Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Summer is here, and after what turned out to be one of the longest and coldest winters of my life, I was anxious to get some outside time. I was able to pack kayaking, quad-riding, off-roading, and frisbee all in to a weekend. After being on the road for the past three weekends, I was in need of some unscheduled time outside.

On Saturday, we had some high hopes of going off-roading with the trucks but it didn’t quite pan out like I hoped it would. We got all of our gear loaded in case of an impromptu overnighter, and drove up in to the Laurel Highlands. But after we got some off-roading time in, we had let too much of the daylight slip away to find an unimproved camping spot. Every developed campground was as undesirable as they were full due to the Memorial Day rush, so we packed it in and turned the evening in to another backyard Skvarla Party.

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Little Cabin in the Woods

Little Cabin in the Woods

You have to make time to get away every once in a while.

We go to the Lone Pine at least once a summer for a weekend every year, and it’s a good opportunity to get the camera out.

Typically a cabin trip consists of a wild party on Saturday evening, and a refreshing dip in Blue Hole on the following morning. We did all of that, but since we had nothing but big pickup trucks with us, we did a little exploring through Forbes State Forest afterwards. We explored a few waterfalls and back roads.

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The Eastern Hill

The Eastern Hill

My eyes close, bathed in the pallid orange glow of sodium-vapor street lamps outside of my apartment. Strings of thought dissolve in to threads of memories, like nerves that can be plucked and awakened by my transient state as I begin to pass through the chasm in time between here and those nights.

I remember the cool blue light that the moon cast on us that evening. The pale, glowing orb hung in the sky and gave our world the softest of glows, frosting the tall grass in the middle of a hot summer night. We piloted across the top of the Eastern hill, navigating trails by strong instinct and weak headlights. Climbing the hill, testing our balance, we finally came to a rest at the highest peak.

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Heron 2013

Heron 2013

Another great festival year came and went, and consistent with every prior year, it just keeps getting better and better. As usual, Nathan and I committed the entire week leading up to the festival to helping prepare for the flood of thousands of people. Our main projects were mostly lighting-focused, and included adding illumination to Dragon Run. Work commenced on Sunday before the festival, as we accomplished a variety of tasks. Weather was a problem all week for the lighting guys, as you might expect. We made some very cool looking lanterns for the entrance of Dragon Run that melted in Thursday’s rain, and we had to quickly assemble the tapestry fixture to hang in its place. It looked decent, but it will be an area of focus for us next year. Rain and humidity also ruined our plaster layer on the Dragon sculpture, so time and finances permitting, Nate and I will have to overhaul it for next year. We brought our own work truck up for the pre-week, so we didn’t have to use any golf carts until festival time, which was a great relief. I bought the red Chevy (affectionately named Roxanne), and she was a real savior all week. I kept her so we can use her next year.

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May Day 2013: Candles and Campfires

May Day 2013: Candles and Campfires

I always look forward to the May Day celebrations at the Heron. It’s a great waypoint on the way to summer, as the snow thaws and the land turns green again. This year was a special year, as we celebrated the life of Alicia Passamonte, a past Heron volunteer coordinator. Though I never got to meet her, the impact that her life had on all of the Heron elders was monumental. Just as Alicia had requested, the Heron family held a candlelight vigil to light up the hill on Saturday night.

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Pyrotechnics Certification Class

Pyrotechnics Certification Class

Programmable controller for electric firing.

Go ahead, feel free to accuse me of collecting too many odd hobbies… But in my defense, it’s pretty fun to (safely) blow things up.

Last weekend, I participated in a training course provided by hometown pyro-gurus, Pyrotecnico of New Castle, PA. They offer this free-of-charge class to aspiring pyrotechnicians to train them on the operation and safety skills needed to handle high-explosives.

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St. Patricks Day at the Heron

St. Patricks Day at the Heron

Back when we were still assembling the yearly Great Blue Heron flyers by hand, we always threw a yearly party between winter and spring to get together and produce the mailer. Even though we now started outsourcing the mailer, we still get together around the same period for some social time, and what better holiday to do it then St. Patty’s Day?

Even better, why not for St. Patty’s Day when our favorite Celtic fusion band, the Town Pants, are in town?

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The Sean Slayer Showdown

The Sean Slayer Showdown

I got the invite to go hang out with my Blue Heron friends up in Canandaigua, and dropped in on their snowboarding event, the Sean Slayer Showdown. I really never tried a snowboard before, and it gave me some motivation to learn next year, but in the mean time, I shot some footage of the stunts they were doing, and was blown away by their dexterity and skill:

Even besides the spectacle, it was cool getting to catch up with my friends again. I usually only get to see the Rockcastle boys and the rest of the crowd at the festival, so I always get stoked when they plan a weekend. It’s always worth the drive up to the Finger Lakes; besides the great people, the area is full of scenery and history.

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Holidays 2012

Holidays 2012

I always look forward to the holidays, but this year was especially anticipated because it was my first Christmas to come ‘home’ to after moving down to Pittsburgh.

Keeping up with our annual family traditions, our family had our usual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to the Strip District to buy steaks and crab legs for our traditional Christmas Eve surf’n’turf. This year Bober and DPM tagged along and we had a fun morning exploring some of the shops in the Strip. We had a spur-of-the-moment lunch at Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille and savored some awesome lobster bisque.

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2012 in the Rear View

2012 in the Rear View

Two thousand and twelve was a very dynamic year. Perhaps, this biggest year I’ve ever lived. I guess its only prudent to reflect on the mountains and valleys that the year brought and hopefully pick up a little wisdom.

I cannot remember a year in my adult life that brought more change than this year.

I got to travel a lot in the first part of the year, before the grapples of grad school sunk their claws in me, and I was fortunate enough to visit New York City with my friend Brenna, visit the Ozarks with the Skvarlas, and go to Bonnaroo with Maranie and the gang. I went to Long Island to attend/photograph the wedding of Adam and Krista, which was sweetened by our epic wedding proposal.

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