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Graduation

Started: 2006-07-02 15:53:20

Submitted: 2006-07-02 17:22:16

Visibility: World-readable

I'm at Grand Mesa now, at my parents' timeshare condo, so I'm taking the opportunity to fill my recent content drought and record recent events. Where "recent events" is "events that happened three weeks ago".

Kiesa and I headed to Walla Walla for graduation, four years after we graduated. (That means I've been out of school as long as I was an undergraduate.) We left on Friday, 9 June on an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland leaving around noon. That gave me enough time to install Linux on Darnassus (the notebook my employer provided) before leaving for DIA. We parked in the newly-expanded portion of Pikes Peak shuttle lot, row TT, and checked in just in time to learn that our flight was delayed at least an hour. (Apparently the outbound plane had mechanical issues on the ground in Portland; they had to switch to another plane for the flight out.) We eventually got into Portland, ate lunch, picked up our rental car at the super-handy combined rental car garage on the first floor of the parking garage, and headed east to College Place.

The most impressive change to happen on campus since I last set foot in College Place was the introduction of an Ad Shell, replacing the Ad Frame that grew in the Ad Field that replaced the Ad Hole that replaced the Ad Building. Apparently the Ad Shell will eventually become an Ad Building again.

Kiesa and I made it into College Place in time for supper with my parents and the rest of my family; we also had the opportunity to meet Willy's friend Melissa. We went to vespers; afterward, I ran into several people I knew from long ago and one I knew from not so long ago: Shawn Santana from iTi. (His sister was senior class president, and his girlfriend was also graduating.) We talked briefly about iTi; the place seems mostly intact in my absence.

On Saturday we went to church, met more people I knew, and headed to lunch at Bethany's adviser's house on a lavender farm south-west of College Place. After lunch (and photos, and more sitting), we headed to Stanley Green's house for a gathering of all of his old college friends, which included my father and some other people I knew. I eventually departed, picked Kiesa up from her family, and dropped by Swinyar and Heather's house on the western side of town. They had another gathering to attend, but we did manage to get caught up on our new jobs (they now work at different banks in Walla Walla) and to talk about our cats. (Others would have talked about their children; we talked about our cats.) We departed, Kiesa went to bed, and I found Willy's dorm room (on the fourth floor on the south side of the south wing of Sittner Hall), where he pretended to pack in preparation for leaving for the epic drive back to Oklahoma.

Mom had the brilliant idea for Dad, Willy, and I to be at Centennial Green at 0730 to reserve seats for the rest of the group, which somehow grew to thirteen people. Dad and I eventually stumbled to the green, found Willy, and waited in the early-morning sun for the event to begin at 0830. The program announced that the graduation would take place, rain or shine; apparently they learned from the rained-out debacle of my graduation.

I selected my 55-200 mm telephoto lens and snapped pictures of Bethany marching in. After a graduation address that seemed a bit more inspirational than mine, I jumped up to photograph Bethany as she got her diploma. She was getting a BA in French, so she was in the first five percent of seniors to get her diploma. (After my class, they stopped giving actual diplomas in the diploma covers; all graduating seniors, regardless of whether they actually have finished their graduation requirements, will have their diplomas mailed to them. So Bethany actually got her diploma cover.) There was a massive crowd of relatives snapping photos at the corner of the stage; I barely managed to push my way to a point where I could get a few pictures.

I didn't actually make it back to my seat afterward; I hung out at the back of the green while the rest of the class graduated. Swinyar called, and I found him and Heather near the information kiosk. We swapped notes on board games, Illuminati, and other distractions.

At length, graduation was over. I talked to Dr. Aamodt but didn't find any other professors. The post-graduation crowd dissipated and we departed for lunch, an exciting family conference, parking Willy's bike in Swinyar's garage for the summer, and our eventual departure from College Place to Longview, for the second phase of our graduation trip.

IIS on NT is like a screen door on a submarine made of Swiss cheese.
- Jaeger