Church of Christ Chapel Dedication: Roseville, CA (04/18/2015)

Today was a long and exciting day down in Roseville, CA. I remember waking up around 2:00 A.M to get ready to go to the chapel. I got dressed and got my camera ready. After my brother Randy and everyone else got ready we headed down towards the chapel. I believe we left the hotel around 2:45 A.M and got to the chapel at about 3:00 A.M. When we got there it was still pitch black, but the scan officers were already there and even some brethren too! It was nice to see a great amount of people come early with us as well. My brother and bro Ronnie were helping coordinate the scan officers. I was taking pictures of whatever I could. It was so dark, however, that it was difficult to get any decent shots. I wanted to get shots of people going in and the scan officers doing their thing. During this early morning session from 3:00 A.M to about 5:30 A.M it was fairly easy going. I met one of the scan officers named Angel from Fresno. He seemed like a nice kid trying to do his best to help the rest of the scan efforts. Not much else really happened during this time. There were even some parts during this time where I found myself pacing the area waiting for something interesting to photograph.

When it was about 5:00 A.M things started to pick up. I remember seeing brother Seraphim come around this time; it’s always nice to see fellow HI brethren around. Also around this time a lot of the other choir members came but they could not go inside until later. This gave me a chance to take shots of them standing near the front of the chapel. At about 5:30 A.M the other inctv members started coming in. I remember meeting a sister from Mountain View named Francesca. She was pretty and also an inctv officer. We also met up with Macy, JP, and that one other sister. We all waited a bit for IJ and the rest of the crew since it was difficult to get inside. But eventually one of the nicer scan members helped us get inside. But for some reason, the scan guy who gave us a hard time still gave me a hard time to get inside. Oh well, eventually we all got inside and we met up inside the meet up room down one of the halls. Inside I saw an old friend from Monterrey. It blew my mind to see Jumay after ten or so years! We quickly caught up before our meeting began. For my meeting I met up with the other photographers (Jeff, Noel, Nelson, bro Joseph, and the other bro) and sis Joanne. During our quick meeting sis Joanne gave us instructions on how to set our cameras while also helping me set up my camera. We also got our assignments during this short meeting. I was to be assigned the basement area during the sermon and anywhere beforehand. After this short meeting, the bigger meeting started and we got final instructions before we prayed. After the prayer all of us photographers went outside and started. Jeff coordinated with me to make sure that we got a good idea on how we will cover the basement. We went to the basement and Jeff gave the laydown on how the basement would be covered. Afterwards, we went on our separate ways to get shots of the brethren and surrounding. By now it must have been 6:00 A.M with the officers prayer around 7:30 A.M. I believe my first few shots were candid shots of brethren. It was also around this time when I met bro Aldrin of Sacramento/Guam! He’s the brother of bro Harold which was very interesting. He was also working at the translator booth. I let Jeff know that the translators were outside since we thought that the translators would be inside. I then went back to the translator booth and Aldrin helped get me a translator. Afterwards I headed inside the tent. At this time the tent was full of the bem students and a few others. I got to say hi to a few of them, particularly Edmund and AJ. It was legit seeing them since I would have a hard time later saying hi after the event. The shots I got inside the tent were of the rows that I found full. I remember at one particular occasion I took a shot of a full row and a sister says “oh that’s a good shot”. I replied “yeah it is! are you inctv too?” I asked because she noticed the kind of shot I was getting was lining up the row of brethren. The sister said no but I’m sure she knows a thing or two about church photography. Afterwards, when I left the tent area I headed up towards the chapel since I noticed it packed full of brethren already. I got a shot of the brothers side that was full. Around this time I got to talk to bro IJ for a bit about inctv in both the Colorado region and California region. Afterwards we went on our way. I think I went down by the parking area to see if I could get some interesting shots of the brethren coming in. I remember actually going up to a van with brethren coming out and I recognized one of the sisters as sis Dimple. It was interesting and also I noticed a drone floating about. It was interesting but why would you need a drone flying about? It was then around this time where we had to go to our spots since it was almost he officer’s prayer. Jeff and I met inside the basement and he took his position up near the front of the sister’s side while I got up near the front on the brother’s side. We both got a few shots of the brethren.

By 7:30 A.M everyone was anxious for the prayer to start. It was not until around 7:45-8:00 A.M when they announced that there would be a thirty-minute break. In the interim I took the opportunity to get some shots outside of the scan trying to put up a banner. During this time I also saw bro Rod ad Ferdie! It was very cool to see them again and I almost thought that we were all back in HI 2011-2013. Afterwards, I also went to the portable bathroom area since I actually needed to use the bathroom. It was kind of funny because the lines for those bathrooms were incredibly long. I mean they were Disney Land long, at least for the brother’s side. The sister’s side not too much. I took shots of the lines since I thought they would be interesting and could be used to show a lot of brethren lining up for the chapel dedication. The brother’s were kind of laughing when I took the pictures. The sister’s line actually got into a group when I took a picture. It almost astonished me that they did so. Afterwards, I went back inside to the basement where we waited the thirty minutes. During this thirty-minute wait I got to talk to Jeff about photography and how he got into it. It was a very interesting story and my favorite part was when he showed me the different camera lenses and settings. It astonished what a difference lenses could make! The higher end lenses were weighty and had a greater depth than the stock lenses I used. The full-manual lenses also freaked me out. Especially since my camera did not have the screen viewfinder. Because of this, with the full-manual lenses, when I adjust the focus on the lenses I could not see the difference it made in my regular viewfinder! After this talk about photography they announced that there was going to be another 10-15 minute break. I believe around this time Jeff went outside to get more shots. Before he went at this point he offered to me some of his lenses. It was incredibly appreciable but I don’t think I’m ready to handle expensive equipment. Eventually, Jeff came by and let me know what I should take shots before the prayer and head out to the tent since the tent needed more people to cover it. And so we did. But before I went to the tent we still had a bit of time to wait before the prayer began. At one interesting occasion a bunch of scan started gathering outside to block our windows from looking out. Presumably it’s so that we could not see our executive minister walk inside. Ok, at this moment I was sitting on a small ledge right next to the windows. Out of nowhere when the brethren noticed the scan lining up they all ganged up on the windows. This effectively blocked me to the window area which was awkward since I was facing the crowd that was inches away from me while the crowd was facing the window. At one point one of the older brothers knocked on the window to get the attention of the scan to move. It was incredibly awkward with tensions higher then they should be. Eventually, the scan moved indoors to move the crowd out of the way. This also meant that I had to move as well. I got out of my spot and stood at the end of the line of the scan. At this point the brother who knocked on the window also stood right in front of the line of the scan. Oh well, can’t keep everyone’s curiosity at bay. At this point the officer’s prayer began promptly. It must have been 8:45-9:00 A.M when it did begin. When it did, I got my shots of every row singing the hymnals. I then joined in on the prayer. Afterwards, I left for the tent. Inside the tent I decided to wait until the sermon began. It was odd since my fellow colleagues were getting shots all over the place inside the tent. As far as I know we were to get the first five minutes of the sermon. I waited until the right time and got my shots in of different angles of the crowd and the TV with our executive minister on it. After the five minutes were over I listened to the sermon from the brother’s side of the tent near the side opening of the tent. By this point I was tremendously tired and so tempted to just side down and “close my eyes”. But I decided to stand and listen. It was kind of funny cause I actually still dozed off while standing. But since I was standing I immediately woke up since I felt like I was falling over every time I dozed off standing. I think the lesson ended sometime around 11:30 A.M.

Afterwards was the presentations. I got a chair and slept as much as I could before the first performance. All the bem students did the first performance. I distinctly remember seeing Edmund, AJ, Larry, Saaj, and DJ sing. I felt bad for not seeing Francis sing since he was at the other end. The performance was very good and sounded, as it should for essentially a hundred-man choir. The next performance was the gospel choir, which sang an interesting song. I felt bad for the first girl who sang since the mic didn’t work well at first. But after the first mishap the rest of the performance went well. The next performance was by the youth of Roseville I believe. They performance went well as well also. After all the performances was the meet and greet rush. I actually wanted to get out beforehand to get some shots. However, the exit was jam-packed and I was unable to get out. It was funny since the only time I saw our executive minister was through the screen of someone’s smartphone lol! Oh well, afterwards I was able to get out and take some shots. I then headed up to the front of the chapel where I met up with Jeff and a few of the others and we discussed what we should do next. We then remembered we got twenty minutes to take candid and organized group shots of the brethren. And so we did. I tried organizing a few group shots and they went well. Most of the group shots I took were candid. Basically, I waited for a group picture to form and then I would take a sneak shot at the group. I got these types of shots both inside and outside of the chapel. I remember also going inside the sanctuary to get these types of shots. After the sanctuary shots I went back outside to get more shots. While outside I heard that the scan officers were meeting for a final prayer. Hearing this I jumped on the opportunity to follow them to get those shots. When I entered the chapel I bumped into sis Salve and her mom from Guam! It was amazing since I did not expect to see them there! I then had to go downstairs for the scan prayer and meeting. I got some good shots in and after the prayer I was able to get the group shot of the scan. After this I then headed upstairs to get more shots before heading to the tent again. Inside the tent I saw that they were doing the performances again. This time I got to see Francis sing along with the rest of the bem students. After their performance I went on over to see whom I could say hi to since I knew I was going to leave soon. I saw Larry and sat next to him and we quickly caught up on old times. DJ then joined us also and for a second I thought we were all in Guam. Then my brother came by and also Edmund too. My brother let me know that we were leaving soon. We got some group pictures in thankfully so they exist somewhere out there. I then had to part ways with my bros. I headed back to the sanctuary to give my card to sis Joanne. We got to catch up again since we last met a few weeks previous at Corpus Christi. Also, while sis Joanne got the pictures from my card I said by to Jumay. We joked about how we would meet again in another ten years lol! Hopefully it won’t be that long until we meet again. We were also able to take a picture as well. Afterwards, I got my card back from sis Joanne and said my farewell to Noel and Nelson as well.

With Aaron and Jason!

With Aaron and Jason!

When I left the sanctuary and saw Aaron Cunanan! When I saw him it freaken me out since I did not see him since HI! We quickly caught up on old times and he let me know that Jason was nearby. He gave Jason a call and we found out that Jason was just outside. I think it must have been about ten years as well before I saw Jason previously. We caught up on old times right away before I had to head out. Overall, the experience helping out INCTV and seeing the dedication in Roseville was amazing. I can’t wait for the next dedication!

Travel Log: Post, TX (03/28/15)

Post, TX

Post, TX

As mentioned in the earlier Travel Log from Corpus Christi, TX to Colorado Springs, CO there was an interesting stop I made at Post, TX. It left me cautious, bewildered, and curious about the small town of Post.

To be fair we arrived at Post around 9-10 P.M so it was fairly late. When we got there I remembered the last time I was there and that I wanted to take more pictures of the town. I always thought the town had this unique small town charm to it that was very pleasant. With this in mind I went around town taking pictures in the downtown area of Post. During this time, I knew our stay was not going to be long in Post so I decided to run around the town to take the pictures.

Post Theatre

Post Theatre

I remember the above picture being the first I took since it was a curiosity to me. It reminded me of that one theatre in Clayton, NM. This is because its relatively small and doesn’t seem to show a lot of movies. As far as I know, it looks abandoned. I was standing in a curbside spot near the middle of the road. This curbside spot was like a mini park since it had park benches on it. As you could see there is a small building to the right of the theatre. Noticing this I ran across the street near the curb of that small building.

Post Public Library

Post Public Library

At this point it started to get kind of weird and nerve wracking. While I was taking this above picture a car honked at me. At first I thought it was because I was standing on a parking spot. So I went closer to the curb and all of a sudden a second car comes honking. In my head I knew it was no coincidence for the two honks. And that it had nothing to do with me standing near the parking space. At this point I actually thought it was some sort of small town gang trying to signal something. I also thought it was another kind of signal between townsfolk alerting one another of something suspicious. It shook my nerves a bit thinking about the possibilities of the honks. But I ignored it and went on getting more pictures.

Some stores in Post including what it seems a fitness center

Some stores in Post including what it seems to be a fitness center.

The next picture I took is the one shown here. As you can see there is only one of the buildings open and it looks like a fitness center. I waved hello at the person walking out as a sign of good will but she ignored it, got in the car, and drove off quickly relative to the small town. It was odd, I expected some small town warm greeting I usually get in other small towns in Texas.

Some store in Post

Some store in Post

This above picture and the first picture in this post is the last pictures I got while in Post. After these pictures I went down the street because I saw one more building with its lights on. It looked like a big store and I thought it was still open. I actually wanted to and felt like I needed to talk to someone in town. But, at this point a local Sheriff car pulls slowly near me and in my head a few things pop up. It immediately verified that the honks from earlier were a sort of alert developed by the townsfolk. It also showed that they got the Sheriff to investigate my picture taking of the town. Finally, when I was done investigating the big store and head back to McDonald’s its going to alert the Sheriff. I still shrugged all of these concerns off and headed towards the big store. Once I got to the big store I noticed it was a fashion store that was actually closed. It just had its front lights on. In my head I knew I had to head back to McDonald’s since it was almost time to leave. In my head I also knew that if the Sheriff saw me do this he would turn his car around and halt me. And so I turned tail and ran towards McDonald’s inspite of these concerns. Doing so, confirmed my analysis that the Sheriff would pull a quick u-turn and halt me. I was so close to McDonald’s I almost wanted to outrun the Sheriff to get inside McDonald’s. But at this point the Sheriff already had stopped me. What surprised me was that he was relatively young and not as angry as I thought Texan Sheriffs would be. He first questioned what I was doing and when I explained myself he sorta had a laugh about it. He explained that, when he saw me go towards the big store and turned tail and ran back to McDonald’s, he saw it as a suspicious activity. And that corroborated my earlier assessment as well. He told me his name but for the life of me I cannot remember. I remember he said he was a Lieutenant though.

Don’t get me wrong, the Sheriff seemed like a nice guy, but the whole predicament of my stay in Post has got me thinking about the town more than I should be. Are the townsfolk afraid of strangers? When leaving McDonald’s I notice one of the workers looking at me with suspicion. Or is it because I really do look suspicious taking pictures? But overall, the predicament left me still thinking about whether the experience was positive or negative. Its positive since it showed me that small towns, such as Post, are close knit and look out for one another. However, it was negative since it showed the hostilities the townsfolk in Post towards outsiders. If you ever go to Post, TX let me know if you have any similar experiences.

What If Rand Paul is Elected President?

Image from Politico

Ideological Candidate

It was recently announced that Rand Paul will be running for the Republican nomination and subsequent 2016 presidential campaign. Up until now Rand Paul has been known as a fairly principled libertarian and senator from Kentucky. With this in mind, its probably too early to predict whether or not he will win the nomination or campaign. However, what would happen if Rand Paul is actually elected as president? It’s an interesting question worth looking into since, if elected, Paul would probably be the most ideological president since Woodrow Wilson. How would this translate into the modern age?

On Rand Paul’s Current Platform

Rand Paul’s current platform is consistent with his approach to limited government and limited US presence in the international system. Paul’s domestic policies are rightfully economic and based on limiting any form of government interventions in the market. Also, it seems that Paul is restraining immigration. In terms of foreign policy, Paul believes that the US should have a lighter presence abroad. To what extent is unknown. It is interesting to note that, in regards to international problems, Paul identifies radical Islam, ISIS, and Iran. For radical Islam, Paul states that he would “do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind”. This interesting since it is purposely ambiguous. As for ISIS, Paul states that congressional approval should be sought after for the use of force. As for Iran, Paul takes the fairly uniform opinion that Iran should not come into possession of nuclear weapons and that the process of “trust and verify” should be continued. Paul stresses that his foreign policy is the policy of peace. We could see how Paul is blending his libertarian ideals with an interesting foreign policy that tries to empower Congress, but has ambiguous tones that are neo-conservative at heart.

What If Rand Paul is Elected?

However, what would happen if Paul is elected? Usually, people mention that politicians say one thing and do another. It is arguable that Paul’s domestic policies are probably not going to change when he is elected. Once elected, Paul would want his domestic priorities on the top of his agenda by pursuing political and economic reforms to achieve his libertarian ideals. All domestic policies under a Paul administration would be ideologically based.

In terms of foreign policy is a bit harder to discern. To apply libertarian ideals to foreign policy is to become an isolationist. However, Paul is not intent on being an isolationist. What will bane Paul and his administration is on how to deal with the very problems he pointed out. Paul will find that his best option against these radical terrorists in the middle east is one of three options. Do nothing or deploy a larger amount of US ground troops in the region to conduct counter-insurgency or finally use the hated “drone strikes” that he placed upon the Obama administration. He could go for the first option and do nothing. This could mean the withdrawal of troops from the middle east which could lead to the destabilization of the region by emboldening more radicalism to spread to regions of strategic interests. Or doing nothing means doing the same and continuing US foreign policy in the region. The second option to deploy more troops would be seen as political suicide for Paul since it runs against his ideas of limiting US presence abroad. The third option is not that much better, to continue the use of drone strikes as calculated/surgical strikes upon various targets to end or roll-back ISIS and radical Islam. If Paul chooses this third option it would be a moment of irony. Arguably, Paul’s platform calls for doing nothing in the sense that he would not withdraw troops and keep the current troop strength in the middle east. Possibly Paul would implement a limited form of troop withdrawal. However, it is arguable that once elected if Paul decides to implement any form of troop withdrawal, Paul would increase the use of drone strikes in the region. This is due to Paul’s dual intent on dealing with the “haters of mankind” and limiting US presence abroad. The only way to do so is to rely on technology as a substitute for manpower and firepower in the region. In terms of Paul’s Iranian foreign policy, he would probably pursue more diplomatic talks with Iran in pursuit of Paul’s peace policy and “trust and verify”. Rand Paul still has to comment on other regions of the world such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Paul’s most noticeable concern once elected is deciding whether to pursue Obama’s “pivot to Asia” or pursue his own policy in regards to China. Will Paul be tough or soft on China? Once elected, Paul’s stance on China would most likely be ambiguous and stress economic cooperation between the US and China as a peace dividend. However, when it comes to the Taiwan issue, Paul’s ambivalence on the issue and preference to seek congressional approval may become a destabilizing factor in a cross-strait crisis. It is arguable that mainland China will invade and force a reunification with Taiwan if it could do so for two reasons. First, if China believes that Paul is not pursuing the pivot to Asia policy, committed to limiting US presence abroad, and shows low interest in protecting Taiwan. Secondly, China may invade Taiwan if mainland China believes it could do so and force a reunification before Paul could get a congressional approval to use force. This is one area where Paul’s peace policy is going to be put to the test.

On Foreign Policy

Overall, in terms of foreign policy, Paul’s libertarian tendencies are more muted and in its place are neo-conservative values. This is due to trying to pursue peace while at the same time trying to tame radical Islam. If elected, Rand Paul should not overemphasize his peace policy or else make the US weaker in the international system. Even more consequentially, Paul’s peace policy may embolden the use of force where it has been up until now deterred by US presence and commitment abroad.

Travel Log: Corpus Christi, TX to Colorado Springs, CO (03/28/15-03/29/15)

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After saying “maybe bye” to Jessa, my sister and I left the chapel and headed out the side exit. We headed towards the van where we would leave. As we walked toward the van I remember seeing Bro John and I said “hey I bet we’ll meet somewhere down the highway in some gas station”. We never did but we did run into someone else later on “somewhere down the highway in some gas station” lol Back on track, we first went to get something for lunch. We thought that Bar-B-Q man would be open but it was closed by the time we got there. So, thankfully there was another BBQ joint just about a 1/10 of a mile down the same street lol This BBQ joint ws Mr. G’s BBQ! When we got here I thought we were going to order to go but we decided to sit in and eat inside. It was in part due to us being tired I suppose. The other part was due to the super friendly workers inside. Since no other customer was inside some of the workers were eating and the others were lounging about. They immediately greeted us and asked us to actually eat inside. So we did. Mr. G’s was definitely different from Bar-B-Q man in a lot of ways. First, they have set menus and plates for you to choose up to three types of meats. In Bar-B-Q man you could choose essentially whatever you want and how much of it too. Secondly, they don’t give you as much as they would at Bar-B-Q man. At Bar-B-Q man I remember we spent less and we got a ton more. Third, the flavor and quality is different from both. Personally, the brisket in Bar-B-Q man is one of the best I have ever tasted. But, I would say that Mr. G’s has very good sausages and beans. And fourth, the BBQ sauces at both places are wildly different. Bar-B-Q man BBQ sauce leans towards the sweeter side of BBQ sauces. Mr. G’s BBQ sauce is more tangy with a prominent tomato taste in it. Both of the sauces are good and a matter of personal preference. Mr. G’s overall is good as well, it does look more modern and brighter than Bar-B-Q man, but I think I would have to give it to Bar-B-Q man since they give you so much more for your buck so to speak. While we were at Mr. G’s my sister actually found out that she did her translator yet which meant that we had to go back to the chapel. In my head I was actually excited to go back and maybe see Francesca and the other brethren again. Because of this, before I ate I actually went to change my shirt and shoes in the car. After we were done eating we promptly went back to the chapel. When at the chapel we went straight towards that kitchen where they were giving back the IDs. But when we got to the kitchen it was empty. So my sister went to look for someone to help her and thankfully she found a SCAN person who could help. Around this time in the basement we also saw Jessa again and I told her “told you it was a maybe bye” lol At this point I actually felt bad cause we found out that they only just finished INCTV at that moment. We subsequently said “maybe bye” again but this time it was for real. While waiting for the ID we met with a sister who knew our cousins in Houston. I think her name was Michelle or something. She was pretty cool. During this time we also said hi to Tiffany as she walked by. After some time the SCAN brother came by with the ID. I feel bad for not knowing that brother’s name but he was an elderly one and all I have to say in postscript is thanks bro! Afterwards, we left through the side entrance once again. While headed back to the car we saw Francesca. I was actually not about to say hi this time since the last few times I felt that she thought I was a creep. And she probably would not have been wrong. I forgot who said hi first but perhaps I did, she then said “what was your name again?” I then realized that she didn’t say hi back those other times because she didn’t know my name. Around this time her sister and a few friends came by. I remember Tatiana amongst them since her name was unique and she was quite enthusiastic as well. We then all talked about different matters and I remember Francesca saying that she went to Pikes Peak and felt like she was gonna fall off lol She also let me know that the donut place up there is not as good as Krispy Kreme, what a shame! I always wished that donut place up the peak would magically taste like the best donuts in the world since they are in an unusual spot for donuts. Afterwards, we had to go and I remember taking a group picture with them. I wonder what happened to that. Oh well,eventually we were on the road again.

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On the road from Corpus Christi through San Antonio was fairly straight. I remember actually eating those salted plumes that are pickled/lime flavored during this part. I notice the green salted plumes paint my fingers green. This was after I ate it lol so I realized, dang my mouth is real green! Oh well, when we got to San Antonio I noticed heavy traffic in the south bound highway. When I mean heavy I mean it was bumper to bumper and stretched for miles! When we got past this area we drove a few more miles past the San Antonio city line to Comfort, TX where we stopped at the Love’s Travel Center. A funny story is that when we got there we say Faye and Shar there! It was quite funny and I remember telling another bro that I’ll meet them “somewhere down the highway in some gas station”. It ended up being Faye and Shar which was legit! At the gas station I remember filling up my Thermos and getting this Little Debbie pack of 6 small powdered donuts. I also remember asking the cashier lady what city we were in.  She said “Comfort, but it’s more like a town not a city.” I said “oh Comfort, home of the famous candles”. It kind of shocked me when she replied “I’ve lived here all my life and I ain’t ever heard of no candles”. It shocked me since their candles are actually relatively popular (and expensive too!). Furthermore, the famous Comfort Candles could be seen on a sign approaching the town! Did she not see those signs or left the town or worse left her daily routine of commuting from her house to work?! Of course its an exaggeration all stemming from Comfort Candles, but hey. Afterwards, we hit the highway towards Junction, TX. During this time I was just eating those powdered donuts while sipping the coffee. I also realized at this time that when I talked to Faye and Shar from earlier my mouth was still green when I said hi to them. Dang. Eventually we got to Junction, TX which we stopped at previously on the way to San Antonio. It was different in the daylight since you could see all these small cactuses in the outlying area. We also noticed an interesting BBQ place down the street from the gas station called Cooper’s BBQ. We were about to go there but we were still full from earlier. While at the gas station I remember going with my little sister to the fence of the gas station to look at the cactuses. It was interesting and I was able to get a picture. A funny thing is that on the barbed fence were strands of hair. It was funny cause it looked like someone tried to go under the barbs and got their hair caught. It was kinda creepy too. While leaving this area we also saw one of the Truck drivers fix up his truck and we said hi. The interesting thing is that the guy looked like someone you would see in your college classroom. It was interesting. Afterwards, we headed inside and I don’t think I got anything this time. My mom got these caramelized puffs that tasted like Buc-ee’s beaver nuggets lol My older sister also got these pretzel things that tasted heavily of dijon mustard. They were actually tasty. Afterwards we were on our way through the backroads and through the small towns. When we got to Eden we noticed that at the south entrance there was an actual “Garden of Eden” most likely set up by the town. From the outside it looked very pretty. We didn’t notice this on our before since it was too dark. Afterwards, I saw this donut place I wanted to go last time but it was still closed. It wasn’t even that late! I know there was sun out so it might have been around 6-7 P.M at this point.

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Our next stop was at Ballinger, TX (BAL-In-Jur). I wanted to go to that store that looked like a bakery but I found out that it was just a Mexican restaurant. I wasn’t too hungry so we passed by. Instead we went to the local market “Shoppin’ Baskit”. It was interesting and in the front of the market was a community board with a lot of different flyers of events, missing pets, general information, etc. It was kind of cool to see that community board. When inside Shoppin’ Baskit it looks like a typical market kinda like a small k-mart but with mostly grocers. The selection of raw food still looked good even though Ballinger is so far from any major city. I also noticed that they had Western Family products which is something I haven’t seen since Guam lol Or at least I have not noticed it since Guam. Its hard to describe the environment inside the Shoppin’ Baskit since its obvious that its an everyone knows everyone town. When I saw kids my age I just wondered what would happen to them. Also, inside the store I noticed that they had this counter that looks like customer service but it was called something different. I forgot what the called it, something like community desk or something, but I noticed that they were selling ammo in the front of the desk! It wasn’t even in a glass case or anything, you could just go and pick up the ammo and look through the selection lol! From Shoppin’ Baskit I felt like I had to buy something. I ended up getting a Vanilla Coca-Cola and a few $1 Hostess snacks including a Cherry Pie, Apple Pie, and Ding-Dongs. When I paid for my stuff they asked if I wanted paper or plastic. I haven’t had that asked to me for an incredibly long time. The cashier lady told me how to pronounce Ballinger since I always thought it was pronounced BALL-In-Jur. Afterwards it was a fairly straight drive into Sweetwater, TX. It was here where we got some more gas. Inside I remember the guy’s bathroom was closed so I had to use the women’s one. Afterwards I looked at the postcards and they were kinda weird. I remember one had a pin-up cowgirl with a caption that said “when you get tired on the ranch you always got this cowgirl” or something like it. Some of the other postcards look faded as well. Also inside the store I noticed peruvian sweaters for $12. I was about to get one but oh well. Back in the car it was a fairly straight drive to Post, TX. I actually have a bit to say about Post, TX so i’ll leave it for the next post (lol). From Post it was my turn to drive. I remember driving through Lubbock. On the way to Lubbock I remember there was a crash near the city line. It had a lot of police and ambulances and such so that was interesting to drive on the side lane. Through Lubbock I drove all the way to Amarillo which was our next stop. We stopped at the Love’s gas station right out the city lines. It was an interesting gas station since they had this clearance table in the center. I noticed they had slim jims for like $0.69 each. I also noticed mini altoid mints for around a $1.00. I didn’t get anything here. Afterwards, It was my dad’s turn to drive and he got us to Clayton, NM where we made a stop at the Love’s gas station there. Then it was my mom’s turn to drive and she got us all the way to Trinidad, CO at the Shell gas station near Raton Pass. After, it was my turn to drive again and I got us to Colorado City. Throughout this length of the drive I was actually dead tired and nearly fell asleep at the wheel so to speak. When we got to Colorado City we parked at the gas station and rested for an hour. By this moment it was about 6:15 A.M. My dad was the one who drove all the way back to Colorado Springs. When we got home it was some time seven in the morning. I was dead tired by the time I got home.

Church of Christ Chapel Dedication: Corpus Christi (03/28/15)

Today was an incredibly long day that would stretch until the next. I woke up around 5:30 A.M to get ready for the chapel dedication. Before we left the hotel I checked us out. When I went to the front desk I saw Amber again with her mother and the maintenance guy who was also her brother. It was interesting, and I said something down the line “The whole family’s here” and we had a laugh about it. Amber helped me check out and get two blue bowls I used to get ice. At this point I believe amber was also about to finish work at 7:00 A.M. I also remember that brother from the previous night (Pascal) came by with his daughter looking for the breakfast place. I wasn’t too sure where the breakfast place was but I told him it was somewhere out back. Afterwards, my family and I left the hotel around 6:50 A.M and barely got to the chapel by 7:00 A.M lol! When we got there me and my sister went straight to the inctv meeting place. I first greeted Kristen, then Jessa, then Rahmfeld, then a few of the other peeps before we prayed. After the prayer I learned that I was to be assigned the side of the chapel with Aika. Aika said she was gonna help out with the camera people so I was solo on the side for a while until Pascal came by later to help. During the solo time it was a bit fun getting shots of different people as they arrived and shots of the chapel itself. When bro Pascal came by it was awesome since I was able to introduce myself officially. A funny story about when I introduced myself to bro Pascal is that I stepped on this very muddy part in the ground and my foot sank deep into the mud. I don’t think bro Pascal noticed but for a bit after I was trying to get the mud off through stomps and scrapes with the ground. From the time about 7:15 A.M ish all the way to 9:00 A.M I was taking shots in the side of the chapel. Not much things too exciting happened. I remember seeing a lot of people I met the day before. Specifically I remember seeing Pea and Francesca! Also around this time I went by the pastoral house to pick up my translator. On the way I met a sister named Sharon and I thought it was Sharona since it was pronounced similarly without the extra a in the end. I remember making a joke about the My Sharona song too and we laughed about it as well. After this meeting, I got to the pastoral house. Inside I met a brother from Arkansas and for some reason I can’t remember his name but he was cool. I also saw Alyssa Gaddi from Lubbock too which was awesome. While trying to get my translator I made a joke about giving them my Sam’s Club card for the translator. I quickly switched it out to my regular license lol After getting my translator I headed out and did what I could for the remainder of my time in the side of the chapel.

When it was almost time for the officer’s prayer to begin a whole surge of people came my way and I took the opportunity to get shots of them coming in. Amongst them was the Florescas which was legit. I subsequently also saw Ranniel and Richard which was awesome too! We quickly caught up with old times. Around this time the SCAN also came by with ladders and these huge wooden planks in the shape of a big door with an oval shape on the top of them. The purpose was to use the ladders to place these huge planks over the windows of the chapel as to prevent excess light from coming in. A lot of people were looking up at the brothers doing the hard work and to be honest I sorta wished more people helped out than pointed and stared. It was egregious when I heard people cast doubts and said that the people going up the ladders were going to fail and fall. Oh well, as for me I did my part and documented the scene with the camera. It was then about time for me to go inside the chapel. For the inside portion me and bro Pascal were assigned room 3 & 4. I quickly scouted both rooms and got to use the bathrooms before the crowd came in. A funny story about the bathroom was that someone went into the guy’s bathroom. I knew it was a one person bathroom so I waited for him to leave. When I came in, lord and behold, the toilet was full of urine! In my head I knew something was wrong since this toilet was working yesterday. I used it and then noticed that the handle was broken off. I put it back in but it still wouldn’t flush. I was about to manually flush it from behind but another person really needed to use it. I told him about the situation but he was okay with it. I then went out and stopped a few sisters from going in. Thankfully I used it when I did cause around this time the crowd came in. With it came the disney land lines for the bathrooms. Afterwards, I went to my spot in room 3 and set up my chair in the middle at the back of the room to get a good vantage point of the room. At this point it seemed like the room was going to be only sisters, which I was cool with. I also saw Keren from Grand Junction which actually surprised me. That must have been at least a 22-24 hours drive! At this moment it was mentioned that there will be a thirty minute break. Afterwards, I went around to check how all the other rooms were doing and get some extra shots. While leaving the room I bumped into sis Rosanne from the other day. When I left the room I ran into Ranniel and Richard again and we all were able to meet sister Venise from Sugarland. At this moment I actually thought her name was Denise since that’s what it sounded like to me at that moment. She was super pretty and I wished I got to talk to her more. Afterwards, we all parted ways and I hit up some of the rooms to get pictures. I also saw a lot of the choir member sisters in the disney land line for the bathrooms and we all laughed about it. Then, I also headed upstairs to check those out. Those rooms were not as filled but to my surprise while taking pictures I saw that sister from Dallas I met with Mark a while ago. It was legit and she let me know that Mark was there as well. Around this time it was almost 9:30 A.M so I headed back to the room for the officer’s prayer. When it was time to pray I noticed our room was the only room sitting down so I let everyone know that we should be standing for the prayer. After the prayer the deacon came in telling us to give our offerings in an envelope into the offering box down the hall. I did as stated and on the way to the offering box a sister came up to me asking for the bathrooms. I warned her about the disneyland lines and she was about to talk away. But I looked back and the lines were actually gone so I told her to go there quickly before the lines swelled again. When I got to the offering box Alyssa told me her translator wasn’t working right. I told her to go and exchange it but it didn’t seem that she was willing to do so. I wonder if she ever got a working translator that day. Afterwards I headed back to room 3 and coordinated with bro Pascal about how we would switch off rooms during the first five minutes of the service. Actually around this time I looked inside room 4 and say Kathleen Oronguy from Oklahoma City! I was shocked since I didn’t see her since Onin’s wedding in Hawaii. Eventually, I got back to my seat in room 3 and the service started to begin. It started with singing then the processional march then a reading of the history of Corpus Christi. Afterwards was the main lesson from our executive minister. When it started we only had five minutes to take pictures during the lesson. I focused on getting the pictures from behind the congregation while focusing on the tv screen to show our executive minister. After getting shots from my room I switched out with bro Pascal and we covered each other’s room. Thankfully bro Pascal got the front shots since I didn’t get much of those. Afterwards I got back to my seat and listened throughout the rest of the lesson. Afterwards was the closing officer’s prayer. I closed the door to the room so we could hear the prayer but unfortunately the audio was cut off and we just couldn’t hear. Afterwards, I met one of the deacons in my room from El Paso. He was real nice and for the life of my I cannot remember his name I think it was Cecil or something like that.

Afterwards, I left the room and checked on what everyone was up to. There were large crowds covering all the exits so I was searching for alternative ways out. While looking for alternative ways out I saw that sister from Dallas again was Mark. Mark told me that he was looking for his sister as well. I actually didn’t even know he had a sister. After we parted ways I met a brother from Kansas City, bro Ed. He was a cool kid and said that he was hitting up the beach when everything was done. I told him to give my regards to Hannah in Kansas City. Afterwards, I tried going upstairs to look for a way out. When I got to the other end I saw bro Darlo and Allen. I was also able to meet bro Ken. We were all at the flight of stairs near the art gallery. It was super crowded in this end as well. A few moments later Karen from Grand Junction joined up with us. During this time I was also getting shots of our executive minister amongst the crowd. After the executive minister left I went back upstairs and headed out the other way. When I got out the other way I went out the backyard and noticed no way out except through this opening through the building. Inside this opening was a storage like area that looks like a cross between a basement and a garage. Through this way I met bro Randy the son of the Talioaga from Austin. It was cool then I had to head out to check what was going on there. I headed towards the function hall for one reason or another. By this time it was the performances for our executive minister. I remember bumping into Venice for the last time. It was during this meeting when I learned her name was Venice not Denice. I then headed into the function hall to actually just sit down. I sat near the middle of the room and ran into that brother deacon from el paso again. I also ran into Keagan from Colorado Springs! It was interesting and felt like I was back in Colorado. Afterwards, when the performances ended I felt the crowd pushing out towards the side of the function hall. I took the back exit since nobody was using it. From there I headed upstairs to the sanctuary using the back door. Inside the sanctuary I was looking for sis Joanna so I could give my SD card to. I found out from Jessa that Joanna was outside. Because of this I decided to do a few shots in the interior of the chapel. I was able to capture some shots from the interviews going on. Afterwards Jessa let me know that I should take some shots outside and so I did. When I got outside I took basically random shots of different groups of people. In two occasions I got a group of people to pose for a shot. That was interesting. Afterwards I just did freelancing shots of anyone and everyone. At one point I went to the top of the stairs near the entrance of the chapel to take higher shots. During this time I met a sister for some reason I can’t remember her name but she was super cute. I asked if I could help take a picture for her and she declined but bro Mecko from Aurora said sure! I helped all the Aurora brethren get some good shots for their personal camera in the front of the chapel. It was a bit difficult to get the shots since there was a lot of people walking by blocking the view but I managed. When I gave the camera back to Mecko I got my camera I placed down in the mean time. Also, around this time I saw Francesca again and was able to say hi before she went back inside. Afterwards, I met bro Abe and he seemed like a cool guy. I forgot which locale he was from though. Afterwards I subsequently headed back inside the chapel. Inside I saw sis Joanne, Faye, and Shar! It was cool. I was able to turn in my SD card and talk to Faye for a bit. I also saw Kathleen from OKC again! Kathleen was doing her interview and Faye was up next. It was also around this time where I believe I was about to leave. I got my sister and we headed out. Before leaving I remember seeing Jessa again and saying “maybe bye”. How specific and true since we would leave the chapel and have to come back about an hour later. Overall, although the chapel dedication was exhausting it was also incredibly fun and exhilarating! I would do it all again if I could.

Travel Log: San Antonio to Corpus Christi (03/27/15)

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This day and the next has been very busy. I remember leaving San Antonio around 10:30 A.M. Our first stop was at this nice travel center in Floresville, TX a few miles north of Pleasanton. I remember seeing a bunch of Mexican snacks here including those spicy chips and a lot of other snacks from South of the border. I also remember seeing a lot of Asian preserved snacks such as salted plumes and others. I ended up getting these green salted plumes that were supposedly pickle/lemon flavored. Besides from these salted plumes I also got the donuts they made in house. They also had krispy kreme but hey go for the local stuff! I didn’t regret it either, the donuts in house were better than the krispy kreme stuff! I got a cream cheese/raspberry bar, glazed eclair, glazed donut, and a chocolate donut with sprinkles on top. I wasn’t planning on getting coffee but with all these donuts of course I had to get some lol! I also remember getting this awesome Mexican ice cream thing called a “bola”. It was coconut flavored and resembled and tasted like filipino ice candy. Afterwards, it was a fairly straight drive to Corpus Christi. On the way there was a lot of greenery which is contrasted to all the brown of the deserts in North Texas. It really was a beautiful sight to see. When we got to Corpus Christ the first thing that is immediately noticeable is the Citgo oil refinery. Its huge and in the distance i actually thought it was the downtown area! The city of Corpus Christi was like a freak blend between Charleston, SC, Amarillo, TX, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Its noticeably a Texan town with a beach town flair. The Juarez comparison could be seen in the suburbs with very latino looking buildings/stores that look like they came straight out of Juarez. The first stop we made in Corpus Christi was at the new Church of Christ building in the suburbs. It looked very nice but we didn’t stay a while at the moment since there was no parking and we were hungry.

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We then went to get some Texan BBQ at a local joint called “Bar-B-Q Man’s Patio Cantina”. Off the top I already recommend this place to anyone visiting Corpus Christi. Its relatively cheap to the amount of BBQ you get and above all it taste very good. I remember going inside and it resembled someone’s house turned into a BBQ joint. It seemed fairly dated inside with 70s style wood fixtures everywhere and the smell of an old house. I think it actually added to the charm. Near the register is where you could choose the kind of BBQ you want and they have ribs, ham, brisket, chicken, and sausage. All the BBQ is piled up and its actually a sight to behold. I also noticed that the workers were all very nice and will let you try the meat before you get it. The BBQ sauce they have available leans towards the sweeter side. I kinda wished we got to eat it in house but we were busy so we got it to go. Afterwards, we got to the hotel. At the hotel I actually met sister Kristen right away at the entrance. I remember her charging/checking her phone. She’s pretty cute actually and nice too. I also remember I say Faye and Shar for the first time for years! It was a blast from the past so to speak. We got to catch on old times and eventually we all went our way. At this point I remember we got to eat the BBQ and got ready to check in the hotel. When we did we got all our things packed into the room and got ready to go back to the chapel.

I believe at this point it was around 3:15 P.M when we left the hotel to go to the chapel. I had a meeting there around 5:00 P.M for an inctv meeting. When we got there I remember I had to give my sister’s painting to the art exhibit. On the way there I met a lot of brethren. Unfortunately, so much I had memory overload and could only remember some faces and some names. One was a sister who was also in inctv, Sis Aika from Little Rock, AR. I also remember meeting her family as well, they were real nice people. By the time I got to the art exhibit they were just about done setting up the exhibit when I gave my sister’s painting. I remember meeting one of the sister’s helping with the exhibit but for the life of me I can’t remember her name, I think it was Carla or something like that. Afterwards, I decided to check around the chapel, I believe it was around this moment I met sis Francesca of Corpus Christi. She is also real cute and actually really nice/polite. I wished I got to talk to her more at this moment but oh well. I remember then looking around the back storage room and then headed up stairs. Its interesting, these parts where I was checking were not renovated yet. Because of this they resembled old school rooms that have been abandoned since the Cold War. It was a bit creepy as well seeing all the empty classrooms and such. After leaving, I then headed out the back door. Through this door you will end up in the back yard which was fairly sparse. I then took a walk around the bloc. I remember seeing this guy on his yard with his dogs. He seemed like a nice dude. I then finished my round around the bloc. At the end I saw Ai-Ai from San Antonio, it was interesting and awesome. I also met this real interesting sister named Pea (Pee-Uh). I remember she told me that she was originally from American Samoa and transferred to Kaneohe, HI. When she said that I freaked out cause I got some good friends in Kaneohe. Pea unfortunately did not know them. Right now Pea is an exchange student in Texas and will actually be heading up to Canada when she is done in Texas! After meeting Pea, I went to the pastoral house in a block diagonal from the chapel. Inside it was fairly tight and I remember a lot of brethren from Edinburg I believe was chilling inside. I remember meeting a sister named Tiffany who was pretty also. She had short hair and seemed kinda hard to talk to. Around this time a brother asked me and a few other bros to move a table out the side of the pastoral house blocking a pathway. We subsequently moved this table and I headed out my way. At this point I remember going out to the side of the chapel where I saw good ol’ RIcky from Hawaii! It was awesome and unexpected! At that time we also met sis Rosanne from Fort Worth who was a bible student. Sis Rosanne was actually full of energy and pleasant to talk to. I remember I had to leave for some reason to check on something inside, and so I did. I then saw some of the more renovated parts of the chapel such as the function room and the staircase connecting the function room to upstairs. It was around this time I met two sisters from Sugarland, one was Bobby and I forgot the name of the other for some reason. I remember both were incredibly pretty and that Bobby had a good sense of humor when she laughed when I said, “Bobby? like Ricky-Bobby?”. I noticed they were going to the final practice so I couldn’t talk to them for too long. Afterwards I went to the basement where I met a few sisters from Houston/Sugarland area. The one I could remember was Risa out of the four. I also met John from Little Rock I believe. He was an interesting kid who said he had an older brother in Wisconsin. It was around this time I also met sis. Nikki from San Antonio or Ft Worth. She was real pretty as well. At this point I said bye to John and Risa as I left the chapel for the time being. I believe it was around this moment where I called my sister since it was almost 5:00 P.M. At this time me and my sister went up the main entrance and say Kristen and the brethren from INCTV New Mexico. They were looking for a place to sit so I brought them over to the function hall downstairs so they could get a seat. Before I left the function hall I met bro Jel from Houston who was also a CWS teacher. It was interesting to finally meet him there after seeing all the time at the Webex meetings. He’s a real cool guy! At this point me and my sister went back to the side of the chapel and saw Ricky. It was awesome and eventually we had to go to inside the chapel to attend the devotional prayer. When the prayer was over I got to talk to the brother I stood next to. His name was Matt and was from Humble, TX. Real cool dude and was a bible student also would have made his first district activity, this one, a legit one. Afterwards we headed back into the sanctuary to get ready for the inctv meeting. When inside we waited for a bit before moving down to the function hall. When here we then had to move towards one of the overflow rooms for the actual meeting. When inside I met bro. Chris and Rahmfeld. I found out that Rahmfeld is actually from Canada which was interesting. Before the meeting started I also showed Rahmfeld the bathroom which was this bathroom that was in the unrenovated parts. Around this point the meeting started and was fairly interesting. I remember learning about different photo shots that I should be making the next day. After the meeting we then headed on out way. Before leaving I met bro Rome and sis Irene from Austin and their son Justin. They seem to be awesome people.

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Afterwards we headed out of the chapel and towards the hotel. When at the hotel I actually still had an assignment due at night so I went to the front desk to ask Amber if they had a business office. They did thankfully and I was able to complete my reading and paper. Around this time my mom brought over some mexican food which was awesome since I was hungry at this point. While I was eating I heard banging on the door which startled me. I paused for a moment then checked outside. A brother (who I would later meet as Pascal from Dallas) told me that it was a bunch of kids running around knocking on every door in the apartment. Afterwards I went back inside to finish eating. After I finished eating I went back to work on some postcards. It was at this moment where Amber brought in bro Joel Cubangbang (Ku-bahng-bahng [or as he likes to joke Ku-BANG-BANG]) went in to do some forms. The computer wasn’t working so he had to do some “arts and crafts” to finish his paper work. At this point he was able to finish his work and left. I subsequently finished my postcards going out to friends and handed them to Amber at the front desk. She said she was getting out at 7:00 A.M so I had an idea that I would see her again in a few hours. At this moment it was just about midnight and I had to get up around 5:30 A.M to get ready for the next day’s activities.

Travel Log: Colorado Springs to San Antonio (03/26/15)

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Today started out when I woke up around 4:45 A.M to get ready to go to church. The church service went well as usual. When I got home around 6:30 A.M I got my things ready for the trip down South. I believe we left the house at 7:50 A.M after getting everything ready. The trip itself went with business as usual. I remember our first stop was at Colorado City in the rest area. At the rest area there was actually still snow. Its surprising since in Colorado Springs the snow already melted away some time ago prior. While at the rest area I also remember seeing this short guy who was probably around 4′ flat. It was kind of amusing since he was also driving this small blue car that was actually relative to his height. After the rest area we also went to the gas station right across the street to get some coffee. The coffee here was pretty good and was slightly darker in roast. Afterwards, I led the drive down south. Nothing really got in my way from Colorado City to Raton, NM. At Raton we got gas at Crossroads as usual. From here we headed east towards Texas. Our next stop was at Clayton, NM where we actually got to stop at the new Love’s gas station for the first time. While here I got a hot dog and topped it with ketchup, pickles, and cheese from the chili/cheese machine. In my head it sounded like it would taste awesome but when I ate it in the car I felt kind of sick. The pickles tasted like relish and it just didn’t blend well with the cheese, let alone the ketchup. After Clayton, it was a fairly straight drive into Amarillo. In Amarillo we made a stop at the Travel Center to use the bathroom and get some food. I got some original chicken sandwiches with pickles at the Burger King while the rest of the family got stuff from Popeyes. My sister actually got two Jr. Whoppers at the Burger King as well. Afterwards, my dad took the helm of driving again and we headed down south towards Lubbock. This way toward Lubbock is a bit new for us and different from the other route towards Wichita Falls. On this different route you could actually see the Maseca factory at Plainview. I remember one of our stops towards Lubbock was a rest area near Hale Center. This rest area was interesting and nice. It was interesting since it consisted of three different but small rest area buildings. In one of them is a small exhibit. It was also a nice rest area since outback is a small dirt road that seems to connect to a farm. After this rest area was a fairly straight drive towards Lubbock.

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Once at Lubbock we made a stop at Wayne’s gas station on the outskirts of Lubbock towards Sweetwater. We got some gas here and I remember getting a frozen snow cone here as well. The snow cone itself was more of a novelty then something that was actually tasty. It was near rock solid and had barely any flavor. Afterwards, it was a fairly straight drive to Sweetwater. When we got to Sweetwater we stopped at another Travel Center that had this family diner inside. It actually seemed really nice and I remember hearing the waiter ask a customer if they wanted some coffee or juice to go. That seemed pretty cool to me. Inside the diner it looked a bit dated with old style wood fixtures everywhere. It also seemed like there was this buffet style table in the middle of the room. The only problem was that it smelled like body odor in the diner which was unfortunate. This wasn’t helped by the fact that right next to the diner was a Pizza Hut and there were little barriers between the two stores. The actual gas station itself was interesting. It had a lot of different Texan memorabilia but to my chagrin I did not see any postcards. I also noticed there were stairs going upstairs to a door. It kind of reminds me of that upstairs in the Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance” where the business owner stayed in the upstairs with a door in the ice cream shop. From here, the drive was throw a field of windmills and a bunch of small towns. For some reason a few of them stick out. One was Ballinger (Bal-in-jer). I remember distinctly that there was a corner restaurant with this neon sign of a baker looking person. The sign actually reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s silhouette with a chef’s hat. For some reason I wanted to go there. Another town that stuck out was Eden just cause its name was a reference to the biblical Eden. Also, our next stop was at a Junction travel center. In this travel center I remember buying a lighter for some reason. The lighter itself was actually really potent and shoots a stronger flame than the bic lighters. I also remember a McDonald’s connected with this travel center. Both the lines at the gas station and McDonald’s were immensely long and I think by now it was around 10:30 P.M! When we were leaving I also noticed a few very beautiful Texan girls with the stereotypical blonde hair blue eyes. What’s interesting is that they were not really dressed to impress (so to speak) but dressed like they were going on a jog or lounging around in the house. Yet, they really stuck out and made me wonder how they liked living in Junction, TX. Anyways, after Junction was a straight drive to San Antonio where we got some rest before continuing the journey to Corpus Christi, TX.