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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Redemption...26 Years On...

I think I've had one of those epiphanies...or a moment where you spell a form of that word correctly.  


I'm coming down from one long night and morning; for those who don't know, I have become the backup host for the local version of "Morning Edition" on WITF 89.5 in Harrisburg.  I've been getting a fair amount of training/air time, as a new host finishes his prior commitments and comes in.


I was passed over for the job, due to this fellow's wider breadth of experience.  There is always someone much more experienced than you out there, remember that.  


Anyway, getting up at 230 in the am every day I think would kill me.  In any case, it's been nerve-wracking as hell getting up to speed on the program, because you have to work to a clock, and to what the NPR hosts do.


My hands have been on the levers a lot more of late.  Well, I was pretty sure that my boss Tim Lambert was gonna let me run the whole program this morning; four hours of madness.


I didn't sleep much; I never can when I have to change my sleep patterns to fit to this very early morning thing.  I was so unable I actually wrote my sports script at home before trying to sleep again late last night.


Now the past few weeks of training have enabled me to get down the quirks of NPR, and also most of the tricks to the studios, the computer system and the other bits.  The pre-production is the killer.


You may not realize just how much work goes on before you open the mic.  There's a lot.  


And of course the weather had to play havoc with everything.  Badass weather; tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm and flood watches and warnings all across the region.


The Emergency Alert System or EAS machine had spat out a long roll of warnings.  That's that annoying sound and/or screen you get in the middle of your programming, that lets you know something's going down.  Well, one of the few FCC regulations left is the one where you have to log and document all of these...every one of them.


Also rewriting wire copy, writing this, writing that, trying to get everything correct, and getting the computer screens up.  Screens for the traffic cameras, the weather screens, the Twitter feed page (yes, we use it), and the traffic information screen, and this, and that...


Just after I arrived at the station, about 3:15 am, the storm hit!  Same one that caused all that damage down in Alabama; Tim rolled in, and said he couldn't see the road!  It monsooned out there quite a bit, and I admit I've not seen a storm that bad since that one we had through here in like '02 or '03...can't remember when that was, but it was a bad one.


Lot of storm-related information to get out there, school closings, cancellations.  Thankfully Tim was there, because what we did was a two-man job.  I was not the only one on the air, and we both knew what had to happen.


A few little bugs for me, here and there, but I learned a great deal more, and that progress is necessary.  It actually went pretty well.


Now...Redemption...what's that all about, you ask?


Well, 26 years ago, I started fooling about with weekend grunt jobs because I knew radio was what I wanted to do in life.  I don't feel my family was all that supportive; I think most of them saw this as a hobby or a passing fancy, and that I'd get serious and either do something more worthwhile with my college years or come back to the farm in Vermont.


I do know that once my parents heard me, they realized I loved what I was doing, and didn't think I was half-bad.  They just wondered why the hell it took so damn long to get anywhere.


That's called paying your dues.  It took me 20 years to get to Sirius/XM, and a living wage.  I didn't think I'd do radio again after I was let go in '09, because I'd done it.  Did everything I wanted to do and planned to do in the business, so it was time to get on with my writing career and whatever else came my way.


Back in it I was last summer.  Being the weekend sports guy for Radio PA and KYW, and jobbing about at Clear Channel and places like that.  


On the other end of the cubicles, I got an interview for Morning Edition, but as I said, another guy has the chops and the skills, more so than I.


"I Want It All" by Queen just came on my Walkman.  Hmmm...that's a sign, innit?


I have honestly not done much on-air work in years.  I had not done any news since 2004, and anchoring can be a different thing.  Public Radio is something I never thought I could do.  Then again, I once thought the same thing about satellite radio...


This morning was the acid test; we didn't know how bad the weather would be, and did we get hit with it.  The pressure level in the studio and the building went straight up.  I wasn't perfect, but I know I did all right.


Here's how:


1.  During the 7 am hour, the studio phone beeps.  Now people call that if they're from schools to give us school stuff, and sometimes WITF people call on it.


Another Commandment of the Radio Business, and it concerns bosses, program directors, GM's and especially owners:  YOU NEVER CALL SOMEONE DURING THEIR SHIFT TO GIVE THEM SHIT.  EVER.


My first thought when I heard the lady on the other line was, "Oh shit!"  But then, Mitzi is the PD, and really a very nice person.  In fact, she is one of the most upbeat people I've ever known, though we've not yet met.


She very honestly told me I was doing a very good and was very kind.  That's one hell of an endorsement.  She also got off right away.  


2.  Tim tells me about a phone call he received from the President of WITF...the whole thing.  Never met her, but a most particular type of lady she is, I'm told.


She asks Tim the open-ended question of, "What's going on?"  Tim asks what she means, weatherwise or what?


She answers no, but who is that guy on the air?  Tim explains I'm the backup to the new guy.


"We have a backup?" She asks, honestly not knowing.  Tim says we do now.


"Oh..."  To paraphrase, she apparently said to Tim something along the lines of:  "Well, he's highly acceptable."


Redemption...there it is.


To go 26 years without being known, and then getting the chance to show you do know what the fuck you're doing and then deliver what you need to do...it's nice.


Don't think it's going to my head, it's not!  I gotta do it again tomorrow!


###


I feel a sense of peace.


"Love the World" by Jimmie Vaughan followed Queen on the Walkman, and I do feel it, but it's not just this.


"Mary," by Pete Townshend is next...a Lifehouse Chronicles demo.  I'm pretty sure the Who did not record this one.  If so, I don't know where I'd find it.


Yes, I do feel it.  You get into a zone or something.  Of late I have been placed in one, and it is not just because of how my "old" career has gotten a little bit of a restart.  I'm still not full-time, and probably will not be, but at least I'm back in the game, and showing my skill.


###


There is another reason for peace...I got hit by a train the other day, and her name is Alice.  We met and had a long talk the other day...three hours long.


This is the listener who on my first morning wrote an email to tell the bosses of ITF that I was a good one.  After thanking her, we corresponded, and we finally saw each other.  I think we both like what we see.


I'll see how it goes...I have not felt like this in years, it's very interesting.


###


Now...I'm going to enjoy all this for a while, before I get my shit together and get ready for tomorrow.


Redemption...it's not just for religion anymore.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend from HELL...Reconsidered...

Okay...I cannot say I'm crawling from the wreckage, because I'm probably still in it.  What have I been doing?


It's been a Weekend from Hell, in terms of being busy.  I had to do what I call the turnaround; Saturday afternoon/evening at WITF, doing KYW Sports.  Got some sleep, and was back up there for the first shift Sunday morning.


That ran until just before five, then rushed over to Clear Channel to produce the Bears playoff game on the Ticket.  


You know you're dealing with sports junkies when you arrive at the station and find your boss rocking his custom-made Flyers jersey, with Jeff Carter's name and number.  The Flyers were still battling the Sabres, and every team of interest was in a win or go home situation.  Sixers won, but the Flyers and Bears were both in need of victories.


Now, I've blogged in the past about the hellish nature of Hershey Bears hockey games and the conditions at Clear Channel.  Well, this night things worked alright.  One hell of a game I'm working, while Art is watching the Flyers in the WHP live studio.


*Walkman Update* -- I'm starting mine because of certain things going on in the Office...I am no longer in a patient mood and must get this done while people talk about ghosts and stuff.  You have to be here.


"Rollercoaster," by Black Mountain is first up...well, it was the last song in the shuffle, and when you turn on the Walkman there it is.  Loud, heavy shit...NOT the Ohio Players/RHCP disco song, either.


Okay...so the Sixers faced elimination and beat the Heat earlier in the day.  Flyers in big trouble with Buffalo; the game goes back and forth, and Art is living and dying with the Flyers.  My friend Randy "the Rock" Johnson lives and dies with the Sabres, so there you are.


"Amazing Journey," the Who...Live at Leeds remastered.  Nice...


Game goes to overtime...I can see the game on the TV monitor through my window from the Ticket across the hall and into the window of WHP.  Art's glued to the screen.


During an intermission interview I get the chance to take the loooong walk down the hall, through the secured doors and into the bathroom.  MURPHY'S LAW OF RADIO #69:  THE RESTROOM SHALL ALWAYS BE THE FURTHEST PHYSICAL POINT FROM THE AIR STUDIO THAT IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.  NO EXCEPTIONS.


So anyway, I'm coming back; I hear a SCREAM!!!


"Down on the Farm," James Blundell is next...interesting segue.


Immediately I wonder...is Art having a coronary or did he fall on his sword?  Did the Flyers win or lose?


He screamed more than once.  Anyway, yeah...the Flyers pulled it out in OT, so there's a Game 7 in that series.  Art was so relieved.


Okay...he leaves not long after, and I continue to work a very contentious playoff game between the Bears and the Charlotte Checkers.  This is a Game 6, too; the defending AHL champions are on the verge of getting rolled in the first round by the former Albany River Rats.  


1-0 until late in the third, when the Bears finally push one past the Checkers' goalie, a guy named Murphy who has had Hershey's number all year.  Jubilation!  Redemption!  You can just hear it through the voice of John Walton...they might just get 'er done!


Now, I've done pretty well to keep the game tight, and I'm not having any trouble.  Except that pesky Macro (told you about those) that's mocking me at 8 pm.  


The computer Macro is a command that orders the computer to take over, with specific programming at a specific time.  These Macros are also fired usually every hour to keep the computer and the station synced up with the network.


"Bad News is Coming"  --  Luther Allison, title track of a Motown album from '72.  The only bluesman on Motown.  Beautiful, gritty stuff.


Now...I can kill that Macro if I want.  My friend and colleague Rob showed me a method of working the computer and the macros so I can get a smoother transition.  Easy enough.  I actually was able to figure out what to do.


Well, it all goes for nothing, because 90 seconds into OT, Charlotte scores...to again quote Rob, with a borrowing from Walton's own verbiage..."GOOD MORNING, GOOD NIGHT, GOOD LORD!"


Not quite what John says.  Anyway, game over, season over, that's it, that's all.  Went out well, John said nice things about us, and we're outta there.  


Transition set, done and back to regular programming.  Okay!  Finally ended that season on a good note.


Now, the night ain't done yet!


I decided not to go home, because it was pointless to drive all that way, sleep four hours (maybe) then get up for WITF (again) and Morning Edition.  So I availed myself of "Chez WITF."


There is a bed somewhere in the building (I won't say where) for employees who are overnighting due to bad weather.  I think that's what it's for...essential personnel or something like that.  There are also showers.


Very nice.  So I did crash out, and much to my surprise I did get about four hours of sleep before the alarm went off.  Okay...last leg of the triple.


"Morning Edition" had some minor glitches of my own doing, but none that anyone would have noticed.  News went fine, mechanics getting better.  


The stressful part is building a news log from scratch.  I mean, the stories are pretty much all there, apart from anything you find on the overnight.  Steps, lots of steps and computer stuff to do.  On and on and on...


Did the first two hours, and didn't do bad at all.  Tim's happy with me, thankfully.  So...here I am four hours later, still awake, working  on three cups of coffee since early this morning and a large marble mocha and trying to keep enough energy going to finish one or two last tasks before I go to bed.  Really.


"Rambunctious Boy," John Fogerty comes over the Walkman.  "Blue Moon Swamp" was a great CD, stands up to "Centerfield" easy...in fact, it kills "Centerfield."


More ideas have come for "Silk Road Days," and I'm going to be adding more to the front of the plot.  This book could go a bit longer than the others I've written.  Not a series, at least not yet.  I gotta see where this thing goes.  I have no idea.


Damn, it's a nice day out there.  Sun's out, gonna be like 80 today, if not hotter.  Back to WITF Thursday and Friday for this...so I'll again be awakening at 2:30 in the morning soon.  Joy.


But now I've a couple days off.  What to do, what to do?  Well, I have a lot to do.  My brain needs to digest more stuff from the job, and I have to arrange and schedule so much shit.


"I Me Mine"  --  The Beatles (the Let it Be Naked version).


With that, I gotta do something...crash, burn, something........................

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Week in Review (and the Banshee Screams of Various Creatures)...

Well, if that didn't get your attention, I'm not sure what will.  I've managed to crawl from the wreckage of the past week, and can now look back with some satisfaction at how things went.


Another two hours yesterday as the host for "Morning Edition" on WITF.  Getting better, feeling a lot more comfortable in this position.  I'll be back in next week for a few days, as I get my hands on more of the levers and figure out how to do all of it.


Tim Lambert has been quite a patient master, and I appreciate his calmness under pressure.  The situation has now become clear, as to how I suddenly got an opportunity at a job I was passed over for.


Since Tim is now WITF's News Director, he is sitting in on the mornings, and basically doing two jobs and burning the candle at both ends.  I've become the #2, and will continue to sit in on the mornings for a time.  The new guy is coming over from an area TV station, and he's got business to finish with them, before he can assume the host position.


I have never met him, but he is well regarded and respected, and will do damn well, I'm sure.  I'm just happy to get the shot I am, so it's cool.


Got nice compliments from friends and colleagues, and I'm very relieved for that.  If I was fucking up, I'd hear about it!


So yeah, a very relieved individual I am, and I can actually take a little pride in a job done.  Not perfect; I'd give my grade a B or a B-, but that's not bad for a starter.


Also got a chance to play instrumental music from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters' new CD, Spreading the Love during the tops of the hours.  That's what you were mostly hearing on :58 break if you were listening...great stuff.


That said...I also did a lot of writing in my brain for "Silk Road Days."  Got a little more out yesterday, and have embarked on Chapter 17; still not sure how this is gonna turn out.  No idea.


Gotta get back to it; have the Senators game on 1460 the Ticket tonight, which should be reasonably good.  Then another Weekend from Hell.


At the Office, I heard the banshee screams of a small bipedal creature; not a complete day without that.


Trying to figure out the rest of what I'm supposed to be doing...things are weird like that.  Anyway, feeling pretty well chuffed that I got the worst part of the training over, and I gotta stay cool for the next steps.


I also have to continue the writing, and carry on with the other radio things...KYW Sports Saturday and Sunday, then the Bears playoff on the Ticket, and then early Monday at WITF...this is calling jobbing.  When you don't have a full-time gig, you take the work you can get.


Life goes on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Welcome to Public Radio

Or perhaps, it's welcome back to live, living radio...I passed my "Stern Test," as I noted yesterday on WITF as the local host for "Morning Edition."  I give myself a B-, as there were some glitches, but for the most part I have to say I am relieved.


If I'd not done well, I would be writing in a very different vein right now.  I'd be pissed off at myself.  But no, training kicked in pretty well.


My big thanks to Tim Lambert for being so patient and level-headed; he is in fact one of the more calm individuals in the building, and I appreciate it very much.


I was to do the first hour of the program, which ended up being most of the first two.  I'm still a little hazy about some of the prep work, but I got a little more of it down today.  There is an awful lot involved, but now I've been able to put my hands on a few other bits, and that helped a lot.


Tim made a very interesting and telling comment; he could tell how nervous and worried I was, but once the mic went on, I was smooth.  Nice. (Big sigh of relief).


As I've said, timing is very big when you're dealing with the network, but the log has all the times you need to hit.  How you get there is up to you; usually that's pretty easy to figure out, but there is for me a fair amount of checking myself, and reordering my brain to do things in a specific way.


Missed a couple of things here and there, but those are recoverable; and there's always little quirks about NPR that you need to know about.  Again, you learn as you go.


Tim stepped in at 5:30, due to a new local series that had to run, but now I kind of know what that's about.  He felt comfortable enough to let me run the second hour, which was very cool.  As he said, you have to swim a bit more.


So...I do the first two hours tomorrow morning.  Still nervous, but I have a little better handle on logistics and mechanics.  I actually feel relieved, and I don't think I did that bad a job.  I am unfailingly my own worst critic; actually, that is a failing of mine, because I am often very critical of my work, in any aspect.  I've learned over the years to be a bit more careful about trashing myself and my abilities.  As you get older, you get more calmed about stuff.


Of course, I woke up at 2 am, with a killer headache, that felt like bloody migraine was coming on.  Thankfully, Aleve combined with caffeine did the trick.  I was pretty numb upstairs at around 4:30, but I'd rather be that than squinting and barely able to read anything.


No, it went alright.  I feel better, safer, and I have a new challenge ahead. Public Radio, NPR, all that is stuff I have listened to for many years, but even being in the business, it's hard to tell how things run until you actually experience it.  It's not as easy as it looks or sounds.


At the same time, it is do-able.  If I can, anyone can.  


Okay, my motivational speech is over.  Need to crash sometime along; found time to write more on "Silk Road Days," and I have more ideas about building that story up so it works.  That is going to be a slow one; my first drafts can take weeks or days, depending on how into it I am, and how cogent an idea is in my brain.  Doesn't always happen.


So tomorrow, we go at it again.  Feeling ready to make this the next step in my career; yes, I'm a backup, but it's cool.  I am very happy to get this opportunity, and again, do something I've not done before.  A good stretch of my skill and my brains...whatever's left of them, anyway.


Oh...my old friend Casey tells me that those bright font colors are giving her a headache.  I used those because I couldn't see darker ones against the background myself.  Hopefully this is better.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Next Stern Test

Talk about daggers!


You would think there's no pressure on me, just sitting in WITF's training studio to train for "Morning Edition."


WRONG.


There is a lot to do before you even open the mic in the business of radio.  A little thing called "prep time."


As I'm learning a whole new system, I've been awakening at 2:30 am to get ready for this.  I am if anything a firm believer in being on time, early if you can.  Generally, the local host does not need to get in until about 4, but I do need to get up, get dressed, get coffee, drive 30 miles, etc.  Usually I'm awake by then.


Of course, I couldn't sleep last night; readjusting the body clock at my age does not go over so well.  So I did not sleep; my cats did not help.


Qi shakes the entire bed when he scratches himself, because he is so big.  Also, he still has this obsessive-compulsive need to scratch himself to the point he's mutilating himself.  We don't know why; I'm gonna de-flea the little rodents today, but that doesn't seem to stop him.


Then Namid feels the need to be dominant female, and launches attacks at Sofia every chance she gets.  To Sofia, it's a game, which involves making as much noise as humanly possible while all 14 pounds of Namid galumphs after her to no avail.


Okay...back to it.  In the air studio, there's a lot to download, to set up, to prepare for.  Lots of buttons to push, to pre-set, to do this and that to.  It must all be right before you go; you hope.


With the new technology not only comes the margin for a comedy of errors, but also a darkly-humorous look at the Web.  We need web pages for certain things; wonderful, when certain ones don't work.  Ever.


Welcome to radio, folks; where even the best equipped of stations have breakdowns of the most simple of things.


Don't ever take your Internet for granted, friends...ever.


Then at the news desk, you need to see what's run yesterday, what was killed (no longer useable), what's new on the wire.


Now...you might think WITF is hoity-toity, because we generally don't do crime stories.  The axiom "If it bleeds, it leads" is not always the case here.  Not because we're worried about the sensitivities of our dear listeners, but because we look for more than ambulance chasing stuff.  Years ago, I would have called Bullshit, but I can see why there's a different view of it now.


Wow...maturity?  C'est possible?


Basically, it's get everything together and ready before you go in there, because you're not gonna have much time to do anything else.  Timing is the key for "M.E.," in that you have to know what the network is gonna do, and when.  They are generally very good at that.


The audience changes, too;  the 5 am audience is not the same as the 7 am, by and large.  At least we don't seem to believe so; anyway there's always someone listening.


Anyway...after a semi-disastrous first hour of the dry run, I slowly began to pick it up.  Still not 100% right on everything, and I am having to retrain my mind to think in a different way.


It's a mad world, up there.


Right now, I'm exhausted.  I arrived at the Office just in time for the doors to open, and the early crowd is here.  CP is in need of an audience; I recently learned where most of his former audience went, but I shan't say.


My brain and body both tell me I should just head home and crash.  Still who knows when I'd wake up?  I don't know how sane I'm going to be at the end of all this.


Oh, interesting...now, we use instrumental music at times, like the network does.  Most people are not discriminating about what they use as a bed, for their traffic reports, etc.


Me, I'm not like that.  As a former DJ and musician, I have ulterior motives.  I don't know if I'm going to be allowed to use my music tomorrow, but suffice to say it's not bad stuff.


I used Ronnie Earl's "Spreading the Love," his new one...beautiful instrumental guitar blues, jazz and other stuff.  Ronnie is the finest guitarist ever...and that's to me a fact.


Also picked up a semi-local guitarist.  Eric Astor has a CD that he put out about two years ago; I think he's from around here.  Anyway, that CD, "Coolfire," just sat in the rack all this time, and I finally took a chance.


Great stuff.  Eric Johnson influence to be sure; and he covers Chick Corea's "Spain."  Nice.


I'm gonna try and slip those in tomorrow...heh...heh...heh.


I will now be nervous as all hell leading up to this.  This is a big deal; it's not a sports report, this is live action and on a station where people expect an awful lot.  I'm up for it.  Wish me luck.



Monday, April 18, 2011

The Week from Hell...is just a few hours away...

Here it comes!  But first, my updated link at my agent's site:


http://sullivanmaxx.com/clients/gates-tory/


As you'll note, there's a lot of stuff I'm working on, writing, have written, and so forth.  Look about and you will see a very neat little site, and I'm quite thrilled to have them in my corner.


That said:  I've spent most of the midday writing out what I hope is a good guide book for my training at WITF, which starts early tomorrow.  It's back to "Morning Edition" training, and I hope to be proficient enough to get a shot at an hour or so on the air.


I've felt incredibly confused and overwhelmed at points, when I tried to synthesize more than one set of notes on this.  This includes a guide on the things you need to do and say, plus the WITF program log, which are two very different documents.


Then there's my notes; now I'm hopeful I've got the guidelines down so I don't sound a complete twat in the production studio tomorrow.


I'll be tanked up on coffee and liquid crack ~URRR!~ Amp, or its equivalent.  Don't get me wrong; I love Monster energy drinks, which was Ahltyrra's unofficial sponsor as certain people in the band trained on it.


Coffee Monsters are fucking wonderful, but also expensive.  Amp is sold in the vending machines at ITF, and they're essentially the same stuff in Monster.  Also cheaper, mind.


Anyway...I'm gonna be a wreck, but I've got a little better handle on things.  I'll be in early to make sure I'm on it.


The Week from Hell is coming...I'll be doing three days of training, then I've got a Senators game at the Ticket on Friday, two days of WITF/KYW sports work, and oh yes, a Bears playoff game at the Ticket on Sunday as well!


This the most paying work I've had in over a year!  Nice.


Walkman stuff...Doyle Bramhall, Senior's version of "Baby What You Want Me To Do" is done...Stones doing "Ventilator Blues" is running.  Walkman been running over time the past two or three hours.


I'm exhausted, and it's not even 2:30 in the afternoon.  In 12 hours I need to be up to get ready for another day in the studio.  Work, work and more work...


The writing is not on hold.  "Silk Road Days" is going through my brain as I try to figure the next step for Chapter 16, and how I'm going to get everything in.  This could be one long book, or perhaps I can fit it all in.  I've no idea.  It could be another damned series, who knows?


I have so much stuff piled up and ready to go; but we need to get that first one done.  Also need to get hold of Riz (she of the Letters from the Disgruntled Fringe blog), and Jen (our intrepid artist and GameStop expert).  


Rargh...need to figure out what else I'm doing here.  This is life, as we know it...always on edge and not always that certain.  Feh!


"Beautiful Swimmers," by Jimmy Buffett now...very different.  Onward...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Long Week, and Another Week from Hell is Coming...

Well, another week has passed.  It has been a strange one for me, where to begin?

First, I have been working hard on "Silk Road Days."  I'm warming to the return to the Japan/Anime/YA Fiction thing, and I think once the framework of the initial script is done, I can go further and figure out where it is all going.

15 chapters are down as of this evening; I do not know how long it will take to finish.  And then there's the gaps that need to be filled in, probably a lot of those.

TrafficTalk, which I've explained in the past, has announced a suspension of operations.  So, I will not need to be in front of a computer in the afternoons for the foreseeable future.  I had guessed we were headed there.  At the moment, talks are continuing about technical aspects of the service and how it can be used. 

This frees me up to go hustle about and add some additional radio work, hopefully.  I did train briefly last week at Clear Channel Harrisburg (WTKT-AM 1460 the Ticket) on the Senators baseball games.  Pretty easy; and I'm hoping for some more hours.

WITF is ready to start training me again this week on "Morning Edition."  I'll do three days of it, and possibly get on the air for a little...daggers.

This is gonna be tough, and I have to be ready to do it right and well.  Lot of timing issues as I've said in the past, but we'll see how it goes.  I'm optimistic.

The Dharma Fools have been quiet, as again we have become scattered.  I know we will return to form, and I must be patient.  Meant to happen when it does.

My friend Riz has finally convinced me to go to Pittsburgh in May and see Jim Jeffries at the Improv!  I'll go for a Friday nighter, because I have to be back the next day.  Also an ulterior motive of seeing an old friend who lives out that way.  Should be interesting if I can pull it all together.

Riz has lost her job; blessing or a curse, not sure.  It is time for her to consider the next move of her life and perhaps reinvent herself, but she knows what she's doing.  All good.

Urg.  Exhausted; must be up early again for the KYW thing...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday...Urgh

It has been one long week.  I've worked more this week than I have in a year and a half, in which I actually made money.  

Training at WITF was very long, but with Pledge Week, that's off until next week.  At least I have a beginning, and can go from there.  I rather enjoy the challenge of doing something I've never done before, and it's worth doing on a number of levels.  

A quiet weekend on the KYW front, and I got a chance to produce a Harrisburg Senators game at the Ticket.  So keeping my hand in has its benefits.

New book, "Silk Road Days" is coming along in fits and starts.  My new strategy has been to go back over the early part (100+ pages now) and then rewrite and add stuff that's missing.  There's a lot missing right now.

I need to expand the concept, and see what I can do with it.  I do like some of it, but the rest I can't get to work cohesively with the others.

The Dharma Fools did not get together last night; everyone busy or uncommunicative, so that's that.  We'll try again this week.

Very slow in terms of trying to get my life back in gear.  But that's pretty normal I suppose.  We all go through times when it does get slow, and you feel unable to get started properly.

Sofia is finally coming home today, I hope.  She has been at the vet five days, with some sort of internal problem.  She had a terrible case of heaves, and couldn't keep food down.  Also got dehydrated.  Vet says she's done all right and is much better, but no one knows what made her act like that.

None of the others were sick, so she may have just caught something.

Too much to do, must get to it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Another Week, Interesting Writing Things, and Foster & Lloyd Reunite!

It's been a long and busy week for me, so blogging has not been an option.  I really don't have very long right now, as I have to hit the road and get up to WITF.  I have a brief recording session with a friend of mine, then it's gonna be a long night doing sports for KYW Radio.


Reason Being:  the Philadelphia Union are in Los Angeles.  Kickoff vs. David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the Galaxy is 10:30 pm.  Joy.


Now you (along with Jim Rome) might ask, "Why worry about soccer?"  Reason to; the Union are only in their second season, and opened the year 2-and-0.  LA is gonna be their toughest test, and this team has only scored two goals.  But staying late means getting paid more.


I went through two exhausting mornings of training at WITF on "Morning Edition."  I'm being trained as a backup for the program; there is a lot of timing issue stuff to deal with.  It's not as easy as it sounds, if you've ever listened to NPR for very long.


It means being there at 4 am, and what follows is five hours of intense, mindful work.  But this is a challenge I never had, and I'm glad to get a shot at it.


Oh yeah...the Phillies won yesterday, very nice.  They play tonight, and the Sixers are on the road, oh busy I'll be.


I was at Clear Channel last night to do the Bears game.  And if you read my previous blog, you'll recall how THAT ended out.


Tonight, much easier and better.  Back in the original studio, a much easier time of things, and ... cell phone call, update coming!


***


Radio Update


***


Art has called just now...for now, we have learned what caused the production room control board to fritz out like it did last Saturday.  Or at least we have a solution.


This morning, they ran a test, and it didn't work.  At all.  I was not hallucinating.


The engineer says to go somewhere in or under the control board (?!?) and find the power switch.  Turn it off, wait 30 seconds, and turn it on again.


Okay...it rebooted.  It worked.  You cannot however do this during a live broadcast...SLAMS HEAD ON DESK.


I'm sure Art is doing plenty of that now.


Anyway, I've been somewhat vindicated. 


Now...my agent informs me via the quarterly report that another publisher, an e-book publisher is "reading" Sweet Dreams:  Searching for Roy Buchanan.  Coolness.  Doesn't mean anything yet, but I'm encouraged.


My new work is called "Silk Road Days," and I have to consider carefully how to make this story a bit different than all the other Japanese anime/fiction stuff out there.


Going to have to work a lot on character development and other weird things.  But I think it will turn out well.  


Too much to do today, tonight, tomorrow...same old.


Oh...Foster & Lloyd are back!  They have not recorded in 20 years, but a new album is coming out this spring!  


Great music, singer/songwriters of the New Country movement in the late 80's (not the muck being shit out Nashville's ass since 1991!); they still wrote together all this time, and I'm glad as hell they're back.  Can't wait to hear what they do.


Now I gotta get going!