Friday, September 25, 2009

This album smokes


ok, they've officially graduated from "guilty pleasure" to seriously one of the best rock bands around. I just got my copy of Brand New Eyes in the mail and holy jesus h. frickin' christ, it's amazing. Not a bad song on it, and Hayley's voice is just getting more and more insane with every album. Massive range, both in dynamic and pitch. She's got a new Joni Mitchell-esque thing going on in some of the songs on this album, which is then balanced off by some of the most amazing cathartic wailing you'll ever hear, stuff that gives you chills, where she hits a high note and you go "wow, that's pretty impressive"... and then she pulls it up even higher. And her lyrics are all growed up now.

They're streaming the entire album off their web site right now. Go check it out if you're still a non-believer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Without a Net


Today, I am officially independent. No longer beholden to corporate interests. Also no longer under the (generally illusory) umbrella of security that being on full-time staff somewhere supposedly provides. And no more benefits. As my wife and I work like slaves building the Giza pyramids to get our store open, I'm now operating without a net.

(I do have health insurance.)

That doesn't mean I've given up my income. I will be telecommuting, as an independent contractor. Much as I like to complain, I'm actually pretty grateful to my company for letting me do this. But both they and I know where my priorities lie now. I'll be doing most of my same work from home and the store when I can, but I'm no longer a full-fledged member of "the team."

People I tell about this usually look at me with a mix of incredulity and jealousy. Most people think I'm crazy at first, especially in this economy, but the desire to escape from corporate life seems pretty universal. People weren't mean to work in bureaucracies. Most of us aren't wired for it. But in my experience, it seems most people feel trapped, unable to find their way out of the morass.

I was the same. And I don't think I could have done this when I was younger. Starting your own business (and for realz, yo) requires a lot of things I didn't have ten years ago. Money, for one. Confidence. Experience.

And something else. I don't know what you call it. But there is this feeling I have now where I am fully aware that I don't really know what I'm doing, but I don't care. Young people get paralyzed when they feel like they're lost. As I've gotten older, I've learned to just pick a direction and plow forward. That's the only way you get anywhere. Nobody ever knows what they're doing the first time they do something. You learn as you go along, and you trust yourself to do the right thing. Maybe that's what it is: trust and belief in yourself.

It also helps that I'm at a point where possessions don't really matter anymore. I could sell my house, my cars, almost everything I own and I don't care. Because I know that nothing is forever; easy come, easy go, easy come again. Sell a car, buy a new one someday. That works for everything. When you're in your twenties, all your stuff means so much to you because it's all new and it's all you've ever had. But at 37, that no longer applies. And I care a lot more about enjoying my life now than I do about things.

I'm really lucky that I'm married to someone who feels the same way.

So the adventure really begins in earnest now. Not to be overly dramatic, but this is the next phase of my life starting. Important questions will be asked and answered! Questions such as "can a straight man survive the world of women's fashion?" Forget going broke; this is my biggest fear. Already I feel a strong desire to consume burritos and beer while watching kickboxing with several overweight male friends wearing football jerseys numbered as famous players from the 1986 Giants. I suspect this feeling will only intensify as I get deeper into this.

But I can't wait to be doing our own thing, helping run our store and hopefully making a decent enough living to be comfortable. I'm finally looking forward to getting up in the morning again.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.

About Me

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I'm married. I like to travel. I have no kids. I have a house... that I'm bad at maintaining. I used to collect classic video games. I own a lot of musical equipment that far outstrips my ability to use it. When I was younger, I was in a band. I like gadgets, and I'm an Android guy. Someday, I would like to live on a different planet.

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