I haz a sad

On Facebook yesterday I learned that the drum And bugle corps I marched in (Minnesota Brass) will not be fielding a competitive corps this summer. Meaning they couldn’t get enough horn line members to join so they closed up shop for the summer season.

Possibly for good.

The corps has basically been around and marching for over 70 years– and now this. It’s really a sad day.

I mean, the corps has weathered hard times before, but starting in the early 2000’s it really turned around and became a force to be reckoned with; eventually becoming one of the two premier corps in the all-age activity. And a world champ in 2011. Also, in the 5 years I marched we took top brass 3 times.

Not bad.

And now they can’t get enough horn players interested to make a go of things.

It was never easy recruiting horn members for some reason. But lately it’s only gotten worse. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, namely:

  • cost
  • time commitment
  • low difficulty of brass music
  • physical demand

All of these factors come into play, but I think especially cost. It’s like 700 bucks to do this activity, and younger people just don’t have that discretionary income to blow on “marching band”.

And we older folks that do have some spare ducets around don’t fancy spending them on an activity where the music isn’t challenging, and the physical demand is brutal.

The shows are very physical and punishing to the body. Marching at 180 bpm, playing and controlling your breath, while consistently hitting a new form accurately about every 2-3 seconds is insanely hard work.

Then, of course there is the fact that drum corps basically consumes your entire summer, and you get almost no weekends to enjoy. Which is even harder to do in Minnesota where he have such limited summer weather.

I saw the writing on the wall in 2015 when the corps called me out of retirement to fill a hole at the end of their season. They couldn’t find horn players even then. And last year? Their horns were pathetically bad.

Like, embarrassingly so.

I don’t know how they can fix this. Im not sure they can fix it. Which may mean this is the end of a storied organization.

I definitely haz a sad.

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Spring hath sprung-eth

So, spring finally arrived here in the twin cities. It’s not perfect weather yet– kind of hard to relish low 60’s when there are still snowbanks everywhere and ice still on the lakes.

But it’s better than nothing!!

So this weekend I washed Moose, did some bike maintenance, cleaned up my balcony planters, and then went for my inaugural bike ride around the lakes.

Here’s me at lake Bde Maka Ska (aka Calhoun):

Yes. That is a frozen lake behind me. The ride was “mostly good” except for the ugly pedestrians all over the bike path. Uggh!

And yes, in the I’m sporting my new Thousand helmet. Ain’t it spiffy??

Once I found out that Bell helmets were owned by a guns and ammo corporation, I said “bye, Felicia” to that helmet. And got me a Thousand.

Really, it’s mostly just another helmet- but there are a couple cool features. Leather straps. Hipster chic matte finish and shape. An intuitive magnetic clasping mechanism. And a pop out side hole that you can use to lock the helmet to your bike via a U lock. (See above pics)

And I also rode Ghost (my bike’s name) to work today. First time this year.

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Woofy Wednesday

I’m onsite for another quality system audit. Yay. But the thirst continues-

Mmmm, there’s something about him that I quite like– just can’t seem to put my finger on it…..

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Well fuck.

Yeah. I’m basically in the purple swath.

Happy April 14th.

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Woofy Wednesday

Moar hotness on this January 84th…

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A.L.C.

Acceptable Levels of Clutter.

Do you have a high or low ALC? Or maybe you don’t mind clutter at all. For me, I have a fairly low acceptable level, although it does float a bit.

Like, I have lots of art on walls, but not a lot of shelves with knickknacks and gewgaws. I have a small pile of mail on my kitchen island, but I go through it every few days.

I do leave clothes on my bedroom floor, but only up to about 2 days worth, then I scoop it all into the laundry.

And I can leave about a days worth of dishes in the sink (especially when I haven’t had a chance to empty the dishwasher yet). But that’s it.

Then I have to clean up.

Oh, and I cannot abide any drawers, cupboards or doors left open in my place.

So- what are your limits? Or do you have any?

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Isle of Dogs

Or is it I Love Dogs?

Either way, I saw it.

And I “think” I liked it– but there is a lot to process. I also think I am “supposed” to like it. Which frustrates me a little.

Visually it’s beautiful. The craft involved in the stop animation is ridiculous. It’s kind of funny but fairly dark. And very “foreign” feeling.

I think the reason why I don’t have a clear reaction to the film is that there are so many themes all mashed together:

  • Japanese culture homage
  • Kabuki theater
  • Dog/boy adventure film
  • Dystopian society commentary
  • Comment on despotic ruling parties and rigged elections
  • Fukushima
  • Animal testing
  • Student rebellion
  • Pollution

It honestly felt like a modern take on Japanese monster movies from the 60’s. Only with minimal translation and no dubbing.

It also felt like it was some sort of colossal in-joke that most of us aren’t “in” on. (Like using poison wasabi as a “final solution”).

So, I’d say go see it. And then we can talk about the film and dissect it.

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(Not) Ready Player One

I went to see Ready Player One last weekend. (I know! Two movies in a week!) It’s Spielberg. It’s Sci-Fi. And I really wanted to like it.

But alas– I did not.

It wasn’t terrible mind you, but I didn’t think it was great. I think it would be a struggle to even call it “good”.

I guess I have three main problems with it:

– they changed too much from the book

– there is so much CGI that it feels flat and emotionless

– you never develop a connection to the characters

Naturally I read the book, and it was because of the book that I wanted to see the film. I quite enjoyed the story and it was fresh enough in my mind that I noticed everything the movie did differently.

Which was a lot.

All of the “Key Hunts” were basically different. And missing was a lot of the nostalgia of the old 80’s games like Joust and Pac-Man, along with 80’s movies and trivia. The movie kind of washed all that away.

Also, the movie kind of starts right in on the action, so you miss the buildup of the back story of Wade Watts. The drudgery of life. The poverty. The virtual schooling. So you never care about him or the other treasure hunters.

Which leaves the CGI.

Now the CGI is pretty, and very action-y. But it’s just… well, a lot. And when a film relies so much on CGI, it’s almost boring. And no matter how good it is, it never seems real. There’s always a “flatness” to it. Emotionless.

So, yeah. It’s an ok Spielberg film. But it’s not great and it ain’t the book at all. Maybe it’s worth matinee pricing– or $5 movie night.

Or just use the money and download the book.

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Woofy Wednesday

Happy hump day.

Yes. Please!

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Suck it, Mother Nature!

It’s April. We should not be getting a winter storm. And the low temperatures should most certainly not dip into single digits!

This sucks.

The view out my office windows right now.

The only decent part is that it’s currently warm enough to melt it on the roads. But later it won’t be.

The highs for the next week or so will be equal to our average lows for this time of year. And the lows??

Hi how is goddamn January weather.

Even for us hearty, northern plains folks, this is a bit much to deal with. We all have cabin fever and need spring to come soon.

PS- the Twins baseball home opener is on Thursday. They gonna be hating life.

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