Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chicago Conservatory

Indoor gardens next door to the zoo...





Chicago Transportation

This was the first time I'd ever ridden a subway system where the signs weren't in Spanish.


[At the trolly stop (Stacy, Michele, Kathryn, Stephanie)]


["Vwoosh."]


[Amazing colors of light]


[Susan, Stacy, Jenny]


[Stacy]

Chicago Zoo

Stacy and I got to go to the zoo. Twice!


[Stacy's roommate Susan (Right) and Susan's sister, Jenny.]


[Looking through a hollow log with only a glass divider between us and the black bear. (In the reflection: Jenny, Stacy, Susan, and me.)]


[I named this guy "The Observer". He sat way up high and just watched the other monkeys below him.]


[That's one cute ape.]


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chicago buildings

Chicago's architecture really impressed me. Tall buildings, ornate pillars, and crazy art all have their place here.


[I've never seen so many tall ones in so small a space.]


[The skyline as seen from the Adler Planetarium at dusk]


["The bean" ...rumored to be a $400 million project]

Monday, November 20, 2006

Off to Chicago!

The time has come, and I'm writing this post from this strange new land called Chicago, Illinois.


[Somewhere over the Midwest]

Travel went smoothly enough and even though I've never been here before, it feels like coming home because of all my friends here from CBC. They know me well and they've welcome me as if we were back on that campus in Colorado.


I'm staying tonight with Sean Welander and Ryan Starr (from CBC) and --completely out of the blue-- who else might live in this house but Kjel Larsen! I met Kjel in Mexico back in 6th grade when my family moved south of the border on a short-term, one year mission and his family lived down there long term as career missionaries. I hadn't seen him since then (9 years ago) and after I heard that he lived here, but hadn't yet seen him I gave him something of a shock when I walked in the front door like I belonged in his house!

This is going to be one great time.

Lights out

The wind storm wreaked havoc on Bellingham's power grid but it made for a nice quiet evening at home.

Satisfying work

I finally finished up my work for the Mullett family and boy did it go well.


[Piles of bagged-up yard debris]

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sweet anticipation

Well, I've been going about running my own business for two weeks now and I dare say it's been going pretty well. And if all goes according to plan then I have work lined up for five of the next seven weeks. This raises the question of what to do with the two remaining weeks... find more work?

...or visit my friends in Chicago!
I bought my ticket today for a visit that will last a week and a half and will hold Thanksgiving as its centerpiece. I'm just a little excited. (read: "a lot excited.")

My work today broke the trend of outdoor manual labor and I started organizing the pile of stuff to be sold on eBay. Dad has the privilege as IT Manager to figure out what to do with all the company's old equipment. It all sat around in boxes until I offered to sell it for him. The profits will mostly go back into the company but I'll get a commission for doing the selling. So, today I assembled a small studio for product photography and snapped a couple of sample shots.


[Anyone want to buy a tablet pc? (I 've got 14 of 'em)]

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mission Accomplished

The podcast I've been recording with my sister is finally finished. I'm a little excited that what started with 2 people listening has grown to have more than 4000 subscribers! The whole book is available now and there are a few ways to listen:
~Listen on the website,
~Download them individually, or
~Use Juice to subscribe.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Calculus 1, 2, 3!

That's right, folks, in preparation for starting school in January I've got to brush off the ol' math skills and re-learn three whole quarters of material. To make sure this actually gets done I've set out a schedule for it and it looks like I'll be spending 4 evenings each week for 3 months on this stuff. I hope to finish just before Christmas.

In other news,

..this will be printed in the Oct-Nov issue of our church newsletter.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

WSU

I'm accepted to Washington State University and I'll start classes in January!

Until then it's painting for me. (And a couple more projects in the works.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Family Vacation

For the first time in six years our whole family of five got to go on vacation for more than just a weekend (and our friend Michele got to come, also). We just got back last night from half a week of kayaking in the San Juan islands and boy was it fun.


[Dad, Michele, brother Jeffrey, me, Mom, and sister Elizabeth]


[Taking it easy] (photo by dad)


[Racoon footprints on the tablecloth in the morning] (photo by dad)


[Layers of sand on a bluff by the ocean]


[A quiet sunset]

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cascades Camp visit

A couple weekends ago I got to visit some good friends from CBC (Covenant Bible College). A couple are working at Cascades Camp down in Yelm and I popped down for a visit and took my time driving back north. Here's the progression visually:


[Painting a house with nice colors means I take nice colors home with me]


[Me, David, and Lee at camp]


[I visited my grandparents in Tacoma and Papa gave me some of his rad old cameras and equipment! (On the right is one of the first ever 35mm film cameras with a flash-bulb attachment)]


[Chuckanut drive at sunset is gorgeous. No Joke.]

--
p.s. The podcast has topped 1000 subscribers and my sister Elizabeth now reads the book aloud with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now Podcasting...


This may be a new thing for some of you, but podcasting is basically when one person makes an audio recording, puts it on the internet, and other people can listen to it when they want.

The recording could be a like a radio show or news or educational stuff or interviews... it could even be Joe Shmo talking about his cat's indigestion. The point is, it's audio. Good or bad, just audio.

I have started my own podcast with the idea of reading a book aloud. The book is called The Giver and it's by Lois Lowry. If you're interested in hearing some, read on...

--
My podcast is available at this website, here, and there are a few ways to listen.

One episode at a time: (free)
You can select an episode and click play to stream the audio (meaning: play it immediately) or select an episode, right click "download music file", and choose the option that says "save link as" (in Firefox) or "save target as" (in Internet Explorer).

Subscription: (free)
If you have iTunes it's the easiest. Click the iTunes button on the podcast site. That will "subscribe" you to the podcast and automatically download new episodes when they're available. Check in iTunes to find the new episodes under the "Podcasts" section.



--
WARNING: complicated info follows (you won't hurt my feelings if you ignore it)
--
If feeling particularly techy and not happy with iTunes, try subscribing to the podcast rss feed (rss stands for "really simple syndication") through another free program like Juice.

And in the interest of educating the world about rss, my favorite rss reader is by google, found here. This is better suited for subscribing to blogs (text), not podcasts (audio) but give it a try. Subscribe to this blog! Then by checking the single webpage (the reader) you see all new postings on any blogs in your subscription list. That saves you the time of surfing to all those separate websites.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Visiting MN

Well friends, it has been an exciting week for me. I made a little unexpected money and needed something special to spend it on (who wants to pay off loans with "special" money? Not me.) so I called my friend Rachel in Minnesota and told her that I wanted to come visit. I bought a ticket and two days later was in the air.

And what a fun weekend it was. Three full days of visiting, sharing, and a little cleaning.

And it was a timely visit. Her parents left today for Cameroon. She leaves for the same place on August 3rd and won't be back for a year. More about that on her blog.

And now I'm back home to painting houses and running sound for weddings.


[Rachel and her brother Carl]


[Hanging out at a park]


[Around town]


[Inside the Seattle-Tacoma airport (Full size image for use as a desktop backround)]

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Quotables

"Who came up with the term "blog" anyway? It's like a mix between blah and, uh, fog." -Michelle Scott (my friend)

This one's for Rob.

I need to clarify some things so that Rob doesn't feel so bad..
Most of my big projects are no more than halfway finished and a few haven't even started.

Some examples:
~I chose to not sell my computer and to not buy a new one. I did some research and found that my computer isn't worth much and the one I wanted is way too expensive.
~The sailboat is halfway painted and totally stalled. I don't have the right tools yet and I was too cheap to buy them when I had the chance.
~Recording love songs never happened because of scheduling issues.
~Painting my room is indefinitely delayed because I want the room clean first. To me that means sort, organize, and scrub. I'm still on the first two (though I did vacuum under my bed.)
Michele and Emily helped me part with my middle school homework that was filed so nicely in my huge filing cabinet. That was a huge start. But it'll be a couple months before I'm even ready to pick a paint color.
~There are four road bikes in our garage. I bought one of those for $100 and then found that the frame is too dangerous to use. It could snap if I tried. So I've cannibalized that one for parts and the other bikes are feeling very good about it. But each time I finish one thing I think of two more to do.

My one thing that's finished:
~My computer is now downstairs and I've found it very inconvenient for digitizing my notes and for writing email. It is, however, much better for recording music.
...like that's really gonna happen :-P

Lots of ideas, a little motivation, and mostly mediocre results.
I hope this makes you feel better, Rob.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sound Teching

I was sound tech for another wedding, tonight, and it was certainly fun. The usual two wireless microphones, one guy playing guitar and singing, and a little extra fun setting up a projected slideshow in the multipurpose room for a slideshow at the reception. I got to try new things like a new technique for recording the ceremony to mp3 and did some emergency adjustments to the compressor (*huge* difference in intelligibility).


[Tonight's wedding (and my mp3 recorder)]

Anyhow...
The new project idea is to sell my pc computer. And buy a mac.
..I'm not changing my allegiance. I never had one. I'm just curious about how macs work.

And the big reason is: Intel.
One day, in a few short months, pc computers will be released that are insanely better than they are today. And that means my fancy computer is going to be insanely not worth as much. So if I sell it now, I can get good money for it.

And that insane day has already arrived for macs. (Have you heard? 5x faster than ever before!!) And that means that the old macs are not worth as much. And hordes of people are giving their old macs away on eBay.

So: sell high, buy low.
Now is the time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One job. Many projects.

Hillcrest has finally made their decision and I did NOT get the job, there. As it turns out, they didn't hire anyone for the job because the old volunteer offered to take it up again (this time with a partner.) So, there's this gaping hole in my summer schedule and the vacuum is attracting all kinds of stuff:
~recording love song oldies with mandolin and guitar for Elizabeth's play.
~painting the sailboat (preparing to sell it)
~time with friends (Michele and Emily are home. Andrew was in town for the day.)

There's a long list of projects in the cue and another list of "wouldn't it be nice if.." things.

Tomorrow I print a small batch of DTS pictures. I'm excited to see them on paper.


[My friend Emily at her college graduation weekend before last]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Projects and plans

Painting has got me thinking. It's so straight-forward now that I know the tools I need, how to use them, and how to clean up. It makes me feel enabled. It makes me want to paint my own places.

I'm dreaming of a whole new wave of projects. and one of them is painting/redecorating my room. I planned it out last year but it's been on the back burner for a while. Now I've got new inspiration for it but again, but it'll still have to be prioritized among the rest of the potential projects.

Another of the projects is moving my computer downstairs. There's two good reasons for this: 1) It's a distraction in my room. 2) It's a better location for a recording studio.

...which would be project number three.

A thought about working efficiently:
Scarcity of tools makes me use them more efficiently. If it's only sometimes available, then I'll make better use of it.
Moving my computer away from me is my application of this one.

Job app update:
~I interviewed for the third and final time at Hillcrest last Monday and should hear from them "soon".
~There's some more staffing big changes happening, so it'll be an interesting situation if I am offered the job.

And another surprisingly good picture for use as a desktop background:

Taken more than a mile and a half high in the Venezuelan Andes. But it's just moss :-)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Old video


If the video does not display properly
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This clip was recorded by Karl while our team was on outreach in eastern Venezuela. It was late at night after an evening concert and shows the flavor of our team's personality. Every team member makes an appearance.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Painting and waiting

After four days working, painting with Nathaniel is fun. So far we've climbed a lot of ladders, pressure-washed a couple houses, touched up a lot of trims, and gotten a good dose of chit-chat. Today we talked about how to design energy-efficient and light-maintenance houses, he shared his long-term dreams for the company and his family, and I shared about the benefits and limitations of digital photography. It's been a while since I've talked so much with anyone beyond talking about schedules and getting stuff done. It's a good blend of relaxed conversation and communicating very specific information (ex: "We'll set the bullhorns of the ladder down on the horizontal white trim piece above the green box in the middle but under that top window. That way I can reach both the fascia and the gable with one ladderset.") I'm still learning all the vocabulary for each board on the exterior of a house.

I'm getting faster at moving the ladders and at both painting straight lines and covering lots of surface area. And I've almost figured out where all the equipment belongs in the van.

Next week looks like rain, so I may not work at all. It'll be a good time to get lots done at home.

On the Hillcrest front, I spoke with Sean last Sunday and he said that they'd like another interview. This time with the interim head pastor. He was going to call me when they had a time and I still haven't heard from him. I left a message for him this morning.

I'm going to ask dad if I can take his camera to work. The perspective a painter has on the world from three stories up is pretty cool.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Brian-the-House-Painter

It's official I will be painting houses with Flying Colors Painting Co. starting next Monday. The owner, Nathaniel Wilson, used to attend the Cov (-enant Church) and this summer I will be his only employee. That's right. Just the two of us.

So, now I'm one for two and still waiting to hear from Hillcrest.

p.s. If you, like me, like to see pretty things on their computer you can set this photo as a windows desktop background. I'm a fan. (and it's a Venezuelan flower)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Logic

[If]
99% sure
[and]
99% sure
[then]
almost hired. Twice.

I still don't have a real committed acceptance yet for either of my two jobs but Nathaniel is almost totally sure he want to hire me. He told me where I to go buy my uniform and I'll buy it this week. That's pretty good confirmation. I'll start working with him either this Monday (1May) or next (8May). The flexible date bit comes with the job: Painting houses requires good weather.

I'm still waiting to hear from Sean Hall at Hillcrest as to whether or not they will hire me as Technical Director. The call should come tomorrow and I'm expecting a yes. (I think I'm the only applicant and both my interviews went fabulously.)

That's how I almost have two jobs.

And in the meantime, I've been busy. Yesterday morning I rented a lawn thatcher (it tears out the moss) and I thatched and raked hardcore from 9 to 5:30. Finished four yards.

Today was my day to take it slow and go through my seven months of bank statements and figure out how much money I owe my parents. At around one-o-clock I got a call and was asked to do some yard work. Hard to pass that up. Now it's evening and time to communicate and plan tomorrow's schedule. Only a few days left to get so much done.


[An apple blossom on the tree in our backyard.]

And if you've been wondering why I don't post more pictures of home the answer is simple: my camera has been dying a slow death. The screen is now monochrome (blue) and it loses contact with the memory card so frequently that I feel like I'm fighting it just to get a single picture taken. Perhaps an era has ended and I'll pursue another interest. Or perhaps dad will let me borrow his fancy new camera ;-)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Busy, busy.

Well, between working odd jobs and helping out at church I've come across a number of leads for possible full and part-time jobs. The coolest possibility is a part time position at Hillcrest Chapel as a sound and lighting technician. Honestly, that would be awesome.

This evening I had my first opportunity ever to play music that I've written in a coffee house setting. Granted, it was for my own church's youth group, but it was still a cool step to take as a new songwriter. And the one feedback I got was very encouraging.

Tomorrow I'm southbound on good ol' Interstate number 5. I'll be visiting the University of Washington, and my good buddy Stephan Ainley. Back on Saturday to keep all these juggling balls in the air. Maybe this weekend I'll get a chance to thatch our yard. ...and the neighbors yard. ...and the other neighbors yard. (That's how finding odd jobs goes around here. If you're willing to work, there's oodles of opportunity.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Applications

Applying the DTS knowhow? Check.
Applying for University next fall? Check.
Applying for summer work? Check.

All of those are in process these days here in Bellingham. I'll be finishing the last of my application to Western Washington University today and I have leads for working either construction in town or in a warehouse down south in Everett. Possibilities with an RV lot, maybe Alaska, and if worst comes to worse I could arrange enough work to fill two summers with yards, janitorial, odd jobs, and maybe some blueberry harvesting.

In short, I won't ever be bored this summer.

Cleaning house: I've been hard at work reordering things in my room. Having too much stuff is a wierd problem after two months of travel with all my things fitting inside of a djembé drum. Very pleased with how it's been coming out.

I'm off to go run with my mom, now.


[My old shoes. Finally thrown out.]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

DTS Photos

Here's something for those of you with faster internet connections: a ramdomized photo slideshow of my DTS pictures on Flickr.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Home!

At long last I'm at home with my family again. Slow days, busy evenings... it's been good to reconnect with people.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mérida debriefing

I'm back in Mérida doing the best week of debriefing that I could have imagined. As the school draws to a close we're taking time to write our reflections, share our experiences, and pray together as a school. I've really been enjoying the time to reflect. Beyond that, I use most of my free time processing the photos I've taken, backing them up on a seperate hard drive, and sorting through to make a slide show for our final concert.

We have a graduation dinner tonight at a nice restaurant and tomorrow night is our Final Concert. The concert will be in a huge local church and everyone who has goten to know us through these last six months has been specially invited. Both he Argenina and Jamaica oureach teams will play and we'll pass out some diplomas and all that jazz. And with that, the official school ends and I fly out of town Saturday morning to arrive home late Sunday night.

See you soon!!


[My Argentina oureach team]

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Puerto Ordas

Hello!!
The lights went out (quite literally) on my last entry so I´m glad to have another chance to write y'all today. Oop, but I´m out of time!

Brief briefing:
Our 10 days in Puerto La Cruz went well. We helped lead an evangelism conference and shared some good times with the church that we were with. And we got to take some time for scheduled fun and played tourist a little by boating in the offshore islands. Reminded me a lot of home, really.

Now we´ve traveled 5 hours south from the Carribean coast to the inland rver port of Puerto Ordas where we'll have one week of concerts in plazas, play a couple church services at the biggest, most legalistic church I´ve ever seen. (The word "evangelical" stirs up thoughts of just this kind of church in Venezuela. So, we don´t say we're an Evangelical group)

And finally, a picture! (taken while my little 3yr old friend Rafael Andrés played with my camera.)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

a 5 min update

We're doing well. Played some music last night to kick off the Evangelism Conference. It continued today with teaching this morning and this afternoon we'll be teaching a session. Tonight it we go with it to the Carribean Mall to do the traditional evangelistic activity of handing out tracts. Not too excited about that but I suppose that God can use it. And, hey, it might be an effective strategy in this culture. You never know 'till you try.

Sunday we'll play all music in all three services, Monday night there's an all night prayer vigil before going to the beach to evangelize on Tuesday. ...that's a funny word to me. Evangelize. "Brace yourself. We're going to evangelize to you now. It won't hurt very much." I´m much more comfortable running around on all fours entertaining small children. Or spreading the good news of how Jesus changes lives by living a chaged life and expressing that through inderect words, actions, and music. Maybe it's just because I like subtlety. Maybe it's because I'm chicken. Most likely it's because I know that my friend Jedi would scoff if someone told her they had all the answers. I don't have all the answers. I just know the one who does.

I don´t have my cable with me today to get any pictures online but I´m hoping they'll come soon, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Travel -> Puerto La Cruz

Sunday morning we flew west from Mendoza over the tallest mountain in North and South America (Mt. Aconcagua) and stayed for the afternoon in Santiago, Chile. We got to visit our friend Greg there who had been a pseudo staffer for us in the first half of the school. The next day we left early and flew to Caracas, Venezuela (a very familiar airpot by now) and stayed overnight at the church that had stored those heaps of equipment that were too heavy to fly to Argentina. An enjoyable surprize was that later that night, the team from Jamaica arrived also to the same church and we got to share some time together (1am-2am) before getting up (5:30am) to go to the airport again. This time we brought every ounce of equipment along because we won´t be passing through Caracas again as a team.

So we climb into the plane and fly east toward the rising sun...
No, wait. That´'s not how it worked.

We arrived 4 hours early and used every one of them trying to check in. We finally got our boarding passes and our luggage checked in time to hurry to the gate. Where we waited. And waited. And then boarded. And waited. And waited. I woke up to the captain telling the passengers to get back off the plane because of a luggage imbalance. We hadn´t left the gate. So we got off and I had a nice time spending the next hour or two playing the guitar while some of the others napped. When we finally boarded again, things went more smoothly and around mid-day the plane struggled into the air using close to the entire runway.

I'm glad that I slepped through the landing. I hear it was scary. Karl is really impressed with how much I can sleep through.

And now (after waiting a while for our ride) we are here in the Venezuelan costal city of Puerto La Cruz and very excited for the work to be done. We will work with a church that has 900 weekly attendees who are mostly youth ages 16-30yrs. We'll attend a prayer meeting tonight nd clarify what our job will be but I already saw the professional-looking poster hanging in the church advertising the Missions conference that starts friday. At the bottom is has a note that the special musical guest is "JuCUM Mérida". That's us!

We'll be here on the Carribean coast in Puerto La Cruz for about 9 days before moving to the river port of Puerto Ordás on the Orinoco River for another 9 days. Then we'll take a bus for the long journey back to Mérida.

Pictures to come. Eventually. Internet access is less available here and starting tonight things will get busy. Chao!

Friday, February 17, 2006

So much to say, so much to say

...and I can't come close to sharing it all. But here's the last two weeks in brief:

Concerts.
(We worked hand in hand with a couple of churches as we performed in three different plazas. I almost exclusively worked with the tech aspects, sang a little and played even less)



Children's home.
(We visited this place with about a dozen kids with enough energy for two dozen and we had a blast.)



Worship workshop.
(We led an evening workshop on worship at a local church and had a great response.)



Work.
(We spent a day cleaning the "pool" at the YWAM farm. We painted a building. We cleaned up a place that had seen some neglect... cleaned the attic and sanded down the windows to be stained.)





The desert.
(In three days we visited families, pushed our truck through the sand, and lost a wheel from the trailer while coming home.)



Fun.
(We spent a morning touring Bodegas and tasting the area's delicacies.)



Rest.
(Just enough to get us by.) [Photo from Karl]



--

Tonight we played a concert in a church after slapping together a sound system that we'd never used before. I must be learning a lot about running sound when I can make mistakes that I see as drastic and the team doesn't even notice. All in all it went well. It's the people and relationships that matter the most, right?

Tomorrow we host a series of hands-on workshops for worship, guitar, rhythm, and sound tech. I'll be teaching the session on sound tech and it'll be fun to put all my new Spanish vocabulary to work combined with some of what I've learned through the years.

And Sunday we leave for Venezuela!
We'll stay 1 week in the city of Puerto La Cruz on the ocean in the east. Then we'll be two weeks in Puerto Ordas (Also in the east, but inland by the famous two-color river). The following week will be debriefing with the other team back in Merida.

It will all pass so very quickly.