Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lucifer Adjusts His Parka

I was going randomly through the list of my friends' blogs tonight when I discovered something truly odd: Woody posted! It was July the last time she did that. Then I found something even stranger: Coop posted last week for the first time since late March. *falls over in shock* That means that the new "king of the blog slackers" (or would that be "slackbloggers?" Hmm..) is Zack, who hasn't chimed in since June 8.

Other than that...tired. The weird part of the week is over, and I have a "short" Friday tomorrow that goes only until 4:45. A nap (and not the $75 variety, either) will ensue. More later.

Blow out the candles: Happy Birthday to Cassi! (yes, a day before Dingus)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Avoiding the $75 Nap

I have a rant in me--have had since Sunday--but there hasn't been time to post it yet..and I'm trying to decide if I really want to "go there" or not. We'll see...

The middle of this week has wreaked havoc on my teaching schedule, as the middle schools are doing something called the "Iowa Test of Basic Skills." It makes me wonder what skills Iowans consider basic, and how they relate to the rest of the country. Sure, I shouldn't lay too hard on Iowa, because a couple of my old college roommates were from there and had to endure some really idiotic queries down here whenever they mentioned their state of origin; the most aggravating one had to be "Iowa? Isn't that where they grow potatoes?"

But I can't help myself. Every time I hear the Iowa test mentioned, it reminds me of that old Crispix commercial...

FARM KID: So why is the corn side crispier, daddy?
FARM DAD: Because, son, we live in Iowa, and here in Iowa, we grow corn.

(Hmm, I'm wondering if I've been reading too much Lileks lately; this post is starting to read like a Bleat. The only difference is that his post would contain a great vintage picture of a Crispix box and a link to a video of the commercial. Ahh, to have office time during the day...)

Anyway, I've totally turned my teaching schedule inside out to avoid missing anyone during this testing. If there weren't a holiday next week (our fake "fall break," which consists of Fair Day on Monday, followed by an in-service on Tuesday), I might just have taken the morning off and taken a nap. But I don't want to miss these people for two weeks in a row, and... *does the math* let's see, five lessons at $15 each--yeah, that would have turned into a $75 nap. I don't need the sleep that much...

So in order to pull this off, I had/have to do the following:

TUESDAY: Teach one Tuesday person, two Wednesday people, a Thursday person and four regular Thursday people.

WEDNESDAY: Teach two Wednesday people, then five Tuesday people, two Thursday people and the rest of the day is regular Wednesday (that's eight people if you're keeping score; yes, I work a bit too much).

THURSDAY: Teach one Thursday person, four Wednesday people and back to two Thursday people.

Anyone dizzy from reading that? I know that I was, from figuring it out. And yes, lots of driving around too; I think I passed one school at least seven times and only actually went in there once.

....All to prove that the corn side is crispier. Our tax dollars at work.

The Subway lady needs listening lessons: Last year, I made fun of a local restaurant which always had misspellings or weird grammar on its marquee sign. The past few weeks, I've run into something on a different level: a Subway lady who is either profoundly deaf or just plain doesn't listen to people. Here was last week's exchange:

Subway lady: What vegetables would you like?
Kev: I'd like lettuce, green peppers and black olives.
SL: (after putting on the lettuce) Would you like the works?
K: No, just green peppers and black olives.
SL: Pickles?
K: (firmly) No.

And then again today:
K: Hi, I'd like a number two combo on honey oat.
SL: And what bread?
K: (looking bemused, since I'd just said this) Honey oat.
SL: And that was tuna?
K: No, not tuna, a number two.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't mumble, so it can't be that. I'm glad it's just food that I'm ordering and not, say, a car. Who knows what I'd end up getting by mistake...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Like Spider-Man, This Sequel Was Better

Tonight was the second TD/D gig at Ke Davi, and we all agreed that it went better than last time. I've posted my thoughts on the subject on the group blog, so I won't duplicate my efforts here. Suffice it to say that it was superior to last time, both individually and collectively. The best news is that we're playing again in two weeks (October 9).

One thing I didn't mention on the other site is that I was quite happy with the success of the mass emails I've been sending out. No, I'm not a spammer, but teaching 70-something students as I do, I make sure that they and their parents know about my gigs, and sure enough, three who had never been to one before (including a sixth-grader!) showed up tonight. The only downside of the students-and-parents crowd is that they'll never hear the last set due to how late it goes, but I'm totally psyched to see them there. I'm hoping to see a few more fraternity brothers next time as well (plus, they can stay up later).

And now it's time to hit the proverbial hay; I've got a small group going to the Rangers game just after lunchtime, so I'd better rest up. More later.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Rerun Night

This week has really taken it out of me, so instead of posting anything really new, I just decided to clean up some old stuff and alert everyone to that fact:

--I got the pictures from Mooney today, so you can now see a picture of me and Halfling with the Yellowjackets in last Saturday's post.

--I also finished recounting the story of how I first encountered J-Guar in the post from his birthday last week.

As always, it was Marathon Wednesday that wiped me out this week, but I was revived by the Hang™, even though it kept me out late (but again, thankfully, I don't start teaching until 10 on Thursday mornings during the first trimester). Tomorrow will be a "short" day (done at 5:15), and Saturday is the big band "retreat" followed a few hours later by the TD/D gig, so I'm pacing myself between now and then.

Anyway, I always try to post at least every two days, so there ya go. If the TV networks can do "reruns" on occasion, so can I.

Technology update: Here's a new cell phone that examines the air around the user to detect bad breath and other unpleasant odors. I guess that would be ok as long as it didn't tell you this out loud, right in the middle of your date...
(via Dave Barry's Blog)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The BPT Degree?

At an abbreviated burrito night tonight, Dingus, G and I were talking about the fact that DIngus would be pursuing the Music Ed degree at UNT even though he has no desire to become a band director (you should have seen the look I got from him just for asking that question). Though the MUED degree obviously has more inherent value than a performance degree (except for the fact that the latter, coming from UNT, would mean that one survived a fiercely competitive environment), it also means Dingus will have to take a lot of stuff he'll never use, such as the methods classes (where you learn to play [sort of] and hopefully teach all the different instruments; imagine Dingus playing, say, the cello) and three years of marching band (G and I laughed and pointed when he brought this up). I ended up with the same situation--taking a lot of classes full of "unused" knowledge or skills--even though I at least thought I was going to be a band director back in my young, misguided years.

The solution, it would seem, would be to have a MUED degree aimed specifically at future private instructors--a Bachelor of Private Teaching (BPT) degree, if you will. Some research would have to be done as to what would be required to attain this degree, but I'm soliciting suggestions from the readers of this blog (yes, all four of you) as to what the ideal BPT degree would definitely have or not have, while still fulfilling the requirements of the degree-granting institution. (C'mon, lurkers, this means you too. I've enabled anonymous comments on this blog, but please identify yourself at the end of your posting.)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Kev and Halfling's Excellent Concert Adventure

The scenario: Two cool shows happening on the same night last night: The Yellowjackets, featuring tenor titan Bob Mintzer, at a free festival in Ft. Worth, and the Earl Harvin Trio's once-a-year-at-best performance at the Gypsy Tea Room in Deep Ellum.

The goal: Halfling and I decided to try and see 'em both. After all, both places are right off I-30, albeit about 25 miles apart. Since Earl usually plays deep into the night, it was actually possible to pull this off.

The evening: We left for Ft. Worth right after the TD/D horn rehearsal. Despite pulling up to the Will Rogers complex at 9:45 for a 9:30 concert, we were banking on the conventional wisdom that jazz concerts never start on time, and sure enough, they were doing final mic checks when we got there.

Even though the Yellowjackets fall under the "fusion' category, they play what I would call "fusion with integrity." Quite a bit of their newer stuff sounded like an updated version of late-80's Miles. Despite the jazz/rock amalgam and the shorter, tightly-structured tunes (which are more melody-driven rather than being extended blowing vehicles), there was an amazing level of musicianship on that stage. Mintzer, of course, is one of our finest living tenor players (his ability on the horn may sometimes get overshadowed by the prominence of his writing and big-band leadership), and Jimmy Haslip plays the bass in a guitaristic style a la Jaco. Keyboardist Russ Ferrante played mostly acoustic piano, adding synth touches when needed, and new (to me) drummer Marcus Baylor laid down solid grooves and exhibited tremendous chops on a back-and-forth with Haslip. Mintzer also made good use of the EWI, which I hadn't heard played live since I saw Michael Brecker at Caravan of Dreams during college. It provided a cool array of unconventional timbres and sounded great in the hands of a master.

It was already a cool night, since it was Halfling's first time to see Mintzer live, but our ears really perked up when they announced that the band would be signing CD's after the show. We made our way up to the table quickly at the end of the last tune. We checked out our wallets and found out that we had at least $15 apiece, which would cover most CD's we'd seen being sold at concerts. As we got closer to the table, we found out that, of the CD's was a double and went for $25, and the other one was priced at $20. D'oh! We hurried over to the little "midway" in search of an ATM, and, while we found two, one of them was already being opened up for service and the other one was just plain out of order. What were we to do?

Well, we did the obvious thing: pool our resources, since we had enough for one CD between us (we opted for the live Mint Jam, since it's self-produced and harder to find). We got to tell Mintzer that we were fellow saxophonists, and that I had seen him at UNT back in the day and that Halfling went there now. As we finished getting autographs from the rest of the group, a disembodied, familiar voice told us to look up and smile--it was Mooney, who was there taking pictures during the festival. As we were walking out, we got this crazy idea: suppose Mooney took our picture with the whole band? He was down with it, as was the band, so it happened...

Part of Team Demon/Dingus meets all of the Yellowjackets: Seated (L to R): Russell Ferrante, Marcus Baylor. Standing (L to R): Me, Halfling, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Haslip. (photo by Donald Mooney)

The night could have been called a success at that point on its own. But Earl beckoned (ok, not him personally, heh). It took us a bit to find one of our banks so we could replace the cash spent on the CD, and then we realized on the way over, "oh no, we have to park in Deep Ellum on a Saturday night!" *shudder* Sure enough, that took a while, as we circled the block while I attempted (in vain) to call the Tea Room to see how much longer Earl would be playing, as it was approaching 1:00 by this point. "Circling the block" then took on new meaning as we meandered through downtown streets (at one point going the wrong way on a one-way...thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic), going over the road we needed to be on and ending up in a nice little enclave of new houses that was nowhere near where we needed to be. Eventually, we got back and decided to bite the bullet and pay the six bucks for close-in parking. We got there for about the last fifteen minutes of the show (ten of which consisted of the trio vamping on a single eerie chord), but we did run into my old buddy C-Rod while we were there, and Halfling got a little taste of the group, who hopefully won't wait another year before playing there again.

We capped off a great evening with a trip to Cafe Brazil (the one in Richardson, which is thankfully open 24 hours on weekends now). Even if we didn't make it to equal amounts of both concerts, getting to see Mintzer made up for the imbalance in a big way. Next Saturday, we'll be the ones on stage (OK, in the corner of a coffeehouse, if you want to get technical), hoping to provide even a fraction of the enjoyment that was provided to us last night. But hey, ya gotta start somewhere...

Avast there, ye scurvy dog: Today was the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day, but being a Sunday, there wasn't much of a chance to do that. However, perhaps to make up for my slacker-osity, G did an entire post in pirate today. I suppose I could have tried talking in pirately fashion with the cashiers at Super Tarrrget or Starrrbucks, though...

Friday, September 17, 2004

Remembering the Original MacGyver

I found out in an email that Frank Bonner, the retired longtime chief engineer of KNTU, passed away yesterday. Besides being a really good guy, he was the master of holding things together on the fly...there were times we swore he kept that place running with chewing gum, baling wire and paper clips. Being a university-owned station, our annual budget was less than most midday air personalities get paid at commercial stations, but we made the most of what we had, and Frank was, on the technical side, the glue that kept everything together.

As I recalled at his retirement party a few years ago, I had the misfortune of having to wake that poor man up on way too many occasions. The transmitter would often simply not respond when the remote equipment was turned on from the studio, and sometimes, despite knowing all the little "tricks," I would have to wake Frank up at around 5:50 a.m. if we simply couldn't get signed on. He sometimes had a sigh in his voice, but like the trouper he was, he would head out to the former missile base north of Denton and get it going again, even if he had to climb the tower to do so (a job that should have been left to a man half his age, perhaps). No matter the problem, we were rarely off for more than an hour.

I won't be able to attend the services in the morning, as I'm judging region jazz auditions, but I join the chorus of those who pay tribute to a really good guy who was really good at what he did. He'll be missed.

Oh, and I also remember how odd it was that Frank shared a name with an actor who played a character that was pretty much the polar opposite of "our" Frank, on the series WKRP in Cincinnati, which, of course, was about a radio station.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Question of the Week

Last week, there was quite a lively discussion on the comments to Halfling's blog, regarding the use of solfege vs. numbers in aural skills classes. I thought it would be a good idea to have some sort of discussion question every week, so here goes one:

Does any musician who reads this blog prefer the Eastman counting system (one-te, two-te) over traditional counting (one-and, two-and)? If so, why? If you prefer traditional (as I do), please tell me why as well. Ready, set, go...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Toasting a Twin Cities Trumpeter Turning Twenty

Happy Birthday to J-Guar, who's No Longer a Teenager today. I've definitely had a great time hanging and jamming with him, and the whole thing is a bit of living proof that 1) the music world really is small, and 2) you can in fact meet people on the Internet who are very cool and quite normal when you get together in person.

The story goes like this: Sometime last October, I was reading through the comments on (which is no longer in existence, but its author now posts here) when I noticed one that mentioned Denton, Texas. Since that's the home of my alma mater, I of course clicked the link, and was fascinated to find out that the site was written by a jazz studies major who lived in my old dorm. Of course it became a site that I visited frequently.

Here's one thing about the music world: It's really,.really small. Forget the "six degrees of separation" thing; in the music world, you probably only need two or three. (Incidentally, the original "Six Degrees of Separation" was written by someone whose name differs from J-Guar's by only one letter...weird.) So when J-Guar posted a story and picture about his old trumpet teacher from Minnesota coming to visit--and when said teacher turned out to be a fraternity brother and former combo-mate of mine--I felt compelled to post a comment. He would eventually post comments on here too, and the inevitable IM's followed.

Time went by, and we eventually got to meet up, and it's always been really cool. We've gotten together several times at Lab Band Night, and he even "escaped" Denton for a weekend for bowling/burritos/bebop with my group of friends last semester. Now that Halfling's at UNT, our paths have crossed even more. Considering some of the bad luck that other friends of mine have had about how people they've met on the Net don't turn out to be so great in real life, I feel really lucky, because the "de-fictionalization" (J-Guar's and my term for meeting people you've only heretofore read about on blogs) has turned out great in this case.

Oh, and even if J-Guar and I had never met in person, his place in the hall of fame would have been assured just for turning me onto this cool band via a posting on his old site last year. Check them out if you haven't yet...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Blowing Out the Candle (Yes, Just One)

Caleb, my youngest nephew (for now, at least) turned one year old today. I announced his birth on this site a year ago and have also featured him in a few other posts. He hasn't had the opportunity to fully develop the personality that will come with being able to talk and all that (like his older brother Noah, who will talk your ear off), but he's always very smiley and quite sweet.

I didn't get to go down to Austin for the celebration, since it was this afternoon/evening and that's a long trip for a school night, but I sent a card and my best wishes and hope to be down there again soon.

Comic relief: In yesterday's edition of the comic strip Fox Trot, sister Paige called younger brother Jason a "dingus." It's spreading...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three Years Ago

Where were you when you found out about the 9/11 attacks? (I realize that, for many readers of this site, the answer will be "school," but please elaborate on how you found out, your reactions, etc.)

My own entry will be in the comments too, to keep the main post brief and accessible.

Friday, September 10, 2004


I'm sure this happens in most groups of close friends: One person does something, the others follow shortly thereafter. It's not really a copycat thing; it's more like one person does something new and encourages the others to join him, or maybe the others say, "Hey, that's cool...I wanna be involved." Bowling, blogging,'s happened a lot in the past several years.

But nothing could prepare me for the news that Dingus has now had my exact same wreck. That's right, he got rear-ended by a soccer mom at a stoplight, just like I did before spring break. As was the case with me, he wasn't hurt. I just hope his soccer mom has paid-up insurance...

(UPDATE: Something occurred to me after rereading DIngus's post: He was on Jupiter when he had his wreck, while I was at an intersection with Mars. Weird...)

Fall ball: Went to the Rangers game with Miles tonight. It was a beautiful fall evening, and our team won 10-3 and looked good doing so. There may yet be hope...We also reaped the benefits of it being a Friday night, as a lot of the potential crowd was off watching high school football. *laughs and points at those who are still involved with marching band* We got to sit right behind the plate (OK, on the third level, but still) and take it all in.

This has been a tiring week. It's not quite midnight but I'm on my way to bed soon, as I need at least one quality night of sleep this weekend. The first UNT home football game is tomorrow, so I want to have some energy back by then.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A Mini Cooper was rear-ended by a pickup truck, which was rear-ended by an old Ford now the Mini Cooper is a Mini Mini Cooper."--Max Miller, KRLD traffic reporter, describing a wreck that, fortunately, wasn't anywhere near my route to the Rangers game.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Burritos and Bebop, Vol. 257

I discovered over the summer that there actually is such a thing as a free lunch. Apparently, there's such a thing as a free dinner also.

Last night, The Hang™ took me to Denton for the semester's inaugural Lab Band Night, featuring the world-renowned One O'Clock. This of course meant that the cast expanded way beyond just Halfling and myself. Dingus rode with me to meet up with Halfling, and we picked up Cassi after that; G was to meet us at the Tomato once we decided to eat there.

But we had no sooner set foot in the Tomato when Cassi offhandedly remarked, "It's too bad you guys didn't to Chipotle today; they're giving free burritos to anyone with a UNT ID." We asked her if that had been a lunch-only proposition, and she said no, it was going on right now. I believe the general consensus after that was, "Well, what are we waiting for??"

As we approached Loop 288, G called Dingus and warned us of a, well, Dingus-sized line (not unexpected, of course). We decided that we were gonna go anyway and met her out there. The line was, in fact, much longer than the time when Halfling and I got the SPCA/celebration burrito back in March, but it took about the same amount of time since it was an established location and crew and not the opening-night group of the other store.

Granted, it's been a few years since I've had a valid UNT ID, and I was more than willing to pay if I had to--having had a freebie last week--but I would of course accept any alumni discounts they threw my way. As it turned out, they were pretty much just doing headcounts (though the guy outside said I'd probably catch a break as an alum), so when Halfling showed his ID, that was good enough for the both of argument from here.

We did manage to make the second and third sets of the One O'Clock. As always, they sounded great, especially considering they've only had six days of rehearsal (yes, they "labored" on Monday). Over half the tunes were things that I've played, like "Out of the Night" and "Little Pixie II" and "Got a Match?" along with cult favorites such as "Hey...That's My Bike!" It always inspires me to hear this band, even as I'm slightly frustrated by the lack of individual practice time that my schedule allows during the year. If nothing else, I really hope that they create a doctorate in jazz studies so I can go back and play in that band someday. This time, I'll be ready ...

So all in all, a good night. We ran into J-Guar while we were there, and I got to talk with Bryan from 15th Street for the first time since he got off the boat. The fun will continue for weeks to come, as they're now going somewhat numerically with this thing; next week is the Two and Three.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A Sonny Day

I read in the paper at lunchtime that Sonny Rollins turns 74 today. As one of the few surviving jazz giants of his generation, he's not only still kickin' but still jammin'. I've been lucky enough to see him three times: at Caravan of Dreams when I was in college, then again at the New Orleans House of Blues in '99 and two years ago at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in Vermont. The most recent one was perhaps the most amazing performance, as the nearly-72-year-old busted out a magnum opus blues solo of fifteen minutes in length...and it never got old. His touring schedule doesn't look as busy this year, but it's great to see him still around and playing on a regular basis. I hope he'll swing through somewhere nearby before long, so I can see him one more time and bring Halfling too.

Sonny put out a CD not too long ago called "Here's to the People." Today I say here's to the person who's meant so much to jazz and who continues to keep the fire burning.

Not too laborious: It was a quiet Labor Day around here--no picnics or cookouts or what-not. I taught a few people at the store (the ones who remembered, at any rate) and then Halfling and Dingus came over for a TD/D horn rehearsal. Today felt like an "Honorary Monday" while teaching (and a few students thought it was, forgetting their money or almost forgetting to come in for the lesson), but no matter what you call it, Friday is still only three days away now.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


I was having lunch at Subway today when the guy behind me ordered a Chipotle Cheesesteak sandwich, only he pronounced it "Chuh-PUTT-lee." It reminded me of two things: the Jack in the Box commercial from a year or two ago where Jack couldn't pronounce it either (my favorite of his mis-speakings was "Chip-uh-TOP-uh-lay") and his mouth got all oddly contorted at the end, and the first several times my dad saw a sign for the home of the giant burrito.

Dad has always been one of those who, upon seeing an unusual word or combination of words on a sign, will attempt to sound it out. The 15th St. Chipotle is near the hotel where he and Mom stay whenever they visit, so when we passed by the sign on the freeway, the following exchange took place:

ME: Not quite.

They came back a few months later and passed the sign again.

ME: You're getting closer...

Eventually, of course, he figured out how to say it, and they even ate there one time in the spring and in fact just missed crashing our Thursday burrito night with the gang by a few hours.

UPDATE: While researching the Jack in the Box links, I found out that they now own Qdoba. That means that, with the exception of Freebirds, all the "Fresh-Mex" chains have fast-food burger parents (McDonald's/Chipotle, Wendy's/Baja Fresh, and Jack/Qdoba). I still haven't tried Qdoba, which Zack recommended, but I've also avoided the other two, also on the same recommendation.

Not so mean yet, but just wait: Last night, Halfling and I sought out, and found, a place in Denton that was showing the UNT-UT game (it was only on pay-per-view). UT came into the game ranked seventh in the nation, so our hopes weren't high; we were just thinking that maybe it could stay within the twenty-something points listed in the spread.

But nope, it was not a good night for the Mean Green, as UT romped, 65-0. It might have been at least a little closer if UNT hadn't had trouble holding onto the ball at crucial times. After a while, it just wasn't pretty...and they didn't even show the halftime (boo), the one part of the game that UNT could have "won."

At least this coming Saturday will be a home game, against a school that nobody's heard of, at least in this part of the country. We should be able to tell what this team can do after next week. I'm personally hoping for a return trip to the New Orleans Bowl, since I had such a great time last year. At any rate, it'll be fun to go to the games again.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

My New Toy

I got a new cell phone this week, and I've finally had time to do some stuff with it this weekend. It's a Nokia 6800, nicknamed the "ultimate texting machine" because of the full keyboard that flips out for fast, easy text messaging (something at which I was notoriously slow on a regular keypad).

Once I finally got all the numbers programmed in yesterday afternoon, it was ready to go. So far, it seems like it's got a much better signal than the old one; it was even fairly clear in Halfling's basement-level dorm room. It also lights up in cool colors and has a bunch of interesting ring tones that I'll probably never use (the whole teaching/rehearsing/performing thing pretty much limits me to the vibrate function most of the time). I'm glad the two years were up on my contract, because I was really ready for this.

UPDATE: After a few more days, I'm even happier with the phone; it actually gets a signal--and '"four bars" to boot--inside the music store (my old phone tended to say "no service" anywhere in that building), and the battery is still over halfway charged despite the phone being on constantly since Friday afternoon. I think the screensaver function (which defaults to a rotating time display after two minutes of unuse) must be helping a lot.

Joke of the week: This is an old one, but it was told a lot this week and seems to fit the theme of this time of year just perfectly:

Q: How many kids with ADD does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Let's ride bikes!

(And nobody with ADD get offended, OK? I have it too, they just didn't know nearly so much about it when I was little, so I was able to escape childhood without being all hopped up on happy pills. This may be a good thing, because I always hear about musicians' creativity being stifled by such medications. The best parody of that came in a Pearls Before Swine comic from last fall. It seems to not be archived on the Web anymore, but it's still hanging on my refrigerator door.)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Mini-Office Party and the Next Gig

This is just a quick update, as I'm finally getting caught up on everything. First up: today was the day I redeemed my "free dinner for 4" at Chipotle; as always, the best burrito is a free burrito. Ben played the role of the "n00b," and Houston (new tenor guy) subbed for G, who had a gig playing at a reception for Carly Patterson tonight (that also took Miles out of the club for this). The table seemed so empty with only four people there...

Combo PM started tonight; it was really bizarre to only have two horns, after the juggernaut that was last semester's Supersax Jr. The vocalist will add a cool new dimension, though (in fact, Combo Too got a female vocalist today also; it's the first time ever that all four instrumental jazz groups have vocalists in the same semester).

And it's now confirmed, on the sidebar and the group blog: TD/D will play Ke Davi again on the 25th of this month. We're hoping for several new tunes (maybe even a whole set's worth) to be added by then, and the publicity machine will be in full force.

The Hang™

For the second straight night, I went to Denton. Why? Because it was Wednesday night and time for The Hang™, that's why.

So here's the thing: I teach myself silly on Wednesdays. 7:30 to 7:30 with almost no break. Lunch at 10:30 in the morning. When high school lets out, I still have three hours left to go. And I'm not done after that, either; there's still one, maybe two more lessons at the house. My summertime Marathon Wednesdays had nothing on today.

Why this madness? Well, one of my schools decided to cram all of their saxophones into a single class during marching season. Normally, I'd teach all three periods in a row there, but I can't do that until mid-November when their second trimester begins. I want to reserve those in-class times for them so I can do that, so the end result is that the first two periods lie fallow for the first two six-weeks of school. Dang it all, if I'm gonna have such a punishing schedule on Wednesday nights, then I might as well get to sleep in on Thursday mornings.

And it's no accident that the off-time is on Thursdays. After all, Wednesday is Lab Band Night at UNT. I had a great time going to that on several different occasions last semester. But even though the concerts didn't start tonight (and indeed may not start for several more weeks), we decided to start the proceedings this week anyway, and since we can't call it Lab Band Night yet, we gave it the simple but sensible moniker of The Hang™.

Tonight was pretty simple; we Whataburgered for a while and listened to music back at Halfling's room. As you can see from the time stamp of this post, I got in pretty late (early), but it was well worth it. What could be better at the end of a brutal day than chillin' with your best friend? Before I went up there, not only was my body tired, but my mind was tired too. Now my mind is totally refreshed...and I'm going to sleep soon. More later.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Day 1.2

My TD/D counterparts Halfling and Dingus have been blogging a lot about their first few days of school, and now it's my turn, somewhat. Even though I've been teaching public school for a few weeks, this was my first day of college teaching, and it was the usual zoo (you can tell things are busy when Halfling is out-blogging me so far this week *grin*), but the semester's off to a good start. I didn't have the parking problems that Dingus had up at school, and I actually got to a copy machine in time to run off my syllabi before class (sometimes, this can be a worse logjam than the parking).

Combo Too will be pretty decent this semester; I'm happy so far. We have a new bass player who's really pretty amazing (would have been in Jaztet but for a schedule conflict), and nobody was afraid to solo the first day. The presence of more serious musicians in there seems to be keeping the nonsense of some previous semesters to a minimum, which is always a good thing. There were times last semester when that group really taxed my patience, but today I left rehearsal with a smile on my face.

After "Tator Tot Time," it was on to big band, which is definitely playing some cool tunes this semester. I'm really looking forward to that, though I already miss having Halfling in the section. It was a little scary at first when we didn't have any trumpets to start off rehearsal, but most of them trickled in eventually.

After band, I took a pass on burrito night (yeah, you read that here) to go to Denton and see Halfling. Today was lab band results day, and while he got in a reading band instead of a lab band, I reminded him that an audition like that is not a defining moment--it's only a snapshot of where you are at a certain point in time. Fortunately, he took this advice to heart and was feeling reasonably ok about things by the time I got there (I'd promised him months ago that I'd be there tonight, whether for celebration or consolation). We ate at the great little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place known as Mazatlan, which I hadn't been to since my first meet-up with J-Guar (who made the 6:00, by the way--very cool) and just hung out on campus for a bit. I'll be sleepy tomorrow, but it's all for a great cause.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Oh no, I left my ligament at home."--A sixth-grade student of mine, who actually meant that he left his ligature at home (which is much less painful). Being the creative sort, I made him a duct-tape version of one so he could get through the class.