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

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Never not be having fun!

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I will post this video on people’s FB pages for their birthdays now.

Well, it’s been an eventful week. I won’t go into terrible detail, but I’ll give you the highlights.

Last Wednesday night, I decided to go to Best Buy to buy Marvel’s Thor on Blu-Ray. I hadn’t seen it before, and, since the midnight premiere for The Avengers was the next night, I figured it was time for me to watch it. As it turned out, all of the Marvel movies were on sale, so I went ahead and bought The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 as well to complete my Marvel/Avengers collection.

Despite the fact that I bought Thor for myself, I ended up going over to Lexi’s house to watch it with her. She has it on Blu-Ray 3D, and she has the capable Blu-Ray player and TV and glasses to allow 3D viewing. Unfortunately, one of the pairs of glasses were out of batteries, so we didn’t watch it in 3D, but the few minutes that I did see in 3D were pretty awesome. I definitely wouldn’t mind having a 3D Blu-Ray Player/TV of my own!

As for the movie, I really enjoyed it. It was definitely different than the other Marvel movies being that it’s topic was considerably more “supernatural”; lots of it takes place on a distant planet. I was glad to finally see it!

The next day, after classes had gotten out, I went and picked up our tickets for the midnight showing later that night so that we could skip the line whenever we showed up later. I then stopped by Target to see if I could find an Avengers shirt that I liked to wear to the midnight premiere, but they didn’t have any, so I went to jcpenney instead, which had LOTS of great choices…I ended up buying two! Very cool.

I ended up going to the theater at about 10ish or so, meeting up with Lexi and her sister Bekka, who had arrived at about 8 and saved Andrew and me seats. Andrew showed up a little bit later because of a meeting he had with his fraternity. When midnight rolled around, I made sure to call Granna for her birthday before the pre-movie trailers started, which was cool because she was definitely surprised!

After I wished her a happy birthday, I turned off my phone and returned to the theater just in time for the trailers. The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus…so many great movies coming out this summer! I can’t wait!

And now, The Avengers. THE AVENGERS. I can say the following with complete conviction: I’ve never had so much fun watching a movie as I did while watching The Avengers. It managed to throw humor, action, and quality acting together to make one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. EVERYONE should see this movie. Really, if you haven’t already, you should go see it. The score by Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Captain America: The First Avenger) was fantastic as well…the track “The Avengers” is now my ringtone!

I only had a couple of classes the next day, and they were pretty evenly spaced out throughout the day, so it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle, even on limited sleep. However, once I was done for the day, I went back to the room and crashed. I slept from 4 to 6:45, at which point I shaved and got semi-dressed up for a musical audition at 7. The audition was for next fall’s musical, Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, and my audition went well, but, after I had told the director that I’m a Goin’ Band section leader next fall, he told me that there would be no possible way for me to do the show. Oh well!

I came straight back to the room and proceeded to sleep some more, this time until about 10:30 or 10:45ish. I woke up, played video games for a few hours, surfed the Internet some, and then went to bed at 4ish or something.

Get this – the next day, I was in bed until 7pm. I know, crazy, right?! There was nothing pressing that I had to do or attend, and I didn’t feel like doing much else, so I just stayed in bed all day. I woke up several times throughout the morning and afternoon, but I officially woke at 5, staying in bed for another couple of hours, playing games on my phone.

When I finally got out of bed, I grabbed dinner and wasted away in the room. I returned to the comics that I had downloaded onto my iPad last summer, reading some Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, Iron Man, and the first issue of The Avengers. Good stuff.

I again went to bed at 4, but I was up early enough to make it to church in the morning. I came back to the room after church, changing into some more relaxed clothes and eating a quick lunch before heading back out and meeting Lexi at the movie theater for round 2 of The Avengers! It was actually Lexi’s third time to see it…her goal was to see it 4 times opening weekend; she ended up seeing it for the fourth time on Monday! It was just as good the second time, and I’ll be honest…I plan on seeing it at least once more in theaters. I’ve got to see it in IMAX 3D back home!

Later Sunday evening, I went to the University Bands’ concert at the music building, which was lots of fun. I went to last year’s concert as well. Though the University Bands are comprised of mostly non-music majors or music majors playing secondary instruments, their end-of-the-year concerts are lots of fun because they typically feature movie music, which, as you all know, is my favorite!

The better of the two bands was the first to perform. They played a piece about/for/in memory of Rosa Parks, which was probably my favorite of the ones they played (Rachel, my co-section leader, had a solo or two! She sounded great!). The first band also played some music from a few video games and an Eric Whitacre piece and music from John Williams’ score for Far and Away. They were really good, though! The second band wasn’t as good, but their program was still fun. They played music from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Star Wars, as well as something else that I don’t remember. Still lots of fun, though!

That night, I did my music theory final exam review that was due in class the next day, which was really easy. Then I hit the hay!

We’re almost caught up…hang in there!

Monday was pretty simple. Theory was spent going over the review, and all we did in woodwind methods was turn in our instruments and notebooks. I got an A in the class, so I don’t have to take the final that would have been next Tuesday, which is a relief…I get to go home a day earlier now! We had our final music history lecture, which was interesting, but it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be; last spring, our teacher ended the year by bringing his accordion to class and playing for us, which was awesome! Oh well. I really enjoyed this iteration of the music history class; after the final on Saturday, I’m done with undergraduate music history classes! Hooray! My only other classes that day were band and piano, which were pretty standard. Done with those too (minus my piano final on Friday)!

Monday evening was spent typing out my 4-page paper for my science class that was due today. It was really pretty easy; it had to be about anything in the field of biology that interested us, so I wrote about stem cell research. Michael J. Fox first introduced me to stem cells in his memoirs. As you should know, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and since has become an advocate for funding further stem cell research.

Stem cell research is also really controversial, but only one area: embryonic stem cell research. This involves taking an embryo five days after an egg has been fertilized, called a blastocyst at this stage. The debate is whether or not an embryo this early in development can be considered “living” or not. My personal opinion? Yes, they are living at this point, so they should not be used for stem cell research.

HOWEVER, there are lots of stem cells are thrown away for no reason, and I think that they should be taken advantage of. No matter your moral stance on embryonic stem cells, the fact of the matter is that further research into this area may eventually provide the key to curing diseases previously though incurable, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease. I need to look further into this area so that I can form a better opinion. I encourage all of you to look into this and other issues of political debate…this stuff matters.

Anyway, I finished my paper and eventually went to bed. My science class was my only real class today, so I woke up and went to class at 9:30, turned in my paper, listened to a brief lecture, and then returned to the room. Back in the room, I finished up my Powerpoint presentation for my movie project that I’ve been working on for the past month, the conclusions of which we presented in our final lab today. It went well.

Our last horn studio for the semester was at 5. I practiced on my horn for a while after it was over, and then I came back to the room and just messed around. I balanced my checkbook, I listened to music, I read some of my book, etc. When Andrew got off work, we walked to Chipotle for dinner, and then I just did more of the same thing. Exciting, huh?

Now, I’m about to hit the hay. I have no obligations tomorrow until 1 in the afternoon, at which point I’m meeting with my accompanist and my horn lesson teacher to practice my jury piece for a while, after which I will be meeting with my friend John (who directed CCBB last year) for lunch. I haven’t seen him in a while, so it’ll be great to see him! Later in the evening, I have my final voice performance lab that I have to sing at at 5:30, and then I am heading over to Lexi’s house for a game night with her and one of her friends, which should also be lots of fun.

Less than a week until I’m home!

Welp, I know it’s been more than a week since my last post, but this is my longest post in quite a while, so I hope it was worth the wait. Goodnight!

Chad

P.S. – Want a good place to read more about stem cell research? Click HERE for the source that I used to write my paper. Do it!

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

Dine and dash.

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Okay, I’ll start with yesterday. Wanna know why nothing interesting happened yesterday? I didn’t wake up until 3:30 in the afternoon! I guess that’s what I get for not going to bed until four and not setting an alarm. Oh well. After I had woken up, I ordered Chipotle on my phone from my bed, deciding to nix the double everything that I normally get. My usual meal at Chipotle has been a burrito bowl with double chicken and extra cheese, rice, and salsa. This time, I only doubled the salsa; this decreased the total calorie count of the meal by about half. I figured that, as often as I eat Chipotle, it would be a good idea to pull back a bit. Once I had eaten, I drove across town to Supercuts and got my hair cut to my usual short length; there’s a line in the play about how my character has started to lose hair, which didn’t make any sense at all with my hair being at the length it was before the cut.

From the haircut I went back to the room and showered before heading back out to the theater, where we the show was sold out for the second Saturday in a row! Good stuff. Most of the cast went out to eat at Applebee’s after the performance; I had the cajun shrimp pasta, which, as always, was really good. We all left at about 12:30 or so, at which point I went back to the room and continued playing Arkham City for a few hours. I was in bed a bit earlier last night, though: 3 (I think…)! In any case, I went to bed early enough so that I didn’t have to fight too hard with myself to get up for church. This was the first time that I had made it to Sunday school here in Lubbock since the start of the semester. Not that we did anything productive in Sunday school to begin with, but still. At the church, I resisted the urge to shove donuts down my throat, settling for the blueberry yogurt, chocolate milk, and Coke Zero that I had bought myself on campus before driving to church. Service was good today, too, and I identified with it; the pastor was talking about having discipline, about setting goals and being firm in our beliefs and paying attention to details in our lives that could lead us into giving it to temptation. The reason I related is because he used the example of him cutting back on his sodas; in case you don’t remember, I was completely soda-free for an entire year, so I knew exactly what he was going through when he talked about the constant pangs you have that you have to ignore.

I left the church at about 12:15 or so, and Lexi and I went to Chicken Express. We needed something fast because I had my first Goin’ Band leadership meeting at 1. We didn’t really get to stay and eat, but it was nice to have the few minutes that we had to catch up; we hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks. I made it to the music building just in time for the leadership meeting, which only lasted about an hour. It was basically just an introduction into what we’re going to be focusing on as a group in these leadership meetings that will be taking place throughout the semester. When it had finished, I called Granna, who had called me while I was in the meeting. Her and Poppa are on a cruise ship with a couple of friends for the next week, so please pray for safe travels!

I went straight back to the room, where I took all of our trash to the trash room before Conner showed up. You see, the two of us have been planning on watching Back to the Future together for at least a year now, and we finally got around to doing it! We didn’t have time to watch all three in the trilogy, but we made it through the first one with me providing anecdotes the whole way through. I’m telling you: watching BTTF with me is quite an experience. You’ll learn lots of stuff concerning behind-the-scenes information and the like. It’s awesome!

When Conner had left to eat dinner with his family, I whipped out Arkham City again, eventually finishing the story mode! Wow…it was SO good! Even better than the first one, and I didn’t think that was possible! I highly recommend both games to everyone.

That’s pretty much it. Andrew got back from his Raider Awakening retreat a few hours ago and crashed on his bed…he’s been there ever since, not waking even for a minute or two. We’ll see if he sleeps through the night or not, though I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he did. As for me, I just did my music history reading quiz, which was the only homework I had this weekend. Huzzah! Now, I’m about to get ready for bed and maybe read a chapter of Total Money Makeover before going to sleep; back to a world withOUT Batman tomorrow…that’s no fun!

Anyway, goodnight everyone!

Chad

It’s alright.

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It’s late, so this may be a bit condensed…of course, every time I say that, it ends up being longer than I intend it to be. We’ll see where this goes.

Theory went as usual (and I don’t have homework due on Monday!), and in music history we had our second listening quiz, which I thought I did really well on; we’re supposed to get our grades sometime on Monday, so it’ll be good to see how I did. Since today was a Friday, I didn’t have my usual lunch break because of voice lessons. We worked on two pieces the whole time, with an emphasis on the first one. I proposed that we focus on one piece at a time so that I could perform each of them at the voice recital as I learn them, and she agreed, so that’ll be fun! Speaking of performing, I got a few more compliments today…such an awesome feeling!

In band, we got music for our next concert…which is in two and a half weeks. It’ll be interesting to see how well this concert turns out since we have so little time before we have to perform it. In choir, we listened to a couple of pieces that we haven’t sung through yet: one of them is very pretty, while the other is really fun, albeit difficult. It’s still an option for our concert, but Prof. Dent wants us to spend a lot of individual time on it outside of class if we really want to do it.

After choir, I grabbed my clarinet and pulled out my computer so that I could do my playing assignments that are due on Monday. It only took me a little more than half an hour to do them all, so that wasn’t too bad. When I had finished, I almost bought another spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A in the SUB, but I resisted (and, also, CFA was closed…)! Instead, I made it back to Sneed, grabbed a mini-pizza from Sam’s Place; it’s been a few weeks since I last had pizza, and this was just a small personal pizza. ALSO, it was the first thing I had had to eat all day, so I wasn’t too concerned with calorie count at this point. I called Poppa and Granna and talked to them on the phone for a while, which was great because I hadn’t talked to them since the last time I had seen them back before the start of the semester. The two of them leave for Galveston tomorrow where they will depart on a cruise ship for a week. Please send prayers their way to keep them safe as they travel!

I just hung around the room for a couple of hours, reading the intro and the first little section of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book before I left the room at 6 to go to the theater. My back bike tire has another hole in it somehow (I haven’t looked into it too much because of the dreary weather we’ve been having), so I made sure to leave early enough to allow sufficient walking time between Sneed and my car.

The show went relatively well tonight, though you could tell that it had been a week since we last performed, and the audience wasn’t the biggest either. I’m not worried, though; I expect tomorrow to improve on both aspects. I chose not to go out to eat afterward, but a few of us made plans to go out to eat after tomorrow night’s performance, so that’ll be fun. I came back to the room and found a Smart Choice lasagna meal in Sam’s Place, which wasn’t half bad. After eating, I proceeded to play Batman: Arkham City for several hours, not stopping until nearly 3. At first, I considered putting on a movie (I had chosen Princess Bride) and watching it while lying in bed, but then I decided to just go ahead and go to sleep and maybe watch the movie tomorrow.

I have absolutely zero obligations or plans tomorrow before about 6 in the evening when I have to go perform in the play, so it’ll be a great day to sleep in and relax. Andrew is gone on a church retreat kind of thing this weekend, so I’m all by my lonesome for the weekend. I made plans with Conner for Sunday, though: the two of us will be watching at least the first Back to the Future, maybe even all three if it works out. The two of us have been planning a BTTF marathon for more than a year now, but we just haven’t gotten around to it. So Sunday will be exciting!

Anyway, there you go. As I said at the start, this definitely ended up being longer than I had intended it being. Oh well. Goodnight!

Chad

Doin’ it right.

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Today was a good day!

We had our weekly discussion in science class today. I had to clarify a question or two about the reading at the start of class, but, otherwise, class went as it usually does. We had a dictation quiz in Aural Skills that was pretty easy, and we “learned” about the different modes in music…I’m going to have to do some textbook reading to make sure that I understand that concept because it was taught very poorly in the classroom.

I had my salad for lunch, so nothing interesting there, but band was actually kind of cool today. Today was the day of our first concert of the semester, and our director arranged for the composer of one of our pieces to visit Lubbock and give us his thoughts on the piece and to attend the concert. He actually had a lot of good things to say, which hasn’t always seemed to be the case with visiting composers. We spent the whole class working on the pieces that we would be playing in our concert, which kind of wore out my chops a bit, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

After band, I gave in to a little bit of temptation and bought a single spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A before going to a practice room and looking at a couple of the songs that my voice teacher had picked for me to work on for this semester. There’s an English one, a German one, (I think) a French one, and then a Broadway tune or two as well. SPEAKING OF BROADWAY TUNES, I sang “When Words Fail” from Shrek the Musical in the voice area recital (VAR) today. I sang at VAR once last semester, but it was an Italian piece and lots of the voice area students and faculty weren’t in attendance because they were all out on some kind of trip or something like that. Today, though, pretty much EVERYONE was there, which was awesome. My performance went really well, and I got a lot of compliments after I had finished: a couple of girls who I have regularly had classes with approached me and introduced themselves (I knew who they were, but not the other way around), another told me that she didn’t know that I was a singer and that she was impressed, and then I got several other compliments from students and faculty alike. One of the professors is in charge of what is called Lubbock Moonlight Musicals over the summer, and he pulled me aside and asked me to audition. I told him I’d consider it, and I will (especially because they pay you to be in their shows), but I’d honestly prefer to be at home over the summer, not in Lubbock. To top everything off, my voice teacher approached me and mentioned to me how skinny I looked…success! All in all, singing tonight was an awesome experience, and I definitely intend to do it more often.

I had about two hours of free time before I had to be back up at the music building for the band concert, which went well. I can’t wait to hear the recordings!

When I came back to the room, I didn’t have to wait long for Andrew, and the two of us walked across the street to grab some Subway for dinner…it was the first time I had had it since our El Paso trip, so I don’t feel guilty for eating it. We came back to the room, where I again did my inverted way of doing things, that is to say, I played video games (more Arkham Asylum) before doing my homework, which again didn’t take too long.

Now, I’m wrapping things up. I have class at 9 tomorrow followed by an hour to study for a listening quiz in music history at 11, and then the rest of my classes should be pretty smooth sailing. Tomorrow evening, I return to CATS Playhouse for our next performance of You Can’t Take It With You…can’t wait to see what audiences this weekend’s performances bring!

Anyway, goodnight!

Chad

P.S. – Conner recorded my performance in VAR. He said he’d send the video to me, and, IF I like it, I’ll probably post it on my FB page. If I DO post it, I’ll be sure to let you all know!

The way you do.

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Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

The only thing that happened that was even remotely interesting or out of the ordinary in my morning classes was that a kid fell asleep in our woodwind methods lecture, and the professor had a whole conversation with the class about him while he sat and slept. We were all laughing, but he still didn’t wake until the end of class. I have some playing assignments due in that class next Monday, so I may start working on them tomorrow if I can manage. We’ll see.

I had my usual salad for lunch, and then the rest of the day was exhausting. It really kind of stinks that my ensemble classes are in the afternoon because that’s when I’m most tired, and I can’t chew gum during ensembles to keep myself alert like I can in my normal lecture-based classes. Nothing exciting happened in any of these classes today, though. After my piano class, I came back to the room, got ready for my nap, talked to Mom on the phone for a few minutes, and then slept for a few hours…another great nap! When I woke, I played Batman: Arkham Asylum on my PS3 for the first time. It’s pretty awesome! I played for a few hours before starting on my homework; I know, it should have been the other way around, but it wasn’t much. The only reason I’m up later than normal is because I napped a bit longer than I had originally planned.

In between playing my video game and doing my homework, I talked with my Memaw on Skype for the first time! She called and asked me how to get it set up (I didn’t really have to help much), and then we talked for just a few minutes before saying goodnight to each other. She pointed out that I look like I’ve lost weight, which means that I’m doing well for myself! She knew that I’ve been working on losing some weight and eating healthier, but it was nice to hear that I actually look like I’ve lost it.

Andrew and I didn’t work out today, though; after yesterday’s workout, we were both aching like crazy today. I’ve been feeling the burn in my thighs and in my triceps (I think…I’m no muscle expert), to the point that it hurts to move and to stand up…it’s that bad. Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better tomorrow so that I can do another workout after the band concert or something like that.

Tomorrow is another busy day, though it’s not as class-filled as the first three days of the week. I have three classes, an hour-long horn lesson, and then I’m singing “When Words Fail” from Shrek the Musical at the Voice Area Recital tomorrow. I sang the same song for my final grade at the sort of mini-recital that the grad student voice teachers put on last semester, but this will be the firs time for the vocal department as a whole to hear me sing this. I’m excited! A couple of hours later, I have my first band concert of the semester! Excited to get on with that and move on to some new music.

Well, I’ve stayed up late enough. It’s time to get some shut-eye. Goodnight!

Chad

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