Long walk home.

I took a walk up Mississippi on the way home from work today and took a few pictures of ghost stairs.

Judging by the staircases, there were at least three houses on this bluff.

Now it’s just grass and an “available” sign.

It’s times like these I fantasize about buying the whole swath with my millions and repopulating it.

I also came across this house, and felt worried for it as it looks like it is ready for demo.  But while photographing it, I realized it is the house that was moved from N. Mississippi Ave. a few months ago and that it is settling into its new home.  Hooray!

Essay: Concert Band

More memories of high school band.  Feel free to add your own.
Marching Band ended in mid-October with competition, though we would still continue to play the football games through the end of their season in late October or early November, depending on how many games the football team won.  There was one last march in the holiday parade, which happened the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  But after Mid-October we entered Concert Band Season.
The first part of Concert Band season was without competition. We had to prep songs to play for the holiday concert that would happen in December, not long before Christmas break.  We still called it Christmas break then.  The transition from Marching Band to Concert Band happened on the same day when we passed in our Marching Band music, which we hadn’t really needed for several weeks now, because we had it memorized. Passing in music involved JP telling us the name of the piece he was collecting, then we rummaged through our music folders, recovered the piece of music and passed it down to the first chair person who sorted it neatly and walked it up to whoever was serving as JP’s assistant.  As with everything that involves large groups, there were multiple pleas for quiet, because the thing to do after you’ve handed over a sheet of music is to continue the conversation that you were having before you were asked to locate and turn in that sheet of music. Or noodle around on your instrument. There were also multiple people who couldn’t find their piece of music and usually one or two people who weren’t paying attention and turned in the wrong piece of music.
Passing out the Concert Band music worked the same, but in reverse.  The plus of passing out music is we usually got one new piece at a time, then played it, before the next came out.  It was a lot easier to stay focused.
Our music came from some central place at the district office.  Every band director I ever had referenced going to that place and picking things out, but I never saw the room.  The music arrived in generally fairly good shape, with all the parts present and usually with enough copies for each part so photocopies did not have to be made.  A full accounting of pieces we performed has been lost to time passing, but I do recall a performance of “Colonel Bogey March” that infamous song that is whistled in the movie Bridge on the River Kwai.  I remember this piece in particular, because during one part of the performance, JP encouraged the audience to whistle, and the sight of all the parents whistling happily along had me laughing so hard I couldn’t actually play.  I also remember a performance of “Thus Spake Zarathusa,” which was just fun to play.  I’m sure we tackled things that had nothing to do with movies too.
The first semester of the year, band never had drummers present, because they had their own sixth period class so as to practice all their Marching Band drum corps stuff.  Drummers usually dropped in for fourth period band practice the two days before the band concert, but they were otherwise absent.  It was rather nice as drummers are worse than brass players for repeatedly playing past the cutoff point and noodling around.  It was such a shock my first year when the semester turned and suddenly the drummers were suddenly present; taking up space in the percussion area, being the loud and fairly obnoxious ego-driven quasi-jerks I was perpetually attracted to.
So we played a Christmas Concert (we still called it that) and we had at least one competition in winter and perhaps one in the spring.  Competition involved getting out of part or all of the school day, traveling by bus to where the competition was held and playing in front of judges, who gave us scores from one to five (they may have been in Roman Numerals: I to V) with one (I) being the highest score.  I don’t think we were a stellar Concert Band, though the stakes were lower.  It wasn’t a competition like Marching Band Competition, with all the bands in a stadium and lined up on the field together afterwards to hear the results.  We went, we played, we went home and somewhere along the line someone told us our score.
The last thing Concert Band we had to do every year was play for graduation, an activity that has made me loathe “Pomp and Circumstance” as well as graduation ceremonies in general.  Graduation took place at the Boise State University Pavilion, where the basketball team played all their games.  There was a stage constructed at one end of the court. Each graduate walked across to receive their diploma and we sat below the stage on the same level as the 500 people who needed to be announced and graduated.  Before we played our piece (sophomore year it was “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha) and other things happened during the ceremony, and every single person was announced and clapped for, JP would raise his baton and we would put our instruments to our lips and play Pomp and Circumstance, repeating all but the beginning and end over and over again while the teeming mass of graduates shuffled in and took their seats.  The song would be stuck in my head for days after the ceremony.  Strangely, we played something else for the exit, and repeated it just as many times, but it was not nearly as memorable.  Maybe it was the Triumphant March from Aida?

For me, Concert Band was just the thing you did because you were in band.  It wasn’t the fun of Marching Band, and it wasn’t the endless obligation of Pep Band, but just the class we went to every day and theoretically (at least on my part) practiced for.  It was the same kind of band I’d been doing since seventh grade.  It was fun when a piece came together and it was a good place to go in the middle of my day, but I don’t miss it as much as I miss Marching Band.

Three sentence movie reviews: Slings & Arrows Season 1.

The advantage to reading/seeing a lot of Shakespeare is that suddenly things that used to go right over my head, are very funny because I’m more familiar with the whole Shakespeare “thing.”  So this show about a Canadian Shakespeare company is hilarious to watch.  It also is very moving and clever and this season deals with the play Hamlet with which most of us are familiar, so you too might want to search out this show.

Cost: free from library
Where watched:  at home with Matt

ps. for those of us who enjoyed Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley’s father is one of the actors in this show!

poster from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slings_%26_Arrows

Results! 2014 Youth Media Award Announcements!

As discussed in the post about the Mock-Printz, today is the day the Printz Award and many others are announced.  The announcements happen at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting and Exhibition, which this year takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I, unfortunately, am unable to attend the ALA Mid-winter Conference, but because the ALA is awesome, they are live-casting the announcements.  Less exciting for some is that the announcements are at 8 a.m. EST, which means 5 a.m. in Portland, Oregon.  But I get up at that time anyway and I don’t have work today, so here I am, happy as a clam.
The computer on the right is the live-cast, the computer on the left is me putting things I haven’t read on hold.
You can find a complete list of the results by clicking here.  You can watch the not-live-anymore webcast by clicking here.
Here are the Printz Award Results:
Honor books:
 “Eleanor & Park,” 
written by Rainbow Rowell and published by St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan) 
“Kingdom of Little Wounds,” 
written by Susann Cokal and published by Candlewick Press 
“Maggot Moon,” 
written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch and published by Candlewick Press 
“Navigating Early,” 
written by Clare Vanderpool and published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, Penguin Random House Company.

2014 Printz Award:
written by Marcus Sedgwick, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

So, as usual, the results show what a crap shoot it is to choose the 10 books we read for the Mock Printz Workshop.  We had Eleanor & Park (yay!) at the top of our list, but none of the rest of them were on our reading list.  I did read Maggot Moon for the Librarian Book Group.

Three sentence movie reviews: Pitch Perfect

After the rather heavy Mysterious Skin, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.  I loved that–much in the style of Whip It–we got a movie about a female character who changes not because of a guy, but because she discovers another part of herself.  These movies are few and far between and I would like to see more of them.*

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home.

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/2012/pitch_perfect.html

*Also, I could have done with less graphic vomiting and the song “I Saw the Sign” which sticks in my head for weeks.
Also, also.  This movie pulled Matt in and he ended up watching it all the way through, which is something he rarely does.
And, plus.  Unlike Glee, I was not familiar with most of the songs the college-aged people were singing. But I enjoyed them anyway. 

Three Sentence Movie Reviews: Mysterious Skin

This was hard to watch in that it has to do with child molestation which–it probably need not be said–is not a fun topic.  However, the acting was tremendous and I loved how true-to-life the teenagers’ friendship felt.  Worth watching, but have something fun on hand for cleansing purposes.

Cost:  free from library
Where watched:  at home

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/2005/mysterious_skin.html

Wardrobe Architect: Defining A Core Style

The Wardrobe Architect
If you want to choose your clothing with more thought and care, follow along with Coletterie and their series.  This is week two.
When you are wearing your favorite clothing how do you feel?
Purposeful, classy, unique
When you’re wearing something that is not quite right, how do you feel?  What are the feelings you want to avoid about the clothes you wear?
Fat, slobby, hobbit. (You know that part in the movie Juno where Juno points out Paulie Bleaker’s mother looks like a hobbit?  As a short person with some heft, that line struck fear into my heart.)
Who do you consider to be your style icons?  What is it about them that appeals to you?
(This was a hard question as I don’t really think about “style icons”)
Audrey Hepburn–clean lines, always looked classy
Michelle Obama–not a small woman and likes bold things
Drew Barrymore–whimsical and sophisticated
What are some words that describe styles that you like in theory, but are not quite you?
Elegant–I’ve got too many real things I have to do in clothing, so it has to be sturdy.
Boho–makes me feel sloppy, also like a two-ton-tilly
Fashion Forward–I have no time to keep up with that stuff.  Also the money.  And the fact fashion isn’t really made for people of my shape.
Look over your answers from last week on history, philosophy, culture, community, activities, location and body. Last at least 15 words that you associate with your answers.  Think about descriptive words, moods, and feelings you associate with those feelings.
Classic, clean, strong, feminist, feminine, dressed up, comfortable, WASP, thrifter, laid-back, accessible, walkable, flirty, rain-proof, fit, structured.
Are there other words you would like to add to this list?  What other words describe your core style?
Colorful, practical, well-made, long-lasting
Look over the answers to all of the questions above.  If you had to narrow your list to only 3-5 words to describe you, which words would you choose?
practical, classic, walkable, comfortable, structured.
Collect 15-20 images that represent these 3-5 words for you.
I made a Pinterist board.  It was a difficult exercise because I wanted to pin images of women who look like me and had trouble finding them.  But I did it and you can see the results by clicking here.

Essay: Marching Band Part II

More regurgitating of band memories.  Feel free to add your own in comments.
Marching band was a temperature slide—unbearably hot at the beginning and freezing cold by the end.  It was a lot of standing around quietly to learn something that was all sound and music.  Marching band was a dusty field, hideous unflattering uniforms and free admission (but sadly for me, mandatory attendance) at all the football games.
The first two weeks of practice we cranked things out.  To begin, JP would show us a diagram of what we were going to do.  He hand wrote our marching patterns on gridded paper shaped like the football field.  I figured out later he also hand-wrote arrangements of our music.  JP was one of those teachers who rankled me—his use of “gals” paired with “guys” came off as sexist and he was old and had that slightly jokey authority figure nature that was kind of hard to buy.  There was also a lot of imploring.  But when I think of the logistics of setting a hoard of musicians and dancers marching around a 100-yard field, my mind boggles.
With the day’s pattern in mind we would run through the music—we were supposed to be memorizing it, and ideally have it pretty much down by this point—and then head out to the field.  As with all large groups, this took forever, and thanks to the fact we all had instruments, it came to pass with a lot more noise than necessary.  The band room was separate from the school, tucked off the back of the gym.  Our practice field was across the loop of road that circled the school.  The football team’s field was further—they took up the middle of the track, and maybe another field off the side.  Sometimes they would cut through our field on the way back in from their own practice.  The band ignored them, though the drill teamers chattered with them.  In my school, football and band did not cross paths, except for the one guy who did both.
Once we straggled out and into position, we would make some attempt at pulling ourselves together.  Various attempts by various people were made to be more military and attentive in our practices, but they lasted a day at most before we devolved into talking and “horsing around” while JP used his megaphone to grab our attention long enough to get us started.
What I remember most about marching band practice was standing around.  We’d run a bit of the show, then screech to a halt—though there were always one or two in the bass section that just had to keep playing.  Then, most of us would stand at attention, while JP fixed something on some other part of the field.  “Attention” often had a half-life of three minutes before we would start to murmur to the person next to us, to quietly play a few measures, or start to spin or sway in our spot.  When the pause was very long we would resort to gymnastics—one guy could do a front flip with no hands and a lot of us did cartwheels, or pushups (meted out as punishment, but actually fun).  We also burst into song at regular intervals.  For decades now, I’ve been singing the line“the check’s in the mail, you’re beautiful” at appropriate moments, because that was in regular rotation for a time on the marching band field.  The boyfriend pointed out it was a line from a Werid Al song.

All that standing around must have led to something, because eventually, we had the entire program running.  I didn’t know it at the time, but there’s something magical about creating both music and patterns on a football field. And I had no idea of the incredibly brief lifespan of that magic.  After high school, I never marched again.  It’s not really an activity that lends itself to the adult world.