About Me

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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, April 25, 2014

Time management again...

I'm gonna go ahead and say it.  I really much prefer writing at this time of night/morning.  I have a clear head, I'm having a cider, listening to a friend's music, and unwinding.  I don't have to spring out of bed so early tomorrow morning either.  I was just reading a blog from around this time last year where I was going on about "how am I going to survive working 64 hours a week!" Happy to report to my one-year-ago self that I made it through and it wasn't all that bad. 

This is actually good knowledge for me to unearth, polish off, and reexamine in a different context.  See, in a few weeks, I'll be starting up that racket again, only this time, it's basically 8 days a week versus the 4 days worth of doubles followed by a regular Friday and a weekend off.  I'll be working Saturday and Sunday evenings 3pm-11pm at CNN for 2 months, while continuing to pull 3:30pm-11:30pm shifts at NY1 Monday through Friday.  When I was asked about covering someone's maternity leave there, I came up with the plan to disperse my remaining personal days at NY1 during the weekdays throughout the months of June and July so that I could ease the load a little bit. 

In the end, I wound up just taking two big chunks of time off in July, so June might be rough.  Just sayin'.  But I'm ready for it.  I did something this crazy last year and in fact, continued to do it after the CNN work dried up, albeit a little less, working only twice to four times a week at TruTV (the third and fourth shifts being short weekend morning shifts when no one else was there).  In fact, barely a week has gone by since last April that I haven't worked at least 50 hours a week.  And I've still worked on music and furthered my voice over career and kept up with yoga and still had time to get out and see some great music and travel. 

So, yeah, it's remarkable what a little time management can help you accomplish.  I've actually thought about writing a book on the subject of time management and how I pull this crazy stuff off.  I could boil it down to a handful of important maxims.  The first and most important being to auto pilot as much as you can (this is not entirely my wording but the idea did come to me on its own...I already know exactly what I need at the grocery store most weeks and for the most part, for example, so that goes pretty quick).  The second is to know how much time it takes you to do certain things (the most basic being showering, cooking, eating and commuting...but then other things more specific to your situation come into play, i.e. for me, how much time do I really need to record a script for a voice over audition and do it well?).  Additionally, you have to identify the gaps in your day during which you can squeeze certain tasks in, what kinds of things can you do simultaneously (for me, an example is laundry and cooking...getting good at that one.  I have to run down the block to do coin laundry so I start my brown rice cooking before I walk down the hill with my laundry bag, etc.).  Also, and this is probably the most important, how can you fit in exercise and relaxation...because let's face it. I'd probably go nuts trying to do all this if I didn't stop and center myself once a day at least.

So, sure, I could probably flesh that all out into a book if I threw in some anecdotes for good measure.  But then, I gotta find the time to start writing down all these ideas.   Totally doable.  But now, I gotta squeeze in that 7 hours of sleep because that's probably the most important use of my time these days. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


33.  And I almost forgot to put on Thirty-three by the Smashing Pumpkins.  Something I always said I would do when I turned 33.  So with a half hour left in my birthday, I thought I'd write a bit.  There's not a ton to report.  The weekend was fun and filled with friends and drinking.  My party Sunday ended up being small but still fun.  And today, I had a free yoga class at my old studio and got to catch up with a teacher I hadn't taken class from in a while. 

I also had a doctor's appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat doc to see what was happening with my right ear.  What is happening with my right ear?  Okay, so a few weeks ago, I had a cold so bad I wound up with an ear infection in my right ear and, while the pain subsided the following day, sometime the next week when I was back in Brooklyn, I noticed something odd.  While playing my guitar, single notes were resonating as two notes out of tune with each other.  I thought something was wrong with my guitar and wrote it off, saying I'd check into it later.  The next day though, I heard the same phenomenon with music that was playing in my kitchen.  I was hearing an echo off one of the walls, reaching my ear a millisecond later and coming in out of tune with the left ear.  I was standing there plugging and un plugging my left ear and listening to the music jump up in pitch every time.  It was so weird. 

I researched it and found that it's an actual thing you can get if you either have damage to the sensory nerves or if you have fluid or ear wax buildup in the inner ear.  It's called, wait for it, "Diplacusis." The wiki article doesn't give you much but there's more info out there.  Anyway, I just assumed it would resolve itself, seeing as how it was probably related to the ear infection and not any damage, but it was taking a while, so I scheduled the doctor's appointment just to be safe.  I would have gotten there on Friday last week but I showed up without an insurance card on me and had to reschedule for today...by which point, it had fully cleared up.  I've been recommended to someone for a full hearing test though and I'm going to go because I need to be sure it's gone.  I have tested it tonight and it seems fine and at the doctor's office, she held a tuning fork up to both ears alternately and I heard the same pitch in both ears.  So, it seems it's cleared up.  I had to test it here as well because I was finding, when it was at its worst, that the softer the sound the more evident the difference in pitch was.  You should've seen me plugging one ear and listening to my guitar as I plucked the open strings first softer and then gradually louder and louder.  The pitch would resolve back to where it was supposed to be as it got louder.  It was the weirdest thing ever. 

And of course, only a musician would notice it.  Or anyone with any musical sensibility.  So, naturally, I was disturbed that part of my instrument (as a composer) was malfunctioning.  And in the most ridiculous possible way...like why a half step difference?  That's pretty dissonant. Another interval, like maybe a fourth or something would've been fun maybe but weird dissonance was not cool.  I admit I panicked for a hot second. 

But anyhow, that's all cleared up now and I'm feeling loads better minus the lingering dry cough that you can get with a head and chest cold.  And the weather here is ever improving so there's that. 

And I'm gearing up for a great summer, with loads of fun plans coming up including things like a trip to NC to see my nephew on his birthday in July, a trip upstate at some point, and a Tori Amos concert, one of my favorite artists of all time, whom I've never seen perform live.  I think I'm going to be working a lot during the summer months as well, covering someone's maternity leave at CNN.  So I'm hoping I won't go insane.  And things are happening with both voice over and music.  I'll be putting together that promo demo as soon as I get the audio from the last two jobs, and I'm still finishing the score for "The Life" which is getting ever closer to completion. I may even have another job soon but, as always, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. 

For now, I need to sleep off this weekend and get in the mindset for productivity again.  Good night!

Monday, April 14, 2014

2003 Anjou Villages Brissac

I opened a 10 year old bottle of wine this weekend that I've been saving for almost 7 years.  What was I saving it for?  I have no idea.  When I bought it I was newly single and in France, in the town where I studied in 2002, hanging with my parents and my aunt. I smuggled it back to the States and put it in my wine rack.  When I think back, any number of occasions have passed on which I could have imbibed this bottle, an Anjou Villages Brissac from 2003...Brissac being a chateau that I visited during my study abroad trip all those years ago.  The bottle itself was one of which I had bought a 1996 vintage back in 2002 on that trip and drank relatively soon after returning to the States.  So, sure, it's got a little bit of sentimental value and that, but ultimately, I kept pushing back when I was supposedly going to open it. In fact, I actually never really assigned it any special occasion on which I would potentially open it.

I felt a little like Paul Giamatti's character in "Sideways" with his 1961 Cheval Blanc that he saves and saves, saying it was supposed to be for his 10th wedding anniversary but ultimately ends up drinking it out of a paper cup in a White Castle at the end of the movie.  He supposedly does this in response to a line by Virginia Madsen's character: "The day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc, that's the occasion."  So I kept thinking about that.  My weirdly oenophile boss at NY1 would always point out that a 10 year old wine that's been moved as many times as this one has is as likely as not to be peaking and/or past its prime, perhaps even spoiled.  So, the pressure has been on for a while to hurry up and just open the damned thing, occasion or not.

I could have picked any milestone along the way in my career(s).  First paid music gig (happened years ago), moving to NY (also happened years ago, with not nearly as much fanfare as you'd think), first paid voice over gig (been there, done that), first time getting two VO gigs in one month (also, knocked that one out last year), getting a voice over agent (who knows?), getting a music agent (also who knows?), the time I got a contract with a licensing agency (also barely any fanfare).   Hell, I could have even waited just slightly longer to see what happens with "The Life" and if it gets picked up and if they use my music and/or hire me as the composer.

But I opted to open it with a friend, during the day on a work day to celebrate our shared birth month. I think the point was to share it with someone versus just celebrating by myself.  That's the sad part about the end of Sideways.  Even though he finally just drinks his Cheval Blanc, he's alone whilst doing it and in the saddest of places: a fast food joint.

But let me tell you, I do have something to celebrate.  It's been a damned good month so far.  That voice over gig I had on April 1st?  I knocked it out of the park.  There were three different directions I was given to go in and on the third and final one ("tight with tension," a direction they weren't sure how else to describe), I nailed it, eliciting wide eyed excitement from the director and a woman from the publishing company who sat in on the session.

That afternoon, I was rushing over to NY1 after the job to try and knock out another audition for this same client, borrowing a mic from the head editor and using the tracking booth to do it.  This promo for a sequel to "The Bone Collector," I managed to really hit the mark, coming off the "Bourne Ascendancy" gig early that day with a lot of energy and a good sense of what works for these kinds of jobs.  So the next morning, I had an email from the director saying they liked my read and wanted to book me for the job and get me in the studio the very next day.  So, that's two VO gigs in one week, better than I've done to date.  And the money? Let's just say I made enough for my rent and then some in the space of two hours of hard work.  I'd say that's reason enough to open any bottle of wine at any time of the day.

And sure there'll be other occasions, other milestones.  But I'll go out and buy more bottles of good wine to celebrate them when I get there.  For now, you guessed it, I gotta go to sleep.