Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mondays

We all know how most people view Mondays. They are usually kind of stinky because its the first day of the week (I will count Sunday as a weekend day for this post). After a restful weekend everyone goes back to work or school. Well, today I didn't have to go back to neither work nor school. So it started off pretty well.
However, something happened later that evening that really ticked me off. So I will tell that story first. Then I will tell of another event that happened that day. In this way I will end a a happier note. So this post is not in chronological order. Okay?

All last week was "Youth-i-Versity" at our church. Its like vacation Bible school for highschool and middleschool (but don't tell them I said that.) And every year they have a lip sync contest. This year Eärendil got two groups together for the contest (he's going to be a highschooler this year *shriek*). And Tulkas and his best friend got together and lip synced to RelientK's "crayons can melt on us for all I care." (I can't believe they are already in middle school!) Anyway, all that to say I was there every night to record the different groups lip syncing.
So, this past Monday I decided it was time to import the video to my computer so I could burn it to a DVD (some people had asked for copies). But my laptop doesn't have a port for firewires. So, I grabbed my handy-dandy cruzer and went to do it on Mom and Dad's computer downstairs. When I connected the video camera and set it on playback a window popped up with options on what I wanted to do. Being the brilliant idiot that I am, I decided to import it using the first program listed instead of using windows movie maker like I usually do. Now, the length of the video is how long it will take to capture. And I had a little over an hours worth of lip syncing. So that took a long time. I decided to read the assigned chapter in my Geology book while I waited (school hasn't started, but my professor gave us homework).
When it finally finished I looked at the settings to see how it saved the movie. What? I've never seen this type of file extension before. Movie maker, or any other program for that matter, won't support this. Well, that's okay, I thought. I can still save it as a .wma or something. So I tried that. They showed the video as it was saving. About every 5 seconds it would pause for 3 seconds. This is not good. I don't want to wait here even longer than I had to the first time. I figured that it would take less time to just re-capture the video.
So I connected the camera for the second time. This time I captured it using Movie Maker and saved it directly to my cruzer. An hour later I disconnected the camera. But I found some old folders on my cruzer that were taking up space. So I tried to delete them. But it didn't work. So asked for Dad's help. He said that I'd have to completely clear out the drive. "Are there any folders you want to save?" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "My DA121 folder." And so he wiped my cruzer clean, except for that one folder. That's right. EVERYTHING, including, you guessed it, my video file. Sometimes there are no buses short enough for me! I just spent two hours capturing this stupid thing and now I forget about it for 2 minutes!!?
So guess what I had to do all over again? ........Yeah. I grabbed the video camera and marched over to the computer with my cruzer in hand. Plugged in the camera. Opened movie Maker. Wait a minute! The video files are still there in movie maker! I tested it to make sure it played back. It still works! Yes! I saved it onto my cruzer and put the camera away. I went upstairs and plugged the cruzer into my laptop to begin editing. I opened Movie Maker and RED X's!! WHAT?! It Didn't Work!?
So guess what I had to do again? Downstairs, camera, computer, Movie Maker, capture, one hour, anger, ire, wrath. I'm guessing you can fill in what went on. This time I was extremely careful. I save it onto the computer's hard drive first. Played it back. Closed the program and opened it again. Then played it back again to make sure that it really worked. Then I saved it. Then I plugged in my cruzer. Opened it. Then I opened the video in movie maker again and clicked "save as." I named it "lipsync.MSWMM" and chose the destination as "MOBILE DATA (H:)" (that's the cruzer). Then I closed movie maker. I opened lipsync.MSWMM from my cruzer. And guess what I saw. Rows of those blasted RED X's!! Why didn't it work!!
So I decided to give up. I'll just edit it on this computer and forget about transferring it to my laptop. So I went to the original file on the computer and opened it up. RED X's!!!!!! What The HECK!
So, I just decided to forget it. I was not about to start it all over again. Maybe another day, but not then.

Ok, now for happier things *cue sunshine and flowers.*
Earlier on Monday my Mom sent my brothers outside to gather up the cut grass to use it as mulching around our plants. She also had them wearing masks because of their allergies.


It was nice and cloudy and windy, not too hot at all.


Here is Tulkas screaming through his mask. Even the little things amuse us.


They found some kind of interesting bug. I was inside the screen, though. So I couldn't see it.


Tulkas is overseeing Eärendil as he works. Haha, just kidding. They were both working very well.


I had just shown Tulkas BaratsandBareta's new video "Double Dragons" earlier that day. So here he is trying to mimic them. Side Note: We are big fans of youtube videos. Our favorites are BaratsandBareta and Fred. Hehe, I snicker just thinking about them.


At first Eärendil didn't want to participate.


But then he went along with it.


And, of course, we had do do their signature picture...


...several times.


Kids, don't ever do that (what Eärendil is doing). It is entirely unsafe in every sense of the word.
Well, I went inside after a while. I think I was distracting them from their work too much. I had to get my stuff all situated for school any way. NO! Summer is almost over! How did that happen? How do I make it stop? (Just kidding. School is okay. I just don't like some of my required classes.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

All Alone....

Well, today was an interesting day. Dad was at work all day. Ilmarë was working as a stand-in. So, she was gone all day. Yavanna and Eärendil went to Bush Gardens with our church youth group. So, they were gone all day. And then Mom and Tulkas went to Disney with Tulkas's friends. So, they were gone all day. This means that I was at home all day, all alone.


Well, the first thing I did after breakfast was fold the laundry. It was two full loads. About one and a half of those were whites. I've always disliked folding the white laundry (I'm not being racist here), because of all the loose socks that need to be paired. And I didn't have any help this time around either. But that's okay. I just went about my chores while watching FOX and Friends.


So, I went around the house getting all my chores done first. I actually finished rather quickly. But It was oddly quiet so I didn't want to go up to my room just yet. I grabbed a hula hoop and hula-hooped for a while.


After I had been hula hooping for a while I remembered that I had to put the clothes away. So, that's me hanging up my Mom's shirts.


While I was in my Mom's closet I found her Indiana Jones hat. Cheese!


Then I made some scans on Mom's computer. All this time I had the tv turned on to the news channel, just to keep it from being so still and quiet in the house. Because, seriously, it feels so eerie when its so quiet during the day. I will never be able to live alone! I can't even stand one day of empty-houseness.


I really liked that hat. But it seemed to fit kinda high on my head, like it would fall off or something. It felt a little odd, because I'm so used to caps.


Ok, I was really running out of things to do downstairs. So I made a card tower.


It was fun. And the hat was for concentrating (or something like that).


Tada!


Yep. And I left it up all day. Its still up on the table right now. That's a sturdy card tower!

Well, after I finished with the cards I went upstairs and got on my computer (the tv was still on downstairs. Don't judge me.). I listened to some music and worked on a few projects that I'd like to finish before classes start.


Eventually I went back down to make myself some lunch.


A grilled-cheese sandwich! It was good. I kinda burnt the other side, though because I was taking pictures when I should have been paying more attention to what I was cooking. However, it was still good.

Well, for the rest of the day I was back on my computer working on my stuff, listening to music, etc. When Dad got home I went down to watch the Little League World Series games (I was rooting for Canada and Hawaii!). Canada lost to Venezuela, but Hawaii won! Yay!
Then we waited for Ilmarë to get home so we could go eat out. She got home late. But we went out to eat together anyways. We went to Oakwood BBQ. It hit the spot!

All in all, its been a pretty good, long day. Mom and Tulkas got home about 1/2 an hour after we got back from the restaurant and Yavanna and
Eärendil are on there way home as I type. The house is no longer as quiet! I have my peeps back.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Impromtu Photo Shoot

Well, I was outside the other day taking care of my precious little pineapple patch. It had gotten very weedy after more than week of neglect. (I got as sick as a puppy a few days after I got back from Mississippi.) Anyway, I was hunched over, deep in cultivating thought, when a bright streak of orange fluttered by. I looked up to see two sharp-orange butterflies gamboling around a nearby vine. Now that would make a very good photo, I thought. So I finished up and went in to get my camera.
Now the butterflies were not very cooperative. So I did not get many good pictures of them. But the ones I did get didn't turn out so bad.


The vine that they were fluttering around just popped up around our fence a couple of years ago. Since then it has grown all over the place. It has practically taken over that whole area where our old compost piles were. I still don't know what kind of vine it is either. I can't find it in any books nor anywhere online.

Look at that! Its even growing where there is nothing for it to get a hold of! At least its not an unsightly weed! I would hate to have to get rid of something that hardy because it was ugly.

Its very tough and, uh, curly? It even grows up on itself. I think its kinda cool.

Its a tangly mess when I think about it. But when I look at it its very pretty. I guess I should go and trim it back some, though. Its starting to take over the gate there. And we'll need to use that when we move Shadowfax and the goat to the other pasture.

This was the best picture I could get of the butterflies. I couldn't catch both of them at the same time. But I did get one of them. It was fun taking these pictures despite the burning fury of the sun. It was really hot. But it was worth it!
Until next time, adios!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer part 6

Two last pictures and a story from that Thursday:

Mischief with the circular saw. A very bad idea.

Later in the day Mischief came inside and asked me for some duct tape. "Sure," I replied. But he had that "look" on his face. So I asked what he needed it for. It turned out that he sliced his pants with the circular saw. How is that even possible!? What the heck was he doing with that thing! "At least it didn't break skin," he said. I had been telling him all week, "No more injuries!" Yet he continued to do moronic things.

There he is doing something dangerous, once again.

There were some chipped tiles that were not suitable for using. It was nearing the end of our work day. And everyone was preparing to clean up, except for "those two". Blue Steel and Mischief thought it would be fun to hit the tiles with a hammer. So they took turns. One would swing the hammer while the other would throw the tile. Notice that Mr. Percy's truck is right behind him. Not smart! This went on for a while until Mrs. H caught them and told them to stop.
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And then it was Friday. Our last day at World Changers. Mischief, Blue Steel, and I finished the last of the ceiling tile. And "those two" were very excited when they found a back-scratcher on one of Mr. Percy's old shelves. Blue Steel kept it with him all day long.

He would go around and scratch everyone's back with it.

This was just before our lunch break. The guy in the red shirt was from our host church. They brought us lunch everyday that week. On Friday they brought us taco bell! It hit the spot! They also brought choco-tacos. Those. Were. Good.

By this time of the week most of the other World Changer crews had finished their projects. Throughout the day a couple of kids from other crews went around helping out between my worksite and the other worksites nearby. Then, this one kid came along with his banjo. He was from the same church as the three girls on my crew. So he played a couple songs for us. And boy was he good at it!

Wicked-awesome banjo-playing kid.

Ta da! Mr. Percy's new kitchen ceiling!

And his newly painted shed.

And his new laundry room/hallway ceiling.

And there he is enjoying his newly painted carport. He would often come out of his house during the day and sit under the carport with a fly swatter and a can of wasp spray. Sometimes he would come out during some of our crew devotions and add some of his wisdom and experience to the lesson.

We stayed late Friday getting things done. By late afternoon all we had left to do was put in the molding. Only a few people could do that so the rest of us started cleaning up. Montana and I went around picking up trash. We were walking around the big tree near the back of Mr. Percy's lot when we found this little guy:

It was a dead rat! And Montana knew the story of how he came to be where he was. Apparently, the crew working on the house next to ours had been clearing out some junk. Then, all of a sudden, this dead rat fell on one of the girls' head. So one of the guys picked it up with a shovel and laid it next to the tree with this plastic water bottle for a grave marker. The guy had a shovel. I wonder why he didn't just bury it or something.

Mr. Percy has a lot of stuff. He has an interesting story too. He moved here to this little town with his mother when he was two years old. When he was twenty-two he became a Sunday school teacher at his church. Two years later he became a deacon. In 1945 he built this house that he still lives in today! And he built that metal shed in the picture there. Later on he said that he added two rooms to the back, but never got around to finishing them. That was the shed that we painted. Even as I walked around his lot I saw many of the things he acquired over the years. I'm pretty sure he could tell lots of stories about each and every one of them. Now that I think about it, I should have asked Mr. Percy if he ever met Elvis.

At the very back of his lot was this old pickup and an outhouse-looking thing. Oh, and I have to tell you, right after we arrived there Tuesday morning Mr. Percy told us that he had cut his grass the day before. He said he had done it so that it would be easier for us to work. He was so nice to us all week long! And he's an active man despite his age! He has a big garden and he takes very good care of his house and his lot.

This was so cool! Its an underground storm shelter! My sister Ilmarë went inside it (her crew came by earlier)
.


Doesn't it remind you of a hobbit hole?

After we had completely finished our project we gave Mr. Percy a World Changers sign and a Bible which we all signed for him.

We thanked him for letting us work on his house and took a few last pictures with him.

No comment.

Well, since we stayed late at the work site we got back to the school late (our work site was about 15-20 minutes away from the school). Now I figured I had two options:
1. Go to dinner first, then go take a shower chancing that I might be late for worship, or
2. Take a shower first chancing that I might be too late for dinner, but guaranteeing that I will make it to worship on time.
I didn't like cafeteria food anyways. I chose the shower first. So I dropped off the medic kit, chatted with the nurse for a bit, then headed straight for the showers.

*side note- My sisters and I have it down to a science: Before you go out to the work site in the morning, pack a "shower bag." This should include everything you'd need when you go to take your shower, including your change of clothes. Then take your shower bag down to the showers and put them in a locker there (Its usually at a school so there are lockers). This way when you get back from the work site you can go straight to the showers without having to make a detour to your room like most of the other girls do. This also means you will not have to wait in the shower line as long!

Okay, back on course. I headed for the showers. On my way I passed a lady coming out. "Oh," she said. "You're gonna have the whole thing to yourself." "Really?" "Yep," she answered. "Its empty now." So I went inside. It was quiet. Wow. This brought back memories from World Changers two years ago. Back then my crew and I got back late every single day! So I'd be down there in the showers all by myself. But, hey! This was fine with me! Now I get to pick which shower I want and can take as long as I want without having to worry about *shower nazis. So I picked the big one all the way and the back and waltzed right in while whistling a Tchaikovsky tune. The other girls from my crew came in within the next few minutes, but there were plenty of showers. *teehee* I took as long as I wanted!
So I rushed back to the room. I had just remembered that Dad, Ilmarë, Eärendil, and I were going to leave right after the worship service. I had packed away most of my stuff earlier that morning. But I still had to deflate my mattress! When I got to the room I saw that Ilmarë's stuff was all gone and Yavanna's things were all packed. I finished gathering my stuff when I realized I still have to eat! I'm hungry!
So I bolted for the cafeteria. Dad and my siblings were still there. The line was empty and they were preparing to clean up. But at least I wasn't the only one trying to get food. I wasn't quite sure what I was eating. I think it was fish. Whatever it was it was cold.
Anyway, during the final service we sat with our crews. Some of the home-owners came. We invited Mr. Percy, but he couldn't make it. After the service we had our final crew chat, exchanged e-mails, took pictures, and said goodbyes.
Then I loaded my stuff into Dad's car. My youngest brother,Tulkas, had his sectional games the next day. So we wanted to make it there in time to see them. Yavanna stayed behind to travel back with the rest of the youth the next day. So we said goodbye and began our trip back.
There were a few mishaps, some new changes, and some minor injuries this year at World Changers. But, all in all, it was a very good experience. I even made a really quick, short video/slideshow of our projects for when we would present during the service back at church. Check it out:

video

*shower nazi ~ a self-selected, adult World Changer chaperone that regulates the showers and calls out individuals that take too long or shave while in the shower. (Shaving in the shower is frowned upon in World Changers).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer part 5

Wednesday was our half-day of work. It was still morning when Mischief came out of Mr. Percy's house and said he needed a break. He was frustrated. They had run into a problem with the tiling. So I went in to help and stayed in there for the rest of the day.
I could really feel the anxiety mounting in our leaders. I felt really bad for them. So I just worked as hard as I could and tried to stay positive. I honestly didn't know why they were so worried. We would get this done hands down, no problem. Staying late on the work site one or two days is no big deal either. If we had to, we had to. That's okay. But it would get done.
Mr. J (crew chief) would come to me through out the day and ask, "This will get done, won't it?" or "We will finish this by the end of the week won't we?" And I would always reply, "Of course we will!" Whenever Mrs. H heard him she'd say, "Don't be so worried Mr. J!"
We left the work site at 1pm and headed to the school. I noticed, as usual, that most of the other buses and vans were already in the parking lot when we pulled in. And the shower lines were a little longer than usual. But that was ok! We were going to have a great night off! I couldn't wait!

Does anyone recognize where we are? Anyone?? Its the birthplace of Elvis Presley! This was right in front of his house.

See, there we are right in front of his house (with a special guest appearance by Steps in the background)!

I liked this picture because they all seem to have the same pose.

The other youth didn't want to go see Elvis's birthplace! How can you come to the king's hometown and not visit his birthplace! ¡Increíble!
On a side note, this cannot continue without being mentioned, there was something wrong with the air-conditioning on our church bus. "Something wrong" as in it wasn't working! Ok it was working a little, very little bit. For once I couldn't wait to get to the mall.

We went to Mississippi's largest Mall (or so they say it was, anyway). It was pretty cool! they had this interactive mall map (as seen in the picture above). It was fun until it kinda stopped working. Um, It wasn't me. I was the one taking the pictures.

This mall had a Dick's Sporting Goods in it. With hula hoops. Pretty cool. Yavanna and Steps enjoyed it.

You will never be too old for unfolding pop-up tents. Especially when they come in hunter's camo.

Its so hard to get a group picture. So just wait for dinner time, that's usually a good idea. Also, I think it safe to say that Ryan's steakhouse is da bomb (they serve rootbeer there)!

After dinner we went to the movies to see Journey to the Center of the Earth. I wanted to see Wally, but oh, well. That's fine too. It was a really fun night off; hit the spot.
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Thursday we were back on the site. I was back inside tiling the ceiling mostly by myself, which is fine with me. Well, Mr. Percy was in there too. Everyday he'd watch Little House on the Prairie on his little tv. So I'd get to watch as I worked. Yay, a perk!
By the end of the day all we had left to do was paint under the carport, finish the tiling (which was nearly done), and put up the molding indoors. That was it! But they were still on edge about the time issue. Oh, well! They'll see by tomorrow that it'll all be fine!!

This is what I saw when I got back from the showers that day:

Everybody was chilling-out after a long, hard, hot day's work. I took this as an opportunity to get some shots of the layout of our room while everyone's not busy. Yavanna is in her bed (with the yellow & green sleeping bag). My bed is the blue one beside hers.

And that's Ilmarë on her bed. Mrs. H's bed is the one all the way at the bottom.

And those are the beds of the three other girls from our church. See, we got our beds all nice and lined up along the walls. It was a big contrast to what I saw of the guys' room from their pictures! But they couldn't help it. They had over twenty people in one classroom!

The view from my bed.

Sport having fun munching on some snacks while Yavanna straightens her hair.

Let's hear it for snacks before dinner! We were all waiting for Yavanna to finish with Sport's hair so we could all go down to dinner at the same time.

All in all, it was a good day. I couldn't believe how quickly the week was going by though! The next day, Friday, was already going to be the last day!