Sept. 2010 issue

If You Plan to Move
To New York...

...start the process to change your automobile and driver's license to New York state ASAP!

Sure, eveybody complains about long lines and complicated requirements at most all state DMVs from Alaska to Maine, Florida to Minnesota. But I'm here to swear that New York has to be the worst of the bunch!

Take all the usual bureaucratic smoke and mirrors, and add to it requirements for a hard-copy of your car's title... even if it's not paid for yet! If you've remarried, ladies, you'll have to provide both marriage certificates and divorce decrees for all previous unions! No birth certificate? Ohhhh... that'll really slow you down!

It took weeks to meet all of New York's requirements, and after Irene and I finally had our photos taken and were issued temporary licenses, we each got a notice in the mail that the camera had technical problems. So we had to go back. Back to long lines, long waits, just to get a new photo made. It took three trips before we we able to find the time to finish the process.

Then one clerk tried to tell us we had to start all over with new application forms! Fortunately, another clerk (apparently awakened by our screams) informed our agent that all we had to do was sign the letter we received from DMV.

OK... so we're legal now in NY. We started in June. It is now September. Got a state that can top that?

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Wanna Be a VO Talent?

Even if you already are a professional with years the business, there's a new book, just published a few weeks ago, that I highly recommend. It's by Dan Friedman, whom many of us have worked with and know as an audio engineer with ProComm Studio Services in the Ashville, NC area. Dan is also a voice talent, and brings this unique perspective of both engineer and talent to the business of VOs.

If you're just getting started and are relatively new to the business, this book is essental. It covers everything from technical advice for home studios to "do's & don'ts" of working with producers and clents.

I've been both a voice talent and an audio engineer for more than 40 years, and I still learned a thing or two from Dan's book. It's available on line at Authorhouse.com. And, yes, this is an unsolicited testimonial... I bought my own copy and haven't even talked to Dan about it. Yet.

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Now That's Embarrassing!

Prices being what they are in NY, Irene & I weren't ready to pay the kind of rent that a really upscale neighborhood demands. So, we're living in a more run-down area, although the old victorian house we're renting has just been completely renovated and is quite attractive.

But I feel badly for the guys at the Fire Department next door to us. Several years ago, the house directly across the street from us (and them) caught fire and was completely gutted, leaving a charred shell of a building with no roof and skeletal chimneys sticking out of the top. The white arrows point toward our house.

Rumor has it that it that this charcoal pit is owned by a wealthy man with no mortgage payments, and he's fighting with the insurance company about coverage. He bought it as rental property years earlier.

As legal maneuvers drag through the calendar and the destroyed house sits in a growng snarl of weeds, the rest of the neighborhood has to put up with the eyesore. And the Fire Department has to endure the snickers of passersby who marvel at the irony of the two neighboring buildings, one seeming to belie the abilities of the other!

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The Local Scene: Millbrook, NY

Irene and I love to hop in the Mini on a weekend, drop the top (weather permittint)_and hit the road to check out some of the little events and attractions in the Hudson Valley. One recent trip took us to the little town of Millbrook, Northeast of Poughkeepsie, which was reputed to have good antique shops and restaurants.

When we arrived, we found a farmer's market going on in a municipal parking lot and decided to check it out first. We had no sooner entered the lot when we heard what sounded like someone playing an old blues record from the '30's. Turning a corner, we realized it was live music, being performed by a small group from New Orleans called "Tuba Skinny"... and they were phenominal!

They were made up of a tuba (of course), trumpet, guitar, trombone, washboard, and vocalist... and not one microphone or amplifier! Yet the gal doing the singing could be heard clearly over the other insruments, had a sweet voice, and a good ear. The real star, we thought, was Robin Rapuzzi, the guy with a washboard and assorted tin cans and noisemakers hung around his neck!

He was in constant motion, with sweeping arm movements and gracefull steps, under a dead-pan face, creating an incredibly rich rythmn accompaniment to the groups melodies. What an unexpected treat these musicians were!

And the fresh pears and apples we bought were good too.

The Local Scene: Rhinebeck, NY

If the name of the little upstate New York town of Rhinebeck seems familiar to you, it's because this was the location of Chelsea Clinton's big wedding a few weeks ago. I tried to find out if there was any connection between Rhinebeck and the Clinton family background, but had no luck. It appears that the location was chosen for it's combination of relative seclusion (the beaten path is still a ways off) and convenient amenities.

The Hudson Valley recognizes Rhinebeck as a great destination for shopping (not mall-style), eating, entertainment, and relaxation. There are magnificent old inns and hotels, exceptional restaurants, amazing stores, and a very good local "art theater" where we caught "Mao's Last Dancer", a super movie! Just outside of town is a substantial airport (no doubt a plus for the Clintons) complete with air museum, antique airplanes, and a weekend air show with old bi-planes and others performing stunts and aerobatics.

Irene discovered a bookstore that was unlike anything she'd seen before (and she hunts bookstores like big game)! So I'm sure there's another quick trip up Rte. 9 to Rhiebeck in our near future.

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