Saturday, March 3, 2012

Looking Up


Funny how these days happen. Yesterday was not only the 48th anniversary of the day I made my grand entrance into this world, but also one that was very productive. It started with plans being made to meet a friend from New York who owns a couple of radio stations and has some side work for me. I then spent the morning building a new 8 foot square platform for the basement, which I will use for the new workout program I'm starting on Monday. The plan is to have a better body at 50 than I did in my mid 20's.

Basement work finished, I came upstairs to have some lunch and check email. Among the messages was one from a friend who forwarded a lead on some freelance voice work. I submitted my demo, as I have done dozens upon dozens of times with both radio and freelance gigs over the last 16 months with a near zero response rate, and went through the rest of my mail. Maybe an hour later my phone beeped and there was a message saying they liked my demo and that I am now on their short list. Thought that was pretty cool.

It wasn't much later when my phone rang with an unfamiliar number. On the other end was a woman wanting to book the Traveling Danburys (of which I am one) for a private party. She said we came highly recommended from a friend of hers who had been to one of our gigs. Thought that was VERY cool, but the day wasn't done yet.

In yet another rarity, our land line rang shortly before 5pm with a call that actually was not from a telemarketer(!), but the CEO of a local company I applied with at a career fair early this week. I'll be meeting with him Tuesday afternoon. This will be a great job if I'm lucky enough to get it. Not just because it will be a lot of fun, but also because the building is only about five miles from home. A major plus with the way gas prices are going. And of course, the prospect of decent paying full time work means we'll be able to keep moving ahead with the truck project.

The day ended in a booth at a Danbury sports bar that offers free wings on your birthday, with me and my best bud chowing on four dozen of them (one for each of my 48 years) and washing it down with a couple pitchers of beer.

It was a great day to have one of the best days I've had in a long time...


Friday, February 17, 2012

Spreadin' The Word


As regular readers know, I've been without a full time job for quite a while now. Since November 5th of 2010, to be exact. I have applied for countless radio jobs of course, since that's where I have the most experience (over 20 years on the air, 5 years in major markets). But I'm also well aware that because of automation technology and industry consolidation there are FAR fewer radio gigs to be had these days than when I started in the 80's, which means applying outside the radio biz as well, which I have done many times on this job quest.

I wouldn't call this a last ditch effort to save the radio dream, but we could be close to that reality. A few days ago I got an idea for a new demo from an ad I saw in the radio classifieds, which called for a demo no more than two minutes in length. I had always done demos that ranged anywhere from three and a half to around six minutes, but figured I might as well try a two minute deal. Nothing to lose.

Here is the result. It's the video version, but I also have the mp3 available for anyone who wants it.

Ah, but now how to promote this new demo? It's posted in the radio trades of course, but I wanted to reach out beyond the normal sphere of influence, exposing it to people who might have some relevant connection but who would otherwise not see or hear it. Then it hit me: The Old Truck Runs Again video has been getting 200-plus hits every day for months. Why not change the annotations, put a link to it in the video info there and ask people to check it out and share it? After all, all kinds of people like old trucks, right? Maybe one of them is a radio honcho who likes what he or she hears, or an agency person looking for just the right voice for a big project (the channel where the radio demo is posted also features my voiceover demo, which is also posted on the right of this page), or maybe someone who does business with them.

Who knows? Sometimes it's the oddest of connections that leads to the biggest of breaks.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pressing Forward


Just wondering... Isn't there always about six weeks of winter left regardless of whether that silly groundhog sees his shadow? I've never understood that whole ritual. Maybe we'll go pay that little guy a visit to see what he's all about after we get the truck on the road.

Another tough setback on the job front this week. Missed out on the radio gig I was going for. I had been told I was one of the top three, but they're going with one of the others. It was very difficult to hear that news, especially after working so hard to get the job. But as I've learned over the years in these situations, extended wallowing in the misery of it all only serves to cloud your forward vision. Have a little fit if you need to, then shake it off and move on.

Of course, the continuing lack of full time work means there won't be much we can do when we take the cover off, but we'll at least be able to charge the battery and hear the sweet sound of that old Stove Bolt engine doing its thing. And that alone will make things at least a little better...


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Itchin' to Drive


Four break drums. All the front bearings. Install and bleed the brakes.

That's how close we are. And the anticipation grows that much more when the temperature hits the 50's (as the forecast calls for today), providing that little hint of Spring.

I was a passenger many times back in the day, but I have never driven this truck. It will be another momentous day when we can finally take this old thing off the blocks and take it down the road once again. And as you might imagine, I'm already conjuring up production ideas for the video. Meanwhile, the view total on the original video continues to grow. We're up to 200-plus hits almost every day.

Of course, progress on this project depends largely on the job situation, which as of this writing still has not changed. I've been told I'm one of the leading candidates for the radio gig I auditioned for recently, but still waiting for the official word either way. Hopefully soon...


Monday, January 23, 2012

Ten Thousand Views!


We got the truck running on July 9th, 2011 and I posted the Old Truck Runs Again video the next day. I had checked the view total just a couple of times when in early November I was surprised to see it up over 1400, so I decided to start a daily tally. We were getting 80-100 views virtually every day (sometimes more) until last week, when there were a couple of days with over 200. Finally, 251 views over the last 24 hours has put us over the 10,000 mark.

It might still be far less popular than a lot of videos out there, but I think 10,000 views is pretty cool regardless, and I'm very appreciative of all the people who have liked the video enough to share it with others. We do have one “dislike” so far, from Norway. Probably a Ford fan.

I will also be forever appreciative of several people without whom this never would have happened: First of all my brother Peter, who bought the truck, drove it home from Missouri in 1981 and let it sit in his garage without selling it until he needed the space and agreed to sell it to us. And my brother Chris, who appears in the video with his kids (Michael, Kelly and Tim) and was holding the camera when the magic moment happened . Also our life long friend Brian, far more mechanically inclined than I am, who rebuilt the carburetor and got the fuel pump that was giving me fits to go on in about 30 seconds. And of course my good friend Jim, star of the video, an electrical whiz who got us the all important spark we needed, and whose infectious enthusiasm for the project has been a major inspiration.

Finally, I'm quite sure Mom and Dad have been here in spirit the entire time, helping the project along. I know they'll be riding with us when Peter and I finally go for that first drive together, taking this truck down the road for the first time since 1984. Hopefully you'll be watching THAT video sometime this spring!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Barrett-Jackson Auction: Droolin' & Dreamin'


The latest Barrett-Jackson auction is happening this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. I've been watching a lot of it live on Speed Channel, drooling and dreaming the whole time. I've seen some amazing cars and trucks so far, but they always save the really good, top dollar stuff for the last couple of days. If you're a fan of the classics, you should really check it out. Having to listen to the barking auctioneer in the background while the Speed guys talk about the vehicles can get a little tedious, but it's bearable. And if need be, you can just turn down the sound and look.

Of course, marveling at all the perfect looking pieces of automotive yesteryear is the biggest part of the whole thing, but I also marvel at the size of the crowd, and the fact that the people bidding on these classics, who all outwardly appear to be just regular schmoes like you and me, are throwing around tens of thousands of dollars without blinking an eye. Just goes to show that you should be nice to everybody – you never know who's got all the money!

On the job front: I missed the cut on the emergency dispatcher job by less than 4 percentage points. Needed 90% on the written test to be considered, ended up with 86.25%. 173 people applied for the position, and 124 actually showed up for the test. All for ONE position. Don't know how many made the 90%... Still waiting to hear either way about the full time radio gig I auditioned for last week. Judging from the interaction we've had so far, I really don't think they would blow me off without saying anything if I didn't get the job, and I'm pretty sure they haven't hired anyone else yet. Gotta hope there's still a chance.

Stay tuned for next week's post, when we could very well be marking another significant milestone in the ongoing story of John's Old Truck!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Still Job Huntin'


Three strong indications that winter has officially settled in: The weather mavens are calling for low temperatures in the single digits this weekend, we might see some snow, and the winter edition of the LMC Truck catalog has arrived! Those of you familiar with LMC know that you can get a catalog specific to your make and model of truck, and each new issue features a different truck from your category on the cover. This time around it's a very nice '59. Might have to add one of those to my fleet whenever I grow up and make my millions.

Speaking of makin' the millions, I was hoping to have some news on the job front this week but nothing to report yet. Hopefully very soon. Of course in this economy the job market is extremely competitive. I don't know how many have applied for the radio gig I auditioned for on Sunday, or how many are actually in the running, but I'm sure there's plenty of competition there. And on Monday I was one of somewhere around 120-130 people taking the first test for a single emergency dispatcher position. I'd say the chances of getting the radio job are much better, only because they certainly don't have the time to be auditioning 130 people! Still waiting for an answer though, probably because there are several people who have to sign off before the hire, and of course regular business must continue in the meantime.

Some very nice numbers on the Old Truck Runs Again video this week. 191 views over the last 24 hours, 179 yesterday, and we're over the 8,000 mark! Lovin' it!

Until next week...


Friday, January 6, 2012

Lookin' Up


My brother Chris and the kids (all of whom appear in the Old Truck Runs Again video) stopped by on New Year's day. It was pretty mild for the first day of the year, so Michael and I decided pull the cover back just enough to get in and see if the truck would turn over. There was enough juice to move the gas gauge, but that's about it. Certainly not surprising since I hadn't been charging the battery, but it was fun to try anyway.

There are a couple of promising possibilities on the job front (I have been unemployed since early November of 2010), which of course means that moving the truck project along (not to mention catching up on some nagging bills) could soon get quite a bit easier. Funny how the timing works out. One of these possible jobs involves an audition which happens on Sunday, and the other a written test which happens on Monday. My hope is that by this time next week I'll be able to tell you about my new job. Wish me luck! And of course I wish you all the best if you are in a similar situation.

Did I mention there's only 74 days to Spring? Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget!