle Enterprise in NYC back in April, and dying of envy, today was our turn. We planned to catch the lightrail to Moffett Field but at the last minute we scraped it. So Hip drove and managed to find a parking space at the garage on Enterprise Way. It was 9:11 and there were crowds there already, every inch of the place taken. We waited for over an hour. The flight started late to allow the famous SF fog to dissipate. The morning in Mtn View was gorgeous. More and more people came and the place was packed. T was giving me the status of Endeavor. Now it was at Berkeley heading to the city. Now it was circling above the Golden Gate. Then suddenly we spotted it, a speck in the sky, slowly approaching NASA Ames and lowering, coming straight at us. Soon it came into full view, so low, and whisked by us almost at eye level, escorted by a F-16. I didnt notice too much noise but perhaps I was too excited to even notice the sound of a flying Jumbo 747. I've expected people to cheer and scream of awe. But the group around me was silent. Stunned by the sight of the last shuttle on its way to its final home. Although it took only a few seconds for Endeavor to fly over our heads, the wait for worth it. This was the last shuttle to be retired. The last time we'd ever see a space shuttle in the sky.

The last time I saw Endeavor it was at the Kennedy Space Center in 94, perched vertically on the launch pad. And I remember seeing H and L at Ames preparing the Macs. I put my open palm on their lids. Lucky devils who got to fly in a shuttle and go to space.

It was an emotional morning. Rest well Endeavor as you deserve it.


shuttle endeavor

See Hippo's photos taken at Moffett Field

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

ballpark Opera

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:50 PM 0 comments
It has happened many times before and the Hippo never deemed it good enough since it wasnt live. But when the Rocket Scientits suggested, and so why not, especially when it's free. So we went. We dined at the Paragon, a local burger joint 1 block from the park. She had sardines on toast. By 6:30, the line was already long and it spewed out all the way to the piers. So we queued. By the time we got to the park entrance, we were deferred to another shorter line and then again to a third one and finally got in. We climbed the ramp to the promenade level, turned and looked out, and the Hippo was awestruck. She's never been to the AT&T park since it was inaugurated in 2000. Once she attended a Giants game, many moons ago, with the Apple bunch, but she cant remember if it was at Candlestick or at the new park. But this one was awesome. The day was mild but we went prepared for the SF cold. We settled at a few rows up from the field, and the Hip went to explore the baseball park. Up and up she went, all the way to the very top, to the very last row and what a sight. The bay was immediately behind the ballpark, exactly behind the giant screen, where less than 2 hrs later Rigoletto, live from the Opera House, would be simucast. The view from the top was breathtaking. Slowly descending on each level, I got a different view, a different perspective of the field below. Tried to crash into one of the Oracle suites and was thrown out. Before the opera started, the national anthem was sung as if it was a ball game. With hot dog in hand and mouth full of 100% beef dog, she struggled to get up from her seat to pay respect to the nations song. Then Rigoletto appeared on the screen and by 9 the famous SF wind whipped up and it was time to bring out the woolies, hat and gloves and blanket. They estimated 30K+ people attending. The field was packed. They even ran out of hot water and tea. The opera was a bit boring. No Hippo's favorite songs. But the giant screen showed close up shots which otherwise we could miss if we're seeing it live at the Opera House, and the opera orchestra and conductor. Hard to see them when you're sitting up in the Opera House Balcony section. When it was over, all the actors/singers wore Giant paraphernalia, giant gloves, hats, bats and Rigoletto himself came out with a Giants baseball shirt and bat, and hit a virtual ball. It was fun to spend an evening in the city, to experience the cold and the people and the new ballpark. After all, the show was free.

Zee ballpark

Gang freezing in the ballpark

Gang queuing

Hip with retarded glove
 

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