Monday, November 17, 2008

No 1 Left Standing

I went to hear my nephew Brenden's band, No 1 Left Standing - in the final elimination round for the KBPI Best Band In Denver contest.
They were absolutely awesome! Without a doubt, they rocked the hardest, were the most unique, and had the most distinctive personality.

Here is a link to their YouTube videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C_B-M4XOCU&feature=related
Check them out. The song "Jimmy Tha Kid" is where Brenden really shows his personality on the guitar. The kid has chops! the kid has groove! The kid ROCKS!!!
Here is their MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/no1leftstanding

I had the most awesome time standing by the side of the stage and watching my nephew playing live. He is living the dream, loving every minute of it, and taking it even farther than I ever did.
They made it to the top 3, and now it's down to the voting.

And now, it's down to the wire - this is the moment of truth. The final voting is taking place right now.
Do me a favor-
Go to
http://www.kbpi.com/pages/contests_band-battle.html
and vote for No 1 Left Standing.

Winning this competition is my nephew's BIG BREAK. This means that they open up every KBPI show for an entire year, including Mudvayne, Hoobastank, and many others. Last year's winner got signed with a record company. This could be it for him!!!

I am so proud of Brenden, He has taken what I taught him, and kicked it up several dozen notches. He works his keyster off for this band - they played over 100 gigs last year. They work hard, and he loves playing music.

And besides, he's really, really good. Yes, I am biased, and YES, it's TRUE.

So go to the following link:
http://www.kbpi.com/pages/BestBand.html
And vote for his band, No 1 Left Standing.

Do it for my nephew. Do it as a favor for me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Party!!!


My sister Chris(tine), her fiancee Mark, and myself will be throwing a Halloween costume party at the house on the 31st.
I was unable to locate correct email addresses for everyone. if you are in town and would like to come, drop me an email at: mkloep@hotmail.com.
Stay tuned for pictures and stories!!!
ooOOOooooo!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just a note

My internet access has been spotty lately, so I haven't been able to update the blogs as I would like to. However, things are definitely happening here, so stay tuned for news... I will post what I can when I can!
Feel the love, live the inspiration-
Mikey

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Colorado Updates

*Whew* It is a whirlwind here. In two weeks I have been to two festivals, a play, a concert, A VERY cool historical old flour mill, more than a couple lunches and dinners, drinks all around, open mic night, been hit square in the chest by at least one frisbee and narrowly missed by several others (there is a new sport called 'frisbee golf' that is all the rage here. I found out the hard way during a walk through the park)... and that's just what I can remember off the top of my pointed head. I even went to see my good friend Lev do his storytelling at a local school Monday, which was really cool, an interesting art form. A rich social life has plopped itself right in my lap.

Add to that the Planetarium visit Monday night, and band rehearsal, and I have been one bizzy guy.

Friends old and new are coming out of the woodwork and offering their support and help (not to mention good food and good wine) along my journey. I am very grateful and a bit overwhelmed.

Gates Planetarium!


Tuesday night I was invited to attend an exclusive, private “behind the scenes” tour of the Gates Planetarium located at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
http://www.dmns.org/main/en/General/Planetarium/CurrentShows/
The chance to combine two of my favorite interests – space, and finding out how things work – was too good to pass up. It was the most exciting and fascinating experience.
I had not been to the Planetarium since the days of the old “star-maker” machine in the middle of the domed room. Things have come a long way since then. The Planetarium has undergone a couple of major changes, including a total rebuild. Now, instead of the big machine in the middle, they use several projectors that are synchronized together to create a seamless image. The technology necessary to accomplish this is simply mind-blowing. Just the screen itself is a marvel of engineering, for example – it is not solid, but a unique type of ‘mesh’, and instead of white, it is a fairly dark gray. This is because the projectors are so bright that the light would bounce off the dome screen and around the room. The entire area behind the screen had to be painted black and certain areas sound proofed, because it began to reflect and show through.
The opportunity learn about the unique problem-solving that had to be done, and the copious amounts of ‘figuring things out’ that had never been done before… I learned that because technology advances so quickly, each of these types of planetariums is a ‘one-off’ and no two are exactly the same. Plus, each one has its own unique and exceptional circumstances and anomalies.
Thanks to consumer electronics and the gaming industry, the hardware has advanced by leaps and bounds. The really good news for science lovers is that, like the consumer electronics, the cost has dropped while the performance has improved. The old system used to be housed in a giant mainframe, while the new system is a set of eight very high-end PCs, all linked together. This means that as time goes by, resources can be gathered to continually update the Planetarium, without having to ask for more money. And the best thing is, rather than spending all the money on hardware, the resources available can be put into the scientific and conceptual thinking, storytelling, and the extraordinary programming that goes into putting together their unique shows.
The guides were terrific. They are the core of the team that builds and coordinates the shows. The amount of knowledge between the two of them is astounding, and they were very supportive and willing to answer the numerous questions our small group threw at them.
I was fascinated by a particular old piece setting off to the side in the back. It turned out to be an ancient, home-made star maker from the early days of the planetarium, about 1954. SWEET! We came to find out that the numerous small school planetariums across the country were a direct result of the US government’s reaction to the Soviet’s Sputnik project. Thank you, Sputnik!
One of the points they made is that, in the old planetarium scenario, there was a big “Wow” moment when the lights went down and the stars came out. They wanted to transform that experience so that the “wow” moment continued on throughout the whole show. And believe me, they succeeded! In fact, we stayed afterward for a long time asking questions, having them give demonstrations, flying out to the end of the known universe, and discussing the many fascinating things that came up as we talked.
We watched a demonstration of the sun’s path along the sky over the course of the year. Suddenly, so many things became crystal clear about the seasons, the length of the days, and even the point of view of the ancients as they watched the sun in its annual journey.
At the end, they even let me get behind the wheel (okay the mouse) and take the planetarium for a spin. After they showed me a few basic maneuvers, I flew us around the galaxy, from the earth, to the moon and Neptune, and came to rest on Saturn’s rings. How AWESOME!
Finally, we reluctantly left, thanking our guides for their generosity, time and patience. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Settling in

The boxes are arriving daily. I am beginning to settle in. It feels great to be home again. SO much to do...
The weather is already starting to turn cold, with high temps alternating between 80 and 50. Gotta love Colorado in the fall.
After three days hard labor, I finally have the refrigerator up and running. Now I have my own refrigerator and my own space for foodstuffs, which is nice.
There are still a few things to get straightened out. The box with my winter weather clothes (what few I have) still hasn't arrived.....However, most of my art supplies are here, and the studio space is coming together.

Last night I went out with a couple friends to the D-Note to hear the Clam Daddies. They are way cool.

URB TUNES

My buddy Ken (Urband) just gave me a copy of URB TUNES and URB TUNES II - RETURN OF SON OF URB TUNES.
This was a compilation that a bunch of us pals made as a birthday gift for Ken in 1985 when he moved to California. Two weekends of recording and many cases of beer were cosumed in the process, which led to some entertaining moments, along with the music and narratives.
Ken recently converted it to 4 CDs and gave me a copy when we met up for lunch.
I have been listening to it over the past few days.
I laughed, I cried, I made loud snorting noises involuntarily.
And I listened to some kick-ass tunes.
Thanks Ken.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home at last!

I am finally in Colorado. It feels great to be back home again.
Most of my stuff arrived Thursday and Friday, and I am beginning to get settled in.
I went to Taste of Colorado with my friend JT on Friday, to hear Little Feat. The sunset was shining off the gold dome of the Capitol building, set against a cobalt blue sky. It was wonderful. The band sounded phenomenal! Nobody can lay down a groove like Little Feat. You just can't help but move your body to the music. I know, it's a scary thing, Mikey doing the 'white guy dance,' but what can I say? It was beyond my power to stop it.

Speaking of music, I got together with Scotte for our first rehearsal with the new band, Ironwood Rain. It's so good to play with him again, we just mesh so well. That's what happens when you've played together for a long time.
I am so excited to be here in Colorado once again.
Stay tuned for more news and updates.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunrise in Ormand Beach



My last day* in Florida. Went to the beach to watch the sunrise.
Now THIS is the Florida I will remember fondly.
*right now, I'm stuck at the Daytona airport because Tropical Storm Fay is affecting flights in and out of Atlanta. But at least I found an Internet workstation and I can post pix while I wait.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

THA MOVE

It's time. The boxes are all packed. Just a few things left to take to the PO to ship.
In the morning, I'll be leaving for a couple days in Melbourne with the Pyrates of the Coast. Then, up to Daytona to visit my (now former) roommate and her family. On Monday, I fly to Colorado! I am so excited.
I will be offline for a couple days. Then, watch out!!!
Stay tuned for updates.
See y'all soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

gettting ready to move and saying goodbyes

Today I began to say my goodbyes to my friends here in Flordia. One week to go before the move...

Here I am with my friend Megan (a.k.a. "M-Bot"). I will miss her. She's so fun to work with. She always brings a smile to my face, no matter what. That kind of good energy is a gift and a blessing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

SPUD!

Today our friend Spud [named because of his love for french fries] stopped by for a visit and a treat.

After getting his fill of peanuts, he jumped up on one of the benches, trying to get the berries off the bushes.

I thought Megan was going to burst, she was so giddy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bubble Rings MOVIES!!!

Okay, two caveats:
1. The quality of the video is not exactly the best. However, I am selecting only the video clips that show the various aspects as best as I can get them with my camera.
2. You will see and hear the word 'awesome' repeatedly. It's inevitable.

08/1108
More movies.

Here you can see the creation of the bubble ring.
video
Up for air, and 'Shazam!' I swear it's like magic.


video
Keep your eye on the area in front of her rostrum (nose.) She breaks the big ring and makes a smaller one, pushing it along.
This morning, my friend Chris was there, he had never seen the dolphins do bubble rings before. He was amazed.

Upside down.
video
Simply amazing. You can't tell me they aren't having fun.

And here is one doing what I call 'the wobbly infinity symbol.'
video
Watch as he circles back around.
Awesome.

08/10/08
This morning I was exploring the capabilities of my digital camera while watching the dolphins. I caught one of the dolphins doing bubble rings, but this time, in a movie!
video
I can only think of one word...

AWESOME!!!

It gets a bit blurry as she moves away into the distance, but she is playing with the ring all the way to the end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gatorland!

I decided to do a few uniquely Florida activities while I'm still here. So I spent the afternoon at Gatorland, one of Orlando's most unique attractions. I really enjoyed the experience.

It was a hot day, upper 90's with a billion percent humidity. The weather report was upper 90s, but said that the heat index made it 'feel like' 105. At one point, I had sweated all the hydration out of my body, there was nothing but air... and my armpits began to whistle!

The marshland was spectacular. The way the park is designed, with the pathways going through the marshland, and the observation tower, is brilliant, and really preserves the feel of a natural habitat.
The people there are very friendly. I got to pet a baby gator, I even tried my hand at feeding the big boys while I was there:

Oh yes, those gators are real.

The legendary Gatorland entrance:


The marshlands:

The observation tower:



Some of the local inhabitants...
The gators:

A cute lil' guy:



Some big ol' crocodiles:


The birds were awesome. I had to be careful not to use up my entire memory card before I got to the gators and the shows:


Speaking of shows...
The was Gator Rasslin':


And the Gator Jumparoo Show:


There were other shows, but I was having so much fun I missed a couple of them. I was not worried, as I was having a blast.

The Exit:


I highly recommend Gatorland to anyone visiting Orlando. There's nothing else quite like it!

News, Updates, and the Move

It's official!I will be moving to Colorado in September, to be close to my family and to focus my energy on painting.

I had several offers that were just too good to pass up. I am very excited for the opportunity to focus my attention on painting full-time.

In addition, I will have the immediate moral support of family and friends, which is worth its weight in gold.

Stay tuned for more to come!

Dophins and Bubble Rings

While watching the dolphins at work, I finally had my camera in hand and caught them doing their bubble rings on film. I first witnessed this phenomenon over a year ago when one of the large females (Bailey, I believe) at work started doing this.

Over the past year, I have seen a couple of the dolphins playing with bubble rings. They create everything from small rings, to large ones the size of a hula hoop, and if you're lucky, you'll catch them making a helix, sometimes very large. They are very skilled at manipulating the rings, changing their size, and sometimes manipulating the shape into a sort of 'infinity symbol' loop type shape.

Here is a shot of one of the younger ones.It really is the most amazing thing to see