2011 PCC Family Retreat in Mission Springs

Ummm, yeah. That was a fun weekend and yes, that’s Stephanie and I in the hillbilly outfits. We were the emcees for the weekend and it was awesome. Our church rules.

Our Congo presentation and why we need the Congo more than the Congo needs us

A couple of weeks ago Stephanie and I joined Gary, Anthony and Joan in a presentation about our mission trip to the Congo. It was on a Thursday night and everyone who was interested in hearing about our trip were invited to come out and listen to some of our stories. The presentation was a way for us to share some of the amazing experiences we had while over in the Congo as well as a way to cloose the loop on the entire trip from a church-wide perspective.

What I mean by closing the loop is that by inviting everyone out and allowing them to hear and see what we did while we were in the Congo it lets them get a better feel for why we went, what we did while we were there and how it has affected us. This is a very important thing to do as the church body gives a lot of money each year to support both short and long-term mission trips, so it’s good for them to see where the money goes and how it gets spent. It also brings back a strong sense of being part of a church community that is doing some incredible things (like going to the Congo) in the name of God, which is also very important.

Before the presentation all of us decided that we wanted to tell our story of the Congo in a way that was beyond just listing out our goals for the trip and how we checked each one off of one by one. Instead of talking about how we helped out the people of the Congo with this and that we decided to put more of a focus on the realtionships we built why we were there and how we’ve realized that we need the Congo (and these relationships) much more than the Congo needs us. Each of us chose someone who we had built a strong connection with while being over in the Congo, which ended up being a pretty easy decision for all of us. We felt like by focusing on these relationships we built as opposed to the things that we did everyone would get a much better sense of what truly impacted us while being in the Congo.

Stephanie quickly chose Sarah, who became an amazing friend of ours during the trip. Sarah has one of the most amazing stories of survival that I’ve ever heard and despite the fact that she has been educated in the United States and could get a job with pretty much anyone she wanted, she still chooses to make her home in the Congo where she is making an incredible impact. She’s super awesome and she has a pet monkey. Like I said, awesome.


Sarah gets ready to translate Gary’s sermon to over 2,000 pastors. No pressure.


Sarah strikes a pose in her house

When it was my turn to present I talked about two guys who made a big impact on my trip, Texa and Zubusu. Texa and Zubusu are some of the most loyal and hard-working guys I have ever met. They both live and have families in Kinshasa, but they always seem to be traveling throughout the Congo helping out the church in any way that they can. Texa was our main contact while we were in Kinshasa at the beginning and end of our trip, which meant that he was there to pick us up when we first arrived in the Congo (I was never so happy to see him) and he also made sure that everything went smooth on our way out. Like I said many, many times while being over there — Texa is my homeboy.


Texa poses with his kids and Zubusu’s wife and kids

Zubusu, my other Congolese homeboy, is one of the best dressed guys I’ve ever met and as Gary puts it so perfectly, “is a beautiful man”. Wherever the president of the church was, that’s where Zubusu was, too. Like me, Zubusu has a serious passion for taking photos and video which meant that he was always running around getting great footage of all the people and places he saw each day. If he wasn’t holding a camera he was usually translating Lingala for us and doing other things that helped make us all feel as comfortable as possible. Like Gary said, Zubusu’s a beautiful man.


Zubusu and Gary at the pastor’s conference before the opening service

After the presentations we showed a video that I was asked to put together as a way to highlight some of what we did during the trip. The fact that I was forced to have something ready to show finally motivated me to edit up some of the hours and hours of video we recorded while being there. It wasn’t easy to squeeze 3 weeks of a trip into 3 minutes of video, but I think that it will give you a good sense of what life is like in the Congo and will also show you some of the experiences we were able to have while we were there. You can view the video below or over here.

As you can see, we definitely need the Congo a lot more than the Congo needs us.

The Colts win and make it into the playoffs!

For the past 3 years my big bro has let us snag his super-awesome, 7th row from the end zone Colts tickets and today we had the chance to go see the Colts beat the Tennessee Titans and clinch their spot in the playoffs. It was a great game that came down to the Colts kicking a last second, game-winning field goal into the end zone that we were sitting behind.

Of course I had to get a video of it, which you can see below or over here on YouTube. As you’ll see, there was a lot of celebrating and a lot of high-fiving by yours truly. What can I say, I was a little exited to see us pull off the game with a field goal that was kicked as the time ran out. I’m a sucker for fantastic endings.

Up next, the New York Jets.

Happy New Year! My thoughts on Times Square and how did you celebrate?

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I’m going to make this quick because Stephanie and I have some more family to hang out with (we’re running out of time in Indiana!).

We wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year and we hope that you all had fun celebrating and bringing in 2011. As always, it comes up quick and before you know it you’re counting down during the Time Square ball drop. We had a ton of fun hanging with a few of our friends and have plenty of stories to tell now that it’s New Years day.

Of course a few of the stories were captured on video, one of which you can check out below.

After watching the Times Square extravaganza, here are a few things that stuck out to me:

1. It’s good to still see Dick Clark on air, but it makes me really sad every time (you know he had a stroke, right?)
2. Nivea was a little out of control with the sponsorship — I’m sure they paid a lot, but wow. Nivea was everywhere and slightly annoying.
3. There were a lot of bands that I have never heard of. Is this because I’m 30?
4. They clear people out of there really quick, don’t they? It didn’t take long for everyone to be cleared out of Times Square after New Years. I know that they’re not allowed to drink in there, so they’re all probably running to the bars for a drink.
5. Antoine Dodson had a lot of makeup on and was rocking some wild looking braids when he was interviewed by Carson Daily. Of course, the more amazing thing is that Antoine Dodson was on the New Years special with Carson Daily and he said that he now earns $50k for an appearance. See the video of him doing his thing over here on YouTube.

So, I guess all I want to know now is how did you bring in 2011? I showed you mine, now show me yours! Add a link to any pics, videos or anything else you have from your New Years celebration below in the comments. Here’s to an awesome year and as always, thanks for reading!

If you’re going to do it, then go all out

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In life, I tend to feel like if you’re going to do something then you should go all out.

Meaning, if you’re going to sing Karaoke, then go nuts and sing your freakin’ heart out. (like how Jason and I did in Vegas)

If you’re going to take engagement pictures, then make them ridiculously awesome. (like how Henry helped us do)

If you’re going to jump in a frozen lake for charity, then grab some friends, dress up all crazy and do it in style. (like how Stephanie and I did in Indiana)

If you’re going to dress up for Halloween, then take it to the next level, remember the details and make people think you’re like that year-round. (like how Stephanie and I did on Halloween last year)

If you want to do something that’s a little bit scary, then find a way to make it happen and get after it. (like how Stephanie and I are doing with out mission trip)

To be honest, sometimes life gets in the way and I feel like just doing what everyone else does and making just enough of an effort to get by will do the trick. Each time I do this I end up with a sub-par effort that usually results in me having a mediocre time or getting mediocre results at best. I’m not sure about you, but having a mediocre time or doing a mediocre job isn’t what I’m usually going for. Mediocre will get you nowhere. Mediocre is lame.

If you want to see someone who goes all out when given the opportunity check out the video below of the Duke University student who’s now simply known as “Speedo Man”. If he would have have half-assed his one chance to distract Jackie Manual, the free throw shooter from the University of North Carolina, then he probably would have only got the standard few laughs and some high fives. But, since he decided to go all out he’s now turned his 15 seconds of fame into something that only legends are made of. Check out the video to see what I mean.

So, next time you’re planning on doing something — go all out and see what happens. It might feel a little crazy at the time, but I think you’ll like the results.

UPDATE: My homie Mitch just left an awesome comment on Facebook with a link to another video that he thought was relevant to this post. Check it out below — it’s pretty sweet. Mitch’s simple advice: Never be afraid to be the crazy one.

Getting into the Christmas spirit in Indiana

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Stephanie and I (and Frank) are hanging out in Indiana for the next couple of weeks, which we’re both really happy about. Even though it’s way colder than San Francisco and there’s a ton of snow everywhere, getting to see all of our friends and family make it all totally worth it.

We had a heck of a time catching all of our flights to get here (we waited over 4 hours at SFO just to check out bags and get our boarding passes), but we finally made it and it’s been pretty much a whirlwind of eating, meeting up with friends and family and driving (with a little bit of napping thrown in there for good measure). This is really the first time that I’ve been able to hop on my laptop for an extended amount of time, which should tell you a little bit about how busy we’ve been. But, the way I figure is the more I can hang out with the people I never get to see anymore, the better — even if that means sacrificing my beloved laptop time (did I really just say that?).

Both Stephanie and I are having a lot of fun catching up with everyone and telling them all about our upcoming mission trip to the Congo. We’ve got really positive reactions when we tell people about what all we’re doing and some have already donated some cash to the cause. Of course both of our parents are worried about us, but what’s new?

We both hope that you’re getting into the Christmas spirit and if you need any help with your holiday cheer I think that this video might give you nice nudge in the right direction. Now let’s get festive!

A digital happy Thanksgiving from our family

My sister Angie is always looking out for me and to come to think of it she pretty much always has. I guess that’s what family is for, right?

When she sent me this video I couldn’t hear the audio, but I knew that it was my nieces and nephew telling Stephanie and I happy Thanksgiving and that they miss us, which is both cute and kinda sad all at the same time.

It’s pretty sweet that I can watch my family grow up over the Internet (I know they’re always watching me on this blog), but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something that I won’t ever get to do again. I’m missing seeing all of those crazy kids in the video grow up into real people (it’s happening really fast). Being in Indiana might not seem as cool as hanging out in a city like San Francisco, but Stephanie and I seem to be asking ourselves more and more if it’s worth what we’re missing back at home.

It’s a tough question to answer, but the longer that we stay out here in California the better of an idea it sounds to go back to somewhere closer to our family. Of course, when we start popping out some little Hup and Stephs it won’t even be a question. We’ll be out of here before you can say ‘Castro Street’.

But, until then we’ll keep on doing what we’re doing. I mean, it has been quite a ride so far.

p.s. We just bought our plane tickets for Christmas and we can’t wait to go home! We’ll be home from December 17th - January 3rd, so be sure to say hi while we’re in town!

Hupfer home remodeling, how may we help you?

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One of the things that Stephanie and I talk about a lot is how great it would be to start a business that we could run together. We don’t really know what that business would be exactly, but I’m sure that it would be pretty awesome. I mean, if our friends Holly and Ryan can do it with wedding photography I’m sure that we can do it too, right?

As with most things it’s easier said than done, but thanks to Bart (Steph’s dad) and Shannon (Steph’s step-mom) we had the chance to get a taste of some home remodeling today, which might just end up being something we could really go after from a business perspective. You never know until you try and today was an opportunity to do just that. You see, Bart and Shannon just moved to the Los Angeles area and have bought a house that’s about to get a serious makeover thanks to Bart’s remodeling skills.

Since Bart already has a good idea of the walls he’s going to be knocking out, we all thought that it would be a fantastic idea if we went ahead and got some of the demolition started by kicking a hole in one of them. I know what you’re thinking — kicking a hole in one of their walls might not be that helpful in the long run, but to be honest who cares? Even if we didn’t help out that much it sounded like it could be really fun to try.

So, is home remodeling going to be Hup and Steph’s next big thing? I highly doubt it, but feel free to take a look at the video below and make your own conclusion.

This video begins with our friend Adrienne kicking the wall a few times with no success. Then Stephanie gives it a couple of shots that don’t even make a dent. Finally, Adrienne gives it a couple more kicks that eventually make it through and then Bart follows her up with a few more kicks that end up going all the way through the wall.

After the wall had the hole in it, I thought that it would be fun to get a few shots of me getting thrown though the wall, head first by Bart. Needless to say, I think he had some fun taking these.

Meet my friend Ben Long, a graffiti (and wall mural) extraordinaire

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Say what you want about the Midwest and more specifically Indiana, but when I lived there I was fortunate enough to meet some super creative and inspiring people. One of these awesome people is Ben Long, a fairly quiet guy who has some stupid skills when it comes to all things design and graffiti art.

I know that I tend to say the word ‘awesome’ a lot, but with Ben I feel like it’s more appropriate than ever. I guess I would even say that Ben is the awesomest. (yeah, I said awesomest)

The reason that I’m bringing up Ben today is because every now and then he sends out emails to keep us all updated on what he’s been up to lately and I just happened to see one show up in my inbox last week. I have to admit that every time I see one of his emails I get a little giddy as I know it’s going to be filled with details and links to his latest super cool graffiti project.

The email he sent this time around included a link to his latest mural, which he described this way:

hello all - i haven’t spoke to some of you for quite awhile.. i hope all is well. I wanted to share with you this mural I finished over the weekend for my friend’s son’s room. He’s 5 and he loves outer space.

Here are a few shots of the sweet outer space mural that he painted for who I’m guessing is now the happiest 5 year-old in the world. You can also see more of it over here on Ben’s Flickr account.

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So, that’s Ben. If you want to check out some more of his stuff or if you’d like to hire him to paint a mural for you, head on over to his website at Fabcrew.com.

Also, just for fun, here is a video that we made when Ben and our other graffiti-tastic friend Dan Thompson came out to visit us in California. Good times. :)

Behind the scenes of Steph ripping out my hair (how we made our last video)

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We’ve gotten a pretty good response from the last video that we made where Stephanie basically goes psycho and rips out my hair with her bare hands. Unlike many of our videos which are usually stories that are based upon real things that we have done or experienced, this video involved us coming up with a storyline, doing some bad acting and shooting different scenes, which I love to do.

Since getting everything set up for this type of video takes a little more work, we thought that it would be cool to show you a little of the behind the scenes and how it all ended up coming together as one (weird) video. If you have any questions about how we did anything, please feel free to ask us in the comments and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to create more and more videos like this in the future. Yeah, they take a little more time and planning, but they’re just a lot of fun to make.

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