Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Finished at mall & 3Kick arrives!

Wow, it's the end of January! On this last day of January, we had our first big piece of equipment come in. It's called 3Kick, a machine where you stand inside 3 towers, kicking and punching the pads as they light up and beep. We can't wait to be able to put it together! Mark Alexander, the founder/inventor of this product, and his sister drove from Utah to deliver this to us.

Here's Joel helping to bring in one of the 90 lb. towers.

Mark and one of our general contrator's workers carry part of the ring. We'll put it together once the flooring is in place.

Mark gives us instructions on assembly, types of games we can play, etc.

Joel points out the approximate location where we will be setting up the 3Kick.

Last Friday, Jan. 27, 2006, was our last time in the Redlands Mall. This is the room in the former pizza restaurant where we stored our stuff.

CSUSB Intern Darlene helps Joel take down our booth in the mall. Thanks to Darlene for the use of her pick-up as well!

After we were done packing it all up and bringing it to the XRtZ, we went out for gourmet pizza to celebrate another milestone reached and to thank our interns for helping us with this phase of the start-up. Denise (middle) is a doctoral intern from Loma Linda Univ. SPH in the preventive care program and Darlene is an intern from Calif. State Univ. of San Bernardino. They were both very helpful during our time at the mall! They learned how to play the games, troubleshoot problems, and help instruct people in playing of the games.

Here's Darlene with our 3rd intern, Alicia, also from CSUSB. We also know Alicia from Summer's dance school--she is Summer's jazz teacher! Alicia is great with the kids and has a lot of great ideas and energy.

A final toast to a successful mall run! It brought us a lot of exposure, gave us a place to work from since we can't get into our building yet, and it taught us a lot of things about the actual running of the games and hardware. We all learned a lot from this experience. And now, we're glad to be focusing on the real thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Zone Update 1-24-06

Greetings! Here are the some of the latest pictures of the Zone, some taken today! This marks our last week at Redland's Mall, and while it has been a great learning experience for us in many ways, we're glad we'll be done with that stint for it has taken a lot of hours to man that booth. With things picking up in the actual building, Joel will be free to meet with contractors, vendors, suppliers, etc. (Like he was doing this AM!)

Here are some snapshots (some taken with my Treo phone, so excuse the low res quality) so you can see where we are at so far! It's very exciting to see things taking shape.

Here's a shot of Fred Simental, our General Contractor, working on the front desk/smoothie bar island. This was taken last Friday.

Here's a shot as you walk in the front door. Straight ahead is the check-in end of the front desk. This was taken today, a few days after the previous picture.

Here's another shot of the check-in end of the front desk, from inside the play area. The front door is to the right of the picture.

Here's the smoothie bar end of the front desk. To the right of this will be the cafe zone, retail, toddler zone, and the offices and restrooms.

COO Joel explains something of importance to investor Sheila Hodgkin and her son, Alex. They're standing in the middle of the toddler zone (play area pen).

From the toddler zone and cafe zone, we are looking down the hallway where the administrative offices are to the left, and on the right, a storage room, a staff break room, and restrooms at the end of the hallway.

Here's the curved wall of the EyeToy Arena.

The curved structure on the left is the back wall of the MultiPurposeRoom where the kitchen will be. You can see the EyeToy Arena on the right.

General Contrator Fred Simental and our Architect Shan McNaughton, confer on some design changes. They're working hard for us and we greatly appreciate it. (Especially since Fred's grandaughter had a successful open heart surgery Tues. AM! PTL that everything went well and she's recovering nicely.)

Last night (1-24-06), Joel and I were on a local cable show called Reflections of Grace on Loma Linda Broadcast Network (www.LLBN.TV), hosted by Ganim (in the suit). We were able to talk about XRtainment Zone's mission of helping families improve their lives. General Manager Dr. Kim Knowlton was also there, but she and her praise team group from Azure Hills SDA church sang several numbers. Pictured at the far right end is Pastor Carmen Ibanez, the Family Pastor at Azure Hills Church. You can see the taped show on LLBN's website. Look for "Reflections of Grace" to see when it will be on next!

That's it for now. Stay tuned for more updates as XRtZ slowly takes shape! Exciting stuff!!! And to think that this was only "in my head" a year ago....miracles do happen!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Last week, we had a lunch meeting with Koki Sato (center) and Kris Utsunomiya (left), from Itochu (connected with Xavix). They were coming from CES in Las Vegas and on their way back to New York, so we had the chance to squeeze in a lunch meeting with them before their flight back to NY. We filled them in on our plans, and look forward to further communication with them as we plan for the future.

The other special thing we did last week was have a booth at the Redlands Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. We were able to network with a lot of local businesses and get some nice leads in the process. They, in turn, learned about us, and hopefully will result in some future opportunities for XRtZ. Everyone that stopped by our booth seemed to really like the idea, and if they were brave enough to try our Gamebikes or J-mat in their business attire, they received a XRtZ t-shirt!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jan. 14, 2006: After our website's server went down last week due to a high-level virus attack, we are back online! Here's what been happening since the new year.

On Jan. 5, I spent the day in Las Vegas to meet with some of our vendors and see the new products at the Consumer Electronic Show. Xavix, one of our vendors, had a big booth there and they had their new games out to try. This is a ninja game and the bar is quite heavy, giving your arms and shoulders a workout.

This was a game specifically designed for seniors, though when I played it, it was quite difficult! If the seniors can do this, it'll really stimulate their hand-eye coordination.

This was a fun way to do the stepper. This has a bunch of games to keep your mind occupied from stepping. I especially liked the archery game they had for this.

This is treadmill that hooks up to a PC so you can play first-person perspective type of games. You walk to make your character move forward. You can see the handlebar with all the buttons where you can control the game. Right now, it's being used mainly for "first-person shooter" type of games, but I'm investigating less gory and violent first person games to see if it would work with this treadmill. This is due out sometime this year.

This is a cool biometric scanner and the first kind I've seen where you don't have ot touch the pad itself. (We're looking at biometric entry for the "high-tech" factor and also so that kids (and adults) won't have bar code cards to lose!)

What's cool about this one is that it takes a heat map of the veins in your hand. While security isn't our main concern, we like the fact that you don't have to touch the pad, just rest your hands in the cradle to make sure it's the right distance away from the sensor. After calibrating it with my left hand as seen in the picture, I then tried to open with my right hand, bu tit didn't work!

Powergrid is coming out with a home version of their commercial-grade Kilowatt. This is called the "Exerstation" and as you can see, you sit down in order to play on this hardware. I tried it at a Level 3 and it was pretty tiring! This is an isometric workout, one of the few strength training pieces of equipment we'll have in our facility.

Here's a prototype of a robot sparring partner! Very interesting, very costly since it's the first of it's kind, and supposedly, it simulates a real fight better than a punching bag does. It's quite expensive (around $13,000) so we won't be putting this in, but I thought it was interesting.

While I did focus on exertainment-type of equipment, I did run across the more traditional type of video game playing. This particular one was the most sedentary of all the things I saw, I just had to take a picture of it! LOL! This is definitely NOT something you'll find in XRtainment Zone!

Here is XRtZ's own GM, Dr. Kim Knowlton, posing with one of our Dr. Smoothie products. These are the healthiest ready-to-make mixes for making shakes and drinks. No trans fat or refined sugar, easy to make, and a long shelf life! Very delicious! You'll have to try one when you come into the place.

Corey (in blue t-shirt) and Kim are blending up our first batch of Dr. Smoothie. Mmmmmmmmm!!!

Here are a few shots from the inside of our building, so you can see what's taken place so far. The general contractor has already demolished all exisiting walls inside, and is now ready to start building stuff in it's place.

Summer is looking where our offices and the restrooms will eventually be.

Summer is standing by our multi-purpose room. You can see the outline of the wall in that silver track.

Summer gives her approval on the plans!

Here's the gang celebrating getting our building permit at our favorite restaurant: Souplantation!

Until next time!!!

"Exertainment Evangelist"