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.

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