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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Has Another Year Gone By?

Oh my, I guess time does fly when you’re having fun.  Here it is August 2014 and the last entry in my blog was August 2013.  I will do better (but then, you’ve heard that before, haven’t you).

Okay, so, what’s been happening this past year?  Well, first of all, I officially retired last summer (July 31, 2013) on my 66th birthday.  Now I’m almost a week past my 67th birthday and I’ve been retired for a year.  So, what have I done with all my extra time for that year?  Well, not as much as I should have.

After officially retiring from teaching high school math and computers, I did take about 6 months and did pretty much nothing…well, nothing if you don’t include gaining weight.  Turns out you can’t sit on your backside all day and not expect to become fat (or, in my case, fatter).

So, let’s start where my last post left off.  First, the horror movie I was to play in…well, best laid plans and all that.  Turns out the end of August last year was pretty wet with rain almost every weekend, so we couldn’t do any of the shots since almost everything was to be shot outside.  Then, in September, most of the 20-something cast and crew left to return to college so the whole project was put on hold until “next spring”, which would have been this past spring.  I guess the producer got caught up in other parts of his life because the shoot never happened.

But, I still decided to try working some movies.  In the past year I’ve been involved in 3 movies (“Occurrence”,  “Bad Boys Crazy Girls”, and “Trust Me”) and a sitcom (“The Elephant Room”) as an extra or featured extra.  The “Ordinary” sitcom, to be shot here in Lancaster was delayed (a common occurrence in these local, low-budget productions), but we are now on track to start shooting later this month.  The delay was good, though, as my character has been written into the new scripts as a supporting role for this season.  That means more screen time (and more lines to remember) for me.  All of the other projects have given me more experience and I have made more friends and contacts in the movie business here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Also, the movie I was an extra on a couple of years ago, “Mount Joy” (www.mountjoymovie.com) has been making the rounds of the indie film festivals and has been winning awards, including “Best Feature Film of the Year” at the Pittsburgh Film Festival.  I wish them lots of luck.  Maybe it will be coming to a theater near you in the near future…

My band, Bloated Roadkill (www.bloated-roadkill.com), is still together and we released our second album last September, as well as playing our annual scholarship benefit concert.  This year, we’re now in two-a-week rehearsals for our scholarship concert on September 6th.  It’s a lot of fun and I think we’ve really improved in the past year.  We’re talking of a 3rd album for next year.

I have really gotten into my songwriting.  I have been to Nashville twice in the past year and I’m planning to go back in late September.  My trips there have been very productive.  I’ve met many of the local entertainers in Nashville (not the really BIG ones…well except one below…but the soon-to-be-big ones) and have even started co-writing with some of them.  One, Jessica Rose, was on American Idol a few seasons ago.  Another, Carly Jo Jackson from Florida, was on America’s Got Talent this year.  Some of the others are really working hard and I expect them to at least have a shot at a recording contract over the next two years…be nice if one of the songs I helped write were on one of their recordings.

Last year, I was at the national offices of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which I’m a member of, and Kenny Loggins came in with his new band, Blue Sky Riders (www.blueskyridersband.com) to do an interview.  After the interview, I spent a few minutes talking with Kenny Loggins and his bandmates (Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr).  Awesome experience.

I also met a band from Nashville called “Points West” and last month they contacted me about some songs for a project they were working on.  So, I sent them two and I’m waiting to hear if they liked either of them for their album.  Hard to be patient, but these things take time…lots of time.

So, that’s been taking up a good bit of my time since the first of the year.  I’m still saving for my RV and am on schedule to get that sometime next fall (2015) and I hope to be on the road shortly after that.  I’ve been making plans, especially concerning solar, and still buying little things that will be useful in my RV.

During one of my trips to Nashville, I succeeded in crushing the screen on my Kindle Reader.  So, for my Christmas present to myself, I bought a new Kindle HDX 8.9”.  Besides using it for a reader, it is also a decent tablet.  I added a program called “Songbook” on both my laptop and my Kindle HDX, so I can put song “tabs” (lyrics and chords) on it for playing.  I added a better calendar app, “Calengoo” that syncs to my laptop’s Microsoft Outlook calendar.  Now I can get my appointments and tasks on either system.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

I had been using my Sony S-570 BluRay player for streaming video, but the technology was about 4 years old, so for my birthday last month, I bought myself the Amazon Fire TV streaming media player.

Amazon Fire TV
I’ve found the AFTV to be a great little streaming device.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of Amazon Prime, so I view their Prime videos frequently.  I can also watch Crackle videos (with commercials) for free.  Other services are available, but I don’t subscribe to any of them at this time.  I’m really happy with this and hope to use this when I’m in my RV, too.

So, that’s about it for this update.  I’ll try to be more regular on my updates to this blog.  Hope you find this all worthwhile.

See you soon,

Wayne from PA

Reporting from
WayneLand…the Laziest Place on Earth.

Disclaimer:  I am not associated with the companies that manufacture, sell, or distribute any of the products that I write about.  However, some of them, including Amazon.com may advertise on my blog.