Thursday, March 31, 2005

And in the end...

A strangely beautiful day in this city; ran errands and accomplished nearly everything on my agenda for today. Feel a little tired and I don't think time will allow me to get to the gym this evening. Too much to do; too much to carry/bring home and I still need to get up to Astor Place for a haircut. Unless I get an overwhelming burst of energy, a workout is just not on the cards for tonight.

The sad saga of Terri Schiavo has come to an end; I can only hope she has peace. If her parents and their minions would now resume living their lives, it would stand to reason this young woman may find that peace. I'm very glad that the people I know (friends, family, etc.) have had (now) the good foresight to make clear, in written legal language their intentions, God forbid, something happens to them. Liz and I have long been in agreement that a living will is the smartest thing; I hope some form of good comes out of this tragic and disgusting circus.

Onto the mental preparation for Saturday's recording session. I've already inventoried the gear I'll need and have my items prepared (especially the lyrics for "Inside", which I forgot really is titled "Open Your Eyes", but more on that some other time). Spent some time last night in a state of "method acting", which was what Chris and I termed the approach to some of the songs. We did it a year ago with the prepping for and actual recording of "Tearing Me Apart" -- think, listen to and sound like The Buzzcocks. For "Inside", only The dB's ever came to mind, so here I am again. It sounds strange, but it's a (seemingly) successful exercise for us. And having been reading about The dB's reunion that's currently taking place in the studio, it seems even more apt.

Chinese slippers, anyone?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Thinking in a straight line

Ever get the feeling like you're being stalked? It's one thing to have a steady readership, but yowsa! Talk about paranoia. How creepy. Nonetheless, read on, MacDuff...

I'll make my one statement of absolute seriousness as I have the right to. After seeing Terri Schiavo's mother's news conference yesterday, I am appalled and nauseated by the posturing of Ms. Schiavo's parents. It was a disgusting display to make the statements she made towards her son-in-law and his partner; if the Schindlers really gave a damn about their daughter, they'd accept that she is not coming back and let her go with dignity. Stop parading Ms. Schiavo's so-called friends in front of the cameras; these (allegedly good) Christian "crusaders" (there's that word again) are merely shills who do nothing but spout about everything except the facts of this case. Even a worthless rag like the New York Post ran a headline today saying "enough". And that's exactly what this has come to. Let this woman be. Please. Make an attempt and show Terri Schiavo respect. She's earned it.

Have to admit, as much as I dragged my heels to the gym last night, I was right--the workout was steady and solid and refreshed me to no end. Felt awake (with little soreness) by the time I got home and managed to take care of all my evening's tasks while enjoying my nightly conversation and couch time with Liz. I think it's time to gradually increase my program. Now that spring is here, it's time to lengthen the routines. I can also feel the new balance in my diet since my most recent shift. Not to jinx it, but I feel pretty good physically.

Today is supposed to reach 60. Tonight, I will walk back to the ferry to get fresh air/exercise and a smattering of the sun. Many chores to take care of when I get home, so it will be a welcome diffusion from the day.

Good point to stop. A lot to do before today's VML class.

Enjoy the sun if you can.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Get a grip

Heading to the gym later. Really glad to be going since I slacked off on Sunday and I'm feeling the encroaching Punch Line session stress creeping in. Try as I might, I can't stave off the irritation factor. Tension comes and doesn't go until the work for that day is done. I resent the fact that I have those moments when I just want the recording to be completed so we can get to mixing. It feels like that dreadful cliche where the hallway seems to get longer and longer as you reach the door of escape. Horrible. I would like to think that the annoyances, inconveniences and just plain fucked up situations since the album began will be forgotten in light of a stellar and well-loved document being released. Everything is on a "we'll see" basis; as the track record has indicated in the last few months, it's the only way to operate. So we'll see. I'll go to the gym tonight and have a good workout/psychological refresher.

Watched Bandwagon the other night for the first time in a few years (and certainly since The Punch Line's resurrection). While it's pretty dated (having that mid-'90's "indie" rock stamp all over it), it's still a good movie and entertaining as all hell. Of course, if you're in a band, it definitely touches a few nerves. There are some scenes that mirror my own experiences with The Punch Line (past and present) and wow, you can feel the blood pressure rising. Nonetheless, check it out. It's funny, silly, irreverant and accurate. There are also some pretty good tunes (think 'Mats/Soul Asylum, TwinTone-era).

A lot of my friends have been worrying more and more about the Evangelical Christians. I really don't know what to say except to just keep living your life for you, as you see fit. There are some things that we cannot control and this is one of them--especially at this moment. I'm not rolling over and kowtowing to them, but I'm focused on my life; our impending move, my physical health and enjoying the life that Liz and I have built up. It's all I can do. I can't be bothered giving a fuck about lunatic-fringe religious zealots. Sorry. It isn't in me anymore. As long as they aren't proselytizing at me, like any extreme political or pseudo-social organization, I'm fine. Actually, to be honest, I don't care. Just don't wave your flag in my face, whatever your cause is. I don't want to know.

Very happy to see three of my favorite human beings on the radio this coming Thursday:

If you don't already know, don't ask--tune in instead.

Just got back from a nice walk with the Wolfe. Talking with him always is a pleasure. He's one of the few completely grounded people I know. The sun's come out and getting away from the confines of the office can be a great help. Thus, it's helped to diffuse some of the negative bits and bobs swirling around in my mind. Only 45 minutes to the gym and I'm beginning to feel a resurgence in energy.

More tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mod is dead...long live rock

And naturally, on the quest to further join the modern world in the appropriate fashion, I threw down for a digital camera finally. You would have thought I'd have done it ages ago, but you know my priorities were a tad more musically-oriented (ahem). So the short list of household necessities has shrunken down to what--3 items? That '72 Tele, the iBook and the Mini. Well, soon enough.

Feeling sluggish today, especially after a really nice but heavy Mexican meal; took care of the groceries and main chores early on. We talked about it and I'm just not feeling the gym tomorrow. I don't think it means the novelty or discipline is wearing off; I think I just need one Sunday to not have to be out the door as soon as possible in order to get a machine. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Did manage to finally use my birthday/Xmas gift certificate yesterday (an unexpected but welcomed early departure from work); got a new track jacket and a cool pair of skate jeans. Unnecessarily expensive but hey--it was a gift. Just not used to having to pay in order to be so fabulous. Loving my new driving loafers, though. Very in. Like me. Can you dig it?

Every now and then, NME does a special edition geared toward a music scene that's been dissected to death; this month, surprisingly, is a tribute to all things Mod. Ironic, being that I've laid my former Mod-life to rest once and for all. No malice intended, but I can't help but suspect that this issue will do what it always does--deify the usual demi-gods, piss all over all the pretenders to the throne and ask what caused Weller to go insane and end The Jam in order to form the crime known as The Style Council. It gets tiresome. Much like dressing up and pretending to be something I'm not. At 40, I can easily let Mod go with no looking back. It was fun; it was cool and now it's finally over for good. How long can you carry on? It just looks foolish. But I'll see if I want to actually buy a copy of the "Mod special" for a proper fare-thee-well after I give it the once-over at the magazine stand across from my office.

That leads to the whole question that many have asked about The Punch Line and the "new" direction people think we're moving in. Short and to the point:
We are not/will not pretend to be/be looked upon in any way, shape or form as a "Mod" or "Mod aligned" band. We're 3 guys in our late 30's/early 40's and we're a rock band. That's it. We don't dress or follow the tenets of a specific musical/social/fashion movement or trend. I write the original material; we cover songs we like and think sound good when we do them. Very simple. We have nothing to do with "Mod" anymore. Get over it!

We rock. Now that's hot.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Not a bad way to start the morning. An update posting on the band's website clearly states the near-completion of the album. Good to have fresh newspeak. Plus, having confirmed next week's session gives me ample homework so that I'm ready when we get together. If we're as productive at this session as we were the last time, we should have a song completed, plus some overdubs and re-takes from the others. I will not allow myself to become stressed out over this, as I want to keep my focus.

Hoping to leave here a little earlier than usual. Would love to have some time in Synchronic East to just fool around with the SG. If nothing else, I wouldn't mind walking back to the ferry as it's been months since the weather's been decent enough to do so.

I feel pretty light today; no emotional heaviness or melancholia. Odd, considering that the sun hasn't shined for a few days and all that I'm besieged by is the Terri Schiavo situation. I'll refrain from writing about it, as my views are pretty well known. But considering it's been a "dark" week on so many levels, I can't help but feel teflon-coated from the never ending bullshit toss.

Good night at the gym last night; restful night's sleep and what looks to be a shortened day is a great lead in to what we hope will be another productive weekend.

Enjoy your chocolate bunnies!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mercury retrograde falling

I was wondering this morning why I've been feeling so off lately. Not ill; not depressed nor disturbed about anything in particular. It just feels like a case of the so-called blahs, but then I remembered... the planets are in Mercury Retrograde, which you can't avoid unless you want to stay in the house for at least three weeks. Okay--now having realized where we're at, I feel somewhat relieved. Thought I'd share that with you.

Having just e-mailed Bob and Chris, I believe The Punch Line is confirmed for recording on Saturday, April 2nd. I'll be glad to get on with it as I've been fielding questions, e-mails, etc. now on "when will the album be finished?". "When you be playing live again so this time I can see you?" and "will you have CD's for sale at the show?". The last question is the one that I admit, probably angered me more than anything. Not by the nature of the question but by the fact that:
a) we don't have finished product yet, thus, nothing to sell at shows
b) by not having finished product there is no purpose to playing live--certainly, not at this juncture
c) The Punch Line is on a treadmill that we'd better get off of and fast
d) When you think about it, it's embarrassing

I didn't really think that we had developed a "fan base" (God, what a corny and cliched word, but I can't think of anything else to call it), yet judging by the amounts of e-mails and correspondences recently, I guess I was (happily) wrong. Now I know that people are waiting and are getting tired of hearing me say "soon" to the album and to playing out. I understand their impatience and I can empathize. All I can do is continue to ask your indulgence and please wait--the album will be worth it as will our performances; I can only apologize for having to constantly update you on the album's progress.

As the sky isn't as dark as earlier, I keep looking through the potential move areas. If I had my druthers right now, I'd pick Jersey City as the main target--around Paulus Hook, etc. Liz is equally keen and being that so many good people I'm fortunate enough to be friends with makes the logic equal to the pleasure. If it's one theme I keep harping on, I just wish we could speed the time up a bit so we could get this underway. I'm no longer locked in the mindset of a house--an apartment for 1 year in New Jersey give us a chance to:
a) get used to life in a new state
b) save money for a house in this state
c) get used to having my father living with us
d) gives us the flexibility to lease a Mini and to truly absorb the lifestyle of a more-suburban setting

And so on. You understand where I'm coming from on this. All good things.

Gym tonight; low-key weekend ahead. Didn't know it was Easter. Irrelevant to me (no offense meant to anyone). It just means a quieter grocery store (and fingers crossed) an empty gym Sunday morning...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In the hands of such a lot of fools, part deux

The music industry's biggest problem is they've not accepted and embraced "the new technology" to make it work to their advantage. If anything, they persist in charging outrageous prices for (certainly, in my view) substandard product. The Ashlee Simpsons and 50 Cent types will die off sooner or later, but music companies (since "record labels" is a name for a different, past era) aren't doing anything to pave the way for the future of music again--and this includes preparing themselves, let alone giving an opportunity to new artists.

Fact is fact: music is basically geared towards the "young". Kids grow up and their tastes naturally change. Do you really think these assholes who have been ruling the charts for the last few years have staying power? Be realistic. While they fancy themselves as "artists" (insert hyaena-like cackle here), we know that they'll soon be as forgotten as Earth shoes and Taylor Dayne. Add to that the fact that no-one in their right minds wants to begin paying upward of $18, $19 for a CD. Not even myself. At those prices, no new bands/artists have a chance. So what's wrong with mp.3's? I, for one, don't have a problem with it. iTunes? Great idea. 1 song for $1.00? Fantastic. Sign me up.

You've heard this all before. It's just nice to see that others of a higher stature and wider audience are saying the same to hopefully make people who care about music and the state of the music industry think.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

In the hands of such a lot of fools...

Just got home from the gym; good, solid workout and I'm tired. A busy enough day at work and I'm looking forward to the balance of this evening and the quiet.

Came across this article; who better than The Impostor to give the (ensuing) eulogy on the industry? This is one of those moments when I say, with pride and a deserved smile, "told you so". It doesn't please me that people have lost jobs (yours truly included) or that gifted musicians--young and old--no longer have the opportunities afforded them by caring music people; no one at the labels that are left have any understanding of music or a willingness to actually nurture their acts--it's all accountants, lawyers and marketing assholes. In the immortal words of Rosemary Woodhouse, "unspeakable, unspeakable" (shaking my head). God knows, Napoleon Dynamite himself knows about dealing with record company charlatans (Jake Riviera notwithstanding). At last look, next to no one even knew D.P. McManus had a new album out. How much more insidious does it get than that?

More preaching from my chair later.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Weekend rewind

It could be subtitled "Through the past darkly, part 1", as this may be a long entry after a whirlwind weekend.

In spirit with the (now arrived) vernal equinox, I took Friday off from work. Originally planned as a day to myself to do nothing but putter around the house, that was negated as I made a lengthy drive to Princeton to see my uncle who is just out of the hospital. It was a pleasant, yet disturbing visit, since he's still convalescing and not at at all well. Saturday was a blitz of activity: out the door early for Starbucks and groceries (us and my dad's), then a drive through most of Hudson County to get a feel for the lay of the land re: potential houses/apartments--Bayonne, Jersey City, Union City, Weehauken, Hoboken. Took Liz for a lovely lunch at Pita Grill on Washington Street--fantastic food at terrific prices. Did laundry and spring cleaning by the time we got home and were asleep (after watching a not-so-great film with my beloved Julianne Moore) by 10:30 p.m. And no, I won't be missing the black & white Adidas shelltops. I also have a feeling that by summer's end, my Fred Perry's will be for the ages as well.

Yesterday, hit the gym early and left immediately upon arrival because a) I forgot my damn key to my lock and b) every asshole at the gym was using every machine possible, thus making all equipment unavailable. Headed to my dad's, where he had a box of old family photos for me. Took those and made another quick jaunt to New Jersey--Target, coffee, clothes shopping, lunch. Once we got home, we started to sort through the pictures. Amongst the memories brought back to life were shots of myself and my cousins when we were little children and when we were around 9 or 10 (which I had been searching for over the last two years); my parents and my uncle when they were young and most surprisingly, a couple of photos of myself and my ex-fiancee. Although I am not prone (as is well known) to false sentimentality, I was pleasantly swept up on a wave of nostalgia by seeing her after all these years. I have to admit that I could no longer remember what she looked like; I couldn't help but smile and yet it was sweetly sad. She was a lovely girl and after 7-plus years, it had to reach its' natural conclusion. But I'm glad to have had a chance at reliving the past for the few minutes I allowed myself to.

So here I sit at work, trying to sort through the things left undone by my absence on Friday and trying to arrange the next Punch Line recording session (tick tock, tick tock) as we won't be doing anything this coming weekend. In place of not being with the band, I am focusing on a disciplined round of demo work. I want to wrap this album up and get to working on the songs for the next one--new (old) material is far more exciting after laboring for so long on this record. I also need to get back the cassette which has a good portion of these songs so I can revisit them as I've been working from (surprisingly good and sharp) memory. Something to look forward to. The end of one album and the beginning of another--kind of like with those photos.

(P.S.) I'd written a complete entry prior to this, but server errors/problems lost the fucking thing in the ether; this is the variation from short-term memory.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Shamrocks and shenanigans

While the morning is still semi-calm, I have cleared enough space in my mind to jot down some thoughts...

After much calculation, comparison and rational thinking/talking, we came to the joint conclusion last night that we cannot afford to buy a house this year. It just isn't feasible or financially possible, nor realistic and that's fine. I'm (surprisingly) not disappointed, etc.--if anything, it makes the idea of doing it in one year's time even better and much more solid. We have absolutely no intention of living over our heads. Liz and I will be able to clear the deck this year of all credit card bills (albeit minor) and save money for a house, plus we'll be able to actually afford to lease the Mini once we've moved.

Do I feel foolish or embarassed by having spoken so openly about buying a house or our projection of the future? No, not at all. Nothing's changed; there was always a contingency plan in case we couldn't do it. Better to know now than later (God forbid). The plan is clear and simple: we apply for a 3/4 bedroom apartment in New Jersey (Bayonne? Jersey City? Irrelevant, really--there is plenty to choose from at this juncture.) in November for a January move-in. We then start to clear out from our current place, and move my dad as well, by mid-January. I lease the car in March (May at the latest), all the while continuing to look for the right house, area and to build up the necessary funds. In keeping an optimistic eye on the situtation, I'll be getting a raise this June and then June '06 (should I still be at this job, certainly--and hoping, so that will only serve us well; how Liz fares is always questionable with her company), but that's more than enough to get us where we'll need to be. In looking at some of the apartments now available, I'm still chomping at the bit to get this going. So I feel really good about going to Plan B with no time, cost or tension involved.

I guess the only thing that's a minor deflation is the whole "first barbecue" fantasy and the creation of a permanent home for Synchronic Studios, but it's just delayed, not abandoned or "not going to happen". The fact that I'll be able to see Bob, the Wolfe, B., etc. more frequently by living in N.J. makes it all so much more pleasing. This is a major life shift, by moving out of New York and getting used to completely new surroundings and the fact/beauty that all my friends and my uncle live in New Jersey--it all adds up to "yes". If you step back and look at this scenario in a "big picture" fashion, then it will be a lightning fast year before the house becomes a reality.

Speaking of Synchronic, I've just e-mailed the guys to solidify the 26th as the next recording session date. I'd love to have had two weekends with the band this month so we can progress onto the last two songs. I believe once these songs are laid down, then the overdubs, embellishments and re-visits will be easy to jump right into mixing. My hope is that this album is done and available for public consumption by the beginning of summer--that does NOT seem unrealistic. The interesting thing is, that when I tried to total up the number of actual recording days spent on this record since it began exactly a year ago, it doesn't add up that high. At the outset, it was only Chris and myself and we recorded 3 songs in 3 weeks (I think), then did nothing until September (Bob joined in June and we focused on practicing for that show in July). So really, if my calculations are correct--if we've spent a total of 14 days recording, then it isn't a lot. It's the infrequency that bothers me. But okay--nearer to the end and it makes it easier to cope with. So I'd love to get one more song recorded by March's close with April to finish recording and mixing. We'll see...

A nice morning. Sunny and I feel pretty good. Going to the gym tonight and I have tomorrow off. This is as good a place as any to stop.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Midweek nonsense

Not really much to say. Was going to write about family, etc., as I was thinking about it this morning on the ferry, but too long and too in-depth to want to concentrate on right now.

Here's this week's iPod Faves:

"Black Coffee" -- All Saints
"Sing" -- Blur
"Born Slippy" -- Underworld
"Connection" -- Elastica
"Say You'll Be There" -- The Spice Girls
"Happy Song" -- Robbie Williams
"A Change Will Do You Good" -- Sheryl Crow
"Vertigo" -- U2
"Look At Me" -- Geri Halliwell
"Lust For Life" -- Iggy Pop

I know what you're thinking and so what? Fuck you if you don't like it. I do. Here's why (at least on a few):

1. Geri Halliwell. She's still perfect. And this is a neat song.
2. Sheryl Crow is gorgeous. The best looking woman in rock. And she's talented.
3. The Spice Girls. Edible. This is a great song.
4. U2. Best rockin' song they've done in years.
5. Elastica. Justine Frischmann is sexy. So is this song.

Now leave me alone.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hey, hey what can I do?

Just read this. It breaks my heart; sickens me and enrages me. I cannot help it, even after all this time. Call it a death knell of the most disturbing order. I've written about this before; spoken about it with several friends and colleagues and still, I cannot help but be dismayed at what's unfolding. Anyway, just read it--please.

On the better news front, I found out that one of my cousins has returned from living in Spain for the last few years and has moved down to D.C. Apart from being glad that he's come back to the States (safely), I'd love to pay him a visit down there--Liz and I have talked about getting away for a weekend in the Capital City for over a year now (as well as having him possibly hook Liz and myself up with tickets to see the Nationals, baseball whore that I am). Welcome home, Austin.

On the Synchronic Studios scenario: in a realistic turn of events, should things go according to plan and Liz and I find/will be able to afford/move into a house in New Jersey, then there is no dispute; we will be able to re-build/re-establish Synchronic Studios as a permanent entity in my basement. This came about two-fold. While we were taking a break from rehearsing on Saturday, Chris asked, "if you guys do get a house, would it be possible to set up the studio
again? Would we be able to resume operations for Synchronic West?", to which I said, "well, yes--except now it would be Synchronic East-West, since it would be a single entity" and there was a collective smile all around. The thing is, I'd automatically thought it, but (and apologies belong here, even though I know they weren't necessary in the end) hadn't consulted Liz about the notion. On our drive home Sunday, I asked her and she'd said, "well, I'd presumed all along that I'd get one bedroom for my jewelry supplies and exercise equipment and you would have the basement for the studio", which surprised me, as it would be our house and I have no desire to steamroller her into demanding space for even a demo studio, let alone the full blown layout of what was/will be Synchronic. Like so many of you know, we want my dad to move in, so that's one room (desired design: 3 bedrooms); our room and then the spare, which would suit Liz until we plan on having a child. Thus, the basement (as all good basements usually serve) would be where The Punch Line (and myself) can create in a comfortable, private and cost-effective atmosphere. And you cannot hope for better--there's nothing lofty in this goal; it's completely achievable.

Time for my green tea and mental prep for the work day ahead. Gym tonight and a few minor tasks around the house should make for a quiet evening.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Future shock

Thinking about houses...still. That "first barbecue" daydream. This is how I help pass the day when things are (at best) sedate.

It's still chilly, but I'd love to be out and about today--preferably a day walking through parks and small-town streets (Hoboken springs to mind immediately) . I feel this sense of need for air and sun to be with me and to not be confined indoors. It's not as if I don't enjoy my job or my co-workers. I think it's due to the good vibe that I've carried through the weekend (since Friday night). Sometimes, you just don't want to be restricted to what you can do/where you can go--a day off would really be in order.

My mind is wandering (in a good sense); I'm thinking of all the things I need to do today/tonight and of what needs to be taken care of in general. Like knocking off a bag of these chips...

Good workout yesterday; new heights on the elliptical (yet again) and increased my program on the treadmill. Steady heartrate and burning more calories than before. Worked with the weights and no longer feel the pains of doing so; obviously, doing it on a consistant basis has me "in shape" (so to speak). The effects are even more visible and I can feel them. Took Liz out for a lovely and fun lunch; did a bit of shopping at Target and the local mall (keep me away from The Apple Store!) and (of course) a quick stop on the way home at Starbucks. A very relaxed (while in motion) Sunday.

Back to the house flight of fantasy, in which Synchronic Studios finally has a permanent home/base of operations. And that isn't as far-fetched as you'd think.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Rockin' into the night

Just got in and thought I'd write while the inspiration was riding high. The weekend thus far: last night, drinks, a light meal with dessert and coffee (thanks again, D.B.); a great time was had--home and in bed by midnight. Today--a quick stop at Starbucks, groceries in one shot for both us and my dad; lunch at Quiznos (again) and a haircut (sorely needed) before gathering my equipment and heading to New Jersey.

Suprised the guys with the new SG; once we got started, we were rusty but as I'd been keeping in mind, the focus was on fun and all three of us didn't feel any sense of tension or worry. For some strange reason, after most of the first go-round of drills, when we got to "Train Of Thought" (which is one of the wordiest songs I have with a detailed bass line), something clicked and we did it note-perfect. After that, The Punch Line were spot-on. We sounded full, powerful and the most satisfying thing (for me) is that we played "Someone" and "Puppet Master" for the first time as a band and they sounded terrific live. We revisited "Second Time Around" as a live number, and again, it sounded great. By the time the hours were up, we were getting good and tight (remember, we haven't played as a band--technically--since July; the night of our gig). Ran through first attempts of "Teenage Kicks" (right on) and "Start!", which shocked the shit out of me as I haven't played the damn song since around 1984 and I could still remember the guitar solo (and this time, it was done on the same guitar Weller used on "Fridays"). All in all, I'm tired, having a little bit of difficulty speaking, but feeling really good--especially seeing the expressions of Bob and Chris and playing the SG with Bob playing his Thunderbird bass (felt really cool and rawkin'). A great way to get back to being a band again in the truest sense. Doing what we do best. No joking here--The Punch Line is a fucking great band that will (in not too distant time) be even greater. Discipline = tight live set = positive vibes onward.

Tomorrow, off to the gym early; a run to Target and then laundry on the return. Back to the necessities. After an evening like this, I need to wind out and relax with a smile.

In Bob's words, "We finally became a rock group". Amen to that, brother.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Seed of soul

More snow/rain mixture today--still (hopefully) headed for some good conversation and cappuccino tonight. Of greater urgency is the hope that the roads will be clear enough to drive to and from New Jersey tomorrow. Time to get back to work with The Punch Line; this is already beyond the pale and now it's time to move. So as long as it's light and not threatening, I don't care if it's a bit wet out there today.

A solid workout last night; feeling good today--sleep was solid, refreshing and I feel like I'm gaining back what I lost while being ill for so long. Looking towards Sunday morning workout and the weekend's activities (including the aforementioned Punch Line rehearsal session).

A sermon:
Listening to the iPod this morning, I was carried off by WAVEWALKERS. Some of the most indescribably lovely music ever made. Ethereal; heartfelt; melodic and immediately embraceable--these are some of the words I would use to describe their sound. I've been proud to have this music in my possession for the better part of 4 years now and am angered and frustrated by the slow response from the so-called "music" executives who still poison the wells of the "record labels". Nonetheless, please check out the band's website; don't be cheap and order a copy from the chief Wavewalker-guru, Reamann O'Gormain. If this gentleman's name seems familiar to you, it's because he was the co-founding guitarist/songwriter of the magnificent That Petrol Emotion. His songs with Wavewalkers, while as instantly memorable as his songs with the Petrols, are of a broader musical landscape; a lush mixture of guitars, beats and tasteful samples for a loving mix. I'm not over-exaggerating the beauty (and some complexity) of Wavewalkers' music. Just try it--I'm understating it. Let yourself be swept out on this musical tide.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Green tea, straight. It's a start.

A good night's sleep after another day in the doldrums, although it has to be said, the cloud of "ecch" is parting; the ennui fades into the distance. Did none of the things I said I would last night and it felt great. Once again, tweaking the iPod Mini with updated songs, etc. Going back to the old "Virgin Radio" playlist from summer 2000; was thinking about it and had a yearning to hear those songs again.

I feel more geared/up for the gym than I did Tuesday; still not sure if I'm going to the wine-tasting tonight--we'll see how much energy I have after I get home from working out. Snow again? It won't stop me from tomorrow night and hopefully won't be too much of an obstacle for Saturday (my concern is the conditions for driving). I do know that the one thing I'll be doing after I come home tonight is to finish sorting through the effects boxes for Saturday. I want that to not be an issue, as we have errands to run before I head to New Jersey.

Having shared 5 minutes of giggles with B. and The Swan, I feel even better than I did, pre tea. Sometimes, the laughter is the best salve on the morning. Especially when the scorn is directed at the right topic (knuckleheads, simps and other waste product).

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

And more again

Another bitter cold morning; another day where I still can't seem to feel much of anything, mentally. It's not a state of being angered, irritated, bothered, unhappy, etc. I just feel like the switch is "off" and I'm in a state of emotional limbo. I don't think it's the worst thing in the world; it's certainly a curiosity, but it is odd. I'm not going to over-analyze it; I'll let it ride through time (or at least over the next few days).

Will try to get some "warm-up" time tonight in Synchronic East; still don't know the specifics for this Saturday (hopefully, I'll have answers by this afternoon) but I want to tighten up some of the songs I've been playing through and to finish getting my gear together, as I don't want to be scrambling on Saturday before I have to leave.

Went to the gym last night; an average workout--nothing more. Thanks to the poor forecasting by the various weather outlets, I didn't have a scarf, gloves or hat and so was pummelled by the winds of Broadway as I came out of the gym (post shower) with still-slightly damp hair. Just great. A solid night's sleep and yet I lack energy (not sluggish, just flat).

Can we just skip today and tomorrow and get to Friday? I am looking forward to going out for coffee after work.

Something tells me a brief "vacation" is in order.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


And of course, since yesterday was 50 degree (or so) weather, naturally, the white is making it impossible to see outside my window. March is undoubtedly schizophrenic. And come what may, I'm going to the gym in another 2 1/2 hours.

Today seems like one of those "non" - days, where there isn't anything to say or write or talk about or even think about on a deep level. It's more of a day where you want to lie dormant on a couch and either read a very long book or close your eyes while listening to some fabulous piece of music (albeit without having to get up and change the CD/album).

Go here: it may spark some interest.

More later, when I can think of something poignant.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Simple things

Triumphant--for the first time since Liz and I have been married, we didn't pay over a thousand dollars in taxes (being married with no children nor house); it was minimal, it was painless and I've already mailed out the checks to the I.R.S. Done and relieved. Celebrated with a stop at Starbucks; ordered in and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon--will take care of the laundry tonight. Didn't bother recording; did play for a while, just to get the reflexes in motion.

A blue-skied morning; spent a good portion of it revisiting my iTunes library here (at the office). Needed to be edited--too much extraneous rock music bullshit, not enough grooves. I may walk back to the ferry tonight, just to enjoy the warmth and fresh air. Not the kind of day one wants to be cooped up in the office (although the springlike comfort makes it a pleasure being in Soho).

A lot of work ahead; a busy week to look forward to--gym tomorrow and Thursday; coffee with friends Friday, groceries early Saturday and rehearse Saturday evening. Plus, throw in whatever seems to come up on those evenings off (like Brother Rolo's invite to a wine-tasting at a local bar. Sounds good). Nice to be in full swing again and feeling healthy.

Back to freshening up the iPod.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

New day, early rising

A beautiful morning--sun pouring through the window (after a restful night's sleep) and impossible to not wake up refreshed. Halfway through my first coffee; Liz is awake and the cats are fed, so this is prime blog time (before going out to get the taxes done).

Great day/night yesterday. At the gym by 9:30; hit the elliptical hard and solid on the treadmill; did freeweights and felt no strain, even though it was two weeks since I last used them. Quick coffee and grocery shop for us and my dad. Found this great, new Japanese (!) bakery in the town I grew up/used to live in (Eltingville); stopped in for a steamed pork bun--delicious. Got home in ample time for a quick clean and prep before people came over. Dinner was a rousing success (no leftovers...)--grilled marinated chicken with Greek yogurt dressing, couscous, angelhair pasta with fresh cherry tomato pesto, baby spinach & strawberry salad, a bottle of wine, loaf of fresh bread and peach sorbet for dessert. Conversation was broad and flowing (like the wine); a lot of laughs and shared opinions and you can't ask for better. In bed by midnight and here I am again.

Busy enough today--taxes, laundry, recording in Synchronic East? I wouldn't mind some time. Even if I can put down one guitar and bass track. I'd love to be well-versed with the new 8-track, but the simple truth is I haven't had much time to become acquainted with it, the way I did when I got the Tascam (of course, using cassette tapes was easier). If we're home quickly enough from the accountant's and the laundry is taken care of immediately, then I'll focus on music. As it is, I have to drive up to Jersey next Saturday, so I have live music to work on ahead of me. Not forgetting, I'd like some down time tonight to mentally prepare for the work week.

During dinner last night, this topic came up; fascinating question. I'd never heard it before, but it makes you wonder.

Two weeks until spring officially begins--the apartment is so warm, I need to put in the air conditioners.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Winter sun

Even though it's early March, it's still bitter cold. Keeps me awake on this sunny Friday morning.

Busy weekend ahead. Workout tomorrow morning (instead of Sunday); groceries and errands, cleaning, then cooking dinner for a few friends who will be coming over. Just the usual suspects. Sunday morning gets the taxes done and out of our hair. Nothing trying, just time consuming.

Intentions are to spend some quality time in Synchronic East; playing some of the newer songs through last night put the idea to start focusing/working on these demos in play. We have a definite date for next Saturday to practice at Stage Left, so I've been doing my refresher homework with the songs we've already done live as well as the songs we've recorded (and those we are about to record). All in all, a much lighter vibe (as far as I'm concerned) since the night out at Maxwell's a few weeks ago.

The office is still quiet; been concentrating on my XP study group readings. I'm really glad I've done this; it's interesting and opening up new avenues for me. Although I am nowhere near "geek" status, I have a wide and complete respect for these dudes--I think they're geniuses.

Time is nearing when I'll have the iBook and this month sees one credit card bill completely paid off. Light shines brighter as the focus shifts towards moving.

Life is good in the greenhouse...

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Apologies for forgetting to address my "dietary" habits. I will preface this by saying this may not work for you--it just happens to work right for me. I will dispense with the "I grew up as a heavy kid" stories, which we've all heard X amount of times. For nearly 20 years now, I've managed to maintain a certain range; it's always that "last 20 pounds" that always seems to be the scourge. Nonetheless, this is pretty much the routine/pattern--please keep in mind, I also bring my own lunch during the work week (and I'm incredibly conscious of my cholesterol and fat levels, so I keep a very close eye on portions--there is NO going overboard):

8 oz. orange juice
2 cups of coffee--2 tsp. sugar, whole milk to lighten

3 days a week, an 8 oz. cranberry juice (usually Tue./Wed./Thu.)

Monday: 1 cup Wheaties w/ 1/2 cup of skim milk
1 (strawberry) Nutri-Grain bar

Tuesday through Thursday: 1 (honey-wheat) English muffin w/ fruit spread (ea. day a different flavor--apricot, blueberry, peach). Equals about a tablespoon

Friday: 1 cup Corn Flakes w/ 1/2 cup of skim milk
1 (banana) Nutri-Grain Muffin bar

1 12 oz. glass of water with the following supplements (after coffee, 5 days a week):

1 Centrum -- the best all-purpose multi-vitamin
1000 mg. Vitamin C w/ rosehips
500 mg. garlic/parsley oil
1000 mg. flaxseed oil


1 Power Bar (I'm fond of the new Carb Select flavors)
1 Nutriment liquid energy meal suppliment

Tuesday through Thursday is either/or:

4 celery sticks
4 carrot sticks
1 tomato, quartered
4 olives (I prefer the ones stuffed with red pepper)
4 small quarters of sharp cheddar cheese
4 small quarters of Monterey Jack Pepper cheese
1 wheat roll (no spreads)
1 apple
1 banana
1 peach
1 pear
1 orange
1 (as per suggested serving) piece of organic milk chocolate

Drink would usually include something like diet iced tea
Mid-morning would also include 2 cups of caffeine-free peppermint tea w/ 2 teaspoons of honey
Mid-afternoon would include 2 cups of decaf w/ 1 Sweet & Low and a splash of skim milk

The other version of lunch those three days would be:

1 yogurt
1 cup of "trail mix"
1 1/2 cup of grapefruit slices
1 wheat roll
1 organic apple juice box

Of course, without fail, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to the gym after work.

Weekends are a bit more lenient. However, I do maintain breakfast patterns:

1 packet of maple brown sugar cereal
1 banana muffin

1 packet of grits w/ 1/2 tsp. butter
1 blueberry muffin

Juice and coffee remain the same

The reason I'm so into the oatmeal-for-breakfast is thanks to Brother Rolo, who showed me an article from a runner's magazine about "preventive-medicine breakfasts" and oatmeal is key for preventing colds and aiding in the building up of the immune system.

Lunch will usually be whatever takes Liz' and my fancy, really. No set law, there. The key thing is I almost never eat dinner. I don't like to eat past 5 and while I don't recommend this to anyone, it just does me a great deal better. It should be noted that I do actually measure every portion out with measuring cups and spoons. Also, I drink at various intervals during the day, at least 5 - 7 12-to-16 oz. glasses of water (preferably with a lot of ice).

It's really about discipline on all levels and after years of ups-and-downs, this is what works best for me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Minutes and parts

Heard from Chris this morning as per the notion of The Punch Line getting together just to play, at Stage Left, as a band. I'm pleased that we have a date set and that we're on the same page. It will be a healthy exercise--just the three of us with no other stimuli around except the grey confines of a rehearsal room. I can remember the '91 version of The Punch Line doing the same thing in closed quarters--we called them "drills": at least 3 hours of non-stop playing together. If we book 3 hours for the 12th, then we should be quite well-oiled afterwards. As I've said before, it bodes well for recording the last two songs. Apart from refreshing ourselves with the songs we know now, we add on to the repertoire by virtue of the songs we haven't played "as a band" yet and we familiarize ourselves with the songs-to-come.

Would rather be home today on the couch, watching the first broadcast baseball game (albeit it's only Spring Training), since it's the Mets vs. Washington--to see a team return to Washington pleases me. Don't know why, considering the Mets are my team and I'm a born-and-raised New Yorker (any Yankee fans have anything to say, forget it. Fuck you. This is my blog page. Don't even bother). Still, there's an "event" to the "first" games (to which I fully intend to be home to watch Opening Day) and I'd rather not watch the game on videotape, which I'll be doing tonight.

Still trying to get the taxes taken care of for the weekend; would like to get that albatross off our collective neck. Not the inevitability of paying (since we always do); just the hindrance of having to have them done. Ugh. I'd like to plan accordingly, since we both want to hit the gym on Sunday morning (back to our usual routine).

Listening again to Get What You Need, the criminally underappreciated "return" album from The Undertones. What a good, solid, rocking document. If this is what a band delivers after a 20-year hiatus, then imagine what The Punch Line can/will do. It's moments like this when I genuinely enjoy my own music (especially when I compare/contrast with my heroes).

On a personal note, I'm really proud (and surprised) that Zach is now starting to play guitar (as his sister has already begun). I was very moved by the fact that he called last night to ask for my help. I love those kids and will do anything for them, especially if music gives them pleasure. Passing the knowledge down from one generation to the next--it's a good thing.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Gets my soul to vigor

And yet again, trudging through the snow is not my preferred way to begin the morning's commute. The so-called "major" snowstorm was merely a melange of wetness and inconvenience.

Need to get in touch with the guys as we must start looking toward the next recording session and/or some time at Stage Left (a very good rehearsal facility in Union, N.J.). I'm starting to feel that brief time away from the pressure of recording and instead, playing in a loosened setting with no agenda except to play would be a wiser turn for the moment.

My mind is awash with things that need to be tended to; the completion of tasks that have been left hanging and the start of new things (be they minor or important). Need to get the taxes done; need to firm dates for recording; need to look at items to purge for spring cleaning. And so on. Not to mention meeting/seeing all the people I've been putting off (not deliberately, mind you--just the constrictions of time or circumstances beyond anyone's control), etc. It seems that as of late, there never seems to be enough time apportioned for me to do all these necessities. I will say, however, that I am glad that I do have as much as I do on my plate (that wasn't a complaint; merely an observation).

Still want one of those Starbucks Frappaccinos, dammit. Be nice--buy me one. I'll be your best friend...

Got an e-mail this morning that made my day already sunnier. My dear friend, Emma, who lives in the U.K., got in touch after a prolonged period of being incommunicado (due to problems with her various e-mail accounts). She's one of my favorite people and I'm happy to hear that she and her beau, Adam, are doing well. Big shout out across the pond with love to you lot. Hope you like the band's website.

Quiet night ahead after going to the gym last night. Have to refocus my disciplines on Sahaja Yoga. Been lax in doing it for the last two weeks due to being ill. Now it's time to get back in that frame of mind. 20 minutes of serenity await...

Someone asked me what I was doing (in specifics) to lose weight, besides my regimen at the gym. I'll fill you in on the details of my amended dietary habits tomorrow. And I promise to finish answering the e-mails you've sent concerning my recent blogs--thanks for the words of praise and appreciation. It's encouraging to know that there are so many other like-minded people out there. I agree with one particular e-mail quote (C.: you shall be left anonymous here since your e-mail was personal, but special recog to you)--"people just aren't comfortable with honesty. They want to be lied to. They thrive on building themselves up". You're right, although my observations were merely a "reporter's point of view". The fact that all the reactions I receieved from fellow bloggers and casual browsers were positive (due to similar experiences, God help us all) made me feel a closer connection to you--cheers.