Category Archives: Life

Happy 4th of July!

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To celebrate Independence Day this year, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the road trips I’ve taken in the past few years. Because what’s more American than cruising down our amazing highway network to explore our great country? I got the inspiration for this post from an article I saw earlier today on Jalopnik, and I thought I’d expand upon that thought here, to bring some life back to this ghost town of a blog.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken a few road trips in my short life so far. The first one was only months after I got my driver’s license. I drove to upstate New York with my band in my dad’s 2003 Toyota Sienna, hitting up Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Jamestown. It was a lot of driving and I was the only driver, but it wasn’t too bad because I had a bunch of friends in the van. We played one show in some random community center in Rochester, and then we played a show in an indoor skate park in Jamestown. Those were some great times, and I still have great memories of that little tour.

The next road trip was several years later, in my recently purchased (and crashed) 2003 Hyundai Elantra. I had just gotten the radiator and brakes fixed a few days before the trip. I loaded up everything I owned into that little car, including my guitars, my computer, my clothing, my girlfriend, and all her clothing. Somehow it all fit. I split the roughly 2,600 mile trip into 5 days, driving roughly 8-9 hours a day each day. I saw so much open space in the country; it makes me wonder why everybody squeezes into these tight cities. It was awesome to see the weather change in a matter of days, from freezing cold in the north to a wonderful summer in the south. I drove through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I remember speeding down the mountains of Flagstaff hoping that my brakes wouldn’t fail. I was so excited when I reached the Phoenix city limits. That little Hyundai did the whole trip without a single complaint. It even got respectable gas mileage after it all. It died two weeks later; I guess it gave its last breath to get us across the country.

My most recent road trip was a month or two ago, in my 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT. It was a quick little weekend trip to San Diego via the I-8. It was a lot of fun speeding through the desert, flooring that tiny little four-banger to get it up the mountains. San Diego was quite a bit more hilly than I remember when I visited as a kid. Nonetheless it was quite pleasant to see the city and the ocean again. I had a pretty good time there, and the trip back was perfect.

My next road trip will be in my new (to me) 2001 BMW 540ia, which I’m fixing up right now. You’ll hear more about it later. Once it’s perfect, I’m going to drive down the Pacific Highway in it. I’m planning to go all the way up the west coast, as I’ve never done that before.

If you have a car and some free time, get out there and explore the country! It would be downright un-American not to.

We’re Back Again

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I have this terrible habit of posting a few times in a row and then disappearing for a few months when it comes to writing this blog… So let’s try this again. Since the last time I’ve posted, a few things in my life have changed, while a few have stayed the same. I still work at the same place, still have the same car, still have two wonderful cats, and I’m still happily with my girlfriend for over 5 years.

Last December, my family drove down to Phoenix to celebrate the holidays with me. I gave them a tour of the Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale area in my Hyundai. Somehow all six of us fit into the car. We had a great time celebrating Christmas and welcoming in the new year on New Year’s Eve. Words can’t really describe how nice it was to see my family again after so long. I talk to my parents on the phone/Facetime every week, but there’s nothing quite like being with family in person. It was a great time, easily one of the highlights of last year.

As for my living situation, I’ve moved from my apartment in Glendale to an apartment in Tempe last May, and then to a house in Chandler this January. I quite enjoy living in a house again, it’s the only way to live that feels right to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent my whole life up until recently living in houses. Anyways, it’s a nice three bedroom house in a quiet community. Having a two-car garage is nice for when I get a second car, and just having a garage in general is great for the summers here. Otherwise it’s nearly impossible to touch the steering wheel with how painfully hot a car gets in the sun. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the HOA here, but they’re not the most strict so I can live with it for now. It took me a while to furnish the whole house, but I’m glad to say that I’m like 90% done at this point. All I need is a TV and some decorations to liven everything up. The cats love the house too, there’s lots of room for them to run around.

I’ve lived through last summer, and it’s the beginning of another summer right now. Last summer was relatively mild, according to people that have lived in Phoenix for a while, and this summer is definitely shaping up to be a scorcher. I know a lot of people can’t stand the heat, but I personally love it. I’ll take extreme heat over the cold any day. I certainly don’t miss winter. My electric bills so far are pretty reasonable, but that might be because I keep the AC at 81º instead of cranking it to 65º. I don’t even like it that cold indoors, I’d rather be comfortable.

Work has been great for me as well. I’ve really grown as a web developer in the year that I’ve worked at Fervor, and I’m still happy to go to work. Which is more than I can say for a lot of the jobs that I’ve worked in the past. The Christmas party we had in December was pretty sweet too, it was 70’s themed and it was a lot of fun.

I’ve bought myself a few new guitars and I’ve been doing a fair bit of audio work as well. I finished rebranding my studio to be Affinity Recordings, with a spiffy new site, new Facebook page, and business cards. I enjoyed the opportunity to do some design work again, as I mostly do web development work nowadays. Now that I have a large house I can record bands without worrying too much about noise.

As for this blog, I’ve brought back the theme I had on here for a few years, but with a few small tweaks to make it more current. It’s still not responsive and looks a bit dated, but I can live with that for now. Eventually I’ll build a modern new theme, but it’s not a high priority at the moment.

As of now, everything is going pretty well, and I couldn’t be happier with life :)

Doing Just Fine

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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

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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

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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.

Current State of Affairs

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2013 has been an interesting year so far. I joined a new band, did quite a bit of audio work, and finally got a semi-steady part-time job. In terms of audio work, I’ve been fairly in demand so far this year. I haven’t had to look for bands to work with, they all came to me. Which is pretty nice, seems like the word is getting out about me doing good work. Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing indeed. I also started tracking bands at my home instead of going miles out of my way to track at the bands’ places. Makes life a whole lot easier for me, and it’s one less expense. Plus, now that I have rack-mounted gear, a dual-monitor setup (laptop + Samsung monitor), and an external hard drive, my setup isn’t really mobile anymore. And I’m alright with that. It might take forever for bands to get to me, but I think it’s worth it for the better results. Continue reading

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