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30 March 2006

One Last Post... the month of March, that is. There is a complimenatry computer at the front desk of our hotel for States, but it is hard to get it for very long, as there are 659 PMEA students staying here. This post is essentially to let you know that I haven't forgotten about this blog at all; in fact I have 8 handwritten pages of a "TravelLog" from my trip to Florida to type up when I get back, to which I'm adding a few pages here at States. I'll post all that in April though, after I get back. Until then, I hate you all (early April fools)!

Oh, and by the way, this is my 50th post to Randomness since it began in May 2005. Yay!


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22 March 2006


Okay, well, I'm going to Florida. But don't cry, it's only for a few days (I'll get back late Monday). If I have extra time on the 23-hour bus ride either way (including stops), I might write some things in a notebook for this site, and then I'll post them when I get back. Except I have to immediately unpack so I can pack for States.

Oh, well. April will be much better once I'm all caught up. It'll feel weird actually attending a full week of school, though. And since we lose an hour of sleep somewhere in there, I'll be even more cranky. I'll get through it, though.

So, since I'm not going to be slacking off of this blog on my vacation, no one else has a right to slack off while they're not on vacation (haha). I expect at least a post or two from each of you when I get back, and I'll try to find the time to comment you (but only if you comment me, mwahaha).

So until then, I'm goin' to Disney World!


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20 March 2006

Port Allegany

Well, here it is, the moment you've been waiting for. The announcement of the results of Region II Choir at Port Allegany.

But first I must digress: While carpooling there, my director (who is originally from the Pittsburgh area) kept complaining about how they spell the name of their town. She was thoroughly discomfited with the fact that they chose to spell it "Allegany" and not "Allegheny," which she asserts is the only correct spelling. But in New York state it has historically been spelled without the "Allegany," and here's proof. For some reason unknown to historians, the "Allegany" spelling became the standard in 1840, soon after the town was renamed from Keating. Okay then. This reminds me of Laurel's "fairy vs. faery" post.

Looking at the Allegheny river in town, though, you'd think it wasn't the same river as the one that goes through Pittsburgh. Only a few feet deep at this point, it was apparently the point at which the river became to shallow for Indians to navigate, so they had to "portage" to another river. Hence the name. Wow.

But as I said...yeah...the moment you've been waiting for; I shall keep you in suspense no longer. I completely astounded myself when I found out that I got third chair and that I'm going to States! It's so very happy. I even ate a Philadelphia cheesesteak at lunch today to celebrate. It wasn't very good, but hey, I'm not in Philly yet, so what could I expect?

Actually, States are held at a bunch of schools (and one hotel) in the Valley Forge area. I'll be auditioned on Wednesday 29 March at Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville (Montgomery County). Then I stay at the Hilton Valley Forge hotel in King of Prussia (Montgomery County). Rehearsals for the All-State Choir are at Springfield High School in Springfield (Delaware County). The concert is on Saturday 01 April at North Penn High School in Lansdale (Montgomery County). Similar arrangements are made for the All-State Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. All in all, eight different venues in the area are used to host the ensembles, to say nothing of the concurrent conference that all the directors attend.

Now you might be saying, "Whoa! States just a week and a half after Regions? How does that work?" Well, I'll tell you. States was actually slated for 19-22 April, but the National Association for Music Education (MENC) decided that they had to have their national conference in Salt Lake City on those exact dates, so they made the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) move up States.

PMEA usually rotates the order of its District and Region festivals. This year, it was supposed to be Region Choir 15-18 February, Region Band 01-04 March, and Region Orchestra 15-18 March (at least I think that's what it was), with the corresponding District festivals six weeks earlier. Well, when States had to be moved up to 29 March-01 April, just two weeks after the last Region festival, PMEA decided that the choir kids could learn music much faster than band or orchestra kids, so they completely reversed the order of the festivals. Of course, this was well before the school year started, but still, it makes it difficult for us choir kids. At least everyone else is in the same boat. Yay, politics.

So, I've had my music since Friday, and I glanced through it Sunday and read through most of the pieces today. Unfortunately, since I'm going to Florida Wednesday through next Monday, I will have to take my music with me and practice just about wherever I go; I can't afford not to. Then I'm in school for one day, and I'm off to Philly with Mr. Dearbeck, the band director, because Miss Rose can't go, being tied up with our school musical, Guys and Dolls. Plus, a 23-year-old female teacher driving an 18-year-old male student seven hours across the entire state...yeah, you can see why the school district wants to avoid that, not that anything would ever happen.

Oy. So now I'm missing even more school. The marking period ends on 03 April, conveniently the day I get back from States. So, I'm looking into taking a couple of incomplete grades on my report card to give me the time that I know I'll need to catch up on my work. And I've already filed for an extension on my senior graduation project. I'll get it all done, it's just a matter of when.

So, enough blogging. I've got work to do!


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Now, I know you're waiting to hear about how Region Choir went, and that you probably don't care about Calculus, but this is what I'm writing there.

I just attempted to take a crazy Calculus test. See, I'm working independently out of one AP-prep book, and my teacher is taking my tests from the corresponding chapters of another AP-prep book. The problem is, the chapters don't correspond exactly. In the past, if a specific problem on a test wasn't addressed in my book, I was told to circle the problem number and then take a guess anyways. If I were to get the problem wrong, and it was deemed that I shouldn't have been expected to know it, it didn't count.

Well today I was circling about 60% of the problems. It was bad. The test was supposed to be on antiderivatives and definite integrals (I can see most of you wondering what that means), but there was only one definite integral on the test, and it was an odd problem (I was told to do only the evens this time because the test was horribly long).

So now, after I actually take a better test from my own text tomorrow (which puts me another day behind on my independent study), I'm completely switching texts. As in, we're ditching both AP-prep books and going back to the standard Larson text I used last year. Which is what I wanted to do in the first place. The only problem is that once I get back from Florida, I have only 17 class days available to learn all 23 BC topics covered in the Larson text before the AP Exam, as opposed to the fifty- or sixty-some I started out with.

Oh, well. It will all turn out okay. But right now the last thing I want to do is to take a math test. As for Region Choir, I'll probably post about that in the next 24 hours or so. I just had to vent about this.


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15 March 2006

Hid-de and Morpheus

Over the last two months, we have inherited cats. They have been very nice to us. First let me explain why we have them. My mom's cousin was moving from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, but he and his wife had to move out of their Cleveland house before they could buy one in Pittsburgh. So in the interim, they stayed with his mother, who is deathly allergic to cats. Hence, we inherited two of the three, namely Hid-de and Morpheus.

As mentioned in Laurel's post of 02 January, Hid-de is pronounced "Heidi" and is meant to be interpreted as "hidey." I was asleep when the cats first came at around 01:30 one morning in January. The next day I was home all day, and I still didn't see them. I was beginning to even doubt their existence. Well, it turned out they were just hiding. And hiding really well.

Since then, they've become bolder and have explored the house more. Above is a picture of Morpheus and Hid-de looking out our back door at a squirrel one recent Sunday morning. Sorry it's only a picture of their backs, but they proved very resistant to capture (both physically and on film)!

To the left is a better picture of Hid-de, just sitting in front of our refrigerator.

And at right is Morpheus hiding under the kitchen table. They seem to like that general area between the basement door, the back door, and the kitchen. Nine times out of ten, that's where they'll be.

It's sad that since we're going to Florida for a week with the marching band, they have to leave on Sunday. We were just getting used to them, and we have really enjoyed their company. Oh, well. I'm sure that they'll enjoy their new permanent home even more!


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Pi Day Addendum

Addendum to "Pi Day," 14 March 2006:

Of course, I wore my official Pi Shirt all day yesterday, constructed out of the first 4493 digits of the lovable number itself!

And yes, several people stopped me and mentioned how awesome my shirt was. No, no one made fun of me. I don't know why.

And of course we ate pie in Calculus. Duh! How else would you celebrate Pi Day? What about Pi Approximation Day, which apparently is 22 July, and endures a "time-honoured" tradition of being "[ignored] altogether"?

There are way too many holidays.


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14 March 2006

Pi Day


The first 50 digits of pi. If you remember when I challenged people to guess what I was going to be posting about given small clues, I said I'd post about something dealing with "43383." Look up above. You'll find it, starting in the twenty-third position, because 23 is my favorite number.

So happy pi day! Enjoy your pie (and your pi)!


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13 March 2006

Mondays the Thirteenth

Woe is me! If you delve deep into the depths of archives from Jim Davis' comic Garfield, he used to make a big deal about Mondays. In particular, Mondays the Thirteenth.

Okay, fine. No one likes Mondays. And it seems everyone is scared of the number 13. So I guess it's only fitting that Mondays the Thirteenth be dreaded.

But I think the real reason is that Mondays the Thirteenth only come right before Fridays the Seventeenth. So there's your fair warning!

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Isn't it sad when you see seventies and thirties in the same day, and you know it's heading down, not up? And I was just getting excited about all the snow melting. Oh, well.

At least I won't care about the weather; Region Choir starts Wednesday and then soon after I get back I go to Florida with the marching band. Now as for me getting all that missed schoolwork done, um, we'll talk about that once it's done.

So for now, most of my posts are going to be short little things like this. But you'll read them and enjoy them just the same...or else!

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02 March 2006

Region Band Results

After my last post, I'm sure most of you want to know how I (along with the other Girardians) did at our Region Band auditions.

We got off to a bit of a late start today as a result of the contingency plan put in place: contingency upon the status of Punxsutawney area schools, that is. The weather was somewhat icy overnight, and since they have to bus students from a ridiculously large area (with varied geography, too), they put the schools on a two-hour delay, and then eventually cancelled. For us, that meant that unless the weather stayed bad (which it didn't), we wouldn't have to come until 10:30 for 11:00 rehearsal, essentially a three-hour delay for the festival. So we enjoyed a leisurely morning.

Once we got to PAHS, they seated us on the stage and then they announced the results for advancement to States. Of course, they did this all quickly in order to make up for lost time. This was when I found out that I missed States by one chair. They took three trumpeters, and I was seventh chair (out of 16).

No, that's not a typo. Often, students will turn down the opportunity to go to the State level. This is usually because they have already advanced in a different ensemble that held their tryouts earlier. Since all the different ensembles rehearse concurrently at the conference, it would be impossible for a student to be in more than one, so they don't even allow it.

Anyways, first and second chair were from District 3, and third through fifth all elected to not advance. So sixth chair (also from District 3) took the third slot. And I was three points behind (out of 240 possible). Darn. And no, I don't hate District 3, they just happen to be really good (or at least everyone thinks so).

Our flutist also missed States by one chair (third out of 18), and the clarinetist got eighth chair out of 30, four under the cut.

We expected the competition to be tough; after all, it is Region Band. But now, the big question is, who do we have to shove down the stairs this weekend in order to take their spot at States? Just kidding; gosh, don't take everything so seriously.


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Wow. That's a hard place to spell. But nevertheless, I'm here. As I mentioned in my post on District Band, I advanced to the Region Band level which is being held in the "Weather Capital of the World," Punxsutawney. Fortunately, my host family has high-speed Internet, so I should be able to blog a bit while I'm here.

There was a bit of controversy with the tryouts tonight. The blind auditions, which are supposed to be administered in a random order, were done in a rather "sorted" order instead. The student playing the first part in each section from District 3 (Punxsutawney's district) who chaired the highest at Districts went first, followed by District 3's second chair, third chair, etc. Then went the students playing the first part from District 2 (my district), in order of placement. Then the students playing the second part in the same fashion, etc.

This caused a bit of a conspiracy theory; that the District 3 directors were in cahoots with one another. I'm not so sure, but many students, especially those from District 2, were fuming.

But enough of that. I think I did rather well. Out of the two Trumpets II, I placed first. But that means nothing unless I beat enough of the other trumpets and cornets to make it to States. I'll find that out in the next couple of days, and I'll post it here at my earliest opportunity.

Oh, yeah. And my mother insists that we go to the Punxsutawney Memorial Library after Saturday's concert to see Punxsutawney Phil. She said "if we're driving all the way to Punxsutawney, we are seeing that groundhog!" Actually, Phil is scheduled to make an appearance at the school some time this weekend just for the Region Band students. How special.

And I got to meet my friend Ben again! So, I'll definitely enjoy this weekend, and I hope you do the same.

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