May 8th, 2004

Estie

(no subject)

I am quite pissed off at the moment.

As you probably neither knew nore cared, the Pride was invited to be an exhibition band at the Bands of America regional competition back in November. We went and a splendid time was had by all, although most of it was spent watching the high schools and plastering glassy smiles on our faces while muttering, "This is really the best the region had to offer?" (The highlight of the night, at least in my black little heart, was when the talentless band that did the glurgetastic patriotism show -- complete with giant American flag being unfurled across the backfield -- came in dead last.) But our performance of "Teardrop" was naturally brilliant, even though marching on sand sucks (we were on a baseball field. Why? And also, why?) and so does performing in a domed stadium. But we kicked ass and my love for the music knows no bounds, so when the opportunity to buy the performance videos at an absolutely usurous price arose, I was all over it.

Well, the videos weren't available for pickup until February, and what with one thing and another this semester I didn't get a chance to pick mine up until Tuesday. And it SUCKS. My only explanation is that the editors ignored the content of the show entirely and just cycled between camera angles whenever they felt like it.

You know what? Let's start there. Because there were camera angles. We had focuses on random faces and feet thrown in everywhere, and there were even a couple audience shots. People, marching shows were designed to look good from the spot the high-angle camera was occupying. You don't need extra angles to "enhance" it. If it's good, the high-angle shot stands on its own. If it's not, nothing will save you. And despite the fact that the high-angle camera is running at all times so they can get at least a couple overhead shots into the mix, and despite the fact that in years past it has been an option, this year you could not purchase a tape of the high-angle camera footage alone.

But you know what? Let's even put that aside for a moment. Pretend multi-angle marching band shows are a necessity in this world. Even then, this was the worst filming I've ever seen. This show was all about stunning visual effects, with dances and shaped forms and some drill moves that truly just popped out and grabbed you by the throat. With the exception of the bit where they lit the cymbals on fire, this video was looking somewhere else during every. single. one. But even that wasn't going to push this whole thing from "crappy" to "I'm almost in tears that I spent so much money on thisand it's the only visual record I have of the season." No, that came from the ending.

The end of that show was beautiful. We did a slow, graceful scatter into the teardrop shape we started the show in, with one soloist standing slightly away and all the auxiliary on the edges of the teardrop, holding "stripped" flags (with flag unrolled, but with one hand holding it against the pole so it's not visible). As we sang the last note, they all let their flags drop so we were ringed in a corona of blue. It was beautiful and dramatic and the only thing happening on the entire field. And the video missed it entirely for a closeup of the soloist who wasn't doing a damn thing.

I really can't begin to express how frustrated I am over this.
Estie

The art of StealthBakery

Early this morning I discovered that I have a gift. I...am the StealthBaker.

Yes, the StealthBaker. Subordinate to the Piemaster, but no less mysterious. I come in the night, work in silence, and leave no evidence but a chocolate cake in the freezer and a few eggshells in the garbage. I spent the hours of 1 to 3 AM in the kitchen last night whipping up a Mother's Day cake (it's best when frozen for a day or two), and no one was the wiser. Mom wondered who'd eaten all the chocolate chips until she opened the freezer and went, "Oh, that cake wasn't there yesterday!" Victory is mine!

StealthBaker may be mysterious, but she is not stingy. Therefore, here are her tips on the art of StealthBakery:

-Use a recipe you've done before and know the basics of how it comes out. Stealth and experimenting are not good bedfellows.
-There are three goals to StealthBaking, other than the obvious one of making good food: speed, quiet, and cleanliness.
-Double-check to make sure you have all the ingredients the day before. Sounds obvious, but seriously. Even if you do have a 24-hour grocery store, you probably don't want to be there.
-Don't listen to music. Duh. But that also extends to headphones or some other sound-controlled method: If you're listening to something else, you're not conscious of how much noise you're making.
-If it can be done by hand, do it by hand. Takes a little longer, but stealth trumps speed.
-If it can't be done by hand, use the smallest appliance possible. Set it on a dish towel to minimize countertop vibrations and, if possible, wrap more dish towels around it.
-Pre-mix dry ingredients into wet by hand, finish with a mixer. This will prevent the mixer from kicking up clouds of flour.
-Clean everything. Even the fact that you've made a lovely StealthCake will not get you out of the trouble you're in for if you leave the washing-up to someone else. Besides that, dirty dishes are evidence. Evidence is the antithesis of stealth.
-Running water is a sound liability. rinse out your mixing bowl, then fill it with water and detergent and wash the rest of your utensils in that.
-By the same tack, clean up with paper towels whenever possible.
-Don't set the oven timer. Do the math to figure out when this stuff should be done, and set your alarm clock. Take the clock into a room with better soundproofing than the kitchen.
-When questioned, reveal nothing! The way of the StealthBaker is not unlike that of the ninja: elegant, secretive, misunderstood, and you will be killed if you talk.

Don't say I didn't warn you.