Scanned some photos

Not a whole lot to say, but after several hours in the dark room, and many many more scanning photos one at a time, I figured I’d post a few of the photos I’m reasonably happy with (as promised in one of my previous posts).

Sadly, I am not and was not really in the photography mood the past months (ok, year+), and it shows as I’d say the large majority of photos are very much “meh.” That said, I think that developing these photos and spending some time in the dark room has helped me appreciate photos more once again. So hopefully I’ll get back on the horse, a bit.

So here we go…

I’ll go in chronological order, starting with photos from Colombia.

Here is a dog (temporarily named Playa) that Lindsay loved and wanted to keep. It lived outside on the beach.
playa on beach.jpg

Playa the dog on playa blanca looking at you.jpg

playa the dog and lindasy.jpg

dog laying under boat sleeping playa blanca.jpg

The hut type beach place we stayed on the beach in Colombia
View of Hugos place playa blanca.jpg

Looking down playa blanca lots of people.jpg

cartagena street at night.jpg

sean corie and kyle at hotel in cartagena.jpg

corie at the coffee shop in colombia.jpg

dead bird graffiti on wall in bogota colombia.jpg

lindsay and corie monserate.jpg

people along the wall in monserate colombia.jpg

a burro on a mountain in colombia.jpg

kyle teeples monsorate colombia in a tree.jpg

poker beer at bar in colombia.jpg

And Sykes Hot Springs

sai prepares for the hike and looks stoic.jpg

lindsay looks unconcerned of potential bears.jpg

lindsay in the tent at sykes hot spring.jpg

lindsay drinks.jpg

cup and stuff.jpg

lindsay and sai again wow this is a lot.jpg

we finished sykes hot spring hike.jpg

And Yosemite/Sacramento

a great camping dinner with corona.jpg

lindsay and sai at camp in yosemite.jpg

sai looks on by lake mono.jpg

a vertical shot of the touching tree stump in yosemite by a river.jpg


capitol building of california in the capital in sacramento.jpg

lindsay in our new yaris in sacramento parking garage.jpg

And more on my flickr account.


Jenison High School 10 year class reunion

This past weekend was our 10 year class reunion, and although I did not attend (in large part because flights from SF to GR are so expensive), it seems like a good time to say that I appreciate the time I had with you all.

I tend to look back at things through a rose-colored glass that probably makes what I say sometimes seem a bit “dramatic” or over the top or cheesy, and I don’t have the skill with words to properly convey a feeling. But, if you are the type of person who can watch a movie like The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which I watched last night for the first time – a bit “young” and obvious and hipstery perhaps, but a movie I “feel” and enjoy) and get a sort of warm, melancholy, significant feeling in your head, then know that that is sort of the feeling that I feel when I remember back on my time at Jenison.

I actually spent quite a bit of time typing up paragraphs of my memories that I wanted to point out, one paragraph for each significant memory, but honestly there are too many and I gave up. But, here is a much shorter, condensed version of some of those things that I remember and miss.

  • Going over to Mikes house with Tim and playing Starcraft and Half-Life. Swimming in Tim’s pool and playing Battle Tanks. One of the best summers of my life I’d say, things were simple but also so new and exciting.
  • Talking to GIRLS for the first time without feeling like a complete idiot (though mainly still an idiot) – VK’s speech class sticks out in my mind
  • Seeing everybody in the hall. This is huge for me. Seriously, everybody. I would love so much to be able to walk through the hall again with everybody sort of awkwardly standing around (and if you were me, nervously, not sure what to do)
  • Going to Curt’s house (with Kyla and Kendell and Jason) to make grilled cheese at lunch.
  • Watching Kendell and his brother’s Kwasi and Kerry play video games in their basement
  • A+ Certification aka 6th hour Starcraft with Andros, Andrew, Kendell, Dave, Jason. (I don’t actually remember if they were all in the class, but that’s how I remember it)
  • Going to homecoming and prom and being miserably uncomfortable every second of it. To this day I am terrified of dancing. I would spend the entire night trying to look busy going back and forth between the bathroom and the water fountain and the [insert anything that’s far away from the dancing].
  • Playing hockey. Driving to practice in Ryan’s car with the headlights turned off at night going much faster then speed limits permitted (this was both stupid and terrifying, but I remember it).
  • Backpacking with Dave through Europe (this was actually post HS, but really part of that coming of age experience for me, and probably the last thing I really did before college came and life STARTED to get a bit more complicated)
  • Building a tree house with Derek and Kc in the muck field (p.s. Kc thanks for the pop, I always appreciated it) – this actually happened in 5th or 6th grade I think but it was a highlight for me and worth mentioning – it was still our class of 2003
  • The simple act of buying lunch, finding a table to eat at, and eating lunch – basically just being the person I was back in high school, around the people you were all in high school
  • LAN parties with Andros, Phill, Andrew, etc
  • Camping on the grass the day before the last day of school
  • Swimming in Lindsay’s pool, with Lindsay and Lindsay and the rest of that group, in particular at her end-of-the-year pool parties
  • Football games in the fall (I felt like such a “loner” most of the time, but those feelings of excitement and the unknown and the intensity when you walked by a group of people and made eye contact with somebody)
  • Going to RiverTown by myself and walking around, sitting in Barnes and Nobles reading and feeling emo (this perhaps sounds depressing but was always awesome for me)
  • Walking home from school with Lindsay through the muck fields (I still see Lindsay quite often as I live with her now)
  • and on
  • and on
  • and on
  • and on
  • and on

So many people and things I remember, ALL of them fondly and with significance (and please know that this is not even a fraction of the people I think of when I think back).

Unfortunately I don’t really have a point to make. I guess I would just say that I miss you all and those simple (but very complex and exciting and sad and hard but awesome, thanks in no small part to hormones) times, and while I sadly interact with only a small handful of you at this point in time, I still really appreciate the memories I have of you all.

original ipod click wheel

Camping Travel

Yosemite, Lake Mono, Sacramento Beer Tour!

It’s Sunday, 9:14am. If you crunch the numbers, that means roughly of the weekend is still available for activities. But! We’ve already done more this weekend then we’d normally do in a month.

Let’s do a quick recap of the big items. For this exercise, you’ll have to pretend you haven’t already read the title of this blog post! Don’t look now if you haven’t already read it! And if you have but perhaps are a bit foggy on it, then don’t look back!

  • Yosemite National Park
  • Lake Mono
  • Northern California brewery tour
  • Tour of our states capitol

We started this trip out on Thursday. I took Friday off and we left straight after work for our campground (Hodgdon Meadow – how would you pronounce this anyway?). It was QUITE the trip for our little Yaris, but she made it. Lots of pretty crazy hills to drive up. There was a 20 mile stretch that we had to drive in 3rd or 4th gear the whole way to make it up the hill (and by hill I mean mountain).

We got to the camp late, but not really too late. I think around 10:30 or so. Being somewhat proficient by now at setting up our tent we had camp all setup in 15 minutes or so and went straight to sleep. I was very thankful that there were no bears to wake us up, or anything else really that Sai felt the need to wake us up for.

In the morning (I think we were up by 7 or 7:30) we drove the 25 miles into Yosemite.
Windows Vista

There are a few things I should point out now. First, I personally did VERY little research into what we were going to do or see in Yosemite. Honestly I knew (know) very little about Yosemite. Second, at this point I think both Lindsay and myself (more me then her, to be fair) were still a bit hard-core-hiked-out, which as it turns out is probably not the best way to be when you are going to Yosemite.

Anyway, my impression of Yosemite is that it can be a couple of different things, depending on how you choose to experience it. For the hiker/camper (which I generally would consider Lindsay and I) it can be a hiking/climbing mecha, with tons of awesome, world-class hikes everywhere and even more beautiful, while places to camp. For the fly fisherman, it seems like a great place to fish. For a photographer (and I’d say I fit partially in this camp, though not on this trip) it seems like a place you could spend weeks taking amazing photographs of beautiful vistas. For the somewhat casual Yosemite participant, it’s more of an amazing drive with an almost Disneyland level of organization and tourist count.
Basically what I’m trying to say in a clever way, that turned out not to be that clever, is that Yosemite was amazingly beautiful, and super organized, and full of tourists (I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think the primary spoken language I heard was German). But as casual observers, we were basically following the path of all of the other tourists from beautiful vista to beautiful vista, with a short hike up the lower Yosemite falls in between and a bunch of stops along the drive at random rivers/streams to take photos and dip our feet in the water. Yosemite was beautiful and huge and like nothing else (besides perhaps Yellowstone) like it (that I’ve seen). Everything is just so big, and wide, and HUGE!


But after the morning of exploring (and I think we drove to most of the major points of interest – drove being the key word) we decided that unless we were going to do some hiking (which we weren’t) we might want to think about having an actual destination in mind or risk finding ourselves unsure of what to do in this beautiful place. We decided, after much thought, that we’d accelerate our plan and drive to Lake Mono (the former plan was to camp near Yosemite on Thursday/Friday, then move to Lake Mono (technically Lake June) on Saturday and hang out around there until Sunday). So that’s what we did. We made the two hour, very beautiful, drive to Mono.

And I’m glad that we did! Because honestly, as beautiful and majestic and amazing and unique as Lake Mono is, it was perhaps not a place we’d spend a full day at. Look everybody I know I probably sound like a spoiled little shit! But honestly, it’s a beautiful view, but not a particularly friendly lake. It’s a desert, and a briny lake. And with the brinyness comes the brine flies. Which I don’t honestly mind (it’s sort of fun to chase them around) but it’s just not a place I’d hang out at all day, unless I was SCUBA diving or something like that. It’s not the sort of lake you sit by all day, as far as I can tell.

Lindsay really wanted to see these “Tufa” pillars, at South Tufa Trail. These are pretty cool things, mineral springs make deposits that look like sta-lag-mites and when the lake was drained (I believe by Los Angeles) these things “rose” above the water. Apparently (and I believe it) these are much cooler at the sunset. But oh well.

We at ice cream here, around Lake Mono.
Sai likes ice cream

After this, we drove back to camp near Yosemite. We had an AMAZING dinner: cheddar bratwurst, ketchup (which Lindsay optained from a gas station). This is probably the best part of camping for me, eating dinner at a picknick table outside in the fresh air. At dinner we decided that in the morning we would leave Yosemite and take a mini road-trip somewhere.

Somewhere ended up being a semi-brewery tour to Sacramento. We stopped at three places: Lodi Beer Company, Hand Craft Brewing in Elk Grove (which turned out to be a brewing supply store BUT they had some of their own beer on tap), and Track Seven Brewing Company. We each split a beer. Track Seven was pretty awesome.
Track Seven

We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Sacramento but we did drive around a bit, and most importantly we went to the capitol. We even caught a guided tour, which was awesome.
Waiting for the capitol tour

Then, last night (Saturday) we stopped at a BBQ place in Sacramento (I’m FINALLY able to start actually eating food without it hurting!) and then made our way back home (first stopping at Target to buy 100 pounds of notebooks for Lindsay’s students!).

So that’s about it. I think someday we’ll probably go back to Yosemite, when we are in the mood to do some more serious hiking like Half Dome (though I think it’s somewhat interesting to note what even the much talked about Half Dome looks like during the weekend). For now, I think Lindsay and I really realized that we are destination travelers. We like to go to some place, for some specific task. Then once we’ve completed the task, we like to go somewhere else. I think we probably make better South East Asia backpackers, or car road trippers, then Yosemite Valley Vista Viewers.

As is true with a number of the previous posts, I also took a bunch of film photos but I haven’t yet developed any of my film from the past few trips. When everything is developed I’ll probably post some of the photos in a new blog post (assuming there is anything worth sharing. I also have a flickr account with all of my photos, and in particular this bunch of photos is in a set “Yosemite Mono and Sacramento.”

p.s. Lindsay thought I should share something that I learned on the tour of the capitol. I’m not sure what I should share though. One thing that I thought was very interesting was how red (more pink really then red) the Senate Room was. It looked almost comical to me, though I’m sure when it is full of people doing important stuff it might not be so funny. I also found it interesting that during the (I think) 1906 earth quake people gathered outside of — OK, wait a second mid paragraph here I looked back to make sure I was using the correct letter for capitol, and I have a breaking interesting thing to mention. It turns out, for those of you that don’t know, that if I said

We went to the capital

I would be correct, but I could ALSO say

We went to the capitol

and be EQUALLY correct! The ‘a’ version refers to the CITY that is the center of power in a state, the ‘o’ version refers to the actual building (source). Ok.

Camping Travel

Sykes hot spring bonus video: purify water

Lindsay says that my previous post about Sykes hot springs makes it sound like we had a terrible time. We had an awesome experience, that was physically painful and exhausting. But I am honestly thrilled that we did it. To show more of our true emotion, here is a short video we took ~5 miles out from the end of the hike (note this is after we were stung by wasps, but before the pain got too hellish in the knee department.

Camping Travel

Sykes Hot Spring Hike with Birthday Girl Lindsay

I can barely walk today – today is Monday. Last night we returned home from Sykes hot springs, where Lindsay and I completed (yaaa!!!) a 2 day, 20 mile hike. This is my second (Lindsay’s first) hike-in backpacking trip (the first being much shorter, only a few miles, into Joshua Tree), and for whatever reason we decided that it would be a good idea to start our backpacking experience together with a trail rated “difficult.” See for details if you don’t believe me.


We started out Friday. Lindsay picked me up from work and we drove straight to Big Sur Station, which is roughly 2.5 hours, perhaps a bit longer (and MUCH longer going the other way with Sunday traffic!). We slept in the Yaris (in retrospect I wish I had gotten a photo of this) which I would call a small car (wikipedia calls it a subcompact). Surprisingly we both slept pretty well in the car. We put the back seat down to make a flat-ish surface, then pushed the front seets forward so we had some room for our feet to dangle. With our camping mats underneath us and our camping packs in the foot wells to give us something to rest our legs on (well, in theory) I would not hesitate to sleep in the car again.

Saturday morning we woke up a little before 8 am, packed up our stuff and headed off. For anybody curious, an approximate list of items we brought include:

  • Two man tent
  • Four liters of water
  • Iodine tablets + “nuetralizers”
  • One sleeping bag (for me) plus one small blanket (for Lindsay)
  • Two backpacking pillows
  • Six packets of instant Oatmeal (which is the only food item we ended up not eating
  • Five dried fruit leather things from Trader Joes
  • Two instant backpacking dinners plus one freeze-dried desert. (Pad See Ew, Chick and Cashew Rice, and Mocha Mousse)
  • One pair of pants (we each brought one), plus two tshirts (one to sleep in), swimming stuff, one backpacker towel
  • Lindsay wore her running shoes, and I wore Keens without socks which turned out to be a bit of a mistake I believe
  • Our packs
  • A camp stove and two cups
  • Starbucks Via coffee
  • My book (A Dance with Dragons) and Lindsay’s book
  • Cards (which we didn’t use)
  • Two Nalgines

So anyway, we headed off with that stuff!

As I mentioned, this trail is marked “difficult” and about a mile in I realized just how true this is. The first ~3 miles is exposed and almost 100% uphill. Sometimes gradually uphill, in the good spots, but other times “this is really terrible” uphill. Not so bad that you had to scramble up or CLIMB up anything, but uphill. It was very beautiful, but honestly those first three miles I think we were really just trying to keep walking.

After the first three miles things got a bit easier. The trail NEVER really is “flat” (the entire time you are winding up/down the side of a mountain – at least I think it’s a mountain. In Michigan it was a lot easier to tell because there were not mountains, so you always knew you were dealing with a hill. In California, it’s a mixed bag. I’m going to call it a mountain.), but you don’t have such a clear feeling of dread when you do have to go up.

Overlooking Valley Thing

At mile five is a campground (whose name I forget) and you have your first real encounter with the river/stream that runs through the canyon/trail. If I were to do this hike again, I might stop here for the night to break up the walk a bit.

Classic Pose

Around this point in the trip (ok, I’m lying – it was actually about 3 miles back) we started to encounter people on the trail walking back from Sykes who had encountered a hornets nest. The first couple we talked with claimed to have been stung something like 10-13 times EACH. Every single group we encountered after that had also been stung, for a total of something like 6 groups of people. The idea of being stung by a bunch of hornets wasn’t particularly exciting and unfortunately added to my general feeling of “man I wish I was done with this hike!” but oh well.

Camp Sign

Around mile 7, which is Barlow Flat Camp, we started to hit a lot more downward sloping trail. This is perhaps one of the first times in my life that I ever have had a serious problem with my body in a mechanical sort of way. Basically my left knee started to hurt. Part of this is likely thanks to the fact that I was wearing Keens without socks and had a bunch of blisters on my right foot and was likely walking funny, but regardless, it started hurting. Honestly, my knee hurting was a major theme of the next two days, but it’s sort of boring so I won’t dwell on it.

OK, so finally we get to Sykes! It’s amazing! Green/blue pools of water in the stream. Etc. It’s wooded. All of the camping is along this river, so no matter where you put down your tent you have the sound of the river at night. And the hot springs are right there also.

River View from Camp

I’d never really seen such a nice hot spring to be honest. There were basically two “tubs”, one you had to climb up to get into, and another that was directly beneath that collected the draining water from the first tub. The top tub was rock, and was deep enough you could easily sit and be covered with water. The water was the PERFECT temperature (well, in reality I would have probably preferred a nice cold pool).

Camp Spot Pano

So Lindsay and I sat in the hot spring tub for a while, then quickly jumped into the river to get rid of the sulfur smell. After that, it was back to camp (400 feet away from the springs, though it felt like a lot more with the pain in my knees/legs). Lindsay took a short nap and I read some of my book. I noticed the sun was just starting to go down, so woke Lindsay up and we made dinner.

Getting Tent Setup

Dinner (which if you read the list of packed items you already know about) was two freeze-dried backpacker dinners. They were not very good, but to be fair I believe I did a poor job mixing up my pad see ew. It wasn’t until after dinner that I realized there was a pocket of untapped flavor (basically ALL the flavor, by the taste of it) powder that I had failed to stir up. This stirred up some emotions in me. Mainly disappointment I’d say, because I was so hungry but dinner was so unfulfilling. On the bright side, the chocolate mousse was pretty good.

Making Dinner for Lindsay

Eating Dinner

Eating Dessert

After cleaning up dinner (take only photographs, leave only footprints) we sadly went to bed. It was around 9pm. I think if we did it again, and if we had a day to recuperate, we would have probably went into the hot springs again at night. Frankly it would have been awesome. The stars were beautiful, I imagine.

I slept pretty well throughout the night. There was one time that I woke up and could smell skunk (note that bears were not an issue at this place apparently, but skunks were) but I just went back to bed. Sai woke Lindsay up a bunch of times (growling at random sounds outside) but overall the night passed without incident.

In the morning (Lindsay’s birthday!) we woke up and I made coffee for us. We skipped breakfast (possibly a dumb idea) and quickly packed up camp. I think by 8:45 we were on the road. And by on the road I mean making our way to the trail head. It took us a good 30 minutes to walk that first half mile on account of having to remove shoes to talk through the river at multiple spots. Etc.

It’s worth noting that at this point my knees BOTH started hurting again. I can’t really describe the feeling of dread I had at this point, knowing that we were JUST starting but had 10 miles to walk, with my knees already killing. But we walked on! Around two miles in we ran into the wasps we had missed the first time around, this time Sai was stung five times, Lindsay twice, and me only a single time (in the leg, to add insult to injury). This wasn’t so bad, other then the momentary fear that Sai was going to run off the mountain as she was panicked and trying to get the hornets off of her.

Miles 3-6 were relatively painless actually. Mile 6-9 were murder again. There was one moment when I remember wondering if I was actually going to make it, literally hobbling along. I walked backwards for a good mile I’d say, any time the trail went steeply downhill, to try and save my knees. It’s worth mentioning that Lindsay helped me not die.

Lindsay Watering Sai at River or Creek or Whatever

When we finally got back to the car, we were both really happy, but also very tired. Sadly, I’d say we were tired enough that we felt more like we wanted to just sit and be quite with the AC on, then celebrating and highfiving. High-fiving. High fiving. Fiving-highly.

Post Hike Not Happy

Then, I ate a chocolate flavored pretzel and had a strange sensation that my throat was being cut to pieces. I have no idea what the hell is going on, but as I type this (two days later) my throat is still killing me. I’m not sure if I have some sort of allergy thing going on, but it hurts.

Now, I’ve done a fair amount of complaining here, but at the end of the day, the take away from this trip has been that 1. I am really happy that Lindsay and I did this together.

We drove home (4 hours in traffic!), went to Round Table Pizza for the first time ever to get some perhaps not super awesome quality but awesome tasting pasta as well as a “cake” aka frozen cool whip – Lindsay didn’t want a store bought cake) and 28 candles for Lindsay to blow out. Due to my throat hurting I wasn’t able to eat much food, but I sang Happy Birthday and Lindsay blew out her candles and all in all it was a successful birthday weekend.

Lindsay's Birthday Cake and Candles


Two More Monterey Dives

Lindsay and I have now done a total of three dives in Monterey. Two dives at Breakwater, two dives at McAbee beach.

The second Breakwater dive was with my Dad, and I think it was pretty great. We saw a small octopus, a bunch of great kelp, sanddabs, and the list goes on. Here is another quick video (note that I wouldn’t claim these are amazing videos but I record video for the sake of the memories, then try to cut them down into short-ish watchable chunks).

McAbee beach was a new experience. We (Lindsay and I) ended up parking downtown Monterey on a Sunday, so the streets were full of tourists, but there we were getting our gear setup in the middle of the street.

The dive itself was nice, but shallow. Reading about McAbee it turns out that in general it’s a pretty shallow dive, unless you swim out quite a ways (which we did, but not far enough). One thing that I think made the dive 100% worth it though, was a seal that swam with us for a few minutes (see: video). Lindsay was a tiny bit on the nervous side that it was going to eat us, but it ended up just swimming around us and playing with our fins for a few minutes. It’s pretty amazing to have such an animal just come right up to you and touch you. Having never dove with dolphins or any other “friendly” or curious animal like this in the past it was a pretty great experience.

We are going to do this dive again, but next time swim out past the kelp to where we need to be. If look around on the internet for dive reports from McAbee it looks like it’s not uncommon to see 2+ seals together, and honestly I’d LOVE to just sit and watch seals swim around me for an hour. We’ll see!


Our First Dive on the West Coast

As some of you may know, I come from a family of SCUBA divers (from now on I’ll just say “divers” or “diving”, but I mean the SCUBA variety, not the free/olympic/etc variety… though I am very interested in giving freediving a shot). Still, despite having dove in a number of locations around the world (Michigan, Mexico, Belize, Virgin Islands, Thailand, etc…) I had never been diving in the Pacific.

Lindsay and I decided that it was probably a good time to do something about that. We had all of our dive gear out here (thanks family!) so there wasn’t much stopping us. Well two small problems:

-We didn’t have hoods or gloves
-We didn’t know where to dive

I DO know that the water here in Northern California is cold, and that there are sometimes serious waves, so diving here isn’t as “easy” as it might be somewhere like the Caribbean. Michigan has the same cold (or even colder) water, but is fresh water (requiring less weight) and also the water is generally a bit gentler.

I did some research, and luckily there was a pretty clear path for new Pacific coast divers: Breakwater Cove (or just “Breakwater”). Breakwater is in Monterey, CA which is a convenient(ish) 2-3 hour drive (depending on traffic) from Oakland. The Breakwater is very well protected from the open ocean, so you don’t have to battle breaking waves to get into the water, and the surge is generally pretty gentle.

We decided to leave on Friday evening after work. We camped over night at a great little campground (whose name I’m forgetting) and met some very nice freedivers who were going spearfishing in the morning. They were actually super helpful and walked us through the mental process of what to expect in the morning and gave us some tips about WHERE on Breakwater the diving was best.

Next morning we woke up early and headed to the dive shop. The dive shop seemed pretty nice. We rented weight (27lbs for me, 23lbs for Lindsay), hoods, gloves, and tanks. Sadly, this adds up (8 x 2 + 8 x 2 + 8 x 2 + 10 x 2). It’s a pretty quick walk from the dive shop to the grass where you “suit up” (see video below) so we just carried our equipment.

There is a really nice grassy area to get setup, and there are TONS of divers there getting ready, coming out of the water, etc. It’s pretty great in my opinion because it feels like you’re surrounded by dive culture. Of course many of the divers are part of dive classes, but I’d bet an almost equal part are just regular people like Lindz and I out for a dive.

The dive itself was great. We saw a bunch of starfish, anemones, kelp, an otter, and a bunch of other stuff. If I were to say my favorite thing about the dive, it’s that unlike many other places I’ve been diving, EVERYTHING is covered by living something or other. Even the sand is covered by hermit crabs, sand dollars, and all sorts of things. Also, swimming through the kelp is pretty awesome and a different experience that I’d never had.

Here is a short, not particularly exciting video from the experience: