Michael “Mike” Braga 86’d from 2017 Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corps ….

*Breaking* LATER ASSHOLE! Space Park Management to violent coward: Thanks but NO THANKS -or- Wife-Beater Takes Beat-Down
Part I.

Around about every five years; the most consistently prgressive, entertaining, competitive and downright bad-ass drum & bugle corps* in the kh2own universe puts together an Alumni Corps….for fun, for old times sake, cuz life starts to suck after age 21, cuz playingin a large group of talented men & women is better than (sex * drugs + rockNroll) ….. to get easily-explainable time off from work/family/friends/poker/kids/your dog/home [all the things that society INSISTS you take part in and enjoy……So we’re all cut out on what-the-world-expects-of-us and why not? If that’s all we did, [musicians especially] it would make for a rough world. (did you know Hitler was a band-geek? yeah-Basson —God I would knock him out just for THAT! AAAAANYHoooooo……)

WHO IS MIKE BRAGA?

I’ll tell the story as it unfolded for this writer in 2007. The timeline is quite jagged; so put on your “Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul/Star Wars/Pulp Fiction/Memento style plot hats cuz the timeline here zigs, zags and jumps…
That year I ran two assembly lines for Metagenics (fmr. makers of professional quality dietary supplements, protein powders & functional foods; my lines always packed that finished-goods, and pills from horse tablets to the barely visible. I digress. I’m running line 4– the phone rings. It’s Joe Rybus, a heavy in Kingsmen Organization and a head-hunter for the hornline. Someone fronted me off to the guy — he knew my name & cell….at least it was a welcome call.

“Am I interrupting” (he is; but…take a guess how many fucks I gave…)
“No….”
“This is Joe Rybus, did you know The Anaheim Kingmen are putting togther an Alumni Corps this year? This is the first time DCI will be held at the Rose Bowl to commerate our innaugural victory at Whitewater in 1971…anyway you wanna join?”
“I never marched Kingsmen”
“Yeah … well see we want to have as big a hornline as possible; so we waved that requirement; in fact; so far most of the members are alums from up north; like yourself!”
“Are you guys gonna play cool shit?”
“Yeah, Mambo, Folk Song Suite, So Very Hard To Go….Firebird...”
“That sounds cool…cant go wrong with Mambo, Williams, ToP or Stravinsky…. how many horns?”
“We have nearly 80; shooting for 120….” (now my crew knows im , not evem trying to work so they take over; a good crew…)
“So you wanna fill the rest with ringers right?”
“Yeah Chris; get it now?”
“….Practice? How do we not get the cops called?”
“One of the members is a principal at school in Anaslime [Joe didnt really say that, but u get the idea] He says we can use the band room and that no one will call for noise if we pack it in by sundown…and its just 30 miles north.”
“Joe I wanna do this, but $ is tight, I can’t tale time off work …..”
“We’re camping at Long Beach State for about 3 weeks before Semis [our last show] all you need is 1 weekend a month till summer, then every weekend, then get most of august.”
–NOTE: Joe’d made this call in 2006 so I had plenty of time to arrange this; plus my work OWED me a decent VAYCAY; I’d never taken even a sick day three years in ….
“$ is tight Joe….I can squeeze the time but I need rides, a uniform, theres no way I can pay fees. I want to help…really is th-
“[cutting me off] “look it’s free; if you need a ride ill get you one….
“I can drive dude; just one more thing; now that im older? 2nd Barry? Lower Lead? ….my chops are in pro-condition so …”
“Got it; Upper Lead Baritione, comped…the next camp is at….”

The rest is history. Sops like legendary sops like Ralphie, Jim Sobacki, Phil Norris and a few other (not Ray!) along with many Big Bore idols, Carl Allison (Freelancers), Doug “Pooh Bear” Kenyon (BD, Colts), Tony Pon (SCV), Charlie Groh(1st Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Item Company, WWI/WW2/Korea)…..they really made it all worth it. Ther all could mop the floor with me; talent-wisae especially. *Fun Fact* – It would be Pooh’s last DC performance – he joined to surpise his daughter at DCI who was in the Colts – a rookie CG (coolest dad ever – RIP ol’ buddy!)
There were about 200 people in the Kingsmen that year; we rocked an honor guard with a full Color Presentation so of those 200, lets say 140 were holding an instrument. Here is a rough estimate of how they broke down:

  • Kingsmen Alumni = 22 percent
  • Freelancers Alumni = eight percent
  • VK Alumni = 10 percent
  • Concord Alumni = 25 percent
  • Santa Clara Alumni = 25 percent
  • Other or band-geeks living out their childhood fantasies 10 percent

Note there would be LOTS of crossover here: SCV/BD, VK/BD, Freelancers/BD, Kmen/BD …etc. Only Marty Jo Basset, Bill Varju and Tim Meehan having marched “the cycle” (VK, Freelancers, SCV & BD; with ho iarble mention that Tim SOLOED in ALL FOUR, Marty “The One Man Party” played upper lead sop in all four; and Bill Marched Contra, Barry (@VK in 95), Mello (BD, yr unknown) and Soprano – A DOUBLE CYCLE!!!!! Credit to Scott Steward as well for marching, though in just two that I know of; check out his 1990 semis solo when he’s like….a fucking 13 year old. (will add YT link if it still exists) Credit also to Jack M. for TEACHING VK/SCV/BD/Troopers and possibly Sac.
*sigh* better get to the meat here …. so we’re camping at LBSU and it’s like a biunch of adults with families/jobs/responsibilities are kids again (we were; well we felt like it; my room Anthony; whom partied 1000th as muvh as I did at that time – we got along famously and are still friends; having marched Renegades & Kingsmen Alumni together (links to follow). Each day we hit a practice field about 500 yrds from the dorms. Stretch. chat, plan, apply sunblock and Gold Bond, sectionals, lunch, ensemble, dinner, then either a show or more ensemble….then party, pass out, rinse & repeat. For us age-outs WE ARE ON CLOUD NINE; praying September never comes.
One week before Our final show (sniff…) at DCI I hear a rumbling that the cymbal section wants to quit en masse. Why? Apparently [to paraphrase] – WE CANT TAKE ONE MORE SECOND OF [MIKE’S] ABUSIVE BULLSHIT. CHOOSE. HIM. OR US. Our Fearless leader and DM Gary Kean investoigated, to find that Braga was running the cymbal line as though this were 1987 and THIS was the 1987 SCV Cymbal line. Lets start with some definitions.
A drum corps cymbal line – an extremely physical job from high school level up to division one (World Class) the cymbal line marches, attempts crazy difficult drill, accentuates the visual feel of the program. Musically all sorts of sounds can be made via scrapes, crashes, “shings” and tastefully marching in front of the battery so they have a crash or ride or (???) cymbal to use on the fly. Cyms are part expert dancers, military-precesion-marchers, elegant musicians and marching masters.
The SCV Cymbal Line – These guys are famous for being “so far over the top as to be obscene. Every time I saw them; they did everything together: they sit together on the drum bus. When the direcgtor (or any staff address them) they stand in a perfect rank, side-toe-contact. They rarely if ever make mistakes. Holes in this line are filled by an audition of 1000 competing for one spot. They eat togther – yes, in a rank. At night, they stack their bunks adjacent, in a rank. Every SCV member busts their ass; but NO ONE works as hard as the cyms. Finally; no one in their right mind would mess with them while on tour; they are tougher than any d-line for any college football team and were they soldiers? They’d return from combat HEAVILY decorated …. pardon the expression but you ever met a group of guys so tight they’s “eat each others’ sh!%?” —ok that’s the SCV Cymbal line for the past 30 years at least.
So Braga, even though, this ostensibly laid-back “Senior Corps” that only rehearses weekends (9-5 in stead of 9-sunup the next day, ‘EIGHT days a week’) and will not receive a score (Sr. Corps are usually exhibition at DCI shows) …Braga is not only acting like he is back in an SCV-hardcore-as-fuck-hand-me-that-bowl-of-shit Cymbal line….he is making threats, making some of his fellow Cym CRY. Doing the opposite of why we took off work and pissed off our kids & significant others – to make visually pleasing, aethetically beutiful, sonically sonorous, loud music – for us, for the fans, for everyone. The sxn reported; AND BRAGA (on the field of honor**) says [PARAPHRASED]

NO, FUCK YOU GARY IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE

 

WIP 1/30

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…again WIP this mess is about a quarter done. Sorry to put you blast Mike….no I’m not sorry….You suck….I’m ashamed to call my self any sort of “alumni” list that beats both our names. You are a disgrace to the Silver Star, The Green Shield and the memory of Gail & Myron. Start my NEVER HITTING ANOTHER WOMAN EVER. If you eant to hit someone….the comment section is below. -c

Part II

Braga decided (at some point) that as de facto Cym section leader of Kingmen Alumni; the best way to run the line was to act like a fascist white-power-prison-gang “grand-intimidator – thinking that excellence could be achieved via anger, cursing, threats, yelling and general douchery. If you’ve been incarverated or not; pictire that Napoleonic psychopath you pray never crosses your path. “I just want to do my time & get out with most of my teeth. Then you meet Braga. He wants to know “who you are, where youre from, what your deal is….are you a narc? He makes comments about your manhood to compensate for his lack of. I mean, what kind of man has two violent strikes for beating his wife? Usually the kind to scared to hit a dude.
Braga created an atmosphere of misery for the other Cymbal players in 2007, thinking this was the right thing to do …. One afternoon at Long Beach State; the Cyms had a meeting w/o their fear[full] leader; they decided marching in the Kmen Alumni no longer fell into the “fun” category. It would be fun if not for Braga; so they took the issue to Kean and said “Him or us.”
Simple, lose the douche. That’s where the story should end. With lightning-strike exceptions; an SCV member or alum obeys on0field orders from staff, section leaders, the Horn Sgt., all techs, consultants, caption heads and the director without question, so with my 1991 Kanstul 3v G Baritone at a pistol; I was shocked to hear Braga ARGUING with the fucking Drum Major!!! He was refusing to leave, saying he did nothing wrong. Kean is a smart, shrewd and peaceful man. He was not about to risk a figth with this hulking ,ass clearly looking for a violent outlet for his maniacy. The KAC rented dorms, a parking structire and a practice field; making the field (thank God) corps property. Member or no; the director/DM asks you to leave its not up for discyssion. NEVER on the field of honor. Before Kean could finish rationalizing “leave no you sciopath. Please leave and dont ever come back.” —several members hit 911 on their cells. The LBSU PD and LBPD showed up quickly. Braga was dragged off the field by them snarling and shooting red daggers out of his eyes, blaming the staff, the corps, the Cyms, Kean, the members, using words I woulnt place in a artice ABOUT the field of honor.
Not Familiar? Any field is a sacred place. Treat it that way if you ever want to march on Game (Saturday) Night. Since the 70s (60s?) Guards say a prayer to field before entering it. Batteries & Hornlines dress as nice as weather allows on the Field of Honor, they don’t swear on it, the NEVER sit on it, They use G-rated language on the field, they act professional; because they ARE. Only the teachers, leaders and technicians talk betweenn takes. Rehearsals are done with a purpose, memberws run back to their sets. Breaks only exist to keep memebers hydrated. We keep out ears open and our eyes up. We treat a painted field better than a board room in our chosen professions. To disobey chain of command, to shout vilent threats, to force law enforcement to drag you pff the field and worst of all; to stalk the corps after like a NeckBeard whose My Little Pony collection came to life…is deplorable.
—–next—–part III. Deep Background & Diane Feinstein….

RIP Myron Rosander ….

My best portrait of my favorite teacher, Myron Rosander in profile, on the field at dci finals retreat in 1997.

Credit, love, reverence, respect, humility, mourning, appreciation, honor, perseverance, integrity, indomitable spirit, courage, love and hope. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think about my favorite educator who later became a close friend and confidante. Rosander was there when a father-figure was needed most. When all I needed was a friend to talk to, lament and connect through shared experience as friends – he was there for that too.
Readers of this site know that the publisher is a pragmatic man of science (who is less on the religious side, yet heavy on the spirituality). Forgive me but, the majority of the New Testament isn’t all that plausible to me. No; I don’t believe; as Carl Sagan said “I do not BELIEVE anything; there are only things that I know and things that I do NOT know…” Does this make me a “Commie-atheist-Jew-bastard”? yeah, it does – the assertion is partially true and it does not insult me on any level. I digress.

In contrast to all the logic, axioms, proofs and lemmas that build the world I Know exists….Myron was a magical, super-human person with the ability to perform magic. How is  this insanity possible? I was there the “Night Myron Brought the Lightning.” Looking back I cant confirm or deny that he had control of forces unknown; yet benefited from greatly. On the night in question, the 17-yr old version of me was convinced that if there were ..say..”gods“…that he HAD to be one of them.

You can locate Spike’s youtube vids and/or order his book for an excellent recounting of this and many other magical moments that transcend anything we can understand — though THAT NIGHT?… no one, not the Elks who’d just toasted us (given thank-you speeches in our “honor” and showered us with kilos of spaghetti and tears) not the staff, the management or even the OG Consultants can explain exactly what happened that night or how he did what he did….only that it was the only way to get our immature heads out of the clouds and back to reality. We’d recently been winning shows almost every night, we had the highest score in the country (~91.3) and Drum Corps World ranked us #1. It went to our heads. I knew the show we’d done before retiring to the lodge was flat, weak …in fact it was lazy; “mailed in” – the crowd still ate it up along with the victory concert that followed.*still* – we could’ve given 10x more; for some reason; we chose NOT to. Some corps peak early and their score reflects it…experienced it myself in 1996 – The Velvet Knights – we peaked somewhere in the midwest, where our best shows were … [and a few in the north-east] – our score pushed 80 but never broke it; at DCI, we finished 16th …south of 75.

Myron had the foresight to realize the 1997 Vanguard was at risk of peaking in late July/early August, which would mean we’d “get our shit tossed” at DCI. He never cared about the score; nor do I — a show that pleased him would please any judge – so simply showing up with the super-suit on, game-facing it, leaving 200 percent on the field and creating emotional moments the audience could connect and feel were guaranteed to jack-up the score (ideally…ahem) Many judges are hard-core fans at heart and will reward the corps that moves them the most with the show’s crown; even if it wasn’t technically the best-technically-executed-show that night. nu?
On the night in question; for its time w/in the season & tour; the show was technically near-perfect. No tears, no drops, no clams, perfect drill with perfect technique…no out-of-stepness. The judges rewarded us because other div one corps; Rockford, Rosement, Canton, Boston, Madison; we’d left all of them far behind weeks ago – sadly, it led a reason to rest on laurels and get lazy — cuz thats what kids do. We were kids and most of the nothings, vets, super-vets and staff were also..technically…kids.
After the show my friend and teacher/tech, Brian Belski pulled me aside and warned me – (I knew we’d mailed in a show, but I thought we’d get away w/ it because of the reception, the victory and soon-coming opportunity to do it up right at the next show). What I did not know was that Myron was beyond-furious…and not just at the corps. Belski’d ridden back to the lodge in the staff bus and witnessed the magic-man stewing. Belski warned me a dreadfully long and painful chewing-out and shaming was on deck and could hit at any time – also that he was equally pissed at the staff.
That was my favorite moment; halfway through our “new-asshole-tearing” (as the lightning began to gather) he turned around to where the leadership was hiding — some of them perhaps thinking they were immune to his wrath.
As the berating crescendo-ed from mezzo-forte to fuck-you-loud; Myron swung a full 180– AT THAT MOMENT; IN TIME WITH THE EXCLAM. ON THE END OF HIS NEXT STATEMENT–WAS THE FIRST LIGHTNING STRIKE…

“[spin] AND THE STAFF!!!!!! [KrackBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!] [EXPLETIVE DELETED EXPLETIVE DELETED ETC]…as he held every man and woman within the sound of his impossibly projected voice responsible and vilified us all; an intense electrical storm commenced; the strikes were close; so there was no delay between flashes and bangs. The marcatos, accents and sforzandos of his most venomous invective were all infused with summer’s most violent strikes from a pitch-black-sky. The more angry he got; the more the lightning gravitated to him and for a few inexplicable moments – the dark forest of upstate New York seared with incendiary, passionate, pitiless rage … emotionally or physically, none was left unburnt by what is still the most inexplicable moment of my life.
I just don’t see how that couldve been a convenient coincidence, dear reader. He knew he had to save the corps from peaking early, he knew it was crucial he got the bullet points thru the thick skulls of every one of us; so he made it happen.

In my life; I have not mailed in a musical performance even once since that fateful show.He brought the corps up. he brought me up [time and time again]. We peaked at Finals; that’s the goal of a div 1 corps or a world-class sr. corps. PEAK AT FINALS. We were ale to do it as performers and the staff was able to help us achieve that; thanks to his guidance; beginning with a rude awakening.

A magical awakening. from a magical man. We will love and remember him forever.

On that note; I was reminded on fb by fellow tbn-player and one of the best Mellophone Bugle players I’ve ever heard (Matt Carol) that “he could teleport!” I was warned early on that he had this power. The man was intimidating for certain; and the first time I met him he informed me that by only drinking water during a 2-min water break – I was wasting about 1 minute that could be used to work on my horn-snap…my horn-salute…my high-mark-time…whatever..just…

“take the goddamn initiative and work on bettering yourself w/o having to be asked; don’t let me ever see you just standing there like an idiot during rehearsal.”

Yes sir,” I said, setting down my water jug and bringing my horn to a carry and running a portion of the timing exercise.

That was in March; and I was used to being abused by viz staff the previous year on a far more cruel scale at vk; hence it didnt bother me that my days of “kicking it” when the staff gave us a break LONGER that an “in&out” were OVER JOHNNY [that means run, drink water, run back and set at a pistol, posssibly at minus1]

That same day I realized he could easily teleport from side 1 to side 2, from side 2 to the stands, from the stands to the box, from the box to backfield….and at times when I couldn’t see him; I conducted myself as though he could…a good idea; because it was in those instances when he’d suddenly appear behind me and pointout that I’d again failed to hit his[my] dot. Myron gave me a handful of crucial drill spots in the 97 show. In the intro “Lonely Town” we all toe-1st out-of time and crescendo to a heart-shaped-form…I was the point at the top of that heart. Same for the biggest hit in the opener “On the waterfront” – the drum feature is followed by a horn-snap, and me playing+jazz-running to what resolves in unison concert C at fortissiissimo, the visual resolve was a massive bow-tie, which hinges on the center of the X it will form – that’s me. (what an honor!) …then we get 8 beats of respite backfield, after which Myron’s amazing Avalanche begins….you could say im in one the 2 most “screwed spots” – geometrically, the bottom left & right drill spots will have to jazz-run backwards at a full-clip-full-extension 4 to 5, the direction change and jazz-run forward for same.

This and many other drill moves were certain to be completely ruined if I did not nail my set (even early season) this means that frequently I was gauging those extremely exposed drill spots on-the-fly in real time – in the moment say, the “center of a giant X” could be up to 5 yards from where it is written to be. I quickly learned a disdain for so-called “dot-marchers.”

me- ‘move back’
asshole – [looking at dot book] “im on my dot”
me- “fuck your dot-book – look at the form, you’re out of it..next time? the dot book goes down your throat after I plug your mouthpiece”
asshole – “ok” [but god-help-him] –if he shook his head, rolled his eyes or [unimaginable to Myron’s students] threw his hands up the air.

Did Myron teach me to treat some students harshly, threaten them and demand unquestioning fealty, sometimes via fear/intimidation? –NO. I was already primed to be a complete dick. Did he make it easier for me to write/teach and clean drill for bands and winter guards [and div2 corps?] YES!

To a well-examined, well-lived, never-to-be-forgotten life. L’chaim!

PS – to my ‘corps’ readers – I began to compile historical anecdotes about Myron right here at tapper7.com/LoveForMyron a few months back. If you’d like to add one, you can submit it to the editor for review — email your story (stories), your name, nickname, section, full dc experience + [obviously] yr & or years you marched scv – as the page is titled; anyone who loves the man is entitled to an opportunity to have their words appear. Note -though about a 5th of you are … there is no need to be an alumni of scv a or b to post…only that your story is a)true and b)from the heart. thx! submit to the webmaster (submit!!!) chris@tapper7.com

*legal notice* consider that all americans have a right to privacy in writing your anecdotes. all content is edited for style, syntax, grammar, fact-checked and may be modified for compliance with US Media Laws, AP Style and SPJ Ethical Compliance. that said; feel free to pour your soul out. Approved authors get full credit and back-linked if they have anything to BL to. Should /loveforMyron grow to a publishable size…all profits will go to the Santa Clara Vanguard. Bias note – the publisher himself has much love for Myron and intends to make a[nother] donation to scv regardless.
-[]

More fun with Java 1.8 -ASCII “Art” 101 using Arrays….

This is the type of assignment I would hand out to first year programming students. After introducing the idea of lists, I implore them to solve the following:
Use a list to build an ASCII pyramid using the character of your choice and make it: a) appear “pyramidal” that is, no leaning, no right-angles at the base and give it some semblance of aesthetic quality b) your logic should generate EVERY level of the pyramid, that is, no coding “special cases” for the top, middle or bottom rows. The logic must hold sound to construct the entire pyramid as a stand-alone algorithm. c) print your src (source code) and the output of your program to prove to peers that it works.

    This task requires careful dissection of the elements involved:

  • variable number of rows
  • each row knows how many spaces to print and how many characters
  • this involves logical analysis for the left spaces, the chars AND the right spaces
  • The algorithm must know when to “endline”/”newline”/
  • Careful analysis and monitoring (QA/QC) of the variables during runtime may be needed

For the seasoned programmer this is fairly basic, but involves core mathematical concepts, an element of basic aesthetic design and a good grip on list variable storage; how they are both computed and sent to an output stream (System.out in this case) This is the rough equivalent of “cout <<” for you C/C++ guys

    For extra credit:

  • Add a user-interface to ask the user how big to build the pyramid. Include exception-handling for pyramid sizes that are not technically “pyramids” (height = 1 is not a pyramid) heights too large will lose their aesthetic, or their pyramidal structure entirely if built too large or too impractical for the user’s display. (I capped mine at 50 rows) – add warnings depending on the user interface).
  • Decorate the pyramid with one or more random characters in addition to your “foundation” block (I used hashtags for my foundation block).
  • Invert the pyramid.
  • Stack the pyramid atop the inverted one to make a diamond shape…make sure it lines up evenly. No bumps or other strangeness in the middle.

Here is a sample solution; note that I carefully tracked line size, space, building-block-count, row-count & the storage of each…this is crucial to accuracy and QC testing during development time.
This is an acceptable output:

a snap of the pyramid program in-process using the Netbeans IDE
seen w/in the Netbeans Integrated Development Environment. “I design them.”

 

Here is the source code – note brevity in my solution– ~20 lines-ungolfed!:
/*
author: Chris "Tapper" Welke
This program generates an ASCII-art 50 row pyramid using hashtags as a building block.
Solution provided for instructional/informational purposes in the areas of lists,
integers, type-casting, dynamic memory allocation, and open-source programming. If you
are new to Java, this is an excellent trial pgm to get you started.
Dist. under the GNU Public License. Free to distribute: please attribute though, ok?:
Last Stable Build: 5/23/15 at Tapper7.com and Self-Similarity Studios courtesy
The Netbeans (Netbeans.org) IDE, Java 1.8 and the std. javac compiler
OS: Win 8.1, Chipset by Intel. Laptop by Hewlett-Packard. Website provided by Media Temple
*/
package learn;
import java.util.Arrays;
public class HashTagASCIIPyramid{
protected static int charlinelength = 100;
public static void main(String[] arg){
float[] asciiStorage = new float[HashTagASCIIPyramid.charlinelength];
int totalHashtags = 1; //initialize builing block total
int charCount = 0; //count building blocks for QC testing
int[] cclist = new int[100]; //record the char generation as it happens
int leftspaces = (int)asciiStorage.length/2;
int rightspaces = (int)asciiStorage.length/2;
int height = 1;
for(int i = 0; i < asciiStorage.length/2; i++){
for (int l = 0; l < leftspaces; l++){
System.out.print(" "); charCount++;
}
for (int t = 0; t < totalHashtags; t++){
System.out.print("#"); charCount++;
}
for (int r = 0; r < rightspaces; r++){
System.out.print(" "); charCount++;
}
System.out.print('\n');
/*QC Tracking: height++; cclist[i] = charCount;*/
leftspaces--; totalHashtags +=2;rightspaces--;
}//end mn loop
}//end mn
}//end class #asciipyramid

Hints: I used space-fillers for the spaces (” “); – left and right brackets plus lots of variable outputs to see what was going on during run-time, my initial design yielded the following output:
run:
pyramid test1
WHOOPS!
Heh…so clearly there were multiple logic faults, (and I started with tildas, not hashtags….) but it was easy to track the movement of the left and right brackets that debugged the left and right SPACES and not shown are my debugging outputs that checked the length of each row for consistency(it was going over and under 100 – keeping the length of each row equivalent was key to my particular legitimate solution)— also that my iterators and arrays were misplaced and thus not controlling and the output correctly.

    Keys to victory:

  1. increment blocks by TWO; not one
  2. decrement spaces and increment blocks OUTSIDE the main loop rightSpaces--;leftSpaces--totalHashtags+=2;

Coming soon: Bill’s adventures at Los Alamos, More Netbeans experiments, tutorials and anything interesting that happens when I have my camera on me.

Lots of great ideas in the works…and let us not forget: Summer is Coming …. Go Santa Clara and Concord! Support your local drum corps by playing bingo, going to shows, donating your time, tailgating at shows and screaming your lungs out when corps brings you to it on the Field of Honor. All signs point to a another stellar season for Red and Blue Banners both; and I wouldn’t have it any other way (scratch that….I’d resurrect Bridgemen, Suncoast, Big 27, Star, Kingsmen, The Freelancers and The Velvet Knights) THEN it’d be roll-out time.
Under the circumstances, putting all politics aside; Thank God for Rosemont, Rockford, Madison, Garfield, Bloooooo, SCV/BD, Cru, Spirit and all other remamining “Big Time DCI” corps still in the hunt, still rockin’ it…gettin ready for the only kickoff I really care about: Memorial Day Weekend. A trial by fire where those who make it through will be ready for the best summer of their lives. Hang in there kids, you got this!
Music, Tech, Art, Love and Life; find it all right here at The SoCal Picayune. Your LA/OC home for Drum Corps, Culture, tech-security, experiments and solutions, the occasional off-color joke, scam-hunting, YT highlights and the best (and worst) direct from the minds of this writer, Tapper and Bill Feynman.
Maybe a Memorial Day Anecdote will inspire itself as we begin the approach. hmmmmm…..
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Rough draft of 1996 VK Judges tape is ONLINE! (finally!)….

I’ll be cleaning this up A LOT….but here’s a draft for ya’….check out Antii Karvonen (Solo Soprano) and moi (Lead in Small Ens. Swing to end of opener) during “The Jetsons,” ….to quote Antii, “Damn [We’re] Smooth.” This corps unfortunately did NOT peak at Finals…so Stillwater was as good a show as any we did that year. The GE judge certainly enjoyed it, but…whatever-we blew the ROOF of that joint; crowd went s#!t nuts and that’s all that matters. More pics and info about this historic recording coming soon. Credit to 1996 Soprano Plug and 2015 Legit Pro percussionist Chuck Lopez for rescuing this Gem:

I’ll add some anecdotes about the “issues” that preceded the show where we srsly took the Stadium in Stillwatwer DOWN at some point in the near future. We had to FOLLOW The Madison Scouts that night…. That’s right, FOLLLOW “A Drum Corps Fan’s Dream, Part Dos” on THEIR TURF. Good Lord that was one Bad-Ass show…A Mis Abuelos? Fugettaboutit…. (One of the tour buses broke down; hence VK closed the show—f—ing GUMBY*)

*Accchhem*

CVHS Pride. “Capo Yo!”

SoCal Billy Bad Asses!

West is Best.

Nostalgia See-tay!….eh…this is only a rough draft test…enjoy…speaking of Nostalgia City, while working on getting that old tape published on YT & FB for my associate…I’m listening to this rockin recording we made back in 96…then I note that one you treasured readers posted a link to a sick band – Die Antwoord – that’s Afrikans & OR South African-en for “The Answer.” Their breakout hit Umshini Wam – “Bring me my machine gun” was shown to me ages ago…by another treasured friend …one who’s ALIVE and NOT IN JAIL…but we just don’t live all that close anymore…ANYWAY the 1st time I saw it I found it  “f—ing sweet” – it has a rad beat, the blonde chick and the dude are seriously tight rappers and the visuals are original, absurd.
I dug it right away; scope it out: Looking back there are several touching moments….
Let it be known that Tapper misses having a cool chick to hang out with.
…and I got a new bike: OC Craigslist STEAL OF THE YEAR THUS FAR. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo F—ing Bomb.
—————–PIX!————–
townie1

townie2
…I’ll be Back soon kids…. here’s an ad for you, I hope it doesn’t suck. Plz tell me if my ads ever suck I’m ’bout to go back and start banning advertisers again. I saw a few cruddy ones recently whatever u get my drift ….advertisement:
*The Gumby was the Rookie Bus….I rode on the Schmee-the Hornline Vet Bus…No drummers, no rooks..even though I was one, due to my being 1st “chair” Baritone/Upper Lead Bar… 1st part in our award-winning I&E Mixed Ensemble and my solo/small ensemble (2 Barry’s + 2 Flugels) in the swing section of The Jetson’s….I powered through some serious bulls— from the vis staff and stepped up my marching game to rival my chops—it garnered a grip of respect…with that came regular beatings. Only the old school drum corps guys can understand why being talented or even “good” also leads to getting your @$$ thrashed on a semi-regular basis. Meh. It got me ready for what was to come. Made me harder than steel-reinforced concrete. There’s something about learning how to take multiple/repeated shots to the kisser, breadbox and/or balls that only makes a young man tough…+the ladies like it too. —Going back to high school and dating the girl the quarterback dreams about? AS A BAND GEEK? What can I say? I HAD NO COMPLAINTS JR. YR! HaHa!…BD/SCV/VK Vets in Mission Viejo in the 90s…we showed our respective football teams and other “popular” kids how business got DONE. ———->Dedicated to those who inspired and accomplished same: Brian Kettlehut, Jon Goldman, Sean Billings, Antii Karvonen and Travis Larson + many others. I can only pray today that at some high school…somewhere…as it was at MVHS and CVHS…it’s the guy who marches drum corps dating the prom queen/hottest chick in school…while the star quarterback/runinng back’s GF is characterized as “frumpy.” []

PS-RIP Ray Arias (Euphonium) and Jen Lee (Color Guard) …my girl and my boy. Miss youse guyz much. Love, Tapper.

Christmas day….and the classic pics I promised! ….

a photo of rich skare in his 89 bd uniform

Featured: one of the special photographs I promised. Rich Skare in 89 BD garb w/ Meehaphone. RIP brother. What I wouldn’t give to be chillin’ with best friend today. I am in a way. heh….
Below: the other I recently obtained permission to publish. Gail Royer and Jerry Seawright at DCI. Bridgemen are seen in the background. ca. 1984 (???).
Photos Courtesy: Tim White and Sylvia Skare…special thanks to both of you and happy holidays!.
A photo of Gail Royer and Jerry Seawright at DCI in ~1985
Sorry for the cliche’ but…wow. ‘talk ’bout a picture being worth a 1000 words, this …what are they discussing?
Not a whole lot going on today. I found a relevant video to what I’d posted on trumpetherald.com, a lame brass forum I just got banned from. I was particularly active in the /range-building section (or whatever it’s called…), where people dropped useless spam EVERYWHERE and bad information about how to develop your range. I highly doubt you can read my “Rules for ‘Playing high'” which was only tongue-in-cheek for ONE of the rules, the rest were actually useful and appear here. I think my IP is banned. “Tapper7” is ABSOLUTELY banned. I must admit I started out TRYING to troll the site, but then I felt bad for the students reading the forum posts and learning poor brass performance practices that would limit their ability and I wanted to post something helpful. Funny it’s what got me banned.
Here is the OP in it’s full naked glory:
Rules for "playing high"
For the last time:
1. Play through the center of the horn, even if you like to place the mthpc a li'l off-center.
2. Vibration creates frequency, therefore MORE and FASTER air is req'd for each subsequent partial.
3. GET YOUR STUPID TONGUE OUT OF THE WAY DURING LONG TONES AND SLURS
3a.articulation should be "HA" not "Dah" ...."Dah" is for accent or legato, "Tah" is staccato.
3b. YOUR TONGUE WILL NOT HELP YOU PLAY "HIGH"!
3.4(Weed helps you "play high")
3c.anyone who says "tighten" "pressure" "spc. trick" "buy this mthpc" "do x w/ your cheeks/face/tongue"...anything that's not related to the PHYSICS of how sound is produced by a human using their lips and a horn as an amplifier is a f---ing liar
and prob. has some bogus book or vid for sale too. IGNORE OBVIOUS LIES.
3d.anyone who uses or buys a special "shallow cup mthpc" or buys any add-on or uses a special material in hopes
of "playing high" should quit or at least kill themselves. Your CG3 or 1 and a half is FINE.
4. You should have a solid "high C" by 6th grade.
5. You should be able to play confidently above a high C (as a soloist) by freshman yr. of HS.
6. dub-C by jr. year of HS(and go march drum corps like a man) or GTFO. NO EXCEPTIONS.
7. More air.
7a. The inspiration of the Billy-Bad Asses who came before you, that inspire you, met these req'mt's.
7b. A few of them did not march drum corps. Louie Armstrong, Clifford Brown and other
legends like Jon Faddis and Adam Rapa.
All OTHER RULES WERE/ARE FOLLOWED BY THE ABOVE PLAYERS TO A T.
8. More air.
9. Read rule 7.
10. Still needs more air. Breathe.
10a. Grow a pair. If female, do this figuratively.
10b. Not enough air. Re-read rule 7.
10c. It's not "all about practice" some people will never be able to play above a G on top of the staff (treble-Bb). Some have it. Most don't.
10d. Joey Pero can bust out "Gospel John" better than you. NO EXCEPTIONS.
10e. Scott Steward is an all-around better musician than you. NO EXCEPTIONS.
10f. Sean Billings is louder and can play way higher than you. NO EXCEPTIONS.
10g. Jim Prime. If that name is unknown to you---> fix that.
10gPrime. If any name listed is unknown to you---> fix that.
10h. Rick South said to tell you that "YOU ARE NOT USING ENOUGH AIR. MORE AIR."
Notes:
Yes I am the OP so that makes me a fa---- by default. Feel free to point it out. Don't buy anyone's bull$#!
chop development book. You want to know some slur-patterns I will post them NO CHARGE. Same for breathing exercises and common warm-ups. Hell I'll explain Jack Meehan's hand signals if you want. HE GAVE IT AWAY.
His sons built on top of it...then ALSO gave it away, to jerks like me.
I've in turn built my own conglomeration of their exercises, Arban's, Rochut's, those taught to me by Mike Hoffman, Dean Westman, Greg Flores and Gordon Henderson INTO SOMETHING I CALL MY OWN AND ALSO WANT TO GIVE AWAY.
Cuz we love brass performance, not spamming dorky web forums or making $ off bs.
Information is free. If you have a "how to play high" book and you want to spam this
site and impressionable kids? OK-maybe you know something I don't: post a YT vid of yourself
PASTING a dub-C....no warm-up, no lip-up...just HIT the m-fer and don't blow sharp like a retard!
Bonus points if you can shake the E above it and kiss it off. THIS OP REFLECTS THE VIEWS OF TAPPER7 AND NONE OF THE PERSONS LISTED-

I said I wanted to release my own brass method – for free, right? I presume that’s what got me banned. My 1st few posts were just awful and INTENDED TO OFFEND but people like…agreed with me. Some old guy from NC posted that my OP was reminiscent of an old-school brass forum he missed and that he thought it was hysterical and informative. I replied. “North Carolina knows what’s up,” then. BANNED. It will prob. publish on this site, why not? Cost – zilcho. I’ll even transcribe some cool solos for the back. I’ll write it in “Bb treble” so whatever tin-can you play on you can read it w/o having to transpose. I prefer “C” like as-written for a piano, but hey it’s just a whole step for me in my head – a minor 3rd for G Bugles and the exercises needn’t be transposed at all.
I also insisted that hacks spamming that forum with all their tips and tricks to “play high” that are “for sale” on their site to PROVE they can play above a double-C: in fairness. Here’s me. It’s not that hard.

If you are visting this site FROM trumpetherald.com…WELCOME! I’m not the greatest writer OR musician, but at least you’ll occasionally have a laugh with me…and I won’t try to sell you anything. Go buy a beer. or 36.
Also made the upgrade to WP v4.1 as-promised. Can’t really say if it’s better and I’ve yet to review the 2015-theme PHP (for now I’m sticking w/ my most recent customized CSS and variation on an old theme)…but it’s ALLEGEDLY MORE SECURE (This site is locked up hard…whatever security upgrades the WP people added is like throwing an extra padlock on a Kittner-Redoubt, but hey it can’t hurt! Happy holidays to all my wonderful readers. You know how it is with ol’ Tapper. I got mad love for ya’ …have a great holiday.

Forget the judges and the scores, just bring everything you got….

Reasons to NOT CARE about numbers that band directors in green shirts mark on a score sheet. Ever.

http://www.corpsreps.com/scores.cfm?view=scoreshow&showid=1997128

From getting 10 pointed out of the gate to tie ballgame and corpsreps.com still lists The Blue Devils as having “won” this show:

Q’s

You can also view the PBS broadcast (or order it thru dci.org) to see who “Reliable Rondo” picked to win….(Hint – it wasnt BD or Garfield)

Just remember dear reader, the real “score” is the emotion you can put into the audiences heart – from your heart.

Numbers are just that and nothing more….Numbers.  Myron, Dean and Jdub taught me how to forget about the noise and just do my job, do it well and to keep artistic and physical momentum accelerating until the LAST SHOW (Finals) is done and we did that thx to them and many others like them that came before, during and after that year.

Everytime you troop the line…and you know that not only yourself, but 120 brothers and sisters gave it their all? – No one phoned it in. One collective consciousness sending love out to 50,000 fans? That’s a win. No more no less – just EVERYTHING. Take your entire world and just give it away. That is the best feeling in the world.

Much love Xmas tree…I can’t wait…so grateful that both sides are coming through SoCal…and the Xmen too.