No More Break

It’s long been a blogging tradition to have a little excerpt of the blog post on the front page, with a “read more” link to continue reading the full post. I had this system going on here for a little bit as well, but as of this year I’ve stopped doing it completely. Why? It’s an archaic remnant from the for-profit blog era, where making visitors click through would allow them to see more ads, and thus would generate more revenue for the blog owner.

Online advertising has changed greatly since then, and unless you have targeted ads like Fusion/The Deck, there’s little point to having ads on your blog unless you’re some viral/meme blog. I haven’t had ads on this blog in a very long time, so it just seemed a little stupid to have “read more” links for no real reason. Sure, the home page looks tidier with only excerpts, but this site is primarily a blog, with no other purpose, so why hide the content?

That being said, I’ll be going through the older posts and removing all the “read more” links. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to make automatic excerpts, so I have a whole bunch of posts to manually edit. Oh well. It’ll make writing easier from now on, because I won’t have to think about where to split a post. No more unnecessary interruptions.

Doing Just Fine

It’s been two months since I packed up all of my things and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Looking back on it, I have to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far. But let’s rewind for a bit and catch up on where I left off.

The five day trip was oddly uneventful— my old car completed the 2600-mile trip without a single problem. I’m glad I waited an extra few days to leave NYC, because by doing so I avoided the snow completely. I drove for about eight to nine hours each day, and slept in motels at night. That kept night driving to a minimum, and aside from being a little bored I didn’t go crazy. I ended up sleeping in Cincinnati (Ohio), Washington (Missouri), Hinton (Oklahoma), and Grants (New Mexico). A lot of it was monotonous farm scenery, but occasionally I’d drive through a bigger city like St. Louis which provided a far more interesting view. As I got into Texas, the weather got warmer and I noticed that the AC in the car wasn’t really working. Not a great sign, but it wasn’t so hot that it bothered me.

I rolled into Phoenix around 4pm on Saturday, March 8th, and I immediately fell in love with the palm trees and warm summer breeze. Coming from NYC where it was below freezing, Phoenix felt like paradise. The apartment complex I moved into was in a less-than-ideal part of Phoenix, but it’s fully gated and the landlord is friendly, so it’s not all bad.

Most people are surprised when I tell them that I didn’t move here with a job waiting for me. Nor did I have a college degree. My girlfriend got a job nine days into living here, at a web design/SEO company known as Falling Up. I subsequently updated my design portfolio, and two days later I got a job offer from Fervor Creative, which I happily accepted.

I immediately loved my job at Fervor, from day one. The people there are all super friendly and cool, and the environment is lovely. I got an iMac to use and I set it up with all of my favorite software, such as Coda and Transmit, along with a second display. Feeling good about my job, I bought a brand new iPhone 5s (more on that later) about a week in.

Just as everything was looking up, my old 2003 Hyundai Elantra started having engine problems. I was okay with the AC not working; I had bought parts and budgeted to fix it, but engine problems can rapidly become very expensive, and I had already put way too much money into the car considering its age. So one day after work, I drove (barely made it) to a Hyundai dealership. I was expecting to just buy a newer used Elantra, but to my complete surprise the dealer worked with me and my limited credit and hooked me up with a great deal on a brand new Hyundai Elantra GT. I gladly took it, knowing that I had the income to afford it.

Within a month of being in Phoenix, I had a stable career and a new car. I still can’t believe how everything came together. Call it luck, call it years of planning; I can’t be thankful enough for how everything has turned out so far.

As for the future, this week I’m planning on moving into a newer apartment complex in Tempe (suburb of Phoenix). I’ve visited the place and it looks like a fantastic place for me to live, plus the surrounding area is clean and convenient. I’ll live there for six months or so until I have plenty of money saved up to finally move into a big house.

To wrap things up, I took a chance. I moved across the country in an old car stuffed with a few of my belongings, to a place I had never been to before, with no friends, no family, nor connections of any kind waiting for me. And I’m much happier than I would have been in NYC. Life is short, so if you’re unhappy then perhaps it’s time to be the change you’re waiting for.

Leaving For A Long Time

After several setbacks, mechanical issues with my car, and snow-related delays, I’m finally heading out west to Phoenix tomorrow with my longtime girlfriend Maddie. Spending my last day at home has definitely been rather sad, I feel slightly homesick already. My parents are pretty bummed about it too, but they’ve been mostly supportive of it so far, and Maddie’s parents have been cool with it too. I know we just have to get out now while we still don’t have too many belongings or too many connections here in NYC.

At around 6am tomorrow we’re leaving my house with all of our belongings in the car, then we’re driving non-stop until we reach Columbus, Ohio, where we’ll be hanging out with a cool dude (more on that after the trip). Then we’re making a quick drive to Cincinnati where we’ll be spending the night with an old high school friend of ours that lives there. After that, we’re spending the night with a producer buddy who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From there it’s straight to Phoenix. Right now I estimate it will take 4-5 days to make the trip, but we’ll see what happens.

We already have a temporary place to stay that rents on a weekly basis with some cool perks like a pool, wi-fi, and fully furnished rooms. It’s a little like a hotel but you pay rent weekly and there’s no lease, so you leave whenever you want. We’ll look for work and then once some money starts coming in (we’re currently running on savings) we’ll look for a decently big three/four bedroom house to rent. The housing in Phoenix is rather cheap, so we’re pretty optimistic.

I guess this is growing up.

Arizona

After many months of planning and thinking and talking to my girlfriend, I’ve decided to move to Arizona with her. I’m tired of living in NYC. This city never really appealed to me, and I always felt annoyed by it. I’m tired of the ridiculous rent and gas prices here. I don’t want to pay $1400 a month to live in a closet or live with five roommates. I don’t want to feel like a sardine in a tin can every time I take public transit here. I’m bored of the metal scene here, it’s pretty outdated for the most part. Everything is overpriced here, and people are just unfriendly assholes for the most part. I hate the cold, the rain, and the humidity here. I hate being in such an overpopulated, crowded place.

I’m just not happy in NYC anymore. The nightlife and city life here don’t really appeal to me. I’m not a drinker or a partier, nor do I care about fancy food. I have literally nothing keeping me here, so why should I stay here? That’s why in early March I’m packing all my things into a small car and a U-Haul and driving to Phoenix, Arizona. I can get a decently large house there for like $800 a month, and gas there is always about 50 cents cheaper. I’ve been saving up to move for a few months now, so I won’t be fully broke when I arrive there. Once I get there with my girlfriend, we’ll start a new life there. I’ll meet new people, get a new job, and record new bands. I’m excited for the future.

Life is too short to spend it living somewhere you hate. If you feel unsatisfied with your current location, then move! It’s a big country out there, surely you can find your place under the sun.

WordPress 3.8, Looking Good!

The WordPress team has really knocked it out of the park with version 3.8. While nothing on the front-end changed, the backend has been radically redesigned. Finally, WordPress feels like a cohesive web app instead of a mess. Everything is now neatly organized, and the interface elements are all consistent now. The new icon font makes for a fantastic looking interface. The new backend layout is now fully responsive, meaning I no longer need to use an app to update my sites on the go. I spend most of my time at my web design job staring at WordPress, so this is a pleasant update indeed.

And speaking of updates, I’ve been really thinking of a new design for this blog. I know I don’t write a ton on here, but it’s really fun designing for myself, with no deadlines or guidelines to follow. So yeah, keep an eye out for that.

2013 In Review

2013 may have not been a great year for the country, but it was a pretty good year for me. Some of the highlights are:

  • Produced many bands at Drop B Recordings (both good and bad), bought a bunch of new gear (AT4040, HS50′s, Fast Track Ultra 8r, LTD H-1001, etc.), and got far better at mixing.
  • Bought an 8-core Mac Pro on Craigslist for $500 8gb of RAM. It’s quite the workhorse, and it’s pretty much fully replaced my laptop for all my work. The downside is that it’s obviously not portable, but I find that I can’t really do mixing work on the go anyway.
  • Moved my recording business to a monthly studio space, and then moved back home a few months later. $475 a month for a tiny cave-like room an hour away from home just made no sense now that I think about it.
  • Got two new guitars, bought an ESP LTD H-1001 for $800 new, and traded an Ibanez RG7321 for an ESP LTD MH-350NT. I’m pretty much an ESP-exclusive guitarist now, but I can’t say that I mind.
  • Joined another band as a guitarist, played a bunch of shows, and bought an Eleven Rack rig for live use. I definitely got a lot better as a guitarist because of that, and I’m much more comfortable playing guitar live now.
  • Worked at and left a movie theater in Midtown Manhattan.
  • Started working at a web design studio in Williamsburg. I get to sit in a comfortable chair and make websites. It’s a pretty easy job and the commute’s not too bad, plus it’s a super laid-back place so the job is never stressful. Although I still enjoy doing audio more than web design, it sure beats serving stale popcorn at a movie theater.
  • Continued dating my lovely girlfriend. Our four year anniversary is in February.
  • Started saving up for a car, I’m halfway there so far. Planning to buy a 2003-ish Hyundai Elantra. It’s well within my budget and it’s about as reliable as a used Japanese car, but far cheaper because it’s Korean.
  • Started planning to relocate. For a bit of time I wanted to move to Washington DC, but numerous factors led me to reconsider that decision. After a bit of thinking, my girlfriend and I settled on the idea of moving to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s warm, far cheaper than NYC, has a good music scene (for metal), and it’s not nearly as crowded/crazy as NYC. It’ll be nice to live in a place that’s as laid back as I am. Plus it’s a few hours from Texas, Vegas, and Cali, so that’ll make for a lot of fun little weekend trips. That’s really the major reason why I’m buying the car too, because otherwise it’s exorbitantly expensive to be a car owner in NYC.
  • Tried a lot of new food, like Pad Thai and sushi. I know that’s normal for most people, but I tend to be extremely conservative with my food tastes, so it’s an accomplishment for me.

Goals for 2014

  • Relocate to Phoenix as soon as possible
  • Find a good house and settle down there
  • Make more money
  • Get an Axe Fx II
  • Get back into shape
  • Write more, especially on this blog. I feel like my writing abilities have been dumbed down a little these days from only writing on Facebook/texts.