Monday, June 25, 2007

“The Quest for the 4th” – The Conclusion?

Yes, I think it may be! Finally, a happy ending to a long, arduous, tedious tome of seemingly epic length. Coda Honor has found it's 4th!

The enigmatic bass that I referred to in my last blog – the one who was referred to me by our chorus's membership chairman – is an absolutely ideal fit! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Coda Honor's newest member – Dave Conrad!

I had spoken with him a few days earlier on the phone and gotten his credentials:

Singing since he was knee-high to nothin'
Former member of the Huron Valley Chorus
Bass section leader of the Langsford Men's Chorus
Musical theater background
Experience in several quartets

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Could this be real? Can the guy be this good? We've had such a HELL of a time finding someone…ANYONE…who adequately fill either bass or baritone, could the answer to our prayer just fall from the sky like this? I was skeptical.

We had our quartet rehearsal yesterday evening at our baritone and resident music guru, Dave Beamer's house. I got there just about on time and Dave C. was already there chatting it up with our High Priest of musical knowledge. Lou arrived fashionably late, as usual. Not late enough for us to be annoyed, but late enough for us to ask "where is he?"

We immediately headed to Dave B.'s office upon his arrival and asked Dave C. what he could dust the cobwebs off of to warm up on.

"Wild Irish Rose"

Ugh. Standard, typical, a bit overdone, but not a bad song and has some room for good, ringing chords.

We sang through it a bit slowly, just to make sure things were locking, and BOY HOWDY, DID THEY EVER! We finished the last chord and I literally collapsed to the floor with a big shit-eatin' grin on my face.

From there, we decided to step it up a notch and try a few things from the vaults. Dave C. mentioned that he did "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" a while back, so I dug the sheet out from my collection of old chorus material. We had done it in the chorus in last year's show, but hadn't touched it since. We worked through it, and most if it was pure gold. Dave B. was reading it for the first time and made an occasional mistake, but nothing major. The bridge does a bizarre modulation we didn't all get quite right, but we recovered for the end and it was amazing for a read-through! The biggest problem Dave B and I had was getting distracted. We had both become so used to listening for wrong notes to fix, we started screwin up our OWN parts! Trouble was - there wasn't anything to fix (at least not on that level). We had to constantly remind ourselves to just SING OUR OWN DAMN PART AND STOP WORRYING!

From there we took a break for water and a breather. After getting back, we decided that we needed to try something that would shake the rafters. Something with a killer tag that belts like nobody's business.
"Darkness on the Delta" – no question.

We did it a few times – each one getting better and louder.

After that, we read down a few of our quartet's standards and stuff the 3 of us had been working on for a bit: Irish Blessing, my rendition of Rainbow Connection, etc. From there we chatted a bit before calling it a wonderful and productive day.

With Dave Conrad on bass, we have the best of all worlds. He not only has a great sound, great ear, and is a quick learner, but with his barbershop experience and background, we have a built-in repertoire of polecats and standards we can expand on quickly. Since he's not in the chorus and has no plans to join (for a variety of good reasons), we won't be tempted to rest on our laurels and just do chorus songs, but if there are ones we like from the chorus, we can add them in quickly and easily.

He's a bit nervous about making too much of a commitment right now because his schedule is in a bit of a precarious state. We assured him that we're all (well, Dave B.'s a bit more free and stable) flying by the seat of our pants with time nowadays and we're used to finagling around busy schedules to find a couple hours to get together. Working around his schedule won't be any more than we usually do, anyway. His personality and direction is a perfect match for us. He's funny, laid-back, eager to try new things, and wants a light-hearted but quality approach to quartetting.

This could finally be it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Continuing Saga of “The Quest for the 4th”

This seems to go on forever. Every time we find a final piece to my quartet, something goes wrong.

First, we bid a friendly farewell to our current bass and bair, in order to reform a more cohesive and progressive quartet.

Next, we replace our bass with a guy with a vocal music pedagogy degree. He's enthusiastic, knowledgeable, talented, and helpful. He's awesome. He stuck. He's here. We got him. Bass or bari, he's in.

The trick has been finding the 4th and final piece to the puzzle.

First, we find a lead with enthusiasm and a great voice willing to try bari, but no ear for the part. He tried. For 2 weeks, he read music, pounded away on his keyboard, and listened to recordings…but just didn't think he could make it. He thanks me for the opportunity, but gracefully says goodbye.


Next, we get a seasoned bari, a veteran of this quartet, who sings bari regularly with the quartet at Greenfield Village. The rehearsal goes well, he picks things up quickly, and his personality fits like a glove. Unfortunately, he was also insanely busy and lived ½ hour away. He bowed out after one rehearsal, citing schedule conflicts.

DOUBLE damn!

Next, we move aforementioned pedagogue to bari (where the folks with great and trained ears should be) and insert another veteran of the quartet and close friend of mine to bass. He is also enthusiastic and has a track record of learning quickly, when he puts the time and his mind to it. After 3 weeks, however, there is some, but little progress. The gauntlet is thrown.

I am now given several names and options for other basses that already know many of the songs and who have, presumably, sung them for years. This leaves me with several quandaries:

  1. My friend has a GREAT sound and range for the part. His personality and enthusiasm could not be a better match for the group. He is humble (almost to a fault) and INCREDIBLY willing to learn, but can he learn quickly enough? Will he get the notes memorized and accurate enough to be good in time? Does he have the time to work enough on the material to get to where we need him?

  2. One of the names suggested is in our chorus. We are in the dark as to his availability, indeed, even his WILLINGNESS to join a quartet, but if he were amenable, we would have a quartet entirely from the chorus. That gives us an instant and sizable repertoire. His voice is a bit on the quiet side and not exactly what I would want, but he is a nice guy with a lot of experience. There are several 'X' factors with this guy we're not aware of yet, as he is rather quiet and reserved in the chorus. He is, however, prolific in his performances with our own and other choruses and even some short-lived amateur quartets. Further research needs to be done, clearly.

  3. A second name mentioned as a possibility is a complete unknown to me, but comes HIGHLY recommended by our membership chairman (who undoubtedly has the ulterior motive of roping him into the chorus). My initial reluctance to add him is that I thought his affiliation was with the Macomb Chapter, the same as our former bass and bari. The main reason we decided to start again was to find guys closer together, preferably within a few miles of each other or in our chorus, to provide more and easier chances to get together and practice. Taking on this gentleman would open the door to the possibility of "bad blood" with our former quartet mates, by going back on the initial reason for their dismissal. I truly don't want this, as our split was fairly amicable – even friendly – and I would rather not burn any unnecessary bridges. Turns out, he is with the Langsfor Men's Chorus, comprised largely of members of my old university glee club. Hmmmmm...

I want the best quartet I can get, and grow impatient waiting for it to even gel enough to sing for close friends or family. My friend is aware of the pressure at this point. I made it clear before the last rehearsal. I WANT him to work out. He's talented, proven his ability to me, and is a genuinely great guy…but this quartet is a democracy and I have to put the quartet first, here. Thankfully, he's a very grounded individual, aware of his own limitations and my responsibilities to the other 3 in the group. I didn't choose him because of friendship or loyalty, but on his ability and talent – and will not keep or dismiss him on any different criteria. Besides, he's gonna be a rock star. A barbershop quartet won't necessarily be a shining star on his résumé.

So, once again, Coda Honor is again in a state of flux, inching (however slowly) toward stability and greatness. We should have a bass chosen by the end of next week (God willing), and be able to focus on our already booked gigs, possible new gigs, the ever-anticipated Slamka Harmony Hideaway, and hopefully the District Convention this fall.

I hate floundering – I wanna SING!

The worst part is, I know several great basses I'd love to get in this quartet. Unfortunately, they all live impractically far away - from an hour's drive all the way to Topeka, Kansas.

...Yes, YOU!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Remainder of My Week of Hell: Things Can Only Get Better

The other big frustration I had to deal with last week was the overwhelming sense of withdraw I went through as my new laptop was temporarily de-commissioned.

I am a creature of habit. I have certain things I need on me al all times (or at least access to). I like things to be in the same place twice (preferably regularly) and like things stacked in neat little piles where I can find them. I'm not anal-retentive, OCD, or maniacal about order, but I like to be able to accomplish my tasks quickly and efficiently.

As said creature of habit, I always need the following things on me at all times or I feel absolutely naked:

  • My Cell Phone (I get calls for quartet gigs, need to be available to handle emergencies with the kids, coordinate the schedule of my insane life, and able to be told what to pick up from the store on the way in from work)
  • My Wallet (Gotta have the cash or cards to PAY for the aforementioned stuff from the store, not to mention be legal to drive to and from it)
  • My Keys
  • My Watch
  • My pocket multi-tool and/or pocket knife
  • And now my newest mandatory accoutrement – My Laptop.

If I am without any of these, I am at loose ends and feel as vulnerable as a squirrel thrown into a shark tank.

Lately, the laptop has become more and more an integral part of my daily life. I connect with friends via e-mail and IM constantly, as I have little to no time to meet with anyone socially. I work on pet projects in my scant spare moments, such as music arrangements, blogs, and music, photo and video editing. My laptop has become the only way I can get any of my favorite things done, as scheduling time to sit and do them for long stretches at a desktop pc are ridiculously rare. Not to mention…my laptop is new and fairly speedy (well, NOW it is, anyway).

My only complaint about my laptop had been that is was preinstalled with Fucking Windows Vista. That is how I refer to it always, now: "Fucking Windows Vista". If you have any option, NEVER get Fucking Windows Vista. While it isn't particularly hard to learn or much different that XP in many ways – it even looks a bit cooler – it drives like a Sherman tank. I had half a gig of RAM in my computer and it took nearly 4 minutes to completely boot up. Applications ran slower than snail shit. Worst of all, most of the programs I had become accustomed to simply would not work with it at all.

While I was able to get the OS working a bit faster by buying another gig of RAM (to the tune of about $75), it still wouldn't run most of my handier programs and was extremely buggy with most new peripherals I purchased, if it worked at all.

A while back, a friend of mine mentioned that a friend of his was able to play with Mac OS X and, through some Linux magic, get it to work on certain PCs. This, I figured, would solve all of my problems. I managed to get a hold of one of these "Holy Grail of PCdom" discs, bought a bigger hard drive (just for the hell of it) and attempted to install it on my laptop. Sadly, but not wholly unexpectedly, it didn't quite work. Some driver for the monitor or something else it didn't like. Well, waddya expect for a Frankenstein attempt to stitch together 2 different systems and a computer made up of HP's leftovers.

"Oh well," I figured, "Guess I just throw XP on this new big drive and go to town with that. It won't be Mac OS X, but it'll be a damned sight better than Fucking Vista."

So I format the drive with the Mac program to the proper NTSC format and pop in an old XP disc from one of the defunct and butchered computers here at work.

Funny thing about Windows: anything that should be nice and simple, rarely is.

It wouldn't recognize the hard drive – at all. I figured maybe I had goofed it up by trying the Mac OS thing, and being it was an "open box" purchase, I returned it to the store and paid the extra $15 for a new one. Popped it in…nothin'. Windows STILL didn't recognize even a fresh new drive.

Finally, in utter frustration, I returned the new drive for a refund, backed up all of my files and programs from my old, smaller drive and formatted it, figuring it MUST be able to recognize the drive it CAME with. Popped the XP disc in…nothin'.

Most people don't consider me particularly mechanically inclined. I disagree. I can fix most anything mechanical or hardware related on most things. I can put most things together without directions, and even do so with no "extra" parts leftover. I know when I'm licked and when to get out the directions and ask for help, usually before I destroy something. I have a very analytical mind with great spatial perception. However, when you start talking formulas, math, and especially software configuration – I either study and research or go to the pros.

I started Googling like mad to try and figure out why the HELL Windows wouldn't recognize my drive. Everything I read said you just pop in the disc, it formats the drive and ya go. I finally got to the point where I Googled the make and model of the drive. "A-HA! Windows doesn't like SATA/SCSI drives!"

I then found several pages detailing how to manually put the driver on FOR Windows.

I went through step by step until I got to the last one: "put the files on a floppy disc and insert it into your floppy drive when prompted"

Floppy drive? FLOPPY DRIVE!!?? Who the HELL uses a floppy drive anymore!!!!???? I have a laptop!

"Okay. My work computer has the same kind of drive. I switch the hard drives, popped the XP disc in and…where's the floppy drive? Fuck!"

"Okay no problem. There are about 4 or 5 floppy drives in defunct computers around the office. Here's one! I'll just connect… Fuck! Not a SCSI drive. Wait…NONE of these are SCSI drives!"

"Okay...deep breath…Nooo need to panic. I'll just re-install Fucking Vista with…FUUUUCK! They don't provide install discs anymore!"

So, I take it to the nearest Computer Builder's Warehouse, hand them the XP disc and hard drive driver files on my jump drive and explain the problem.

"We can install it for $65, but you'll need a license. That's $125, extra"

Leave it to Microsoft…$190 to DOWNGRADE their software.

At this point, I'm ready to either clear a spot on my wall and hunt down Bill Gates for a trophy, or pull an 'Office Space', and drive the laptop to an empty field to pummel it with a baseball bat. This was rock bottom. It could only get better from here.

Deep breath…regroup…rethink.

I go back to work and peel the license for XP off the scavenged shell of the old computer, stick it neatly on my laptop just underneath the Fucking Vista license, and head back the next day.

I walk up, plop the computer and all the necessary accessories on the counter with a THUMP.

"There. Laptop, power cord, license, drivers. Drop the install to $55"

"Done. See you in 3 days"

Three days later, I walk in the store. This, of course, after 3 calls to them that day sounding like a kid in the back seat prodding, "Are we there yet?" He opens the computer and I hear the familiar chime of XP, like a chorus of angels taking flight…

…Ah…No more Fucking Vista!

After a week and a half, 4 trips to MicroCenter, 4 trips to Computer Builder's Warehouse, several hours spent Googling for solutions, and dozens of hours spent ripping open and arguing aloud with my computer, I'm finally HOME.

Then it occurred to me. I'm thrilled to have Windows XP? I'm actually THRILLED to go back to a clunky and unreliable OS that's 5 years old?! Leave it to Fucking Windows to find a way to make you BLISSFULLY GRATEFUL for XP!

Damn you, Bill Gates! DAAAAMN YOUUUUU!

The next 3 days were spent installing all of my favorite (or at least, most used) programs: Trillian, Firefox, Finale, MSOffice, Media Player 11, MySpace IM, Cool Edit Pro, my new PCTV toy, and a few games – ya know – for the kids.

So now, here I sit. The sun's warm orange glow is casting longer shadows into a beautiful cool evening, and I'm sitting comfortably at my patio set in the backyard, watching the kids play in the 10' inflatable pool, as I type – happily blogging again.

Life has gotten much better. I love my laptop again. :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Week of Hell: Part 1 - Sorrow...

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last real blog…

For the last two weeks I feel like I've been trapped in an updated, Midwestern version of a bad Country/Western song. There has been a laundry list of woes, ranging from minor annoyance to true sorrow, that I honestly should have written about so as to reflect on them for deeper meaning later, however time and circumstances forbade such documenting. I'm going to try and go through the ones I can remember now, but I'm sure I'll leave a few out either due to memory lapses (getting old sucks) or privacy and decorum. The first will likely take up an entire blog. I'll get to the rest later.

Under the category of true sorrow, my wonderful cat and ever-vigilant friend for the past 15 years, my cat Tassie, was laid to rest last week.

Tassie Cat

She had been fighting a urinary tract infection since about January. She had increasing instances of incontinence and would 'leak' wherever she laid down for more than a few minutes. She began to smell constantly and required regular baths, which she wasn't fond of, but patiently tolerated. She couldn't sit or lie down comfortably, could barely walk, and was in extreme pain by the end. After several trips to the vet and 4 runs of antibiotics of increasing strength over the past several months, it had gotten so bad that she was actually infested with (hold down your lunch here) maggots.

Euthanasia is never a decision I have been able to come to lightly, as it shouldn't, but the thought of her suffering any longer just to placate my own emotional weakness was excruciating. I would have been able to tolerate the smelly house and constant cleaning (which Sonya, bless her heart, usually did while I worked my 2 jobs), if she had any prospect of recovering or showed no signs of pain.

Christmas 04 (4)

She has always been there for me in the worst of times to snuggle with me, offer a soothing loud purr, and soft fur to pet and center me. I recall when I spent a few months with my dad in Jersey after high school, she would scratch at my door every night as I went to bed, demanding entrance. I'd open the door, and she'd dart past me and hop on the bed. I would climb in and she would get up, burrow under the sheets and re-emerge, placing her head on the pillow next to me, purring with the ferocity of a 72 Mustang.

She had big, soulful eyes and youthful face and demeanor that always cheered me up. She was a precocious and wily kitten, and an elegant and matronly adult, and absolutely wonderful with my children. She would never let anyone sleep alone if they were blue, angry, or otherwise distraught. My kids would always request her to be in the room at bedtime, and she would almost always oblige.

Tassie & Courtney

She became the adoptive mother/grandmother to our other two cats, Praxis & Lil' Bit (mother and daughter) and assisted in childcare duties when they each had their litters. They, while being obnoxious young upstarts, still always treated her with the proper love and respect she provided them and was owed herself, always moving out of the way as she approached the food and/or water dishes, preening and cleaning each other, and snuggling in comfy spots with her.

She was generous to a fault, frequently trying to help provide for the family by bringing home "meals" of small birds, rodents, and large insects of all kinds, frequently standing proudly next to her offerings as if to say, "Take a rest, my friend. I'll take care of dinner tonight."

She was always loving, never mean or moody, and melted the hearts of anyone she approached, which inevitably started with the most allergic. She wasn't exactly a lap cat, opting to lie down next to people and be petted on what seemed to be her own terms, maintaining that regal air of feline indifference, yet offering social and loving interaction by eagerly responding when summoned.

Tassie was the epitome of a loving cat, while keeping a modicum of her stereotypical aloofness. She was, in my opinion, the perfect pet: low maintenance, loving, and loyal.

I will miss her dearly and can't imagine her being replaced by anyone – human or beast.

God speed, Tassie. I'll see you someday and miss you every second until then.

Coming up next: "The Remainder of My Week of Hell: Things Can Only Get Better"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

100 Things About Me...

A friend of a friend of mine posted her 100th blog and made a list of 100 things about her. Seemed like a good idea and better than a canned survey. Managed to fill the occasional drab moments of the workday over the past 5 hours. 100 things about yourself (without getting too explicit) ain't as easy as it may seem!

Most of this is WAY more than you ever wanted to know about me, and some of it a bit deeper and more thought provoking than I had intended or expected this would be.

Here goes:
  1. I'm a sucker for really good beer.
  2. I'm very ticklish.
  3. I actually LOVE my crappy-paying job.
  4. The job that pays the bills – not so much.
  5. I'm an extremely articulate writer, but in person I tend to have a slower wit and I stammer.
  6. I plan out conversations and witty retorts in my head ahead of time to compensate for #5.
  7. I am completely reliant on the "spell check" feature on my computer.
  8. I wish my first and middle names were reversed.
  9. For those that are curious: knit boxers.
  10. Among non-musicians and less serious musicians, I love feeling like a genius, but if you get me amongst professionals, I'm an idiot and a coward.
  11. I am a social liberal but economic conservative.
  12. I'm becoming more jaded as I grow older, #10 being the first, but hopefully last step.
  13. To most that know me, I'm a very giving and kind person. For those that know me well or live(d) with me, I can be a real selfish bastard.
  14. I cannot STAND holes ANYWHERE in my socks.
  15. For those that didn't know: The Red Chucks I wear are a tribute to my favorite drum corps of all time, the Velvet Knights from Anaheim, CA. Plus they're just comfy as hell.
  16. I love how I look in a suit, but generally dislike wearing them. Hence, I only own 1 (plus a tux for concerts).
  17. When wearing a suit, I will only wear athletic socks. If necessary, under dress socks.
  18. I'm generally opposed to cosmetic surgery, but there is a thing or two I'd have done, myself.
  19. I'm a dichotomy (there ya go, Kel) of egotism and severe self-consciousness regarding my appearance.
  20. I require constant validation regarding things I take pride in. If I don't get it, I fish for compliments. (This includes my blogs, so please comment freely and frequently.)
  21. I am great with faces but absolutely HORRIBLE with names.
  22. If I didn't have to work anymore, "…I would sit on my ass all day. I would do…nothing".
  23. I quote movies WAY too much.
  24. I have an annoying habit of quoting along with movies, usually missing a word or two or messing up the timing, much to the annoyance of those around me.
  25. I, on occasion, pick my nose.
  26. I'm addicted to what is often considered to be the "junk food" forms of classier genres of music. I.E. drum corps, marching bands, barbershop, showtunes, parodies, movie scores, etc.
  27. Aside from occasional bouts of depression that last for a couple days, I'm usually a VERY optimistic person.
  28. I'm not very trusting, but extremely gullible.
  29. My childhood could have filled an entire Jerry Springer SEASON, yet my sister and I are surprisingly well adjusted…for the most part.
  30. I love my family and friends, but have a tendency to take them for granted too much.
  31. Most (but not all) of my nobler decisions, charity, and helpful nature aren't founded in altruism, but fear of consequences, getting caught, or ego gratification.
  32. My brain can suck up useless trivia like a sponge, but useful facts, dates, and pertinent information leaks through like a sieve. Oh well, usually get me ten cents off my coffee at Caribou.
  33. Every time I think I'm the biggest geek in the world and take pride in it, another BIGGER geek comes along.
  34. In 7th & 8th grades I wanted to work for Will Vinton Studios and design Claymation sculptures like the Noid & California Raisins for a living.
  35. I immerse myself in projects, chores and work to distract me when I'm angry, anxious, or depressed.
  36. I have lost the ability to relax during the day. If I'm not earning money or being productive, I get antsy.
  37. #36 becomes invalid past 9pm or so. Then, it's usually Couch Potato time, if possible.
  38. I cannot complete a blog in 1 sitting, generally. I write and edit it over several hours or days. So far this one is going on about 3 hours at work, and I'm only about 1/3 done.
  39. I fear and resist change, but am capable of overcoming that fear it if the fruits of change are sweet enough.
  40. I have never been to a Star Trek, Sci-Fi, or Comic Book convention, but DESPERATELY want to attend one – SOON!
  41. Singing in a good barbershop quartet is one of my greatest joys.
  42. I've been able to sing with 3 world champion quartets so far, in informal situations: Power Play, Gotcha!, and Vocal Spectrum.
  43. My dream job would be either doing voice-overs, marching drill design, or music arranging. Something relatively high-paying, creative, and able to do from home.
  44. The best hourly pay I have ever received has been singing with my quartet. Now if only we could get 20-30 gigs a week…
  45. I have had a crush on Alyssa Milano since I was 12. I had clippings from Tiger Beat and other teen rags of her all over my wall.
  46. I HATE Justin Timberlake on sheer principle. See #45.
  47. If I could be any celebrity, I'd be Wil Smith. I want those looks with that wit, talent, and charm. The money would be nice, too. He can keep Jada.
  48. I cannot imagine being at any point in my life where I would not have ANYONE who would help me recover. That thought has saved me several times.
  49. I usually can't sulk for more than 2 days at a time, consistently. At some point I just get bored and work my way through depression by sheer determination.
  50. Being half way done with a project always helps motivate me to finish.
  51. I once ran so fast, I actually thought I was flying.
  52. I'm an excellent salesman, but the thought of relying on my sales skills for my livelihood scares the hell out of me – especially now, in this economy.
  53. I react to emotional manipulation VERY badly. Guilt trips and orders rarely work with me.
  54. Reverse psychology, on the other hand, works very well on me. I have to think something was MY idea for me to thoroughly enjoy it.
  55. I derive much of my total self-esteem from making others happy.
  56. I love Venice Beach, but could never live in California.
  57. I love the west coast of Ireland, but could (probably) never live there, either.
  58. If I could be any age again, I'd probably be 19 or 20.
  59. I feel absolutely naked without my cell phone, my watch, my wallet, my keys, and now my laptop – whether I need them or not.
  60. I cannot keep the same hairstyle or facial hairstyle for a full year. At some point, usually either in the dead of winter or hottest part of the summer, I'll grow either or both out or shave them.
  61. I usually go back to the same hairstyle for most of the year.
  62. I'm an electronic gizmo junkie.
  63. I'm fairly mechanically intuitive, but numbers and mathematically related things frustrate, confuse, and/or bore me.
  64. I developed my wit and vocabulary as a result of being bullied.
  65. I once talked my way out of being pummeled by a bully by using words he didn't understand and either emasculating him intellectually or just plain confusing him.
  66. I was in the best shape of my life between the ages of 16 and 21.
  67. I marched drum corps every summer between the ages of 16 & 21. Coincidence? I think NOT!
  68. I still find Sonya every bit as attractive now as the day I first saw her.
  69. I find myself more attractive now than when I first met Sonya, but not as attractive as I was a year later (after my first summer of drum corps).
  70. Our kids have our best physical features, and I think at times, a few of our worst emotional traits.
  71. I would do anything for my family.
  72. My car is my locker, my home away from home, and my fortress of solitude. No matter how crappy my car at the time may be, I'm very possessive about who drives it.
  73. I miss my Tassie Cat.
  74. I miss my grandma.
  75. I cannot think in a messy environment.
  76. I go through cleaning blitzes about once every 2 weeks, but am generally a very sloppy person.
  77. I despise indecisiveness – especially in myself.
  78. I hate redundancy. ("Dija GET that memo?")
  79. I LOVE the smell and sight of lilacs.
  80. The scent of diesel fumes and fresh cut grass sends me into silent reverie and reminiscence.
  81. I consider myself a "friend of the family".
  82. I am poor in possessions and material wealth, but rich in meaningful blessings. It would be nice to have a LITTLE material wealth, though!
  83. I NEED a bigger house with my own office/music room.
  84. I would generally pay more for convenience than delay gratification to save money – to a reasonable extent.
  85. I have never had the time to teach myself guitar, but I plan to.
  86. My ukulele is the most fun musical instrument I have ever owned.
  87. It amazes me and confuses me how many people are impressed with my ukulele and my playing thereof.
  88. I have unfair and unjustified subconscious prejudices, but I try to acknowledge them and react properly and respectfully despite them. I'm usually successful, but not always.
  89. I will continue to punch new holes in my old belt until I hit under 200 lbs. Maybe longer.
  90. If I had an extra hour and a half a day to exercise (including prep and subsequent shower), I would.
  91. The only time I can stand being sweaty is during band camps or intentionally exercising.
  92. I would be a much better band director than many (but not all) of those I have worked for, in many, if not most, respects.
  93. I have several close friends of whom I am DEEPLY jealous of their creativity (musically, artistically, and literarily).
  94. I have other close friends of whom I am DEEPLY jealous of their freedom (financially, responsibility-wise, and schedule-wise).
  95. Many of these are one and the same.
  96. I make a point to try and tell my heroes that they are such, preferably before they die.
  97. I will not pay more than $10 for a pair of sunglasses (before tax).
  98. I need to get an eye exam and some regular eyeglasses. Getting old sucks.
  99. I admire and enjoy watching clever commercials.
  100. I am obsessed with pop culture of all eras.