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Please Donate to the Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund

June 2012 is now in the past! July is the present and will be for another 31 days. Just think that there is only a few more days and we Americans will be celebrating our Independence Day on July 4th.

I have been thinking about the 4th of July and what Independence Day means to me. Having traveled as much as I do, I have noticed that wherever I go, the United States is still the place where almost everybody that doesn’t live in the United States wants to live. How their vision of what it is to live in the US is based on television shows and photos from the news. True our standard of living is higher than most, but not everybody living in the United States is living the “American Dream”.

I guess before you can determine if you are living the “American Dream” you must define what the “American Dream” is. Is it the same for everyone? Is there a standard definition?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as: The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States; a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work.

The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Lets go with that definition, not only because I believe that it is well stated and correct, but it transcends me to exactly where I want it to take me and that is my life and my pursuit of happiness.

Sure I work hard! Sure I put in the time! Long hours and hard work, I say, “Bring it on”. I don’t think there is a soul that knows me that would not agree that I am one honest hard working individual. It is built into my DNA and belief system that lives by the fun is in the journey towards accomplishing worthwhile goals.

I also believe that I have achieved by all standards of the definition that I have obtained the dream “prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work,” but to quote Oliver, “Can I have another”?

What I mean by that is, sure I own modest house, a Mercedes, and a Rolex, but, and here is the big question, “Do I have enough to retire and not worry if I will have enough to make it to my end days in the lifestyle I am accustomed to?”. My answer is always the same: “Only if I want to live in a third world country and live to 70”. Not the answer I want to hear.

It is with that thought in mind that I have come up with the ultimate retirement strategy all based on a 1967 Beatles’ song: “With a Little Help from My Friends” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album sung by Ringo Starr. And may introduce to you the one and only Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund.

My plan is simple, if there are enough people out there that I have provided with service or advice without reward, or anyone that has nothing better to do with a dollar or more, now would be a good time to repay the favor and go to The Jan Landy 2025 (or sooner) Retirement Fund https://www.soundbroker.com/retire.bv and assist me to obtain a better life style in retirement.  I thank you, and the people in that third world nation (who will be happy that I am not living there) thank you.

Childhood Friends

Just spent the last 2 days with one of my closest childhood friends (we have known each other for over 55 years) and loved every second of it, except when he left. It is amazing how much there is to do in Vegas, if you put your mind to it. And yet, last night we stayed in and cooked dinner and talked. Talked and talked and talked and it could have been the best night I ever had since I have been in Vegas.

I could not not help but think of the line from John Lennon “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” and Harry Chapin “She was going to be an actress and I was going to learn to fly.”

I wonder how many people actually live out their childhood dreams of an occupation? I am happy, but I am not a cowboy, maybe because I am not a cowboy. 

The feeling that I experienced was worth the wait. We set up the plans for this visit about two years ago. That was due to Gary’s schedule, not mine.  I find it hard to plan for anything more than a week in the future, but Gary does not seem to have that same infliction as he has his life travels planned way into the future. It is good to have money and it is good not to have to work except when you want to and if you want to.  I do not have that luxury, I have to work if I want to maintain my current standard of living, which is a scary thought if you take into account my age. How many more working years do I have left? and do I want to work them all.  Some people I know have no choice, they work until they drop, I might be one of those, but it bothers me to think that I am, so I work hard, save my money and play hard and spend my money.  What a life I am living. Las Vegas, Rio, NY, and one day Paris. But I digress. 

When I made the plans with Gary, I was living in Vegas & Rio de Janeiro every six weeks I would bounce back from one city to another. I am truly fortunate that I have been able to set up my business that I can run it from anywhere in the world that I have a high speed internet connection and my tools, my MacBook Pro, Vonage & Skype, iPad and iPhone, portable scanner, a jar of peanut butter, Gatorade G2, my meds and face cream.

Now my life seems to have changed as I have a met and fallen in love with a Brazilian woman that does not have a visa to the US and I am finding myself spending more time in Brazil then ever before. Because of this, I had to plan to return to Vegas to meet Gary as agreed.  That was much harder to do then I thought it would be, as I miss my love more than I thought I would.  But being a man of commitment or at least so I think I am, I arrived back in Vegas, before Gary and was here to meet him when he arrived. 

I had not seen Gary in two years.  The last time we met it was up in Portland, OR and I was dating a woman that Gary was right about, she was no good. Gary on the other hand was dating the perfect woman for him and as it turns out somewhere in the last two years, they got married. 

I was not sure what to expect when I saw him, although we chat on Skype regularly, it is just not the same as being close enough to feel the presence of another. The interesting thing about being with an old and dear friend that knew you before you knew yourself and knows how you got to where you are today, is that the adjustment period is non existent. The second your eyes meet and you exchange that warm and sincere hug that it is good to see you and be in your presence again, it is the second that you cannot remember what it was like not to be with that person. Its like you were never separated.  There is no awkward moments. You are accepted and cherished instantaneously and vice-a-versa.

One of the things that happens when you get together with someone that knows you since you have been five is that you can share every thought that comes to your mind without the fear of being judged.  It is so enlightening that it becomes magically and spiritual. There are times when you don’t even have to speak, but, just a glance in certain way or a raise or lower of an eyebrow, or just a smile. And I guess with the physical change of aging that happens to us, the one thing that does remain the same is your smile. How wonderful is it to see someone you love smile. 

Gary arrived on Thursday night at 5 pm and just left Sunday morning at 8 am. A short stay at best, but a wonderful experience. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to bond with him in person again, it has renewed in my life the feeling of belonging to a club that is exclusive and rare and meaningful. In a world where so many friendships are fleeting or motivated by a need or business necessity, I feel so privileged to share a 55+ year old friendship based on love and understanding.   

Words alone cannot express, how much I look forward to our next meeting.

My Rio vs. Vegas Lifestyle

Having a great time here in Rio de Janeiro. There is something very special about a city that my name is embedded into, makes me feel connected with rio de JANeiro. Also if you say it fast it sounds like dinero, and who doesn’t like the sound of money?

Yesterday, I took my motorcycle out for a long ride it was a lot of fun. Went to Barra Shopping in Barra Tijuca. I love it down here. Much better quantity of fun and friends. Never bored always have something to do as the beach is only a block from my apartment. Have tons of friends and all of them are either on vacation or retired, so for the most part, I always have someone, but usually a group of friends do do things with.

The other thing that I like is that here in Rio, I am living an urban life, where is in Vegas, I am living a suburban one. Here, when I want to go out and do something, I walk out of my door, into the elevator which actually adjoins my door (there are only 2 apartments per floor to share the elevator) and I am on the streets of Copacabana, which is a bustling city.

 

Next door to my building, is a 24/7 quality luncheonette and on the other is my gym. On my street alone there is 3 places to exchange money & travel agencies, A Havaianas Footwear, 5 restaurants (Japanese, French, Brazilian (2), and the luncheonette, a laundry, Betto’s tattoos, a tailor, a jewelry store and a lingerie store, and that is just what I can remember.

 

When I walk out of the door in Vegas, there are other houses. If I want to do anything, I have to drive to get there. Here I can walk, take a bus, taxi or subway to get where I want to go.

 

I look at it this way in Rio: Flip-flops and tank tops. Vegas: Shoes and shirts

 

But even with all of that going on there is even more that I like about being in Rio and that is the time difference between Las Vegas. I love the night. I have always been and always will be more of a night person than a day person. There is something about the night that brings out my creativity and imagination. And here is the best part, when it is winter in Vegas, there is a 6 hour time difference and when vegas goes into daylight savings time there is a 4 hour one. That means that no matter how late I go to sleep, I am going to be up in plenty of time to start my day when my office opens in Las Vegas at 7:30 am.

 

Oh by the way, did I mention that the US dollar buys you 1.75 of the Brazilian Reals?

 

Loving my Rio life

Having a great time here in Rio de Janeiro. There is something very special about a city that my name is embedded into, makes me feel connected with rio de JANeiro. Also if you say it fast it sounds like dinero, and who doesn’t like the sound of money?

Yesterday, I took my motorcycle out for a long ride it was a lot of fun. Went to Barra Shopping in Barra Tijuca. I love it down here. Much better quantity of fun and friends. Never bored always have something to do as the beach is only a block from my apartment. Have tons of friends and all of them are either on vacation or retired, so for the most part, I always have someone, but usually a group of friends do do things with.

The other thing that I like is that here in Rio, I am living an urban life, where is in Vegas, I am living a suburban one. Here, when I want to go out and do something, I walk out of my door, into the elevator which actually adjoins my door (there are only 2 apartments per floor to share the elevator) and I am on the streets of Copacabana, which is a bustling city. Next door to my building, is a 24/7 quality luncheonette and on the other is my gym. On my street alone there is 3 places to exchange money & travel agencies, A Havaianas Footwear, 5 restaurants (Japanese, French, Brazilian (2), and the luncheonette, a laundry, Betto’s tattoos, a tailor, a jewelry store and a lingerie store, and that is just what I can remember. When I walk out of the door in Vegas, there are other houses. If I want to do anything, I have to drive to get there. Here I can walk, take a bus, taxi or subway to get where I want to go.

I would look at it in Rio flip flops are my daily foot ware and in Vegas, it is shoes.

But even with all of that going on there is even more that I like about being in Rio and that is the time difference between Las Vegas. I love the night. I have always been and always will be more of a night person than a day person. There is something about the night that brings out my creativity and imagination. And here is the best part, when it is winter in Vegas, there is a 6 hour time difference and when vegas goes into daylight savings time there is a 4 hour one. That means that no matter how late I go to sleep, I am going to be up in plenty of time to start my day when my office opens in Las Vegas at 7:30 am.

Oh by the way, did I mention that the US dollar buys you 1.75 of the Brazilian Reals?

To write or not to write, Blogging is not my life.

I never realized how difficult it was to find the time and motivation to write a weekly blog.  I know that that it must be difficult, because I can’t seem to find the time or creativity to put one one out every week.   
As of this moment, or should I say when I designed the new and improved SoundBroker.com, I had a blog space and a podcast space built in.  I am so negligent in blogging that I probably have lost all my blog reading followers. To those faithful that have been waiting for my next blog, I highly recommend that you check out my Facebook page jan@soundbroker.com because although I don’t post everyday, I come pretty close.  Also there are my Tweeter accounts @JanLandy (personal) & @soundbroker.  
 
Most people that know me find me to personable enough and I find that I am always finding interesting and innovated concepts and both real world and technologically oriented which I post regularly. 

 
I was just reading a blog by Andy Inhatko where he mentions there is no such thing as writer’s block, there is only writing and not writing, I am going to do the best I can from here on in, to find the few minutes a day or week, to write.  Wish me luck.

Frustration With A Specialist

I went to my dermatologist for a follow up appointment. This was my third visit in less than 3 months. This time was only for the doctor to look at me to determine that I was cured. No tests, just a physical inspection of my skin to insure in her mind and to confirm in mine that I had healed completely.

I debated if I really needed to go back there, but the doctor staff when they called me insisted that the doctor needed to to confirm that I was healed. It appears that if the doctor doesn’t sign off that you are healed and you have a relapse, the insurance company will not cover your treatment again for that issue. Far be it for me to take that chance. The cost of medical treatment is expensive unless your are really rich, then it is just costly. To me it is expensive.

I personally believe that my particular doctor is really good at her specialty and is in the business of getting as much money out of you as possible and because of that she will do whatever it takes to keep you alive. It seems that a dead patient doesn’t generate any money for her and beside it is very hard to get a dead patent to keep their appointments.

It was with that money grabbing philosophy that I have my problem! This particular doctor charges $150.00 per visit if you don’t have insurance and just the copay if you do. Every time!!! Even though this is a follow up just to say “you are fine.” I that was all it was, it would still annoy me, but this particular doctor’s staff makes you pay in advance of seeing the doctor! Not only that, every time you have an office visit they hand you the same form to fill out. It is a questionnaire of sorts that asks you questions like, “Have you ever thought of getting Plastic Surgery? “What part of your anatomy would you change if you could?”.

But with out a doubt, the worst part of the whole ordeal is the wait! My question is why make an appointment for 9:10 in the morning if the doctor doesn’t see you until 10:10. And then it still isn’t that simple. First you wait in the waiting room until you feel you can’t wait another minute. The only part of that wait that makes it tolerable is that there are others that are waiting there too. And everyone has that stupid look on their face that shows their frustration as if to say “what am I doing here?” Of course it only makes matters worse if this is the first time you are there to see the doctor and your are not sure if whats bothering you is life threatening. Finally after you have thought about leaving twenty times, the nurse comes and gets you and brings you back to an exam room, where you wait even longer. That to me is the worst as you are in solitary confinement and as the time passes you start to feel that everyone including the doctor has forgotten you.

So now your waiting and the time is dragging and you start to wonder what is in the drawers and cabinets. Is there anything in there worth taking as to compensate you for the time you have waited? Unfortunately for me either I’m too honest, don’t have a need for medical supplies or I’m afraid to get busted by the doctor. Anyway in this case the just the thought is enough. Besides the jar of tongue despressers is inviting enough. Wouldn’t it have been funny if I tried them all and put them back in jar that I took then from? I didn’t. The doctor gave in just in time.

Brush With Death, I Chose Life

On Tuesday September 13, 2011 at ten minutes to 6, I was on my way to the gym to work out traveling on the 215 Las Vegas Beltway and the rain was coming down in typical dessert rainstorm fashion. I was in the middle lane doing 60 mph, when I looked to the right and there was driver in a car talking on cell his phone held up to his left ear that was not paying enough attention to the road and without looking, turned into my lane. Had I not been looking right at him thinking to myself what an idiot, when he turned into my lane I would not have seen him and for sure he would have hit my car and caused a serious accident. However, I was paying attention at that moment and I honked my horn as I swerved to my left to avoid him hitting me.

Because the rain was so intense and the highway was wet, as I swerved to the left, my car started to skid and my two left wheels felt as if they were lifting off the ground. Fortunately, I am a good driver and having been brought up in New York, had enough practice to handle my car in bad weather, this incident ended with nothing more than anger from me towards the unknown driver in the other car that could have ended in a much more profound outcome, such as death, dismemberment or combination of the two, plus an insurance filing.

The incident made me relate to something I had just read about a test pilot that when interviewed expressed his view that fate is a hunter. So true.

My thoughts afterward, made me realize how fortunate I am and that I am living my life in such a manner as that when the final curtain call does come for me, I am not going to have too many regrets. It was an interesting experience in that I was not in fear of losing my life nor did I experience an adrenaline rush nor did a movie of my life flash before my eyes. There was a calm that came over me as if that if this was my time, then I was ready to accept it. Perhaps that it all happened so fast or even though it look and felt precarious, my senses told me that I was in control of the car and I was going to maneuver out of danger.

It has been a couple of days now since my brush with near death and I look back at the experience with distant emotions and feel the urge to live my life to the fullest one more time.

Going to New York.

I originally planned my trip to New York’s JFK to coincide directly into the path of hurricane Irene. Well not quite exactly, my trip was already planned, but the day before I was supposed to leave, I called the airline only to find that all flights were cancelled. That worked out okay in the long run. Today is September 2nd and I am 35,000 feet above the planet 2 hours away from landing at JFK, listening to My favorite tunes on Spotify and typing this on my iPad.

I can really use a vacation, unfortunately this is not going to be one. True I might be out of my office, but I will be hard at works on Tuesday. For those reading this that are not living in the US, this weekend is a national holiday called Labor Day. In the past Labor Day used to be the holiday that separated summer from fall. The end of summer holiday and the beginning of the school season. But it it is not like that any more. School started two weeks ago. I known this because thats when the lights started to flash as I was driving by the public school and I had to slow down to 15 MPH. How in convenient. Driving 15 miles per hour is equivalent to being stuck in a time warp. Having said that brings the joke to mind “the only good thing about about a pedophile is they drive slow in a school district” (bad!!!! I know, but you’ll be tell that joke tomorrow).

But I diverse, the reason I am going to New York is to be with my best childhood friends who are celebrating their 60th birthday and there is a big party at my friend Lonny’s house. I like hanging out with these people, after all these years I am finally the best looking one amongst them. Amazing what daily exercise, hair dye, and plastic surgery can do for you. I will report back from the flight home next Friday. I bet you can’t wait to hear all about it????

The question is, how can I take a trip to New York and not set up meetings with people I do business with that I like? I can’t. More to follow…….

To my good friend & mentor Richard Fitzgerald (February 23, 1946 – August 23,2011)

To my good friend & mentor Richard Fitzgerald (February 23, 1946 – August 23,2011):

The year was 1978 and I was working in the mailroom of Bearsville Records. Renee was the secondary promotion person at Bearsville and her boyfriend and soon to be husband Michael Dundas was working for RSO Records just few blocks away up La Cienga. One day, Renee asked me if I could drop off a package of LPs to Michael who was working at RSO Records. I agreed and upon arriving at the RSO office and dropping off the package to Michael. If my memory serves me correctly, it was around lunch time and Michael invited me to stay for some pizza, which I did. That was the day I met Richard Fitzgerald. He was very friendly to me and we just bonded immediately. We both had a love of music and the business of music.

RSO was booming at the time with Saturday Night Fever and then Grease and so was the local Los Angeles music scene with acts like Blondie and the Motels, The Knack, and a host of others and I had my finger on the pulse of the scene. Doug Fieger and Prescot from The Knack were friends and I had their demo of My Sharona and I played it for Rich. He really liked it and he called his boss Al Coury in to listen to it. RSO didn’t really have an A&R department, it was Robert, Al & Richard. Al liked it too, but as Capitol Records were close to making a deal and Al was working the biggest records of all time, just was not interested, however Richard was. Richard was really curious about the L.A. Music scene, but was too busy to hit the streets so, from time to time, I would get together with him and play him demo tapes of what I thought was hot, and the best part about it was that Richard agreed with my taste. Richard saw the opportunity to expand his roll from running the promotion department into creating a vibrant A&R department and start signing bands to the RSO, but Al wasn’t. What to do?????

As RSO was a huge player in the record business at that time, unsolisited demo tapes from aspiring artists were flooding into the RSO offices and seeing he was really the only one at the company that wanted to do A&R, all of the tapes were ending up in his office. Richard did not have time to listen to them. At this point in time Bearsville had fired me as they were being absorbed by Warners and I got caught doing something that I shouldn’t have been doing (no need to go into that at this point). Having more free time and looking for a job, I asked Richard if he had a job opening for me. He said he had an idea.

The idea was to start an A&R department, but Al was not was not interested, but Richard was. And if you know Richard, he was soft spoken, didn’t like conflict, but was determined like nobody’s business to get the job done right. So this is what Richard did. He asked me if I would listen to the tapes that he was getting. His plan was to have me listen to the tapes reject the ones that weren’t any good and submit the ones that I liked to him and he would submit them to Al and see if he could convince Al to start the department. He paid me out of his own pocket and I worked out of his apartment, which happened to be just around the corner from the RSO offices on Sunset. This went on for about a month, but still Al was not interested.

Then Richard came up with a plan. I never thought it would work, but believe it or not, it did. Richard told me that I had to stop listening to the tapes and give him some time. I had no choice, so I did.

Al’s office was adjoining Richard’s and Al would constantly pop in and sit down and go over business with Richard. So what Richard did, was instead of putting the demo tapes in boxes on the floor of his office, he allowed them to accumulate and he had them piled up on all of the chairs and the couch in his office. Now when Al came into his office, he had no place to sit down. It took all of about two weeks for Al to tell Richard to hire me so that he could have a place to sit.

There is another part of this story, that goes beyond the fact that Richard created the job of a life time for me. Richard believed in me. And if you knew Richard, you knew that no one was a more loyal friend. He proved it with me. You see at the time, I had a problem. I was a drug addict. I was getting high from the moment I woke up until I took something to put me a sleep. Richard knew this, but he saw something in me that no one else saw in me including myself. He befriended me and made me promise that if he got me a job working for him that I would give up drugs and get myself together. He painted the most amazing picture of what my future could be like and he convinced me and stood by me all the way to assisted me in getting off drugs and going straight.

Working with him was one of the best periods of my life and if it wasn’t for Richard’s loyalty, friendship, tutorship and caring, I might have never made it out of the 70s.

Richard, I love you and you will alway live in my heart.

To my good friend & mentor Richard Fitzgerald (February 23, 1946 – August 23,2011)

To my good friend & mentor Richard Fitzgerald (February 23, 1946 – August 23,2011):

The year was 1978 and I was working in the mailroom of Bearsville Records. Renee was the secondary promotion person at Bearsville and her boyfriend and soon to be husband Michael Dundas was working for RSO Records just few blocks away up La Cienga. One day, Renee asked me if I could drop off a package of LPs to Michael who was working at RSO Records. I agreed and upon arriving at the RSO office and dropping off the package to Michael. If my memory serves me correctly, it was around lunch time and Michael invited me to stay for some pizza, which I did. That was the day I met Richard Fitzgerald. He was very friendly to me and we just bonded immediately. We both had a love of music and the business of music.

RSO was booming at the time with Saturday Night Fever and then Grease and so was the local Los Angeles music scene with acts like Blondie and the Motels, The Knack, and a host of others and I had my finger on the pulse of the scene. Doug Fieger and Prescot from The Knack were friends and I had their demo and I played it for Rich. He really liked it and he called his boss Al Coury in to listen to it. RSO didn’t really have an A&R department, it was Robert, Al & Richard. Al liked it too, but as Capitol Records were close to making a deal and Al was working the biggest records of all time, just was not interested, however Richard was. Richard was really curious about the L.A. Music scene, but was too busy to hit the streets so, from time to time, I would get together with him and play him demo tapes of what I thought was hot, and the best part about it was that Richard agreed with my taste. Richard saw the opportunity to expand his roll from running the promotion department into creating a vibrant A&R department and start signing bands to the RSO, but Al wasn’t. What to do?????

As RSO was a huge player in the record business at that time, unsolisited demo tapes from aspiring artists were flooding into the RSO offices and seeing he was really the only one at the company that wanted to do A&R, all of the tapes were ending up in his office. Richard did not have time to listen to them. At this point in time Bearsville had fired me as they were being absorbed by Warners and I got caught doing something that I shouldn’t have been doing (no need to go into that at this point). Having more free time and looking for a job, I asked Richard if he had a job opening for me. He said he had an idea.

The idea was to start an A&R department, but Al was not was not interested, but Richard was. And if you know Richard, he was soft spoken, didn’t like conflict, but was determined like nobody’s business to get the job done right. So this is what Richard did. He asked me if I would listen to the tapes that he was getting. His plan was to have me listen to the tapes reject the ones that weren’t any good and submit the ones that I liked to him and he would submit them to Al and see if he could convince Al to start the department. He paid me out of his own pocket and I worked out of his apartment, which happened to be just around the corner from the RSO offices on Sunset. This went on for about a month, but still Al was not interested.

Then Richard came up with a plan. I never thought it would work, but believe it or not, it did. Richard told me that I had to stop listening to the tapes and give him some time. I had no choice, so I did.

Al’s office was adjoining Richard’s and Al would constantly pop in and sit down and go over business with Richard. So what Richard did, was instead of putting the demo tapes in boxes on the floor of his office, he allowed them to accumulate and he had them piled up on all of the chairs and the couch in his office. Now when Al came into his office, he had no place to sit down. It took all of about two weeks for Al to tell Richard to hire me so that he could have a place to sit.

There is another part of this story, that goes beyond the fact that Richard created the job of a life time for me. Richard believed in me. And if you knew Richard, you knew that no one was a more loyal friend. He proved it with me. You see at the time, I had a problem. I was a drug addict. I was getting high from the moment I woke up until I took something to put me a sleep. Richard knew this, but he saw something in me that no one else saw in me including myself. He befriended me and made me promise that if he got me a job working for him that I would give up drugs and get myself together. He painted the most amazing picture of what my future could be like and he convinced me and stood by me all the way to assisted me in getting off drugs and going straight.

Working with him was one of the best periods of my life and if it wasn’t for Richard’s loyalty, friendship, tutorship and caring, I might have never made it out of the 70s.

Richard, I love you and you will alway live in my heart.