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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Random Thoughts

 

DCI East

This past weekend, DCI East was held in Allentown, PA, at the famous J. Birney Crum Stadium, which is one of the most historic venues that is part of the DCI Summer Tour. This two-day event set the tone for finals week, and I was able to witness every second of it.

As Dan Potter put it, this was the “penultimate-weekend” for the Drum Corps season.

Jeff and I flew out Wednesday night to Allentown. It wasn’t until midnight until we touched down at Lehigh Valley-Allentown Airport.

A two-hour layover added a lot of time to the trip. Fortunately, the hotel was close to the airport, so it didn’t take long to get over there and checked in. I remembered that it was Shark Week, so I was able to enjoy some of the wonders of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (since we didn’t have cable at the apartment, we couldn’t watch it. It wasn’t long until I passed out.

Thursday was a travel day around the area. Jeff and I spent time looking for corps rehearsing in the area to get some more Drum Cam footage, and get corps members to read the script the announcers say, so people will listen to it more when they hear it in the stadium. There were only two corps in the area that day, Cascades, and Mandarins, so we left the hotel around 12:30/1 p.m. We found the Cascades bus, but not the corps itself. After driving around, we decided to find Mandarins. We did, and got some good video. After that, we drove around some more to try and find others. At 5 p.m., after we got food, we decided to cut our loses, and go back to the hotel to do some work.

We went down to the lobby around 5:30 to do some work. After doing some work, Jeff discovered a disc golf course 10-minutes away from the hotel. It wasn’t a tough decision to go disc golfing.

First, we stopped at the Army and Navy store to pick up some discs. I had no idea the amount of detail in each disc. There are different ones for each throw, from a putter to a driver, with each one having different speed, spin, fade, etc… After we got our discs, we headed to the course.

 

First Hole

The course itself was extremely challenging. The holes wound in-between groves of trees, and up steep hills. It felt like playing Augusta as my first round of golf. To give you a sense of how bad I was, my first throw almost went into the hole that that was adjacent to the first one.

But over the course of the game, I started to get used to the whole game. But then I was thrown a curveball. The 8th hole had a lake right-smack dab in the middle of it. And there was no way to go around it.

 

Fortunately, I was able to tomahawk it over the lake. I saw threw it a little high, and it started to dip. But it landed just feet from the water, in an angle, like Excalibur.

 

The second-to-next hole wasn’t easy either. It was a 30-yard throw to a base of a cliff, then the hole was up on the side of the hill.

Once we were done with that one, we started to notice it was getting darker, and becoming a lot harder to find the disks when they went in the woods. We decided to call it, and walked to rest of the course.

A quick drive later, we were back at the hotel, ready to fall asleep. As we were doing work, Brittni, Jenny, and Allison came in, and I went to Friendly’s with them. What an experience. A short time after that, I hit the hay, ready to hit the ground running Friday.

Friday was a normal show day. We headed over to the stadium around noon to set-up. Teal Sound was rehearsing at the stadium, so we got some awesome Drum Cam footage of a cymbal player, using the GoPro. The guy does flips and other acrobatic things during the show. A lot of awesome footage.

During the show, I got corps members to read parts of the script, to turn into a video instead of having Brandt Crocker read it. It will save his voice, and maybe make people take notice.

After the show, I was able to catch Bobby in the lot, when he was walking back to the buses from the food truck. It was awesome getting to catch up with him. It great to see how much he was enjoying tour, and touring the country. He had a lot of funny stories from the road.

Once we got back from the hotel, we hung out downstairs in the lobby with Chris and Mike Boo, who were doing some articles. A couple of the video guys were going to the bar, so Jeff and I went to have a drink. I was able to pick their brains, and ask how it is working in a live-production environment. I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun.

Saturday was kind of a wash-out. It started to rain around noon, so we couldn’t get the drum cam footage that we wanted to, from Carolina Crown. We stayed in the lobby working until 3:30ish, when we had to go to the stadium. When we got there, everything was already set-up from the night before, but we just had to waterproof everything. A jacket on the camera, a ripped up poncho over all of the connections, and a lot of paper towels did the trick.

It rained off and on for the first half of the show, as well as the first three corps of the second half. During intermission, I was able to catch up with Jamie and Seanley during intermission. I hadn’t seen them since tour, so it was awesome. Gate showed up before the Cadets performance too, so I got to catch up with him for a bit as well.

The rain really started to come during Carolina Crown’s performance. I had to put the rain jacket on my camera, so I couldn’t use the viewfinder, and had to use the eye piece. I had to pick my shots more carefully, because I didn’t have the advantage of being able to use one eye to look around, while the other was focused on the viewfinder.

The rain stopped briefly for the Cadets performance. Once again, they put on a SHOW! I am impressed every time I see the Cadets show. Sheer brilliance. They have the whole package to win a World Championship this year. But once the Blue Devils went on, the weather turned south. There was a band of bad storms going right over Allentown. Half-way through the Blue Devils run, it started to pour. Once they were done I headed straight to the press box, to get the camera out of the rain.

That made breakdown very interesting. We had to make sure everything was dry before we put it away. it took a little longer, but we ended up getting everything packed. Truck loading was the same way. But the rain didn’t slow us down. By 12:30 a.m., everything was on the truck, and we headed back to the hotel. Pizza and beer were waiting for us back at the hotel. Not too bad.

Sunday was a marathon travel day. I had to wake up at 5:15 to get to the airport. My flight out of Allentown was at 7:10 a.m., getting into O’Hare at 8:30 a.m. CDT. My flight to Indy was original scheduled for 11:56 a.m., but got delayed two hours. Finally, a little after 2 p.m., we took off. We ended up flying through a bunch of storm clouds, making it a very bumpy and uneasy decent into Indy. So glad I don’t have to fly into Indy anymore.

Totals:

Miles travelled: approx. 1600 mi

Show: 2

Hours of footage: 2.5 hrs

Holes of Disc Golf: 16

Week Schedule:

Michigan City, IN: 8/8 – 8/10

Indianapolis, IN: 8/10-8/14

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Random Thoughts

 

Reflections

As I sit in the terminal, waiting for my flight to board, heading from Hartford to Midway (Chicago), then to Indianapolis, I have caught myself reflecting on everything that has happened this past school year, as well as over my four years at Eastern.

There are a lot of people I have to thank for where I am right now. They say that college is “The Best Four Years of your Life.” After freshman year, I really didn’t buy that saying. But the these last three years have made up for that.

First off, obviously, I have to thank Alyssa and my family, for being there for me, during the ups and the downs, and supporting me with whatever I do, always giving me good advice.

Secondly, thanks for all of you at News22, throughout the last three years. I joined my sophomore year, and wasn’t really sure I should stick it out after the first semester. But I am glad I did. You guys are really amazing, making the news fun, and being a good group of friends. TJ, Nick, Josh, Brian, Marcus, Ian, Matt, Carmen, Simone, Dan, Zorzi, Michelle (x2), Cait, Steph, and everyone else, thank you for making Eastern memorable.

Next, I want to thank everyone at 7th. These past three summers have been amazing. It will be weird not sharing a floor with Sean, Gate, Curley, Jake, Wes, Reginald, Landau, Jam, Alyssa, Dsaun, Dtops, and everyone else this summer. The drumline has repeatedly been really close over the last three years. Through the ups (and mostly) downs, we have grown together as on drumline, and will be people I talk to for the rest of my life.

Finally, I want to thank Niejadlik Hall. Spending my three upperclassmen years there were a lot of fun. Sure, I didn’t have a kitchen, but it didn’t even matter (when your that close to Hurley AND the Student Center, it is a moot point). The turnover has been huge during that time, but the foundation stayed the same. Mindy, Nick, Cody, Brian, Dave, Megan, Dina, Kevin, and everyone else, made that building more than just dorm, but rather a family. Thank you.

These next three months will be exciting. It will be unexpected, not knowing where I am going, and traveling around the country. But I have those awesome memories to look back on, and remember how amazing the last three years were.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Random Thoughts

 

Sorry for the Lack of Postings

Sorry for the lack of postings the last couple of weeks. With finals, and a whirlwind last ten days, I have been swamped, and haven’t had a lot of time to write.

It is now 3:20 a.m., and I just finished packing. I am flying out of Bradley at 10:25 in the morning for Indianapolis, where I will spend the summer interning at Drum Corps International, doing Video Productions. While I am excited, I am also nervous. I have never been away from Connecticut for more than two weeks, let alone two months. It should definitely be an adventure.

Along with the normal sports thoughts sprinkled in, I will try my best to try and chronicle my summer through blog postings. Sometimes it will be daily, others weekly, sometimes monthly. But I will try my best start writing more often.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Random Thoughts

 

The Great TV vs. Stadium Debate

For the last century, fans have gone to stadiums all across the country in drones to watching sporting events live, and in person. Families had bonded for years by packing up the van, going to a game, tailgating, and rooting for their favorite team with 40,000 other adoring fans.

But now, for this generation, times are changing.

With the increased comforts of the home, like recliners and comfortable loveseats, and an increase of HDTV’s being sold, many stadiums are losing money on fans that are willing to stay home instead of venturing to the game.

Now, if I could, I would be at every single Red Sox and Broncos game, cheering right along with every fan there. But with the prices of everything today, it is very hard for the average fan to attend a sports game.

Let’s break down the numbers. Say if you are going to sit in the bleachers for a Red Sox games. You have $25 for parking (not including gas, which could easily be another $20), $25 for a ticket, and easily another $25 for food and beverage. Roughly, that is $95 to spend on one night of fun.

So for the average fan, it is too expensive. While the stadiums are still filling up in the high-profile markets, attendance at the lesser teams are less than 10,000 in attendance on an average night.

And along with the increase of technology, are leading more fans to stay home. Now, you can get an HDTV for $300. Sure, in the short term it is more expensive. But in the long term, it is very cost effective. You can watch of every game in the comfort of your own home, not having to worry about the money, and getting more angles and in-depth commentary than you would at the game itself. And with the economy still on the upswing, many fans don’t have the money to spend, and find themselves staying at home.

Many fans are having to make that decision, and choosing to stay home. Many stadium owners are having to rethink their business plans, trying to make stadiums more friendly. And with HDTVs becoming more affordable, it could be a matter of time when stadium attendance will start to drop significantly, choosing to stay at home. What would you do?

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

Reflections of a Graduating Senior

As the temperature rises, the leaves on the trees start to sprout, and my allergies start kicking up, it signalizes the start of spring, and the end of spring semester.

As I write this, I have five more days of classes and four final exams until my undergraduate degree is done, and I go off into the real world. After thinking that this day would never come, I have caught myself reflecting on my last four years of college.

Have I made some mistakes? You bet. Do I regret some things I did? Of course. Was I able to learn from those mistakes? You bet I did.

Coming into college, I didn’t know what to expect. No parents, freedom, it was a weird feeling.  I didn’t want to get involved, went to class, and did the minimum. It was fun, but not fulfilling.

After freshman year, I had to figure out my roll at school. I decided to get involved in News22, the campus news station. I went to the show, did my job, and that was it. I didn’t want to go back the second semester, thinking “Eh, it wasn’t that fun.” But, after talking to some people, I decided to go back the second semester. I went into it with the mindset “You know what, I am going to get involved.”

It has been uphill from there.

Since then, I have gotten extremely involved, and motivated. I started getting shooting packages, producing the show when the seniors went to Vegas, and doing more jobs in the control room.

That semester motivated into doing more things on and off campus. I started writing for the Campus Lantern, got internships, and made the time here at Eastern worthwhile.

And as someone who is graduating, and going into the real world, I have one piece of advice for you.

Get involved.

I can’t say this enough. Join clubs, do things for the club (don’t just go to the meetings, and go through the motions), and take advantage of this.

As a Communications student, the things I will take with me on my job isn’t the stuff I learned from the classroom. It is the practice I got from being involved in clubs. If you want to be a writer, you can’t be taught how to write. Sure, you can be taught grammar, but you can’t be taught your own voice. You get that from practicing writing. If you want to be a videographer or reporter, people want to see how well you can write, shoot, edit, etc.. The Television production courses here taught you the nuts and bolts, but you can’t be taught how you tell a story through images.

Along with clubs, don’t be afraid of internships. They are amazing things. I have had the excellent opportunity to be able to do three different internships. Were they a lot of work? You bet. But boy did they help me. I was able to get professional experience that I wouldn’t of had the chance to get in the classroom. It will only help me in the future. I had to break out of my shell, but it was worth it.

Once again, it is all about practice.

Whether you are a freshman, or a super-senior, it is never to late. Those clubs are always looking for people to participate. The people in the clubs will be willing to help you. Don’t be shy. It can never hurt to go above and beyond, and perfect your craft.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Random Thoughts

 

Tribute to Andy Gerke

Have you ever met someone that has changed your life? Someone you will never forget? Someone you will remember forever?

Fortunately, I have.

I met Andrew Gerke a little over.three years ago. In my first season of drum corps, I didn’t know what to expect. Throughout the preseason camps, I thought I knew what drum corps was.

But Andrew Gerke turned it upside down.

He pushed us to our limit. If we were tired, he didn’t care. He kept pushing us. All summer. No matter the heat humanity, and precipitation. He had us going.

During that season, I didn’t understand why he kept pushing us.

After reflecting on my first season of drum corps, I finally got it.

It wasn’t because he didn’t like it. By pushing us, it showed that he cared about ua. He wanted us to perform at the best level that we could. He didn’t want it half-assed. No matter whether it was rehearsal, or performance, he wanted our best, all the time.

That’s what I will take from Andy Gerke. Do you best. And only your beat. Don’t settle for anything less than your beat.

From drum corps, to the real world, I always try to live up to Gerke’s standards. I never settle for less than I best. I push it in everything I do, and max everything out.

For those of you who know Gerke, I know you relect on how much he affected your life. For those who didn’t get to know him, ask yourself if you try your best 100% of the time. Do you hold yourself to a high standard? If not, try it. You won’t regret it.

4/14/09. I miss you Gerke. I think about you everyday. You won’t be forgotten.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Random Thoughts