I just flew back and forth from the East Coast to LA twice and boy are my arms tired.
Living 3,000 miles away from family can be handy when you’re trying to avoid questions about how your career is going or when you’re going to be making a baby, but when you actually want to visit family and friends it becomes very clear that commuting across the good ol’ US of A on a regular basis is a serious P in the A.
When I first moved to LA, JetBlue seemed to be the go-to airline for bicoastalites, but it seems like they’re whole fun flying brand has gotten a little tired, leaving room for old standards like Delta to step up their game and impress. Delta’s “First Class Junior” (or whatever they call the seating area between first class and coach) had free booze. I’m sure that had something to do with swaying my opinion. Anyway, hi-five to Delta for stepping it up. The flight from LAX to JFK was still way too long to be sitting on the aisle next to a 3 year old girl that LOVES getting up to go to the restroom, but it could have been worse. I did consider whether or not it was cool to consume free cocktails while sitting next to a 3 year old girl, but after her third bathroom trip it, it seemed fair.
One of my biggest in-flight pet peeves is when I start feeling myself dozing off and the person in the window seat starts rubbernecking to see if the restroom is free.
The wife and I had decided early this year that we’d head out to Rhode Island to visit my family. My cousin Ron puts on a pretty big backyard bbq/totally legal fireworks display and I wanted her to attend for the first time. Plus it’d been 9 months since the wedding and we figured it’d be a perfect time to show up not pregnant and let everyone down.
The 4th of July was fun as expected, but the 5th of July was dedicated to cleaning out mom’s garage.
While I was not able to locate my lost Pogo Ball, my brothers and I did manage to find most of our old action figures. My wife, being an ex-librarian, immediately organized them into groups of their own kind, which was helpful, but also a little racist.
I usually try to bring one or two toys from my youth back to LA with me whenever I visit RI. If you’re a newlywed, now is the perfect time to decorating your place with your old toys. Your wife will love it. This trip, Crystar and Leader-1 both expressed an interest in moving to LA for a fresh start.
I’ve been on the LA freelance scene for the past couple years, working mostly on digital-focused marketing campaigns and helping law firms with their AdWords marketing. Freelance life has all the perks ($) and downsides (Where’s the $?) you’d expect, but being your own boss and having time to go to the beach during the day Monday through Friday has been pretty nice (though not leaving the house for days because you’re either busy or feeling guilty about not being busy is the norm.) This past month, I found myself in a freelance lull, while my friend Pete who’s been living out on Nantucket for the past 9ish years found himself under a pile of IT consulting work which he was trying to handle on his own. It seemed like a no-brainer, my next freelance gig was to be an IT consulting gig for Nantucket businesses and summer vacationers.
I learned that laying wire from a basement, through a dining room, and up into a hot, late July restaurant attic felt more rewarding than putting together a 20 page PowerPoint about why or why not to use Pinterest to market to moms.
We set up, fixed and adjusted wireless signals at NIXS Brewpub, Cru, Cisco Brewers, Don Allen Ford and a handful of private residences on the island. I returned to LA with the know-how required to make the wifi reach my bedroom (finally).
Nantucket is an interesting place. I grew up in New England and I’ve spent a lot of time all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but I’d never managed to get out to Nantucket to visit Pete (even though I think he’s been out here about 5 times.) There are barely any chain businesses out on Nantucket (Stop and Shop and Cumberland Farms seem to have slipped in by getting there early.) There are no traffic lights, which seems like it would be fine because of all the roundabouts, but during the high season you will find a lot of LA-esque single lane traffic out there (usually there is a family of tourists on mopeds causing the traffic.) That’s a lot of parentheses.
I was only on Nantucket for 2 weeks, but I’m pretty sure I met everyone on the island (well, everyone that mattered.) This coming Fall and Spring, I will be focused on getting new freelance gigs going or going back to full time agency work (hit me up, recruiters!) Though, I may just find myself back on the ACK looking to fix everyone’s internet.
Ossipee Valley Music Festival
A nice bonus to this ACK gig was that Pete just happens to play guitar in a gypsy band called Coq au Vin (which is pronounced “Coco Van”.) They usually play around a table at a restaurant called Pazzo, or on the patio during a fundraising event, but during my time there, all 7 members of Coq au Vin were going to venture off island to head up to the Ossipee Valley Music Festival in Maine.
And I was their roadie.
Being a gypsy band roadie is not that hard. From my brief stint, I can tell you that it involves incorrectly restringing guitars, taking lots of iPhone video, and carrying a couple guitars and a trumpet on and off stage. You may be called upon to find a blanket for the violin player during their strolling set.
There were some amazing acts in the Ossipee Valley that weekend. Standouts were The Wood Brothers (I liked them so much I Amazon Prime’d a melodica the next day) and The Carper Family featuring Cindy Cashdollar. The real magic happened at the after-hours hoedown and at the camp sites where older people than I with a lot more energy than I, stayed up until 3:30 in the morning trading solos over old bluegrass songs. Thankfully, Bob, the Flamenco guitar specialist, was about to start distributing his new energy drink company, Fizzleblitz, so I was able to stay up late to take it all in.
Coq au Vin puts on an amazing high-energy show and I believe during my time there I watched about 10 full sets of their music. That said, the most entertaining part about this band was seeing how nuts they go for K Mart and Whole Foods as soon as they leave the island.
(There is talk of a west coast Coq au Vin tour this year or early next. I will be sure to bother you about this.)
Jon and the Gypsies:
Back in LA
I landed at LAX, slept a good 6 hours and then headed to Pasadena for the first Beyoncé/Jay-Z show at the Rose Bowl. It was a big switch from hanging out with a bunch of flatpickers in the Ossipee Valley, but it was quite a production. Apparently I am the only person in the LA area that does not know all the lyrics to Tom Ford. (After reading through those lyrics I’ve decided it’s for the best.)
I’m back in LA and I’m ready to get back to work. As far as getting back to making my own music, I need to sort out how to make an 808 beat work with Django Reinhart rhythm and then I will see you in the Ableton Live forums.