Sunday, September 25, 2005

The big wheel

Tomorrow is the day I begin the first chapter of my new life. I don't say that lightly. I'm looking forward to getting through this first week and getting acclimated. I also need to get used to the drive, although I don't see it being nearly as stressful as the daily trip I used to make to Williamsburg, when I worked for ComFour. October starts next week and that equals a two-month countdown to putting the security and first month's rent on the apartment in Roselle Park. Once December comes, around the time we close for Xmas, I will make sure the lease is taken care of and I can book the movers.

I took Liz out there yesterday to see the area and to actually go into the apartment; she's very happy with it. We drove around the area and found the gym, the shopping center and various other things that will make life so much easier and certainly, things we don't have within walking distance from where we are now.

Also bought the new brakes for the car, bless Jason's heart. Once again, looking out for me and making sure I saved as much money as possible. We'll take care of that next week and then I can schedule the inspection (which is a time consuming inconvenience). Okay, no biggie. Thanks to his sage advice, I've been reading The Richest Man In Babylon, which, if you haven't read it, although it was written in the 1920's, has a great deal of poignancy in this day, age and economic climate. Tightening the purse strings and looking to not spend foolishly is such a key element of my current mind set.

In two weeks, we plan on mixing the final songs as everyone's schedule seems to be in synch with one another. Another gloriously positive moment.

So now I intend to unwind and not think for the rest of today. Tomorrow will be a busy one.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Reflecting pool

Today is the last day of "vacation" before I start at Turn Up The Music. Have had a lot of time to think; to live inside my own mind in a way I hadn't had a chance to do previously.

When I started this blog last December, I was coming up on my 40th birthday, had re-joined The Punch Line and was heading toward what I thought was a fairly staid, quiet life of marriage, working in the city and occasionally playing in a band. I had just started the gym (another new addition/element in my life) and was rebuilding my emotional life.

As the year (which seems so LONG at this point) progressed, I started to feel and witness changes. I became disenchanted with my job as it was evident I was going to go nowhere in it; the band started to go in the direction that it had gone when I threw in the towel the last time and I began to dislike living in the place that I'd grown up in. I wanted better; better for myself and truthfully, better for Liz. I always feel she deserves better. We talked about moving to New Jersey and started putting feelers out; I started sending out resumes and quietly interviewing. My idea or vision of what I wanted started becoming clearer. I took a step back from The Punch Line and let the diffusion happen so I would not become unhappy but rather re-enthused.

Chris and I spent a Saturday morning mixing four songs and breathing new life into the recordings. To look at one another and say "wow" when we were done. Having Bobby hear them and say the same thing. Knowing that we still love The Punch Line and the album as much as (if not more than) before was powerfully re-invigorating. Then I found myself arbitrarily let go from my job and not knowing exactly what to do except to not panic. I started looking without a time lapse for a new job. I found one. Not one that I had to take out of necessity, but of desire--how often do you find and get an offer for a job you really want? I had joked (and forgive the repetitiveness) that I wanted to move to New Jersey and then find a job there. I found a job in New Jersey and will be working there--the hardest part is now achieved.

Yesterday, I went to see the apartment in Roselle Park; I filled out the application and paid for the credit check and met not only the super, but the building manager, who said they'd make sure they would "take care of us" and have exactly what we want/need for the beginning of February. I drove around the area, mapping out the points of necessity to show Liz this weekend. The train is 6 blocks by foot from the apartment. My job is 10 minutes by foot from the apartment. The gym I found in Kenilworth is 3 minutes from my job. There are all the necessities you could want within walking distance. There is a guitar shop at the end of what will become our street. There is a parking lot for the car. Route 22, which leads to Union, where The Punch Line rehearse, is two minutes from the apartment. Everything--all small-level, but vitally important--we need to live a quiet, comfortable life. So I have even more hope than I did before. Even though we're only at the end of September, December (when we would need to sign the lease) will crop up quickly and the move will take time to complete (packing, discarding what we won't be taking, contacting utilities, etc.). And I will remain as high on hope as possible.

We still need to mix the last two songs and I believe they will sound as great as the balance of this album. Enough said.

Tonight, I'm supposed to meet my cousin Adam for dinner in the city. It's a chance to get to know one another. Another happy addition to my list of "all the good things" that have been happening in my life to counter whatever you could deem "bad". Nothing has been all that bad.

And because I can think about it while I haven't had anything to do all week, I can smile and relax.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Time to get alone

It's been a great few days of calm and quiet. There are times when I'm not all that good at doing nothing; I feel like I have to be busy all the time. I know it's neither healthy nor realistic, but I'm not used to having extended downtime.

I have an appointment this afternoon to fill out an application and look at an apartment in Roselle Park. February may be a few months away, but the sooner I get this underway, the better and easier it will be for us. I would hate for us to miss an opportunity to be the first (if not only) ones to have secured an apartment in advance of when we need/want it. By seeing this apartment, I can have a feel for the lay of the land and start to envision where furniture would be placed, etc. It's all logic.

I don't know if this weekend will be good for Chris or myself, time-wise, as far as mixing the last two tracks. I have a lot to do in the final prepping for starting work on Monday and he has his hands full with family commitments. It might be best to call him and wait until after next week; the Mod Fun gig is still on the horizon and both he and Bob need to focus on that, rather than being on overload. Plus, I'd like it if the three of us were together for the final mixing; it makes it more of a band effort.

More sun; today is the first day of autumn, but I'll enjoy this while it lasts and I have the time to savor it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thinking out loud (or vacation... all I ever wanted redux)

An early morning with the sun pouring in. Liz left for work over an hour ago; the coffee has been drunk and the dishes washed. I'm thinking about the things I want and need to do this week as I prepare for my new job next week. I'm looking forward to Turn Up The Music with anticipation and hope; I think it will be a great experience and the start of a new chapter in my life, both professionally and personally.

The idea of finding a job in New Jersey was raised after we'd initially decided to move there. Suddenly, the hardest part is done. And the notion of finding a job you actually want doesn't happen often in life; I've been lucky twice. It sounds like a silly thing to say, but I can't wait for the next three months to pass so that we can get the moving sorted out and Liz and I can get on with the next new phase in our life. I just feel that things are going to be so much better--and I'm not talking about delusions of money or anything. Just our quality of life will be greatly raised--as is my professional life.

I also feel like The Punch Line has turned a happier corner. Even though the recording and now the mixing of this album has taken longer than by most standards, it will have been well worth the wait when the moment comes that we say "okay, we're done--let's get to mastering and sending this album off for pressing". I still listen to it as something that not only sounds great but holds together wonderfully. Not many albums by anyone have a sense of consistency or coherency. My hope or wish for the band is that we get back to working together as a band and start to refine the live chops that we know we have.

Speaking of The Punch Line, I had a really nice conversation with Carl, the former bass player with the band, for the first time in over a year. Felt good to chat with him about things beyond our old routines and to talk about life and growing older. I did have an ulterior motive, since Liz and I are looking at Roselle Park as the target of our move and Carl lived there for several years, but nonetheless, as soon as the "business" aspect was out of the way, it was a great (and lengthy) talk.

Now it's off to either do the laundry or to clean the car. So much to do... so much time available!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A moment's thoughts

Still in an elated state of mind since finding out that I will be joining Turn Up The Music. In the meanwhile, I'm also still thinking and planning ahead as far as our move, which I believe we have now pinpointed Roselle Park as THE place. Been looking for a new gym and have found one 3 minutes away from work--all the amenities I need and it's only $19 a month with no contracts or extraneous bullshit. THAT's what I'm about--you get what you need and at the same time, you're helping a local business. It's a win-win situation. There is an N.J. Transit station at Roselle Park, which will be perfect for Liz--we even mapped out the time for her daily commute--and the town has all that we need. So I think that will be the desired target.

Didn't get to mix the last two tracks with Chris and Bob today as originally planned, but okay--we might actually do it this week--perhaps one night or even in the afternoon, since I have this week off and Chris isn't working full-time yet. Either way, the goal is nearly reached. We've waited this long to make sure it's right; there's no reason to rush only two songs, since all the songs received the same amount of love and detailed attention. Once the mixing is complete, I really do need to focus soley on the artwork and to prep the physical release, which should be the easiest part of all.

All that said, Bob and Chris have a Mod Fun show coming up and they need to concentrate of preparing for that; afterward, I hope we'll have a set date and venue for the benefit gig and can set about rehearsing.

It really does seem like a time of renewed hope and refreshed energies.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Going home

Things turn out sometimes the way you want, ask, hope and pray for.

I went last week on an interview to a music company in Kenilworth, New Jersey. I liked the people I met and I liked what they had to say. I enjoyed being in a nice area in Jersey and it dawned on me that this might be where Liz and I move to. I felt great; strong about the interview and hoped this would be the one. As Brother Brian always says, "go with your gut".

I've been working this week as a temp in a not-particularly great nor interesting atmosphere, but it's work of one form or another. It's pay not earned via the New York State Department of Labor and it keeps me out, about and not waiting for the phone to ring.

I received an e-mail yesterday afternoon from the P.R. firm I'd interviewed at last week; it was an invitation for a 2nd interview. That felt good.

Today, I received an e-mail from Friend Jon C. about how the woman from Turn Up The Music had called him for a reference and he told her I was "aces"; I was IM'ing with Mary from Direct Revenue and Dianne, the woman from TUTMusic actually called her. When I got home, I found 2 messages from Dianne; I left her a phone message and then she called at about 6:15 or so and offered me the job. I accepted and so I begin on Monday, the 26th.

Sometimes you really do get what you want.

I'm going home, kids. Back to music. Record labels are a thing of the past, but music is music. And these are good people.

I'm a lucky man. At least I feel it right now.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Been on several interviews with consistancy over the last week. Had one on Friday that I felt stronger about than any I've done in years; I really felt like I would get the call for the job. I don't know what will come of it, if anything, but at least I know I'm doing my best. I keep hoping and not losing faith; it's all I can do--honestly--I'm not trying to convince myself that I'll strike gold quickly. I believe it. Had one this morning at an agency and another one I was called for coming up on Wednesday. It stands to reason. One interview is worth a thousand resumes.

Still trying to secure a venue for the benefit show. I'm hoping we can get together this weekend and not only mix the last two songs but maybe rehearse as well.

Saw a brilliant commercial that threw me last night. Proclaimed a "September 11th sale"--I asked Liz out loud "what fucking store would be callous enough to do that?" and sure enough, it was a P.A. to remind people that 9/11 should NEVER become just another holiday equalling sales.

Back to the job hunt. More later.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Some thoughts and words

Preparing myself mentally for another interview today; had one yesterday and one tentatively for Friday. I have to believe; have hope that one of these will be a success. I'm not slowing down whatsoever. I'd be happy if I had some temp work lined up next week. I can only keep calling and following up to try and get in somewhere.

Spoke with Bob yesterday; as suspected he's completely into doing a gig; heard back from Carl from EDP--he's on the hunt for other bands and a venue, so I thank him a thousand times for his hard work.

Chris has updated The Punch Line's website to include links for aid--please visit the website at and contact any of these organizations. More likely than anything, we'll begin rehearsing next week to be ready to play. If you read this blog and are in the New York area, please come to the show when we have an official announcement and do what you can.

Every little bit helps.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

What to do, part three

Heard from Chris; bless him, he's in 100%. I'm sure once I speak with Bob, he'll be more than happy to participate. Bottom line--this is needed.

If ANY of you who read this and are in the New York area--if you are a musician or know a band who would be willing to join this, please get in touch. Or if you own/book a club and are willing to donate the space for a night/afternoon--please get in touch.

Anything you can do to help is welcomed and appreciated.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

What to do, part two

Still waiting to hear back from both Chris and Bob; nothing so far. Want to get something confirmed with them as I want to move forward to rehearsing and getting ourselves, along with EDP, etc. on a bill and start to have something concrete. If not, on to Plan B -- I'll play alone; with any of my friends willing to participate, etc. Just to do something and not debate it or think about it. This needs no thinking; let's fucking move.

In the meantime, here are some helpful links, courtesy of Bob from the mighty boss Extrawack!: Bread for the World International Medical Corps International Rescue Committee Mercy Corps Oxfam America Red Cross Save the Children United Way World Relief

NOT forgetting the animals: Noah's Wish.

And so on.

Friday, September 02, 2005

What to do

I'm in a sea of emotions right now that I'm trying my best to keep in check. Apart from my lack-of-job situation (which I have been interviewing, signing on with temp agencies, etc.), watching events unfold in Louisiana and Mississippi is leaving me both drained and helpless. I'm not going to sit here and pontificate on anything except to speak my piece:

a) I'm appalled at the sluggish manner in which the government has not responded
b) I'm not going to entertain the notions that some pundits are saying that the lack of aid is racially motivated
c) I am beyond words at the response of a portion of the world's populace: God is NOT punishing the United States; this was a force of nature. To politicize this and say "look at New Orleans, how uncivilized they are"--ugh. Makes me want to say fuck you to the rest of the uncivilized world. Next time someone needs a favor, make sure you ask the United States for help, right? Hypocrites. (And no, I'm not some right wing nut, so don't even think about it.)
d) I feel the need to do something for the first time in my life.

I don't have any family or friends down there; I just can't sit idly by and watch this, doing nothing.

I'm trying at this moment to gather Chris and Bobby to get The Punch Line rehearsing and contacting a few other friends who are in bands and might be willing to do some kind of benefit gig to earn some money to send to the American Red Cross. I may come up short, but I'm going to do my best to get my friends and cohorts together and make something happen somehow.

I also noticed that this blog page has taken over 800 hits. To whomever is out there reading this, I thank you--please feel free to get in touch with me and please keep reading on. I hope it gives you as much as it's given me.

Light a candle; say a prayer and do something. Please.