Six years without Summer

Today marks six years since the loss of my little sister and best friend, Summer.

I’ve never been good at finding the right words to communicate my feelings, so these photos will have to fill in the thousands of words out of reach.

Miss you sis

Moseying through Marfa

A $39 Southwest flight, a rental car and a 3 hour drive from the modest 5 gate Midland International Air and Space Port, lands you in the middle of the universe, otherwise known as Marfa, Texas.

32 miles West of the Dairy Queen in Marfa, is “Prada Marfa.” Along the drive, I spot a white speck amongst the lines of stratocumulus clouds stretch along the west Texas horizon, but this speck doesn’t move and I tick down the mils toward the West Texas Prada outpost, an ever increasing refrain of “what the fuck is that” echoes within the Toyota Rav 4 as the stationary speck increasingly grows in size. The speck then begins to take the form of a blimp; now having ruled out aliens but not yet being able to identify said flying object, I’m left to ponder why the Goodyear blimp would be in West Texas. Maybe in these Covid times without many major sports going on the blimp finds itself covering a high school football game, Friday Night Lights style.

Past the large cutouts paying homage to the 1956 James Dean film “Giant” that was partially shot in and around Marfa, I see the answer to now identified flying blimp that is used by customs and border patrol as part of a radar network scouting low flying aircraft crossing the border from Mexico (Wiki- Tetherd Aerostat Radar System)

Prada Marfa

Having crossed “Prada Marfa” off the instagram bucket list, I set about exploring the rest of Marfa. There are pretty much 2 main streets in Marfa, dotted with eclectic shops, restaurants and galleries that would have been packed on any weekend in the before COVID times, but are struggling like so many small businesses. I wasn’t able to make reservations to visit The Chinati Foundation that arguably put Marfa on the map with their collection of its founder work, Donald Judd, who moved to Marfa in 1977. Next time.

The next day, following the only other other road out of town, I headed south toward Presidio and East along the Rio Grande River, traveling the scenic FM 170 towards Big Bend National Park. The picturesque and roller coaster like FM 170, where I actually saw a road runner and I have got to say cartoons have been lying and road runners(at least this one) are more like road speed walkers; also there was no coyote to be seen. My short trip only allowed me a couple hours to explore Big Bend, another thing to add to the list for the next trip…

Monday Morning Mind Meld 12/21/20

  • (Gates Notes) Bill Gates released his annual list of books to read over the holidays. “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” jumped out at me and at first glance reminds me of Susan Cain’s “Quiet” as something that may speak to me.
  • (Popular Science) An interesting article of how the supply chain for Dippin’ Dots is similar to the cold storage chain required to safely distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. There is also a great episode of “How I Built This With Guy Raz” on the story of Dippin’ Dots (NPR)

Pic of the week:

Tequila bottle Christmas tree at the Gaylord Texan

Monday Morning Mind Meld – 5/18/20

  • Movie: “Becoming” (Netflix) Hope, I think we could all use some at this time and watching the Netflix documentary on Michelle Obama takes you back to a time in our nation’s not too distant past full of hope for a brighter future that is missing in most of America bearing the weight of Coronavirus.
  • Book: “For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity”(Amazon) I’m rereading Liz Plank’s “New Vision for Mindful Masculinity” and with the isolation of quarantine I find myself with the time for both self reflection and reflection on the world around.
  • Podcast: “Sam Harris” (Tim Ferriss Podcast) Because everyone should have some Sam Harris in their life

Photo of the week:

Bots in Boston

I headed to Boston last weekend for TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics at MIT and to take in the sights and seafood of Boston.

Boston has a great public transit system making getting around cheap and easy. Sunday I went museum hopping starting off at The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. The museum is right on the waterfront making it worth a trip just for the view. Sadly many of the galleries were closed during my visit while the museum is transitioning between shows but still had a selection from their permeant collection on display.

Stop 2 was the Museum of Science. Standouts for me were the Theater of Electricity with their 30 foot tall Van de Graaff Generators and the traveling Popnology exhibit with a bunch of “Back To The Future” props and my favorite a lego model of “The House of the Future” that used to stand in Disneyland.

Final stop for the day was the MIT Museum which is fairly small but a highlight for me because the whole trip was about robotics and the MIT Museum has a large selection of well known MIT built robots on display. Kismet is a robot I remember seeing on countless PBS specials growing up so it was neat to see it in person.

Monday came the whole reason that I was in Boston, TechCrunch’s Robotics Session, a day full of panels, workshops and demos of robot technology and the future of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It was interesting to see a wider array of robots where I have seen many tailored to warehousing and manufacturing earlier in the year at ProMat in Chicago. Personal highlight for me was seeing the Disney Imagineering session where they showed off their latest audio animatronic technology. Some of what they showed we weren’t allowed to photograph but they did have an animatronic head used in the Na’vi River Journey ride in Pandora that opened 2 months ago that drew a crowd every-time it came to life. It was also really cool to spend a day walking around the MIT campus which was a college that I dreamed of attending.

Music Monday for 1/25/16

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

It has been a month since my last playlist so it is not as regular as I had hoped. This one has a kind of singer/songwriter theme though I veer away from it with the first song. Here is a link to the playlist on Spotify.

  • Blur “Coffee and TV” I haven’t heard this song in years but it come on KXT last weekend and has been in my head since.
  • Sarah Jaffe: If you live in Dallas and haven’t heard Sarah’s amazing voice you must be living under a rock. Last weekend she played back to back nights at Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton. These three songs are just a sampling of Sarah’s talent and range.
  • City and Colour: If you couldn’t guess from the spelling of Color, “City and Colour” is the solo project of Canadian Dallas Green. These are three of my favorites.
  • Gary Clark Jr.: 2015 was a breakout year for Gary Clark Jr. and the release of “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim” only helped fuel his rise in popularity. Gary is playing a sold out show at the House of Blues in Dallas on March 6. These are some of my favorites from the new album.