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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. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

A long week and productivity abounds...

It makes me feel good that a) I just finished off a 6 day week, waking up at 430am for five of those days, without keeling over and dying, and that b) I get to follow up a blog about writer's blog with one about how I just made great strides on the most recent film score that I'm doing. Yes, I just spent the last three and a half hours, toiling like a madman on two out of the three pieces for the film that I'm doing now. They're done. Yep. Done. May need some polishing once I send them to the producers for input. I have one more to polish off and hopefully, I can get some of that done tomorrow. Because next week is just as crazy. I went from having no shifts to picking up five extra shifts at NY 1 so I'm not as worried about money next month as I was. Since I'm working so much, the apartment is a bit of a mess but I feel pretty productive in general as of late. I got my NY State license in the mail, so now it really feels like I'm a NYer. I bottle my beer tomorrow, if all goes to plan. I managed to make it down to the homebrew store after all and bought a bottle capper, the last essential piece. Tomorrow, Mike's probably going to come over in the morning and we're going to take care of it. It helps to have an assistant or two so you can form an assembly line and make the process go smoother. Plus, it's fun to have friends help out. I've been cooking a lot lately and marveling at my ability to shave dollars off of my monthly grocery bill. I can't wait to take this new found success in frugality a step further by sharing a place next year. Cheaper rent is a dream of mine.

All that stuff aside, I'd say it's been a pretty good week overall. And a good month at that. Things are coming together in a lot of ways and it makes me (as I've said before) quite content to let things unfold as they will. I still do get those mini freak outs where I wonder when I'm going to stabilize job wise and when I'm going to get my social life to a point where it feels effortless. But it's much easier nowadays to take a step back and realize that a) things aren't going that bad, b) even if they aren't perfect, would I want them to be? and c) when things aren't going my way, I should just ask myself, what's so special about my way anyway? Perhaps the way the universe plans for things to happen isn't so bad. Of course it isn't.

That having been said, I just looked up and discovered that things are indeed becoming effortless as far as social graces and I'm meeting more people at work, becoming more comfortable in my surroundings there and, even outside of work, I'm having more and more fun, more and more often with my new friends up here, both the poker crowd and the people I'm meeting at the Unitarian Church.

Job-wise, as I said, I picked up more shifts at NY 1, got called about a shift at CNN and just confirmed with Joel (ran into him randomly in downtown Brooklyn) that he will definitely still need me for a 16mm film shoot two weekends in September in my neighborhood of Sunset Park. It's for a narrative he's putting together, a short version of a feature length screenplay he wrote. Should be fun. Oh, and there are a ton of films in production right now that will need background actors so I will be scouring craigslist and my casting agency's website for postings.

Anyway, I've been sitting in front of this computer for about four hours now and I want sleep. It's been a long week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writer's block...

I lied. I have time to blog this week. And lots on my mind. That doesn't mean I shouldn't be sleeping though. I had a good run of it yesterday, managed to sleep at 10pm...but only by getting in bed at 830. I napped today so I'll have no such luck with that tonight. And I've accepted it. So I cooked dinner while polishing off the Ren and Stimpy DVD extras on the DVD I got from Netflix, showered and now I sit, drinking a beer and typing this blog.

Tomorrow, Karishma's and I are hanging out for the first time since she got back from Greensboro and then afterward maybe I'm meeting the filmmakers, hopefully, because we didn't get a chance to meet today...might even have to be Thursday. We haven't square that away. I'll have to do all this sans nap. It's strange. I know if I put in the effort to try and get on a decent sleep schedule (all I would have to do is resist napping and go to sleep ridiculously early one day and then repeat every day this week) but half of me has this aversion to doing so. Not just because it's comfortable to nap but I feel like it'll really mess me up or something. I'm more than likely wrong but for some reason, yes, I'm not in bed when I could be reading and winding down. But yes, things on my mind, oh yeah, I was getting to that.

On the topic of music, I think I'm having a bit of writer's block. Granted, I have been writing for these films but stuff like that is easier than writing my own stuff. You have a motivation to write (not like a deadline, I mean like you have something to inspire your creativity). It's easy to score to a picture because you already have what emotion the music should evoke (or rather assist in evoking) and you already know (most of the time) what the director wants, more or less. In writing my own stuff, there's a whole slew of questions that no one can answer for me and I must answer myself. For instance, what is my impetus, who is my audience, why am I writing?

Answering these questions can be like answering what is the meaning of life. The answer is important to everybody but in the end, it has to be your own answer or it won't be real.

It's not like I don't have ideas though. I have a myriad of unfinished ideas. Big ideas. Ideas with orchestras and me conducting, ideas with poly synths and guitar tracks, drum tracks and bass lines. Melodies. Chord progressions. I've talked about this before in a prior blog about compositional sophistication but making all those ideas into music is the hard part. If being a composer was sitting around improvising all day long and not writing a single note down, I'd have it made. If I had software that could take my every thought and turn it into a recording and then just go ahead and market it for me, I'd also have it made. But no one has written such a piece of software, and I hope they never do. It's already too easy to create music. My problem is, and I'm going to name it here in the hopes that that will help me to solve it, that I'm building up in my mind the actual process of composing, from writing down the initial ideas to sculpting it all into something coherent and consistent, to the point that sitting down to do the first bit is so harrowing I almost can't bear it unless I have a good three to four hours of time to devote to it. And I rarely have that until my days off when I'm exhausted from work. Excuses excuses. Shut up Tim.

I know what I need to do. I need to be okay first with doing things one thing at a time. Sit down and write down, for my own benefit, the steps that I need to go through to take an idea and launch the process. Then when I sit down it's not about getting the whole composition completed in one sitting but about singular tasks. My composition teacher had a word for this, well two words: compositional plan. Sounds ridiculously rudimentary and painfully obvious. Because it is. You can't build a building without drawing up a schematic, or several. You can't write a piece of music without first structuring it and taking it one step at a time. It's just as important as it would be if you were building something that people will eventually live and/or work in to take your time. Not that your piece of music could collapse on top of the people listening to it and kill them...I should hope not.

Anyway, point being, I think, when I'm done with this next film, I'm going to really sit down and plan out every one of these ideas I have and get going writing. It's time.

It's also time to sleep. Another long day of media ingest tomorrow. Good night.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blurb #11

I'm going to have a busy week with work at 6am and I'll probably be too tired to blog much unless something fantastic happens. Just a quick heads up then for the start of the week. Film shoot never happend this weekend, but tomorrow night I meet with the producers of the new film I'm doing. I'll leave with some insight on what direction they want me to go with the music. Beyond that, my beer is going to need to be bottled at some point. It went through the fermentation process rather fast so now I need to scramble to find myself a bottle capper. Bye for now!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hudson River Flicks and The day I almost saw Jennifer Aniston...

Today I was supposed to be an extra in a Jennifer Aniston picture called "The Bounty." I snagged the ad for extras on craigslist probably about 45 minutes after it had been posted and knew that if I hesitated to contact them, then there would be no need to bother. This is, as I've learned, why they post the ad on the day before the actual job. Otherwise, they'd be inundated with emails...well, they probably are anyway, but imagine if they had to sift through several days worth of emails of people wanting to be extras as opposed to just a few hours worth of emails.

Anyway, I went back to steeping the grains for my homebrew and waiting for my friend Mike to show up to help out with the rest of the process, checking back on my yahoo account every once in a while. Somewhere between taking the grains out of the pot and dropping the first dose of hops in the boil, I got an email back from them with a ton of info on the shoot, what I'd need to bring, where it would be, what kind of ID to bring, how to confirm I'd be coming. This is good because it certainly makes them look more legit. At this point, I had the epiphany that this has to be the closest I've been to getting an actual paid background acting gig. I was in. I had an effing number and everything. All I had to do was respond to the email with my name and phone number saying I was legal to work in the US and was non-union. And then, after 10, they wanted me to call the hotline to check in and get info on where to meet the van that would be driving out to Elmont, Queens where they'd be shooting a scene at the racetrack there.

Mike and I got the brew cooled down and pitched the yeast around 4:30pm with very few mishaps (okay, so I did accidentally spill a bit of the beer all over a dish towel, the microwave cart and the floor when I was trying to take a gravity reading before pitching the yeast in). I showed him my new guitar processing software and we messed around with that for a good bit, passing the guitar back and forth. At around 5:30 he headed off and we planned on meeting back up in Chelsea for the last of the Hudson River Flicks outdoor screenings. The movie last night was Pineapple Express.

I figured, when the movie was over, I would call the hotline and check in as they had asked. Hopefully, it would be not too early of a call time and I would be able to get to the van with no problem. Getting to Elmont on my own steam was sure to be a ridiculous adventure without their transportation.

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I used Mike's Blackberry to check my email again, because I hadn't thought to actually write everything down before I left the house, and, since I didn't have a pen with me at the time, I texted the instructions to myself and then saved the phone number in my phone as Jennifer Aniston's. When I called, I was sort of expecting to talk with a human but instead got a pre-recorded run down of the day's events, where to get the van (33rd and 3rd in Manhattan, Dad), what kind of outfits to bring, what colors not to wear, and a whole lot of other stuff that I can't remember right now, because the person on the recording was talking fast, monotone and haphazardly injecting 'um's' in her speech. The first thing that the recording said, unfortunately, was that numbers 160-270 needn't bother showing up because we weren't needed. I was number 258.

I really wanted to be typing this blog about my first experience with background acting in NYC, too. But, regardless, I've finally got a real strategy for getting background work and that I'm sure is a little more legitimate than taking my head shots to another "casting agency." When I called, instead of just dialing option 3, and then dialing 21 like they told me to in the email, I listened to some of the other menu options. This agency apparently casts for Law and Order SVU, and some other movies, Morning Glory included, that I happen to know are in production right now. So they sound pretty legit, and they didn't make me pay to be listed with them. This was an actual gig, unlike the other week when I went into that talent agency WMT casting that turned out to be a scam. So, now I know, the only really good way to get my feet wet doing this is to scour craigslist the day before one of my days off and respond as soon as the ads pop up. There's no use looking a few days in advance. So, now, with this deliberate plan, I think I'm going to implement it next time I have a day off...which may not be for over a week. I work 6am to 2pm tomorrow, have a film shoot on Saturday, 10am to 6pm on Sunday and then, from Monday to Friday, I work 6am to 2pm. If I can survive this, I can do anything...including pay rent.

Anyway, after I hung up the phone from that disappointing recorded phone call, I rejoined Mike and his friend in Vynl, a club/diner/bar on the corner of 15th and 9th Avenue in Chelsea where his friend worked. The menus were all old vinyl ablum covers. The bathroom door had Justin Timberlake's name on it, as though it were his dressing room. Oh, and Pineapple Express was a pretty funny movie. Kind of ridiculous in a way but entertaining despite that. Here are some pics on the pier where they show the movies, that Mike informed us was actually the pier where the Titanic should have docked...oops.

Hudson River Flicks

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brooklyn Flea, DMV, West Village and Chelsea, a packed couple of days...

Sunday, I went with friends for falafel after the service at the Unitarian church. It was good cheap stuff served up in a little hole in the wall by a rather nice Arabic gentleman. I got a combo with hummus, tabbouleh and a stuffed grape leaf all crammed in with the falafel in a pita. Awesome stuff. My new friends from the UU are really cool. Just in the past few weeks we've been heading out immediately after church and having lunch/brunch and just chatting. The group was smaller this week than last but great times nonetheless. Afterward, when the crowd of us dwindled to just three of us, we cooked up a plan to go over to the Brooklyn Flea Market...well, it was sort of my idea because I knew that I was in need of that one last piece of equipment for home brewing...the all important fermentation lock. Mine went missing somehow in the move.

At any rate, my new friends were game for a stroll despite the already oppressive heat so we headed up Cadman Plaza towards the bridge. The Brooklyn Flea Market is underneath the Brooklyn Bridge...like directly underneath it, so we had very little trouble finding it. We were almost there when we asked directions from someone at the nearby farmer's market. The pictures are here:

Brooklyn Flea Market


I'm already thinking about going back when the weather gets better because it was far too hot to do much besides stroll around and check things out before we had to get out of the sun. The Brooklyn Brew Shop, that has a tent there, promotes all grain brewing and sells bags of pre-mixed grains to get you started...and they make it sound so much easier than any book I've read says it is. I think I'd like to check out what they sell and give it a shot.

We stopped at a grocery and grabbed some cool beverages after and went on our way, then I came straight home and did errands around the house and got so tied up in that, I forgot that my cousin and I were going to see a movie. I was so far into cleaning my room and all the cat hair that I ended up going ahead and trying out my desk against a different wall and reorganizing everything. Now, I've got designs on actually getting rid of some old documents and throwing away some extra weight.

I just feel like if I can do that, it'll start to feel like my life is more in order and I'll be more productive in everything else I attempt. Another extension of this notion is that if I can get my NY driver license and fully move my accounts up here, I will be even closer to organizational nirvana. (I know that this is a ridiculous way to look at things, and am fully aware that I will soon find something else with my life that is not in order and may spend the rest of my life chasing perfection as such, but bear with me for a second here. I'm trying to tell a story). So Monday morning, I went to the DMV with just about every official document that proves I exist tucked in a folder in my shoulder bag and a determination that no line could staunch...even if said line started at the front door of the building and snaked down a hallway to the elevator to the 8th floor. I freaked for a second but then I realized the place opened only fifteen minutes before I got there so they were probably still trying to slowly funnel people up the elevators. The line upstairs couldn't be that bad. It wasn't except for the fact that the guy behind me felt the need to sing whatever was on his iPod and crowd my space every time the line moved forward.

Now, I won't even bother going into the utter frustration that exchanging an out-of-state driver's license has been. Suffice it to say that it's a bureaucratic mess. See here the list of acceptable documents for proof of ID and birth date.

Once I was out of there, it was only about 10:00am so I walked down to Madison Square Park, freshened up in a Starbuck's and then figured I would head down to the West Village, sit in a coffee shop for a bit and then, walk around taking pictures like a tourist. I managed to sit in Christopher Park on 7th Avenue for a bit and rest, and then, finally, I was able to get some pictures of the Chelsea Market, the building where my main job is. I've been avoiding it so long because, knowing how annoying the actual tourists can be, I didn't want to contribute to the mayhem by stopping in the middle of the walkway taking photos or otherwise gawking. It can be crazy. Sometimes I wish us NY 1 employees had a private back entrance to the place so we wouldn't have to weave between strollers and zoom lenses to get to our elevator.

Anyway, enjoy these pics!

West Village and Chelsea Market best

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bronx zoo...

...or, I was thinking of titling this blog "Four Boroughs in One Day," or, "Sorry Staten Island, I just didn't have time." But anyway, I had wanted to go to the Bronx zoo for some time so when my cousin told me Friday night that her parents would be in town Saturday and wanted to go, I said yes, right away. It's something I've avoided because of the potentially two hour long subway ride from Sunset Park to the central Bronx area. And for once, I'm off on a Saturday. Something that'll probably be happening more, now that there's another freelancing employee at NY 1. More on that later.

I met Flip (his real name is Phillip) and Cheryl (my aunt and uncle) and Katrina at Katrina's place in Astoria and we hopped in their car and headed straight for the Whitestone bridge. They had seen the traffic on the Tri-Borough Bridge going the other way and said that it was way out of control and therefore, not worth attempting. Hence the detour. It didn't take us too long surprisingly to get up to the general area where the zoo is, though, but it did take a few turns to figure out the way into the park.

When we arrived, we parked in C parking up on the southwest side of the park and immediately sat down to eat and hydrate as, yes, it's finally gotten above 90 degrees up here. Flip was set on the Africa exhibits and I was just along for the ride, so we wandered in that direction, passing the polar bear exhibit first (something I've never understood is zoos not doing a better job to simulate the polar bear's natural environment; they have to be burning up down here). It's hard to remember what exactly we saw except by looking at pictures and that's much more interesting than me giving a blow by blow. I did take some video though, mainly because it makes much more sense when an animal or group of animals is moving to take video rather than try, with a non-SLR digital camera, to take a good picture. So here's the album:

Bronx Zoo


Some highlights that I videoed were the two black leopards we saw in the Jungle World exhibit, the sea lions, (always love these guys) and of course, the monkeys. One of my favorite aspects of the park is that they let Pea Hens and Peacocks roam freely throughout the park, and they will walk right up to you. Here are the videos:


Black Leopard


Sea Lions

There were more videos and they're up on my youtube channel, so check them out too.

Afterward, we took a rather scenic accidental tour of the Bronx from the expressways while we tried to find our way back to the Tri-Borough Bridge. Just off the expressway in Queens, and really close to both the N train and Katrina's place, is this little place called Neptune Diner where we decided to go for dinner. A little Greek run diner with a pretty massive menu and incidentally, a fairly cheery staff. Our waiter was doing tricks, flipping over our full water glasses too quick for any water to spill out, just to keep us on our toes. He brought me a lot of butter for the bread when he saw I had eaten most of the first basket by myself. (Hey, I was hungry.) Cheryl got clams stuffed with crab meat and Flip got the lamb, which came with a soup (a fantastic looking Manhattan clam chowder). Katrina and I both had the Pasticio, which was pretty awesome. Nice, light fluffy custard on top (that the waiter explained to me exactly how to make...water, eggs, milk, nutmeg, etc.), and nice minced lamb and macaroni underneath. Heavenly. Either because of the amount of time spent in the heat or because of the long time up on my feet and not having eaten much for lunch, I was starving so I almost ate the whole half pound portion on my plate and half of the Greek salad that came with it.

So stuffed, satisfied and a little tired I said goodbye and headed back on the N train all the way home to Brooklyn and just crashed and watched the rest of Zodiac. Great film, by the way. Overall, a pretty good day. It preempted my original plans to head to the Rockaways to spend some time on the beach like a bum, but I'm okay with that. I think I'll do that next weekend because a new friend of mine at church today was giving me pointers on getting out there from my area. More on my adventures today after I get those pics up.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homebrew Supply shop, where are you?

Another productive day off. Which makes it feel not at all like a day off. I finished the music for film score number 1, for the NYU student, did a little laundry, cleaned, (finally got my package from zZounds, the long-awaited sustain pedal for my keyboard), did some online banking, dropped off a book at the Brooklyn Public library, picked up some random things I needed from the grocery store, and even worked a little on the new film score for my friend from NY 1. Oh, and some of you may notice that I have finished the tedious task of putting tags on all of my blogs to more easily categorize each entry. Just something I wanted to do for a while. There are blurbs, entries on why I moved to New York, entries about music, jobs, posts with pictures. You get the idea.

And I just finished cleaning the kitchen. I still have a few things on my mind that I would like to try to accomplish at some point. One is to get a fermentation lock for home brewing. The one I had disappeared during the move and it's sort of an essential piece for home brewing. So, I decided not to order one from the homebrew shop at home because they cost a dollar and some change and I have this aversion to paying more than the cost of an item to ship it. Also, I thought I'd give searching around here for a homebrew supply shop another shot. And wouldn't you know it, between now and the last time that I looked online, some enterprising individuals have taken it upon themselves to open one up, right under my nose. Brooklyn Homebrew opened up back in July right here in Sunset Park but they've been blogging about their intentions to open up in the area for a few months prior and were even featured in Time Out New York (also right under my nose as I subscribe to the mag and never saw the brief blurb about them).

I decided to scope it out today and see if I couldn't also get some grains to use with the kit I have. I went down there after my short trip to the Brooklyn Library, only to walk by the address with a quizzical expression on my face. By the Google Maps location, I was already skeptical that any business could be in this location, because it's a street block and not out on one of the avenues, but upon passing the location twice (so as not to look strange stopping in the middle of the sidewalk and staring), I was convinced it couldn't actually be there. It's a freaking brownstone the address they give on their website! No sign out front either, so I opted not to go up and knock, but instead to come home and do a little more research. So, I wound up finding this. Apparently there is another brew supply outlet in the borough but they are part of the Brooklyn Flea Market which only happens Sunday (by the Brooklyn Bridge) and Saturday (in Fort Greene). So this Sunday, I think I'll head up to High St. and check it out. If I can't get a bubbler there, I'm in trouble.

For tonight, I'm deciding between watching Harry Potter 5 (again), watching Zodiac (which just came from Netflix) or working more on my music for the new film score. Any of the above choices are going to be coupled with pouring another glass of ice water and wiping the sweat off my brow. One thing I didn't check off my list today was to get a fan. I could just go down to this store that just opened up near the corner of 8th and 42nd and buy one right now, but I just don't want to get ripped off or pay more than $25 for one when I might be able to find one on freecycle.

All I know is that the sooner this humidity is over, the happier Tim will be.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scroll down past the computer talk unless you care...

I need a break from trying to work on this scene. My computer's been acting up recently and I'm a little disheartened by it. I put so much time and energy into building this computer last year and it was supposed to be a brick. It was supposed to be able to handle all of this software I'm using on it and not crash on me. And yet, I'm just having so many problems lately. And I hardly have the time to trouble shoot them so I've just been dealing with it.

Here are the specs for those who care and know a little about it: Asus M2N-MX SE Plus mother board, 4 GB of RAM, a 2.61Ghz AMD Athalon 64 bit dual core processor, and I'm running Windows XP 64 bit. I also have a Creative SB Audigy Soundblaster sound card.

I've been having problems where I'll occasionally hear a crackling in the speakers on start up and sometimes when running audio programs that use a lot of processing power. I thought I had a conflict between the sound card on the mother board and the one I installed in the PCI slot but I don't want to go messing around in the Bios to try and shut down the one on the mother board if I'm not entirely sure that's the problem. It could be anything else. I seemed to somehow have resolved it by getting rid of a component that was opening on startup, something called Realtek HD Audio, which I know came packaged with the sound card I installed (I got it years ago for another computer and just moved it to this one and updated the drivers). But occasionally, I still hear it. Mainly when the processor gets really taxed. (I should also mention that I run the audio from my audio and synth software through my Tascam US-122L Audio/MIDI interface to cut down on latency from the MIDI software especially...I still run Windows Media and system audio through the sound card though).

Now, the main problem is that this new software I have sometimes is pretty processor intensive but I was under the impression that my processor could handle it. But I've been having crashes lately when I try to edit while the program is playing back audio and sometimes just whenever I try to run video in Sony Vegas, which I never had big problems with before. Now, the obvious first thing to check is that I don't have other background programs running that might also be taxing the processor simultaneously. I can't see that there are. Maybe I had Firefox open and Windows Media and for a bit there my task manager showed that something related to google talk was using up a chunk of RAM.

But I'm at a loss. I guess this is the life of a PC. Occasionally you have these idiopathic things that don't happen often enough to really indicate what the big problem might be. They only occur long enough to annoy you and then the thing runs great for a period of time.

At any rate, I do have other things on my mind besides the health of one of my investments. I found out today (and this was my suspicion all along) that CNN really is too good to be true. My boss informed me that I'd be coming in on an as-needed basis and that they didn't have any freelance work right now. I had half-expected that because it's just what one gets when one boasts a little about something and I'm not going to lie. I did a little boasting...or maybe it was just a little well deserved patting on the back. Either way, I let my guard down and relaxed for a second and got a little ahead of myself, counted my chickens before they hatched, as it were.

At any rate, as I've mentioned before (in so many words), there's nothing like a long stretch with nothing to do but think (like a train ride...or a long day at work with a lot of down time) to set your mind right. I decided I'm not going to do the easy conventional thing and lie down and start being negative about it. That's comfortable and sort of a cop out. I need to get creative. Then something occurred to me that's right under my nose. I've succeeded in taking advantage of connections up here more than I realize and there's no shortage of those. I should worry more about making as many connections as I can now while I'm actively seeking jobs because that can only serve to help me down the line, should I ever become unemployed again. And it's always nice to be able to pass on connections to friends, too. Besides, as much as I'd like to have a full time job and security, my mother said it best, this schedule lets me work on my music a lot more, and it allows me the leeway to work a bunch of different jobs (where they're available) and make a lot of different connections. Besides a foot in the door is a foot in the door no matter in what capacity I'm working there.

So, I'm slightly crestfallen, but not defeated. No, never defeated. The funny thing about accomplishing your goals is that the more of them you have under your belt, the less likely you are to give up the rest of them in the face of adversity. You can more easily tell yourself that, hey, you've done it before, why not again?

So there's your pep talk for the evening. I gotta get some rest, one more shift at CNN tomorrow and then it's a whole lot of uncertainty about when I will work there again. We shall see. I leave you with a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones tune that is running through my head and kind of fits the situation.


Trouble and Strife

Friday, August 7, 2009

6 months...

6 months in New York City today. Well, yesterday. It all kind of hit me when I bought my metro card for the month on Thursday and realized it was my seventh one since I moved here. But I've been so busy I couldn't blog on the day of. It's funny when you look up after all you've been through and realize for the first time how far you've come. I kind of got into this in my last entry, feeling accomplished and finally satisfied with the pace of things even though I still can't see how this will all fall together. Anyway, the 6 month mark seemed like as good a place as any to pay homage to the fact that I have indeed come this far and might just go a little farther yet.

It's just been 6 days in a row of work (at both jobs combined, so no overtime, unfortunately). The weather has been amazing. Dry, mild, and windy. I wish I could send you this weather in a text message or something. Think of the warmest, sunniest day in September and raise the temperature two degrees. That's here, right now. The kind of weather you wish you could drink out of a tall glass with a few ice cubes.

At NY 1, there are plenty of parks in the vicinity to hang out in on my breaks. The Highline is one, Hudson River Park is another and I can even walk down to the riverfront and eat my lunch if I should so choose. Yesterday though, I had eaten lunch prior to my break so I just walked down to 7th avenue to a pizzeria near the corner of 15th and 7th, grabbed a slice of cheese pizza for $2.50, folded it in half and walked down the block back to the Hudson River Park on 10th Avenue, a favorite spot for business people, sunbathers and that bum that's always sitting at the corner of the park near 15th and 10th.

One thing that happens in six months in any new place is you start to get these little routines going. They're the backbone of your own stability and they sort of ground you and make you start to feel like you belong, like you get what this place is about and you're cool with it. I'm finding out little secrets as well. Things I'm sure other New Yorkers have noticed but don't tell anybody.

I was riding the D train in to work the other day and, somewhere between the Broadway Lafayette stop and West 4th Street, I looked up out the window of the train and where you usually see blackness or tunnel lights flashing by, I could see, on a track somewhere above us, another train running along side us. I knew it had to be the A, C, or E train since we were about to pull into West 4th street where both the blue lines and the orange lines connect, which meant the train I needed to connect to would be at West 4th street at the same time as the train I was riding. To connect from one train to the other I have to go up two flights of stairs and I'm never sure if I need to bother rushing up the stairs because I can never tell if the train will be there or not. That was before. Now, I have my little secret that I can look up between Broadway Lafayette and West 4th and see if the A, C, E train will be there at the same time as the D train...which could save me a good ten minutes depending on how long I have to wait for the next train.

At any rate, these little things like where to get a good cheap slice of pizza on my break and how to make sure I don't miss my train connection are starting to make me feel fully integrated into life on this little island. Who knows how I'll feel in a year. Beyond having steady employment that I can count on, I'm hoping to make my next move to a better neighborhood and apartment in a year so I think I'll focus on learning everything I can about the real estate in my ideal neighborhoods so I don't have to find some squatters hell hole in East Williamsburg or something. I have a good six more months to think about what I want out of my new living situation and to figure out how to go about getting it. And if those first six months went by so quick, it'll be no time at all before I'm looking again. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CNN

CNN this morning was interesting. As it's New York headquarters are in the same building as the Time Warner corporate office, I had to go up to Columbus Circle on the subway (which took me 45 minutes to get to, a ride which I spent reading Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five [Thanks Mom!]). Another thing I love about this city: Just about every job I've worked so far, I get to walk by some New York landmark which makes just my walk to work seem famous. Columbus Circle, in case you haven't been there before, is on the southwest corner of Central Park so naturally, the CNN studios on the 5th and 4th floors of the building overlook Central Park and the circle below, with it's giant obelisk and statue of Christopher Columbus, and the famous steel globe outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

I took my time walking into work to sort of gaze around at my new place of employment. It was pretty awesome. When I searched out the Time Warner building and entered the lobby, I could see right away that it was pretty high security. I had to have my bag scanned and check in at the front desk and get a badge. The lobby was huge and spartan with four sets of wide turnstiles at the far end(I guess you could call them that) and beyond that elevator banks. I felt like I was in some scene in the Matrix, only I didn't have duffel bags full of ammunition. When I approached and showed my badge to the next security person, he points a remote at the turnstiles and they retracted with a whir and I was in.

The fifth floor was my destination and at this point, I realized that I was early, essentially my main goal when starting any new job. The media manager didn't come to get me until 10 sharp anyway and we immediately went down to the fourth floor where the media department is. In the elevator, he said he wanted to just sit down and chat about what I'm doing, a little about me, etc. and then he'd pass me off to the person who would be training me. Breezing by edit bays and cubicles we sat down in his office and literally talked for about half a minute (the shortest interview I've ever had) about me and then he took me over to media ops, or MOPS as they call it (and subsequently the people that work in it).

I sat with my new coworkers and got given the gist (rather quickly) and was wrapping my brain around their operation within minutes, only mildly distracted by the view from the adjacent window, of Central Park. I think I'm going to enjoy this job. The job is essentially what I'm doing at NY 1, ingesting video and sending video to other stations, but with a much smoother work flow. Also there's a few major differences, like, we have so many outgoing lines at CNN and are sending so much video to other stations that there's another separate position that people trade off working, who's main function is to keep track of what lines are routed where and to take care of scheduled recordings.

The pace is a little different than NY 1 and the system is vastly different (but in a good way, thank God). I'm being given three or four training days and we'll see how many hours I get after that. I saw my manager a total of four times throughout the day and still haven't finished all of my paperwork or been given a badge yet but soon. Tomorrow, after I finish at NY 1, I take in the stuff I didn't have ready for them yesterday, forms of ID, direct deposit info and whatnot, and next Tuesday, I go in for my next day of training.

But for now, the beat goes on and I must sleep before work at 8am tomorrow, NY 1 this time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Job, New scoring gig...

I'm excited. About life. Sometimes, when leaving work, I look up at the buildings towering over me, the billboards lit up, then down at the sea of yellow cabs and breath the warm night breeze and think, "I love this city." I've got a new job starting tomorrow, which, if it pulls through for me, might just be my ticket to making ends meet and starting to pay off debts.

I'm just feeling rather at peace with the pace of things, and that's comforting. Sure, there are some things that I'd change, tweak even. But, for the most part, I finally have come to terms with the fact that everything is happening at the right pace and I finally feel comfortable relinquishing everything, all of my thoughts and concerns, to that something outside of myself that controls the things I can't control. At present. I'm well aware that half of my state of mind is the fact that a few things that I have desired for some time are finally falling into place and, whenever that happens, it's a ton easier to actually realize that, hey, maybe things do work out if you're patient and thus, at those times, one is more patient and accepting of the pace of things. And I realize that next week sometime, or even in a few days, discontent may start to creep back in and I might come on here whining about something in my life not being quite to spec. But, for now, and I'll try to keep it up, I feel contented and a little empowered even. (Sorry for the run-ons in that paragraph, mom and Josee) You know how you feel when hard work pays off? That's what I'm feeling.

It's not even just the CNN job. I'm getting another chance to make an impression on a filmmaker. The same fellow who referred me to his friend at CNN, is asking my help on a 30 minute, festival-bound, short. He's had a few musicians weigh in but that bailed for various reasons mid-project. I'm on touch-up duty and it's kind of fun. The movie is a comedy, something I find I actually enjoy doing nowadays. Boyce Returns, a comedy I did last year, was a great project to work on. I really enjoyed the subtle goofiness I was able to inject into that score with the use of a simple clarinet and finger-picked 12-string guitar.

This film, "Peeper: A sort of Love Story," is in need of some piano for a tender dream sequence, something else added to a suspenseful scene that was scored by both of the previous composers initially, and a bit of whimsy to cover a scene where the comic relief character, a senile Vietnam Veteran, is viewed walking across a street from a fourth floor window while he heckles some hottie on the street corner.

Should be fun. And Brian Warzak, if you're reading this, I do intend to finish your tracks for the party scene. Let me know what you think of the last I sent.

Anyway, random aside. I should be in bed or at least headed in that direction. CNN starts at 10am and it takes 45 minutes to get up to Colombus Circle from here. Good night all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Staten Island Ferry...

Took a little ride to Staten Island last night. Karishma and I had never been on the Staten Island ferry and, as it's free, we wanted to put that experience under our respective belts. She had never even been out on the bay nor seen the Statue of Liberty up close. On the way back we joked about how if we were on the other side of the boat we could see some random green statue that sits in the middle of the bay that stands for something, or something.

Here are the few pics that came out well.

Staten Island best


Remember my camera is screwed beyond repair so taking photos at night where there is any need for setting up prior to taking a shot, it's all a crap shoot. I want my next camera to be a good one but I'm not able to afford one at present so I'm going to just have to make do with what I have.

At any rate, riding the ferry was a fun, er, interesting experience. There's a huge crowd of people waiting in a giant room facing one wall, which, it becomes obvious, is lined with sliding glass doors through which you board the ferry when it arrives. Everybody sort of funnels in and, thankfully, it doesn't turn into a stampede like it appears it will.

Upon boarding, we tried to get as high up as possible and then realized we should get on the side where we'd see the Statue of Liberty. The sights are gorgeous at night. I found myself looking back at Manhattan mostly but the Statue is pretty as well. Jersey's all right.

When we got to the ferry terminal in Staten, we were told we had to exit the boat and wait for the next ferry, instead of waiting on board to go right back to Manhattan. I assume a lot of people try to do this. I hear that there's not much to see or do in Staten Island, and no one has tried to tell me otherwise. I've even heard that there's especially not much within walking distance of the terminal. There's the baseball stadium which is walkable and then the subway leaves from the bottom floor of the terminal, so I assume if you weren't coming for a game you'd have to get on a train to get anywhere of interest. The Staten Island Museum, I did see but, as we were there at 9:00 at night, I don't think it was open.

At any rate, we exited the boat and snapped a few photos, went back in and looked at the schedule and, when we saw that the next boat came at 10:00pm, we decided to get food. The only things in sight were a Popeye's, a pizza joint, a chinese restaurant and a few little cafes. Nothing interested us, but for good measure we hiked up a hill and a round a corner and found another pizza joint. By then, strangely, neither of us were hungry so we decided to head back to the ferry and then, once back in Manhattan, up to Greenwich Village for some Kati Rolls. This place is awesome. We've been here a couple of times and I'll keep coming back because it's cheap.

(Not nearly as cheap as another place we hit a few nights ago though called Mamoun's. Really cheap and excellent falafel!)

The ride back on the ferry was nice as we sat on the other side of the boat to take in what we hadn't seen on the outbound trip. Mainly just the edge of Brooklyn and some barges floating by but it was still nice.

Anyhow, today I'm sitting trying to get acquainted with my new software but it's quite a task. There are so many programs bundled with it to learn what they can do but I also have to actually figure out how I'm going to use them alongside my other programs for recording what I'm actually doing with these sound modules and everything. Hopefully, it won't slow the task of writing this next score too much.

I've got dinner to finish making anyway so I'd better run. More updates on the software learning curve as it unfolds. Maybe I'll post a jam later in the week once I get the hang of a few things.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

One day at a time...

Walking back from the train this evening, the smell of soap wafts down from someone's apartment (not the first time I've noticed this) like they have a giant bar of Ivory in their apartment and it's perfuming the entire block...at least it's not everyone's garbage. That's usually Monday and Wednesday. And at least there are no children playing dodgeball in the street at 2am tonight. (They were thankfully at the end of my block and thus, out of hearing range, the other day). And although the apartment door is wide open when I come home at least it's back on its hinges. They've been redoing the lobby the past few days. And although it's humid as it can get in my apartment to the point that sweat beads up on my forehead the second I step inside (I know, I need a fan), at least it's not as hot as my friend's place in the Upper West Side where I was last night.

I had great train luck coming back from Karishma's this evening, and by train luck I don't just mean that the train was in the station upon my arrival at both Franklin Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. It was, but since I had to run down the stairs both times, the luck I am referring to is that I didn't trip and fall either time.

I'm feeling quite on a roll these days despite everything...well, mainly quite recently because, first, I won a poker game for a change last night and this morning I found out that my new job at CNN is going to pay really well. I can only hope that I'm also going to be working there enough to be able to tell that it pays well. I must wait until next Tuesday to know for sure.

But as it stands, I have the next few days off and I'm going to try and enjoy myself. I didn't do much today because my new software came in the mail and I spent about four hours installing everything. And I'm still not done.

When it is installed though, I'm going to have a fresh new palette of sounds and instruments to work with. I'm like a kid in a candy store. And I have two projects going on simultaneously. One should have been finished months ago but, as there's no deadline, no one's exactly rushing me.

Anyway, this CNN job, and the circumstances surrounding it, are about the closest I've gotten to my latest goal...which is to break even and maybe put some money into savings one of these months. I've realized, too, that maybe that's what this whole adventure is about and what life is about, making little goals before big goals can be achieved. Taking things one day at a time. I think I'm okay with that, as that's about all I have the energy for anyway. When you have a mind as active as mine and you think so damn much, it's relieving to be able to tell yourself that you don't have to get there right away. I likened it once to realizing that to get up over a wall, you need a ladder and what is a ladder but a bunch of individual rungs, rungs that you can't skip over and have to take one at a time?

I should get some sleep or I'll make a bad habit of staying up until 2am every night.

Here's a song that's in my head:


Weed Party