Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pueblo Zoo Photos

Here are some pictures I took at the Pueblo Zoo...this was with some kids from Biker Church and from another church.  We had fun looking at the animals all day and I had a great time taking pictures at the Pueblo Zoo!  I always find some great images at the zoo!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Family Reunion/Matchless Mountain Hike Pictures

Finally, got these photos edited and am finally uploading them.  I couldn't do much of anything with them for a while because we had Sturgis immediately after this, so I didn't have any time.  However, now that I am back home, I have finally finished up with them and so am uploading them in this slideshow...most of it is from the hike and there aren't actually a whole lot of pictures of family, in fact...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Final days

Sturgis Bike Week has been a lot of fun this year.  Sometimes I can kind of tell when it's a little down--not necessarily that we have less help or anything, it's just that some years seem better than others.  This year, in my opinion (even though we were missing some key people like my brother and Mom), was a great year.  Dad even said this year was "pivotal."  I don't know how much it changed exactly, but it has helped us to stretch our ministry in ways we haven't before.  Some people had to take on new roles to compensate for the lack of people, and everyone had to take on a little more responsibility than in previous years.

That said, I did enjoy this year a whole bunch.  I've had a lot of fun and a lot of work and a lot of memories to take back home with me.

But first, to catch everyone up.  Yesterday morning started out a little more difficult than usual as we had to set a lot more up than usual.  After the rain from the night before, we had to take down more than usual to keep everything from getting wet.  As a result, we all had to get up a little extra early to get the Kidz Zone open in time.  Dad had addressed us the night before, saying that we really needed to finish strong, even if a lot of the equipment had been put away already.  So we lugged it out again (only to be put away the last time in a few hours).  But I think it was good.  We had a pretty busy day, even though clouds threatened to turn nasty a few times.

We had something of a makeshift show at the end.  Dad didn't have much of a script, but it turned out working well without much of a script.  A lot of it was thanking people for all their help--we'd thank a group, then bring out a puppet or character for the kids to say goodbye to.  Dad even mentioned me.  He was going to have me wave at the audience through the puppet windows, but I suggested just throwing a thumbs up to the kids without showing anything else to kind of keep the mystery of the sound man who controls everything but is not seen except behind the closed curtains...I thought it was kind of cool!  We also gave away the Mp3 Player that the kids had been competing for all week.

It was getting chilly by the time we finished and the rain looked again like it might come down on us, so we started tearing down the whole setup as soon as we could.  The next hour or two were very busy--lots of work, whether folding and rolling up bounce houses or hauling bins or stacking supplies into a tightly-crammed trailer.  We were all very glad when it was over.  We had still managed to avoid the rain, so none of the equipment was put away wet.

After all that we went to Pizza Ranch in Rapid City to celebrate.  We know the manager there--he had been coming to help out since he was around twelve, so we thought it would be a good place to go (and, oh yeah, he gave out a few free buffet tickets)...

We had a great time, but when we finished it was time to say goodbye to a lot of friends.  We were still staying in Sturgis while the others stayed in Rapid City for the night.

The next morning we got up and packed all our stuff up from the church and got it put away.  We also cleaned up a little--vacuumed a little and stuff.  After that, Dad preached at the same church we were staying at (which made things a little more convenient).  We had lunch at Taco John's, then walked around in downtown Sturgis one last time.  When we were done with that we took the RV to the church in Rapid City, where we are staying tonight.  We had a look at some of T-shirts on sale at some of the stores, but they were all still too expensive, so most of us just went without a shirt this year.

We grabbed some pizza before going back to the church, which is where I am now, blogging away...

We plan on getting up pretty early tomorrow, then heading back home.  Ought to be sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night.  Pretty strange thought.

It's been a great year.  I hope next year will go great like it has this time around!

Hopefully I will be going to get my motorcycle sometime around the end of this month...I'll give more  details on that as I get them!  Thanks for staying with the blog for Sturgis Bike Week, 2012!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Days 5 & 6

It's been real busy the last couple days.  I wasn't able to blog last night, so I'll have to try and remember what happened again today.

Yesterday was pretty busy.  We had kids come in pretty close to the time we opened and had kids most of the whole day.  Part of the way through, I started shooting interviews of the workers for a promotional video I'm wanting to put together (hopefully it will help us to get some more volunteers next year).  Getting people to interview, however, is harder than it seems.  There are a few people that aren't comfortable in front of a camera or just don't have any time.  But usually they will agree.

When I interview someone, I try to make it like a conversation.  I ask questions and let the person being interviewed answer in his or her own words.  I can edit everything afterwards, which makes things a lot more flexible.  One of the biggest challenges I was faced with was finding an area that I could record in without too much background noise.  I had come to underestimate how loud Sturgis really is--motorcycles, airplanes, lawnmowers (since we are in the city park) bounce houses, kids, and wind, just to name a few of the problems.  But with enough searching, I found some relatively quiet locations to film in.

Of course, I couldn't actually start filming without any batteries in my audio recorder.  It had run out of charge and, of course, I had left all the backup batteries at home.  I asked around, and eventually Tim Greeley bought me some the next day, which postponed my filming longer than I wanted, but that's what I get for forgetting batteries at home!  Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Greeley!

With that finished, I started interviewing people.  I got three interviews done on the first day and they seemed to go pretty well--even if they took most of my day to get them.  It is pretty difficult to move around with a whole camera + audio recording setup in one hand...

It was a fairly busy day that day, but things went well.  The kids show, too, went well, and I was able to make it through sound man duties pretty much trouble-free.

After the show, I went with a few others to Rapid City because we were headed for an indoor water park that night!  I had a great time going down water slides and playing with friends (even if it left me a little sore the next day).

It was cloudy the next morning, and stayed that way for most of the day.  Business was slower than usual, but I used that to my advantage to get a couple interviews in.  Also, I helped Steve-O with his video blog on filming Dad.  We had done it the day before, but it somehow must have gotten deleted, so we had to re-shoot.  This morning, no one could keep a straight face, and as Steve-O needs it all in one continuous take, it took a very long time to get everyone sober and everything just right.

After Dad he interviewed me and my sister together.  It's different on the other side of the camera--having to think of what to say, saying it right and doing so puts a different kind of pressure on you.  Rather than filming it all, you're the one being filmed, and you're the one making content for people to watch.
I thought I did okay, even though it took a couple takes (not nearly as long as Dad's interview went).

Rain clouds started to gather toward the afternoon.  The wind picked up too strong, so we had to take down the bounce houses.  As it picked up and started raining, we also began to put away the tents and electronics, along with anything that might blow away.

By the time the kids show was about to start, no one wanted to be outside.  So, instead, we went mostly off-script and just had the show indoors!  It went better than I would have thought and the kids had a great time.  We still had a game and Dad was able to preach to the kids.  The show almost seemed normal except for the closed space and lack of any microphones or music.

With most of the closing down done, we just prayed after the show and pretty much were done.  Afterward, we had an Honor Bound Motorcycle Ministry meeting that last for almost an hour.  It was nice to talk to adults and, as a member, almost talk as though I were one.  I took notes for the most part, however, even though I did say something or bring up a topic now and then.

Then everyone left for supper, so now I'm back at the pavilion on security.  The rain picked up a little while ago pretty hard and I had to start moving stuff away from the edges to keep it from getting wet.  A father and his son came in looking for shelter from the rain and I was able to give them a Bible lesson and let them color a motorcycle coloring page while they waited for it to subside a little.  I talked with the parent for a while, and he said he would try and come back tomorrow after I told him what we normally do here.  It felt kind of good to know I might have helped someone come to our ministry...

Anyway, that's pretty much all that's happened so far.  Just waiting for everyone to come back, then it's off to the Sturgis Church so I can go to bed in their basement with everyone else!  It's a little scary to think that Sturgis is nearly over; but I will enjoy it as long as I can!

By the way, don't forget to check out Steve-O's blogwhichever video you see, I was probably holding the camera!  (Unless, of course, you find the one in which I am interviewed...)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Going somewhwere tonight, not sure yet if it's Rushmore or a waterpark...very excited! Thanks to Steve-O!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 4

Today started off slower than any of the other days yet.  The sky was clear, the bounce houses were up, the Kidz Zone was open--but no kids.  Not for the first couple hours, at least.  When kids did come, I actually felt like we weren't quite as short staffed as we are, just because it was going pretty slow.  I'm hoping it's just because this is the middle of the week...

But I was glad for a slow day.  I think all of us felt a little drained this morning--I was ready to go back to bed for a good part of the morning!  But I knew I had a job to do, so I went about my business.

We completed the show meeting early since we had the time.  Today was "Race Day," where we bring out a Hotwheels race track and buy some toy cars and race them.  This has been a particularly well accepted game in years past and we kind of look forward to it.  We also had a professional motorcycle racer called Rich Vreeland come and talk to the kids a couple years ago on this day.  Both of those contribute to our having made it a sort of annual event.

We had fun racing cars (and judging by the kids' cheers of excitement, I'd say they did, too).  The kids show went pretty well, and I was able to play music on my queues correctly!  After the show, we had another water fight.  I keep staying out of it to take pictures and videos of it, but I do want to participate at least once.  I just can't pass up the chance to splatter kids in the face with water balloons and have them wanting more!
While on security tonight (everyone else was gone doing laundry...can't say I was sad to miss that) I saw a few guys pull up near our RV on their bikes.  They looked like normal people, but I was pretty cautious.  After calling, Dad told me to just keep an eye on them.  Eventually, Chaplain D-No came by and went over to a bench to watch them closer.  Soon everyone came back, and then the others cleared away.
Well, it's been a few days and I'm starting to feel tired--the tired that lasts longer than morning or evening and kind of just stays in the back of your head.  But I am still having a great time, and I know it's only a week!  That's a good thing and a bad thing sometimes...

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 3

As the days go by, the general pattern of Sturgis begins to set in--getting up, setting up and working wherever we are needed all day.  It's not really a bad helps to get used to things.  However, it seems like once things settle in and we all know what to do, that's when the time goes by the fastest.

Today was slower than yesterday.  It started out cloudy and as the morning progressed it even rained just a little (but not enough to have to take down the bounce houses, thankfully).  While it was cloudy, we had almost no kids.  But an hour later, when the clouds cleared away a little, people started to come in more steadily.

I was busy most of the morning and could not help monitor the bounce houses until almost lunchtime.  First, I was setting the sound equipment up.  That was the last big thing on my list of what I had to set up.  Then Dad brought in a brand new printer (which he found for around $30--which I thought was a great deal for the kind of printer we got).  I spent much of the morning creating forms and printing them out.  One of them was to keep track of the kids' points.  Kids can get points by doing various activities here at the Kidz Zone, from bringing other people or doing Bible lessons to just attending a kids show.  Those points are then counted up for each kid and they go toward the grand prize of an Mp3 Player that we are giving away at the end of the week to the kid who has worked up more points than anyone else.

Sometime in the later morning Steve-O asked me to come with him so he could show me something he had done with our advertising signs over by the road.  When we got there, I saw he had hung up the "Kidz Zone" sign right below the city park sign.  We took turns taking pictures of it and of the road filled with motorcycles with both of our cameras, which I found to be pretty fun.  He also showed me his tripod that turns into a monopod on the way, which I thought was pretty cool.

After lunch, it was only a short time before I was called over to help prepare for the show(These days go by so fast!).  We haven't really had much of a schedule made at any point, but Dad is pretty good at choosing a theme and then adapting the materials and skits to fit that theme.  We have classics from years past and this year also have a new act or two that we use.  Even though we are using essentially the same equipment every year, Dad is always coming up with new ways to make the programs original and interesting.

However, as we don't have a set routine or anything I usually have to prepare music and sounds on the fly.  Each character or puppet has a different song that come out to and sometimes leave to, so I have to prepare those and queue them.  I used to bring out my laptop for that, but now I have a tablet of sorts (actually a Nook Tablet that I tweaked so it runs on android like a normal tablet), so I just bring that out and create a playlist on it, which helps keep things organized and queued when I need them ready.  As long as I have a few minutes it is usually no problem to get things ready by showtime.

I was going to record a whole show on my camcorder, but I figured out today why it quit working in the middle of yesterday's recording:  the battery ran out.  And, as I only just figured that out minutes before the show started, I couldn't record anything today--just take pictures.  I was, however, able to hook up an audio recorder directly into the system, so anything that was said into any microphones was recorded right into my device!  I was also able to hook up some earbuds and hear exactly what was being said.  I thought that was a pretty nifty trick!

I always have a hard time telling exactly when to play music or have a character come in.  Sometimes Dad tells me beforehand just to interrupt him at some point, but when the time comes I can't tell if he is still saying something that the kids need to hear or if he's stalling and waiting for me to play the music...this can be pretty disruptive to the show if I get it wrong (which I have been known to do on occasion).  Yesterday was, I'll admit, a little patchy, but today I feel I did better.  There was one point where the situation I described above about Dad stalling and waiting for me to start the music happened.  However, he remedied the situation by banging on the stage a couple times, which absolutely confirmed my suspicions that he was waiting for me.  Aside from that part, I did do better than yesterday.  Of course, in years past, just when I think I have it down pretty well, the week is up.  I'll just do the best I can while I'm here.

Everything wound down pretty much as expected.  After the show we had a brief water fight (pretty much the helpers get to squirt the kids with water or throw water balloons at them).  I helped Steve-O with his video message to his church again by holding the camera for him.  We closed down pretty quickly and before I knew it a lot of the team was leaving.  Those of us who stayed talked together for quite a while (guess that's what happens when you get Dad together with friends he doesn't see often from all round the country).  After that, we went to Pizza Hut and everyone got to eat at the buffet and pig out after a hard day of work.

Now I'm back here again in the pavilion watching the supplies.  Dad said I'll probably end up watching this stuff for a lot of the week before going to bed each night.  That gives good amount of time to blog and look at my pictures in the evenings as I am doing now.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to record a whole kidz show like I've been trying to for a couple days now.  There's always been just one or two problems, but I think I'll have them all solved by showtime tomorrow.
Well, I'm excited for the week ahead.  It may be a lot of work, but I know that in the end it's always worth it!

By the way, if you'd like to see today from another's point of view, here's Steve-O's blog post!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sturgis Bike Week: Day 2

I meant to post this last night, but I couldn't connect to the wifi the night before, so I was backed up one day.  Here's last nights:

Today seemed like the second really big, really busy day of Sturgis as a whole.  Of course, having set up yesterday made that the first really hard day of Sturgis.  But today, we had to finish setup and open for the first time of the week, which made things a little more difficult than normal.

We had to get up on time this morning for sure so we could get up and running as soon as possible.  That was pretty hard after the night before (staying up pretty late watching everything for security--oh, not to mention getting locked out of the church for a few minutes, just when I thought the day was finally over).  However, we all made it to the park right around 8 and setup began.  There was more moving and lots of unpacking yet to do.  Some things we weren't able to finish up the day before, so actually opening was still a lot of work.

I was too busy setting up sound and watching bounce houses to take many pictures at first.  I still found a chance to get some pictures, but it took some juggling to get a replacement first.  This is where I really felt how being short staffed made things a little more difficult.
The kids show started a little after 2.  We had only one microphone, so we had to skip puppets, but we pulled it off and had a good show.

I'm always surprised how short the day was when it's over, and today was no exception.  Everyone left for dinner and I stayed behind with a couple others.  While we were waiting, chaplain D-no came by and talked with us for most of the afternoon.  Now I am blogging yet again while watching the equipment.  It's dark, but the pavilion has lights and electrical hookups, so I'm good.

Over all, having a great time here!  It never seems as fun at the time as the memories do, so I'm trying to savoir the time now while I'm here...I think it's more enjoyable.

By the way, I've been helping “Steve-O” with his video blog for a couple days now.  You can check it out over here if you want!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sturgis Setup

It'a been pretty busy these last few days.  In less than just a week, we have packed, left for Sturgis, arrived at the church in Rapid City (one day of driving--that was a long day), created fliers for the Kidz Zone, spread those fliers all over Sturgis and the surrounding areas, and today we ended up on Sunday, so Dad preached a sermon at the church we had been staying at.  After church, we went and had lunch at Golden Corral, then headed out to the Sturgis City Park to set up all our equipment.  We have a few less helpers this year than normal, but we have been able to do most everything we normally do without much difficulty.

Now I'm sitting under the pavilion helping watch the equipment with Mr. Kevin Riley while everyone else is getting dinner.  Its the end of a long week and I am tired.  And Sturgis Bike Week is only just beginning!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pueblo Riverwalk at Night

Note:  this post was intended for my blog over at Wordpress, but, unfortunately, after much research and trial and error, I have had to switch back to Blogger in order to accommodate slideshows and other features.  I'll be posting from this blog from now on (unless something else happens and I have to switch again, which I really hope doesn't have to happen again).

I had the chance to take some pictures at the Pueblo River Walk.  My mom took me and my sister to eat dinner at Angelo's Pizza and afterward I walked around.  As the evening set in I was glad to have brought my tripod, as I set up many shots that took many seconds of exposure.

Here's some of the best ones...I've been looking into getting a Flickr account for some time now and today I actually did, so I'm able to put up this slide show here...