Monday, April 5, 2010

WTF It's April? [Schiff Happens Quarterly Review]

College basketball is over,* baseball has (finally!) begun - it's April. In what feels like a flash, we're already a quarter of the way into 2010. It's time for a look back - and a look ahead. In the spirit of my recent return to the workforce (more on that momentarily), it's time for an official Schiff Happens First Quarter Review.

Entering Q1, Schiff Happens was at a crossroads, still reeling from the epic suckfest of a year so brutal it can't even be spoken of by name. Yet out of the shitheap came a glimmer of hope, dreams of promise for a great year in 2010. There were big challenges and high expectations ahead.**

We started off Q1 by bidding a bittersweet farewell to the Greatest Reality TV Show in the History of Ever. I was high from all the hairspray fumes I inhaled getting ready for the finale party, so it took me a few extra days to let it go. Not to worry, though, fist-pumpers. Looking ahead, we should be lucky enough to have Sitch, Snooks, Pauly D and the whole gang back in our lives - hopefully late Q2, almost certainly early Q3. As if it were possible, the show will become even less Jersey, as season 2 will take place in Miami.

Another Q1 highlight: The Schiff Happens name made the jump across the pond. I was interviewed by a BBC documentary crew and poised to appear alongside such Internet royalty as Al Gore, Tim Berners-Lee and Bill Gates. However, the BBC web player only allowed you to access the show from inside the UK. Oh, sweet irony! I wondered, "If you get interviewed by a prestigious international television network for being the guy who defriended his facebook friends for a free Whopper, and nobody in America can watch it, did it really happen?" It's the age-old philosophical conundrum. However, I am delighted to report that as we enter Q2, the show has at least made its way to YouTube. Enjoy the video below and have at it in the comments.

My primary Q1 objective was always to get a job, but due to financial constraints, that missive quickly morphed into "Generate income by any means necessary." I found myself taking a part-time gig shilling sneakers in one of New York's oldest sporting goods stores, which, as part-time gigs go, really wasn't bad. Frankly, it forced me to drag my ass out of bed in the morning, shed the Snuggie of unemployment, and begin to rejoin the rest of society. In the end, I'm grateful that the opportunity came along. As always seems to be the case, my job search was a case of feast or famine, and after months of turning up nothing, contacts were being established and networks were expanding almost immediately upon starting my new role. Within a few weeks I was interviewing and, I am excited to say, accepted a brand new full-time job. I try not to to mix business with the proceedings around here, but I will say that I am working at one of the top young internet companies around right now, I'm surrounded by bright, focused people in a laid back atmosphere that encourages creativity, and am extremely well-nourished thanks to the greatest office kitchen I have ever been around.

In addition to getting me re-focused and refreshed, working in the sporting goods store also led to something of a running renaissance for me. Spending so much time around running shoes, runners and the sport of running in general inspired me to sign up for a half marathon and train seriously for the first time since my high school glory days. All of a sudden, I'm on a team for charity and committed to run the ING New York City Marathon in November. More on all this to follow in the weeks and months ahead (and trust me, there will much more because you're all going to be donating), but for now I hope you'll direct your attention to Schiff Happens' most recent side venture: Run, Schiff, Run! Follow my awesome Tumblr for every mile - if you ever run with me or come watch me cross a finish line, I'll be sure you get a cameo. Running: an unexpected Q1 development that created new goals to carry us through Q2, 3, and 4. Who knew?

In the final post of Q1, I promised a future post on Festival Season, but looking ahead to Q2 and beyond, it's simply an impossibility that Schiff Happens will be able to attend one of the most perfectly constructed festivals in recent memory (of this generation?) or make a repeat appearance at the big 'Roo, which gets ever-more enticing each time you put it away and come back to it. So what does that leave us, musically, going forward? For starters, a lot of vicarious living. I've been loving The Kickdrums' Indio Sessions mixtapes for the last couple of weeks (Day 1, Day 2) and am excited for the release of Day 3 to complete the set. We're also left with prayers for miracles. There's a less than minuscule, impossible chance that I may be in New Orleans with the new job for the last 3 days of April, positioning me perfectly for Weekend 2 of Jazz Fest. Send the good vibes my way, people!

Mostly, though, we're now charged with creating an old-fashioned summer tour out of the local shows at our disposal, unaided by a huge festival to help catch all the big names of the now. That means Lupe Fiasco (with opening act b.O.b., which, truth be told, I may be more excited for) this Saturday night at Irving Plaza. That means I'm still intrigued by the possibility of checking out newly reformed Sublime With Rome at Roseland Ballroom in May. I know it's not the same without Brad, but Sublime remains one of my favorite bands of all time and I'm willing to see what Eric and Bud have to offer with a new frontman. That means the big musical story of the summer will be Phish. Again. A year after I said 5 shows in one summer was too many, I'll be heading out to 4 in 3 cities from late-Q2 to mid-Q3 Amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The end of Q1 has brought back the gorgeous weather and Sundays in Central Park that we longed for throughout the snowy, frigid winter. We've got more than a few excellent positives to build on as we forge deeper into 2010, a year that began with such high hopes.*** The seeds have been planted and we're on the verge of greatness, now we just have to see it through. Of course, we can still improve - not a single Springsteen mention in an entire quarterly report?! - but so far, 2010, you're so money and you don't even know it.****

*Sitting down to author this post as the starting lineups are being introduced. I don't see it shaking out this way, but I really hope Butler takes down the Dookies. Wouldn't be the first time Schiff Happens looked on and blogged in amazement while an unlikely upstart took down Coach K's cake eaters.

**I'm still dreaming of a world where Butler beats Duke in the NCAA Championship. Still don't think it will happen, but the Bulldogs are putting up a fight (down 2 with the ball 8:21 to go in the 1st half)

***High hopes including watching Duke lose in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game... to Butler. Bulldogs have the ball with 13 seconds left, trailing by just 1. If this happens, anything truly is possible for us good guys in 2010. Could it be???

****Gordon Hayward just missed a potential game-winner for Butler that was nearly identical to Sean Singletary's game-winner vs. Duke in the game referenced above. Freakin' Duke. At least Singler got trucked on the final play. This game is over, and this post needs to be too. G'night, Canada!

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