Shot of the day: Mr. Ling confidently ambled behind the controls of my grandmother's 1990 Chrysler minivan to complete his fourth-ever piloting of a motor vehicle. No one was injured. Good driving, Dan. Look at that poise.

"Nice wheels, wanna race?"

A youthful Wordpicture

POSTED IN | 11:25 PM
I've been going through old papers at my parents' house this week as I've been cleaning out my old room (good gravy I've got a lot of crap). I invariably unearthed some high school artifacts. I wrote the ditty below in 10th grade for English class. It's a bit out of character for something I just came up with, so I'm pretty sure we had some kind of prompt. I wouldn't attempt to capture the feminine psyche at such a novice age and with such limited female romantic know-how, but it's certainly possible that I tried. It's a strangely colored piece for sure...

Tis intersting what was going through my mind as a 16-year-old. Goodness. Of further interest, I also found a love note I got from a gal in the 9th grade. She actually wrote it to me on my 16th birthday, coincidentally.

And the note is actually quite straight-forward, heartfelt and poignant. I respected her sentiments greatly... But I think it's pretty impossible to look back on such remnants and not get a high level of devious adolescent enjoyment out of them. I figure the note is worth keeping another seven years if it's bringing me this amount of well being right now. It's the little things, really...

"Last Dance"

Ballroom floor, level one. The orchestra bows lightly, a waltz sifting through the atmosphere. Crowds of formality migrate amongst the different castes, shifting with the sociable weather variations.

A breeze lifts my hair as veranda doors release occupants into cool dark air. People part, moving to reveal...him. I inhale, my corset loosing its taught conformity.
He drinks casually from what is offered, speaks confidently to surrounding intellects. Boredom fringes his body language, turning he swivels his gaze. Glorious, our eyes grapple. The orchestra strikes tone. Hope ensues. He takes a step forward.

Dog Walk with Serven Tookies

There is a proper pack of canines at the Stuart Dog Sanctuary this weekend. I brought the Tooks over for a traipse in the field with the beasts and some tasty iced cream immediately following. Both man and animal were satisfied.

The best posed shot we could muster with six overly hyped-up pooches.

I don't think Drew Boy likes pictures...

The pack post-walk.

The dogs were supposed to line up and race. It was a blunder -- they were apprehensive off the starting line, the finish line was ambiguous, and I think the fisherman on the right was less than amused at the six dogs ruining his relaxing evening at the pond. Oh well...

Summer Conference '07

Well, my final summer conference came and went. The drive was long as usual, and Becky's popped tire two hours into the trip down was most unfortunate. Thanks to all who helped with that fiasco...

But mostly it was (as in years past) very encouraging to see an assembly of God's people amassed for the purpose of worship and furthering their knowledge of His word (the beach might have played into that motivation for attending as well). Summer conference is always a vivid picture of how God is truly working in peoples' lives across the country on the college campus scene. This year, like previous years, I felt overwhelmed in wanting to talk to other people from hither and yon and ask them about their RUFs and what life is like in their corner of the higher education world. And I got to do this a little. I chatted with a few Virginia Tech students over lunch one day.

Mostly I asked them about the shooting stuff. I tried to stay away from the routine questions that they'd obviously been asked numerous times already. But it was good to get a few personal tidbits into what that tradgedy was like and how things unfolded in the weeks after. One of the girls I talked to lived in the same dorm as the shooter. Pretty crazy. I can't imagine what it would be like if that happened at OU. Hopefully I'll never have to.

But all in all a nice, though not very relaxing week (I'm not very good at relaxing at the beach -- I get bored and then I get anxious).

Some shots from the week:

Sally working it on the ladder golf. Don't let the pleasant demeanor fool you, she brings the heat. I bowed to the Schupacktion juggernaut at least once during the week.

Thomas "The Tangy Tomato Bacon Tank Engine" Brewer

The counselor is in.

Service with a smile.

The group does awkward.

Amanda "Hermione" Willis

Lewis and Clark

The in-car post up. Notice its subtle yet distinctive attitude.

Buried Tookies.

Some v-ball teammate miscommunication. Though it was OU's first time to field a volleyball team at summer conference we did pretty good. Sadly Matt G. (not pictured) dislocated his shoulder mid-game during the second round of match play. It was grisly and horrific. Thankfully Tony manhandled it back into socket while the masses watched stunned. I felt sick and wondered if what I was seeing was real. It was. Matt was okay in the end. I can only pray I never dislocate a joint. I would lose consciousness long before it got fixed probably...


Some dancing shots from the live music/blockparty action. We had a good time.


Rolling...with my 4.0...

POSTED IN | 11:59 AM

I was surprised and then excited to check this semester's grades online a few days ago. And, much to my dismay, it seems I closed out my undergraduate career with the much sought after and seldom achieved four-point-oh GPA. This has never happened to me before. I'll chalk it up to a spindly class load, and the secondary-schoolish difficulty level of these classes. so hey, I'm okay with it. Turn off the lights and I'll glow...

Comp and Pircumstance

POSTED IN | 12:50 AM
And so it goes...I walked across a stage in MacCasland Fieldhouse today, signaling a kind of graduation-induced transformation from naive student to mature adult.

I guess...

I was the last to cross the stage and the word STUART hung in the air at the close of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication convocation. And really it feels quite amazing to be done. Whew. Doggie. It's really over. Really.

So some photos, of course...

Me and Krista pre-ceremony. I worked with Krista at the yearbook. She was the cool head-honcho boss editor, and was (and is) a lovely individual. And starting June 1 she will be the nifty associate editor of a magazine in Dallas that's somehow related to D Magazine. I think that's right at least. So much for accurate journalistic details. But go K-dogg...gainful employment is always nice.

This is Graham. Before walking in for the ceremony I looked to my immediate right. Behold, Graham Reynolds. Ol' G. Rey and I played trombone together at Irving Middle School (go Cougars!) in sixth grade. Sadly Graham has since lost "the faith" of tromboning lore and told me he sold his horn for a paltry 40 bones recently (*tears*). But, regardless, it only seemed fitting to end my academic career with someone who I basically started it with. Best wishes, hombre.

The old grip-and-grin shot with the J-college dean. I got some bonus cheers I think for being the last one across the stage. Daddy Stu was representing as cameraman. Thanks, Pa.

The framed shot. Red cons just felt right for the occasion, you know?

The fam post-graduation. The oldest two siblings defaulted on attendance, and really, can you blame them? They've been through all this shenanigans before. It's kind of a beating if you're not the center of attention.

Locks o' Love


The sis' new look.


POSTED IN | 12:33 PM
A short drive to OKC on Saturday gave me the opportunity to experience my first ever Quinceanera mass and fiesta. My friend Ariana asked me to take pictures at the quinceanera, which signified her god daughter Reyna's entrance into womanhood, and I accepted. I'm glad I did. The experience proved rather interesting and I had a great time trying to speak Spanish and being obviously not one of the locals.

The ceremony starts with mass. It was all in Spanish and I felt a bit awkward roaming about during the service being one of three gringos in the house. In the end I decided it was only as awkward as I let it be, so I just rolled with it and didn't think about my contrasting cracker complexion and anglo-saxon roots. It's interesting how quickly one can feel alienated when detached from familiar surroundings. I think it's good to experience this isolation.

The mass was at an all-Spanish-all-the-time Catholic church in OKC, which interestingly employs a priest of east indian descent. Partway through the mass he launched into heavily accented english at which point I readily discerned his country of origin. I could barely understand some of what he said and I'm thinking a lot of the latinos picked up even less.

We took some more pics near the Myriad Gardens in OKC after the mass. I quickly realized that wedding-esque photography would be required of me and curbed my initial impulse to cease all photomaking immediately on principle. Thankfully the experience was enjoyable and the pomp and circumstance kept to a minimum during the session at the park. I'd shoot another Quinceanera, but I could not handle doing a wedding. In this genre I feel like every picture I take is cliche'. Perhaps I'm just a photojournalist snob at heart...

Some charming little ninos were chomming on these fried pretzelish things after the mass. I don't remember what they're called.

The fiesta lit up about five and there was plenty of amazing food, beer, tequila and dancing to go around. This is the traditional first dance with all the damas and chambelanes surrounding the couple of honor.

More dancing.

There were plenty of very friendly locals at the fiesta. And very little Ingles being spoken. I liked the atmosphere of multiple generations mingling and enjoying quality time with one another. Despite my lack of street cred and shady Espanol skills I felt very welcome and comfortable.

Did I mention the food was crazy good? Massive vats held untold amounts of the pork, rice, beans and CORN tortillas. I was good for two plates of these vittles and wanted more though my estomago told me otherwise. Classic American suds were also in quick supply. I went for a pair of brews before getting the cheap-beer shudders toward the bottom of my second Bud. What can you do?

But all in all a choice meal and evening. If you have the chance to check out a Quinceanera you should strap on a bolo tie and cowboy hat and boots and make it happen. You won't be disappointed.

Nice Weather = Duck Pond Picnic

POSTED IN | 12:12 AM

Step 1: get a chip.

Step 2: load chip with homemade hummus (my cooking repertoire is now almost ten items long, but hummus is decidedly in the fruit/nut food group so I'm still in my element for sure).

Step 3 (not pictured): repeat.

Some nice times in the park on a Saturday afternoon...