Archive for April, 2010

Ehh Change of Plans slightly

April 23, 2010

Looks like I'll be making a pit stop here in September.

So yeah. I talked to my sister Erica last night and we are both really excited for my trip down. Through talking with her she helped me figure out how to make my trip cheaper and in turn also more fun. Sorry Washington DC and Chicago it looks like there is a new plan. Amtrak has a train that goes directly from Penn Station to New Orleans. Erica loves New Orleans. Her idea was she and her boyfriend Dan would drive towards there from Houston, Erica would drop Dan off to visit his family and then she and I would have a fabulous girls vacation out in New Orleans and then drive back to Houston. I stay there for a while and then take a plane (yeah I dont wanna but its seriously a cheaper alternative) back home. This trip is going to be a blast I can NOT wait! My sister has been nothing but psyching me up for this trip. I cant imagine all the fun its gonna be.

My Trip to Houston, Texas

April 22, 2010

I will be on this Texas Eagle in September if all goes well.

So the goal for September is to get down to Houston, Texas to see my sister Erica and my Dad. My idea is to take a train down. A lot of people think I’m crazy. Yeah thats a given, anyone who knows me knows Im a bit off. That’s beside the point peeps.

Look, when I go to Puerto Rico, I go on a plane. I hate taking planes. Im terrified of them but I DO take them. I know the flight to Texas is shorter but the fact is, I’ve always wanted to take a train across the country. I have always been a huge fan of road trips and scenic routes. If I had the money and the time I would go on road trips more often. A friend of Jay’s actually drove from Peru allllll the way to Massachusets. Everyone including her said it was crazy but just the thought of it made me excited! I think thats so cool. I mean she struggled cuz she had no radio and I dont think any air conditioning which yeah that would suck. If I were a better driver I would so do that. In fact I do know eventually I want to take brush up courses just so i can stop feeling the need to wish that more of my friends had cars. I should just shut up, take my courses, and get my own. Im a scaredy cat though. I own that. Hence the reason Im hesitant lol.

But back to trains!

When Erica told me that my dad wasn’t doing too well I know I had to go down. I was just going to suffer through taking a plane but the idea of taking one by myself was not my idea of fun at all. Im sorry but when Im on a plane I freak out looking out the window. I dont wanna. Not only does the height weird me out but wtf, all I see are clouds, after a few hours, thats boring as hell. I grew up in Long Island while the rest of my family that lived here in NY lived out in the city. Therefore taking the Long Island Rail Road became the transportation of choice. Sure there is some downsides to taking a train. I hated the crowding of it. We would always get on the train during rush hour because it took a few hours to get to the city so it would be filled to capacity and would smell like beer. Despite that, omg I loved it. I loved that because the seats were more comfy than a subway car I could sleep easier, I loved that there was a bathroom (it was gross but still available), because it would arrive hourly there would be regulars on the train that would become your friend.

The best part? I loved watching the scenery pass by. Living where I lived in Long Island it was the ghetto suburb. Brentwood sucked. There were parts that were beautiful but the train didnt go anywhere near that so whenever I was coming home the smile just disappeared. You saw different parts of the island and it was beautiful. From the beautiful forests, grasslands, to the beautiful homes, highways, towns with big clock towers, I loved it. My imagination would run wild of what life would be like in those towns.

I still do that. I dont go to the island like I used to but when I do I just look in awe and think to myself “Omg I forgot there were parts of Long Island that looked like this!”. Take the Babylon train and look out the window as you go into Rockville Centre. OMG just beautiful!

So, lately, I’ve just been feeling that I need some time to discover things. I looked at Amtrak just for fun and saw that the train doesnt go DIRECTLY to Houston Texas but it makes stops. Not only can you stretch your legs out, but you have a few hours to kill. Therefore I can take a train from New York to Washington DC, do some sightseeing, eat lunch, then get on the train headed to Chicago. By the next day I can do some sightseeing in Chicago and then get back on the train and sleep that night on a bed and get to Texas. All in all about 48 hours. Its a long trek but I see it as a challenge and it seems exciting to me.

I decided, this would be fun and it would be more fun to DOCUMENT IT!! I have a video camera and I find it to be a good enough reason to use it. I would document my journey, talk about what I am going through, see how my family down in Texas is, you name it I can do it.

I figured out how much round trip amtrak service would be. About 850 bucks. Yeah its alot. However I think it would be worth the money. I also think this journey would be a time for me to figure myself out. I have a lot of internal soul searching to do. Maybe I need this time to see what Im capable of. If I can handle this journey and enjoy it, I can handle others and I know that will put me in a good head space.

Now to get the money… thats the hard part lol.

Woohoo!! One less worry!!!

April 15, 2010

Just look at the many possibilities!

So I wanted to discuss something thats truly been bugging me lately. I just want to preface it with, “if any of my friends or acquaintances feel offended or angered by my way of thinking, I respect your opinion but please shove it up your ass since this is a blog about how I PERSONALLY feel” That being said….

I got my EBT Card! I actually got it a few days ago but they just put the money on it now so woohoo! For those of you who dont know what an EBT card is, its basically food stamps. The term food stamps is odd now since they no longer give you actual stamps of money specifically designed for buying food and instead just give you a card you can swipe at the store. I have a lot to say about this.

I am embarrassed that I am on it, yet extremely thankful.

I have friends who tell me I shouldnt be embarrassed and they are right. I need help right now and this will help me. The thing about it is, Ive just noticed more and more people on facebook, people who know me and otherwise, LIKE me, just talk horrible horrible shit about the idea of public assistance. Im talking people who know I am struggling and really cant go out and party like I would like. People who know I am busted when it comes to getting a metrocard even, have been just insisting its horrible that their tax money goes into public assistance.

I dont think they realize how insulting and hurtful it is to read that. One of the main reasons is because I GET it. I totally understand how you work hard for your money and it should be yours. I understand that but to say that AND say how people who are having a hard time making ends meet dont deserve your money or your help? Really?

I mean ok, I can tell you first hand how annoying it is to see so many people on public assistance who truly and clearly DONT deserve it. Ive seen them. Ive been to the offices for public assistance quite a few times and trust me I know what you are talking about. I see people claiming they are broke meanwhile own blackberrys and laptops and other expensive techno that really isnt a necessity . I cant count the number of times Ive been on line at the grocery behind a snotty posh looking woman with tons of jewelry on and a fur coat and a gucci bag and the next thing you see is her pulling out her ebt card. Yes, this has happened a lot in my neighborhood of Rego Park. The one woman I am talking about even rides in a limo, Im not even joking. Im pretty sure shes russian mob but whatever… my point is, I see the injustice of the situation. There are people on it that dont deserve it. I also dont agree with people who have bad criminal records getting it too. I mean if you victimize people why should the people help you. I get that line of reasoning too.

HOWEVER experiencing the trials and tribulations of getting this help (because I got news for you people who are NOT on it, its not as easy as you think to get it) for every one douchenozzle in there that clearly doesnt need the help, there are 3 homeless men with mental issues that has no one helping them get what they need done, there are women with 2 kids by themselves crying at the front desk asking for help, there are people who have their heads down in shame because they actually HAD a good job and they dont feel they belong there because they thought just like YOU did. That their money is their own and people who dont have jobs shouldnt get the help because they arent working for it. Well, now they dont have jobs and cant get jobs and dont know how they got in this situation. The look of fear, confusing, shame, anger, blankness, is everywhere. No one in those offices is happy. No one is in there acting like they are getting something over on anyone. Then there is someone like me, who has tried to get a real job but just hasnt been able to. I live with my mom who supports me even when she SHOULD be retired because shes 68 years old and tired. I sleep on a futon in my moms one bedroom apartment cuz we cant afford a regular one. When you dont have enough money to buy tons of food you end up buying more rice and pasta ingredients because those dishes last for days so you end up saving money and when you are a type 2 diabetic, rice and pasta arent the healthiest things to eat. The job I DO have doesnt pay me as often as it should and I am suffering. I dont like it. I hate depending on others for help. But I have to.

So, yes I dont like being on public assistance but today is one of the happiest days Ive had in a long while because I am going to be able buy food thats healthy and make good dishes. And I am honored and thankful I have an EBT Card.

For those of you who are annoyed Im taking your tax dollars, dont worry. I am looking for work and I will pay my taxes so it will come back to you somehow. Eventually one day years from now I will make enough money that I will move out of this country so you wont have to worry about me getting a dime of your money anymore. In the meantime I am off to the city to go to Whole Foods, (they dont have one by me) Rock On!!

Music Venue Review: Brooklyn Beauty Bar

April 4, 2010

Nice lookin' place, eh?

I really gotta say it pains me to make this review. This review is personal and my own personal dealings have effected my review so I will do my best to not go off on a rant. So here it goes.

The Beauty Bar in itself is a chain venue. There are quite a few throughout the United States. There are two here in New York City, one in Austin, two more in California, and I think one in Vegas. Its a very clever idea: take an old beauty parlor and turn it into a bar. At least thats how it started. I dont believe the newer ones are old hollowed out beauty salons but they have the cool 1960’s and 1970’d salon decor which is cool. The chairs have the hair dryers on them, the lights by the bar are old school hair dryers, its all very hip looking. The bar also has downright amazing happy hour prices. Here in New York City a red bull and vodka can go between 8 to 12 bucks but at happy hour its only 4 bucks there. I mean, if you are a New Yorker, thats fucking cheap!

As for a music venue… ok. So the owner or wannabe owner (I really dont know what that dude is to be honest) was a genuinely nice guy who really wants to have live performers at his venue. Extremely open to ideas and what not. The problem is, it was very clear that this venue is mainly a place for djs to perform and not accustomed to dealing with live acts. There is no sound guy so musicians are on their own when it comes to figuring out how to set up their sound. The stage is extremely small right by the front door and your back is toward the window. That in itself to me is not a bad thing though. I like playing by the window cuz it draws a crowd. Its funny seeing some guy just walking down the street then stop in his tracks, stare really close up into the window, and then start jamming, then walk away like nothing happened haha. Its cool. This venue is best for musicians who are acoustic but yes some full bands perform but the whole band cant be on the stage, the drums would take up about 60% of the space.

So let me figure out how to say this:

Ok if you are musician trying to book a gig. I highly suggest… no. See they primarily tend to seek out people willing to book the entire night. I personally love that idea. It guarantees at least SOMEONE going to your show, whether its one person or 30 people. Plus your friends are there and its comfortable to have fellow musicians supporting you. Does it work out that way all the time? No but still its a good idea and we were down for it. However Beauty Bar really didnt handle this the right way. Initially it went great. However, the “Owner” who booked us to book the shows NEVER paid us, except in drink tickets, never really promoted our shows the way they promoted their other nights, and was really not good at calling people back. I mean if you want stuff done you have to step up and do your job and he was really unavailable. He also didnt know how to interract with musicians. If you own a venue and you happen to NOT enjoy the person performing, you make note and decide whether or not you will have them back. However, you DONT go up to them and tell them to leave. Especially if you had a draw of people and they all end up leaving WITH you. I mean thats just not a way to make money. Also if there are problems you dont leave your bartenders in charge. They arent sound technicians either and there is always going to be miscommunication. I found it funny that once we actually started drawing in a crowd the bartenders started giving us an attitude after generally being really great with us. They expected us to do the job of a sound guy and tried to bring up “professionalism” when they pay us in alcohol. They are not on the ball with scheduling either. They booked a dj at an hour when we still had a band going on and we were not notified yet expected to cancel their set which was highly unacceptable nor professional. It ended in drama which of course anyone who SHOULD be in charge was NOT there to monitor or control.

If its just you thats performing, then I guess its worth taking a chance and performing but not once a week like we did. Eventually that bridge burns through bad management.

However, if you are a patron who just wants to hear some good music and have cheap drinks and dont mind going to a slowly gentrifying area thats not the nicest of areas but still halfway decent (the JMZ to Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick) then feel free to stop on by. The happy hour bartender, Rose, is a sweetie. The after hours bartender Ashley, is a bitch. You can get on her good side but I found it tiring to figure out when that would be.