Midday Report

So, it’s only 4:10 in the afternoon, but it feels like it’s 2 in the morning. I think I’m tired.
THSSO started again. Sadly, Kyung is now 3 chairs down; my new buddy is Naomi, who naturally isn’t as awesome, being white and all. The music is okay; just like all other orchestra music, you get some composers who hate tubas (AKA beethoven who doesn’t use them and Bizet who lets them rest for half the music, then play downbeats for rest), or some who appreciate the glory of the instrument like Dvorak. 4th movement New World is about all I have to look forward to as far as playing goes. I imagine that it’s going to be a long orch season. But Janda is back, so we’ve got some cover. Englemann may be a butt, but I think he fears being too rough on band kids because he fears Janda. Mebbe we’ll sound good this year because of that.
Worked 7 hrs today at the Mu Alpha Theta contest. I have more than enough hours for NHS now. It’s interesting what things you hear teachers say when in a relatively casual situation. You can get some pretty good dirt, which of course has to stay confidential. It wasn’t bad overall. 7 hrs to play games on the computer, do a little sorting, and screw around. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be able to finish hours. Most are blowoff ones anyways that, for one club or another, you have to be at ‘neways.
School sucks. I just thought I’d reiterate that. After losing tuesday to THSSO and House(yes, it’s that important), I come home on wed, extremely tired, and take a nap for about an hour, then read Grapes of Wrath until 11 at night. And get raped on both tests (but at least I passed; many can’t even say that much). I worried about that class again, which isn’t good. I was hoping that I’d have figured out Shellum by now, but clearly not so. Then again, if the Srs are still flunking tests, I don’t think I’m going to figure it out this soon.
The Masquerade Party was a bit of a disappointment. The acts were few, and not particularly inspired. For no apparent reason, somehow the tubas got 3rd in the food drive. I didn’t think we were a generous section, but there is a major advantage to being small. The Scavenger Hunt was interesting. Out of the 26 items, we had something for 23-24 of them. Afterwards, we realized we only had 8 real items… though we got credit for twice that much. While getting real items is important, it’s even more important to be able to fake… and even more important to be able to lie and trick the judges to pass them off.
Thanksgiving Break in one week!
And nerd football friday!

Basically Over

When Janda had his touching speech after our final performance, it was kinda odd: it’s over.
We’ve spent over 100 hrs practicing for this show, and just like that, it’s over.
No more watching drill to find things to fix, no more playing this music, no more marching this drill. I’m not too sure how to feel, for our final performance felt really great, and it was a blast to finish on, and looking through all our struggles this year, it is truly incredible where we ended.
Yet I have this nagging feeling to could have been so much more.
It had probably the most brilliant tuba part I’ve ever seen/heard. Watching the other bands at the contest, I noticed that even though some of the tubas had some nice visuals, about all they did was stand in the back and play long notes. We had a crazy cool bass line, lots of attention in the front in the field, and just a fun part. Overall, the entire show was incredibly well written, with exciting music coupled with tough, tough drill and lots (at least for the JET band) of visuals. It still bothers me though, for as good as we felt after our performance sat, how would we have felt if we had played together, them columns had been evenly spaced, and those curves been?
To think that it’s already been 3 yrs of marching is shocking, and this past season as DI seems to have gone so quickly now. Marching is a serious pain in the ass, but it’s so much fun. Concert season has its perks, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s boring. In concert season, it’s just music; marching, it’s football games, music, and marching. Together. Can’t touch that.
So with marching season over, I should be devoting more time to school, AD, region band, etc. I can see that not happening (and at the moment, I’m blaming that on NOLF 2; it’s great).
The football game this week was another disappointment, though by now, I’ve gotten use to it. It’s odd how close the past couple games have been, and how a play or two have made the world of difference. But I’m just a band kid; I don’t know what’s going on.
The CS contest was finally sat, and I was there for a little bit. Mr. C. and Aditya seemed to have the entire thing in hand, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Skipped some runthru to help with some of the little things for the setup. I could describe the fiasco that followed the contest, but I’m sure most of you don’t care. Sum it up: our contest was crazy-hard, and ppl were pissed off that they did bad. Tough.
The Marching Contest was.. interesting. Spent some time with the boys, including an absolutely brilliant (but unfinished) game of Spades. Me and Willie (who had never played b4) dug a huge hole in the beginning after getting set pretty bad and a failed blind nil, yet somehow, Willie pulled off 2 BNs with a set of our own to bring it back even.
Tuba dynamics was a little different. I ended spending a lot of time talking and hanging with Trey, which is a little odd. You’ve got a fat white guy and a thin asian guy, and about the most we have in common is being easily amused and having played trumpet and tuba. It was hilarious. Funny anecdote (though… not entirely appropriate) follows:

So me and Trey really had to go pee after our last performance (specifically, I had to “pee like a cow, but not a big cow, just a heifer”, and he had to “pee like a racehorse”). Well, behind the trucks was a nice forest. And we had to go. So we walk out to the bushes, face opposite directions, and go. But there happens to be a police car off to the left. So we finish with the quickness, and then run off. Later, we find out from Chris that the police went around the trucks, and asked if the guys had seen “a big guy and a girl running out of the forest”. Me and Trey were laughing hysterically at this. There’s not a greater bonding moment than peeing in the bushes, and getting busted by the cops.

Other than some cool hang out time, the contest was pretty terrible. I thought our show deserved more from the judges than what we got, though I guess it doesn’t really matter. A lot of the other shows were entertaining and interesting to see what other programs are doing, though I guess I’ve really bought into the JET band way of marching. I noticed that, in general, the shows were really cool. Lots of visuals and props and effects and stuff, but not as much tough marching and stuff (just the easy, cheesy stuff, like parallel passthrus on horizontals or those “chain” like things). They didn’t play quite as much, and when they did, they usually were standing still, and subsequently, sounded incredible. I don’t mean to downplay the talents of the bands, for they really did sound and look incredible; it’s just different.
So we had to go out on the field, which was stupid, and we ended up being the “69” band. Nice.
After I got home, I slept until 11:30 (pre savings time), and woke up to a very short and unproductive sunday. It was nice. And this morning, after going to sleep late, I felt great. The whole “mind over matter” thing totally tricked me into thinking it was 7. I was very awake this morning.

So apparently the rain killed halloween. We had 4 different groups come to our door to trick-or-treat. I’m overwhelmed.

Almost Done

How sad, yet not. Marching band, in another 2 weeks, will become another memory. After I turn in my uniform after the last game, I’ll let out a long sigh of relief as my schedule suddenly lightens up. Then immediately, I’ll anxiously await the next year.
So it’s been two weeks, almost, but I’m sure that almost no one cares since no one reads ‘neways, so it’s not a big deal.
The “All the King’s Men” test was most definitely a humongous object of worry this past week, though oddly ’nuff, I ended up on higher grades on both halves than I do on most. Go figure.
Advice to all in Jr year Shellum: b4 every test, find your favorite senior who had shellum the year before, make them your best friend for a day, and wring them for all they can ‘member about the test from the year before, for evidently, she has used the same tests for the past 2 decades. Fortunately, a timely chat with Mr. Crockett and a book filled with tabs and notes from 3 previous shellum students got me great grades for both tests. I was proud, though honestly, it wasn’t really my work.
Even though I do feel sorry for some ppl for how they did (not those who b*tch about getting a 90, though), I find it interesting that for once, when someone says they bombed a test, they really mean it. When both grades added together don’t get you a passing grade, that’s a problem. How fortunate it wasn’t me.
So Taylor drops another game in one that I could’ve sworn we had in the pocket. I think that this game against Strake is a a sign that god hates us, or something. Either that, or Taylor was never meant to go to playoffs. It was much to darn close for ‘nething other than divine intervention.
Janda claimed the show yesterday was incredible, as did a lot of parents, though I don’t think so. True, it’s improved significantly, but it’s not even close to where it needs to be. Perhaps I romanticize the past two years, but we just haven’t been meeting the same standards of years past. It’s disappointing, but at least I’ve got another year. I must say, it must suck to be a JET band senior this year after the past two.
Both Johnson and Tim made it back for the 8th grade game, which was interesting. I think I could’ve made a better effort to reach out to the 8th graders, but oh well. Too late for that.
Anna’s party was quite a bit of fun, getting a chance to talk to Tim and Johnson, and test my skills at Halo 2. Trey and Joe were truly humbling at Halo 2, and my eyes burned after that last game. I guess console gaming isn’t for me. Oh, and there really isn’t much better than a cripple playing DDR.
CS has definitely taken an interesting turn. Due to wvr circumstances, I’ve ended up with quite a bit of work to get the contest ready. Disappointing that the marching constest should conflict so much with our contest, but wvr. It’s been interesting, for even as much work as it is, it’s been quite nice to have the opportunity to almost exclusively pick and regulate the contest. At computer science contests, there are a bunch of 3 man teams that are given a packet of 20 or so problems that they need to write programs to solve, ranging from simple math to guiding a mouse through a maze. This year, we’re running a “Willie’s Halloween” theme, so just about every problem has Willie in it, from him baking a pie to collecting pumpkins to trick-or-treating. As I said, it’s been quite a bit of work, but it’s always nice to have things my way. Mr C is apparently new at this TCEA stuff, so he’s really let me run the show. I hope I’m doing a good job.

EDIT: I’d like to take a moment to congratulate the smartest historical figure ever; Mother Ann Lee, leader of the Shakers who were against sex. Good job making sure you have ppl around to carry it on.

Same Story, Different Viewpoint

So just like every other member of the JET band, about all I can ‘member is Saturday (other than a business venture with Evan the day b4, but I’m sure most don’t care about that).
Morning started out… “interesting”. Got a ride from Willie… literally. It was freaking scary. Fortunately, Willie wasn’t that bad. Only 1 very scary moment.
Because of Willie’s usual lack of punctuality, I got there late, which subsequently caused an indirect statement from Janda as to the punctuality of DIs, a bit of questioning from the section, and a bit of chewing out from LC for not getting cases out (sorry).
That morning, I discover that apparently someone has removed the stick up Janda’s butt… and replaced it with the whole eff-ing tree. He wasn’t happy, and for good reason (but I resolve to continue to avoid that matter).
Instrument status was interesting. Of the 11, 3 were busted (unplayable), so 2 of the tubas (1 failed, so he doesn’t count) had to go instrumentless. And Neil found out that the cheap sousas we got from Mayde were about as sturdy as I should have known from its weight. I swear, that bell literally bent like rubber. After horrifically watching as he managed to, with extreme ease, pull the bell and create a crease running from the edge all the way in, I vehemently insisted that it never happen again. Too bad my section doesn’t listen to me more often. I think we’ll have 4 instruments on the DL (disabled list, not drumline) very soon (along with the concert horn I practice with).
The marching show went interestingly. The music went about how it has been AKA not together, though according to Janda, worse than usual. From where I was, the drill was better, with my section making fewer mistakes than normal and what I felt was a solid performance on my part. Oddly ’nuff, Janda declined to comment on the performace afterwards. I found this suspicious, though I think it could go either way. If we had heard we had gotten p00ned by Cinco (or if by some miracle, we had owned them), it probably would have distracted from the evening game. In about 12 hrs, I’ll know. Fun.
Even though Janda insisted that we not mingle with the Cinco kids, I managed to catch a couple of the tubas that I knew, and we chatted. I found it quite interesting how, face to face, our 2 tuba sections were very friendly to each other and seemed to connect very well. Later, at the game, our tubas were blasting and dancing like madmen in an attempt to show up Cinco. Even though Louie by itself is enough, at least we had fun doing stupid stuff.
So far, every blog entry I’ve read has made a mention how we managed to viciously attack the school that we played against saturday night to the point where the area of eternal damnation was forced out (I refuse to use the now trite phrase). Forgive me, but we didn’t. I don’t think a 6-0 win warrants that strong of language. It was a very defensive game, with only 2 scoring plays (both kicks, obviously), so I doubt that we really released the underworld through assault. Regardless, the game was tons of fun, for just about everybody was much more into it than normal.
I really hope that that continues next week however. As far I as know, our true nemesis is Katy, not Cinco. Cinco is our fake nemesis, just because they’ve done everything possible to piss us off the past couple years that we have a very basic level of hatred for them. Katy is the true enemy; they’re the ones that are more opposites of us. I hope we haven’t forgotten that.
BTW, Cinco continues to try and build a true rivalry between us. This year, they managed to overextend their halftime show and cut into our time. We were pretty cheesed. It seems like the sort of thing that seems to “happen” with Cinco.
So that halftime show went by interestingly as well. From where I was, the halftime show was a mess, and Disco Inferno was absolutely terrible. And we didn’t march our whole show. And I think we kinda got shown up when Cinco did flanks in their jazz run(at least it looked like it from where I was) and actually performed well. Oh well.
I thought it was pretty darn awesome though when the football players cheered for us on our way out. It seemed kind of backwards, but it was really nice to know we’re appreciated. Besides, it fit the spirit of it ‘neways.
And no, I don’t have terets, or some weird mental disorder. When I was blinking a lot at the end of the day, it was just my contacts irritating me.

*insert title for me*

Before, I get started, major props to Fairley for successfully (hidden, as well) putting cee equals three into a computer science program for the class (if you don’t get it, imagine those 3 characters in your head…)

So, there’s a game Saturday(and a party friday, but I’ll get to that later).
Get there, troubles blah blah blah, entire tuba section late (not at all my fault *cough*). Janda’s got a stick up his butt, as usual around this time of year, though completely understandable. I try not to moan and b*tch in this, so I won’t, simply saying that the band has not performed to similar standards of years past. Continuing, I find out that my 3rd valve is busted, so I’m harassing Janda to let me go back to the band hall, so I can get to his pliers to fix it and get my tuba on the truck in time, though he won’t let me go, which I later find out is because I got marcher of the week.
Apparently, all that running and hurrying and telling others to hurry isn’t as important as he says. About all I think that I did differently that week was yell at ppl more to be aware of drill and forms.
So the game is pretty darn hot. I can’t imagine what it would have been like playing on the field, but we were suffering in the stands. And we have another 2 2:00 games coming up (katy & strake), but by then, I hope the temps dropped a bit more.
The show was good from my viewpoint, though the video would suggest otherwise. A lot of work to be done.
Just about the most awesome thing was definitely after the game. See, on apparently a random whim, Chris P decides that the tuba section needs to silly string Mr. Grange (cuz we love him so much). So there’s a lot of preparation for it, with plans to ambush after the huddle and all… but no huddle and a bit of rain. We almost called it off, to pack up sousas, but at the last second, someone’s like, “I see Grange!”
So just about the whole section just stops packing (more on that later) and runs off in that direction. We see Grange about to get on a bus, so with our removed jackets, we hide the silly string and encircle him. Neil cuts off the door, and we prepare the surprise. Went kinda like this:

*Tuba section running in as me and neil delay for them to get there*
Me: So, Mr Grange… what did you think of the tuba visual at the end of the second movement?
Grange: I thought it was awesome (meanwhile, I’m shaking my can behind my jacket, which must have looked awkward). We’re going to teach it to the whole band.
Me: Do you know what else is awesome?
*I bust out the can, Grange’s eyes go wide, Pompeii explodes*
I must say, I have not had quite so much raw fun in awhile. Even though my can (due to its age) conked out of pressure/gas about halfway through, it was still awesome. And Crump now has some artwork in its parking lot.
After that, Bailey comes up to me, and is all “you guys need to pack before you start screwing around, the band is late now, don’t do it again”. So I put on my best serious face and give him a solid won’t happen again. I always feel bad after I lie in a serious manner. Oh well.

So ’bout that party… tuba party friday night. Notable absentees of most honoraries, Lee, and one who we weren’t at all disappointed in missing. I thought it went well ’nuff for a party at my house, since I’m not very good at throwing parties. Got to watch “Wayne’s World”, which, at times, was funny, though overall, not as good as I would’ve hoped. Played quite a bit of pool, and pretty much p00ned. Laughed at Chris for losing by default about 5 times in a row. It was really odd though, for most ppl had left by, like, 1030, ‘cept Grant and Anna, so we just played pool and talked. Looked at my watch a little bit later, and it’s 12:23. Woah. That’s a lot of pool and chitchat.

A Great Disturbance in the Force

Thank you Rita for completely screwing up school.
Well, that’s unfair. Weather happens. Revise.
Thank you KISD administration for blowing the entire situation out of proportion.
Thank you US government for not organizing departures (I can’t bear to say the e word again; talk about overused) and causing 15 hr traffic(that I fortunately avoided, but wvr).
Thank you meteorologists for making a thousand predictions, eventually settling on one that was out of the “cone of possibility” or wvr.

Mixed feelings about Rita: got out of school, got a long weekend, got extra time to catch up.
Unfortunately, all that was hampered because: band is going to suck for a couple weeks, all of my classes’ schedules are screwed up, and I got sent to Austin.
Due to extenuating circumstances that I’d rather not care to get into, my mom prudently (or not) decided to depart almost immediately on wed for austin, calling it at worst a good opportunity for a vacation to visit my sisters. Yes, a vacation I spent on a couch in an apartment with 6 other ppl, knowing that all my groupies were probably partying at home while I was stuck. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but for a 6 day weekend, I would’ve hoped for more.
The ride up, because we left so early, was smooth, only taking 3 1/2 hrs. When I got there, I had a bag full of books and work to do. I read one book and did mebbe a total of 2 hrs worth of work. Yup. A lot of sitting around and doing nothing.
I did go to 2 classes though. I went with my oldest sister to a biochem class, which ended up sucking. Other than a little stuff on actin and myosin that overlaps with some decathlon material, I was pretty lost and bored. There’s one class to avoid…
I went with my other sister to a philosophy class (both lectures, btw). Now that was a fun class. Most of it was spent talking about Locke’s theories about identity, which was actually quite interesting. Furthermore, the lecturer was pretty funny, knowledgable, and very engaging. He also showed Simpsons clips to supplement the material. That’s the type of class I expect college to be: fun, while still educational and requiring thinking, not rote learning.
Past that, not much happened. Tried to get back Saturday after I heard that Katy got a minor t-storm, but traffic forced us to delay until Monday. I returned with some family friends while my mom stayed in austin for another day, so I got a day home alone.
Dang, that was fun. I must say, the best part was definitely yelling random, idiotic stuff without fear of embaressment or ridicule. Other than that, I found that there really isn’t much I would do without others around than what I would if there were, except for a slight diet change. ‘Neone got ‘ne ideas of stuff to do home along other than sabotage your house for possible intruders?
Today could have definitely been worse, but that is a long stretch from good.
I think I’ve gotten too smart for my alarm, for now, as far as I can tell, I manage to unconsciously turn off my alarm and go back to sleep without ever ‘membering waking up. I definitely need a new alarm. Or mebbe I should build some contraption to make the whole alarm turning offage process more difficult.
Most teachers were extremely kind about makeup work, which is good, though I’ve got a slew of tests for the next couple days.
Band sucked a lot. I didn’t have ’nuff time to smooth out the curves, so a lot of the tuba forms were very rocky, and it was quite warm (though not humid; life saver). Marching was very weird too, since I haven’t marching in 1 1/2, and when we started playing while marching, it sounded very weird. I’m sure I’ll get used to it again.

The HC-less HC

So the big game/dance has passed, along with all its excitement.
I find it interesting how whenever I ask someone about it, they always say, “It was fun”, or “It was nice”. It’s never “DUDE, I LOVE SPENDING WAY TOO MUCH MONEY FOR A SINGLE NIGHT, AND BOY WAS IT A BLAST; MY LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN SO INCREDIBLY SUPERTABULOUS”. Then they mention their extreme pain/sleep deprivation accompanied by a groan or yawn.
I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it; I wouldn’t know, but I myself would like to have put that money to something more permanent than memories crystalized in photos. On a side note, I’d be interested to see everyone’s pics =)
I found it interesting how ppl managed to compensate, though. One group of girls went camping, and I know another who went with her friends to laserquest. Both sound like fun; certainly more unique than HC.
My groupies and I spent about 2 hrs rp-ing, which due to Willie’s idiocy, ended up very badly (to my great hilarity). It was certainly much cheaper than HC, and I think it worked better for us. Besides, I felt a need to affirm my dorkiness. And get some sleep.

Friday was awesome; shortened day with a bunch of fun, worthless classes. Never hurts.

So the HC game was awesome. I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly excited about it in advance (except a chance for rain, which ran away, putting me on a 23-game drought), but it was great. See, Chris (or Reuel, can’t ‘member) suggested the day b4 that we randomly throw in a tuba visual during the falls, which involved… humping our tubas. I’ll admit (2nd time I’ve done that in a paragraph; dang, crucial) that in the beginning, I was strongly opposed to the idea, though being a usual, laid-back tuba guy, I let it slide to see what happened.
It was creative.
So back to the game, I was semi-pleased to see John carrying this week, and he didn’t complain. As far as I ‘member. I’m proud. Past that, Timmy (Casserly) showed up, along with a slew of other pleasant faces, which added a classic, yet nostalgic, feel to the game. The game itself was great, very exciting with a final Taylor victory over a seemingly bigger opponent.
Half time was good, with a band kid getting queen (congrats Bridget!), which is always a nice touch.
The show seemed a lot better from the field. Tuba forms were generally okay, and the music didn’t tear terribly, though it wasn’t particularly stable either. After listening to the video, I’m beginning to feel that just the size and… expansiveness of the band is really killing us. No one is really off, but no one is together. And battery and pit are too loud. The whole pods thing and moving to movement 2 went well (and Pasley caught her saber! w00t). I thought that was going to be a huge problem, with a big reliance on dots or parking stripes or pieces of gum for position, but it looked pretty good. 2nd movement looked okay, though the curves could’ve used a few less… inconsistencies. I’m a bit worried, for a set or 2 in the tuba section are completely wrong, with 1-2 ppl in wrong spots, but moreso because ppl are marching spots, not forms. *shrugs*. It was still good, and the visual was awesome. If you didn’t exactly see it, it’s us humping our tubas as I said earlier, a combination of a pelvic thrust and a horn flash. Apparently the crowd loved it, Bailey loved it, and Grange loved it, though Janda seemed doubtful in the beginning. However, during class, he mentioned to me that it was so good, they were going to teach it to the whole band. W00T!!!!


Well dam, that takes away the whole tuba-ness of it. And it isn’t exactly a clean move. I’m glad he likes it, but I think he likes it too much. We’ll see what happens.

Afternoon Coffee

Chris sat there, stirring his coffee, waiting.
Four stirs counterclockwise, two the other way, with a small sip, and repeat.
Generally a patient man, he became worried. His contact had assured him that he would be on time, and in this business, the unexpected invariably meant trouble. He looked out the window, down onto Seattle. A pleasant, though not particularly noteworthy view, for the Space Needle wasn’t quite as well situated as he had hoped.
“Ah, Mr…” came the voice behind him. He turned around into the friendly smile of a British man, about his height, of insignificant appearance.
“Biggs. My name is Biggs. And you are…” he returned, grasping the other man’s hand in a warm embrace.
“Laurie. A pleasure to meet you. Is that a… Canadian accent, I hear?”
“Very perceptive of you, Mr. Laurie,” he responded casually. “I have your shipment secured down in a warehouse down on by the port. I hope you’re government will have better luck reasoning the contents of it,” he continued, hopefully. He began a slow stroll around the Needle, with Laurie soon following.
“Yes, we have very good people for the job. I-“
Cutting him off, Chris quickly mentioned, “Ah, well, now the pleasantries are out of the way, I’ll be more than glad to discuss specifics, after I take a quick detour to the boys’ room. I’ll be right back,” he assured, with a smile.
Laurie nodded, and Chris quickly sped over to the washroom. Swinging open the door, he casually walked into a stall.
Working hastily, he removed his shoes and pants, carefully positioning them, then locking the door. With incredible flexibility, he sneaked underneath the wall into the adjacent stall, closing the door and standing on the seat.
He waited for a moment, when the washroom door swung open with footsteps gradually coming closer.
He waited further as the footsteps came even closer, then stopping.
Suddenly, he swung the stall door out, which subsequently richocheted off a body. He jumped out onto the offbalance Englishmen, who quickly gained his wits and focused upon his opponent, billyclub in hand.
A quick fake with the left, and Chris tossed the contents of his coffee cup into Laurie’s face, letting the scalding liquid burn through.
A solid kick to a critical point and a punch to the face, and it was over.
Another man rushed into the washroom, a man in a suit, with a look of concern on his face.
“What happened?” he puffed out, exasperated.
“Apparently there’s more danger to coffee than just it being ‘hot’,” Chris responded, pointing toward the spill and the bruise.
“But… how did you know?” the man slowly said as he turned to face his partner.
“The callouses on his hand. For a ‘British agent’, his callouses felt more like those of a knife fighter, not a gun slinger.”