Posts Tagged ‘time’

Two Months Torched

March 1, 2014

Friday February 28th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

It’s hard to believe two months of 2014 are gone already, but they are. Wow. Now I’m starting to see how the universe can be billions of years old. The clock keeps ticking no matter what, and nothing can stop it. First it’s the big bang, and before everybody knows it stars start burning out.

If I am ever going to do anything significant with my life, this would be the time to kick things into high gear. Time isn’t promised to any of us, and that universal clock is ticking against us all. I thought I had been putting my time in wisely in 2014, but I look up and tomorrow is March 1st.

It would be March 1st even if I didn’t put my time in wisely, and that’s part of the problem. I’m doing pretty well this year, but it’s the 25 or so before this one that have left me hog tied. I didn’t have nearly the focus and direction I feel now, and I’m paying for it. Everything has a price tag.

I’m still on my marketing kick, and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s going to have to be a lot more than a kick to make a difference though, but I’m in it for the long haul. I feel I’m on the right road, but so far behind the pack I’ll have to buy rocket powered roller skates to catch up.

All I’m looking to do is establish a reliable source of income that will let me not have to worry about paying my bills each and every month to the point of exhaustion. Tomorrow starts another new month, and I still find myself scratching and clawing to come up with the rent. It gets old.

I’ve been working extra hard at learning about all things marketing, which includes subscribing to several online newsletters written by guru types I’d never heard of until recently. A lot of their information seems legit, but other parts are pie in the sky insanity that’s way too good to be true.

Multi level marketing is the same way. I’m sure someone has made a million dollars in Amway or Mary Kay, but the majority of people that get in it fail miserably. They haul out the diamonds and pink Cadillacs to sign people up, but nobody ever wants to admit there’s more to it than that.

The same is true with what I’m trying to do. I get blasted every day with emails that say things like “INCREASE YOUR MONTHLY INCOME BY $25,000”. Great! Then I’ll have $25,500. Seriously, it sounds good but it isn’t realistic. It takes baby steps to get things rolling properly.

It’s just like those weight loss claims where people say they lost 58 pounds in four days from drinking milkshakes laced with sawdust and chalk water. It’s not realistic to expect such miracles overnight, and I’m absolutely not. I just want to establish a pattern that eventually turns a buck.

Realistically, I’d like to be booked as many weeks as I can working decent venues that can pay a living wage. If it’s a comedy club or corporate function it’s not important right now. Both will work at the moment, and having back of the room merchandise to sell should be ready as well. If I can pull that off consistently – and I’m close – then I’ll be able to go after the $25,000 months.

All these things take time unfortunately. I got myself in some financial trouble, but it could not be avoided. I had health issues in 2011, and I had to spend my savings on living expenses. Now I have an IRS bill to pay off and credit card debt. That slows it down even more. Welcome to life.

Actually, welcome to existence. Life would be so much more – at least in my vision of it. Life would be having the financial machine well oiled and running so smoothly I wouldn’t even think about it. I’d have my bills and living expenses handled every month, and be able to invest all my energy into making life better for others. THAT would be living to me, and I crave it every day.

I have flashes here and there, especially when I’m on stage or on the air. That’s when I feel like I’m living, and not just existing. I feel like I’m making a positive contribution to the collective of humankind, and that’s how I always thought life should be. Then I get off stage and into my ratty old car to do 23 hours of living a cockroach life until my next time on stage or air – if I’m lucky.

That’s just not acceptable, and I’m going to fight it until I win or die trying. Some people have trust funds or people that leave them something in a will. I won’t have that option, so why waste time thinking about it? Everyone that could have died and left me money has now checked out.

I’m not looking for a handout or a free ride. I’m fine with earning it, and in fact I’d rather make my own way. That’s what I’ve always wanted. I had flashes of it when I had radio jobs, but then it ended and I’d be back into cockroach mode. After all this angst, I just crave a bit of stability.

That’s why I’m so interested in marketing. Marketing makes MONEY – at least it does when it gets executed properly. The people that have amassed fortunes have had one teeny weeny thing I have lacked for so long – a solid battle plan. That’s what I’m putting together, and it’s working.

I just have to give it time to manifest itself and keep growing. I get up every day and work on it a little more, and I’m also slowly incorporating others into the mix as well. I’ve got my days full from early morning to early the next morning, and that’s making them disappear even quicker. It went from “Thanksgiving is coming soon” to “It’s March 1st already” at all time record speed.

I have more on my plate now than I ever have, and I think about how to manage it better every single day. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, but I’m still struggling with financial things. Taxes are due soon, and that’s another smoldering nightmare in waiting. I never enjoy slaying that dragon. I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have, but it never seems like it’s enough. It stinks.

At the very least, I’m proud of myself for giving the effort. I’m trying my best, and working on what one is weakest at is always the most difficult task. That’s the only way to improve, so that’s what I’m doing. Business has never been my forte, but I am throwing everything I have into it.

Marketing is a huge arena, but I’m not thinking huge right now. I want to get my newsletter out to the immediate people that can book me every month. We’ve gotten two out so far, and it was a major effort to accomplish that. Talk to me five years from now, and I’m envisioning it to be one of my strong suits. I picture my finances to be in immaculate order, and to be in excellent health.

I never had a picture like that in my head before – or any other one now that I think of it. I was too busy trying to make it to the next month to have a plan for the long term future. Now that I’m planning long term, the future is getting here faster than I expected. I was looking forward to the football games at Thanksgiving what seemed like days ago. Now it’s almost baseball season and I’m wondering where the time went. March 1st already? I can’t worry about it. I have work to do.

March 1st already? Where DOES the time go?

March 1st already? Where DOES the time go? Life’s clock never stops.

Sun Ra

May 23, 2013

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today would have been the 99th birthday of one Herman Poole Blount – aka “Sun Ra”. He was born in Birmingham, AL but claimed to be from the “Angel Race” – not of this planet. That alone makes him one of my all time favorite entertainers, but his showmanship is what I admire most.

   He was the leader of a huge band that he called his ‘arkestra’, and the name of it changed about as frequently as his musical directions. There was the ‘Blue Universe Arkestra’, the ‘Heliocentric Space Arkestra’, the ‘Solar Myth Arkestra’ and many many more. He was an eccentric fellow.

   There’s good weird and bad, and he was very good. By all accounts, he and his band were drug free and upstanding members of the community wherever they happened to be living at any time. They were based for years in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where Sun Ra died in 1993.

   I never got a chance to see him live, but I’ve seen some very interesting video that puts me in a fun mood every time I see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7_JUShK4n8&feature=related is one link. There’s also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMWNwVhq5k&feature=related

   Sun Ra was a true original, and those are difficult to find. George Clinton borrowed a little bit from him and also set up shop in ‘outer space’. The whole ‘Mothership Connection’ concept and costume came out of Sun Ra’s shadow and I freely admit that’s where I got The King of Uranus.

   I remember the first time I saw him on TV when I was a kid. I didn’t know what I was seeing, but it captured my undivided attention as I watched it with my grandparents. Gramps looked like he got it, but my German grandma wanted to take a rolling pin to either the TV, Gramps or both.

   Grandma was not very open to anything new, different or artistic. If it wasn’t a Lawrence Welk ditty or a polka, she didn’t want it within five miles of her. Seeing Sun Ra and his ‘arkestra’ sent her farther into outer space than Sun claimed to be from. The greatest ones are loved and hated.

   I loved the fact that he incorporated outer space themes into his music, and that made me want to know more about him as I got older. He was a remarkable personality to say the least, and his claim of being taken by aliens to the planet Saturn made me like him more. He made that claim a long time before UFO abduction stories were popular, and he stuck by that story his entire life.

   I don’t know if he was from Saturn or not, but I do know he was an underappreciated artist and too eclectic for the masses. He was a recording machine, and it is said he’s the the 20th Century’s most prolific musical artist with over 100 full length albums. Wow! That alone is one major feat.

   It’s also notable that he’s a ‘22’. According to numerology, people born on the 11th and 22nd of a month are allegedly the strongest personalities and most influential people. Sun Ra was born on a 22nd, as was George Clinton (7/22). Rodney Dangerfield was too. (11/22) There are all kinds of entertainers, politicians and celebrities born on 11s and 22s so there may be some truth to that.

   I’m not a ‘22’ or an ‘11’ unfortunately. I’m a ‘pi’ (3/14). I don’t know if any of it means a dang thing, but I do know I am a fan of Sun Ra and not nearly enough people know who he was to pay tribute to a unique performer who had the guts to follow his creative vision for decades. That’s at the top of my list for people I admire most, and he’s up there with the very best. He spent his life entertaining this planet – whether he was born here or not. What better way to invest one’s time?

Sun Ra

Sun Ra

The King of Jupiter?

The King of Jupiter?

 

One Cosmic Cat

One Cosmic Cat