Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Stellar Soiree

In a bit of coincidence, LaunchCode's Stellar Soiree fundraising gala thing was the same week I was already going to be in St. Louis for Strange Loop.

My frat bro Frank was working at the White House but had recently decided to leave to learn the dark arts of lobbying. My first reaction was: "uh, where's my White House West Wing tour tho?" I was sort of surprised that he was able to make it happen. He was probably surprised that I now planned to fly to DC after St. Louis instead of home, and booked Lydia a flight out to meet me. 

St. Louisans are generally a humble people and don't like to brag, but among their many treasures is the world's largest Amoco sign.

LaunchCode's Stellar Soiree took place at the McDonnell Planetarium which is part of the Saint Louis Science Center campus. LaunchCode is a free software development bootcamp that I graduated from that jumpstarted my career and really made a huge impact in my life. Now that I'm making software developer money I'm happy to give back to the program that helped me so much when I needed it. I sprung for the expensive ticket which was good for two people, so I invited Seago along for the ride.

I've been to Science Center numerous times and the Planetarium exhibits a few times, but I never recall being inside the actual planetarium section where they project the stars. This was super cool. This sort of experience is really my preference when it comes to fundraising. Just writing people checks is so boring. I prefer to pay too much to do something cool.

They had a meteor collection.

I overpaid for my ticket to such an extent that I made it on to the Supernova Supporters list. I should probably add "philanthropist" to my LinkedIn profile.

The Planetarium did a showing and it was amazing. Afterwards I quizzed the operator on what this giant projector was.

"The McDonnell Planetarium is home to a ZEISS UNIVERSARIUM Mark IX Star Projector. Installed in 2001, this magnificent machine is one of only three in the United States and 13 in the world!

Each Mark IX is custom-built in Germany by Carl Zeiss Jena, the famed optics company. The instrument projects more than 9,100 individual stars and other celestial objects more clearly, accurately and realistically than any other projector available. When combined with our Planetarium’s 80-foot dome, the Mark IX is able to recreate the night sky as seen from any location on Earth and at any time 10,000 years into the future and 10,000 years into the past."

There was spacey face painting.

There was a space toilet.

After the event was over we checked out my first St. Louis neighborhood: the Central West End. It was sort of a ghost town. I suppose the neighborhood is very student driven and when the schools closed for covid it was a stab in the heart to this neighborhood. I was particularly sad to see this Bar Louie building sitting vacant. I used to walk over here regularly. They had some sort of $2 Tuesday hamburger deal that was popular. Halloween was always fun here as well as CWE was the Halloween headquarters. I think that there's a rich part of this neighborhood that wants it to be quiet so CWE has been on a downward path for some time. I hope that something of its former glory can be resurrected. 

The business center back at the Cheshire had some style.

No comments:

Post a Comment