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  Reflections: Spacefest 2009 (Page 4)

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Author Topic:   Reflections: Spacefest 2009
Spacefest
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Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-19-2009 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Phil Plait (the bad astronomer) signing books

Charlie Duke, Rick Searfoss, Jim McDivitt

Rob Pearlman, Collectspace 10th anniversary gift, Andy Chaikin

The Town & Country resort was luxurious, the weather was beautiful, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum was the perfect co-sponsor. The VIP reception was outstanding. I was impressed, and it set a new standard for eating events. Thanks to Cassandra, Francis, Jim and the museum staff for their help with our 'fest.

We had the astronauts scheduled pretty tightly, starting with golf, through various eating, autographing, and photo sessions. No complaints (well, almost).

We regret that our feature speakers drew sparse crowds on Saturday. We were proud to have put together an all-star lineup, as evidenced by many of the other speakers in attendance. The huge banquet room swallowed a crowd, but Mark Gray's "Live from the Moon" drew a heavy throng.

Yes, we'll do Spacefest III, and it will top this. but we'll wait awhile...

Kim Poor

Aztecdoug
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Posts: 1330
From: Huntington Beach
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 03-19-2009 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had not read too many comments on the Town & Country resort itself. I was amazed at how funky it was. There was a strange mix of old and new architecture throughout the guest room structures. Older two story rooms with drive up parking outside the doors and some new tall towers and parking structures. There were little patios scattered everywhere with tables chairs and umbrellas. There were pristine white gazebos scattered here and there too.

I stayed in one of the older parts myself out near the steak house. Was it Kelly's?

The grounds were immaculately maintained to the level of Disneyland. Everything was freshly painted and perfectly preserved, almost like stepping into a time capsule. I half expected to find mermaids swimming in a tank behind the bar near the main pool, but that expectation was not fulfilled.

Walking around in the older parts I felt like I was transported back to the 1960s, and not in a bad way, a real good way, since the place was absolutely immaculately maintained.

I had dinner at the steak house Friday night while everyone was up at the VIP event. With the old style decor and the older waitresses I felt the ghosts of the 1960s everywhere and I was compelled to order a dry gin martini with an olive to go with my ribs. I swear after a few belts I thought Frank Sinatra was going to walk in that place!

The hall for the event was real contemporary and up to date, even a bit elegant with some of the d├ęcor in the lobby.

Anyway, I just wanted add a little bit of the flavor of the setting for the event. I was really pleased with the facilities.

------------------
Kind Regards
Douglas Henry

Enjoy yourself and have fun.... it is only a hobby!

andrewcli
Member

Posts: 328
From: La Jolla, CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 03-19-2009 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I first approached Kim regarding this place, I too was a bit apprehensive. Most of the re-developments were down by Seaport Village. Even the convention center seemed a bit outdated compared to the one downtown. I think the major re-development was Fashion Valley, the mall, and I guess other places just followed them. They re-did the golf course, but because its on the river bed, there would be flooding if it rained heavily. This happened a week before the event and they had to close the street and the lower parking levels at Fashion Valley. I agree it looked a bit dated, like the 60's (perhaps appropriate) and I was waiting for Jeanie and Major Nelson to show up. But at the end I was very happy with the quality/service.

Andrew

Spacefest
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Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-20-2009 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The hotel is a hodge-podge, because it was once the San Diego Convention Center-not coincidentally in the 1960s. They built the new one by the harbor, and turned the old one into the Town & Country Resort.

Some of the restaurants were close by and rooms and room towers were built. The astronauts mostly stayed in the cottage bungalows w/ the lush patios.

They tied it all together with the landscaping--1500 rosebushes, scores of tall palms, and a large staff of gardeners.

When we booked the place in Oct. 2007, the roses were all in bloom and the economy was rosy, too.

Kim

AJ
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Posts: 509
From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 03-20-2009 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really liked the resort. Granted, my room was not huge and had a lot of stuff in a smallish space, but I visited other people's rooms (don't ask!) and they were larger. everything was very comfortable, so much so that i fell asleep by the pool on my first day. (apologies to anyone who heard me snore! i was tired!) i loved the atmosphere, because the place really did have one. i can't stand boring, cookie cutter hotels and the Town & Country was not like that. I think it was a pleasant place, really well kept, and if you're going to be spending a lot of time at a hotel, which we all were, you're going to want to be comfortable. i for one was very comfy and happy. i hope everyone else had fun! btw: how cool is it to be walking to your room, the pool, or the bar and you spot an ASTRONAUT? what more could you want?!

I'm already excited for Spacefest III and I have absolute confidence in Kim and his team to pick a great location.

dschlom
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posted 03-20-2009 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dschlom   Click Here to Email dschlom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sorry to be so late to the party but better than never as they say. I did indeed play in the Moonwalker Invitational and spent a lovely weekend in San Diego with my two kids who are in Southern California attending college.

It was a very difficult decision to play in the tournament because as a divorced Dad with two kids in college -- money for things like that is very hard to come by for me. But it was a chance of a lifetime and I scraped together all I could to "make it happen."

I'll get to the golf in a moment but first a word about me. I am not a collector or autograph enthusiast. I am a journalist and I have an NPR show in Northern California -- many of the speakers here have been guests on my show: Carolyn Porco, Rusty Schweickart, Andy Chaikin, Gavin Schmidt, etc. and some are friends like Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy. So it was a chance to see them in person rather than talk to them over the phone or an ISDN line.

I've also written for Space.com and Ad Astra and have been very fortunate to have lengthy interviews with many from the Apollo program. Chris Kraft was one of my favorite interviews -- we talked for hours. The astronauts are so special to talk to -- especially the communicative ones like Gene Cernan. What a wonderful mind he has.

I also love golf. Really really!!! In fact I teach a beginning golf class and my son is a college player that I have taught myself since he was four. So playing in the Moonwalker Inv. was going to be way cool for me.

I was surprised and delighted (for myself but disappointed for Kim and Tom Manenti) that the tournament was so not very popular in terms of sign ups. The upshot for me was I got to play with Jim McDivitt. Jim and I were perfectly suited for each other. He doesn't really love reliving the past and talking about his career in the space program as much as some of the astronauts do and I liked that. I wanted to talk about REAL things like golf, family, friends, LIFE. He was like playing with the Dad we all wish we had. He was great.

Our foursome included Robert Ortega of Regency Superior. Wonderful guy -- HORRIBLE golfer! He lost more balls than I had strokes I think. But, and here is the thing I love about golf, we became friends by the end of the day. Rounding out our foursome was Jim Kidrick, President of the Air and Space Museum. He had some game and gave us all matching baseball caps so we could be "Team SD Air and Space" which was appropriate given that it is home to General McDivitt's Gumdrop.

The golf course was beautiful and the day was spectacular -- absolutely perfect weather. We had lots of fun and I played reasonably well which made me feel pretty good! The best part was sharing the cart with Jim McDivitt and all the nice talks we had. They were personal and between us so I won't share them. That was the beauty of the day. I got to spend all day with the astronauts rather than waiting in line for ten minutes for a 30 second greeting and maybe a picture. I think of Jim as my friend now rather than some kind of iconic hero. He's a very good man.

I had the pleasure of introducing Carolyn Porco for her speaking gig. She was fabulous as I knew she would be. She's so full of energy and I think she's a lovely person too.

But my favorite part of Spacefest was a very simple thing. I ran into David Levy on Thursday night and we reconnected. On Friday I had lunch with he and Carolyn Shoemaker -- one of my favorite people. Carolyn is a wonderful woman and her late husband Gene was a hero of mine -- still is. We had a warm and intimate lunch away from all the hubub and schmoozing.

Most everyone I met at Spacefest was very nice. A few people were, how shall I put this -- a bit too full of themselves -- for my tastes. But they were the exception. The astronauts I talked to were warm and friendly. One was not (I won't mention whom) but perhaps he was just tired at the moment I ran into him. Most were great. They are treasures aren't they?

A last thought about the golf. I enjoyed the little party afterward -- having a few beers with Gene Cernan and Charlie Duke milling around was neat. Then they gave me a ride back to the hotel (I stayed at a cheap dive nearby and walked with my heavy golf bag) which was greatly appreciated. At the awards ceremony, my team came up short by a shot. My longest drive wasn't quite long enough and my closest to the pin shot came on a green nobody else even reached. So I missed out on the neat little statue trophies that were very realistic Apollo moonwalkers with American flags. Was I envious? A little maybe. But I thought to myself: what would you do with that thing? It would sit on a shelf or maybe in my classroom gathering dust. Better that somebody who perhaps collects such things won them. I collected something much more special: memories and friends. Robert has offered to take my son to some sporting events in exchange for golf lessons (he needs em!) and that is very nice. I can call Jim McDivitt and set up a golf date with him in Arizona whenever I could afford to go (never) and that's a nice thought too.

I want to thank Tom Manenti for his kindness and the way he set up the golf outing. I have two nice hats, a shirt, a cooler bag, golf balls and a really cool divot tool. I even use the stuff!!!!

And if you see a Dave Schlom autographed golf ball on eBay put up by a certain J. McD don't pay much for it -- my signature isn't worth it. But I do have a golf glove in my bag that I loaned to Gene Cernan. I chuckle whenever I see it because the velcro is kind of worn out and I never use it. But now I can't throw it away either...

Thanks to Kim and Sally for putting up with me -- very gracious people indeed. I am sorry the golf tournament was a financial bust. For me, it was a special day!

Dave

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-20-2009 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well Dave, you might like this slideshow:

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-20-2009 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...or this "Tiger Woods" birdie putt by Gene Cernan:

Photography & Video by Mark & Tom Usciak

dschlom
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posted 03-20-2009 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dschlom   Click Here to Email dschlom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't seem to see the slide shows. What plug in do I need for these. The other pics show up on my browser but not this. Are there pictures of ME? Because that's the really important thing here... you guys did a great job covering the event with your cameras.

Thanks,
Dave

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-20-2009 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The slide shows are YouTube flash videos. No plug-in is required but you'll need a modern web browser the supports flash animation.

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-20-2009 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dave teaches school, and evidently they block YouTube's website.

Kim

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-23-2009 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's all the Spacefest astronauts and some of the wives: Pat Collins, Mag Scott, Patty Carpenter & Nancy Schweickart. Not pictured: Bernice McCandless, Bev Brand, Gratia Lousma, Susan Walker, Linda Gordon. Click for printable hi-res.

Kim

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-30-2009 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a slide show of the Apollo 9-VIP reception at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Spacefest
Member

Posts: 1056
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-31-2009 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...and the show itself.


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