Since February, it seems like I’ve been more away than home (which is probably true). So far this year I’ve been in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Munich, London, Orlando, San Francisco, Dallas, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Houston – some of those multiple times. In the next half of the year I’ll be in New York City and Copenhagen, with return visits to Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles (again some are repeat offenders for the second half, too). I’ve got a few other things which are brewing that may take me to a few other places but I can’t talk about them yet. I hope they come to fruition. Stay tuned!

The ability to be at home for more than one consecutive week almost feels weird, but I settle easily back into my version of normal (read: late nights) and am able to do the little things that make life worth living. One of those little things I used to live for was new release Tuesday. For you young folks out there who are part of the iTunes generation, here in the USA the traditional day for new album releases (and videos) has been every Tuesday. With the slow death of the record store, it’s harder and harder to enjoy Tuesdays. Heck, finding a place that sells CDs (or vinyl if that’s your cup of tea) is darn near impossible in some markets. Here in New England we have a chain called Newbury Comics where you can still find most new things. This year I was on the road when the new Styx album came out, and was in Orlando a few weeks ago when the new Rush album Clockwork Angels came out. So I was pretty stoked this week to be able to walk into a store this evening (albeit after finishing one customer document, editing another, and working on another customer’s system for about 4 hours today) and pick up both the new Joe Jackson album The Duke (which is brilliant) and the documentary on the making of the Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here (also really good; watched it while eating dinner). Another new CD I love is the new Bob Mintzer Big Band album For the Moment. I used to run Bob’s website and consider him a friend (look for him on my upcoming album with no release date … it’ll get done within the next year and probably after the new Mission Critical SQL Server 2012 book is completed).

I work. A lot. But the ability to do little things like this ground me and give me that little sense of “ahhhh”. I think very few of us take even 5 minutes to stop and smell whatever roses float your boat. I love the fact that when I’m at home working I can reach over and take a bass break or play along while I’m doing other work (hey, I multi-task). I can’t do that on the road. Sometimes it’s more of a “curse” (read: first world problem) I’m passionate about quite a few things, not the least of which is music. On the road, I used to spend a lot of time finding all the CD stores in an area. Now, sadly, my selection is better served by Amazon (for the most part). But there’s nothing like instant gratification every now and then. That’s one reason I miss Tower Records here in the USA – I could pop into one up until midnight in most major markets and just wander the aisles. Thankfully they still exist in Japan and it’s largely the experience you remember. The ones in Tokyo still rank among my favorite spots to shop for CDs in the world. Take that, Amoeba (which is a sad shell of what it used to be … much like many other places)!

Tower Records, Shibuya - December, 2011 - taken by me

One reason I’m savoring these slices of life stems from what happened to my friend Mike last year which I’ve written quite a bit on. You never know when your time is up. With the unveiling of his headstone soon (a date that has been firmly planted on my calendar for awhile), I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I was not in the best of places last fall (and one major reason I went to Japan to escape – that’s the best word I can use). 2012 has been incredibly kind to me (knock on proverbial wood), and I’m thankful for all the opportunities so far and the ones that are coming or have yet to present themselves. It wouldn’t happen without you guys – customers, students who come to classes and pre-cons, people who read my books, etc.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tidy up some demos for MADPASS later tonight.