Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rather Eventful: Band Camp Day 2

I started out today by falling off of my bunk bed. The top one.

Ok, maybe that was more dramatic than what actually happened. My alarm rang, and in my haste to get it to STFU, I rolled over, dangled my legs off of the bed, and slid off. Unfortunately, said bed was farther from the floor than I remembered. Luckily, since I was still tired, my body was rather limp and the worst I got from it was a thought process that went "WTF I don't remember being this high I hope I didn't wake anyone up OMG STFU alarm!"

Breakfast was a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats with the soymilk in the public fridge (thanks, mom! :]); once Jane comes, we'll have an actual fridge in the room and I'll be able to eat at the comp.

It had rained that early morning, since everything was wet outside when I was walking to the music center. I found out when I got there that instead of a marching rehearsal as originally scheduled, we were going to be in sectionals because the field was soaked. I was tired as hell because of the day before, and I was happy to see that I wasn't the only one; I thought my exhaustion was due to the fact that I was a complete n00b. The sectional itself was rather laid-back like the rest of the band camp, and we went over the show music (luckily, the hard parts) as well as the fight songs. After two hours, we regrouped in the band room and practiced as a huge, loud, collectively awesome whole.

After the lunch break, we had a three-hour-or-so rehearsal on the field, this time doing drill after reviewing the fundamentals. Drill is basically the formations that you, the audience, see on the field. Here's how it works: everyone receives a tiny, easy-to-lose slip of paper. Said paper has things like which formation (called "sets") it is, how many counts (beats) it takes to get to said formation, and where you are relative to the yard lines (like X-coordinates) and the sideline or hashes (like Y-coordinates), both of which are measured in 8-to-5 steps (8 steps for every five yards, the standard marching step. There are also step sizes such as 6-to-5 and the totally sucky 16-to-5), though it's not likely that you'll be taking the standard step size going from formation to formation.

Here's an example: Set #2, or the second formation of this song. It exists on count 8, which means that it took 8 counts to get from the first set (whose count number is 0, meaning that you start the show in that formation) to this one, which means that it takes 8 steps to get to said set. My specific spot is "2.5 stps inside Left 45 yd ln" on the left-to-right (or X-coordinate) basis. "Inside" means that, if you were looking at the field from the home sidelines, I am to the right of the 45 yard line on the left side of the field. In this case, I'm two-and-a-half standard steps to the right of the left side 45 yardline. On an up-to-down basis, I'm "14.75 stps outside Home hash". This means that I'm 14.75 steps in front of the home hash, which is the hash marking closest to the home side of the field. It's best to think of the football field as a huge grid, with the respective instructions as X and Y coordinates on that grid. At least, that's how I think about it.

Now, these coordinates are to give you a general idea of where your spot is in the formation. When we learn a set, we are put specifically in our specific spots as dictated by the sheet (by the directors and section leaders, who have drill charts, large pages displaying the formations and where everyone is as opposed to lines of text like us normal people); however, when you're marching from one set to another, it is virtually impossible to perfectly recreate where you were, thus, you must "dress" (or adjust yourself to be in line with the other players) to the SET, not what your little scraps of paper say. When you see a formation on the field, it will never be the exact formation dictated by the computer program used to calculate the coordinates and put them on the sheets. EVER. Not even if you're watching the #1 drum corps (a marching band to the twentieth power; like an NFL team is to a college football team) in all of the WORLD.

I personally find drill far more interesting and satisfying than marching up and down the field in a block like in fundamentals. It also helps me memorize the music faster; the music also helps me remember my drill. So, I rather enjoyed the marching rehearsal today.

Said rehearsal was cut short by a nasty storm approaching. This college being one of the best for aviation (or so I've heard), we had people who knew the weather and how it worked (there is seriously a class here called "Aviation Meteorology"); for instance, they knew the name of the cloud type above us (a "shelf cloud"). It was pretty cool being with other people who were as excited about the weather as I was. What was scary was what I saw when I was on my way to my ride's car - the clouds were rotating! However, I was informed that the specific way of rotating was not characteristic of a tornado. On a complete tangent, did you know that the digital tornado sirens here in Grand Forks were put in place by UND students in June? They were put to use (and they worked) a week after they were put into place, when four funnel clouds were spotted - according to a professor I talked to during my orientation, the sirens were going off for at least a few hours.

I had a two-hour dinner break, but couldn't eat any actual dinner since the place I go to for food had already closed. It started pouring outside, but I had to get back to the music center. So I walked. It had to have been the fastest I've walked in a while because I got there in ten minutes as opposed to fifteen. I was totally soaked, and while my hair was wet because I took a shower prior to leaving, it was even more soaked when I got to the band room. My pleather jacket was thankfully waterproof, but my long pants were not. Luckily, my iPod, my phone, my wallet and my DS were entirely unharmed.

While I had brought my clarinet "just in case", the rest of the band day was dedicated to uniform fitting and checking out; while this was going on, Get Smart was playing on a big-ass projector in the recital hall - seniors had to get their stuff done first, so everyone watched. From what I saw of it before I was called to the band room to try on stuff, it was pretty funny, in part because the comedy didn't consist of toilet humor or sex jokes (which of course fly right over my head). Plus, MASI OKA.

Getting my uniform was a pain in the ass. It's no secret to Mom or anyone else who knows me that I'm short. This presented a problem.

Here's the basic anatomy of a band uniform, which holds true regardless of school or state: the main body of the uniform consists of the bib pants, of which you only see the legs. The pant legs can't be too long or else you'll be tripping over them as you march on the field with BLACK (emphasis on BLACK) marching shoes (which have blunted heels to make marching easier). Over the pants goes the jacket, which may or may not vary between bands (for instance, my high school's band jacket looked suspiciously similar to that of the Blue Devils drum corps, which also looked similar to a band in California that I saw at Bands of America last year). Then you have your hat, which, from what I've seen, consists of either the old school, box-ish style or a cowboy-esque hat, and might or might not have a plume.

My problem was that, because I'm so short, the smallest size of the pants was far too big for me in all areas, even with the straps pulled all the way up. This is a pain in the ass when you can't get a smaller size and there's no way to adjust it without making some "modifications", such as cutting the threads of the doubled-up part of the strap to make it longer and hemming the bottoms with an iron. Because of said modifications, I decided to outright buy the pants (for $35, but I don't need to pay now) instead of simply checking them out; also, this would make it much easier for me in the later years.

My initial jacket was too small: the sleeves ended at my lower wrists, which is a no-no, and the jacket seemed to end a little too high up. My third jacket ended up fitting me. What's strange about the jackets here is that instead of opening up from the back like my ones at my high school, they open from the front but are covered by a decorative thingy that's buttoned on both sides, concealing the zipper.

Here, ANY entirely black shoes work, so I got to save myself money because I had brought my marching shoes from high school.

The hat was a less boxy box-esque hat, sans plume, thankfully, since the plumes for these types of hats stick straight up and look really stupid. A friendly senpai (upperclassmen) I know said that they looked like tampons. I thought they just looked plain stupid back when I had to wear them four years ago in my freshman year of high school.

After that ordeal was over, I asked one of the seniors to give me a ride back, since it was dark. One of the section leaders was there, too, and they picked up another colleague of theirs. The person giving me a ride asked if I wanted to go with them to the local Cold Stone to get some ice cream.

Ok, I totally caved. I was hungry, craving sweets, and they were my senpai that I had already played and marched beside and talked to before in camp. So why not? The Cold Stone was near the SuperTarget Mom and I went shopping at a few days before. I got a very large "Chocolate Chocolate Mint Mint" (mint ice cream with a chocolate brownie and chocolate chips on top) ice cream in a waffle bowl; I later learned that the waffle bowl was free because today was Waffle Wednesday. I payed for it myself, of course. As of typing this, despite being lactose intolerant (hence the soymilk), I have had no problems whatsoever. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

More people from band started showing up, including an assistant director that I knew closely already, because she was the one answering my n00bish questions over the summer about band camp. The high-woodwind (flutes and clarinets) section leader showed up and a bunch of other senpai showed up, too, including one of the drum majors! We all sat in the tables outside of the Cold Stone, eating our ice cream and laughing like crazy at the hilarious anecdotes and verbal zingers that they kept throwing at each other. That's how I learned about the tornado sirens. Also, apparently the sirens over at the airport, which is apparently where I get the data for the radar that I pore over every five minutes, are broken, and the air traffic controllers found out the hard way, though no damage was done. The senior that drove me there joked about heading to the Target to get some toilet paper after the assistant director mentioned that the process of buying her house was finally complete on her end; the discussion then turned into one about the best ways to prank people's houses (throwing marbles into someone's back yard, which would then fly as lethal projectiles when said yard was being mowed, for instance). It was pretty cool being "one of the guys" for a little while, and I got to eat yummy ice cream to boot!

Oh, and apparently everyone gets smashed at the bowling party on the third day of band camp; I noted to myself that I wasn't going to attend - c'mon, drunk people and bowling balls? Not the best combo.

After about an hour or so, I got dropped off back at my dorm, and now I'm typing this. So basically, my day in a nutshell. A lot happened, and I enjoyed today a lot more than I did yesterday.

Mom just had to inform me while I was typing this that my usage of "colloquial" in my last post was wrong. Crap, foiled again!

She also sent me this great image. Metallica + Lolcats = Epic win.

And, like yesterday, I'll send you off with a video. This one involves the epic power of Dan Green's voice (which was parodied awesomely in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series by LittleKuriboh, a British guy).

Remember, kids, Dan Green's voice is so epic that it can turn a Magic or Trap card into a Monster card!

EDIT: Okay, so I just found out that I DIDN'T bring my marching band shoes. So I'll probably have to buy them. FUUUUUU--*shot*


Christina LMT said...

I'm sorry you fell out of bed, but glad you didn't get hurt!

Cold Stone, huh? You never mentioned that!

And I'm REALLY sorry about the marching shoes. I'm pretty sure we threw them away. D'oh! :(

Gay_Cynic said...

Eh...drunks and bowling balls are a common & safe combination - as long as they refrain from bowling overhand (a hint it is time to go!)...

Glad you're having fun...

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Mom, falling off the bed wasn't TOO bad. xD I luckily averted that this morning.

I never mentioned it because it was never relevant. I was just ITCHING to post it on this blog. xD

I want to hit my head against the wall regarding the marching shoes. GAAAAH!

Gay_Cynic, I can just imagine being brained by a drunk band member who was a bit too overzealous sending it out in the lane. Given that I'm cursed to be brained by something every year by a band member (for instance, James, a bass drum player, brained me with a bass drum three years ago. Ow.), I don't wanna push my luck.

Anonymous said...
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Silver the Evil Chao said...

Sorry, spammer. For one, I'm not male, so I can't take Viagra, and second, I'm asexual, so that stuff doesn't interest me anyway.