A Week of Ups and Downs

Just like to start by giving my condolences to ‘neone affected by Katrina. Being so much closer to home, the effects seem… bigger. But I’d rather not get into all that.
So this Labor Day weekend has been relaxing. Spent most of it doing nothing, until about 7 tonight till about 1/2 hr ago, finishing all the work I put off.
Had a good game of ultimate on sat, though I had hoped more would turn out. A lot of ppl gone for various reasons, but it was still fun, even if my team did lose, like, 15-3.
Because of the Labor Day sale, I picked up a Michael Buble album and the Episode 3 soundtrack. The soundtrack is good, but Buble is brilliant. His first CD is all remakes (Moondance, Come Fly with Me, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, etc), but he has quite an interesting take on the pieces. I love it.
Progress report was… interesting, though I try to make it a policy not to bliatch about my life in my blog (though I’ll break that rule for one exception in a bit).
The game this week was better. In particular, stuff actually happened in the game (Taylor wins, w00t), a lot more excitement in the stands, and the show was much better. The forms were a little better, but the playing/sticking-togetherness was great. I was quite pleased with my section’s marching, for the most part. The couple of ppl I was watching cleaned it up a bit, though I think everyone could work a bit on keeping the form together. The section’s playing still wasn’t brilliant, so I guess that could use some work. In general, good game, ‘cept the Thursday part.
So I’m gonna rant a bit right now, about a particular kid in my section, who shall remain unnamed. And I hope to hel that he doesn’t find this, because if he does, I’m in serious sh*t.
He is probably the least inspired kid I’ve ever met.
From New Marchers, I could tell he was going to be a problem. Not exactly the easiest guy to get along with, not the most motivated, and according to TAKS scores, not the smartest either.
But I was willing to work with him. I admit, I felt my job would be easier with him gone, but I really didn’t want to give up on him.
Summer Band comes around, and things are exactly the same. He finds every opportunity to sit down on the sidelines while we march, constantly refusing to carry on the field, play indoors, or hang out with the section.
…okay, so if you don’t like marching, playing, or socializing, why are you still in band?
Problems continue, as he complains quite a bit about the section, even berating us for our playing(and, as I hear, other sections for their marching), as he continues to not play or march in step in his alternate position. The guys in the section complain, but I just take points off his daily participation, feeling that I’m not getting him on my side by doing ‘nething else.
I’m really cheesed now, however.
So at this past game, I come off the bus to retrieve the tuba kids, with one notable exception. Apparently, he got a cramp from sitting on the bus too long… wow. Gotta give him credit, even if his excuses suck, he doesn’t try and bs me with the same one more than once.
So it goes so far that he doesn’t carry his instrument in, and he has ice on his leg, being wheeled in by the chaperones.
Sorry to say, but that’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen.
So, I come to learn that he really doesn’t want to be there, but his parents are forcing him to stay in band. Great. I get to try and motivate a kid who doesn’t want to be motivated and insists on doing everything possible to piss me or Janda off to get kicked out.
‘Neone got ‘ne ideas?

Now I’m all depressed after writing that. Oh well.
But I did have an astronomical amount of fun during inspection.
1 kid, Poncho on, tie shoes together, run
another, poncho on, shoes off, shoe on one hand, using only other hand, must put on his glove
another, putting shoes on opposite feet
It was fun. For me, at least.

Busy, but…

So, I’m sitting here, comtemplating all the work I need to do… and not doing it. Look what is more important. Hang on, going to go brush my teeth.
Done. Okay, ready to write now.
So school’s been interesting. AD has moved from the past of independent study to a more regulated schedule. I guess it’s good for it does keep everyone on track, though I would like a little more freedom. CS3 last week was all about making a server company dealie. Without going into details, my group and I basically spent the week extremely confused, and in the end, our group’s presentation was pretty bad. It was very funny because we were screwing around, but our hardware group totally sucked. It was bad. But it’s not like it really matters; CS3 is a pure effort grade. W00t.
History is a completely different story.
So I think most ppl in APUSHIST got a nice taste of jr year last week. Getting the test back, I look at my beautiful… C, which Soliman comments as one of the “highest grades”. Hmm… needing to speed up the learning curve as much as possible, I went in for afterschool tutorial thingy, which ended up being pretty worthless, with a pretty meaningless argument of interpretation that I gave up in to save time. Whatever.
In the end, we got 1/2 credit test corrections and 6 pts of teacher mistakes, so I guess my test ended up okay. *shrugs* Soliman is a pretty worthless teacher.

So we had our first game of the year, which was interesting. Runthru was pretty typical, and we cleaned tubas, blah blah. After that, we had the best fun when, with windex and towels in hand, we went out to Kingsland and Shillington and randomly cleaned some person’s window. Sadly, we didn’t get paid, but it was hilarious. Time consuming too, however. We’ll see if it becomes tradition again. Actually, as we were walking back, we saw the custodian cleaning the windows on the doors of the front entrance, so we cleaned a door. She had this “WTF” look on her face for a little, then Trey said she started crying. I felt bad for a bit, though I wasn’t (and still am not) sure if she was crying cuz she was laughing so hard, or that she thought we were making fun of her. Tough life.
DI-ness continues to set in, with inspection. Fairly routine, though I think I’ll have more fun with my fish this week, as we’ll hopefully have more time.
Load up the bus, sitting in the front as usual, though 10X more awesome. Instead of the Bird-man, Delaney, and Gargani for me to “enjoy” the company of, I got Zombie, Neil, and Kyung. Not half bad.
Get to the game, where I do my good tuba duty of helping the LC to unload (to get to tubas faster), and I put my hatbox down… which subsequently disappears(and doesn’t appear again until after I pack my tuba at the end of the game. Great fun). March in is a mess, stands tunes are a mess with 2 of the best tubas on LC AKA never there. Half time… was something new.
I can honestly say I have never seen the JET band perform even near so poorly as we did last thursday. Strake last year was messy on the forms, though it was still better than this. Perhaps I’m more critical now as a DI, and I feel that I have more of a right to say the performance sucked, but well, it did. As far as I can tell, the problem goes with listening vs watching. The ppl in the back listened, and those in the front watched. Hmm… at one point, there’s a fall(a note, not someone eating concrete) followed by 4 counts of rest. Well, in this performace, that one point became 3 points. Although terrible, it was kind of funny to listen to the crowd go “Ooooo….” I laughed when I listened to the video. The tuba section had a lot of problems, with one marcher never quite “with” the section, another who needs to learn their step sizes, and just inconsistent playing. Some play loud, some soft, some long, some short, some, some not at all. Each individually sounds okay, but the section is not in “tone” together. Big problem.
So for a first game, it wasn’t interesting in ‘ne way. Taylor lost (surprise) in a very boring match, though I did get to see bobby play. Quite funny; he tackles them, then rolls over on them so they can’t get up. I laughed when I first saw him.
The weekend was nice, however, with no band whatsoever. It pretty much disappeared into meaninglessness with lots of DS9. It wasn’t bad.
The one major plus though, was that I got a new hard drive. Western Digital, 120 GB, standard features, nothing special, though only $20 (take that Grant! While you spend over $150 on your “raptor” RAID 0 10000 RPM hard drive, I’m paying way less! Such is the life of a budget gamer). I’m currently in the process of taking everything off my measly little 40 GB hd and putting it onto my 2nd hard drive, leaving mostly only essential system files and utilities on the C. I love having lots of space. No more uninstalling just to install something else.
Oh, and I’ll try to get around to a wonderful rant on life as it is right now and updating my story blog sometime later this week. I don’t like the current story arc either. I think I’ll just settle it back into the classic, 1960’s, Bond style spy. That’ll be interesting.

Quick and Random

Dude, my grandpa was so bored today, he cleaned my room.
What…the…eff.
I’m not complaining, however.

First game tomorrow, w00t.

Google owns me. It can figure out my searches, read these entries, read my mail, and find my house on a satellite image. Now it can also monitor my IM conversations.
I got Google Talk, kkleung89(@gmail.com, of course) is my sn, drop me a line.

A Week just like the next year’s weeks

So Junior year has picked up pretty quickly, hw, tests, quizzes, readings, essays all coming in. Sucks, but I’ve been keeping up. In no particular order, I now rant…
Today was pretty awesome, even if I was a little grumpy at the beginning of band practice. After staying up till 12:11 writing my eng and physics essays and AD speech, I felt pretty good, though I can’t say the same for Willie. Idiot that he is, he and DNev pulled an all-nighter to finish it, and in the morning, he was pretty hysterical. Best part: Garrett tells me that as willie describes what happens, he says, “Me and David did it all night.”
Bad image. Sorry.
So the 3 papers went crisisless, and hw is light, though I have some reading to do for History and Eng. I swear, those are the only 2 classes that have real work for them. The rest of the classes just have some easy stuff, though those 2 alone are more than the past 2 years combined.
We had a CSC meeting afterschool, where our favorite former treasurer was re-elected. w00t. Should be an interesting year if Cunningham can maintain interest in…
So band practice has been interesting. We had the all day practice on Saturday, which was somewhat productive. Had pizza for lunch and chicken for dinner, which was pretty awesome(and lots of popsicles). Other band practices have either been a)cut because of weather or b)scorching and sucky. At the moment, I’m fairly dissatisfied with the band in general.
My biggest problem is the general inefficiency and stupid work to do in the heat. Right now, we’re being hurt a lot by poor step phasing and weak fundamentals, both of which should have been covered in summer band instead of learning drill a week early and being “3 weeks ahead”. While I generally feel that the tuba section is doing pretty well(at least marching), there are just a lot of problems in general. I don’t ever remember having so many problems with timing steps correctly, and the traditional listening-not-watching problem still hurts us. Perhaps being in the band longer now and being a DI has made me more critical of the situation, but I don’t think this year is going so hot. And the trombones suck majorly. *shakes head* there are about 5-6 competent players/marchers in that section, and the rest are fish who can’t remember step sizes and totally screw up the columns. I’d like to make a petition to Janda never to march trombones at the front of formation ever again.
So a lot of ppl have been going in and out of my house recently. My sisters are packing up their stuff to move up to Austin(living in a condo together), so we have 3 beds left in the house and 2 more empty rooms. My dad and grandpa(and his “companion” AKA wife who is younger than my aunt of the same side) have come to visit, though I haven’t had much time to talk to them. Before, I would play checkers with my grandpa since it is simple enough to transcend language barriers, though I just haven’t had the time with band. I feel that very soon, however, this house is going to end up very empty. It is a very big place for just two ppl. I guess that means I’ll just have to throw more parties… 😉
HC is all the rage right now. I’ve seen a nice spread of all three groups: 1)no way in effing hell I’m going 2)only if I have a compelling reason to 3)dam, I’ll ask a person of the same gender if I have to! As usual, the traditional signs, locker ambushing, announcements, etc have all been victim of this massive craze to get a date b4 it comes. Being so soon this year, ppl are just getting off the new year jitters straight into checking out the local… scenery. I myself probably fit in category 2. It really is an expensive venture(though as I mentioned, painting the house has gotten complete coverage for) for going to a dance, and I really hate dancing. *shrugs* However, I did promise that if DNev went, I’d go. So I guess I’m safe.

Background

Wiping the sweat off my forehead with my hankerchief, I swiftly patted down my now crumpled suit, walking away from the scene. I hate getting in all these fights.
You would too if you had multiple deathmarks from various underground crime syndicates across several galaxies. Tonight was supposed to be dinner and a party at the Planetary Governor’s mansion. It ended up as four scuffles and a tear in time-space that ripped out an entire city.
I knew I should go back to HQ on Quartanis IV and check the weekly schedule for duties, though I guessed an emergency transmission would tell me what would be happening next. One that proclaimed its arrival with a beep in my pocket.
Walking swiftly toward the nearest hovercar, I pulled my receiver out of pocket flipping up the viewscreen, activating hover mode in front of me.
“Agent TK-421, I assume you know what has happened to New New York over there,” spoke a old man, of whom I address as P. And yes, there are always puns when he takes a washroom break.
“I’m already on it, though I’d like some directions to my best resource,” I responded, while activating my EM transmitter implant, opening and turning on the car.
“Well, that’s a little trickier. No known suspects have even been a lightyear within the Hermes system, and frankly, our psychic division is drawing a blank. As far as we know, the leading expert on tears was in NNY when it happened. However, you might want to visit his daughter on the next planet over. They have a family residence there, should be easy enough to find. You might be able to find some leads in his research. see what you can dig up. We’ll still be working over here.”
“Gotcha, I’ll get to the bottom of this. 421 out,” I finished, deactivating the receiver and pocketing it. Looking down, however, I also noticed a blinking light coming from the driver door. Tugging at it, I realized what it was.
I knew I should have packed my bomb defusal kit.

First Update of Jr. Year

Well, it’s been interesting. But in the interests of chronology…
Tuesday was Band Olympics day, which was pretty awesome. Started only signed up for the Naked Run, though ended up in also the wet t-shirt and fruit toss relay(all of which the jrs did well in). I ended up getting tossed in the pool(after which we had to fish for my glasses), and possible delays threatened the Olympics, but they went on. Our game, “Spooning” was another relatively simple game that wasn’t the most exciting to watch, but funny. The look on their faces when Janda told them the rules… and pulling the string back out was great. I had quite a bit of fun with my events, even though I ended up with a handprint of peanut butter on my back and a lot of mud as well(though I didn’t even come close to getting the worst). Olympics were as exciting as to be expected, even if many of my friends didn’t show…
Next day was the first day of school, of course, which was interesting. My schedule is as below, but I’ll give you my low-down on the classes.
Shellum- okay class, kind of dead being first period. She seems cool ’nuff, except for the “society sucks” rants. It’s going to be a lot of work, but at least I feel like I’ll be learning something.
Sweeney- okay class, kind of boring. It’s been review so far, which has been pretty stupid. Class goes like ‘ne other math one, checking hw then notes. She’s really bizzare, though I think I can get away with other work in it. w00t.
Soliman- okay class, kind of reminds me of Metcalfe; he talks a lot about nothing. We’ve gotten a lot of busy work without a whole lot of learning. He seems… not always on the ball, but I think I’ll pull through.
Janda- awesome class, kind of familiar though… =)
Lunch- okay lunch, C lunch, of course. Everyone’s ended up spread out, but I think I’ll sit with Kosine and play magic and talk to him. Besides, Mooney is right over there as well; endless entertainment.
George/Scott- awesome class, kind of pointless so far, however. For an extracurricular event, they seem awfully intent on grading us. I really wish teachers could trust us for our intristic motivation, but I guess it’s not very common in teenagers, so I really can’t blame them. Teachers are awesome, kids are awesome, internal competition sucks.
Cunningham- interesting class, kind of slow. Cunningham seems like a very interesting guy, though not quite cut out for teaching. He insists on moving at the same pace as the slowest person in a very hands on manner, so it’ll be slow, but I’ve got my own stuff to do. Along with other schoolwork and AD, I’m currently planning on writing a program to play VC with an intelligent comp opponent. Gonna be lots of work.
Ferland- Weird class, kind of nice at the end of the day. Ferland is pretty darn awesome, very weird(like Fin), but nice. He’s a nerd, which gives him awesome points. It’s fun and pretty easy so far; he understands students pretty well and seems like a good teacher. Great turn around from the physics department of past.
There you go. That’s my life for the next year. If I don’t have a life, however, blame it on periods 1,3,4,5. All serious time suckers for different reasons.
So for once, I like my high school schedule. I thought fishmen year scheduled sucked in the beginning, as well as wise idiot year, though both ended up okay. The fact that I like this is good. For the most part, it seems like it won’t be too challenging, just a lot of work and learning.
So after school that first day, we had money day, which I got to work at. I sat behind a laptop inputting data. Not the most fun, but not the worst(more on that later). It was a family event again, with 3 of us working it. It went smoothly ’nuff.
After that, as we always do, we went for dinner, this time at California Pizza Kitchen where my sister(Nicole) works. Matt had worked at money day as well, so he came long. He complained because he had wasted 4 hrs of his life, suffering by sitting next to Jane(ouch 1) for the duration who insisted on talking to everyone, slowing him up(ouch 2). I laughed.
Got home around 8, when I did the hw I actually got on the first day; real hw. Sleep is going to be a fight for this year.
Next day was the first day of school year band practice, which went fine. The tuba section is sort of coming together, which is good…
Friday night was rehearsal in what seemed to be an infernal setting, finishing with the Burger Bash.
I screwed up my part in the drilldown, doing a horns down on a detail halt command(?!?), though I was very proud of Lonnie for winning. Big pressure next year…
After eating, I played football with the band kids, playing a solid blocker and scoring one of… 2-3 touchdowns for the non-senior team. It was pathetic, as usual.
The weekend was a wonderful break to the not so nice schedule of jr year. I put off all my work till 8 on Sunday night(which I ended up regretting), though it all got done. I have the feeling that’ll be the story of my life.
Town pep rally sucked. There you go.

Tales of an Intergalactic Spy

When some thug points a gun at you, you really don’t have a whole lot of choices. Fortunately, reflexes don’t require you to make a choice.
The Genovian lifted his left arm from his holster and heft it up with one arm, extending his arm fully at me as he pulled the trigger.
Just a bit quicker, I hopped over the table, hoping it to be sturdy enough to deflect a DeathRae 4000. Barely clearing the glass top, I heard the sizzle of a released charge, a charge deadly enough to bring down a Harlexian Elephant. Following the burning path with my eyes through the titanium alloy wall, I realized I needed a new plan. Unfortunately, this plan would have to do without a gun; good tip for you: always check your catridge before you need it.
“Surrender, fool!” he yelled out. “You have no chance against this!” tapping his nail against the casing of his DeathRae. Good model, shame to be wasted on such a low-life.
“Alright, you got me. I’ve taken quite a few gambles in my life, but this one doesn’t quite have the same odds as the others,” I responded, raising my hands and popping up to face him. I was right; the odds were much better this time.
I walked slowly towards him, hands still up, though it did nothing to ease him.
“Stay back,” he said, shuffling back, “if you know what’s good for you.” See how easy it is to gain the upper hand?
In a flash, I had him disarmed and back against the wall, a nifty trick from Phar. He recovered quickly enough, raising his fists, ready for a fight. I’ll admit, I’m no brawler, but I can handle myself. He faked left, right, left, right, and over and over, though it didn’t matter. I knew which was coming.
I threw my right hand up for the early block, then allowing my knee to teach him a cheaper alternative to a vasectomy. The fight wasn’t quite fair, I’ll admit, but I don’t fight fair. Besides, he should have aimed his gun with both hands.

Tis Hee-ya

Well, I’ve managed to moan in multiple entries b4 this of the impending school year, and it is now officially upon us. Everyone is doing last summer reading cramming, and band has absorbed me. Yup, same as the last 2 years…
Well, last Sunday was my birthday, if you didn’t know(and Thanks). Felt like pretty much ‘ne other day, not really feeling the “sweet 16″ness of it. Other than getting an ultimate frisbee from my sister. It was funny; it came with a “how-to” DVD, which I laughed over for about 1/2 hr until I realized I was slowly dying as I watched it. In ‘ne case, my family went over to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch, my positively most favorite restaurant ’round these parts.
After that, I went to Jane’s party in the evening, where I had a pleasant time catching up a bit with a couple past graduates, like Johnson and Tyler and the Corbetts. One thing I did notice however was how much easier it was to hang with them. The day before, at the DI party, I just kind of wandered around, and I realized that I really don’t have that strong of connections to ‘ne of them in particular. I talk to the likes of Chief or Fairley or whoever from time to time, but… well. Yeah. ‘Neways, so I had a great time talk to ppl, jumping on Chris’s back as he played DDR, you know, just the usual.

Morning after, the end of summer finally came as I stepped onto the marching field.
Over the past week, I’ve been very impressed with how quickly we’ve developed. We learned and covered our basics really quickly, and the music sounds a lot better as well. The band is humongous, but I think we’ve made it work. To a certain extent.
The tuba section has come a bit, but we’ve still got a lot of work. We sounded really wimpy that first day, but after we did a 10 min blasting excercise after sectionals on monday and really got the air going when we started stands tunes, we’ve got sound handled. Well, some of us. So far, the section has been severely dominated by a minority. Right now, I think we could have a section half the size and still create about the same sound and size of sound as we do now, and probably march better overall. But I guess it’s my job as a DI to fix that, and I definitely see it as acheivable. Yeah, about being DI…
It’s been interesting, to say the least. I mean, last year, I was marching as one of, and probably lower than, the other guys, having played the instrument for only 1/2 a year and never marching it. The section being so small, we’re all buddies, and now that I’m DI… it’s awkward. Everytime I give a command, whether it be calling out “Up tubas” after a break, or praising them “Good job guys” after a box drill, or deriding them with “*insert name*, cut it“, it’s weird; outside of the field, I’m one of them. Just a peer. I always seem to expect that they’re not going to listen, and I can understand why, but they do. Usually. I cut them slack, joke around with them, and so on, but when it’s business, it’s business. Whenever I’m standing in front of them, clapping or yelling, it’s like something comes over me and bolsters me, but I guess that’s part of being a leader. I’d like to think I’m doing a good job; as far as I know, the section is doing well marching and competently playing. And I think they still like me. It’s a rowdy bunch though.
Johnson kept a really clean section last year. No cursing, no dirty jokes around him, not much screwing around, on or off the field. It was a great way to run the section, and I think Johnson had a good calming aura around him that settled us down, but the section’s a lot different this year. Last year, only Johnson, Tim, and Reuel really knew each other, as I had just switched over, Lee had just moved in, and the fish were… fish. But now we know each other really well, it’s been interesting.
As just a peer of them, I don’t feel it necessary to control them completely. It’s a rowdy bunch. From breaks to warmups to instructions, there’s always a dirty joke going around.*shrugs* Not my place to fight it. So what if they throw a bad word around or giggle over something Janda says? No point in fighting it; it’s almost their nature, and they’re having fun. Very quickly, however, the tuba section has changed to what I feel is restoring a lot of what it means to be the “section to be in”. Before I came, trombones had it hands down, from Blake C. to Peter to Matt and Matt, though when they left, all they really had left was Kevin Ewen, and for the past two, it’s been the trumpets headed up by Chris and Jeff, though I think it’s time the tubas ascended to their former glory. I won’t be the one to do it though; as far as I’m concerned, we’re not going in the middle of the night to claim the tower or making a fire on the top of the garage just to put it out with juice and pee, but if that’s the other guys’ perogative, I’m not going to fight it. The section is hilarious though. I was surprised only we were laughing when Janda said, “Have a floppy one; don’t carry a hard and heavy one”.(talking about the drill binder, of course).
Oh, and our olympic game with the bass clarinets is going to rock.

Well, after a week of band, I was tired, but last night was the Fortuna’s moving party, so seeing as the family was invited, I went. Had a good time hearing how Alex wants to ask Michael to HC, and how Shoshank and Kyle got high from 2nd hand pot. Watched Neville bust a move on the DDR pads, probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in years, and stayed until about 1 just hanging out. I was really hungry though; hadn’t eaten since lunch, and all they had were snacks. I know, it was sad.