I’ll start off this post on a high note and admit that 2013 was a great year. There were a lot of unanticipated pies to the face while on the other hand, a lot of changes which ultimately steered into the positive.

Despite the crumbling of bits and pieces of my life earlier in the year, the experiences offered an opportunity to focus on myself and to think critically about my past, present and future. Things like my career, education, personal fitness and interests all fell in to place. More so, the people around me changed for the better. My siblings are doing well in school. My parents aren’t working as hard as they need to, my cousin got married, I’m now an uncle, and most importantly, my friends and family all have bigger and better plans for their own personal and professional development. I cannot be more proud of them all.

Throughout 2013, I’ve met a lot of people who have individually shaped my outlook on life. At the same time, I also (and unfortunately) lost and let go of some people who were dear to me. I won’t forget these people because they played a pivotal role in my life, directly influencing my actions and decisions. I am grateful to have had you in my life. So like the yin and yang, there is some sort of crazy balance that somehow and in some way sets everything in to place. It’s just a matter of time and exercising the virtue of patience. And sure, people say life is short and you only live once, right? (Worst cliche – ever!)

Having said that, it was sad for me to lose my uncle earlier this year who unfortunately sacrificed his entire life to build a safe and solid foundation for his children but alas, he did not get to enjoy the fruits of his labour. I was most definitely at a loss for words when I had heard news of this.

Here are some of my highlights for 2013 in no particular order. Whether good or bad, you can decide for yourself.

– I started playing the trumpet again after a 10 year hiatus

– I got accepted in to BCIT’s Bachelor of Technology (Technology Management) Program

– I am healthier (overall)

– Sacrifice – understand it and accept it

– My average speed increased on the bike. Same goes for endurance. I am proud of this achievement

– My clothes don’t really fit me anymore. I had to size down and I look like a moron because the clothes are too big

– After years and years of doing the same job, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things

– My cousin got married. We welcomed a new addition to our family. The both of them are happy and I am extremely proud of them

– My cousin gave birth to a baby girl so now I’m an uncle. I hope she becomes the surgeon general and buys me a Porsche 911 one day

– My boss is awesome. He is by far the most supportive manager I’ve had to date in my 10+ year career

– Always work hard, but always try to work smarter

– I am single

– I learned a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses and how, where, and when to work on them. It’s an on-going effort

– My uncle passed away. This in itself taught me how to value life differently. Although I don’t feel that it was his time to go, it certainly taught me some valuable life lessons

– Give people a chance

– Take the time to listen to what people have to say

– Don’t take life too seriously

– Work and money isn’t everything

Life is about balance. You need to make it work

My family in Los Angeles – I don’t say it enough but I love you all. You mean a lot more to me than you think

I have an amazing group of friends. I don’t need to explain why – you certainly know who you are

I’m looking forward to a fun and exciting new year in 2014. I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

I’ll Be Damned

To follow up on a previous post Last Minute Year End Hit List, I picked up my horn and it looks like Heidi did an amazing job once again, and at one heck of an outstanding price of $32! I had expected a $300+ repair job but nope, as I said, she worked her magic and it was done – just like new! (Save for the lacquer and plating. I’ll save that for another day.)

Interestingly enough, I did a search on the size of the Holton’s mouthpiece receiver size and accidentally bumped into a post by one of the original development engineers for the Holton Symphony T101.

I worked at the Martin plant and was part of the engineering team that developed T101,T102,T103 and many others since 1980. I can say that all of the T101’s were good playing horns ,but some were tighter in the upper register (from high C and up) than others.the tighter ones would tend to back up rather than open up in the upper register. If you run across one of the more open ones it will be exceptional.

Also the model used to create the T101 was an extremely good playing 37 Bach with a 25 leadpipe made in Elkhart, not Mount Vernon . It was supplied brand new off the shelf from a dealer at the time. I took it apart–we measured and qualified every specification and I reassembled the horn.
After reassembling it still played very well.

We used no old tooling from anyone. All tooling including bell mandrels were made to our specs in our corporate tool room at Leblanc and all tooling was brand new. I am sorry if anyone out there may have been told about Mount Vernon and old tooling but it’s really not true.

Jim Stella

I came across another post by another engineer directly involved in the development of the Symphony models.

The T101 was a copy of an exceptional Elkhart Bach 37 with a 25 mouthpipe. No tooling was purchased from Bach. The engineering team at Leblanc researched and duplicated the chosen sample.

All tooling was made in house at Leblanc. Shortly after,the LT101 (Lightweight bell and lightweight body was developed from the T101) Later the LT101 re emerged as the “Millenium” limited edition which after 2000 became T105S. This had the same lightweight body with a standard weight bell that provided a nice combination of quick response with more body and warmth to the sound than the old lightweight bell.

brtech (from Trumpet Herald)

So, really. The rumour about the Holton Symphony T101 lives on as just a rumour. Save for the fact that it was such a great copy of the Bach Stradivarius horns except it didn’t have the Bach stamp and price tag! And it is true that my horn was made in the 80s based on the serial number.

Hah. Who would have thought. Oh, and I purchased a Stomvi 1 1/4C mouthpiece. Man, it truly brought out the sound and capability of this horn. I’d go as far as to say it is a night and day difference! I don’t struggle with double or triple tonging. Range and flexibility was a breeze and intonation – wow. Spot on. The tone is richer and smooth and air is free flowing.

Can’t wait to jam in the new year!

Like I Give A Sh…

The new tradition continues.

Christmas Day Ride – 2013 Edition. Except this year it was in Vancouver and not in Los Angeles. Traffic was calm and it didn’t rain. Too bad it wasn’t 22 degrees though. And I nearly hit the wall / bonked mid-ride. I should eat, huh?

The rarest of rare cranksets – Cannondale’s Spidering one-piece forged chainring and titanium crank arms. Good Lord. Only on Cannondale’s highest models. This was a 2013 SuperSix Evo High Mod Black Inc. Full Enve cockpit and wheels. Bastard got this at half off! Now I wish I were a dentist!

Do want, pls k thx.

Time to make dinner for one. Like I give a shit.