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.
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.
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.
Script (requires Adobe Reader)
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!