Long Absences and Changes

Leave a comment

“I promise it won’t be three months before you hear from me next!”

…obviously, I have an apology to make because I’m now coming up on six months after my last post. My movie review site has taken the priority for me; coming up on a year later, it’s still going strong and I’m loving sharing my opinions with people. More news on that further down.

This semester has been a good one. My first as a senior (though this was my third year, I completed enough credit hours to be classified as a senior this semester), it has been pretty busy but in a completely different way than past semesters. I started off the semester enrolled in Advanced Brass Methods, Texas History, Music and Your Mind (an honors seminar), Symphonic Band, Matador Singers, The Superhero in Film, Television, and Popular Culture (another honors seminar that I just took for fun), Instrumental Conducting, and, of course, horn and voice lessons. I ended up dropping Texas History due to it being too reading intensive in addition to all of the reading I was already having to do in my honors classes, but everything else went just swimmingly.

Advanced Brass Methods was great until after spring break, but the second half of the course was taught by a teaching assistant who I just do not care for. Music and Your Mind has been lots of fun; it is taught by a professor I have had twice before, but I was the only music major enrolled since it is an honors course, not a music course. It’s sort of like music philosophy and physiology, and it has been very interesting. Our final project was a presentation and a paper over a subject of our choice, so I did a study on the recognizability of film music, which ended up being incredibly fascinating…more to come on that later. Symphonic Band with Dr. Allen has continued to be extraordinarily rewarding; he’s one of the best directors I have ever had, and I really enjoyed everything we played this semester. Being back in Matador Singers was also a lot of fun, though I wish that our concert hadn’t been so early in the semester…it was back in March, I think. But I’m enrolled in Matador Singers this fall for the first time (I’ve only been able to participate in the spring semesters so far), and Andrew will be joining me! Exciting news. Going back to classes with Dr. Allen, conducting was also a lot of fun this semester, with the focus being less on conducting and more on rehearsal techniques and lesson planning, which was a very enlightening experience. My superhero class has been interesting as well, with us learning about how superheroes came to be and how they were and continue to be reflections of the world we live in. As far as my lessons go, horn has been about same-old, same-old, though I plan on getting even better over the summer, but voice lessons go things were a lot more active this semester because I did a recital! It went quite well and was fun to put together. Video for that will hopefully be posted soon, once I can figure out how to split up large video files without losing quality. Soon!

Summer plans are pretty basic at the moment; go home, practice horn, make an attempt at working out and getting fit (I’m down to 200lbs now!), etc. I wish I could say that I was returning to my job playing horn for Garland Summer Musicals again, but, unfortunately, the guy who was music director for South Pacific last year is not returning this year and didn’t pass on his information to the new guys, so the orchestra spots have already been filled. I am hoping to return to teaching French horn private lessons at Kimbrough and Poteet, maybe even North Mesquite, but we’ll see how things go. In any case, I will be teaching at Poteet’s band camp again this summer, so I have that to look forward to.

Now onto the “more news” I referred to above. As much fun as it was to maintain this blog for my first two years at Tech, as I said, my movie review site has taken the priority as far as my writing goes. This does not mean that this blog is going away, though; rather, it is now being re-purposed. In the coming weeks, I will be re-structuring “chadadada.wordpress.com” into a supplemental editorial-style blog for my ChadLikesMovies.com review site. This space will be a place for additional commentary I may have on movies or their soundtracks or on anything else that I find relevant. The first post for this will be a thorough write-up of my findings in movie music recognizability, which will be up in the next week or two.

I want to thank you all who have kept up with my blog these past couple of years and who care what goes on in my life, and who knows? I may even keep up a portion of this site to allow for the occasional personal update or two, but your best place to keep up with my day-to-day ramblings will be over on Twitter or on Facebook. I hope that you all enjoy this new idea of a supplemental blog for ChadLikesMovies.com and will give feedback as those changes are implemented soon.

God bless,

Chad

Advertisements

Life goes on.

Leave a comment

Okay, it’s nearly been two months, but I assure you all that I am alive and well and enjoying my summer thoroughly.

I’ll try and walk you through everything so far, so this may end up being pretty long. Probably.

First off, final exams. Everything went really well, and I ended up finishing the semester with 10 As and 1 B. Okay, okay, I’ll confess…one of those was an A-, but who’s counting that?

Well, besides him.

Actually, one of those As is still listed as a B, but I queried my professor about it and confirmed that it should be an A; it’s in the process of being fixed, supposedly. What I’m most proud of this semester, concerning my grades, at least, is that I got As in my two most difficult classes: music history and honors integrated science. Hooray!

During our final weekend at Tech for the semester, Andrew’s parents and my dad came up and helped us pack up all of our stuff. Mr. and Mrs. Grant went back home on Saturday/Sunday (Mrs. Grant left a day early), while Dad stayed until Monday morning. While he was there, the three of us watched the last few episodes of How I Met Your Mother that were on Netflix. What a great show! There’s still one more season to watch before we’re caught up, but it wasn’t on Netflix yet, so maybe we’ll get to it later in the fall sometime.

After meeting up with Lexi for lunch and taking my final final exam, I climbed in my car and began my long drive home. Lubbock wept that day.

Relevant.

And then summer began! The day after I came home was the Poteet Choir’s Spring Show, which my brother is still a part of, so I attended that and sang with the choir onstage for the traditional end-of-year song, “May the Music Never End”. Fun times! Mrs. Westgate was just over a month away from having her baby at this point in time, so that was exciting, and this was also right before Blake was elected to be president of the Poteet Choir! Congrats to him!

That weekend, Andrew, Seth, and I bought lots of food and traveled out to Lake Tawakoni State Park for our now-annual Bro Camping Trip. We were there for three nights, and we had a blast. Also, our menu was pretty delicious. Here’s the walkthrough:

SATURDAY

Breakfast – Waffles and eggs.

Lunch – Chili Cheese Hotdogs

Dinner – Made-from-scratch lasagna

SUNDAY

Breakfast – Eggs, bacon, and sausage

Dinner – RIBS (the most delectable, delicious ribs you can possibly imagine, courtesy of Andrew)

I don’t know if these are supposed to be ribs or popsicles, but you get the idea.

Yes, it was a menu fit for 5 kings. We didn’t just eat, though; we played frisbee curling (a game of our own invention) for several hours, walked a couple of trails, sat around the campfire and made s’mores, and watched lots of movies. Let’s see if I can remember everything: Lord of the Rings Extended Trilogy (yes, all 12 hours), Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, Thor, The Phantom of the Opera, and Get Smart…I think that’s it. So yes, it was a very involved, busy, enjoyable weekend.

The day after we came back, Tuesday, was the Poteet Band Spring Concert, which was super exciting because the Honors Band premiered a piece that was commissioned in honor of Mr. Coulson, called “Elixir”. Composed by Michael Markowski, whose music the band had played a couple of times before, the piece was lots of fun, and the whole ceremony/involvement of Mr. Coulson made it even better. Here’s a YouTube video of the premiere:

Later in the concert, Mr. Davis, who had also retired this past year, made an appearance, presenting a new scholarship named after both him and Mr. Coulson. Overall, it was just a great night full of fun reunions and awesome music.

For the next week or so, I spent most of my time in the living room watching TV with my parents, mostly Criminal Minds, but with some CSI and others interspersed into that. For Memorial Day, the four of us Hopkinses went up to my grandparents’ house, where we feasted on more delicious ribs. It was a good day.

I’ve been reading a lot this summer, mostly just before bed every night. I started off by finishing the second volume of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers, which finally got moving about a quarter of the way through; Tolkien’s usually a slow read. After having finished that, I decided to take a break from Tolkien before reading Return of the King. Here’s everything I have read with a short review attached:

Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf – This has been on my reading list for quite a while. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film directed by Robert Zemeckis, is based on this book and is one of my favorite films, so I gave the book a try. Just about the only similarities between the two are the character names and, even then, that’s only four similarities total. Sure, there’s a few things here and there that I can tell influenced the film, but, overall, they are entirely separate entities with entirely separate stories and characters. All that goes to say I LOVED it!

I loved it thiiiiiiiiiis much!

Wolf’s novel reminded me a lot of another, much older, crime book I once read, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. It definitely had a darker “noir”-type feel to it than the movie did, though it was definitely present there too. I sat down with it one day and finished it in a matter of a few hours.

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord – This book is a documentary-style book about the night the Titanic sank. The author interviewed several survivors and other people connected to the disaster, so it’s just about the most accurate description of the Titanic ever. It was adapted into a film in 1958 that is excellent; I bought the movie on Blu-Ray shortly after finishing the book. The Titanic fascinates me, so this was an awesome read for me, albeit pretty depressing and eye-opening.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – This book was the basis for the recent film with Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Octavia Spencer. The film did a good job adapting the source material, but the book is even better. It explores the characters more in-depth, and there are a few plot additions/differences that I really enjoyed. Bonus fun fact: Octavia Spencer, who portrayed the character of Minnie in the film, is a friend of the author, who actually based the character of Minnie in the book off of Octavia. How cool is that?! If that was confusing to read, here’s the gist: Octavia Spencer played a character who was based off of her in the first place. Better?

What’s It All About? by Michael Caine – This book is is actor Michael Caine’s first autobiography. I actually read his second biography first, The Elepehant to Hollywood, and rated it five stars. Had I read the two memoirs in the proper order, WIAA? would receive its deserved five stars, while TETH would only receive four. In WIAA?, Michael Caine gives us a fascinating, detailed tour through his entire life: his life growing up in the countryside of England, his time spent in the army, his rise to fame, and his life since. He introduces us to actors and actresses he has had the pleasure of getting to know throughout his long career, and he reveals to us the things he finds importan in his life. His second autobiography repeats much of this before moving on to new material. If you’re a fan of Caine’s, or if you’re at all interested in what it’s like to be film star, What’s It all About? is for you. Make sure to read The Elephant to Hollywood afterward, but know that it is repetitive.

Now, I’m finally getting to The Return of the King. I haven’t read more than a few pages just yet, but hopefully I can really dive in soon. As long as it doesn’t take me all summer like Fellowship of the Ring did last summer, I’ll be happy.

My group of friends from high school and I met for a couple of dinners/hang-out nights together before going on a pseudo-campout at Seth’s family’s land out in East Texas. They have a small cabin and several acres of land that they use for hunting, and it’s out in the middle of nowhere, so there’s no cell phone reception.

Just let it out.

At first it was weird not having any Internet of any kind because I’m used to being able to pull out my phone to look something up on Wikipedia at a moment’s notice, but I got used to it pretty quickly and actually enjoyed the limited connectivity with the world. The seven of us were cramped into the small two-room-and-a-bathroom cabin, with the four girls (Megan, Regan, Kate, and Hannah) sharing the bedroom and the three guys (Andrew, Seth, and me) were in the living room area. A little cramped, but we managed to enjoy ourselves. Activities included cooking (yes, there were more ribs), movies, shooting guns at targets (a revolver, a .22 rifle, and an assault rifle), and riding around the property on a four-wheeler. We had a great time together!

Amid all of this was South Pacific, which just finished up this past Sunday. It was a pretty awesome experience for me. Rehearsals started at the very end of May. There were six rehearsals total: three orchestra rehearsals and three dress rehearsals with the cast. The other horn player ended up being a recent graduate of SFA, so she’s just a couple of years older than me. We got along really well, making jokes together and sharing funny pictures with each other on our phones when we weren’t otherwise occupied with the music. The performances all went really well too; I had several friends and my family attend and enjoy the show. Not that I was too involved in the actual production…the horn part wasn’t very active, so lots of the time I was sitting in the orchestra pit on my phone, playing games and whatnot. I even ate chocolate while down there, but don’t tell my horn professor that! Like I said, it was an awesome experience, and the music director, Larry, has said that I’m on the spreadsheet for contacts next year, so hopefully this’ll be a summer-by-summer recurring gig!

Remember when I first auditioned for Garland Summer Musicals a couple of months ago and how I really wanted to be in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? Well, it opens on July 20, which just so happens to be the day that I LEAVE TO GO ON A DISNEY CRUISE WITH MY AUNT, UNCLE, AND COUSINS! Things definitely worked out for me since I was neither cast in How to Succeed nor asked to play in the orchestra for it, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go. Unfortunately, Blake can’t go because of summer school, so that’s a bummer, but I’m still excited to be spending the time with my family. It’ll be a Caribbean cruise, my fourth, and it’ll be on the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Fantasy, which just launched back in March. I’m super excited! I keep thinking that it’s coming up sooner than it actually is, but we’re still about three weeks away. Counting down the days!

This summer is the Summer of Movies, much like 2008 was a few years back. So far this summer (since coming home), I’ve only seen Brave (review here in a sec), but I have pre-ordered my tickets for The Amazing Spider-Man (next Monday night/Tuesday morning midnight showing) and The Dark Knight Rises (July 19), both in IMAX. In the case of The Dark Knight Rises, I actually bought a ticket to three movies: THE ENTIRE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN BATMAN TRILOGY IN IMAX! AMC is having a trilogy event on the night of the midnight premiere, at which they’ll be playing Batman Begins starting at 6pm, followed by The Dark Knight, and then the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. What this means is no waiting in lines for me! Other movies coming out this summer that I might be seeing include Ted (comes out tomorrow) and The Bourne Legacy, coming out August 10.

Relevant.

Okay, now Brave. I went to the midnight premiere for this, which was really weird because people didn’t start showing up until about 11:40 or so. Never been to a midnight premiere like that. Anyway, though it was a sort of departure/new direction for Pixar, it worked really well and was pretty enjoyable. The trailers did a pretty poor job in marketing the film, so I’m glad I went and saw it anyway. The trailers gave absolutely no hint at what the actual plot of the film would be, which I suppose could be considered a good thing, but it would have been nice to have a bit better idea of what I was walking in to. The story was definitely geared toward mother/daughter combos, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable for people who don’t fall in to that profile. The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle (who I used to shun because I HATE his score to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) was excellent, truly capturing the Scottish setting of the film. And the Academy Award-nominated short film before Brave, La Luna, was one of my favorites. I want a soundtrack album for the Pixar Short Films that has all of the music from the shorts! Some good stuff from Michael Giacchino, among others.

At the start of the summer, I watched through the awesome Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, for the first time; it was incredible. I won’t go too into detail on it, but it’s on Netflix Instant, so you have no excuse for not checking it out. The sequel series, The Legend of Korra, just had its Season 1 finale this past Saturday, and it was incredible too. Can’t wait for Season 2!

I’ve also played through a couple of video games in the past week. I’ve been getting more and more each year, and I only play one or two a year, so I had quite a stockpile to work through. I started off with Halo: Reach earlier this summer, which was decent, and this past week I played through both Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I and II. The first one was pretty excellent, minus some frustrating moments, but the best part of the second one was the incredible screen quality. The graphics blew my mind. Now, I’m playing through Fallout: New Vegas, which is a new kind of game for me. It’s mission-based, whereas I’m used to playing story-based games. It’s not a bad thing, though. It’s a nice change, and I’m really enjoying it, but it’s slow-going.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention my pen pal, Shauna. You may recall that I sent her a package a month or two ago filled with every single kind of Reese’s Candy that I could find. Well, she finally sent her package to me, which was FILLED with all kinds of British candies! Yeah, she’s pretty much the best pen pal ever.

I’ve had a Tumblr account for quite a while now, but I never cared for the service so I pretty much left it alone aside from reading friends’ posts that were linked to Twitter. However, yesterday I decided that I’d start using it as a means to review films and film soundtracks, so there’s about to be some regular posting from there. Here’s the page: Clicky

Anyway, that’s pretty much my summer in a nutshell so far. I probably missed a thing or two, but don’t take offense to that if you were involved. This was a long enough post already. Now, I’m heading off to the Rangers game with Seth! Woohoo!

I’ll try not to wait so long before updating this again, but the truth is that I don’t use my computer all that much during the summer, relying instead on my iPhone and iPad for Internet access.

Welp. Goodbye! God bless.

Chad

Night to remember.

Leave a comment

It’s been a busy week! So sorry for the delay.

I drove home after classes on Friday, arriving back in Mesquite about 20 minutes after the Friday night performance of the Variety Show had finished, so I met up with my family at the school. Granna and Poppa took some family friends who had come along back home while Mom, Dad, Blake, and I (as well as a couple of Blake’s friends) went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Mom, Dad, and I left earlier than Blake and his friends so that we could get dessert at Braum’s. When we got back home, I did my flute playing quizzes for my woodwind methods class and then got in bed after a long day.

On Saturday, I woke up relatively early and got dressed. One disadvantage to living in Lubbock is that there’s not an IMAX screen at any of the theaters, but Mesquite DOES have one, so, while I was in town, I took advantage of Mesquite’s IMAX screen and went to see Titanic 3D in IMAX with Dad, Poppa, and Granna. It was awesome! Mom stayed behind since Blake wasn’t able to go (he had to be at the school to prep for the Variety Show), but Granna and I met up with Mom after the movie and went to a store to put together a goody basket to give to Blake after the performance. The Variety Show itself was really good; the women especially impressed me with their rendition of Adele’s Rumour Has It, but the guys sounded great too. Seth came in town as well, so we were the only two (real) alumni to join the group onstage to sing the traditional song. Of course, since Mrs. Westgate is leaving after this school year to take care of her baby, she was invited onstage as well; after all, she IS a Poteet and Variety alumni as well. It was a fun show, and I was glad to be able to make it into town to support Blake. Seth joined us for dinner (minus Blake, of course, who was still doing cleanup at the school) at Applebee’s, after which we went over to his house and watched The Strangers. It was some good hangout time.

On Sunday, I made the decision to skip church and sleep late because, if you remember, I had a research paper to do, and Sunday was the night that I designated as my all-nighter to knock out the paper in one clean cut. So I slept late (until about 12:30), loaded my stuff, said goodbye to my family, and hit the road. I rolled into Lubbock at about 6:15 or so, which was good timing since I had a choir rehearsal at 7. Before heading to that, however, I filled up my gas tank (gas was about 20 cents cheaper in Lubbock than back at home!) and drove through a quick car wash…my car needed it after last weekend’s “raining mud” incident. Choir rehearsal went fine, and then I returned to the room, ate a quick dinner, and then made it to the library by 10:15 to get started on my paper. I had stocked up on supplies to keep me awake and focused: two Coke Zeroes, two bottles of water, two 5-Hour Energies (something I hadn’t tried before), and a package of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies (which are AWESOME).

I’ll admit…it was very slow-going at first. I had lots of trouble with getting focused on my research, particularly because everyone else was still awake, posting interesting things on FB and Twitter. I settled into my productive groove by about 3:30am and worked pretty hard until 7, about 6-7 pages into the paper, when I decided to move my car before it got ticketed at 7:30 and to get ready for class at 9. At this point, I was still running on the first 5-Hour Energy; I had taken it at 3am, and it worked pretty nicely. I got back to the room by 7:30, changed clothes, and shaved (you’re welcome, family!) before heading up to the music building. I grabbed some coffee and a couple of blueberry bagels (my new addiction) before heading to class.

For not having slept a wink in nearly 24 hours, I functioned and focused relatively well throughout all of my classes, the exception being woodwind methods…we didn’t play that day, so it was pretty boring. After that class, I grabbed my second cup of coffee before music history, where staying awake wasn’t a problem because we were taking notes the whole time. Nothing to speak of happened in my final classes of the day. When they were done, I gulped down the second 5-Hour Energy and got back to work. I finished my research paper after only a couple of hours…woohoo! To celebrate, I went to Cici’s for dinner; I ate Cici’s while working on my previous two research papers, so I continued the tradition. After eating, I came back to the campus, did my homework, took a shower, and got in bed at about 10:30…for those of you keeping score, that’s 34 hours of no sleep. I was EXHAUSTED, BUT my paper was finished, so it was worth it.

Other than finally feeling rested on Tuesday, not much happened. I went to class, which was all pretty uneventful, and then Andrew and I had choir rehearsal from 7-9. You see, all of the Tech choirs and the bands/orchestras join together once a year for the Scholarship Concert, which is how they fund all of the music scholarships given out each year. This year, we’re singing Mozart’s Requiem, which is actually pretty cool. The concert is on Saturday and should be lots of fun!

Today, I went to my 8am class and grabbed some coffee before my 9am class. When we got to music history at 11, we turned in our papers and were then let go for the rest of class…huzzah! Conner suggested that the two of us go back to my room and watch Back to the Future Part III during our free time, so we did. We got a little past halfway before I had to go back to the music building for band, but we had lots of fun during that time while watching. I’m so glad that Conner can quote the BTTF movies (almost) as well as I can!

I went to my remaining classes before meeting up with Rachel, the other horn section leader, at 4 to talk about what we want to focus on and accomplish in our section next year. We talked for nearly an hour; we’re so awesome! We even scheduled a meeting with our band director for Friday; he’s treating us to Chipotle, and we’ll all discuss next year as we eat delicious Chipotle goodness. Should be cool!

Anyway, back to my day. After Rachel and I met with each other, we said our goodbyes so that I could be on time to this week’s voice lab. I sang tonight, and I’ll be singing again tomorrow night for a bigger audience. Tonight’s performance really well, so I can’t wait for tomorrow’s!

The rest of the evening has been spent hanging out in the room and basically doing nothing. Of course, I did do some reading; last night when I went to Walmart to buy more mouthwash and a new toothbrush, I bought a copy of TIME Magazine’s 100th anniversary Titanic book/magazine/thing, which was very interesting. I read the whole thing tonight! The Titanic is still one of my favorite things to read about.

Now, I’m about to hop in the shower and then get in bed. So goodnight!

Chad

Arise

Leave a comment

Hello there everyone!

This week has actually been fairly boring, so there’s really not all that much to talk about. Here’s stuff that happened this week, in no particular order.

Remember me saying that my science class was actually being co-taught by two different professors? Well, the part of the class taught by the first professor is over (thank goodness). This was the teacher with the stupid tests…by the way, I ended up getting an A on that last test I told you about. So that’s good, I s’pose. Anyway, the “new” professor is the guy who has been in charge of our lab all semester long, so no he teaches both our lab and our normal class. He’s a lot better, in more ways than one: 1) he does more teaching than just reading off a Powerpoint presentation and assigning readings; 2) he doesn’t give stupid tests; 3) he’s more likeable as a person. We had our first test over this “new guy’s” material today, and I actually struggled with it a little bit because it was the first time we actually had to bother with knowing content in this class, but don’t worry, I think I did okay.

I downloaded an app on my iPad the other day called procreate. It’s a drawing app that is actually really kind of professional, meaning that a legitimate artist could pick it up and make a masterpiece right there on his iPad. Since I am not a professional artist, I started off by drawing Perry the Platypus. It turned out pretty awesome! Since then, I drew several Muppets, and by “draw” I mean “pasted the picture into the app, traced it, and then colored it in”. They look pretty awesome…maybe one day I’ll be able to draw them without having to trace!

I started a sort of tradition this week; well, I CALL it a tradition, but we’ll see how long it actually lasts. First, I need to tell you about an iPhone/iPad app called GetGlue. This app is designed to help you share with your friends and with the world what you are doing, i.e. what movie you’re watching, what musician you’re listening to, what book you’re reading, etc. As you use the app more and more, you unlock stickers related to whatever material you may be doing, and, eventually, you can get the actual stickers that you’ve earned sent to you in the mail. Anyway, back to the tradition I mentioned. On Monday, during my lunch break, I pulled out my headphones and picked a movie soundtrack to listen to. Then I open the GetGlue app and tell everyone what I’m listening to and tweet it with my Twitter hashtag “#soundtrackoftheday”. The first day was Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek, the next was Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy, then Thomas Newman’s Finding Nemo, then James Newton Howard’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and then today’s was Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a soundtrack that I actually own (and listened to) on vinyl. It’s fun to listen to these on a regular basis, especially since I own so many of them, and to share my favorites with everyone else.

Speaking of vinyl, I used my record player for the first time in a while this week. As the semester rolled on, a pile of stuff built up on top of the record player, but, because I cleaned up a bit due to Andrew’s family coming in town last weekend, the player was clear and ready to be used. Before I left Mesquite Easter weekend to come back to Lubbock, I bought The Eagles’ Greatest Hits on vinyl, so that was the first album I listened to on my record player this week. I then listened to Paul McCartney and Wings’ Wings Over America live album, followed by The Beatles’ 1962-1966 (the so-called “Red Album”), and then today was the Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It feels good to get the vinyl back out again.

As you should all know, I have a British penpal who I met on Twitter. Well, through tweeting with her and exchanging letters, I learned that she’s only had Reese’s once before because they are not readily available over in the UK where she lives. Deeming this unacceptable and being the best penpal EVER, I decided to take it upon myself to properly introduce her to Reese’s. I bought one of just about every single kind of Reese’s available, including normal, dark chocolate, white chocolate, egg-shaped, Nutrageous, Fast Break, Crispy Crunchy, Big Cup, Pieces, etc., stuffed them into a box with my letter, and put it in the mail today. How awesome am I?! Haha. I was surprised to find how inexpensive it was to ship this package, which easily weighed a pound or two, to the UK; aside from the cost of the candy itself (most of which I picked up with my Raidercard dining bucks), I only payed $20 to ship it to England. Awesome! She’s agreed to send me some British candy with her next letter as well, so I’m plenty excited!

Tonight, we had a 2012 Goin’ Band section leaders meeting, at which we got our first glimpse of one of next fall’s marching shows. The particular show we looked at was the show that the members of Goin’ Band voted on, a Villains show. Music playlist consisting of: “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Thriller by Michael Jackson, the Imperial March from Star Wars by John Williams, Back in Black by AC/DC, “Mars” from The Planets by Holst, Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, Bad by Michael Jackson, and the Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Quite a set list, huh? It should be lots of fun. Rachel, the other section leader, and I decided to meet up some time next week so that we could establish our goals for the horn section in the fall…we’re gonna have an awesome section!

That’s pretty much it. Tomorrow, after classes get out, I drive home. Blake’s Variety Show at Poteet is this weekend, and I’m able to drive home and see it. I won’t make it to tomorrow night’s performance, but I’ll definitely be at Saturday’s! Then Sunday I get to drive back to Lubbock, go to a choir rehearsal, and then type up my research paper. Lots of fun in store for me in this coming week!

Goodnight, everyone!

Chad

It’s been a privilege.

Leave a comment

Hey all. Time for my weekend post!

Nothing worth speaking of really happened on Thursday, and not much happened on Friday, either, at least, not until after classes were done for the day. Andrew’s parents flew into town early that morning, but we didn’t see them until after 4 or so! They stayed in our room for a while, hanging out, until they left so that we could get dressed and prepared for our choir concert. The concert went really well, and we had a great time performing. Afterward, Andrew was surprised to see Scottie and his girlfriend, Laura, had also made the trek into town, something he hadn’t expected. It was a nice little surprise for him (Mrs. Grant had told me earlier). The six of us went out to eat at Ruby Tequila’s for dinner before parting ways for the night, making plans for breakfast the next morning. Andrew and I went back to the room and stayed up for a while, watching a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother before going to bed.

We woke up a little late on Saturday, but we still met the others at IHOP not too long after they had shown up themselves. We ate breakfast and then went back to the room, where we all relaxed for a bit before Andrew’s parents, Scottie, and Laura left to take care of some airport/rental car stuff. Andrew stayed behind in the room, but I went up to the music building at noon to attend a recital. It was Zach Houston’s percussion recital; he graduated a couple of years ahead of me at Poteet. His mother and his brother, Aaron, who’s my age and is a good friend of mine, had driven into town the night before, so they were also in attendance (which, admittedly, is the main reason why I went). With two other Poteet graduates sitting next to us, we had a nice little sort of reunion going on. When Zach had finished his recital, I said goodbye but not before making plans to meet up with Aaron later in the day.

I went back to the room, where Andrew’s family had regrouped. We watched the Rangers game for a while before we went for a tour across the campus. Laura had never been to Lubbock before, so it was mainly for her benefit. We literally walked from one side of the campus to the other and back, which took a little more than an hour. We were slowed down just a bit by the excessive wind…expected, I suppose. It IS Lubbock, after all! Unfortunately, all of Andrew’s family had to leave once we had finished our little tour, so we said our goodbyes and they were on their way.

I attended another recital at 4:30, this one for a fellow horn player, and I even stuck around afterwards and practiced on my horn for about an hour! I was proud of myself. From the music building, I contacted my friend Lexi. Recall that I first met Lexi on Twitter back in May or so of last year and officially met her last fall when I visited her church, which I now attend. Through me, Aaron started following Lexi on Twitter, and they got to the point where they tweeted each other quite a bit. So I arranged for the two of them to officially meet. Lexi and I went and ate at Chipotle while Aaron ate dinner with his family, and then Lexi and I picked Aaron up. The three of us went to Bahama Buck’s and talked for a while before driving back to the Tech campus and watching a movie in the room (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which neither of them had seen before). It was a nice little get-together, and Andrew even got to meet Lexi for the first time; he had been working at Relay for Life with his fraternity, but he made a quick visit to the room when he learned that Aaron was here. Such a good evening!

I woke up this morning a little late, but it didn’t matter that I showed up 20 minutes after bible study had started because our teacher had lost his lesson book, so we just socialized until service started, which went well. I left the church and went straight back to campus for a Goin’ Band Leadership meeting, where we practiced teaching a couple of techniques to each other; I did really well with it! No worries there. I went straight from the meeting to another horn recital and then back to the room for a while.

At about 7:25, I met up with Lexi at the movie theater to see Titanic. You see, I had never seen it before tonight. I don’t know why; I guess my parents never made it out to be a big deal when I was a kid, and, despite my fascination with the actual Titanic as a kid, the idea of the film never really appealed to me until pretty recently (the last couple of years or so), at which point a 3D re-release had already been slated, so I decided to wait and see it properly. And what better day to see Titanic for the first time than on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original ship?!

I LOVED it. I couldn’t believe I had never watched it before, but, then again, I’m glad I waited and saw it for the first time on the big screen. I’ve always said that that’s the proper way to see movies (which is why seeing Back to the Future on the big screen for the 25th anniversary re-release was such a big deal), and this didn’t disappoint…the 3D was even excellent! It’s hard to point out everything I liked about this movie, let alone what I DIDN’T like (there wasn’t much, if anything), but, overall, it was magnificent. Definitely one of my favorites now, and I only have to wait five months for it to be released on Blu-Ray for the first time! Woohoo!

Now, I’m back in the room. I’ve finished my homework, and now I’m about to shower before bed. Goodnight, everyone!

Chad

Not Nap Day.

Leave a comment

Hello!

It’s been a long two days, which kind of sucks, but I guess it’s better than the long three days it would have been had we not been out on Monday.

Yesterday (Tuesday), I went to my science class at 9:30 only to leave by about 9:45ish. Our professor had some sort of meeting to attend that would last most of the day, so our lab from 2-5 (not that we ever use the full three hours anyway) was also canceled. Hallelujah! I rode my bike over the music building and practiced on my horn for a good half-hour or so before heading to aural skills, where we did a lot of nothing, as per usual. I ate lunch and went to band, which seemed to take longer than normal because it was first rehearsal of the week was 90 minutes instead of the usual 50. Awful. I went back to the room after band and did some light catnapping (REALLY light napping…didn’t even count as a real nap). Horn studio at 5 was boring since I didn’t have to play, for which I guess I should be thankful. After I got back to the room, I decided that I was going to study for my music history exam, but it didn’t happen for several hours.

Today, I woke up 15 minutes before class at 8, but I made it to the music building on time. Intro to music teaching is a waste of a class so nothing worth mentioning happened, but, after staying up late studying, I made sure to get coffee from the SUB afterward. Theory and woodwind methods went by with nothing special happening aside from me getting good grades back on theory homework assignments (theory has been a BREEZE for me this semester!).

Then it was time for my music history exam. I did some decent studying last night, despite it being late, but it’s difficult to gauge exactly how I did on the exam. I felt really confident on some of my answers, but some of them I was less certain. I’m fairly positive that I at least passed, so I suppose that’s a plus. It’s just a matter of seeing what grade I end up with.

After finishing my exam, I had a full hour and a half before band at 1, so I just sat in the SUB, ate lunch, and played around on my iPad and listened to music while I waited. Band was pretty boring. The brass and woodwinds were split during class, and the brass had one of the graduate teaching assistants in charge. We worked on the same piece the full hour, but it was one of the better, more exciting pieces so I didn’t mind so much. Choir afterward was decently enjoyable. Our concert is on Friday, so class was spent running through and spot-checking bits of the program. I think the concert will be pretty good! Piano was after choir…I’m SICK of group piano class. I do fine and get As every semester, but it’s just a frustrating class that I can’t wait to be rid of. I talked with Mrs. Shotts at Poteet the other day about possibly returning to her for summer lessons (I took about 5 lessons from her a summer or two before I graduated), so we’ll see if that happens.

When I was done with all of my classes, I sat around the SUB and was eventually joined by Andrew. Normally, Wednesday is designated “Nap Day” since neither of us have evening commitments, but today was an exception because a guest speaker was speaking on campus at 5:30. Her name was Rachel Ramsey Cruze, and she’s the daughter of Dave Ramsey, the financial guy. Remember, I read his book The Total Money Makeover a month or so ago, and I learned a lot of great things about money management from it. I just happened to see a tweet from the official Texas Tech Twitter account announcing that she’d be speaking today, so I made sure to go, and Andrew joined me.

Her presentation was actually pretty short. She didn’t get started until about 5:40, and she was completely done by 6:20ish, but it was still really cool to be there to hear her talk. Everything she said I had already heard from Dave himself on the Financial Peace University videos or read in his book, but, like I said, it was just cool to be there. Despite being familiar with everything she mentioned, I still took notes, as did Andrew. If you haven’t looked into any of Dave Ramsey’s stuff, I HIGHLY recommend you do so! The Total Money Makeover is a good start, but I’m considering adding his first book, Financial Peace, to my reading list as well.

We ate at Chili’s for dinner before splitting paths; he had a meeting with his fraternity and I just went back to the room. I did my intro to music teaching assignments (including one that’s not due for two more weeks!) and then just lazed around until Andrew got back to the room, at which point we watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Now, it’s almost 1am and I’m about to shower and get in bed…I’m pretty exhausted, so it’s an early night for me (yes, this is early!). I don’t have class until 9:30 in the morning, so I’ll be getting a full 7+ hours of sleep.

Goodnight!

Chad

Heavenly inheritance.

Leave a comment

Hey all! I’d like to again apologize for the lack of posts lately; I’ve had a variety of different busy things going on that always keep me up too late to have me post at a reasonable hour. But here I am!

I suppose I’ll start with Saturday. I slept late (thank God for not having to set alarms!), waking up first at 11-something and later at 1:30 or so. I got dressed and ready to go for the basketball game, at which I got free food…that’s the best! The game was pretty intense; it was the game against UT, and, though it started out badly for us, it quickly became a very close game…it even went into overtime! Alas, we lost, but it was still lots of fun. From the game, I came back to the room, snacked, changed clothes, and then drove off to the theater for our last performance of the play! I got lots of “we missed you!”s from the cast, including a hug or two, and that made me feel awesome. I wish I had been available to be in Friday’s performance, but choir had been on the schedule since December. The Saturday performance went really well, though! We sold out for our third Saturday in a row, and my voice teacher came to see me! She really enjoyed it; she said she laughed the whole time! When everyone had cleared out, most of the cast went over to one of the cast member’s house for a sort of “party”, where there was wine (don’t worry, I didn’t even look at it, let alone drink any), a deli cracker platter, and pizza. We played a game or two, including Pass the Popcorn, a movie trivia game that I did pretty well with. It was a great night! I’m going to miss being around these people; I had lots of fun with this show, and I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of it.

Since I had been out so late on Saturday night, I decided to sleep through church, not waking up until early afternoon again. Andrew and I went to Chipotle for lunch (with me getting my reduced-size meal), and then I hung out for a few hours, eagerly anticipating the Academy Awards! When they finally rolled around, I got my tweeting in gear and had lots of fun; I ended up guessing exactly half of the winners correctly, which is better than I think I did last year. Improvement! I was upset that Viola Davis didn’t win Best Actress, and I was also a little upset that neither Harry Potter nor Moneyball (nor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, for that matter) walked away with any form of recognition, but I won’t complain too much…this IS the Academy we’re talking about, after all. Billy Crystal hosting was a breath of fresh air after last year’s Anne Hathaway/James Franco co-hosting. You can’t go wrong with him! After the shows were over, I studied a bit for my first music history exam of the semester…better late than never, right?

Though I had trouble getting up Monday morning, I made it to all of my classes on time. I’m also fairly confident that I got at least a B on my music history exam, which I’m happy with…hopefully, the next one won’t be the morning after the ONLY awards show I watch (it won’t). My day went fine, with me even squeezing in an hour of practice on my horn that I normally don’t do, so that’s a step in the right direction! That night, I pulled out my Bible and read 1 Peter chapters 1 and 2, proceeding to write in my journal for several pages (with several distractions in-between, of course). By the time I had finished everything I wanted to do with my journal/Bible-reading (I didn’t even have any homework!), it was super late, and I still had to shower! Another late night for me, but it was worth it to be learning more about God. I’m really wanting to get into the habit of spending more time in my Bible, and not just reading…studying and learning, too, which is why I take notes in my journal.

Today was long, and there was a certain element of stress to it as well; my horn professor sent an email to the studio saying to be ready to play the (DIFFICULT) etudes we were to be working on in studio class today. I HAVE been working on them, but they are very hard…I don’t think anyone was quite prepared to play through them. Thankfully, when studio rolled around, he had changed his mind…we still have another three weeks of preparation before we have to perform them for a grade. Practice practice practice!

When I got back to the room after studio, it was about 6:30. I picked up dinner from Sam’s Place and talked to Mom on the phone for a few minutes before pulling out my Bible and reading the passage that we were going to discuss in Bible study tonight: Hebrews 5:11-6:12. I read it and took notes on some notebook paper so that I had stuff to say in the study. I made it over the Chasya’s house (one of my friends from high school), where the Bible study was being held, just after 8. There were about 17 of us there tonight, and we had a good time discussing God’s word for a couple of hours. I’m really liking this Bible study! Glad to not have any conflicts to keep me from going.

Except next week, of course! Next Tuesday evening is our next band concert, after which a few members of Court Jesters is climbing on a bus and departing for the NCAA basketball tournament in Kansas! I’m really looking forward to it! Of course, depending on how the teams do, we may not be returning to Lubbock until Saturday evening, which means that my time spent at home will be a little shorter, but, either way, I’ll still have at least a week in Mesquite for Spring Break.

Now, it’s time to write in my journal, transfer (and add to) my notes over tonight’s Bible-reading, and then get in bed…I don’t anticipate it taking too long.

Goodnight!

Chad

Older Entries