Unproductive Evening

Spent all day at work chomping at the bit to get home and work on web page / drum corps stuff. Got home, ate dinner, messed with my computer a little, got bored, went upstairs and read on the couch, fell asleep for an hour, woke up with the cat asleep on me, then watched American Chopper and 20/20 (with the cat still sleeping on me).

I’m only just now getting down to researching more on RSS feeds and planning to create one for my alumni site, even though it’s rarely updated. WTF. It’s purely for my own benefit—I don’t expect anyone to actually take advantage of the Saginaires Alumni Association syndication.

I’m tired but not sleepy. :-/  Blah.

Girlfriends Rock

Got to spend an evening with Sheryl. It’s been a while since I had an evening of chillin’ and discussing schtuff in general. Went to Wally World (aka Wal-Mart), went to Sheryl’s apartment (where I freaked out her dog somehow), finally went to my place and talked about RSS feeds and geeky stuff and girlie stuff and kitty stuff.

Yeah… we need to hang out more often, yo.

Memorial Day Parade

…went well, overall. After leaving the house at 7am, I did zone out on the way up to Novi and missed my exit at the I-475/23 split, and had to backtrack down 23 from Michigan to get back on 475, losing about 15 minutes or so. Then, of course, Mapquest failed to mention that 8 Mile Road was under construction at the I-275 ramp, so I had to do a U-ie in the “Authorized Vehicles Only” lane to get on 8 Mile coming from the other way. All told, I was a good 20 minutes late to meet the hornline. At least they waited for me, though—we were all meeting at the end of the parade route, and carpooling to the start to save us all some headaches after the parade.

Our brass caption head and his brand-new wife were off either getting married or starting on their honeymoon, so we faked our way through warm-ups. That was pretty fun. We also got to fake our way through F-Tuning—anyone who’s heard a marching band or drumcorps warm up just before a performance, facing backfield, playing six chords in a row, you’ve heard it before. (Beth, I’m sure you’ve heard it. Donna too, if you still read this thing. Dan, certainly.) No sheet music for us, just listening to our drum major rattle off notes to play.

“OK, concert pitch. We all start on F, then you guys stay there, and you guys go up to C and stay there, then you guys go to A, then you go to D while they stay on F and you guys go to B-flat, then baris go to C and…”

Confusing, sure. But fun. Oh, so fun.

The parade itself was… long? Weird? Yeah. Two miles or so, which isn’t killing, yet also isn’t comfortable. And apparently Novi has no actual downtown area, so we just marched down a stretch of 10 Mile Road. There were stretches with gobs of people, then smatterings, then absolutely no people for a good quarter-mile. We did get to chill out in the spots with no people, though, which was cool.

Senior corps is increasingly different from Junior corps. In Junior corps, all members are expected to stay at attention during the entire parade, be intense, eyes front, watch your posture, no smiling and waving, etc. Remember, this is your time to practice basic marching technique, so make the most of it… blah. Yesterday, we all did stay in step, and we were serious when it mattered; but once we’d played through the parade tune a few times, we had no qualms about calling back to the drumline, “Cadence or taps for a while? Our chops need a rest!” The baritones also switched which hand they held their horns with every now and then, since their left hand would get tired from holding the horn down at their side after a while. And topping the category of Never In A Junior Corps: our tuba player, Russ, unabashedly answered his cell in the middle of the parade. 🙂

By the end of the parade route, we’d played through Moorside March at least seven times, and once we got to where the TV cameras were, I’m sure we sounded like the freakin’ Salvation Army band. But we made it.

And my lips are still swollen.

After the parade, we all drove our own respective vehicles to Pizza Hut, where we overtook the joint with no one having called ahead. The one server and one pizza cook suggested we all go with the buffet, for the best service. They weren’t very happy with us.

It had been a long time since I met up with a bunch of music folks at Pizza Hut. Back in high school, Mel and I used to do Pizza Hut all the time with our woodwind section (and we left the best tips, though it was all change). Anyway, it was also great to get to actually socialize with these people I’ve been rehearsing and performing with for a while now. I did that a little at the picnic after the Birmingham parade, but not so much as at Pizza Hut. I finally got to hear different corps stories—I think that, by now, Paul knows all mine and I know all of his, since we’ve carpooled to so many events over the years. 🙂

And, best of all, I was home by 2:30. Rock on.

Next parade: Frankenmuth, June 13. Definitely finding a carpool buddy for that one.

Memorial Day Weekend So Far

Productive weekend so far. Saturday, we went to Fort Meigs in Perrysburg to watch the Siege of 1813 re-enactment, where I easily burned off two rolls of film. (I’ll post photos when they come back from Dale Labs.) Afterward, we went thrifting and I picked up some candle containers (pint-sized mason jars) and a super-8 projector that looks like a little TV. Very cool.

Today, Aaron mowed the grass while I mopped the kitchen and bathroom and swept the garage; then we went to Wal-Mart and bought car-washing implements and batteries for my projector; then we washed both cars; then we trimmed some tree branches away from the house; then Aaron went shopping while I did laundry. For dinner, we attempted something new: Low-carb pizza. It actually turned out to be fairly good—we plan to try it again, after we invest in some real pizza pans.

Tomorrow morning, I head up to Novi to march in their Memorial Day parade with the Lakeshormen. I’ll be leaving the house around 7am, if not earlier, arriving at Novi around 8:15, warmups at 8:30, parade starts at 10, two-mile parade (yeeks), lunch at Pizza Hut afterward (salad for me), then another hour-plus to get home. Heck of a holiday.

Long-lost Relatives

Not long ago, I contacted my great-uncle’s case worker in Florida to see how he was doing in the nursing home there. I’m not technically his next-of-kin (my Memaw was his sister), but I’ve been told by my family that I’m his sole inheritor (if he had anything left to inherit). So, I feel obligated to check on him every now and again, to make sure he’s still hanging in there. He doesn’t write much, and he could never hear well, and he was never really all that mentally cohesive, for that matter. But his case manager, Patrick, said he’s doing OK. I told him that, if he ever felt the time was right and that Uncle Charlie could take the news, to go ahead and let him know that his sister died. Last year.

Man, do I feel like a dick.

Anyway, there’s one other relative to inform yet: my Uncle Donnie. Yep, that’s him on the left there. He’s my mother’s older brother—and he’s only 50, though he looks pretty bad these days. Uncle Donnie is a carney: a basically homeless vagrant who works for the carnivals as they come around. Ever since I was a very small child, I’ve known that Uncle Donnie is a carney and sleeps under overpasses and hitchhikes to get where he wants to go. It seemed perfectly OK to me then, and only in ensuing years have I come to realize that no one else even knows a carney. This is not a normal career move.

Anyway, after thinking and thinking, I finally Googled the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department in Hillsborough County, Florida. That’s where Donnie prefers to spend his time, for the most part, having grown up there. And, whaddaya know, I found him in the online arrests database. That’s where the mugshot came from. And, surprisingly enough, the most recent arrest report (from February of this year) gave a P.O. Box in Ruskin where he could be reached. I’ll be damned. We can contact my homeless vagrant uncle!

I e-mailed the link to Mom and told her that it’s her responsibility to tell her brother that their mother’s dead. I’m not taking that on, too. I found him—the rest is up to her.

Feeling ungroovy

Didn’t get much done this evening. Ate dinner (leftover prime rib… mmm…), played on the computer, watched the last two episodes of Colonial House.

I feel kind of yicky, like I’m trying to get sick. My eyes are dry, my throat is almost-sore, and I feel generally rundown. I should really go to bed. But I also feel kind of… lonely? Is that it? I feel like one of those nights living in Anderson, when I just wanted human contact. Where I’d walk upstairs to Donna’s room to see if she was there, or see if Tim was on IM (even though he was only two floors up), or call Beth from across campus. Though I’d usually end up on IM talking to Dan about some great new programming thing he’d learned or about his poor confused love life or what have you.

Maybe I’m just tired and unwell and need to take a shower and go to bed.

Comments on my previous entries would be welcomed, too, especially considering my current feeling of disconnectedness. Snore and let me know you’re out there. 🙂

Totoro Cosplay: The Saga Continues

The pattern arrived today. And all I’ve got to say is… it’s a good thing I’m starting in May/June to make a costume for January. I haven’t sewn from a pattern since 8th grade, and never on a sewing machine.

Once we get the sewing machine from Aaron’s Dad’s house, it’ll be time to go buy several yards of muslin and make a few mistakes—er, that is, a few test suits. 🙂

Garden Ho…?

Well, we’ve finally started planting. I’ve documented the weekend’s progress in the Gardening section of the.details, along with more pics. As I spent $40+ on plants, Aaron spent $50, and we both spent our weekend afternoons on the project(s), it would be keen if you’d check it out.

I’ll give you more updates on the garden as I get more stuff in it… or as stuff either blooms or dies. 🙂