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Trip to St. Paul

Last week I got the chance to head out to St. Paul, MN for the Grammy Foundation Career Day.

On my flight I watched “The Darjeeling Limited”, I wasn’t impressed. I like Wes Anderson movies but this one just seemed really disjointed and filled with non sequiturs. I also thought the characters were a combination of annoying AND boring so that didn’t help it much. Whatever, it got me through part of the flight before I just kicked back and read the book “Boomsday” by Christopher Buckley, which is awesome.

I had never actually been to Saint Paul but I actually really liked it. The drive in from the airport was awesome, the highway has a bunch of old style lamp posts on the median and then on the other side of you is the Mississippi River filled with a bunch of corny riverboat restaurants that looked like fun.

Once I got to my hotel I headed down to the bar to watch the Celtics beat the Cavs... I just wish they could do that on the road. The less said about this the better before I start getting all angry and crazy. There was some dude doing country-western karaoke. Is it still karaoke if it is just one dude on stage singing song after song and no one else is allowed up? I have two minds about this, first mind: its just one dude – second mind: he wasn’t playing an instrument, just singing along to some poorly recorded karaoke backing tracks that the woman at the bar (who LOVED listening to him by the way) would program up on the computer. I paid my bill and ran up to my room to watch the last 2 minutes of the game up there… you would have done the same.

I was up early the next day to bring our load of equipment over to a nearby college that was hosting. The rest of this paragraph is going to be about what Grammy Career Day is. Basically, the Grammy’s have a non-profit arm called the Grammy Foundation. Every year each chapter sets up a Career Day in one of their membership cities. A whole bunch of high school kids are bused in, and various people in the music industry (or abutting fields like my own) talk to them about exciting jobs that aren’t necessarily just being in a band. The Grammy Foundation also does lots of other neat stuff like take care of sick or out-of-work musicians who can’t make ends meet. All in all it is very cool.

HMXJohnD and I did a panel at the Grammys in LA where we talked with Steve Schnur of EA back in February. This time, though, I was running solo. Once all the kids were in and registered they were ushered into an auditorium to watch a multi-media presentation on the meaning of music. Once they got out the day was split into two sessions with a lunch in between.

My first session was a little reserved and very quiet... and I think one girl fell asleep. After my spiel detailing the whole process from licensing music to making the game to DLC to how our game is made and how many musicians we have and all that I offered to see if any of the kids wanted to play Rock Band… during school hours. No hands.

C’est la vie.

My second session was way smoother. The kids were engaged and talkative and we got into a big discussion about game design and why we should have a classical piano game (not my idea as I know virtually nothing about classical piano but it was fun to enter into this theoretical discussion). All very interesting stuff. Once the session was over I caught a cab back to the airport with a few of the other awesome career day presenters. They ruled, I hope I get to hang out with them again. I am definitely looking forward to doing another career day in the future.

Also, you can sign up to follow me on Twitter: HarmonixSean.

BATTLE HAT NOTES
Today’s  BATTLE HAT!!!= Yoda vs Alex Rigopulos
Johnlok and I reached into the BATTLE HAT. Johnlok pulled Yoda. I pulled Alex Rigopulos (Harmonix co-founder and current .., I don’t know what his title is… half the time I don’t even know what my title is – rest assured he is still very high up and probably has his own helicopter that we will call the Rigopulopter. Sorry for the run-on parenthetical). Yoda is pretty cool. Let’s be honest, though, there is no way he could possibly fight a man who has the power… to fire me for saying he couldn’t beat the ever-loving crap out of a muppet. Alex wins.