Just got back from WGI - Percussion. It was incredible!!! I've never seen so much amazing talent and I'm so proud of my close friends in Aimachi winter line. They placed 3rd overall in IW and definitely was the crowd favorite. Their visual presence and style of show design far surpassed anything else that went on the floor that night, in my opinion.
I don't know diddly about what's the best show when it comes to this. I may be a tad biased, but I thought Aimachi had THE best musical book out there and didn't rely on trying to be the loudest. And in combination with their wonderful use of the fantastic color guard, they were second (or third) to no-one that I saw or heard. I think the design was incredible and as much as people will see that and think it's different, I think it's the way it should all be. Or it could just be Aimachi's speciality.
One thing is certain and Aimachi got every single person in that arena out of their seats at the end of the show. No matter what they placed or who they impressed or whatnot, the line connected with each and every person in the stands and performed the best show they could have. They didn't just send a message with their performance and placement, but I know they just picked up a whole new set of fans that will pass the word around about just how much Aimachi impressed them and how much they enjoyed their presence at WGI this year.
I did very much enjoy RhythmX also and I congratulate them on a terrific performance and coming away with the top spot. I have to say their use of costumes and set design is what won them a title... I think. Not saying they didn't play their butts off, which they did... but just the bass drums alone had me saying "whoa... wow!" every time they would flip. *Mind you, I only saw all of these shows once... which I planned so that I wouldn't need to 'expect' anything, if you know what I mean. I like to be surprised at the moments they try to surprise you. That being said, RX definitely
Riverside... meh! Didn't do anything for me. Veyr clean and cute... but in a way, seen the show already but with different costumes and different beats. Nothing cool to take home with me in my memory.
MCM - Now, this show rocked. I was a little disappointed to see them get 4th, but honestly, any of the top 4 or 5 could have won and I woulda been fine with it. But my favorite part about MCM is they used a tune that I've been DYING to hear used in an indoor setting, and that is Steven Bryant's "RedLine". They did a masterful job transcribing it for the drums and I got so excited when they kicked into it as it was intertwined with "Circuits".
Northcoast just rocked the intro. Though, I loved this show and had them in the top 3, I've never seen/heard a cymbal line like theirs. When they started the show, after about two seconds I was saying "Holy effing @#$%^..." Maybe it's easy to impress me, but I was just stunned by the cymbal feature at the start. just... wow!
For some reason, the rest of the show was a blur.. haha... maybe I'm too burnt out to remember much of anything right now.
So, that being said I'm just going to wrap this up. I didn't mean to make it sound like a 'review' so don't read it like that.
And I would like you to take note of that picture that I took with my phone Saturday night. It's of Aimachi in the lot after their show. And even though the pic is bad quality and dark, it was a miracle that I even got this to come out as good. My phone camera doesn't have a flash and I knew taking a pic in the dark of night would just be a wash-out of blurry blackness. But somehow I got lucky... on the first shot I caught the group at the exact same moment someone else's camera flash went off and I got what is probably an improbable pic on my phone camera. I know it's probably kinda lame to get all excited over it, but I am!
Okay... that's it for now. Time to wash up and take a nap. I lost a lot of sleep the past 4 days. I went through so much stress and so many phone calls trying to get things straightened out for the weekend and now that it's over... time to call it a night... and a very very early one at that.
Okay... I'm pissed. And no, I'm not going to stop and think about this before I say it here publicly. I don't care who sees this or who reads this... this is friggin' ridiculous.
My life and my job only depends on a few 'outside' commitments per year and some of those involve making arrangements to go out of town to events like BOA, DCI, WGI, TMEA, etc. - all on my own expense. Maybe I don't need to attend all of those functions, but considering the number of people I run into at these places and the fact that getting my name out there is essential in the building process of my career, I have to do everything I can to make it happen.
For the first time since 2003 I made arrangements to attend WGI. Not only have I not been able to see BOA or DCI in the past several years, TMEA has been the one and only function I've been able to attend since 2003 ('05-'08) and that's only because it's local. (I was at BOA/DCI in 2004).
This year I'm a little tight for money. No big deal though... I chose this job and career and that's just the nature of it sometimes. But this trip to WGI had to get put on hold... and longer on hold... and until exactly 5 days ago, I had not yet bought a ticket. I can't express to anyone how bad I need to go to this event. I have never been to the percussion championships before and since I'm still trying to get IN to the wgi circuit for percussion, where better to start or get the name out there?
So, as in years past, this year looked bleak at best for me to be able to afford the trip. Every year around tax time I am broke. Literally broke!
My beef is this... here's an e-mail I received on March 28, 2008 from one of my clients (no names given), copied and pasted, word for word: "My Boosters should be in the process of sending you a deposit this week." And another e-mail from another client sent on April 9, 2008: "I've got a check in hand for your deposit. I'll drop it in the mail in the next couple of days".
Okay... let me get something straight... If the check is not in the mail, don't tell me it will be in the mail soon, or we're "working on it". That's a bunch of crap, and do you know what that does to me? That puts me in a fucked up situation where I spent every dime I have to go to wgi on the assumption that the check would have arrived by April 17. Both of which have not.
I'm an idiot... plain and simple. No, no... all of you reading this can say it's their fault and they didn't hold up their end of the bargain... but how does that help me? How does it make up for the fact that I have $20 in my bank account right now (yeah, boo hoo) and I bought a non-refundable flight to Dayton? Not only that, not a single "friend" of mine here is willing to give me a ride to the airport that is 10 miles away. I've asked everyone in town and around and no-one will help me out. Most of that may be because I had to book an early 5:50am flight, but the cab/shuttle services that are usually around $25 are instead $40 because of an extra $15 charge for "red eye" pick-ups.
What good is charging these guys extra money for being late? Money doesn't make me feel any better. It doesn't "bring back" wgi to get me another chance to go and see it. Technically they aren't even "late". But they still told me the "check was in the mail" and I'm just an idiot for assuming that 3 weeks was enough time for the USPS to deliver a check from a school located 17 miles from here. (I coulda walked there, picked it up, and walked back and still had time to spare).
I just want to cry right now and I don't know why. I don't know what to do or if it would make sense for me to even go. In a way, I threw away $260 on a plane ticket and the way it looks right now, I just can't go on the trip anymore. I can't even get a ride to the airport, and if I paid all the money I had in my account, I wouldn't have a car or be able to pay for food or a place to stay when I get there. What the hell happened? Why did I put myself in this position? Why do I read something someone says in an e-mail and automatically accept it as truth?
I'm done with this... and I'm not saying this out of frustration from this instance or because it just now happened... but this will be my final year as a drill designer. I've come to a conclusion that would be very difficult to get me to change my mind at this point. This whole experience was the straw that broke the camel's back.
For all of my clients I've made out contracts, set deadlines... yet no matter what happens with a "late" payment or anything like this, it doesn't make up for missing wgi. It doesn't give me another chance to go this year. It doesn't make up for the fact that I won't get to see friends of mine from Japan and the Aimachi line... as well as be there to see people I love and care about.
It's a huge joke and I am so livid right now. My job is a blast when it involves the actual writing process. But this bullshit regarding payments and misleading e-mails is something I don't want to deal with anymore.
* and by the way, I just got an e-mail back from the one director who said they were gonna send it in the "next couple days..." on April 9th... they just told me it was dropped off TODAY and should be on its way.
Why did you tell me it would be mailed in the next couple days and not mail it for a week?
Again, my words are not that of someone who's going through a tough time right now... this has happened every year for the past 4+ years and I'm dead sick of it. I'm disgusted with working a job that requires so much of my patience and dealing with people who will refuse to be honest with me, or seem like they aren't. They'll treat me wonderfully through e-mail and phone conversations - and once I'm out of the line of sight, it's like I'm suddenly yesterday's garbage. That might not be their intentions but that's what I end up getting in the end. I feel like I'm being treated like garbage.
But as I said... this is my fault. In a way, I'm being selfish. I could have saved the money before and planned for this. I could have not spent so much money some other time and been ready for this. But I saw the potential that with the contracts signed and agreements set that everything would work out smoothly this year. I got confirmations nearly a month ago saying that the "check was in the mail" and not from people that far away either. I made the assumption that even though money was tight that since the money was "on its way", I would be fine. Tax season came and went... it cost me a little more this year than last but it's done. Maybe I underestimated how much I would owe. Maybe I just screwed up.
It doesn't even matter anymore. I just can't go to WGI now. I have to stay home and eat the money I spent on the flight. There's nothing else I can do.
It's so sad when I have roommates and friends that say they'll do anything for me... but if I desperately need a ride at 5am to the close-by airport (Hobby), it suddenly turns into "well, anything but that". I've never turned a friend down for a trip to the airport. Unless it conflicted with class or work or something equally as important. But when I start out by asking "are you doing anything Saturday morning/afternoon?" and they say, "no, nothing all day...", I then ask about a ride to the airport and they suddenly get all "well, I wanted to sleep in and I was planning on going to a party and staying out late Friday night".
What the hell? Are you all really my friends? Why are you doing this to me? Do I deserve this? Does anyone deserve this?
Those of you that read this, spare me the whole "if I was there, I'd help you...". I know you would and I do appreciate it. But you're not here... and I know there are people out there that could and would help me but can't because of where you are. But I'm surrounded by a bunch of spoiled assholes that can't spare 30 minutes of their morning to help out a "friend" because they want to spend all night Friday partying and getting hammered off their asses, leaving me here to just sit and do nothing. And the fucked up part about this is I'll wake up sometime in the afternoon on Saturday, see some of these "friends" and the first thing they'll say to me is "I thought you were going to Dayton?". I'll just look at them and say "no, I just didn't feel like going" or make up some other equally pathetic excuse. There's no point in rubbing it in or complaining. I don't agree with the whole shoulda, woulda, coulda stuff... what's done is done, and even if they had the balls to say "well, geez, if you really needed a ride that bad, I woulda..." That thought just makes me wanna puke, because I know everyone would say that. It's so easy to do that, isn't it?
Can you believe that I actually routed a trip to ride my BIKE to the airport? It would take me an estimated 2-3 hours with the non-freeway route, but it's possible. Then I look at that and think of how ridiculous that is. It's hopeless.
I'm getting the hell out of this job... and the hell out of Houston. I don't need anyone to tell me that everything will be okay or shit happens. Yeah, I know. Everything will be okay... shit will always happen... and drill writers are now a dime a dozen. I know I'm good at what I do, but it's not worth this. It's not worth getting stressed over and literally brought to tears because I can't find one person who's generous enough to give me a ride to the airport when I don't even have enough money for a simple taxi.
I've decided... I'm just going to go back to school. After this year of writing and the fall is over, maybe there's a chance I go back to Japan and work or march with Aimachi. But from that point on, I'll probably save every penny I earned this year and I'll get myself back into school. Where? who cares... I just need to get as far away from this activity as I can because as much pleasure as I've gotten out of it in the past 7 years of doing it, I'm getting pushed further and further away from actually being happy.
I may do it again though... I won't eliminate that possibility. You can't eliminate anything at this point. However, my resignation from this hassle of dealing with "the check is in the mail" and multiple multiple apologies for lateness or "my treasurer forgot to..." this or that, all is a result of not just this instance but years of excuse after excuse... and in the end it's no-one's fault but mine. Poor money management and not learning from one year to the next that I cannot depend on my clients to pay me on time or when they say they will. I should have set this money I needed aside a long time ago, knowing full-well this could happen. But every year it happens I get the same "we'll do better next time" excuse and when it doesn't happen, I get another excuse. Last year it was the fault of the post office... this year it's a lazy treasurer.
So, I'm done... and not until I figure out a better way of managing my finances am I going to do this anymore. This isn't a joke. I'm very serious about this right now.
For those affected by this that had nothing to do with these issues that caused the problems, I am very sorry and you can thank those other clients of mine that don't have a clue. (sorry, but you don't).
I doubt that more than 5 people will read this... and I wouldn't be surprised if publishing this comes back to bite me in the ass. I'm aware of the controversy that might surround me with this too, if any.
No-one will ever understand just how shitty I feel right now. How I literally went from being sure everything would work out with the wgi trip and had to wait and wait until I bought the ticket... I waited so long that by the time I couldn't wait any longer, the price was close to $600 to leave Friday and come back Sunday. Instead, I had to settle for Saturday and coming back Monday, and because of switching planes and stops, the only way I could get to Dayton early enough was to take a 5:50am flight outta Hobby. Now I ask everyone I know... being as polite as I can and even offering all I can for gas money, but NOT A SINGLE person will help me and get me to the airport.
I'm over this... I really am over this.
I'm sorry to those that were at wgi and I didn't get to see. I really wanted to go. And I'm sorry to those that are finding out now that I will no longer be working as a visual designer after the 2008 year is over. I'm still going to do my job and do the best that I can. I wanna go out with a bang of sorts... maybe make people go, "damn, look at that guy's drill... I wanna hire him". I'll have to just turn them down and say "Sorry... this was my last year."
Maybe I'll be back... but not for a while. I need to go to school... and do something different.
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.
Okay... I'm going to vent for a second here... and it might sound very random and stupid. Whatever. I have to complain about a couple things that may or may not offend people who read this (if I call you out, that is) and it's probably something that you could look at in retrospect and see how insignificant it might be? I don't know. I don't see it as insignificant... but you be the judge.
I went to my close friend Marivy's violin recital the other day. It was wonderful. She's a great musician and I wish her all the best. The turnout for the recital was amazing. They pretty much filled all of Dudley and I would have even been pleased to have half that many people at my recital. (I think there were 20 people at mine?).
So, here's my gripe. cell phones... specifically - text messaging! This is the same argument I have said to people (not on here though) about going out to the movies. I think the term "silence your cell phones" has been misconstrued and translates to most people as "you can use your phone and text during my recital, but make sure I don't hear it ring".
What bothered me the most is that while I sat in the back of the hall and DURING the recital, every damn minute I saw a light flash from someone opening their cell phone... bright as hell, I might add, and they text away. At one point I counted 7 people texting at once. I don't know if they were texting each other... or just communicating with people outside. Why the hell can't they just turn OFF the phone?
I found that absolutely appalling. Most of those people might be younger and not educated with the proper etiquette, but seriously folks... turn your phone off and watch/listen to the person on stage.
This only upsets me because I am very passionate about music. I'm not saying I get bothered by every cough of shuffle or baby crying during a concert or performance... those are usually inevitable. What I'm talking about is, what I believe is, disrespectful to the performer.
I know we have all probably done it at one point. Don't think I'm calling you out as if I think you're a terrible person... but Marivy is one of my close friends and I feel like there were at least 8 or 10 people that could have cared less if they were there... maybe just sticking around to get credit for going to the recital and get free food at the reception afterwards.
For me, it was very distracting and as someone that was looking forward to this, I was unexpectedly thrown off by the number of people who would open their bright phones in the dark thinking they were invisible.
This might sound like common sense to some, but I think in fact this is an issue that may need to be addressed in future discussions about concert and recital audience etiquette. This is turning into a possible new problem that can (and did, with me) interfere with other's enjoyment of the performance. I believe only in the event your pregnant wife has the chance of going into labor you can do that. Otherwise, turn your damn phone off. The recital is about an hour! And if you really want to get technical... 30 minutes until intermission... then you have 15 minutes to do what you want... 30 more minutes of performance and you can go home. Who are you talking to that is going to take offense to the fact that you are at a recital?
The next gripe I have... and I'm sorry... maybe I have just had bad luck seeing this happen WAY too many times. But if you come late - that's one thing. You come through the doors during the performance of the movement or piece, well, it's okay and long as you are very discrete about it. But if you are late, come in during the performance, walk ALL the way to the very FRONT row (not even 2 feet from the person performing) and start signaling and waving at the person on the other side of the row, making gestures or whatever they were doing... .... ??????
I don't know... I just... I don't know what to say. That's just all kinds of wrong. If you absolutely have to come into the hall in the middle of the performance because you were late (I've been there), either stand there in the back quietly OR sit in the first and closest seat available until the piece ends. There were at least 20 seats right there... I know because the whole back row I was in was empty on my left, the side they came in.
Why? Why not move up there in between pieces? Do you think you are invisible? I just... ...why?
Just so you know, I'm talking about a lady in her 40's perhaps... had a kid with her who was maybe 13. I think they were looking for her husband. Either way, they should know better, I think. This recital hall is small and the stage goes right into that first row. Maybe Marivy didn't see her (being in the moment) but the entire audience sure did. (ironically, one of the people texting the whole time looked over at me shaking her head). psh!
I have witnessed this happening several times. This is not a first for me and though it doesn't happen that often... I still have to wonder if people believe they have superpowers and have this ability to be completely invisible for those 30 seconds.
And lastly... I know this one might sound like a very weak thing to complain about... but it just bothered me. She was playing this sonata... ended the first movement... thankfully no-one clapped. (not a big deal, but I'm always the guy listening for it). Anyway, she finished it and it was awesome... There were about 20 seconds of silence between that and the start of mvt. 2. I swear you could have heard a pin drop a mile away... absolute silence. No-one twitched... no-one coughed... it was unreal silence, actually.
As she set and gave her slow nod to start the beautiful ballad-like movement, she started playing this sustained note... and after that I couldn't hear her because every damn person in the audience coughed or moved... someone dropped a program... I even heard someone whispering.
Why Why Why???
Okay... you have to cough... maybe you can't help it, but does it have to be while she's playing? And while it's the softer and pretty stuff??
I know this might sound weak... but this is something I see that happens a lot.
Or maybe it's not so much 'weak' as it might be more psychological?? I think it's a mind-body thing. I have seen/heard performances where during the loudest sections, everyone is still and silent... but during the softer, is when everyone moves and shuffles... as if the softer and prettier music is just a 'transition' to the next loud section and it translates to the audience as a "break time" between loud sections. I don't know. You never see anyone move (not that you can hear them... but you can see) or do anything during the loud stuff... but once the brass cut out or the not releases and the string come in an pianissimo and start with their pretty melody, people shuffle, move, whisper, cough.
I honestly think it has something to do with the psychological effect music has on us and our bodies. I'm no expert and this might not even make sense... but maybe the louder and more driving music stimulates us and keep our bodies in a state of control, while the softer music kind of lets it go. I'm not about to research this but it has been something I have noticed and thought about a lot over the years.
I don't know man... Maybe I'm just over thinking things here... but I do have an issue with the cell phones and texting. If I ever get to do a recital again, instead of a sign on the door that says "Please Turn Off Your Cell Phones", there will be a similar sign that reads "Please turn off your cell phones and DO NOT set it to 'silent' and text during my performance... Thank You". And there would be a big smiley face.
Well, I wouldn't be that sarcastic... but I think it's disrespectful not only to the performer, but those around them that get distracted by the light or the sound of the clicking. (And don't even get me started on the people that switch it to vibrate and believe it's actually 'quiet').
Oy... yeah, sorry about my rant. Just needed to get that out there.
I did enjoy Marivy's recital immensely and I know she was very nervous going into it. She did a wonderful job and I wish her the best in her pursuit for grad school and whatever summer festivals she does this year.
On a lighter note, the Red Wings won today!! And I finally sold my dining table that has been sitting in my living room here, waiting for the last 6 months to get sold.
Sorry I didn't include any pictures today... I really didn't feel like digging anything up and it's almost 3am. Frances is picking me up in about 9 hours to go to a meeting at Memorial. I still need to sit down with the show music and write some notes... after I wrap this up. Damn, and I just realized I haven't printed out the scores yet either. bleh! Oh well. I'll be getting little sleep tonight. It'll all be okay though. I just hope we get better weather tomorrow. Lets get some sun, please! 8)
Just felt like sharing this on here. Some have seen the link on my site, but for anyone else interested, this is the multi-cam vid of our Aimachi performance in Tokyo - Dec. 16, 2007.
embedded by Embedded Video
Today was a beautiful day... sun shined (mostly) and it was cool, breezy... felt nice compared to the past couple weeks. I didn't get out much but I was fairly productive with my work. I figured out a really sweet drill move... it'll need at least 90 winds and about 12 mid-sets, but it's sooo cool! I'll just have to keep it in my back pocket in the event I find a place for it. It's very "drum solo" esque so the chances it'll work in a show this year is fairly good. Then again, you can't always get what you want... we'll just have to wait and see.
It is a challenge to come up with new and innovative ideas. I'm in somewhat of a tough situation where I am getting too good at coming up with stuff, but those things are next to impossible to pull off due to either step sizes or close intervals. Well, I am making it sound worse than it is, because I just haven't taken the time yet to actually tweak them to a point where it'll work. The ideas are very strong but I need to make them doable.
I know a lot of drill designers out there, amateur an professional, dabble with ideas here and there when they have time. I treat it almost like a video game. People wonder how I can stay up so late at night... probably wondering what I do. I'm sometimes embarrassed to admit that I actually play on Pyware as if it were like playing a computer game. Yeah I play a quickie of solitaire or something of the sort... but most of the time I got my post-its out, writing down pictures on paper and just working them out on the computer.
Nothing is written to any random count structure... I do take time and study music or how it'll be staged. One of the tips I've discussed with other designers I've interacted with or helped is have them actually re-write a show that they already did in the past (if any) and do it with the same numbers, same music... maybe similar or the same basic count breakdown.
This year I chose to re-write the Hanks HS show from 2006 - "Incantations". I wasn't particularly happy with several things I did in that show. Part of it was the timing of things and how I was rushed to finish the closer... I also got stuck doing too much of it centered and symmetrical. My new approach to the design (which I won't go through the trouble to post a video - sorry) is quite unique and very different than the original, especially the opener. Well, all I really have done right now is the opener. I can't wait to wrap it up, though I doubt I'll have time to before this year takes off and I have to put it aside. I started it back in January and only worked a little bit on it. In between I'm working on random other moves, like I did today.
Other than that, I got to watch the Final Four in HD today! I love High Definition... seriously. Even when the commercials are on, I'm glued to the set. But of all sports, I think hockey is the best sport to watch in HD. If you've never seen it, you have to try and catch a game if you can. Baseball is great too... so is football.
On regular TV, hockey is fun in general because of it's fast pace and high energy constant action... but what sucks the most when watching it on regular TV is the fast pace and high energy constant action! High Definition literally makes
things so much easier to see when the camera follows the moving puck, the sometimes jerkiness of the camera movement because of the constant shifting of directions... it's such a treat to get to watch it in HD when you can actually SEE the puck all the time and it's just as crystal clear as can be. (Plus the wider viewing angle helps you see more too).
Playoffs are just around the corner and I'm pumped! Just wanted to say that since I'm a Red Wings fan, I'm hoping for the best and will be here wearing my jersey in support of them during every game... pretty much.
So, that's all I got. Nothing else really exciting to talk about. Tomorrow in the Wings last regular season game... they'll probably lose. They're playing Chicago (which I think is an annual thing for the finale) and they'll likely rest some of their stars. Whatever... not like I can see the game anyway, stupid living 1500 miles away.
And looking up images just now, I found out that the NCAA final four will be in Detroit, MI next year. How about that?
I didn't think I would be posting a blog tonight but for some reason I just can't sleep. I tried to relax but there's so much on my mind that I keep wondering things like how I'll get out to Cy-Fair on Saturday for TCGC guard finals... or if I'll get certain "mail" that I've been anticipating for the past week... so many little things that it's just difficult to relax.
I put on some Scrubs and was watching it with the commentary, but that wasn't appealing. Then I went downstairs and stared at my dvd collection and couldn't decide on anything. So, here I am back at the computer and rambling in a blog.
To keep me company though is Ms. Ellen Degeneres. I'm watching some YouTube clips of her and she just cracks me up. I had never seen any of these actual stand-up specials and these are actually really good.
I'm a huge fan of stand-up comedy. Jerry Seinfeld... old school Richard Pryor... Robin Williams.... Sinbad! Pretty much anyone can make me laugh. But one of my all-time favorite stand-up comedians is Mitch Hedberg. For those that don't know of him, I think that regardless of his drug problems (or because of them) he definitely told some jokes that will live on and always make me laugh when thinking about them at random times and in random places. You don't have to be in a certain mood to really get his stuff, which are all a bunch of one-liners and some of the most random stuff, but sometimes you gotta listen to it a couple times to actually get it. If you don't know of him, I suggest looking up some stuff on YouTube. He's actually a little more fun to listen to rather than watch. He's not a very 'active' comedian.
Now I'm switching it up... and here's something that I can't decide if it's cool? too "out there"? Hmmm... check out this YouTube video about some Microsoft vision of the future of health care... or something like that.
Man, technology is cool. Stuff like this takes me back to January of 2007 when I was watching the keynote presentation by Apple when they first introduced the iPhone. I was ALL over that and pretty much watched the entire 90 minute presentation at least twice. And then just the section with the iPhone about a dozen more times. I was just hooked and wanted one so bad. That phone was just off the hook!
However, every single time it got to the whole part about Cingular being the service provider I would cringe because 4 months earlier I had just signed up for a 2-year deal with Verizon. Since the release of the iPhone was set for June, it was just a bummer thinking about how much I wanted one but I wasn't about to pay even more money to cancel Verizon and buy the iPhone. So I was stuck!
I wasn't too concerned after I did the math and looked at the cost of it (for me) so eventually the desire wore off and I just kinda went along just accepting that my RAZR is a perfectly good phone (which it still is) and I'll be happy without getting an iPhone.
Sometime in the spring when the talks of the iPhone continued and people were talking this and that about what this will mean for the future of cell phones, I heard the most random thing. Apparently Verizon was the original carrier that Apple approached to use.... and they said NO?!?! I don't know how true that is... it could just be a rumor, but come on man! That woulda been great for me.
So then... I thought about it again. And I thought, "well, I already have a phone... I like it... but I wish I could get an iPhone but just not have the phone. I kinda wish they would make an iPod like the iPhone with all those music and video features."
I swear I was thinking that... and I'm sure many other people thought that too. I remember talking to some people about it. Just saying how cool I thought it would be to have an iPod that had all that cool touch stuff. That way I could have about everything that drew me into the iPhone in the first place considering it wasn't the fact that it was a phone that appealed to me, but all those other standard highlights. Being able to flip through cover art by touching the screen... looking at photos and resizing them and flipping through albums the way it showed. I just found something that I really liked, but the option just wasn't there for me. Only if they had an iPhone but just wasn't a phone... just an iPod like that.
The summer came and went... and I believe it was close to or exactly September 7th that the next big keynote presentation happened and I had heard all this talk about a new Nano coming out and one with video capabilities. I got quite excited because since I wanted to get something like a new Nano, I thought this might be a good thing to invest in later, or treat myself to an early Christmas present. I had basically ignored all other details regarding what was in that keynote, so I just watched it with only expectations of what the new Nano would be like.
As I watched and they presented a few things... I think they started with Apple TV? Or was that the January keynote? I don't remember. But they got to the Nano and introduced it. Though that thing looked ridiculously tiny, I thought "I need to get one of those... how cool!".
Steve Jobs went on about this and that... talked about some new additions to the iPhone, including a price drop.... yadda yadda... I wasn't really paying attention. Then he did this whole "we have one more thing" and I stopped what I was doing to see what he was gonna introduce. Next thing I know, he introduces the iPod Touch and my jaw was on the damn floor!!
They did it!!! My dream iPod was finally here! And once he said they would be released on September 30th, I immediately went through my finances, looked at my bills and everything and I made sure I could afford it when it came out.
I wasn't waiting in line at the store waiting to get my hands on the first one out. I believe I bought mine around October 4th or 5th. I have the receipt somewhere but whatever.... the exact date isn't that important to me.
That iPod and me have been inseparable since I bought it. I love it. Absolutely love it! I know it's just an iPod but it's so cool to listen to music while I surf the web.... watch videos on it when I'm on the plane or in the car. When I was in Japan and we rode the train to/from Nagoya, I would watch stuff on it every now and then. And I loved that I could connect to random Wi-Fi in downtown Nagoya and get info, e-mail, whatever.
Okay, that was a lot of rambling about stuff to segue into what I really wanted to talk about. I just wanted to express my lust for technology and how much I love the direction this took things. But now something wonderful has happened that can make life really fun... if I can afford it!
A couple weeks ago I was thinking about how I think it's time for a new cell phone. I was bored and went to the local Verizon store to see what they had. There were several appealing phones as well as some not-so-appealing. I was being pushed to get the newest PALM-type phone. Nah, lame. Not what I really wanted. I saw a few I liked... the LG Voyager... the Samsung Alias... the Moto RAZR2.... whatever. But I just wanted something different. The LG Venus is the current front runner of all of the phones I looked at.
They told me that I actually had my "renew" date coming up - April 14th to be exact - and that would be the date that I would be able to sign a new contract and get a phone at the discounted price. I obviously didn't get a phone that day but left kind of debating a couple things. I asked myself "Would I be better off just waiting it out until September and choosing to not renew with Verizon, get the iPhone and sign on with AT&T?" That's a tough question to answer for me. I just don't want to have both an iPhone and an iPod Touch. Sure I could sell my iPod... but electronics don't go for squat no matter who buys it. So, that's pretty much not worth it.... unless I was a millionaire.
The other thing I thought was to just come back in a month, sign the new contract and get whatever phone they had. A phone is just a phone, but for some reason I was still conflicted with the whole iPhone deal. I came to a realization that I'm better off with just staying with Verizon, keeping the really good plan I got and not making a huge issue out of it.
We come to today... I was sitting at my computer doing a little more work. Trying to wrap up contracts (still... yeah, I know) and I took a break and was looking at some Tech sites. I saw something that caught my eye and I don't remember what it was but it was some phone and said "now available for Sprint". For some reason, it triggered the thought that maybe by some freak reason that the iPhone would eventually be available for use with other carriers.
I did a search on Google looking up "iPhone for Verizon" in the hopes that I had even a snowball's chance in hell at finding a legitimate site giving me info that it could and/or would happen. Instead, I found a site that I had to read and re-read twice just to be sure I saw it correctly. It wasn't an iPhone for Verizon... but what I dare say might actually be better? It's called the HTC Touch!!!
Here is the article: HTC Touch
That particular article is almost a year old, and there are more where that comes from... so I did a little more research and I found the official site for the phone.
First of all... ohmygod! Second of all... it's coming out THIS MONTH??? Why didn't I hear of this until today? I went through this site and looked at every single diagram and read every single spec on these new phones coming out and I am just in awe. 8)
When you go to the site, click on the "TouchFlo - Try Me" button and watch the demo. Pretty damn sweet!!
I can tell you right now, that I doubt I can afford this when it's released. I know it'll be selling in the ballpark of around $500 (according to some sites) and the chances it'll be discounted isn't likely, I don't believe. I know... $500 for a phone? Well, how much was the iPhone when it came out? yeah, $500 or $600. But that whole argument died about October when the rave was just storming about them and everyone loved them and wanted one. (well, not everyone... I know). Suddenly no-one complained about the cost of the iPhone... lots of people just said "this is the mobile device for the future".
So, considering the high price at the release, what I will most likely do is just get a different phone and then after the summer possibly upgrade to one of the HTC phones when I actually have the money.
Well, now I think I will be able to fulfill a desire to have something that I've wanted for the past 15 months or so. No, the HTC Touch isn't a phone, ipod, mp3 player, video player and all that stuff the iPhone is... it's basically just a kick-ass phone that has about as many cool features as the iPhone, if not more. I don't need another iPod touch and one that happens to have a phone and a camera... but since I'm limited to Verizon right now and have been drooling over this technology, I am again counting my pennies, looking under the couch cushions for an extra quarter and I'll be seeing what expenses I can cut back on to get my hands on one of those bad boys. I seriously can't wait!!
The bottom line with this HTC Touch phone... it's not the iPhone and that kinda bums me out. (and the texting feature on the HTC sucks...) But what choice do I have really? Sprint is coming out with this new Instinct phone, which is like the iPhone... and I know that Verizon already has the Voyager.
Hmm... We'll see what happens when I go back to the store next week, but I just thought I'd share my cool find of the day. I just eat up stuff like this.
That about wraps up this fun blog! I hope I didn't lose anyone like 14 paragraphs ago.
I think I'm tired and relaxed enough to fall asleep now. I am sitting here enjoying the beautiful a cappella choral works by Eric Whitacre. I could listen to this album over and over and over again. It's one of those that I think of whenever I hear the question "If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one single CD would you want to have?". No doubt, this one would be very close to the top of the list, if not the number one!
Well, I need to go brush me teeth and call it a night. Goodnight everyone!
I found a grey hair today... not on my head but on my beard. I mean, I really don't care. It's bound to happen eventually. Noticing myself in the mirror, it's funny how little I've changed in the past few years. Getting older is something I think about maybe twice a year... once on my birthday and once when I get done with a season of drill writing. Sometimes a writing season is so vicious that it feels like part of my life gets sucked away. Ha!
I realized today how little I actually look at myself in the mirror. I noticed how much my facial hair has grown the past week and it actually shocked me. I don't think I've actually 'looked' at myself in the mirror in at least 5 days... no joke. And as far as the facial hair, I think I last shaved the day before Easter. My facial hair doesn't grow very fast, nor as fast as most guys my age. Some of you might have read that and would expect a guy my age to have the beard goin' grizzly within a week of not shaving... but nah, not me. I think I'm forever stuck with that "Indiana Jones" scruffy look, at best. haha!!
Speaking of facial hair, hockey playoffs are around the corner. I know this is weird but I'm so dedicated to my Red Wings and I would guess also the superstition that ensues when the playoffs start, I'm gonna shave the day of the Wings' first playoff game and not shave again until they are either eliminated from the playoffs or they win the stanley cup!
I know, I know... total dork. But it's kinda fun and what can I say... I love hockey!!
It's so hard to show my love for a sport in not only a state that doesn't have much of it (Dallas being the only NHL team), but also a country that almost denies its existence. Something I saw today that just baffled me was the front sports page of Yahoo! If you want, go check it out here: Y! Sports and you'll notice the placement of the "NHL" on the menu tab. At first glance you might look at it and say "okay, so?" Well, it just so happens that it was moved from 4th from the left to now 6th. I can understand college hoops, but NASCAR?
It might sound like I care a lot about this, but I really don't. It's just messed up how you can visit your favorite site so often that you don't have to 'look' for the link... you just move the mouse pointer to where you 'know' it'll be and once it loads you click. Sometimes you have to adjust it maybe a millimeter, but you're right there.
I went to check the NHL standings yesterday and when I went to click it, I thought it was GONE. It only took about 2 seconds to process, but we're talking about something that hasn't changed in years! It was always NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL in that order. You could argue that they put those other sports ahead because it's their "time of year". Ummm... Uh uh! NFL has always been #1 on the list and still is. Right now couldn't be further away from football season than any other time of year.
What is up with the dislike of one of the most athletic sports on the planet? Most people argue how much they think it's stupid because of the fighting. Making fun of hockey players because of missing teeth or black eyes, etc.
I've played hockey before and been watching hockey on TV since 1987. I don't wanna try to make a case that people that don't like it should or should appreciate it more... but I do wanna express my concern for how little either the NHL commissioner or the USA in general pushes the sport aside as if it were some meaningless event that no-one cared about.
It's tough living in Houston where hockey is just an afterthought behind the Astros, Rockets, Texans, Comets, Dynamo, Rice Baseball, UH, Katy HS football, Cy-something HS football, et. al. Looking at that list, you'd think Houston didn't have a hockey team. Oops... wrong! We have the Houston Aeros, who are the minor league team for the Minnesota Wild. Yeah, believe it or not. And they play games at the Toyota Center in downtown. How many people actually knew that? I'm guessing only about 1 out of 10 people do.
A lot of it is promotion and advertising (for hockey in general). And some of it is also the publicity of the sport. Unless you live in a city like Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and several others, the only time you hear about hockey in this country is something negative or about a fight or someone getting a suspension for wackin' a guy in the face with the stick, someone gets their throat cut by another guys' skate, a fan jumps into the penalty box to fight a player... the pathetic list goes on and on.
This stuff happens in every sport. And for most non-sports fans, this is the only kind of news that catches our ears. Hearing a headline saying: "Detroit wins a stunner in overtime" is somewhat monotonous and kinda like been there, done that. I, as many others, might be more interested in following up on one that says: "Chicago and St. Louis engage in bench clearing brawl that results in multiple suspensions and the game had to be called before the end of regulation".
Seriously now, which story is more appealing? Well, honestly I guess the latter is a little over the top, but it's actually true. But I think it was Detroit and St. Louis from maybe 2 or 3 years ago. Maybe 4?
Anyway, my point is that the publicity the sport of hockey gets in a place like Houston is nothing but the bottom of the barrel. On top of that, you got ESPN... And what do they do to hockey? Again with the bottom of the barrel.
One of my favorite shows on TV is PTI: Pardon the Interruption. Tony and Mike are really fun and entertaining and try to never miss them. If I do, I download the podcast the next day or whenever it's available. But when they talk about hockey, it's always in the negative light, unless it's some massive event (like the Buffalo/Pittsburgh game played on Jan 1 in the Bills stadium - which was incredible!!), or when someone gets some milestone or scores 6 goals in a game.
But what of the rest of ESPN? Hockey playoffs are less than 2 weeks away and there's serious contention in the Eastern conference with at least 6 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots, yet there's more talk about what Chad Johnson is doing, who will be the first picks of the NFL draft, who's going to be a free agent in the summer, who's in/out of the NBA playoffs (which is still about 4 weeks away), how the MLS teams are shaping up this year, etc.
It's amazing. I figured that when I moved to TX, I would still at least get ESPN and catch up on hockey news. The best it gets is little snippets on SportsCenter. That's it. Well, not quite 'it' but it's about all I can find on TV.
You might think "well, there's really no Americans that play hockey". Mostly true. I don't remember the stat, but it's only like 40% or less of the NHL that are Americans. That may have an effect on some of this, but still there are 26 NHL teams that are IN cities in the US. Does anyone know how many Hispanics and Latinos play baseball? Hmmm... actually it's about 35%. If you don't believe me, look it up. And baseball is America's past time.
Okay - over analyzing a bit here. Just felt like rambling about it because this stuff kinda gets to me at times. It's no biggie though. One good thing for me is the fact that when the new and hot video game comes out for PS2 and it's of either football, baseball or basketball, you're looking at paying around $50-$55 for it. But hockey? $25 baby!! And the games are SWEET and they're soooo much more fun!!
I do have to say thanks to both high-speed internet and Yahoo! Sports for setting up a "live game" deal where you can watch streaming game live (in great quality). I might not get to see my Red Wings as often as I'd like to but I do get to catch some hockey... and it's free!
Well, I need to end this and get back to work. I've downgraded my WordPress from 2.5 to 2.3.3 again because that 2.5 update was crap! I don't think I'll go back and do that until I know for sure it'll work and all the bugs are fixed. (At least just the ones that affected my ability to add images to a post).
Hope everyone has a great night.
WordPress 2.5 sucks right now… I mean - SUCK!! (I remember when I was at Michigan there were people who wore shirts that said “You can’t spell SUCK without USC”). haha!!
Anyway… I went to the forums today and sifted through dozens of threads to fix my probs and it only made it worse.
What a waste of something that was perfect for me before… and when I tried to roll back to 2.3.3, it gives me MORE errors.
I have no choice but to wait until they fix the bugs to update again. This is just frustrating when I want to write a post and all I can do it write and save. (I wish you could all see the issues I’m having now… stupid!).