Sunday, August 29, 2004

It's a quiet week at the old cooktruck

I've been trying to get my mind back on work (oh yeah, there's that little matter of two 200-page books I'm supposed to sit down and write. First one's due, when?, November? No, October. Plenty of time....)

As I was saying, I really do try to think about work but then Katherine puts even more pictures up at and Iowa Public Television goes and replays "Celebration in Brass" (a.k.a. the Ankeny show) on Sunday evening.

As Jody said at the end of Sunday night's broadcast: "How sad." And it is sad that the 2004 Colts are gone forever. I still want to cry when I hear those guys play "Old Man River." And the blue flags at the end of that song just kill me. As you can probably tell from the pictures. Best damn show in drum corps this year. Hands down.

I got two good tapes of the IPTV broadcast this time (only one or two brief weather warnings in this one) and would share one with you guys who haven't seen the show. It's worth it, let me tell you. The only thing I ask is that you let me know who has the tape and that you agree to send the "traveling tape" along to the next person who requests it.

Send me an email at and I'll get the ball rolling. Don't offer to send me money. This is not a commercial deal. I don't want to violate anyone's copyright, so you have to agree not to make copies and sell them. (Can you tell I work for a publishing company that's really interested in protecting intellectual property?) I'm just making the offer as a service to those of you who live elsewhere. And Colts everywhere.

IPTV has a viewer response line (800-469-2788) so you can let them know what you thought of the broadcast and whether they should do similar types of programming in the future. (hint, hint)

Oh yeah. Work.

See ya.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Finals week pix at

Katherine has posted my finals week pictures at and promises more galleries from me and Nic are to come.

I was a little overwhelmed that she put up nearly everything I sent her on the CD from the time I was in Colorado. But I enjoyed looking at them again. Hope you do too.

Click HERE to go directly to the gallery.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

When will PBS show DCI Finals?

You can find out when your local PBS station will be showing the TV show they made out of DCI Finals in Denver by clicking HERE.

You won't get to see the Colts perform, and I miss the broadcast being live, and they'll only show pieces of the top 12 performances. But to some of us, some drum corps is better than no drum corps.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Tour tan

Tour tan<br>

Winterize or Keep On Truckin'?

I was thinking that it was about time to winterize the old virtual cooktruck. Drain the drink tubs and give them a good bleaching. Find that pan of leftover dressing that Olaf put way up high in the refrigerator. Put anti-freeze in the hot water tank so the whole thing doesn't go solid in the frigid Iowa winter. Pretty much just let things wind down after an excellent summer and over-the-top season for the Colts.


I looked at the stats for hits on the blog. And then saw that we'd gotten 4 comments on the last posting. I know lots more people are looking than are commenting. I got an e-mail from Olaf that I still have to answer. So I decided that -- unlike the real cooktruck that deserves a long winter break -- the virtual cooktruck is still open for business.

I don't know what I'll do besides stand at the sink and do the dishes. Link to other corps sites, maybe. (The San Francisco Renegades have a great site. I hear the guy who does it works for Apple....) Post fun pictures. (Nothing incriminating) Or just keep the doors open so people can come in out of the rain (Dubuque, Allentown, Kokomo, etc., etc., etc.). Or snow.

There's virtual gas in the virtual generator. Virtual Bob's got the virtual propane in the virtual tanks. The virtual cereal is past its virtual sell-by date. Virtual Jim's been to the virtual Aldy's and argued with the virtual store manager. So we're good to go.

Get ready to sort the red M&Ms from the green. December camp is only 116 days away.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Wow! They should have called it the "Colts Show"

Just got through watching (and taping) the IPTV broadcast of this year's "Celebration in Brass" in Ankeny. It had "Colts" written all over it. Every break between corps performances consisted of interviews with Colts members and staff. Greg was the "color commentator" for the show.

When Jody checked the blog, she discovered why. If you read the comments to the entry just below this one, you'd find out that the producer of the show marched Colts! (You have to read the comments to get ALL the good out of the blog. And while you're there, leave a comment of your own. It's free!)

As James McNab, the producer of the Celebration in Brass broadcast and a member of the 1998 Colts mellophone line, writes in his comment: "How much are the Colts going to be featured? A LOT!"

Boy, was he right. It was wall-to-wall Colts for two hours.

James goes on to say:

"Why, you ask, are the Colts featured more than anyone else? Three reasons...

1) The producer is an alumni of the corps
2) The producer is an alumni of the corps
3) The producer is an alumni of the corps"

Thanks, James. Great show. And a big THANKS from the blog gang for showing ALL the corps and the ENTIRE show for each and every one of them. DCI take note, please.

James also points out that the Celebration in Brass TV show is also airing on Mediacom's Connections Channel. I don't get cable, so I can't help you out with that. James says local listings should give air dates and that Mediacom already has shown it more times than IPTV ever will.

Loved the TV show. Saw some things on the broadcast that I didn't notice in person. And now I have 3 performances on video: Ankeny and Quarterfinals and Semis in Denver.

If you get a chance, catch the broadcast. You won't be disappointed. And here's hoping that James is already working on plans for next year's show.

Ankeny show on IPTV

For those of you still checking in here (hello, hello .... is this thing on?), a TV program note. Iowa Public Television will show 2 hours of the Ankeny drum corps show TONIGHT at 7 p.m.

The show will be repeated at 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 29. If you can get IPTV.............

I haven't seen the show, so I don't know how much will feature the Colts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

All I need to know in life I learned on the Colts cooktruck

Sleep is overrated.

Greg Orwoll’s tour wardrobe really does come from the 3 for $10 T-shirt rack.

There really is a drum corps Yoda. And he likes tour food. At least he likes Colts tour food.

If you believe kids will make good decisions and do what they say they will, you’ll be right 90 percent of the time. If you believe kids won’t make good decisions and won’t follow through on things, you’ll be right 90 percent of the time. This says more about you than about the kids.

"Olaf" is Dutch for "Box 5"

Contra players do not go "beep, beep, beep" when moving in reverse, even though they can hurt you just as much as a dump truck if they back over you.

Breakfast should not come on a stick.

Cals with Beth are cool. Even for cooks.

Explaining drum corps to civilians is impossible but it’s sure fun to try.

In Minnesota, corn dogs are called Pronto Pups.

Sleep is impossible.

It doesn’t matter how cold the water is if enough time has passed since your last shower.

Drum corps attract rain like trailer parks attract tornadoes.

You don’t want to know what’s in the dressing.

Sleep is a figment of your imagination.

Brown is a drink flavor. As are Red, Yellow, and Purple. Red, Yellow, and Purple are easy. Brown should be attempted only by the most experienced cooktruck personnel.

"Sloppy Joe" is a flexible concept.

The definition of vegetarian varies from day to day.

Jell-O can be a dessert, a vegetable, or a salad. I haven’t seen it as a main course. Yet.

The first thing a corps member says upon awaking the first day at home is: "This is not a gym."

The second thing a corps member says upon awaking the first day at home is: "Where is everybody?"

Sunday, August 08, 2004

I can't believe it's over

Well, the Speers (all four of us) are home in West Des Moines. Drove straight through from Denver after finals. Long and tiring, but not too bad with 3 drivers. As I write this, the remaining corps members, drivers, staff and volunteers are still on the long bus ride home to Dubuque. We all wish them a safe, uneventful journey.

We just watched the DVD from semifinals and we all believe now more than ever that the Colts hit a peak for 2004 at semifinals that -- all things being equal -- could have and should have landed them in finals. It was an amazing performance, in person from the front row of Invesco at Mile High and on DVD, that all the Colts should take pride in. As Greg said, don't ever let anyone else decide for you how you've succeeded.

The entire finals experience was wonderful (except for traffic on the freeway). As always, the Colts and the people who love them made it that way.

There was a full crew of cooks and lots and lots of helpers.

At semifinals, Jody and I got to accompany the Colts through the stadium tunnel and out to the field (after a brief rain delay) and then got a front row seat for the Colts' smokin' performance. Check out in a few days to see photos. We then followed the Colts off the field for a very emotional corps meeting with lots of tears, hugs, smiles and many photos of family and friends. It was an experience not to be missed.

The whole crew of the Virtual Cooktruck continued to make many friends among Colt parents whom we hadn't met before. We met Emily's mom at the corps meeting and got to see Jessica's mom -- who David had talked to on the phone during tour -- in the stands on finals night.

Many memories. Many new friends. A "mile high" experience to top a terrific year.

Jody Glow contributed Blog comments from her hotel room. We never got an official Blog connection, but I'm sure there will be many recaps posted here. Please click on the comment link at the end of this post and share memories of the season.

The Blog Crew at home

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Denver. World Championships. Wow.

This will be the last of the daily postings for the season. All the bloggers will be in Denver by tomorrow morning, and I don't think we'll have access (or much time) to post daily updates to the Virtual Cooktruck from there. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, though, so if you can't make it to the mountains, check back here to see if we're successful in blogging from the road. And there'll no doubt be a wrapup when we return after tour.

Come by and say hi in Denver if you see Bill or David or Jody.

And as always:


Weather forecast for Denver
Weather forecast for Loveland

The Colts are in the Mountain time zone.

Menu for Wednesday
Hash browns (I hope they cooked them on the grill Jeff's way....)
Choice of blueberry, lemon or apple muffin


Lemon Pepper Chicken

Schedule for Wednesday
7 Wake
7:15 Cals
7:45 Breakfast
8:45 Vis
9:30 Solo and ensemble performers leave for competition
12 Lunch
1 Sectionals
5 Dinner
6 Ensemble
8:30 Run
9 Meeting
10 Snack
11 Lights out

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Today's happenings

Today's happenings
The Colts arrived at the housing site in Loveland, Colorado, about 6 a.m.

8:45 Wake
9 Cals
9:30 Breakfast
10:30 Visual block
1:30 Lunch
2:30 Sectionals
5:30 Dinner
6:30 Ensemble
9 Individual and Ensemble Performances
10 Snack
11 Lights out

During visual block the corps will be working on:
30 min. Basics
1 hour Threshing machines
15 min John Henry touchup
45 min Celebration
30 min End of Celebration

Pancake and French Toast Redux

Egg Salad Sandwiches
Broccoli Salad
Pudding with Cookies

Salisbury Steak
Brown Gravy
Baked Potatoes with Butter and Sour Cream
Cherry Cheesecake

Hi to everyone from the cooks

It's Denver! (Loveland, actually)

It’s time for DCI World's

Weather forecast for Denver
Weather forecast for Loveland

The Colts are in the Mountain time zone.

Monday, August 02, 2004

German Day in Newton

German Day in Newton<br>

It was German Polka Day in Newton for the Colts. (Don't ask why....) complete with the menu in German, inflatable wooden shoe hats for cooks courtesy of Olaf and a German menu courtesy of Head Cook Charlotte. Nobody would take the blame for the polka music.

Here's my somewhat befuddled copying down of Olaf's menu posting in German.

Schwein Gebrat
Warmer Spatzle Salat mit Speck
Groner Salat
Eize mit Apfelmus

(forgive the lack of accent marks and umlauts for the German and my lack of spelling expertise in German)

Today's happenings


Pancakes and sausage
Leftover crumb cake

Taco salad
Black beans
Fruit cup
Lemon bars

Cheesy broccoli (is this because we had broccoli and cheese leftover from baked potato night? I wonder.....)
Mashed potatoes
Cherry cheesecake

The corps arrived about 8 a.m.

10:15 Wake
10:30 Cals
11 Breakfast
12 Visual
3 Lunch
4 Sectionals
7 Dinner
8 Ensemble
10:10 Run
10:30 Snack, pack and load
Midnight depart for DENVER

Today's cooks
Charlotte -- head cook

Bill says, "Here we are in Nebraska. Hot as hell. Hope Colorado is cooler, but it's supposed to be in the mid-80s."


A big thanks to Bill Symoniak for helping post the blog while I was on tour for 2 weeks.

But an even bigger thanks to my darling wife Jody who kept the maps and weather reports updated for two weeks and menus and notes posted and updates written and who has gotten none of the credit for keeping the virtual home fires burning while I was away. She's repaired computers and changed posts as the ever-shifting scheduled changed once again. She's answered phone calls at all times of the day and night. And let everyone think it was me doing it the whole time.

Thanks, sweetie. Those of us who get to be out there on the road with the corps for 2 wonderful weeks could never do it without those of you who stay home and feed the dogs and update the blog.


Off Tour

I feel like I should write something today about my 17 days on tour, but I just don't feel up to it yet. It's been about 9 hours since I walked off the cooktruck last night saying, "See you Thursday in Denver," and right now Thursday seems about a year away.

The hardest thing for me about tour is getting off and knowing that they're still out there somewhere, working their butts off to be the best damn drum and bugle corps they can.

I'm really happy to be home. I'm not at all happy about being back to work this morning. And I miss everyone so much already.

More later. Much more about how it always rains in Indiana unless you're going to do a drum corps show indoors. Then it's fine. (Yes, Jim, I know all of Indiana is not like that.) And how Missouri and Pennsylvania have the bumpiest roads in America. And the pleasures of mixing 85 gallons of orange juice in a 2-week period. And......

Headed for Denver

It’s a rehearsal day in Cozad, Nebraska.

Weather forecast for Cozad

The Colts are (barely) in the Central time zone.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Colts back in Iowa, Newton to be exact

It’s a
show day in Ankeny, IA

Weather forecast for

The Colts are in the CENTRAL time zone.


8 Cals
8:30 Breakfast(Muffins--apple cinnamon or blueberry, oranges
9:30 Visuals
11:15-11:45 Drumline snack
11:30-12 Brass snack
11:45-12:15 Color guard snack
11:45 Drumline sectional
Noon Brass sectional
12:15 Color guard sectional
1:40 Ensemble
3:10 Lunch (pork cutlets, German noodles, broccoli salad, country apple dessert), pack, load
5:15 Leave for show in Ankeny
6:30 Arrive Ankeny
8:31 Step off
9:00 Dinner(chicken sandwich, corn on the cob, jell-o, apple pie and ice cream)
10:20 Watch Colt Cadets perform
10:30 Age out recognition (postponed from Dubuque)
11 Snack (quesadillas)
12:15 Depart for Nebraska


Charlotte Wolff, Olaf Nahon
David Speer, Dan Knopoff
Marie Reidelbach, Carol Osborne

David Speer, Marie Reidelbach and Carol Osborne leave after tonight's show in Ankeny. Thanks for all your hard work. It's much appreciated.

Bill and Luba Symoniak arrive today to be on tour through finals.

I'm leaving for Ankeny. I finally get to be back on tour - I can hardly wait! As some others have said before, there is nothing like the feeling you get when feeding the Colts, seeing the kids faces and hearing the gratefulness from them. I'm on tour through Denver.

No matter what score the kids get from now on, it doesn't reflect what winners each and every one of the kids are. All you parents should be very proud of the job you all did when raising them. They are all unbelievable in their own way.

All I do for the blog from now on is to report to David. He'll take care of the rest. If you're traveling, travel safe and be confident in knowing that your kids will be cared for with love.