What a great Road Rally!

Got back last night from the Rally. WOW. What another great event! This was my third one and I'd say that it was the best one yet. I told my wife before I left for the trip that this year things felt just a little bit different. I wasn't sure why exactly. Looking back at it now, I think I have an idea. But before I get to that I wanted to touch on a few highlights of the trip.

There are just too many familiar faces and new faces that I spent time talking to this year for me to try and list them all, as I'm sure I would leave someone out. In fact, I actually started typing up a list and about every 5 minutes or so I would realize that I forgot someone so I figured it'd be best to just say that it was great talking to everyone that I saw while I was there. But there are a few people that I just have to mention.

For starters, it was so great to finally meet Bryan F. and Keith L., a couple of guys that I've been talking to online for the past two years now but had never met up until this past week. That was definitely a highlight for me. They're both just as nice in person as one would expect them to be. It was the first Rally for both of them and I think they both had a great time.

Last year I had a chance to make some new friends at the very end of the Rally, those friends being Jeff and Theresa. This year, Jeff's brother Dan came with them and I'm so glad he did. What a great guy with such a huge heart. Can't say enough how much I enjoyed getting to know him and I can't say enough how much fun I had playing the "Forever Knight" prank on Jeff! Ah, good times :-)

Another person that I got to meet for the first time was Tino from Italy. Talk about someone with a personality! It was just a joy being around him. It was his first trip to the States. I had a wonderful time talking with him about how different life in Europe is now compared to how it was when he was younger. And I gotta say, few things made me smile as much as hearing him say "Hey Blue!" in his wonderful Italian accent.

I could keep going for pages with stories of all the conversations I had with all the various people that were there but I'll spare all of the details and just say that some of the other memorable moments were finding out that my friend Lydia has had over 300 placements in the last 5 weeks, getting to talk to one of the most well-known video game composers Sascha Dikiciyan, the conversation I had with Michael on Sunday night, the Studio 51 "staff meeting", the dinners at Subway with Mark, talking cats with Ariel, Carla and Emily(?), talking guitar production tips/tricks with Keith, Bryan, Brandon and even my one-to-one mentor, and the "mentor session" I had with Matto, and the conversation with David on the flight back, just to name a few :-)

As I try and wrap this up, I wanted to touch on why I feel this Rally was different for me than the past year's. I believe the main difference is that in past year's, I was going with much more of an agenda. Without meaning to sound cheesy, I was going more to see what the Rally could do for me. This year, I went with more of a "What can I do for the Rally?" type attitude. Now, that doesn't mean that I didn't have any personal agenda, 'cause that would be a lie. I did still have some personal goals for the trip, but those goals were secondary this year.

The first two years I went, I had much more stress on myself than I did this year. In fact, I'd say other than the anxiety of hoping I wouldn't miss my either of my flights, I had no stress at all this year. And in turn, I feel like this year was the best Rally I've been to. It's hard to quantify for those of you who haven't been to one, but for those of you who have, especially if you've been to more than one, I think you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Well, I guess I should wrap this up. I still have TONS of emails to reply to and will try and get back to everyone as soon as possible.

Until next time...
- Big Blue

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