Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WSF '07 Videos

This year, we had no 'extras' while we played the Slow-March / 6/8 set, so it didn't get recorded.  But I do have the other 2 (thanks DEB!).


So here they are!



If they dont' seem to come out right (sound is choppy or something), try going to directly to my SOAPBOX page.


What's that?  Soapbox?  Well, it's MSN's version of YOUTUBE.  Probably not as popular, but at least i didn't need a new account or anything, you just use your MSN.  So less logins.


I'll blog about it later today.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Winnipeg trip

So how to discuss this past weekend?  Alot happened, so I'm going to try to chronicle it as best as I can.


First, it was the getting to the airport.  I ended up getting there kinda early, as per usual, and hung out for a bit.  As I found Dylan we hung out looking for others.  It didn't take long to find that a few of the guys were already there, just in the bar waiting.  The whole airport was pretty packed when we were there.  Apparently all teh kiddies getting back from break and the Canadian Idol competition in Winnipeg makes for a busy airport.  The plus side of it was that the West Jet flight that i wanted to get on, but left much earlier (12noon) was delayed for almost 2 hours!  That was kinda funny to hear.


Then we got on the plane... man, I forgot how small a Jazz flight is.  Seriously, if I can avoid these planes ever, I will.  Not too tight, but not much room either.  I forgot to take my jacket off (agin, not much room to put it elsewhere) and I just sweated the entire time.  At least I got to watch some of the movie "Pan's Labyrinth" on the plane.  I had downloaded this for Eilidh's project, but decided to have something to do while killing the hour on the plane.


After we got off the plane it was time to get to the hotel with all of our luggage (thankfully... no mix ups this time!).  As it turned out the hotel rooms were spread out to accommodate teh fact we needed 2 queens in each room.  Rory and I (and Joe) got the best of the lot.  POOLSIDE!  Sweet.  Well I guess as pipe majors we ned to the quickest access to relaxation time.  Everybody pretty much pulled up around that time.  Then we each headed to the hottub for a quick dip and then we had our traditional Pasta La Vista dinner.  Which was good.  Apparently not as good as Ror's prime rib, but my chicken parm sandwhich was amazing.  Fresh bread, great mozzarella... mmmm.


When dinner was finished we had the evening to kill.  Not as many solo competitors, so most took that as an excuse to really enjoy the pool.  There was some pool wars (basically me flipping the girls around in the pool), and lots of hot tubbin'.  Pete ended up staying in our room and man can he snore.


In the morning I could take my time when I got up.  I knew nobody else in our room needed to compete.   So I enjoyed a long shower, a shave before heading out.  I still got there pretty early, but it was ok.  I should have used the time to set my pipes just right, but my reed went for a real shit.  And as I tried to fix it, Rory was fixing others, so it just made it difficult to do.  I can't believe what a differene the prairie climate makes.  So my first competition of the day (strath/reel for Jake Watson) was horrible.  Reed was awful, very chirpy, and dull and that just throws my confidence out, so I sounded horribly.  Then there was the last solo for me (2/4 for Snaddon) and at this opint the reed was fixed somewaht.  But again, I wasn't in the right head for the game and my mind just kept wandering.  I had never EVER done so poorly in competition.  I even thought that I was playing the wrong tune at one point.  Oh, well... at least there's the band comps coming up.... that and breakfast of some greasy pan fries.  Yumm...


As it turns out, Dylan forgot his trophy from last year.  that's pretty funny, seeing as we have a history of forgetting trophies.  Man they were pissed at him about it.  They first asked him "what band are you from?"  They even went so far as to say "it's like a disease YOU PEOPLE have."  Ok, that went over the limit.  I never want to back to support anything the PPBAM ever does.  Really, they piss me off.  They don't listen, and they just treat us like shit.  You would have thought we had killed their mother or something.  I guess that's what happens when it's run by a bunch of women.


When it was time for band playing ... man, we really kicked into gear, fixing everything we could in sight.  The first set was the Slow March / 6/8 set... we knew we weren't going to win, but at least we let everybody play.  It was pretty good nonetheless.  But we knew we weren't taking 1st.  The second set was the QMM, and we only needed some slight modification of tuning before setting out.  We played amazingly well I thought.  Graham's nerves kicked in and he set a pretty quick pace.  He said it was still slow, but his nerves were up, so he couldn't tell.  That got us a little antsy for the next set, so we practiced playing it a tad slower before we went out, to make sure that it didn't explode on us.  The last set (Medley) went very well.  I thought we played awesome!  Then we heard some of the other bands.  Rory commented on hearing one of them "wow, that's a really good grade III band..." at which point somebody said "no, that's a grade IV band."  Ouch... so much for 1st place.  But here's what we got once we went and did the medal ceremony:


grade IV SM-6/8:  4th place

grade IV QMM:  2nd place

grade IV Medley:  3rd place




The mass band thing wa spretty funny, they even had to throw in at some point a jab at our band (as always... seriously they don't like us!).


So we did ok.  I ... and I must admit i feel guilty saying this ... feel glad we didn't lose to MacGillivrary.  It's a shame, I'm definitely becoming more and more competitive lately.  But MacG did very well.  Much better than they placed ... at least in my books.  Their new chanters sound really good.  Maybe I'm wrong on these Kron things?


After we got back to our rooms we decided to head to Earl's for dinner.  What was neat was Rob Kinnaird decided to come along.  We met him somewhat briefly last year.  He's a vendor, he makes some amazing products!  So we got to hang out with him for the night.  Which mostly consisted of more pool antics, and Pete crashing in our room again.  We needed to move him, he snored ALOT.  But Pet's unmovable when he crashes.  (see the pic of me smashign him with a pillow).  Then Rory decided the only way he was going to avoid it was to sleep in the tub.  That lasted 30min.


In the morning most people head out pretty quickly to make the airport.  Rory and myself thought that we'd enjoy a leisurely morning and take a later flight... that was for 8:30.  Seemed pretty smart, but when you realize that checkout's at 11... that's a long time to kill.  So we got ourselves a late checkout and then we saw that Rob also had a late flight, so we found things to do with him.  We went to MEC where I learned that you have to be a member to join before you buy, we talked shop the entire time, I met a crusty homeless dude who thought a quarter would fix his position in life, we saw the Canadian Idol competitions being held in teh mall (or at least some sort of advanced entry thing seeing as we didn't hear any singing).  All in all it was pretty cool.  Rob is a pretty neat guy.  He knows his product.  I guess being an engineer has allowed him some neat insight into what goes on with the small minute parts in our pipes and he's come up with some cool products to fix it.  His main two inventions are the carbon fiber drone reeds and the piper's pal.  He's a good contact to make.  So we (both him and us) wrote off most of what we did as business expenses.


Finally the time came for him to take his flight and us to take ours... except ours was late... and they never announce those things.  So when we should have been boarding, I went to find out why they hadn't called us.  Turns out it's an hour delayed... then it was another 20, then it changed gates 2x... finally we boarded at about 11:20... (almost 2 hours later than it was supposed to be).  At this point Rory was realy getting his cold... he started to say it was a fever... but I doubted him.  Until I saw him shivering on the plane.  We got him home and then when I got up in the morning, I realized I had the same thing (as I was in a pool of sweat and just shivering as well).  So I had to call in to the supply board as sick [getting a supply for a supply just sounds redundant] and miss the afternoon at PTC.


All in all, it was a good trip.


Don't think we're going next year... but tha'ts another story.


Don't forget to see the photos.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Get better soon Rich... no more cigars

So last week I got some awful news.  Brandy called me all upset saying that Rich had had a massive heart attack.

Now Rich is not a CLOSE friend, we've seen him just about EVERY time we've gone for coffee, and he's usually out at most after parties, etc... so he is a mainstay in the friend rings.

So when we ehard he had a heart attack I thought we should go get him something.  Some sort of 'survival kit' for post heart attack people.  For Brandy and Eilidh, this meant flowers... and a card.  I was looking more for coffee or stress... or even gag stuff, but this works out just as well.  Almost it didn't tho', as it turns out you're not allowed to bring flowers into the ICMU thingie, but the lady let us smuggle 'em in.

I wanted to get him a card that said "sorry to hear you broke your heart on Valentine's day..." but they said it would be in poor taste (Rich did laugh when i told him tho').

So he's headed off today to Hamilton to have himself looked at and whatnot ... turns out he had 75% blockage.  Nuts...


No more cigars Rich... get better soon.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2nd day back, and there's a fight

So, I've had the fortune for the past 2 days to cover for John at PACI.  It's work!  Yay...

At the same time I looked at his courses and essentially they're the kids I taught last semester.  Ouch...


First day goes by pretty good actually.  NO real problems, and we almost 'get along' so I'm stoked.


2nd day... well, I think I'm prohibited by the Union from actually saying what took place, but needless to say, there was a fistfight in the classroom.  I've never had to deal with a fistfight in the classroom (at least that I can remember).


It was a pretty unreal moment there, I don't think that I expected it to really happen.  Took me a second to sorta workout that "hey, I need to step in here."


When there was a lull after it was over I went to go make my report at the office and Paul's first words were "welcome back!"  He's the king of one-liners.  [kinda like the time i said I couldn't reach a student's mom and he said "did you call the casino?"]


Cursed, I am

So, I'm starting to think that I'm cursed.


A few months back, I was to take some pictures of Greg's retirement, and the card wasn't working in the digital camera.

A few weeks back, I was to video tape a pranking... and my camera stopped working.  Figured it was the cold.  Then it stopped recording anything.  Grr..

Also, I've been noticing my TV needs to be re-aligned.  And not just the manual amount you can do yourself, but a physical realignment of the guns.  So I'm going to need a technician.

Then there's the time I took my car in for the annual servicing... the first thing out of his mouth was "you need new tires!" which was followed not so long after that "you need new brakes"

The brakes I got done.  The tires, would have to wait.

Then last sunday I noticed that one tire was pretty flat, so I just filled it up.  I figured I'll just go and get some estimates for new tires soon.

Monday I bring the car into Kal-Tire and while we're talking, he notices that my one tire is pretty low.  "An unhealthy low" as he put it.  So he offered to fix it up for free.  Turns out that it's more than just unhealthy... it's dead.  So do I put the spare on, or really think about this quote I just did?  $1000 later, I put new tires on.




sucky things lately...  couple that with NO job this semester, and suddenly, somehow my bills have really escalated to a scary level.  Not sure how that's happening, but it means things are going to be tight for a while around here.  CRAZY


So, if you've got good news in the next little wihle... SAVE IT.  I really don't want to hear it.  I need some of my own.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A cool un-surprise party

So, it's Mandy's 30th birthday yesterday. For the past while she has been telling me she deserves a prty.  Not a subtle hint... just a straight out "I deserve a party" so I've been debating on ways to do this.  I figured just having people over would be enough, but I couldn't rightly remember if she HATED surprise parties, or LOVED them... either way it was pretty vehement.


Turns out it didnt' matter 'cuz my subtle planning was useless.  She played along the whole way.  I set up to take Mandy out for dinner with our folks and while we were out I had given a spare key to her cousin Kris to get in and let her friends in.   When we got back she still played along even though she knew.  What a good heart.


It was a good time, we had blizzard cake, snacks, Count Duckula.


Happy birthday hon! 


I got her a massage/heating chair thingie... a nice lap blanket (she calls her sick blanket) and a jelly bean/cupcake candle.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The week in recap

I haven't done this in a while, so let's see if i can bring those who aren't in the know up to speed.


TO those around me, it's been obvious I'm in a not-so-good mood  because of my 'no classes' situation for next semester.  This has meant that I did a crazy dash of applying to jobs listed on Education Canada site.  What will come of it, who knows... I just get very frustrated over the whole "what am I missing" stuff.  Like when there's people who've started AFTER i did, and are already on the board with contract periods, and I somehow miss these opportunities.  I just don't get it.  Do I do my handshakes the wrong way?  Maybe I'll send a letter off to Terry and see what he has to say.


In the mean time I'm still at PTC working away there.  It was funny, last week Rain had it with all the guys doing MSN and stuff... so I reset all the computers with Limited accounts and uninstalled alot of stuff.  One guy said he needed his messenger so he could talk to his girlfriend in Iowa (or something).  Then claimed his injury makes it hard for him to pay attention etc... some sort of head injury he said.  But as it turns out, he really has only an injury for his arm.  Apparently he's just a huge con man.  Fun fun...


On lighter notes, we had a birthday celebration this week.    Eilidh's!!  So Tuesday Brandy had it all set out that Chris and I were to punk her car.  She was going to take her to the gym and while they were there Chris and I were to set up all the decorations that Brandy had made.  The best one was this netting she got and then we blew up a bunch of balloons and attached them so that you coudl just throw it over her car (she was concerned about doing something to her car).  The problem came in trying to transport this huge net to the prank site.  Chris and I thought we had a good idea.  Except when we got it out o fmy car it was all tanlged up.  I mean TANGLED UP... this thing was a nightmare.  It was just a blob of ballons and loose netting.  It ended up being cut to shreds using Chris' box cutter... except it didn't make it much better.  The glowsticks we were to thread about the netting didn't come out any better.  The extreme cold (did I say it was cold... cuz it was COLD) cuased them to not really glow much.  So here we are in front of the house just tryin got get it all done right when the girls show up.  Apparently it was still a good surprise despite what it looked like.  So from there we went out for a coffee (as per norm).  Mandy felt left out and so she made Eilidh some cupcakes for her birthday (which were very tasty).  Then we decided to do something Friday night for her as well.  It was supposed to be alot of people coming out to T&A's ... but as it turns out, it was just Chris, Brandy, myself and E.  And Brandy wasn't feeling well so she left early.  And Trish & Heather were just down on a lower level doing something else.  So as E puts it, it became a party of 3.  Another time E... we'll do it up right!


What else...?  I've picked up a VERY nasty cold as of late.  Not sure exactly what it is... I went to the doctor the other day to talk about my allergies and she was saing that I tend to get some post-nasal drip may get down my throat ... so maybe that's what is causing my throat to burn for the first few days.  It was rough.  Then it's gone back to my nose... it just keeps running.  But I'm not sure if it's allergies (so i haven't tried out my free drugs yet - did I miss mentinoing my HOTT doctor gave me free drugs?), or another cold.  It just doesn't seem to end.  The odd thing is I'm going to go lay down for a nap and I'll just zone out after a few and wake up hours later.  Very disconcerting.


Band practice is going sorta ok... I'm not exactly sure, 'cuz I've been missing a few and haven't been able to play.  But like less than 3 weeks to go... am I ready?    Well I hope so, I've downloaded some MP3 of the tuens I'll be playing.  The part I'm concerned with is playing that march (Arthur Bignoll of Loch Rusque) 'cuz it feels really weird marching to it with those really hard helds in it.  I'm sure it'll come out in the wash...


My new palm is still pretty cool.  I'm starting to get used to it.  My hands are having a tough time holding it (guess it's not what they're used to).


Well, that's about it for now... if anybody finds me a full time job, let me know.  I could use something stable in my life right now.

Ciao for now


Thursday, February 1, 2007

This is hard... this being a teacher thing.

Who ever said being a teacher was easy was totally wrong.


Teaching is easy... getting to be a teacher... that's another story.  I'm so really upset over it right now, I'm not even going to blog it.  Maybe in a few days.


On the upside, I might just start blogging about E's prank and a recnet homage to Palm Pilots I've owned....  need something to cheer me up.