Another week has gone by, and the season is approaching faster and faster. So much to do and so little time, but I'm hoping maybe I'll get that extra four hours of time added to the day for my birthday. This weekend I went and saw "The Aviator" by myself. It was a good, but I'm still wondering what the deal is with Leonardo DiCaprio and all of these movies that last more than three hours. The movie was good, but that's not what I'm really interested in at the moment. I was watching the previews before the movie, and I don't know if I've just been out of touch or what, but many of the previews made me very interested in seeing several movies, including "Hitch and Constantine," but the one that really sticks out is "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Joe Smith
After the movie was over I went and did some searching online, because I know I had heard several people actually talk about the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide," and I was very interested in reading the book before the movie comes out in April. I decided, after some looking and after reading a few reviews, that I would try to get the book before I go to California on March 4.

Last weekend I had the chance to go up to Iowa City to hang out with my sponsor and also to see a few kids that I have marched with at the Colts. Over the course of the weekend I decided to sell out and buy a full-sized air mattress (something I promised myself I would never do before tour in 2003). Then we wandered into the bookstore at the mall and I found "The Hitchhiker's Guide," and little did I know, I was getting myself into a lot more than I expected.

On Saturday afternoon as I waited to go out with my friends for dinner, I sat down and read almost 140 pages of the book as I listened to Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad" (I strongly recommend this symphony, it's fantastic). I was very into the book within the first 100 pages, which is always necessary since I normally don't read for leisure. I was almost consumed by this book, I found it to be very witty, even though it is 25 years old. It still seems like a book that wasn't written very long ago at all.

Dinner was great, as usual. I went with my good friend CJ Schmidt (who is marching with Phantom Regiment this summer) and Liz Theobald (who has been with the Colts/Colt Cadets for a very long time). We went to a Japanese restaurant in Iowa City called Three Samurai. I'm a fan of Asian food, and this restaurant was no exception. After a great meal and conversation, I headed off to meet up with my friend Alyssa. I've never been to Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa, so I was very impressed when I walked in. I met Alyssa there, and we had the chance to catch up on things (she's marching with the Santa Clara Vanguard this summer) and to catch a very great concert by the symphony band (with guest performer John Manning on tuba). I must say I don't think I've ever heard a tuba play that high. The one piece that really sticks out in my mind from the night is Symphony No. 2 by Frank Ticheli. Sunday I came home, and found out the hard way that we didn't have wind ensemble. It made me disappointed, but I had the chance to come home and work on tapes, which are due very soon. I also had the chance to read and finally finish "The Hitchhiker's Guide," but the ending was nowhere near what I expected it to be. I won't say much, just that it cuts off abruptly. Then you find out there are four more books in the series.

Now I'm just ready for camp to be here. At the moment it feels so far away, but I know it's so close. It's a scary feeling.