Category Archives: the gray

Music, Here I Come

I attended the University of Waterloo orchestra concert held at Hagey Hall. It was lovely to hear some live music again and more importantly, it reminded me how it felt to play in a band and how much I miss it. Waterloo’s hardly the most exciting town in the world, but being close to the university for my upcoming work term does have its benefits. I’ll be able to take a course on campus at Wilfred Laurier and now, I’ll be auditioning and hopefully becoming a part of the orchestra. ‘Instrument’ of choice will be percussion.

I spent 6 years in the band program through junior and senior high school, 5 of them as a percussionist. Needless to say, music and the various bands I was a part of held a very central role in my daily routine. It was painful as hell to have rehearsals 3 or 4 mornings a week, but in the end, it was very fruitful. Not only did I enjoy making music, I also met and became friends with many members of the bands. As Microsoft says, music is social. Throughout those years, I also played the piano quite seriously, receiving my Grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music certificate.

So it was with quite a shock that I entered the University of Waterloo, with music no where to be found in my daily routine for over two years. I had the opportunity to join a jazz group, but never took the initiative. After attending the orchestra concert, I will be taking that next step. I’ve been without music for far too long – I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, but I do feel like I shouldn’t have much difficulty in making the orchestra. I’ll have to dust off the drum sticks and get some snare rudiment practicing in over the Christmas break.

Done.

Well, not quite but almost. I can say however that I had my last official day of classes at Colonel Gray High School ever, forever. (unless I fail several exams of course…) It was bittersweet to say the least. Seeing the lockers all empty, playing that keyboard one last time. Ahhh, they will be missed.

But all is going well. It was a great day out so naturally, I couldn’t make it to all of my classes but no worries. Nothing really happened anyways.

I’m still on dial-up here but I’ve got so much to say and I’m afraid I’ll lose it all. On a more positive note, I’ll be staying at Nick’s after this stint here so I’ll get a more proper sense of the internet again possibly.

Anywho, I’m keeping this short, just a little update for both myself and anyone reading this. I’ll definitely write more when the using the internet doesn’t make me want to shoot myself.

Charlie.

Power Outage

We had a power outage today just about the same time I stepped into the school. It was pretty cool cause all the emergency lights came on and all. The first thing that came to mind was if school was going to be canceled. And no, no it definitely wasn’t. So we sat through almost all of our chemistry class working in the semi-darkness (it was pretty light outside so we were okay). We were hoping we’d have the continued power outage so that we wouldn’t have to write out calculus test second period but about 15 mins from the end of chem, the lights turned back on. So off to calculus we trudged.

Turns out the calculus test wasn’t all that hard at all so I’m glad I got it over with today. Also we no longer have a chemistry test this week. We’re grouping this acids and bases chapter with the neutralization chapter so we’ll have a test on all of that next week instead. That alleviated some stress. All I have to concentrate on now is the physics test Thursday.

Some of the guys from McGill came and played during our jazz class today. It made me remember just how much I want to play at the Row this summer. But I’m going to be moving away before then. It’s really a shame as it would be the last time I’d get to play with them again. Maybe I will try and stay around here at least for a bit of the summer. Just for old times sake ya know?

Charlie.

And So It Begins

This week is stupid. Yep, that’s right stupid. We just did a chemistry test last Friday and got it back today (wasn’t bad at all, got 98%) and then we’re going to have one on the next chapter this week. Kinda cramming I’d say huh? I’ve spent a good part of tonight studying for the calculus test tomorrow. We’re actually starting into the more interesting stuff now. We’re learning derivatives and how that can apply to real life. I spoke with my calc teacher today after class and I can understand why we have to do the monotenous stuff before we can get into the more interesting parts. We need to build a good foundation in limit skills before we can properly tackle derivatives. It doesn’t make the work any less boring from before, but at least I can have something to look forward to now.

Oh and I have a physics test on Thursday too. That I haven’t done too much for. I really need to hit up the practice problems I’ve got loads of in my binder. Seems like I’ve been neglecting my physics recently. Perhaps it’s cause of what we’re doing right now. We seemingly have to do the problems exactly how our teacher wants them. There’s no need to think outside the box; in fact we shouldn’t think outside the box. We get marks taken off for that now…

One bright point to today was that I found out I got 49/50 on my jazz solo transcription. I’m finding that I’m enjoying that class more and more recently. It seems like the band’s starting to get its stuff together and we’re playing more tunes. We even brought out Schmoozability and worked on it basically all class today. It’s an awesome piece but we had put it away cause we couldn’t play it before. Hopefully we’ll be able to play it for our final concert. It’ll definitely be impressive for the listeners (if we play it well that is =P).

Ahhh our final band concert. It’ll definitely be a sad one for most of us. I’ve been in band and basically with the same bunch for a good 6 years now. That’s a long time at this stage in my life. We’ve been on several band trips together and get up to rehearsh together multiple mornings per week. It’s definitely going to be different not playing with any of them after this year. It’ll be the last time I play in band of this sort. We were talking about it today at jazz rehearsal. Our band director was saying we’d be passing in our band uniforms soon after the concert and I it really struck me then that I would soon no longer be a part of this organization. Our jazz combo’s going to be playing at that concert as well. We’ll definitely make it good as I’m probably closest with that group. We spent our summers playing down at the Row; those were times I won’t soon forget.

Last week was like the calm before the storm. I had a relatively quiet time last week, but this week we’re paying for it bigtime. I kind of regret not having done more work when I had the time. Ah well, regrets don’t get you anything so I’ll push that thought out of my mind. I guess I can look forward to the Victoria Day long weekend after I’ve got all my tests out of the way and I’ll be able to relax again. Sleep is so enticing right now.

Oh, also, I’m the process of writing up a review of the Zen Micro I’ve got here. It’s a very nice little MP3 player and that’s coming from a person with an Ipod as well. But if you read my earlier posts, you’ll know my views on Apple… In any case, that’s an upcoming article and I’ll eventually get to doing that Linux tutorial as well. Oh, so much to do. These blog thingies are pretty addictive. 😉 But in a good way.

Well, I’m off to studying a bit more before I hit the hay. I won’t have gone to bed this early in a long while and I’m looking forward to it. Sweet dreams!

Charlie.

A Sad Day

Today was a pretty sad day overall due to a couple reasons.

I started off the morning with an Advanced Chem test that wasn’t exactly the best test I’ve ever written. In fact it was one of my least confident school tests in a long while. But I didn’t dwell on that for too long.

However, at lunchtime, I heard someone talking about a subject that piqued my interest. I went on over to investigate. The person was being very emotional and I managed to find out why. My last semester’s English teacher had left the school, probably for good that morning. They got both her classes in that morning where she said goodbye to them all. I was shocked out of my mind. You see she wasn’t just your normal english teacher. She was such a special person to me.

You see, there are school teachers and then there are teachers that teach you life. She was the latter.

Before I got to my first english class last semester, I had already heard that she was a good teacher. But my thoughts of a good teacher back then went something along the lines of they teach the material well. So I didn’t expect my grade 12 english class to be more about life and how to live it than grammar or spelling. We spent a lot of time having discussions and learning how to interact with others. We also investigated just what life is all about. Instead of spending (what I believe is) pointless hours greuling over grammar or whatever, we discovered the world around us. We learned to seize the moment and live our lives to the fullest as opposed to learning how to write some type of poem I can’t even pronounce.

It was sad for me to find out that she had left the school earlier that morning. I didn’t hear about it until lunch break and by then she had already gone. I regret not having had the opportunity to thank her again for all she’s done for me. In addition to all that I learned in her class, she wrote a reference letter for me that helped get me a fairly large scholarship to Queen’s University, which I will most likely be accepting. Sometimes I don’t think she realizes just how many people she’s touched in her path through life. It truly was depressing for me.

And it snowed today. WTF. It’s mid-May. What a day.





Charlie.

Finally a Break From It All

It’s about time I had a break from this hectic life of mine. Yes yes, I know, I’m making it sound busier than it actually is, but really, I have been relatively busy as of late. And I’m finally over a mound of work. I’ve gotten my transcription done (which has been weighing on me recently) and I don’t really have a test this week (except Adv. Chem, but that’ll be okay; the chapter’s pretty short) so I’m just relaxing for a bit. And wow, does it feel good.

So let me give you the rundown of my day. I was up til about 1:30AM doing my transcription and go about 4:30 hours of sleep before having to get up for band rehearsal this morning. So I started off the day pretty tired. Deduct 1 point. First thing after band rehearsal I do this rediculous chemistry test from the University of Waterloo. I can’t believe I even did it. It was such a humbling experience. At first, it started off almost pretty easily. Then as number 15 came and went, it started getting more difficult. By number 25 or so, I was pretty much wondering what the answers were saying and by 35, I didn’t even know what they were asking. Of course this was out of 40 and all multiple choice. Unfortunately, getting an answer wrong deducts .25 marks so guessing’s not exactly the best idea. So that was pretty much the hardest test I’ve done in a long while which wasn’t the greatest start for my day. Subtract another point.

So, total so far, -1-1=-2=pretty crappy day. Good start.

Then after that I attend a pretty stressfree calculus class. We didn’t really learn too much in terms of new material. We basically had a few things clarified and worked on some problems. Okay so I’m still tired but at least I haven’t added any more tiredness factors.

So it’s lunch. I eat and then go to calculus help because we still haven’t fully caught up from the week of missed school. I stay there for about 15 minutes and head off to the band room where I proceed to practice my transcription in preparation for jazz class. I play the solo over about 20 times, getting it most of the time. So my brain’s getting fried so I take a break before class. Deduct one more point.

Class starts and I sit there crapping myself while I wait my turn to do my transcription. The adrenaline’s pumping (yes, before I go play my sweet, precious keyboard). It’s finally my turn and I crap on the start, but I get another try. I play through, not as well as I would have liked but the nervousness prevented me from doing much more. I was slightly disappointed in my performance but it’ll just have to do. So add some disappointment to my day: minus one more point.

So basically I’m at about a -4 which is like I’m about to pass out cause I’m tired kind of day. But it’s not over. The greatest class in the world is up next: Physics! (in case you can’t tell, I’m being overly sarcastic) I have a tendency to fall asleep in the class on a normal day, so you can just imagine the trouble I had keepin my eyes open today. So I eventually gave up and just slept for a while. Gosh did that ever feel nice. So my day was crap so far. But that was about to change.

Upon completion of the official school day, I was notified of a gathering down at Victoria Park. Being the free man that I was, I went down there. I must’ve looked like a drunk staggering around under some nonexistant energy I had kept stored up. So after spending an hour or two there we decided to head out for some ice cream at the local dairy place. After sending them home I decide on the drive home that I should go check out the rugby games our school teams were playing in. I caught the tail end of the girl’s game only to find out we lost both. Oh well.

So here I am sitting at home after an extremely tiring day, functioning (barely) on 4:30 hours of sleep the previous night. I still haven’t done my homework although I do plan on it as I haven’t really been doing much of my work recently. Too busy I’d like to think although I’m not sure if that’s entirely true. But I don’t have anymore projects due anytime soon so I’m not too stressed. I’ll hopefully get to bed earlier tonight. Band in the morning again. Ugh.

Charlie.

Procrastination Is Fun

One of my greatest failings: My tendency to procrastinate. It seems like in recent times it has gotten worse. I don’t specifically remember having all that much trouble even as recently as grade 11. It really has been late grade 11 perhaps and mostly grade 12 that it’s really become trouble.

Oh the examples I could give you from the past, such as applying to unversity, studying for exams, scholarships and so forth, but perhaps to really anchor it down, I’ve left something to the last minute and it’s taken me all night to get a start on it. My jazz transcription.

You see one of the projects in our Jazz Studies class is to do a transcription of a solo. Essentially, you listen to a jazz tune and then rip the solo from it. Then you bring in the song (and your memory) to class and play the solo back along with the song. The goal is to basically cover up the solo being played on the CD and make it sound like you’re soloing. This project is designed to help you develop your ears and perhaps learn a few licks in the process. Well it was a project assigned many weeks ago and I just started on it tonight. Yes, it’s that bad.

So since about 8PM tonight, I’ve been hard at work, labouring, trying my hardest to get all the notes down at least so that I can have tomorrow to practice and memorize it. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes ago that I finally got it all down. My eyes are dying and I think my brain’s about to explode. But hey, these are the joys that are associated with procrastination. What a wonderful thing it is…

Why do I do it? Well I almost have an excuse this time. I’ve been really busy with musical. However, I can’t say that I haven’t had any free time. Far from it, but it’s so much more appealing to be out in the sun and having some fun with cast and crew. Work isn’t everything I guess. Unfortunately, most of the time, the reason for my procrastination can be traced back to solely laziness. Ugh.

They say the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging it. Well, I’ve done that now, so hopefully I can get myself better organized and maybe fulfill my obligations before the last possible moment. I’m sure I’d feel a lot less stressed if I did that too. Eh, who knows, but for now all I care about it getting some sleep. Sleeping in class after missing a week of school probably isn’t the best thing to be doing. Toodles.

Charlie.

Musical Parties = . . .

Awesome. Plain and simply, that was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. The atmostphere was unbelievable. We’re all so bonded together now and we’ve gone through the same things. It’s an extremely tight group. We listened to portions of our show tonight and sang along. I also played some piano parts from the show and had a great time yelling at the top of my lungs along with everyone else. I’m sure I’ll regret that tomorrow. I think my voice is giving out.

On the flip side, it’s also pretty sad that it’s all over. We’ve been told that we’ve been sort of addicted to working together and being together almost constantly that when it’s all over suddenly, it’s going to feel very weird. I can already sense that as I look to ths next week when we’ll be back at boring old school with no musical to look forward to. It’s funny how we miss the things we sometimes hate. I remember sitting at musical rehearsals in the cafeteria wondering why the hell I was there for. This is just the beginning of my high school wind-down.

So off I go to bed here. It’s 3:31AM and my eyes feel like I’ve dumped a bucket of sand in them. I can hardly keep them open wide enough to see what I’m writing here. [sarcasm]I can hardly wait to do a week’s worth of schoolwork tomorrow[/sarcasm]. I think I’m going to cry just thinking about it. Ugh…

Oh and someone took my dress shoes after the show today. They must have just grabbed a pair out of the dressing room without really looking as there was a pair left there that kind of looked like mine. I took them so once I find out who’s they are, we’ll do a little swap.

Charlie.

Sunglasses

So I went out and bought a pair of sunglasses. I had always heard of people spending hundreds of dollars on sunglasses, but had never really thought much of it myself. Well when it came time to pay almost $200 for this pair (those damn taxes will get you every time), I damn near felt like chucking my cookies. I mean come on, a bit of plastic with two lenses in the middle I bet would cost them all of what, maybe $30 to make… (Oh, I dunno, I could be horribly wrong too) The rest is spent on buying the Oakley name. Oh well, that’s how the world works I guess.

Oh, and here’s a picutre of them. May as well show them off now that I’ve got them. Oakley Minutes (black). Look at how this Oakley marketing picture makes them look about as best they possible could.

From this excercise, I think I’ve realized just how greedy I am. I spend way too much money on semi-uselss things. From now on, I’m definitely going to cut back. I don’t think I’ve really thought this way, ever. But I’m starting to understand that university is going to cost me both my arms and most of my legs. I’ll need every bit of money I can save. I mean I’ve spent about $1K on mp3 players alone. That makes me shudder just thinking about it. $1000 bones could buy most of my unversity books for a year. Gah… :-/ It’s not like I’m rich. I could definitely use my money more wisely like on my studies or something.

Speaking of my studies, I’ve got some thoughts on the school system. I wrote an article about it in our school newspaper, but indirectly that paper is very much censored. It has to go through a teacher advisor first and you can’t write exactly how you feel as the general public reads it. If you don’t want to offend people or get on someone’s bad side, then there are many things you just can’t write in a school newspaper. And there’s really no need to anger people about that topic. It’s pointless and I think I’d much rather people not beat on me at school. I’ll write something up here in the near future but I’ve got the final musical performance tonight that I need to prepare for. I need to get some food into me before I go.

The show seems to be a great success so far. Opening night was awesome. From what I’ve heard, we should actually make money this year as opposed to losing money which is what usually happens with these productions.

Charlie.

Nocturnal

I remember back a few years ago, a few friends and I thought it would be cool to be nocturnal for a few days. Of course, that was when we were in bed by 10:30 on weeknights. Now, without even trying, it seems like I’m slowly turning into a night creature. It’s almost 1:00AM here and I’m looking longingly at my bed from the computer chair. I can feel it; it’ll be a good sleep tonight. But not yet, I’ve still got things to do and stuff to worry about. I really don’t think it’s very healthy. =P

So about my day. Well after our morning performance, I didn’t go home. A bunch of us went to Victoria Park and had a good time under the blazing sun. It was one of the best days I’ve seen in a long while. The winters here really get to you. I managed to get a sunburn (mostly on my face) and multiple grass stains on my pants after rolling around a bit. After getting something to eat, I eventually found myself back at the Confederation Centre preparing for our first evening show. As predicted, it was an exciting show. Everything went extremely well except for the curtain calls. It started off fine, but after the first bounce we messed up the ending and the second time they bounced it, we were in a general state of confusion. It must have made for an entertaining scene for the audience. =D

Only one more show to go. I intend to get some work done tomorrow during the day since after the evening show, I’ll be out late at our first official musical party. It should be good times!

Charlie.

[edit]Oh it took me 11 minutes to write this post, hence my reference to the ‘it’s almost 1:00AM here’…