Notes from my noodle: September 25 edition

“Get busy living or get busy dying…”

I’m sure many of you may remember that quote from the Shawshank Redemption, said by Red, portrayed by Morgan Freeman.

I write this post as I listen to some big-band era swing music. It’s some pretty sweet stuff. It can get you in the mood to be creative. Though I’ll readily admit not being a fan of a lot of jazz music, there’s something about the big-band era that really works for me.

Especially the songs with the faster pace and beat. Songs like “Sing, sing, sing” by Benny Goodman. Excellent stuff. Makes me thing of the 1920s and 1930s. Gangsters. Prohibition. Suits. Cigars.

Ahhh… talk about a time in history.

Recently, I was at a friend’s wedding. During the dinner portion, the DJ played some swing music. A couple people got out and danced. It was kind of fun to watch.

I was then chatting to a friend about this era of music and noted if I could go and live in a different era, this would be the one.

Back when Zoot Suits were the norm.

And I’m not a supporter or advocate for organized crime, but there’s something about the gangsters from that era. The suits. The cars. The Tommy Guns — AKA a Chicago typewriter.

And, of course, swing music.

I’m not sure what I would have been. Maybe I’d still have been a scribe. I could see covering the Yankees or something back then for one of the many New York papers. Maybe I’d have been on the crime beat.

Heck, maybe I’d have been a gangster. Chewing a cigar and rat-a-tatting with the Tommy Gun.

Who knows.

But what an era.

I know a lot of people don’t listen to music when they write. And, for the most part, I can’t listen to music with words when writing. But tunes such as classical pieces or the swing band era can keep my mind rolling as I write.

And with the jazzy stuff I have playing tonight, it’s got me thinking of old cars (Like the Ford Model Ts and As) and the prohibition era of time. Black and white.

That’s the era I’d definitely love to be in if not for now.

And while you read the rest of this post, have a listen to a little Benny Goodman:

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As many of you know, I’m still working on finding a job. The resumes keep going out and I can’t seem to find much. I’ve thankfully landed something on a part-time basis, but it’s basically once a week and it’s not even every week. Still, it’s something to help me along and get something more recent on the resume.

So, I’ve been looking at career changes. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that here before.

I recently visited a school for a program I’m highly interested in. I’m not going to spill all the beans here because I hate putting things out there until I know for sure if I’m going to do it or not. Some friends already know as I needed to see what some people thought.

My issue?

I don’t want to fail — again.

Though I realize I didn’t fail in newspapers and journalism, the industry failed me. And I don’t think it’s getting any better. And with barely anything in a retirement fund, I need something different.

I’ve watched others go the route of changing careers during the mid-life years and do well. Heck, take a peek at my brother who fully changed directions and went into teaching and now he’s a tenured teacher at a good school.

Might as well give it a go, yeah?

So, I’ve e-mailed one other school today in hopes of being able to compare the two programs. There’s a significant price differential in the program, as well as hours needed and the time frame to finish. The end result would likely be me going into business for myself. It’s something I’m thinking long and hard about.

Once I decide, believe me, I’ll share with the readers of the blog. For now, I’ll leave it with my seriously considering a massive change in career direction.


Speaking of writing and career things, I’ve also finally sat down to work on a couple of fictional books. These likely won’t be huge books, but I’m hoping to write them and see where it takes me.

I don’t fathom any riches here.

I need to get working on my book ideas so I can one day have a book like this!

The reality is, I’ll likely publish them on myself. If any money is made, it will basically just be a bonus. My thing is just getting it done. Then seeing about shaping it and all from there. If something bigger comes out of one of these, awesome. If not, it’s more of a goal to just do it.

My big issue with fiction is shaping the story.

I have a couple of real-life things I’m working on, too. I’m not sure if they will be full-blown books, a series here on the blog or something along the lines of an Amazon Kindle Single. But, I am hoping to work on those, too.

I need to push forward. I’ve applied and applied for things to get squashed. I guess it’s time to take the bull by the horns…


I went on a small trip Sunday, heading up to Ithaca to hike a bit, find some waterfalls and take a few photos.

But I also got to play disc golf for the first time since early June.

Taughannock Falls just outside of Ithaca. I took this shot Sunday during a day trip to the Ithaca area.

It was nice to get out and flip a few discs on an actual course. To be fair, it was just a nine-hole course, but it was so nice. It’s also good because I’m playing in an Ace Race in a couple of weeks. While I don’t expect to do anything major in that Ace Race, I’d at least like to know I can throw a disc well enough to get it close to baskets!

As for the day overall, it was nice.

For those of you who have never been to Ithaca, it’s a wonderful little city. The city’s motto is “Ithaca is Gorges.” There are many gorges and waterfalls to explore throughout the area, so it makes for a nice day trip.

In total, I got to see several awesome waterfalls and hiked — including the disc golf — upward of 3.5-4 miles, which is always nice to do.

I had been worried about the waterfalls and how much water would be coming off them, considering the lack of rain we’ve had all summer. Alas, recent rains made most of them vibrant falls. All but one were fun to check out and take photos of — in all their glory.

And yes, there were a few geocaches mixed in as well.

In the end, it was a good getaway from the real-world issues going on in my life. Nature can do that to you.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of a well-known local person.

Sid Levine died Sunday at the age of 99. I only knew Levine in his later years as he owned part of the Oneonta Tigers, the minor-league team I covered for six years. A quiet man, Levine was one of the nicest people I dealt with. He also was a no-nonsense person. He didn’t worry about what people though, he told you how it was.

And that’s how it should be.

He, along with co-owner Sam Nader, ran the local team up until selling in 2008. The team then left the area before the 2010 season.

I dealt with and developed a stronger relationship with Nader, now 93, but toward the end of the run of the Tigers, I also got to know Levine. He was always a gentleman and had an infectious smile. And he knew his baseball.

Nader and Levine were close friends for more than 75 years and when I visited with Nader one afternoon earlier this year, I had to come after a certain time as he and Levine still met nearly every day to chat.

Levine’s legacy in the Oneonta area will live on for a long time. But he’ll be missed, that’s for sure — for many more reasons than baseball.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Sports writer and live in upstate New York. This place is a spot for me just to throw my thoughts. I'm into writing, photography, travel, softball, geocaching and good beer. And no matter what anyone says, baseball is the greatest game ever invented.

5 thoughts on “Notes from my noodle: September 25 edition”

  1. P.J., I’m sure you will succeed at whatever you chose to pursue. It’s all a gamble. Most of the writers and journalists I know have gotten closed out of the field. Have you thought about technical writing or “marketing”? You are a talented and capable man and you’ll be fine. Keep the faith!
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    1. I hope so. The journalism/PR field is so competitive right now. There are so many quality applications for every position. People should feel lucky when they get an interview, let alone a job offer. It’s a buyer’s market, that’s for sure.

      I’ve thought about every level of writing. That’s why the thought of the career change. It’s just taking the step to do it. We’ll see what happens. I assure you if the one change happens, it’ll make for good blog fodder for many years.

  2. All it takes it a push. For me if you remember I was laid off from the company I work for. I had to make the jump, and it wasn’t easy. I know what your thinking on doing, and if you truly want to do it, JUMP! You will have my support!

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