Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 ends, 2013 starts!

Hard to believe that 2012 is now at a close. It feels like just yesterday we were saying the same thing about 2011...but here we are, getting ready to reign in a New Year.

What happened this year that made it go by so fast for me? January was my annual recurrent training for work (which I will be going to next month. Man, I have to really study the new evacuation commands) I know it started with another awesome trip to Puerto Vallarta in March, followed by a visit back home in Virginia visiting family and friends, while enjoying the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in May.

June ended with beautiful weather for Minneapolis Pride, followed by outstanding performances by various Drum & Bugle Corps for the DCI Minnesota Drum & Bugle contest.  July-August I had a very bad cold which kept me from flying for nearly a month. In September, was able to enjoy the MN State Fair with friends, and for flying I was able to go to several new destinations which I really enjoyed working to in Brazil, but mostly my flying kept me in the confines of the Caribbean.

November was (in my opinion) a huge success in Politics. Thankfully President Obama was re-elected and the VOTE-NO on the marriage amendment (defining marriage between man and woman) here in Minnesota won. This, as well as three other states saying Who cares in who marries, as long as they are happy.

Over-all, I had some amazing crews I worked with, and on occasion, some pretty amazing passengers too. I did help in save a life to one of our passengers which just goes with the territory, but of course, it was soon over-shadowed by the craziness of the holiday travelers demanding to not have their over-sized bags checked at the door when it wouldn't fit in the bag sizer.

Sadly, I ended this year with a bout of flu, thankfully, I was able to spend the holiday with great friends who invited me to share their time with their families. I was able to enjoy a day with one of my siblings before having a lovely dinner with his family and friends.

I'm very amazed at how quickly this year has gone by. I just hope that at some point, I will be able to stop and smell the roses....well, maybe I'll have a chance to do that during my nieces wedding in May.

Until next time,

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Flight chat forum Closing

For over 10yrs, I have enjoyed being, not only a member of a Flight Attendant chat forum, but also a moderator and Administrator. The site helped me make many great friends from many different airlines around the world.

Recently, the sites administrator has chosen to put the site up for sale, and because the site hasn't been extremely active in the past year, and/or bought, he has chosen to close it's doors earlier than when the sites domain name is due for renewal. (it will be closed sometime in the coming weeks)

It has been amazing to be a part of a site where I was able to watch it grow into something spectacular, helping many individuals (both young and old) come together, not only here in the United States, but world-wide, answering questions about what it's like to be a Flight Attendant, or even helping those who strive to be a Steward/Stewardess/Flight Attendant.

We have laughed, cried, fought, and bonded over many aspects of our careers. We saw some sad days on the site from losing members, or know of Flight Attendants who have lost lives either from accidents and/or incidents involving crashes or from other events. was a site where we could all go and share stories with one another about the crazy antics we saw during our flights, or walking through the terminals. We could all come together and complain about how the TSA treated us, or what we saw on our layovers. Of course, this could be anything from bed-bugs, dirty beds/sheets/towels/bathrooms/remotes/glasses, to having wild parties.

This was a place we could ask questions amongst each other about Federal Aviation Regulations, Airline Policies, or just complain about what our respective airlines were doing to our Unionized contracts. With these complaints, often brought with them arguments between members.

The one thing about being a flight attendant is the aspect of not being bogged down in a cubicle and not having a supervisor breathing down your neck require work to be done. Being a flight attendant requires one to be driven to work well with others, and to step up to the plate during emergency situations without thinking twice.

I will miss the great chats we had with each other, and hope sometime soon there will be another great chat forum we can once again call 'home'

Until then, keep flying the friendly skies!

Friday, October 19, 2012

American Airlines will be hiring

After 11 years, looks like one of the legacy carriers is finally going to be hiring for Flight Attendants.

After another type of scare tactic of up to 2,500 possible layoffs during contract negotiations, the airline was able to get over 2,200 Flight Attendants to take an early out to retirement.

With that, American just announced that come November 5th, they will be opening up their website and will be looking for 1,500-2,000 new hires in the next year.

Interviews would start sometime in December, with the first class starting in January, then approximately 45 new hires per class, a new class would be starting every Monday there after.

This is great news, however many are concerned that both the Union and airline mislead their members, similar to the possibility of an earlier bankruptcy in 2003, if they didn't take this early out and retire.

Whether it was a scare tactic, or a way to get the most Senior flight attendants to retire, those still flying are finally able to slightly move up the seniority ranks after a 11 year stall.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where does the time go?

It's really hard to imagine that it's been over a month since I've last posted. At the same time, it's not hard to imagine since I've been flying a lot, and my time off has been short. Sad thing is, it's probably not going to get any better.

A lot of bad publicity has hit my once great airline recently. From the filing of Bankruptcy, Labor talks/issues, and more recently the lack of safety concern over failing seats. The only good thing about this, the public now sees how us employees deal with the lack of good management.

Don't take me the wrong way here, we have many great managers within the airline, it's just sad to see an airline that use to be #1 in everything, be the laughing stock scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Now, the failed maintenance that has plagued the airline is being blamed on passengers being sloppy.

It's hard to keep your head held high when management continues to put more demand on us, with less pay. Penny pinching the consumer and outsourcing the maintenance to a different company when it use to be done in-house. Yet, the employees can't talk about the possibility of bonuses if/when the company comes out of the bankruptcy as a stand alone carrier.

One of the reasons I continue what I do is because 1) I love my job, 2) I enjoy the majority of the people I work with (other FAs), and 3) I enjoy helping our passengers have the experience of a lifetime. My last trip, I had a crew that I wish I could keep for the rest of my career. Sure, I can see we would get on each others nerves after a while, but my last trip, we had a blast.

We had a long layover in Quito, Ecuador where we got together, ran around the city, and had dinner together. The next night, we again got together for some poolside massages that the hotel provided (along with some cocktails) and dinner, and the last day of our trip we were sad that we may never see each other again....or for a long while.

When you work with others who can overcome the difficulties that has been dealt to us, it really makes for a awesome trip. We worked well with each other. We made the customers feel like there wasn't anything wrong on the outside(or inside), and made them feel comforted when and where it counted.

I do hope that our once great airline will again be on top of the list, and equaled to that of most International carriers. It seems that the upper management forgets that it is the work-groups that help keep this airline afloat, and most importantly, keep the customers coming back because we truly do care.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's next in the Marching arena?

Summer is now over for Drum & Bugle Corps, and that means hundreds of talented members will be going back to High Schools, Colleges, or Universities. Some will be returning to their jobs, while others will be looking for jobs in and around their communities.

What can these talented youth do with what they learned over the summer? For some, they can be used as instructors to better marching bands around the Country. This can be anything from teaching basic marching techniques, teach proper posture, horn movements/placements, percussion instruction, and/or color guard instruction. High School Bands will compete in area competitions, while others will go on to compete in larger venues/competitions/festivals.

Few of my favorite High School Marching Band competitions from Virginia (and surrounding areas) are (all held on Saturdays):
Martinsburg Band Spectacular, Martinsburg H.S., Martinsburg, WV. September 15, 2012
Millbrook Pre-Festival Showcase, Millbrook H.S., Winchester, VA.  September 22, 2012
Hermitage Classic Marching Band Festival, Hermitage H.S., Richmond, VA.  September 29, 2012
North Stafford Invitational, North Stafford H.S., Stafford, VA. September 29, 2012
Mountain State Forest Festival, Wilmer Stadium, Elkins, WV. October 7, 2012
Blue Ridge Showcase, James Wood H.S., Winchester, VA. October 13, 2012
Parade of Champions James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. October 20th, 2012.
Oakton Classic Invitational Oakton H.S., Vienna, VA. October 20th, 2012.

Now that I've been in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, I've learned the bands here are just as competitive as we were in Virginia in terms of competition. Here are some great festivals/competitions that I like to attend (if I'm not flying) here in the Twin Cities: (from
Prairie Colors Festival, Eden Prairie, MN. September 8, 2012
Eastview Marching Festival, Apple Valley, MN. September 8, 2012
Rosemount HS Marching Band Festival, Rosemount, MN. September 15, 2012
Irondale Music of the Knight, New Brighton, MN. September 29, 2012
Youth in Music Marching Band Competition, Minneapolis, MN. October 13, 2012
Youth in Music Preview Cup, Minneapolis, MN. October 20, 2012

Fall Festivals/Competitions:
Virginia State Marching Festivals, held at various schools and dates.
Cavalcade of Bands, held at various schools and dates.
Midwest Marching shows

Spring Festivals/Competitions:
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Music Festival (generally first weekend in May)
Performing Arts Consultants - Music Festivals
All American Music Festival, Orlando, FL

Grand National Championships

Grand National Championships

Music for All’s Bands of America Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha, is the nation’s premier championship for high school marching bands.
2012 Grand National Championships
November 7-10, 2012
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana
View the list of 2012 Grand Nationals Participating Bands.
More than 90 bands will compete in over three days of performances. The event kicks off Wednesday night with the Indianapolis Public Schools Marching Band Tournament. Preliminary performances continue Thursday and Friday. Bands advance to Semi-Finals Saturday, with the top 12 scoring bands advancing to Saturday night’s Championship Finals.
The level of excellence of the Grand National Championship bands is recognized worldwide. The Grand National Champion will be given an automatic invitation from the Tournament of Roses to perform in the 2014 Rose Parade®, as part of a three year agreement between Music for All and the Tournament of Roses®.
Check out this cool Lucas Oil Stadium FAQ Diagram (PDF)
Click here for information on what to do, where to stay, where to eat and more during your visit to Indianapolis.
Click here to learn more about ticket prices and how to purchase tickets.
View media coverage, articles, and the fan guide from the 2011 Grand National Championships to start planning your trip. (Note: 2011 items are available for planning and reference purposes. Some details may change for 2012.)

 Fifteen Bands of America Regional Championships are being held this fall across the nation. Bands of America Championships are recognized as the premiere high school marching band events in the United States.

The Regional Championships offer world-class band performances by many of the finest high school marching bands in America with expert evaluators.

2012 BOA Regional Schedule

September 22, 2012
Louisville, KY
  University of Louisville
Monroeville, PA
  Gateway H.S.
September 29, 2012
Kettering, OH
  Kettering Fairmont H.S.
Denton, TX
  University of North Texas - Apogee Stadium
October 6, 2012
Conroe, TX
  Woodforest Bank Stadium
Pontiac, MI
October 13, 2012
Akron, OH
  University of Akron
Jacksonville, AL
  Jacksonville State University
October 19-20, 2012
Indianapolis, IN
  (Super Regional)
  Lucas Oil Stadium
St. Louis, MO
  (Super Regional)
  Edward Jones Dome
October 26-27, 2012 October 27, 2012
Atlanta, GA
  (Super Regional)
  Georgia Dome
Towson, MD
  Towson University
  (Site Tentative)

Glendora, CA
  Citrus College
November 2-3, 2012 November 3, 2012
San Antonio, TX
  (Super Regional)
St. George, UT
  Desert Hills H.S.

Along with Bands of America, there is another option. The Youth Education in Arts (!) has their own set of competitions with USBands (formerly USSBA)

NFL Clears Way for 3 Days of USBands Championships at MetLife Stadium

Giants, Jets road games on 11/11 allow wall-to-wall band action
The gods of NFL scheduling must be marching band fans afterall!metlifestadcap2.jpg

How else would you be able to explain the fact that the $1.6 billion dollar MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home to the New York Jets and current Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, and the 2014 Super Bowl would be vacant on Nov. 10 and 11?

When the 2012 NFL schedule was released, the USBands staff cheered with high-fives around the room as the Giants and Jets were announced to play road games in Cincinnati and Seattle respectively on Sunday, Nov. 11, allowing the USBands Open Class National Championships move in for three days of competition.

USBands National Championship registrations are continuing at a very strong pace, with the number of Group III and IV bands leading the way in the number of registrations.  Rich Hammond, director of band relations, said, “We’re currently evaluating the possibility of a three-day championship which would allow 130 bands to participate in this remarkable event in this awesome facility.”

Plan 1 would have Group I and II Open bands featured on their own evening competition on Friday, Nov. 9. With the Group IV and V Open bands on Saturday and Groups III and VI on Sunday.

Plan 2 would have Group II Open joining the Group IV and V bands on Saturday and Group I kicking off the Sunday events before the Group III and VI bands take to the field.

“It is still early in the process, and there is always some opportunity for Plan 3 or 4, but for now, Melissa, Jon and I are talking to as many Open Class bands as possible to see what their plans might be given this tremendous new opportunity,” said Hammond.

Registration for the USBands A Class National Championships are continuing for the event to be held on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Navy & Marine Corps Stadium at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

To register your band for either of these events, click here or contact Melissa Reese at, Jon Swengler at or Rich Hammond at

Still don't see a competition/festival near you? Here are some more Band competitions around the Country as shown on

Bands of America Bands of America Regional Championships
Various Sites
September/October/November, 2012
World-class band performances with expert evaluators.

Waseca Marching Classic Waseca Marching Classic
Waseca, Minnesota
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Event features parade, field, clinics and a fireworks finale.
Tri-State Band Festival Tri-State Band Festival
Luverne, Minnesota
Saturday, September 29, 2012
This long-running event features both parade and field.
Champlin Park Rebel Classic Champlin Park Rebel Classic
Champlin, Minnesota
Saturday, October 6, 2012
This well-attended contest draws bands from several states.
Sioux Falls Festival of Bands Festival of Bands, USA
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Saturday, October 6, 2012
A large lineup for parade, field prelims and finals.
Quad State Marching Competition Quad State Marching Competition
Vermillion, South Dakota
Saturday, October 13, 2012
A major regional contest in a climate-controlled dome.
Bands of America Bands of America Grand National Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
November 7-10, 2012
Recognized as the nation's premier field marching event.
NYC Veterans Day Parade and Band of Pride Tribute NYC Veterans Day Parade and Band of Pride Tribute
New York, New York
Saturday-Sunday, November 10-11, 2012
Largest veterans parade in USA plus mass band performance.
San Diego Veterans Day Parade and Band of Pride Tribute San Diego Veterans Day Parade and Band of Pride Tribute
San Diego, California
Sunday-Monday, November 11-12, 2012
Mass band rally plus parade with Grand Marshal Chuck Yeager.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade
Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Lighted procession illuminates Michigan Avenue.
Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York, New York
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Televised spectacle kicks off the holiday season.
6abc Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in America.
Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at the Walt Disney World Resort Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at the Walt Disney World® Resort
Orlando, Florida
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Bands experience Disney's magic at the holidays.
Waikiki Holiday Parade Waikiki Holiday Parade
Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 23, 2012
Bands are warmly welcomed at this exciting destination.
West Chester Old Fashioned Christmas Parade West Chester Old Fashioned Christmas Parade
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Friday, November 30, 2012
Bands compete and welcome Santa on streets of historic town.
Americas Childrens Holiday Parade Oakland California America's Children's Holiday Parade
Oakland, California
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Bands, balloons and characters join this televised event.
Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade
Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, December 7, 2012
Official parade commemorating the Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary.
Fiesta Bowl Fiesta Bowl Parade and Fiesta Bowl Band Championship
Phoenix, Arizona
Saturday-Sunday, December 29-30, 2012
Prestigious parade and field contests with bands from across the nation.
Rome New Year's Parade Rome New Year's Parade
Rome, Italy
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Features bands from across Europe and the United States.

DCI Finals: Blue Devils win to mark their 15th Championship

And now, the 2012 Drum Corps season is over. Congratulations to ALL the corps for an outstanding season.

Recap Roundup: 2012 World Championship Finals

Blue Devils completed another undefeated season by adding to their spread over Carolina Crown, while each of the corps won four captions. The only change in placements between Semifinals and Finals was with Boston Crusaders passing up Cavaliers.There were five special awards presented during the awards ceremony, each averaged after combining the scores from Prelims, Semifinals and Finals. The George Zingali Award for Best Color Guard went to Blue Devils. There was a tie for the John Brazale Best Visual Performance Award, between Blue Devils and Carolina Crown. The Jim Ott Award for Best Brass Performance went to Carolina Crown and the Fred Sanford Award for Best Percussion Performance was earned by Blue Devils, who also won the Don Angelica Award for Best Overall General Effect.
A short reminder that only the two Effect captions are added to the each corps’ final score without first being divided in half. Therefore, a 0.50 difference in any of the Visual or Music captions amounts to 0.25 in the final score.
View the complete recap of scores from this event.
Blue Devils (1st–98.70, up 0.50 from Semifinals) received perfect scores from both Visual Effect judges, beating Crown by 0.45 in that caption. This more than made up for a 0.15 deficit to Crown in Music Effect, adding up to a 0.35 spread in Total Effect. The corps also earned perfect scores in Visual Analysis and Color Guard, allowing the corps to take a 0.50 advantage in Total Visual. To top off the winning captions, BD scored a full point above Crown’s 6th place Percussion score, and by staying close to Crown’s winning captions in the other two Music captions, was able to win Total Music by 0.25, giving the corps a sweep in Total Effect, Visual and Music.
Carolina Crown (2nd–97.65, up 0.20 from Semifinals) won Music Effect, Visual Proficiency, Brass and Music Analysis. The corps was 2nd in Visual Effect, 3rd in Visual Analysis and Color Guard and 6th in Percussion, down from 4th in Semis.
Phantom Regiment (3rd-96.55, 0.75 up from Semis) was 2nd in Visual Analysis and Color Guard, but still placed 3rd in Total Visual due to being third in Visual Proficiency. Other 3rd place captions were Visual and Music Effect, Brass and Music Analysis, with Percussion taking 7th as the line did in Semifinals.
The Cadets (4th-95.05, up 0.95) moved up to 3rd in Percussion and were 4th in Music Effect, Visual Analysis, Brass and Music Analysis and 5th in the remaining three captions.
Santa Clara Vanguard (5th-94.45, up 0.75) finished 4th in Visual Effect, Visual Proficiency, Color Guard and Percussion, 5th in Music Effect and Visual Analysis and 6th in Brass and Music Analysis.
Bluecoats (6th-92.55, down 0.25) moved up to 2nd in Percussion, just 0.20 under BD. Brass and Music Analysis finished in 5th, Visual Analysis 8th and the other four captions ended in 6th.
Boston Crusaders (7th-89.10, down 0.20) was 6th in Visual Analysis, 7th in Visual Effect, Color Guard, Brass and Music Analysis, 8th in Percussion and 9th in Music Effect and Visual Proficiency.
The Cavaliers (8th-88.85, down 0.55) placed 5th in Percussion, 7th in Visual Proficiency, 8th in Music Effect, Brass and Music Analysis, 9th in Color Guard and 10th in Visual Effect and Visual Analysis.
Madison Scouts (9th-88.00, down 0.80) was 6th in Visual Effect, 7th in Music Effect, 9th in Visual Analysis and all three Music captions, 10th in Visual Proficiency and 11th in Color Guard.
Blue Knights (10th-87.70, up 0.05) was 7th in Visual Analysis, 8th in Visual Proficiency and Color Guard, 9th in Visual Effect, 10th in Music Effect and Percussion, 11th in Music Analysis and 12th in Brass.
Spirit of Atlanta (11th-84.40, 1.25 down) was 10th in Color Guard, Brass and Music Analysis, 11th in Music Effect and Percussion and 12th in the remaining three captions.
Crossmen (12th-84.00, 0.90 down) was 11th in Visual Effect, Visual Proficiency and Analysis, and Brass, and 12th in the other four captions.
Read more about the results from this event.

Read more: DCI News

Saturday, August 11, 2012

DCI Semi-Finals

Another great night for Drum Corps. Here is a recap from DCI

Crossmen will return to Finals after only Friday night shakeup

In the only shakeup in Semifinals competition Friday, Aug. 10, Crossmen (84.90, 12th) passed up Blue Stars (84.60, 13th) for the first time in the 2012 season, claiming the last coveted spot in the Finals."It's an amazing feeling," Crossmen brass captain Josh Sears said about qualifying. "I'm so excited. So happy. I've stuck with the corps, working, pushing for this to happen, and it's finally happened."
He said alumni — “Crossmen Nation” — are thrilled to see the corps back in Finals. Their last appearance was in 2004, back before they moved to San Antonio from Allentown, Pa.
"As soon as the news broke, everyone just went crazy," Sears said. "My phone has already been blowing up with alumni texting me."
Blue Stars has appeared in Finals for the past four years, reappearing in the lineup after falling out beginning in the 1980s. The corps was a founding member of DCI, placing second in the first DCI World Championship.

Blue Stars
"Our corps motto is 'Finis Coronat Opus,' or 'The End Crowns the Work,'" Blue Stars color guard captain Kekoa Amteo said. "And if this is the end, then our work crowned it. I'm just as gracious and as blessed to be with these people than I have been any other part of my life."Blue Stars snare drummer Luke Sesker said their Semifinals performance, although not perfect, was solid and a strong finish to their 2012 season.
"Considering where we started and how far we came, we can do nothing but hold our heads high and be proud of where we're at," Sesker said.
Blue Devils (98.20) kept their death grip on first place, keeping Carolina Crown (97.45) in second. Crown narrowed the gap between the two corps by two-tenths of a point. Just .75 now separates the corps.

Blue Devils
"Today's performance was excellent," Blue Devils' horn sergeant David Reaver said. "I thought we threw down last night, but there's always that first-time jitters when you get to Championships. We stomped all that out, and we're primed for tomorrow."With their penultimate performance in the books, Blue Devils are now one step closer to completing another perfect season and claiming their 15th World Championship title. The corps' last title was in 2010.
"Being a Blue Devil is always great, but we're undefeated and this week especially has gone great," Reaver said. "The Blue Devils always finish off strong. Finals week is always the best week to be a Blue Devil."
Phantom Regiment (95.70, 3rd) maintained their lead over The Cadets (94.10, 4th), with the margin increasing to 1.60 points. Phantom Regiment increased their score by 1.10 points, and The Cadets increased by 0.05. Santa Clara Vanguard (93.70, 5th) and Bluecoats (92.80, 6th) followed behind, each with an increase of roughly half a point.

Boston Crusaders
The Cavaliers (89.40, 7th) were one of only three corps to go down in score from Prelims to Semifinals. With Boston Crusaders (89.30, 8th) increasing their score by three-tenths, the gap between the two corps closed to one-tenth of a point."Tonight's performance was great," Boston Crusaders drum major Thompson Vou said. "There was so much more clarity and energy, and it felt great coming off the field."
After their performance, he said he was hoping his corps would move up one spot in the rankings.
"We'll keep on pushing for that," Vou said. "But we don't get bogged down too much. We've just got to max out what we can do."
Boston Crusaders director Tom Spataro said the corps had a great Semifinals performance, better than their Prelims run. He said on the second night of performing, everybody is more comfortable and keyed into the acoustic environment.
Although still in 10th place, Blue Knights (87.65) inched closer to Madison Scouts (88.80, 9th) and further distanced themselves from Spirit of Atlanta (85.65, 11th).

Following Crossmen and Blue Stars was Glassmen (82.25, 14th). In 15th place, The Academy (81.90) broke the 80-point barrier for the first time this season. The corps also posted the largest score increase from Prelims to Semifinals.And after a season of swapping spots, Pacific Crest (80.25, 16th) ended up ahead of both Colts (79.20, 17th) and Troopers (77.65, 18th).
"Tonight's performance was a culmination of all the hard work we've put in all season," Pacific Crest drum major Tim Yao said. "Every show we've been getting better. Every run through, we're better and better. Tonight was the pinnacle of all our hard work this year."
For Troopers drum major Alex Lackey, Semifinals was his last performance with his corps of four years, a group he said he feels an indescribable amount of love for. In his leadership role with the Troopers, Lackey gained notoriety due to his "slow walk" at drum major retreats.
"It's something that's been going on forever," he said. "I guess I made a couple of people mad. I heard about the online message board threads and stuff like that, but it's just tradition. And I was going to uphold that whether people liked it or not."

Jersey Surf
Oregon Crusaders (77.45, 19th) increased their lead on Jersey Surf (75.45, 20th) and stayed ahead of their Open Class brethren Blue Devils B (73.60, 21st) and Vanguard Cadets (72.75, 22nd). Mandarins (71.60, 23rd), Spartans (70.75, 24th) and Cascades (68.75, 25th) rounded out the bottom three spots. Cascades drum major Caitlin Heber said despite not having their signature Cascade-green plumes or shakos for their Semifinals run, it was a fantastic performance.
"Our plume boxes somehow got misplaced and got left at our school," she said. "So we performed without shakos, because the uniform really isn't complete without the plume and shako."
In her second year with Cascades, Heber said she plans to return for a third.
View all scores from this event.
View a complete schedule of World Championship events.
Contributing to this report: Christina Mavroudis, Jessica Skogh

Read more: DCI News

Friday, August 10, 2012

DCI's Prelim competition

Many of you know that I LOVE Drum & Bugle corps and follow it every summer. Well, it's hard to believe that the summer is almost over for the corps as they round the next 2 nights of competition.

Top 12 'shuffle' at Prelims competition

Blue Devils
Blue Devils (97.55) took first place at the World Championship Prelims, Friday, Aug. 10, and took one more step to adding another perfect season to the corps' record books."The focus right now is just getting better every time we have a rep," Blue Devils drum major Matt Williams said. "Keeping our eyes on the prize and really pushing to the end."
Williams said the corps was itching to go and raring to take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. As they look forward to the Semifinals, he echoed a sentiment from corps director David Gibbs after their performance.
"Those last couple of points aren't necessarily going to come from cleaning tiny things up," Williams said. "It's just that little extra something — that Blue Devils sparkle you've see in years past."

Carolina Crown
Carolina Crown (96.60, 2nd) made small headway on closing the gap on Blue Devils and put two points between themselves and Phantom Regiment (94.60, 3rd). The Cadets (94.05, 4th) returned to fourth place after finishing ahead of Phantom Regiment at their last three events.Santa Clara Vanguard (93.20, 5th) drum major Noe Gomez said they had a solid Prelims run throughout, from color guard to brass to percussion.
"I feel like tomorrow night is going to be nice and solid," Gomez said. "A nice solid performance just like we had tonight. Nothing too crazy for us. We're just going to come back and try to do it consistently."
Bluecoats (92.25, 6th) were the last corps to break 90 points on Thursday. In 2011, eight corps broke the 90-point barrier by Finals night. The Cavaliers (89.50, 7th) found themselves half a point away from joining the club.

The Cavaliers
Boston Crusaders (89.00, 8th) kept themselves ahead of Madison Scouts (88.55, 9th), while Blue Knights (85.85, 10th) made their move on Spirit of Atlanta (85.20, 11th). Blue Knights and Spirit of Atlanta swapped placements from where they finished at the DCI Eastern Classic last weekend.In turn, despite falling behind Blue Stars (83.75, 12th) on Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Three Rivers Summer Music Games, Spirit of Atlanta surged past Blue Stars for a little more secure spot in the top 12. All the while, Crossmen (83.40, 13th) held on to the 13th spot.
Glassmen (81.25, 14th) drum major Adam Shrock said his corps' Prelims performance went really well, with corps members showing a good amount of energy out on the field.
"I'm thinking if the energy is sustained than all we need to do is do what we've always done," he said. "Wake up tomorrow morning and treat it like another show day. Not like Semifinals trying to make Finals. Just treat it like a show day and have the same focused energy that we always have."

In his first year with the Toledo corps, Shrock will return to the Glassmen next year once again as drum major. He's previously marched with Pioneer and has two seasons left before aging out."It's crazy," he said about how the current season has gone. "This season feels faster than the last. It feels like just yesterday you're moving in and suddenly you're moving out."
The Academy (79.95, 15th) Director Mark Richardson said their 2012 field show "Left of Spring" is a story about rebirth — a story mimicked by the corps this year, in regards to their growth and evolution in the past 11 years.
The score gap between Pacific Crest (78.95, 16th), Colts (77.45, 17th) and Troopers (76.35, 18th) widened in comparison to the 1.35 points that separated the trio at the DCI Eastern Classic last weekend. And in their first post-Open Class Championship performance, Oregon Crusaders (75.90, 19th) kept their lead on all other Open Class corps.
In their first performance without the Bridgemen Alumni backdrop, Jersey Surf (74.50, 20th) landed ahead of the silver and bronze Open Class-medalists Blue Devils B (73.45, 21st) and Vanguard Cadets (72.95, 22nd).

Blue Devils B
It was also the first indoor performance for Blue Devils B this season."I don't think it was too much of an issue," Blue Devils B color guard captain Danelle Porter said. "I think maybe at first it might have caught a couple of people off guard, but besides that I think they handled it very well."
She said overall their season has been going well, pushing harder at this time than they have in any other season.
With Mandarins (71.70, 23rd) qualifying for the Semifinals once again, it was surely a happy birthday for cymbal player Adrian Sarmiento, who turned 22 on Thursday.
"This is my first time ever marching DCI," he said. "I've been marching WGI for a really long time. So being in my age-out, and my bonus year at that, I had to march at least one year."

7th Regiment
Spartans (69.35, 24th) was the fourth and last Open Class corps to qualify for the Semifinals. Cascades (68.65, 25th) secured 25th place and the last spot in Friday's competition. In their first World Championship performance, Gold (66.35, 26th) missed out on Semifinals by 2.30 points. Their place ahead of 7th Regiment (64.45, 28th) and Genesis (63.50, 29th) was the only change in the rankings from the Open Class Finals two days earlier.
It was the last performance of the season for Pioneer (66.20, 27th), and the last performance ever in a junior drum corps for Pioneer age-out Steven Wright.
"I've been marching Pioneer for three years, but this is my 13th year doing drum corps," he said. "I marched in a drum corps back in England called Concord Drum and Bugle Corps. And I started in their junior corps 13 years ago."

Les Stentors
After his England-based corps folded, he contacted DCI Hall of Fame member Steve Vickers, who let him know about an opening with Pioneer. Wright joined and said he hasn't regretted the decision since. As for his last performance with Pioneer, he said his corps was outstanding, pulling out an amazing performance."It was just a brilliant experience for everyone," Wright said. "I'm more than happy to have that as my last show."
Legends (63.40, 30th), Music City (62.85, 31st) and Raiders (61.05, 32nd) all broke the 60-point barrier on their first time being judged on World Class judging sheets this season. Rounding out the bottom three spots were Colt Cadets (57.95, 33th), Les Stentors (52.75, 34th) and Blue Saints (49.10, 35th).
View all scores from this event.
View a complete schedule of World Championship events.
Contributing to this report: Christina Mavroudis, Jessica Skogh

Read more: DCI News

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sorry I've been so quiet...

Since November, flying has been a bit of a whirl-wind. Lots of unknowns for many about what's going on with the airline that I hold so dear to my, and/or what the future may hold.

I've tried keeping away from much of the negativity that has plagued the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and have kept mostly to myself to absorb the goings-on. Trust me, it's not been a fun ride.

Seeing schedules diminish, layovers diminish, and seeing how the executives continuously blame labor for the airlines demise, has really been harmful. I can understand that the general public doesn't know what it actually takes to run an airline, however what they don't realize, is what it costs.

You have executives who are sitting in posh luxurious offices (or owning luxury condos) making decisions for their try to keep the airline afloat. Then you have the flying public who wants cheap air fares, yet want the luxuries they once Silver pots, caviar, free blankets, movies, pillows, magazines, free checked baggage...and they don't want to think about the fuel cost between point A and point B, airport landing/take-off fees, FAA delay fees, internet costs, food costs, or maintenance fees.

Sadly, labor costs haven't increased in over 10yrs. The executives keep blaming labor for the airlines downfall. With the uncertainty of the future, flight attendants, pilots, and ground workers have started committing suicide, freaking out in-flight, endangering those around them....all the while corporate officials continue to blame fuel, and labor for the continued losses.

How can this be? Employees don't make the decisions on what routes to fly to, or stop going to. Employees don't make the decisions on what amenities to have or take away in-flight. Employees don't make the decision about adding more seats on planes, or nickle and diming for every possible penny the customer has.

It's also not the employee who makes the decision to make Business Class the same as First Class to appease the frequent traveler who pays for the cheapest coach ticket, then request an upgrade to Business Class...and expects the same service and/or amenities of that in First Class. It's not the employee's who make the passenger pay for over-sized bags, it's not the employee's who make the decision on charging for food. That lies on the executives, who sit in huge offices with multiple secretaries typing their letters.

I'm sure the founder of the airline would roll over in his grave if he saw the way the current executives were running this airline. I'm also sadden to think that a judge would side with 'management' about how to get the airline back to profitability, instead of look at the books and ask why they have multi-million dollar condos in cities around the world, or why there are so many 'managers' in the offices that sit around and do nothing except occupy a desk.

What we need to do is go back to the basics. Make the employee happy, who in turn make the customer happy. Make First Class an item that people want to purchase, and not downsize it by making Business Class the same. Make each Class of service different so people want to pay for the class, and not ruin it by buying a cheap coach fare and demanding an upgrade because of a slight delay.

Sorry that this seems to be a bit of a whining post.....I'm just sad to hear that labor is the fault of so many things when surely, management is at fault and haven't negotiated in good faith in the last 10+yrs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

LodgeNet Mobile App

You know when you get to a hotel, you often wonder what kind of 'stuff' is all over your remote control, so you either put it in a plastic bag, or use sani-wipes to try to kill the germs....
7 Hidden Hotel Germ Magnets

Well, I just found out that Lodgenet now has a mobile app for iPhone/iPad and Droid users

LodgeNet Mobile is the must-have app for mobile users, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. This unique app is already compatible with hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms across America and many of the most popular brands, including Hilton (Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites), Starwood (Sheraton, W Hotels, Westin), Marriott (Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard), Hyatt, Fairmont Hotels, Omni Hotels, IHG Hotels (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn), Joie de Vivre, Kimpton, and many more. With LodgeNet Mobile, your in-trip experience just got a whole lot better:

•Control the in-room TV – channels, volume, on/off
•View in-room movie listings and stream trailers
•Order in-room movies and TV VOD entertainment
•Find in-depth information about your hotel
•Front desk click-to-dial for housekeeping, wake-up, and room service
•Check out the best of in-room dining and hotel services
•Receive weekly recommendations specific to your travel location
•Search our extensive list of local events, concerts and games
•Read reviews of top restaurants and attractions in the area
•Available in cities small and large, including: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, and many more.

Best of all, IT'S FREE!

Visit the LodgeNet site and download it from the iTunes and Droid Markets now from their links!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Flight Attendant Recurrent Training

When a flight attendant gets hired with an airline (or corporate flight attendant job) they must undergo a tough training courses to learn the ins and outs of Emergency ProcedFAtrainingures. From what I understand, most carriers have a 6-week training courses that teach the new-hire about evacuations, medical situations, food preparations, and even learn how the company wants their employee's to treat their customers.

When training for a carrier, the new-hire will learn how to evacuate an aircraft, learn where  emergency equipment is, and understand how the different types of aircraft work. After the initial training is completed, then the flight attendants must do the Federal Aviation Administration annual training to keep current on Emergency Procedures.

FAFirefightI've heard that some flight attendants have gone through their entire career without a single incident, while others seem to get the luck of the draw and have every possible situation occur. Some situations could be (but not limited too) heart attacks, choking, fainting, turbulence, decompression, hypoxia, burns, fires, smoke, claustrophobia, fear of flying, child birth, vomiting passengers...just to name a few things.

Either way, every year a flight attendant has to be requalified on the aircraft they work. Some airlines only have one aircraft, while others have several different aircraft types. Having only one aircraft type would be easy, but if you're lucky, you will get qualified on several different aircraft configurations and will get utilized for different trips.

Some flight attendants may never use their skills, but there are some wFAmanualho seem to be tested on their training almost on a daily basis. Throughout the long training, the new-hire flight attendants must learn a manual that is comprised of both Federal Aviation Regulations, and Company Policy.

When I was first hired, we had to carry around two of these manuals, one for the FAR/Company policies, the other was strictly to know about the cooking and preparation times of meals. Now, we have consolidated everything into one large manual. Still, this Flight Attendant "Bible" can weigh close to 3lbs. (hopefully someday we'll be able to access the data on an iPad!

Back to the recuFAAEDrrent training, after flight attendants are qualified on the equipment their airline has, they must re-qualify every year to maintain their qualifications. One of the things that consistantly changes are the requirements for CPR. This was always one of the nail biters for all flight attendants because this was a pass or fail test. If you didn't know what to do by heart, then you failed and had to go through more training. What the FAA and companies realized, flight attendants work together in real life situations, so now if you don't remember what to do as a First Responder, you have other flight attendants (and passengers) to help out.

Over the years, the American Red Cross changed their procedures after many studies, and have found that what the general public were doing, wasted valuable time to get the blood flow to vital organs. So instead of checking to ensure the head was tilted properly, and to see if the chest would rise with a couple of full breaths, now they want you to jump right in (if the person is unconscious and not breathing) to pump the chest. This simulates and pushes air to the lungs and brain to hopefully keep the individual from losing oxygen.

Besides learning CPR, FAEmergencyWindow flight attendants have to learn how to open the emergency doors, emergency window exits, and 'bark' commands to get the passengers out quickly in the event of an evacuation. Many frequent passengers will request to sit in the emergency window exit, however I know many of them would balk at actually opening the exit when the time comes. Many of them don't realize how heavy the window exit actually is, or know what to do with the door once they open it up. Some of the smaller aircraft require you to throw the window out onto the wing, while others require you to lift the nearly 50lbs and place it onto the seats.

Once the doors and windows are open, then you have to make sure the slides (if there is one) inflate to make sure the passengers can evacuate safely onto the ground. Sometimes the door may not open, so it's jammed and the flight attendant then has to look for their secondary exit and open that one, or redirect the passengers to any other exit.

FAhorror Flight Attendants in the United States have strict government regulations that they must follow. If they don't, they could be personally fined a considerable amount. Some of these are to ensure that passengers seat belts are buckled, over head bins are closed, nothing placed against the bulkhead wall for taxi, take-off, landing, and the one that is the worse....Electronic devices are turned off during 'critical' phases of the flight. (this is often when flight attendants become those horrible vampires and snarl at the offending passenger)

I could go into the long drawn out saga about electronics...but I wont. Flight attendants have to follow the FCC/FAA rules, and they must follow the rules they themselves must follow, or be subject to fines for not doing it and could end up being suspended, or worse, fired for not following the regulations.

YouiPhoneoff do get some rogue flight attendants who seem to make their own rules, however when it comes to violating an FAR, flight attendants sometimes will bring out the fangs to ensure a passenger complies. Yes, there are proper ways to ensure passengers comply, however when you have passengers who simply ignore the requests many times, and think the rules don't apply to them, it can really make for a long flight because now the passenger has upset the flight attendant who simply is following procedure.

Anyway, back to training... FAlifevest for those flight attendants who fly international routes (that's flying 50 nautical miles from the mainland) they have to learn 'Ditching' procedures and how to don life vests, and how to inflate rafts that are either located in ceiling compartments, or special locations, then how to get people out of the plane, down the slide/life rafts, and into the raftsFARaft. This can sometimes be a challenge, but it is a requirement and believe it or not, your flight attendant must retrain on this every single year to maintain their qualification.

During initial training, there is a day left to learn about appearance. We can joke about how ragged those flight attendants look from the U.S., however at one time, they went through a grooming class to learn how to wear their uniform, put on their make-up, and how to tie a tie.
Most foreign carriers still have strict guidelines, but it seems that the U.S. airlines have really relaxed their policies and some don't seem to care about how they look, or what their self image shows.
I try to tell my crew that looking good often makes you feel better, and will often show the passenger that you care, not only about yourself, but about the airline you work for and you are Proud to wear the uniform. Yet, I am often met with resistance especially when so many airlines keep laying off flight attendants, making more stringent work rules for the crews, maximizing duty days, and give them less than minimal lay-over rest.

Either way, I still try to do my best and show that I care about what I do, especially ensuring my passenger doesn't know what kind of termoils my company is doing to it's employees.

With all the hard work we must endure during training, and annual recurrent, it's gratifying to know that when an emergency situation arises, we can evacuate a plane full of passengers safely and efficiently, help a choking passenger, know what to do in case of a heart attack, comfort someone who fainted, battle a fire, or do our best to sooth someone who is in the middle of a seizure