Monday, July 10, 2006

Grad '96

I had an awesome weekend at Sara's 10th grad reunion.

Friday morning, I carted an extra couple bags to work on the bus in the morning, with my camera, laptop, and clothes for the weekend. I was thankful that things weren't too busy (for me, at least) at work, so I was able to leave at 4:00 in order to make it to the 5:10 ferry.

I almost missed the bus though. Somehow I confused "Dunsmuir & Cambie" with "Dunsmuir & Seymour", and so ended up sprinting about 4 blocks, with my two bags, in order to catch the bus. I did catch it on time, and had a nice ride to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.

While I was on my down the gangway, boarding the ferry, Warren approached me. As it turns out, he was catching a ride with us from the Departure Bay ferry terminal down to Brentwood with us, so I had some company on the ferry ride over. On the way, he told me a little bit about what he's been doing these days. I knew he was working on a doctorate in maths, but wasn't sure specifically what he was doing, or if I'd even understand what it was. Turns out, he's working on control theory, which, though I don't know much about, sounds absolutely fascinating. It's all about the mathematics behind automated control systems, like cruise control, autopilots, HVAC systems, industrial automation, you name it.

When we arrived in Nanaimo, Sara was ready and waiting for us. She had been watching a movie, Superman Returns, a bit later than expected, and she wasn't sure if she'd be there when we got off. As it turns out, she got there just as we were disembarking from the ferry, so the timing was excellent.

We hit the highway, heading to Brentwood, stopping on Duncan for gas, alcohol, and dinner for Sara, as Warren and I had eaten on the ferry.

We got to Brentwood at around 8:30, after registration had closed for the night, but we found our room assignments from the sheet on the wall, and were rather surprised to find it reading "Sara Quist ('96) and husband". We all had a good laugh about that, and spent the rest of the weekend denying it whenever her classmates or teachers asked.

Before we even unloaded the car, we headed over to the new auditorium building for the wine and cheese reception. This was where I met most of Sara's classmates, though more continued to trickle in over the weekend. This was also when we all started to grasp that we hadn't really needed to stop by the liquor store, as there seemed to be ample supply of beer and wine, of which we consumed our fair share.

At one point in the evening, one of Sara's teachers took us on a tour of the new building, which was absolutely gorgeous. Sara's so jealous now that it wasn't there when she was attending Brentwood.

The festivities continued well into the night, and I understand where were still people up partying at 5am. We, however, turned in around 2am (I think). Warren is another story, but I'll leave that one for someone else to tell. :)

On Saturday, another of Sara's teachers took us down to the room she and Warren had Biology class in, and we sat down there and chatted for a good hour or two. While we were there, he showed us a SmartBoard, a whiteboard that's all computerized, with a projector for display, and a touch-sensitive surface for drawing on with "pens", or just your finger. It was really quite fascinating.

All in all, the time at Brentwood was a lot of fun, but when the time came to go, it was just as well, because I was starting to go into social withdrawal, after being social with so many strangers.

We left around 11:30 on Sunday, on our way to Beacon Hill park, in Victoria. Along the way, we stopped at a street-market sort of thing, and spent a few minutes wandering around looking at the hand-made art and crafts stuff. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few booths of people selling photographs. I seem to usually only see paintings, and while I appreciate the work and talent that goes into them, I like seeing photographs, as I can identify with the work that goes into them a bit closer, being a photography nut myself.

After we had seen our fill, we hopped back into the car and drove to Beacon Hill park. I had a wonderful relaxing time meandering around the park with Sara, taking pictures as we went, and just enjoying the weather. At one point, we heard what sounded like music, and wandered towards it, to find a brass band warming up on the band shell. Checking the signs, we saw that there would be a free concert there in half an hour. We wandered back off for a while, and came back as the concert was about to begin. I snapped a few photos of the band as they were warming up individually, and after a moment, one of the guys wandered over towards us with carrying a trumpet or something. For a moment I was concerned that he was going to ask me not to take any photos, which would have been kind of depressing, but he handed me the band's card, and asked me to drop them a like if I got any good photos, as they're putting together a promotional press kit. That just made my day, so I made sure I did get plenty of photos, and once I've had some time to go through them, I'm going to email them and see if they'd like any of them. Maybe I can make a few bucks off it.

The band that was playing was the Beacon Hill Brass band, and they were great. They did quite a wide variety of pieces, everything from early renaissance pieces, to some more modern pieces based on some stray cats that the composer had taken in. Unfortunately, we had to leave at the intermission, as we had plans for dinner with Sara's dad. I would have liked to stay for the whole thing, it was quite fun, but I was hungry too, and I must learn to listen to the beast within. ;)

Dinner with Sara's dad was great. We surprised him with the car (which I can now blog about!) and then walked over to Maude's, the pub nearby, for some food. I had a chicken caesar salad, which was very tasty.

After dinner (or lunch, it was around 3 pm), we drove up to the airport to pick up Warren, who had found a vehicle to borrow for his afternoon visiting, which he was then dropping off at the airport for another family member who was flying in late that night. It saved someone having to drive out from Duncan to pick them up too. Funny how things just seem to work out like that sometimes.

We got to the ferry 2 cars too late to get on the 6pm ferry, which was thankfully more humourous than frustrating, because we'd only been planning to catch the 7pm anyways. While we were waiting in line, I opened the presents from Sara's mom, and was very pleasantly surprised to find a jig-saw (the tool, not a puzzle) and some blades. I guess this means I'll have to follow up on making some chairs for our SCA camping. At the last event, Christine's brother had some really neat and very simple chairs that he had made. I'll have to email him and get the instructions for them now, but I seem to recall that you just need some 2x12's or something, cut into roughly 5' lengths, with a few chunks cut out of them in particular ways that should be almost trivial to do with a jig-saw. I have to say, I've always thought jig-saws were really cool anyways, because of the type of cuts you can do with them.

On the way back on the ferry, the captain made an announcement that there was some entertainment in the water ahead, a bunch (school?) of killer whales. We just happened to be at the front of the boat, so I went up to the windows (along with half the passengers, I bet the stern was half out of the water) and could see them just barely, in the distance. They were too far to make out well, so I went back to my seat a little bit disappointed. Not a minute later, we found out they were alongside the boat, on the same side as us. I was at the window immediately, and got to see them leaping and blowing alongside the boat as we passed them, for at least a minute or so. It was an amazing site, and I called Sara over to see, but she came only reluctantly. I wasn't until after that I asked her, and realized that this was nothing new to her. Growing up on the islands, and taking ferries so often, she'd seen them many times before, sometimes even from her house on Galiano island. Oh well, I enjoyed it. :)

After getting back on dry land, and dropping Warren off at home, we followed tradition, and went to the Eatery for dinner. It was delicious, as usual, and we went home satiated.

1 comment:

Jen said...

The SMART Boards are made by SMART Technologies, the company I was working for in Calgary. They're a good company and have made a lot of nifty toys of late. I wish my school had had 'em. :P

I wonder if my school will end up having a reunion... I have a few years before that'll happen, though.