Music, Old Friends

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19th, 2008 by byronkho

My songlist is really piano-driven pop right now. It was veering to dreampop for a little bit (got the new Portishead CD!) but the folk and mild rock stuff saved me a bit. You would think it’s me being mope-ish with all the just listening to lots of chicks but it’s more the pure voice stuff that totally gets me to that good place. I’m a little off the gruff sound right now. I just didn’t want to listen to any hard rock or hiphop this week, and my dance stuff was kinda pissing me off. I also think I’m comfy with the fact that I like this eclectic music that’s not necessarily mainstream cool. It’s definitely awesome, I know that.

The past two weeks have been great for visitors! Maliha came into town with Ayesha (Aisha?), a cutie I definitely met before though the memory’s a little vague. She might have been a little offended I didn’t remember who she was, but I think I cut the edge off that during our long “dinner” at El Vez. It was just three of us, as Sourabh was ditching for Walnut Walk (… though he’s not graduating), and Rebecaa, Brian and Rola were all getting food elsewhere. Oh well. It was fine. I had hung out with all of them the night before at Italian Bistro. Good thing, as I was SUPPOSED to chill with Neha but she showed up (as usual) 3 hours late. Granted, she kept me updated during dinner, but it was a LONG wait. Lucky enough, got to catch up with her. She doesn’t hate me (!) and we actually had a good time. Lots of shit going on in her life (quitting her job, long holiday in Europe and India, etc etc etc) and a lot less dramatic shit in mine. We went to Smoke’s. Hadn’t been there forever, and it actually felt kind of awesome to be there this long after being at Penn and not feeling weird about it. She was a lot more wistful than I’ve seen, and we ended up shooting the shit outside real late for a long time.

Sourabh, Rola, Maliha and I at Italian Bistro.

I’m eating dinner, apparently.

Went to see Les Miserables at Walnut Street Theater with Maliha and her RA from Harnwell… I don’t remember her name now. Shoot. Anyway, she was fun. The show was actually very well done. Les Miz is hard to get right, since it’s so long and complicated, and the production has to do a good job of delineating time jumps, character IDs and just keeping all the tension in it. Once the tension falls off, it could possibly get deadly boring… you’d have to sit through 3 hours of crap! But it ended up being really awesome. I had never seen a show there, and getting $15 under-24 tickets to see it was a real bonus. I plan on seeing more shows there, now that I know about day of discounts and the fact that they’re really good. I always expected it as such but never bothered to see if that was the case.

Brenna’s visit with her sister, Caitlin, was pretty damn good. I ended up taking them out to Irish Pub and finally Medusa’s for the Philadelphyinz party that Alexis was hosting. She’s their party promoter or something, and I hadn’t seen her in a while – so when I saw the update on Facebook I was like, gotta go. They were pretty good, actually. We all had a pretty rad time just dancing like crazy weirdos to old disco, nerdy hiphop and ridiculous grooves. I think Caitlin had a hard time getting into it, but she got there. I got pretty wasted that night… we made it to Ludwig’s, but there was NO way I was gonna finish that huge liter glass they gave me of whatever German beer. I don’t remember. Anyways, there’s the possibility that little sis will be staying at yours truly for the 2009 academic season, and if so, great! Personally, the whole visit went WAY better than I thought. I was way more relaxed (after having finished the Monty theater thing REALLY successfully) and I totally opened up to her a lot more than I may have in the past. I’ve found that I usually let her talk her issues out on me and this time, I tried to turn it over a little bit. I felt it was only fair… and I also wanted her to remember me for me. I always have this fear of being a wallflower type, and I hope I’m getting over it.

Heard the scoop on several old friends… also realized how long since I haven’t talked to others! Finally got the Belgium address of Caro’s family so I can send a thank you card to them and stuff for Caro. Man, waiting a year to send a thank you? I’m a jerk. I haven’t talked to Rachel since she wished me Merry Christmas. I’m a jerk! Christine’s in town, and I haven’t done anything with her. I went to the GCGC at Platt on Sunday and saw a bunch of old Glee’ers who I haven’t hung with for a long while. I saw Patrick at the Counterparts show, and that was the first in a LONG while. Alex, Matt, Rob Biron and some others. Elise and Chris are moving back into town and Megan’s been in the city for a while, and where have I been? On the far side of the moon, apparently.

Doing the turkey with Brenna at Medusa Lounge.


Posted in Uncategorized on May 8th, 2008 by byronkho

Just sat down with a glass of grapefruit juice. I think I’m slightly allergic to grapefruit because I always feel a little off whenever I finish a plate of grapefruit – but whatever, I like the stuff, it tastes good. I went to the Wyclef concert last weekend at Penn’s Landing, and had to leave before Wyclef started. Got to see All Time Low and some other dance-emo-pop-rock bands whom I didn’t have that much of an inclination to see. Realized I didn’t like All Time Low that much, they’re really appealing to the teenyboppers. Bah, kind of a shitty afternoon though they sounded tight. I did this Mindball game thing while I was there. You put on this headband thing that measures brain waves. The less brain waves you show (the calmer you are) the more the ball moves toward the other guy’s side. Your aim is to be totally calm and get the ball all the way over to the other side. Apparently I’m stressed, because I lost in five seconds. Not calm at all.

Why am I stressed? Not that life isn’t good. I get a lot of pleasure out of watching all the traffic roll by on our network… it’s a stream full of money paying for my house, my nights out, my trips to exotic places, my ways to de-stress. But keeping it up: that’s a load of work. I have to keep this up every day, and be on the top of the game at all times. We operate within a niche that is encroached upon on all sides, and we’ve always got competition muscling in. We’ve got to keep our presence up so webmasters keep coming to us and keep good relationships with agencies, networks and advertisers that can provide us with continually fresh offers and huge inventory. It can get very political, and if we ever get tempted to the fray on online forums and such…. it’s better to stay out of it. Flame ware never look good. I have to deal with endless stresses over accounts receivable. Let me tell you, it’s a real pain in the ass, especially with hundreds of thousands going in and out at any one time. Not only that, but I’ve got to juggle work, a social life and some personal time with the fact that my parents live a block away. Yes, they bought a house a block away and still like getting up in my grill about stupid stuff. Granted it’s family shit that needs done (planning stuff around my cousin’s wedding in August, saving money on gas when prices are rising all the time, renovating my house, or not, helping relative X with problem Y because they helped us back in the day… sigh) but man, it can get on the nerves.

Then there’s the shows I do, and accompaniment and random piano gigs I do. I have to deal with officialdom, with unsmiling and fussy divas, with cranky equipment and the fact that I need to do a good job, because my only referral is what I can do to make a show better. That’s stressful too. I’ve done well enough, since every show I do, I get offers to do future jobs. That’s how I got stuff throughout high school, and that’s how I continue to get gigs now. I’m excited to be working on William Finn’s Elegies… but let me tell you, that’s another stressor for me. It goes up Sept 1, a day after my cousin’s wedding. I’m supposed to MC the reception (which I think I’m going to back out of) and so I would have to attend the wedding rehearsal, but meanwhile I have to attend a settlement conference for a lawsuit (that’s another story) that would prevent me from getting to a rehearsal, in relaxed time anyway. Then right after the wedding, I’d have to run back to Philly, do two shows in a day and then leave the next day to go on a family vacation which I had to plan. And if anything goes wrong, I’m fried. In between all that madness, I still have to run a business and not let it go to pieces while I’m jetting around. So not relaxing… I’m dreading the end of August. That’s why I’m kinda pleased that at the very least, I get to chill with a few friends in Chicago. Kathy may be there, and Brenna will definitely be there.

This weekend, I’m also stressing about the inauguration of the Bruce Montgomery Theater at the Annenberg Center. I have to accompany a whole bunch of people, some of whom are easy to work with, and some who seem to look at me with an evil eye. Usually, I don’t get intimidated, but working with this one woman kind of does. She was once married to a more or less professional pianist, and his ghost (well, he’s still alive, just not married to her any more) seems to hover around during the rehearsals. I ended up making lots of stupid mistakes… not note mistakes, just stuff like not following her exactly and getting speeds wrong. And for goodness sake, turning the page too slowly was an issue too, even though it was a split second and it would be fine in stage time. The concert wastes my entire afternoon and evening, and I kind of want it back… not that it’s not a great honor to play at Monty’s gig (because he actually has a lot to be proud of, he’s a good guy and being there is kind of good for me), but little Kelly will be in town. She may be staying at my place this coming year, so this is a get to know you meet or something, as well as chillin with some good peoples. The Kellys will be around on Saturday and Sunday. I did want to go to BKII’s thing in Brooklyn on Friday, but it would look kind of weird for me to go to NY for it and then come right back. It just wouldn’t feel right, since they’re coming into town the very next day. There was some play I could see too… but eh, who cares.

It’s been a few months, and I do feel like I have some responsibility in the Steve debacle. Well, I did have a lot of responsibility, even though he was totally clumsy and very undiplomatic in the initial act that pissed me off. Basically, some family friends came into town, and their daughter wanted to see Harvard. My mom suggested Steve go hang with them to talk a little about it, and Steve thought this would be a great first consulting gig. However… his rate was a little ridiculous and somehow he got it across very awkwardly that he wanted more money than he had been given. Which is all second-hand, since I wasn’t there at the time. It could have played out differently. In any case, I had a lot to make up for after it and I was very pissed to have to deal with all of it. I had made it clear I didn’t want any part of it and that any dealings were between Steve, my mom and them… which it still wasn’t, since as the person with relationships to everyone else in this sordid mess, I was supposed to be involved regardless. It was a trainwreck coming, and I knew it early on. Seems stupid in other people’s eyes, but these petty things mean a lot when the family friend is a billionaire and everyone lives in dread of him (because they all want him to continue giving business to our family, in all sorts of ways). Anyway. My fault in the whole matter was basically cutting off Steve for months and months… which was kind of douchy when we were in the midst of setting up a business. Privately, I didn’t think it would go anywhere, as Steve was not a good salesman and Spencer seemed too flaky to ever get into a serious business enterprise. Additionally, Steve’s handling of “his first consulting gig” was not how I’d want any of our other business to be handled. Of course, I should have made these concerns clear to both of them, as it would have helped me get out of it with everyone’s dignity intact and possibly helped all of them with recommendations for how to be a better businessperson. Steve is a good academician, but definitely not a businessman. But, I had my own business on my mind, and decided to put dealing with the two of them off until I had some time to take care of it properly. And I put it off. And I put it off. Until, of course, a Glee Club event came up that made it inevitable that I would run into Steve again. And I did, and we “made up” and hung out for a while and even joked with each other. BUt it wasn’t the same, and after that, I basically have not seen him again. (EDIT: no longer true.)

Yes, I handled that badly, sure. I cut out a bunch because the situation has changed. Thankfully. My defense? I’m bad at handling relationships that go in the least sour. I’ve run away from a lot of them. I dated a bunch of girls during college, and I’d be with them for a few weeks and then I’d cut and run. Like totally cut things off and make it so that I wouldn’t see them again. The worst was the slightly awkward senior I was with while a freshman. I’m sure I seemed like a total freakin nerd to all her friends, who were hot sorority types… and I was a jerk one day and made it obvious I liked one of her friends. I didn’t mean to make it that way (since I did care about her) but I got so embarrassed because of it and dropped her like a hot potato. Being the one to dump the other is not as cool as it sounds… seeing her on the street later, with this dazed look in her eyes that wasn’t even necessarily from me (she had to deal with graduation and jobs and whatnot), I felt like a shithead. I have a lot of regrets about the way I’ve handled some of my relationships, and I know some are not recoverable. (Especially the morning after a drunken… eh, let’s leave that one.)

That said, I have been trying to be a better person. I try to remember people’s birthdays. I call more often. I do apologize. I try not to run away, and I try to be there for people. I am more open with things and try to get any beefs off my chest instead of swallowing them and keeping it down.