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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Money for money's sake...

Lately, as previously mentioned, I have been spreading myself incredibly thin across a wide spectrum of income-generating endeavors and have yet to begin narrowing my pursuits to those most crucial and most lucrative of efforts. Until today, that is. I had a bit of an epiphany today. I realized that the reason I'm having trouble with the idea of all of these side gigs in addition to the day job and the musical endeavors is that I have strong feelings about the notion of pursuing something solely because it will generate income. That strong feeling being that pursuing something solely based on the amount of income it will generate is detrimental to a fulfilled life and is also, not me.

Perhaps it's that when pursuing something because of the money it would generate, you are often, in fact, pursuing money and not the thing itself, therefore your dedication to becoming good at that thing can only be halfhearted due to the sheer wont of laziness and leisure that more than likely has generated such a strong desire to pursue money as a thing in itself in the first place. For what does money allow us in the end? Leisure. To spend your life pursuing only money, or money as fulfillment, and not something more wholesome such as a career doing something you enjoy, is to spend one's life pursuing laziness and leisure. These are great things at the right time, no doubt, but a life with only laziness and leisure is not a fulfilled life.

That having been said, if I'm not enjoying a pursuit, or I don't feel I'm going to enjoy it, then it's not worth continuing to pursue, regardless of how much potential income it could generate and regardless of how easy it is, or may seem.

I already know that I don't find life enjoyable when I'm not pursuing my main interest of composing. Nay, I feel quite hollow if I'm not pursuing music. And pursuing music successfully is something that one could only do because one loves to.

So why am I wasting my time trying to find ten dozen ways to generate income while I job hunt, none of which is music related? I'm not in such dire straits just yet that I need to be thinking about thirty different back up plans anyway. Just a few that I can actually, and feasibly, devote time and effort to, and that I enjoy enough to justify devoting a portion of my day to them. But, if none of these is music-related, my supposed area of expertise, then what the hell am I doing?

So, new goal: find out ways to generate income doing something you enjoy while scaling back those things that you can identify as a waste of your time. Oh, abundant free time.

I'll keep doing the ChaCha thing because I was accepted as a guide today but I'm going to have to get good at it for it to be worth my time. The thing I like about it is that, on their website, they don't tell you that you'll make so much money, or that you'll be able to quit your day job. They're honest and up front that it's just a part time side gig for even those who devote a great deal of time to it, so it's easy for me to be realistic about it. And you can get paid whenever you like, not when you reach $100 or anything like that. I also like the research part of it, when it's a decent question. I could write an entire blog entry on the questions, ranging from silly to stupid that I see, but...another time.

I'm going to also keep pursuing finding a job here and there pet sitting as well. I got some hits on the web site for jobs in and around Manhattan. I still need to finish my profile and once I do, I'll start applying. I like pets.

The movie extra thing, I decided, is not for me. Never mind that Talent 6's website was not very useful and I was unable to find any paying extra gigs. And I don't think I'll check out the other casting agencies either because it occurred to me that if I'm going to spend an entire day waiting to be in one scene, even if I get paid for it, that's a huge waste of my time. Doing any other "work-at-home," set your own hours type of gig, I'd be able to stop and write music if I got inspired. As an extra, though, I'd be stuck on a movie set for 8 hours and unable to bring work with me. Meanwhile, I'm sure I'd be going crazy waiting for it to be over. I hate being idle, unless I planned to be that way. It might have worked if I knew I was going to be unemployed for a long period of time and I knew I wouldn't be potentially spending my entire weekend on a film set, when I could be writing music at home.

Really, though, the point is that I'm going to give myself more time to write by slowing down all of this frantic searching for semi-lucrative side gigs. I'm incredibly frazzled for most of the day and I feel like my time is mostly devoted to half baked schemes, none of which ever comes to fruition, like a perpetual to do list where nothing ever gets checked off, and I'd much rather be hurling that frantic energy at some creative endeavor, whether or not it's going to make me instant money that I can spend on groceries and beer.

So without further ado...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Of Thumbprints and Skyscrapers...

My first reaction to this was that I'm a thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper. An attempt to catalog all of the New York City blogs and there, right there on the front page, winking and laughing at me, a rough, albeit cruel, estimate of the myriad of blogs doing exactly what this one is doing. Perhaps not exactly. Close enough though.

But then, my second reaction was that this is a great way to meet people doing exactly what I'm doing and therein lies the truth about this tiny episode in my web life: Each one of these blogs has to be unique and isn't that the greatest thing about not only the web, but life itself.

Occasionally, I get a little overwhelmed, especially thinking about the sheer number of musicians there must be in this city trying to make it, or at least make it to next week, let alone the number of composers. But, I know, from years of experience of damn-near giving up because of the enormity of the task, that I can't look at them as competition but as potential mentors or at least folks with whom I can commiserate about the difficulty of this career path. So, without further ado, I'm going to delve into this newest slice of the web upon which I have stumbled.

Park Slope and it's many attractions...

Good morning. I know. It's afternoon. Haven't left the house yet, haven't had lunch yet. I've just been working on the computer all morning. Working on becoming a ChaCha guide. I had to take a test where I answered ten questions that were submitted by ChaCha users. Took a while, too, to get up to ten. I think I'm going to have to figure out when the peak times are if I'm going to make this lucrative at all.

Exciting news is that tomorrow, bless this freecycle phenomenon, I'm going to pick up a used A/C unit from someone in Park Slope. I just think that's awesome. Now, I feel way more comfortable putting up those blinds on freecylce, the ones that were too short for my windows. It's karma in action is what it is. I give away a printer that I can't use and I wind up with a free DVD player. I love it. And it's so much better than throwing things away. I hope it really catches on. Looks like it has. 4,709 groups with 6,565,000 members worldwide. Pretty cool, huh?

Yesterday, I met Karishma in Grand Army Plaza (it's pretty cool having a triumphal arch a few subway stops away) for a stroll through Prospect Park. We were planning it specifically because of the weather but, even as I sat whiling the time away with my cousin in Union Square earlier that day, the clouds were rolling in. It was still a bit of a shock when I surfaced on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to see a gray sky and feel a light mist starting to fall. We still went for our walk though all the way down to the lake and back up Washington Avenue until we reached the Eastern Parkway stop on the 2/3, right by the Brooklyn Museum, which we might go and see next Saturday (free every first Saturday of the month). Then we went to Target to pick up some things and then went back to Karishma's to have dinner and watch movies. The usual fare.

Karishma took more pictures than I did so I'll wait until she sends me hers to post the album up. For now, I've gotta go enjoy the weather...it appears to be nicer outside than it was yesterday evening. Laters.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Frugality and Job Hunting

I have internet back for an indeterminate amount of time so I'm going to frantically type out an update of the past few days. It's been the same routine day to day of getting up to jog, then coming back and surfing the internet for jobs when I have a signal, interspersed with forays out into the neighborhood to pick up various things so I'm not stuck inside all day getting frustrated with the computer. Things like a universal remote control for my free DVD player and TV (which was a mess to program), a light bulb to replace one that blew (only to come back and have two more light bulbs blow after realizing that what I had bought was a sub par CF bulb that gives off an eerie blue light), and dish soap. Another time, I ventured up to Verizon at Atlantic Avenue to have my phone reprogrammed to see if I could fix the problems I have been having with dropped calls and low signal in my apartment. It didn't fix the problem. And Karishma came over a few nights ago to hang out and have dinner.

I've realized that these little annoyances (the internet being sporadic, my phone crapping out mid conversation and half my calls not getting through) have been upsetting my daily flow. Of course, it's never a big deal; if the internet is out, I take it as a sign to get out of the house and do something. Whenever my phone calls don't get through I just get the message and call back. When I lose calls, it's never a big deal because I can almost always get back through. I have been getting a little antsy and frustrated over it, though, so ultimately, I finally decided to buy internet. Hence my phone call to Time Warner the other day. Cablevision will be here tomorrow.

With what I'm doing daily, not just job hunting but also sending files to the guy I'm working with on the commercial and other money making efforts that are based on the internet (which I'll tell you about in a second), I can't sit here and wait for someone in the building to leave their computer on so I can access the internet.

As for the phone, Verizon told me I'm eligible for an upgrade on April 17th, so I think I'll hold out until I can get a new phone before I do anything drastic there.

That's been another theme this week: learning how to not spend money when I don't need to. When I can get by without spending money, I've made sure that I don't. The light bulbs are a good example. The light in the kitchen went out and I had one to replace it with already. But then, the bathroom light went out so I felt I had to go get a bulb and did so without thinking. The one I bought didn't fit in the bathroom fixture, though, so I tried putting it out in the kitchen and putting the one in the kitchen in the bathroom. Then I noticed that the new light wasn't bright enough for the kitchen and was giving off an eerie blue glow. Kind of a sub par bulb, it was a CF bulb but must have been older technology before they got the warmth thing right. Anyway, then the bedroom light went out next. Now, I had already gone out and bought one light bulb but, when the bedroom blew, I thought for a second before I went back out to find more not so blue bulbs. There's a floor lamp in my bedroom with two bulbs in it. I took one of those out and put it in the kitchen with the blue light and realized that I never use the overhead light in the bedroom. This saved me having to go out immediately to buy light bulbs. Yes I know bulbs are not that expensive and the CF bulbs last a looooooong time. But the point is, I'm thinking ahead to what I'm going to need to use that money, if I don't get a job in the next few weeks. Frugality is the word. Every time I buy something, I ask myself, "can I eat this?" It's a good rule. I was killing time in Target while waiting for my phone to get programmed and I kept seeing $5 DVDs that I wanted, some of them double features. But I stopped and thought, "can I eat this DVD?" "When I'm out of groceries in a week, am I going to be glad that I have this DVD?" The answer was no.

I know I'm not hard up just yet, but I think it's a good rule when unemployed to think like you're unemployed and you have a finite amount of resources to sustain yourself.

But anyway, speaking of employment, now for the good news: I have an interview at NY 1 next Tuesday! They want to speak to me about a Media Operator position, which is not the one that I applied for but it's very similar; tuning in live satellite shots, making sure the video looks good and working with the assignment editor to organize the feeds, etc. I'm hoping this one pans out but I'm also going to keep on Technicolor about their job. I could get frustrated about the fact that these are part time gigs, both of them, but I decided to look at it as a chance to learn a lot of other things I can do and maybe even try out some unconventional sources of income. Maybe unconventional is the wrong word. Alternative. We'll go with that. No I'm not talking about adult entertainment (that's a joke, mom).

I'm talking about doing more freelance work and using the internet to my advantage. I started looking into getting a job as an extra on a few sets. I explored Talent 6 first, but they don't seem to be very focused toward what I want to do. They go on about how it's a good way to break into the industry as an actor, and I keep saying, I don't want to be an actor, I just want to make some extra money. Then their casting calls are so incredibly diverse and the list massive yet, if you search for just the keyword "extras," you only get about 10 in your area that aren't already expired and most of those aren't paid. So Talent 6 is a dud. The deal is they make you pay a monthly fee after 2 weeks to gain access to their list of casting calls...but then they post them all on craigslist anyway. But they tell you you can't apply to them unless you're listed on their site. So I get listed and I find out that not only are there not enough casting calls up there now that are paying (sue me, I'm only in it for the money), they also have a pretty user-un-friendly interface. You can't attach a resume to any of your submissions. You just fill out your profile but you have limited space. How is that going to get me a job on one of these shoots if half of them explicitly ask for a resume? So I'm fed up with that and am going to quit their directory and try another casting agency.

I'm also looking into being a guide for Cha Cha. One of the Emilys got me into the idea of doing it but I'm only now getting set up to do it. People text in any kind of question to the web site and it's your job to look up the answer on the internet and send it to them and they receive it as a text message. Mobile answers. Sounds like fun, right? Just a couple hours a night of doing that, I'll make a decent little chunk of change.

Beyond that, there was, of course, the Shutterstock thing which I'm going to back burner for a while, but also, the idea of doing some voice over work occurred to me because there were a few casting calls up on Talent 6 for voice work. I can't count the number of times someone has said to me that I should do voice over or radio. So, I've been reading through this, a document about getting started in the voice over industry and thinking about recording a demo of some sort.

Beyond that even, is the Sittercity.com site that lists you as a pet sitter (or babysitter for that matter) which is free and you can get money for recommending parents and pet owners. I haven't seen many hits on it. I suppose a lot of people aren't using it yet for pet sitting services. So, I may have to back burner that one for a while even. But, eventually, I may pursue other avenues of finding people in need of pet sitters.

I know, the interesting thing about this list of schemes is that none of it seems to be music related. While I am doing music gigs now on the side, for no pay, everything that I've been exploring for actual sources of income are not music related. Is this because I'm too insecure to go for paying gigs right now? No. I'm still applying for those but I'm being realistic here. I'm spreading myself out a little and I may find out that I'm spreading myself out too much, that my ambitions are too diverse and that my head might explode trying to juggle all of this stuff. Well, hopefully, it won't get that far. I think I need to do all of this to really get a sense for what kind of day job will sustain me while I work on the music career. I need time to hone my craft, no matter what anyone says. Even if there's someone out there who might pay me for my work, I still feel I have work to do. And perhaps I will start getting paid soon.

I've just finished reading this horoscope that set my mind at ease about a lot of things. Never mind the fact that it was incredibly eerie how right on point this horoscope was. Usually, they're fairly vague and I only read them for recreation and amusement. But I've been getting daily mailings from a site called Daily OM. It's great for lovers of eastern thought. This horoscope was talking about being frustrated about the pace of things. And here I am reading it just as I was sitting here getting so frustrated that I can't get out of my apartment when I get antsy because I don't know enough people here to go out with and I can't justify going out whenever I feel like it because I don't have a job yet. And here I am being assured by a horoscope about something that should be obvious. But that's what I'm going through right now, if you want the raw truth. I'm constantly wanting things to start happening here but then realizing that it's going to take time. Here's a quote from the end of the horoscope:

"It may be that we are less concerned with our relative pace, and more interested in bypassing those challenges that frighten us most. Yet it may be that these are a vital element of our development and necessary to our ongoing growth. To skip over them would serve us little, and our lives would be irrevocably changed as a result."

No kidding. I'll leave you with another quote from Walden, that I giggled at the other night, that seems strangely pertinent tonight:

"It is impossible to kill time without injuring eternity."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why, oh why, bureaucracy? Why, oh why, faceless institution?

Man, am I talkative today. I really would like to punch Time Warner Cable in the face. First i fax a request for a free month of cable (on my realty agency) and then I wait. Then I call and find out that they're not servicing my building at present so I put in a request for serviceability at the suggestion of the person on the phone. Then I wait some more, meanwhile, furtively stealing internet from my neighbors in the building. Finding that I can't upload files to my website today, I get frustrated and I finally call them back to check on it, feeling proud with my 9 digit confirmation number and everything, and they tell me, flat out, that it looks like they're not servicing my area and that I need to call Cablevision. Someone could have effing told me!!!!!!!!

Blurb #6

Woke up to jackhammers outside the apartment this morning. Any other day I'd be pretty fussed about it but today, strangely I feel pretty laid back. Something in the air. Went for a jog...that thing that's in the air might just be spring. Or something. A week until April. I'm calling Technicolor right now because they said business would pick up in April. I'll let you know how that goes.

Meanwhile, have a photo album from yesterday in the park. Stopped by that Asian Grocery again. I love that place. Incidentally, really cheap eggs.

Sunset Park Tuesday

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Buddha and Thoreau

I HAVE MINI BLINDS ON ALL OF MY WINDOWS!!!! And they're all the right size, too. It's been a long time coming. Now, I can relax. For a little bit. I'm still unemployed. I'm calling Technicolor back tomorrow and NY 1 should be calling me for a change. I've forwarded my resume to them after having called them again, three times now.

Anyway, I'm not going to be blogging about all that today. I was reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau while doing laundry today. I finally decided to read it since a copy of it fell into my hands several months ago (I can't remember when or where it came from). The man was a genius and apparently really Buddhist though he may not have realized it himself. Here's one choice quote that I picked up while reading:

"It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof."

Consider these similar quotes from Buddha:

"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true."

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

It's interesting to ponder that what we consider to be truth is often only so because we think it is the truth because we were told it or we read it somewhere. But to spend life believing only what we are told and what we read, leaving no room for speculation or abstract thought, must be a dismal existence. I like where Buddha and Thoreau are coming from here.

How to not spend money in Manhattan...

So here's some information that might be of use to other unemployed types in New York City that I have gleaned from my own experiences here so far. Remember how a few blogs ago, I was complaining, before I started the job with Technicolor, that I kept ending up with long stretches of time to kill while in Manhattan waiting to meet people, or waiting for appointments or whatever? Killing time in Manhattan? Oh, whine, whine, whine. Life is so hard, Tim! You try trudging up and down Avenues in the biting cold wind pretending to enjoy sight-seeing when the only consolation that you're stuck out in the cold for however long is that you're not spending any money by stumbling into the closest Starbuck's and buying a muffin and a tea just so you can sit down and rest your aching feet. Yes, the idea is to kill time without spending any money.

During my copious free time before being employed, while far away from my home base and without anything to do, I started to think, this is a good opportunity to figure out what one can do in this city to pass the time during the winter months without spending my money. Coffee and a muffin every time you have extra time and can't go home to sit because it's a half hour to forty-five minute train ride and you have other things to do while still in the city could get expensive.

I think that particular thought, about amassing ideas for free (and warm) places to sit, occurred to me while I was outside the public library on 42nd Street and Bryant Park, in a chilling wind blowing up 6th avenue, kicking myself for thinking that I could have sat in the library if I arrived where I was meeting my friend too early. I failed to realize they'd be closed at that hour. It was 8 in the evening.

So, any list of places to go and sit in the winter, for free, while killing time between appointments and meetings, would also have to be sensitive to the hour of the day that the window of time occurs. And, of course, when the winter is over this whole list is moot because of the sheer number of public parks in the city (at the very least, there's one at every avenue that Broadway crosses below Central Park...and then there's central park).

But now, while the wind tunnel effect persists, we must have a list of save havens where loitering is not frowned upon, or at least not noticed.

Yesterday, I was with a friend around the 60's on the east side and, after our drink, we strolled over to Bloomingdale's and Banana Republic (incidentally, this was one thing I tried for killing time, pretending to clothes shop. After a while you get sick of looking at clothes you neither intend to try on, nor can afford) so he could buy a new shirt. After that, we went to the Apple store where you can check email and loiter all you want. The place, on a Sunday afternoon, was totally swamped, so if that's not your bag, then, perhaps, avoid. But, it was a good way to kill a half hour. So that's on the list. Now, it came across my radar that there a few hotel lounges in Midtown that don't mind you hanging out. I haven't tried any of these out, but here's the article. It's actually a profile of one of the editors for a fabulous site called Not For Tourists, that has similarly titled guide books for several of the biggest Metro areas, including New York City. This site is money.

Other things include, as previously mentioned, department stores. Some have benches or chairs. In Union Square, the Filene's basement (which is several stories high and not anywhere near the basement of the building it's housed in) has a few cushy chairs at the top of each escalator facing the wide windows with a view of the square below.

I've not tried this yet, but Barnes and Noble in Union Square is yet another place to go, but yet again, as a side effect of being in New York City, it's also crowded at most hours of the day and it closes around 10pm. If you're still in the city that late though and you have nothing to do, I'd say go home.

As for me, I'm going to sleep. I'll keep on this topic to add some diversity to the roster of things to do that are free and warm during the winter months.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Music for a commercial

I went to Joel's film shoot yesterday for the Chipotle commercial he's shooting for a contest. My music will be in the spot, as long as I can turn it around in a little over a week. But that's cool. I need something to take my mind off job hunting. After a certain amount of applying, one has to do some waiting. I'll do all my follow-ups at the end of the week.

Anyway, the shoot was at Joel's studio in Chelsea around 26th street. Being right by the Hudson, they had to put up with the occasional helicopter taking off from or landing at the heliport for tours of Manhattan. So that was a consistent thing throughout the day. As for the shoot itself, essentially, the actors and actresses that showed up were asked prior to have come up with a name for the favorite burrito from Chipotle. On set, they had to name the ingredients and subsequently answer a series of questions about their burrito, while doing some physical actions, ranging from gesticulation to all out dancing (some lighting stands were almost knocked over). Boy, were there some hams present. But, it was amusing. I got a few good laughs and more importantly a few good ideas for the music to add to what I had brought to show Joel.

The music is going to be simple, since the set design was simple and the commercial has a very intimate personal feel to it. I think Joel is going to cut between several of the best auditions but of course, it's always one person on screen. To me, that translates into a single instrument with a very simple idea. So I was banging on my guitar all week coming up with rhythms and showed him that. I think he liked it so we're going to go with it but we got talking while I was there about making it slightly more catchy, with some graspable melody, that's quick and not too busy. We don't want it covering up any of the dialogue or distracting from any other element in the commercial. It's going to be a 24 second spot.

Last night, I had an incredible moment of clarity, in which I bounced out of bed and cut the light on, grabbed a pen and started scribbling an idea I had had: over dub some "hums" onto the guitar track. There's a lot of actors going, "mmmm" in the commercial and it occurred to me that that might really tie the music in.

I don't often get those Eureka moments, so pardon me if I sound quite excited about it. I just hope Joel likes the idea.

Tomorrow, I'll see the first cut and then get to work cutting my ideas down to size. More later.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekend.

Had a fun night last night. I met Karishma at her apartment and then after watching most of Bend it Like Beckham (sad, I had never seen it before), we took the subway to Park Slope to meet Apoo. It was a sushi place on Flatbush Ave., called Sushi Tatsu. Great atmosphere, though slightly cramped. I had a 16 ounce Asahi and a mushroom soup.

After that we went to a place called Soda, near Apoo's apartment. A dive bar of sorts, though it only met a few of the criteria that would earn it the moniker; the first being a smelly bathroom with graffiti-ed walls. There was draft beer galore but one could of course, as I did, go for the PBR in a can, criterion number 2 in my book for a dive bar. For all you North Carolinians, I paid $3 for said canned goodness; a full $0.75 to a dollar more than I would have in NC. I guess that's not too bad. I got to drink it in Brooklyn for crying out loud!

The way home saw major train luck, the likes of which I've not seen on a Friday night in Brooklyn since I arrived here. The 2 was at the station at 7th Ave. maybe a minute after I arrived on the platform and when I made the platform for the D train I only had to wait about five minutes but I still had time to snap this photo of cheeky subterranean humor.


During our outing yesterday we got talking about how many people we know are out of work, whether after having been laid off or having chosen to leave a job during a recession, like yours truly. It's interesting to see how many are handling the ensuing unemployment, while not curling up into a ball and giving up. And how many are getting creative with job searching, i.e. trying to find things out of their comfort zones, while others are sticking with the safer method of applying for their usual fare and meanwhile, tucking in and cashing those unemployment checks, not leaving the house at all, eating Ramen noodles and drinking cheap (or no) beer.

Different strokes, I guess. Still would make an interesting topic/sub-topic for a blog. There are tons of 'em out there already that are devoted to just being unemployed.

Here, here and here, for starters.

If I did write about unemployment it would be my own experience with being marginally unemployed (i.e. still being employed at least part time or with several freelance gigs). Also, said blog would be a series of entries in my greater blog, rather than one devoted entirely to unemployment, because, let's face it, I don't really want to be blogging about unemployment my entire life. I plan on being employed by April, to tell you the truth. Just might be interesting to chronicle my first experience with it, with the exception of college, since I was too young to work.

At any rate, I have that composing gig with the filmmaker that I met at Farah's Oscars party and today I went to the shoot. That deserves an entire entry to itself, but here's a photo I took on the way home of a playground a few blocks away from his studio.



Yes, a playground shaped like some familiar buildings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Job prospects

So I just signed up for a talent agency. I thought it'd be a good idea while I have all this idle time waiting for call backs from full time jobs, to get a piece of the movie extra pie. I kept seeing ads for talent agencies looking for movie extras on craigslist and thought why not. I looked up as much information as I could find, the best of which is well summarized here. Pretty educational. Most of the terms I already knew, having been a film major.

Anyway, I think it'll be fun. I don't expect to make it a full time thing but a few jobs a week at $100-$300 a day could be some nice pocket change on the side. I'm sure there'll be some down side to it all that I will at some point discover (first guesses: the jobs aren't going to come as fast and it'll be on the low end of the pay scale when they do, it's going to be a lot of standing around and a lot of getting yelled at by the assistant director, or maybe my wardrobe might not be up to par) but how will I know unless I try it, right?

NY 1 news' recruiter finally returned my call this morning. They haven't begun the interviewing process yet so my hassling them was slightly premature. The recruiter told me to email my resume again (this is the third time) and she emailed me right back confirming and saying I should expect to be contacted next week.

So I feel I've been pretty productive today but I'm going to spend another half hour searching the job listings and then call it a day, or even a weekend. All told, I applied for six jobs this week, not including signing up for the casting agency. The other side money makers, submitting stock photos to shutterstock.com and signing up for a profile as a pet sitter on sittercity.com, didn't pan out, or haven't panned out yet (much more optimistic there). Shutterstock rejected every single one of my photos. My problem there was that I submitted photos that weren't taken with stock photography in mind so the composition of most of them was of no commercial value; that and most of them had white balance or lighting problems because, again, since they weren't taken with professional use in mind there were all sorts of photographer rules I was breaking out of laziness. So, I resubmit in 30 days. No big deal. But I might want to try another camera, preferably an SLR with lots of manual overrides, or I might want to spend some time with my camera and submit some of my photos to the online forum to see if I can get some pointers.

As for sittercity, I haven't really paid it much attention this week. But perhaps I'll take a look at it presently.

Being unemployed is not half as bad as I had thought it would be. I thought I would feel useless but I'm already doing everything I can daily to make sure I don't stay this way long. There is a bit of freedom that comes with it. And I don't just mean free time. I mean freedom to go in new directions with my job hunt, freedom to try new things. Years ago, I would never have thought to try being a movie extra; never mind the fact that I was in a city that had no major film work going on. But this sudden survival instinct that kicks in when you don't know where your next paycheck is coming from has really boosted my confidence in myself, purely out of necessity. If I didn't have confidence in myself I would curl up into a ball and do nothing and just wait for the perfect job that I'm fully qualified for to come along.

I can't wait for that though. I don't have the luxury. In fact, I don't have any luxury right now. This isn't even my internet connection.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blurb #5

I now have mini blinds in my bedroom that are the correct size. I decided to stay with my too-short target blinds for the other room because I might get plants for the window sill and that would cover the rest of the space.

I went to Chinatown today and bought some Asian steamed buns that you steam yourself instead of the dumplings, which I now regret. The buns were not everything I'd hoped they would be. They weren't bad, I just wanted something meatier. I did go across the street and buy two whole flounders that, as I had feared, I had to fillet myself.



It was an adventure though and I finally got a chance to try making my own fish stock after I was done. I have no idea yet what I'm going to do with three tupperware containers full of fish stock though, other than freeze it and make a lot of chowder. I have to go throw out those fish carcasses now. Yuck.

Bikram yoga and my hermit lair...

I guess the one good thing about it being so hot in my apartment is that I got to experience what Bikram Yoga must be like tonight without having to pay for a class. Seriously, the pipe for the radiators gives off enough heat that I don't have to open the valves at all. Nor would I.

I stayed in tonight and watched three episodes of Dexter. I stayed in on Saint Patty's Day. I got my fill of Irish festivities today at the parade on fifth avenue.

St. Patty's Day Parade


That was enough for me. Besides, it costs a lot more money here to drink Guinness at a pub and pretend like I have some idea what this holiday is all about, when it has to be more than just wearing green and getting obliterated on a weeknight.

While I was there in Manhattan, my blinds finally came but FedEx wouldn't leave them because I obviously wasn't here to sign for them. They'll attempt to deliver again tomorrow, so I'll more than likely stay here at the apartment all day. This is good. I have one and a half more cover letters to write and some resumes to tweak. Each job is slightly different in such a way that I can't get away with writing the same cover letter (at least not all the same) nor can I just haphazardly chuck out my usual resume. So, being forced to stay in and work on it is a good thing.

I'll probably break the day up a little bit with an early jog (I mean it this time) and some riffing. I've got a composing gig after all. A composer whom I met through Farah has asked me to score a 24 second spot for a competition he's submitting for. If he wins, it'll be a Chipotle commercial...and there might be pay in that case. Excited about that. The turnaround is March 31st so I've got a little bit of time to knock it out too. Not much though.

I'm feeling a lot better about making myself stay in and not whining or griping or just generally complaining (whatever it is I was doing days ago) about not being social. That will come. I have at least three open offers out to get drinks and I was supposed to have been hanging out with Columbia U. friend who is on spring break this week. And that girl who I asked out, turns out she was out of town with a broken Blackberry and now she has less than 10 days to find a new apartment and move. So, I feel comfortable putting all that nonsense on the back burner for now.

I'm actually enjoying being a hermit. After all, I'm being productive for a change. And the thing I've always known about productivity, is that the more productive you are the more productive you become. It's like gaining momentum.

Sure, staying inside isn't that bad. And tomorrow the apartment will be that much more comfortable when those mini blinds get here. I won't have to worry about putting a shirt on just to walk into the other room and get the lights.

Daoust, out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blurb #4

Loads of Job hunting this morning. Applied to a few jobs, mostly film, sound design and film score jobs. Then, more walking around Manhattan. I got my haircut on 44th street at the underground barber shop. Then took the F to Roosevelt Island and took the tram back across. Really wish I'd had my camera. You float across the East river on a set of cables. The whole ride takes about five minutes and you can use a metro card to get on. I'll go back with the camera. Now that I have the camera back from Karishma, here's another album:

Sunset Park

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunset Park and Chinatown...

I feel certain things are going to be okay. Not because I have some window into the future and I know how things will turn out and what will happen; but because I'm beginning to have faith in my own ability to make the best out of my situation. At first, the prospect of not having a job and only having a short amount of time (two months) to find one before my money runs out (I told you rent was expensive) was a bit harrowing, to say the least. But now I've decided to look at this as an opportunity to really learn something about myself, try some new things and have some fun. For instance, I might try a couple of film jobs to fill in the spaces between now and whenever Technicolor needs their freelance person, I'm planning on calling some casting agencies that cast movie extras, and I'm also planning on using a site called shutterstock.com to sell some of my photos. I'm pretty much going to have to learn to go after things even if I think I can't do them, or I think they won't be that lucrative enough to be worthwhile. It might even be fun and adventurous. After all, two months is not that small of a buffer to work with finding a job and I consider myself a pretty resourceful guy. I mean, I did make it up here, didn't I? And after a month of being here, I found a place, got successfully moved in and am actually starting to know my way around the neighborhood. I even got to sort of show a friend around today.

Karishma and I went to Sunset Park to take photos of Manhattan and sit and enjoy the weather (I finally took pictures but she had my camera in her bag when she left, so I can't put them up yet. I promise you'll see them soon!) Afterward we walked through Chinatown, stopping at all the grocery stores in search of tarragon for the soup I was making (Ham and Green Lentil Soup...mmmmm!). Before we finally found it we stopped at two groceries that were right across the street from each other on 8th Ave. One claimed to be the "First" Fei Grocery or something and the other was the Fei Grocery "no. 1." Kind of a ridiculous rivalry, like when you see two First Baptist Churches on the same street. One was mostly fruit and vegetable stands but with some very exotic meats in the back (black chickens, head and all, duck feet, chicken feet, pig feet, beef stomach, cow tongue, duck tongue, anything else you'd want...or wouldn't want), the other grocery though was straight up fish market with some other drug store type stuff in the back and some imported sweets in the back back. We perused both looking like a bunch of tourists and I had the epiphany that this is going to be a great place for fresh seafood being right next to the ocean and all. Duh! I don't know why I haven't gone out and bought fresh seafood yet. After the grocery stores we strolled down the block and across the street to a bakery called Long Sing Bakery. There are two of these within walking distance of my house and I had looked in before, always wanting an excuse to go in and try some of their goods. They reminded me of stuff my ex used to bring back from the Korean store. Upon entering, we could see a case filled with what looked like buns filled with various things. Randomly, they also sold croissants but my eye was drawn to the mystery buns. There was no way to say that that wasn't going to sound funny. I bought one that I thought would have cheese in it but it was some indeterminate filling that looked like chocolate and tasted like, well, sweet. It wasn't chocolate. Karishma got one that was dubbed "shredded pork." The shredded pork was only on the top of the bun and there was, in fact, no filling with this one. Altogether enjoyable though.

Anyway, I was just thinking about how nice it is that I have close friends up here even if we can't hang out every waking second like we could when I was in Greensboro and all we had was class and a few part time jobs that happened to be fun. (I'm thinking Tate Street Coffee House here!) It's going to be different with everyone a subway ride away but we'll make it happen. Like today.

With that, I might go to sleep soon and get an early start tomorrow on job hunting and phone calling, etc.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The real reason for my state of mind

Okay, so I didn't quite get out everything that was bothering me in that last blog, plus, I did find out today that my mini blinds shipped finally. I was so ecstatic I almost cried. It's pretty bad when you've been waiting so long that the mere prospect that the thing you ordered is in motion towards you will induce such glee. Speaking of things arriving in the mail. I just figured out the reason my Netflix movies haven't been arriving (which is another thing that has been bothering me). I logged into my account today to watch Heroes and I had a message saying my account was on hold because I had given them an invalid address. Huh? I went to see what mistake I could have possibly made in typing the address but there was no indication as to why my address was invalid. So I tried writing the apartment number on a separate line but that didn't take when I submitted it and they said that was an invalid address too. So I called them to sort it out, trying not to sound too annoyed because my phone had just dropped out again; something else that has been setting me off at times this week (I've lost several calls in the last week while sitting in my apartment, sometimes right next to a window) and contributing to my state of mind.

Also, while doing my errands today, I think I hit on another big thing that has been under my skin. Something that makes all of these other things seem rather small and like they wouldn't matter at all if I were in a different state of mind. I have been dealing with a little bit of loneliness and wanting more from this place in which I'm living now. I've found myself wishing that my NY friends were more available and that I could reestablish something resembling the old circles I had when in college and living in Raleigh. I can't even find a neighborhood bar around here without having to get on the subway. I did meet someone, as I may have mentioned previously, at Farah's party who lives in the neighborhood. I called her today and left a message and I've yet to hear back from her. It'd be nice to have some friend or friends who live right down the street that I could call up and have a drink with after work some day or something.

Not to sound like I'm complaining. For god's sake, I'm enjoying myself. I think I'm just lacking a few more creature comforts. I hope I wasn't spoiled by all I had when living in NC. But this seems like such a huge city that I should be able to find like minded people to socialize with.

Anyway, I've also been thinking that maybe now's the time for me to focus all my time on finding a job that will establish a routine. Maybe I just need to endure the loneliness for a few more weeks to months until I can really feel fully established. And that leads me to the big reason for the funk. Fun as this is and exciting as this is, I don't yet feel fully established. I mean, I never expected it to come right away. I knew there would be a period of transition.

And as down in the dumps as I might have felt earlier today, haunted by frustration and insecurities about the next few months, I couldn't help but smile about the fact that all I have to do is walk two blocks and I see this magnificent view of Lower Manhattan and New York Bay. You can even see the Statue of Liberty from Sunset Park.

As I sat in the park I could hear bells from the church on 4th Avenue. I bought some groceries at the Key Foods on 5th Avenue and schlepped it back to my apartment, all the while thinking that this is the lifestyle I was after all those years: A couple re-usable canvas bags full of fresh produce slung over my shoulder as I walked past the park on the way home, no car involved, turning my head every once in a while to try and glimpse the Empire State Building on the horizon through the web of ancient Sycamore trees and children skating in the park, parents and strollers, school children and ball games. This, is great.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Far too much rambling for a Friday night...

So today was my last day at Technicolor. As some of you may know it was always going to be a three-week probationary period during which they took a look at my work and decided between me and some other guy. I left today without any definitive idea of whether or not I'm going to get it, just advice about when to call them back. It looks like things will probably pick up for them in April, as she explained to me today, and at that point they will want to bring "someone" in to work freelance until they decide they want to make it a staff position. How's that for definitive (sarc.)?

They have to do what they have to do. I'm not too fussed about it but now I have to delicately hassle them, when I just heard from a source that that's what the other guy has been doing. Except maybe not so delicately.

Have to come up with a strategy there.

Now, I think it's time for me to deal with the slight funk I'm in. I find that it's best to just first sit down and try and put my finger on everything that's bothering me, when in a funk. Then, I can begin the work of dealing with those things or writing them off if they're not important enough to be bothering myself about. So here goes. It'll be like an exercise. This should be fun.

Okay: I don't have my windows covered. That's bothering me, I realized, because I'm spending all my time in my bedroom at my computer because I don't want to hang out in a room where people outside can see in. So I have been neglecting that room, damn-near avoiding it. So, essentially, half of my living space is "off limits." I feel confined. This can't be good. I just have to deal with that though until I can finally block out unwanted eyeballs. It does help to know that that's the root of it all.

The rest of the things that I realize are bothering me are seriously trifles and aren't bothering me terribly bad, but I'll list them for the sake of the exercise:
I have a cold sore, and also a cold. My hair is falling out more since I've been using that shampoo and, even though I can see new hairs growing in where my old hairline used to be, it's still sort of harrowing (at least they're not all gray already). I asked a girl out a few weeks ago (this one was bothering me up until tonight) and she's been out of touch so I've not gotten to go out with her yet, in fact, I figured she was just not interested at all(turns out she's really busy, as her friend told me, finding a new place, then moving within the city, but also out of town visiting family etc.).

Funny how most of these things either resolve themselves or have simple solutions. Almost not worth worrying about them. ;)

Anyway, I've got a week or so of no work and I can choose to do just about anything with that time. However, I'm going to spend most of it job hunting. I think I'll fan out and look at film jobs, even if they are sporadic and not sustained. Of course, I'll keep on TV stations and I'll keep pestering, lightly, Technicolor, because I really liked that job.

Not every second of these upcoming weeks will be spent glued to the internet search pages, however. I'm going to be touring the city a little with a friend who goes to Columbia and has her spring break next week. MK is really cool and has lived here five years. And her neighborhood is great, up on the Upper East Side. I've been up that way a few times already and I really like it.

Tonight, I visited another Manhattan neighborhood. Really, just lightly scraped the surface. Murray Hill. I was there meeting Farah, my cousin's roommate, at a restaurant called Rice. I'd been to the one in Nolita with Karishma (the first night here, in fact) so I suggested it for tonight because I was taking Farah out for dinner as a thank you for her letting me stay with her for three weeks.

It was a good night, fun conversation with Farah, great ambiance in the restaurant, cool area in general. As I waited for Farah, standing on the corner of 28th St and Lex Ave, I could see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler building and another building which I had never seen before but whose spire was magnificently lit. Indian Restaurants abounded, joined by the occasional Mexican or French restaurant and residents hung out on their fire escapes smoking and chatting. I passed a Bollywood CD store on my stroll around the block. I love how this city and its boroughs are so diverse. Straight down to the things that annoy you. Two nights ago it was wannabe gangster rappers standing around across the street with their stereo booming at midnight while they all took turns saying "mother f@#$er" but tonight two Chinese people were chatting loudly directly outside my window. Tomorrow, I'm sure the Mexicans will be setting off their car alarms accidentally again. But I jest. It's a great neighborhood in reality. I think I'm going to go jogging in Sunset Park tomorrow morning. It's been over a month since I've jogged. For now, I should end this ramble and sleep since I've been up since 6:30 this morning. Good night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I moved to New York...

I've been here over a month and it still hasn't hit me. I mean, really hit me. I guess that's not true. It hits me just about every time I go over the Manhattan Bridge on the way to work. It hits me every time I turn around on Sixth Avenue after getting out of the West 4th Street Subway station and I see the Empire State Building towering above everything else. It hits me when I realize I don't have a car and how much I enjoy that (Yesterday, I bought groceries a short walk from my apartment, Saturday, I did laundry and picked up some things at the hardware store across the street; A car was not involved in either of these things).

I'm trying to take it all in. I'm trying to make sure I remember to stop and smell the roses. I'm trying not to take it all for granted. I'm trying to remember how hard I worked at getting here in the first place. But, I'm also trying to remember why I came here.

So, here it is. Another entry in the series, "Why I moved to New York," or simply "Why NYC?"

I moved here to network. Sure I could have done that in NC. Just the other day I got an add from an NC based production company on two separate social networking sites that I frequent, one of them itself based in NC. I'll probably contact them at some point and check out their work. Since moving here however, I've met two different film makers, another composer and found out that a good piano player friend of mine has moved here too (On a whim! The crazy son of a gun just picked up and came here, and here I sat planning for 9 months!). I also already have a gig lined up writing music for a short film of a friend who goes to NYU. Imagine the networking opportunities there! How many film students do you think will see his film and hear my music?

And also, the luckiest thing of all, the best "right place, right time" story of this whole episode is the job I've been working for the past three weeks. If I get it, it could be the best networking opportunity of all of them. The job with Technicolor is, if I haven't mentioned to you all, a job working as a projectionist for their theater rooms which serve all of their clients who come there for film processing and coloring. These clients have included the likes of Marty Scorsese, Ron Howard, Woody Allen, and various other stars. I saw freakin' Meryl Streep the other day (Didn't meet her though as she was sitting in the theater room watching dailies of her hair and make-up test reel for some movie that is still being filmed). Still, that's just cool.

Anyhow, not to get all star-struck or anything. Point being, this could be invaluable. So, I'm really hoping I get it and I want everyone to be thinking about me in the next week as I cross my fingers. My last day with them is Friday and after that they should let me know soon, hopefully. Meanwhile, a friend that I've made since moving here is going to be on her spring break next week so maybe I'll get a nice break and have someone to show me around the city a little more. And maybe it won't rain every day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I need to cover my windows

Too frazzled to blog right now. But I will say this:

Finding mini blinds should not be this hard...don't go to Azpartsmaster.com. They take forever to ship and they don't send you the traditional confirmation email. I've been waiting and waiting for any mail to come and it occurred to me I never got a shipping confirmation on them. So, I thought maybe the order didn't go through and I reordered. Now I have to call them tomorrow and cancel one or both of the orders. I'd love to just walk into a store here and buy them. Maybe I'll try that next. That or curtains.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blurb #3

More nesting today. I picked up that dresser and moved it in, then moved the piano to the other wall. Thinking of getting a TV at some point. Now there's room for it. This morning, though, I met Mary Kate for lunch and Museum of Natural History. Afterward, she went back to grade some papers and I strolled through Central Park to kill some time before meeting to pick up the dresser. Pics are all below. This was nice because it was my first day really doing touristy things since I got here. Also, the first time I got over to Central Park since I've been living here. Cheers,

Natural History Museum, Central Park, Apartment

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Making a nest

I stayed in tonight on purpose because I've been advised to by a bunch of people. It's not just in the interest of saving money, though that is a factor (I had to mail my paycheck to Raleigh because it won't go direct deposit until the second time around...so, naturally, I'm a little strapped for cash). The main reason is to just spend time in this apartment making it a home and making it comfortable. I wanted people to come over almost immediately to see the place and hang out with me but I didn't quite realize that it's just not ready yet. I have to get comfortable here, first before I can start inviting people into my space.

Incidentally, my life is a bit like that right now. I wanted to start meeting people and getting around town, maybe even dating a little, since it's been so long since I've allowed myself that. But until I have everything sorted out job-wise and until my apartment is comfortable, I can't really do that. I mean I could but it could get awkward. And besides, dating, going out with friends, all that stuff can get expensive, especially dating. So, I'm saving my money and staying in with a flick or two while I sporadically continue to hang posters on the wall. Check out the latest photo album for shots of the living room/kitchen.

More photos of the apartment


The bedroom is still a mess. I'm going to pick up a dresser tomorrow from a friend of a friend. In this city, there are a fair number of people with vans or trucks who hire themselves out to help people move things, furniture, etc. I did a little research but wound up, in the end, going with a guy who Karishma used a few months ago to help her move some stuff into her apartment in Crown Heights. Essentially, the best of them, the ones who don't want to charge you a flat-no-matter-what rate, will actually ask you all the variables, i.e. number of items, from where to where, how many flights of stairs, how many people helping move (as in: do they need to bring an extra hand?), etc. and give you a quote based on that. I heard flat rate quotes from $100 down to $65 before I decided to give this guy Karishma used a call. He quoted me $45 to move one dresser down one flight of stairs, drive from Long Island City to Sunset Park and toss said dresser into a first floor apartment. Not bad, eh?

So that's tomorrow. I'm also spending the day with a friend who's sister is coming into town and wants to do touristy things. I'm so excited. Touristy things. I haven't really done that since I've been here and it's been a month (as of today). It's been mostly walking around and looking at things in the cold. Which has been nice. Even today, though it wasn't cold, I did some walking around. I walked from the 36th street stop on the D train to my apartment, going through Sunset Park (the neighborhood's namesake park not the neighborhood itself) and stopping along the way at a grocery store to pick up something last minute for dinner tonight. I'm glad I finally saw the park because, hazy though it was, they weren't kidding about the view from the park of Manhattan. It's one of the highest points in Brooklyn and it probably gets gorgeous views of the sunset, hence it's name. You can see the Statue of Liberty, almost all of New York Bay and lower Manhattan's skyscrapers all lining the horizon above the rows of Brooklyn apartment buildings. You can even still see the Empire State Building up the East River. I'm sorry I didn't have my camera. I'll go pack and take a panoramic shot.

I might not have gone through there today, but I decided to improvise when the train conductor announced that the D train would run along the N train's track after 36th Street, one stop before I was going to get off. He gave some convoluted solution that involved riding all the way down to the Coney Island stop and catching a Manhattan bound train back. I opted for the walk even though I had ice cream in my bag from Target (Ben and Jerry's was on sale for 2.79 a pint, I had to).

Anyway, I have a chicken in the oven that I should check on. Might be done. I'll probably take some pictures of my escapades tomorrow, though I have no idea what we'll be doing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Driving in the city, a story of frustration and patience

Driving in this city is nothing less than a huge and needless hassle. One with which I came face to face only after I had done most of the driving that I had needed to do. Why? One simple thing: parking. You may have seen the photo in my slide show that I posted, evidence of my desperation to find somewhere to leave that beast of a vehicle, so that I could go to sleep. Despite what you might think, the actual act of driving in this city is not that difficult as long as you keep your wits about you...something I was already doing because of the sheer size and reduced visibility of the vehicle I was driving. Parking a vehicle without paying is damn near impossible because of the number of people who reside here to whom it is necessary to own a car or who still think it's wholly necessary to own a car despite the vast offerings of mass transit in this city.

When I arrived back on my block, back from my cousin's, I found, to my surprise, a spot in front of someone's house and parked there despite the no parking front of driveway sign. Minutes later, from my kitchen, I could hear someone half a block away laying down onto their horn. Immediately, I assumed, they must be looking at the obviously-foreign-to-the-block rental vehicle parked in their usual spot and that they must have wanted me to move ASAP. So I ran down the street in just a sweater to get the car out of the way. Luckily, there was no confrontation but unluckily when I finally did find a spot it was questionable whether it was far enough away from the hydrant, and it was also four blocks away and the snow was just starting to blow in and I was just wearing a sweater, like an idiot.

I planned on keeping the Uhaul until I could use it to transport a dresser that one of Farah's friends was going to sell me. However, the friend got sick with the flu and couldn't meet me to pick it up at his old apartment Monday night (I only had the van until Tuesday). So, I figured I could arrange pick up of that item later and I would just take the Uhaul back when I got off work on Monday.

Well, every Uhaul dealer that I had looked up on the internet was either closed up for the night and I couldn't drop off or they just didn't exist anymore. Frustrated and cussing as I drove around the neighborhood, I decided that I would just take it back the next morning to the one that I did find that was closest.

Grumble though I may and curse though I might at stuff like this, I did find some insight in all of this. The root of most of my frustrations this weekend is not, as I might have wanted to believe, bad luck. Rather, it is impatience and inattentiveness. I bought the wrong ticket because I was probably not paying enough attention and just wanted to get it taken care of. I didn't take the time to print out a proper map of my drive on Sunday because my dad's printer was messing up the google map, so I contented myself with just the directions. Had I printed the map, I might have had something to which I could refer when I got off track, without having to call everyone freaking out. I was so frustrated about the Uhaul because I had been too impatient to really seek out the places where I could have dropped off the van. I mean, actually call them all, and not just one of them, and find out if I would have been able to drop off late at night. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble this weekend if I had only been patient.

And that can stretch to just about every area of my life right now, even composing. Often, the composer's dilemma is that he hears music in his head and immediately wants it to be a full blow piece of music but he must be patient, write down what he hears and take steps to develop it into something musical. And idea is just the beginning. Sometimes he must write something and leave it alone for a while until more inspiration comes.

Incidentally, the same thing could be said for my career, that I have to be patient at it. It could be long stretches of time where it seems like nothing is happening. Surely, something is happening but it won't always be apparent. These are the times I'll need to be patient with myself and just keep doing what I do regardless of my frustrations.

That's enough for now. I think I'm going to do some laundry and run some errands as it's my first full day off of work since I moved into my new apartment. I'll update later about the job and about some rather surprising run-ins earlier this week and yesterday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Brooklynite

The weekend was a disaster. The weekend went well. These are two vastly different ways of looking at what just passed. Strangely, both are pertinent and both have some truth to them. It was a disaster that went well. Or it was a well planned disaster. Or it was a disaster that ended well. I spoke of the inherent inability of anyone to plan anything and see those plans through exactly as they were laid. While there was a great deal of hassle and strife involved in flying to Raleigh, packing and loading my truck went fairly well. Driving it back to Brooklyn and unloading it was a different story altogether.

By the time I was in the air Saturday afternoon, I could feel a sense of foreboding as the plane rocked through turbulence and an impossibly blank white sky. The clouds never parted and we landed in a rainstorm that did not let up for the entire day. My friends pulled through for me and we managed to get a 400 pound piano into a 10 foot Uhaul truck sans ramp. Yes, it took four of us to lift it up three feet off of the ground.

The rest of the loading was uneventful by comparison, except to mention that I was still loading things by myself up until 10 minutes of 10pm because of the unwelcome amount of packing I still had to do. Another item that I failed to incorporate into my genius plan. When I went to sleep, I slept. At 5am the alarm went off and before I knew it, with half a banana in my cheek I was on the road, Penny cat and all.

To deviate from the Google directions was never my plan but when I glanced over them and saw they were directing me through the center of D.C., I called my sister for a former D.C.er's best advice on how to circumvent the traffic (yeah, I know it was Sunday morning but I wanted to buy myself some time). Time that I would soon squander by neglecting to look on the directions for my next turn after Wilmington, DE. I have yet to look at a map to see what I actually did but somehow I missed getting on the turnpike so I had to call my dad for directions back across the Delaware River into New Jersey from Pennsylvania, where I was not supposed to be. My dad told me I'd get back on I-295 and merge with I-278 from there.

I drove up 295 searching and searching for signs for the turnpike and before I knew it, I saw a sign that said, “Begin 95 South.” South. I let out a hearty “WTF!?” and called pops back. As I was trying to get from him where I should go next, I was simultaneously maneuvering a full round about to get back on 295 South to find the exit for the turnpike I certainly missed. As much as I hated to turn back south in search of an exit which I had no earthly idea where to find, how far to look, within minutes of turning around, I started to see signs that said To 95/Jersey Turnpike. Apparently though, first, I had to get on I-195. Good information. Head spinning yet? Mine was. Once I was on track, there was no telling how far out of the way I had gone.

The Verrazano Bridge was a sight to see though and I was grinning from ear to ear. I even heard that Beastie Boys song on the radio that has the line in it, “NO...SLEEP...'TIL BROOKLYN!!!!!!!!” along the way. It was satisfying to say the least.

I called my moving crew, each and every one of them, when I reached Staten Island, before the Verrazano. I told them it'd take me 45 minutes to an hour to get there. I was wrong. I got there in under 30 minutes from when I made the first phone call. So there I was, arriving at my new apartment, unsure of whether I'd be able to park, and unsure of how I would do so without someone to direct me.

As I crept down 42nd Street searching for a parking spot, I saw one right in front of my building. I was so excited that I almost cried when I saw the fire hydrant standing there staring at me.

“To hell with it,” thought I. I'd be a short distance away from the truck if they needed me to move. So, I went for it and started to back in. I have never parallel parked anything that big, nor have I ever back something up that I couldn't see out of without someone standing behind me directing me. It was a miracle no one was killed. I was so excited that I did something monumentally stupid while getting out of the van. I failed to look where I was stepping and before I knew it, I was falling backwards out of the van, tumbling toward the cold pavement in front of my apartment. I hit the pavement, scratched my phone and began to laugh heartily. Someone must have seen me. The worst of it was over, though. The tolls, the botched directions, the mileage adding up (I was only allotted 611 miles and still needed to drive across town twice at least). And I was, at least, home.

All I had to do now was start moving boxes by myself and hope that everyone showed who said they would. It wasn't long before Mary Kate showed up, then Brian. Two others bailed on me but by the time Mary Kate and Brian showed up, I was nearly finished with the boxes and was down to big pieces of furniture.

Of course, the piano was the last thing out of the van, and the worst burden to move. Somehow, miraculously, (I wish you could have seen it), the three of us were able to get it in there. Across the pavement up five steps and across my living room floor without scratching it. It must have taken a half an hour. At one point, with one end of the piano propped up on the second step (one away from the top), I stopped to think, wishing we had a fourth person, then in a single movement, managed to lift up the lower end of the piano, to the astonished reactions of my friends who scrambled to get the other side up, just high enough to get it up the final step and into the hallway. I didn't even know what had happened until the 400 pound monster was sitting there, 10 feet away from, and finally on the same level as, the front door.

Once the piano was in, we brought the couch in, and then promptly sat on it and shared a couple beers.

Deep breath. More later on the hilarious debacle of getting the Uhaul truck returned.

Blurb #2

Posts of the last few days are forthcoming. I've been writing but away from internet for extended periods of time. Can't exactly blog at work. Currently stealing internet from someone's wireless connection. I don't intend to do this for long. Really. Been offered free month of cable from the realty office. Not bad. Here's some, I'm sure, long awaited pictures. Enjoy.

First Week in Brooklyn as an official Brooklynite!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sitting in a Public Place Lounging

I’m standing in a public place, my shoes are off and my pants are falling off without a belt. There’s a lady about my age telling me I have to dump out my water bottle and that I can’t have my shampoo. Where am I? I’m in the airport of course. I’ve had the worst morning this morning.

It all starts when I arrive at the US Airways terminal and one of their customer service people points out that my ticket is for a flight leaving from Raleigh-Durham, not from LaGuardia. Great. To change the ticket I’d have to pretty much buy a new one. How much? $220 or a changing fee of $150. I thought about it for a minute and then decided, you know what? #$%^ US Airways. I went to the Delta terminal after calling my parents to see if they could book a ticket for me and wound up getting a ticket for $80 at 1pm. Then those sneaky bastards told me there was an earlier flight (one that didn’t appear when my dad searched online) and that if I wanted it, it was an additional $50 changing fee. Still better than I would have ended up had I gone with US Airways. Let that be a lesson to you all.

Finally, ticketed and prepared to go through security, my half full water bottle in my shoulder bag prompts a full-on search of my suitcase which reveals that I’m carrying all kinds of contraband…which I knew would happen as soon as I realized they had found the water. And, subsequently, I knew that my huge bag of toiletries would get found. I know the rules people, I do. But who the hell wants to check a carry-on size bag when it costs $15 to do so.

Some terrorist gets a clever idea and, even though his plan is thwarted, he still wins some sort of satisfaction, knowing that he’s made the entirety of the flying public constantly inconvenienced while they have to kick off shoes, bag up their toiletries, take out their laptops and remove their coats. Well, I’m sure in the grand scheme of things this is such a tiny inconvenience that would probably have not seemed like such a hassle had it not been for the nature of this weekend. The TSA is just doing their job.

US Airways and Delta however, are trying desperately not to go bankrupt while simultaneously turning off as many customers as they can to flying.

All of this got me thinking about how well you can plan for something. My Zen for the day is this: You can’t plan for everything and sometimes you can’t plan for anything.

I’ve spent the last few weeks obsessing over getting everything just right. I would get frustrated when I didn’t plan well enough and I wound up in Manhattan having to kill time before whatever engagements I had because it didn’t make sense to go home to Queens. And I planned every detail of this weekend, right down to measuring my apartment’s dimensions so I wouldn’t end up bringing something up that wouldn’t fit. And everything was falling into place. Except for the fact that I was too quick about purchasing the ticket and I didn’t check the itinerary close enough. Hopefully, this is the only thing that will not go as planned. Because I have a short amount of time in which to move everything up. And I still don’t know how I’m going to park the truck when I get back up here to New York. Maybe I’ll leave that one hanging.

Posted by Dad