The Rumor Mill Was Jumpin’!

The Rumor Mill is a restaurant not too far from the Ferry Landing in beautiful downtown Friday Harbor, WA. Last night the One More Time Band played to a full house and a hopping dance floor.

The tinny sound is because my camera couldn’t handle the volume. Amoeba says it didn’t help that they put a 17 piece band in a closet and added two amplifiers!

Note as you watch Amoeba playing with his plunger mute — yes, he bought it at the hardware store. No, he has never used it on any pipes but his trumpet’s.

The trumpet solo you will hear is played by Tom Starr, the gentlemen sitting on Charley’s right.

Yes, Charley has shaved off his beard. He had to. He had a mole removed from just below his bottom lip. It was interfering with his trumpet playing. If you notice something below his lip, it’s the band-aid.

Hummingbirds in Snow

People say Hummingbirds are too fragile to withstand extreme weather.  Ha!  Hummingbirds are strong, resilient and fierce.

On December 29th, 2010, I video taped this Anna’s Hummingbird sipping nectar from a feeder on our back deck.  Three hummingbirds that we know of wintered here on San Juan Island in Puget Sound.  During the snowstorm they were out flitting around and playing chase. They all come in to feed, but only one at a time. They are very territorial and they fight over the nectar even though there is more than plenty to go around.

Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.

Pick One: Peanut Butter or Choclate?

Today’s question at, That’s My Answer! is Peanut Butter or Chocolate?

Apparently I am supposed to choose.  Ha!  Somebody tell that to my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!  There is nothing in this entire world more yummy than chocolate — unless it is chocolate and peanut butter together!  Do you remember this?

Of course, if they must be separated and I can only have one or the other, 9 times out of 10 I will choose chocolate — dark chocolate. Yum! (In case you were wondering what to send me for Christmas.)  😉

I Need a Video Converter

I am working with the 5th and 6th graders at church. They came up with a really cool video idea and the head of the Sunday School department called me. She said nobody in the Sunday School department had the technical expertise to help the kids, could I? I said yes, and I do have the knowledge to help them, but I am short a couple of tools.

I have already found a couple of video cameras (multi-angle shots) and camera operators lined up. I have the kids busy designing their storyboard and deciding on locations, stars, etc. The kids have to do all of the coordinating. This is their video. Their teacher is available for support and guidance. I am running/teaching the tech (and occasionally providing support and guidance for their teacher who knows she’s over her head).

What I still need is a good video converter. The scenes are going to have to be edited and spliced. I know how to do it but I am far from an expert.

One of the 6th grader’s parents said she had a video converter for Mac, but I’d have to use it at her house because it came bundled on their Mac desktop.  I don’t want to be stuck in their house at the mercy of their schedule and they likely don’t want me underfoot all the time, either. I need a program — it can be Mac or PC, but with Mac software I could get Amoeba’s help — that is easy enough for me to use and teach 11 and 12 year-olds, but will still produce a quality video. Anybody have any experience or products they recommend?