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12:57am 03/07/2007
  Well, it’s definitely been awhile since I’ve done anything on this website. However, there has been a request to try and keep this forum alive so here’s me doing my part and adding my contribution.

I just finished my month-long job working at the Texas Music Festival. TMF is like a band camp for adults in a way. There are various “institutes” that have particular concentrations that last one week that happen during the month (like the “Floot Fire” Flute camp, Piano Camp, the Jazz Institute and Texas Jazz Project). The big thing though is the orchestra camp which is the primary concentration of the festival. They prepared and learned some major works and played them for a concert each week. Guest conductors and clinicians were there each week to work with the students. The people involved in the orchestra were from all over the world. There were people spanning from here in the US all the way to Australia. My job was a counselor in the dorms and a sort of intern for the festival doing random errands and such. I really enjoyed my experiences here this month. Not only did I enjoy meeting and interacting with people from other countries but also the chance to see what musicians not from Houston and Texas are like. It was somewhat refreshing to get the views from some of the musicians on music and music schools. Working this festival and attending the concerts really made me realize how much I missed playing in an orchestra. I haven’t had the opportunity since being in college until this upcoming fall because there is finally a spot open. I’m auditioning for it and I think I will audition for a festival next summer.

In addition to working TMF, I also took summer school. I took two classes this session. The first was called Reading in the Content Area and the other was Educational Psychology. Ed Psych. was taken online and in a nutshell, was somewhat interesting but nothing to write home about. However, I very much enjoyed Reading in the Content Area. This class in case you were wondering dealt with incorporating reading into classroom settings that aren’t specifically reading classes. So, for example, I dealt specifically with incorporating reading into the music classroom. My teacher was really cool, extremely knowledgeable about the subject of teaching and very much a “teacher” if that makes sense. Her husband used to play baseball for the Baltimore Orioles and her son currently plays for the Diamondbacks (he’s on the DL currently). Anyway, the class and teacher were a lot of fun, the subject matter was interesting and I enjoyed going to class everyday. However, I must add details on my two favorite parts of the class. My class featured twin girls who are two-year members of the Houston Texan Cheerleading Squad. They were smart, nice, down to earth and incredibly gorgeous. They had an excused absence for the third week of class because they were off somewhere on location shooting for Sports Illustrated, no joke.

I will be entering my first of two senior years this fall and that’s kind of a ridiculous statement. I’ve done a lot of work in three years of school (112 hours worth) and though I have two more years left, I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not going to start teaching right away though. I’m going to go to graduate school and pursue a masters in performance. I’m going to actually give the whole auditioning for some playing jobs a legitimate shot. I honestly believe that this is an attainable goal. I’m finally at a place where I feel I am a good enough player to get into a grad program and get a masters. And, in addition to that, I think that if I didn’t actually give performing at a high level professionally a try, I would regret the decision. If it doesn’t work out, then I have a job as a band director lined up, a masters degree and experience I can pass on to others. I finally understand that being the best or playing like Joe Alessi, Christian Lindberg or anyone else for that matter is not the answer because that is an impossible task. It took me a long time to realize this and even longer to realize that playing like myself and playing the best that I can is what is desired.

This past year has been a rather difficult one for me personally. There have been a lot of things that I’ve had to deal with (some things as recently as today) that have left me incredibly frustrated and left somewhat in an extended funk. I was probably at my worst at the beginning of the summer because I was stuck. I had no money, no job, no car (which means no means of going out and getting a job) and nothing to look forward to. It was made worse watching pretty much everyone I knew beginning new endeavors while I was stuck at home. This coupled with the stresses of the past year left me in an interesting condition. Thankfully and right on time (as usual), God stepped in and presented me with the opportunity to work TMF and made summer school and this past month an enjoyable and rejuvenating experience. I now am in a better place and have made my peace with some things and look forward to the coming school year for a variety of reasons. I think I’m ready to start being a better Christian, a better Sinfonian, a better musician and a better man. Those are my goals for the future and I think I’m ready to make the attempt.
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For the ladies...   
01:03am 14/02/2007
  Happy Valentines Day from me and the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha...

Happy New Year...   
01:28am 02/01/2007
mood: tired
2006, the year in review...Read more...Collapse )

Here's hoping 2007 is as good or better than 2006.
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Break time...   
02:06pm 16/12/2006
mood: relaxed
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, this semester has ended. It seems as though everyone I talked to was ready for this semester to end and that they were all really tired and stressed by the end of it. I sure as hell was. 17 hours, hard classes, performing in 5 ensembles not including marching band, marching band, and pledging. So yeah, it was pretty rough. This semester was full to capacity and I'm officially burnt out and drained of all energy. However, this semester did yield some good things. The most important being me playing with the Houston Symphony, my pledging and subsequent induction into Phi Mu Alpha (OAS AAS LLS!) and my Cougars's dream season. At this point however, I am looking forward to just relaxing and resting. This break is a much needed opportunity to recharge my batteries and get my mind right for the next semester among other things.
What is the world coming to?   
01:10am 22/11/2006
mood: frustrated
First OJ pretty much proves his guilt, then Kramer goes apeshit racist and my car gets stolen again. Great way to start off the break.
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Sports weekend...   
12:12pm 13/11/2006
mood: busy
Best sports weekend in a long while. Tons of upsets in the BCS, the Rockets beat the champs, the Texans won a game?, and my Coogs won too. However, this entry is all about showing some much deserved love to the Houston Dynamo. MLS Champs! That's badass. I played in their pep band this summer as many of you know and from my perspective of having watched them all summer, this is really cool. Boom goes the Dynamo!
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I'll always remember the 5th of November, and the two days before it...   
12:23pm 06/11/2006
mood: accomplished
Well, my weekend tour with the Houston Symphony is over and I had a great time. It was an experience I won't soon forget. Last night was special because it was the last one and the best performance of the weekend for all involved. We got pictures with the low brass section and found out the marching band doctor (who was sitting front row center in Cougar Red)is good friends with Allen Barnhill, the HSO's principal trombone player who by the way, said to us "way to let'em have it" after the performance. Anyway, yesterday was also significant in the fact that it was Guy Fawkes day (as the subject of this entry indicates) and I just so happened to play the 1812 Overture that night. Good timing.
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Dreams do come true...   
04:19pm 25/10/2006
mood: good
I am happy to announce that I will be playing with the Houston Symphony in concert on November 3rd, 4th and 5th. They needed extra brass for the finale (1812 Overture) of their pops concert and asked if the Uninversity of Houston could spare a few brass players. So, the Moores School of Music Large Brass Ensemble (which I made it into at the beginning of the semester) got the call and I am honored to be a part of it. Exciting!
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3 Day Weekend...   
03:17pm 02/10/2006
mood: sick
I had an interesting weekend. I had a good Friday. Homecoming was nice. I got to see some people and Duggan. Saturday was disappointing and I woke up sick on Sunday.

Partial reason for Saturday being disappointing...Read more...Collapse )

The Astros...Read more...Collapse )

Thank you to those who read all that. I'm sorry its long but I have a lot to say.
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"Ridin dirty"...   
12:31am 17/09/2006
mood: tired
We played Grambling State University today and we won. However, the real story is what happened at halftime. For those that don't know, Grambling State University is a historically black college with a traditional black college show band(ie. Willowridge and "Drumline"). Their band is one of the most famous marching bands in the world. Their band was at the game today and at halftime, they went first and did their thing. The crowd loved it. We went next and what did we do? We did a military drill down the field playing Sousa's Washington Post. However, right before we finised that piece (and before we lost the crowd), our brand new scoreboard started playing Chamillionaire's "Ridin Dirty". At this point, we heard four whistles and broke down into dance. That's right, the Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band broke down and danced, well. The crowd lost it. It was a packed house(really it was) and I swear to you, I've never heard our stadium that loud before. They loved it. After that, Grambling came back onto the field and we played "Respect" together and then we did the "Grambling/Cougar breakdown" to exit the field. For those who had an opportunity to witness this and didn't take advantage, you missed a cool moment. This was in my opinion, the best halftime I've ever been apart of. I really enjoyed myself.

If you want to see it, go here...

"The Houston band even blew away Grambling's fabled band at halftime, hitting the field with a gyrating performance of 'Ridin'' by Chamillionaire that had even the Tigers' fans up and cheering."
-Michael Murphy in the Houston Chronicle - 9/17/06

"Anyone missing that performance simply missed one of the best shows ever seen on a gridiron!"
-"EatEmUp" on coogfans.com
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"I only meant to stay awhile..."   
06:45pm 03/09/2006
mood: a bit tired but, alright
Well, it’s been awhile since a meaningful post from me so I guess I’ll make due on the “details” I promised last entry. Just a word of caution, this is pretty long.
Read more...Collapse )
Well, that’s enough out of me for now. I hope all is well with everyone. Have a good Labor Day.
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"...and special thanks to the Winds Symphonic Orchestra..."   
03:13pm 23/08/2006
mood: pleased
I am pleased to inform you that I am no longer a member of the bottom of the barrel ensemble known as the Symphonic Band. Based on my audition yesterday, I have moved up a band and take my 2nd chair seat in the Symphonic Winds. Details among other things to be posted later.
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Rome on the All-Star Game...   
08:27pm 12/07/2006
  Brad Penny Blowing!...Read more...Collapse )

Trevor Hoffman gives up big knock...Read more...Collapse )
I homered today!...   
11:01pm 10/07/2006
  Rome's thoughts on Roy Oswalt's weekend...Read more...Collapse )

Now, from what I think your impression is of the "Rome Reports" I post is correct, then you think that Rome dislikes Oswalt and the Astros and is taking his shot at them. This isn't true. As someone who listens religiously to the Jim Rome Show, I know for a fact that he likes the Astros and many of our players (Berkman, Oswalt, Clemens, Ensberg, Lidge, Burke, Biggio, Bagwell and others) have been on the show on more then one occasion and he refers to them as "good jungle guys".

However, I will now take a shot at them because yesterday was probably the worst game I've ever seen of Astros baseball. We had a lead, blew it, re-tied the game, went to extra innings, didn't cash in on bases loaded with one out and eventually lost in extra innings. And those aren't even the worst parts of yesterday's game! I mean, the other lowlights included Lane tripping while attempting to tag up, Lane and Taveras screwing up in the outfield allowing Pujols to third, Munson getting picked off at first (WTF!) and of course, Oswalt not touching first base. Ridiculous. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. And to make matters worse, I had to watch part of the game in spanish because the ESPN was having audio problems and switched us to ESPN deportes. Aaahh! This team better improve.

Directions to my place for tomorrow nights gathering:
1. Get on 59N
2. Merge onto TX-288 S toward LAKE JACKSON / FREEPORT.
3. Take the exit toward N MAC GREGOR WAY / S MAC GREGOR WAY.
5. Turn LEFT onto ALMEDA RD.

My building is next to the Luby's. The building is called, The MacGregor. Call me when you get there so I can let you in. Hope to see you there! 7pm!
Fun Times!...   
04:25pm 09/07/2006
  My place on Tuesday. We'll watch the All-Star Game. It'll be fun. 7pm. We'll order pizza and have a grand old time.  
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06:00pm 18/06/2006
  Sugar Land fields tomorrow and from now on.  
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Good day...   
11:56pm 15/06/2006
mood: good
I had a very productive day today and currently am very content with things.

Roflzburger was released from the hospital today. I don't really have commentary on that, I just wanted to type "Roflzburger". Thanks for that innovation Matt.

Also, thanks to yet another awesome performance by D-Wade and ex-Rockets stepping up, the Heat have tied the series at 2 in the NBA finals. The NBA playoffs have been excellent this year.

And, for the hell of it, BOOM goes the dynamite.
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08:10pm 11/06/2006
  In case you didn't know, baseball tomorrow is at SugarLand again. Let's try and start at 5:30 this time.  
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This is a pretty damn funny story...   
02:40am 08/06/2006
mood: amused
I heard this on Rome today...

So, this man in a grocery store spots an elderly woman with a box of poptarts and he decides to go after them. He rips the box from the woman and takes off. The woman, around her mid 50's, attempts to get the box back from the man and rips his shirt in the process of trying to garb the man. The man stops, turns and punches the woman in the gut and takes off out of the store. Now the man is running in the parking lot and seemingly home free when he is struck by a pick up truck! However, this does not stop the man. He gets up, still moving those feet of his, and continues toward whatever it is that he thinks is freedom from this ordeal. Instead, he is hit again by a different vehicle! This time he does not get up and is arrested by police. Incredibly ridiculous. All that for some poptarts!
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From the office of the commissioner...   
03:22pm 01/06/2006

It has been decided that we shall start using a catcher during all baseball games. This goes into effect asap. I know that I for sure am willing to accept the responsibility of playing catcher and if there is another willing to do it, please speak up. However, in order to safely carry this out, we will need equipment. This is where you the people come in. Our very own David Saldana will provide the mask but, we need the chest plate and leg guards. Those 3 pieces of equipment are an estimated 85 dollars. We ask that everyone donate at least 5 dollars for the purchase of these items. What we have left over from the purchase of the catching equipment will go towards the purchase of more baseballs. Now, I suggest that money be given to Jake Lewis asap. Jake can get a discount at Academy due to his special connections. So, have all monies into Jake no later than Saturday. *Jake, if it's all right with you, the two of us can go together and get the equipment. That is all for now.

All questions and concerns are welcome in the comment section of this entry. If you wish to speak to me directly, please make an appointmentwith my secretary. ;)

Thank you,
Lance F. Laster, MLB Street Commissioner
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