Music and My Life

I listen to music almost all day, everyday. Yesterday I grabbed the latest NIN album from: http://theslip.nin.com and it made me think about how the music stage is really evolving.

I realize there have been several recent changes that have really made everyone look at music and music distribution differently – but this was a big eye opener for me. I spent a good part of my life in music stores 60 miles away from my house (because that was the closest) while my mother was clothes shopping in the mall. I spent Saturday or Sunday afternoons leafing through CD after CD trying to figure out which one I was going to buy and then listen to on my Sony Discman on the hour ride home while my mother listened to her “oldies” on the radio.

I spent my college years doing the same thing, but this time I could walk to the record stores and I also had the option of looking at used CDs as well. Within the first six weeks of my stay at Penn State, I shelled out over $700 to buy all the NIN imports I could get my hands on.

I spent a lot of money on stereo equipment, speakers, and made sure my car had a great sound system because I love to listen to my music.

In the past ten years how I listen to, manage, and get new music has drastically changed. I cannot tell you the last time I was in a music store or what the last “physical” CD I bought. Most artists I listen to are not known to most because their music comes to me not through the radio, but through podcasts of their latest shows or featured on someone else’s podcasts. All my music purchases are through the iTunes music store (of course) and the most of my purchases are based on something I have heard on a podcast. Even though I have bookshelves full of CDs, I listen to my music through my computers, networked TiVOs or my iPhone. I do not even own a “CD player” besides the one in my car.

How does this all tie into the latest NIN album? The point I am trying to make is that almost all the music I listen to, enjoy, and think is the best stuff out there, is free (and legal) and from the internet…and the artists are pushing it like that. I think of telling my son when he gets older about how I had to drive 60 miles to buy the latest NIN album and it seems so antiquated when I downloaded the lastest one in a matter of minutes from my desk. I am very curious to see where this goes and if other artists will join Radiohead and NIN. This is a perfect example of when free is good and good is free. 😉

Career Advice for College Students (or Anyone)

I returned from a trip to my alma mater, The Pennsylvania State University, a few days ago after getting asked to speak at the History Department career fair. I was one of seven speakers at the event. We all had various non-traditional history degree careers (which was the point) and surprisingly we all had a very similar message to give to everyone.

  • Network. We all got to where we were by connections and relationships we had made along the way.
  • Get yourself out there. Most of our first job experiences were not what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives, but it gave us a place to start and a place to start networking.
  • Find something you love and specialize in it. This world is becoming a very specialized world and there is a job out there for just about anything. To separate yourself out – find a niche that you love and go with it. This really catapulted my business (WordPress and bbPress specialization)
  • Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way – make your own opportunities. So many people think “My boss will give me a raise if I work hard” or believe that if they do well – they will get what they deserve. This is not usually the case. Look out for yourself – and go out and get what you want in life!

Career Night Speaker at Penn State

I will be back in State College, PA in April to speak at the History Department Career Night. So, if any of you State College folks are around, I would love to get together with you while I am there (email me about my arrival/departure). I will be talking about my career outside of the typical History major norm (teacher, lawyer, etc) and how my studies at PSU prepared me for what I am doing now. I am quite honored and excited and look forward to seeing some of my old professors!

Nine Years Later…

Nine years later to the month that I proudly graduated from Penn State and I have finally paid off my student loans! This is a big day for me as I thought it would never happen. Now I can put my student loan payment towards’ Evan’s future college fund so he hopefully will not have much to pay when he graduates in 2029.

It's That Time of the Year Again!

Life does not get too much better than Penn State football Saturdays…and this year should be one of the best years of all time. Why? First and foremost – this will be the first full season for my son. He was born last December and saw his first Penn State bowl game (PSU won), but I really look forward to the entire season. Second, we now have the Big Ten Network. Third – we should have DirectTV HD installed as of next week. Here is to another great season with JoePa!

Feel Better Soon Joe Paterno

There are few people that I admire more than Joe Paterno (Penn State’s head football coach). He inspired me when I went to my first Penn State football game when I was three years old, and he still inspires me today. During our last game in Wisconsin, one of the plays ended up on the sideline, coaches and players were knocked over, but nothing out of the ordinary…until I heard and saw Joe Paterno was among the people who got knocked down. Joe, the tough guy he is, stood up, and as soon as he did, his leg unnaturally hyper extended and I almost got sick to my stomach. I yelled “his leg is broken, his leg is broken” to Amy and I watched him try to keep standing. Finally the trainers and other coaches got him to go over to the bench where they could look at his leg/knee.

What I love about Joe is he is such a strong and positive role model. He wanted to stay strong for the team by trying to stand. He did show his fear or his pain, or even want to sit down. After he flew back to State College, Joe had surgery on Sunday and while in the hospital, started preparing for the next game on Sunday. He is not flashy, he is not concerned about money, and he just wants to keep doing what he loves. I can only hope I live to his age and can still be as happy with my favorite pastime as he is. Feel better Joe!
[tags]Joe Paterno, Penn State, PSU[/tags]

who is this?

Yeah, that is right. I have not balanced my check book since my high school days when my parents “highly recommended” it. Well…having a business for the past year has really…made me get serious about finances. I bought (and suffered through many months of “I think this is right” and trips to the accountant for training) QuickBooks and until today never managed to really “get it”. Finally, this evening I sat down, printed out my bank statements and balanced everything and even semi-enjoyed it. If you do not know me, this does not sound like anything like me, but it is a proud day for me.

PS. Congrats to Michael who called with a riddle last night….”what beats two kings?” As I start to say “two aces”, I stop and realize he is telling me got his second hole in one on the golf course recently. A big congrats. Too bad you will be crying at the Notre Damn game this weekend when Penn State give you a 1-1 record. 😉

penn state facts and rankings.

PSU logo

Yesterday marked the move in day for new and returning Penn State students and in that spirit, I thought I would note a few of Penn State’s ranking facts. (Not to mention this weekend is our first football game of the season!! I look forward to another year of Joe!)

We are Penn State!
[tags]Penn State[/tags]

accountant amy.

Thank goodness I went to Penn State and met an amazing accounting student, now accountant, Amy Wessner. Running your own business so you can work on cool projects with interesting clients is one thing, but managing finances, marketing, managing off site servers and clients at all hours is another. Thankfully, I happen to know Amy!

I recently called Amy to ask her if should would take a look at my QuickBooks file. I am the last person to really want to learn about reconciling, expense accounts, payroll, etc so she was kind enough to take a look for me. Our first phone conversation about my complete mess of finances is tonight and I look forward to hearing what she has to say. A big thanks goes to Amy and I just wanted her to know I appreciate her efforts very much!
[tags]Penn State, Amy Wessner, QuickBooks[/tags]

2006 orange bowl.

The 2006 Orange Bowl was something to see. When I found out we (Penn State) were going to play Florida State, I was a bit upset that we were playing a low ranked team (PSU was #3 and FSU was #22). I thought the game would be a complete blowout, but as we all saw…it was anything but that. As some of you know, I am not a Florida college football team at all…so a Penn State loss to Florida State would have really been upsetting. My take on Florida football: they should create a prison team so all the Florida all-stars could actually play a game. I will say that I walked away from this game with a new respect for Bobby Bowden, but Joe will always be the #1 coach for me – regardless of his wins or losses. I have never witnessed a game like the 2006 Orange Bowl in my entire life. Between the penalties (Florida State had 13 penalties for 129 yards), injuries (Tony Hunt, BranDon Snow, Paul Posluszny), triple over time, and five missed field goals…it was a rough game. Thankfully Penn State pulled through!
[tags]Penn State, 2006 Orange Bowl[/tags]