Band

Webbstock, Not Woodstock

I pray every day. My prayers are pretty redundant – I pray for my family, for our jobs, for our safety, for our country (GO ROMNEY!) and I pray for the weather … especially when marching band season rolls around. I pray REALLY hard when it’s marching band season.

We’ve been lucky, so far. (Or not luck, but blessed – God is awesome). We’ve never had bad weather on band competition days. We’ve had overcast, cold days, but it’s never rained hard enough to cancel or postpone, the competition.

WebbStock was no exception. In fact, God not only answered my prayers that day, He surpassed them. The day was gorgeous. G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.

I drove Jazz to school. He’s such a zombie when he gets back from competitions that I didn’t quite trust him to drive home at midnight. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact, I think he was a little relieved, actually. I dropped him off at the school at 9:00 – the band director wanted the kids to run through the program once or twice before they took off. They also planned on having Subway sandwiches so they wouldn’t have to worry about grabbing something to eat prior to competition.

I went home and finished getting ready. Kevin and I, after nearly four years of doing this, are finally getting smart about these trips. We packed a small cooler with water along with one Monster drink and one Starbucks Frappicino. We pack these caffeinated beverages because we spend precious time after competitions are over trying to locate some place to buy coffee for the long-dead-of-night trip home. I say “precious time” because we’re often trying to beat the kids back so Jazz doesn’t have to wait on us. Yes. He could drive home, but it has sort of become a tradition for us to drive him home and to talk about the highlights (or low lights) of the show.

We got on the road around 11ish. We arrived at the stadium around 12:30 and we settled in to watch the other bands perform before our kids went on around 3ish.

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Our biggest competitors, Willard and Blue Springs, were really good. But we knew the band to beat would be Blue Springs. And they didn’t disappoint – their horn section was top notch and they won the best horn section, which I knew they would. We placed second in preliminaries and our drum majors as well as our solo flutist won best overall.

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I thought the kids played really well during prelims – they SMOKED the music during finals. They sounded phenomenal – and it helps that I also really enjoy the type of music the band director has selected this year. I think it’s a smart combination of in-your-face sort of make-your-heart-beat music and a slower, beautiful combination following. The band director always picks beautiful music, but some years our music is too slow in too many places and often times, the audience loses track of whether our kids are even playing at all.

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Not so this year. The third song is rather slow, but not so soft that you can’t hear what’s going on. I’m really pleased with the music selection this year. I do wish we had more movement though. The title of our show is “Out of the Box” and the color-guard girls push brightly colored presents around the field. Which is fine and makes the show colorful, but it’s a bit disappointing because you sort of expect something to pop out of the box at the end of the show and nothing happens. The kids also end the show with their backs to the audience.

???????

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I’m not crazy about that part, either. It appears like they are preparing for another movement or song, so the audience is not sure whether the show is over or not.

We made finals and we ended up placing third. I sort of think we were robbed and deserved second, however, after comparing the scores, I can see why the second place team, Nixa, won over us. Their show was visually fun to watch. Though our music was better and way more complicated, their presentation really did blow us out of the water. We scored higher in music composition and execution, but our low score came from the visual side of the show and I can’t say I’m surprised – at all.

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We arrived home around midnight and actually had to wait about 30 minutes for the kids to arrive. Kevin and I fell asleep in the car waiting for them.
Six school buses pulled into the lot at 12:30. If I hadn’t seen the kids at competition I would have been surprised. Actually, I was a little surprised anyway. The band usually takes the nice tour buses to competition but I guess the band director wanted to save some money on a competition that was only a little over an hour away – as opposed to the other competitions that are over three hours away.

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Jazz hated it. He said the buses were uncomfortable and had little leg room, but he’s used to taking the big, nice buses and is spoiled.
The kids have been practicing hard these past few weeks. They didn’t have a competition last weekend, so the band director has taken this time pocket to fine-tune the show. Jazz said that he has added some movements to the last song and I hope it includes NOT ending the show with their backs to the audience. Our band director has his finger on what works musically, and he’s very talented when it comes to executing the musical part of the band, but he seems to have trouble with the visual part of the show. He doesn’t have the kids moving nearly as much as the other bands and I honestly think we would do better in finals if he would focus on that aspect a little more.

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At any rate, we did well for our first competition – and especially well considering the kids had learned the show just four short weeks prior to the first competition.

We have another competition coming up this weekend at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This is a big one. The Oklahoma bands are FIERCE and very, very hard to compete against. They really raise the bar and I honestly think that’s one reason why our kids do so well … the band director is constantly challenging them to be better and better.

My predictions? Top five. Hopefully, top three. We’ll be competing against the 1st and 2nd place bands in WebbStock again, so it’ll be interesting to see how we score against them.

Wish us luck!

Politics

Romney One – Obama Zero

At least, according to this CNN poll.

I almost, almost, feel sorry for Obama.

Mr. President, you can’t talk down to people, insult their intelligence, claim they didn’t work hard for what they have, squash their freedoms by burying them with regulations, take their choices away and heavily tax them without risking repercussions. The American people are PISSED OFF and FED UP with your socialist, government-is-the-answer, agenda. And it’s refreshing to actually SEE this finally coming to a head because the media has done a smash-up job of covering up the truth these past three years. You can hear the panic, and disillusionment, in Chris Matthews’ voice here.

Part of me can’t help but think this is yet another trick of Obama’s – get the American people to feel sorry for him because big, bad, mean Romney absolutely crushed him last night. This is what happens when you rely on teleprompters and staff writers to do your thinking/talking for you. I honestly think Obama was surprised by Romney’s aggressiveness. Actually, I was surprised by Romney’s aggressiveness. I didn’t think he was capable of being tough and decisive but damn it, that’s what we NEED right now – someone with a backbone who won’t stand down, or “compromise” any longer. We’ve compromised way too much this past decade and it’s time to start standing up for what’s right and defend our constitution. We’ve LIVED it the Democrats’ way and it hasn’t worked – NOW IT’S OUR TURN.

And the Republican Establishment better get the hell out of the way – that’s all I’m saying. In fact, it’s time we abolished the Republican establishment – they’ve done more harm than good for the party for way too long as well.

I’m sorry, but after enduring the monstrosity that has been Obama-nomics for the past three years, I just have to take a moment to savor the humiliating blows for a moment … my apologizes if I’m gloating but when you’ve had your voice taken away for three (plus??) years, it’s terribly satisfying to finally have a portion of it actually heard, for a change …

Bewildered and lost without his teleprompter, President Obama flailed all around the debate stage last night. He was stuttering, nervous and petulant. It was like he had been called in front of the principal after goofing around for four years and blowing off all his homework.

Not since Jimmy Carter faced Ronald Reagan has the U.S. presidency been so embarrassingly represented in public. Actually, that’s an insult to Jimmy Carter.

The split screen was most devastating. Mitt Romney spoke forthrightly, with carefully studied facts and details at the ready. He looked right at the president and accused him of being miles out of his depth.

Mr. Obama? His eyes were glued to his lectern, looking guilty and angry and impatient with all the vagaries of Democracy. This debate was seriously chafing him.
Source

Humility is a bitter pill to swallow, Mr. President.

Well, that was odd.

President Obama’s stylistic strategy during Wednesday night’s debate seemed to be to try to stay right above the rancor, to appear dignified, presidential. The problem with that approach is that the line between dignified and presidential and anodyne and weak is the width of a cat’s hair.

Romney, on the other hand, went on the attack, interrupting and rambling on, which to some will read as confidence and command of the facts, even if many of his statements were riddled with the, um, nonfactual. (Instead of larding this post with these points, I direct you to The New York Times’s fact-check of the debate.)

The president didn’t call him on these issues. Why? The president let Romney interrupt and talk over him. Why? The president didn’t even mention Romney’s secretly recorded statement about the “47 percent.” Why?

The passion that the president exhibits on the campaign trail never showed up on the debate stage. To my mind, that was a mistake.
Source

This poor writer – it’s almost embarrassing to watch/read someone’s disillusioned dreams shatter, isn’t it.

I linked to the Liberals’ “fact check” – now check out the GOP’s fact check of last night’s debate.

Faced with a humiliating and complete defeat for their candidate in last night’s debate, the only recourse from the Democratic National Committee was to release an ad claiming Mitt Romney wasn’t gentle enough on the President.
Source

*rolls eyes* Seriously?!? Gentle enough?? We don’t want a president made out of glass that gets his feelings hurt, we want a STRONG LEADER who will take the issues by the short and curlies and deal with them.

Okay. I’m done torturing you. We could spend all day reading/discussing various news stories but, well, life goes on, doesn’t it.

Thursday Stuff

It’s OK Thursday

IT’S OK …

~ To add an apostrophe to the word “It’s” in the above graphic … (the original graphic does not have an apostrophe – actually, it’s not OK that we have to constantly correct people’s grammar … but what are ya gonna do??)

~ To sound like a grammar snob because I’m sick of people butchering our language and not having the energy to care (but there’s plenty of energy for reality shows. *snap*).

~ To proudly use a Dell and/or a Windows product while surrounded with hard-core Apple people.
(True story: We were coming back home from our trip and was in the San Francisco airport waiting for our flight to Dallas. I pulled out my hot-pink Dell laptop and hooked up with the FREE San Fran WiFi [UM – SWEET!] and I was literally surrounded by people using Apple laptops and other Apple products to surf the ‘net. I got more than a few disapproving looks and you know what? I LOVED IT. I’m sure Apple is great and all but you know what? I wouldn’t know, I don’t use Apple products, other than my iTouch. It’s just that I simply choose NOT to use Apple products BECAUSE everyone else does and goes berserk over it. I’m not a conformer, when will you learn this??)

~ To be completely upset that it looks like it’s going to rain this Saturday and we have a band competition in Oklahoma. (Actually, I might be TOO upset; I’m sort of obsessed with these band competitions).

~ To really hate this swaying sensation that I get every time we get back from a cruise. I’m sitting here now, typing this, and my computer monitor is literally tilting back and forth before my eyes – at least, in my mind. It’s not actually tilting back and forth, but my mind is still stuck in boat mode and UGH … the swaying sensation is a HUGE draw back to cruising. (Ok fine, it might be the only drawback to cruising. I’m not spoiled, honest. Well. Maybe a little).

~ To be relieved, perhaps overly so, that Mitt Romney won the debate last night. At least, according to this CNN poll. And we all know how RELIABLE and UNBIASED CNN can be. *snort*

According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.

What’s really amusing about this news story is this part:

“This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate and by definition cannot be an indication of how the entire American public will react to Wednesday’s debate in the coming days,” cautions CNN Polling Director Keating Holland

Because if it looked like Obama won the debate instead, this same polling director would have been all like, “And this is a TRUE and ACCURATE representation of ALL American people.”

*snort* Media kills me.

~ To be ready to go back to work. I’ve been on vacation this week and I’m already itching to get back to work. I’m one of those few people who actually enjoy working. Weirdness confirmed. Heh.

~ To hope that the applications I’ve submitted this week actually land me an interview, or two, or three.

~ To hope that the applications I’ve submitted this week go unnoticed. (Because that would mean I would have to interview for a job I REALLY want – which would mean I’d be so nervous I would likely make myself sick with anticipation).

~ To try and participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month and knowing that it’s unlikely that I will cross that 50,000 word line because this year I’m working one full-time / one part-time job and I will likely kill myself trying to succeed at this challenge because I feel SO GUILTY for not writing much this past year and I call myself a writer? (Don’t you have to write to call yourself a writer??).

~ To be stubborn enough to cross that 50,000 word line.

~ To be a complicated human being.

~ To be me.