Monday, September 20, 2010

Airport find of the day: DFW Samsung.

I'm currently at the Dallas Fort-worth Airport, Terminal D, my preferred terminal. I'm sitting in the Samsung entertainment lounge on the nearly abandoned second flour mezzanine above the shopping area and restaurants. There is a tower of flat screen TVs showing off Samsung's products, but I'm ignoring those while I enjoy the comfortable overstuffed leather chairs. There are also a few Coleman cots and clean blankets that someone has stowed behind the chairs in case I want take a nap.

It's no Singapore Airport, but I'm making the best out of the situation.

I had to pay for the internet.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Day at the Beach

The view from the motel that we stayed at.

I like hammocks.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.
The Crazy thing about black sand beaches is that they get blazing hot in the sun.
This dog found some shade and dug himself a bed.

I'm missing Jocey.

Black Sand Beaches

We rented boards and drove to the beach.

Stormy waves, I was hoping it would rain while we surfed.


Beautiful Textures

My watch band turned bright green after going in the water and being in the sun.
I'm not sure what that means. Maybe it's a Hypercolor watch. It's mostly turned back to white on its own now. Weird.

La Conchita

Where The River Meets The Sea

A Hidden Garden

Flora and Fauna

A Tribute to all the Sunset Garden book lovers who read my blog...

Working and Teaching

The Video Editing Room

Otto at the Sound Board

Esteban teaching Manasès what I had taught him the day before.

Learning Final Cut Express

A New Home for The XL2

Planning A New Rules Video

Planning A New Promo Video

A Super Hero for the Rules video

New Friends

The room where I got to stay

Living right on the edge of the jungle.

Around Camp

From Costa Rica

From Costa Rica

From Costa Rica

From Costa Rica

From Costa Rica

From Costa Rica

Costa Rica Photos

Here's a slideshow of all the photos I've taken so far.
I'll also post some of them individually.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finally internet

Sorry, I haven't had internet, so I'm just posting quickly some stuff that I've written in the last few days.

We're here at the La Montaña offices in San Jose. I just finished teaching seminars all day.

It went really well.

I have pictures from the last few days, but I don't have time to post them now. I'll get them up soon.

Costa Rica (From Day 2)

It’s always strange to arrive an a foreign place in the dark, you wake up and everything is new, new sights, new sounds…

Yesterday, the first day here at La Montaña, I woke up early and spent some time alone with God just outside my door. Then I had breakfast with Joe Pent and some of the other staff at the dinning area. We sat outside drinking coffee and getting to know each other a little better as we talked through the rest of the week. We also talked philosophy of running camp, working with the churches, working with different cultures.

I met Esteban and Otto, the sound and video guys. I’ve been working mostly with Esteban teaching him how to use the cameras, and how to use Final Cut Express. He’s been using iMovie for the last year, and he seems to learn quickly. He speaks broken English, but we get along just fine. He makes fun of how lazy I am with my Spanish. He knows that I can understand much of what is said in Spanish, but he says that I’m lazy with speaking it myself. He’s probably right.

The camp that they are running this weekend is pretty much just a guest group. It has all the challenges of running a guest group that we have up at Hume. It’s interesting seeing the staff having to rearrange the schedule, and get slightly frustrated at things not running efficiently. And, here I am making a weekend video for a guest group. I don’t know very many things more difficult, but then I’m trying to teach four guys who don’t speak much English how to shoot video for a totally different kind of camp that they run fully themselves in a different season. Plus, we still have to get this video done. So, I’ve been shooting about half the time trying as best I can to explain how I am shooting and why. The other half of the time, I put the camera in their hands and give them instructions or specific shots to try. I’ve showed two of the guys the basics of editing. They are taking turns going through the footage and gathering all the good clips onto one timeline. Tonight we’ll actually edit the whole video. Hopefully I can have them do as much as possible of the work. It will be slower, but I know that they’ll learn by doing. Otherwise, if we run too short on time, I’ll just have them watch what I do so that they have an example.

Unfortunately I don’t have great material to work with. The guest group has mostly been doing teaching times and seminars. It’s a group of young adults being hosted by the Full Gospel Men’s Group. There are lots of spontaneous testimonial times. The meetings always end up going longer than planned. The La Montaña staff was supposed to run Team Building exercises (The call them riddles) for most of the morning, but the meeting was two and half hour late, so they rushed through them right before lunch in less than an hour. I wasn’t able to even get to all of them before it was over. It rained most of the afternoon, but we filmed their High Ropes Course, (Cuerdas Altas) and then some swimming, roe swing, and diving up at the lake. The ropes course is beautifully set deep in the rain forest. It was like walking into another world, or maybe just like taking the path at the wild animal park that starts just bellow the Orangutan enclosure and ends over by the elephants.

Right now, while one of the guys is working on editing the video, I’m watching Esteban teach somebody else what I taught him yesterday about the camera. There’s something especially exciting about that. It means he understands it on a deep enough level to be able to explain it in his own words, in his own language, in a way that somebody who doesn’t already know video can understand. It’s only been one day, and already I’m confident that they will continue to learn and grow in their use of these cameras and their video production in general.

On Monday, we’ll be going down to San Jose to their main office (just like Hume’s Fresno office) where I’ll be teaching video seminars all day to several volunteers that they hope will be involved at different times in their video productions at camp over the next year. In the morning I’ll be covering general philosophy and concepts in regards to making videos for camp, and in the afternoon I’ll focus on specific skills with hands-on exercises.

Costa Rica (From Day 1)

After a long day of travel I’m finally here at La Montaña in Costa Rica. I’m in a very nice room with the beautiful sounds of the jungle pouring in from outside, filling the room. Joe said that if I sit outside early in the morning, I might see a monkey or two in the trees. He said it’s a great place to spend time with God, and that it seems to spiritually bring him close to what it must have been like in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by the overwhelming presence of God’s creation. I’m looking forward to it. Right now it’s just dark outside, though with the sounds and smells, there’s plenty that my imagination can see.

It sounds like I’m going to hit the ground running and have all the busy, full days on the front end of my visit here. We have a Men’s Conference this weekend, and then days planned out to spend time teaching their staff, then working with them to make a rules video for their “summer” season of camp, which starts in November. Then, next weekend I’ll get some time to relax and tour around a little bit.

The trip was largely uneventful. I spent the night last night at Andy’s new apartment in Fresno, and then he graciously drove me to the airport at 5:45am after dropping my car off at the Fresno Hume office. When we were about to leave in the faint light of morning we realized that we were wearing matching Hume:SD shirts.

On the first flight, I had a middle seat and both people on either side of my slept the whole time. I just read the whole time. The first thing that I did when I arrived in Dallas was to ride the complete loop on the Skytrain stopping at each terminal to see what made each of them unique. Terminal D was by far the best, with high arching glass ceilings and two story indoor restaurant/shop areas. It was clearly the newest terminal. (Unless Terminal E came later, but they chose to model it after the late seventies utilitarian style cues of Terminals A-C) Actually, come to think of it, the whole airport was like LAX, just spread out bigger and wider over miles of open land with Terminal D, corresponding to the Tom Bradley International Terminal that we have at LAX. The whole airport was pretty boring except for a few fun interactive art sculptures in Terminal D (the kind that you have to walk through to get where you want to go).

There were many white, middle-American-looking travelers. It seemed that 95% of the non-white people that I saw were airport employees. I noticed lots of army people everywhere. I even stumbled across two USO events happening in the terminals! The funny thing was that they ran the audio feed for these shows over the annoncement speaker system in the terminals; the boarding announcements would always override whatever else was going on. One of them even had the National Anthem being sung, which made it especially funny because people where awkwardly standing, but not sure if they should be since they couldn’t see what was going on from where they had been sitting. Most of the people near me sat down when they heard the first “LAST CALL FOR BOARDING GROUPS 1-2 ON FLIGHT 6128 WITH FINAL DESTINATION, NEW YORK”, interrupting our beloved national anthem.

I almost got some Fried Chicken at a Popeye’s, or a fatty Big Mac at MacDonald’s just to be able to say that I tried some local culture. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I ended up getting a bagel sandwhich at Einstein’s and then satisfied my Mid-West fix with a Styrofoam cup of Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee. It tasted like gas station coffee, and the DD reminded me of Timmy Horton’s in Canada. I think I liked Timmy’s better. Karley, I’ll still have to believe that the Dunkin Doughnuts that you have in Wisconsin serve different coffee than the on at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

The flight from Dallas to San Jose, Costa Rica was on a larger plane that was not full. I had a whole open row to myself in the back. I think I fell asleep before we even got on the runway, because I remember waking up to hear the captain say that we had reached cruising altitude and somehow I already had my seatbelt on. I read most of the rest of the flight.

I made it through customs just fine, my bags went through the xray, but they either weren’t looking at the screen or they didn’t care. I was a little nervous, so it was a relief. When I got out on the street I didn’t notice anybody with a sign for me, and didn’t notice anybody that might be trying to notice me, so I borrowed a cell phone from a friendly stranger and called Joe Pent’s home. His wife answered, said he was there, then hung up to call him on his cell phone. Before he could answer my friendly stranger friend started yelling in Spanish for anybody from Campemento Christiano. It worked. Joe turned around, saw me, and we had a nice hour long ride in the cloud forest getting to know each other.

I’m looking forward to a good week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On My Way to Costa Rica

I'm traveling down to Costa Rica with some of Hume's old video cameras.
I'll be spending 10 days at La Montaña Christian Camps to work with their staff, teaching them some of the video stuff that we do at Hume.

Saturday, September 4, 2010