Week 5 of BNCOC is now underway. We started off the week with PT – ended up going in the gym when there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. We were doing pushup/situp improvement, so it was decided that we would be better off inside since we’d be on the ground the whole time. It was a good workout, though.

The rest of the morning was spent in the classroom with Rock History, MIDI, and then a study hall period (we could work on our Rock Reports or MIDI stuff), and then STX Prep. I started working on some of the classes I’ll be teaching to my squad. After lunch was our practice period, and then the rest of the afternoon outside with our maces. I didn’t have a very good final mace practice, but in my experience, a bad rehearsal makes for a good performance. Mace evaluations are tomorrow. After we were done for the day, I did a little more on my classes, and probably could have finished, but the computer network was REALLY slow and I got tired of waiting for it. I was already having kind of a blah day thinking of tomorrow being Valentine’s Day and missing my guys and all. So I went home and changed (got to try out my new running shorts!) and went for a run on the 1/4 mile track. When I started, I had no idea how far I was going to go – I was just going to go until I was tired and felt better. Well, I ended up running 4 miles, and it felt great! My new shorts worked good too. Of course, it was only 38 degrees out, so a little chilly, but it was great running weather.

After a HOT shower and some supper and chatting with some friends (no phone call home tonight since it was Ryan’s bowling night), I went and watched the Olympics and stitched. I got quite a bit done on a gift that I’m working on! Time to finish up e-mail and my message boards, and then off to bed.

Overnight low: 29
Today’s high: 42

HUGE store!!

Today was a very good day! I got up at a reasonable time (thanks to housekeeping knocking on my door – I had forgotten to put out the Privacy Please thing) and went to the chapel service. I also got my laundry done, practiced trombone for about an hour, finished my MIDI homework for tomorrow, and worked on my MIDI project. Then friend/classmate Chad and I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods so I could use my $50 g.c. I won at the race last weekend. Talk about a HUGE store!!! It was 2 stories high and had stuff for every sport imaginable! WOW!! I got a pair of running shorts, a jacket to wear when it’s chilly out, and a pair of running gloves. I had to pay 23 cents out of my pocket! How’s that for good!

I’ve now got an order in for some Chinese delivery, and I’m HUNGRY. Going to have Sweet & Sour Chicken and an eggroll. Hopefully they bring me a menu so I know what else they have. I’m watching the Bud Shootout (NASCAR!!) now and at 6, the NFL Pro Bowl starts. I’ll be calling my guys about 6:30 and Mom & Dad later on, and I’ll also be able to get a lot of stitching done this evening.

Here’s a picture I took of myself while in the practice room this afternoon (click to make bigger):
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Overnight low: 32
Today’s high: 40


I drove up to Salisbury, MD, today to meet my cross stitch friend Dawn. We met at a mall and had lunch in the food court and then walked around for a while. I also got to meet her finace Mike and her almost 6-month old twin girls. They are so cute and I got to hold both of them at one point or another. It was a really fun day, but way too short. The weather was starting to get bad and the girls were getting sleepy/fussy, so they needed to head home. Here’s a picture of me holding Faith and Dawn holding Sarah!
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I’m off to watch TV and stitch now – Bud Shootout is tonight. YAY – NASCAR is back!!

Overnight low: 39
Today’s high: 45

Half-way done!!!

YAY! We’re officially half done, and only 4 weeks until I see my guys again!! Today were our mid-course counselings. We went alphabetically, and I didn’t go until mid-afternoon. I spent the morning working on my MIDI final project and I’m practically done with it. I still have to add minor details like articulations and stuff, and I have to do my outline that we have to do, but the major part of it is done! I really want to try and finish it this weekend so I don’t have to worry about it at all over the 4-day weekend next weekend, and it’s due right after the 4-day. I’ve also decided I’m going to do the Beach Boys for my Rock Report (unless we can’t do groups). My MIDI Project is Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys.

I had my lesson during our practice time after lunch, and that went ok. I didn’t have much time to warm up (lost track of time while eating), so my low range was not happening, and the first scale he asked me was one of my low ones. But other than that it went well. Oh, and before lunch we got our scores from our Country Reports. The instructor graded REALLY hard – I only got a 74 on it, but it was still passing and I’m still in the running for Honor Grad. I certainly do have my work cut out for me though. I’m going to give it my best shot!

My mid-course counseling was a good one. SSG Miller (our SGL) had a lot of good things to say to me – I did good giving PT yesterday, he and the other cadre have noticed that I’ve been helping others in the class with homework and stuff (and that’s a good leadership quality), my uniform looks good, I’m always where I’m supposed to be, etc. That helped make my day better after my country score.

After classes, I was going to go to the Post Office, but it closes at 5, and by the time I was ready to go, it was 4:45. I guess I’ll just go tomorrow! So I ate dinner, called my guys (my favorite part of the day!!), and stitched and watched TV. It’s past my bedtime now, so good night!

Overnight low: 30
Today’s high: 39

More Evaluations

I conducted PT this morning along with SGT Jeff Dudzienski. We split up the stretching and then our activity was a 3 mile run on the 1/4 mile track – so 12 laps. It went really well and we got a lot of good comments on it. I’m glad to have that over with. I’m not particularly fond of giving PT.

Our morning consisted of STX Prep (we’ll be getting more and more of this as we near the end of the course – this is our big event to culminate our training), MIDI (more on this in a bit), and our evaluations on Initiate Section Performance and Swing Rhythms. I was nervous both times I was up (2 different evals), and I was only up for about 2-3 minutes each time. But I got through them, and at the end of the day when we got our scores, I ended up with 100% – the only person in the class to do so! After lunch was our practice period and I worked on Jazz Sightreading. There is a folder of music for sightreading practice outside the trombone instructor’s office for the students to borrow. I think I did really well with it, so this swing rhythms we’ve been doing must be helping! The rest of the afternoon was supposed to be mace outside, but it was all of 35 degrees out with a windchill below 30 so they kept us inside. We got more STX Prep time instead. I got a few things done (I’m going to be a squad leader and I have some soldier tasks I’ll need to teach), and then I worked on my Finale homework.

One comment on my Country Report that I talked about yesterday – we’re talking country music here, not countries of the world. There seems to have been some confusion about that. . . LOL

And now about MIDI. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It’s a music/computer term. Go here to read a little bit about it: Encyclopedia Britannica MIDI article Here’s a bit more about it at Wikipedia. Our music notation program we use is Finale, and for our MIDI project, we had to find a MIDI (.mid) file online and download it to our computer (we each have our own computer in the classroom) and then bring it into Finale which turns it into notes. Then we arrange that piece into our project – we are each in a group with 5 people total. In my group is flute, clarinet, bassoon, trombone, and marimba. I’m doing Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys for my project. Hopefully this clarifies what MIDI is a little bit.

After school, I went to the NEX to get a couple of things and then home to eat, chat, and crochet. Time for bed now!

Overnight low: 31 (just about PT time this morning)
Today’s high: 39

Country Time!!

Today was another fun-filled, but nervous day. This morning we had Swing Rhythms and MIDI, and we started our country reports. After lunch was practice hour, 2 hours of mace, and then finished the country reports.

When we were outside for mace, I got to get in front of a real band today. We’re working with the basic students during their drill band time so we can get some time doing our mace stuff for real. I ran a Sound Off with the band, and I did really well. There were a few minor goofs, but for the most part really good. It sure was scary getting in front of the band, but once we got going, it was really cool hearing actual music instead of just singing. The students had a few good comments for me as well, and I appreciate the feedback.

My country report (on Craig Morgan) went really well. I was under my 10 minute time limit again, and I got some good comments from my classmates afterwards. Hopefully we’ll have our scores from this by the end of the week – it takes a while as our instructor needs to go over our written papers.

After classes were done, I finished up the little bit of MIDI homework I had left to do, and then a group of us went over to the commissary to do a bit of grocery shopping. I should be good for another week & a half or so (save for milk). Then I came home and put my groceries away and ate supper. I practiced my swing rhythms for a while and then stitched and watched TV.

Overnight low: 33
Today’s high: 42

Starting Week 4

Week 4 is underway. We are almost to the halfway point. No PT this morning so we could sleep in a bit after watching the Super Bowl last night. That was nice of them to do that! This morning we had Initiate Section Performance and Swing Rhythms, MIDI, a study hall period to work on MIDI and/or our country reports, and then we started talking about our end-of-course STX (Situation Training Exercise). I’m going to be one of the squad leaders for that. Oh, and speaking of squad leader. . . I was squad leader for the whole past week and I don’t think I ever mentioned it. It’s not a major position – basically just morning accountability and the in-ranks inspection. From the comments I heard, I guess I did a good job. I turned it over to the next in line today.

After lunch was our practice hour, and again I had an awesome practice session. I sure like this blowing lots of air through my horn thing, despite getting light headed a few times. At least I practice sitting down so I don’t fall over. After that, we were outside for mace practice the rest of the afternoon. Five of our class members got to be with an actual band – they were with the basic students for their drill band. They all told us that it was kind of scary, but WOW! I just practiced everything by myself for the 2 hours. There’s still a few minor things I need to work on, but for the most part I’ve got everything down. Our mace evaluations are next Tuesday.

Once classes were done for the day, I got my MIDI homework done and also finished up my Powerpoint presentation for my country report. Then I headed home to change and then to the gym. I had planned on getting on a treadmill, but there were none available, so I did the stairmaster for 35 minutes instead. Not what I wanted, but it was a workout. Then I went home and took a shower and ate and got my music files inserted into my powerpoint slides and then stitched and watched TV.

Overnight low: 32
Today’s high: 50

Race Report

Well, I ran the 5K with the East Beach Norfolk Half-Marathon and 5k this morning. One of my classmates ran the 5K with me and another ran the half-marathon. Two other classmates came to just cheer us on. It was raining and cold during the drive over to the race area, and during registration. Luckily, by start time (8:00 for the half and 8:15 for the 5K), it had stopped raining and was a tiny bit warmer (maybe 45 or so). It was a chip-timed race, so our time didn’t start until we crossed the mat with the computer stuff underneath it. I’ve ran a couple of races like this before, and it’s nice to get an exact time. I was a little chilly when the race started, but soon warmed up and by Mile 1, I was nice and toasty in my shorts and t-shirt. It was a nice, flat course, and I didn’t have to run through too many puddles despite the rain.

I finished in 28:39 and that was good enough for second place in my age group (25-29). SGT Chad Martin finished second in his age group as well, so we represented our class very nicely! We got really cool blankets with the race logo on them as our age group awards. I also won a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods during the door prize drawings! Our friend, SGT Jeff Dudzienski finished the half marathon in just under 2 hours, and he also won a door prize (a $10 g.c. to Dick’s). Oh yeah, and our race t-shirts are long sleeved!! This is my first long-sleeved race t-shirt, so I’m pretty excited about it.

After the awards presentations and stuff, we all went to IHOP for lunch, but we all had breakfast. It was a lot of fun and we’re going to try and get more people to do the next race with us, an 8K cross country race on 25 February.

Update: I just got the e-mail with the results (already)!! I placed 2nd in my age group, out of 8 total. I placed 30th overall out of 64, and I placed 11th overall for the females.

First Lesson

Well, another day has come and gone which means I’m another day closer to being back home with my guys!!

I had kind of a late start to my day – one of my classmates/friends knocked on my door at 6:40 because we usually walk over to formation together. Only problem was that I was sound asleep. I didn’t hear my alarm go off. I flew out of bed, answered the door, and threw my clothes on. Thank goodness I set everything out the night before so I didn’t have to go searching, and my hair cooperated and I got it up on the first try. I was standing in our formation area with 5 minutes to spare!!! I wasn’t going to let that kill my chance at Honor Graduate. Being late to a formation due to oversleeping would certainly result in a negative counseling.

So after the rocky start, my day was actually pretty good! We had mace practice again this morning, and that went well. I pretty much have it down, and it’s just minor things I need to work on before our evals in a couple of weeks. Of course, I was STARVING out there, but eventually we got back in the classroom and I could have my banana and the honey bun I got out of the vending machine (‘nana was from my room). The rest of the morning was history of country and intonation & balance. After lunch I had my first lesson with SFC Adrian. He’s not the actual trombone instructor, but he’s a trombone player and is taking up the overflow from SSG McTaggart. He’s pretty cool – and likes the Green Bay Packers! We worked on my solo some and my biggest issue is AIR, AIR, and AIR. More air will help my dynamics and help to make my louds louder and my softs softer (although he said my softs were pretty good). My instructions for the week are to play loud, louder, and loudest. LOL We played through some Jazz Duets as well, and that will really help on my jazz sight reading for my final audition.

The rest of the afternoon we had MIDI, and I’m really catching on to Finale well. I’m actually helping a few others out with it. I finished my homework during our one hour and that was nice! Then we started our testable section on swing rhythms. There are certain syllables that the Army uses to help sing the rhythms, and we learned those and then were given some homework – to write the syllables under 43 4-measure exercises. I got a good start on those in class and then finished up after, and helped a couple of classmates as well.

From 1600-1700 we were with the basic students, broke into small groups defined by which bands they are going to upon graduation. There are 10 soldiers going to Ft. Gordon! Gavin and I were shocked that there were so many. Luckily, there are quite a few flutes and clarinets in that number. They had a lot of good questions, and we actually ran out of time before they ran out of questions. We told them that if they see us in the hall, to feel free to stop and ask us more questions. It was quite fun despite making it a long day for us. After that is when I went back to the classroom to finish up my homework.

I got home about 6:30 and called Ryan and Robbie. I love hearing Robbie talk to me and watching them on the webcam. I even get to hear bedtime routine! I’m so glad we live in this age of technology with webcams and cell phones and computers and everything. After we had talked for about an hour (and I ate supper while talking), I curled up in my corner with my stitching and TV shows. Survivor sure is a good one this time around!!

Off to bed now so I can get up for PT in the morning.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I got my conducting score today, and I got a 90% on it!! I’m really happy with that – I still scored higher than about 1/2 the class even though I missed a cutoff!

Overnight low: 37
Today’s high: 59

Conducting is done!!

PT was partner resisted exercises this morning. Think weight machines, but your partner is the machine instead of an actual machine. I didn’t get to much as I was the PT instructor’s partner for demonstrating the exercises, but while everyone was actually doing the exercises, she was going around checking people’s form and stuff. I did do a little by myself though.

The morning was spent doing our conducting evaluations. We played the National Anthem 22 times and everything else (see yesterday for details) 15 times. I did pretty well on mine. I did miss a cut on one of the marches, and I kind of got down on myself about that (after I was done – during, I just drove on with the ceremony) a little. My classmates all helped me out of that though – told me I did a good job and not to worry about it. Even one of our instructors told me I had done well.

We did have one hour of country history before lunch after we were done conducting, and then after lunch was our practice hour, MIDI, and Leader Responsibilities (basically during this we just discuss various topics that leaders may be faced with -today’s was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). And we got our Jazz Report scores today – I got a 99%!! And from what I hear, our jazz instructor doesn’t give out 100’s, so I got as good as I could get! I’m very happy with that. After class I went for a 2 mile run so I got some PT in today, and then after a shower, I went to the Exchange to get a couple of things and stopped at the Food Court for supper. Then I made my nightly phone call to Ryan & Robbie – Robbie answered the phone (with Ryan’s help, I’m sure) and that was really cool. And then I crocheted and watched TV.

Overnight low: 36
Today’s high: 44