Travel Date: Monday, Nov 3 2014
After I got up I was feeling a little lethargic and lazy. Didn’t really want to do any touristy things so I decided I would just go to a coffee shop: Blacksmith near Ashley’s office.

I order some coffee. And I really like the mug. This place is busy. I find a window seat but there is not power source. Bummer, I’m going to run out of power soon.

And then some breakfast. Steak and eggs with bread and small salad.

After a while of blogging my battery runs out so I relocate to a different area of the coffee shop – near the kitchen. I talk to David and he plugs my battery into one of the kitchen outlets.

Later he makes me a coffee concoction that was quite good. Don’t know the name of it, but I definitely have a strong caffeine buzz now. Thanks David.

As I continue blogging I smell a little burning, and it appears my AC Adapter for my Microsoft Surface Tablet died. Great. Now I have to find a store and buy a new one.

So I leave the coffee shop. Fortunately I am in a bit city and so I decide to look up if there is a Microsoft Store in the area. Sure enough, there is one at the Houston Galleria and I drive over.

I walk in. And talk to one of the service professionals, and tell him about my situation. And I cannot believe what I am hearing. I am going to get a replacement AC Adapter for free! That is amazing. Microsoft just made me a raving fan!

I leave the Microsoft Store and drive over to the Micheal E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A friend of a friend whom I’ve actually never met but have been facebook friends for a while was working there. So I guess it is about time we make this real life friendship official :-).

Shortly later I meet Steven for the first time and we catch up even though we really should be introducing ourselves. We grab some lunch at the VA – not very good lunch I might add – and then I leave after his lunch break is over.

I then withdraw into a black hole – which is the name of the coffee shop: Black Hole Coffee Shop.

Order this little piece of heaven instead of coffee. And catch up on some blogging and planning until Ashley is ready to give me a tour of her workplace.

Ashley is ready so I head out and drive over to her work place: The Rothko Chapel.

I really like this piece which is outside the Rothko Chapel.

There is the Chapel. I walk in, sign the guest book and meet up with Ashley. And she gives me a little history and the Jay Z-Beyonce tour. Yes, Ashley gave a tour to Jay Z and Beyonce when they came to visit the Rothko Chapel. Doesn’t that make you jealous?

According to their website: the Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. A tranquil meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of Russian born American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the Chapel welcomes over 80,000 visitors each year, people of every faith and from all parts of the world.

The inside was very peaceful, contemplative and quiet. I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time there meditating. Quite amazing.

After finishing up with work, Ashley had a great idea to go to Rice University and check out James Turrell’s Skyspace.

According to their website: it is constructed of grass, concrete, stone and composite steel, the structure is equipped with an LED light sequence that projects onto the ceiling and through an aperture in the 72-foot square knife-edge roof just before sunrise and at sunset. Turrell’s composition of light compliments the natural light present at twilight, and transforms the skyspace into a locale for experiencing beauty and reflective interactions with the surrounding campus and the natural world.

She made reservations, and we got there early so took a few pictures.

There is the ‘sky space’.

We sneak in a selfie early on.

I decide to leave the base level and walk outside and go upstairs.

And take a picture of Ashley from the top view of the Skyspace.

It is slowly getting darker and darker. The lights come on and in a short time the show is about to begin.

I go back downstairs. More people have gathered. Our chaperon gives us the instructions and a little primer.

One of the views of the skyspace during the light show. The light show takes around 40 minutes to run through.

After the show I walk away and as you can see it is quite dark.

We head back home. I have to meet up with a friend, so I leave and walk over to a bar a few blocks away: Liberty Station Bar. It is an old gas station that is now converted into a bar.

Small crowd, but then again it is a Monday.

I meet up with Dave. He is a past Sigma Nu HQ staffer who now is a lawyer working in Houston. He lives nearby and walks over. We have a few celebratory beers and catch up on all things Sigma Nu.

Along the way we make a new friend: Priscila who came by with a group of cyclists.

After a few beers, I saw goodbye to Priscila and then Dave and I walk back home.
Reflections:
Today was an unexpectedly great day. I enjoyed the downtime at the coffee shop, the food (steak and eggs) and the free espresso treat from David at Blacksmith. It was great to get a free replacement adapter from Microsoft. Definitely saved about $70 if not more. And it was great to finally meet Steven after being his facebook friend for a number of years.
Hanging out with Ashley, meeting her co-workers, visiting and experiencing the Rothko Chapel, and experiencing the James Turrell’s Skyspace at Rice University was fantastic. Both the Rothko Chapel and Turrell Skyspace were quite different experiences but very meditative. I would love to do them over and over. The Rothko Chapel was more introspective and quiet. The Turrell Skyspace was also introspective but changing with the lighting and variety of colors. Thank you Ashley for the amazing experiences. I will talk about them forever.
Meeting up with Sigma Nu ex-staffer Dave and making new friends with Priscilla, Lacey and others was icing on the cake. So great to see Dave – thanks for coming out bro!
Expenses: $57.95
Breakfast: $22.21 (Blacksmith)
Lunch: $5.68 (Veterans Canteen)
Dessert: $4.06 (Black Hole Coffee)
Parking: $8.00 (Rice University)
Beverages: $18.00 (Liberty Station)