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Monday, 7 February 2005
holed up in harrison
Now Playing: Thomas Dolby - "May The Cube Be With You"

Super Bowl Sunday taught me an important lesson: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. usually, i spend a quiet evening in with the wifey and watch the game and have some tasty eats. this year i attended a Super Bowl Fellowship at my church. the Men's Ministry hosts it every year; last night marked their sixth time doing it, i think. very successful - lots of brothers came through. fed some kids from two group homes. a few even gave their lives to Christ. while i was definitely doing the right thing, i can't say that i totally enjoyed myself. too many people, too loud, too much. i live a relatively quiet existence. plus i had some memos on my mind that i had to deliver to one of the ministers (i agreed to be their secretary - why the HELL did i do that?), so i was thinking about that the whole time and ended up working on one of them while i was there. no good deed goes unpunished: i should know this by now. all i'll say is this...after last night, i was actually looking forward to monday morning.

enter Mitsubishi Imaging - my new location to bring home the bacon from. still customer service, still surrounded by purchase orders and phones ringing, but a much shorter commute in the other direction and i get to ride the Metro-North train. doesn't even take me 20 minutes to get to work and the gym's along the train route as well. the learning curve is a beast, but i gotta take it one day at a time and act like i know this isn't supposed to be mastered overnight. everybody's been quite helpful in showing me the ropes and all that. this one cat that's been training me's pretty cool, laid back cat. it's weird, though: he kinda looks like Darshan from Metro Area. i keep wanting to say to him, you shouldn't be here. shouldn't you and Morgan be rocking some party in Europe somewhere? and when's the next single coming out?

for the most part, i work with some good people. they have their perverted moments, but it's not like GOD isn't still in the process of fire bombing the porn shops that still occupy the far corners of my mind, so i really shouldn't talk about other people's shortcomings. but i do have to wonder about the natural tendency of co-workers to gossip. somehow or another, part of my training has involved learning tidbits about various team members - stuff that obviously isn't necessary to know, stuff that i never asked to learn, stuff that i know won't be on the test, but i know it anyway. this one is irresponsible with paperwork. this one freaks out when people are out of the office because they know they'll have more work to do. this one silently passes gas at their desk. after a while, i just didn't want to know any more secrets.

my next door neighbor in the office is a lovely woman. perky, talks fast (and loud), kinda reminds me of someone i knew in college. her voice is sort of a cross between Fran Drescher and the sound of a cheese grater across your face, but i mean that in the best way possible. between her CD collection and her internet radio habits, i'm held captive to selections from Heart, Def Leppard, Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams...mostly lite-fm '80s style, with the occasional shake-up of new Gwen Stefani or other stuff (when she plays Sade, it's all good, though). and me with no WFMU - it's like dying a slow death. at the moment, i have a small cassette player with a speaker on the back acting as a mini boombox to give me relief. it does the job. but as soon as i get a pair of speakers to hook up to my computer, it's ON.

so yeah, the team's chock full of good eggs, but it didn't take long for me to notice the scabs that cover the scars. one minute two members are talking, the next moment one of them's talking about the other that just left the room. it happens so often that it's hard not to wonder when your number's gonna come up. it's only a matter of time before i'm the subject of somebody's bitch session. big whoop - i care not for the trivial. but the trivial seems to be a regularly served side dish around here. knowing this, it's best for me to crank the music a little louder, dive deeper into my work, and remember that as a child of GOD, i ultimately work for Him and not for man. keeping that in perspective becomes challenging at times, of course...

p.s. one of our members walked away with a slight cough. another jumped up, huffing and puffing about not wanting to catch stomach flu, then borrowed another's can of Lysol and began spraying everything that wasn't nailed down. in hindsight, it would have been the perfect time to ask her if she ordered a hyperbaric chamber for the office (like the kind Michael Jackson sleeps in). i've worked at three different office locations - one in Greenwich, CT, one in NYC, and now Harrison, NY - and it's always the same: show any common cold symptoms and you're liable to get treated like a war criminal by your co-workers. ah, smell that team spirit...

Posted by macedonia at 5:03 PM EST
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Thursday, 27 January 2005
do you know what today is?
Now Playing: the sound of being quietly proud...and overly tired...

it's the one-year blogniversary of holy war in the mental. can't believe that i've kept this going for a whole year now. haven't made 100 posts yet, but i'm closing in on that number. for anybody that cares to know how it all started, click here to read the very first blog entry. even threw in the second for kicks.

(psst...that's your cue. i'm giving you permission to be nosy. i suggest you take me up on it. trust me, such an offer doesn't happen everyday...)

Posted by macedonia at 10:59 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 27 January 2005 10:56 PM EST
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Wednesday, 26 January 2005
45 fixation (and an apparently deeper revelation)
Now Playing: TV On The Radio - "Staring At The Sun"
Topic: the Christian walk

it was earlier this month that i noticed something was missing. i was in the midst of picking records for the gig @ 85A when i said to myself, "i really should bring that 'Funky Nassau' 45 with me." about that time, i got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. my mind flashed back a couple of months to spinning at a friend's birthday party. i remembered wondering why i forgot to bring that same record with me. i discovered a few weeks ago that i didn't actually forget - i just didn't see it while picking records. there's a good reason for that...it turned up missing.

"Funky Nassau" by The Beginning of The End is one of those funk 45s i took pride in owning. i bought it during my SUNY Albany days for next to nothing (probably at Last Vestige, one of the best crate digging spots in the Capital District) and it was in pretty good shape. i couldn't imagine losing it, even though such a possibility could happen. however, i am a man who believes in being organized, and i'm usually pretty good at keeping up with my wax wherever i spin. needless to say, this upset me. things got worse a few days later when a thought popped up in my brain:

"you know what i haven't seen in a while? 'Bang! Bang!' by the Joe Cuba Sextet."

no, not that one, too. after searching through my collection, yet another 45 had turned up missing. this definitely isn't like me. either one of two things happened: a) i lost them, or b) someone stole them. i tried to remember the last gig i would've played them. the first one that came to mind was almost a year ago: Squeeshee up in Poughkeepsie. as horrible as the thought is that somebody would have stolen them, i thought that maybe it occurred at a birthday party i spun last may. but that isn't the case, either. otherwise, i wouldn't have been able to place "Bang! Bang!" on my last mix CD. Back to the Party was recorded last summer.

after discussing it with Beth, we concluded that it could've happened during a wedding reception that i spun for all of 20 minutes at. i brought some 45s, but never played them. things ended up moving from its original location to a spot down the street (due to less-than-hospitable treatment by the management and waiting staff). i'm thinking those two seven-inches probably got pilfered at some point during that night. again, the thought of it kills me because i associate that night with friends and their acquaintances. but a lot was happening that night and not everyone i came into contact with between the original locale and the relocation was a friend or acquaintance of the bride and groom. and it's not as if i can rule out those that were, if in fact they were stolen. i'm not sure what happened, but i can't fathom losing two 45s in one night, particularly not those two. and i was away from my records for quite some time at the second locale, which is something i never do.

it's halfway made me paranoid and almost prompted me not to bring any 45s to the gig i spun with Redlox earlier this month, but i brought them anyway. The Beginning of The End is easy to replace; the entire album got repressed last year and i really need to cop the whole thing. The Joe Cuba 45, though...i dunno. i'm willing to be patient and search for that one. having that one swiped really upset me, seeing as how it was part of my relatives' collection before my own. i used to think to myself that it's better if i don't know who did it; if i ever found out, i'm not sure if i could hold back a gut reaction. it halfway sickens me to think that i'm fixating over a pair of 45s. in the grand scheme of things, they're miniscule. but i love music and i'm a collector and i can't deny the fact anymore that i'm a music geek. i give myself away almost immediately the moment i start talking about it.

it's not like there's a blessed thing i can do about it now except suck it up and take comfort in the fact that (as far as i can tell) that's all that was taken. someone could've made off with a lot more than that. there are more 45s in my crib where those from, some of which haven't even been listened to yet because they still need to be cleaned. i have records that i either bought or were given to me last January that i STILL haven't listened to in their entirety. and now the digital files are growing by the week. the hardcore vinyl addict would tell you that there is no such thing as enough; i'm beginning to rethink that stance. it's not like i can take any of this with me when i die. and i don't want one 45, one full-length, one MP3 to stand between me and a more intimate relationship with GOD. all of the music in the world isn't worth me missing out on revelation knowledge that can only come from Christ Jesus. i really dig music, but i love the Messiah more. it might sound strange to some, but that's where i am in my life right now. i have to give honor to the one that gave the gift of music and gave me the gift of hearing in the first place before raving about the recorded sounds that are all around me in various formats.

damn, i MUST be maturing in some way, shape, or form. whoever has those 45s now, i hope they're enjoying them. and that it turns them on to some other great sounds. if i believe in sharing music with people half as much as i say i do, then nothing in my entire collection is really mine to begin with. dying with the most wax will profit me nothing. this is no time to be bitter about 45s lost. it doesn't mean that i won't get excited about music - i still do. constantly. ASK MY WIFE. all i'm saying is...there are much more important things to be concerned about in both the secular and the spiritual sides of life.

Posted by macedonia at 12:31 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 January 2005 12:45 AM EST
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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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