The end of another chapter in this Traveler’s journey 1

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As the New Jersey chapter in the life of this traveler comes to a close as I divest myself of the last tangible asset that has held me to New Jersey as I close up the house at 704 Puritan Ave and hand it over to a new owner.  My daughter Avery grew up in this house; we watched her grow into the beautiful person she is now.  This house has seen many friends and family pass through to enjoy good times and bad. It was the center of the Bilancio family holiday dinners for 12 plus years, and in the summer it was the epicenter of some great summer blasts.

The chapter of my life in New Jersey started as an adventure story that had drama, humor and a little mystery thrown in.  It had births, and it had too many deaths of family and too many close friends, it had lost friendships of people I thought were my friends as well as loss of my real friends that moved on to bigger and better things.  At the beginning of the adventure I saw myself living and dying in New Jersey, but like most stories, there are sudden changes in the flow, and the protagonist finds a new path to follow and explore and to see what is going to happen with every turn of the page.

This article isn’t just about the closing and selling of a house but the end of a chapter in a story that we hope goes on for way more time, and it’s a good time to think and reflect on what has happened and to look forward to future adventures.

In the summer of 1990 when I moved back to New Jersey chasing a job offer, I remember how good it felt to be back with my cousins and the family I spent most of my life with and is where I grew up and had so many happy times as a kid.  We were so young and crazy when I came back, and I had watched and studied how much we have all grown and matured in the passing years. Most of us have been or are still married with children, and it’s incredible how much the children have developed or are growing into fine adults.

The few friends that I made in New Jersey and still communicate with have also moved on from the party life we all enjoyed in the backyard of 704 Puritan.  I have watched their kids growing up, and they are becoming young adults moving into their own. I have also watched as a few of my friends had moved on from the wives or husbands that they had when we first met and started hanging out, some for the better and some not so much.

My being and life force will always flow through New Jersey, as my daughter is still there as well as most of my cousins, aunts and uncle and the few friends I still have there.  The second anchor that holds me to New Jersey will be the graves of the matriarch and patriarch of the Bilancio family Rose and Louis Bilancio.

Like all stories of the traveler in the stories seem to flow and ebb, this traveler’s tale will continue as I move through the universe with new companions to far off lands and states and adventures, but my line of cosmic energy and my story will always flow through Central New Jersey.


Music Radio to Playlists 1

Since I stopped being on the radio, I have been keeping my ear to the ground and listening and watching the slow death of music radio. To me, music radio should be a place to hear all kinds of music and a venue to let the DJ educate the listener about all types of music, in the ways of the pioneer’s of FM radio DJ’s. The radio DJ of today in the majority of radio stations is a computer that has been programmed to play the music around the advertisements. It’s all done by some guy in another location who “knows” everything about what the listener wants to hear by studying charts and “data” of sales worldwide. But not what the market is like and what the demographics of the listening area is, so in other words taking local out of the local radio. We hear music that all sounds the same it “pre-programmed electronic Disco.” It’s time to give the control of the music selection back to the DJ!

WARNING – If pre-programmed electronic Disco is the kind of music you like then you might not want to read on, but I hope you do and you realize there are more kinds of music out there to listen too.

Let me impart some knowledge and history on you now – the FM radio signal, was invented in the 1930’s, but as a commercial medium it didn’t take off until the late 60’s. When rock radio stations began using FM to get away from the locked down format of the pop stations of the AM dial. The format used was loose and free, and the DJs programmed their music in a freeform style. This style was the birth of Freeform radio that was popular in the late 60s and the 70’s, but as the audience grew the radio station owners and advertisers realized that there was more money to be made in FM radio, then there was in AM.  So more and more structure was added to the format of the station thus tieing the hands of the DJ. Which eventually caused the replacing of a live person with the before mentioned computer, so that eventually FM music radio became sounding more like the pop formats of AM radio, with more commercials and less musical diversity, killing the Freeform format.

Freeform, or freeform radio, is a radio station programming format in which the disc jockey is given total control over what music to play, regardless of music genre or commercial interests.” – Wikipedia

When I started in radio in ‘86, the Freeform format had been dead for many years, but no one had told me, I programmed my shows the way I made mixtapes, come up with a “theme” or a set of songs and fill in around them during my show. Because of this, I got called into the office more than once for playing a “B” side or a song that had not been released from a new album or the big one…it didn’t follow the format of the station. Little did I know that I was following in the steps of the inventors of the early “FM” sound…the Freeform radio DJ.

It wasn’t till I had stopped working in radio and listening to the stations in other markets that were still letting the DJ do a modified “Freeform” format that I learned more about mixing the music in a way that took the listener on a musical journey.  The songs were laid out to tell a story or they followed a theme, and they didn’t just use the top music of the day.  They used those buried gems on “Side 2” or a cover of a past hit or a B side to lay out the musical journeys, and they didn’t just use the music of the format of the station to take these journeys. Since the late 90’s trying to find a station letting the DJ go out and build these musical journeys is getting harder and harder, but soon I realized that Playlists could be a conduit to supplying a Freeform musical journey to others.

Playlists

Since I can’t seem to get back on the radio to do a show in a Freeform type of format I have been starting to make 3 to 4-hour Playlists of the shows I would program.

Making a playlist for me is creating a piece of art, I start with a base of songs that I want to hear. One or two for the beginning of the list and then as I am listening to that I start adding music that blends and flows with the “base” songs that are going to be added or I might have a theme in mind or a story to tell through the music. Yes, my playlists will have a lot of the same artists as the “base” of all my playlists, but it’s what I put in the cracks between them that will take you on the musical journey.  My playlists are to listen to in the order they are laid out as though you are listening to a radio and not in shuffle mode

When it comes to music I have a broad taste, not just the Jam Band genre, like a lot of people think I do. I was brought up listening to all kinds of music, and I appreciate some more than others like most people. For certain songs, I might like a cover over the original version; for example, I like the Jerry Garcia’s Bands version of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue,” so in my lists I try to use the best version that fits, not just the one that I like.

This week, there is a new site where I will start listing my playlists so that you will be able to play on Spotify, and Amazon Music. I am open to comments and suggestions for songs or bands you might like that I would like as well, I am open to hearing new stuff, but please keep all comments polite and on topic and no hate.

Just in case you are a radio programmer reading this and listing to my lists who is looking for a DJ who doesn’t stay in the format box and loves to interact with the listeners and take them on a Musical Journey every shift contact me, please.

So in the words of Dave Herman from when he started The Marconi Experiment at WMMR in Philadelphia on April 29, 1968:

“Arise my heart, and fill your voice with music. For he who shares not dawn with his song, is one of the sons of ever darkness.” – David Herman


Happy 25th Birthday Avery 1

This is the second birthday letter I have written to Avery…hope you all enjoy her birthday as much as she does this year

Dear Avery,

Today is your 25th birthday!  Where has the time gone? Here are some facts for you to think about on your birthday.  I was 25 when you were born, your grandfather was 50 (he was 25 when I was born), you have lived a quarter of a century, I have lived half a century and your grandfather has lived three-quarters of a century.

I look back on these last 25 years and have many things I regret that I did or didn’t do within your life. But it has been an interesting 25 years watching you grow and mature and becoming the woman you are; from the day you were born sleeping in the nursery at the old Princeton hospital as just a little baby new to this world, then I blinked and you were five running around the apartment on Brunswick Ave and going to school at Columbus Elementary School, then blink and you were in middle school behind 90 Eggerts Crossing and then blink again,  you were a senior in high school and then you were driving with a job to go to. Then all of a sudden I watched you get your college diploma last year. In between all that you were doing dancing and I was always so proud of you every time you were on that stage and each and every time I got choked up because you were growing up just to fast for this dad.

I love you Avery and I am so happy that you were put into my life 25 years ago and from one Bilancio to another, you are doing a great job being a great Bilancio and a great person.

Love,

Dad


What happened to the written letter 7

IMG_20180227_100126In the process of cleaning out my house, I came across a shoe box full of old letters that I had received from friends and family, and it got me thinking about actually sitting down and writing a letter.

While I was growing up, I would stay at my grandparents for a lot of overnight visits.  The early riser that my grandfather was, he would go downstairs to either make fresh bread, do research or to sit at the kitchen table to write letters to the family and friends.  He almost always woke me up on his walk to the kitchen so I would sit on the stairs and watch him write his letters.  Depending on who he was writing too he might have had some research that was going to be used to make his point all laid out on the table around him. Or a pile of news clippings he was going to send with the letter, I was always fascinated with his letter writing, so much so that I use to love writing letters.

His habit of letter writing rubbed off on me, and as I grew up, I became an avid letter writer.  When I became a teenager and moved to Bath, my letter writing became more prevalent, I would write to my friends in Fallsington or girls who went to the lake for the summer or off to college, or to friends of the family and of course family. I enjoyed putting thoughts and questions down on paper; it made things more personal between who I was writing to.  Dropping the letter into the mailbox and then the anticipation building of getting a letter back with I hoped the answers to the questions I had asked and then finding out what was going on in the person’s life.

How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

 Haruki Murakami

The anticipation of having to wait for the next letter over at least a ten-day period (delivery to, writing back, delivery from).  The personalization of holding the piece of paper(s) that always made letter writing fun, compared to writing an email today, which always seems so impersonal to me.

It’s the impersonalization in today’s world of instant gratification that has replaced the written letter with social media, instant messaging, Snap Chat, Twitter, and email.  All of which typed quickly and in most cases short and just 140 characters max.

Gone are the days of taking the time to find the perfect pen to put word to paper, going out and selecting the perfectly weighted and colored paper to write your correspondence. To put that special pen to the hand-picked paper is what makes the letter a personal, heartfelt conversation between the recipients.  Don’t think I am still writing letters because I’m not; I can’t think of the last time I have put pen to paper and written a letter to anyone myself.

In my life, I have been trying to get away from the instant gratification communications of today and moving back to putting pen to paper for those communications that I would like to grow and build between friends and family.  Getting that feeling of really talking with people in a form that is more personal and more caring and loving.

My call to you all is dust off those old address books, find a piece of paper and a pen and write a letter….most people have a real physical address, not just an email address.


Writing issues 3

4487159833_2207b1dfa3_bWhen I was growing up my mother made me do creative writing all through summer vacation as well as writing journals on all our vacations while traveling, and that made writing for me a lot less fun, because it was more of a chore for a kid of 8 through 12, so I ended up fighting having to write anything for most of my early life in and out of school. Once I got out of school, and I moved on in my adult life, I started writing the odd story and article for the family newspaper here or there, but it just wasn’t that fun for me still.  In 2000 I started William’s Thoughts and Ideas, to be a site for me to put my day to day happenings on the web like the bofhcam journal, but that didn’t last too long since I got busy at work and totally forgot to write any entries for the day, week, month.  After looking at what I was writing when I did do a post I didn’t think my audience would really read it because it was just not exiting being a System Administrator at a civil engineering firm, so the site became more of a hey this is happening in my life or a look into my life as a kid and growing up, or a review of one thing or another and the yearly Christmas List, but there became times where I didn’t write much at all, I have gone for over six months to a year with out anything being written or posted.

Writing posts use to be pretty easy for me at the beginning of all this and looking back at those posts from about 2000 to 2012 I can see why..I never really said much in the way of substance, and my spelling and grammar were soooo bad, but in the past two or so years, it’s been tougher for me to write meaningful posts.  It’s not that I don’t have topics I want to write about, I have a huge list, and a few posts started, that I just can’t bring to a close, it’s just been hard for me to get my thoughts down on “paper”.  I don’t know if it’s because I am trying to be a better writer or because I get more distracted and less focused when I want to write or just not to have the will to write at all?

Getting distracted and not being focused is one of the issues when writing that happens and I know one thing I need to do is to find a better place and better way to write.  When I try to write in the living room with the television on I get caught up with what’s on and don’t write at all.  If I am at the Soul Full Cup, I am good till people start coming in to hang out and then I just put the computer away to chat and then seem to lose the will to pick up the writing again when everyone leaves.  I am also wondering if part of it is my work schedule now, working midnight to 9 am supposedly can mess up your rhythms and focus escpcially if you aren’t getting a good 6 to 8 hours sleep during the day.  Also with my job, working on the computer all the time, it’s tough for me to want to work on one to write on my non-work hours/days.

Writing about my family is one of the easiest kind of writing for me because it’s something I can pull right out of my head and memories and get it down on the page, but is this something other than my family want to read?  Same goes for the technical writings, and the reviews are these of any interest to anyone to read but me? It’s tough to know who is reading and what is being liked from my point of view.  Are people coming to my site at all or are they staying on Facebook and other social media sites and just clicking the Like button or skipping the writing altogether and scrolling by?  These questions also make writing difficult for me, because if no one is reading this stuff what’s the point.  I tell myself that I am not doing this to make money or to be famous (because I’m not),  I am doing this to have my life documented for future generations of my family to read and know about me and my part of the Bilancio family, but in the now, it’s for those of you who know me understand what’s going on and what I am doing in a fun way as well as imparting some knowledge to them.

Why did I write this and make a post out of it?  The take away from this post was to identify what my problems are with my writing and to get my mind back into a place that I hope will get a more even flow of posts posted and better writing.


The Great Concert Debate – The ticket just gets you into the door and the seat is optional!

So the debat I have seen on Facebook and on websites about this bad bad thing that is supposedly a horable thing happening at shows these days…no I am not talking about ticket prices or not being able to get tickets to that special venue (don’t get me started on that)…and I am talking about people standing up and dancing or watching the show at venues with seating.

Standing

Last night I saw Blues Traveler in Ithaca at the State Thearter and durng some songs people stood up to dance and of course than everyone behind them stood up to see the band play.  I had a few people around me yell out to sit down and even Marty complained about people standing up, I just said it’s partof going to a show of certain bands.

I have been going to shows now for more years than I want to count, and I can count on one hand the numbe of shows I went to that no one stood up, danced or to get a better view of the band.  And the reason they didn’t stand was because the venue was very small and intament or at a casino with a crowd of older people who were just there to say they saw the band. 🙂

Standing and dancing has been a thing at concerts since the dawn of time!

So why now is this a big thing?  Last night I heard more people yelling at others to sit down then any other show I have been to, aren’t we there to hear the music and enjoy the night with the band.  The ticket is just to get you into the door and that the seat is optional. Last night I wasn’t in the mood to stand and dance, but if I had I would have gotten up and danced for most of the show and had a good time.

After doing some reading into this non-issue and watching people last night, the people that complain the most about this seem to be in the age range of mid 30’s to 50…Genration X.  Is this generation so into themselves that they don’t want to enjoy themselves and complian the whole show or do they don’t want others to have a good time…one thing I did notice that these are the people who talk during the show or on their phones when the band is doing music they don’t like and bitch that the band isn’t playing their hit songs (this will be another post soon).

Since this is the year of me getting back on the concert trail I will be doing a lot of watching and trying to figure out this issue and why it’s a thing now.  If you are going to a show remember that yes you paid for a ticket, but so did the person in front or beside you that is standing and dancing, and it’s their right to stand and dance at the show just as much as you sitting and enjoying the show.

 


Q-SKY Radio – No Static at All 1

I am looking for a few “friends” or if you were part of WVIN back in the late 80’s or at WCEB during the 1986 -1987 semesters and would like to help out and get on the air and have some fun.

Do you have a topic you want to talk about or a genre of music you want to get others hearing, or maybe go live with a podcast you are involved with then reach out to me at wbilancio@qskyradio.com.

I would prefer people in the Corning area to start with, but am open to others in other locations if you have a good idea for a show.

The format of Q-SKY is going to be a mix of talk and freeform music radio, but we will have to follow the DCMA rules for streaming radio stations to stay legal. All rules and broadcast information will be explained if you are interested in doing a show. This is all voluntary and not a paying gig so don’t quit your day job to do this.

I just ask that anyone interested be willing to give me at least six months of shows and not flake out on me and just disappear. I want to get a very robust and fun schedule and get some listeners other than our parents and relatives. 🙂

I want to start broadcasting Q-SKY Radio in the first part of the new year to get things set up and get some ideas fleshed out.


The final leg of a trip to 50 1

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Today marks the beginning of the 30-day countdown till I move into the second half of my life. I turn 50 in just a short 30 days; it’s been an interesting 49 years so far. I have had many careers and many journeys down many roads, some of them the wrong one, but I managed to get off those and back onto the right one without getting into to much trouble, but without those wrong roads, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I am going to try to post on this very website as much as I can about the first 50 years…well as many of those early ones as best as I can, but I know that from at least the age of 5 to now I should do pretty good. Some of the posts will be reruns of stuff I have already written, but there will be new stuff as much as I can get done with life and work getting in the way.

So have fun reading and enjoying them when you can.


Today in Bilancio History 1

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Photos by William Bilancio

On March 11th, 1993 – 24 years ago at this time I was sitting in the hospital with Carolyn waiting for the birth of our child (we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet) at the original Princeton Hospital in Princeton NJ.

For us, the day started around 3 am* with Carolyn waking me up to tell me her water broke and that the baby was going to be arriving a lot earlier than we expected.  We had just finished the Lamaze class two nights before and gotten the tour of the hospital, so we were ready for this, we both figured we would have a bouncing baby something by lunch…..  We called the doctor, and he told us not to head to the hospital till 7 am if the labor pains were still far apart. Forget going back to sleep at this point, so I started to wandering around the 70 Cleveland Lane house and came across my godmother taking care of her dog who wasn’t doing well that night, the look of surprise on her face when I told her that Carolyn’s water had broken and we would be having the baby today.

We headed to the hospital at 7 am and were admitted in our private birthing room by 7:30 am and the wait started.  By 11 am we realized that this little bundle of joy wasn’t going to be coming out anytime soon, the day wore on, and we went trough two shifts of nurses and doctors.  Carolyn’s doctor had been stopping by throughout the day to check on her and see her progress.  Around 7 pm he informed us it was getting close to time and be ready to start pushing and breathing.  So the nurses started prepping Carolyn for the final parts of birthing a baby and then the journey started.  After about an hour and 45 min of screaming and pushing and breathing out came a cute, small bundle of girl on March 11, 1993, @ 8:45 pm in time for us to watch Cheers.  Avery was rushed off to the nursery and Carolyn was taken care of and moved to her room.  I headed to the nursery, and there was my godmother looking at the baby through the window, and she turned to me and said she is beautiful and is going to be a great person and do great things…..

All through the day, we kept talking about a name, and we still hadn’t come up with a name at this point, so we decided to take the night and the next day to come up with a name.  It came down to Avery because we both loved the show Murph Brown and she had named her TV baby Avery, and it stuck with us…so Avery it was.

That day was one of the most special days for me, and I am so proud of my daughter who has turned into such a wonderful woman who is just starting on the journey of her adult life and is going to do great things, just like my godmother said.

To celebrate this great night after I left the hospital, I headed to Hoagie Haven and got myself two large cheese steaks with everything one for dinner and one for breakfast.  So today I am going to be on the hunt for a decent cheese steak in the Corning area to celebrate my daughters birthday!

Happy Birthday, Avery…I love and miss you so much!

avery4-COLLAGE

Photos by William Bilancio

  • All times are an approximation except for the birth time. (Hey it’s been 24 years and I didn’t take any notes during the day 🙂 )

We Have Issues Comic Shop 1

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Photo by: Pat McChesney

UPDATE: Unfortunately this store has closed.

When moving to the Corning, New York area I thought the closest comic book stores were in Elmira and Ithaca, but I seem to have been mistaken; there is one in Painted Post off of Route I-86 at exit 43. There stands a big brick building that they tell me use to be the Ames department store, but that has been long gone since the late 90’s early 2000’s. It’s now called the “Victory Highway Galleria of Shops”. Tucked in this Galleria of shops is a small and when I say small I mean a small shop that is a gem of a comic store called We Have Issues Comics. I am always dubious of comic stores in this kind of environment, they are usually run by an old comic book store owner who is trying to get out of the business and only has the back issues he couldn’t sell in his original store but I was pleasantly surprised with the We Have Issues shop.

When I walked into the shop Pat McChesney, the owner came up and welcomed me to his store and politely asked if I was buying or if I just was looking. I, unfortunately, had to tell him that I was only looking today, and he was fine about that and let me know it wasn’t a problem. While flipping through the books, I broke the conversational ice with my usual question for all the comic book shop owners when I first meet them “how is business going?”. He was frank and honest and told me business was good. We got to talking about comics and he knows his stuff, not just the current iteration of comics today but about the older comics of yesteryear.

One of the things on my mental checklist that I look for when I go to new stores is the owner. He is the face of the store and he makes the store a good one just as much as the inventory he has for sale. If the owner is passionate about his product and wants to succeed the store will succeed if he isn’t then the store will fail. The more the owner puts himself into the shop the more people will want to come back. Mr. McChesney is doing just that, putting himself and his passion for comic books into this store. He is one of the reasons I will go back.

The second thing on my list that makes me like or not like a store is appearance and layout of the store. When I walked into We Have Issues I was happy to find a clean and well-kept space. There was no boxes or clutter around on the floor, or a lot of non-comics merchandise for sale either.  The store is well lighted and not dingy, and it’s a comic store a parent wouldn’t have any problem letting their kids go to get comics and to look around. To me We Have Issues is the perfect example of the minimalist comic book store; due to the space constraints, it doesn’t have the mainstay selection of long boxes of back issues on display which is a refreshing thing for me, because I end up spending my whole time digging through them looking for a new find for my collection instead of checking out the store and talking with the owner or employees if they have time.

We_Have_Issues_Pic_2

Photo By: Pat McChesney

Third on my list is how diversified is his inventory? I was impressed with We Have Issues, it has most of the big names in comics on the shelf and some nice old ones as well. I didn’t see any of the weird comics I usually get, but he said he will order what I wanted. Saying that he does have pull lists for his customers. On an aside if you are so inclined to start a pull list at any comic store, not just We Have Issue please go pick them up on a regular basis, that’s money out of the store owners pocket when they just sit there.

A few things that I have an issue with is that a lot of his “current” back issues were already bagged and boarded, I like to be able to check out the art and to read the first page or so to really see if I want to buy the comic, especially comic characters that I have never read before. I am also a fan of a place to sit and check out my purchases and be able to talk with the other customers or employees catching up on the comic book world dirt which We Have Issues doesn’t have, but I understand with such a little space. Neither of these is a deal-breaker that would keep me from going back.

After 20 minutes hanging out and checking out the store and the owner I think We Have Issues has great possibility of maturing, growing and becoming my go to store while I am living in this area since it’s got a great owner, it’s clean and it’s right down the street from the house and work as long as I can get the “special” comic series that I like I am there. Remember new comic’s come in on Wednesday. Hope to see you all at We Have Issues.