Spirit Day

Today was Spirit Day at the college. At this time, the late morning classes were canceled or met to talk about things relating to the school and the students. During my first class, the teacher and one of the deans discussed graduatin and college in general. They shared some experiences and talked about transfers, what to expect in different schools, and so on.
 
Immediately following everyone left for a student convocation where the faculty members were all present in their caps and gowns. There were more talks on graduation, advice for new students, and repeats of what had been said before. Then everyone moved outside to where all the festivities were being held.
 
Outside, there was plenty to see and do. The area was mainly filled by various on-campus organizations. There was food and games of all kinds, including pizza, ice cream, an enormous chess set, and even a motion theater displaying various types of flying adventures. At occasional times, there was a contest for students to claim T-shirts and other goodies fired out of a small "cannon."
 
After that, things quietly cooled down. I went to my last class of the day, math, and then left the campus. By then, everyone had left the activities, which had already been cleaned up, at least in large part.

The Everything Weekend

This weekend has been filled with enough stuff to last for a week!

The renovations are now in the second week, and everything seems to be going well. As usual, Saturday was spent doing what we could to fix up the place. We now have an industrial-grade steamer on loan from the hardware store, which loosens the wallpaper and paint in double-quick time. Both of the bedrooms have new ceilings, as well as the hallway.

There’s been a lot of water in the basement, though. It just keeps coming in through the walls, the floor, or whatever. After the water dried, one of my friends and I carried junk out of one of the basement rooms. Most of it was part of some old shower that never got put in.

Add to that my recent computer problems, and it was really shaping up to be the pits. On that same Saturday, our computer was attacked by a number of different viruses. None of us were quite sure what to do about it. It was so bad that almost no work could be done on that machine!

But then came the trip on Sunday. It was supposed to be a simple ride with my parents up to an open house hosted by a local university. It turned out to be a nightmare as my dear father passed up the street twice, and it took us an hour-and-a-half through heavy traffic to arrive at the right building, the Intercontinental.

The Intercontinental was located along scenic Michigan Avenue, a.k.a. "The Magnificent Mile," which was "magnificently" hard to get to. We quickly found our way to the King Arthur Court Ballroom and made our way in. The staff was cordial and related the basics and beyond of what I needed to know about the school.

After getting back to our car, it took us about the same amount of time to leave the city as it did to enter it. By that time, however, I was almost too tired to care. 

First Day of School

Here I am at the beginning of my first year of full-time college life. That first day after summer is always hard because I always have to change my routine completely in ust one day. Such is the way of life, they say.
 
Today I had the usual confusion, the finding of classes, the bumbling into the wrong class, that sort of thing. Fortunately, everything went mostly pretty well.
 
The first class, science, was great. Everyone said that the teacher was good, and I found myself agreeing. He explained everything about the class and seemed very amiable. One strange thing, though, was that there was a sign language interpreter, which was a new experience for me.
 
Another strange thing was that the English class was in a computer lab. This did make some sense because of the commonplace nature of word processing. Still, though, I got misdirected and confused until I spotted a faculty member that I knew who was gracious enough to confirm the room number.
 
There was another class, math, but I had little trouble or excitement there. The teacher was, at least, fair, and I succeeded in staying interested and focused on what was going on. I did, however, end up short one of the materials, which necessitated a visit to the bookstore before I could complete future assignments.

Work Day

I’ve spent the weekend renovating the house mentioned earlier. It’s been a lot of work, and much more still remains. Fortunately, there’s been a group from the church helping out. The last few days would have turned out very differently without them.

On Saturday, the basement was cleaned and partly painted with a sealant designed to keep out moisture. Old wooden walls were knocked down in the same area and left to be picked up later. Meanwhile, we began to strip the wallpaper in my new room and examine the underlying walls. The hallway ceiling was taken down, and the entrance to the attic moved.

Today (Sunday), the wallpaper in the hallway started coming down, though the linoleum underneath is still intact in places. The junk in the basement now combined with plaster and shredded wallpaper from the upper story and was thrown out a piece at a time.

The work has proceeded well for the most part, though the extent of the building’s poor condition is only now becoming apparent. To summarize the general feeling of my family and friends: IT ALL MUST GO! I know that soon it will all be over, but that time is still a long way away.

New House

Yesterday, my family bought a new house. It’s quite a bit bigger than our current apartment with three floors, though some of the rooms are smaller. We’ve already started moving in, because the new place is less than mile away. The whole house is like a relic, with an old-style furnace and light fixtures that look like a throwback to gas lamps.
One of the nice things, though, is that there are plenty of closets. Each upstairs bedroom has a walk-in (sort of) wardrobe and unfinished attic space. I’ll post some pictures when I can.

Looking Back – A Cookie, a Swordsman, And a Whack Job

One year ago, an auspicious undertaking took place: the making of a short film. While not particularly noteworthy or glamorous, it was nonetheless a great experience for all those involved.

Last May one of my friends presented me with a script, titled A Cookie, a Swordsman, And a Whack Job. I looked through it and decided that it was perfect for a short film project.

The next few months were spent deciding on the crew, revising the script, getting software and equipment, and making other preparations. My "co-conspirator" Megan suggested asking our mutual friend Will to be the camera operator, which turned out to be an excellent decision. Meanwhile, I began reading up on filmmaking and gaining experience at a nearby chapel.

Finally, we were ready and the first shoot date was set for Monday, August 14, 2006. That afternoon we began shooting the first three scenes and worked against time as the sun moved away from the east-facing windows. Even though I was directing, Megan showed ample ability to lay out the action in the script. By the end of that day, we only had 11 1/2 minutes of recorded tape to show for about 2 hours.

After the shooting was over, the long editing process began. Everything came along well, but some of the crew members had regular jobs, and it was difficult to arrange a time to finish the project. However, on October 29, the second shoot date was set. I moved the process along quickly because of the difficulty involved in arranging meetings and all the thought that went into the video since August.

Several revisions later, the final cut came into being. I had already gotten into other interests and the date of the premiere was set for January 21, 2007. Unfortunately, that day was also Super Bowl Sunday, and not everyone was willing to watch Muppet Treasure Island while the DVD finished burning. Also, Megan was off with her family out of town that day and thus not present.

My advice to aspiring filmmakers? Always prepare. Know every detail about all the scenes. Know the camera(s) used. Know if you need any other equipment. Know how competent your cast and crew is. Sometimes you just need a planning session or a walkthrough of the technical aspects of the production.

Resources:

Script (requires Adobe Reader)

CSWJ video

Sweet Corn Fest

What a weekend I’ve had! The annual Sweet Corn Festival is only just finishing. It’s seemingly non-stop fun and noise. The vendors were selling food and wares to anyone who passed by, and amusement park rides offered excitement to anyone brave enough to try.

 Well, let me start by telling you about the beginning. It was Thursday, and the festival was only just beginning. My dog Sam and I took a walk through the place and experienced the sounds and the smells wafting from open grills and old-style ice cream machines. The spinning, racing, swinging rides did everything to promote the taste of excitement and anticipation in the air.

On Friday, the festivities were in full swing. Although there wasn’t much to do before noon, I only needed to look out my second-story window to see that everything was very much alive. In the evening, there were crowds almost everywhere. My father said that the fair was relatively deserted, but I didn’t much care. There was a band concert on a large stage by a nearby park, and music boomed along the streets. I joined up with some friends and later went on the bumper cars ride. I can’t say that I was particularly miserable that night.

Saturday was a real treat. One of the highlights was a magician who always performed on the street corner nearest to the apartment that I live in. I knew that it was time to unpack the trusty video camera and record the well-known variation of the "cut-people-in-half" routine. Instead of a box, there was only a cape for the assistant and an arched block of wood for the drill saw to rest on.

After dinner, there was another concert performance by "Captain Groovy." They did a lot of old songs from the ’70s; I would’ve stayed longer, but there was a movie on later. lol

Sunday was really the big day. After church in the morning, I came back to find almost no parking spots within 4 or 5 blocks of downtown. I was really surprised to find a spot less than a block away from the south end of the festival. It was, however, almost right in front of the police station. I ate lunch and then got ready for the big parade.

Before the parade, I again met up with some friends to hand out Bible tracts. Once the floats started coming by, I mainly settled down to watch. There were the police cars and the fire trucks of course, but there were also many corn-themed floats as well! 

Once the parade ended, though, there was still the main highlight of that weekend. Almost everyone rushed back to the main festival grounds where an old steam engine was used to cook roughly 80 tons of sweet corn. I had had quite enough, however, and preceded back home (about 50 feet from where the corn was dished out) for some much needed rest. That evening I went swimming to conclude such a long and exciting weekend!