Tag Archives: drum corps

2012 Highlights

2012 is almost over so what will I remember most about this year?

  • I launched jkire.com – otherwise you’d be reading this list on tumblr or something!
  • Kirbie just reminded me that she was here in Denver for New Year’s Eve last year, unfortunately that couldn’t happen again this year, but I spent a week in Portland with her earlier this month. Hopefully in 2013 we will be able to spend more time together!
  • #15! Blue Devils’ show Cabaret Voltaire was awesome and I’m proud to have been a part of the organization for my 9th season!
  • I got to accompany the corps to Guatemala over Labor Day weekend. My only disappointment is how close we were to Mayan ruins on our night off in Antigua, but there was no easy way to get there. Next time. The cooler ruins are further North anyway.
  • Custom vinyl toys. I started making these last fall but didn’t really make a lot of them until this year. They’re a lot of fun to make and everyone who has ordered some seems to like them!
  • Marching Lessons! I started it in 2011 but the episodes progressed into 2012. I still haven’t gotten around to making the “Practical Exam” yet, but… hey, I’ll get to it eventually!

Looking back there are a few things I intended to make happen in 2012 that just haven’t for one reason or another. I could be disappointed about it but instead I’m going to use those unfinished projects as a foundation to make sure 2013’s highlights are ten times as great. Here are just a handful of the projects I want to finish in the next 12 months:

  • The 2012 Pit Documentary!
  • PSW – A sci-fi novel.
  • The Marching Lessons Practical Exam
  • Zom Nomz – A comic.
  • Fridge – More of the comic. Figured I would wait for Fringe to end.
  • Eriktronic – A music album.
  • A detective novel.
  • Relaunch “Today I Watched” as a video series.
  • A couple of children’s books I’ve been putting off.

Maybe there’s something on this list you’d like to see more than the others? Let me know! The biggest obstacle has been having to decide between them all, so I usually end up playing video games instead.

Of course I plan on doing what I can to make sure the “bigger than me” stuff like drum corps is as great as possible too. And to take even better photos than the last two years.

Happy New Year! I have a pretty good feeling about 2013.

Gatorade for Drum Corps – Mixing Sequence

Elaborate: Ice -> Powder -> Water -> Stir. Any other order and you’re asking for trouble.

For best results don’t deviate from this order of events.

First toss in a couple gallons of ice. Putting the ice in first means that it will cool down the water as you fill. “But that will make the ice melt!” and therefore make the drink cold. That’s the point. If all the ice melts before you finish making the batch, just add some more ice before you fill it to the top and take note for next time. Why do you want to avoid adding ice last? First, it reduces splashing especially if you have bigger clumps of ice. Second, as I already said it cools the water down as it fills so the drink is more uniformly cold from the first cup spouted out. Third…

Putting the ice in first creates a barrier that helps avoid powder accumulation on the bottom of your cooler. I’ll get more in-depth about the importance of this in a future post. Why not put the powder in after the water? You’ll end up getting a cloud of powder all over everything. Unless you can somehow keep everything dry, this means droplets of water becoming droplets of sticky Gatorade all over the area. The deeper in the cooler the pouring of powder takes place, the less product you waste. Yes there will still be a powder cloud, but just pop the lid back on for a few seconds as it settles. Also, if you add the powder first and someone desperately needs their electrolytes they can fill up from the mix-in-progress and then add the appropriate amount of water to finish their drink.

Now you’re ready to let the water flow. The stirring should actually take place during the filling, not after, to avoid the sludge situation and break up the ice. If you wait to do all of your stirring when the cooler is topped off you risk more spillage than if you do the harder stirring sometime during the 20-90% full range. Once the cooler is full you should only need a few gentle stirs. I go with 15 16.

Note that your water source may vary. Most of the time you will use a hose. I prefer to use one without any attachments such as a spray gun or other nozzle type. This is because most drinking water hoses I’ve used are relatively weak and will burst with enough built up water pressure. This is very likely to happen if you use the nozzle at the end of the hose as your “on-off switch” instead of turning it on and off at the spigot. I have had very few hoses go bad since I stopped using spray guns/nozzles. Also, using a high pressure spray gives the illusion of the water doing a lot of the mixing. It doesn’t really do much mixing after the first gallon, and in the case of orange juice from concentrate it will just produce a lot of wasteful frothing.

Over time I have learned and mastered the art of using backup coolers full of water to make a quick mix. This is especially useful in the midst of a meal when corps members are thirsty and starting to tilt the jugs to get it to flow faster. I usually use whatever water is left over from rehearsal, otherwise I take some time when Gatorade supply is good just to fill up the backups. I don’t recommend filling a cooler to ten gallons using this method due to the risk of spillage. It is possible to pull off with practice, though. I’ll talk about this more in a future post about flavor mixing.

To do your stirring get a hold of a 36″ wooden stirring paddle (stainless steel transfers heat too well and will waste a bit of your ice’s cooling potential, as well as make your hands cold). Drill a hole in the end and get some string or a zip tie so you can hang it up when not in use, another reason to go with wood. Wash it and rinse it off often. Use it to fend off wild animals if necessary. Do not use it to scratch your sweaty back. Gross.

So follow these steps you will have the best time possible! Tune in next time when I’ll go into detail about partial powder packets.


Gatorade for Drum Corps – Watered Down Flavors

Elaborate: Some flavors taste better watered down than others.

There are two main reasons to water down your Gatorade mix: save money and avoid dealing with partial packets. Watering down also naturally occurs when the ice in your mix melts.

Gatorade’s instructions suggest you place a gallon of ice in a sealed plastic bag in your 6 gallon mix of Gatorade. Not only does this take extra time, but a mere gallon of ice is rarely enough, especially when you want to maximize your 10-gallon cooler capacity. Just consider the ice as water in your mix calculation, chances are it will all melt by the time it’s consumed on a hot day anyway. The whole “how much ice?” thing is applicable to plain water as well, so I won’t get into that in this series of posts.

The following is based on 6 gallon packets of powder in 10-gallon coolers.

General rule: All flavors I’ve worked with still taste good at 7 gallons for one packet (14% diluted), and great at 10 gallons for one and a half packets (11% diluted). If you have an even number of Gatorade-dedicated coolers, this works great. But it’s the pesky odd cooler out where you want to consider how much to make depending on the flavor you use. Side note: Don’t make Gatorade in 5-gallon coolers unless you have to. More on that in a later post.

So that you don’t have to deal with open partially used packets, when you’re making a single cooler don’t make the full 10-gallons.

Orange – tastes good up to 8 gallons per packet (33% diluted!).
Grape, Fruit Punch, Lemon-Lime – tastes good up to 7.5 gallons per packet (25% diluted). I’ve only used Grape a few times, so test this for yourself.
Glacier Freeze – tastes decent up to 7.5 gallons per packet, but I recommend sticking to 7.
Riptide Rush – tastes good up to 7 gallons per packet. Do not confuse with Grape. Not all purple drinks are the same!

Of course your mileage may vary. There also may be other flavors available in 6 gallon packets, I just haven’t worked with them yet. Other brands of drink mix will obviously vary as well, the important thing here is the concept that not all flavors dilute the same, so experiment on your own to find that “sweet spot.”

From a purely economical standpoint your best bet is to only get Orange Gatorade, but everyone would get sick of that. So mix it up. Har har.

Tune in next time for the mixing sequence!

Gatorade for Drum Corps

The following are a few guidelines based on five summers of experience on tour with the Blue Devils.

  • Some flavors taste better watered down than others. (read more)
  • Ice -> Powder -> Water -> Stir. Any other order and you’re asking for trouble. (read more)
  • Only use whole packets. Dealing with open partially used powder packets is just asking for trouble. (read more)
  • Flavors are like primary colors. Don’t be afraid to mix. If it looks ugly it probably tastes great. Don’t bother mixing red (fruit punch) with anything. It will just look and taste like red. No matter what.
  • Always fully mix. Sludge at the bottom means wasted powder and inconsistent flavor. It might taste extra sweet to start, but it will soon lose it’s bonus sludge potency as the sludge settles and resists outflow currents.

Keep these guidelines in mind and you’re well on your way to making great gatorade for drum corps!

You may be wondering, where can I get enough Gatorade for a drum corps? Try Grainger or Uline!