12 October 2008

Today was very interesting.

After taking photographs at the parade today (see my previous 3 entries), I had to clear my memory card because it was full. I dumped everything to my hard drive. Here are two videos Ben (aka Boy) and I made at Spring Valley shooting range a few weeks ago.

Note that when Boy says: "Are you kidding me?" it is his response to the fact that he missed the target completely. LOL. No big deal, actually. The M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol is hard to learn how to shoot with. He'll get it with enough practice. (also note that, after he fires his last round, he takes his finger OFF the trigger. Good safety practice there, something that I taught him when he was little and running around the backyard with his toy guns. I'm proud of him.)

It ain't like shooting Commies on the X-Box, is it son?

The rifle that I am shooting is a Ruger Mini-14 chambered for .223 Remington (5.56mm NATO).

These videos did not turn out too badly considering they were captured on a little Samsung Digimax S600, eh?


This is my daughter, Jennie (aka JenEl (Jennifer Ella), Stench, or Stink (derived from Smelly, derived from Ellie, derived from Ella). I took this picture at the parade (see below) today with my camera . She is wearing her Bette Midler disguise.

"Oy vey, Papa, oi'm gonna marry a dahctah." LOL.

Right then.

Today was very interesting.

Sue Pie, JenEl, and myself went to the 50th annual Holiday at Home parade to watch Boy and the Kettering Fairmont Marching Firebirds. Everybody loves a parade. I love parades and also kittens.

Let's have a look.

The Honor Guard at the fore. They are old school toughs carrying .30-06 rifles.

The Kettering Fairmont Marching Firebirds. They play music with their instruments while they march in step to the music.

The Music Director. He is a good fellow.

The flute section. That is a close-up of Boy in the inset. His actual location in the formation is directly below the red box. Do you see him?


Color Guard Coordinator.

Color Guard.

Pit Crew (Pit Daddys) I work with these guys during competitions and football games. We support the kids by moving props, instruments, and such-like. I did not work with them today. I was taking pictures along the avenue. I have a blue hat and shirt like they do.


Kettering Police Department.

Vintage Kroger grocery wagon from the olden days.

Those horses from the Super Bowl TV ads for beer.

These are not all the things that were in the parade. There were other things also.

As the fat lady sings ... done been did.


Words of Wisdom: a hamburger is a cheeseburger without the cheese. Do you understand?

05 October 2008


I do not like blogger ...

AOL has really messed me up with all this moving around. I'm out of there, and I'm out of here as well.

BOA will have to wait for a later date, as things are moving on in the band competition world.

You can follow my continuing adventures here:




03 October 2008

BOA competition Part 6

Four 0'clock came around much soon than I had anticipated. Time really no longer existed for me at this point. I was functioning on auto pilot now, having had all of 2-hours sleep since around 11AM the previous day. I, of course, remember all of these events, but they are a blur of activity.

The Firebirds had left us at the truck, taking with them their instruments for a last minute practice/warm-up session somewhere on the campus. They were nowhere in sight as the Pit Crew moved out. We were about to go "onstage".

My Pit Pass

We moved all of the Pit instruments around the field to the point from where we would enter. Part of our responsibility is to make sure that the Drum Majors' commander stands are properly placed.

Commander Stand (that's Pit Dad Dan on the right with our humble tractor idling in the background).

When the band performing before us was finished, we had four minutes to set up. Our Pit members moved into position to prepare for this.

Kettering Marching Firebirds Pit.

The band in front of us had just about finished their show when we realized that our band still had not shown up. For a short time we were worried that they might not make it at all. Personally, I thought there might have been a major screw-up on the part of the band directors. I had heard a couple of different times at which we were to perform: 4, and 4:30. What if the Pit took the field at 4, but the band didn't arrive until 4:30? LOL. My fears were unjustified as , right on time, rising from the mists, came the familiar blue uniforms and black plumes. They entered the field opposite us.

The Firebirds enter the stadium.

I quickly, skillfully snapped this shot just as the order to "Go!" was given. Vinnie and I dashed across the field to the 50-yard line with our assigned commander stand and placed it with precision. Then we got the heck out of there so the kids could do their thing.

Unfortunately, I was unable to video any of this particular performance as my position behind the Pit did not allow for it. BOA forbids any video taping while on the field.

However, fellow 'Birds fanatic CynaraJane did grant me permission to post this. This is actually from the Tipp City OMEA show a couple of weeks ago, but it's basically the same show as performed at BOA ... Thanks Jane!

The Firebirds did well as you will shortly see.

After the performance, Vinnie and I dashed back across the field to retrieve our assigned commander stand. We had only two minutes to get out of there before the band behind us was to take the field. Points would be counted against our band if we didn't make it.

We made it just fine. We're professional Pit Daddies, after all.

The band and crew exited the stadium and gathered in front of the stadium. After which we returned to the trucks to wait for the rest of the bands to finish (there were two that followed us) and to await the preliminary judgement.

Heading back to base.


BOA competition Part 5

Continuing the adventure at ...

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

As chronicled in my previous post(s), the kids arrived at the stadium about 5-minutes before we did. The buses had already parked and the kids were exiting and milling about when we arrived. In the stadium beyond the parking area, competitions were already in progress. You can see the crowd in the stand watching.

Stadium and buses.

Once again the heroic Pit Crew sprang into action, quickly unloading the uniform carts so that the kids could gear up for their coming performance. I'd like to say that "the tension in the air was so thick that you could cut it with a knife", but really, a lot of the kids are vets of this type of thing and we Crew members know our job well, so there was not a lot to be tense about. The kids got their uniforms and dressed for the show.

Uniform carts.

While this was going down, we unloaded the instruments and props for the show. Actually, this had to be done in proper order -- first the carts, then the props, etc ... I want you to know that just because you don't see me in this picture (taken with my camera), does not mean that I was not working hard. I had already moved a prop, and was expertly moving up to help with another, when I snapped this very dramatic shot.

From L to R -- Pit Boss Steve (in the blue cap), a Pit Crew member whose name I do not yet know (who also subs as our truck driver (remember there are 20 of us)), upper row: Matt (whose back is to us), and Vinnie (in the blue and white cap). Band members look on, waiting for their number to be called (each prop is numbered for proper placement and will be carried to the field by 2 Firebirds).

Boy was around. Here he is looking tired. We all were tired at this point, around noon, and the day was not yet half over (this was a LONG day, as I mentioned before).

What are you looking at, Boy?

Heh. I grabbed him as he walked past for this picture and told him to clown around a little. He wouldn't. I have since explained to him that I am trying to convey the general spirit of these events with photos and when moments like this come and go they are lost forever. So when I say CLOWN, I mean clown. He understands now.

It is not that he is in a bad mood here, it's just that there is so much going on. And maybe a little pressure ;) this is a pretty big competition after all.


BOA competition Part 4

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Massillon, Ohio.

Here is where the competition took place.

From Perry HS to Paul Brown is just a hop, skip, and a jump. The buses containing the kids went ahead while the Crew reloaded the truck and followed a few scant minutes later.

When it comes to football this place is rich with history and pride. Do a search engine on Paul Brown to find out more.

I took a few photos upon arrivial, and later while waiting for our turn "on the field".

A really, really cool place to visit for me as I am a Cleveland Browns fan. But, the real reason we were here was because ...

A picture speaking a thousand words.


BOA competition Part 3

Practice at Perry HS

Okay, I'm moving some select entries over from AOL Journals to continue our adventures last weekend at the BOA Marching Band competition held in Massillon, Ohio. If you've followed me over from AOL-J then you'll understand what I'm talking about here. If you've found this blog through Blogger skip down a couple of entries and get caught up in the action (BTW: thank you very kindly for your interest, both new friends and old.)

So, Sue Pie and I have just driven around 4 hours to reach our (first) destination. We're with the Pit Crew and we have been waiting at Perry HS for about 30-45-minutes for the buses carrying the kids to arrive.

First to debark is Mr. Mike Birning, the Kettering Fairmont Marching Firebirds band director.

Mr. Birning.

The buses then pulled around the parking lot (which also served as the practice field) and disgorged a swarm of eager band members.

The Firebirds exit the buses.

The kids then attack the truck in search of their instruments (actually in a very orderly fashion, or at least as orderly as high school kids can be).

The kids and the truck.

Amidst all of the chaos and confusion, Boy stands stalwart, ready to perform his role in this very dramatic drama.

The brave and noble Boy.

So then the band went out into the parking lot and ran thru the coming show a few times. I'm going to guess it was noon before we had finished up here. Remember, I was very, very tired during all of this, so I didn't really keep close track of the time. Guesstimates are fine for our purposes today.

Then we packed up the trucks, buses, cars, and motorcycles and moved on to our final destination.


BOA competition Part 2

(Note: This entry was originally published on AOL Journals)

Today was very interesting.

I worked. Went in at 4:30AM, drew a split, and drove until 9. Then came home and napped with the kittens for a few hours while Sweet Pea took Boy over to Lens Crafters at the Mall to pick-up his new glasses (he broke his playing football yesterday). then I went back to work at 2PM and drove until 7:30. A long, long day ... seems to be the norm here lately... LOL!

It was a longish drive.

We, the Pit Crew, are around 45-minutes ahead of the busses carry the Marching Firebirds. We had thought that we were going straight to the competition, but we actually made a stop on the outskirts of town. We found out from the Crew Leader, Steve (who is in the van following the truck), that the Music Director had arranged for us to stop at a local high school for the band to make a quick practice run before going on to the competition.

I don't remember all of the exact times but I believe we arrived at Perry High School around 10:30AM. The Firebirds were not due at the competition until 4PM.

So they had time to practice. I have some pictures of this practice (taken with my camera). I will post them later.

I'd like todedicate this entry to Perry HS, which I found to be a very interestingplace.

Perry High School, Massillon, Ohio (near Cleveland).

Home of the Fighting Panthers.

Entry to the Stadium.

This monument was located in front of the school in a very well-kept park-like area. It speaks volumes about the people in this area.

The Fighting Panther and a Very Good Friend.

At the base of this statue was this plaque ...

Fallen Alumni and real American Heros ... God Bless Them ...

It was areal honor to be at this school and we thank them for allowing us to use their facilities to practice.

I'll post some more later.


BOA competition Part 1

(Note: This entry was originally posted on AOL Journals)

Although today was very interesting, yesterday was even more so. Our Saturday began in the wee hours of the morning. I worked until 1:30 AM and got home around two. Unable to sleep right away, I wrote the blog entry below this on. It was 3AM before I was ready to sleep. Of course, my going to bed woke my Sue Pie up.

She asked me where my Pit Crew shirt was. I told her it was in the hamper. She took all of my laundry downstairs and did it while I copped a few Zs. At 5AM, promptly, my alarm went off ending a sleep that was void of any meaningful REM.

Boy, Sue Pie and I got ready for a very interesting day.

JenEl slept in as she had decided not to accompany us on our great adventure. She would spend the day with Jodi who is a good friend of Sue Pie's.

After we were ready, we all went to Fairmont High School, from where we would embark on our classic All-American day.

You see, dear friends, Saturday was the day the Kettering Marching Firebirds were scheduled to participate in the B.O.A. (Bands of America) competition in Massillon, Ohio.

We arrived at 6AM and I took some pictures.

Boy and Sue Pie as they appeared that morning.

Our truck. Even the Firebird is stunned to be up so early as evidenced by that glowing eye.

Me clowning around in my trademark "SuperGuy" pose with my lucky flannel shirt.

Ah-hahah, I didn't really feel like a super guy, more like an extra in a George A. Romero zombie flick (keeping in mind that my previous day had begun at 11AM and I was operating on a couple of hours of log sawing time) ... and the day was only an hour old.

Shortly after we arrived, a convoy of charter busses came chugging into the lot, belching diesel fumes and waking up the neighbors.

Charter Busses in the pre-dawn hour.

I also took an artistic photo (with my camera) of the real star of the day ... he who is called Boy and the reason I was not snuggled warm in my sack dreaming of sleep. We grown-ups do some really crazy stuff for these things called children.

Boy strikes a classic Dean Martin pose (sans the martini glass).

And the moon was still in our eyes like a big pizza pie at this time of the AM ... trust me on this one.

We in the Pit Crew left before the busses carrying the kids did. Our goal was to get on the road and arrive early to our first destination so that we could unload a few items and be ready for them when they arrived.

Four hours on the road awaited us. Gentlemen, start your engines.

Thus began a great adventure.

Unlike my past entries where I have reconstructed the events in a "backwards" manner, I'm going to post this one as I find the time (I have a LOT of pictures and some video to show you) but there was entirely too much happening that day for me to post it all in one sitting.

Stay tuned for more exciting things to come!


ps --

CORRECTION: In my previous entry I stated that Fairmont beat Centerville in the football game. This is incorrect. They beat Beavercreek.

CORRECTION: the drive to Massillon takes FOUR hours, not three. I was figuring on a speed limit of 65mph in a car, not the 55mph we must adhere to following an 18-wheeler.


Wow, things have kinda gotten away from me here due to a funky work schedule. I've been doing the split thing for most of this week (imagine going to work at 4:20, coming home for a few hours in the mid-afternoon, then going back to work and not getting off until late).

It really messes things up. Last night I missed Pit Crew duty due to the fact that I lay down to nap (with the kittens), intending to sleep for only an hour or so, and ended up making saw dust until 3AM when it was time to get up and start all over.

I'm on a split now even. Have to be back at 2:50 to work until 5:30. This really messes up my responsibility to the Crew. Report time for tonight's game against Wayne is 4:30. By the time I get off work, come home, get changed it'll be after 6 and the game starts at 7. Wayne HS is in Huber Heights and about a 30 minute drive from home. By the time I get there finding a parking spot will be next to impossible.

As much as I hate to do it, I think I'll have to "lay out" tonight and stay home. I told our Pit boss, Steve, very early on that Fridays would be iffy for me and that I would make it when I could. Tonight, I just don't think I can do it.

Tomorrow there is a band competition in Columbus. I will definitely be on duty for that, moving instruments and props, taking pics and video, etc.


ps -- I have not forgotten that I still need to post more about last week's BOA competition. I have a bunch of pics that I'm formatting and some video. I also downloaded some video editing software which I'm still tinkering with.

Please stand by ...

Truck (as seen from the inside).