Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 82

after an amazing sleep-in on real beds, the four of us awoke and decided to make breakfast. pictures to come, this was an epic breakfast. epic. we went to the foodstore at around noon and, as we collected things we thought we needed, we wondered why bacon and eggs and orange juice and fruit are all considered breakfast food in the three collective countries of our origins. later in the kitchen, the beatles played loudly and i had my first experience with a waffle iron. shaun made eggs and paul did bacon while kirk covered the toast and helped to guide us through his kitchen. we also had five dollars worth of blueberries and the waffles really did turn out beautiful and perfect. after two packs of bacon, seven or so massive waffles, a large bowl of blueberries, orange juice, eggs, and toast, we were happy so we left to go into the city.

cell phone talkers and fast paced walkers chased after buses and dodged raindrops throughout downtown vancouver. we ducked in and out of shops and stores and, once again, had an encounter with a bum who, this time, drew a picture of the four of us. we had just come out of a six-floored music store and i was still buzzing from an experience on the second level filled with black sparkling grand pianos. he asked if we were a band, we told him we were, and we were soon presented with a red scribbling that wasn't entirely devoid of artistic ability. still, it is what is. a bum drew a picture of us. later, in the skytrain tunnels, we met another bum who had a pigeon riding on his hat. he told us, and the video camera, that this bird, a 'spotted dove' was his best friend and has been with him for two years. dark still eyes loomed underneath the straw hat and the content pigeon bobbed along as they both stepped onto the train. later, i got bob dylan-like sunglasses at a vintage thrift shop.

there's a minor league baseball team in vancouver and tomorrow we're planning on going to a game. i'm pumped. this break has been awesome so far.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 81

i'm off the island. after a busy morning of editing and shooting, lunch came and time off began. already, this day has been awesome.

shaun, paul, and i are hanging out with a guy kirk who lives on the mainland near vancouver. the ferry ride over was splattered with other qwanoes staff, but the three of us each brought a longboard and i had a backpack and camera. after docking, we were free to roam and ready to go.

kirk is a cool guy. his dad's a prof at trinity western and there's a '55 les paul hanging on the wall in the room as we watch a john mayer concert on the flatscreen on the wall. we both brought our canon dslrs tonight on our adventure.

earlier tonight we headed into vancouver for the last night of the week of fireworks. pedestrians flocked the dimming streets and faces glowed as people, numerous as ants, scattered and spread to find their own vantage point. after splitting with shaun and paul, who were at kfc, kirk and i sat on our longboards with our chinese takeout on the sidewalk and ate as people flowed past towards the waterfront. a grey whiskered, bald bum approached us and asked us for money for some kfc. i'm not sure why, but we told him that we had some friends at kfc who could help him buy the rest of a meal. he asked their names and then left saying 'he was going to blow their minds' by approaching them by name. the funny thing is that this guy had been in kfc earlier trying to scrape up a meal and had talked to shaun and paul, telling them he was going to rob the place. so bum man left us and went back to kfc. haha so random and the boy's had a great reaction when we met up with them a little later. we meet many bums on our adventures.

since this was our first time in vancouver, we rode the sidewalks and happened to find a solid looking carpark. guardless and mostly empty, we booked it up the stairs and ripped down. awesome.

after an amazing fireworks show, we glided through the darkness and crowded streets and made it back to the car in a fraction of the time it took earlier. there's a sea-wall sidewalk that borders the water and surrounds most of the city and in the dark, still, cool, salty air, the four of us cruised in silent bliss. shining city lights reflected on black water and people sifted and slid into the darkness to find their ways home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 80

despite shooting in the rain and a sudden wave of sickness and pinkeye among staff, today was smooth. grey clouds hid salt spring island for most of the day and everybody's footsteps squished in soggy earth. some days must be dark and dreary. between the massive jellyfish at the beach and sticking around the office to capture and edit highlights for tomorrow, it's all been good.

i started packing today, as well, because tomorrow we run one more q-town and show the highlights i made tonight and then after lunch i am out of here. on the way in to canada, i remember guessing that i'd be here for eighty days. now, halfway through the summer of weekly camps and twice removed from forty days of advance crew, i see and appreciate the balance even the numbers have achieved. now tomorrow i leave to take this valuable time away and come back refreshed. i'm looking forward to reaching day one hundred.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 79

today is the first day where i'm able to honestly admit to being burned out. being down one guy and trying to get as much done as we can before wednesday and time off is a big part of that. for this week, they have meals set so that the staff integrate with the families and tables so there's been one family i've been able to meet and sit with a couple times and it's been good getting to talk to them and know them.

there was a moment of intenseness tonight. the other guy was taking his turn making highlights for tomorrow so i had to run q-town by myself. i've been saying all this time that i'm really not the person who loves to be plugging away with switchers and sliders. between song powerpoints and speaker videos and audio and soundboard duties and projectors and lights and running the speaker's slides, there were no real big problems. perhaps a rookie mistake in there, but i was doing all i knew how and it was all happening at once.

tomorrow is the last full day i will be here before i leave the island for break. i'm planning on packing the northface pack and carrying a camera bag for the trip. that's all.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 78

a week of family camp has started. one of the video guys has left for his three days off, so there's two of us to do all the work until wednesday when he'll come back to wrap up. then we're on vacation. time off. soon.

shooting was fun today. unlike the usual mass of excited kids that flock and flow in merriment, families casually drove in and parked their cars and rvs and began to set up tents. instead of wading in high fives and screams, there were introductions and names and then a few shots as they slid poles in tents and pumped air mattresses.

somehow, as usually seems to happen, word of mouth and meeting certain people has opened some doors and privileges for our time in vancouver. more on this later.

Day 77

saturday, july 26, 2008

productions finished smoothly last night. during the week, one of my campers kept talking about how much she enjoyed doing guitar instruction. at the end of the week, partly inspired by a rhcp song, i asked her if she had her own guitar. she didn't and said her family couldn't afford one. i had picked a guitar up when a friend left a while back. i couldn't really bring this guitar with me to my next place after the summer, so i gave it to this girl. she was incredibly happy and, even more importantly, i'm glad to have been able to stoke musical inspiration in a younger soul.

for the night off, we did the usual. back to victoria and back to skating carparks. we approached one that had a guard and last night we just asked if we could do the one he was guarding for 'our film.' young enthusiasm began to flash through the wrinkled face and grey mustache and he ended up letting us go for a run. after talking to him again at the end of the ride, we were able to determine that, over the past weekly nights off, we've hit every available carpark in vic.

we are the kings of crowntown.

family camp starts tomorrow and halfway through that, i'll get the valuable three days off. i'm going off the island for them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 76

that violent kid from yesterday got sent home. i found out and was kind of sad, but hopefully his participation in helping me with lights and media last night was a good thing for him. today was the last full day of camp and a couple of my boys came to chill in my office during their free time and to work on their projects a little more. since it was just a few of them, we were able to work on putting some special effects and features that aren't possible to teach in the time constraints of the regular sessions.

i'm working on all the kid's projects right now to have individual masters ready for morning. i decided to put a secret 'easter egg' button on the dvd menu that has a short video of me saying well done and thanks for doing starwood dv. i think it'll be funny.

every normal procedure turns into a full-blown adventure on burning night it seems. for example, russ was going to get the printer from his office so i could make dvd sleeve labels and such and managed to tear clothes on our office couch and then happened to take out the picture of his band with dc talk during the puling of this printer's cords. i don't know how glitches and accidents start showing up on these kind of days but some sort of ordeal never fails to appear.

so far since, it's been okay.

all the summer long staff, the ones that are here for at least three months, get three consecutive days off in the middle of the summer. i get my time at the end of next week and a few of us are going to the mainland to go to vancouver and stay at a friends there. everyone's looking forward to this.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 75

today was sunny with a high of seventy five. tonight was the concert. there's a really hyper eight grade kid here who's been acting up all week. his counselor wearily told me about the camper so before the concert i was trying talking to him. he wasn't really interested in being calm at all. a little later he came up to the booth right before the show and i showed him how to do 'rock show lights' and he started to calm down and go with the flow and lights and music. this was fun, but sadly in the end he started flipping wrong switches on purpose and wouldn't help follow the script so i had to kick him out of the booth.

before all this, i took advantage of some time off. moments for breaks come and go and when you see one, you gotta grabbit. i took a kayak and, with proper permissions, paddled all the way down to the right of the beach towards the distant point. everything, the mountains and waterfront and distant mainland mountains and shoreline, look familiar from the qwanoes vantage now and i'd been dying to see what new body of water or island or mountain was around this point. along the way i found the infamous rope swing that dangles from a tree that hangs over a coral reef drop off. dozens of purple starfish clung to the rocks of the shore and then, a few yards out, the ocean floor drops.

with the dock barely visible, i rounded the final corner of the point to find another point. sad. i wasn't too far from paddling to nearby saltspring island at this point, but am saving that adventure for an entire day off. laying down in the kayak and looking upsidedown behind at the flipped water and mountain horizon is really trippy. mountains and clouds become part of the deep and the sloshing ocean surface transforms into a ceiling, evolving and reflecting an untouched atmosphere.

tomorrow is the last full day of this week. all my starwood dv kids are coming back to rap up their projects and i'll be up all night compiling and mastering and burning them. this has been another good week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 74

aside from teaching video during the afternoon activities, the shooting aspect has remained fun as well. during games, kids that are already excited about the adventure of running around in the bushes are even happier to entertain and go on secret missions with the cameraman. i found out the other day that one boy flew straight from germany for this one week of camp. another two arrived on a sea plane that came and docked at the beach.

after three and a half weeks of seriously consistent sunshiny, warm days, there was a refreshing chill in the air for most of the day that encouraged most of us to wear jeans and, as soon as the sun was about over the trees, hoodies. pretty perfect.

there was an interesting moment during our media meeting today. at a place like camp, ages aren't really discussed and are actually kind of hard to decipher. some people thought i was twenty-four. really? they mentioned the beard. the other video guys are both twenty-two. that makes me the young one. i never would have guessed and i guess we really never talked about it.

tomorrow night is the concert. the band plays a separate show after the nightly q-town and i'm really looking forward to doing the light show to go with the music and beats and songs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 73

my feet are constantly dirty from wearing these cheap flip flops and even though i swept my office out just the other day, a fresh layer of dust has settled with the dirt of campers' shoes. we're making movies on this hardwood floor.

sufjan stevens sings a song about a place that suddenly feel a little less like home compared to past summers. australia and california and toronto were lulled into a paling atmosphere as planes and summers raced in decent to a grid of lights and towers. people and places. glow and flow. motion and stillness. all things go, all things go.

now, i don't know.

so here's a mic from my office

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 72

a new week of starwood dv begins. it's exciting for both the kids and me, i think, because i get back involved in working and meeting and running around with them. doing just video work during some weeks is still solid, but teaching and guiding campers to explore their own inspirations is really good as well.

i feel awkward right now writing anything more about myself. i just read about a friend who died today. i saw it on facebook, sadly enough, and just found online rockford news reports that clarified and confirmed the sudden surge of people writing on this guy's wall. he had tried to save his dad from a toxic animal septic tank at their farm. this is a heavy thing because i wonder how other friends from rvc and the campus intervarsity are reacting and doing back home. this guy was really a bright guy with a good sense of humor. heavy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 71

the second camp for junior highers started today. this fourth overall consecutive week of camps makes adjusting to the routine of media presentation and all that a little more comfortable and simple. still, this is all brand new for each week of kids.

i was going to go bungee jumping this morning in the time we had before the afternoon, but last night was filled with shallow sleep and frequent discomfort caused by the re-opening of some roadrash from longboarding the other day. i wish i had the bail on tape, but all there is is a battle scar along the backside of my right forearm, hip, and knee.

a new week of starwood dv starts tomorrow. the cameras are ready, the batteries are charged, the computers are good to go, and the tapes are labeled.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 70

there's been eleven hundred kids so far and we're one third of the way through the summer.

today was the break between the otherwise consistent routine of camp ending on a friday and the next one starting on saturday. we had staff development day and most of the staff and counselors had to go to workshops and sessions but russ, the music/media head took us three video guys into crofton for ice cream. good guy.

i don't think i've ever introduced russ here. he was the lead singer of canada's first popular christian pop band 'hokus pick' from 1989-1999. he often entertains us with stories of backstage events and roadtrips from when his band toured with dc talk. now he works at qwanoes and writes a bunch of the theme songs and other camp tunes. campers of the past have apparently nicknamed him 'the squirrel' and his short interjections of exclamations and jittery mannerisms daily reveal this subtle, humorous title.

after permission (no policy-breaking here) and a skate around crofton, we came back for a staff night meeting in q-town. jim badke, the kaleo leader, spoke and his simple, concise, and meaningful words were a refreshing change to the usual analogized and winding, youth-oriented weekly speakers. paul, shaun, and i stayed around after because this fresh perspective of the big picture for the summer had completely revived our waning enthusiasm for the routiness of our collective jobs. i wondered out loud if it would be worth all this production and work if only one kid would be saved amid the three thousand plus that came over the summer. if Jesus would die if it was to only save just me, then all this is definitely worth it. many, many kids have already been saved.

as we talked, i imagined Jesus walking through camp, standing in the cabins, moving around tables during the furious action of mealtimes, and sitting in the back row of q-town all while having a steady manner of turning just in time to nod or watch or hear or smile at what he saw was going on. there is this eternal significance here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 69

the third week of camp ended in routine fashion. the q-town camp songs are so stuck in my head now that i felt a little stir crazy as they were being blasted across the field of departing campers.

the camp directors organize a weekly bus that goes into town for staff to take to get supplies. tonight they were going to see the new batman movie as well, but the thought of riding with a bunch of talking people to pay money to experience a formulated evening was not exciting to me at all.

jen's brother was playing at a coffee shop in nearby nanaimo. the music didn't start until 7ish, so we took off to the canadian version of borders. 'chapters' was filled with the smell of new books and a built-in starbucks. after some coffee and a scan through the fly fusion magazine, i found my place in the music/photography section. they're always together in whatever bookstore i've ever gone to and i think this is great.

i stood alone in front of the shelves of band and artist biographies and realized it would take about twelve years to be satisfied in this section, so i picked up the scrapbook of john lennon. this is an amazing recreation of mementos and copies of original song scribbles. i'd read the bob dylan one back at borders in the usa. i bought a new edition of a music magazine since it was cheaper. we stopped at a sporting goods store where i found some sweet clearance shirts that not only were needed but helped to fix yesterday's issues. the recognition of the smell of left shoes all pointing one direction on a sales wall was a scary and sudden reminder of the terms like over-pronation and motion control and adidiprene and gel. we got out of there soon after this.

the bands were playing at a place called the buzz and was laid out in a J pattern. the door was at the bottom left tip of this shape, the counter was on the inside left of the curve, and black wooden tables and leather seats and folding chairs scattered the long stalk that lead to the brick-backgrounded stage. the musicians often bounced on and off stage after songs as they played covers and some originals. i had a so-called 'canada moment' in this shop.

outside, on the right side of the stalk, there was a patio where people congregated at a wooden picnic table to talk over the music. someone had a couple small puppies and a little girl in a sundress and two small boys dressed in p.j.s chased the little animals around the concrete. across the median and street was a suburban subdivision where a canadian flag flapped on a pole in some backyard. back inside, most of the girls wore sundresses and many guys had beards or dreads or plastic-framed glasses. after walking in and standing around a bit, a barista came from behind the counter and offered me a free latte. the people i was with thought she was hitting on me, but i think they'd pry just made an extra on accident. free is free and i like free. anyways, this canada moment revealed a truly vagabonded utopia.

i'm back at camp now, sitting next to a piano keyboard on a dimly lit stage. the bus rolled in a few minutes ago. it's been a good day. tomorrow is 'staff development day' and sunday starts the next junior high camp and a new week of teaching video editing and shooting and such. i'm ready.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 68

dvd night. again. doesn't the last one seem like only a couple days ago? we were really on top of the process this week.

today turned into an adventure. myself and yuself, the other american who's from nyc, have some work permit issues to work out so we got permission to leave camp, i borrowed a car from dave, and we took a drive to downtown duncan. driving and moving fast with the windows down on a sunny afternoon is really a fresh experience after walking around in respective routines at camp. the government building gave us further information and next week we'll be driving a little further to go to a place that's only opened on thursdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm with a short close for lunch. this is kind of a narrow target to shoot for since we both have busy days and this location is an hour away, but some things gotta get done.

last night i stayed up a little longer to chill. the camp is good and all but the days can get bland and the grass is quite matted and the screams and yells continue to echo off the mountain. paul and i were talking about how old and worn even our own clothes seem to be feeling. i got new shampoo at walmart a couple days ago just to change it up.

without any distractions or duties last night, i took a tripod to do some night photography. here's some of the stuff. you can click on each to see the full size if you wish.

moments of free time can be rare. i sometimes find myself dwelling on a picture from a various travel from the past couple years and remembering the story that it holds. i might start sharing some of these pics and stories in posts. we'll see.

-vagabonded raconteur-

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 67

we've finished shooting and are starting to rap up on editing portions of the dvd so that tomorrow we can burn and have the dvds ready for friday morning for dispersing. the week has moved by so fast. i think it's because the schedule becomes more and more familiar so the days slide by quicker and quicker.

on the way to lunch one of the counselors in training was having an intense medical moment. there were oxygen tanks and crowd control and an ambulance but after all the trauma i've heard that she is now okay. the three of us were called to help relocate the girl and i ended up sitting on the ground behind her and she sat up against my back while the nurse supported a drooping head. she was shaking and couldn't feel her legs. it was all really intense so i'm glad she was okay.

a harmonica appearance has become a regular flow. i pop out for the one song that goes well with it and then pop back off. there were good reactions tonight, which is nice. all the other songs are played exactly to the sound of the theme's soundtrack so there isn't much other performance room. doing lights and powerpoint in back for the rest is fine.

i don't know what else to say right now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 66

isaiah 42 said something that went with a random thought from yesterday.

i was thinking about money and rich people. sometimes i imagine that if i talked to the right desperate rich guy or met a pro athlete, they might not have a problem with giving me, say, ten grand off the cream of their cash. the foam of their cup.

then i wondered what would happen if i gave money to a random someone. what if there was a kid who asked me for money and i gave him ten bucks. with proficient thanks, he accepts and runs away. i don't think i would like it if he spent it on himself and made himself more comfortable. it wouldn't make much sense. it wouldn't make much sense if i got ten grand from a millionaire and just bought new equipment or instruments and a chill place to live and then just sat around.

i'd been thinking about how pointless it is to work to fortify our own little lives with comforts- with little things that we want to check off from an ever-growing list of everything we think we want. goals are good, sure, but the more people i meet, the more i wonder if the very desires we, especially younger adults, think they want are just as unclear as the actual result that would be realized after getting what we think we wanted. so many people don't know 'what they want' anyways.

isaiah 42 says: "1 i will put my spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. 3 in faithfulness he will bring forth justice 4 he will not falter or be discouraged til he establishes justice on earth in his law the islands will put his hope."

all the talk about this servant getting and doing something with this valuable resource for nations and justice sounds like a worthy pursuit than just someone who 'figured he'd found what he'd been looking for and immediately felt better and more secure about his life and future and lived happily ever.'

don't give me ten thousand dollars until i've learned what it takes to live life right. hopefully by then i can help inspire the next person to do the same.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 65

get this. i'm in the other video office on one of the video computers but still have full control of my computer that's sitting in my office. i can log and capture on the video computer and, like i am right now, can open a window to control my computer as well. screen sharing. leopard. nice. sometimes we prank each other by controlling vacant computers' photobooths. creepy.

today was my day to capture and make highlights. now that the day is finished, we're chillin around the office messing with a midi keyboard and techno software. the other night i stayed around to record some piano stuff on a keyboard program called ivory or something like that. it's all a pretty sweet bonus to this job.

today has been solid. i made it to breakfast and i think it helped the day go smoothly. i had planned on writing about some other things before this music distraction and i can't get back to that state of mind anymore. work is done and its time to jam and record before bed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 64

today is sunday. i wouldn't really know what day it was if it wasn't for the little day-title bar on this computer, but i think i miss going to church. there isn't much reason to keep a personal calendar here. this is only the first full day of the third week of camp and you could tell me that it was thursday or monday and i really wouldn't have a solid reason for disbelief. my computer would let me know i guess. even though its their first day, the campers are really intense about getting on camera. this week the kids have started learning our names so we're not just called 'cameraman.' nice.

since there has been a new flood of freshly-trained counselors, i didn't have to run the basketball courts this morning because some jobs were shifted. the other video guys had already started the shooting with the two cameras so they gave me the morning off. no camera, no computer, and no kids.

i took a kayak into the warming ocean. i ate an orange and floated farther than a shout from shore and bobbed in the gentle waves. the mainland mountains were clearly visible under the cloudless blue sky. a curious seal popped his head nearby. i floated for a little while and paddled back to the land and the dock.

i work too. i realize i tend to write about side adventures and such but somedays i can't imagine the result of logging the regular daily shootings and editing or capturing or whatever else. the breaks are valuable too.

whoa. i just found a site where you can listen to live shows from different musicians. i'm checking it out and so far so good. here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 63

here we go. as the third consecutive week of camp begin, i can't help but notice a subtle shift in the flow of camp life. some of the counselors are now on maintenance because they're either getting a little burned out or are making room for the group of counselors in training who have begun their integration into counseling positions. plans are starting to be discussed for the three days off in mid summer. our video team operations have reached a solid flow for both shooting events and in running media at night.

every week is starting to feel more familiar. every week stays different.

Day 62

i've fallen slightly behind. this is friday, which was a huge day, but i can only give a quick overview because a new week of camp starts in less than an hour.

juniors one ended and the eerie silence rolled in once again as the kids trickled, faded, and were gone. the week's speaker, a teacher and magazine editor (flyfusionmag), and i had some good conversations over the week and i'm really excited about some opportunities we discussed to work together in the future. ask me if you're interested in hearing more. i could use prayer and help to figure and take these next steps.

we had the rest of the day off so the four of us went back into victoria. we longboarded and skateboarded the streets and a couple empty parking garages. i can't even begin to explain the thrill of gliding across the spiraling platforms from the top of the building to the bottom exit. afterwards we chilled at a camp friend's place. its the same downtown complex that avril lavigne lives in apparently. there's a labyrinth of parking tunnels and remote controlled gates underneath that houses incredible cars. even the elevators need a keycard. it was intense. new coldplay and some matt costa played as we stood on the balcony in the cool ocean breeze with the view across the water towards downtown victoria and the ships. perfect chill between busy weeks.

i have to go shoot now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 61

i had a little 'into the wild' moment this afternoon. after finishing editing one section of the dvd and waiting for another sequence's clips to import, i left the office and followed the path behind q-town. this path soon turns into a narrow trail that snakes through dense forests and huge ferns. the trail leads all the way down to the point, but i stopped at about halfway and decided to make a shelter. this must have rekindled some kind of boyish excitement because i spent the next forty-five minutes collecting logs and branches and moss to form and fortify a solid sleeping area between two boulders. the end product was impressively strong and sturdy. i'll probably go back to take some pictures of this later on this summer and maybe even test it out for a night.

i got back to my office and waited the remaining few minutes for the import to finish. we finished editing the dvd before dinner this week. last week's project wasn't done until midnight and it takes an additional four hours to duplicate all the needed copies. although i've learned that it's never safe to feel safe when you think media is going well, i have a feeling we won't be up the entire night this week. we screened the final product and made it to dinner only a few minutes late. i'm going to keep a copy of this edition.

tomorrow they go home. already. reviewing shots from earlier in the week gave us all a sense of amazement in the way that time has begun to speed up as we continue to flow better and better in our work. i really like all this.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 60

the shooting for this week's dvd is going well and we've all started editing portions of it. as the remainder of the week unfolds, we'll only have to plug the rest of the footage in where it belongs and be ready for the last night of mass production.

this morning at the basketball courts was fun. i helped kids spin the basketball on their finger and we all had a good time shooting around and chillin.

later in the afternoon, i met up with this week's speaker and we went to go do the interview for the dvd. we went to the top of the double zip line again and he gave his greeting and wrap up to the camera and then we both jumped off and i kept it rolling as we zipped through the trees.

it's hard to believe we're more than halfway through the second camp.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 59

the number of days is starting to get up there. for the first real time in semi-adult life, i can say that i really like my job and life combination and everything. i'm not going to go into a melodramatic monologue or anything, but i'm glad to be able to say that at least once while still being able to realize the same ideas and philosophies of past pursuit.

exactly a year ago today, i was at an airport and had begun a long flight to australia. i've been in touch with a handful of the seventeen team members lately and its been good to remember and be remembered. hey guys.

this day of camp has been going well although it's only half over. this is the earliest post ever. it was 'wide-eyed and liquified' in the morning so i got the camera housing again and played in the water and went down the huge slip-n-slide with the kids. the juniors don't slide as fast as junior highers, but their enthusiasm is unmatched. the afternoon was spent at the beach getting the remaining shots we need to be able to start to edit the week's dvd.

after deciding to stop by the lodge to drop some stuff off in my room, i ran into the head paramedic, tim. he had just come back from town and had made good on an incredible promise. i went to my room and unwrapped the dairy queen cheeseburger and had a mini thanksgiving atop my bedside cajon. i've saved the second burger for later tonight. camp food is okay but gets old when you're eating the same thing with 300 plus other people.

one of the counselors had a package sent in from her mom. included was the book 'into the wild' which she lent to me while she finishes her week counseling. this reunion of tangible text and the smell of full pages has been sorely missed. i agreed to share any inspiring quotes from the book or from any other searches.

"whoever waits for time to pass loses time" sicilian proverb

"he not busy being born is busy dying" bob dylan

"life is either a daring adventure or nothing" helen keller

"you feel like life is always leading up to something, but it isn't. i mean life is just life. it's all happening right now, and we aren't going to be any more complete a month from now than we are now. i only say this because i am trying to appreciate everything tonight. i will be leaving soon, and i want to feel this, really understand that it is happening because God breathed some spark into some mud that became us, and He did it for a reason, and i want to feel that reason, not some false explaination." --don miller "through painted deserts"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 58

i don't understand how starting at a computer screen for most of the afternoon can make your face hurt, but it does. concrete. after basketball in the morning, i spent the afternoon logging and labeling all of today's shots in the office and putting together the highlights to show at the evening q-town. i had missed breakfast for some extra sleep and had to edit through dinner to have the video ready. thankfully nick brought a plate of food to the office for me when he went to dinner. and, had it not been for isaac's house and some clutch pizza rolls after lunch's meager supply of quesadillas, i would have had to perform a serious ration break on the secret-backup-latenightsnack stash of cookies in my room.

today isn't frustrating, but it will be long. it's my night to log and label the rest of the day's footage.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 57

there's a whole new scenery and vibe with the junior kids. they move more, scream and laugh more, and seem to take contentment in recognizing one another by name. their mannerisms are kind of like an easy song that transposes from light laughter and high voices to smiles and awkward running.

i ran the basketball court in the morning today. the hours went by quickly and i got to meet and shoot hoops with a lot of the kids. a couple of them were more talkative than others and one guy named lucas promised to tell me how his adventure that would happen after lunch on the challenge course had gone. i look forward to seeing him, possibly on the courts again tomorrow, to hear about it.

i spent the afternoon getting video for daily highlights and the weekly dvd. i rode on the back of the speedboats and captured the campers riding the tubes and the other massive inflated rides across the waters and currents. i played harmonica again for the same song as before in q-town. now i'm going to get a few shots of the fireside meeting and call it a day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 56

i didn't set my alarm after rolling into bed last night. today was a sleep-in and somehow i managed to roll over exactly at 11:29. perfect. one minute until brunch. the rest of the day flew by as it usually does when waking up and lunch are back-to-back activities.

a new flood of campers arrived today. i don't have starwood dv to teach this week because the kids are pre-junior high ages eight to eleven so i'll be doing my regular video shooting and editing flow and, apparently, will also be running the basketball court during the mornings. i can dig that.

eight years ago, give or take, i was one of these kids. in fact, i think i saw myself today, then. skinny, long, and glasses. if i see him again, i might dedicate more time in a post to contrast the time i was much like the guy. we'll see.

i've been listening to a lot of jack johnson today in my office. i joined his fan club during a spare moment and selected 'global climate change' as my biggest ecological concern. apparently you had to choose one of the handful of issues. haha i don't know why i did. i did learn that jack johnson graduated college as a film maker.

Day 55

this is for friday, july 4th. i'm american today. there isn't too big a difference, i don't think, between north americans here. canadian's long o's in words like process and progress and sorry still stick out though.

i'm starting this post early today. the mid-afternoon sun is bright and the rumbles and toots and chatter of buses are fading. outside my window, q-town is empty and silent. the field is clearing of people and the green grass seems to yawn as the last of stragglers trickle away towards the road. the buses are moving. kids are hanging out the windows, some waving and some crying, while a handful girls reach out to touch their counselors' hands one last time in the final stage of the process of goodbye.

after our weekly jones soda toast in our media office, i walked outside my office and heard birds. the first week of camp is over.

we had the rest of the day off before camps begin again tomorrow. me, paul, and shaun and rode with another dude to victoria. = we wandered around and skated the streets and sidewalks, went to a bookstore, and played some pool at a chill public billiards hall in the middle of downtown. we had been yearning for a chill place to go to that might have couches and a good atmosphere and this place totally exceeded our expectations once we settled in and heard the beatles and counting crows and frank sinatra's music being played.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day 54

marathon. it's two in the morning and we've barely started burning the dvd's. the other two are in the next office finishing the weekly dvd and i'm in my office working on burning and labeling my campers' compilation. i had started much earlier tonight and managed to get about 98% of my starwood work done. i finished designing, printing, labeling, burning, copying, and stuffing the dvds and pulled one out of the final stack to double check quality. good decision, bad outcome. that's the way it had to happen, i guess, and it sent me on a frustrating adventure that is still going strong. networks and disconnecting and reconnecting and converting and starting to make a new dvd menu from scratch and sending conversions back over to other computers are only a portion of the mayhem. i'm not even going to continue to relive the pain of the past several hours, but the end is in sight for me. after this, i'm gonna go and help finish burning and stuffing the hundreds of weekly dvds for the rest of the campers.

today was the last whole day of camp, though, for junior high one. all my video campers came back to finish their projects during their free time today. i'm really pleased and impressed at the amount of knowledge they were able to control and exercise for the mere five-plus hours we spent together. the quiet girl thanked me and said she learned a lot. the director girl and her friend said in their credits that they 'can't wait to do more video-making together when they get home.' the boys had a good time as well and both groups turned in solid projects. if it hadn't been for time constraints tonight, i was planning on showing one of the projects for the daily highlight during the last evening q-town.

speaking of q-town, i finally got a taste of the action on the other side of my light board and media booth. one song is kind of country-sounding, so after working it out with russ before hand and deciding which two harmonica keys i'd need to cope with a mid-song key change, i got to play harmonica on stage for the opening song. there had been no real practice and i had no on-stage monitor, but the people that could hear said it went well. it felt really good to play something again.

my hands have printer toner on them, but there's finally a stack of filled dvd cases sitting next to my left elbow. i'll finish stuffing the fronts tomorrow morning before the campers leave after lunch.

one week down, seven more to go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 53

some of last night's excitement was still alive as i went to the office this morning. today was 'wide-eyed and liquified,' so the morning's games were all water-related and were held on the field. this included a massive, blue tarp with suds and a fire hose. i took the 'epic camera housing,' a waterproof video camera holder, out to the field. for forty minutes, i went down the sweet slip-n-slide with the kids and held the heavy plastic cylinder to get awesome footage. this also included jumping into the middle of several water games to capture the action and reactions and everything else that crazy, wet, hyper campers decide to do during a water frenzy. everyone loves the camera man in a game with water guns.

after lunch, i found that one of the other video guys wasn't too thrilled about going to the top of the double zip-line to do the 'exclusive speaker rap-up interview' that's gonna be put on the week's dvd. this sounded exciting to me, so i tied the camera to my neck and got geared up with randy the speaker. we sat perched with our legs hanging off the top of the zip-line tower and he talked to the camera. after saying 'dare to soar' for the last time, we both jumped off the ledge. it was kind of intense to jump after him because both of my hands were steadying the camera as we whizzed down, so i kind of leaned and fell. it was almost surreal.

tonight after q-town there was a special music concert by the band. during the show ryan was doing live video mixing from our balcony office, nick was running the dv7 and doing some shooting, little kim stepped in to help run sound, and i was doing lights and some short powerpoint. i'm starting to enjoy controlling and selecting spots and locations and was able to execute the songs' requirements. other than that, it was a free-will show. the little buttons made me miss piano though.

i promise i'm not trying to becoming a media-minded person. i never wanted to learn tech-talk, but i think i still might be learning some. its all good. i like my position and the opportunities it includes to participate on both sides of a staff position. camper interactions and staff operations and video productions are all valuable and exciting to me.

"there's excitement, adventure, friends, and a lot of good stuff i only had glimpses of during school or baseball or whatever. i do miss going to bookstores and holding actual, breathing books and the computer screen gets old, but other than that, the mountains and ocean and everything are good. cabin #19 all drew pictures for my office."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 52

the four of us stood near the shore in darkness. the rest of the campers and staff sat far up the hill behind us, safe and full of anticipation. today is canada day and tonight became the most intense lighting of fireworks i'd ever seen. i'm not saying it was the most expensive show to shine, but this one was the most intense. i'm still pumped. tim the fireman-slash-paramedic-slash-police reserve-slash-pilot was in full firefighting gear, big kim the pyro-slash-maintenance man was ready to detonate the fireworks, his wife, little kim, was there to monitor any brush fires, and i was there to shoot- straight up. another camera man stood with the rest above the hill.

the launching pad was thirty feet ahead and was pointing away from us towards the ocean. there were some beautiful shots, but that's really not what made it so intense. we've already watched the footage several and even both of the kims came all the way out to my office to see it tonight as well. there were perfect shots of red bombs of light streaking back to the ground and whizzing past the camera's lens (i used a two foot, makeshift steady-cam for a little more protection?) to fall inches from my feet. balls of fire. i had ear protection, but the flashes of light still brought respectable punches to my chest. bouhwm.

i couldn't just start this post without letting that experience out. the rest of the day was really good though. my starwood dv clubs met again and, this time, all the kids were excited and involved and learning. the shy girl told me about her hobbies, the family camp boys were more talkative, and the rest of them were ready to go. since there's only a couple meetings left, i started teaching them editing and they all overcame initial intimidation to become surprisingly proficient at a fairly complicated editing software. final cut express isn't too different from the pro studio version we use to do all our video work. one pair of girls, one with the director personality, wanted to learn how to use the clapper, so we practiced the director-camera operator dialogue and then they happily executed the commands for a couple of extra shots that they wanted to get before editing.

i happened to run into one of the family camp boys while doing some camp shooting later in the afternoon and he asked me if i was ever gonna be a counselor. during some of the camps to come i won't have any starwood campers and this little conversation we had encouraged me to think about offering to counsel during those times. i'll have other video work to do during then, but it could work out. we'll see.

all in all the past couple days have revealed, in many more ways than i could even explain here and now, the beautiful balance that exists in the influences that staff/counselors have on campers and, especially, the vice versa reverberation. little things count and before you know it, you might feel a