Friday, December 30, 2005

Year-end rewind

Not to belabor the points I was attempting to make in last week's 3-part posting, but here we are at the end of the year, and I, at the end of my week's vacation. Been ill right through to yesterday but still managed to get all necessary things done for the move--booked the movers, called all utilities, made the annual contribution to Liz' and my I.R.A.'s and did the laundry. Not much else. Between the weather being wet and gloomy and having been unable to shake off the cold until yesterday, it's been a low-key week. Did get/make a lot of phone calls; good to hear everyone's voices, especially hero cousin and guitar god; helped keep the good vibe of the afternoon (albeit a quiet and laidback one).

A lengthy year comes to a close; an odd year in many ways and one that has led to more changes than I'd imagined/expected to make in the span of "just one year". It's nice to end it on a note of the album being finished; knowing that we have a place to move and that the plans are now solidified and hopefully once the move is completed, we can settle into a new life. It's also comforting to end it, having spoken to all the members of my family who care and believe. The only thing left to wrap up is the taxes, but I won't make myself crazy as there's so much more to do with them this year and I want to have it done right.

Beyond all that, I can only hope for another year on an even keel; turning 40 made me feel more solid than I did before, so it would not be presumptuous to think that it only grows.

By the way, a few people have written and asked about The Punch Line's website not being updated and where has the hit counter on the bottom of this blog page has gone. The answers are:

a) Bob and I have spoken with Chris about overhauling and updating the website (gave him a list, etc.), as there's obviously a lot of relevant new things to put in place and a lot of very outmoded items on there. I don't know when he'll work on it; it's become a concern since people we've begun to know have asked. I don't want us to lose the impetus we've gained nor the interest of those who visit, but rest assured, if you don't see anything on The Punch Line's website, always check mine or the band's MySpace page.
b) I don't know! The counter disappeared a few days ago and I tried to access the PrecisionCounter website, which does not connect. I fear they may be having server problems and may have lost all the data (again). I'm guessing this page has reached at least 2000 hits by now.

As a wise man recently said, "shine your light/your love/your hope". That's all anyone can do at this time of year.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and love-filled New Year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday weekend rewind

As I'd said in my posting on Saturday, we had to break from tradition, due to me being ill. I'm in the last stages of this annoying cold (in my chest, making me cough) but I've been busy from the minute Liz left for work--packing, calling movers, reading through estimates. Anything I can do to make this as smooth as possible, I'll do. The smartest thing a person who is planning on moving can do is call and get as many estimates as you can (if you're not planning on doing any of the heavy lifting yourself); some of the prices are as laughable as they are insulting but if you comparison shop, you may find the right price. I'm guessing the one we got for $624.00 would be right--4 men, total time from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. sounds right; this includes travel time, load and unload (since we'll have everything already packed). I know I'm getting ahead of myself since we're not leaving until Feb. 13th, but it is coming up. All the CD's are now packed; summer clothes and next, I'm dismantling the living room stereo.

Had a really nice Xmas day with Liz, considering I've been under the weather and the weather itself has been grey and rainy. Starbucks in the a.m., thanks to my Xmas gift from Peter and Beth; lunch at Golden's Deli and home to watch two very entertaining movies. Ran some errands with Liz yesterday; groceries for my dad, a quick Chinese take out and another good movie.

As pedestrian as our weekend was, I hope yours was what you wanted it to be. More later--back to packing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

'Tis the season, cubed

And so naturally, apart from missing the "official" one year anniversary of this blog yesterday, I'm at home today with a really irritating head cold. I'm tired, physically drained, mentally exhausted and Liz went to spend Xmas Eve with her family alone, which is the first time since we've been married. I would have loved to not break tradition but I feel thoroughly unwell.

Nonetheless, I wanted to give my wrap-up for the year, especially since Bob and I spent a good portion of last night's get-together talking about music, the changes we've gone through this year as people and I think my perspective is as clear as it ever was.

I feel very fortunate to have certain people in my life; family and friends. While it's been a year fraught with abrupt changes and transitions, moments of uncertainty and downright frustrations, being 40 does give me a measure of insight and objectivity I'd not had previously. For those who have been there during this year of upheavals, amputations and additions, thank you. I want to say to you all truly, I love and appreciate every one of you--you know who you are. I'm not a religious man, but I thank God for all I have and that I'm still alive.

Mostly, I thank the Lord for the music. There were years past when I forgot, but that's why I'm here; it's what has always kept me going and it still does.


The Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Bob Mould - Body Of Song
Paul Weller - As Is Now
Gang Of Four - Return The Gift
Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets Are Kept

Add to that the odd Kelly Clarkson track and re-discovering gems by The Incredible String Band, The Move and remembering how much I love Donovan and E.L.O. and you have a fairly broadly painted musical pallette. And no, I didn't forget my renewed excitement with The Minutemen and Husker Du, so there you have it. On we go to '06; something to look forward to--the release of The Punch Line album early in the spring.

Thank you for making this blog a success. Happy Holidays and God bless you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

'Tis the season, part deux

And tonight, while I write this, I have a lovely bottle of merlot (fuck off, snobs) to warm me and give me an opportunity to relax.

Honestly, not all too many negatives, but a few moments:

a) Being laid off from Direct Revenue while I was on vacation had to be one of the most loathsome episodes
b) Having my weight go up and down and up
c) The apartment situation -- things being so bad that after 10 years, I knew it was time to move

So that's the downstroke.

Musical musings? Hmmm... you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Tis the season

While I sit here with this fabulous bottle of banana/chocolate flavored wine and a Toblerone, courtesy of Brotherman Kevin Q. (BIG shoutout, dude), I'm ready to recap the year, music and any other minutiae I can think of.

Before that, let me be a homer: an article written by one of the finest writers on the planet, one of the finest human beings and one of my favorite people.

Phase one (in which Doris gets her oats):

I started this blog a year ago (! -- more later on that) with an eye on the band releasing the album; me getting physically healthier and a far more positive slant on things since I was approaching my 40th birthday. There were a few bumps in the road, all unwanted, but nothing that I couldn't cope with or at best, think my way through to a logical conclusion. All in all, a good year--a productive year--a long year. As J.W. recently commented to me, "I feel like I've lived three years in this one". I think that's a really accurate way of looking at it.

So as far as highs of this year go:
Jan. -- turning 40 and getting the papers of ownership of Synchronic Entertainment, making it a real label/corporation
Feb. -- the night out with Brady and our wives; the first night Bobby and I hung out together at Maxwell's
Mar. -- getting the SG and the amazing session at Stage Left, also paying next to no taxes for the first time since we got married...
Apr. -- seeing The Undertones at Maxwells with everyone
May -- "We Jam Econo" and Memorial Day weekend at Maxwell's
Jun. -- Asbury Lanes with Bob (ye gods, those gals)
Jul. -- iBook & Treo (God, how shallow)
Aug. -- completed mixing the album
Sept. -- getting the job at Turn Up The Music
Nov. -- finding the new apartment in Union
Dec. -- getting on board with the XM revolution and of course, one year after starting this blog, I'm still alive, able to write and able to say that the album is soon going to manufacturing; we're packing to move and although I'm in dire need of a gym, I feel alright.

So onto the next post -- some of the downsides (not to be a bummer, but there were some poignant moments).

Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

All wrapped up

Being wiped out by the stresses of work (busy) at week's end, I didn't expect yesterday to go as well as it did. Actually, it was better than it sounds. After finding e-mails from both Bob and Chris on Friday night saying, yes, we're on board for the final mix/master session, I was out the door at 9; stopped at Starbucks for an Xmas blend to get me going and then headed up to Synchronic West. Got there dead on time (no traffic hassles, for once) and got right to work--well, if there hadn't been glitches in the system... Nonetheless, after trying to talk Chris back into a state of calm (frustration + resignation = unnecessary aggro) as one of the drives with some of the songs we wanted to mix was not cooperating (a.k.a. we're fucked), we did (in fact) tweak some minor levels on the vocals of one song and the level of one song in total; a quick bit of slight of hand in deft editing by Chris on "Someone" and then it was mastered. Finally. Yes, The Punch Line album is truly finished as far as the studio goes. Can I breathe a little easier now? Yes, I suppose. It was pretty nice, afterward, listening to the album all the way through; spending time talking with Chris' wife and just enjoying one another's company. I should have been drained by the time I got home, but managed to go out with Liz for some Saturday night groceries.

Had to go up to the new apartment today--I won't even begin to go into the details of what transpired during the span of the week with the management company and their irresponsible lack of communication--in a nutshell, we went back up to not only get an idea of the apartment but to actually select a new, empty apartment. Nonetheless, we saw the apartment (in its' transitional phase) and made the notes as to what furniture we will want and need. Did a Target run, stopped for lunch and I'm wiped out.

This is the last week before the vacation break. God knows, I need it. I promise to have my "year in review" posting later this week. Let me think of the musical and personal highs and I promise to have it up by Xmas itself.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Weekend rewind (audioslave)

Sometimes you get one of those e-mails that you can't help but be drawn in by. Got one on Thursday night; a bargain to sign up for XM Satellite radio and get one of the MyFiXM2Go at a ridiculously low price. What could I do? I had to take this offer. We've talked about it more times than I can count. I'm in the car everyday; we're always out and about on the weekends--it just makes sense.

Yesterday, I stopped in a local Best Buy to check out car stereos--nothing fancy or powerful--just something to replace the totally shot factory system in the car. Wound up buying a nice, great sounding new Pioneer stereo with two sets of new speakers (the bigger speakers were free, so you can't beat the price) and having them installed. Jumped completely into the here and now. Gives the car even more value now.

The weekend in general was great. Left work early; saw X Friday night at Roseland. Never have been a fan, but I thought they were tight and powerful. Liz loved it; bitter cold out but we sat in a Starbucks before the show (the Xmas Blend kicks ass) and we were in the door by 11 p.m.--a show that actually saw the headliners on at 8:45--oh, the joy.

Saturday--more Starbucks; groceries and a fun lunch at the Southern-style buffet, then braving the insanity of Xmas shoppers just to get the necessities at Target. Yesterday was laid back; had the ride tricked out with the new sound and then a whirlwind busy day at work (all good things--'tis the season to kick it into overdrive). Home at last and feeling wiped out.

Punch Line weekend ahead?

Friday, December 09, 2005

I heard the news today...

Having come home from my first band's weekly practice at 9 p.m., I was pretty wiped out. I was in bed and asleep by 10, the latest. When I was awakened at 6:45 by my Radio Shack AM clock-radio, it was to the sounds of "A Hard Day's Night". I let the song play through to the end as I heard Don Imus go into a subdued sounding "W-N-B-C". Not thinking anything of it, I went out to the living room to say good morning to my parents.

My baby cousin was still living with us and asleep; my dad was usually on his way to work at this time, but he and my mother came right at me as soon as I opened the door. My mother had this crazed look in her eyes; my father looked like he was going to cry.

"Don't scream", my mother said before I opened my mouth. "John Lennon was shot to death last night".

I stumbled backwards for a moment and banged into the bedroom door. I was about as numb as you could get.

I was 15 and I just suffered the first feelings of loss for someone I loved (but didn't know). That's how it was for everyone. The Beatles were loved.

I went to school and didn't speak to a soul. It took a while to come to terms with.

And I didn't know until the morning after.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Freeze out

A strange week, although not bad by anyone's standards. If you gave me the choice of sitting in front of a computer, waiting for the day to end or be as busy as I am/have been, I'd choose the latter anyway.

The holiday party Monday night was nice enough; as I've said previously, I'm really not a party person and I generally feel uncomfortable at parties, so I was able to coast on the good vibe from some of my co-workers and the 2 glasses of chianti I had to take off the edge. The regular days at work have been a whirlwind and it's been a good week, filled with a lot of working together, opening up more to sharing ideas and making things happen. TCB-in', as Mr. Q and I are wont to say.

Supposed to see X tomorrow night--I'm not a fan, but it's Liz' Xmas present; she loves them and I love her, so it makes it palpable. The only worry is the possible snowstorm. Bobby's also going; hopefully we'll meet up there.

No special plans in line for the weekend, especially when you're at the mercy of snow happening or not happening.

All I feel right now is drained of energy. Bad diet, less sleep, lots of work. Time to regroup and replenish.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Before the sunrise

And so just as I'd predicted, yesterday was a better day on all fronts than Thursday. A busy, ass-kicking day at work, but in the good sense of getting things done on time and correctly. Meetings, sharing ideas, communicating and tying up the loose ends for the company's holiday party on Monday night. While I'm not a fan of parties, especially ones of the corporate nature, I'm going since this is my first year there and it's for the sake of making a good appearance. All that done and still managed to have a nice lunch with friend Kevin Q. No traffic on the way home last night and although it was cold as fuck, I'm glad I was actually smart enough last Sunday to buy the nice and practical jacket that I had my eye on and wore yesterday. An evening in watching crap T.V. with Liz and an early bed.

While the possibility of The Punch Line getting together to work tomorrow remains a remote possibility, today is a focused chores day--Starbucks, groceries, must get my haircut, etc. Glad that I'm up this early and already feeling the day.

An album you really must buy.

A book you really must read.

Take these two elements and you're set for the next two weekends if all the Xmas stress is getting to you.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The chills

So December's here and confessedly, this has never been my favorite time of year. I'm not a winter person; I dislike and pretty much refuse to acknowledge Xmas, so it leaves me with a bellyful of contempt and scorn for most of the human race. I don't mean to offend anyone; I simply loathe the fake sense of bonhomie and making nice for the sake of getting something. The hypocrisy level reaches an ungodly high every year at this time, so I choose to abstain.

Nonetheless, still not certain as to whether or not the band will be getting together this weekend to do any work; it's okay, as I've not been feeling 100% all week and could use time to rest. I do want to take care of the tweaking of levels and mastering, but it should be with the three of us working together.

If this post sounds more dour than usual, forgive me--not feeling great and a hard week at work has ground me down a bit.

I'll try to be a bit more upbeat next time!