Sunday, October 28, 2007

On to Ford Field!


The Oiler Marching Band is headed to the state finals at Ford Field for the second year in a row.
Mt. Pleasant's "Socially Numb" show landed in seventh place -- the top 10 bands head for the finals.
Saturday’s Flight III competition begins at 4:35 p.m. The tentative performance time for Mt. Pleasant will be 5:20.
Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for students and senior citizens, cash only. FordField.com lists presale prices of $14 and $10; call Call 313-262-2000 for more information.
Parking is $6 at Ford Field parking facilities

Here are the Michigan Competing Band Association Flight III Standings. Top 10 schools move to the state finals at Ford Field.

School--------------------------------Score-----Above/below bubble
1 Ferndale......................................80.075......12.952
2 Stevensville Lakeshore...............78.025.......10.900
3 Grand Rapids Northview.............76.100…....8.975
4 Farmington Harrison..................75.550........8.425
5 Marysville....................................74.350.......7.225
6 Byron Center...............................73.000.......5.875
7 Mt. Pleasant............................69.575.....2.75
8 Allegan.......................................69.550........2.425
9 Fruitport......................................69.175.......2.050
10 Redford Thurston......................67.125..........0

11 DeWitt.......................................67.075.....-0.050
12 Gibraltar Carlson.......................66.675......-0.450
13 Dearborn Hts Crestwood...........65.800.....-1.325
14 Linden........................................65.250......-1.875
15 Trenton......................................65.075.....-2.05
16 Hazel Park..................................63.600.....-3.525
17 St Clair Shores Lake Shore........59.250.....-7.875
18 St Clair Shores South Lake........57.875......-9.250
19 St Clair Shores Lakeview...........51.375.....-15.750

The field is full of veteran bands.

Ferndale didn’t quite match its phenomenal 80.65 performance at West Bloomfield, turning in a 79.5 to win at Huron Valley. Ferndale is defending champion, winning last year’s event with an 81.80.
Stevensville Lakeshore slid a bit, too. Lakeshore’s score slid from a 78.35 at Jenison to a 77.70 to win the Reeths-Puffer festival.
Lakeshore came into last year’s event with a top ranking, but was surprised by Ferndale. Lakeshore finished second last year with an 80.8.
Grand Rapids Northview continued to improve. It scored a 75.9 at Jenison and a 76.3 at Huron Valley. Northview is an experienced band, finishing fifth in Flight II last year.
Farmington Harrison’s got momentum. It scored a 73.85 at Clarkston, then rolled to a 77.25 at Huron Valley.
Harrison finished third last year at Ford Field.
Marysville is nothing if not consistent. The baseball show scored a 74.35 at West Bloomfield and precisely the same score to win at Durand.
Marysville came in ninth last year.
Byron Center’s best score was a week ago at Jenison; it lost a point at Reeths Puffer. This will be the Byron Center band’s first appearance at Ford Field.
Mt. Pleasant gained nearly three points during the last week of competition. Can the young Oilers keep that momentum?
Allegan’s coming on strong, adding 5.5 points over the last week. Allegan finished fifth last year.
Fruitport couldn’t quite break 70 at Reeth Puffer, scoring a 69.5 after scoring a 68.85 at Jenison. Fruitport finished 10th in 2006.
Redford Thurston squeaked into the top 10 with a 68.15 finish at Huron Valley to go with a 66.1 at West Bloomfield. That gave Thurston just enough – five one-hundredths of a point – to knock DeWitt out of the top 10.
The Thurston band came on strong last year and finished fourth at Ford Field.
Dewitt competed in only two events this year – it didn’t compete at all last year – and scored a 64.6 at Clarkston, followed by a 69.55 at Durand. So, so close, but they’ll get the refund, instead of the bus ride.
Two bands that competed in the Flight III finals last year won’t be there – Comstock Park and Trenton. Comstock Park made the finals in Flight IV this year, but Trenton missed the cut, finishing 15th in Flight III.

Breaking 70

It won't be official until the Michigan Competing Band Association posts the scores, which could be as late as Monday, but it looks as if the Oiler Marching Band is headed back to the state championships at Ford Field.
Mt. Pleasant scored a 71.05 at Durand Saturday. That probably is enough to keep the Oilers in the Top 10 in Flight III.
None of the bands I saw Saturday that were chasing the Oilers -- Trenton, Gibraltar, Dearborn Crestwood, Redford Thurston -- appeared to turn in a strong enough score to propel them past Mt. Pleasant.
I'll post the scores when I get them.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It ain't no dirt road no more

The project has been promised for a very long time, and now, it's reality.
The gravel road in front of our house at Lake Isabella now has been paved. It's just getting much too civilized, I guess.
Next thing you know, we'll be moving to town and moving into some fancy condominium townhouse.
Wait a minute ...

The Siamese Siamese

Minden and Munchen, spotted one recent morning curled up in a chair. Yes, they're tomcats. Yes, they're cuddling each other. Watch for teeth.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Following the band?

Here are the directions from Mount Pleasant to the Oiler band competitions Saturday:

To Huron Valley from Mount Pleasant:


View Larger Map

Click on "View Larger Map" for detailed, turn-by-turn directions and an interactive Google map.

Mount Pleasant performs at 1; the awards ceremony is at 3:30.

Then it's on the road to Durand:

From Huron Valley to Durand:


View Larger Map

The Oilers perform at 5:45.

Back to Mt. Pleasant for the Gaylord/Mt. Pleasant football game:


View Larger Map

Game time is at 7; the band performs at halftime.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Entering the final week

Oh, man, it's tight. The score at West Bloomfield was good, but not good enough to prevent Mt. Pleasant from sliding a couple of spots into seventh place, entering the final week of competition.
Mt. Pleasant is only 2.05 points above elimination, and it's a given that schools beneath them will see improved scores. There's no coasting heading into the critical Lakeland and Durand festivals.
The sense at practices is focused. These guys know what they need to do.

Here are the Michigan Competing Band Association Flight III Standings. Top 10 schools move to the state finals at Ford Field.


School-----------------------------Score-----Above/below bubble
1 Ferndale......................................75.6.........11.775
2 Stevensville Lakeshore...............73.4...........9.575
3 Farmington Harrison..................72.025.......8.2
4 Grand Rapids Northview.............71.125......7.3
5 Marysville....................................68.35........4.525
6 Byron Center...............................67.475......3.65
7 Mt. Pleasant............................65.875.....2.05
8 DeWitt.........................................64.6.........0.775
8 Fruitport......................................64.6.........0.775
10 Allegan.......................................63.825..........0

11 Dearborn Hts Crestwood...........62.275.....-1.55
12 Gibraltar Carlson.......................62.05.......-1.775
13 Trenton......................................62.025.....-1.8
14 Redford Thurston........................62..........-1.825
15 Linden.........................................61.25.......-2.575
16 Hazel Park..................................60.45.......-3.375
17 St Clair Shores Lake Shore........58.25.......-5.575
18 St Clair Shores South Lake........54.725......-9.1
19 St Clair Shores Lakeview...........48.2........-15.625

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Great scores at Clarkston, West Bloomfield

(updated 11:32 p.m.)

The Oiler Marching band turned in its best performance of the year by far at West Bloomfield tonight.

Mt. Pleasant scored a 68.1, good enough for third place behind always-potent Ferndale and surprising Marysville. The Oilers finished second last year at West Bloomfield


The Oilers "Socially Numb" show finished ahead of traditional powerhouses Redford Thurston, Allegan, and newcomer to Flight III, Dearborn Crestwood.

Earlier in the day, at windy Clarkston, Mt. Pleasant's score was a 64.8, which was, for about eight hours, the best performance of the season up to that point.

Next weekend, it's Huron Valley at 1 p.m., with Ferndale and always-contending Farmington Harrison on the same bill, followed by Durand. That show is set for 5:45 p.m. Marysville and West Michigan power Stevensville Lakeshore precede the Oilers, who, as defending champs, play last.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A spring storm - in October




The lightning was intense. The wind howled. It hailed. It rained buckets at Lake Isabella and across the state.
It was one of the most awesome storms I have seen in a long time. It hit right after my Thursday night class. Andrew and Robert were with me, just having completed a Scout leadership meeting. Kissy Missy and Katherine had gone home.
When the storm hit Lake Isabella, Kissy Missy said she and Katherine huddled in an interior bathroom; M√ľnchen just cuddled up and wanted to be held, while Minden simply freaked and "couldn't be caught."
I shot some video for the Sun - it's above.
Andrew's take on the whole thing: "This is the kind of storm I was waiting for last spring - and it never came."
Until October.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tech says, 'Come On Up!'



It was the "large envelope."

Dear Andrew,
Congratulations on your acceptance to Michigan Technological University. Based on your academic achievement and your potential for success at Michigan Tech, you have been admitted into the College of Engineering to major in Mechanical Engineering for the fall 2008 semester.

The acceptance letter was dated Oct. 10. The first marking period of his senior year has just ended.
This doesn't mean that Andrew will be attending Michigan Tech. It's certainly a possibility - it's nice to have one in the bag. But there are other applications out there, and NYU continues to send an impressive amount of information.
Michigan Tech is ranked among the top 50 public universities in the country. Its mechanical engineering program is ranked No. 22 of more than 180 by the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
For this guy to be grabbed up this quickly ... Wow.
And he likes snow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The new Senior Patrol Leader



Now, he's the boss.
Robert tonight was elected senior patrol leader of Troop 604. A Scout troop's SPL is essentially the head Boy Scout in a troop.
Robert has had other leadership experience in Troop 604 -- he's been the assistant senior patrol leader in the past, and has held other leadership posts.
He says he has a plan, and he's fully prepared to put his plan and vision for the troop into place. He's got about 20 guys with a wide age range -- some are as young as 10, others are as old as 17. He knows their strengths, and knows how to use his resources.
Robert's SPL election means all three of the boys now will have been senior patrol leaders. Matthew led several troops -- the one I am most proud of was when he rescued the Harbor Beach troop from near-oblivion, and practically single-handedly recruited an entire troop.
Andrew has led Troop 604 a couple of times, and has always been ready to supply leadership on short notice.
Bert doesn't put up with failure -- he does what's necessary to succeed. It will be interesting to see what happens.
As they say in the Scouts, "Be Prepared."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A third straight first-place finish

The Oiler marching band marched to the Lamphere Invitational in Madison Heights Saturday, and brought home yet another first-place trophy.
Mount Pleasant scored a 63.65 in the tiny, well-worn field a couple of blocks off I-75 in the inner Oakland County suburbs.
But the band members weren't happy with it. They called it an "off week," and some of the self-critiques were downright brutal.
This band knows what it wants. Its members know the sound and the show they can produce, and they're aiming to get it. They've got a great show. A critical mass of band members has been to the finals at Ford Field.
They want to go back.

Here are the Flight III results from Lamphere:

1. Mount Pleasant 63.65; caption awards for music and marching
2. Trenton 60.4; caption award for best general effect
3. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore: 57.75
4. St. Clair Shore Lake View: 49.65

Pending the outcome of the other invitational Saturday, the win gives Mount Pleasant a competition score of 63 -- good enough for fourth place in the state.

'Socially Numb' gets tighter, more exciting



The Oiler Marching Band's 2007 show, "Socially Numb," so far has won two competitions, and the band is ranked fifth in the state in Flight III. You'll see why in this video I recorded at the Mt. Pleasant-Dow High game.

And the opening act wasn't bad, either. The Oilers shut out the Chargers 28-0 and clinched a share of the Saginaw Valley League football title.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another first for the band

The stands were jammed at Linden High School stadium Saturday night for the Linden Invitational -- and the Mt. Pleasant Oilers came home with the first-place trophy.
It was tight -- Mt. Pleasant and Marysville tied for first on regulation scores, but the Oilers won the tie-breaker -- music.
Amazing what Pink Floyd can do for you. Actually, there are three scores involved -- musical ensemble, individual music and two musical effect scores. The
Oilers came out on top by less than two points, but a win is a win.
Mt. Pleasant's scoring better than it did a year ago -- a year that
ended up with a trip to Ford Field and a sixth-place finish. That's
truly remarkable, considering the number of first-year students
who are part of the 2007 Oiler band.

Brazilian exchange student Felipe
jams on "Another Brick in the Wall"










Katherine pauses as the show is about
to begin at Linden.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Townhouse



This townhouse is very likely to be our new home before Christmas.
We've had the place in Lake Isabella for sale for the last two years. The real estate market in Michigan cooled dramatically about the time we put the house on the market. January of this year was the worst month ever for the local Realtors association, and sales this year are 9 percent below last year -- which were about 20 percent below the year before.
But we've struck a deal with the builder of this new townhouse in town. It's fairly complex, but it pretty much guarantees we'll get the money out of the house in Lake Is and get into this brand-new place.
The kids like it. It overlooks a large park, they each get rooms about the size of our current kitchen, and it's nice enough to do some good entertaining.
If all goes right, we'll be telling stories about moving before too long.