Tag Archives: Mumford & Sons

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Listening to Mumford & Sons. They were on Letterman the other night. I really liked the song. Enough so to download a few tracks. Well it’s not all that. Perhaps they pull it off live, but all the songs have sameness to them which isn’t very exciting.

The song they sang on Letterman was Little Lion Man which was excellent. The studio version is decent. Another good song is Dustbowl Dance. But the rest merely leaves me whelmed.

What is actually really good are the tracks I’ve gotten from Hot Chip. Now that is something special. Well worth investigating. And danceable in parts. They’ve even taking to use a live drummer on some songs which could only help.

I watched the rest of the Terry Jones documentary on Barbarians and that was very good. Left me wanting for more, but there were no extras. They should hire Terry Jones to do more things like that. I received my bus pass in the mail yesterday and today I returned it via the mail.

No need for it. I was going to drop it off last night but I was here waiting for the cable guy to arrive. The scheduled visit was until 8:00 but Cablevision found someone in West New York who drove down here.

He was a handsome chap who thought I was smoking a blunt which I wasn’t but wished I was. He swapped the swapped box with an HD box which is fine if we had an HD TV but since we don’t all the channels that are in HD are now in letterbox format and if it’s not in HD then the whole screen is filled.

The cable guy noticed a picture of my mother and me in Amish country, 1976. We’re standing next to a sculpture of a pretzel and the cable guy asked if it was a real pretzel. I explained that it wasn’t. He asked when the picture was taken and I told him 1976. He then mentioned how cool it must have been living in the 1970’s!

Mom-Me

According to Harpy we’ll have more space on the DVR to record. But we haven’t recorded anything yet. Bill came home after rehearsing his latest play. He says I will love it and I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that. I am looking forward to seeing it though.

I have a few movies from the library that are recommended. My brother Frank suggested The Changeling by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. Old Boy, a Korean film was suggested by Michael Hill, a friend from McSwells days whom I ran into the other day.

Hellboy which I hadn’t seen but caught part of it’s sequel, Hellboy 2 last night and I was entertained. Next Day Air got some decent reviews when it came out last year and I do like Donald Faison and Mos Def, so it’s good that they’re in it.

And finally Passing Strange which Bill and I saw at the Public Theater a few years ago. We loved it and it was on PBS a few weeks ago, so we recorded it. Never got around to seeing it that way since the box went kaput, so here is the DVD. So I have plenty of things to watch if I’m in the mood.

Tomorrow I’m going to see an exhibit of artifacts from the Titanic with my niece Corrine and my sister in law Elaine. Corinne asked me and I simply couldn’t refuse, nor did I want to. It should be fun, something out of the ordinary which is what I am always after.

I did get a haircut for the occasion. A trip to Mr L’s where Tony did his magic. He asked me about how the research for hair cutting was going and nearly dropped his shears when I told him one school wanted $12,000 and the other wanted $16,000.

Not like the $900 he had to pay all those years ago at Atlas Barber School. I would go there if they had financial aid but they don’t.

If I was a veteran or had a disability or in their words: No financial aid is available. We are approved for Veterans, Immigration, and for Vocational and Educational Services of Individuals with Disabilities (VESID). I tell you they (vets, immigrants and the disabled) have it dead easy.

And that’s the thing I want to do, be a barber. Not a stylist. Don’t want to learn make up, manicures, pedicures, rinsing, coloring or any of that stuff. Just a hair cut.

And it’s the other stuff that is putting me off.

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Gulls!

Gulls!


Nice enough day for some painting I reckon

Nice enough day for some painting I reckon

Me, post haircut
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Most of The Time

Last night was melancholy. It was a slow descent into melancholia. In the back of my mind was the anxiety of the job interview this morning. Well maybe it was more like a full occupation of my mind, the melancholia.

I had a fun phone call with Annemarie and a good time with Bill but I couldn’t enjoy things like Curb Your Enthusiasm. There were aspects that I did laugh at but most everything was clouded by the anxiety. And it wasn’t so much the interview, it’s the whole idea of being unemployed.

It’s really a drag and that is really an understatement. I’ve been unemployed before and knew it was only a matter of time before I would land another gig. But it really is scary out there. I didn’t know how scary it was until I became part of it.

I had an appointment for 11:00 this morning for an interview and felt that the tutorials I did a few weeks ago would help me out. I set the alarm clock for 7:00. Bill was up and out around 6:00, giving me a kiss goodbye and wishing me well.

He’s so great. Drives me crazy sometimes, but any relationship usually involves one party driving the other party crazy. The toothpaste cap. The dishes in the sink. Neither one of those issues concern us, just using it for an example.

He’s so incredibly supportive of me, believing in me when I don’t. And that’s a lot of the time.

Yesterday when I was at Tariq’s studio, the two of us were on the fire escape having a smoke. He had some good advice having been through a lot in his own life. It was advice that I had given to people from time to time and I had forgotten it.

There’s always someone who has it worse than you. As he was saying this I saw two people in electric wheelchairs in the distance headed to the light rail. How’s that for reality? I told Tariq I know I have it good. I have a roof over my head and I have someone who loves me. And some people don’t have either. So I’m grateful.

And if I am asked on Thursday to state what I am thankful for I can just point at Bill and say ‘Him’.

I reset the alarm clock to 9:00 and finally got some real good sleep. Woke up to the music of War singing Low Rider. I even said an affirmation. ‘Good day, good day, it’s gonna be a good day’ I kept repeating that to myself and I got myself ready.

Had to print out three references, got a nice suit & tie on. Braces, socks, sock garters (hate droopy socks), lightly polished my shoes and had my passport for government ID, my resume and I was out the door.

The light rail was at 10:38 and I thought I had enough time but by the time I was about 150 yards from the light rail I looked at my watch and it was 10:35. I ran through the terminal, jammed my credit card in the ticket machine, had it validated, time stamped at 10:38 and saw the light rail pulling away.

I called up the agency, getting the number through Google411 and dialed the number. No answer. I called Bill and asked him to go into my email and get the info from the email that the counselor Rainier sent me.

Bill was great and asked if I was going to call the counselor. Steam leaked a little bit from my ears but I kept it cool. He got the info and told me and I called, telling Rainier that I was going to be 10 minutes late.

He was fine with it, but I hate being late. Generally I’m early. Good day good day, it’s gonna be a good day. Got off the light rail in the middle of the Harborside complex which consists of a few post modern buildings.

Which one? I called Bill once again and once again Bill came through.

Got to the office, filled out paperwork. Took an Excel, Word and Outlook test. Oddly enough I did better on the Excel than I did on the Word. Outlook was a walk in the park.

I was in a tiny room with four other guys, all of us intensely focused on the computer screens in front of us. I was gassy. Not releasing gas mind you, but it was moving it’s way through my body and was a little bit noisy. At least noisy to me.

Don’t know if the others heard it. It was like an interview I had tears ago for a production company called Geronimo. Same thing happened but that was during the interview. No gas, just internal noise.

Finally met Rainier who was a crazy cute guy. We went over the tests and he remarked that I did better than most which was a pleasant surprise. I have a good feeling about this agency. Perhaps they’ll place me somewhere.

Maybe it was butterflies in my stomach from talking with Rainier, maybe it was gas. It went well and I wished him and the receptionist and Happy Thanksgiving which is the thing to say this week.

Even though it was cold and windy I decided to walk back to Hoboken through the Jersey City waterfront. I enjoyed a cigar on the way and listened to the iPod. Overall I think it went well. A positive way to spend a few hours.

I feel a lot better tonight and shook a rosebush when I got home.

Here’s some pics from the walk home.

9/11 Memorial @ Harborside

9/11 Memorial @ Harborside

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Tiny terracotta warrior @ a Cooperative school

Tiny terracotta warrior @ a Cooperative school

Elephants by an ice rink

Elephants by an ice rink

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Just keeping it Gully.

Just keeping it Gully.

Rocky Racoon

Well this day is just another day I suppose. It’s a Sunday, that much I know. And it’s been another up & down day for me. Last night I didn’t turn on the TV until the 11:00 news. I mainly sat in front of the computer and copied dozens of songs from the Rolling Stones to the Specials to Elvis Costello to the Cure to Elton John.

Trying to figure out the easiest songs to play. If I’m going to start busking for real, I should have at least 10 songs that I know inside out, songs that the passerby would know. I’ve loved the Specials for 30 years but never attempted any of their songs.

Turns out their songs are remarkably easy to play. I wonder if that was former head Specials leader Jerry Dammers doing? He’s always been the one to do things with the fans in mind. Rat Race, a classic Specials song is really easy to play and lot’s of fun.

Though being unemployed it has a different meaning as I want to be a part of the Rat Race. No more harboring dreams of somehow living my life and not having any part of mainstream employment. I want a job. A mainstream job.

I’ve worked in the music business, worked in magazine publishing, a Rupert Murdoch experiment. Not your average jobs. They were fun and definitely interesting, but the real jobs that I’ve had paid well and offered benefits and some relative stability. But of course as we all know, the stability wasn’t going to last.

But back to the music, Elton John songs aren’t that hard either. I’m no Davey Johnstone, but he’s no John Ozed either.

It was good not watching much TV last night. I did watch Saturday Night Live and was charmed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I loved his ‘Make ’em Laugh’ opener. Who wouldn’t be impressed by those back flips? I’m sure Donald O’Connor would have been.

Dave Matthews was meh, but I wasn’t expecting anything different. Just don’t get the whole Dave Matthews thing.

Due to my financial situation certain substances are out of reach. And since those herbs aren’t being ingested, oh the dreams I’ve been having have been quite weird. I guess they generally are weird, but I woke up this morning with three dreams that stood out.

One involved those certain herbs and how the buds were actually infested with spider eggs and when you smoked those buds, the spider eggs would explode leaving one’s face with a white substance. In the dream there were some buds laying there, and one of them started to move on their own.

Another dream involved my sister and myself somewhere in central New Jersey. We were arguing which is something we never do and never did before really. But I was spitting ice cubes at her, then I lost my clothes and was trying to make my way to a mall where I could by some clothes. It involved winding my way down some stadium seating and some farmland.

The last dream was me being at Tower Records in the Village for their closing sale and buying a container of tobacco but not having any rolling papers and being incredibly frustrated. Perhaps I’d have dreams like these frequently but they were usually suppressed from what I had smoked prior to sleeping.

It’s a good enough reason to resume ingesting those herbs again, but finances being what they are lately it’s not likely to be happening any time soon. That’s a drag, or rather the lack of a drag.

I did make it to Tariq’s studio this afternoon. I’m glad I went. I was surprised to see some accomplished musicians there playing bass, drums and guitars. Tariq once again encouraged me to play guitar but I was once again intimidated by actual musicians. The great Tim wasn’t there but he doesn’t intimidate me, he’s 15 years old.

Spying a Ensonic keyboard in the corner that no one was using I opted for that. I played keys for a friends band about 15 years ago, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch. I did my best to add some color and textures to what they were playing and did my best to emulate Alan Price when they played House of the Rising Sun.

When I play that song on guitar (another easy song to play by the way), I tend to imitate the organ in my phrasing. Hard playing towards the end on my part. I also like to think I added a Middle Eastern vibe to a Pearl Jam song they were playing.

I think it was called Black, but I don’t know any Pearl Jam songs so it might have been some other group. Anyway, no one complained or said ‘Get that guy out of here, he’s horrible’ so I would like to think I did alright.

Right now, Bill is watching Lawn Hors d’œuvre and I’m listening to the White Album on headphones as I write. Sort of like listening to music before I had my own stereo when I was living in my parent’s house. The White Album was released today, 41 years ago. So there’s a Beatles fact for you today.

Heart of Gold

It’s a cool Saturday night. Been an alright kind of day. Somewhat busy with things like laundry. Last night wasn’t anything special. Which was fine. It had been an up and down kid of week and I’m glad it’s over. Whatever happened, happened.

It’s all in the past. It was good to have Bill around. He’s so supportive, I can only hope I am that way for him. He claims I’m so easy to love. That’s something that throws me for a loop. I’m grateful though. With the way things have been lately, I would have said I was difficult to love.

But I’m not going to disagree and I usually keep my mouth shut when he says that I’m so easy to love.

We watched Lawn Hors d’œuvre Criminal Malcontent which made up for the fact that we missed the episode broadcast last night. It was a good one, with Chris Noth as the main detective and Julianne Nicholson, about a closeted fireman who was murdered. Bill and I had seen it a few times and I didn’t mind much, it was that good an episode.

Bill ordered a new sleep apnea mask which was a size too small which was upsetting for both of us. I convinced him to open the package a few hours before bedtime which is when he noticed it was too small. Better to find out then, rather than right before he was going to sleep.

So Bill had to use the old mask which by the time I went to sleep last night was making sounds like a muted trombone. That wasn’t so bad to fall asleep to. It certainly was better than his snoring.

Bill was up and active by the time I got out of bed. He also bought bagels and the paper for me. He was cleaning up while I ate breakfast. After that I did some laundry. Decided to head out this afternoon, with my guitar.

Since last Sunday was the dipping of my toe in the waters of busking and the fact that today was a nice day weather-wise, it seemed like the thing to do. Bill was getting ready for a nap when I was getting ready, and when I told him my plans, he was very excited.

He’s driving down to Atlantic City again and won’t be back until the morning.

I got some guitar chords together, written on post its as well as sheets of chords that I’ve downloaded over the years. The Smiths, some Rolling Stones. An Elton John song, Hercules and a song by The Roches, Losing You. The Roches song was too delicate for outside and perhaps too obscure.

When you’re busking you have to play songs that people recognize.

I stopped by the Guitar Bar to say hello to Jim Mastro and he was also excited that I was out playing the guitar. I walked over to the spot by Pier A where Tim and Tariq were playing last Sunday and there they were again.

They were happy to see me and liked the sound of my guitar playing. Did what I could with regards to playing with Tim. Tariq fancies himself more of a percussionist, but Tim knows a lot of songs so I just tried to follow him as he played.

Tim had a buddy of his hanging out and had been playing a while. His fingers were getting cold so he split. He made a couple of dollars. Tariq was off talking to someone and a guy named Richard came up and started playing Tariq’s guitar.

Richard taught me some Blues chords structure and I have to admit that I didn’t really know that much about the blues. Richard reassured me, telling me not to worry, most blues songs are only three chords and I wound up playing a three chord blues for about 15 minutes.

Obviously my fingers weren’t bothering me too much. It was fun to play and I was out there for a couple of hours which was the longest I’ve played guitar for a long time. Another week, playing outside in the fresh air.

Richard split and Tariq and I walked up Washington Street, he was headed to his studio and I was off to McSwells. Andy Peters, Super nice guy and ace sound engineer was in town for the Feelies show tonight. They’re performing their first album Crazy Rhythms tonight. I needed to find out about the set up for when I DJ there next month on the 13th, for a benefit.

It was a brief visit. The Feelies were getting ready to sound check for their sold out show. Met the sound guy Carson and he will be doing the sound for the benefit. I just have to buy a cable since I’m not lugging around CD’s or vinyl. It’s all in the iPods.

On the way home I had the Elton John song Hercules in my head so I walked by my apartment building and sat in Church Square Park for a little while playing some more in the evening. I’m getting back into playing guitar and that’s pretty exciting. Practice practice practice!

I might even go to Tariq’s studio and jam with him and his friends tomorrow afternoon. I’ll let you know.

Just Like Heaven

It’s a late entry tonight due to the fact that I was taking some office skills tests from the interview. I’ve been doing tutorials for Excel, Word, PowerPoint & a typing test for the past few days.

Finally felt comfortable enough with Excel which was my main sticking point. Word I was good at, Power Point I never used before and abandoned after being stuck on question 6 for about 20 minutes.

Bill was here, trying to to coach me during various parts but it was also during Lawn Hors d’œuvre followed by Curb Your Enthusiasm so I didn’t have his full attention. Surprisingly enough Excel wasn’t as bad as I thought. Not bad for learning it on the fly.

Bill did his best, but both of us were waylaid by Power Point. It was sort of like coming home after having fun outside on a Sunday and then having to do the homework which was put off a few times. But my frame of mind was best for it as the previous 24 hours were very good.

Last night I watched Adventureland which was mostly enjoyable. Nice refreshing look on the 1980’s. Some bits of that decade I remember and that was through the songs they used in the movie. One song in particular stood out, besides Rock Me, Amadeus.

Just Like Heaven by the Cure. I’ve liked the Cure, have one of their greatest hits collections and some of their vinyl somewhere. I remembered hearing Just Like Heaven over and over at McSwells when I was a bar back.

Hearing it last night was like hearing it for the first time and it sounded easy to play. I looked up the chords online and yes, it was quite easy to play. A E Bm D with the chorus of F#m G repeated and followed by a D & E. That’s it. I played it a few times last night and downloaded it since it wasn’t on the Staring At The Sea Greatest Hits compilation.

Saturday Night Live was alright, funny in parts. The Black Eyed Peas were OK. After that I wound up watching ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ which was about how the Beatles were a major force in the cultural upheaval and eventual downfall of the Soviet Union.

Before I knew it it was 2:00. Bill was driving a bus back from Atlantic City so he wasn’t home and I missed his snoring/sleep apnea mask noises. Woke up around 9:00 this morning. Message from Bill that he was driving back to Atlantic City. Then another message that he wasn’t driving back to Atlantic City.

So he was getting the bagels after all. He came home and promptly went to bed while I ate breakfast and read the paper.

I decided to enjoy the nice day outside and called Julio who was napping. Called Rand and left a message. Walked around town, headed towards Pier A.

Up ahead I saw Tim, a 15 year old red headed guitar player who I saw a few weeks ago. He was doing some Dylan songs last time. This time he was also doing some Neil Young.

There was another guy who bummed a cigarette off me, Tariq. I saw Tariq playing the other day and he was a decent player as well. While Tim played Tariq and I talked about how good Tim was. People were throwing change and dollar bills into his guitar case.

Another guitar player showed up but I didn’t get his name. He sort of took over whatever was going on which was a bit of a drag. Stones, Skynyrd was the direction he was trying to go towards.

Earlier I mentioned to Tariq that I sort of play the guitar and he offered me his guitar. I begged off. He insisted and finally said, ‘Listen man, I gotta take a piss. You can hold the guitar for me, alright?’

So I did and sat next to Tim. I asked Tim if he knew any Cure songs and he asked which one. I said Just Like Heaven and he said it was one of his favorites. So we played that for a while.

Another guy joined us reading lyrics off his Blackberry to whatever was being played. As I sat and played I looked across the Hudson River and the city had turned green. The sun reflecting off the water was very impressive and I had to ask the others if they saw what I saw, that’s how impressive it was. They saw it too.

I found out that playing outside isn’t so bad after all and these guys were supportive which was something I wasn’t that used to regarding my guitar playing. I was even asked back and I told them I would bring my own guitar next time when the weather was nice.

Then I caught up with Julio and Superboy. They were on Washington Street and we strolled along. Alexander hung onto his rubber ball even when we made it to the park and he would climb the kiddie slide.

It’s funny to see Julio and Alexander together. It’s like Julio has his own Mini Me. A walk home with Alexander flying with Julio and I grabbing each of his hands and lifting, one, two three!

Tim the guitarist

Tim the guitarist

Tariq, Skynyrd guy, Tim

Tariq, Skynyrd guy, Tim

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