‘Star Wars: Outbound Flight’ – Chapter 16 (Part 5)

 got up early this morning and got myself together and got over to the high school for marching band practice.  Today was competition day as well as a time to introduce our show to the judges of the NYSFBC.  I keep looking at our show thinking that we should at least grab everyone’s attention with this show and should be able to wow everyone including the audience.  We had a good practice this morning and I think we have the kids pretty pumped up and psyched about the show tonight.  Jim and I decided we were going to go up to Syracuse ahead of the band and make our way to “Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue” and have some of their famous pulled pork and then meet the band at the competition.  We wanted to go to “Hooters”, but realized that the “Hooters” in Syracuse has been shut down, so Dinosaur made a good close second.  So, as soon as practice was done, I went home and got ready to leave with Jim.

Last night I managed to print out directions to Dinosaur and so had Jim.  Somehow, we got halfway up to Syracuse and both realized that we had left our directions behind.  We had a pretty good idea where Dinosaur was, so we figured we would use our massive “male prowess” to figure out where Dinosaur was.  Well, if anyone knows me and anyone knows Jim, they know that we were bound to get lost and we did.  Somehow we got turned around in the city of Syracuse and couldn’t seem to find Dinosaur on our best day, even if we wanted to!  So, we were just about to give up on the idea and go somewhere else, when I told Jim to just get off at the next exit and somehow, mystically we ended up around the corner from Dinosaur.  I will say it was just absolute dumb luck!  We went in and took a seat at the bar so we could eat faster and I have to say the meal was great and Jim and I agreed that the “scenery” wasn’t bad either (if you know what I mean 😉 ).  We got done, left a tip and got on the road to the CNS show.  We got to the show and found out that we were the first people to arrive at the competition at all!  We beat the bus, the rest of the staff and everyone else!  So, we waited and talked for a little bit.  We found out from one of the parents that the bus would pull in acrossed the street, so we walked acrossed the street to meet the buses when they arrived.  We met the buses acrossed the street and then found out we had to go back, so we walked back.  Needless to say, we walked about a mile before the competition even began.  We helped the director warm-up the kids and they looked fairly ready to go and we, of course, got rained on as we were warming up.  We got the kids ready and psyched and it looked like the students did an amazing job.  I was impressed with our students and we then went and listened to some absolutely ridiculous judges tapes!  One of the judges said our students need to work on using their sternums.  Who the hell says that on a judges tape?!!  Not to mention we had some judges that just wanted us to water the show down and thought the show was too hard for our students.  That idea enraged me as our students performed the show fairly well for a week two competition.  Jim, myself, and some of the other staff members decided to go into the stands and watch some of the other shows.  Most of them looked like crap.  I realize it’s week two, but the ideas behind the shows just seemed weak to me.  Our show idea, which is Monopoly, seems so strong compared to the idea of “hunting rabbits” which is what one of the bands did and all that happened was a rabbit going in and out of “holes” while a hunter chased him.  Sad, that’s the only description I can come up with for those shows.

We got done with the competition and I couldn’t believe our score!!  It was low, but a LOT lower than I ever thought it was going to be.  When we went into the judges meetings, they decided to try to urge us to “dumb down” the show for our students as they believe it may be too hard for them.  Jim and I refused and told them that the students march well and a judge pointed out that we have rookies and it’s obvious and I pointed out that it’s because we’re a small band, and I don’t think he liked my answer.  On the ride home, Jim and I just could not stop talking about how we got hosed by the judges!  We were quite upset and have decided we’re just going to get all of our students to march at a level that will shut all the judges up.  We got home fairly late tonight and I went in and collapsed on the bed for our busy day tomorrow.
Okay, let’s talk about Part 5 of Chapter 16 of “Star Wars:  Outbound Flight” by Timothy Zahn…..

Chapter 16 (Part 5):  Car’das pointed out that they had launched their droid starfighters.  Thrawn asked if these droid starfighters think and act independently and Car’das said they don’t.  He told Thrawn that they work in groups that are controlled by one of the battleships.  Thrawn called the comm station and asked if they found their control frequencies, and comm answered positively.  The officer told Thrawn about their range was only about 5000 kilometers, so Thrawn ordered them to pull back to 5000 kilometers from the ships and asked Car’das if this range was typical.  Car’das said he didn’t know.  Thrawn noted that commander Stratis was not being agressive, but cautiously defensive.  The sensor officer then reported that the attacking droid starfighters were backing off as they were now out of range.  Car’das asked what they should do now.  Thrawn said they were going to experiment and sent one of his ships starboard and port.  Car’das asked what kind of experiment and Thrawn said they would find out how clever the system control designers really are……

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