Friday, May 28, 2010

Mike Cassidy...

Today was the last day of work for my friend Mike Cassidy at Edwards Air Force Base. In June of 2005 he left the film industry in Hollywood to take a unique opportunity to work at Edwards and utilize his many years of television and movie camera experience for RSI under the graphics contract. During the nearly 5 years he spent at Edwards he has captured the progress of many flight test programs, Space Shuttle landings, air shows, change of commands, award ceremonies, two fatal aircraft crashes and the arrival of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The first time I met Mike was during one of the many 95th Communication Group Commander’s Calls he covered where he was capturing the award portion of the ceremony. I was immediately struck by his confidence, professionalism and positive attitude. Throughout the following couple of years we would generally connect at these events and I would always try to meet after to catch up and say hello.

About 6 months ago it became readily apparent that the longevity of his service under the base contract was no longer a steady option. At that time Mike and I solidified our friendship and began to spend more time talking about life, family, the future and different options for both of us. During all of this I was extremely impressed with his professionalism and positive attitude. I do not think I have ever met an individual with his ability to remain focused on the positive and to actively stay away from the negative.

So today, Friday the 28th of May 2010 marked the end of this phase of his journey. He finished his last test program yesterday, which included what was described as an amazing send-off. Today he inventoried all the gear he has utilized on nearly a daily basis and turned in his passes, badges and keys. Tomorrow starts the next phase of his journey where he steps back into the film industry with a newfound excitement. Mike is also pursing his life long dream of sharing his tremendous collection of fine art night photography with the world through his new website and soon to be featured in magazines and art galleries.

I can’t wait to see where you are going to go from here and I am honestly grateful that I can call you a true friend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Desirae's Reading Award...

I took the afternoon off today so I could attend the award ceremony at Desirae’s school. She has been working very hard at her reading and was recognized with an “AR” (which I think means Advanced Reading) award and trophy. She was very excited about this and yesterday asked if I could attend. Initially I said no because I’ve been off a lot lately but I rearranged my schedule and made the time to go. She was VERY happy in getting the award, as you can clearly see in the image, and it was really great to be apart of it.

The really amazing part is to think that another school year is nearly over! In just a week both Devin and Desirae will be out of school for the summer. It seems like a blink of the eye and the school year is over. We have a pretty packed summer planned which includes hosting a coach for soccer camp, a multi-week visit for the kids at my mom’s and then a solo trip for Denise and the kids back to Oklahoma for about three weeks… Pretty much after that it will all about getting ready to start back to school with Deanna starting her first year next year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Playing in the grass...

Well, today Devin had a doctors appointment so I took the afternoon off so I could watch after the girls while Denise took him into town.  As you may have read on Denise's Facebook page she has been taking care of the lawn during the day so that we don't have to mess with it on the weekends.  She has been doing a pretty darn good job and the yard has been looking pretty good.  So today I coaxed the girls to play in the front yard and I took the opportunity to take some photographs of them.  It was pretty cool and I had fun.  I think the girls did too.  Desirae is playing with one of the toy wooden cars we bought during our last camping trip up at KQ Ranch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun and games... Kinda...

So here's the deal, Denise really likes Scrabble but it is something I don't really play with her because she just smokes me and it makes it not really fun.  The kids decided they wanted to play and I took a break (ie, nap) while they set everything up.  When I got up they were still in the middle of the game.  I would like to say that it was a fun relaxing time and that everything was truly enjoying it...  It honestly seemed like an exercise in frustration.  By the time I came out the kids couldn't even come up with the simplest words and were pretty much arguing about everything.  I tried to help out but it didn't really seem to help...  Oh well... It was a good idea and it seems like it could have been fun.

Otherwise today has been kind of a laid back day.  We thought about going into Bakersfield to hit Camping World to get the replacement parts for the stuff that broke last weekend but we decided to just stay home.

Well tonight is the series finale of LOST, so that should be interesting...  At least we can mark another show of the list of things that we got roped into watching! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, manic Saturday...

Today was kind of an interesting day...  Both Devin and Desirae are basically on restriction for various reasons so I was kind of the gate keeper today.  Denise already had plans to go into town for a birthday party and it wasn't like everyone else could go under the circumstances.

So with the no-video games and limited television options the kids did a pretty darn good job of just playing together.  I was actually really impressed with how they behaved.  The only bad thing about the day was when Devin kind of face planted in the carpet while playing with Desirae.  I originally thought that he had a black eye but I think it was more of a carpet burn.  Either way it didn't look great and you can kind of see it under his eye in the image above.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Long weekend camping...

When we bought our new(ish) trailer we received a complimentary stay at one of the Colorado River RV Resorts.  They have been trying to coordinate a weekend with us for almost two years now.  A few months ago Denise went ahead and scheduled a stay at their KQ Ranch Resort down near San Diego up in the mountains.  So I ended up taking Friday off and we headed down there "early".  The only problem, well the first problem, was that it was a 6 hour drive and with stops too us around 8 hours to get there.

Being one of those resort type of things we had to sit through a sales presentation.  The cool part is that we got a full tour of the facility and it was one of the few times that we have been out that I really left like I know about the place we were staying.  It was a really nice place and under different circumstances (and if it was closer) it would probably be a really cool play to be a member of.  Ultimately we decided not to purchase a membership but it was a pretty good weekend.

The only problem is that I had a little diabetic type problem during the presentation so that kind of messed up the timing on Saturday.  Everyone was really good about it and it could have been a lot worse.  Our rep even took an interest in Devin and presented him with a hand made walking cane that he is enjoying using.  His current one is really falling apart so timing was great on that.

The big thing that Desirae wanted to do was use the pool and as you can see from the image above she got her wish on that!  All in all it was a really cool trip.  We did have some RV issues along the way such as nearly running out of gas, loosing the entire 12V system, damaging the safety break and loosing the hot water heater for a while.  All in all though it was a really cool weekend though.  We did get so send a few hours in Julian and on the way out we stopped and had a nice lunch and a stop at an apple pie shop that was pretty cool.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day...

Today we had a really nice Mother's Day!  There wasn't much planned but we made our way into town where we picked up a Nintendo DSi XL (or something like that) that she has been wanting for a long while.  We then made our way over to Famous Day's where it turned out everyone else had the same idea! So after about an hour wait we finally made it to a table.  It was a pretty good meal and a pretty nice time.

The photograph above was captured while we were waiting at Famous Dave's. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Mike's Presentation at the Antelope Valley College

I had a really cool opportunity to watch my buddy Mike Cassidy give a presentation on his movie industry experiences for a class at the Lancaster Antelope Valley Community College.  It was a four our class where he talked about the different aspects of how films are put together.  He also showed clips from a handful of movies he worked on and he spoke about the details that went into the shots to make them come together.  It was really cool to see him in his element and interact with the students.  

As you can see from the image to the left he also brought a collect of memorabilia from some of the movies and productions he has had an opportunity to work on.  Some of the pictures from his past were pretty entertaining to look at as well.  

Mike has been part of this class for the last couple of years and the instructor has made him apart of the curriculum for the class.

It really seemed like he was well received and I know that I had a good time!

UPDATE: Mike posted about his experience on his blog, check it out!