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September 19th, 2014

04:18 pm - Tee hee
It's funny reading back on this stuff. I felt like I had SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY!

Now I'm old and I don't care. I don't have anything important to say to all of the internets. It's great!

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February 1st, 2005

10:59 am
Well, I have started graduate school. It's nice being back in the music department. It took a little while, but it feels once again like the place I'm supposed to be right now. It seems like everyone wants me to play with them too. I think I got three or four more playing jobs last week. I'm playing this 10 minute messed up saxophone/percussion duet with one of my professors at a faculty recital. The harpist I play with also asked me to play on her next recording. And by far the most interesting, I received a call from the Mankato Area Symphony Orchestra. They needed someone to play on their next concert. Orchestra being one of the things I actually haven't done yet, I thought it would be a good experience.

So I went to the first rehearsal last Thursday. I walked into the band room, realized I didn't know anyone, and approached some guy standing behind drum stuff. I asked him, "Is this the percussion section," knowing full well that it obviously was. He asked me if I was the new guy. I said, "I guess." He asked me if I was filling in for Jim. I did not know. He then told me Jim must not be coming, so I would have to play the snare part. Whatever. It turns out percussion is only being used on one song. The guy tells me that that's a good thing, because we still get paid for full rehearsals. Fine with me, I guess. Then this other guy walks in. It's Jim. I'm now informed that I'm playing triangle. They needed one extra player to play triangle.

I'm not mad or anything. In fact, I think it's awesome. And funny. I mean, I guess I should have the experience of focusing entirely on the triangle for a performance. It will be awesome. Plus I'm getting paid to play triangle. I should bring it to the performance in an elaborate case and be all serious about my triangle playing.
Current Mood: cynicalcynical
Current Music: Type O Negative- The Dream is Dead

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January 4th, 2005

11:51 pm - That stupid Army commercial
I know that no one really reads this, but...

Have you seen that Army commercial? You know the one where it shows TERRORISTS walking around in their TERRORIST camps doing TERRORIST things? Only it looks like you're looking through those Star Wars binoculars? They proceed to tell you that the mission is to monitor enemy movement or something like that. You've also been given supplies for five days. Then they do some slow pan to a big pile of grass and show a guy hiding in it, looking in his Star Wars binoculars. The next thing they tell you is, "THIS IS DAY 12." And finally, "THINK YOU'RE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?" No, thank you, I am not up for the challenge. What kind of crappy Army do we have where they give you five days of supplies for twelve days of work? I am sorry, but I would not like to work under those conditions.

Sorry, that commercial just really irritates me. No offense to those actually serving in the military, especially my cousins. I really hope they give you enough supplies... After all, this is America's Army, isn't it?
Current Mood: indifferentindifferent
Current Music: Silence?

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December 24th, 2004

11:30 am - Gradumatated.
Apparently I have finished my undergraduate degree and graduated. It was pretty anti-climatic, especially when you don't go to the ceremony. It also doesn't seem like a big deal when you're going to start school again in the spring. Oh well. I guess I've accomplished something good and my life isn't a waste (yet).

Besides that, I've been enjoying my break so far. Getting 8 hours of sleep and having far less anxiety rules! There's not much more to say about that. I see that it is Christmas Eve; happy holidays to anyone who reads this, and your families, in whatever you all celebrate at this time to make you happy.
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Keane- Bend and Break

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December 6th, 2004

07:31 pm - New Life
On December 2nd, I became an uncle. My little niece was born that morning. Her name is Caelan Margarita Lawrence (Margarita combines the grandmothers' names). She is ridiculously cute. I have been enjoying my responsibilities as Uncle so far. This really has only included showing people pictures, holding her, trying not to break her, and trying not to make her cry. I can't say I'm very good at any of it yet, but I'll get better.

Here's a picture of me and Caelan:Collapse )

Yes, it's really big, but she's really cute, so it doesn't matter. You know you love it.
This semester has had a strange turn of events, but I'm not going to tell you about it.

Current Music: Porcupine Tree- The Sound of Muzak

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October 11th, 2004

01:42 am - Ah yes.
A few things:

A while back my friend Scott asked me to go to a comic book convention with him. I thought about it and decided that it would be a good life experience. I used to collect comic books and it surprises me that I've never attended. It's a good way to see a bunch of dorks in one place too.
Scott had to get there super early of course, making me get up at 6:00am and leaving at 7:00am, only to get there at 8:30-something, and having him inform me that we would be standing outside until 10:00am. I brought a book, so it was all good. After paying and getting a bag full of free shit, we ended up in another line behind these two guys. They had to be in their late 30's, early 40's. I overheard them talking about many things, such as movies, a Van Halen concert and whatnot, but it was this particular conversation I found amusing:

Guy 1: So... Are you still biking around most places?

Guy 2: Yep... Still biking.

Guy 1: Cool... Is your mom good about letting you use her car?

Guy 2: Oh yeah, normally when I need it she'll let me use it.

Yeah, I laughed at that. Perhaps I shouldn't have made the comic/geek connection that he doesn't have a car and is living at home in order to fund his comic and toy collection, I don't know. Maybe he really just can't afford a car or something. Still funny, though.

I was scheduled to play a jazz combo-like gig yesterday, which would have been fun. It was also going to pay 50 dollars. I figured since I'm kind of ahead in money with everything I've been doing this fall, I'd purchase Donkey Konga (Nintendo game that comes with a set of bongos and you play along with songs) as a little gift to myself. It got canceled, so I guess that will have to wait. Speaking of Donkey Konga...
Last month after helping Jeffro move into his new apartment, we stopped by Circuit City. I was excited to see that they had a playable version of Donkey Konga. I of course had to try it out. I don't know what song I played, but I was enjoying myself. After a while, there was a group of kids and their parents watching me play. I kept playing; hell, it was my turn. When I was done, I walked away and a little girl started playing. I then realized I wanted to know how much it was going to cost, as I thought it was already out, so I went to check the price. It wasn't out, but I got to see the little girl "playing" Donkey Konga. Man, she sucked. I totally kicked her ass at Donkey Konga.

I really need a new car. Mine is a piece of shit. My mom was going to sell me hers as soon as I could afford to make decent payments on it, which I can't. So what I'm trying to do now is try to get someone to crash into me. You know, an accident that isn't my fault. There has to be some money I could get out of that.

So there, I updated. Maybe one of these times I'll write about my antics in Speech class and the other things I've been doing this fall.
Current Mood: naughtynaughty
Current Music: Cradle of Filth- Hurt and Virtue

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July 21st, 2004

09:31 pm
Teaching drums has been kind of a losing campaign over the years. I first started teaching at a local music store when I was a senior in high school. I didn't take many students because simply because I had no idea if this was something I could do, or at what level of students I should be taking. I stuck with beginners, and it worked fine for a while. It's understandable that you'll get some kids who get put in by their parents, or it seems like a good idea at the time, and then they decide they'll never show up again. I've had a few of those over the years. That's okay though, because I explain the payment process to the parents. They then pay for an entire month, so if they never show up again, I get payed to practice guitar.

However, a trend that has always been quite infamous throughout my time as a drum teacher, is a complete lack of interest and responsibility from parents. They'll drop their kids off, pay me how much I tell them they owe, never questioning it either. Some parents I only see leaving the parking lot. They never ask me how their child is doing or try to find some validity in the money they are paying me. That's fine I guess, but it makes getting this money from them very hard to do. I normally have to send a note home with the kid and hope he shows his parents that, "hey, you owe me money!" Sometimes they get so ridiculously behind in payments that I wonder why they don't question while they're writing me checks for sometimes over one hundred and fifty dollars (which has happened on a couple occassions). Either way, they just don't seem to care that much about paying me on time, or how much they are paying me.

Over the years, I started with one lone student, and have fluctuated from having at most six or seven, to settling in at about three for the past year. This was fine while I was working another part-time job. With school and all that, I simply didn't have time to have a lot of students. When I lost that part-time job, I had more time that I could be teaching, yet for reasons occurring at this music store, I was not obtaining new students (more on that later). So by last December, being paid had become such a problem that I had to send a formal letter home to the parents (by way of the students, of course). I basically stated that I needed to be paid up front for the entire month, which ensures that I will be there, and hopefully that also somewhat locks the student there. They paid for it, so they should come. It should also prevent no-shows, or at least them contacting me when they don't make it. I also reminded them of my policies regarding cancellations and no-shows.

This is all very irritating to deal with. I hate sounding like I'm only concerned about that money, but unfortunately these people had put me in a position that I had to put entirely too much focus on the business side of all this. I had to be the business man with the student, taking time away from learning about music, simply because their parents wouldn't show up. That's not fair that I have to do that to the kids, and it's not enjoyable for me.

So anyway, I hand out the letters (except for one, that student never came back), and things improve for a while. I'll stop at this point and discuss one of my other issues, which is the store and the employees themselves.

So I started teaching there, with one student, and it fluctuated to about five or six at one point. Things were decent and all, but somehow I had lost all of them a period of about six months, one by one. Finally around November of... 2001, maybe? My last student finally stopped showing up. I told the co-owner that I had no more students, and I really didn't have any reason to be showing up until I had new students. She told me they'd pass on students to me when they hear from people. So I went home and didn't hear anything. I figured there must be a super lull in the demand of drum lessons. Then finally, about four months later, I received a call and got my first student. I returned to the store to find two people working there I hadn't see before. One of them asked me if I needed help with anything, and I kindly informed him I was waiting for a student. He said, "Oh wow, and all this time we've been telling people that we don't have a drum teacher."

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh... what the hell?

So, for the past four months, people had been calling for drum lessons, but being turned away, told that "we currently don't have a drum teacher?" Interesting.

Well anyway, I stacked up probably about four or five students again, and was down eventually. Which was okay with me at the time, school was busy and all that. In the meantime, my former teacher began teaching again, and so did another one of his students. Which was also okay with me, as I wasn't really taking any more students. When I lost my part-time job, I could take more students... However, I had to compete with two other teachers schedules, plus a load of guitar teachers (everyone wants to play guitar).

This all changed again in about February, when I got a call for a new student. The lady at the store who manages the teacher schedules asked me, "Could you take more students, because we'd really like to be making money on that room (I pay rent)." I said, yes, I would like more, more, MORE students! However, since I don't know when other people teach, I can't just start scheduling on other days. But whatever, it didn't matter, because she never referred another student to me!

That brings me up to the present. One of the teachers is only here on Saturday's, I believe, and the other one is gone, which means I could technically be there any day. I was just told this two weeks ago, in which I expressed to the owner that, yes, I would like to take a lot more students on multiple days.

But currently, I am putting up with the student I have had the longest. He somehow has to cancel every other week (for legit reasons), but he also doesn't pay me. He is now a month and a half behind, and he owed me eighty dollars for June and July. But wait, he canceled at the beginning of July. Now he owes me seventy. Oh wait, he canceled tomorrow too. It's sixty now. If I were depending on this money, I'd be kind of screwed. Another kind of risk associated with trying to make money doing this job. If they have a legit reason to not be there, you lose money.

I guess I'm not too worried about it now, because the future outlook will hopefully have me taking on a lot more students. I've got a bit more confident in my teaching ability over the years, and I'm ready to take on a good amount of students. I felt that I had to at least get off my chest these past four years of frustration. I enjoy working with the kids who really want to be there and are willing to learn, and hopefully I'll find a few more of them. If anything, me being there more will hopefully improve the poor communication between myself and other employees of the store.

I can write long entries since I don't update often.
Current Music: Spock's Beard- Thoughts (Part 1)

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July 6th, 2004

11:48 am
If you didn't know, my birthday is fast approaching. Yes. Just wanted to mention that.

*cough* http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html/102-5233188-7405704?_encoding=UTF8&id=LV3FWL1ZV2OF

http://www.dvdaficionado.com/dvds.html?cat=3&id=thekingofloss *cough*

Nah, you don't really have to get me something... but if you really, really wanted to, I guess I would not stop you.

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April 14th, 2004

01:30 pm - huehuehue
What the hell have I been up to? Let's see if I remember.

I saw my fourth Dream Theater show on March 13th. To be honest, I hadn't been playing much attention to them in the past couple years. I still got new albums and followed what they were up to (the guys in that band I find to be great musicians and interesting people) and such, but I didn't listen to them much. It's just not what I needed to hear lately. I thought seeing them alive would confirm my disinterest, but I realized that I forgot that they always put on a great live show and are incredible to watch. Been listening to them a bit more as of late.

I also got to see Weird Al live this past Saturday. You probably heard some way or another his parents died this past Friday. I was not aware of this going into the show. They screens opened with a message saying, "This performance is dedicated to the memory of Nick and Mary Yankovic." I thought that seemed fishy, because I never heard they died, and the fact that both of them were dead, something bad must have happened. When I got home I looked around online and got the news.

I was in shock and awe that Al continued on with his performances as this went on. Weird Al might as well be my first musical influence (I think my dad got me the Polka Party tape when I was five years old), and it really was a dream come true to finally see him live. I was completely amazed in the next few days after that performance because he still went out there and did his whole the day after he lost his parents. His performance was great, and the band playing for over two hours. My respect for Al is even greater after seeing him do what he does during such a tragedy.

Well, my senior recital is pretty much set. It will occur (whether I'm ready or not) on Sunday, May 2nd, 1PM, at the Performing Arts center at MSU. As of yesterday, I have my "set-list" confirmed, now I have three weeks to learn how to play it! I really have been cutting it close, but stupid classes like Biology and Ethnics have been keeping me a bit too busy (almost failing Ethnics, it seems). I feel my biology grade is good enough to pass now, so I'm not going to try very hard in that class. Here is what I will be playing, most likely on May 2nd:

The Winner- Some snare solo. I figured I'd start with something I could still play despite being very nervous. I haven't played a snare solo and 4 years, and this was the last one I played. I forgot how to play it.

Smadbeck Etude #1- This might be pushing it to do this one early on, but I might as well get it out of the way. I played it last semster for juries. I don't know how to play it very well anymore.

Mayazumi Concerto- This is a 13 minute xylophone "epic." It's really fun to play, and I think it's an awesome piece. It's originally for xylophone and orchestra, but I'll be playing it with a pianist. I feel bad for her, because the piano part is ridiculously hard.

Beck Sonata for Timpani- This is a standard for timpani players. Not too difficult, but very cool sounding.

Prayer- A simple four mallet piece, but it's pretty.

Metric Lips- This is a 4 player percussion ensemble piece arranged from a Bela Fleck tune. It's pretty cool. I play Vibes on it.

Etude for Latin Percussion Instruments- A piece for timbales, bongos, cowbells, and shaker sticks.

Drumset Dedication- This is something I arranged. It's basically just a bunch of drum grooves piled together by drummers that have either influenced me or I felt wrote some memorable drum parts.

Let the Big Dawg Eat- Another percussion ensemble piece. I play drumset.

Super Mario Medley!- This is a 2 marimba (plus concert bass drum and glockenspiel) duet that I arranged for Mike's recital and my recital. It consists of 4 songs from various Super Mario Brothers games.

3 Dances for Snare Drum- 3 short pieces for Snare Drum that I can't play yet.

Musser Etude- Close with a four mallet piece. It's short and nice (if I don't suck)

Yeah, I typed a lot, but that's okay if I don't update for another two months.
Current Music: Beatles- Goodnight

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March 17th, 2004

02:44 pm - Sleep Part II
Update: I no longer remember how to sleep.
Current Music: Fear Factory- Undercurrent

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