2018 DCI: Sound Reinforcement, Part 2, etc.

Last week was refreshing and enlightening to me in many ways. I believe anybody you ask, that was present would express those same ideas, to some degree. I’m all about “the big picture,” so I’ll start there.

The leadership, all the leadership at DCI was very open and forthcoming about the current status and how we got there. As I was telling Aaron, my assistant director, Monday morning, DCI, and by definition the entire activity, seems to be at a pivotal, generational defining crossroads.

To quickly digress, for perspective. 10 years ago Impulse, the other Open Class corps, and DCA actually began preliminary informal discussions to form a new association, breaking away from DCI. I was not a direct participant of those conversations, but present at many. Because of the political climate between the have and have not corps at the time, and what led up to that moment, two major decisions were made: find better ways to support Open Class corps, and allow World Corps to drive the direction of the activity, seemingly away from its recognizable foundations.

This is an overly simplistic summary, but really, the basics of what happened. When you look closely at the essence of the two decisions made, they seem contradictory, and they were, but looking at self interest, from all stakeholders, it seemed to solve most of the immediate problems, and it did, but only to create larger problems down the road.

One of which is…

Sound Reinforcement

Not Amplification

No. Its not just semantics… (part 3?)

One of the activities we engaged in during the annual meetings last week was at the end of our DCI Family luncheon. Dan Acheson asked us to close our eyes and remember the 2007 season, and all that is was and how it felt.

Not. Good.

Then Dan asked the room to reflect on the past season, 2017, and if any of us could imagine back in 2007, if any of us thought Drum Corps would look like 10 years into the future the way it turned out.

Nope. Not me, and I truly believe everyone in that room in 2007 didn’t even think there would be a meeting again, 10 years later, with, in practical terms, the same people.

Questions and challenges to the activity, like Sound Reinforcement, has helped draw out everyone, to almost a rawness, and a genuine honesty about each organization and the activity in general, to reach back and say, what are we doing?

Not sure how much more I’ll say about the meetings. I took about 12 full pages of handwritten notes. Directors got packets full of info. More emails from the DCI office regarding some discussion points that were formalized. I’ve been reaching out to a number of people and they’ve been reaching back.

DCI is a welcoming organization, and I’ve already cleared more than my share of hurdles, within DCI and outside DCI, but I felt my fair share of, who is this guy, moments.

What helps me, in these moments, and helps my organization is I am completely, to a fault, comfortable with myself and what I am about. Nothing slick, or talk for the sake of talk. I think the quality of conversations I had were a reflection of myself and everyone I spoke with being authentic about our shared vision and values.

DCI is a middle aged organization doing a lot of self reflection about who it is and who it wants to partner with these next 45 years. The criteria for new and re-emerging corps seems very challenging. Glad I am part of an organization that has already made the cut😃

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 DCI: Impulse Tour

I started tour planning while in Indy. Contracts to housing site partners went out yesterday, from DCI. Those are the people that will give us, and all drum corps on tour, a place to stay and hopefully a place to rehearse, if that’s what the schedule calls for. DCI is expecting those contracts to be returned by end of February to their offices.

Contracts, from DCI, that have the housing contract agreements combined with the DCI corps agreements, including expectations of all corps accepting housing assistance, then go to all corps in March. I’ll follow through and affirm our specific needs with each housing site. A lot of this is on an online file sharing site. Personal phone calls and emails to the housing contact will also help solidify an understanding that Impulse, we, are real people, not just a file.

I meet with the overall housing coordinator for the entire 2018 tour (Jeff). He actually approached me about any changes in our housing needs this season, for either Michigan City or Indy that he should be working on now for Impulse.

Yes! We are going to have a larger corps!

I also had dinner (Fri), and breakfast (Sun) with the assistant administrator in charge of tour housing (Jim), and also followed up those conversations with his assistants (Chelsea and Elaine) with several conversations Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

At this point, tour logistical planning is moving along.

DCI has a new one stop online file sharing shop for us, our tour hosts, different areas of DCI operations, judges, etc. It combined several other online efforts into one source. Sue, Associate Executive Director, actually helped me set up the Impulse file, and sat with me, and walked me through it, getting preliminary and basic data input.

As a matter of fact, I had some questions for her last night, as I was uploading more data and considering market plans to better our home show financial potential. I emailed Sue and she responded this morning, also forwarding my marketing questions to that department. Without promising, she thinks my requests will be approved.

I made it clear to each and everyone I spoke to in the DCI office while I was in indy: I am reaching out to them when I have questions, and they pledged to help as much and when they can.

So far, so good.

In relation to a working relationship with other local corps, this evening I sent a preliminary email out to the other directors. Personal connections between us are positive, and informal agreements have been made about how we would all like to proceed.

We understand the value of friendly rivalry and our individual organization’s competitive spirit will not be diminished by good relations between our groups. If anything, the competitive drives may actually be enhanced. We each serve a different kind of student, I believe. We each provide a slightly different experience. My job, is to help make Impulse the experience of choice. All of your positive, appropriate efforts in that endeavor will be greatly appreciated.

Ultimately the quality and value of the Impulse experience falls on the individual memeber of Impulse, and our staff members. How well do you represent? How well do you achieve? How well do you communicate your intent to elevate others, as well as yourself.

I am ultimately responsible, overall, for what happens, or doesn’t happen. I would appreciate that you not only do your part, but exceed your own expectations in terms of achievement.

At this point, I am doing what needs to be done, but believe I am capable of more.

You want the best? That is all that you’ll get from me. All I ask is the same from all of you.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2018 DCI Amplification: Part 1

Drum Corps International, annual meetings, January 4, 2018, Hyatt Regency, Indianapolis

The conversation has begun

Its gone too far
It hasn’t gone far enough
Its fine where it is

How has it gone too far?, in relation to what?
How can you limit any aspect of design?
How do we even define where “it” is? What is “it”? Where exactly is “it”?

My description to many people I met the next few days, who weren’t there, of how the World Corps discussion on amplification began was like watching a battle scene from the movie Braveheart (literary license applied here) Intense, passionate, skilled, exhausting, and a little bloody.

The motivations for the discussion were many, (1)financial, (2)competitive equality, (3)ethical, (4)creative. None of the arguments on any specific point in the discussion were pure, in that the discussion motivation reasons 1 through 4 all bleed into each other.

And the counter arguments all had ripple effects to one or all of the original motivations. Within a group of 22 people, at least some fundamental ideas were agreed upon.

Everyone is experiencing some difficulties in each of the areas for the reason to have the discussion, and there was a consensus that the Open Class is also struggling with the same issues in greater or less degrees.

The initial defensive, and offensive positions many took at the discussions’ beginnings softened, and in some cases arguments for solutions found a few people, almost, taking counter positions to their original points of view.

There was a genuine sense of a collective desire to address an issue that became a multilayered, multi-dimensional, activity-wide concern effecting all organizations dramatically; not only now, but into an unknown future unless some parameters and policies were at least considered.

That may have motivated what many participants expressed to me, and others, in discussions I was directly a part of, or overhead, that the 2018 DCI meetings were the most collaborative, collegial, positive that they had experienced in a long time.

As the amplification discussion progressed and the ethical issues started being addressed, the tone of the meeting took a dramatic turn, walls came down, and a feeling of community and commonality began to permeate the room.

What are we doing?
Why are we doing it?
Who are we doing it for?

In what ways does amplification help, or not, define and answer these questions. In what manner should, or should not, amplification answer these questions. What impacts is amplification having on those we are serving?

What creative demands are now being placed on designers? What financial demands are now being added to organizations? What logistical demands are being placed on staff and members on a day to day basis just moving equipment? What quality of experience and music education are we adding to, or taking away from, the individual member?

That this discussion has begun is a great starting point.

I could tell you EXACTLY how we got here. I was in the room in Denver, 2007

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Impulse 2018: December Director’s Report

Assistant Director:
Aaron has been invaluable to me, and to the organization. He is focused, organized, and helps facilitate a lot of the behind the scene efforts. His presentations at Open House were great introductions to new potential members and parents.

Facilities: Open House worked out well at Bell Gardens High School. We’re tentatively scheduled to use BGHS through the season until Taft camp. Other sites have been considered; discussions on those sites to be continued for next year. Dates in June and July have been submitted to NLMUSD to reserve Excelsior high – Norwalk for everydays. Still waiting on communications regarding Cypress College. 

Audition date: January 14, BGHS. For public consumption, there is one audition date. Understanding specific logistical needs, individual auditions may carry over into the following week, and maybe even the following two weeks. Tentative Rehearsal dates: January 21, 28 February 11, 25 March 11, 25 April 8, 29 May 5, 6, 

Design Team:
Show development is moving along as scheduled: Discussed with Matt Menaged basic visual design approach, frameworks to build a show around. **** is the concept, Jen, Marc, Danny have been sharing music selections. An arranger has been selected. On target to have one chart done each month starting in January. Visual ideas to assist, enhance writing and arranging of music. 

My communication with the caption heads needs to improve. It has been ok. Understanding and learning their different perspectives, philosophical, and practical approaches to their responsibilities has been my challenge. We remain in general agreement about the vision and goals for this season, and we are all completely committed to working together.

Honestly, I’ve not made the personal contact with the instructional staff that I had hoped by this point. Many reasons for that. I’ve made minimal contact with all, but I will schedule a full staff meeting prior to Auditions. Support staff, I am in the same situation. Other than the social media team (Katie, Chris, Tom) my contacts have been cursory and functional, which is ok, but ok, is not ok.

Follow up contact has been made with all Open House participants, students and parents. Band tournament recruitment names were cross referenced and those contacts were also sent audition information. Bandfest details have been taken care of and we are good to go December 29, 30 at PCC. Recruiting is on going, through the spring. Guard show recruitment booths are set for four shows (Valencia HS-Placentia 3/3, Westminster HS 3/17, La Serna HS 4/13, Ocean View HS 4/14).

Promo Video:
I have dropped the ball on this. There’s a plan. I will follow through.

Fleet manager:
Jason and I have spoken several times over the past few months. He has always been positive and responsive to all my fleet questions. He is looking into getting tire donations for our vehicles.

Equipment Inventory:
This will be an on going effort. Great news. Another Alumni, Andrea Robinson (2004), has agreed to assist in equipment maintenance and repair as our new quartermaster. Jen, Ruben, Aldo, and Andi did an amazing job getting the horns ready for Open House. A thought: Matt Fawcette might help assist percussion quartermaster duties.

New Equipment Purchases:
I have not yet followed through on the contacts Jonathan (Yamaha rep) gave me in regards to purchasing used horns from other corps. I thought best to see what specific needs we will have. Something Aldo and I discussed was the possibility of acquiring horns in need of repair, and exchanging their use, or purchase cost, for repairs (including replating) of those or other instruments.

Evans Sponsorship: Made contact last week with the rep. He responded quickly. I will work with Marc ASAP on getting an order in.

Guard Equipment: Part of a lengthy conversation with Danny included discussion of purchasing new guard equipment: rifles, sabers, new poles. I will begin looking into specific costs and assess current inventory.

Lester is still on the mend. Steve is looking into his calendar on when he will be able to assist us. Larry, a former long time driver might have intermittent availability this season. Martin, 2016 tour driver, was busy this month, but I have his contact info now. Tom was able to use his Savanna HS contact and got us a driver for Open House. Dave, driver, is also a manager for Penske. I’d like to explore utilizing Dave as a driver, also.

Food Trailer:
Tentative date to begin renovation: December 29

New Uniform:
The prototype is done. Modifications are needed. Marti is physically unable to continue with this effort. I need to find a new, main seamstress.

Through online efforts I raised $400-$500, Robert Mac Tavish has a more exact number. Far below my expectations. However I initiated an effort, through the assistance of an alumni – Rob Prentiss (2003-2005), to have Impulse be a part of Apple Computer’s charity organization. I’ve been working with Robert on getting the appropriate documentation verified. I am also developing smaller more specific fundraising efforts, possibly targeting alumni for donations.

Open House:
Good start.

Several posters are developed and ready for posting. They will be emailed to any and all interested. Much logistical planning remains to be done. In terms of check ins, I am going to organize three teams if two: one to process paperwork, one to write receipts, or check off of prepayment lists. Guard will have auditions in April, but once a month day camps until then. First guard camp January 21st

Drum Major:
David and I continue to exchange regular messages, on a consistent basis. We will see each other in Indy at the DCI meetings.

Assistant Drum Major Auditions:
Aaron has been leading this effort. We have 4-5 candidates, at this point.

I have not worked with Ruben on developing an outreach plan. On other alumni notes, we have 11 on staff (visual: Luke, Rafael, Ruben, Jorge, Elliutt, Alexis, Katie; percussion: Marc, David Pham; quartermaster: Andi; flex support: Matt) Also, an alumni contacted me about sponsoring a tour meal (approx. $220) This is a fundraising idea I need to further develop.

Vet meeting:
I think scheduling was an issue, conflicts. Being a new director also, I did not do enough outreach prior to. I appreciated, very much, those in attendance, guard in particular, and Owen, Josh, Shannon, Susan, Lizzy, Staff, and especially all the parents. I think the parents out numbered the vets, which to me, was a good thing. Overall, it seemed positive, and gave Aaron and myself a live audience to rehearse our Open House rapport.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Impulse 2018: December 9th

…the day before the season actually begins… 

I would say, however, that is not a universally held perception. Auditions? First ensemble? Meh.
I stopped blogging and posting for awhile, honestly, because 1) thought readers might be tired of my blah, blah, blah 2) I was getting tired of own blah, blah, blah 3) its a long season. So much to do, still.

That said… I had my conversation with our Yamaha rep. Jonathan, he was a tremendous amount of help. It is really late to get in new orders, which I knew. I wanted to mostly just establish communication, so we both had a name and number to move forward with. He shared with me contacts for several other drum corps. i’m following up that info with other corps, after open house, on possibly purchasing their used equipment.

Marc recently signed with a percussion sponsor. We had/have a different sponsor. I contacted that sponsor, not to wheel and deal, but to find out, compare advantages disadvantages of endorsement of one sponsor over the other. We will continue this discussion next week.

The wish list, equipment-wise, right now for brass is: 12 trumpets, 12 baritones, 6 euphoniums, 10 mellophones, 10 contras. If more is needed, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

The wish list for percussion: everything. Seriously

Like I’ve said. I am honest to a fault, and will say things, maybe, I shouldn’t.  But, I’ve got no time to bullshit. The best and longest lasting relationships are built on trust.

I’ve made arrangements for the January trip to the Indy DCI winter meetings. I’ll be there Wednesday morning, David (DM) will join the DM seminars starting Friday. We’ll both leave Sunday. DCI covers my trip, and DCI covers David’s seminars. I don’t know how much time David and I will get to spend together, but at least Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday morning.

New recruitment efforts have slowed down, but I’ve been getting 5, 10, 15 emails, texts a day from recruits the past month. Mostly asking general questions, some specific, and some are not able to make Open House, but wanting audition Info.

I’ve been in contact with Katie about lots of things. I’m counting on her perspective and helping me shape what I say, and how I say certain things. She’s been a huge help to me so far and i expect that to continue. Also, she’s been working with Aaron on the website, hugely, bigly important as it is the connection between the organization and the world.

Speaking of website: We need to get audition info online up ASAP. Packets, payments, etc. 

Aaron has been a steady, consistent voice as the season develops. 

The vet meeting, TBH, was a little disappointing, in terms of numbers, but Color guard represented best, and impressively, imho, and all parents out numbered vets, barely, but that was impressive to me. I am counting on parents A LOT this year. I have A LOT to prove to everyone. That was part of my take away from the vet meeting. I understand and respect where we are all at in this process with each other. 

Jen has led the way with inventory. Aaron, Ruben, Aldo and Marc were out there on the initial assessment. Jen has made several trips back to the truck since. Marc also made an additional trip in-between. A good thing to look into, soon, is finding a full-time quartermaster. Jen has been getting the brass, in particular, into shape and that has been a thankless job. Lots and lots and lots of discussions about equipment inventory to be had: improvements, maintenance, new purchases, storage, etc.

SOMEONE PLEASE REMIND ME. At some point tomorrow I need to spend at least a little time, and speak individually, with each staff person.

The design team has moved along. We have a concept, and are in process of selecting specific music. The timeline for production: one complete music chart a month, ready to be taught, starting in January. Appropriate design will coincide development, and enhance and support music creative process.

I’m picking up the prototype for the new corps uniform tomorrow morning, prior to Open House.

I’ve begun the process of getting Impulse a beneficiary of Apple Products charity organization. They have quite a process, as you may imagine. We are on step three of five. Should be fully signed on by January. I’ve also begun personally raising funds for the corps, only about $500 at this point, but it is a start, and I’m understanding how much harder I need to work in this area.

In spite of the hundreds of emails and texts sent to potential recruits, in spite of the on campus recruitment done by myself and other staff, in spite of hours of conversations with band directors at tournaments, and the hundreds of postcard flyers sent all over SoCal, in spite of the numerous postings and hype online. I still think I personally could have done a better job, getting to this point.

I am not questioning whether or not I did a “good enough” job, leading up to Open House, if there is such a thing as a “good enough” job, in this case. I consistently reflect and evaluate what I do, how i do it, could it have been better. I need to do that. I need to demonstrate what I expect. The best, always, in everything. It’s all connected, it all matters.

You all know, now. You will understand later.

Bandfest guy made contact this week. On campus recruitment will pick up again after the Christmas break. Following up on new contacts from Open House, and continuing contact with initial recruits will also pick up in January.

Open House, to me, for me, is a page in a book, that we are all adding to in our own way.

We all have a lot of work ahead of us. We are, hopefully, going somewhere we haven’t imagined yet. But we will only get there…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Impulse 2018: Recruiting Video Narration

We have a great collection of pictures, thousands and thousands of pictures, and weeks of video! Impulse is, Tom is :D, putting together a video we are posting to all social media accounts,  and suitable for sharing and using to help recruit.
To that end, here is a “script” to be used as is, for narration to accompany the video, or the script can be modified, or used as inspiration for someone to video and/or audio record their own thoughts and memories of these four moments in a season: Memorial Camp, Life on the Road, Tour, and Show Day!

Send your recordings to me at corpsdirector@impulseyoutharts.org and I will send them along to Tom. Reason to send to me first is, number one, Tom would share with me anyway 😛 Other reasons may apply, on a case by case basis.

Read. Enjoy. Get motivated. Make Impulse Great!

Memorial Camp

The drive feels long at night and almost too much time for me to think of what’s to come.

It also feels like its going to be the start of something I’m really beginning to understand.

Discovering my potential as a performer. Learning how to push myself past pain and fatigue.

Making lots new friends, and becoming better friends with others.

The start of true bonding as a corps, and a taste of what’s to come in the summer.

I’ve been  using more Sunscreen than I’ve ever used in my life and I feel a soreness in my muscles and bones I didn’t know could hurt that much.

Sunburn is one of many new skin colors I’m discovering.

This is not a holiday. Its better!

Life on the road

An endless feeling of, “are we there yet”.

When my butt can fall asleep even though I’m wide awake.

Walmart at 3AM!, Sorry for kicking you, aisle-dweller.

Learning lots of new things, some I’m glad for, some I wish I never had to know.

Exploring, lots and lots of exploring.

Bug bites in places I don’t even know a bug could reach.

Striving for consistency in my performance and the corps performance, when everything around me is consistent and inconsistent, at the same time!

Pushing my limits, until there are no limits!

Never stop moving; get on a bus, get off a bus, get on a field, get off a field, get in a gym, get out of a gym, get on a bus, get off a bus, get on a field, etc.

Mind numbing exhaustion. What’s today? Where are we?

Sleep where, when you can. Asphalt mattress

This has been an amazing experience that is full of learning, everyday, all day.

Finding new ways to use old words; luxury – washing clothes.

These are memories for a lifetime.


Finding out what you love, and what you hate, in the best, and worst ways.

Finding out the greatest possibilities of what a group can become.

Being with the best people.

Traveling to Lucas Oil stadium. The Mecca of Drum Corps.

So much adventure and excitement that it goes beyond words.

Its a life changing experience.

Laughs and good times with people I truly love.

The hours and hours, and days and days preparing, now seem like time very well spent.

I’ve found a new family.

Definitely the best time of my life.

Show day



Focus on my performance.

Entertaining the crowd.

Time to show off all our hard work.

All the Hype, payoff of all the pain and sacrifice, the reward the audience gets from our performance.

Awesome performance, painful return to the truck.

Pride of sharing great moments with great people. 

The ultimate and most unforgettable experience, ever.


Thank you all 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Impulse 2018: November Director’s Report

We are scheduled to use Bell Gardens high school for our Vet-Alumni meeting and Open House. Morningside high – Lynwood, Burroughs high – Burbank, and Duarte high are also possible sites for events/rehearsals/everydays this season. I’ve asked Moses to reserve Excelsior high – Norwalk for everydays, as the facility worked well last season (stadium, ice machine) Cypress College? 

We need Audition dates scheduled, and as much of this season’s calendar as possible, ASAP, and post it!

Design Team:
Had our first face to face meeting this past weekend (Minus Matt Menaged). 6 show concepts were discussed. Timeline, November 26th concepts for consideration narrowed down to two. December 3rd a single concept will begin show construction.

Very high compatibility in personalities, communication style, artistic process approach. They accomplished in 2 hours, in rapport development, something beyond comparison. My opinion, based on my phone conversation with Matt, he will provide the technical mechanics, in the most simple way, to help bind this creative team.

Katie has been in contact, and maintained contact with tech staff. Most will be present for a pre-Vet meeting, meeting 8AM-10AM down the street from BGHS.

Savanna tournament marked our 7th of 11 band tournament recruitment booths this season, in relation to the past, the 4th of 4. Aaron has done on-campus recruitment, I have done on-campus recruitment, Alexis has done an on-campus recruitment. Recruiting is on going, to the point that I’ve made plans to establish recruitment booths at two guard shows in the spring.

Promo Video:
Tom has made two promo videos. One, a short, about a minute and a half. The other much longer, about 15 minutes. We mutually agreed the longer video needed more work, from a content stand point (added narration) I’ve been gathering input to script some of the narration. The short video has been posted online, FB and Twitter.

Fleet manager:
I affirmed with Jason his commitment to be available to assess vehicles and recommend any necessary maintainance.

Equipment Inventory:
Part of the design team meeting time was spent discussing the urgent need to get this done before open house. Critical that this work begin Saturday, November 18th. Jen and Marc have committed to do that, with assistance from staff.

I have a phone chat scheduled for Thursday from their rep to discuss current and future needs, brass, battery, front ensemble.

Lester works Saturdays, but is still committed to helping out on Sundays. He is prepared to bring the equipment truck to the Open House.

Food Trailer:
Moses and I spoke about getting this done. Needing a driver for a Saturday, I asked Steve to be available to do this, on a date to be determined soon. I need to give him the tractor address, and promised him a firm date his services are needed, by the end of the week.

New Uniform:
Met with Marti today. In the recent past, we’ve gone over design sketches, fabrics, and preliminary costume “drafts”. Today we looked at a one step closer garment and discussed a few more details in design. Progress is being made. Open House debut for the new uniform prototype is still on schedule.

I’ve not done any fundraising, personally, as I have hoped. I did get some new, very promising, information from someone I spoke to in the hospitality tent at the Savanna tournament. I need to follow up on that very soon. It was regarding a group that assists non-profits in fundraising. More information on that, as soon as I am able. An idea; since we are getting new uniforms,  we could offer alumni the opportunity to purchase the out going uniform jackets.

Open House:
Two primary focuses, question and answer session for all parents present, following a brief parent focused presentation. But first – get kids busy!

Not discussed at the design team meeting was an idea used in past Open House events that helped create a lot of excitement for participants. Brass, percussion, and guard will all work on a short show segment from a past Impulse show, and “ensemble” after brief sectionals. Maribel and Ruben have agreed to providing lunch at the end for all Open House participants. 

Drum Major:
David and I have exchanged several messages the last month. He plans on returning. All reports from current staff present last season, this is a very good thing. Aaron has been in development with caption heads on a process for adding at least one assistant to our DM rank.

Out reach continues and is on going. With Aaron as assistant director, Marc on as percussion caption head, Luke as assistant visual caption head, other alumni on staff, Impulse is fulfilling, my understanding, one of the organization’s original goals. I am continuing to work with Ruben on further developing more alumni outreach efforts.

Vet meeting:
I’ve reached out to vets, staff, parents about agenda items for the coming meeting. I’m also interested in listening to and answering any and all questions from those present this Sunday that I have not previously heard from. Corps necklace…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment