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Saturday, 22 January 2005
last day and first three
Now Playing: dj frodo & mr. fitz - "silver cycles"

tuesday marked my last day at Rosen Publishing. kind of a weird day, but a good day. things ended on a friendly note, no bad blood. i could remember the place and the people in a nice way. i would be getting together with some of those heads tomorrow, but New York's in the middle of a snow storm right now. a 40th birthday party for a former co-worker would've been tomorrow, but it's been cancelled. not only because of the weather here, but the birthday boy is currently stranded in the Midwest. meanwhile, another former co-worker celebrates his birthday (i think it's his 23rd) today. he's a bit of a wild one and i'm wondering if the snow will actually put a damper on his celebratory shenanigans. i'm guessing probably not.

now i'm working at Mitsubishi Imaging, a couple of towns north of my house. very convenient to get to and i travel against rush hour traffic. the company's housed in this gorgeous blue glass building - cafeteria downstairs and a fitness center, too. still doing the customer service thing, but this will have a different feel to it. a lot to learn and a lot to remember, which is a fit frustrating right now since i'm new, but it'll pass. the environment feels a lot like my old job in Greenwich, CT - that whole corporate casual vibe. nice people, pleasant atmosphere, but it's always a bit weird when you get introduced to the team that you're working with and as days go by, you see who gets on whose nerves and stuff like that. it's only been three days and already i'm able to notice that kind of thing.

there's a break room i frequent during lunch time with daily newspapers and magazines, along with a big screen cable TV. i remember flipping past the Cartoon Network and wanting to stop, but decided against it because i thought it was too early to let my silly side out. give it about a month or so. i make sure to bring something to read if i'm not reading the Times, otherwise i'm subjected to soap operas or the latest rump-shaking single of the month on BET. granted, that all depends on who else is in the room. possibly worse is the glut of "celebreality" shows on VH1 (that *Strange Love* joint with Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav just looks TOO scary) or their look back at the '90s with all of these actors and comedians being overly sarcastic about movies, music, and fashion trends that those smug mofos probably liked at the time. it's amazing how much i'm not missing by forgoing cable in the home. all i want is a high-speed Internet connection: the time some spend in front of the tube would be the time i spend listening to online radio shows and downloading mp3s while reading music articles.

that's one thing i really miss about Rosen: being able to listen to WFMU on the regular. that station got me through the work week, as well as the Giant Step audio player and various mixes on d-i-r-t-y.com. i've gotta get some music in my cubicle. the past three days have been filled with Def Leppard, Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, and a bunch of others that i can't bring myself to remember at the moment (and that's probably a good thing). i also miss bagel breakfasts on Wednesdays in the office. other things will come to me, but it's still good that i got out of there. NYC is supposed to be fun for me and it wasn't anymore, not with the rush hour commute on the subway and all. so work is work, the city is fun, and life is life. and the snow threatens to keep us all holed up inside...no complaints outta me...i've missed my wife...

Posted by macedonia at 7:56 PM EST
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Monday, 17 January 2005
the first DJ set of the New Year
Now Playing: you know how this goes...check the playlist...
Topic: playlists

so just exactly how did i get talked into spinning at a bar again, even if only for one night? well, Redlox is a good friend and a great DJ, and seeing as how his partner fuddyKnight was on vacation, he needed someone to fill in and hit me up on email. it was a great excuse for us to finally spin together and we figured it really should happen now. come the month of May, he'll be dealing with a whole other challenge - first time fatherhood - so the clock was ticking down on a turntable collab.

i have to be honest...i was a bit grouchy about the whole thing at first. Redlox had shared with me some typical stories about annoying bar patrons and their equally annoying requests, like having someone ask to play hip-hop while hip-hop was actually playing (but since it was some old school stuff - in this case Lords of the Underground's "Chief Rocka" - the requester didn't know it, which raises the question: do you really want to spin for someone that doesn't even know the history of the music they claim to be theirs?). or having someone request a song, having it cued up on the turntable, and the patron getting pissed because it's not playing. outside of shady bar owners, these are the reasons that have kept me out of bars all this time. i just don't have the patience for that type of BS - rash reactions are likely to ensue. anyway, i was requested to bring a "familiar yet diverse" mix of music to the spot, so i started pulling selections well in advance. as i started to do so, i started getting excited, but not too excited. i have a tendency of building the night up in my head only to have it arrive and be thoroughly disappointed.

so on Saturday night, after celebrating my father-in-law's 62nd birthday with my wife and her family, we made our way into the city from Long Island. arrived a little after 11 p.m., Redlox just got there himself. we set up shop and he spun for the first hour. being at Route 85A was a bit of a time warp for Beth and I; friends of ours had thrown numerous events there in the past. my man Drilla had a pretty successful function there with his boy Receptor a few years back, which i did guest spots at a few times. a strange sort of homecoming, i suppose. if i was going to spin out at a bar again, it was good to be back at a familiar stomping ground.

not even three minutes had passed during Redlox's set before the requests started pouring in. the DJ booth had a curtain and i saw myself having to use it during my set (i never did, though). studying the selections that he was playing for the crowd (UK remix of old De La, classic joint from Human League, new stuff from Gwen Stefani, etc.), i saw what he meant by "familiar yet diverse": this was a crowd that you really couldn't dig too deep on. you had to keep it somewhat simple and keep it moving. i heard a woman request Deee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart" while he was on. i kept it in mind for my opening cut. guess i got on around 12:30 a.m. and dropped her request. reportedly, she was on her way out the door, but i caught her just in time. she made her way back and danced for at least the next half hour. (i've said it before and i'll say it again: ALWAYS BRING DEEE-LITE.)

i have to say, the night went better than expected. i was able to play some crowd pleasers, chat with some friendly (and clearly inebriated) partygoers, and even champion some selections i'm really passionate about that other heads may not have heard before. plus a number of my friends came out to support, so that was cool. i spun for about an hour, then Redlox and i traded off three songs apiece or so until the end of the night. we wrapped things up around 3:30 a.m., then drove homeboy uptown to his crib. for the first DJ set of the New Year (and the first out at a bar in months), i was pleased with it.

REDMACE: '05 mix @ ROUTE 85A
saturday, january 15, 2005 - 12:30 a.m.

deee-lite*groove is in the heart*elektra
PD vs. PD*white label
average white band*pick up the pieces*atlantic
bobby byrd*hot pants (i'm coming, coming, coming)*brownstone
deee-lite*when you told me you loved me*elektra
liquid liquid*cavern (the cut chemist rocks a rave in a missile silo remix)*mo'wax (uk)
plant life*luv 4 the world (why they gotta hate?)*counterflow recordings
prince*housequake*paisley park
talking heads*once in a lifetime*sire
the juan maclean*give me every little thing*dfa
the rapture*killing*dfa
liquid liquid*optimo*soul jazz (uk)
bjork*triumph of a heart*elektra
manu dibango*soul makossa*atlantic
dj vadim*london mindstate*ninja tune (uk)
nightcrawlers*push the feeling on (the dub of dooom)*great jones/island
earth people*dance*kool groove
nuyorican soul*you can do it (baby) (bar beats)*giant step/blue thumb
mr. scruff*get a move on*ninja tune (uk)

while tagging with Redlox, i contributed the following selections:

breakestra*cramp your style*stones throw
esther williams*last night changed it all*jazzman (uk)
funkadelic*(not just) knee deep*warner bros.

loleatta holloway*hit and run*gold mind
the fatback band*goin' to see my baby*perception
secret frequency crew*deep blue (eli-173 remix)*counterflow recordings
roy ayers*running away*polydor

zap mama*bandy bandy (carl craig remix)*giant step
prefuse 73*why i love you*warp (uk)

louise vertigo* ou est le femme?*yellow productions (france)
portishead*sour times (lot more)*ffrr/london
tricky*christiansands*island (uk)
bjork*i miss you (dobie rub part one - sunshine mix)*elektra
kurtis rush*george michael gets his freak on*MP3

Posted by macedonia at 11:36 PM EST
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Wednesday, 12 January 2005
well, shut my mouth and call me Shiny Suit Man (or "Smitty Runs The City")
Now Playing: the sound of rotten eggs all over my face...

A few weeks back, I came to a truly frightening conclusion. I was thinking about my days at SUNY Albany and WCDB (the on-campus radio station), hosting shows, doing production work, and all that. I started thinking about the producers I always looked up to during that time, like Prince Paul and Hank Shocklee, and how I wanted to create work that was as creative and engaging as theirs was. I was a cocky bastard back in the day that liked to play humble. Truth be told, if I was half as humble as I pretended to be, my voice wouldn?t be the one heard on all the promotional spots. With all of the wonderfully charismatic personalities at that station, you?d think I would?ve dragged more of them into the production studio to do voiceover work, or go the next step and train them in the ways of the studio so that they could bring their own ideas to fruition. But no?I had to be the self-appointed VOICE of the station, just because I was one of the few who knew how to splice audio tape together with a razor blade (this was before the station was equipped with a digital workshop).

Last month, I was hanging out with two friends of mine, twin brothers that also went to SUNY Albany. I used to work alongside one of them at WCDB: his name is Marvin. He still bears the nickname ?Martian? from those days. He was telling me that some people still talk about the work I did when I was there. I?ve spent the better part of my life since graduation trying to distance myself from the person I was at school, let alone this cache of sonic masturbation I burdened the airwaves with. The digital workstation was installed shortly after I graduated college (serves me right). Considering that the kids have so much more to work with today than when I was at the station, I hope and pray that a new generation of promos have rendered my own obsolete and hopelessly bloated. If for some reason my work is still being played from time to time, it is best that three months pass between airings of my voice. I still hold fast to the belief that when the last promo that features my voice is removed from the airwaves and locked away in a vault (or possibly erased or torched), it is then and only then that ?CDB will truly be free.

I remember telling Marvin that what I did was, in retrospect, nothing special. If anything, it was a fusing of the production styles of those at the station who did it better and taught me what I knew: Joe Schepis and Mark E. Phillips. Schepis was the witty cat, mad clever and technical. His work had polish, always sounded really clean and professional whenever it aired. Schepis will always be a genius in my eyes and the pinnacle of audio class. Mark, on the other hand, was just plain crazy. I can remember opening the station at six in the morning to start my wake-up show an hour later, and he would be in the production studio from the night before, still splicing tape and stuff. Mark was HARDCORE. Creativity dripped from his fingernails and bounced off the walls like those super bouncing balls you buy for a quarter in candy dispensing machines. Phillips was responsible for some of the most memorable promos in ?CDB history, joints that stood the test of time, like this ongoing superhero series featuring a character called Captain Dude Boy or the infamous "Station of Sin" spot.

All I did was build upon their foundation, taking a little from both and putting my own spin on it. I really can?t listen to a lot of my work anymore without wincing. My favorite stuff from that era is the work I did with other people, the work that features their voices, their personality. There was a spot a number of us did for Listener Appreciation Week. I produced it with this cat named Chris Radtke (he was another head with a bunch of crazy ideas...we had a number of those at the station). We had at least half the alternative rock department jammed in the studio making noise, saying phrases on cue, cheering and stuff?it was great. Every time somebody came into the studio and asked, ?What?s going on?? they got dragged into our experiment. One of the alt-rock DJs, Toby Semroc, did the main voiceover. Somehow we were able to get this really frenzied, over-the-top performance out of him. It was perfect. I smile every time I hear it.

That was a good day in the production studio, a real team effort. Most of the time I decided to go solo and turn it into an ?all about me? affair (mainly because I wanted the spotlight all to myself and I had a tendency not to trust other people). I know now that such behavior was to my own detriment as well as that of the station. Remember how I said I was cocky pretending to be humble? Think about the fact that I love Prince Paul?s work, and was a big fan back in my ?CDB days. Think about the fact that Paul tends to be in the background with anything he produces. He lets other voices shine while he quietly orchestrates the elements where you can?t see him, living vicariously through those that you do see and/or hear. He does what a producer is supposed to do: stay the hell outta the way. You could say the same for Madlib, other producer that I admire. Sure, he?ll get on the mic every now and then, but he?s mostly a behind-the-scenes cat, just working on his music. He?s quite the recluse, doesn?t like to tour (though he knows it?s necessary), he doesn?t like to do many interviews, either. He just wants to make music, and does so in a quiet (yet constant) fashion.

Here?s my point: I claimed to be humble. I claimed to want to be like Prince Paul. But what was I actually doing? I was plastering my voice all over every cart I produced, so you would know beyond a doubt it was me. This begs the question: was I Prince Paul?or was I Puff Daddy? Doesn?t matter whether it?s your album or not, present-day Diddy?s gonna talk all over your joint. Diddy?s gonna be all up in your video. How is that any different from what I was doing back in the day? What?s so sad about all this is if you were to tell me that back then, I would?ve tried to kill you. Or at least threaten to do so. Anything involving Sean Combs gave me ulcers back in the day.

And yet, there I was, saying look at me. Or better yet, ?I?m ready for my close-up, Mr. Hype Williams.? Hindsight?s not only 20/20, it?s also REALLY UNFORGIVING.

Posted by macedonia at 11:00 PM EST
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Monday, 10 January 2005
second wind of change gonna come...
Now Playing: Jodie Foster - "La Vie C'est Chouette"

hard to believe that there are only five days left at my current job. oh, you didn't hear? yeah, i'll get to that in a minute.

recently, i've had a number of my DJ partners get in touch with me. seems like we're all going through a season of change. my man Redlox told me that his wife is five months pregnant. come the month of May, they'll be blessed with a baby. "time to grow up," he said over the phone from Florida.

meanwhile, my man Soundscraper's been having a time of it. between trying to hold down jobs and bouts of depression, last year put him through the wringer as well. he's actually preparing to head down to Ecuador for a year. he has a rather large support system down there in the way of family and friends. plus with Bush winning the election, he's not exactly psyched to stay. nothing's really keeping him here and i can't blame him for wanting to spend the next 12 months out of the country. i think just getting out of NYC will do him some good. i have come to realize that if you want to keep your calm, the Big Bad Apple is not the place to live and/or work. this city is relentless in doing everything it can to steal your joy.

still another acquaintance called me out of the blue, this cat named William that i met through Soundscraper. we communicate well spiritually and musically. while he's largely a vocal house cat, he has a deep knowledge of soul, jazz, and other stuff. he turned me on to this wicked electronic cut called "E2:E4": i think it came out during the early '80s, but it sounds like it's 10 years old at the most...way ahead of its time. we fell out of touch for a while - i'm just glad to know he's doing okay. holdin' down the part-time gigs, but looking for something full-time so that he can move into a better spot. still gettin' the hook-up with free wax from a couple of contacts. he's one of the few Christians i know behind the decks, so that connection just brought us closer. so...still struggling, but hanging in there.

as for me, everything changed last Tuesday. i had been looking into a few different job prospects, trying to see if something would develop. one in particular looked quite promising, but i was still a little unsure about how it would all go down. they made me an offer last week for the salary i asked for; i accepted. it's a digital imaging company about 20 minutes north of where i live, so i get to stay in Westchester. although it's still a customer service gig, it's closer to home, it's higher in pay with better benefits, and much more convenient to get to. i don't have to take the subway to get there: that in and of itself is a big plus. so i start next Wednesday.

Beth's looking for work, too. she had an interview today with the same agency that helped me get my new position. She has a number of angles she's working right now; i'm pretty confident that she'll be able to find something soon. i'm just happy to have my wife back. we see more of each other now. we hang out together. we haven't done that in months. and we want children. and a house. and to get the debt off our backs. neither of us are strangers to struggle and hard work - we know it's a long road ahead. at least we can tackle these obstacles together, leaning on God for guidance and direction. if it was up to us alone, we'd fail miserably. i'm not stupid enough to think that i'm starting a new job because i'm so charming and intelligent.

there are very few people i know that can say 2004 was a good year for them. i know of several good friends that got married last year - that's a definite blessing. outside of that, though, trials and tribulations as far as the eye can see, spilling over into the lives of many of the people i love and respect. i'm not a bit sorry to see 2004 end: good riddance. i'm looking forward to a new start. it feels good to feel hopeful. i think this one's gonna be better for all of us. too many of us went through hell last year in order for us not to experience a slice of heaven in the '05.

at work, i've noticed that many of my pens have started running out of ink all at once. i can't help but find that somewhat timely and strangely amusing.

Posted by macedonia at 9:59 PM EST
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Monday, 3 January 2005
Now Playing: the faint strains of a Squarepusher tune...but mostly silence...

i've had Squarepusher's "Tommib" in my head over the New Year weekend. although it originally appeared on his Go Plastic album, it's also on the Lost In Translation soundtrack. saw that film this weekend (along with Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind). there's a scene with Charlotte (Scarlett Johannsen) looking at the Tokyo skyline from her hotel room that makes great use of that tune. it's a short song and a noticeably quiet offering from the normally spazzed-out Tom Jenkinson, but it twinkles and it's quite beautiful. it has buried itself deep within my brain and made itself at home. it's become a theme of sorts for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, things will turn out alright.

yesterday, i walked to the subway before sunrise. i was helping out a friend with moving to a new apartment. the theme followed me as i talked with GOD and turned the early morning sky into a sanctuary. tears worked their way out of me as the theme grew louder in my head. i rode the subway about three stops as the sun came up, the empty car glowing with a reddish-orange hue as darkness gave way to daylight. the city never looked so calm before.

then came Monday and that's when it all went to crap. i had been preparing myself for this all last week. the subways weren't as crowded during the holidays, my work phone less likely to ring off the hook. i knew it would all come down today, as i came to the realization that the party was surely over. "Tommib" has since faded into the background. when it does appear, it sounds uglier, like a thick mold grew over the audio tape and is acting like a parasite, feeding on its sunnier qualities. customer service work will do that.

the restlessness in me is back, wrestling my calm to the ground and stepping on its neck simply because it can. that more than anything else is the aggravating factor in my day. i've have worked for less than i'm worth long enough and have long since outgrown the activities and the people of my current place of employment. and right now, all i can really do is wait for an answer from recent prospects. as far as i'm concerned, this period in my life is over and i want the new one to start. but nothing's official yet. no decisions have been made thus far.

meanwhile, my wife reminds me of the bills that are yet to be paid and the meager funds within the account to cover them. few disagreements within a marriage are worse than the ones you have over money. after a while, you feel like you're taking an advanced course in HOW TO WORK WITH SH*T THAT DON'T ADD UP. i could write a thesis on it, but that would mean that i've actually mastered the course. or at least think i have. why lie? this course is kicking my ass. in the meantime, beth still deals with the feeling of failure since grad school and teaching didn't turn out like she thought they would.

the thing that really irritates me is...in the grand scheme of things, all this is minor. it's not a tsunami tragedy. it's not planes flying into buildings. it's not a doctor telling me i have five months left to live. but none of that makes the debt disappear. none of that gives my wife and i some breathing room. none of that helps us to save up a nest egg. so while my situation is no tragedy, nothing that can't be reconciled, it's strain on the brain that i don't need. GOD allows things to happen to see how you're going to react. half the time, i feel like killing off all supporting characters in any scene having to do with work. i can't put my hands around the necks of those i'm forced to talk to or whatever forces that have brought me to this point, and therefore the supporting cast has to go. that's why i really need to get out of there. i fear that the threats in my head are gonna rise to the surface one day...and when that happens, everybody's gonna know how i really feel. that's just gonna lead to problems.

i visited my father last week and was able to peek in on my grandmother as well. she's had alzheimer's for several years now. she's lost some of her hair and has this glassy look that traps the feisty spirit within. i know she's in there somewhere; she just can't get out. last week marked the first time in a long time that i've been able to sit and talk with her. every now and then, she looked my way. she even said to say something, but it only came out as a mumble. we watched Wheel of Fortune together. as i kissed her on the forehead, i realized that i didn't feel sorry for her. i was sad about her condition and have been for years now, but i didn't feel sorry for her. if anything, i was envious. she didn't have to deal with the outside world constantly kicking her in the ass on a daily basis. but the beatdowns outside don't mind coming in for extra licks, and a disease like alzheimer's is proof of that. i just hope that her feisty spirit really is underneath that glassy stare and that she was able to hold on to a song that stirs her heart.

the checkbook, the bank account, and the bills all paint the same story: the outflow far exceeds the inflow. it only took a little less than two days, but the song is almost gone, replaced with the sound of the rain showers that i'm continually caught in. and it never seems to matter if i have my umbrella with me. when my brain is able to retrieve the Squarepusher tune, it's noticeably devoid of the theme that it had almost 48 hours ago.

Posted by macedonia at 5:51 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 3 January 2005 11:54 PM EST
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Saturday, 25 December 2004
Christmas E(ve)R
Now Playing: Jonathan Butler - mix on potatobananas.com

i think it was Richard Pryor who suggested that the hospital is no place to get well. when he said that, he was talking about his rehabilitation efforts after setting himself on fire. all i did was sit in an emergency room for five hours making sure my wife could be seen by someone. clearly it doesn't compare, but i do understand the sentiment he was trying to convey.

it was Thursday afternoon when i got the call at work from Beth. she was still wrestling with her cold. her fever had spiked to 103.5 degrees. it didn't matter how much Tylenol she took: the fever would reduce, then increase again. after an early leave from work to start the Christmas weekend, i stopped by the grocery store to get some apple juice for her and a few other necessities. i got caught in a horrible rainstorm during the walk home. i was soaked to the point of wringing out clothes and pouring rain out of grocery bags. Beth was burning up when i got home. my mom and sister had been keeping tabs on her throughout the day. my sister was quite adamant about getting her to the emergency room. Beth decided she wanted to go since she probably had some sort of infection if her fever kept rising. mom picked us up around 8:30 and we headed to the hospital.

i guess we arrived about 8:45 p.m. mom ran some errands while i waited with Beth. she's without medical insurance right now, but we obviously couldn't let that stop us - she was in bad shape. it's amazing how the receptionist garbles your name through the intercom or speaks too softly so that you couldn't possibly understand them, then they wanna scream it out as if you have the communication problem. in my mind, i lived vicariously through my psychotic twin who had stuck his hands through the glass partition, grabbed her by the throat, and threatened to snap her spine like a candy cane if she didn't get my wife some f**king antibiotics.

10 p.m. and the chills were still in my bones from the rainstorm earlier that evening. i could feel the aches coming on. Beth was with the receptionist for the second time filling out some paperwork. mom came back and asked where Beth was. i pointed in her direction. she asked how i was doing. i said, "the irony is not lost on me." when she asked what i meant by that, i pointed towards the television and said, through clenched teeth...


on the way in, i was hoping it wouldn't happen. mom tried stifling her laughter, but it was no use. she went home to work on some projects and get some sleep and asked to call us when things were done. i went back to my reading materials, occasionally looking up to see someone in a neck brace, a wheelchair, or with a busted mouth. there was a young woman there with a baby that would cry on cue every 10-15 minutes. each tantrum grew louder and it cut right through Beth's head. as for me, i grew more delusional as the time went by. i hadn't eaten dinner yet and i didn't know when that was going to be. but it was good that i was there. if i hadn't been, Beth would've left. all she wanted was to be able to sleep.

12 midnight and a sea of men and women from the Armed Forces make up Jay Leno's audience. Rob Schneider had come out in Army fatigues, pumping up the troops. i don't know if you've ever sat in an emergency room for four hours on an empty stomach while chills and aches shoot through your body and watch Rob Schneider tell corny jokes to men and women in uniform, but it's not recommended. about 23 minutes later, Beth got called in. she was given some medication shortly thereafter as well as a prescription for antibiotics. slipping in and out of sleep, awakened by the baby or a new admittance to the emergency room, time just sort of ceased to have meaning after a while. it was after one a.m. when we finally left. i had my dinner and crashed. Christmas Eve was spent inside caring for her and doing some chores, pretty much the same for Christmas Day. we got her prescription filled yesterday and it seems to be working. her temperature's almost down to normal, thank goodness.

she brought the vaporizer into the bedroom this morning and turned it into a steam tent. she's probably sleeping right now. i'm sure she's not looking forward to grading papers tomorrow, but perhaps she'll definitely be well enough to do so. she had a final on Thursday that she missed, so she has to take an incomplete in that class. man, she has been through WAY too much in the past year. while she's disappointed that teaching didn't work out, i doubt she'll miss school after it's all said and done. needless to say, we can't do the Christmas family thing this year, but at least we have each other. considering the last few days, that's more than enough for me. our finances are raggedy, our future is unclear, but we've spent more time together in the last few days than we have in the last few months. that's gotta count for something.

Posted by macedonia at 4:35 PM EST
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Thursday, 23 December 2004
holiday stampspiracy
Now Playing: Diverse - "Leaving" [Chocolate Industries]

Whose brilliant idea was it at the United States Postal Service to sell their holiday stamps in a book of 18? Why the fuss, you ask? Follow me here?how much do stamps currently cost a piece? Very good ? 37 cents. Now multiply .37 by 18 and you?ll see my problem with this?

Please tell me you came up with six dollars and sixty cents. That?s $6.66. SIX SIX SIX. Seriously, whose sick idea was this? Normally, stamps come in a book of 10 or 20. The standard had already been set; eighteen?s kind of an irregular number. Why a book of 18? You must really want to mess with people in order to make sure this particular book of stamps is ready for the holiday season. You CAN?T make me believe that this was an accident. You just can?t.

Now before you think I?m going out to firebomb the USPS headquarters, it?s not that serious. Nobody there will even get a phone call from me. I?m just sayin??honestly, what were they thinking?

Posted by macedonia at 2:33 PM EST
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Now Playing: Diverse - "Ain't Right" [Chocolate Industries]
Topic: music appreciation

It?s a blog thrown together by a quartet of hip-hop journalists/vinyl junkies: Sasha Frere-Jones, Dave Tompkins, Hua Hsu, and Jeff Chang. These four have put in some serious work over the years in terms of journalism and have written some amazing articles and reviews: they really know the stuff. Sticker Shock Music features various entries from our mentally fractured four, waxing poetic, nostalgic, and somewhat psychotic regarding rare hip-hop singles, underappreciated artists, unknown gems, and whatnot. The blog also doubles as a MP3 site so you can download exactly what they?re talking about. Fun and geeky ? this one?s for the crate diggers and the insanely devoted music fans. Everyone else, feel free to lurk, point, and laugh.

Posted by macedonia at 2:29 PM EST
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holiday around my way...
Now Playing: The Push Bin w/Lou (wfmu.org)

The holiday season around the office slows down a bit. There aren?t as many calls from schools or libraries, so you can work at a more leisurely pace. Granted, it?s still aggravating, just less so. Our sales reps have been inundating us with boxes of chocolates and other assorted desserts. On top of our holiday parties, we?re all being fattened up for the kill. Yesterday, the dry erase board on the door of the order entry department at work read, ?Only three more shopping days until Christmas. Don?t regift to baby Jesus.? This morning, a top ten list was in its place.


  1. A blanket.
  2. Cabbage Patch Doll.
  3. Charlie (the fragrance?).
  4. Harry Potter Books.
  5. Chanukkah gelt and a dreidel.
  6. Passion DVD with director?s commentary.
  7. New swaddling (clothes).
  8. Barry Manilow?s Greatest Hits.
  9. The gift of peace and love for all?ah, never mind.
  10. Baby Powder.
I work with a bunch of damn heathens, but I can?t pretend that we don?t have our moments of mirth. Last week?s holiday party was fun. The food was fantastic, from appetizers to dessert. Two days ago our floor had our holiday party & grab bag. Everybody gives the best gifts around here. Our top customer service person made off with a mouse pad emblazoned with a group picture of the ladies who starred in The Golden Girls TV sitcom. Nice. Other gifts includes pitcher & glass sets, cocktail napkins and toasters from The New Yorker, even a drill. I got this beautifully stitched leather storage box with homemade baked cookies inside. Yes, I shared them with my co-workers ? I?m not that greedy. Immediately I started thinking about what I could use the storage box for. Of course, being the vinyl fetishist that I am, a voice in my head said, ?I bet you could fit your 45s in there.? No dice ? I tried. Width isn?t the problem; height is, however. So now I have no idea what I?m going to use the box for. And if I leave it up to Beth, it will become a really nice box that?s used for keeping anything she can?t think of a better place for. In other words, it?ll be a dumping ground, and it was made for more than that.

You know, I should?ve typed this yesterday; I was in a much better mood yesterday. I really shouldn?t pick on the wifey ? she?s fighting off a chest cold that clobbered her over the head on Tuesday. Whatever this bug is that?s floating around comes very quickly and won?t leave until it?s good and ready. Its effects have definitely been felt here in the office. Our webmaster came down with it, our handyman/engineer guy might have had it, and a person in our accounts receivable department is still fighting it off. And since we all know that the word office translates into ?Petri dish,? it?s only a matter of time before you start fighting off symptoms, too. Yesterday I woke up with a scratchy throat and the aches and chills increased as the day went on. Beth looked miserable when I got home. So I made dinner for us and got her some TheraFlu before she went to bed. Supposedly, she woke up around 4am with a 102 degree fever. This must be a flu bug; it simply won?t let you go.

With everything that?s going on in Beth?s life right now, this is the last thing that she needs. She still has some papers to write for her grad school classes and possibly grade some papers for her freshman orientation courses. Last week, she made the decision that she didn?t want to become a teacher or continue with grad school. The teaching experience hasn?t been kind to her. The last year has been very stressful for her. She feels as if she has failed her students as well as herself. She took on an awful lot this semester. In addition, she feels as if she wasted all this money on tuition and put us further into debt. Knowing that I?ve made sacrifices for her to pursue her studies, she told me that she hopes I don?t hate her for making this decision and that I won?t up and leave someday. She was serious.

I can?t front: there was a part of me that was upset. I?ve watched the debt increase, I?ve tried to keep up with the sink of dirty dishes, I?ve watched a previously clean living room turn into a disaster area, and I?ve often felt as if I was fighting a losing battle. And as much as I would love to quit my job, I can?t. I make half of what I used to, every time the phone rings there a small part of me dies, I can?t f**king stand it, but it?s the only thing keeping us from completely being submerged by our expenses. But it?s always within the state of your own arrogance that GOD won?t leave you alone. Don?t think that the Creator of the universe won?t select the chapters on the DVD in your life that you?d rather skip over and project them on the 56-inch screen, because He will. And there have been plenty of times that I?ve screwed up in my relationship with Beth. And she?s forgiven me every time. I didn?t deserve hers and I know I don?t deserve GOD?s.

So everything that I just told you, I said to her. We stood before GOD, the preacher, our families, our friends, and pledged our devotion to each other ? in sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, as long as we both shall live. ?TIL DEATH DO US PART. I want to be an example of a marriage that lives up to that. I told her straight up, ?You can?t make me leave, so what do you think of that? I ain?t goin? away.? She?s making some hard decisions right now and is a bit of an emotional wreck because of it. She really thought she found what she was supposed to do with her life. She dedicated her time, her energy, and her money to this only to find out that this isn?t it. None of us wants to admit to failure. She shared with me recently that she never learned from anyone in a position of authority that you don?t have to succeed at everything. Had she known that at an early age, maybe her current dilemma wouldn?t seem so painful.

She just wants a regular job that allows her time for family, friends, and self. I don?t see her going back to grad school after this semester is over. So what happens now? We work it out together, just like we do everything else. I?m doing what I can to find a better job. I had a pair of interviews last week with an imaging company that I thought went rather well. The temp agency that hooked it up said that they should come to a decision by Monday. It?s now Thursday ? I haven?t heard jack. I?ve checked with the agency; they haven?t heard anything. Why I should be so concerned with getting a job that?s more a lesser of two evils than something I actually want, I don?t know. I?d pretty much be doing the same damn thing that I?m doing here, but for a business-to-business company. However, it means more money, it means a shorter commute, and it means not traveling down to NYC via subway. I?ve come to loathe the subway. It?s no place for a Christian, I?ll tell ya that.

Whether we?ll actually be able to make the Christmas trek to see our families on Saturday all depends on how we?re feeling and if we can get over our symptoms in time. I?m not as achy as I was yesterday, but a slight fever lingers. It?s strictly cards this year, money for presents I have none, not even for my wife. Perhaps it?s GOD?s way of getting Beth and I back to basics. And much like my man Charlie Brown, the commercialism of the holiday season gets on my damn nerves. If I can help nurse wifey back to health, that?ll be a gift in and of itself ? I?ve never seen her this wiped out from a cold.

A radio archive that I?m listening to on WFMU just got through playing James Brown?s ?Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto.? How fantastic is that title? How could I have missed that gem in past years? Anybody catch that Robert Smiegel cartoon on Saturday Night Live last week where Santa refused to deliver presents to the red states, referring to them as ?Dumbf**kistan??

Personally, I have beef with Santa myself. When my future seed?s on this earth, they?re gonna know the truth from the get go in regards to the real reason for the season and who their presents come from. Call me competitive, but I?ll be damned if a fat ass white man in a red suit (that can?t bothered to stop by the crib on any other given day, mind you) takes the credit for the time I spend on long lines at Target. As always, Christ the newborn King is welcome in our humble abode, but if one reindeer hoof lands on my rooftop, I?m going upside Claus?s cranium with a two-day old fruitcake. I hate to break it to brother Kringle, but there?s a new Santa in town?and her name is Oprah Winfrey.


Just sayin?, is all.

Dry erase board update: the writing on the door currently reads?


*Bake Baby Jesus a birthday cake.

I like that.

Posted by macedonia at 11:53 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 December 2004 4:53 PM EST
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Monday, 13 December 2004
(giant) steppin' till the a.m.
Now Playing: The Zutons - Who Killed...The Zutons
Topic: event reports

So the guy who never wins anything ended up scoring a pair of tickets to the Giant Step holiday bash last Monday. Unfortunately, wifey?s in the midst of grad school hell, so she couldn?t go. My man Mikal had a freestyle session to host that night, so I called on my friend Ezekiel. He was down, so I met up with him in front of the Canal Room for entry. The holiday bash also doubles as an annual toy drive, which is really cool of them to do. All toys were donated to the IHB day treatment center, which takes in boys and girls ages 5-12. Felt good to bring some games down for the kids.

The Canal Room is quite glam looking, a place you?d expect all the beautiful people to hang out. Unfortunately, this is how most bars and venues in the city look as of late, as if only the trendy matter. For those of us that don?t feel the need to keep up appearances, the down-home and humble spot has quickly died out in NYC (if anyone knows of any left, let a brother know). Interestingly enough, the Canal Room used to be Shine, which used to be the New Music Cafe some ten years ago. It was there that I first got an education in how to be musically diverse in the mix and make it work. It was the fall of 1994 when I had my first Giant Step experience. During this time, Giant Step was a weekly party; they had yet to become the marketing giant they are now. Nickodemus opened up for the night and Jazzy Nice spun for most of it. Special guests included Sens Unik, a hip-hop band from Switzerland ? they did my head in. I heard hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, and house all in one night. It completely changed the way I thought out listening to music and spinning records before a crowd.

(Come 2005, Giant Step will have been in existence for 15 years. That?s just nuts.)

But that was then. Last Monday represented the now with sponsorships by LG Mobile Phones and Puma, a varied crowd ranging from the soulful to the hipster to the corporate. Drinks were being served with little lights in them. Zeke says, ?Hey! I wanna drink with a light in it.? After a while, we both started to wonder how that could possibly be safe. It was then I concluded that neon must be the new hip ingredient to put in your drink (abysinthe was SO last year?). All that aside, the music was still bangin?. A number of joints in the opening set: J-Dilla?s take on ?F**K The Police,? SA-RA?s ?Glorious,? a track called ?Feelin?? from Q-Tip?s Kamal The Abstract project, and a bunch of others. While waiting the live performance to start, Zeke and I shot the breeze talkin? about music (what else?) and I got to catch up with my man Emil (DJ Center of Open Thought) as well. Saw Synapse in the place later on that night, too ? he is one seriously hard workin? DJ. It?s good to see heads out there doin? it and not lettin? the BS and the drama get to them. That?s encouraging.

Special guests Dwele and Slum Village?s T3 introduced the live act for the evening, The Platinum Pied Pipers. They have an album out on the Ubiquity label entitled PPP. Waajeed and Saadiq definitely bring the funk flavors with the hip-hop swagger not too far behind. They kept the performance loose (perhaps a little too loose ? they seemed a bit unorganized at times) so they could just flow and let their vocalists get open. Opening their set was a MC named Invincible. She stormed on stage decked out in army fatigues and her hair in pigtails. I think a good number of heads in the audience didn?t know what to think when they saw her, but she KILLED IT. Real ill flow ? watch for her. She got busy later on in the night with a freestyle session alongside T3 and Wordsworth (who?s just nasty off the top of the head). They took words from the audience and just went with it. Also making an appearance from the album was vocalist Tiombe, whose sultry pipes won the crowd over. Mark my words, there?s a big band project in sista girl?s future.

After PPP got through rockin? the house, it was Dego?s turn to take things to the next level. Dego MacFarlane is best known for his work as one-half of the duo 4 Hero and runs his own record label entitled 2000 Black, an imprint responsible for turning the world onto future soul sounds (what most call ?broken beat?). He kicked off the set with a tasty cover of ?Evil Vibrations? done by The Rebirth. Gotta admit, I fronted on this cover when I first heard it. You gotta hear it in a party setting ? you can?t help but get caught up in it with everybody else. (For those that don?t know, ?Evil Vibrations? was originally done by The Mighty Ryeders and was heavily sampled for De La Soul?s ?A Roller Skating Jam Called Saturdays.?) A little later, he threw in Spymusic?s ?Cloak? (hot midtempo jazzy house) as well as Soho?s ?Hot Music? (doesn?t matter how many times you play it, the joint will still fill the floor).

Then he launched into some broken platters and soulful house. Great tunes all the way, but I can?t say Dego?s the most technical cat in the game. Some sloppy segues here and there (one or two were straight up trainwrecks), but as a few heads relayed the next day on the Giant Step bulletin board, that?s not why he?s paid the big bucks to spin. Brother man?s a tastemaker and a dope producer, and that can?t be denied. (Check for the DKD tune ?Future Rage? and you?ll see what I mean. Just naaaasty.) Got my dance on until about 2:30 a.m., then broke out for the long subway trek home. Thankfully, I did the smart thing and took a personal day so that I could recover. Hooray for contest winnings.

Posted by macedonia at 5:48 PM EST
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