Monday, May 23, 2016

Julia Fun At A Track Meet

I got to see Julia race for the first time.



It was also the first time I got to shoot track meet photos.


I had a blast!


She did great and was quite competitive! This is the 100M Hurdles.


She was neck and neck with this competitor...


...and at the very end the competitor pushed ahead to get first.


Julia got a very nice 2nd!


Here she is racing the 300M Hurdles.

(I love this 18-300 zoom lens I got...makes GREAT shots from very far away)




...and great shots when I'm close up, too!  Perfect lens for shooting near and far with just seconds to switch.

Her last race was the 200M Dash.


She raced quite well!






All racers crossing the finish line.


What a great day for a track meet! She got her personal best in all events, and I'm very excited to see how she does next year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Electric Word, Life

I was in Madrid when I heard the news. 

Instantly, among the emotions, were memories. 

Flooding back…lost in the years…lost in the business of life…blurred out by conservative views.

It’s been a while since the news hit, so by now it’s nearly irrelevant, but even if it’s just for my own benefit...

...here’s my journey with Prince...

First Listen
It was 1984. I was a rocker. I loved AC/DC, Van Halen, and all related guitar-luvin music. The first rock concert movie I saw was AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock” at the Skyway theaters. Huge stack of speakers on each side of the screen…it as awesome!  My parents would have cringed if they knew Angus “mooned” the audience during a guitar solo. Oh, and we hated any music with “keyboards” (I know, later I learned piano and have been playing and composing since I was 16…life’s funny that way). We even contemplated boycotting Van Halen when “Jump” came out with…keyboards! Anyway, me and my brother were returning from a great weekend at our Grandpa’s lake home in Deerwood, MN. We were driving south past Lake Millacs, (past the big bass statue), and he said, “Take a listen to this”.

The song started.

Keyboards...

I was skeptical.

We were supposed to hate keyboards.

“…you can always see the sun…” The tension started to build…maybe not a complete waste of time...

“so when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills…you know the one”...
 
….the drum beat kicked in...

My ears perked up…    “…this life, you’re on your own!"

Then the guitar.

That crunchy, slamming’, aggressive guitar...

This wasn’t some woosy little pop song. This was something different...

…and by “Punch a higher floor!”… when the wall o’ guitars slammed into synth stabs...

I was hooked!

By “Take me away!” I was, well, taken away 😃

I’m not sure my brother knew what he started.

Of course 2 seconds after the song ended, a sweet drum fill …a full measure of drum fill…started the next song.

That was it. I found my favorite music.

Soon enough I discovered 1999, Controversy, Dirty Mind, Prince, For You…in that order. I wore those cassettes out and knew every song by heart.

On the plane back from Madrid, the memories continued to flood back...

... mowing my parents lawn screaming out Delirious … and my dad educating me that the lawn mower sound doesn’t drown out full-out singing.

… sneaking into the Wayzata movie theater (my friend worked there). While most would sneak in to eat the stale popcorn, we snuck in to ‘air jam’ and mimic the choreography to our favorite songs…of course I chose “I would die for You” and “Baby I’m a Star”.

…choosing a guitar teacher partly because he was cool looking and an amazing player, but also because he auditioned for Prince’s band. (Reynold Philipsek…still releasing amazing records)

…trying to convince my mom that Prince was a shy, wholesome performer who sang about God…while turning down “Erotic City"

...Learning to play guitar and the first song I learned was, yep, a Prince song.

…writing my first song (on a woefully out of tune guitar) which was the first a-ha moment that I could not only compose music of my own, but could explore all kinds of recording techniques (like high-speed guitar), layering vocals, and playing all instruments myself.

Take a listen to "U Drive Me Insane" below...

Interestingly, as I listen to that first attempt at the whole "produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Greg Hintermeister", I can't believe how fearless I was. I knew I wasn't the most talented, but Prince's music taught me how to strive for interesting music...I wasn't a good vocalist, but still didn't stop me from layering vocals with multiple parts.

...also all on a little 4 track cassette recorder. Crazy. And, I have to say, a few I still love listening to (take a peek at "The Rock", and "In Jesus Name")

Here's a collection from 1985-1987 I now call, "Was Gonna Be A Star":


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

…and then I remember the day the local KDWB radio station had a “Purple Rain Tour” contest.  

I called in and amazingly won 2 tickets to see Prince! I was so excited…literally flopping on the ground. I asked a friend of mine if he wanted to go because my parents would NOT approve of me going…we were a very conservative family. But that wouldn’t stop me. The day of the concert came, and I was PUMPED...

…and then my friend called. my Mom answered. “Hey, can you tell Greg we’ll pick him up at 7 for the Prince concert!"

…They were not happy. Although at this point, I’m not sure if they were mad about the concert or the fact I lied that I was just going to a friends house for the night.

I was grounded. I was so mad at my friend for leaving the message that I sold the tickets to a friend of my brothers. Then he was mad at me, and I don’t think we talked again.

Maybe because of that disappointment, I was driven to immerse myself in the Prince experience.

…and it filled my life...

~~~~~~~
At some point it became an obsession. At the time I was an active member of a youth group, so just as Prince’s songs swung between God and sexuality, my inner Greg went along for the ride. This part is difficult to think through but it was a part of my Prince journey…not difficult as in embarrassing or regretful, but difficult because I’m not sure  what I think about the path I took.

I bought everything I could…including a mecca trip to Electric Fetus to get some rare 12” singles. I also frequented “Knut Koupee”, a music store frequented by Prince. One time I walked into the store only to hear a killer Prince-esque drum loop rolling. Flanger, phaser, the whole thing. Unfortunately it was just a worker, but Prince had been there, and I left with custom “Love God” guitar pics and “Love God” tambourines left over from his Purple Rain tour.

About that time I remember seeing a TV performance of Purple Rain tour (in late 1984?) and feeling so…happy! It’s like when I heard his music I would smile, jump around, feel invincible, and dream of the day that I would return to a high school reunion (I was in 9th grade) all famous and play my own cherished songs 😃   .

But, it wasn’t always good.

As a counselor at a church camp, I spent more time playing purple rain on piano in mess hall than helping kids

I influenced friends and family and watched how they started becoming obsessed as well as me. Funny how we can become so focused on someone we’ve never met.

I went to Knollwood to see “Under the Cherry Moon” opening night…and at the end of the show, at least as far as we could see, Prince himself ran down the isle and disappeared through the emergency exit. Was it really him? Who knows…no GPS nor Twitter at the time. But I think it was based on the reaction of the girls on the isle seats. Me? I became light-headed (I know…).  My friend shook me out of it and we quickly followed, but when we opened the emergency exit...

…nothing.

My favorite jam at the time? a b-side called “Irresistible Bitch”.

Eventually the conflict I felt inside by being a Jesus-follower and a Prince fan came to a head. I really didn’t know what to do, and my youth pastor suggested…to burn all my Prince material. WHAT?!? That’s crazy! burn everything. How extreme.

But, in the end, I did. 

And you know what? It hurt! (so maybe it was a good decision?) Was it ridiculous? Maybe. I don’t know. I did feel I was putting my love of Prince before faith and obedience. Some day I’ll look back and study the details…so…into the wood-burning furnace it went…the 12” singles, rare photos, albums, I was OK until the inside LP cover of Purple Rain (the girl drawing) was ripped and thrown in…


...I felt that pain deep inside.

That was probably 1986, and for a few years I focused on music from the young Christian scene. (White Heart, Michael W. Smith, Stryper)

In 1989 the movie “Batman” came out…and of course the music was amazing. It was a way to get reconnected to Prince’s music in a “PG13” kind of way. While I loved “Batdance”, my favorite was “Trust”. I learned later that Jack Nicolson used Prince Music to energize himself so the new music had to have the same beat, and the same hits (sometime dissect Trust vs. Baby I’m A Star”).

In early 1990, the radio station “Cities 97” promoted an intimate concert at a now-defunct night club on highway 394 and 100 (just can’t remember the name!).  I called the venue and...

…I got tickets!  The concert was for May 2nd, 1990.

…My 21st birthday was May 15, 1990.

It was an “over 21 only” show.

My heart sank. I even walked up to the venue, met the manager, took a tour of the night club where Prince’s stage was all set up for the show that night…and I had to sell them. 13 days too young. (I know…Prince loved the number 13…irony or whatever)…I couldn’t believe I couldn’t see that show.

Soon after, Prince announced the Nude tour. Since I worked at Daytons I got tickets…waaay far away but I didn’t care. One day before the concert I walked by the ticket window and the gal said, “we have extra Prince tickets”. 16th row. SWEET! I sold the nose-bleed tickets to my brother and bought the good ones.

What a show. So great to hear all the great songs and see Prince live on stage.

About that time, Up With People called, and I was asked if I could travel a year early and play guitar around the world. 

“YES!!!!”  I said.  Here’s why. 

During the tour I met other Prince fans, and even met a gal that had the most sought after bootleg “The Black Album”. Awesome. In fact, most of the time in some foreign land, I was asked, “Where are you from?”.

I would say, “Minnesota”. 

Blank stare.

“Minneapolis”.

Eye sparked…, “AH, PRINCE!"

Yep. I guess he’s always been a part of my identity.

Of course life happens, and I focused on college, job, wife, kids.

I never did stop recording and composing. Here's a clip from a live theatre soundtrack...one of my favs from "Sleeping Beauty" I wrote in maybe 1997:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then, in 2006, Prince announced his Musicology tour. I got 2 tickets, great seats, and went with that same girl. He played 2 nights and the night we went, we were surprised with a new opening band...

…The Time!

What a treat!  We got to see Morris Day and all the rest do their thing. What a fantastic warm-up to Prince, who for that tour did a ton of hits, an acoustic set, and gave out free CDs to all ticket buyers.

Later I bought 2001's “The Rainbow Children”…my favorite of all (except for the dumb low-tuned vocal that appears now and then).  So funky and raw. Plus, with that record I realized his music was much more family-friendly. Mostly PG (or maybe PG-13). I loved listening to it!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now it’s 2016. I kinda followed his music, but since I was too cheap, I skipped buying more recent CDs (which required various online memberships). Recently I was curious if he was still touring and by dumb luck stumbled into Ticketmaster just as a concert in Chicago went on sale. I found 2 great seats, but having just returned from multiple work trips, I really didn’t want to deal with the travel logistics (6 hour drive, hotel, blah blah blah…) so I canceled the order.

I’m a little sick about that. I would click Order in a heartbeat now.

Now that he’s gone, I’ve been listening to all kinds of Prince playlists lately…from my own collection, the Current, and others. I’m so in awe of how much great music he released and how much good stuff there is.

Most of all I’m in awe of how he changed…from “Dirty Mind” to “The Last December” which is basically an alter call.

So what of all this?

I don’t know. I’m just grateful for his music…and have no regrets…regardless of the paths his music steered me. 

I think, in the end, his music helped me feel alive and connected.

...Alive.

...Connected.

...Fearless.

For that I’m thankful. 

…and to be honest, I think I need a little more of that “feel alive and connected” these days.

To celebrate his life...and mine, I think I'm gonna focus on two things:

1) Compose and record more often and be more fearless.

2) Embrace music...soak it in.

In fact, I think I’ll have to buy me a record player, some old Klipsch speakers, sit right in front of them...

…and turn it up...

...I feel more alive just thinking about it...

“…Dearly Beloved…"




Sunday, March 6, 2016

An Eye for Video and Exploration

Sometimes I stare at a blank page and think "What could I share that will inspire or help others reflect on their lives?"

...and then I freeze up and I think, "who am I to inspire people?"

...and then I remind myself that I'm "Jack's Dad"...

...and he's awesome

...so if I just share what he's created, it will inspire you...

...and I think it'll make you smile, too.

I love so many things about him, and these videos reflect the way he takes a creative (and not easy) journey through whatever he does. (after this, go to his channel...)

Like...

The time he took his school assignment and made it into a blockbuster horror movie (not to mention the fact it made me laugh out loud!)


Or the time he first learned about Jazz drumming and I got to "Star" in one of his episodes exploring his two favorite things right now...jazz drumming with a GoPro...

Or the time he learned to make his own Minecraft server, complete with public IP address mapped to a domain name...all for free...(with some IT help from his Dad), and then proceeded to duplicate the Minecraft story in his own real-life episode (if you know anything about the game, this is really cool)...




Or finally the time he explored the limits of his taste buds with his bud...  

Thanks for all the smiles, Jack. I can't wait to see what you explore next....

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Underwater Family Adventure

Our most recent vacation involved our first snorkeling adventure.

It certainly won’t be our last. The whole experience is something every business could learn from. From the price, the 'on-boarding experience', complete with river boat to the catamaran, to the core experience of snorkeling, to the snacks, drinks, end of the event sail into the setting sun, and the exit...everything was perfect.

We had so much stinking fun … it was scary, new, fun, lovely, silent, noisy, lonely, shared...all at the same time.

…and while I hate espousing the wonders of technology, I have to say my underwater camera ($100 steal on Black Friday…Nikon AW130) was an absolute gem…not only for these underwater shots, but for the adventure days (horses and off-roading)…where we ended up with some fantastic shots that the ‘good’ camera would have failed at and a phone would have dropped.

So lets begin with the ever popular selfie

Although, this is nothing new. Me and the missus have been doing that since we met in 1986...before it was fashionable :-)

Our snorkeling started on a catamaran…simply a beautiful day/boat/event...



When the boat stopped at our first site, we were given literally a 2 second primer on WHERE to find the flippers and mask…not how to use them…so after finding our gear and getting my youngest on his way, I plunged into the choppy waves...

…and saw a WW 2 German boat:

…and how life grows from anything

I then wondered how my kids were doing? Maybe they were nervous, timid?

Far from it!!

…Renna looked like she didn’t even need a snorkel to breathe underwater:

…Cole was enjoying his own adventure and swooped right by me

…Julia was practicing her Special Forces diving skills,

…and I later learned that Jack was getting used to this new experience by jumping on and off the boat like a spy movie complete with GoPro camera.

Our next stop was a coral reef.

Not only did we see an amazing underwater world...


...but I got to hold my wife’s hand while we explored this magical place :-)

Then I just lost myself in finding very interesting sea life to take photos of...




The ultimate find, though, the absolute best part of this experience, was watching how all of us utterly enjoyed the experience:

Jack

Julia

Renna

Me

Mom

And of course Cole, who immersed himself in this.

By the time we finished, we all agreed that this was one of our best adventures yet. And you want to know a secret? IT WAS ONLY $36 each!!! (Thanks Viator!)  Now THAT is awesome. I actually suggested they charge more in the future, but she just smiled and knew that the more amazed I was at the trip, the more I would tell others...

…Thank you Aruba Catamaran Sail with Snorkel!…you gave our family memories we’ll never forget.



Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Pursuit of...

It’s been a tough month. Of course as I type this I can hear anyone who knows me and our family saying, “He’s an idiot. He’s got EVERYTHING. What does he have to be sad about?"

…and they’d be right. 

Amazing wife, family, home, enough money to take great vacations, get a ‘fun’ car, and fund my kids experiences.

But I’m still unhappy. unsatisfied. restless.

I’ve pursued happiness in a lot of ways, and to my surprise I’ve achieved many of them already. (sounds arrogant. I don’t even like typing this, but maybe I’ll uncover some truth along the way)

Maybe it’s what I haven’t pursued. Maybe it’s that since I’ve only had a written ‘plan’ when at work, and listed my contributions when at work, that i’ve ended up depending on my life satisfaction based on work.

How screwed up is that?

I love creating. I love being a part of a team/club/group that all is passionate about accomplishing something, creating something wonderful. I’ve also found I love it when I help others be successful.

I don’t feel I’m doing any of that right now.

Work is…unexplainable. Even though I’ve received great reviews, I am constantly anxious about becoming irrelevant…to the point of one person’s side comment ruins me for the rest of the day…makes me question my judgement in how I direct my work...and destroys any family connection time at night.

Music is…nearly nonexistent: I’ve recorded and performed all over, but am wholly sad about what I’ve done. I feel I’ve wasted my abilities because I’m not disciplined enough to schedule time to compose. Sure I play at church, but I’m completely replaceable…it’s not something I can uniquely contribute to.

Kids are…a miracle: They are turning out to be amazing people, but my one purpose is to raise them in a godly way, and I’ve never read a bible verse at dinner. I’ve never showed them how to study the bible. I talk about managing money all the time, but have I even walked them through a budget?

Wife is…perplexing: I don’t really know why she’s so kind to me still. 

Friends are…??? I don’t even know. I have a couple guys I can call on, but I look at my brother, or look at others and they have a rich community of friends surrounding them. Wow would that be nice. But who has the time for that? I guess they do…I have no idea how though…it’s not like I’m spending load of time doing stuff I love at the expense of others...my time is spent accomplishing tasks that it seems I need to: driving kids (although my wife does tons more), homework, work work, travel (for work), dishes, house maintenance, outside house stuff, and the time I have left I try to reconnect with my wife. 

What bothers me most is that it looks like I’m playing…the martyr: Sacrificing my time, my opportunities for others and then in some dark corner letting this sadness grow to show myself how good of a person I am.

…and then just yesterday I received an old obituary my dad found of my great, great grandma:


Jan 8, 1932:
Born in 1850…traveled to America in 1870…married in 1878...Mrs. Hintermeister was one of the best known women in the Taylor Ridge community. All thru her life her first thought was for the comfort and happiness of others and she practiced much self denial for the benefit of those she loved. Thru her later years she took special interest in the young people of her community and rejoiced over their achievements.

"Her children shall rise up and call her blessed," for they can truly say, "She hath done what she could."


She practiced self denial? Took special interest in the young people of her community? Rejoiced over their achievements?

Doesn’t say anything about how productive in the community economy she was…what achievements she made…what positions she held...

Except it does...

…it says she was one of the best known because her first thought was for the comfort and happiness of others...

I have so much to learn. I've got to get better. I don’t even know where to begin. What would my obituary say? I thought about it once and I don’t feel it’s gotten any better. I did think about blogging about how I can help others and then list the results, but that seems vain. I could blog about what I’m grateful for, but that seems like I’m bragging (I have this, that, the other thing, …). 

Maybe I should just look in the mirror, tell myself to shut the f*ck up, grow up, and start….

…but start what?



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