Early Sunday morning, I drove to my parents’ home to celebrate Father’s Day. Along the way, I stopped to pick up my Granny from the Arboretum Rest Home. When I arrived, the two of us laughed because we were both dressed alike. Eventually more family members arrived at my parent’s house to enjoy each other’s company and eat plenty of good food. Later that afternoon, my parents and I went on another one of our geocaching hunts. We had fun exploring the countryside and discovering places we had never been to before. That’s really the best part of the hobby…the journey itself.
One day, my graduate assistants and I discovered several unopened boxes of Polaroid film that were probably manufactured in the early-mid 90s. Even though the film was past its expiration date we still wanted to see if it worked…but we needed a camera. I walked into my office (which is a miniature A/V museum) and grabbed a camera from a shelf. The camera was a portrait model called a “Big Shot.” Built only for taking head-n-shoulder shots, the camera had its limitation, but it confirmed that the film we discovered was still (for the most part) viable. What we really needed was a working camera with a larger field-of-view, more controls, and was compatible with the old 669 Polaroid film. The next day, I dug through my collection of old cameras and found an Automatic 100 Polaroid.
Earlier this year, Jim and Nathanael decided to make their relationship official by getting married in Seattle. On the first of June, they invited friends and family to celebrate their recent union at a reception held at Veritas Wine & Bistro. Ruben and I attended the event with several other friends and acquaintances. Jim and Nathanael are great people and the turnout at their reception was a clear indication of how many lives they have touched. One of the highlights that afternoon was a presentation by the Mayor, declaring May 25th (their wedding day) as Jim and Nathanael day in College Station.
Toward the end of the month, Ruben, Glenn, Brian and I decided to enjoy a couple of local attractions. First we spent a nice, relaxing evening at the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater listening to two free performances in the Starlight Music Series: Ruthie Foster and Carrie Rodriguez. A couple of days later, we decided to chill-out at the Ice House, listen to some live music and watch the sun set over the lake. That evening just happened to coincide with a rare conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. The view of this astronomical wonder from the edge of the lake was perfect.
A little over a year ago, Kevin (friend and co-worker) introduced me to a Kickstarter project called Pebble. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a service on the Internet where people with ideas for new products or projects can pitch their ideas to potential supporters. Those who are impressed with the idea can provide a little financial assistance to “kick start” the project. There are usually incentives like “give $X and you’ll get Y.” In this case, I pitched in $100 and received one of the first Pebble watches. I’ve had it for a few months now and I love it! It syncs with my iPhone. I can use it to control my phone and receive/view text messages without pulling my phone out of my pocket.
While Ruben is in nursing school, he has very little time off between semesters (less than a week). Such a short amount of time created challenges for planning any kind of out-of-state vacation, so we decided to enjoy a little stay-cation by just relaxing at the house. Earlier in the month, I suggested we do some kind of art project. This was in response to Ruben expressing his need to brighten up his apartment. So, we made a few trips to some local craft stores, returned to the house and made some art.
I knew people who suffered greatly from this event and I also knew some of those who died. As tragic as it was, the response by so many people across this country moved me. Everyone from local school children to the President turned their attention to West and offered to do what they could to help.
On Mother’s Day, I made my way home for the first time since the tragedy. My sister took me on a tour of the town. I couldn’t believe how many homes were totaled by the blast. Seeing the destruction was surreal. I didn’t feel like I was in West. Instead, I felt like I was on the set of a disaster film. Despite the devastation, I know the town of West will rebuild.
At the end of each spring semester, graduate-student-work from the Department of Visualization is showcased in an annual event known as Viz-a-GoGo. 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of this student-run show. To help mark this milestone, the Department of Visualization hosted a reunion for all former students. Pulling this event off was a lot of work, but well worth it. Everyone had a great time and I do believe it was one of the best Viz-a-GoGos.