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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. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Okay, so I'm still thinking about that plan in the last blog entry...

I decided tonight that I'm going to stop looking at my situation as a disappointment that I can't do anything about. And start looking at it like this. I came to NYC, yes. But in many ways, I'm not here yet. So I shouldn't consider the experience of living here as though, I got to NYC and it's nothing like I expected and I actually hate it. This is just about where I'm living, where I call home. There are so many aspects of living and working this massive city that have shattered all of my expectations. But the place I live is not one of them.

Sure it's comfortable enough but, living in this neighborhood, I feel apart from everything, as though I were living in the suburbs. I thought about this tonight as I strolled through Sunset Park and it felt like I was in the South Garner Park of New York City. The neighborhood of Sunset Park feels to New York City what Garner felt like to Downtown Raleigh. But on a grander scale and therefore worse in some ways. The morons who litter and make noise and call each other "n____" and play basketball directly outside my apartment. The idiots who pulled up in a Lincoln Towncar last night and parked in front of my apartment(and I'm sure they'll do this again) and blared their Mariachi music while belting out the lyrics at the top of their lungs, all the while spilling beer out the side of their car and smashing the bottles on the pavement. (Yeah, I called 311 for the first time last night) All these, I'm sure, have some kind of counterpart down in Garner. I remember moving out of Garner to North Raleigh for similar reasons. There was domestic violence and after hours noise, etc. so we just broke our lease back then and moved on to better things. I don't intend on doing that here, breaking my lease, nor do I think I could.

Anyway, I've decided to look at my present situation as a step along the way instead of a dead end. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be far away from this shit. Nor do I think there's anything wrong with expecting things to be different in another neighborhood. I'm well aware that I may find some other things not to my liking in a new place, but, honestly, if I could wake up for once to my alarm and not to the person across the street, who has one of those warning beeps for reversing on his van, sitting with his car in reverse, the beeping incessant for about five minutes straight, then I'd be slightly more content with my situation. I could transcend all of this and agree that I shouldn't let it bother me as much. But then, well, you try it sometime. It's actually quite maddening.

So, the plans begin. I've got a little time to think calmly about how to most easily get out of here and to get advice from people who've sublet before. I've even got time to really take care with where I live next and whom I live with.

I suppose I could stick it out until March next year...but that's 7 months away. No thanks. I'll keep updating about this aspect of the New York Experience, the whole discontent with my living space. It's sure to raise some interesting stories. The basketball game is still not over and it's almost midnight. It's turning into a f@#$in' block party out there. Oh, save me from this.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I'm going to sublet my place. I've done a lot of thinking about this over the past week and it makes the most sense out of any other plan I've come up with. The reason is that this place I'm living in has become too expensive for me to afford with any amount of uncertainty about my hours at work. I stand to save about $400 a month by doing this and that alone has been enough to assuage any apprehensions I have about moving again, leaving this place, going through the hassle of finding a subletter and a new apartment in the same month and any other random concerns that have come up with regards to this process.

To me, it's as good a plan as any and that it's a plan with a definite set of consequences, the bulk of which are good for me, makes me feel a million times better than sitting around worrying and trying to find extra side gigs and begging my bosses to hire me full time. That all can wait. In the meantime, the name of the game is to make a gigantic stride towards being able to effectively spend less than I make for once. I've reached my limit with all of my other expenses. I literally can't cut back anymore short of not eating or drinking a few nights a week and unplugging even my fridge when I leave the house and never using my A/C ever.

Survival instinct has kicked in. This is what it has come to. I had an epiphany that my lifestyle right now is essentially what is expensive and that I needed to consider doing this one big thing to change my lifestyle, i.e. roommates instead of living by myself, in order to not be so stressed out about it. That's one of the root causes of panic, when you feel like you have no other options. So I just needed to add some options to the table. At least one other, that is.

And now, I just have to go and put the plan into effect. I cannot decide if I should take care of finding a new place first or if I should sublet this one first. Let me explain. I've read on the NYC Rent Guidelines Board website that in order to sublet I have to give written notice to my landlord 30 days before and in this letter I must include the name of the sub lessor and my address during the sublease. ??? How the eff am I supposed to do that? So then, I get thinking. They don't need to know when exactly the sublet starts. I could make like it's starting in August, thereby giving them thirty days, but I could go ahead and get the sub lessor in here now and myself out. Or at least fudge the days a little. This way when I write them the letter of intent to sublet I can at least have a name of who is subletting and where I will live. But then, if they turn down my request? This is what confuses me. If there's the potentiality that they will turn down my request to sublet, why am I going to ahead and find a place that I could end up having to turn down? Maybe I could just give my parents address.

Not to bore you all with the details of it all. Half of this is just me writing it out so I can read it back to myself and, by that, perhaps make more sense out of it all. I think I'll just write them a letter of intent to sublet and keep it at that. Turn it in tomorrow morning and wait.

I hate that it's come to this. In some ways. In other ways, I'm looking forward to the potential to get out of this neighborhood sooner rather than later (March 1st next year). Also, I think it would solve a lot of my problems with socializing in this city if I can find roommates around my age that have been here for a while and have a network in place and if I can move to a neighborhood where there are sundries and hangouts nearby and I can feel like I don't live in suburbia. Incidentally, this is one of those random reasons I moved to the city. To be closer to people. It seems a bit ironic, sometimes I complain about the noise in my neighborhood or I come across as a bit of a curmudgeon but honestly, I'd love to be around people my age. That's the qualifier: my age. Not around families and high school kids. I feel like an outsider here (and not just because it's mostly Hispanic and Chinese and Indian families here who keep to themselves).

I was hanging out in Park Slope the other night with some people from my UNCG days, people that studied film there and that I could be found hanging out with just about any day of the week back then. I'm looking around the bar and seeing all these twenty and thirty somethings doing what I'm trying to do. Live a life in New York City. I've had apartment jealousy, I've had neighborhood jealousy. Now I'm having life jealousy. I know how absurd that is, by the way, to look at someone and, effectively making a snap judgment by the way they appear to me, wish I had what they had. Especially since I know nothing about their lives. It may suck to them. But at any rate, it looks shiny and attractive to me, and though I'm wary of wanting, I still want it or something like it. Comfort and stability are one thing but at least to be able to pay my bills and live near people my age would make my content. After all, there's nothing wrong with goals is there? Just getting attached to results. I'm certain that I will want something else as soon as I move to that brownstone apartment in Park Slope.

Anyway, I've got a formal letter to write. If anyone has any advice or information on how to go about subletting if you've ever done it before, please let me know what you know, I'm all ears. I'm off. Have some pictures from my romps last week:

J Scott's Visit

And here's some from poker night last night:

poker Night

Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Why I moved to New York

I've been trying hard to decide if I was going to blog about last weekend's visit to Raleigh because I didn't know if I could tie it in to this blog, being it a blog about New York City. Well, I decided to because this is not only a blog about New York City but it's also a blog about moving to New York City as well. And in moving, especially out of state, you always leave some things behind. Like friends, memories, your favorite haunts, family.

I've felt myself rather silly for thinking what-ifs these past few days since I got back. I wanted to move here, didn't I? For a myriad of reasons, right? I think I was just getting sentimental. I half expected this phase. So, I'm having a bit of trouble feeling totally comfortable here. It's a little different not knowing anyone in my building. It's a little different not being able to jump in the car and meet someone downtown in a matter of minutes (this can be fixed by moving out of Sunset Park, no doubt). With all of my friends living in different neighborhoods, it's a little hard to coordinate anything to tell you the truth. But, of course, I've been adapting to that, meeting Karishma in Manhattan when we both get off of work, having to think ahead and plan days in advance to hang out with friends instead of being able to just call up Emily or Sana, or Jeff and the guys and meet up downtown. But going back and being able to get everybody to meet me at one bar and then set up some relatively impromptu hanging out on Friday, seeing a band I've never heard of was a nice little reminder of how different things are now (even though I could probably do all these things here, it still wouldn't be quite the same).

I don't understand why I'm in such a rush to get back my old comfort levels, though. Maybe it's okay to be a little uncomfortable from time to time. Maybe, though I know I just said I sort of expected this phase, it kind of blind sided me. I was honestly so preoccupied with the reasons for moving up here that I never considered how I would handle the transition through being lonelier and changing my routine and having to work with total strangers, essentially starting over in a lot of ways. I was able to fully compartmentalize, keeping my eyes on the goal of moving within the year while still enjoying my time in Raleigh fully (more on this later).

I really liked the atmosphere at my old job and now I hear about how everyone hangs out and has Wii parties and cookouts that I've been missing out on. Everyone at my current job keeps to themselves and I don't feel as though I have as much in common with them. Okay, so there are a few outstanding instances where I may have enough in common with them to have a conversation at work but nobody's inviting me to any Wii parties.

I guess Wii parties are a bad example considering one of my high school friends who lives here in Brooklyn has one and I've been over there a few times. Point is, it's just not going to be like it was in Raleigh and I have to come to terms with that. Because I am enjoying this city and I did move here for networking and for an adventure and to be closer to the arts in general. I'm just wishing you all could be here with me.

So anyway, this blog was for all you who've wanted to live vicariously through me. I was going to say, "It's not all roses," but I'll refrain because I don't feel like I can complain. But then, if you want to get all philosophical, it's probably not really healthy for any of us to complain about our situation...unless of course, the world's really shitting on us and won't let up and then you get mugged, beat up, and your house burns down all in the same day. But anyway, what I'm getting at is that I can't sit here and wish that I weren't feeling what I'm feeling because ultimately, it's telling me something and it's my life and I shouldn't want to miss out on it, now should I? If I must venture a possibility of what could be telling me, one thing that comes to mind immediately is that I must have amazing friends and family. And another is that I must have amazing memories meaning I've had amazing times in my life.

Lastly, though, what comes to mind is that I have to assume that I had something to do with the above two because, what you give comes back to you, simple law of the universe. I must have the capacity for making great friends and for making great times, and in a city this big and a life this long, I'm sure that things'll come around and I'll have similar opportunities. It may never compare to Raleigh but maybe it doesn't have to. They can just be two different things and I can visit Raleigh more the harder I work at the real reasons I came up here. Music Career.

Another thing that sort of occurred to me in the course of my meditating and thinking about all this is that the nature of our memories is such that the best ones, the ones that we cling to as good times, were mainly so removed from the other times that we only half remember because, in those good times, we were truly present. Food for thought (or maybe thought for food?). What's bizarre is I had this thought, and then I read something in a book I've been reading on Zen Buddhism that said almost word for word what I had thought. It's funny to realize how interwoven into my understanding the philosophy of Buddhism has become over the past 8 or so years that I've been studying it. The book is Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner.

Another great thought is that this idea of staying in the present moment, incidentally, includes all of the emotions I'm feeling about being in a big city far away from the life I knew and my family and friends. It's all part of the present moment as well, and I should look at it without judging those emotions to be good or bad or indicative of some course of action I should have to take. I'm certainly not moving back any time soon. I've barely done anything yet. If there is a course of action I should take, after I clear my head of all these thoughts about what it should be, it might just be obvious. In fact, it already is. I need to enjoy every moment of my life, no matter how lonely or bored I might be. Because, I'm sure at some point in the future I may be looking back on these moments wishing I had been more present. Here's why: when I was having a good time in Raleigh, I had a thought, on numerous occasions, even though I was constantly thinking about my future plans, that I needed to stay in the present moment while I was in Raleigh because I knew that I'd be leaving all of that soon. This is probably why I'm looking back at Raleigh so fondly. As I said before, those moments were really great, because I was actually there.

I should show you guys some photos of what I've been up to over the past week...there are barely any from Raleigh...a few snippets grabbed from other people mainly.

Around Town June 2009 best

Monday, June 15, 2009

Different kinds of work...

Wake up to NPR, Snooze once, turn over, crack spine twice, jump out of bed, throw on work out clothes, grab mp3 player and keys, walk out front door rubbing eyes, two blocks to sunset park and JOG! Come back do crunches and push ups, start day.

If I only I could start every day like this. On a random Monday morning seems a good day to reflect on the routine that I've developed since moving, or rather, I should say, semblance of routine. With my shift hours changing every day, it seems I can hardly call it that.

Though, it is nice to have a series of things in my life that I can expect to happen an almost daily basis, one of them being work. I have so many friends who are still unemployed or only partially employed like myself. Some of them are enjoying themselves to a degree but others are experiencing something ranging from minor depression to severe identity crisis.

Freelance work has a different character to it then anything I've ever known. Being employed full time with benefits is great because once you go through the initial vetting process and start getting along with all of your co workers, you can relax and become, god forbid, complacent. With freelance work, I'm finding, there's no room for complacency. Become complacent and the jobs stop flowing. It's almost like they never really do flow but they just have the illusion of flowing or not flowing because you're having to wade through them, constantly.

As such, I feel in a bit of a weird position working at NY 1 because I can see both sides: how nice it is to not have to think about (at least not as much or as intensely) if you'll work next week or not by being close to my co workers on a daily basis, and also how important it is to never stop looking for other work. On the one hand, boy, would it be nice to not have to think about my hours (or even health insurance) but I can see the complacency running rampant in that place. People just do their jobs because they have to and not because they enjoy doing it. Granted, I've been just as guilty as having a bad day and complaining about it (but honestly it's contagious. It's like you walk into that place sometimes and take a huge lungful of the negativity and soon, before you know it, you're breathing it back out all over the place. [Joelle told me I should use that analogy after I invented it, spur of the moment, during our chat last night]) But anyway, I speak as though I don't enjoy it there. Everyone has their ups and downs and I keep saying I'm determined not to join in the negativity, but on occasion, I do.

But meanwhile, I love the job because the boss is understanding of the freelancers plight and does all he can to get me hours when people call out, etc. And it can be fun. And there are some nice people there.

But then there's the other half of my freelance life, which has been quite meager and I'm pretty sure I'm to blame. I have so many opportunities in front of me, I don't know which one to grab at first. Technicolor finally calls me in for shifts that I can't always work (in fact, the first one I will get to work is at the end of this month). I keep missing out on opportunities for background actor work. I've been underestimating the jobs on guru.com until recently, it occurred to me to under bid for some of them and see if I can compete with the "gurus" up there. But then, I just found a site called Humtoo.com, a virtual marketplace for the exact kind of music I want to be writing and have written. So I'm signing up but with a certain wariness about it all, intellectual property rights being of the utmost importance to me.

I actually got thinking about copyright registration after I got the email from the guy in Arizona wanting to perform my piece. So, I have a lot of online paperwork type stuff to do in the next few days plus I need to finish recording for the film score. I didn't do any work related to that on my last three days off because of all my friends being in town. So I'd better go. Got laundry to do as well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Highline Park and a little star struck...

So after my extreme lie-in this morning, Shannon came and met me at my place. Because of the recent shuffling of train service on my line, I freaked out and thought, after I had told Shannon to take the D, that she wouldn't be able to get here and that she'd be stuck at the station either pondering when the train was coming or how else she would get here. But luckily, the Manhattan-bound D train is occasionally (usually during non-rush hours) running on the N track from Stillwell Av to 36 St. This would not have been a problem for her as she was coming from Bay Ridge and needed to take the R to 36 St and then the Coney Island-bound D down one stop to 9th Av. Coney Island-bound D trains are running normal now. For weeks whenever there was a service change though it was the Coney Island-bound D that was running on the other track.

I can hear some of you saying how glad you are that you don't live here. Though, I always think, whenever I want to complain about the MTA, at least I'm not driving and I don't have to park my car and pay for gasoline, insurance and tolls.

Anyway, Shannon got here around 2:00pm and we strolled to Sunset Park so I could show her my view. However, the mist was far too think for any such activity so she just had to use her imagination. We went back to my place then, grabbed her bag and hit the subway to head into Manhattan because I got a crazy idea while I was waiting for Shannon to get here. I got paid today so I had my excuse to go into work: getting my pay stub...okay so I didn't really need it but it seemed like a good enough excuse to go upstairs and try and glimpse the film set that had taken over the newsroom.

As Shannon and I were crossing 9th Avenue to get to the Chelsea Market we spotted Rachel McAdams crossing the crosswalk (I couldn't help getting a little excited at this point. Apparently they had all of the actors' trailers parked along 16th street between 8th and 9th Aves).

We ate lunch in the Chelsea Market at a place called Bowery Eats. My sandwich had far too much of this offensive wasabe mustard that burned my tongue and at one point came out of my nose.

I had called Luis, my manager, before hand to get an idea of the scene upstairs and if it would be all right if I brought Shannon up with me. He said that if the guard gave me any trouble to let him know. All we had to do was sign Shannon in and then we went in.

The bright daylight simulating lights were pouring in through the windows from the rooftop of the building and the halls were all cluttered with stacks and stacks of film equipment and production assistants (the production assistants were not in stacks, just the equipment). I made my way down the hall, keeping my eyes peeled for activity and making sure not to walk into anything related to the filming. I made it to the room where I usually work and a few people, my manager included, were standing facing the window to the newsroom and gawking at all the activity.

They were shooting a scene where Rachel McAdams, back upstairs now, was walking across the newsroom and trying to open the office door where Harrison Ford was sitting. I don't think they were shooting the office scene just yet so I'm not too sure whether or not Harrison Ford was in there or not. The rest of us who were watching had cameras out and kept trying to get a shot of Rachel as she walked by our window. After a while, I felt like a tool and put my camera away and tried to make my way upstairs to actually get my pay stub. Shannon and I had to squeeze through the back hallway filled with film canisters and a dozen grips and PAs and past the track they had set up for the dolly.

Loads of excitement for one day. In the end, however, the only photo I got that rumored of a film shoot was this one:

After we left the Chelsea Market, I cooked up the idea of going to the riverside, despite the mist, and walking along Riverside Park. Before we could get out there though, I turned and noticed people up on the elevated rail and it hit me, the new Highline Park they've been talking about is open. The old Highline railroad that ran parallel to 10th Avenue was in danger of being demolished and instead they lobbied to make it into a park, preserving most of the old track and allowing wild plants to grow along the length of the park in addition to planted trees. Observe:

Highline Park

And also watch this vid:

And add to all this, I have another friend coming in to town this weekend plus a friend who lives in town got an extra comp ticket to see Coraline tomorrow night in the West Village. I'm excited! I'll let you know how it goes.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens...

It's mildly ironic that my last post began with the fact that I can't seem to sleep past 8:30am because this morning I did just that...in a big way. So maybe mildly is not the word I'm looking for.

I had an exhausting but fun day yesterday. I had been planning on trying to catch up with my friend Rachel who is visiting town this week. She called me while I was at Target picking up a new computer mouse (mine shit the bed on me) and we agreed on lunch in Park Slope and that we'd meet at Grand Army Plaza like we had tried to do the day before. I got there first and read for a bit and then, when she arrived we walked down Union Street to 7th avenue and stopped at Tea Lounge for a slight caffeine buzz. Afterward, we pushed onward to 5th avenue and landed at a Mexican place called Mezcals which was awesome.

Then, we walked back to Grand Army Plaza, stepped into Prospect Park for a hot second and then decided we should hit the Botanical Gardens. Great choice. They were pretty awesome. I wish you could smell these pictures and climb in the trees we climbed in.

Botanical Gardens best

I felt like it was the most in touch with nature I've been since I've come here. Mainly because of the huge diversity of plants here that you won't find romping around Central or Prospect Park.

After the Botanical Gardens we split up so she could meet another friend and I went and grabbed some groceries at Trader Joe's.

I was to meet a friend in the West Village later who was going to play a piece of mine for me. I just finished a piano sketch that I've been working on for a little while and had him look over it. The place where we were meeting was his friend's house and the situation was a bit odd. The guy who owns the place is in his 80s and has given a lot of money to the Juilliard and is fond of helping students and musicians out so he let's Brad, my friend, come over and use the house while he's not there to practice on his baby grand Steinway. Sweet deal for us.

Anyway, this gentleman is in the process of moving out of his West Village house so the place is in shambles and there are people, mostly movers, some family, in and out of the place. However, we didn't really expect anyone to be there at that hour. So, when we came in through the basement and heard voices upstairs we decided to split and grab a beer somewhere.

We wound up going to a place called the Village Tavern. Seemed a bit straight for the village with it's sports bar atmosphere and preppy collared shirts but they played a lot of early 90's music so we had a good time.

After a few beers we decided to go back and check the situation at this gentleman's house. There was still someone there but we had agreed to explain the situation to him. He was on the phone and didn't seem to care what we did but we weren't exactly about to start banging on the piano with him sitting there chatting on the phone. So we ultimately decided to take our beers and go down to the riverside, that same park I photographed the other night with all the strange sculptures. I didn't end up getting home until about 2:30am. Stupid R train.

So that's why this morning I slept until almost noon. But luckily, my friend Shannon, whom I was going to hang out with today, did the same thing. She's in town to see her boyfriend's band play, the Urban Sophisticates...who, strangely, I know from UNCG. Small world. More on our escapades today in a bit. To be continued...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This week...

Strangely, I can't seem to sleep past 8:30 am these days. No matter when I've gone to sleep. This morning I woke up to a distant thunderstorm and the subsequent noise of street construction going on outside. Not that that's what woke me up. I just wake up at 8:30 am like my body says, "All right, that's enough. Get up."

And anyway, who am I to complain? I'm off for three days and I have friends visiting town. I spent the morning, after I typed these first few lines working on an old piece of electronic music that I'm transforming a little along with a couple of others. They're bound for my new facebook music page, which I'll have up as soon as I can...I just have to verify I'm me. They make you upload an ID. No biggie, Karishma has a scanner so I can take care of that this week.

Some interesting news has sprouted up in addition to what else I was going to write about today. I got a rather random email from a clarinetist in Phoenix, Arizona who stumbled on my professional web page by accident while Googling someone with a similar last name to one of my players. He liked the piece Of Slowly Falling Rain and Autumn Chill and was wondering if he could get a pdf copy of it because he frequently programs new music with his orchestra. I'm extremely flattered but want to make sure all of the copyright business is in order as well so that my butt is covered. So that was a nice thing this morning to find out that someone in Phoenix likes my music.

I keep meaning to write about this but I recently stumbled on an article by a fellow composer that is currently changing my life. Alex Shapiro is writing in the article about making an asset out of one's self. The article is chock full of great advice for using the internet to your greatest advantage when promoting your music. Stuff I had never even thought of doing but seem so incredibly obvious now. Like, generating buzz with your website, thinking of your website as a store front and the notion that there has to be someone out there who likes our music and will pay for it. There's an underlying theme of self esteem and knowing what we want to present to the world buried in the article as well. So, it was very uplifting when I read it weeks ago and, occasionally, I even refer back to it when I'm feeling down or I'm just thinking about what to do next and I'm lost.

I even contacted her by email to thank her for sharing such an inspiring article with the Society of Composers, inc. list serv. We corresponded for a bit as well. She was very nice and not the least bit haughty. The scope of her career is quite impressive as she's written contemporary music, pop music and film scores and done well, even garnering acclaim in each area.

Great stuff.

Anyhow, I'm also quite excited this week because:

I have three different out of town friends visiting on different days, throughout the week.

A good friend who lives in Queens has tickets to a show Friday night so we're having dinner and a show after I get off of work.

and speaking of work, they're shooting a film at work called Morning Glory this week (unfortunately the bulk of filming will happen when I'm off work this week) and none other than Harrison Ford, Jeff Goldblum, Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton will be in my studio all week long. (Today, I just talked to my boss, and they're filming a scene out in the newsroom with Jeff Goldblum and Rachel McAdams).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

West Village

My cousin finally got a job. I was so happy because it was a lead I was able to pass on to her from a friend of mine. The job is a marketing assistant position at the American Symphony Orchestra, so, for her, it's a career move and one that is back towards the arts, something she had been considering. Anyway, tonight we were out celebrating with dinner at a Mexican Restaurant called Tortilla Flats in the West Village.

As we were being led to our table, I looked down and realized that the gentleman sitting at the table right in front of us was none other than Zachary Quinto from, not only my favorite television show Heroes, but also from the new Star Trek movie. As it dawned on me who he was I could see a grin forming on his face, as though he could tell he had been recognized and was bracing for an awkward confrontation. I spared him and moved on, immediately leaning toward Katrina to tell her that Sylar was sitting behind us.

He left shortly after and after our meal we went for a walk around the West Village, stopping at Magnolia, a rather famous cupcake shop, and winding up back around Chelsea, where I work and eventually walking to Union Square and catching the subway, each of us in opposite directions.

Incidentally, it was the second time this week I walked from Chelsea to the West Village and I was snapping photos the whole way both times. Thursday night, after a really long shift at work (nine and a half hours), Karishma and I met at a restaurant called Baoguette for some traditional Banh Mi sandwiches (pay particular attention in that article to the bit about head cheese). After chomping down those sandwiches, we walked out past the West Side Highway to a park along the river bank and walked our feet off until we wound up down by the financial district, stopping briefly to sit on one of the piers. Again, snapping photos the whole way.

Check them out:

West Village June best

Those were from both nights. The West Village is one of those neighborhoods that you aspire to live in. It's so nice and it feels like a whole different city, even though there's several avenues plowing right through it. It's below 14th street where all the streets start to slant all over the place so you'll find all kinds of nooks and crannies in there.

I may write some more about the West Village but right now I'm tired so check out this link.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prioritizing the mayhem...

I've been a bit frantic to get work and errands done on my two days off (I would have had three days off but I got called in to do some overtime tomorrow because a coworker is having family problems and you can bet I took those hours lickety split). I'm usually like this, not because I've become quite the work-a-holic these days (although that is a factor), but because I have so many things I'd like to do, on top of the myriad of things that I already have to do. Laundry, cleaning the apartment and groceries being the main three that come to mind immediately. As for things that I want to do, man, sometimes I just wish I could get 6 extra hours in my day...or at least be able to stay awake 6 extra hours without feeling tired. But don't we all.

Current projects and/or intrigues:

I'm working on the score for that NYU student's film. This is challenging for a few reasons. First, because I offered right off the bat to help him, not only with underscoring, but also with source music and end credits as well, two places where he would have used establish pop, hip hop or rock songs and then consequently not been able to show it anywhere outside of NYU. So, it's been neat for me getting the experience of writing three different styles of music for one piece that is only about 8 minutes long in its entirety. Second reason it's been challenging is that the producer of this film, a friend I've known for about 6 years now (mostly long distance), knows what he wants. I always respond to that by getting them in the same room with me and picking their brain apart about the film, once I've had a chance to dissect it and come up with my own questions about it. How prominent do you want the music to be? Any ideas about instrumentation? How does this sound here, does it come in too early, is it too intrusive, what if I put a piano chord here? Those kinds of things. It's almost like when they know what they want, you have to ask permission to put something in, because if it doesn't mesh with their expectations of the film, then they'll notice it and say, "what is that?!" Or something milder perhaps.

Beyond the film score, I've also been writing other music as well, slowly revamping the website, keeping up with the myspace profile by posting bits of my endeavors into writing for myself (and trying to get around to building a facebook fan page, and trying to figure out this site called guru.com where you can submit to freelance jobs), while simultaneously working on chamber music and amassing a list of festivals and competitions to submit to, (finished a piano piece the other day and I'm going to have my friend Brad look at it as soon as we get time)and, finally, keeping this blog.

The past few days, though, I spent a good bit of my time working on finishing up two out of the three cues I'm doing for Brian's film. I didn't quite get to the third cue. I had to sacrifice it to devote some attention to my other endeavors, the more recreational ones, because that's important to.

I've been reading a lot on the train, mostly books related to Zen and alternative ideas with regards to organized religions. (At night, I unwind with C.S. Lewis Narnia Chronicles, something distinctly Christian in its slant...funny.) Anyway, I made it up to the Brooklyn Public Library today to renew one book (The religious case against belief) and grab two others (Zen wrapped in Karma dipped in Chocolate and Nothing to do Nowhere to go) and then walk through Prospect Park to find a bench to sit on and skim the chapters of the above mentioned.

Around Town GAP and Prospect Park best

Trying to fit in a little more photography by remembering to take my camera with me on my daily romps has been hugely satisfying.

And I'm trying on top of all of this to work as full time as I can and socialize with the growing group of people that I've been hanging out with. Then there's people visiting over the next few weeks and then I leave town for the reunion. Add to that, the Time Out New York this week has a long list of all the free movie series and free concert series going on in the city this summer, my calendar is filling up.

This is probably the fullest my life has been in a long time but I must say, my head's about to explode. So, I've been thinking about how I can really fit all this stuff in. And I realized I can't. Every day, there's something that goes unfinished and I spend the last thirty minutes of the day thinking about what to prioritize for the next day. Or I spend it writing about how busy I am. But I'm cool with that. I think this is good practice. For one things, it forces me to be a lot more realistic about what I can and can't fit into a day. Instead of saying, I'm going to finish the film score in three days (I actually did say that at first), I decided I would get as much as I could do done but stop at a point so that I could get my other work taken care of. There was of course another shift towards doing less of it when I found out I had to work tomorrow. I usually devote a good amount of time on the "weekend" to cooking so that I can take meals with me to work, so having a shift tomorrow changed my priorities there.

Beyond actually trying to fit all of this stuff in, I'm realizing, still, that I can't always work non stop through a day without really stressing myself out. Sitting in front of this computer for long stretches can drive me mad sometimes...okay, often. So, if I need a break, I welcome one. The trip to the library and subsequent walk in Prospect Park was my release today.

And on top of all of this, I still try to remember to throw down my yoga mat every night.

Hope that you enjoy the photos. I should probably go for now.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Project Mundane Photo...

Here's a project I'm doing right now: Take pictures of everything, everywhere I go. Start carrying the camera and capture every mundane to interesting thing. Here's the first few attempts:

Around Town May and June best