Random Thoughts…

Since this is a blog and I can write just about anything I damn well please, I’ll take a little break from the DJ world for a minute and just write about what’s been going on in my life lately. I gotta fill this space with something, it’s getting a bit stale.

It has been quite a whirlwind past few weeks for me. After the last posting about Armand Van Helden at Avalon, I took a break from writing and producing the mix shows for Netmix to finish up some school work for my classes at NYU just before the Thanksgiving break.

On Thanksgiving day, I headed to Beantown on the Fung Wah (that’s the Chinese Bus for those of you “in the know”) for 5 days of much needed rest and relaxation. $30 bucks roundtrip, but you take your life in your hands…literally! I could have sworn I saw the driver put on his racing gloves. I was sitting in the first set of seats and had a clear view of the speedometer. The needle hit 90 a few times. You don’t see that happen on Greyhound or Peter Pan!

The turkey and my Dad’s famous stuffing (or was it Boston Chicken’s stuffing?) was mouth watering and delicious! I kept a low profile for most of the weekend. Didn’t get much of a chance to check out anything interesting, save for dinner with my friend Damaris at an Asian fusion restaurant, Pho Republiqe, in the South End.

Sometimes, life takes odd twists and turns and you just can’t predict what’s going to happen. They say you have to relish every minute of your life, because one day you could be here and gone the next.

Tragically, a friend’s father experienced an untimely passing on the Tuesday before the holiday. Although it was difficult for my friend and his family to go through something so painful around the holiday’s, many of his friends, both old and new, made the effort the following Monday to be there for him at the service. Offering their condolences and support to him and his family in their time of need. It meant a lot to him, despite what he’s been going through.

I didn’t mention his name here, because I thought he’s gone through enough already and probably needs a break to mourn in his own way. Having a new wave of people read this and then reach out to him wouldn’t give him the time he needs to be with his family and heal.

On a more cheerful note, my brother Bill and his wife Kim (who are expecting a new addition to the family within the next month or so) just purchased a dope, multi-floor condo with an incredible roof-deck in a brownstone just off Tremont and Mass Ave. Congrats to them! Have my room ready…I’ll be back for Christmas!

After the service, I was off to Logan International Airport for an American Airlines flight to JFK. Let me tell you, it was my first time going through the new American Airlines terminal at Kennedy Airport and I was floored. It’s a massive structure, with a modern, futuristic design. Off-white throughout, it looks like something NASA would have constructed to house a Space Shuttle. It took 20 minutes to walk from the gate to baggage, but I was impressed with the layout, planning and massive amount of space set aside to construct the terminal. It looks like it can definitely handle the volume of international tourists coming over here to take advantage of the weak dollar.

I thought about taking a taxi to Brooklyn, but decided to try the new Air Tran, a monorail connecting various train stations to the airport. I planned on taking the sleek new service to Jamaica Station and transferring there for the LIRR to Flatbush, avoiding having to crawl through Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn on the N line. The ride was smooth, but at high speeds the airtight cars felt a little shaky. There’s also a high-pitched whine as they barrel through concrete tunnels. Despite the minor sensations, I prefer the Air Tran over the bus any day of the week. Even at a cost of $5.00 per ride.

My number one complaint: when you arrive in the waiting area, there’s a ton of literature telling you about the service, but NO WHERE does it say you must PAY when you GET OFF the Air Tran? The signs tell you how freakin cool and cutting edge the service is AND that it costs $5. Great…information overload, but where the &$%$ do you pay? NO FARE MACHINES IN SIGHT!

Then, you hear the pleasant, automated voice wafting through soundsystem to inform you of the next tram’s arrival, “one minute away,” which definitely raises the blood pressure and anxiety level. Knowing you need to think quick and act fast, you look around to ask for help, but there’s no one around to assist you. Ask a fellow traveler and it’s most likely that he or she doesn’t even know.

Just my luck, I ask a man who had an airport security badge what to do, but he spoke halting English and couldn’t provide me with the simple answer I was looking for.

There were two motormen (or motor-people, to be politically correct) assigned to Air Tran to help customers, but I didn’t see them until I’d gotten off. The doors closed and I couldn’t get an answer from them either!

Once off the tran, you must walk a short distance to the MetroCard and LIRR fare machines, where there appear to be no signs explaining the fact that you must buy a pass TO LEAVE and not TO ENTER! It seems like someone assumed you would just know what to do once you encounter the machines. If you’re a New Yorker who uses a MetroCard or LIRR vending machines, how would you know to buy an “EXIT” pass, when you’re used to purchasing an “ENTRY” pass? Why would you know that? I feel like the transportation gods think since we are New Yorkers, we can just figure it out.

Maybe it’s there, clear as day, I don’t know? It wasn’t clear to me, nor to 10 or 15 other people who were just as confused. Anyway, I got home safe and sound after hop, skip and jumping the transit lines. End of story.

Some of you may be aware I resigned my position at the Associated Press a few months ago. Just two weeks after I left, the AP disbanded the Services & Technology department I worked for and reassigned many of my former colleagues. Whew…did I see the writing on the wall with that one! They should stick to aggregating the news and let experts handle the technology.

I’m happy to report that I recently landed a Music Product Manager position at Entertainment Media Works. It’s a small, but exciting Internet company developing a cool product enabling e-commerce opportunities for products seen in broadband video or iTV programming. Picture this; you launch a music video in a web video player on, let’s say AOL or Launch.com. As the video plays, various products appear in a special area alongside the video window. You can click on an image to build and save a list of the items you are interested in that appear in the video; a car, clothing, jewelry…just about anything. Pretty cool stuff!

I’ll be working directly on building out the Music Video product. This week, I’ve been editing podcasts, which will be released on the site once we launch the blogs and podcasts next week. We are are marrying the technology with sitcoms, entertainment shows, soap operas, films and other video programming, which will give people an opportunity to learn what the stars are wearing and where to ge it.

Check out StarStyle.com for a demo.

Have a good one. I’ll be back with a new show this week, I promise. And, I’ll be covering a ton of stuff on Saturday from around the world of DJ culture. Traktor DJs new release, Pacha NYC’s upcoming opening party and lot’s more. Stay tuned!

Tony Z.

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