Friday, July 22, 2011

S.H.I.E.L.D.s up!

I was able to get a ticket for a members-only screening at the ArcLight Pasadena for a showing of "Captain America: The First Avenger" before the midnight crowds.  I love being an ArcLight member!  I also love going to movies like this with a crowd that is just excited as I am.  There was a gal there wearing a Captain America mask/hood, so this was one of those occasions.  Before the movie started, the AL guy did his spiel, but it was after he gave out some free Captain America t-shirts and hats (which I did not win).  He also told us that he was excited because the next day would be his 72nd birthday.  Happy Birthday, Frank!  The trailer that got me (and several other people in the audience) excited was the one for "The Amazing Spider-man".  As if an audience such as ours would not be excited about a film based on a Marvel character, right?  Oh, and just so you know, Spider-man has been an Avenger, too.  :)  I learned that from a trivia game. 
  • First shot of the shield, Sherry says out loud, "Yeah!"
  • So, is Chris Evans naturally really skinny, or naturally HELLO, buff!?  Oh, OK.  I've learned that the skinny was digitized by erasing the buff parts.  Neat.  He does a great job in the film as Steve Rogers.
  • Yay!  The original uniform!  Love it.
  • At first, I wasn't sure that the villain was being played by Hugo Weaving.  Then I heard the very deliberate "s" he used at the end of a word, and I knew that it was him.  If he had said, "Mr. Anderson", I would have been TOTALLY sure.  ;)
  • Red Skull has high cheekbones.
  • Hayley Atwell has great lips.  Or great lipstick.  Or a great makeup department that made her lips look like a lipstick commercial.  Seriously, I kept looking at them.
  • "Do you...fondue?"
  • Stanley Tucci was great, as always, as Dr. Erskine.  "What am I doing?  You're having a procedure tomorrow!"
  • I love Tommy Lee Jones as the tough guy.  "He's still skinny."
  • Oh, yay!  Neal McDonough!  I like him.
  • Hey!  It's Iron Man's dad!  Oh, yeah.  There's a bit of the military involved in this movie.
  • "I could do this all day."
  • This really is a war film more than in any of the other Avengers installments.  I'm glad, though, that they didn't show every aspect of every battle, because it would have really dragged for me.
  • That vibranium shield is fake, right?  Because Stephen Colbert has the real one.  ;)
  • I can't believe that after all of the other Avengers movie set-ups, people still leave the theater (and don't return) before the credits are done.  PEOPLE!  Pay your respects, and be rewarded.  Learn, already!
We each received a Captain America poster on our way out.  Nice!  I enjoyed this movie, as I do with most origin stuff, because I like knowing the character progression of heroes.  This was another great installment for The Avengers.  I just watched "Iron Man" on the FX channel today, and now I want to do a whole marathon before May 2012.  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

DLR LotD 07/17/11

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Next time, bring me a churro."  -- Roz, to Adrienne K, on Monsters, Inc.

Happy 56th Birthday, Disneyland!  Thank you for being the source of so many of my friendships!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Die, Bad Bosses, Die!

Post-Potter 7.2, we were hungry.  Allyson wanted burgers, so she chose Islands, where she's been wanting to go for a long time.  She then proceeded to order a chicken sandwich.  Well, at least she enjoyed it.  We then returned to my hometown to see another movie:  "Horrible Bosses".  We needed a little less drama, you know.

We sat behind a couple, and the guy responded to each boss verbally and loudly.  His companion said, "That's why it's called 'Horrible Bosses'."  He wouldn't shut up.  We moved.  Not  even 5 minutes later, we saw the 2 of them leave the theater.  Thank goodness.  Auntie Milda said that they smelled like alcohol.

  • Whoa, Colin Farrell is successfully, purposefully unattractive in this film.  Ick.
  • I totally thought of the scene in "9 to 5" wherein the 3 ladies had different ideas on how to kill their boss.
  • I'm still wondering how they were going to try to kill Dr. Harris, except for the way that Kurt thought he'd do it, which isn't really killing her.
  • Loved Jamie Foxx's character name, and how bad he is at negotiating a deal.
  • "I was drag racing.  I do it all the time"  "In a Toyota Prius?"  "I don't win a  lot."
  • Charlie Day is hilarious in this movie, because he's so very incompetent at whatever he's assigned to do in their plot.  Actually, all 3 of the lead guys are hilarious in their own ways.
  • "I want to bend her over a barrel and show her the 50 states."  What?!
  • I liked the descriptions of the bosses, with big, bold lettering.
  • Yay for Atmanand!  "I'm just going to call you Gregory, because that name is a nightmare."
  • Lex Luthor is allergic to peanuts.  Who knew?
That was fun.  We walked around downtown Monrovia for some shopping at the boutiques and at the street fair before having a yummy dinner at BASIL.  Good times!

Epic Sigh

A few weeks ago, I tried to get tickets for the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: part 2", but was unable to get them for any theater with reserved seating.  I didn't really want to be in line for 4 hours just to get seats together, so we opted for opening day in the daylight hours of the morning.

Auntie Milda and Allyson arrived at my house, and we drove to the Arclight Cinemas at Paseo Colorado for the 10:05 a.m. show.  As with most big openings at the Arclight, they had a special display in their lobby for HP.  This one was of all of the movie posters for HP throughout the years.  Very cool.  
Sher and HP Posters

Allyson and I got even more excited.  I even almost bought a horcrux ring, but refrained. For now. Auntie Milda, having only seen, I think, only the first movie, was really just along for the ride.  Allyson is a huge fan of HP, having grown up reading the books, and I've read the entire series and seen all of the other movies many, many times.  We took our seats, and a few minutes later, a lady 2 seats away said to me, "Excuse me, are you ditching work?"  OMG, it was Yvette, my dental hygienist!  She was there with her daughter, Kendra, and Kendra is a big fan, with Yvette just providing parental accompaniment.  I told Yvette that she and Auntie Milda should sit next to each other so they could nap together.  We saw a few people wearing fan gear, and Kendra spied 2 people with wands.  I want one!  This was the very first time that Allyson and Auntie Milda had ever seen a movie in 3-D.  I got even more excited that they were experiencing something new.

Well, here goes.  The last of the Potter series.  

  • The film assumes that you know what's going on when it starts.  No recap.  If you don't remember what happened in DH1, then I recommend that you give it a viewing before you go.  
  • Ron + Hermione scenes = cuteness.
  • Harry + Ginny scenes = chemistryless.
  • Hermione, as Bellatrix: "Good morning!"  
  • Awesome battle scenes of Hogwarts vs. Voldemort's army.  I loved how they protected the school with the shield and the statues.  
  • Professor McGonagall is awesome.  "I've always wanted to do that spell."
  • Molly Weasley kicks ass, too!  Protect your babies, woman!  
  • FYI: Giants are really, really, big.
  • The battle scenes between Harry and Voldemort were epic. EPIC. Loved them.
  • Neville, Neville, Neville.  I heart you muchly.
  • I cried a lot when they showed the aftermath of the war, probably because my brain made me forget who survived and who didn't in the book.  Allyson even had to ask me if I was OK.  I told her later that I cry at most movies, so no worries.
  • I really liked the way that Snape's story was told.  Tears!
  • While I was happy that they showed the epilogue to the story, I still wish that SOME people had more chemistry with each other.  Still boring.
Sigh.  It was wonderful.  It's over.  I'm back to being fulfilled and empty at the same time.

Thank you to J.K. Rowling for providing such a great story, to the filmmakers and cast for an exciting ride, and especially to Daniel, Emma and Rupert for letting us see you grow up over the years in this endeavor.  

I need to see that again!  And again.  And again.  ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lightning, Lightning, Go Away!

Drums Along The Rockies -- Denver
Invesco Field at Mile High
Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bro & Sher 1 mile above sea level
Bro and I walked to The Delectable Egg for breakfast, which was just a couple of blocks away from our hotel.  We decided to walk around the city to be tourist-y, and took the free shuttle up 16th Street to get to the State Capitol building.  There, we took a picture on the steps, where there is a marker showing that we were one mile above sea level. 

We then walked over to the US Mint, which was closed for the weekend.  Afterward, we returned to the hotel and I blogged about the previous day's activities before we went to lunch at Appaloosa Grill, which was yummy.  Mmmm....Truffle Fries.  Then we checked out the clock tower that was near our hotel, and returned to the hotel to relax.  We checked out the pool, which was outside on a rooftop, and I liked that there was a lap section.  The guy working there told us to check out the fitness room, and that there was a basketball court.  Ooh!  We shot some hoops and I wouldn't leave until I hit a 3-pointer.  I'm so out of practice that I had to take granny shots to even get close to the hoop from that range.  My arms are still sore as I type this.

We were thinking of walking to a drumline competition at Invesco then walking back, but we felt raindrops and decided to just wait until the actual show.  I'm glad that we didn't actually walk to the stadium, because from the drive we took, it seemed like it would have been a long walk...and then if it had rained on us, I'm sure I would have been quite unhappy.  

Drumline Competition
I was quite pleased with the seats that Bro had bought for us:  on the right 40-yard line, on Club Level (3rd level), 18 rows up in the level.  The best part about it was that we were covered by the tier above us, so even if it rained, we wouldn't need the ponchos that I brought.  It seems that we didn't miss the entire drumline competition, as the last part of it took place before the actual show.  Competing lines were from area high schools: Legacy,  Cherry Creek and Arapahoe.  Congratulations to Legacy High School on your win!  The presentation of the colors was by different servicepeople from the Armed Forces, with the Star-Spangled Banner played by a guest soloist, whose name, I think, was Dr. Andy Smart.  The announcer's sound system was horrid and none of us in our row could really be clear on what was actually being said.  Then it came time for the actual competition.

Peace Flags
Hey, the drum major is OK, so I guess yesterday's fall wasn't a big deal.  The CG had a lot of drops, starting with the very first solo rifle toss.  Today, I liked the soprano soloists more than the low brass ones.  There were more corps members grooving this time.  The CG added a spoken line of "All you need is love!!!"  That's new.

The women sitting in back of us were talking during this corps' entire show, and I was going nuts.  Bro assured me that they would stop talking.  I was ready to ask them if they were going to ever stop talking, because if not, maybe they could refund me the money that we paid for the seats.  Thank goodness that Bro was right.  They didn't talk during any more of the shows.

Finally got the tenors in the shot!
The announcer said that they were from San Diego, but the big board showed that they were from Torrance.  The amplifiers used for the narration worked much better than that for the actual announcer.  I would rather that it was the other way around, since this narration bugs me.  The horns sounded great, except for a little bit of the ballad.  The mello duet was mic'd, but I'm not sure that it needed to be.  This must have been their biggest stadium to play in to date.  I was really proud of them for doing so well, probably because I remember how small they used to be.

Plane Flags
Before the show started, a dude sitting nearby said that the CG "look like they're wardens in a federal prison."  The CG was having problems with their unison moves.  I like that at the end, the person holding the actual city flag gets to wave theirs while the others stay still.

While they were setting up the pit, the cymbals marched out.  That was weird.  Bro figured it out and explained that they had come in through the wrong tunnel and needed to go back with the corps proper, which had some trouble getting the boxes out of the tunnel. 

They started their show, and midway through, they stopped.  It had begun to rain and we were under a severe lightning storm warning. It is not good to be holding metal poles and instruments in an open field in a lightning storm.  Did you know that?  ;)  So we were on a rain delay of 15 minutes.  Bro and I went inside to get refreshments, as this would be an early intermission and they probably wouldn't have the scheduled one anymore.  

Then we saw this in the sky, and they let the Cascades back into the stadium to warm up while letting the field dry off a little bit.  It's also not good for people to be running around on a wet field.  More on that later. APPARENTLY, the sound people had figured out that they needed to fix the announcer's system, because it was fine by the end of intermission.

The Cascades' show has some scary narration.  I think that the lead CG took one of The Academy's discarded wings, because I don't remember her having that white cloth the day before.  I like that before the eye flags are revealed, they have 2 of them peek out of the middle box.
Box at end of show

! Flags
The corps walked onto the field and the guy next to me said, "Those are snazzy uniforms!"  He and his companions were completely blown away by this show.  The other guy said, "That's now one of my most favorite shows ever."  Nice!  Very strong soprano solo at the beginning.  I really, really like this show.  And now the Little Fugue is in my head as I type this.  I pointed out the ! formation to Bro, and he showed me the other one.  APPARENTLY, they're done at the same time, with one upside down.  That would match their cool flags!  

Here, finally, is a shot of the cool new CG uniform with the matching flag.  Bro is impressed by my total 180 on my opinion of the shiny pants.  ;)

Bottledance Position at Beginning
Weird Leg Position
The first guy running fell on the wet field (I told you it was bad), so I was worried, but everything else went OK.  All of the high tosses were caught: yay!  The horns sounded better than yesterday, but I still need to hear them more at the Forte.  I finally saw the triple 6 formation.  Bro pointed out that they only had 4 tenors in the drumline.  I wondered what would happen if a cymbal player was injured.  That would ruin the cool Viper stuff at the end.  I was going to yell, but didn't hear anyone else around me at that moment.  Someone did yell about a beat after I would have, so now I'm confused.  

My favorite flags
The announcers all say that they are "Drum Corps' classical music identity."  I get that.  The show was beautiful, and I got my emotion back during Elsa.  I got chills at the sight of Juliet coming up the middle of the field at the end.  Yes, I've seen that before.  I was just glad to feel something again.  

Wow!  This was my first time to see their show in person, and I love it.  I love all of the red vs. white, all of the separation and mixtures of the colors, and the different characterizations of the Angels vs. the Demons.  They even have black drums vs. white drums, and a drum battle during the percussion feature.  The entire corps has poles at one point, and the angels discard them neatly by placing them in a row, while the demons just throw them aside carelessly.  Bro said that the week before, he saw the thrown poles almost hit the BD pit, whom were at the side of the field.  Hmm...  Well, they're devils, too.  They should know how demons are going to act.  Here's a look at just one difference:  these formations are done on the field simultaneously.
Angels in Wing Formation

Demons in Pitchfork Formation
Cool Black/White sticks
Some of the solos were not really in tune, but at least those were short solos.  I just noticed tonight that the asterisks placed around the house at the end resemble flowers along the walkway.  They had to position the boxes horizontally in order to get them through the tunnel.

BK Beginning of Show
I like how the gal tosses the saber, it comes down, and she makes it spin a little bit more horizontally before she catches it.  Good sound, BK!  

They did the instant encore, same as last night, with a piece from their show, followed by their singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You."  Bro was happy again.

Their drumline played as the corps left the field.  I would have liked it if they kept playing while the leaders entered the field, but, alas, I am not in charge.


55.05 -- High Country Brass

71.90 -- Gold
72.90 -- Revolution

66.15 -- Cascades
73.75 -- Academy
77.25 -- Blue Knights
79.20 -- SCV
79.55 -- Phregiment
82.20 -- BD
82.75 -- Cadets

Due to the rain delay and people not moving quickly out of the parking lot, Bro and I were exhausted by the time we returned to the hotel.  We had also encountered heavy traffic on 14th Street, due to the very active bar scene on that street.  We woke up early this morning to catch our flights, and I took a nap for about 3 hours once I got home.

I'll have to wait until August until my next drum corps show.  Or maybe I'll watch one of the shows online.  Until then, good luck to the corps, and safe travels to you!  See you in Indy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Box Along The Rockies

Drums Along The Rockies
Loveland High School -- Loveland, CO
Friday, July 8, 2011

I woke up early and mostly just lounged around all morning, save for a trip downstairs to the in-house Starbucks for breakfast.  It was a gorgeous morning, but the weather reporter said that there would be thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Uh-oh.  Then I heard drums.  I hurriedly put on my shoes, grabbed my camera, and went outside.  

Ooh, Taiko!  APPARENTLY, the city of Denver, in conjunction with Southwest Airlines, does a summer concert series on Fridays at noon.  Today's was just outside my hotel.  How nice for them to provide entertainment tailored just for me today!  The group's name is Mirai Daiko, which translates to "Taiko of the Future" or something like that.  Aw, that reminds me of the ice skater Mirai Nagasu.  But this is drumming we're talking here!  They integrated traditional Taiko drumming with modern beats like swing and hip hop.  It was very cool, and I only saw them drop their sticks twice, which is quite impressive, considering the choreography that they did.  Between percussion numbers, they would change the configuration while one of them played the koto (a string instrument), or sang, or played the tambourine.  These ladies kicked butt, and they get to play big drums!
Mirai Daiko
The time then came for me to pick up Bro at the airport.   His flight had left on time, and was scheduled to arrive on time, too.  But no.  When I arrived at the cell phone lot, I checked his flight, and it had been delayed 15 minutes.  15 minutes passed.  I checked again, but still no update.  His plane finally landed about 70 minutes after the originally scheduled time, because they had been in a holding pattern due to the thunderstorms.  I had only experienced a little bit of rain on the way to the airport, but I guess it's different when you're in the air.

We drove to Loveland, and were prepared to pay at the tolls, but for some reason, they were all closed, so that was cool.  I was really hungry by this time, so when we were finally outside the Denver area, we stopped at Pepper Jack's, where we had yummy sandwiches, and also ordered one to go for the ride home.  Pepper Jack's slogan is "Enter as strangers, leave as friends."  Aw, we made friends with people whose names I can't remember.  Bro wondered later if you're a stranger again when you return to the restaurant.

We arrived at Loveland HS with plenty of time to kill prior to the event, and talked to Bro's friend at the Phregiment souvie trailer.  Another one of the volunteers, whom had been sitting on a nearby curb, spied Bro's very cool 1SCVFAN shoes and whispered to his friend, "Ask him to show you his shoes!"  Oh, yes, his shoes are famous, and she was already aware of them.  :)  She told us stories of their travels since we last saw her, and then we finally went into the stadium.  Our seats were 26 rows up, just to the left of the 50.  Dark clouds loomed nearby, and I had ponchos for both of us at the ready.  We felt a few drops and put on our hats, but that was it.  We willed the clouds to go around us.  Their was a 15-month old boy next to me named Brody whom was attending his first drum corps show.  He was very cute and I was excited for him.

The Star-Spangled Banner was played by the Loveland High School Crimson Regiment, dressed in t-shirts and khaki shorts.  We heard some alumni moaning that they had to wear jeans last year.  Jeans would have looked better.  They played well.  There was no flag on the flagpole, presumably because it had been raining.  The colors were presented by Associated Veterans.

EXHIBITION:  Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts
Repertoire:  "Pandora" (musical selections not provided)

Smoking Box
There was a huge box near the field, and it was smoking.  I didn't think it had anything to do with the show until they announced the name.  I liked the geometric flags.  At one point, the second drum major seemed to just be supervising the color guard in the middle of the field, then later he/she was spinning a flag.  Interesting.  A mellophone player was dancing with two of the CG girls at another point.  Someone from the audience yelled in the middle of the show, "OPEN THE BOX!" and it did open, but never all the way, and the only thing that came out of it was more smoke.

Repertoire:  "Blood, Sweat and Tears" -- You've Made Me So Very Happy, Lacretia MacEvil, Sometime In Winter, Go Down Gambling all by Blood, Sweat and Tears

A sign that stayed upright
They had signs with day-glo paint, about which Bro remarked, "This needs to be a dark ride."  The CG was dressed as hippies.  One gal's bell bottoms looked like pizza slices.  The signs were in the way, I guess, because one got knocked over by one of the corps members.  At one point, I heard talking behind me, and turned around to give the person an evil eye, but then I realized that it was one of the judges talking into their tape.  They had a lot of jazzy solos/duets, and I liked the lower brass ones.  Not all of the non-soloists were grooving during the solos, which made the groovers look weird.  They should fix that.  I liked their peace flags, and wondered if the guy that hand paints the Blue Knights' flags also did these.  After the show was done, the drum major fell off of the stand while getting down.  He waved to the crowd and said he was OK.

Repertoire: "Ride" -- Windsprints by R. Saucedo, Nitro  by F. Ticheli, The Heart Asks Pleasure First by M. Nyman and C. Botello, Original Work by M. Peterson, Ride by S. Hazo

I saw the CG bring on tires while wearing aviator caps, and guessed that they were building a plane.  I like the scarves that they wear.  Ooh, the lightning flags are pretty!  I hoped that they weren't foreshadowing for the rest of the night.  The plane flags, which kind of looked like sharks,  were cool, and I liked the way that they wove them so that the nose of the plane was always pointing in the direction that the flag was going.  They also had flags with the names of the cities where they've been or are going to on the tour.  The narration wasn't too bad, because it was sparse.  


Gold Drumline
Bro guessed correctly, and we were told that this was Gold's first show outside of California.  Today, they were from San Diego.  There was even more narration than in Riverside, and I was highly annoyed.  I also didn't really like the applauding of themselves at the end.  I forgot to take a picture of the tenors when the narrator said to get the tenors in the shot.  I also didn't get a picture of the drumline kneeling, which was cool.  The percussion feature was very strong and well-done. 

Repertoire: "Pandora -- A Dark Gift" -- Pandora -- A Dark Gift by J. Hinkel and C. Grant, My Immortal by D. Hodges, A. Leo and B. Moody 

So as the Cascades arrive, I see that they have huge PVC flourescent yellow cubes, as well as a big orange cube made of stretchy fabric in a basket weave design.  I told Bro that they were going to build a big fluorescent house.  I'm now convinced that everyone is building houses this year.  The corps uniforms are a lighter green than I'm used to, and the plumes on their shakos are almost fluorescent.  I miss their old, classier uniforms.  The CG looked like sexy bumblebees with skirts, because their breasts were accentuated and they were wearing yellow with black accents.  At one point, the lead CG was also holding a smaller purple box.  I wasn't sure which one was supposed to be the real box, but people were trying to get out of the big orange box, coming in and out of the same box, and sticking their hands through to the outside of the box.  I liked the effect of all of the PVC boxes being tilted.  I liked the last ballad.  It was pretty, and I kept trying to think of the lyrics.  I eventually looked it up at intermission.  At the end, the people in the box were sticking their horns out through the weave.  I liked it more than the other Pandora show, but how weird is it that 2 corps have the theme of Pandora?  At least they're not in the same division.

The announcer here should not be an announcer.  He was having a lot of difficulty with several words.  The best goof was with the word "certificates".  He was saying "certificatesis".  He tried to say the word about 5 times, and never got it right.  He also told us to "come on down here and see the chicken."  There was a guy in a chicken suit giving out gift certificates to some restaurant or something.  

Fuschia now
O.M.G., THAT's your GE!  Their general effect score should go way up, now that they have their complete guard costumes.  I now even like the shiny pants.  The wings are now an actual blouse, and they are fuschia.  Toward the end of the show, they don bright green vinyl-looking coats with tails and a cool green hat with stripes that match their final flags.  NICE.  Now everything makes visual sense to me.  They received a great crowd reaction, and Bro heard one of the judges say that he likes the sound.  They added a new section, and it was just all done very well.  I wasn't sure about the intonation of the soloist and the opening number at the beginning, though.  Ooh, they make a formation of an exclamation point!  I saw it on the right side of the field, and Bro has seen it before on the left side.  I wonder if it changed or if there are 2 of them.  


Beautiful music, Phantom!  Although it seemed a little bit soft.  Are they still trying to adjust to the altitude?  The emotion still felt a little bit flat, and Bro wonders if it's because the music is so familiar and he's just not really feeling it anymore.  
Phregiment with the Capulet Flags


Bro told me to get a picture of the horns in their weird leg position, which I hadn't noticed before, but I got a picture that was kind of fuzzy.  I apologize for the pictures for tonight, by the way, as many of them came out blurry.  The CG had several drops of their big batons, so it was either really windy on the field, or they were anticipating wind and it didn't happen when they actually threw their batons.  A couple of them came down nowhere near the CG that threw them up.  I said "Vanguard" very quietly.  Bro forgot to say it because he was too busy watching the cymbal line.  Their sound was also subdued.
Vanguard Flags A-Spinning
Repertoire: "An English Folk Song Suite" -- First Suite in Eflat for Military Band (Op.98, No. 1) by G. Holst, English Folk Song Suite Suite by R. V. Williams, Sheperd's Hey/Molly on the Shore by P. Grainger, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus by R. V. Williams

Orange drums.  Really?  Of course, Bro loves it.  He wants to own the entire drumline.  No problem with sound here!  They're used to this altitude.  I like that percussion feature and all of the stuff that happens in the background.  I especially liked when the snares change to the soft mallets like the English corps and spin their mallets.  Too cool.  The lines, though: sigh.  My advice:  if you are supposed to be in a straight line ON the marked yard line, USE IT.  I noticed that the mello players had something attached to their backs: it turned out to be sheaths for the CG sabers.  Great guard work.

ENCORE:  Blue Knights
Bro:  "Please sing!"  I tried to remember what he was so excited about.
They did a piece from their show, then Bro's wish came true.  They sang!  "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" was sung and played and Bro was very, very happy. Then I remembered the video that he showed me of their encore when they were in AZ 2 years ago.  It was way cool.

BK singing


50.75 -- High Country Brass

70.95 -- Gold
71.25 -- Revolution

5) 65.15 -- Cascades
4) 73.55 -- Academy
3) 78.10 -- Blue Knights
2) 79.15 -- SCV
Then Bro guessed what Phregiment's score would be, and he was right. on. the. nose!
1) 80.70 -- Phregiment

Bro was in rare form tonight.  He had seen a judge before the show started, and wondered aloud if it was a certain guy.  Then they announced the judges, and Bro was right.  It was crazy.

Brody was mainly paying attention throughout the show, only missing 2 corps.  I told him to be in a drum corps when he grows up so that we could come and watch him.  He was adorable.

We drove back to the hotel while eating our Monte Cristo sandwiches from Pepper Jack's.  There was a lot of lightning on the horizon, but we were thankful that none of it had come our way, and we were able to watch the entire show.  We hope for the same luck for the show at INVESCO.

Up Next:  Drums Along The Rockies -- Denver

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Rocky Trip to the Rockies

This year in our planning for Drum Corps season, Bro decided that he was tired of just going to Indianapolis, so I asked him where he'd like to go.  He decided on Denver.  I agreed, remembering what a great time we had in 2004 for Finals.  So I proceeded to book a hotel via, and inadvertently booked for an extra day.  Oops.  Yes, I got the hotel I wanted for a good price, but it's non-refundable, so I kinda screwed myself over.  So then I had to ask for an extra day off, bummer.  ;)

Flash forward (ha!) to today, and I checked the weather.  Uh-oh: thunderstorms for tonight, isolated showers for tomorrow and Saturday.  May I remind you that drum corps is largely an OUTDOOR activity?  Oh, well, we'll see what happens.  We've been through that before, in Orlando, and, actually, in Denver.  

I drove to ONT and got my bag checked, noticing that my flight was delayed 35 minutes.  Well, that's not too bad.  Then we got up in the air, and as we were approaching DEN, the pilot announced that we were in a holding pattern because the airport was closed due to thunderstorms.  When somebody tells me that something is closed, I figure that they'll just open the next day, so that worried me.  But we were only in the holding pattern for about 10-15 minutes (I don't really know, because I forgot my watch at home).  Then we landed on the tarmac, we had to sit tight for awhile before a gate became available.  

We finally were able to get off of the plane, and I took the train to the main terminal to get my bag.  When I saw the signs, I thought, "Uh-oh.  I wasn't listening when they told us which baggage carousel number I was supposed to look for.  Wait.  Did they tell us the number?"  Luckily for me, I know how to read.  I found the screen that showed the baggage carousel for my flight, which was number 8.  Lots and lots of bags were going around, and none of them were mine.  I heard an announcement that I could have sworn said #8, and then said that oversize baggage like crates and lightning rods and golf clubs could be found across from Carousel 8.  Wait.  Lightning rods?!  Do people actually transport those, or was the guy just making a joke about golf clubs and I missed the sarcasm?  Anyway, my bag never showed up, and I kept seeing the same lonely bags go around, waiting for their owners.  The screens above the carousels were not helpful at all, just notifying what planes had arrived.   Since Southwest also uses Carousel 7, I checked there briefly, but didn't see it.  I went back to #8:  no new bags.  So I decided to really look at what was at #7, and finally saw my bag.  I started to chase it until I realized it would come around again eventually, and I wasn't in any hurry.  

Bag in hand, I headed to the Hertz shuttle to get to the rental cars.  I noticed that the driver's name was Troy, and the manager's name was Tim Burton.  This made me a little scared, wondering what kind of creepy adventure I had just begun.  When we arrived at Hertz, I followed a lady out the front door of the bus, which was not sheltered from the rain, unlike the exit that I should have taken, which had shelter.  Then I went inside and saw that there were self-service kiosks, but wasn't sure if I should use them because I had reserved through AAA.  I got in line to talk to an agent, but one of the employees was advising us all that self-service was available, so I tried that.  The kiosk available was one with a phone, not the computer-only kind.  I sat on hold for awhile without even talking to anyone, then a regular express kiosk opened, so I went to that one instead.  Things were going fine until the very end, wherein the screen told me that they couldn't give me a car, and that I needed to talk to an agent.  Oy.  So I went back to the original line.  The lady that had been directing us was surprised to see me, because she had been there with me until it looked like I was good to go with the express kiosk.  I figured that technology was not happy with me today, so it was no big deal.  I checked in with the agent and walked to the space where the car was parked.  I don't know why I couldn't go down the correct aisle in the first place, so I walked around a bit before finding the car.  When I got to the car, I was about to open the trunk, and realized that I didn't have my luggage.  I walked back to the rental building and didn't see it anywhere, then realized that when I had walked out the front door of the shuttle, I didn't reach over to get my bag.  AUGH!  I waited for a shuttle to arrive, but it wasn't the same driver.  Luckily for me, I had remembered Troy's name, and told this driver, whose name is Mesfin.  He said that Troy was on a break, but he would check his bus.  Nope, not there.  Again, luckily for me, Troy was in the rental building taking his break, and he said that he had brought it to the Lost and Found in the same building.  He nicely retrieved it for me, and I thanked them both very much.  

I went back to the car, and looked at the directions that I had printed.  When I'm going somewhere unfamiliar, I try to get more than one set of directions because different sites give different instructions.  I realized that I had 3 sets of directions that gave me 3 different exits to use to get to the hotel.  Yikes!  Technology again was being mean to me, and I couldn't get to the hotel site directions on my phone, so I picked the simplest instructions.  Mind you, it was dark and rainy, so I was anxious about the drive to Downtown Denver.  I made it just fine, though.

I handed the car keys over to the valet because now Jenn has spoiled me for all Starwood hotels, and I didn't feel like parking it myself.  I checked in, ordered room service (a yummy broiled green tea-infused salmon on pan-roasted sweet potatoes and spinach), and now I have time to relax before going to sleep, because I've eaten way late and can't go to sleep quite yet.

Wow.  I wasn't planning on blogging about tonight, but how could I not?  It all started because I was such a doofus about the dates when I booked this very nice hotel.  I hope that the weather does get better, because Bro flies in tomorrow afternoon, and we want to be able to actually watch the shows for which we have tickets, you know?  Wish us luck!

DLR LotD 07/04/11

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Monday, July 4, 2011

"If I didn't flick it, I wouldn't have known." -- Ryan, at Catal

Monday, July 4, 2011

REpeat the Ridiculous in Riverside

Western Corps Connection
Riverside City College -- Wheelock Stadium
Sunday, July 3, 2011

I went to my parents' house after church today to hang out with the family before Rudy and Jeff arrived so that we could carpool to RCC.  Thanks to Bro for driving so that we could catch up with each other on the way there.  We arrived at RCC and got in different lines for different food items, since all the lines were getting long.  I asked Bro to find out why the woman in the Phregiment booth was there again, and not with SCV, so he did.  It turns out that she's working the trailer as a personal favor to the corps director, whom used to be the director for Vanguard.  She also used to march for Phregiment.  Well, now it all makes sense, thank you.

We missed the Star-Spangled Banner because we were busy getting our food.  The announcer was already being not-my-favorite announcer before we even sat down.  

Repertoire: "Dream Riffs: Something Borrowed, Something Blues" -- I. Baroque Samba by D. Meader, II. Autumn Leaves by J. Kosma, III. Nutville by H. Silver

The drum major was getting all into the jazziness of the show, which was fun to watch.  I like Autumn Leaves, especially the mello quintet and solo.  That soloist looked like he was about 8 years old.  You go with that screaming soprano solo!  Three color guard members dropped their flags simultaneously.  It was breezy at that time, so that must have been giving them trouble.

Repertoire: "The Sounds of Our City" -- City of Angels by Ozomatli, Saturday Night by Ozomatli, La Pistola y el Corazon by Los Lobos, At Last by E. James,  Sunless Saturday by Fishbone

Where is their color guard?  They have a CG staff, so what is going on?  The DM was wearing a very short, sheer skirt, and, APPARENTLY, she was also much more tan than she was last night.  Her salute was lackluster, which puzzles me, because her conducting is very sharp, unlike her limp salute.  I like the Los Lobos number, which made me say that they were "drum corps mariachi".  They had intonation problems, but I like the soloists, and I with that they were all that talented.  I like the mello solo for At Last.

Repertoire:  "Tribute" -- Symphony No. 3, Mvt. 4 by V. Giannini, Variations on a Korean Folk Song by J. B. Chance, Corral Nocturne (from Rodeo) by A. Copland, Hoe-Down (from Rodeo) by A. Copland, Copland Finale (The Red Pony, Fanfare for the Common Man) by A. Copland

Go, Justin!  (He's a mellophone player in the corps whom is my friend's daughter's friend.  No, I've never met him).  Arirang!  Rudy and I learned to sing that Korean folk song when we were on a choir tour to Seoul.  That was my favorite song of their show, and it segued well between the pieces that surrounded it.  They need to clean up the Copland, because it's such a well-known piece.  Cool drum feature.

Repertoire:  "Reel to Real" -- Lights, Camera, Action all by S. Director (Brass section designer for the corps)

I like their uniforms.  They don't know where they come from, though, because they're listed as hailing from 3 different places in the same program.  The CG was pretending to take pictures of each other during the pre-show.  I was annoyed by the narration, because they didn't really need it.  Good sound.  Go, Tenors!  The gold horns work well with the Hollywood theme.  They applaud themselves politely at the end of the show.  Oh, I get it!  The ticking sound I'm hearing is the sound of a film reel on the projector!

Repertoire:  "Play Ball!" -- The Final Game (from A League of Their Own) by H. Zimmer, The Final Game (from The Natural) by R. Newman, Drum Feature by J. Iraheta and A. Mendoza, Take Me Out to the Ballgame by J. Norworth, Training Playoffs (from A League of Their Own) by H. Zimmer

I like the baseball uniforms, and they still get to wear their Converse sneakers.  The DM salute starts with a pitch -- that's cool.  I like the flags with the baseball stitching.  Cool percussion feature with CG giving coaching signals, and the drummers handed baseballs to the CG.  This is what happens when you let baseball players do contemporary dance.  We were told to stand up and sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, which pretty much guarantees a standing ovation when done at the end.  However, I see that this was not the last song listed in the program, so maybe they're not yet done with the show.


Fruit Stripe Gum Flag Toss
This will now be called "Be-bop It!" thanks to V, because it reminds us of that game where you have to push, pull, twist and turn.  Great sound!  Oh, so the twisting of the flag around the pole is actually on purpose.  OK.  And now my ears hurt.  In a good way.  Jeff and Rudy were very impressed with the improvement of the corps.  I have really grown to like the music since I heard it in the previous night's encore.  

CG was much better tonight, but they really need to work on their unison.  Nice section solos, especially by the contras.  Their flags are definitely practice flags, because the poles are old and banged up.  I hope that they have their new flags when we see them later this week.  Then maybe I can take pictures of them.


Soprano Soloist at start
So the announcer is doing the Airgram thing, and one of them says, "To the Academy Contras:  Tuba or Not Tuba.  That is the question."  He said it, like, 3 times, then said that we not only get drum corps here, we also get Shakespeare.  The CG pants are too shiny for me.  I really like the color of the drums.  BTW, Josh Duhamel's younger self is still playing the marimba for The Academy.  I now understand those green flags during the percussion feature:  they're repeat signs!  This is such a kickass show.  Rudy was so amazed that all he could say was "Ridiculous."  He later said that he was blown away by the music.  Jeff was digging the uniforms.

!!!! Flag Toss

SCV Start

Awesome SCV Drums
Marimbas were kicking BUTT!  This is now my favorite show for this year.  I really like those green drums.  So that mello player that was dancing with the CG -- does he actually play the horn, too?  Did the Vanguard yell and Bro did it, too, along with some other people in another section.  Maybe there will be more than 10 of us by Finals night.  ;)

Double Purple Flags

Juliet is Alive at the End...For Now
"SUTA!" from, like, 3 voices in the stands.  It's so different from Finals week.  I love this music, but why didn't I feel the same emotion that I did last night?  Strange.  The horns didn't feel as powerful tonight.  Rudy did not cry, so my prediction was wrong.  He also did not sing the Mozart Requiem after it was done, so my prediction was wrong about that, too.  I've lost my touch.  Anyway, Bro and I are predicting that on Finals night, Juliet is going to kill herself on the DM stand.  She'll probably use a saber.

Soprano Soloist
I told Rudy that the 5 lines on the BD uniform signify the lines of a music staff.  He responded with "Every Good Boy Does Fine."  If you do not understand this, you probably never learned how to read music.  Didn't your mothers ever tell you not to throw the rifle in the house?  The people behind me do not like this show, nor did the lady like the fact that the horn line bowed at one point.  Bro and V have decided that the asterisks they are carrying are for a bunch of footnotes.  Hey -- foot (marching) and notes (music)!  Clearly, it's late as I type this and I've gone loony.  I didn't feel this show tonight, either.  Weird.  Jeff said, "This is supposed to be a competition, right?  It seemed like, with those poles in different spots, they'd be able to make their lines better."  He elaborated more on it later when the scores were given, saying that they got help from the poles.

House with Rifle Toss

For some reason, the encore was not so instant.


50.75 -- So Cal Dream
The announcer gave the name of the corps before the score, then gave some lame excuse.  Dude.  You have been doing this for many years, and you still can't get it right?!  AUGH!

Open Class
4) 48.25 -- City Sound
3) 59.55 -- VK
2) 66.15 -- Impulse
1) 69.00 -- Gold

World Class
6) 65.70 -- Mandarins
5) 66.85 -- PC
4) 72.30 -- Academy
3) 77.75 -- SCV
2) 77.85 -- Phregiment
1) 80.45 -- BD

ENCORE:  Blue Devils
They did their drumline warm-up, then the horns did the F-tuning.  Then they did a couple of songs from their show, during which the soprano trio did not need their microphone.  No special stuff added.  Lame.

So none of us really liked BD's show tonight, mostly due to the choice of music.  It's going to be interesting to see these corps go back to head-to-head battle with the other top 8 that played on Premiere night.