Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remarkable experiences

Sorry for not posting more, folks. Although I am doing many cool space things, most don't really lend themselves to anecdotes. Plus, I'm not supposed to talk about CSA stuff without running it past the powers-that-be, and a few flippant remarks on a blog just aren't worth that kind of effort.

That said, there are cool space things going on that have nothing to do with my work. For example, Guinness (as in the beer, but not as in the book of world records) is celebrating its 250th anniversary with a contest. First prize is a trip to space on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. Woo hoo! You'd better believe I'm putting in an entry every single day. Second prize is also mighty cool: a night out (or under?) in the Guinness Underwater Bar, a submarine which is also a pub (spubmarine?). Third prize: a day in the studio with the Black Eyed Peas.

So, third prize for me it is, then.

Look, I'm sure the Black Eyed Peas are fun people and excellent musicians, and they're obviously very successful. It's just that one of these things is not like the others:

  • A studio.

In the hope that I could choose which prizes I was entering for, I actually read the contest rules. No, all prize winners are drawn from the same pool, but there was some interesting stuff in the small print. For example:

"The Promotion is open to residents of Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and the Canary Islands, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and all states of the United States of America except California and Utah (the "Participating Countries") of legal drinking age in their country, state or province of residence."

A mighty list. And yet:

"Participants from the Ivory Coast will not be eligible to win the SPACE Prize."

What, does the Ivory Coast have a law against microgravity? Did Richard Branson once have a bad prawn there, and is he still holding a grudge? Does anyone have any idea why Ivory Coasters can't be flung into space?

I'm just hoping that there a lot of Black Eyed Peas fans in Cote d'Ivoire, and that Guinness allows swapsies.