already december?

Man, I just realized that it’s December. It’s December! It’s DECEMBER. Funny… the more I write December, the weirder the word looks. It’s December. It’s not Procember. It’s not Lecember. Not even Delcember. It’s December.

Christmas is in 24 days from today. I have not begun Christmas shopping, and have no idea what I shall purchase for anyone. And I must decide who to buy presents for outside of family. I don’t even know where I’ll be for Christmas yet. Decisions…

I am going to take a couple of days to pay my loans, organize myself a little better and then clean up a little. Then hopefully I’ll have time to work for at least a week if not more and make some much needed money.

My next entry into this journal shall be about my CD I produced. Be ready because I plan to advertise it as much as possible, maybe even create my own webpage dedicated to it. Please buy one to show support.

stuff yourself with turkey

We arrived back to Houston yesterday evening. It’s great to be back! Now I need to organize myself and get going with life. I’ll be up at Lake Livingston next couple of days spending Thanksgiving with friends and family.

I should leave with one great story about our stop in Atlanta. We arrived in Atlanta late Sunday morning after a night of driving straight from Annapolis. For those who haven’t made this trip before, it’s about 1000 miles of driving. There are many ways to go but the fastest at night was probably the way we went, which was I-95 over to I-20.

Arriving in Atlanta, we were severly hoping that we could get to the house and sleep all day. We were staying with Justin’s neighbor’s son and family. It was a great place and wonderful neighborhood. Just gorgeous. We arrived to Atlanta not hearing from Terry so we had to find something to do. We initially went to the underground mall after driving around aimlessly. It was a little frustrating at first not being able to get in touch with Terry but at least we found something to blow away some time. The underground mall, for those who have never been there, is a mall that’s under part of downtown Atlanta. It’s really nothing unusual in terms of being a mall but just one of those things that people visit. Next to the underground mall is the Coca-Cola factory.

We still hadn’t heard from Terry after an hour. So I convinced Justin to tour the factory. We were exhausted from the drive by this point. Walking around waiting was just annoying. The Coke place was pretty cool. Worth one visit only because you get to try out foreign drinks from other countries. However, it costs $7 so go on an empty stomach so you can get your money’s worth.

After touring, we went back to the car to wait a little longer. I was so ready for a bed! Still no call. What the heck was the problem? Well, we had no idea what to do. Neither of us really wanted to go anywhere else. We sat in this parking garage in the car trying to think of what to do. Well, after conversing a little, this was our decision:

an image

Yeah, exactly. We laid there for probably a good 3 hours snoozing and taking a few bathroom breaks each. On top of that, I decided to turn the radio on for some background noise. Atlanta has this station which plays light rock and jazzy kind of stuff. Well, I think for the rest of the year they have decided to play Christmas tunes non-stop. |)

That’s right. Our afternoon was spent sleeping in a car, in a parking garage which costed $3 and listening to Christmas tunes while sleeping. I felt better having slept but that was definitely one of those experiences you gotta share!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

so much driving

We had two straight days of driving for 11 or more hours. I’m a little burnt out of driving now and am ready to get back to Houston. After NYC, we went to Annapolis to visit Justin’s buds from the Naval Academy, and then to Atlanta. It was a short visit to both but fun nonetheless. We are now at his place in Port Arthur until we can get back to Houston.

NYC Baby

… Oh geez, my title rhymes. Moving on.

Manhattan was once again a wonderful visit!! This is my bi-yearly visit, which actually would be every two years instead of every 6 months. I just don’t know how to state that properly on here. Justin and I spent all of yesterday and all of today walking around and seeing the sights. I had a different purpose this time around, however. Because I now have a digital camera, I was able to take pictures! So, when I get back to Houston and when I am able to make the time, I will be posting my NYC/New England pics for all to see. I hope that I took some stellar shots but am not counting on it because I didn’t have my tripod most of the time and I was rushed to take pics so that Justin wasn’t too bored.

Yesterday was probably the most productive day for us. We decided to drive into Manhattan via the Lincoln tunnel. After finding the most expensive place to park (or at least it seems so), we walked around Central Park. I hadn’t seen a lot of the park so this time around we took a really long walk up to the huge lake in the middle. It was a very productive walk and I got some good shots of different areas. That park rocks and I wish I could spend more time there. I don’t know what it is but something about the huge skyscrapers touching the sky and the green, colorful nature combined really has an effect on me and probably many other people who have been there.

We obviously went to the usuals: Times Square, Statue of Liberty (actually Battery Park, not the island), and to all the touristy stuff. We decided not to go on any of the tours such as the NBC studios tour or Statue of Liberty ferry ride. I just wanted to photograph as much as possible.

Today we found a very cheap parking garage so if anyone needs advice on where to park in Manhattan for cheaper, ask away! Today wasn’t as eventful because of a delayed entrance and difficulty in finding parking. I talked to a grad student at NYU about their music technology grad program. It is amazing what they have available to students! UCD has no comparison this program. I’ll probably apply but the deciding factor will probably be money. Simple as that.

Celebrity sightings for the week:
Barbara Walters
John Stossel
Jessica Simpson
Wesley Clark
Playboy bunnies!

Justin and I happened upon the Ed Sullivan theater just as the taping had wrapped last night. Wesley Clark was the guest and there were a lot of supporters with posters and banners out to greet and meet him. So Justin and I got a good position around when he came out to see him. He interviewed with MTV for a few minutes giving his opinions on the issues. As soon as he turned to go greet people, Justin yelled out, “Go NAVY, beat ARMY!”

To understand why this is funny, here’s a little background. Justin just completed a year of Naval Academy education. He’s been in the Navy for the past 4 years. Wesley Clark served in the army and is a graduate of Westpoint.

Wesley turned over to Justin, surprised, and replied, “Oh!! I have a lot of Navy friends!”. So they shook hands (which I tried my best to get a picture of but it happened so quickly). This was Justin’s thrill of the trip. It’s all downhill from there…

beantown exclusive

Finally, after visiting Boston 2 times and not really seeing the city, I was able to go around a little to see the city up close and not from someone’s apartment! I definitely could have spent a lot more time touring, but we’ve got places to go, people to see.

Boston is a really fun city! If you are a history buff, especially an American history person, Boston and Mass are a great place to tour. I wasn’t able to take a formal tour of too many historical areas but I got to see the main parts of Boston that mattered.

We stayed in the Boston University area (Alston), which is across the river from the Harvard area. Yet, I did get some pictures of Harvard. It was a beautiful campus. I was surprised at how many people visit Harvard on any given day. We were there Sunday afternoon and already there were hundreds of people just walking around taking pictures and seeing the historical sites and buildings.

Someday when I am better at photography, I would love to spend a few weeks just going around to take pictures of the city because it’s really another world to me. Houston and Boston differ is just about every way (probably not but it seems so to me).

To those reading this that I was able to meet for brunch on Sunday, glad to have seen y’all again and let’s not make it too long before we can get together again!

We are now in Hartford on our way to New Jersey, where we shall stay a few nights to spend time in NYC! This will be trip number 3 to NYC as well and I’m really looking forward because I actually have a really nice camera to take pictures with! yay!

Oh yeah, I have a downtown shot of Boston at night and will be taking the same kind of shot for NYC so I’m sure people will want to see those pics. Just as soon as I get back to Houston I’ll try to post them to the website for your viewing pleasure (overload!).

Cincinnati

Here this morning, Boston tonight. We’re driving straight through to Boston today for about 13 hours of driving. That’s gonna be one of our longest drives of the trip so it’ll probably get a little boring at times but I’ll be seeing a lot of places I’ve never seen like Cleveland and upstate New York. Maybe stopping by Cooperstown.

I stopped by Dark Horse Recording studios and was offered an internship in Nashville if I wanted it. We’ll see what happens after talking to some of the grad schools.

Thought for the day: Where did the word doggy bag come from? Everyone uses it, we all know what it means. Yet, why do we say it at every restaurant? It could be referred to as a to-go box, but more people say doggy bag.

pulled over again

Last night, as Justin and I made our way closer to Texarkana on US-59, a state troopers pulled us over. I wasn’t the only person pulled over; it looked like Christmas out there, all those flashing lights everywhere.

I was driving at the time so I had to face him first. I got a warning ticket because Justin’s car had two problems. The license plate light was burnt out and his license plate frame was covering too much of the plate. In Texas and a few other states, this frame law is in effect and anyone can be pulled over if the frame is covering anything on the plate.

After he wrote me a ticket, thinking that we were good to go, he decided to walk around the car. Shining his light onto the stickers on the window, he found a registration sticker that was out of date. Yeah, that delayed our arrival by another 20 minutes.

A few minutes later, he calls for backup. Not just any backup, however. A trooper pulled up in front of us and another pulled up beside the one who pulled us over. They asked our permission to search the car. I had no problem with it. But this search involved a drug sniffing dog!! Yeah, this is the first and hopefully last time that ever happens. After letting the dog inside the car, it looked like he was going crazy trying to smell for some kind of narcotics. The funny (not at the time) thing was that something tipped the dog off. Basically, these cops almost had something to book us for the night. But luckily, after thoroughly searching the house, they didn’t find a thing. Stupid troopers.

This made what was supposed to be an easy 5 hour trip into a LONG 8 hour trip. The troopers asked me if we had any drugs, weapons, anything that might be suspicious. He even asked me if I had been to a federal jail before. Man, these guys were just waiting for those drugs to appear, just hoping for any evidence of something to bust us up. But Justin and I looked like two college kids up to no good. There’s no way we looked guilty of anything more than being goofballs.

Before we his Nashville tonight, we gotta get some things taken care of so that we don’t get pulled over again. The law enforcement community has no place in this trip.

ROADTRIP

Surprise! I am leaving today for the Northeast. I am on my way to visit a few schools to see about grad studies. I am also going to visit all my friends along the way and up there! So as for the questions:

When did you decide to go to the northeast?? Just a week and a half ago. I was driving up to Austin for Halloween weekend and called my friend Justin. He has all this free time so I pitched it to him and now we’re good to go!

Who’s Justin? Childhood friend. I’ve known him since I was probably 7.

Where are y’all going? Nashville, Cincinnati, Boston, Hartford, New York City, Annapolis, Washington D.C., and many other cities.

Can you afford to do this? Well, sorta. If I don’t do this, I won’t have a good idea of whether this is a good option for me. I need to figure this stuff out in person because it’s much easier when you’re talking to someone.

How long will the trip last? I’ll be back around Thanksgiving, hopefully a couple of days before.

Can I go with you? Nope, limited seating available. We might be taking a microwave with us.

Can I contact you while you’re on the road? Absolutely, I welcome any phone calls!

tidbits

As I drive to work, I usually have the radio or CD player going. I’m sure this is the standard for 95% of drivers on the road. Sometimes I suffer through or enjoy the DJs on 104 KRBE or Mix 96.5 here in Houston. They can be stupid sometimes, and there are interesting topics that I listen to at others.

Anywho, this morning I drive to work and listen to the station. This lady who called in one of these stations was reporting that pop star Mandy Moore is in town this week. She was spotted at the Galleria by a shopper who called in the radio station to report her sighting. She even knew exactly which drink Mandy ordered from Starbucks. Standard stuff. I find it interesting, however, that she was rewarded for her sighting by getting a free pre-pass to a movie this weekend.

*shakes head*

Our society is so obsessed with superstardom. I’m not denying that I’ve had starry eyes at one time or another. I’d probably be just as interested in what Mandy did at the Galleria as the next person just because she’s a public figure who many people recognize. I don’t know whether I should consider it sad for someone to be rewarded for telling her story of seeing Mandy or not. It’s nice to know that if I see Michael Jackson at the mall and I call the radio stations in good time they might reward me for being lucky. Bless this land of the free.

When I’m rich and famous and someone sees me in the mall or any public place, I can just laugh at myself because someone probably won some tickets for seeing me. Yeesh!

Another little story I just heard was on November 24th, most Americans will be able to transfer their home phone number to their cell phone! I don’t have a home phone number (well, technically I guess I do but I’m still looking for a home). It would be interesting if I had this option because I might consider it. My cell phone is my lifeline right now. If I didn’t have it, I don’t think anyone could keep in touch with me very well and vice versa. When I finally have a home in the near future, there’s going to be a huge consideration that I’ll have to take. Should I buy a landline?

I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t have a landline but I’m probably one of the few people that most of my friends know who doesn’t have a home phone landline to call me. The main reason I’d possibly get the landline with my home is because this digital wireless cellular telephone that I own completely depends on satellite dishes, transmitters and receivers. If these transmitters and receivers fail, I’m pretty much screwed trying to call people unless I have a landline. The landline is analog and doesn’t rely on the power grid like the digital phones do. Remember 9-11? NYC’s cellular community was practically crippled for days because the main transmitter/receiver was on top of the WTC tower.

I figure this is useful information for many people to know.

is iTunes Music Store worth your money?

Probably not. It seems that those big bad guys at the RIAA are once again taking all the profits directly. How much? All 99 cents per song is going to the RIAA and Apple is losing money in the process. Why does this not surprise me?

So I guess the question would be where is Apple making its money? From the iPod. Not a bad product if I do say so myself. But definitely not worth it for the majority of everyone. We’re talking about .0005% of anyone who might even have one, and that’s probably a little liberal of an estimate.

If the RIAA doesn’t cut some slack, change their business model, do anything that helps the artist/consumer relationship, iTunes will probably fold in a few months/years. Same goes with Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, and any other pay-per-use download service.