Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 DCI World Championships

On Saturday, August 14th, Drum Corps International held their 2010 World Championships in Indianapolis, IN at the Indianapolis Colts home at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Just like years before, these Championships were destined to be a major event for the Marching Music's Major League. As a previous marcher in a top drum corps, and an avid follower of drum corps, I knew that these Finals were going to be an exciting one all the way to the end, and boy was it ever exciting!

I was only able to watch one live drum corps show this summer, and that was at the TCF Stadium at the University of Minnesota on July 17th. I was able to buy tickets for a few of my friends, and the day started out to be an outstanding day, with an outstanding event for Minnesota, however it soon became very trying for the fans as storms kept delaying the event, and eventually canceling the event prior to the last nine corps performing. It even was concluded with tornado sirens and continuous lightening after the torrential rain soaked the awesome field at TCF Stadium.

I was disappointed, however I watched a live broadcast on DCI's The Fant Network. It was a spectacular event watching the top 23 World Class Drum Corps fighting it to the Nth degree. All of the hard work the young kids have been working on drill design, music, and visual pageantry were pouring out of their hearts like nothing before. It was a sight not to be missed, and I thankfully was part of it.

The next two weeks were going to show how much endurance the thousands of kids marching the various drum corps had. Final drill changes, musical changes, wardrobe changes and non-stop hard work. Long practice days, long road trips, a bus break down here and there, but it all came to a conclusion on Saturday the 14th, where anything could happen. Many historical firsts came from corps who never scored so high in their entire corps history, or placements that were separated by mere tenths of a point.

Following are the results of the Top 6 World Class drum corps that placed on Saturday the 14th.

1st 98.900 Blue Devils"Through a Glass Darkly"

This program had been capturing the imagination of fans and judges alike all summer.  Blue Devils powered their way to the top by sweeping all captions, and took 8 of the 10 judges in the finals along with... scoring 3 perfect 20's!

2nd 97.750 The Cavaliers "Mad World"

The Cavaliers came back strong with a show that blended what everyone loves best about Cavies, with some new and innovative effect moments that brought the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd to their feet multiple times. The Cavaliers were 2nd in all captions, and held a definitive spread of 1.35 from the 3rd place spot.

3rd 96.400 Bluecoats  "Metropolis: The Future is Now"

Throughout the season, Metropolis: The Future is Now was a fan favorite that drew cheers, laughter, and standing ovations at each performance. Capturing the bronze medal was once again one of the most competitive seasons in DCI history, and with record high scores and placement the most successful season in the history of this corps.

4th 95.950 Carolina Crown "A Second Chance"

Once again a crowd favorite, and for the second straight year won the "DCI Fan Network Fan Favorite" award. Their entire presentation of had a sepia tone look and feel that added to their dramatic performance. Crown placed 4th in all captions, with highlights being a 1st place from one GE Music Judge and 2nd place in Music Ensemble.

5th 95.100 The Cadets "Toy Souldier" 

Didn’t move up on Crown even though the corps scored 0.40 higher than the night before. Visual Effect took 3rd, but all other captions finished in 5th.

6th 93.150 Phantom Regiment "Into the Light" 

Added 0.60 from Quarterfinals and once again won Percussion. The next highest caption was 6th in Music Effect, with all other captions (other than 8th in Visual Effect) finishing in 7th.

So as you can see, it was an exciting evening of great drum corps. The other finalists of the evening were: 

Santa Clara Vanguard (7th place – 91.90) added 0.55 to the total score, with the Percussion moving up from 10th to 7th. Brass and Music Ensemble took 8th, with all other captions either 6th or 7th.

Blue Stars (8th place – 92.05) added 0.40 from Quarterfinals, but since SCV and Regiment had similar advances, there was no movement between 6th, 7th and 8th overall. Lowest placement was 10th in Percussion and 9th in Color Guard, with other captions between 6th and 8th.

Boston Crusaders (9th place – 89.60) slipped 0.05 from Quarterfinals and was 9th or 10th in every caption except for 8th place in Percussion.

Madison Scouts (10th place – 89.20) went up 0.05 and was also 9th or 10th in all captions but Percussion, which took 12th, 0.60 under Crusaders’ line.

Blue Knights (11th place – 87.85) fell 0.55, took 12th in Color Guard and 11th in all other captions.

Glassmen (12th place – 86.50) fell 0.65, with Percussion in 9th and Brass in 14th. Other than that Brass placement and 13th in Visual Performance, all other captions were 11th or 12th.

Colts (13th – 84.65) dropped 0.05 and ended up in 13th for the fourth time since 2005. Only Visual Performance placed in the top-12 at 12th, and Percussion ended in 16th. Other captions were 13th or 14th.

The Academy (14th – 84.05) dropped 0.20, with Brass placing 12th and all other captions 13th through 15th, except Color Guard, which ended in 16th.

Troopers (15th – 83.35) slipped 0.85, the most of any corps. All captions finished 14th through 16th.

Spirit (16th – 81.45) fell 0.80 and was 15th through 17th in all captions.

Crossmen (17th – 80.90) added 0.10 to its score and took 16th or 17th in every caption except for Color Guard, which placed 15th.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Flight Attendant Hero, or Flight Attendant Embarrassment?

Sure, we all know that air travel is getting more and more frustrating over the last few years. We can look back and see where the trend started when airlines started to charge for checked luggage. Being over the required weight by one pound the airlines will charge you more, or having more than one or two bags will cost more too. This often starts at the ticket counter when checking in.

After forking over more money than expected, then you have to go through the TSA security checkpoint where you can see them frisking little old grandmothers with walkers, or find them now keeping the photos from the new body image scanners, so it's only fair to understand why passengers are getting more and more frustrated before they even get to the plane.

Planes are becoming more full. No more extended leg room, cramped seats, no free food, blankets, pillows, or magazines that use to be included in the cost of the ticket. However, getting onto the plane is becoming a nightmare due to the airlines charging for the checked bags. So it's a hassle to find space for your carry-on since everyone is bringing everything onto the plane. Small bags that should be placed under the seat are being placed into the over-head, making it difficult for the last group of passengers to find space for their bags. Even some arguments that come about with stowage of items in seatback pockets. (Stowage of items in seatbacks)

Once everyone is situated, now we have to worry about those electronic devices being turned off at time of departure. I've written about these U.S. regulations before (Why don't airlines allow cell phone use after aircraft door is closed), yet passengers ignore the regulations and the flight attendants now have to become policemen telling people to turn off their devices. When those passengers don't listen, then it becomes a very frustrating situation for both flight attendant and passenger.

Depending on where you are sitting, your first choice of food may not be available, or the limited Buy On Board snacks are gone and you are really hungry. It's cold on the airplane, but the airlines have  remove the pillows & blankets, or they have started to charge for them. So your family vacation or trip hasn't really started, but it's starting off very rough, and the plane hasn't even left the gate. Hopefully, there isn't a maintenance delay, or weather delay, but if you know anything about flying, hope that you aren't flying out of JFK at "Rush-Hour" where you could be taxiing for over an hour before take-off! 

Finally the plane is in the air, and the you then find out your personal TV isn't working, or the entertainment device given to you in-flight is inoperable, or the kid sitting behind you constantly kicks the back of your seat. How about that screaming child, or the overly loud and obnoxious passengers sitting across the aisle hitting on the flight attendants or buying more and more alcohol and getting drunker as the flight goes on.

Finally, you arrive at your destination and you just want to get off the plane, but now everything is happening in reverse. You are now waiting for your gate to open up and the flight has just been long and tiring and you just want to get off the plane. While the plane is sitting there, in the 'penalty box' you decide to get your bag out of the over-head bin (which you are not allowed to do because you don't know when the plane is going to move) yet, you get up to retrieve your bag. The flight attendant informs you to leave your carry-on stowed, and to remain seated as you are still on an 'active taxi-way'. Yet, you ignore the request, so the flight attendant comes to you and again asks you to take your seat, but this time, you don't like their demeanor as they have now singled you out in front of everyone and you yelled expletives at the flight attendant.

With all the other things that have happened in-flight (or even prior flights) the flight attendant finally breaks, gets on the P.A. and continues to berate you using the same expletives to the entire plane. Now, the flight attendant decides that he is through working as a flight attendant, pulls the emergency slide, grabs a couple of beers and jumps.

Many people see someone who has just cracked under pressure and couldn't deal with the stress, others hail him as a hero because he finally did what so many other flight attendants have wanted to do, but didn't, or is this someone who has flown under the radar far too long and should have never been given a flight attendant job.

For me personally, I find the whole thing an embarrassment to the flight attendant profession, but others find him a true Saint. Showing what flight attendants have to go through on an almost daily ritual of being berated by passengers over the smallest of things that are out of their personal control. Showing that not only airlines, but passengers often don't see the role of a flight attendant as a true Safety Professional.