For those of you who aren’t involved in the Marching Pageantry world, band competitions are both a logistical nightmare and marvel at the same time. It’s this monstrous and dynamic puzzle with many pieces involved: buses and trucks, musicians, spectators, judges, equipment, food… the list goes on.

This is all worth it for the education of our students.

To ensure that everyone involved is successful, everyone involved must cooperate and trust that we’ll all play by the same rules and support each other. The good news is that the camaraderie and support often extends beyond any one group. For example, students from one school will often help out another when they see someone struggle with moving an unwieldy piece of equipment. Or, a group that just completed their performance will yield to another group that is on their way to warm-ups. This is great, and it’s part of why I love this activity.

However, there are a few groups out there that elect not to play by the same rules as everyone else. This isn’t the fault of the students or volunteers. This responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of the Band Director.

More . . .

Hello Friends!

I hope you’re all being good drivers.

While driving home today on I-405-N, I witnessed these two bad drivers. Not sure what lead up to this, but the Civic was driving excessively slowly in front of the Camaro, and when the Camaro moved to pass, the Civic accelerated to block the merge. They continued to drive slowly blocking each other and traffic behind them.

I dialed 911 in case the situation escalated, but luckily the drivers went their different directions as they exited at Beach Blvd. Though I can’t say I’d approve of the Civic’s lane change at the end.

I hung up before I connected with 911 dispatch since the incident was over. But Westminster Police Department, CA Dispatch was diligent and called me back. But since it was on the freeway, I think it was technically CHP – Westminster‘s jurisdiction anyways. Either way, it’s reassuring to know that WPD is watching and listening closely.

I used to wonder whether I should call in exceptionally dangerous drivers, for example, that really questionable driver who might be drunk but you can’t tell if they’re drunk, sleepy, texting, or just extremely bad at driving. I think that as long as there is immediate danger, such as the situation I witnessed, it’s safer to call it in than to hope that nothing worse happens. At the very least, officers can be on alert, and if they happen to be nearby, their presence could deescalate the situation. Obviously, we shouldn’t call in everything, like someone changing lanes without indicating. But officers can’t be everywhere, so we, as citizens, should take up some responsibility in keeping our cities safe.

Late note: Just yesterday morning, on the exact opposite side of the freeway, there was a fatal traffic collision. I don’t know the details of what happened yesterday, but this situation I just witnessed easily could have turned worse if neither driver had backed down. Whether you’re in a hurry or angry at another driver, it’s never worth risking your own life or the lives of others.

Be safe out there, friends!

While the rest of the US is out blowing up fireworks on July 4th, we’re crammed shoulder to shoulder into a convention center with people that we didn’t even know a week prior.

While people attend con for many different reasons, such as meeting their favorite Artist or selling merchandise, many of us go for a single reason: the opportunity to interact with a great community. This past weekend was the 15th consecutive July 4th weekend that I’ve dedicated time to see people who have become some of the most important people in my life. Some of these people have been at it for 25 to 26 years. I come from the side of staffing and volunteering, but others are content creators, cosplayers, or just fans.

No matter what our background is, we keep coming back because these people we’ve met at con are truly some of the most important people in our lives. Not many people have experienced their relationship with another person go from stranger to best friends within 3 days.

I didn’t get to see everyone this weekend, but I’m looking forward to the next time our paths cross.

I didn’t get to take many photos this year, but I happened to snap this one of these fine folks by LP1. I should collect photos with more people next year. Also, those of you with keen eyes will notice the AX03 pin, which I didn’t get in 2003, but it was my first con. Also wearing my AXOps lanyard from when I first started staffed, which was 10 AXes ago, which was the first year AX was at LACC.

Soon after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released last year, many fans began coming up with theories on the origins of various characters based on the music of the movie.

Of course, spoilers will be found below.

A popular theory revolved around the origin of Snoke and how he might be Darth Plagueis, who was mentioned by Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith.

Through my analysis of the musical themes in The Force Awakens, I don’t wish to discover who Rey’s parents are. I think that her role in the trilogy will be defined by what she does, not who her parents are. This is the dilemma that Kylo Ren is going through. Will he be defined by his parents or his grandfather?

By analyzing the following themes, maybe we can learn something deeper and more meaningful about the relationship of the three Force users featured in The Force Awakens: Rey, Kylo, and Luke.

More . . .

Several weeks ago, Westminster HS’s competitive field season came to an end a week shy of Championship Finals. It was a tough pill to swallow since we all felt that we were objectively performing at a level higher than previous years. Principals, teachers, and students all took notice. The members were excited that their hard work was being noticed and praised by the rest of the school. The season was going well, so when it came to an abrupt halt, there were many thoughts and feelings to unpack.

At this point, I turned to social media to reflect on the season. Wanting to start with an image, I began posting on Instagram. The trouble here is that posting to Instagram is only possible via a mobile device, and typing on a phone is hard. Instead, I drafted up my thoughts in Google Docs, then copy+pasted it into Instagram. The words transferred over, but the paragraph breaks were hit or miss.

All in all, this process took nearly 30 minutes, which was absurd. Social media simply doesn’t allow for thorough, thoughtful posts. Abbreviated and punctuated one-liners flourish on social media. Carefully crafted passages, on the other hand, become cumbersome.

I didn’t like that.

More . . .