Gecko Network Update 28.11.2019

“Mediocre things are better than no things” is the phrase that we’re trying to force ourselves to live by at Gecko Network, in regards to Gecko News. At the start of the year, I was appointed by Anuda(our service leader) to head a team to specifically produce Gecko News, and nothing else. Originally, I was planning to produce 2 per month, where we could cover a variety of content, but this is far from what actually happened. It’s 3 months in to the year and so far, we’ve produced none. Now, while this does sound pretty bad(0% of our target), there have been many unique factors which contributed to this, though the main one the being the amount of school Thursdays missed from a combination of days off and SAISA. Despite these challenges, I’ve got a new script format that will us to make the scripts quickly and get used to recording them. The one video that we’re guaranteed to produce is the semester 1 wrap-up for the end of semester assembly.

Other than undertaking the definite challenge of Gecko News, Gecko Network has certainly been busy. As a group, we’ve produced 3 videos and hundreds of great photos from all the events that were had this semester. The SAISA video this year was something that I helped with, and it was awesome. In years past, all the SAISA videos we’ve made are 3 separate videos from the 3 different sports, but this year we combined them into one great montage. The production video wasn’t something I was super involved in, but I helped out with the coordination between Gecko Network and the musical, so that they could take pictures, and that video turned out as one of the best ones we’ve made.

I know this isn’t a particularly long update, but I wanted to give a heads up of what’s going on at Gecko Net. I’ll post the semester 1 recap video once we finish with it, and stay tuned for more.

Oliver Musical Preparations 14.11.2019


As is the case with rear view mirrors, sometimes objects in life are closer than they appear. This is an accurate representation of how I feel about the coming musical. What once seemed like it was far away is suddenly right here, and it’s not a particularly pleasant realization.

I feel like I’ve played decently complicated music in my past years doing band, but the music that I have for Oliver makes it seem easy in comparison. In addition to being challenging music by itself, it’s also music we have to play alongside the actors on stage, meaning that the tempo and length of each song is not guaranteed. Despite that, I think the hardest part is simply the volume of pieces that we have to play. While a normal band concert might be 4-5 pieces we have to learn, for Oliver we have 35. Taking out reprises of songs(same song but in a different key and general mood), there’s 31 unique songs to learn. These songs range from super slow(As Long As He Needs Me) to very, very fast(Food, Glorious Food). Despite these challenges however, I still think that we can pull it off. Everyone in the musical band group, which is a smaller subset of the regular band, has been putting in their best at every rehearsal, and also is practicing the music at home. Last year, I practiced my instrument only on weekends. Now with the musical, I end up practicing basically every night at home.

I’ve definitely made good progress in improving on the songs since the beginning, but there are still a couple of songs that always get me. For me, the hardest song is the aforementioned “Food, Glorious Food”. This is due to a couple of reasons, with the biggest one being it’s speed at an insane tempo of roughly 200 beats per minute. Add this into the fact that the majority of my notes are 8th notes(1/8th a beat), and you’ve got the recipe for a very hard song. Thankfully, the majority of my notes are with all valves open, as I wouldn’t be able to move my fingers fast enough to keep up otherwise. Regardless, I’ve actually been enjoying it as a song because it’s quite fun and I look forwards to learning it well enough to preform, and I’ve made significant improvements on it as of recently. Some of the other songs are just difficult through being slow and difficult to count as I have lots of rests during them.

Here’s a link to food glorious food, as well as the link to the Gecko Network video of the preparations. Take a listen to food glorious food if you can, and appreciate just how fast it is.

Food, Glorious Food:

Gecko Network video of the production preparations(I’m actually featured quite frequently!):

SAISA Swimming 2019 – Kathmandu Nepal

Well, it happened. The SAISA swim meet this year not only marked the end of this swim season, but also 8 years of school swimming for me. 3 days of the swim meet went by in what felt like an hour, and I was back in the OSC parking lot before I knew it.

From Colombo to Kathmandu

The journey began at 9:30PM on Tuesday the 15th when my uber pulled up to the front gate of OSC. The busses were set to leave at 10:00, and everyone was excited. I was excited, a little nervous, and very tired, something which didn’t make the trip there easy. While it wasn’t necessarily bad, the trip there was slightly stressful due to us almost missing the plane from Delhi to Kathmandu. Despite this, we all made it to Kathmandu, met our host families, and went home for the day.

Day 1

The first day of SAISA kicked off for me at 7:00AM, when my alarm woke me. After getting ready for the day and having a very quick breakfast(the school bus showed up way sooner than we thought), we departed for the competition. Following the opening ceremony and warm-ups, the swimming began. I only had 2 events on the first day, the 100 backstroke and the 400 freestyle. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the 100 back, but I was excited for the 400 free. The 100 backstroke prelim was in the morning and the 400 free was in the afternoon. As I said, I wasn’t really that looking forward to the 100 back, but I beat my personal best by 7 seconds going from a 1:17.12 to a 1:10.07. I also managed to get into the finals which was exciting, and these would take place in the evening. I was free the rest of the morning and wisely spent it screaming my lungs out for my fellow teammates. I’m known on the OSC team for shouting loudly, and there was no shortage of that this year. At about 12:30, lunch began, though I found it hard to eat. I was really, really nervous for my 400 and didn’t want to eat too much and throw up. Eventually, I found myself sitting behind the diving blocks, with only 1 heat until my event. My seed time going in was a 5:01.67, a time that I thought I couldn’t improve on. Finally, they called us forward to stand on the blocks. My heart was racing despite my best efforts to remain calm, and I was actually shaking a little. “Take your marks,……..GO!”. Cut to what felt like an eternity later as I slammed my hand into the touch sensor, finishing my race. I turned around and the time that greeted me was 4:57.31. In retrospect, I should have been thrilled, though I was far too tired to really process anything after finishing. After crawling out of the water, I went back to cheering wildly for my team while I waited for the 100 back finals, something I was not particularly looking forward to but managed to pull 8th place. After witnessing the spectacle of the 200 freestyle relays, we had dinner at school and headed home.

The next day started slightly better than the first, with me leaving myself a little more time to get ready in the morning. I only had the 100 fly the day, and there were no finals for it, meaning I would only swim for about 1 minute the entire day. The 100 fly is one of the most daunting and feared events at SAISA, and rightly so. While I do enjoy doing butterfly as a stroke, as do many people, it becomes very, very, very tiring after doing more than 50 meters. Regardless, I was still excited. My seed time going in was 1:12.40, and I managed to do a 1:10.56, which made me happy. Since I had no events left for the day, I got changed and spent the rest of it drinking milkshakes and destroying my voice further through screaming.

The final day of the competition came alarmingly quick. The first event of the day, the 200 free, was the one I had been looking forward to the most for SAISA. Last year, I managed to get 6th place in it(despite barely practicing it), and I was looking to do better this year. We climbed onto the blocks, heard the familiar “take your marks” before “go” and I launched off the block… only to hear the frantic whistle blows and shouts in an attempt to stop us from swimming. This was because there had been a false start. In swimming, after the announcer says “take your marks” you are not allowed to move before the word “go”. In this case, somebody had moved, but they said “go” anyways. However, as we dived, they attempted to stop the race. This happened over about 2 seconds, and many of the swimmers in my heat didn’t know that there was a false start, and they kept swimming. Unfortunately for them, they wasted their energy and we had to re-do the start and the race basically immediately. Luckily for me, I had heard the whistles on my dive and had stopped right after I had hit the water. After that whole debacle, we climbed back on the blocks and started the race again without any issues. My final time was a 2:19.10, which landed me in 7th place. While I was disappointed I didn’t get 7th, I still was able to score points for the team. My next event followed almost immediately after the 200 free, and that was the 50 fly. While I’m not really a sprinter, I still had some hopes for the 50 fly. These were dashed when I got 15th place, meaning I didn’t make finals or score any points. I hadn’t even improved my personal best, which was probably the worst part. Turns out the difference between 11th place and 15th place was actually only about .3 of a second, so I guess I was close to making it. I also don’t really get to redeem myself here, since it’s my last SAISA. After the 50 fly, I got a milkshake and spent the rest of the day destroying the little that remained of my voice and helping coach doing math for points. We knew that the OSC team wasn’t going to get  1st or 2nd place, but we were really hoping for 3rd. We definitely didn’t want 4th, which we were currently in. However, all the math we were doing showed us in 4th place when the competition came to a close.

The awards ceremony came about far more quickly than I would have liked because it meant the official end of SAISA. Going into the awards ceremony, I was genuinely unsure of what was going to happen as I hadn’t been keeping that great of track on the points. All I knew was that we were probably 4th overall,


Opening ceremony(we were all squinting because they took the photo outside and the sun was directly in our eyes the entire time)


Right before the start of the 100 back


The OSC 15-19 boys