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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. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

So much for recharging...

Back to the daily grind after a wonderful slow paced weekend in the country.  I should do that more often.  But here I am tired again, mainly because I couldn't sleep last night.  As usual, there's lots going on up in my brain.  I talked with George about the end credit music for "The Life" tonight, before I left work, and I'm thinking I'll be finished with the final mix this week and ready to master everything next week.  After that, we start talking about the final edit of the pilot and what kind of underscoring we'll need.  It's shaping up to be about 40 minutes long so, it may be the longest thing I've scored solo since Kisses and Caroms.  Zero Sum Game I scored in part with two other composers chipping in and some of my stuff not getting used in the final cut.

Anyway, I'm as excited as ever about it and all the other projects.  Even the ones on hold right now.  Tomorrow, to add to the excitement, I have a voice over practice session with my coach and a few of her other students in Midtown at 1pm.  So I have time to get back to yoga tomorrow morning and to pitter around town before I go into work at 330pm.  Should be a great day, great to dive back into voice over again...but I have to be up in about 7 hours.  It never ends.

So with that said, I think I am going to start taking more opportunities to recharge...and reward myself.  I've had a long and hard but also fun year.  But also grueling.  And also brutal in some ways.  But also fruitful.

The point is I deserve down time and thinking of how to spend such down time (and some of the money I've saved up) has led me to decide to finally start traveling again.  I don't always believe in such stuff but I have been toying with the notion that our thoughts create our reality.   Central America and the Caribbean have been in some of those thoughts and so has the idea of doing a yoga retreat at some point.  So, a few Sundays ago, while meditating before a yoga class, I decided to direct that thought energy toward such a venture.  "I'd like to make that a reality this year."  I said to myself.  Wouldn't you know it, at the end of that yoga class my teacher mentioned a yoga retreat in Belize that she leads in April, right around my birthday.  I took it as a sign and started doing my research.  After a few days of looking into it, I started to think about how I should probably weigh all my options.   Then, yet another yoga retreat popped up that one of my teachers at a different studio leads.  This one in Nicaragua.   Unfortunately, it's sooner and I don't think I'll have the money in time to put down a deposit but then who knows.  Things could change.  Things always change.

I've been thinking about that, too.  How you can plan so far ahead in the future but your planning can only take into account what you assume will happen given the set of circumstances that you are aware of, i.e. how much money you will be making at your current job(s), or if a new job will come around in time to help you out.  Now, instead of waiting for such a thing to happen, why not just say what you need from the universe out loud.  Again with the thoughts creating reality, if I say, "I can't afford it," then I won't.  But if I instead ask, "how can I afford it," I'm that much closer to figuring it out.  I have to believe it's possible before I can entertain the thought.  Of course, I've never been the kind of person to think you can just draw something from thin air but I do think it's powerful to state your intentions because it gives your conscious mind something to latch onto, a goal to work towards.  You need a certain amount of faith of course, but what I mean when I say faith, is faith in yourself, faith in your abilities.  There is still work to be done.  Oh, no doubt about that.

It always helps me in these situations too, and especially when I doubt myself to look at my track record...I'm here, aren't I?  Good night for now.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I did something amazing last night that I've not done in years.  I slept.  A lot.  Several hours in a row.  I don't know exactly how many but I will say that I got in bed around 10:30pm, also something I haven't done in years, and I got out of bed around 9:30am the next morning.  Somewhere in the middle, I did wake up, but I refused to get out of bed for at least a half hour, mainly because the bathroom here is up a flight of stairs.  I'm currently at my sister's house in Virginia, hanging with her family.  Basically recharging for a weekend.  And man, am I recharging, or what?  I actually took a nap a few hours ago, one from which I awoke to hear my niece yelling about zombies (she was playing Minecraft across the kitchen from me).  So far, the only other thing I've done today besides eating that was mildly productive was win a game of Magic the Gathering, a game I've never really played, against my brother in law and my oldest nephew.

Yesterday, I took the train to DC from New York and had my cousin pick me up at Union Station.  We spent some time driving around DC and ended up at Jones Point Lighthouse because he wanted to see one of the old DC boundary stones, actually the first to be laid.  It exists under the lighthouse and you actually have to look under the porch in front of the lighthouse to see it.  Check out my photos.   My cousin then took me to Alexandria to meet an old friend for dinner, one I haven't seen in 13 years.  We caught up over gluten free pizza and then she drove me to Potomac Mills where my sister picked me up.

It occurred to me that all day today, I have not even once put shoes on and gone outside.  So a little bit ago, I stepped out on the back porch and looked up at the moon.  I haven't had a day this lazy in a very very long time.

So, I'm going to feel great by the time I get back to NYC.  I'm at a standstill with the workload anyway because I just sent in the finished mixes of the long and short versions of "Another Day in the Life," and am waiting for the director's input.  Plus, the piano theme for the other short film hasn't been touched in weeks because that director hasn't contacted me yet.  I'm also going to be diving back into some voice over things next week.  I put the agent search on hold while I focused on my other projects but next Wednesday, my coach has put together a VO practice session at the studio where I've been doing my coaching.  There should be a couple of other VO talents there and we'll just run through whatever scripts we bring or whatever Sylvia has there.  Should be lots of fun.  I've been needing something like this for a while.  I lost two good auditions in the past week and then got a reminder of a client who was wildly underpaying me last year when the same guy contacted me to do a few scripts for the same amount of money.  I turned him down.

Anyway, I spent the remainder of my evening eating a fabulous meal (gluten free Yorkshire pudding prepared by my brother-in-law), playing with the kids' remote control helicopters and sucking horribly at rock band even though I'm a musician with two degrees.  Tomorrow, my train back to the city doesn't leave until 845pm so I'll have another nice long day with the kids.  I heard something about a hay ride and a pumpkin patch.  Sounds fun!

Hopefully, soon I'll hear some feedback and Amanda's song for "The Life."  Meanwhile, it's back to work work on Monday.  First week back on the regular schedule.  I'm really hoping that the work at TruTV will not dry up anytime soon, because I've made a big life decision to finally travel next year and, following a few signs from the universe, have already picked a yoga retreat in Belize that will happen in April right around my birthday.  It's not terribly cheap and I'm probably picking the first option that has presented itself rather than finding something as affordable as possible, but a yoga retreat and a Central American/Caribbean destination has been on my mind for quite some time.  I've never been further south than the airport in Miami, FL.  So here's to that.  If I stick to my budget over the next few months and if a few small miracles occur, then I can pull this off.

For now, I'm going to get to sleep, early again but NYC has left me with the need to recharge and I plan to take full advantage of that.  Talk soon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Well, the rest of my day after that last blog in Philly was really fun.  So fun I forgot to blog about it.  I decided on the Eastern State Penitentiary for my afternoon activity.  I opted for an immensely informative guided tour and, after it was done, walked around a little on my own, saw Al Capone's cell, learned about the tunnel escape and took a ton of pictures.

Afterward Virginia and I met up and had a bite at, you guessed it, the only place I eat in West Philadelphia: OCF.  Luckily, she had to be somewhere relatively near where I had to go for Darcy's dance performance, so we opted to walk it, a good 4 1/2 miles, because that's what we do when we're together.  Funny, I avoided taking public transit for most of the weekend, except for one bus ride to Center City Friday night.  Cabs are really cheap there compared to NYC as well, so it was tempting, a lot of the time, to just take a cab.  The walk was much preferred though.  I got to see (and smell) a lot of the city I might not have seen had I taken the bus.  Seriously, South Street in Old City was buzzing with activity and smelled strongly of cheesesteaks. 

Anyway, Darcy's dance performance was at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Old City, right next to one of the oldest buildings in Philly, a church, that, when it was built was the highest structure in the 13 colonies for a number of years (I think I heard one of the guys there say 40 years, can't remember).  The dance actually started out in the courtyard of the church and featured video projections of footage shot in the Redwood Forest in California, as well as music composed by Andrea Clearfield, featuring field recordings from the Redwood Forest, violin and didgeridoo.  The music was emanating from a couple of boom boxes, some nestled in the bushes, others carried by the dancers.  One dancer recited poetry through a bullhorn by Quintan Ana Wikswo with themes of destruction of natural habitats and the ills of colonialism.  After the courtyard, the dancers led us up to a space on the third floor of the neighboring building, a dark theater space with no fourth wall (we were standing around the dancers as they performed) and sheets hung from the ceiling.  Overall, I thought it was a pretty compelling piece and really enjoyed the dancers' performances. 

Here are a few pics taken in Old City and around the Church.  That night we cabbed it back to Darcy's apartment where her new roommate had a house warming party of sorts in full swing, complete with wine and a spread of gluten free food (she's gluten intolerant, too).  Met some nice people, had some good food and conversation and then slept it all off.  After one more breakfast at OCF, I snagged a cab to the train station and headed back to NYC for my performance. 

It went really well, by the way.  Only, I forgot to hit record.  MC took video of most of it and I ended up with some extra time last night to re record it at home and edit it a little.  Just posted it to soundcloud too.

The audience enjoyed it and gave me some good pointers, all stuff that I was thinking was wrong with the piece, i.e. there wasn't enough of a build (I still don't think there is). I can't remember what else right now but I have since come up with a few more critiques like the fact that it's kind of long right now but as the song congeals a little more, I will be able to scale back the length of it and still effectively cover all the things I want cover.  There are essentially four different loop layers each with harmonies and syncopated counter melodies built into them, so the overall number of layers tops something like 10-16 depending on which harmonies I play.  The only real ramp up in the intensity of the piece comes with the introduction of a sixteenth note pulse drone on the lowest guitar string, which, when I recorded this version, I layered harmonies on top of.

I solo melodically over the cacophony of layers at least a couple of times throughout and only the first one on this version was pre composed.  The rest were improvised.  The distortion effect on the backwards loop is something I'm still toying with a little.  It's still kind of unpredictable because I've been recording it silently and not fading it up until it's been effected with the reverse function and the distortion patch that I'm using from Native Instruments.  I'm using my controller to change one of the parameters which, as far as I can tell is a sub audio control wave (for those of you who know anything about sound synthesis).  Anyway, once it's up in the mix, I am getting some wicked awesome sounds.  Later in the piece I even slow it and another one of the actual loop tracks down by half to get some even cooler contrast to the rhythmic drive of the piece.

In later versions of the piece, I'm going to focus on ways to ramp up the intensity even more, possibly exploring drones with syncopation in them.  Syncopation is lovely.  Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the piece.

The rest of MC's salon was great.  She danced, Morgana Rose danced, Gilbert-Michel Rolle, the tenor, a Swiss man actually from MC's hometown, sang a few French Renaissance pieces a capella, Lacy and I did three songs scattered throughout the performance and lastly a man whose name I can't recall now came and gave us an impromptu poetry reading.  Lost of wine and good conversation followed and then I went home ate dinner and watched Breaking Bad's finale.  Great ending!

I'll keep updating as I record new versions of the song, Molecules, and I will even be writing some more and trying them out on you guys and also performing again at the next Marie-Christine Giordano artists salon.  By the way, I still don't know exactly why the piece is called Molecules. 

Also, as the week goes on I've been working a lot more on the recording of Amanda Brecker's song, "Another Day in the Life."  It's going well and tomorrow we'll finish up recording backing vocals and vocal effects and hopefully, I'll manage to record the two guitar interludes.  Updates on that as well once it's finished and mastered. For now, it's back to work!