Matt and I made it through our Great American Adventure with only a few scrapes, 2 speeding tickets, and multiple parking violations. I still can't return to Tennessee or Arkansas currently... We made it back to Raleigh, NC where I grabbed a plane out to California to make it in time for thesis reviews and a long awaited reunion with Megan.
I was glad to see most everyone in studio in good spirits with only a few threats of jumping off of the 9th floor. Reviews were a week or so away so I tried to stay out of studio as much as possible, though to no avail. Peter "Soundman" Lingamfelter and Gavin "Keeper" Knowles managed to coerse me into doing a few odds and ends to help out, though I think I probably did more harm than good. Reunited with Shivang Patwa we had our old studio pod back in action and celebrated by going to the hidden gem that is the Berkeley Art Museum cafe for lunch. Believe it or not, Peter and Gavin are actually having a good time in the picture above.
The big day[s] finally arrived. People prepared in different ways. Shivang shaved his mountain-man beard to find intimidating sideburns, Peter dimmed the lights and put on some mood music to warm up, while Gavin decided not to frighten young children by putting on a respirator. I was very proud of them as well as all of my other classmates and compatriots that are too numerous to go into detail. Suffice to say though, I was deeply impressed by the level of work that was going on at Berkeley and grew both inspired and anxious thinking of the coming year when it would be my proverbial head on the chopping block.
I got ready for my adventure into the American Southwest and loaded up my old '88 Honda accord with a sleeping bag, tent, and a newfangled GPS system. The goal: Roden Crater, Cinco Camp, Marfa TX, DesignBuildBLUFF, CalEarth, Double Negative, and some stellar Arizona work. The trip was going great the first 4 hours and I almost made it to LA before my car broke down on the "Grapevine", a nasty set of hills on I-5. You know its bad news when a guy in a beat-up Jalopy pulls up next to your car and waves at you to pull over b/c your car is smoking too much. Luckily I had AAA [everyone go buy a membership, best purchase of my life next to my Pez Dispenser collection] so they were able to tow me 80+ miles to my dear friend Mike Olsen's house in Burbank. The next day I drove/pushed my way to an auto shop to find out that the problem was minor, yet horribly expensive. Something about transmissions and flux capacitors, I don't speak mechanic. The thought of driving out into the middle of the desert with a car down on its luck didn't sound as appealing, so my dreams for the second road trip were dashed. I managed to get "White Lightning" back to San Francisco by keeping it on cruise control on hills to prevent over-revving, though being passed by 18 wheelers going uphill is both comical and damaging to one's already bruised ego.
On the good side though, being back in the city for another week allowed me to help move into our new place in San Francisco! Megan and I, with the help of a few friends, a little energon and a lot of luck, found out about a Julia Morgan building that had an opening and jumped on it as soon as possible [don't worry if you didn't get the energon joke, you're probably better off for it]. Another one of our good friends Michelle Lopez was also looking for a place to stay until the winter, so it worked out perfect that they could share the place until the traveling is over. By some twist of fate it also has a courtyard and about a dozen rose bushes, and without me there, have an actual shot at surviving. The stay in California felt all too brief and before I knew it, I was heading down to our shared-name neighbors in South America to see the Atacama Desert and chance my luck at making it to Patagonia. More to come soon...
Thoughts on Traveling #17 : Dogs gaurding junkyards hate it when you take their picture. And their friends they bring to chase you aren't too keen on the subject either.