Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Every hero needs a Sidekick...

            And now I have my own. To some this might be old news... but I've been meaning to post about it for a while now. I happen to be the proud owner of an automobile, now. She's a 1996 Suzuki Sidekick of a silver shade.

             She has some funny quirks that I'm getting used to, but for the most part she's a lot of fun to drive. She seems to favor the higher gears, and thus is quite the speedy little car.

            She has plenty of space in the boot, only seats four, has a manual; five-speed transmission, and is Four-Wheel-Drive capable. She's a pretty basic car, but I love her. I'm already certain that we'll enjoy many an adventure together.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Camp 2012

What’s summer without a concert out in the sun? Well – after experiencing 107.7 The End’s ‘Summer Camp’, I don’t think I’ll let another summer go by without attending at least one outdoor concert. It wasn’t my first concert, but it was the first I’d experienced in a long time, and it was a whole lot of fun.
Matt, Jesse, and I...

                Personally I’ve never been much of a ‘Summer Camp’ enthusiast. I love camping… but the whole ‘Summer Camp’ idea just doesn’t jive with me. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t go to a concert that happens to be called ‘Summer Camp’ (Even though it is kind of an odd name…) and I am certainly glad that I did! One of my besties and I decided that we needed to be experiencing more live music. We both love listening to lots of different tunes, and recommending different groups and songs which are our favorites, but we hadn’t ever gone to any concerts together. Neither of us had gone to a concert in a while, so we looked around at what was local and affordable and decided ‘Summer Camp’ was our most feasible option. And since Broskie is beloved by the both of us as well, and we wanted him to come too, we split the cost of his ticket for him, which was a very kind deed if I do say so my own self.
                We bought the tickets in advance, made the plans, packed a lovely lunch, and then on the day of the concert; the three of us headed off to the park. It was a beautiful day, with the temperature hovering around the high seventies for the afternoon, and only cooling down later in the evening after sundown. We could not have asked for better concert weather!

                Summer Camp’s lineup was pretty great. The groups playing were Adventure Galley, Husky, Milo Greene, Animal Kingdom, The Features, Morning Parade, Atlas Genius, The Royale Concept, WALK THE MOON, FUN., and Alex Clare. Eleven bands played their hearts out one after the other. The group I originally went for was FUN., but before the concert I had familiarized myself with a bit of WALK THE MOON and Atlas Genius, so I went to listen to them too.

Adventure Galley opened. It was the first time I had ever heard them, so that was a new experience. They were pretty good, too. I liked them quite a bit. They were an American band from Portland, Oregon. Before the concert started, we set up base fairly close to the stage, but further back than those loony folks right up only twenty feet or less from the performers. Needless to say, we eventually wizened up and got closer. Like… much closer.

Next up was a band all the way from Melbourne, Australia called Husky. They were great. Their music was a bit folky, while still holding dearly to a kind of more contemporary sound. The perfect stuff for a Summer concert, really. I’ll be looking more into their music, because I really liked their sound and the tunes they played for us.

Milo Greene played after Husky. They were from Los Angeles, California. They were special, because they didn’t really have a main. Each member, minus the percussionist, took a turn singing the part of the primary vocals, and traded instruments throughout their performance. It was actually really fun! Sadly, because of those lame black-box things you can only see three of the five band members in my picture. They were all very accomplished musicians, though.

             During Milo Greene’s last number, this plane flew by with a Geico flag trailing behind. Clever time to advertise, eh? I thought so. I couldn’t help wondering if he could hear the great music all the way up there in his cockpit. If he did, I’ll bet he was totally rockin’ out!

Then up jumped Animal Kingdom. They came all the way from London, England to play for us. So I thought that was totally awesome. Also – they were the first trio to play that day, so I thought that was pretty sweet too. They had a pretty cool sound, too. Really ‘Brit-Rock’ styled at times, while still somehow hitting those folk-ish notes. It was nice. Do you see that bright, pink, inflatable, water-floating-bed-thing leaning over there next to the Bass player? The Bass player tossed that out into the crowd during their last number. It crowd surfed across the mass of us until some overly-devoted fan snagged it and took off. I had hoped someone would have climbed up onto it and ridden across our raised hands in style, but ‘twas not to be. Still – it was a funny and original touch.
After Animal Kingdom’s performance they mentioned that they’d be back at the T-Shirt stand signing shirts and albums. I liked them a lot, so I jumped up and headed out to the stand, bought an Animal Kingdom shirt, and stood in line to get it signed. The line wasn’t exceptionally long, but the lads of Animal Kingdom were all quite chatty, chill, and easy-going… so the line didn’t move all that quickly. I was in line for a good while. I was in line so long; The Features, a group from Nashville, Tenessee, got up on the stage, played their numbers, and got back down before I even got to the table. The music was loud enough that I was still able to hear, but I was by no means close. When I finally got up to the table, though, all was forgiven. The Animal Kingdom guys were so friendly and cool. Their accents were awesome, and I told them so. They replied by saying that “That’s the easy part for us!”, which I thought was absolutely hilarious. So I broke into an English accent, which impressed them quite a bit. We all had a good laugh and joked a bit, and then I got a picture with them – it was so the best ever. Oh - and they totally signed my shirt! And Matt bought a shirt, too, and had me get it signed for him, which they happily did, so that was great too!

Me with Hamish Crombie, Richard Sauberlich, and Geoff Lea...

The hallowed object, itself!

                I still was a bit disappointed that a sort of ‘missed’ The Features. But, I have been catching up a bit on their music, which I like quite a bit.

                I headed back to the cheering crowd to show off my newly acquired trophy to my companions and tell them about what happened, and arrived just in time to catch Morning Parade’s performance from the back of the crowd. They were pretty cool, too. They came from Essex, England. I hadn’t even heard of them until attending Summer Camp, though, but now I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for their albums.

Atlas Genius was next, and I had already been familiar with a bit of their music. They were also from Australia, but from Adelaide. I liked them a lot, mostly because all their songs were all really energetic and fun. Just like with Milo Greene, those stupid, black box things were in the way in my pictures, so you can’t see the drummer. Meh. They were still great.

                The Royal Concept was another one of the groups I hadn’t even heard of until attending Summer Camp. They were from Stockholm, Sweden. And like everyone before them, they had a lot of soul. At one point all three of the guys in front were banging it out on keyboards, and the percussionist was using synthesized drums, and it was pretty great. The main was pretty be-bop-itty and he hopped all around the stage, playing guitar, the keyboard, drumming a bit, and singing at the top of his lungs. They used one of those electronic, voice-changer-box-thingies (I honestly don’t know what they’re called…) at one point, which was kind of funny. But yeah – for the most part I liked The Royal Concept.

Before the concert I had discovered WALK THE MOON, from Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoyed their great beats and boppy tunes quite a bit. They were one of the main groups I went to Summer Camp to see, and I knew I would be in for a great performance. WALK THE MOON was so great! Right before they started someone tossed a bag of face-paint up onto the stage. The main picked it up and looked at it oddly, but then he pulled some light-blue out and put a stripe on his cheek. Then he gestured to the crowd to tell him whether it was cool or not. Of course we all cheered him on, so he not only stuck a stripe on his other cheek, but he stuck some of the stuff on the base-player’s and the guitarist’s faces, too! (I think he gave some to the percussionist, too, but because of those retarded black, box thingies, I’m not totally sure.) It was pretty funny. I was already familiar with most of their music, so I sang and clapped along with the songs they sang. In short, we partied it down pretty hard while WALK THE MOON was up on the stage. It was awesome. Also during their last number, Morning Parade jumped back up on the stage and broke out into song with them. It was absolutely hilarious!

After WALK THE MOON, and a long wait for the stage to be prepared for them, FUN. finally took the stage. They are from New York City and were really the primary reason I went to Summer Camp. I was already quite familiar with their albums and very enthusiastic about seeing them live, so I was pumped for their performance. Let me tell you… FUN. Is great listening, but no recording is half the greatness that hearing them live is. Hearing them live is so… well… FUN!

All six of the musicians are quite accomplished, and being there to hear them live was absolutely great. If anyone hadn’t been dancing, clapping, or singing along with the previous bands, they all joined in for the songs FUN. performed. It was such a ball!

FUN. also had the coolest lighting. The sun had set by the time they took the stage, so it began to get dark as they played, and the back-lights and strobes were all really cool. And then – bam – ticker-tape was getting blasted all over the place. It was so, stinking wicked, dawg!
The only snow I ever want to see in the middle of summer...

When FUN. left the stage we all begged for an encore, but security began blowing their shiny, little whistles, the stage hands came up to clean the stage, and none of the FUN. members reappeared; so we all gave up hope. But then… out of nowhere they all stepped back into place and told us that this was unplanned. The crowd, as could be imagined, went wild. FUN. gave us the best encore we could have asked for. It was so very, very great!

                The last group to take the stage was Alex Clare's. He was also from London. They were alright. But really, all their songs sounded the same, and they were terribly over-shadowed by FUN.’s performance right before them. I had also tired myself out considerably by behaving like a madman during both WALK THE MOON and FUN.’s performances, so I didn’t have a whole lot of energy left in me.
                After Alex Clare was done we re-grouped and headed out the gates. The parking-lot was full of traffic so we sat in the car with my stereo blasting WALK THE MOON, for which we received plenty of thumbs-up and peace signs from those who we waited in traffic with. It was fun. Heck – overall, the whole afternoon and evening was a blast! If I wasn’t before, I am now a big concert enthusiast. Live music trumps anything you might hear through a stereo.

Two shirts and a tote... yummy!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A sunset on the Oregon coast...

      I do so love a beautiful sunset. I’m kind of a bit of a sunset chaser, actually. I mean… not over the top or anything… but kind of a sunset chaser. So while on the Oregon coast I knew I’d just have to photograph a sunset. As usual with me and sunsets, it was a spur-of-the moment decision one evening. But the walk to the beach was short and I had plenty of time.

      The sunset was gorgeous. It just was. The massive globe of orange fire slowly shrank as it pulled away and plummeted towards the grand, dark sea. The ocean cooed out its lullaby to the sun as the waves broke on the beach, wetting the sand at its constant rhythm. And before I knew it, it was gone. The sun had said its final farewells before pulling its bedclothes over its fiery head and going to sleep beneath the horizon of waves.

      I do so love sunsets. No matter where they are, they’re sure to impress me each and every time I get the opportunity to watch them.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Scotsmen only!

      I’ve quite decided that this blog of mine has far too few Scottish-related posts. In an attempt to remedy that very thing, I thought it might be clever for me to blog about the sign I purchased while I was in Oregon on a family vacation this last week. Already I’m sure you’re asking what this has to do with Scotland, and how I could make a post concerning the Oregon coast and signs somehow related to Scottish-ness. Well – just read on, dear reader.
       While visiting the Oregon coast, we went shopping in one of the larger towns and came across a wee Celtic shop. I was not about to pass by such a pleasant little sales-place, so I popped in and glanced about at the peddler’s wares. The gentleman was hawking a lot of interesting items, but one particular one caught my fancy. Well – enough for me to just about buy it up on sight. It was just that awesome. ‘Twas a sign. What’s so great about a sign? Well it was manufactured locally – which I found to be incredibly great. But the best part was really what was written on the sign. Check it out!

       Funny stuff, right? I thought so, anyway. It was totally a must have for me. If you don’t know the significance of the ‘City Ordinance’ date on the bottom right corner, you must not be Scottish. That date marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath at Arbroath abby. A declaration by Scotsmen of freedom from English rule. That occasion, one buried in historical intrigue, actually plowed the furrows for modern-day democracy and even remained something of a basis for the American Declaration of Independence. So it really is a very significant date! Though, how that date is really associated with the content of the sign is not really all that apparent to me…
       …Still, the sign is great. And buying local was an added benefit. It was all win.

The sign doesnae lie, Laddie!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Guild Experience Part Six: Guild Wrap-up...

         I guess by now I’ve written quite a bit about the Guild and the time I spent in the Mohonk mountains, learning from master craftsman of the dramatic arts. So I believe I’ll make this my final post on the subject. It was certainly an experience I will never forget. I attended the Guild, hoping to get experience in Drama and Voice-Overs. I received just that, but more as well. Additionally, I met many young people who I regard as friends. Hopefully our time together at the Guild was only a precursor to the fabulous relationships that will arise from our acquaintance. Many of us made plans to collaborate on different personal projects, and we look forward to what comes of our combined forces. Also at the Guild, I made contacts that could prove very valuable in my prospective career in V-O, which was very encouraging. But most of all… most of all, I met the Lord. I hadn’t expected such an incredible experience. I hadn’t imagined such a life changing occurrence. But it happened! I felt the Lord’s presence. His pleasure was evident and could be felt by all as we praised his name.

The view from Eagle Cliff...

The view from the far side of the lake...

Cathy Buchanan, Todd Busteed, and John Campbell...

I had so much fun those five days I attended the Guild. And without a doubt, I would suggest it to anyone at all who was interested in visual or dramatic arts. If you enjoy painting, acting, videography, sound-design, music-composition, photography, and script-writing, I’d highly recommend saving your pennies for Guild 2013, because if it is anything like Guild 2012, it will be an experience of a life-time.

You can check out the official Guild home-page Here.
Sean, Michael, Me, Brandon, Cody, Ben, Sammi, Alex, Jonathan, and garret. (Photo courtesy of Cody)
I already miss all the great people I met at the Guild. So many like-minded individuals. Everyone was exceptionally friendly and decent, it was impossible not to quickly make friends. We all had our areas of expertise, but we all were willing to stretch a bit too. Interacting with so many students might have been a headache, but it wasn’t. Like me, all were there to learn, and showed the utmost respect to both their fellow students and their teachers, which I appreciated immensely. We laughed a lot, cheered a lot, sang a lot, talked a lot, and certainly learned a lot. From each other, and from our teachers.

The flight home...
In the end, it probably goes without saying that I’m very thankful that I attended the Guild. I praise the Lord for giving me this fantastic opportunity. I pray that I will use my talents and passions to bring glory to Him.
I also want to thank those who helped get me to the Guild, either by buying books, contributing to my fund, or even just supplying moral support. But thank you for all your prayers, most of all. You guys are all the best ever!