I needed to come here and blog, even though I'm dog tired and up way later than I need to be right now.
First of all, I threw together a simple new Flash intro on my site. Nothing too fancy and I'm planning to redo it later. This was just to experiment. We'll see what I can come up with later.
With my trip to Dayton coming up this weekend (and looking at the extended forecast, looks like rain... again), I've been busier than ever. I just wrapped up about 4 straight hours of frustration with writing sketches for Spartans' opener and Pasadena Memorial's intro. I wouldn't go so far to say it's "bad"... just not quite what I want yet.
A few years ago... maybe it was 2005... I just started working with Pyware Java. Every year since I start off slow, which didn't happen before. To be honest, there are several shortcuts I used with the old 3D that I miss dearly. Although I can't find anything really wrong with the Java version, the lack of the Shift+<shape tool> is killing my creativity sometimes. They have this "Beziers"? tool, but I hate it and always have trouble using it. Well, it's not so bad... just takes up more time to tweak than I'd like. Plus the software is so finicky that I can accidentally click slightly off the line and create a new anchor point and then I have to go "undo last" and try it again. That happens at least a few times, every time I'm using that tool.
Blah blah blah... I'm just frustrated. I spent a lot of time working on sketches and demos of random things all winter/spring, but now it's different. I guess it's the fact that while I was messing around I never had a deadline or a time schedule to worry about. It might just be that I feel rushed when I don't need to be. All I'm doing right now is sketch, but I'm trying my hardest to make it work from the start... or at least by attempt number 3.
Overall, the ideas are working great. Spartans opener this year will be quite unique. I think the fact that the numbers are so small (15 brass, 15 drums and 15 guard) will make room for some different-than-the-norm staging and marching than you'll see from the other corps out there, and it'll be presented in a way that (I'm hoping) will be much different than most other designs you'd expect from smaller groups.
As for the Memorial show... well, right now I'm just trying to get a fix on how to start it. I'm trying my best to get what the guard director wants to happen but I'm having issues making it work in the time (number of counts) she wants it to. I don't think it's possible, but I've been proven wrong about stuff like this in the past. *shrug* I'll just do what I can with it and see if she digs it.
Other than that, nothing else developing on any other shows at this time. With the winter season just about over and taxes done, schools in TX are finally getting done with UIL and my e-mail inbox is already overflowing. This is a good thing because I'm starting to get a little cabin fever. But let me say this... being stuck at home - not a big deal to me usually, if ever. But being stuck at home and not having anything to do for work... trying to entertain myself... sucks! I can only take so much of guitar hero... watching movies... working on drill ideas... After a while, everything just turns to mush. I'm playing guitar hero and I just stop moving my fingers and start staring at the screen. I'll be watching Scrubs on TV and start daydreaming about being an astronaut or something equally as random. I'll be working on drill ideas and take the pencil tool and start scribbling words in the drill. It literally all turns to mush after a while.
What this feels like (to me) is if you were stuck in the hospital or something. I mean, I can move around and have many things to "entertain" me... but after a while of looking at all the same stuff in the same place and the same games and the same nothing that happens on Facebook and Myspace... mush... lame... blah! That was me the past few weeks. I'm still kinda stuck in that mode too.
I went to my friend Jacob's percussion recital on Sunday. He did an amazing job and I'm really glad I went. I enjoy percussion recitals and percussion ensemble concerts probably the most of any, if I had to choose. Why? Mostly because they are always filled with such a variety of music and instruments that I'm always introduced to something "new" when I go to one of these. Whether it's just a marimba solo... duet... anything Keiko Abe... something cool with multi percussion.... whatever.
One of my personal favorite ensemble pieces was by the Michigan perc ensemble from like... geez... 10 years ago now? wow! Anyway, they played something where all were on keyboards (8 of them?)... someone was on some multi perc and a snare... a couple more on timp, bass drum maybe. I can't remember the instrumentation. They broke into some skat deal mid-way through and ever did some sort of stomping, while they played their stuff. (Maybe like "Stomp" but not quite). It was really fun to listen to. It was pretty much perfectly in sync and there were moments that the music was antiphonal and would ripple around the stage. I love that stuff. Jacob's recital had some things in it like that that Ilove about percussion writers. They add little things like tapping on the shell of the timpani for an effect. Or a simple "Shhhh..." sound during a snare thingie. (Jacob didn't do that... I just remember.... it was a solo someone played a long time ago with several "Shhhh"s and some were soft and some were loud. It fit with the snare solo SO well... I couldn't help but shake my head while smiling and think of how cool something so simple is).
Tomorrow is hopefully the day I get my new phone. It all depends on if a paycheck shows up or not. This is the same check that I was told was mailed off to me the last week of March. Umm... yeah. But I might as well tell you all what phone I decided on getting.
As my other blog about this went on and on about how I loved the HTC Touch, though I still want it, I just can't afford a $500 phone right now. Well, the one that I wanted of the three they have was actually the $700 one. I mean, screw that. I'd much rather get an iPhone and pay the extra cash for another number and extra phone service with AT&T. It might come out to be the same until my contract with Verizon ran out. I won't do that, but it's a money thing and I just can't get myself to do that right now.
The other hot phone through Verizon is the LG Voyager. I've looked at it several times... heard great things from most everyone that owns it. But I don't like it. I really don't. It's like carrying a small brick around in my pocket. (I know... go ahead and tell me it's not that much clunkier than the iphone... not even close). It's just not what I want. My dad always said to me, "If you don't want it, don't buy it". I don't wanna get something I'm not completely satisfied with just for the sake of getting it or because someone else liked it.
That also goes the other way too... don't ever not get something because someone told you they didn't like it or it would break or whatever. Before I got my RAZR last year, I had at least 4 friends that told me how flimsy it was and how it was a rip-off, etc etc. I got it because it was only $40 with the new contract and I played with it and loved it! It works great still today and I have NO issues with it whatsoever. People write reviews, give opinions... when it comes to phones, I turn the other way and ignore everything. If I play with it and try it out and like it, I'll get it. If I don't... I won't. Simple!
Then there was the Samsung Alias. I mentioned to my roommate and her boyfriend that it was my favorite of the phones out there that I was probably going to get. They both immediately said "Don't get that phone... it's crap".
So, okay... so someone you know (or you) got it and had issues. So what? They said that his brother had one and opened the flip part and it just fell off. Do you know how many times I've heard that story with ANY phone? Not only that, do you know how many times I've seen people abuse their phones and not actually take the least bit of care of it? In both cases, SO many times I just have to laugh.
Guess what my friends... my Motorola RAZR... never had a case for it and owned it since August 2006. Never dropped it once and not a single scratch on it. Oh, and no it has never fallen apart or broken. I just never throw it around, nor carry it out when it's not necessary to do so.
I don't mean to sound like people don't know how to take care of their phone... but if you're one of those people who treats a cell phone like a tennis ball that you can just bounce on the floor or table whenever you want, don't come to me and say anything bad about any phones out there. I'll just laugh at you and still get what I want to get.
Well, regarding the Alias, when I went back to the Verizon store, they no longer have it in the Black/Silver color I wanted it in. Now it's in some faded blue color and I think it just looks fugly! I don't know how lame I sound that I just want a phone that is plain as black & white & silver, but that's what I want.
I moved on to the LG Venus... liked this one a lot. I wasn't sold though on the features it had and the limitations it seemed to have regarding the multimedia. I dig a portable player for music and stuff, but I have my ipod touch and it works just fine. There wasn't too much about this phone that I didn't like except for the slider deal. I remember looking at the Chocolate a couple years ago when I got my RAZR (they were pushing the Chocolate at that time). I didn't like it at all. I just didn't like the feel. The Venus feels okay in the hand... but it's one of those weird things where I just don't like it enough to get it.
The funny thing is that I feel like I would totally break it too. I was playing with one in the store, sliding the top part with one hand and one time almost pushed the whole thing outta my hand and onto the floor. I can be totally clumsy like that sometimes, and I know for sure I'll be "that guy" who pulls out his phone to answer it, takes his thumb to slide it open and instead it goes flying out of my hand onto the concrete, shattering before my eyes. Ouch!
So, after about an hour of looking through and playing with every phone, (literally... e-v-e-r-y phone), talking through the specs and features of each with Ricardo (my Verizon guy), including plans and such, I came to conclude that I found the perfect phone for me and my lifestyle:
The Blackberry Pearl 8130.
** Okay, James... if you read this, this was always on the top of my list... I was just yankin' ya the whole time. The phone is undeniably bad ass!
I did have a problem with it at first... only the fact that it's kinda small in my hand. But after taking a little time getting used to it, the fact that it was small being the only negative thing about it to me, I decided this was my new phone. (click here for a size comparison from razr to pearl 8130). I actually love it... though I still have yet to get it, activate it and start using it. I doubt I'll use the actual phone as is that often since I typically use a bluetooth earpiece. But the features it has includes everything I want and need right now. Well, more "want" than "need". But having the features of the blackberry in the palm of my hand will make life on the go a lot simpler and more organized. This is something I need, and since the iphone is out of the picture (only because I have Verizon), this turns out to be the best plan for me.
I'm so excited and I am praying I get paid soon and can get it before the weekend. There's really no rush, but I would prefer it just because I'm impatient.
But what to do with my RAZR?? I can't sell it... those are going for free with a new contract now a days. I guess I'll just keep it as a spare. You never know what might happen, right?
Okay... I need to stop rambling and go to bed. Little sleep the past few days, yet I still find myself procrastinating instead of going to bed. Sometimes I feel almost as if I'm losing valuable time if I sleep. ha! Oh well.
Is it less appealing to read my blogs when they are extremely lengthy? Or is it more appealing (or just fine) even though it might tend to be a lot of garble? ;o) Either way, I’m kind of on a roll here with these blogs. Never did I think that I would write 7 blogs in 7 days. Well, my Saturday blog was really written early early Sunday. Either way, I underestimated just how much I’d actually be able to write.
But in all honesty, tonight will not be much of anything. I’m really tired… my head hurts… I’m bummed about a few things right now and I need to just get away from the computer. Far, far away. If my car was running, I would start ‘er up and take her for a ride around 610 loop. There’s something very relaxing about taking a cruise around the city late at night. I used to do it a few times last summer when I would make a trip out to the 24-hour Starbucks over by the Galleria. I wish I could do that right now.
I might have to do that again this year, if I can get a new car or just get my car fixed. The only thing that sucked about being at that Starbucks at 2 or 3 in the morning was the fact that there’d be more people at that time than there is around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I’ve gone out there at 1 or 2 am and could not find a single seat or chair to sit down and work at. I’ve literally fought over outlets so I could use my computer. But since my battery is about as fried as it can get, once my comp gets unplugged, I’m lucky if I can get 2 minutes of life outta it. I might as well leave the battery at home because it’s useless. I could get a new one, but the cost is too excessive for me to care that much. If it was like going to Wallgreens and getting a pack of AA’s, then heck yeah I’m all about it. But Dell wants to charge and arm, a leg and my first born just for a battery that didn’t have much for it’s longevity anyway. When it was brand new it would last close to only an hour. It’s just that I went for the super duper laptop rather than the ‘power efficient’ one. Anyone wanna take a guess how much that battery costs??
Anywho, moving away from that subject… far, far away… (I’m all about this Star Wars theme today, aren’t I?)
It’s supposed to rain tomorrow… which I guess is okay considering the perfection of weather we’ve had here recently. I loved the past few days… even though I couldn’t do much but walk across the street and sit out by the pool once. I’ve been doing a lot of things with my finances, trying to crunch the numbers together to get myself some new wheels, and just working on the normal stuff.
Lately I’ve been needing to do a lot of research on music (as I might have mentioned in another blog) and today was somewhat of a dead end. I only could take it for so long before my head hurt so badly that I turned everything off and laid down on my bed. I got through about 15 pieces that were all okay but not quite what I needed. I wrote down some notes, cut/pasted some music together and just gave up a couple hours in because I couldn’t take it anymore.
One composer I’m narrowing in on is Samuel Barber. I’m a huge fan of his stuff and the specific pieces I’m listening to the most are his Second Essay for orchestra (really just the last 3:12 of the piece… the best part of the tune), and also his Piano Concerto. These probably aren’t his most famous pieces of work but for the shows I’m choosing music for, these tunes seem to fit the best of all I have listened to thus far. I plan to continue with this tomorrow and maybe I’ll find something else to add to the list. I just need to cleanse my palette and give it another go tomorrow.
On a totally different subject, how does this sound for a project? I’m planning on doing a total reconstruction of my current website and optimizing it for the iPhone and iPod touch! It won’t replace what is there, but I wanted to simply (for the heck of it) create a link on my home page that will take you to either the regular site as it is now or the one optimized for iPhone users! In the event anyone out there with the technology might wanna give my page a whirl in the palm of their hand, they’ll be able to do it and even be able to watch my sample drill videos in a format that will play back on the iPhones. Right now, there’s no way to get anything “Flash” to show up or playback on the iPhone/iPod Touch. It’s not that annoying to me because I don’t surf on my iPod that often to sites that are Flash based. In fact, there are many popular sites that are being optimized for the iPhone and they are just wonderful. Facebook and Amazon.com to name a couple.
So, while I’m taking a break from researching music and show design, I’ll be working on that site optimization and it might be up fairly soon actually. I know it might seem somewhat useless because, really… how many people visit my site? Well, there are several people that do I’m sure. But how many do it on an iPhone? Well, maybe a few would. ???
Considering the trend of many popular sites moving to a simpler “mobile” version of their sites for the mobile users, I think it would be cool for me, personally, to make available to those who could get a use out of it, even if that means it’s only for 1 or 2 people. I’m cool with that. As long as I’m making it fun and interesting for just one person other than me, then the optimization project will be a success! But first… I need to go online and find out some more specifics regarding the dimensions, look at demo sites and play with the layout to see what would work best for me. It’ll be a lot of fun to mess with and I’ll probably start it later this weekend or next week. Depends on when I have time.
I need to bail… get to bed early tonight. And by early, I mean before 5:30 am. I’ve made a bad habit of always fighting sleep and staying up later and later at night, as if I honestly thought I couldn’t get as much or more done in the same amount of time and if I went to bed earlier and woke up earlier. ?? I’ll just try to sleep now and not worry about it.
In my next few blogs, I hope to add more pictures and maybe even embed some audio/video clips to make them a little more interesting and interactive. I love doing stuff like that so we’ll see what I can come up with next time.
Have a great night or day… whenever you’re reading this.
May the force be with you…
Jedi Master GH
…I don’t know. I’m really tired! P