We recently played a show in Edmonton at Avenue Theater put on by Raised Fist Production. Here are some pictures.
We recently played a show in Edmonton at Avenue Theater put on by Raised Fist Production. Here are some pictures.
Over the last 3 weekends, I’ve been taking an NSL course so I can be a lifeguard. I took it at the university and the guy who taught it was the pool director there. The first two days were a lot of swimming and some first aid. It wasn’t too hard, but definitely challenging. The second weekend was all first aid and learning how the pool works with all the chemicals and the behind the scene functions at the pool. We didn’t even get in the pool. The third weekend was pretty much all swimming. We did fitness tests, scenarios and some more first aid. In the end, I thought it was easy. I knew my first aid and knew what I had to do, so I passed without a problem.
June 24 2012
The Development of a Young Man in The Cay
God sometimes wants to teach us things that we wouldn’t know if he didn’t give us that little push. We need to be pushed to do some things that we don’t necessarily want to do at the time. It might turn out well and you end up enjoying it and being glad that you tried something new. Sometimes he pushes us to take risks and guides us in directions that we don’t know where they lead, but there is always a reason. Just like Philip in The Cay, written by Theodore Taylor, God sometimes drags us kicking and screaming toward change in our lives to learn about other people, to learn new things and to learn about ourselves.
Philip thought that the black people in his town were weird and he didn’t want to be around them that much. It was sad that Philip had to be stranded on an island fighting to survive and lose a close friend, Timothy, who was a black, for him to realize that the blacks weren’t weird or strange at all. After what happened on the island, when he came back home he started to befriend the black people and hang around them more. He considered them friends. They were really good people. He learned about other people and the sacrifices of which they were capable.
Philip was taken out of his normal environment onto an island with a person he knew nothing about and was forced to learn to adapt to his surroundings. He learned how to fish, survive on his own in the wilderness, how to tell when bad storms were coming, and tell what the weather was like. Timothy left behind some useful tools so that Philip could go on living without him like the rope he put up for Philip to move around the camp and to fish. He also learned a lot about himself and what he could physically and mentally endure on the island.
Philip changed over the time he spent on the island. At first he was just a curious kid that got into trouble quite a bit and didn’t listen to his parents that much. He went from his comfortable life in the city to being blind on a raft with somebody he didn’t even know. He was really scared and disorientated. He also was angry about losing his eyesight and not being able to see a single thing he was doing, but eventually he got over the anger. It was hard enough being on that island, without many supplies, but with his injuries and disabilities, it took a lot of strength and courage from both Philip and Timothy. After Timothy died, Philip had a lot of determination, the skills, and the courage to live on his own until he was rescued.
God sometimes brings tragedies to our lives to learn about other people, to learn new things and to learn about ourselves. Philip experienced these tough times and it changed him into a better, more mature young man. When we’re going through tough times is usually when we can learn the most about ourselves and other people. So when tough times are ahead, we should think of what we could learn.
Back in 2006, my two friends and I could play instruments, and one of them could sing. We made up a song called “The Woodchuck Song”. It was basically just our singer yelling “How much would could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. It sounded pretty good to us and to our families, but unfortunately we moved away from them that summer and couldn’t do it anymore. When we came back to visit in 2010, my friend, the singer, and I sat down and wrote an actual song with lyrics that didn’t just include things about rodents and had actual structure and guitar chords. That’s when we realized we were really good. The next summer, I moved back to Edmonton and we wrote our second song which was even better and started playing them in his basement.
I started taking piano lessons when I was 3 and I played for quite a few years until I was 9 or 10. We got a drum set when I was 5 and I took lessons until I was 10 but I still continued to play and I’ve never stopped. I got an electric guitar when I was around 11 and took lessons for a month at a music store then I took online lessons called Jamplay for the rest of the school year and taught myself from there. I haven’t taken lessons for a while but still use the online every once in awhile if I can’t figure something out.
What I wanted to do with this project was to write and record a whole song with instruments and vocals. I wanted to have at least two guitars, drums, and some keyboard. I didn’t really plan it out. We just were playing the chords and writing the music and the basic idea seemed to come together in an afternoon. I did most of the writing in my friend’s basement in a tiny room with all the instruments. I did the recording at my home by myself. The vocals came after all the tracks were laid down. Even without a plan, the results were astounding.
I had fun with creating the music and also recording it and playing with the different sounds I would get from placing the mic in different places. Writing the lyrics was also interesting. I also learned that it is ALWAYS a good idea to use a metronome when recording music. It makes it much easier when recording multiple instruments and vocals. I didn’t use one on the first version of the song that I recorded and it was off beat in some places. I remembered to use one on the second version of the song so it is almost all on beat.
I started using a program called Garageband that can record music at a camp in Texas so I was already familiar with it. I didn’t really get into any of the effects because they were a little complicated. I recorded the main guitar first. After that came the rhythm guitar, the drums, and finally the keyboard and vocals when my friend came over. I had to do the drums on the keyboard since the real drums wouldn’t record well with just one mic. Once we got a good mic, I had to try and figure out how to use it and what the different settings did. After I figured it all out, it was pretty easy to record and it sounded really good compared to the mic on my laptop which is what I used for the first recording.
I had quite a few problems. When I did the first version of the song, I was using the mic built in on my computer. It wasn’t that bad, but there was a lot of background noise from the furnace in our basements and it wasn’t as good quality as the song recorded on a higher quality mic. The new mic, called the Yeti, also didn’t record as much background noise as the one on my laptop. It was also tricky working with GarageBand and getting used to all the different effects that there are. It is hard to start recording in the middle of the song if you took a break or something like that. There is a delay on the time that you press the record button and when it actually starts recording and the music kicks in.
Also, I went to school for the second semester so that limited how much time I could spend on the recording. I didn’t really do much work on it after the day when we did the vocals. I think it sounded alright and it didn’t need much adjustment.
We had an opportunity to play for Capilooza http://www.capilano.org/capilooza-2012/ which is a fundraiser for a Haitian orphanage put on by our church. We jumped at the opportunity to play in front a crowd of more than 4 people. There were only two of us and we needed at least four to have all the instruments that would make it sound good. I got my brother to play drums and a leader at our church to play bass and it ended up working out pretty good.
Practicing for the fundraiser was a little difficult and I couldn’t make all the practices. I missed the first one so my friend and my brother had to teach our bass player the chords and notes that I wrote. They did pretty well, though, and they played all the songs except one which they couldn’t figure out. We practiced three or four times at our house with everyone except the bass player and three times on the stage at our church with everybody.
Even though it was hard at some points, I learned some things. I learned how to use the new Yeti microphone and use GarageBand more effectively. I got better at making up my own beats and riffs on the guitar and drums instead of playing music that somebody already wrote. It’s sometimes hard to come up with new music when there is already so much out there. You have to be careful not to copy someone else’s music. You can also use the same chords and progressions just as long as you don’t copy the words or beat of the song. I also learned a bit about poetry and songwriting and how some words fit to make a good rhyme and how some don’t. My friend and I would write the lyrics together when we had the time, and emailed each other when we had a good idea.
My band and I played at Capilooza and played three of the songs that we had written and two cover songs. We used all of our own amps, guitars, and drums. We brought all the stuff to the church early for sound check and to see how everything was going to work out. There were quite a few other bands there too so we got a little feeling of what it would be like before we even got on stage. We set up and played three songs to let the sound guy see how loud everything should be. We finished, got all our stuff off the stage and went home until when we were supposed to be playing.
Our equipment was already at the church so we drove there and listened to the other bands before us. The bands were slower and not that exciting at the beginning but they were nice to listen to. When it was our turn, we set up quickly and started playing. I was quite impressed on how we did and how everything worked out. My mom and dad each had a video recorder and we got some good footage. We also had a Gopro camera set up on stage so it would get us from the same position all through the time we were playing. It was the first time we played in front of a big audience. There were about 200 people there and I was surprised that I wasn’t scared. After we were done, I just wanted to play more, and so I did.
A few days later we got to play again at a Battle of The Bands at a local high school atrium in front of about 25 people. It was set up by a music store, Axe music, but we didn’t get to use our own amps and guitars. There were a few problems with the guitars and sound and I don’t think it was nearly as good as when we played at the church but it was still not bad. My mom was recording with a mic on an iphone and my dad had the video camera. I had fun doing both and we got some good videos to show from it. We helped pack up the equipment and it was pretty neat stuff, but I wish we could have used our own amps. The ones they had were restricting and didn’t have much adjustment.
Here are the three original songs that we played at Battle of The Bands and Capalooza.
The song we wrote summer 2010 is called “Here We Go Again”. (Click on link to go to song and lyrics)
The song I recorded is called “Save Me”
Our newest song which we played at Capalooza is called, “Worlds Apart”
The fun just doesn’t stop here. Hopefully there will be more opportunities to play at different places and get our music out there. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to tour around someday and get paid to play music. To get there is a long road and we probably need to start by getting some more official band members.
Last friday we went to our youth group and they had a event called Jello Night. You probably guess what we did that night. We played games with jello! There was a kiddy swimming pool full of it. There was jello everywhere and everyone was covered to toe in it. My hands and feet were orange at the end of the night. They had all kinds of silly games and at the end there was a slip and slide with jello. That’s probably when I got the messiest. After that I had to get changed and cleaned up so I could play drums in the worship band. I had a lot of fun!
What is it?
Truing wheels is what you have to do when your wheel is wobbling or not rolling straight. This happens if you land hard or just hit something really hard with your wheel. It could just happen over time if you’ve been riding your bike on bumpy trails for a long time.
Why do we need to true a wheel?
I know by experience, when your wheel is out of true, it puts tension on all the other spokes which could lead to them breaking. It also makes you ride slower because the wheel is wobbling to one side.
How do we true wheels?
If you have a truing stand, take your wheel off your bike and take the tire and tube off. It all depends on how big your tires are if you need to take your tire off or not. You should deflate your tube to relieve some pressure on the rim if you keep your tire on. Spin the wheel to see where it’s out of true. When you find where the wheel is out of true, determine which spokes to loosen or tighten by looking at what side of the hub the spokes are on. You want to loosen the spokes on the side that the rim is bent towards and tighten the spokes on the opposite side. Only turn the spokes a 1/4 turn to make sure they don’t break. It is quite simple, but can be tricky because you have to make sure that you don’t loosen or tighten the spokes too much and you get the right tightness all the way around the wheel.
What do we need?
All you really need for truing wheels is a spoke wrench. There are three main sizes and you have to make sure you have the correct one, or else you’ll strip the screw that holds the spoke in place. A truing stand could come in handy if you plan on doing this a lot or want to get it perfect each time.
Where can we get stands?
Your local bike shop should be able to order truing stands if they don’t have them in stock. Each bike shop is different in what they can get and even if the can get them. You can also order them online. They can cost between $50-$400 depending on the quality of the stand and the adjustments that can be made. You could also build your own truing stand if you’re that cheap or just want a fun project.
Here are two different kinds of truing stands.
Here is the expensive one:
Here is the less expensive one:
The first truing stand is more expensive than the second one. The price really depends whether you find them online, or in bike shops. In Canada they are expensive in bike shops and cheaper online. The first one can cost as low as $180 online to $350 in a bike shop. Plus you have to buy a stand which is around $50. The other one is cheaper at around $180 and you don’t need a stand. It doesn’t have as many adjustments as the first one, but it is much cheaper and we don’t need to buy a stand for it. I don’t think we’ll need to do much truing when the wheel is off the bike, so that’s why I’m leaning more towards the cheaper one.
Are there other ways of truing a wheel?
Without a truing stand you could keep the wheel on the bike and use the fork or rear frame as a reference to see if the wheel is straight or not.
What’s the first thing you do?
The first thing you do depends on if you have a truing stand or not. In most cases if you have one, you have to take the tire and tube off the wheel and put it on the stand to see if it’s true or not. If you are just using the “cheap man’s way”, then just turn your bike upside down.
This website shows you how to true a wheel without a stand.
Here is a video to show you how to true a wheel with a truing stand.
Is getting a truing stand worth it?
Getting your wheel trued at a bike shop could cost you from $15-$40 depending on where you go and how bad your wheel is out of true. If you plan on riding a lot on bumpy surfaces and being rough on your wheels, it might be a good idea to do it yourself, and it might even be worth it to get your own truing stand.
Why are we breaking spokes?
Anything can break a spoke; from a rock or stick getting in there or if you wipe out and hit your wheel on something hard. Once you break a spoke, that makes the other spokes more prone to breaking because the tension is not even. If you want to prevent breaking spokes, when you replace a broken one or are just truing your wheel, go through all the spokes with a spoke wrench and make sure they all have the same tension. You should go through and check all your spokes every time you do maintenance on your bike.
When Preston was here, we took a 2 and a half hour drive south to the Sonora Caves. There were tours every half an hour and we got there just as one was about to start. We got the the entrance of the cave and the tour guide explained to use that it was a felony to ever touch any of the cave. I soon learned that it was very hard to not touch the cave! When we started to go into it, it was very humid. We weren’t allowed to take anything down there except our cameras; not the cases, sunglasses, flashlights, anything, Not even water. It wasn’t that hot, but around half-way, we got very thirsty.
We started going through the cave, and it was really neat. Some rooms of the cave were really big and some were really small. Sometimes we had to duck under stuff to not touch any of the cave. Some places were not very wide. It was really amazing to see all the stuff that goes on 155 feet under us. There wasn’t any wild life in the cave: No bugs, no rabbits, no birds, because it’s all pitch black! The tour guide turned off all the lights once we were all sitting down and you could not see a thing. Most of the pictures didn’t turn out because it was quite dark, even with the lights on. Here are some of the better ones.
I think the my favorite time or thing we did when Grandma and Grandpa were here was making cookies and bread. The cookies that we made were called peppersnaps. They are really fun to make and taste really good. We have to mix the dough and role it out into long strips. We put them in the fridge for a while and cut them into little pieces and put them into the oven. With the bread, the dough is a lot more sticky and harder to get off your fingers.
We interviewed Grandma and Grandpa today about where they moved across Canada.