Saying goodbye.

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During the last full week of July, I went on a Disney cruise with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins, and I had a blast! The ports of call for the 7-day cruise were Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay, but we only got off in Grand Cayman to eat lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and in Castaway Cay to spend some time on the beach, both of which were very nice. The rest of the time, we stayed on the ship and enjoyed ourselves there. I spent most of my time with my Uncle Craig, attending various music/movie trivia events, watching several movies in the on-board movie theater, and going to all of the stage shows every night, though we were often joined at these shows by my Aunt Brenda and my cousin Summer. My other cousin, Carson, spent most of his time either a) in the kids club; b) eating ice cream; c) watching the on-demand TV in our stateroom. At dinner, we shared a table with a family of three who had a daughter who is about Summer’s age; our two families got along really well and enjoyed each others’ company.

This was my fourth cruise overall and my second with Disney, but the ship we were on, the Disney Fantasy, is the newest of the Disney fleet, so it was super nice. There were lots of interactive things around the ship, such as a sports simulator, a mini-golf course, a water slide that circles the top deck, and a detective game in which you interact with photos around the ship to solve one of three cases, each of which is different every single time you play again. So cool! Overall, it was an awesome vacation, and I was very fortunate to have them take me along. It’s a shame that, unless they visit Lubbock again sometime this semester, I won’t be seeing them until Christmas, since they live a few states away in Alabama.

The past two weeks, I’ve resumed my post as the horn teacher at Poteet’s summer band camp, as well as helping out on the marching field with fundamentals and setting the drill for the marching show. It’s great being able to contribute to the band that was such a big part of my life for four years, and it’s definitely good experience for me in my future career. I’ve stuck with my tradition of only wearing sleeveless shirts to summer band camp, so I’ve built up a nice tan line at my shoulders, and I’m also sporting an awkward tan line on my feet in the shape of my flip flops. Oh well.

In my last post, I talked about how I had started using Tumblr as a medium to share my opinions on films and film scores. I still use that Tumblr page, but I’ve since upgraded to a new WordPress account where I review films, soundtracks, books, and graphic novels. It’s off to a great start, with nearly 650 views in the 6 weeks that I’ve had it; my posts have been shared by MovieByte.com, DallasMovieScreenings.com, and my favorite entertainment news website, Hypable.com. Cool! My website, ChadLikesMovies.com, can be found at this link. Check it out and let me know what you think!

I leave for Lubbock for the semester this coming Tuesday, which I have mixed feelings about. I wish I could spend more time with my family, but, at the same time, I’m really excited to see what being part of the leadership team for the Goin’ Band is like. I’m even a little bit excited for my classes; since I’m done with music theory, aural skills, piano, and music history, I’ve got an entirely different course load that will really start to focus on individual techniques that I’ll need for my future career, techniques such as conducting, form and analysis, and music for children…just in case. I’ll miss my family, but I’m excited for the new things to come.

Speaking of my family, I have a sort of announcement to make. For those of you who don’t know, I have a cat named Noel who has been a part of my family for more than 10 years. I received him as a Christmas present when I was 9 years old, and he’s been my best friend ever since. It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you all that he’s been struggling. Back in November of 2011, he got sick, so my mom took him to the vet to see what was wrong. He was having some problems with his kidneys, but the pet doctors were able to fix him up, so he came back home, seemingly fine until the week I was gone for the cruise. He started vomiting and having some diarrhea, so Mom took him back to the vet and learned that he was having problems with his kidneys again. They kept him in the hospital for a few days, giving him some fluids and trying to get him back to normal again, but, even after coming home, he wasn’t the same. He wasn’t eating much, he was laying around a lot, and, as a result of his lack of food, he was weak, giving him trouble with jumping up on the counters and stuff like that.

We took him back to the vet earlier this week and tried to figure out exactly what was going wrong; he still wasn’t eating, and, despite his love for ice water or water from the faucet, he wasn’t drinking anymore either. The vets took a couple of X-rays to see if they could identify the problem, and they think they found it. Noel has a couple of kidney stones in his kidneys. Normally, kidney stones aren’t issues in animals, but, in Noel’s case, they are causing kidney failure. The only solutions cost an insane amount of money that 1) we don’t have and 2) might not even work because, on top of all that, we learned that he has a small heart that likely wouldn’t be able to handle anesthesia. So, we’re in a difficult situation.

Noel isn’t feeling well, and he’s been struggling with these kidney problems for quite some time now. The long-term prognosis isn’t good; the vets don’t think he’ll ever get better. Our decision is this: he is at the pet hospital tonight, getting some fluids that will hopefully make him feel better for the weekend. Tomorrow, we’ll pick him up in the morning and bring him home, where he can lay beside me on my bed at night a couple more times. On Monday, we’ll take him back and get him put to sleep so that he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.

Noel has been part of my family for 10 long, wonderful years. Though we had two dogs before he came into my life, Noel was my first pet, and he was mine; for those who were wondering, I named him Noel because I got him for Christmas. I remember the first night after getting him when I insisted on sleeping in the same room with him, only to start bawling because he wanted to play rather than let me sleep! He’s about as spoiled as a cat can get. He’d follow us to the restroom, hop up on the counter, and beg us for a trickle of water from the faucet that he could drink from. He also loved iced water, sprinting to the kitchen every time he heard one of us filling a glass with ice. Whenever I was home, he’d sleep on my bed with me, curled up next to my chest. Yeah, he’s a special cat.

A few years ago, my cousin’s cat was found dead in a closet, and it was completely unexpected. From that point on, I would take Noel, look in his eyes, and tell him to “wait for me”. I wanted to be there to say goodbye when it was time for him to go. I’ve been saying it for a long time now, and, now that it’s about time for him to go, I’ll be there to say goodbye. During the cruise, Noel’s troubles at home unknown to me, I had a conversation with my uncle about how I hoped that he’d be around at least until I finished college. Sadly, he won’t be around that long, but I’m just glad that this didn’t happen while I was gone. I’m thankful for my time spent with him; he is the best first pet a kid could have, and he has been my companion and best friend for a long, long time. I’m very fortunate. I love you, Noel. Goodbye.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know what was going on. I won’t be posting again until I’m settled back in Lubbock, at which point I’ll do my best to get back to posting at least once a day. Please pray for my family and me as we struggle through the loss of Noel, and pray that his last weekend with us is a good one. Please also pray for safe travels back to Lubbock on Tuesday…I’d really appreciate it.

Thank you all so much. God bless.

Chad

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Life goes on.

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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

Boomroasted.

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So, this past weekend was pretty much the most boring thing ever. With my music history research paper out of the way and no other homework to hold me down, I pretty much sat around and did nothing all weekend.

On Friday night, I was up until 2 or 3 in the morning before I decided to go to bed. I woke up on Saturday morning at about 9ish, thought to myself, “Is there anything I want to get up and do right now?”, decided there wasn’t, and then went back to sleep. I repeated this process for the next several hours until 3:45pm came around. At this point, I realized that I had to be at a recital at 4, so I finally got out of bed, got dressed, and made it up to the music building on time. The recital was for a graduate student, so it was nearly an hour and a half long, but, since I had had plenty of sleep, I had no problem staying awake the whole time.

When the recital was over, I went back to Sneed, grabbed some food, and then joined Andrew in the room. The Jason Segel movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was on, which I hadn’t seen before, so we watched for a while before I hopped in the shower and then got ready for our choir concert on Saturday night. This concert wasn’t just us Matador Singers, though. It was all of the choirs combined together, so there were lots of us up there singing together. We sang along with the orchestra/band combo, which was really cool. We sang Mozart’s Requiem, which was really super awesome. The extra rehearsals leading up to the concert were awful, but I really enjoyed the performance itself.

After the concert, Andrew went and hung out with some of his fraternity friends, while I chilled out in the room, getting in bed at 2 or so. I woke up for church the next morning, but all we really did was have an extended Sunday school meeting in which we discussed future social opportunities for us as a group. Somehow, the fact that I’m playing horn for a musical this summer got brought up, so everyone started making plans to visit Dallas as a group to see the musical I’m playing for, to maybe visit Six Flags, and to even go to the Medieval Times restaurant place in June, which is really cool! I’m excited to see if they’ll all be able to come and check it out.

I had a Goin’ Band leadership meeting at 1, where we all took turns teaching each other some of the band’s marching techniques. That went on for about an hour before Rachel and I went and uncased all of the marching horns to make sure that they were in working order and didn’t have to be sent to the shop over the summer before marching season next fall. From there, Rachel and I said goodbye, and I joined a girl from my theory class in the Student Union Building to finish a project that we were partnered for. It only took us about 20 minutes to get what we needed done done, but then we sat around and talked to each other for a couple of hours, which was nice since we had never really talked to each other before.

The rest of my day was spent doing pretty much nothing in the room. I ended up cleaning up a bit, emptying out all of our trash and stuff so that the room was a little tidier, but, other than that, I just sat around, bored.

Today was pretty awesome though, for a couple of different reasons. Theory and woodwind methods weren’t anything special, but today was the day we were supposed to get our music history research grades. Our class rolled around, and, while we didn’t have our own personal grades just yet, all of the papers WERE graded, so he told us how many people got each grade. There were 21 As and only 6 failing grades, with everyone else getting Bs and Cs; at this point, I was fairly positive that my paper wasn’t bad enough to make me one of the students with the failing research paper grade. I was thinking that I would be getting a B or a C, which was fine with me since he was giving us all the opportunity to revise and resubmit our papers for a possible higher grade. Our individual grades were posted online a few hours later, and guess what? I got a 98! It was completely unexpected; remember, this was the paper that I started and finished within a 34-hour time frame of no sleep, so I didn’t think it was THAT high quality, but, wow! I was certainly surprised, and even more relieved…a 98 meant that I was completely done with this paper! Huzzah!

The rest of my classes flew by, and I was back in the room before too long. Andrew and I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother before he had to go to work, at which point I pulled out my paperback copy of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, the book that I’ve read at least once a year since I first read it for school in 8th grade. In case you don’t want to do the math, that means that this was at least my 7th time reading it, maybe even my 8th or 9th. In any case, Tuesdays with Morrie is the one book that I’ve read more than any other book I’ve ever read. I LOVE it. If you haven’t read it, you should. I’ve learned a lot from this book and from the lessons it teaches; it’s the only book that I’ve willingly highlighted material in. It can change your life if you let it! Anyway, I picked it up, started reading nonstop, and had it finished less than 3 hours later. So good!

Andrew eventually made it back to the room after work. I grabbed dinner, and we proceeded to put on more How I Met Your Mother, watching several episodes before calling it quits for the night; it’s too late to watch any more. It’s time for bed!

I’m sorry if this post has been sort of disjointed and abrupt; it’s late, I’ve been watching HIMYM, and I’m ready for bed. So goodnight!

Chad

It’s been a privilege.

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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.

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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

Headline boulevard.

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It’s been a busy couple of days, but tomorrow I’ll be home!

Yesterday was long. I made it to my 8am on time and listened to a guest speaker who used the whole class to toot his own horn (figuratively because he was a double bass player), so that was LOADS of fun (/sarcasm), and then I grabbed coffee from the SUB and went to theory. Theory wasn’t anything worth talking about (except for the fact that I had 100s on all of the returned assignments and quizzes), but we started really playing for the first time in woodwind methods on our new instruments. I’ve got a sort of knack for the flute that I didn’t have with the clarinet. It’s not that I’m super awesome at it, but I’m not having any difficulties so far (I think I already said that in my last post, but whatevsies). Anyway. Music history proceeded normally and then I had my salad for lunch before going to band, choir, and piano. After hanging around the music building for an hour or two after piano was over, I came back to the room, where Andrew and I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother before he left for a church meeting…at which point I napped for three hours. No regrets! When I woke up, I did my science homework and started studying/preparing notes for the science test I had this morning. It was a late night.

Despite not getting to bed until 4, I was awake a good half hour before my first alarm went off at 7:45, and my science class wasn’t even until 9:30. That nap sure came in handy! I ate a couple of slices of warm cinnamon bread for breakfast and grabbed a bottle of water before making my way to my class. The test went fine; I’m sure I got a decent grade, if not an A. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t get an A. I finished my exam and made it over to the music building more than half an hour before my aural skills midterm, so I went to a practice room and made sure that I was singing my stuff right. My midterm also went really well…no worries there! Once that was out of the way, I was essentially done with classes for the day. I didn’t have band today; only the woodwinds were called in today, and tomorrow it’s only brass. I ate a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A for lunch and just hung around the music building, practicing my horn for a bit before my lesson at 3. We finished a bit earlier per my request so that I had time to go back to the room, shower, and get dressed for the voice recital at 5. I even shaved! This was my third time in as many weeks…not likely to happen again for a while.

My performance went really really well! I had no memory lapses or mess-ups, and I sounded great (if I may say so myself). I got lots of compliments, and a couple of people (including someone who I had never met before) recommended that I audition for next fall’s musical, Jekyll & Hyde. And I’ll be honest…I’m definitely considering it. Granted, I have a lot to consider since I’ll be in Goin’ Band during the fall, but, if a schedule can be worked out that allows me to do GB, get good grades, AND be in the musical, all without killing me, I’m definitely willing to give it a try. I’ve already emailed the guy in charge of musical theatre here at TTU (it’s the same guy who wanted me to audition for the summer musicals here in Lubbock), explaining the situation, so hopefully we’ll work something out! Back to my performance tonight: I meant to have Conner record it for me, but he showed up too late, so we didn’t get a recording. A bit of a bummer, but oh well!

To celebrate my good performance, I ordered Chipotle for dinner. When I had finished and gotten back to the room, I started work on my music history background paper that was due tomorrow at 5pm and theory homework, and when THOSE were finished, I watched Cars 2 for the first time. I’ve had it on Blu-Ray for a few months now, but I suppose I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I’d enjoy it. I was never a huge fan of the first one, and the second one got awful critic reviews (I generally agree with critics), but I’ve got to be honest…I really enjoyed it! It was lots of fun and I enjoyed it more than I thought that I would. It was a pleasant surprise!

Now, I’m about to go to bed. This’ll be the earliest I’ve been in bed this week (to be fair, I took naps most of the other days, so I didn’t really lose any sleep), which is good because I’m driving home tomorrow! Classes should be easy: all I have is music theory at 9, band at 1, and choir at 2, and then I’m home free!

Goodnight!

Chad

Musical word finds.

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Happy Friday, everyone! Not too much has happened in the past few days, but I’ll fill you in the best I can!

Tuesday ran pretty smoothly and didn’t feel as long as it normally does, so that’s a plus. I had a singing quiz in aural skills that I did alright on, and band didn’t feel excruciatingly long (hour and a half long on Tuesdays and Thursday vs. the MWF 50 minutes), which rocked. I was done with my 3-hour science lab about half an hour into it, so I went back to the room and hung out until horn studio at 5, which was also relaxed since the only people playing were the people going to a horn workshop in a different state this weekend…which I’m not. Easy day, Tuesday.

Wednesday was even better! I had a voice lab later in the night at which I was set to perform at, so I spent any free time I had during the day making sure I had my song completely memorized; I listened to it on repeat for more than an hour and a half or so, just to be safe. There also wasn’t any band on Wednesday (Thursday or Friday either), so I had an extra long time to eat. I also met with a new accompanist for the first time. The one I normally use had a baby not too long ago, so she’s still absent due to that, so I had to find a temporary replacement. I felt a bit guilty because I wasn’t able to give her the piano part until the day of the performance…it’s a HARD piano part. Before the performance, I came back to the room, sucked on some gummy worms, drank two cups of hot earl grey tea, and dressed up all fancy-shmancy (I had even shaved the night before!). I arrived at the music building a little early to have a runthrough with my accompanist, and then the two of us went to the room where the voice lab was supposed to be. Guess how many people showed up aside from my teacher, my accompanist, and myself? ONE! Not wanting to waste a performance, though, I sang my song for my two-person audience and did well; it was actually my first time to make it all the way through without any memory slips. The piano was still rough, but, like I said, it’s difficult and she had just gotten it a few hours before, so it’ll be better once she’s had some time to practice. I’m singing part of this song (“Sunset Boulevard”) for my Garland Summer Musicals audition on Saturday, but I’m singing the whole song at the big weekly voice recital next Thursday…I can’t wait!

Today was the easiest day of the week so far. I only had two classes, meaning I was done by noon! I went back to Sneed, grabbed a sandwich from Sam’s Place, and chilled in the room for a while. I also did my laundry for the first time since returning from spring break, and I played Halo: Reach on my XBox 360 for the first time in ages. It was nice to truly kick back and relax for the first time in a while. I went back to the school of music for the voice recital at 5, and then I came back to the room again and decided to get some work done on my science project that I started the other day. We have to design an experiment, collect data, and report our conclusions. I can’t give away any information because the experiment hasn’t even really started yet, but I have the whole thing completely set up and ready to go as soon as I have everyone I need participating. I’m really excited to see how it turns out!

At 8, I grabbed my Bible and walked down the street to the FBC for Paradigm, the weekly college worship service, and sat with my Tuesday Bible study group (forgot to mention that I went to Bible study on Tuesday night as well). It was a good service with some great music and a nice reminder of what Easter is about. I love that I’ve started to get more involved with my Bible and with others who believe in it…it’s a great group to be a part of!

Now, I’m about to hit the hay. I’m up a bit later than initially planned, but that’s what I get for working on my theory homework while watching How I Met Your Mother with Andrew…worth it! Time to pack a small bag for my trip home this weekend before going to sleep. Easy day tomorrow!

Goodnight!

Chad

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