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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. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New York City Premier...

It occurred to me on the way to the screening of Peeper: A Sort of Love Story, that this screening was essentially going to be my New York City premier. Meaning, I haven't had any of my work shown publicly yet in the city, until now. So, it's definitely a turning point, a crossing-over. That realization, coming minutes prior to arriving, made the event that much more enjoyable for me. And what a night.

The screening was held at a screening room in one of HBO's buildings on Bryant Park, which doubled the excitement. Up on the 15th floor there were posters for the film lining the walls in glass cases, there was a stunning view of the Empire State Building out of the windows facing South and a modest spread of cheese and wine. Probably about 75 people showed up, at my best estimate, maybe more. The film was well received too, people laughing at the right times etc. and afterward the director, writer, and some of the actors held a Q&A session in the theater. Which was neat, plus I got my props, too, for saving the music.

Afterward, we all went to the Heartland Brewery around the corner and ate and drank for a few hours. I had to go to work, so I slipped out to have dinner elsewhere with a friend because I wasn't sure I'd have time to eat before having to be at work at 11pm. After eating though, I had time and my friend had to pack for a trip, so I ended up going back solo and mingling a little more. Mostly with friends of the writer and some of the actors.

Fun times. I almost wish I hadn't had to go to work that night. And I really wish I had brought my camera.

On Monday, I fly to Raleigh to stay for the week and visit with my folks, see my brother's new place in Boone, NC. Then when I get back we start the apartment hunting in earnest. More updates soon. Probably taking a week off from blogging.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apartment hunting in Brooklyn...

Tomorrow is the screening at HBO of the film I helped score. Excited about that but currently overwhelmed with the madness of apartment hunting in New York City. I've scoured Brooklyn, it feels like, with a handful of brokers, some less successful at others at luring me in with the perfect apartment.

Brokers are crazy. You respond to an ad on craigslist for a specific apartment and then they want to show you ten more that they think are perfect for you. A few of them will ask you a few questions to get an idea of your criteria. Others will simply find out whether it's a two or one bedroom that you need and then just run with it. Sometimes dragging you to apartments that are in neighborhoods you haven't had the chance to tell them you don't want to live in. But then you run up against this thing that real estate agents tend to do which is to blur the boundaries of a particular neighborhood in order to rent an apartment faster. All of a sudden Crown Heights is Prospect Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant is Clinton Hill, and Sunset Park is South Park Slope, or South Slope. You get the idea. It's tricky.

Then I've had a broker or two flake out on us. We wound up seeing only two places on a night when I had as many as 7 possible apartments scheduled. The first place was nice, but not the right place for it's location and (we keep running into this problem in Brooklyn) the second bedroom was too small. I think a lot of these owners/brokers try to pitch 1 bedroom w/office apartments as convertible 2 bedrooms. Like, "It's a 2 bedroom if one of you doesn't mind sleeping in a closet. Cool?" The second guy we were to meet had like three apartments and he was one of the guys who says, "hey, you want 2 bedroom apartment? I have like ten of those and they're in East New York!" Okay, so he didn't say East New York (which by the way is about as far east of Manhattan as it sounds). He said Clinton Hill which, exists as an option in my book but I always have to be cautious because we don't want to go too far east in Clinton Hill and definitely not too far across Bedford Avenue. It's not that I have a mental block about Bed-Stuy. I really just don't know the neighborhood that well and don't want to risk winding up on a rowdy block, a seedy block or just a block with nothing going on, i.e. no people around to catch the guy trying to mug me.

Anyhow, this guy didn't show anyway. Called earlier and said that he had another place he wanted to show me but couldn't get the key that night so he wanted to reschedule. He was 7:30, so after we finished with the one on Bergen with the too-small second bedroom and the weird stained glass partition between the bigger bedroom and the living area, I called my 8:30 broker and asked to see if she could come early. We didn't think we'd have time to grab a bite between appointments not knowing the neighborhood that well. So, she called back and said that her friend (I'm assuming another broker) could come and meet us in ten minutes.

Now this is the funny part. We went ahead to the address and find out that it's this new condo building that we kept seeing ads for on craigslist. Apparently there are like five brokers trying to push apartments in this place to fill it up. And it's sort of an ugly building, new, yes, and the apartments are nice and they even have a W/D hookup and they're offering to bring a washer dryer unit for an extra $50 a month. But really, even if this place wasn't on the fourth floor it was in a barren stretch of Bergen street and nothing was around there, it was too far from the subway and even if it did have a roof deck, Katrina would probably feel unsafe there. And it was an ugly modern looking green rectangle with funny wavy designs on the front. So, after he showed us that place we went on and had dinner at a bland little Chinese restaurant and discussed. The broker never did show us the rest of the places that she had and when the other guy called me the next day, I told him that we had moved on a place. Even though we hadn't. Because I knew his apartments were all around that same part of the neighborhood which we had just deemed too seedy for our tastes.

Now, my plan is to check out a few places in Brooklyn Heights today with a broker, by myself. The idea is that instead of wasting Katrina's time (having to come all the way down to Brooklyn) for apartments that are smaller than the stuff she's finding in Astoria and more expensive, I can check them out first and weed out the ones in seedy neighborhoods like outer Prospect Heights and/or Crown Heights. And I love Brooklyn Heights for just about every reason.

But these ones in Brooklyn Heights, ($1699 and $1775) I'm not going to get my hopes up about. I will probably find out that they are too small for us or that they are just one bedrooms posing as two bedrooms and that explains the price. Or it could be a miracle and they could be rent stabilized gems, in which case we're going to have to move very fast on them.

Oh how stressful this is. I'll keep you guys up to date on the happenings thereof. I've agreed if my solo search in Brooklyn finds nothing then, after I return from Raleigh week after next, we will dive into Astoria brokers and grab something up there. As much as I don't want to be that far from my Brooklyn haunts, it may be that all we can find in our price range, lack of seediness and size requirements exists only in Astoria. But I am not yet ready to believe. I'm giving Brooklyn another chance.

And tomorrow is the screening of Peeper: A sort of Love Story. Should be great!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Having a bit of a morning in the afternoon...

I'm not going to lie, it hasn't been easy. I know I sounded positively chipper in my last post but things feel different when you wake up and for some reason decide it's a good idea to list the things you can never have again...Then I just started thinking, maybe I'll ask my nutritionist what her opinion is on slipping up. I mean, I imagined myself, like all those old people who start smoking because they know they're going to die, an old man in his 60s or 70s starting to slip up and drink beer, eat pizza and baked goods and moderately splurge on every wheat contaminated item I've been denied all my life in the name of not having horrendous symptoms or getting stomach cancer.

The symptoms I could almost live with because they haven't been that bad, the IBS stuff is pretty much under control...the stomach cancer risk, though...no thanks. But honestly, I've read all these articles talking about how little gluten is left in beer after the fermentation process and about how oats are contaminated with small amounts of gluten for being grown on fields adjacent to wheat. How much is a little bit of gluten here and there going to hurt me? Could it be equivalent to the amount of second hand smoke I came in contact with drinking in all those bars in NC during college? Probably not near as much! And where's my lung cancer? Far off hopefully.

The truth is it's heartbreaking as a self-confessed foodie, life-long lover of variety (the spice of life) and not to mention beer enthusiast and recently homebrewer, to not be able to partake of this:

Joe's Pizza on Carmine St. in the Village
Magnolia Baker on Bleeker Street
Beer, including but not limited to, Guinesss, Smythwicks, Samuel Adams, anything Belgian, anything brewed by Big Boss Tavern in Raleigh, creative microbrews in general
Chinese dumplings, specifically Vanessa's on 14th Street near Union Square
Pasta
Bulgur Wheat, including tabouli
French baguettes for crying out loud!
English Muffins
Bread that isn't dense and crumbly
Oatmeal that I don't have to search far and wide for a variety that isn't contaminated with gluten
Beer (I know I already said that)
Did you know that scotch and bourbon are distilled from grains? Crap!
Hamburgers from Shake Shack on account of the bun
Hamburgers from anywhere on account of the bun
Soy sauce for my sushi (yes, believe it or not, they use wheat to ferment most commercial brand soy sauces)
Cookies from Amy's Bread in the Chelsea market
Bread from Amy's Bread in the Chelsea market
Banana pudding with vanilla wafers
Oreo effing cookies
Cookies in general unless they're wrapped up in plastic with a gluten free label and cost $3.99 for two
Did I mention pizza?
Crackers (at least most crackers)
Croissants!
Spanikopita
Anything with pasta in it (still haven't tried gluten free pasta but at this point, who cares?)
These little fried dough things called flippers that my mom makes every Christmas morning
Pie! Holy crap, pie! I just thought about pie. Thanksgiving will never be the same without it.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, stuffing!

All right, I've gotta stop this. Do you see what I mean though? I have to talk to the nutritionist and get some answers. F M L.

I should get going on my day, busy one. I will find an apartment today though, I almost guarantee it. Later on folks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gluten free search mission and some good news...

Just back from a little gluten free excursion into the city, mostly for reconnaissance purposes. Checked out Baby Cakes in the LES. Didn't buy anything but I must say, this place looks like it could totally rival Magnolia cupcakes which I was mourning the loss of earlier in the week. From there, I went over to UNI QLO to buy a pair of jeans and check out some shoes and other clothing shops over in Soho. Exited UNI QLO with a pair of nice comfy jeans and grabbed the subway at Prince Street to head up to Union Square Whole Foods, for the second part of my mission.

There I was in Whole Foods with gluten free items practically jumping off the shelves at me. The heartbreaking thing was the price of each item. Gluten free granola bars, $4.39 a box, gluten free cookies, $5.49-$7.99 a box, gluten free loaves of bread as expensive as $9 a loaf...like some kind of punishment for being intolerant to wheat. How dare you make us find an alternative to wheat which grows so rampantly in this country. The only consolation? The Gluten free beer was actually comparable in price to a regular six pack so I grabbed some of that, along with a gluten free loaf of bread that cost $6. And here I sit drinking a bottle of Redbridge, made from sorghum. And it's fantastically refreshing and crisp, with a bit of a cidery taste but not unpleasant.

How about some more good news? George's film score is finished as of yesterday and the screening is this Friday. I'm relieved. And also a little proud of myself, I could have done what the other guys did and given up when George asked for more changes but I didn't. And instead of getting discouraged that my work wasn't up to par, I just kept working and eventually, I hit the mark. Not a bad hustle, I must say. Now, though I have my hands semi-full with the chamber piece, and my electronic music, I think I'm going to apply to a few film scoring jobs spotted on mandy.com in the weekly job newsletter. I'll let you all know how that goes.

Further good news to add to the pile is that I managed to get not one, not two, but seven apartment viewings in one night lined up for tomorrow night. I must be crazy. In truth, there are only three landlord/brokers involved. One who has an apartment in Prospect Heights Proper, closer to Grand Army Plaza and the other two have a selection of apartments in central to further east Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill. Will also keep you updated as to how those go. I have a really good feeling about the first apartment which is closest to Grand Army Plaza and the 2,3 train.

Meanwhile, must cook and get ready for work. I think I like these overnight shifts...for now. I woke up at 3:30 after having finally managed to get a full 8 hours of sleep after an overnight shift and I've had half an afternoon and an entire evening to mess around and get things done. For now, I'm off though.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gluten...

...Rasputin, Vladimir Putin, Pollutin', Darn tootin'. That's right. I found out the other day that I can't eat gluten. Shouldn't eat gluten, I should say. I could go on eating gluten but it wouldn't be excellent for my health. See I have this thing called Celiac disease. Read the whole wiki article there, if you're interested because I won't get into the nitty gritty of what the disease would do to me if I didn't stop the gluten altogether.

I had an endoscopy done on Wednesday afternoon, the final step in diagnosing the disease, after which the doctor was certain that it was as he had originally assumed from the results of my blood work (that showed a Vitamin D deficiency and the presence of the antibodies typically seen with Celiac disease, two other dead ringers for the disease). The endoscopy was an interesting experience, well, I should say the anesthesia was. I don't remember the procedure because I was out. This was the first time I had ever had general anesthesia and man, was I doped. I don't remember falling asleep but I remember waking up and thinking that I had missed twenty minutes somewhere in there. I felt pretty stoned afterward and, only when that started to wear off did I start to notice the pain in my abdomen from the procedure.

That subsided though within a day thankfully...and gave way to a whole new kind of pain. A bittersweet sort of pain that I experienced the height of in the beer aisle at the grocery store. Yes, that's right. If you read that whole article you'd've seen that barley is in the same family of grains as wheat, Triticeae. Ergo, I cannot drink beer. Hence, I do not see the point in keeping my beer brewing equipment. Thank god, I can still drink wine. And also, thank god that they do make beer with different grains, sorghum mainly. I hear it's a disappointment to say the least, but I'll have to try it.

I think the main point for me to realize is that there are so many options out there beyond beer brewed with some obscure grain that doesn't have gluten in it. Thanks to the wonders of social networking, all I had to do was post a blurb about having to go gluten-free and the flood of resources from my savvy gluten-free friends came, well, flooding in. I'll post some of the best, mainly for you, mom, when I come home next week and you're wondering what to feed me besides potatoes and rice.


Non-Gluten Grains


Gluten free flour substitutions


An article about Oats not necessarily being gluten free.


Trader Joe's list of gluten free products

A Gluten-Free online store
A store that sells gluten-free products here in NYC

The list could go on forever. I even have my eyes on some books that I'm going to buy off of Amazon.com. This is the same sort of fervor with which I attacked my IBS diagnosis, years ago. It's ironic because I felt I had almost gotten those symptoms under control and now this. I'm determined however not to let it bring me down. The trick is going to be looking at this as a life-changing thing but not necessarily a bad one, or the end of anything. I may be cutting things out but I'll be trying things I'd have never thought to have tried. Quinoa. Millet. Flax. Almond Flour, Chickpea Flour, brown rice bread, sorghum beer, different kinds of exotic rice, for crying out loud. The list goes on.

At least I won't have to give up chocolate, wine, coffee or many of the other things that I enjoy. Sure pizza, cookies, muffins, bread, cupcakes, other baked goods, might be a problem but not impossible. A new friend of mine here, who is also gluten-free, (noticing a trend here..gluten-free friends coming out of the woodwork) noticed a gluten-free pizza bakery on 23rd and Park in Manhattan. Then there's these: Risotteria, Baby Cakes, which will make my life easier.

All that having been said. What else is new? Apartment hunting is progressing. We saw two more Park Slope apartments tonight with the fellow who showed us his apartment at 5th and Union the other night. Between the three that he showed us I think we're leaning toward the first, though it was the smallest. It's actually in Park Slope proper, whereas today's shows were down in what I like to call, Sunset-Park-Slope. 20th street and 4th avenue. Almost as shady as my neighborhood. Beyond that, though they had likable qualities i.e. size for the price (both were at $1650 and had decent sized rooms), these apartments were a little further removed from Park Slope proper and even from the closest R train stop than we'd like to be. One was also a railroad layout with the smaller room being a bit too small to fit a full bed into without blocking the door to the other bedroom partially, and not to mention simultaneously filling up every bit of floor space in the room and leaving no room for any other furniture.

Oh, the joys of city living. We're seeing another apartment tomorrow in Astoria and we'll probably make a decision next week. Will keep everyone up to date on that. For now, I should probably get some rest. Early morning this morning and I've been sluggish all day. I have to spend Sunday on finishing the music to George's picture once and for all. Wish me luck with that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chinatown...

Good morning all. Yeah, I know it's afternoon. It always messes me up when I'm working the overnight and I'm talking to my co workers who actually get to sleep normal hours. Most conversations in the morning involve me mentioning tomorrow when I'm actually referring to their today and then my "this morning" was their "yesterday afternoon." Gets confusing.

Sunday I didn't get an ounce of nap time after returning from brunch after church. It dawned on me mid shift at work that night that, as a result of that and being up early for choir practice, it was going to be 24 hours before I got to sleep. Strangely, I wasn't tired until I actually got on the train. I think I dozed a few times and almost dropped the book I was reading once.

With a lack of material to work with for the last music cue for the score, I decided to spend yesterday afternoon in Manhattan before work. And while I had thought about coming back to the apartment before work, I had so much fun I wound up staying straight through until work.

So, I met Karishma in the West Village at her boyfriend's place and sprung an impromptu idea on her of going to Chinatown and hitting the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory among other things. So we hopped the 1 train to Canal Street and wound our way into the thick of it, searching for Bayard Street where the Ice Cream Factory can be found. We sort of lost our direction, at least I did, and managed to wander on to Bayard Street completely by accident because we were mainly navigating on our hunger instince. We decided on stopping first at a Hong Kong Style noodle shop on Bayard Street, where you could build your own noodle dishes (complete with ingredients like beef tripe, cow stomach and pig's blood). Karishma got the congee while opted to build my own noodles dish with thick egg noodles, mushrooms, cabbage and the fish balls. After that we wandered up Bayard Street again and stumbled on the Ice Cream Factory almost right away. This was of course, the first point at which I realized we were even on the right street. Karishma though, not having been satisfied by her rice porridge decided that she was rather determined to get fried dumplings, so onward we marched promising the Ice Cream Factory that we'd come right back. Turning the corner onto Mott Street, it suddenly became plain to me that I'd been down there before...12 years ago as a wide-eyed 17 year old kid on a choir trip to NYC with my high school class. Memories rushed in of a rainy day wandering the streets with a bunch of 16-year-olds who found things funny like "Big Wong Resataurant" and a Chinese man trying to sell us Baoding Balls and yelling at us for "breaking his balls" when we dropped one. I also totally remembered a pastry shop and bakery that I went into with two of my friends and one of the chaperones. It was still there. So was the Big Wong Restaurant.

After hitting Worth Street, we almost decided to head to a dumpling shop we knew of, away from all the coolness we had stumbled on that day. On a hunch, however, I said we should double back and check out a few side streets. It's funny how these places are always on side streets. Not the tiniest yet and certainly not the dingiest no name dumpling crevice, but it was there on Mosco Street, a rather short alley posing as a street between Mott and Mulberry. It thought we wouldn't find it, hahahahahah!

I didn't partake because, for some reason, my speedy recovery from the stomach virus I had the other day notwithstanding, I wasn't all appetite that evening. (Regretting my decision now as I type this) Plus the noodles filled me up and I was saving room for the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Lychee Sorbet sounded good to me and Karishma got some chocolate ice cream flavored with Pandan. Good stuff all around.

Walking through Chinatown then, on a practically balmy January evening I realized it's been too long since I just picked up Time Out New York, found something cool to do and did it on a whim. I grabbed some photos with the new camera and then we headed up to Chelsea so I could drop things at work and show Karishma around before heading over to Fat Cat on Christopher Street. We were meeting some of Karishma's friends there for a birthday get together so I figured it'd be a perfect way to kill time before work.

There was live jazz which made me realize that I have lived in NYC almost a year and had never gone and seen live jazz in the city until then. In another year in this city, I'm sure I'll come across several hundred more things that I haven't done and probably should have already. One that immediately comes to mind is missing a chance to see a concert at Radio City Music Hall. The Swell Season is playing there tonight and I have to miss it because I didn't plan well enough.

But I have my work cut out for me tonight. Now, I have the final track that I need to remix for George's short film and nothing else to do except laundry today. An update soon on how that goes. Meanwhile, pictures of last night's adventure and some miscellaneous shots around town:

miscellaneous around town and Chinatown best

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not swine flu...

I ended my last post with "never a moment's rest," only to wind up with two full days of such in a twist of irony that started with me being convinced I had the swine flu and ended with me cleaning the living crap out of my apartment in a fit of cabin fever the likes of which I've not experienced in a long while. Luckily, it's not swine flu (my doc's not convinced, says it's probably just a stomach virus), I did have sick days I could use, and tomorrow I should be fit to wander back into society after a mostly peaceful and certainly restful couple of days.

But I'm not kidding, I seriously need to get out of this apartment. There's nothing like being shut in to help you realize how dirty your abode is. Add the impending move and that's about all you need to start scouring the place and throwing things out without any consideration. And I still don't feel like I've made a dent.

Indeed, I think I'm almost finished with the mix of that last cue for the film score, so I have made progress there. Hopefully, I'll send that in and that'll be it.

Meanwhile, I've stagnated on the chamber piece I'm working on. The next time I get a full day to work on it, I'm going to dive back in of course though. I've had some time to think about some choices I've made in the piece and I've made a lot of notes about what needs to be done next. Lots of random moments of inspiration in the past few days so I'm trying to at least keep it in the front of my mind while I wait for a good amount of time when I can delve into it with a clear head.

Incidentally, a clear head right now I do not have. Whenever I get sick, I feel like it interrupts my momentum and all of these things I had planned on doing do not get done or get back-burnered for a time and then I have to reshuffle everything. Blah, here I sit writing about it when I could be writing it. That's my typical self-admonishment but I'm going to go easy on myself because I think that mindset is important. I don't feel like I can get any decent amount of work done tonight after spending the day working on music for the film score, cleaning and generally being stuck inside the house.

Alternatively, I could just sit down and look at the piece and listen to it without thinking and see if anything comes to me. There's nothing wrong with that and at least I'll be doing something that'll feel like I'm working towards finishing it.

At any rate, I may just be done for the evening. It's time to scare up some dinner and maybe just watch some movies or something.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

All kinds of cool today...

I was just working on a rushed evening, too-quickly scarfed leftovers and a serious case of bedhead when I realized that I accidentally set my clock ahead an hour in the attempts to set an alarm so I wouldn't over nap. Whew, I'm good. So, I have time to write before going in for my second set of back to back overnights starting tonight. Today was packed to the brim with cool, pretty cool, awesome, and wouldn't you know it?; The highlights therein being running into a fellow UNCG alumnus at church who graduated from the G the same semester I did and, coincidentally, moved to Brooklyn the same month as me, as well as going to check out not only the first apartment of mine and Katrina's intrepid apartment search but also the first (and perhaps only), Manhattan apartment.

After having lunch at a friend's and nearly watching all of As Good as it Gets for the 4 millionth time, I headed into Manhattan on the F and met my cousin on 1st Avenue. The place was a short walk over to Avenue B and 11th Street and rather more dilapidated then either of us would have hoped but both of us might have expected. After all, for $1850 on the Lower East Side, we might have expected the only good thing to be it's location. I could have gotten to work from the place in about 25
minutes easily.

On the other hand, the size of each of the five rooms alone presented unique challenges not only to furniture placement but to general living. Kitchen, no counters, no cupboards, bathroom, no place for cat's litter pan, bedroom 1 is the size of my own and facing the street, bedroom 2 is literally half the size of the other (so one of us would require a smaller bed) and the living room would require us to invest in a flat screen TV to mount on the wall unless we wanted to have no space to walk from the kitchen to the front room. Between all that, the sloping floor (quite a sharp pitch if you ask me...any pocket change that hit the floor would likely wind up on the same side of the room), the fourth floor location, and the pot deal going down on the corner, I think we'll keep looking.

I'm not even sure it was a pot deal but the main thing we learned from today is that what that price in Manhattan looks like and that we have more need of counter space and room to put our furniture than we do of a hip location to brag about.

End of story. On a hilarious note, Katrina and I headed over to Union Square from 1st Avenue so we'd have time to talk about what we had just seen, and managed to run into the no pants subway crowd. If you haven't heard about this group called Improv Everywhere, then check out this link. They do crazy public improv, including volunteers in the process, mostly to shock or confuse random passersby in the vein of candid camera. The no pants subway ride, one of the funniest pranks they pull, is exactly what it sounds like. Check out the videos. Union Square subway station was mobbed, mostly by people wearing just about everything but pants.

What's happening now is that my time between getting up and going to work is rapidly dwindling as I just got off the phone with George, my co worker for whom I supplied music to finish off his film. They needed one last tweak in the mix to bring out the snare drum on a particular track so that they could get on with the sound design. They should be finishing soon, in fact, screening the piece on the 29th at one of HBO's theater rooms around Bryant Park. Mohammad, the director, who also used to work at NY 1, works over there and was able to book it. Thankfully, I can actually make it because I don't work until 11pm that night. I'm actually covering for George that night because he asked off the week leading up to the screening.

So you'll hear more about the screening the closer we get. It'll be the first screening of my work in NYC, as a matter of fact. Definitely something to talk about there. For now, I'd better get the rest of my lunch packed and brave the cold to meet the train into the city. Never a moment's rest.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New camera and some musical thoughts...

So, I've been meaning to post the best shots with the new camera. I must have taken about a hundred before I finally got a means of getting them off of the memory card. Only a handful were good enough to post though, meaning I need more time to familiarize myself with the camera. Represented here in this album are the snowfall from a few weeks ago, my friend's cat and my own, Rockerfeller Center's Christmas tree and a few random shots of Sunset Park at night.

Best shots with new Canon


Enjoy. Meanwhile. I did a week of my new schedule and I'm about to embark on another one next week. Over my meager weekend, I worked on the new chamber piece, hung out with a friend and had a vegetarian dinner and then ate too much chocolate, and then, tonight, met Karishma at the airport and rode with her back into Manhattan. I welcomed her back with Godiva chocolate and Two Boots Pizza on 7th and Greenwich Aves.

The new piece is a monster now. I've gotten to a point though where the middle section is going in a totally different direction that I don't want it to go in. I had started composing something in my head that I liked the idea of, forgot about that idea and composed something else, and now I don't like the new thing but can't get it out of my head long enough to get back the old idea and revamp those measures. I'll figure it out though. Just need to walk away from it again. Lucky, I won't have much time tomorrow to do anything but listen to it once or twice and maybe edit the piano part and the drum line some more. So I won't drive myself too crazy over it.

On another note, I started listening to some audio files on my hand-held Olympus USB audio recorder that were from early 2007. Me jamming on the piano mostly, but I realized that I have several good song ideas there, some of which I had almost abandoned and some of which I started and then realized I should start over after listening to them today and go back to being more true to my original improvisation...after all, that's the whole reason I used the thing in the first place. To record those improvisations and try to capture those moments of, I guess, genius, for lack of a better word.

In addition, there are files on there of ambient sound and train noise I recorded in the subway earlier in the year, around April. Stuff that would make either a really good musique concrete piece or an electroacoustic piece I've yet to write. Either way, what's on my recorder right now that I've neglected for so long: Gold Mine.

But I'm going to be also writing new things this year as well. 2008 was a tough year, because I maybe only finished one standalone piece while meanwhile I was working on finishing others for my recital and then, subsequently working on my thesis and then living and working in Raleigh, scoring films in the fall and, oh, I did write a song for my family to use on the yearly slide show of photos for everyone. Titled it Home. May post the recording soon, it was just guitar though, nothin' fancy. But anyway, point being, I was so focused on so many endeavors that I was forced to find ways of jotting down ideas, or otherwise recording them, quickly so I wouldn't lose them and I could take a crack at them later. But then, I'd listen to them later or try to work on them and shape them and they didn't inspire me as much. Then after a whole year passes of focusing on electronic music, and the film scores I did this year, I find myself listening to them again and saying, "Oh yeah! This piece!" And now, despite the compulsion to write new stuff, I feel like I should give these other ideas a shot at a life outside of my crazy head.

Because isn't that why we write down music in the first place? Gotta run guys, more later on my progress and my sanity.