Tag: nj

Trip Day 2: Walked Around, Swam Around, and Hung Around – Cruise in T-Minus 12ish Hours

Trip Day 2: Walked Around, Swam Around, and Hung Around – Cruise in T-Minus 12ish Hours

I’ve never been great at just slowing down and “doing nothing.”

I’ve always had to keep myself busy and have something to do, but today was a nice change in that it was a very chill and relaxing day. My brother and I started out by heading to the boardwalk at Seaside just to see what was open. Turns out not much was, but it was still a beautiful day for a walk.

The Seaside Boardwalk in the morning

We didn’t go to the beach there, since there was a fee to do so. I believe it was around $8 for a day pass…  We wound up going to the beach later on that day, but I couldn’t help stopping to snap a nice panoramic of the view from there.

I can only imagine what that place looks like at the height of the season, fully packed with beachgoers. It’s funny… I’ve lived in NJ for most of my life, but never really did the beach thing down the shore that much.

After the walk, we headed back to the house and to the beach down the street. Took a nice dip in the water, and then back for dinner, and a quiet night in since I wanted to be in bed early… tomorrow’s a big day.

Tomorrow, I board Anthem of the Seas!



Trip Day 1: Made It to NJ, Cruise in T-36ish hours

Trip Day 1: Made It to NJ, Cruise in T-36ish hours

It’s been a long day. I woke up at 3:30am Central time, and I’m writing this from my phone at 10:30pm Eastern Time from my brother’s house in Toms River, NJ.

The flight here was uneventful aside from some nasty turbulence; nothing that was overly scary. After watching a lot of stuff on planes and learning how tough they are in their construction, I’m really not fazed when the ride is bumpy. Those planes are built to take quite the beating, far more than any ordinary turbulence. 

It took a little while to get my rental car, but I was finally on the road by about 12:30 and made it here just before 2-ish. I didn’t care about the waiting, I’m a pretty easygoing guy to begin with, and hey I’m on vacation. 

I’m staying with my brother for a few days, and after having dinner with my cousin and her daughter, it’s time to wind this day down. I’m feeling the whole “being up for a long time” thing… so I’ll keep this one short and sweet for now. 

I’ll share this beautiful view to end things with:

I’ve Been Busy in the Studio This Year

I’ve Been Busy in the Studio This Year

So far, 2017 has definitely been “The Year of the Studio”

I’ve been quite busy making music, and it feels great! First, with Tera Johnson’s album HOME coming out last month, now I’ve just added another to my list of releases. Another long time friend from college, Aaron Christenson has just released the first of many EP’s entitled “I Am Disaster” recorded by yours truly, in-house at my studio, JBRecording.  I also write a blog post about Aaron’s new release, in which you can also listen to the tracks we had done together. 

Aaron and I will be collaborating on 3 more tracks over the summer, so be sure to stay tuned for those coming up later on.  

Getting heated about the heat

Getting heated about the heat

I need to vent.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist… I figure if a blog post has a picture of some variety it makes it something a bit more interesting. No? Oh well, I thought it was funny. I need to “vent”, so there’s a picture of a vent…okay, never mind.

Let’s go back in time just a bit, to March 2010. I’d been looking around at different apartment complexes, and narrowed it down to a few within a short drive of my mom and brother’s place. Once I found the one where I currently am living, I was excited to get my paperwork in order and to move in. But, once I did move in I found the one extremely annoying thing about my apartment that really bugs me.

So, the papers are signed, I’ve got the keys, and I’ve come in to have a look around before I move in. The wood floors are all shiny, I have a new refrigerator, and I can start moving in any time. Great! So, I’m looking around, and I can’t find the thermostat, since it was a little toasty in the apartment.

A friend suggested I look on the baseboard heater things to see if there was a controller, and sure enough I found one! Or, I found one that…kind of looked like it may have been one at one time or another.

I called the rental office, and asked if someone could come to repair the thermostat, and I then found out, the hard way, that which I wished I’d asked initially.

A friendly voice on the other end of the phone said to me, “There used to be a thermostat there, but it was removed a few years ago and all apartments heat is now controlled from a central location.”

What?! I have no control over my heat?! WTF!

I then found out this was common among apartments…


Now, back to the present; I got my rent bill, and sometimes included with the bill will be some sort of flyer or letter from the landlord. This time around, we had something talking about “Getting ready for Winter” – the letter stated that all of the snow removal apparatus was ready, they were stocked up on salt and whatnot, blah blah blah, but then there was a section about “What you could do to get ready for winter”

This is when I started laughing. Uncontrollably.

One of the lines stated “To ensure proper heating of your apartment, please remove all window air conditioners.”  (and they made sure to bold and underline this part too)

Proper heating of my apartment?!

That’s damn hilarious. I can’t properly heat my apartment, because with the windows closed it makes an oven look like Antarctica. I have to have the windows open, and even that doesn’t help all the time. Sometimes I will need to use the fan mode on my A/C units to get adequate air flow to make the environment habitable. Sometimes when it’s been below 50 outside I’ve even had to use the actual A/C component since it was just too damn hot in my room.

So, in response to that request to remove my air conditioner, in a word:

No. In more than one word: “To properly heat my apartment, give me a damn thermostat. Until then, you can either come remove them yourself (which I’ll just put them back when you’re not looking), or shut up.” 

I’m not bitter, honest. Really.

I honestly don’t see how removing the window units will “ensure proper heating”  – the two have nothing to do with one another.

There is another apartment complex just down the street from where I live now, I may look at it as an option if the rent goes up too much when my lease renewal comes up. The caveat, though, is these apartments rely more on electricity, but have lower rent as a result since none of the utilities are included (I need clarification on that) – so, theoretically, I may be able to pay for exactly what I want/need and not have to feel like a broiling chicken when I’m watching TV… I don’t know. I really don’t feel like moving again, but I also don’t feel like experiencing the inside of a sauna just when I’m trying to relax in the sanctity of my home.

Okay, rant over, thank you for letting me get this all out.

One of my new favourite words

One of my new favourite words

The word is “egregious”, or “extraordinarily bad.” 

I was trying to post a tweet this morning and, as usual, I rather quickly eclipsed the 140-character limit, hence I’m writing this here. Had I been able to post it, it would have looked something like this: 

“I need to live somewhere in the middle of nowhere, maybe the Midwest. What I hate most about NJ is the egregiously high costs of living.” 

I lived in the Midwest for two years – it wasn’t


 but it certainly was different. The pace of things is a lot slower, people seem to be more mellow and they just do what they do. I’ve always noticed an “angst” with many East Coasters, a certain “gotta get there, gotta do this, gotta go” anxiousness that doesn’t seem to exist as you move farther away from this area. When I lived out there, people told me they could see it in my behaviors and actions, they could tell I “wasn’t from around there.” 

I think I know why those Mid-Western farmer folk are so pleasant: they don’t have to pay an arm and a leg, and the other leg, a kidney, half their brain, a nostril, and an eyeball for a roof over their heads. They get to keep their limbs, and even use them from time to time (I wonder what that’s like.) Maybe I need to pick up another 4 jobs and work 500 hours each week to be comfortable…. looks like that may be the secret to the truth of a reality I was hoping wasn’t actually a reality.

Oh, and one more question… why do most employers pay their workers every two weeks instead of every week? I’ve never understood that.

Okay, I’m done now. Rant over.

Friends can make anything fun

Friends can make anything fun

I had a sudden opportunity come up earlier today that prompted me to pack up my camera gear and head into New York City. I had the opportunity to meet a famous photographer; someone whose photographic work has inspired me, and whom I’ve been trying to meet from other opportunities but things hadn’t worked out, mostly due to scheduling conflicts. I figured it was a nice day, and I had the evening free so I’d try to make it. Little did I know what I was in for. The details of the event he was at were very informally explained to me by a friend at the camera shop I usually go to. He was attending this event as well, and he simply told me to go into “Times Square.” I knew nothing about what was going on, except to bring my camera and come in to Times Square for an informal shoot during which I could meet this famous photographer.

I left my apartment around 4ish, and tried to contact my photo-store friend to find out whereabouts he was. No luck. After a few texts (safely executed during the trip down there, of course.) I figured I’d give Ash a call and see what he was up to, since I was heading into the city and I hadn’t seen him in a while. Overjoyed at my visiting the city, he decided to rendezvous with me in Midtown. Thank God, but we’ll get there momentarily.

So, 4:30pm I got to the PATH station, finally heard back from my photo-store friend who gave me snarky remarks instead of the information I needed. I didn’t know if it was a scheduled event, or an informal event,  or where it was. I asked if there was a big group and he simply replied with “It’s Times Square.” Sadly that was of no use to me. There was a 5PM group photo (presumably of all the photographers that showed up to this) that I missed because the PATH train took way too long to get in there, but I didn’t really care about missing that so much. I prefer to be behind the camera anyway.

So, about 5:15 I’m finally within walking distance of Times Square, and thus I’m trying to find my photo-store friend to meet up with him as I’d said in our phone chat earlier today. I told him I’d try to meet up with him when I got into the city, and he was excited at that prospect. Sadly, none of my phone calls or texts were answered. So, during my first lap of 42nd and Broadway to 47th and back, I had no luck in finding the gaggle of photographers.

During this entire ordeal, I was getting bumped into left and right by the copious amounts of people there. It was extremely uncomfortable to say the least, and I felt my anxiety starting to get the better of me. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find this event that I was “invited” to; I was in Times Square, with no idea other than that. It was like someone said “Let’s meet in the United States” and ended the conversation there. It’s practically a useless invitation. I learned my lesson, no more spontaneous trips to Times Square on a Saturday in the summer time. Nooooo sir.

At that point I had lost interest in meeting the famous photographer guy, and my photo-store friend was not exactly high on my list. For someone expecting me at an event, I was annoyed at the failure to communicate. Sure, maybe he didn’t feel his phone vibrate, it happens to the best of us. But, if I knew someone was looking for me or I was supposed to meet someone, I’d be a little more attentive to my phone so I’d be able to meet up when the time came to do so. I digress; I figured it was time to see where Ash was, and it turned out he was literally just a few feet away from me. We met up, and hilarity ensued.

Ash had some plans later on in the evening, but had a few hours to kill so we decided to make the best of it and do our own thing, and frankly I had a phenomenal time. We grabbed a Starbucks and had a chat, then proceeded to do 3 more laps of Times Square in an attempt to find this photographic event that I was starting to doubt was even going on at all.

Ironically enough, photo-store guy started texting me again with location updates (and snarky remarks) as to where the mass of photographers were, including the famous guy. Each time we went to the coordinates given, there was no such mass of photographers. I was getting tired of the wild goose chase, and photo-guy’s attitude, so Ash and I took some silly pictures around Rockefeller Center, and then I headed home because I was done wandering around.

I’m really grateful for Ash having been there for me. If I were alone, I’d probably have given up after having some sort of panic attack from the tons of people in Times Square bombarding me from all corners. The jam-packed train rides didn’t help either, but I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my apartment and my bed which awaits me.

The receipt for my first Mac

The receipt for my first Mac

Cleaning out old paperwork sure does turn up some interesting things! This is the receipt for my VERY FIRST MAC!

It was a Mac Classic, and apparently we bought some floppy disks and cables, as well as an Imagewriter dot-matrix printer on June 28th 1991.