Sunday, July 30, 2006

Charter members get sneak peek!

7-30-06 In a "dry run" of the facility and operations, charter members, investors, and a select few "in-the-know" attended a tour of the facilities. The weeks leading up to this time was busy with preperations, right up to the start of the tour. Check out the hubbub of activity!

Mike Sabangan donates his Sat. PM to help us get ready. Salamat Mike!

Corey works on putting up the letters (again!).

Mike and Corey work on attaching the sneeze guard, per the Health Dept.

Sunday lunch...the Jr. staff fuel up for the rush.

The staff eat and relax as well.

COO Joel gives last minute instructions.

The Jr. Staff are ready to go and help with the games!

The first family, the Reals, show up just before 4:00 PM start time.

The bouldering wall was a big hit, as expected.

The Toddler Zone was well-attended and busy! The young ones had a blast in there.


The Sportwall saw a lot of action with both teens and younger kids.

Katie whips up a batch of smoothies. They were going like hot cakes

Jr. staff Cassie serves smoothies to thirsty folks!

Pastor Carmen crashes her car again!

Keilana takes a turn at the Makoto.

The 3kick and Makoto are side-by side, ready to test anyone who comes near.

Once they got the hang of it, the Powergrids were always in use.

This is a family wellness center, where kids and even their grandparents can play these games.

They're double-teaming on Jackie Chan boxing.

Even the dads got into the Jackie Chan Boxing.

These 3 are linked together, laying "Tag" on ATV Fury 3 (PS2).

Now that's teamwork!

The Eye Toy Zone attracted a lot of "chefs" and "kung fu fighters".

Also using teamwork on the 3kick.

Good thing the 3kick is built solid!

He wants to do it on his own.

Of course, the grandaddy of all the video games is DDR. Soon are 60-inche TVs will be in each corner.

We raffled off some prizes. Here is Joel reading the winner's name.

The grandprize winner won an iPod shuffle! Congrats!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Last minute training

7-28-06 This is it! The close of the final week before we head down the roller coaster ride towards our long-awaited opening. Michelle Bell, our consultant from Club Synergy, came down for a brief visit to help us get the new staff up to speed on customer relations, and also helped us prepare for Sunday's tour for charter members. We sure kept her busy the day that she was here! Here, you can see Michelle meeting with the new staff. With her depth of knowledge and experience in the health club industry, she has sure been a huge help to us newbies!

Last, but not least, here is our youngest employee, Austin. He's been a great help doing all kinds of things to help get us ready for big day.

One of the fringe benefits of working in a place like this is that you have to learn and experience all the games so that you can help members when they come in to play. Austin's first goal is to get past this point on the bouldering wall and complete the yellow route!

Will have a lot more pictures after Sunday evening's event!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gearing up for Open House

7-26-06 Things are really getting close to our first official event: an open house for our charter members to come check things out before the rest of the public! Having just returned from vacation, things have really changed in the week that we've been gone. Check it out!

Let me introduce employees #2 & #3, Alicia (dark hair) and newlywed Katie. They've been a great help to COO Joel while I and GM Dr. Knowlton have been on vacation the past week. They've been busy working on smoothie recipes, learning the membership software, etc. Great to have them on board! (I forgot to get a pix of employee #4, Austin, which I'll get tomorrow.)

Here GM Dr. Knowlton practices making a smoothie. She's finally gotten the fruit recipe down so that with a special ingredient, it gives it the consistency of a smooth shake! (All healthy ingredients, of course!)

The completed Eye Toy Arena. Don Singh and Co. did a great job matching the rubber flooring with the painted walls behind each segment.

Jake Knowlton demonstrates the Eye Toy for our insurance agent, Denise Flory (Sawyer, Cook & Co.).

Our newest member who just signed up today raises his hands in victory while testing out the Eye Toy.

Part of our Gamebike setup where we have 2 recumbents and 2 upright gamebikes. I tried out the recumbent for the first time on some car racing game and it was a blast!

Three-year-old Javan Knowlton tries out the gamebike. Not bad after having just traveled 36 hours from MI in a minivan!

The Makoto and 3kick are now up and running. Jake and Josh Knowlton give them a test run. They are definitely kid-tough!

A closer look at Jake testing out the Makoto. If you've seen the movie, Paycheck, you've seen this machine being used by Ben Afleck in the beginning of the movie.

The Powergrid Kilowatts are all ready to go!

Josh Knowlton does very well testing one of the flying games on the Powergrid.

COO Joel adjusts one of the rubber pads on the Sportwall Zone.

If you're in the area, feel free to stop on by and check it out. If you want to be a part of the special invitation-only Open House this coming Sunday evening, join us as a charter member before then!

And while you're at it, keep an eye out for the next US News and World Report, where you'll read about an article about videogames and healthcare...and you might read something familiar. ;-)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Employee #001

7-13-06 Here's a shot of one of our very first hires, Casey Kirkruff. A computer science major at UCR, I've known Casey since he was a probably 8 or 9 years old (he's in his early 20's, am I old!). His mom, Tammy, used to work with me in Health Education, which is how I got to know Casey.

Not only is he helping with the networking and the game set-up, he is also helping with other tasks as well, like putting together this locker for the staff room. He, along with Employee #2 and #3, Alicia and Katie (whom will have pictures of soon!), will be a BIG help to Joel while I (Ernie) and Kim are away on vacation in MI. (We know, the timing isn't ideal, but we had this planned last year and thought we would have already been open and humming along by now.)

We're confident that Joel and these first 3 employees will get things ready and learn all the new systems and games, so that when we come back in a little over a week from now, they will train us and we'll be ready to go for our Charter Member Open House and soft opening!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Flooring almost done!

7-12-06 Wow, what a difference a day makes! The flooring is just about done. Even though it's now dirty with dust and all, it is looking good! Also, the restrooms are just about done--I think the women's restroom needs a couple more sinks installed and that's it. Check out the floor work--Don Singh and crew are doing a great job!

This is where the Makoto and 3Kick will go, and the DDR zone nearer the window. The floor is just very dusty right now, and will look really sharp once it's cleaned up.

Notice the curve of the transition from the black to the red...nice! The red mat is where the Powergrid and Eye Toy zones are.

Here you can see the Powergrid zone on red...and the Eye Toy Zone with it's different colored wedges.

The main floor in the multipurpose room is done. It's a very nice wood-looking floor, giving the room a nice, warm, calming feel with the dark green walls. With some bamboo decorations, it will really be nice. Can't wait to start my first yoga class in there!

They started planning and cutting out the flooring for the bouldering wall. It's an interesting cushy floor, firm when you just stand on it, but jump on it or land on it hard, and the honeycomb design compresses nicely! You can see the honeycomb design in the 2nd picture.

The stalls and dividers are up in the men's restroom. Now all that is needed are the soap and paper towel dispensors.

The women's restroom stalls are now up. They just need a bit more work and they'll be ready to go, too!

The server room is now much neater with the telephone, computer, and wi-fi equipment all oranized and in working order.

COO Joel does it all..."Hello, XRtainment Zone. How may I help you?"