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16 Things I'm Going to Do Now that Splendid is Done

Nine years is a long time. By the time you read this, I'll have gone through a typical Splendid production week -- whatever that means -- something like 472 times. And now, suddenly, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm done. We aren't going to start fresh on January 2. If we were a long-running sitcom, our ninety minute finale would just be finishing: I'd be switching off the office light one last time and then the credits would roll, backed by a particularly slow and sentimental arrangement of the theme tune. And then, inevitably, life would go on without us.

Since we announced Splendid's end two months ago, I've been inundated with questions -- mostly stuff like "What did you think of my CD?", "Can I send you a copy of my CD?" and "When do you think you'll be reviewing the new album from Band X, which comes out in April, 2006?", but with a few inquiries of a more personal nature thrown in for good measure. People who know how much time I've committed to Splendid in recent years (hint: it's like a full-time job, but without the money) have been wondering what I'm going to do with my sudden wealth of free time. As it happens, I've given it a bit of thought. Here are the first 16 things I came up with.

Sleep 'til 7:00 a.m. on a weekday
My schedule has grown ever-more punishing as Splendid has grown. For the last few years, I've been getting up at 4:00 a.m. or thereabouts to work on Splendid. I've actually grown to enjoy the quiet, the stillness, the utter lack of distractions -- it's definitely the most productive part of my day, and the main reason I remember to eat breakfast. I'll probably still get up that early sometimes, but it'll be nice to roll out of bed at 7:15 or so and do the high speed shower 'n' shave routine with an extra three hours of sleep under my belt.

Concentrate on my day job
I'm not saying that I haven't been concentrating on my work, but it'll be nice not to have to field calls from PR interns who think we're a print magazine, and I won't have to keep Eudora open 24/7 to keep track of the endless crush of "Where's my CD?" e-mails. I hope I won't, anyway.

Go more than 24 hours without checking my e-mail
I have enough computers, PDAs, smart phones and related gadgets to allow me to check my e-mail or update Splendid from almost anywhere in the world. It will be liberating to give them all a rest.

Stop getting the shakes every time I see one of those white plastic US Mail crates
I'm not kidding. Right now, a white crate on my doorstep means a whole bunch of mail. A whole bunch of mail means many more CDs... which means I'm going to have to find a place to put many more CDs, not to mention another one of these damn white crates. I ran out of room months ago. I think I also caused a minor shortage of those white plastic USPS crates, which is why there are so many new ones in circulation in my neighborhood.

Get back in shape
Those of you who've met me know that I don't exactly fit the beanpole-thin indie-rock profile. Time to do something about that. I have no plans to look like one of those skinny, unwashed, women's jeans-wearing assholes, but I'm definitely going to use my spare time to drop a few pounds.

Make spur-of-the-moment plans
For the last few years, any kind of last-minute plan required an almost superhuman effort to rejigger our editorial schedule -- especially if it required doing something on a Sunday, which gradually emerged as the heaviest day of Splendid's production week.

Write about something other than music
This one is already happening. A play I wrote back in 1994 is being revived by a cool little suburban theatre in early January, and I have a bunch of print, audio and video projects on my schedule. I can't wait.

Actually listen to a record
A lot of music critics dream of this. It'll be interesting to see whether my tastes change when I don't have a self-renewing stack of new music awaiting my attention. Finally, I'll be able to turn my attention to the much larger (but, happily, finite) stack of "old" music that deserves a few more spins.

Read... all day
It's been ages since I've had more than a few minutes at a time to enjoy a book -- and on the rare occasions when I have, I've been so sleep-deprived that I've dozed off before finishing a single page. That's enough of that. First good rainy/snowy Sunday of 2006, I'm going to put a serious dent in my Borders backlog.

Travel
With the exception of business trips and business-like trips (i.e. SXSW, which isn't a vacation, let me tell you), I haven't had more than a 72-hour vacation since 1998. In 2006, I'm going to travel. I may even leave the laptop at home. One of them, at least. Besides, my wife deserves several years worth of vacations after putting up with Splendid for all these years.

See bands on a night other than Saturday
Sad but true: Splendid eventually became so time-consuming that I no longer had time to see bands play -- unless they obligingly scheduled their shows on Saturday. Even Friday was a hassle -- if the show started too early, I wouldn't be able to get out of work on time. If the show started too late, I'd fall asleep while watching (I got up at 4:00 a.m., remember?). Now, at last, I'll be free to explore the dubious wonders of Tuesday and Wednesday night gigs.

Pay to see a band
I admit, I've done this a few times since 1996 -- guest lists get screwed up, schedules change at the last minute, etc. -- but in the back of my mind, I've always been "working". Now I get to be a fan. I figure that'll be fun... twice? Maybe three times.

Start a family?
The jury is still out on this one. Yes, it can be cute when young hipster parents drag little Efrim and Neko to the all-ages show, and I'd certainly like to have a kid who actually wants to inherit my collection of Television Personalities vinyl when I finally go the way of the buffalo, but... well, as long as my home is full of meter-high stacks of sharp-cornered CD jewel cases, the time probably isn't right.

Sit down in front of my computer, realize that I have no work to do, and feel a bit lost
Yeah, I'm gonna do this one a lot. I guess it's time to play through Half-Life 2 again.

Wonder why I'm not getting anywhere near as much e-mail as I used to
Another one that's already happening. Either my spam filter is finally working properly or people have figured out that we're done. Either that or they're on vacation. I'll know by mid-January.

Start work on plans for the new site
As much as I've been craving a long vacation, I don't think I'm ready to ride off into the sunset just yet. Splendid may be done, but there's a whole 'nother chapter right around the corner...

-- George Zahora

Think you're some sort of clever boots? Why not send us your damn list? Come up with a creative topic and make certain to include artist, title, and label information. If we use your list, we'll send you some sort of prize...most likely a Splendid t-shirt. Or not, if you'd rather we don't.

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& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
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