As of Late…

– I’ve been working hard at getting better at sports photography.

– I do Crossfit with Danny and Jordan 3 times a week with a bunch of A&M Rugby team players. They are intense, and sometimes do things much better than I do, but I have a lot of fun with them. They push me in ways that I don’t normally get pushed in a workout.

– Life is moving forward. It is strange to look at so many of my close friends being in relationships, when for the majority of our collegiate experience that wasn’t the case. Growing up does happen at some point, I just wasn’t expecting it to happen right now. This feels like one of those things that wasn’t the case one day, and then the next it was very true.

– Saw Rachel Getting Married, not the best movie in the world. Actually, pretty boring. Though, I see why it get’s ‘indie film cred.’

– Ian and I are getting ready to move in the next couple of weeks. I just realized today after lunch that I should probably be getting ready to start the process of packing up my crap to move it the 10 minutes away to our new house. This is not going to be fun.

– Going to Coldplay this coming week for the second time this summer. Lots of people are going to Coldplay this next week. Emily is going to ditch me for a better seat offer, but Beth (my sister) stepped up and is planning to join me on the lawn with the “real fans.” I’m excited for this.

– Went to Schlitterbahn this past Monday only to realize that Schlitterbahn isn’t quite as much fun if you’re not 14. Still had a good time, but not 14-year-old good time.

– I’ve started eating lots of avocados. (I know you don’t care, but I’m running out of stuff to put in here.)

– Finally, I have been hearing rumors for some time now that there was a picture of my in Sports Illustrated from the NCAA tournament in March. Not a picture I took, no a picture that featured yours truly in the frame. I had all but written it off until today at men’s lunch when Ryan Womack brought me the copy of this famed SI. I was pretty excited to say the least. The picture is below, and you can click on it to make it bigger, and see more evidence that it actually was me sitting there on the sideline with my little photo badge not taking a picture. I swear I took lots of pictures at this game, but the score was already way out of hand by the time this shot was taken, and I just didn’t give a crap anymore about shooting their unstoppable offense.

Me in Sports Illustrated!!

This photo appeared as a full page in Sports Illustrated. I'm the guy sitting down outlined by the red circle. (all circles were added by Andrew Kilzer)

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ESPN used my pic!

I found out this morning that there was a chance ESPN.com might use one of my pictures on their College Football Recruiting page. Thinking it was a long shot at best I dismissed the idea and just went about with my day.

I got on and checked though at about 2:30 this afternoon, and sure enough there it was, a picture I had taken being used on the world’s leading sport website. Pretty cool. Here’s a link to the page my picture is on: ESPN College Football.

Because that will inevitably be taken down by the powers at ESPN, I took a screenshot and you can see that right here:

A picture I took being featured on ESPN.com!

(You can click the picture to see it in full sized glory!)

Yes they did a little photoshopping to make it fit their purposes. They extended the fence on the right side, I suppose that’s just what you get when someone like ESPN.com uses your picture and gives you little more than name credit on the page.

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Church at night?

(read the above title like you would hear it while watching Braveheart)

I really like visiting small Texas towns. I had been to Independence, TX before but that was during the day time. During the day the town doesn’t boast much of anything really. Sure they were once one of the richest cities in the state. Sure the the original Baylor campus was in their town, and then they housed the Baylor Women’s campus after the men moved to Waco. Other than that though, not too much to be seen in the daytime.

At night however something more interesting comes to life. The lighted church tour through Independence. Six churches in the area, all either Baptist or Lutheran, have been outfitted with architechtural lighting. The lights accentuate the beautiful steeples and gables that welcome worshippers into these houses of the Lord. (Does that sound right? I’m not sure.)

Anyway, here are some of the pictures from the lighted church tour, which was actually just us driving around in the car finding these churches.

St. Matthew Lutheran Church. This church had a strange creature living over the door.

Immanuel Lutheran Church. This had the coolest old cemetary. We found one grave that dated back to the 1820’s.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church with a cool shot of the moon in the background.

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Hey Dad, Happy Belated Father’s Day!

I came across this article while reading around the internet this morning. If you aren’t going to read it, I’ll summarize. Basically a career minded dad decides he’s spending too much time at the office, and after an HR survey that asks the question, “Who runs your child’s birthday parties?” begins working from home as a stay at home dad. He throws wonderful parties, and does lots of thankless work sometimes being recognized, sometimes not. In the end he realizes that the happiness of his kids is the most important thing to him.

Dad watching as I shoot

Dad watching as I shoot, I think he beat me by 1 on the day.

I like this on a lot of levels. I wish I had read something like this on Father’s day, yesterday, so that I could have written about my dad then. But, since I found it now, I’ll mention a few of the wonderful things my dad has done for me both recently, and when I was growing up. My ‘Here’s to you Dad’ list:

– I always remember him coming home from work when Beth and I were small, walking in the front door and embracing the both of us as we ran and literally threw all of our weight into his legs gripping them with the biggest hugs we could muster. Those faded at some point, but I’ll be honest, my dad still gives some of the best hugs of anyone I know.

– He taught me how to enjoy the outdoors. When I was younger he was ALWAYS up for going outside and doing something. That could mean trying out a new hunting ground, walking to the park down the street, or just seeing if we could pick off a squirrel in the front yard with a pellet gun. Because he loves being outside so much, I’ve developed a great sense of what being in nature is like.

– He allowed me to be dangerous. Shooting is my dad’s greatest passion in life (other than his family). He reads about guns in magazines, books, and on the internet pretty much all of the time. If you watch a movie with him he can tell you exactly what kind of gun each hero and bad guy are using. He showed me that it was OK to be dangerous if you did it in a way that was safe. I always remember him saying, “Don’t ever open the gun safe when I’m not at home. If you want to see the guns, or go shoot them just let me know, and we’ll go out and shoot as soon as we can.” And that’s what we did a lot of the time. I’d stay away because dad said so, and because I knew all I had to do was ask and we’d be off to the range shooting a round of skeet, and then grabbing some lunch.

– He loves Beth and I, but treats us like we need to be treated. Beth gets whatever she wants from my dad. He’s a total sucker for my sister. She can demand french toast one minute, and the next is sitting at the kitchen table with a hot piece and warm syrup on the way. I on the other hand didn’t always have it so easy. Dad would show me how to do things a couple of times and then encourage me to do them from then on. It was a wonderful way of allowing me to figure stuff out on my own.

Some of my favorite memories of growing up, are when I was about 5 or 6, sitting on the kitchen counter, making pancakes with the old man. He’d always tell me not to flip them too soon, and it seemed like he had the perfect timing down for a golden circle of deliciousness. Not to mention that he’d always be up for making mini pancakes just because I thought they were so freaking awesome!

– He’s taught me, and is continuing to teach me how to fix things. When your dad is a mechanic you don’t often realize how wonderful that can be. I don’t ever take my car to the shop without first asking him to either take a look, or tell me how much it should cost. He’s never told me no when I ask him to help me with a new set of brakes, or an alternator change.

– He’s been there for all the good stuff. I remember in 9th grade when I was playing defensive tackle for the football team at my high school. Mom was at every game, and dad made it when he could, probably about half the time. Those were the games that I wanted to play especially well. What is it about being around your dad that you just want to show him that you can do a good job? I’m not sure if girls feel this way about being around their moms or not, but I know for a fact that when I’m around my dad I just want him to see that I can do something, and do it well.

So, Dad, even though this is a dad late for father’s day, I’m glad for everything you’ve taught me, and are continuing to teach me. You’ve been a wonderful example of humility and strength, and have shown me things that I will surely imitate and teach my son one day. Happy belated Father’s Day, you deserve it.

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Portraits of a Robot Scorned

My inspriation for the day. Constructed out of a PVC 't' piece for the body, a water faucet connector hose for the arms, toilet ball for the head, wine cork eyes, and a funnel for his hat.

My comgroup is full of some of the most creative poeple I know. They do things at the drop of a hat that make me step back and look on with amazement at not only how their brains work, but at the skill and passion with which they are able to express themselves.

For some time now we’ve been throwing around the idea of having a ‘Creative Display Night,’ where everyone creates something and then brings it to the group for everyone to experience and enjoy. I’ve championed this idea for a while now because not only do I love seeing/hearing/experiencing what people create, but I also really love getting to hear the story behind what it is that people have made, and what it was like for them in the process.

I entered a series of photos that I’m choosing to call: Portraits of a Robot Scorned. It started as a silly idea where I was interested in seeing if I could build a robot (defined later) which might allow me to capture some simple emotions from an inanimate object. Think wall-e. I defined robot as: a collection of parts from the hardware store, made to look like some form of life, but that doesn’t actually do anything that we, modern humans, might think of a robot doing. Mark actually informed us all that robot originally comes from the Czech robota, “servitude, forced labor,” from rab, “slave.” Interesting, my robot was serving me in a field in front of my house, and he didn’t really have much say as to whether or not he was used in this manner.

After comgroup I was curious as to how this stuff was received.  I understand that this is fairly strange.  Most people sit down and write a poem, or paint a picture, I build a ‘robot’ and then take pictuers of him emoting around my house.  Admittedly I did this because I saw someone else create a gallery that was similar.  I think I do this 1)because I saw something that inspired me and I was reacting to that sort of emotion, and 2)because I’m pretty good at imitating what other people have done.  I was given the challenge after comgroup though, that I need to find my own voice.  Find my ‘robot’ if you will.  I’m not sure how that’s going to happen, but I’m excited at starting to try.  More to come on this soon!

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Texas in a Day

Emily and Kristen picking sunflowers on the side of the road. Too bad they died in the hot car while we were on the river.

It started with an idea last Sunday: The Ultimate Texas Road Trip. Planning something of such magnitude isn’t to be taken lightly, but Emily and Kristen were more than willing to step up deliver with nothing short of success. The itinerary was this: leave at dawn, arrive and toob the Comal river around 930ish, eat lunch in Gruene, TX, Blue Hole for some rope swings, open air viewing of Star Trek.

Our time together was fantastic. One of those times where the whole group has the same concept of fun: doing as much as humanly possible in a single jam-packed day. When I first sat down to ‘blog’ about this Saturday I had the idea of just recounting the entire tale, but some stories are just too large to post on one’s blog. Sitting on the idea of what to write I’ve decided to compile my top-15 list from the weekend. What can I say, I love making lists on this blog. Onto the top 15…

15. Getting an early start.

I love seeing what people are like early in the morning. You know, who they are before they’re able to put on their nice clothes, get presentable looking, and certainly before their first cup of coffee. Meeting at Emily and Kristen’s place at 545am certainly provided a lot of this for the entire group to enjoy. I’ll have to say that these girls don’t mess around, they had already been up for an hour and a half before we got there, and they were more than ready to go. My voice hadn’t quite warmed up at this point, so the group go to meet the person I refer to as, ‘Barry White Kilzer.’

14. Roadies

If you don’t know what I mean, talk to Leah and Cat.

13. Toob Chutes

Starting off on the river you think, “This is gonna be so relaxing. Just sitting in this inflated rubber donut, I wont have to worry about moving for the next 2 hours.” Not so. About fifteen minutes into the river trip, you are forced to go down what is known as a tube chute, essentially a detour around an otherwise impassable dam, which is fun, but more work than I wanted on the river.

Taking a rest after swinging at Blue Hole.

12. BROCK’s self deprecating humor.

Dude has wonderful comedic timing, and never takes himself too seriously. He brought the perfect mix of funny and kept me laughing quite a bit.

11. Snakes

You always find out new things about people when you spend upwards of 20 straight hours around then. We found out that Emily has an unhealthy fear of snakes, and what they might do to her if they get near her in the water. She spent pretty much the entire time we were on the river avoiding being the person closest to the bank. If you looked at her once in a while you would notice that her eyes were often scanning the bank for slithering enemies.

Kristen on the other hand embraced all things wild. I’m fairly certain that if a snake had come near any of us, Kristen would have grabbed it by the tail, whipped it around in an Indiana Jones like way, and solved our snake problems. Is it sad that I would have deferred to a girl to protect me in such a case?

10. Oatmeal Cream Pies

The perfect combination of oatmeal, and… well, cream pie. These are a staple on any road trip I take, as they come with very little packaging, but are still wrapped individually.

9. Rope Swings @ Blue Hole

Blue Hole is simply that, a blue hole of deep water in Wimberly, TX. They’ve hung a number of large swings out over the water and you can swing into the water as much as you want. Really a lot of fun. There’s a group of young guys out there who are willing to lend you a hand, and give you a few tips on catching the ring. This was a lot tougher than I had imagined and I was unable to catch the ring.

Girls at Blue Hole. They looked nothing like the locals.

Sure I couldn’t grab the metal ring and swing like the locals did. That didn’t matter. I tried, and tried, and tried again and it just didn’t happen that day. But it was the experience of hanging out with a bunch of locals, who all looked related even though they claimed to have differing last names.

The girls on the other hand were much funnier to watch swing on the ring. Merinda in particular. The chain would swing out and then come back in at which point you were meant to sprint towards the ring, jump as high as you could out towards the ring catching it with your arms bent, then swing out over the water and splash in at the end. Merinda couldn’t run at the ring at first. It was pretty funny because she had the timing down though her aim was off. She would just run straight into the water missing the ring pretty much all together. Pretty funny.

8. Flowers

Our resident animal lover had no problem picking flowers at any chance possible. Seriously, we stopped on the side of the highway so she could pick flowers. Girls.

7. Flirting with Cougars

A group of older ladies was on the shuttle with us on our way to toob the river the second time around. I think it’s hilarious to chat it up with ladies like this. You can really see how they’re just trying to have fun, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve all spent the last 20+ years raising kids; they still think they’re in college. Seriously, these ladies had all been drinking since fairly early in the morning, and within a few minutes we had them all chanting Royce’s name so he’d hurry up and get back on the shuttle. More power to you ladies. Who says you can’t be 50, fabulous, and in a bathing suit? I can only hope that my wife has the guts to do something so fun someday!

6. Gruene, TX

A true Texas treasure. If I ever meet someone in another state who’s thinking of visiting Texas this is one place I’m going to tell them to visit. There are some great things to see and an even better feel. Gruene truly captures what it is to be a small Texas town, from the famous dance hall to the small shops lining main street, a day in Gruene is can’t miss option.

5. Lone Star Beer

What can I say, I really like this beer.

4. Open Air Movie Theater

Wimberly has a great outdoor movie theater that shows one movie each Saturday night. This isn’t a drive in theater, it’s really just an outdoor theater. Plywood screen, patio furniture, and old home stereo speakers under the stars and fireflies mean that this is a great place to watch any movie. I loved sitting there and ignoring the movie from time to time, stopping to stare straight into the night sky and listen to the crickets chirp away.

3. The late night drive

Everyone was kind of on edge for the final leg towards the house. I ended up driving the final hour or so, and I love these moments. I think it’s the feeling of being in a car full of people who are all either sleeping or just quietly staring out the window. Juxtapose that with the rest of the screaming and jumping around from earlier in the day and it makes for a wonderful moment of being alone among friends. I haven’t really enjoyed moments like this until recently, and this trip reminded me that these are some really good times.

2. Peeing in the river.

‘Nuff said.

Texas Road Trip 2009

1. Screaming from car windows.

Going on this trip I knew there would be things I’d be asked to do simply given the fact that the group I went with does things that I don’t often do. Example: they scream out of car windows.

I had never once screamed out of a car window when I wasn’t heckling an opposing sports fan, or holla-ing at a pretty girl. But these girls do this on a fairly regular basis. Sticking their heads from the moving vehicle and screaming just as loud as they could I sat there in amazement at the freedom and passion they were able to experience in their simple form of emotion. To be honest I sat there and wanted to participate, but I just couldn’t bring myself to join along. I was paralyzed by fear. What if my voice cracks? What if I can’t scream as highly-pitched as these ladies? What if my Jr. High football coach drives by and sees me? Some strange things swirl through your conscious when faced with a chance at real freedom. Needless to say the first chance for window screaming eluded me, but a pinky promise to try it the next time locked me into the most binding of all road trip contractual obligations. A few hours later, post tubing, I found myself on I-35 heading to lunch screaming at the top of my lungs out the passenger side window of a white suburban experiencing a real release of emotions, and it felt great.

I’m hesitant to admit this, but I’ll probably do this on future road trips when the moment is right. Thanks for showing me something new.

That’s it. A pretty successful summertime adventure if you ask me. From hanging out without our shirts on, to screaming out of car windows, we did it all. Now I just need to get away a few more times this summer before football season gets here.

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My Weekend

My weekend was crazy. It felt like I never stopped moving. Normally my Saturday’s are spent just hanging out around the house doing nothing too exciting, and Sunday’s typically look fairly similar. This weekend though, I traveled to Waco to shoot a 7-on-7 tournament, photographed my first wedding, helped landscape around a friend’s pool, mowed my lawn, and taught a Sunday school class. I’d say I was pretty successful. Here are some of my shots from the weekend:

Killeen QB and 2010 Aggie commit Jameill Showers

Arlington QB and 2010 Aggie Committ Matt Joeckel

These two guys were playing against each other on Saturday morning, so it was a lot of fun to watch the future of Aggie football face-off while they’re still in high school.

And here are some shots from the wedding:

Bride and Bridesmaids from the Johnson Wedding May 2009

Leaving the reception, my favorite shot of the entire night!

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