Guam Territorial Band Anniversary Concert

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The Guam Territorial Band will be playing a concert at the Lotte Hotel Guamย banquet room in the bottom floor.ย I’ll be participating as Trombone! We’re going to be playing a pretty great set of songs in their amazing new facility, and on top of that, it’s FREE! Come check it out if you have time.

There will also be a nice, short encore of Chicago (the band) tunes from a band that we put together for a concert last month :)

Sorcerer Hat to be removed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World

I went to Walt Disney World on Christmas 2013 for my brother Alan’s wedding. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid, so I was stoked, mostly because I would be able to finally ride all the rides this time.

So one of the first things I see when I enter the Magic Kingdom is some teenager wearing a Sorcerer Mickey hat. He looked so boss wearing it too. I just knew I had to have one. So I did. I went to the nearest merch store I could find and I bought it without even thinking twice. I spent the rest of my week is Disney wearing that thing nonstop. I loved it so much.ย It was my most favorite thing ever. As a plus, when it would rain (and it did a LOT…c’mon, it’s Florida), the hat made a great hat-umbrella to keep the rain out of my eyes.

So, the next day after Magic Kingdom, I go into Disney Hollywood Studios, and I see the huge hat right in the middle of the park. Oh. My. God. I was so happy. And I saw a band playing under it too. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I had no idea that the hat I was so in love with was a centerpiece of an entire park.

Anyway, when I read the article, it broke my heart a little bit. I really I hope I get to see it one more time before it goes down. Sabrina and I plan to take a trip there in a few years for our wedding/honeymoon in Florida (yayay), so here’s hoping!

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More Tech Infatuation: The Retina iMac

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I’ve been waiting and waiting for a new Mac Mini for a couple years now. I bought a Mac Mini in 2011, mostly as an HTPC. I’ve slowly been using it more and more to do work though, because coming from a Windows user, it’s really hard to find equivalent apps to use on a Mac when you’ve already gotten so used to the workflow on your Windows programs.

I’ve since then gotten very comfortable working on a mac, having owned a Macbook Pro (2011) and Macbook Air (2013) since then. The biggest thing for me though is that I’m getting into iOS develpment now, or at least I want to.

I do have a working Mac Mini and a working Macbook Air, but the problem is that my Mac Mini is stuck on Mavericks due to some of my audio equipment not working on Yosemite (so I can’t program with Swift), and the Macbook Air is sometimes being used by my Fiancee, so I don’t have access to it all the time. Not only that, but I am really spoiled by my PCย because it has 4 screens. Since I can’t afford a Thunderbolt Display or two, I’m stuck with my Macbook Air working on 1 screen + the laptop screen.

I’ve been wanting to get an iMac for a while now, and the fact that you can connect two external displays to it is a huge plus. Now, when the iMac Retina was announced, I was floored. I did a configuration of the original iMac with a 1TB fusion drive which came out to about $2,299, compared to the retina iMac that starts at $2,499 (base model starts with a 1TB fusion drive). So essentially, you’re just paying an extra $200 for all those extra pixels, which is a STEAL!

Anyway, I keep watching videos and reading reviews on the retina iMac, which is my usual ritual for whenever I get infatuated with hardware (like my MacBook Air in 2013, and more recently a Wii U…more on that later). After pining over these things for about a month, I end up just biting the bullet. I guess, at least in this case, I’m already doing a bunch of tech work, so it will eventually pay for itself.

5 Year Goal [update]

Wow. Thanks to one of my best friends,ย Tim Fox Dominguez,ย for stalking my blog and showing my original post to me. I completely forgot about it until he showed me. I guess there’s no time better than now to provide an update to this post, exactly 5 years later.

Before I say where I am now, I’m going to criticize where I was 5 years ago, based on what I’m reading in my post. I worked. Hard. I mean, I still work hard, but I work less nowadays and give myself more breaks and more time for fun. I’m still just as ambitious as I was 5 years ago, but I definitely am bigger than I was 5 years ago. Ok, moving on…

Let’s check out my checklist for where I wanted to by 5 years from now:

  • Day Job: Web programmer Full-time
  • Day Job: Emergency Wedding Pianist (max 20 weddings instead of 40 I usually do)
  • Saturday: Teaching Lessons
  • Late-night: Gig one or two nights a week
  • Sunday: DAY OFF

Let’s start off with what I’ve been successful with. SUNDAYS DAY OFF! This is definitely one of the huuuuge plusses of my life right now. I can’t believe I worked 7 days a week before. I mean, the income was good, but I’m glad I have way more time to do the things that Iย want to do (which is sometimes nothing hah).

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HIGH RISE in Saipan. August 2014.

The next thing I’ve been semi-successful with is a gig one or two nights a week. From where I was before, I wasn’t in a band, so that was my way of saying that I really thought I should be in a band. Well, I was in a band, High Rise, for a couple years. I still technically am with them, but we gigged for a couple years straight (and for a short time, twice a week). We eventually decided to take a break, but we are still for-hire for private gigs. So I guess I fulfilled my want for being in a gigging band. I’m glad we stopped gigging though, because staying up til 2am during a night can really take a toll on you.

Next subject! In terms of teaching lessons, I’m teaching 6 days a week now instead of 7. Teaching lessons is really good money, and I don’t think, at least at this point, that I can sacrifice my weekday teaching. Maybe when my programming business picks up, I can take it easier on the weekdays. I really hope that’s the case, because sometimes it can be such a drag to teach until 7 every day.

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The Inside of Crystal Chapel, Nikko Hotel

As for my day j obs, I am still a wedding pianist full time, although the wedding biz is slowing down. I think I actually may catch “the fear” (Friends reference) and be scared into trying my hardest to be a web programmer full-time. We are losing one of our most popular wedding chapels, Crystal Chapel (Nikko Hotel), so I expect my numbers to go down by a lot starting early next year.

So it looks like I’m doing pretty good for where I wanted to be 5 years ago. I’m extremely happy with my life right now, so there! That’s my update for my 5 year ago. I guess there’s nothing left to do now but to maybe post another 5 year goal pretty soon. Guess I’ll get started on that pretty soon :)

Yosemite and MIDISport 4×4 [update] — M-Audio Makes A Public Statement!

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Yes! M-Audio makes a public statement to all Yosemite users for their products. I was so sad that I might not be able to update my recording rig to Yosemite, especially if I decide to buy a newer Mac, but it turns out that M-Audio is indeed working on new drivers for Yosemite.

I’m glad they are, because I would have stopped buying any of their products for fear of quick obsolescence. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Welp, here’s the statement from M-AUDIO:

Appleโ€™s newest operating system Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite introduces significant changes which may require updates to the drivers or the software included with your product. ย We are conducting ongoing testing and development in order to support this new operating system with our products.

Bonus: Here’s a photoย of my recording rig (poweredย by a Mac Mini)

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RotD: CurrentC Hacked

currentc-logoWal-Mart’s Answer To Apple Pay Has Already Been Hacked

I know I already posted about CurrentC yesterday, but all of Reddit (at least /r/apple and /r/android) rejoiced at this turn of events. While this doesn’t really affect me directly, but I thought it’d be nice if Apple Pay started spreading now so that when I finally get a new iPhone, I’d be able to use Apple Pay almost anywhere.

Anyway, this was what I was looking up for most of the day, so this is the Reddit of the Day. Ciao!

[PB] Super Metroid any% in 1:10:11

250px-SmetroidboxWelp, I finally did it. Dedicated to Tim Fox Dominguez who has been nagging me to play this game for the longest time. It’s been out since I was a wee lad, but I haven’t gotten around to playing it at all until this year.

Let me tell you, it is a great game. It’s very well made, the soundtrack is awesome, and there is a lot of thought and depth put into the overall design of the game, aesthetically and gameplay-wise (is that a word?).

Anyway, I finally finished a complete deathless, saveless run of it after months of on-and-off practicing.

Check out the vod here:ย http://www.twitch.tv/coufu/c/5395632

WordPress vs Drupal

I’ve been using these twoย PHP applications for a long time now. I didn’t want to call them CMS’s because WordPress isn’t really a CMS. And I didn’t want to call them Blogs because Drupal isn’t really a blog. Although they both can probably do everything you need them to do, there are huge differences as to which one you should use.

I’m going to keep this short, because there are many other comparisons online about these two pieces of software, but I’m hopefully going to cover them from a first person perspective, rather than a completely objective perspective.

WordPress

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWho should use it: People who need a blog. Sure, there are tons of plugins to add functionality for CMS like features, but natively, it doesn’t support it.

Who shouldn’t use it: People who need to organize a lot of different types of data.

Pros: Great Text Editing. Great media organization. Great Plugins and themes. Looks beautiful out of the box.

Cons: Not necessarily good for data, file, and general content management. Database tables must be created manually with PHP (this could be a proย for some people).

Summary: It feels like the Apple of PHP software. The software has beautiful design and it encourages its developers (for plugins and themes) to make their software with beautiful designs as well. It works right out of the box if all you need is a blog with great media and text editing.

Drupal

drupal_branding_2012Who should use it: People who need to organize dataand content quickly and easily. Between its built in support for fields and views (with a module), you can organize your data quickly and easily. Programming experience a plus.

Who shouldn’t use it: Newbies to PHP software.

Pros: Fast development for different types of content. Tons of customization options. Create databases with point and click.

Cons: Looks ugly out of the box. Steep learning curve. Can be a headache to get it to work exactly how you want it.

Summary: It feels like the Linux of PHP software. It doesn’t really do much out of the box, but you can (and have to) configure it to do what you want and need it to do. It is great software for rapid development of database systems and can do everything you need it to, but it will take a lot of tweaking to get there.

Conclusion

I use both and will continue to do so. Drupal can be a real headache sometimes, but if I need to organize a lot of different types of content, it makes it a breeze. WordPress is such a pleasure to use, but if I want to organize different types of content, it can take much longer than a Drupal website could.

I think Drupal could become my #1 choice if the Text Editing and Media organization could reach the wonderful usability level that WordPress has. Until then, I will continue to use both.

Pipe Organ at Lotte Wedding Chapel

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So I had my first wedding at the Lotte Wedding Chapel last week. The pipe organ has been there for several years already. It was built in Germany, then disassembled and then reassembled here with the same people from Germany. So…I imagine it cost a pretty penny.

When it was actually time to play it in front people though, It was pretty nerve wracking! I have never played on a pipe organ before, and it is LOUD! Knowing this, I practiced for 2 hours the day before the wedding, and then for 30 minutes right before the wedding. Luckily, I only have to use the foot pedals during the beginning and ending wedding marches, but it is still really hard for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Anyway, the wedding went really well, even under lots of pressure. I was so relieved afterwards, but it was worth it, because it was so much fun. I’m looking forward to doing more weddings there!

RotD: Anything Apply Pay vs CurrentC

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CurrentC retailers not allowed to accept competing payment services, may face fines if they do

I’m not planning to get an iPhone 6 because I’m perfectly happy with my 5S, but if I do, it will be because of Apple Pay. Living on Guam, sometimes you don’t know if you’ll get the latest technologies with the rest of the USA, but I’ve been seeing the NFC pay icon at many areas, so if I find out Apple Pay works here, I just might save up for a new iPhone.

But this Apply Pay vs CurrentC thing is ridiculous. You just need to browser http://www.reddit.com/r/apple to view all the posts about it. It has even united /r/Android and /r/Apple , because CurrentC supporting vendors have been disabling ALL NFC payments because of Apple Pay, thus affecting Google Wallet customers too.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been mostly focused on Reddit today. It’s fun to watch this corporation drama unfold.

Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein

10501696_942116995803160_1615627081212320299_nYes, yes, I know that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the monster.

So Sabrina and I were walking around The Dungeon (store in Guam for all things costumes) for a good hour or more, looking for a quick costume we could put together for Livehouse’s Sunday Night Showcase.

After picking up $50 worth of items, we were still hesitant to check out because of how expensive our items were just for one night. So fast forward, we found these nuts and bolts that go through your head, and they were only $0.50 each! So we just picked up some green faceย paint, and voila! A couple’s costume for less than $10 :)

We rocked out hard that night to Trey Cunningham, FiF, and Freedom Fries before we had to call it an early night. We did, however, get runner-up in the couple’s costume contest, so that was pretty fun.

More updates to come on actual Halloween with our for-real costumes!

Engaged :D

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On the Seventh Night of July, 2014, I asked my girlfriend, Sabrina Borja, to marry me. And she said uhhhh…ummm….uhh.snifffffffff..whaa…snifff..wha..uhh..?!! *nods*

The short version of the story of how it built up: We were in Sydney, Australia for a Guam Territorial Band trip. Her favorite band piece for the longest time is entitled “The Seventh Night of July”. So since I knew we’d be in Australia on July 7, I bought a ring before we left and planned to propose to her. Little did I know that we were scheduled to play in the Sydney Opera House, playing The Seventh Night of July ON July 7, 2014. Everything lined up perfectly, and at the risk of sounding overly romantic, it was really magical.

So her response? It was the cutest thing ever hahaha. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind she would say yes! So, when everyone was asking me afterwards if I was nervous about asking, I would just say, “Pshhhh naw.” It was the most natural thing for me to do, and I’m glad she reacted the same way :)

Happy engagement to us! I love you, Sabrina Borja <3

Here’s a video of the song that inspired this night!

New Coffee Shop: Brewed Awakenings

10620504_1612854815608728_3667242851312421460_oA new coffee shop has opened up near my house! My fiancee, Sabrina, saw it and suggested we go there, so here we are this morning. The inside actually has a really nice ambiance, despite the building looking a little bit old.

Short side story:

  • Sabrina: Let’s try out Brewed Awakenings!
  • Doug: (didn’t hear the ‘B’) … that’s not a very nice name for a coffee shop
  • Sabrina: Nonono BBBBBrewed Awakenings!
  • Doug: Ohhh….damn that’s clever!
  • Sabrina: Duhhhh dumbass!
  • Doug: -_-

Anywayyy…ย The best part about it though is that Sabrina ordered her usual (double shot white mocha with soy), and she thought it was made very well. This is coming from one of the best former baristas from Infusion. I ordered a hot chai and was really impressed with the quality of their drinks too.

All it needs is a kitchen, and I don’t see any reason why this won’t become one of the places I frequent :) Like them on Facebook here:ย https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brewed-Awakenings/1612854462275430?ref=br_tf

P. S. There was an acoustic guitar in the corner too, so it looks like they’ll be hosting some small kine music events here sometime.

Yosemite and MidiSport 4×4

os-x-yosemitemidisportI guess I should have waited to update my recording rig to Yosemite, but it seemed like it wasn’t a major departure from Mavericks, so I thought that the drivers wouldn’t be affected. Boy was I wrong.

I use the MidiSport 4×4 to drive my three Mackie Control Universal + two Extenders, so you can imagine my dismay when I found out the center of my control wasn’t working anymore.

I came across this link and tried to do what it said to make it work:ย https://gist.github.com/anonymous/56df524e2a58ffe65a1b – It involved some command line which I am alright with, but it still didn’t work. Oh well, back to Mavericks it is.

New YouTube Videos!

CaptureI recorded some new YouTube videos in the past few months. I’ve been trying some new video styles too and getting a little creative. Nothing as crazy as something like The Piano Guysย (who are absolutely amazing), but I do what I can :)

I recorded “Saving All My Love” because one of my very good friends requested it. I recorded “Rolling In The Deep” because I bought a new guitar and wanted to try out a song that didn’t require mad guitar skills. I recorded “Realize” because Matala is one of my favorite local bands, and that is my favorite song off of their new album (buy it, btw). And I recorded “All or Nothing”, because I won a karaoke contest singing that with my friend, Tim Fox Dominguez. Bahahaa!

Enjoy!

 

Infatuation with MacBook Air 13

techspecs_13_headlineMy first Mac was a top of the line MacBook Pro 13 (i7) I bought in 2011. I thought that maybe I’d just try it out, and wasn’t a big fan of it for quite a while. I guess I never really knew how to use Finder and all the keyboard shortcuts. I didn’t have many applications for it either.

As time went by, I souped up my MBP from 512GB to 1TB. 4GB ram to 8GB and then eventually 16GB. And then I found out you could take out the Superdrive for another hard drive, so I added a 256GB SSD to it. The thing became a BEAST! As time went by, I got more accustomed to using things like Reminders, Mail (which I love), Calendar, and other things, especially since they sync nicely with my iPhone.

But the biggest thing for me is that, even though I love my souped up MBP and thought it would last me for years and years to come, the battery life is starting to stink! Although it’s not horrible, like 2-3 hours, it’s still a hindrance for me to use it on the go, thinking I’ll need to take the power adapter with me and always needing to find a place to plug in.

I was never, ever planning on getting a MacBook Air. I thought it would be nice, but nothing would ever surpass the specs I have made on my souped up beast. But, come this past WWDC a few days ago, the new MacBook Air 13 is boasting 12 hours battery life! WTF! I was working on some music stuff yesterday on Studio One, and found that after a two hour session of messing around, deep in concentration, I had to plug in. Now, with 12 hours battery life, I will never have to plug in until the end of the day. That is amazing, and is probably the main reason I am so infatuated with this thing in the first place.

The problem is, it’s summer and I have less work than I do any other month. But I can probably justify getting it, seeing as I can sell my MBP for a decent price still. Ehhhh. I thought I was done with tech lust. But I guess Apple has made me a fanboy, whether I like it or not :( It’s not even about brand loyalty anymore though. 12 hours of battery life is crrrrrz!

Pacific Summer Music Festival

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Check out the Pacific Summer Music Festival (hosted by Cantate) this Saturday at 7:30pm. Quartet San Francisco (an amazing string quartet) as well as the Guam Territorial Band and of course Cantate and others will be performing that night.

Teaching Winds: Play Along With Piano!

Quick tip! I teach all woodwinds and brasswinds. I used to play along with my students exclusively. It is rather important to, as a matter of fact, because they should know what the instrument is supposed to sound like in real life (YouTube videos are great, but it’s always better to see things before your eyes). But as of late, I’ve been teaching almost exclusively by accompanying them with a piano.

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Why? Well, when I play along with my students, as hard as I try not to, I tend to adjust to the intonation of my student. This doesn’t help the student at all. So I play piano along with them so that they always have a perfect reference point to be in tune with, whether it’s just plucking out the same notes as they’re playing, or making up chords that go along with the exercises. This also includes a lot of yelling like “loosen up!” or “tighter!!” for most winds, and “roll in!” or “roll out!” for flutes.

Since I’ve adopted this method, even my oboe students are playing more in tune than ever! Try it out :)

One Door Closes……A Million More Open

I’ve never been good at blogging. Look at my post history. All my posts are like, half a year (if not more) apart. Geez. So I’m just going to outline really quick what has happened since then. I won’t get too much into detail, but it has been a GREAT year in every aspect. I went through a huge life-altering experience in February, and although I never thought at the time I would be as happy as I am today, here I am.

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

So…with my sucky storytelling skills comes an outline of this years’ events thus far:

  • Rejoined the Guam Territorial Band after being 5 years on break for their New York trip and played in Carnegie Hall and Central Park. Spent time there with my best friend every (Victor Palomo) and made many, many new friends in the process. Super special thanks to Max Ronquillo.
  • Had the pleasure of sitting in with the Guam Jazz Quartet (Carlos Laguana , Larry Franquez, Patrick Palomo, Michael DiAmore) while DiAmore had an acute injury. This experience probably provided the most musical growth I have ever experienced in such a short amount of time.
  • Joined a new reggae band: High Rise. I met their drummer, David Bautista, on the New York trip and sat with him on the plane coming back home. We clicked immediately, he asked me to join the band, I attended a few rehearsals, and the rest is history. Their reggae band originally had no 100% dedicated horn players (myself included). But sticking to it, we’ve managed to compile a full horn section (with John Bermudes and Ben Hardy). We earned a great reputation of being the only reggae band on island with a full horn section. Since then, we have performed over a dozen different places in many different venues. We have also recorded a single, “Yes I” (buy it on iTunes!), won a battle of the bands (the prize was to open for Steel Pulse, but for logistical reasons, we were cancelled), and we perform twice weekly. We are set to release a full album sometime next year.
  • Sitting in with Renaissance. DiAmore is going off-island during a very important Renaissance concert, so that is giving me the awesome opportunity to play two sets with them. It is a LOT of music to learn, but it is probably the most talented group of musicians in this genre that I have ever had the pleasure of working with…and again, further pushing my musical limits.
  • Almost 200,000 hits on my YouTube channel! Originally, I was shooting for 1,000,000 hits this year, but I haven’t had time to record more videos. Still satisfied :)
High Rise (plus some other people)

High Rise (plus some other people)

These are all the highlights of my year so far. There have been countless experiences, but the year is only a bit more than half over, and I am looking forward to so many new things that are coming my way.

YouTube Uploads

I’m going to start recording and uploading more videos to YouTube. There aren’t nearly as much stuff as there should be on there and I hope my contributions will be a valuable asset to those who are looking for more classical recordings on YouTube.

Oh, that, and most of my students are off island so I have quite a bit of free time – Yay! So look forward to it and enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/coufu

Student Recital

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I’m holding a recital for all my students on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 7:00pm at the UOG Fine Arts Building Room FA127. It’s my first time holding a recital for my students so it’ll be pretty exciting to see how things work out.

Check it out if you have time. See you there!

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