Category Archives: Summertiiiiiime

My July

The yearly post! Where I disappeared to in July (or: A chance to share my video with you all).

I’ve discussed SEP in various blogs before this last year and the year before.

SEP is the Summer Enrichment Program. It’s really my home. Affectionately deemed “nerd camp”, because there’s really no other pithy way to describe it, I attended as a camper for five years, and then went through two years of the leadership program in high school before working as a staff member for another six years. I’ve been a night program counselors and a teacher, and this past year I moved up to be the Assistant Night Program Director.

Like a boss.  No, really. Exactly like a boss. I was pretty much assistant boss.

Like a boss.
No, really. Exactly like a boss. I was pretty much assistant boss.

But I’m not the rare one. Though I may be an “SEP-lifer” who has yet to lock down a real job that keeps him from working each July, I’m not rare in finding my home here. The kids, every summer, light up at this place. They find themselves there first. And after (or before, or at the same time — it doesn’t matter when), they find other people, and together they grow and they devour and the world is manageable and tolerable again. Many people don’t think twice on it because we think the world is an oyster for talented people (and because 80’s movies trained us that way), but life is hard for smart kids. The feeling of alienation and boredom and frustration reach breaking points regularly.

Anyhow, I also ran around like a nut all of camp, trying to do both my administration job as well as get some wicked shots for a video I wanted to make.

Unfortunately, after dropping my hard drive down the stairs (yeah, don’t do that), it eventually crashed, and I lost all the extra footage, Final Cut Pro documents, and exported copies I’d had finished. Except for one, slightly less-quality version I’d happened to export to my Desktop.

Which is this:

The song is Radioactive, by Imagine Dragons, of course, but I remixed together four or five different versions for the video. I don’t pretend to be any kind of master on that, so it’s a bit shoddy if you crank your volume, but many of the campers asked me for the song, so that’s available here:

And, as always, if you know of a child between 5th-12th grade, who you think would love a camp like this, you can find more information here. 

We’re always trying to boost our numbers and would love to have more applicants each year. Dates go out around December. It’s at UNC’s campus in Greeley Colorado. And it’s awesome.


And I took this picture while there. So you know. There was that too.


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From the Mound

Was in the Aurora area of Denver yesterday afternoon when I heard the tornado sirens go off. Severe thunderstorm was brewing a couple miles southeast of me and wasn’t moving. Bored, after working all day, and sweating in the afternoon heat, I’m not sure why I hesitated to chase it down, but I did. Drove into it, trying not to rearend the cars in front of me while staring at the sky.

Found a high spot in a parking lot, where in the east purple clouds sat as far as I could see. Above my head and toward the west, the clouds spun and churned and boiled, fast enough to follow their motion with my naked eye. The sirens went off again. I got out my camera.

Took some time lapse photos and put them in this youtube video (which starts with a couple earlier shots I played with in Idaho Springs the day before. It’s pretty shaky because I need a remote and timer, but for amateur work it was pretty fun).

I need a wider lens to really capture the magnitude and motion of the storm. But what I got was good. And for a while later as the clouds blurred together again and inched back east, I sat on the back trunk of my car and watched them. From the south a line of rain and hail and lightning was slowly coming at me, which is where I decided I might grab a bit of fast food for dinner and take in a show.

The lightning began fast and the rain fell hard and lasted the next four or five hours. The lightning fell so frequently I found I could easily take a dozen photos with my iphone alone, without cheating the aperture and shutter speed to delay for a few seconds to take in all the lightning. I’m sure it was no midwest storm, but it was possibly one of the best I’ve ever experienced, and I was glad I got my camera and my car and sat back to watch.

This trip has been funny. Stressful. Already I’m fighting off a pretty focused cold, I’d prefer an apartment, and deadlines are beginning to loom on the writing. But I find myself smiling and laughing a lot. I’ll jump back into my car with my SLR during a dry spot when the wind has settled and the rain has stopped and I’ll sit there, laughing, looking like a crazy person. Half of it is a kind of nervous laughter, a stress finally boiling over, the sheer ridiculousness of it, the hopelessness, the excitement, the fun. So be it then.

And at night I still toss and turn and stretch my legs out at funny angles. But falling asleep to the sound of hail and lightning like paparazzi flashbulbs–it’s like watching the game from the mound.

Weeks that make me feel EPIC

Quick update in a non-vloggity way about the coming week. Tonight, this Friday night, I’ll be interviewed on’s Show 3000 Celebration at 9PM Eastern time. So if you have an hour to kill and want to listen in, I’d highly encourage it.

Next Friday night I’ll be at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, Colorado to give a reading along with a number of other brilliant writerly types who will be reading all sorts of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Also I think there will be live music. More about the event here.

Following that Friday I’ll be in Estes Park for the public Stanley Hotel investigation on Saturday (also there’s a hunt on Friday night, but I obviously will not be in two places at once!), which runs from eight to one in the morning. You can check out tickets for that over at the Stanley’s lovely website under tours or tickets or purchase or some possibly slightly misleading but logical in hindsight tab.

This weekend I’ll be investigating in Georgetown on Saturday night and creeping about in the mountains until a Denver investigation on Thursday night before the reading. In between, much as I should be researching, I have a couple chapters that need writing, a novel that’s two days over deadline already that needs another half of it fully revised to send off to a few editors and beta readers, and an article due in a week for the Paramagazine. So it will likely be coffeeshops and libraries and probably some genuine car living during that week.

So I’m busy as hell and loving that. Except for the still not having a home part. That’d be a nice addition to things. But I’m not complaining.

There’s also been some recurring chatter about possible exciting other things I can’t really talk about but think would be sweet if they happened type stuff too. (Vague enough for you?)

As I alluded up above, I’m working desperately under deadline for Hallowtide. I’ll elaborate more on that in the coming weeks after I get a bit of feedback. But right now I’m trying to polish this draft and get some feedback on whether I should greenlight a fall release for the novel. But keep that under wraps until I can lock down more solid information. Winks. Which is half the reason I’m not getting a real job for the summer, as the work that would go into publishing that will consume my time. That and the America’s Haunted Road Trip book.

I’ll also be posted a few blogs as Hallowtide develops about the indie publication process, my release plan, and why I think it’s actually a good idea despite every traditional writer/publisher scowling at the taboo (also read as: why I might be a little bit crazy in the head).

After all, this is the “develop your own compass and trust it, take risks, dare to fail” college commencement address part of my life.

And we’ll see how it goes.

Day One – Vlog Six. First Night.

First night in le back seat of le car. Answering some questions, providing some more details. Getting harder and harder to keep these under four minutes!

Day One – Vlog Five

If you don’t think I’m crazy yet. Maybe now. Living a little, serving a practical purpose, cutting my hair off. Yep.

Day One – Vlog Three

Graduation and graduation weekend and graduation parties and friends and family and the calm before the storm. Or the storm before the calm. I’m not really too sure which at this point.

Quick textual update by the way too, I’ll answer questions on the vlogs too if you leave any in the comments sections, but it will be on a couple day delay at times. Especially at the beginning, when there’s a number of videos that I need to shoot to establish things before I have time for Q&As. This week will start with moving and end with a Stanley Hotel weekend, so while I’ll be done moving out of my place, I won’t hit the road seriously until next week. Until then it’ll mostly be couch surfing and planning. But that’ll be vlogged in the coming days. Until then, rock on with your bad selves–

DAY ONE – Vlog Two

Hitting Boulder with some close friends for the premiere of my buddy’s film CROCOTTA, based off a short story that I wrote that’s available here;, that if you follow the blog you know I’ve chatted about a number of times.

The rest of the project will resume after this weekend, after the parties and the graduating and the crippling insecurity about the rest of my life.

DAY ONE: Vlog One

BOOM! New Vlog Project for the summer. Think I’m gonna call it DAY ONE. Finished final exams yesterday. Graduating on Saturday. Every day after that is the first day. First vlog POSTED!

Stanley Update and More!

After six months away, I thought I’d shoot you guys an update to let you all know that I am returning to do many of the public ghost hunts this summer at the Stanley Hotel!

The weekend public ghost hunts usually fall on Friday or Saturday evenings for five hours and we’ll take you around the concert hall and sometimes some of the other more haunted room while we investigate and look for activity. The hotel of course is one of the most active haunts in Colorado, if not the nation. I’ve been there many, many many times and hope to continue to have some great experiences. It’s a great time and I’d love to see you guys out there this summer! (Great excuse for a vacation. Cough).

This will be running alongside my other massive summer project which I’ll be posting about toward the end of this week or early next week!

Also, I’ve been making tweaks and revisions to my website,, so definitely check it out if you’ve got some time. Anything you don’t care for, let me know and I can see about making it smoother. There’s a bunch of little easter eggs and hints about projects that I haven’t made too public yet, so have some fun!

And further as well, if you didn’t catch the tweet and you’ll find yourself in Fort Collins on June 8th, myself and a good handful of Fort Collins fantastic young writers and poets will be reading at Avogadro’s Number that evening. More information about the event here; It’s free and I’d love the support!

Hope to see some of you out my way this summer!

Sometimes You Have to Stop and Shoot the Flowers

Driving home from Loveland this evening, it seemed almost as if God himself, aware of my lack of photography lately, felt the need to call my attention to a boiling summer storm that had backed to the sunset.

And sometimes, well, sometimes you just have to pull into the nearest parking lot, run across the highway, and start shooting.

I could get into the beauty of two of my most favorite natural phenomena sharing the sky with one another, both at their most intense at the exact moment, lost only minutes after. I could get into the thematic suggestion of the grays and darks versus the intensity of the color, to wax poetic about the duality of nature and deconstruct the sunset, but I think tonight I’ll let it stand on it’s own.

Copyright 2011 Karl Pfeiffer