Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Past Didn't Go Anywhere

I slipped out of work a little early on Friday so I could drive south to Blacksburg. I made it just in time to catch Tyson's masters thesis defense in Randolph Hall, my old stomping ground. It was an excellent presentation, and a strong thesis. It's on human factors concept design for naval ships - good material. If he wasn't already dialed in with the Coast Guard, it's the kind of work that would get him a job in no time.

After the presentation, I got to see some of my old professors and caught up a little. Then we picked up Tyson's wife Michelle and their daughter Anna and went out for pizza. Once the sitter came over, the grown-ups were able to head out to celebrate a little. We went to Sharkey's, which moved into the corner spot that used to be Preston's. The old Sharkey's is all closed up. And that's just the beginning - Blacksburg has changed a lot since my time there. More and more of the open plots on campus are filled up: new dorms, new offices, new academic halls & research facilities. And the growth of the town is keeping up - a number of buildings in downtown were completely new to me.

Anna and Dan

After Sharkey's, we went to Champs. Both were pretty typical college drinking halls, though I did hear them play the Blues Explosion at Sharkey's, which was surprising. We were joined by some of Tyson's fellow grad students, including a CGA 01'er named Brook, who I had been in a few musicals with. All were doing well.

Being in Blacksburg again was a bit odd. I never especially liked it there - nothing really with it, I just never felt any real attachment to the place. All the grey HokieStone buildings were depressing in winter, it felt like Castle Greyskull. Returning, it just seemed like the place was overrun with kids trying to act like adults, wearing their poser clothes just so, listening to crappy music and drinking more than they can handle. I do not miss college.

On Saturday, after running some errands and taking Anna to see Franklin the Turtle (?) and the Easter Bunny, Tyson, Anna and I went to Lane Stadium for the spring intrasquad football game. Free admission, nice weather - it was good. And actually the first time I've been inside Lane - I never went to a game when I was a student.

Lane Stadium

More of Lane, including the expanded luxury boxes that tower over the campus

Had a little cookout on Saturday night, and then dyed easter eggs, which were hidden after Anna went to bed. Got up early today, found those eggs, ate some candy, and headed back to DC. It was nice to have a change of scenery for a few days. And Michelle made me a plate of food from the easter dinner I missed. Ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pineapple stuffing, etc. It was delicious.

Michelle, Tyson, and Anna dressed up for Easter services Posted by Picasa

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gladtobeanex-hokie said...

What kind of new buildings were downtown? There were a couple I noticed when I visitated while you were there, but nothing very remarkable. A couple of new downtown buildings were built while I was there, including one by one of my professors that we made merciless fun of him for - it had one element that was exactly the type of thing that he would knock down in our work. We never let him hear the end of that one.

enjanerd said...


You hid the eggs? Didn't the easter bunny get confused when he showed up and there were already eggs everywhere?

Dan said...

I think if you read carefully, you'll notice that I never say who hid the eggs.

Which building did your professor do? The new stuff includes a mixed-use building on Main, near the city library, a number of remodeled shops, new dorms, bio-med center, physics building. Tons of new apartments north of town. The new stuff on main is mostly 2 story commercial. Nothing remarkable, just ... more than before.

BeforeTheWeightOfTheWorldCrushedMySpirit said...

The building that Prof. Mark Blizard did while I was there, and before he left for Texas A&M (I think), was at the T-intersection of...Main, forget, whatever the big boulevard was out at the far edge of the commuter lots, behind Randolph and Cowgill and all those. It had office space above and a video store below - due to grade and retaining walls, both floors were accessible from the outside.

It wasn't a terribly remarkable building - and hence kind of an unintentional lesson for us on the difference between academia and the profession. Blizard was one of the most passion-filled, design-ambitious professors I saw there, and he was unable to reflect that in this commission. Lots of professors had designed their own houses, though, and they were all very interesting. So it was more a lesson about clients than anything else.

Prices Fork! That's the other road.