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Before I start this post - thanks so much to people who came to Karaoke. It was mostly people I already knew, but one reader, Curtis, came. I thought it was totally awesome that he read about Karaoke here and decided to go. Even better, he nailed Guns 'N Roses' Welcome to the Jungle. Also in attendance were my brother and his friends, Steve, Anissa, and Dan from work, and Todd and Doug who helped me run the show.
I had no idea what I was getting into. Things like "hey, I should probably have music for when no one is karaokeing" never even occurred to me. All I had was the leaked copy of Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, so I kept playing that. There was silence, there was no crossfading. That part of the show was a disaster. I also had no idea how to hook stuff up to their system, so the first hour was spent doing that. I felt really bad for people who came during that part.
Finally things got rolling, although I think only 4 people I didn't know sang songs. It wasn't too busy because the weather was cold.
A year ago there was something called "Krunkaoke" every wednesday night at a club nearby. I went religiously and became one of the few creepy superstar regulars who dropped hot gangsta classics every Wednesday. The first time I went I was really nervous, but after doing "How We Do" by The Game, I was hooked. Eventually Krunkaoke became too packed (is that possible?), and they cancelled it!
Desperate for a Karaoke fix, I started going to Rain, which is a gay club a couple blocks from where I live. They had a cool light up stage, but the mediocre sound system and guys trying to grab my ass left me looking for alternatives.
Then one night it happened. I was working late and I thought I heard bad singing at the club downstairs. Could it be... Karaoke?
I wake up at 7:00am to the sound of a loud fire alarm. It must be national test-your-fire-alarm-day. I remember those from middle school. I try to go to sleep, but it's no use.
I flop out of bed, head to the kitchen and make some breakfast. After breakfast I go back into my room and I hear a wheezing noise. After a bit of investigation I realize that it's the intake for the air conditioner that's making the racket. I flip the air conditioner on and off - the only repair move I can think of. It doesn't work.
When I get back to work it's 85 degrees in the apartment according to the thermostat. It feels hotter - I'm used to a breezy 73. After a day or two I realize that it's not going to fix itself and I call the repair man. It takes him a few days to fix it.
A year ago, when I decided to go raw, I bought a cookbook recommended to me by a friend called Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. At first glance it looked like a hippie book, but if the food tasted half as good as it looked in the glossy photos, it would be worth it.
The book is written by the founders of a restaurant in New York City called Pure Food and Wine. I made a healthy ice cream recipe from it which was absolutely delicious. However, my friend Elisia tried it and said that it wasn't nearly as good as when they made it in the restaurant. And so my desire to eat at Pure Food and Wine was sparked.
When I heard that we had a trade show to go to in NYC for work, I was excited - I would finally get to go to Pure Food and Wine. My coworkers could tell how excited I was, and most of them agreed to go with me on Sunday night, the first of three nights in New York. I made the reservations, and off we went.
I have the predicament of wanting to do everything before I die. Number 234,220 on that list is writing a novel, so we're going to get that one knocked out this month.
Why November? Because it's NaNoWriMo, the unfortunately acronymed National Novel Writing Month. You can go sign up at the web site and pledge to write a 50k word novel in one month. Usually 1 out of 6 people actually finish it. I'll be one of those people. Will you?
I have a pretty cool idea for a story, and I think I'm already a pretty good storyteller. What's really exciting, though, is that writing 50k words apparently makes everyone who completes it a much better writer. Remember the practicing thing from yesterday? Let's practice being good writers. Get ready for some kick ass stories up in this piece.
I was sitting around this weekend thinking about practice. I had just read an article that said that to get good at something one had to spend ten years practicing. Studies show that practicing is the one strong predictor of success in nearly any field.
Then I thought, "what am I practicing?". I'm practicing eating healthy. That's good. I'm practicing rapping. Good too. After a nice long pat on the back I thought of a more important question. What am I not practicing?
I realized that every time I practice a bad habit, I'm enforcing it and making it harder to break. I guess that's obvious, but for some reason it hit me like a ton of bricks. I see myself, down the road, being someone who keeps his living space really clean, pays bills as soon as they come in, gets ready fast in the morning, and doesn't procrastinate. Every day I continue to not do those things I'm making it harder to start doing them.
I've been wanting to write this story for a while, but I can't find the one picture I have of it. Oh well, when I find it I'll just add it on to the end.
Full from dinner, we get into the elevator as we always do. The rumor is that the more likely one is to cause trouble, the higher in the dorm you're assigned. The first year I was put on floor four. The next, floor 24. I guess you could say that we became acquainted.
As the elevator brings us closer to our dorm we notice that the hatch in the roof of the elevator appears to be unlocked. We push the hatch open and stare at the dark above us.
Today is a big day for btyb. Why? I have an actual advertiser besides google. Actually, google has recently been paying me about twice what I used to get. I have no idea why. My best guess is that they're getting better at figuring out what sorts of ads are appropriate for my site, and people are clicking them. Either way, between my advertiser and google, I now make enough to justify the time I spend writing. What a cool feeling!
Here's how I got my advertiser:
Steve, my boss / compadre, belongs to a group called "Hill Country Outdoors". It's a group that you can join for $15/month or something and they plan cool trips and activities. One such activity was hang gliding, which he invited me along for.
Instead of writing a million more posts about Japan, I'm going to finish it off here so that I can start writing other things. When you boil all of my experiences in Japan down, you're left with one common theme - Japan is way better than the US.
In America we're all so proud that we're such a tolerant society. We tolerate each other's differences because that tolerance is passed on to us and we get to do whatever we want.
Japan is different. More than tolerance, they have an overwhelming underlying respect for everyone and everything. It's almost crazy. The best example is the subways. In the subways there are advertisements hanging from the ceiling of every subway car. They aren't plastic, tyvek, or even laminated paper. They're just paper like a poster.
A monday afternoon some time ago, she texts me with, "Call me. It's important."
Strange. I'm in the car, so I ponder what's so important as we drive back to the office. I can't figure it out.
We get to the office and I step into the echoey stairwell for some semblance of privacy. I sit down on the stair and dial her number.