We went to Yuri’s Night Bay Area tonight at Moffett Field in Mountain View. We bought VIP tickets which got us a good parking space we didn’t know about, VIP lounge access to food and drinks all night (and socializing with NASA bigwigs and the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldren as well if you wanted to), access to a private collection of Russian Space Program buttons and patches and a bust of Yuri Gagarin, and the ability to play with a multitouch keyboard interface that projected planets and stuff on the wall.
We parked really far away near a different part of the research center. We walked until we saw the VIP parking lot and then I went back to the car and pulled it up to the correct space. We went in and were escorted to the VIP area after they took our tickets and gave us a bag full of NASA crap. The VIP lounge was nice, air conditioned and with private restrooms that were very nice as well. The restrooms even had little after dinner mints. It was really VIP…
We went to the main stage and watched Zoe Keating as our first real performance of the event. One of her entourage almost got into fisticuffs with a NASA employee who told him he couldn’t use a folding chair. Oops… I sat in one the whole time. She started off her set with “Time Is Running Out” by Muse… pretty cool for just one looping cello. She played for around 30 minutes, and was well worth it.
After Zoe, we went to see Gamelan X in the hanger. I was bored. We went back to the lounge and had a snack. They had little sweet and sour meatballs, italian sausage, cheese and crackers, vegetable trays, sandwiches and loads of drinks.
After snack, we went back out into the hanger and chilled in the Orbital lounge for a bit. They were projecting Rocketcam images and showed the successful SpaceShipOne test flight that one the Ansari X Prize. I could never do that. The ship spun in the air for a good twenty minutes straight. And once I wanted to be an astronaut… Then we saw Will Wright give his version of the history of the Russian space program… when everyone else was expecting him to talk about his new game, Spore.
I attempted to get in line to play the Spore demo a few times and always gave up. I bought the limited edition of Future Future Future Perfect by Freezepop, a synth-pop band from Boston who work for Harmonix and whose music is featured in such video games as Frequency, Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero 2 and Rock Band. It was Freezepop’s website that tipped me off on the event in the first place.
We went out and watched Aeronautika in the sky for a bit, and then went back to the lounge and had dinner. Sadly the director from NASA sat at our table, and then a bunch of other NASA people sat there and some guy and his friend who work in geosomethingorother were chatting it up with director guy, who was wearing a Soviet general’s uniform in honor of the event. Then Buzz Aldren randomly walked by and the dude talking to the director dude totally nerded out.
I met Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren at Kennedy Space Center in 1989. I got an autographed photo from them or something. It was pretty cool. I don’t have any desire to meet Buzz again. I wanted to take a tour of the facility. It was still really cool to be there, in a real NASA hanger, on a real federal facility for the event, but to have actually seen the real working research center would have been even cooler.
We went back to the Orbital lounge for a minute until I asked what time it was and realized it was almost time to go see Freezepop.
We watched Freezepop do a 45 minute set and then retreated back to the hanger and later the VIP lounge. Buzz was still there. I swear he was just brought in to be the VIP special socializer.