Dr. DiSalvio isn't dead. He just smells funny.

Oh my stars and garters, it's a blog post.

Greetings to my tens of readers. It's your old pal Nick here, and no, you aren't hallucinating. It's been a little bit of time since I decided to chronicle my thoughts on life, the universe, and music here on my madly successful and well-visited website, but here I am. In the flesh. Soak it all in, folks. Let's bring you up to speed.

It has been quite the whirlwind of a year... and a half. Wow, has it been that long? The landscape of our world certainly has changed since last we wrote. But this blog post isn't about the social ramifications of Ryan Lochte's Rio de Janeiro antics, nor is it about the Cubs finally doing a thing, or even about the secret code words that prompted me to go into hiding in the first place (Mr. President: Operation Covfeve is approaching completion), but about life post graduate school.

So what have I been doing with my inordinate amount of leisure time? Surely, I have been touring the world with various musical groups, no? Perhaps I have become the Dean of Students at some prestigious university? Is it possible that I've been drafted by the New England Patriots? No, my friends, I've stepped my foot back into the glamorous world of public education, and have been teaching middle school band in scenic South Jersey.

Not exactly the future that I envisioned for myself when I set out for graduate school in 2011? You might say that. There was a time when I felt pretty badly about it, too. "I went back to school because performance is my passion. Why am I back where I started? Why is my horn sitting next to my desk collecting dust? Why bother picking it up, if I'm just going to be struggling day-in and out to get my students to STOP PLAYING Bb WITH YOUR INDEX FINGERS?

Seems like a pity party. Well, it was for a bit. Life is hard, and all that. Then I decided to suck it up and just start playing my horn more often. Turns out, to quote the honorable Griffin Campbell, "I like to play the saxophone." And you know what? Teaching music is a pretty cool gig. Public school education has its fair share of annoyances (Trigger warning - Understatement of the century), but it's providing a roof over my head for my family (Oh, right. We couldn't quite afford that for a while. Thanks Mom and Dad - You're lifesavers.), food, and I'm home most days by 4. So life could be worse. Also, middle school kids are hysterical most times. Especially when they don't mean to be.

That said, it is tough on a public school teacher to keep their chops up. Music educators out there who struggle to find practice time - I feel your pain. If ever you need inspiration, go to YouTube and look up some videos of Carl Cox on saxophone. It helps me out when I need it - Dude is a MONSTER of a player, and an inspiration for public school educators who are struggling to retain their identity as a performer.

I've been trying to fit as much practice into my prep periods as I can, and am finding as much performance opportunity as I can. I'd like more. Hey Philly - Hook a brother up. People out here are cheap, unfortunately. "Oh, you've got a gig for me? You want me to drive an hour to rehearsal once a week, for a gig once a month, that pays maybe 80 bucks? Where do I sign up?!" Exposure doesn't pay the bills folks, and as much as I truly love to perform, my time is valuable. Alas, the live music landscape of the great white north isn't quite what we got to experience in our time in Louisiana. Makes you appreciate the love for music and celebration that we got to experience down south.

It hasn't all been bad, though! We've managed to find some meaningful performance opportunity in Jersey. If you like great music, check out Bohevista on YouTube. My wife and I were lucky enough to record some really great original music with them over the past year or so, and my good buddy Michi writes some killer stuff. I was also lucky enough to musical direct a really fun show called Cry Baby over the past summer, put on by a truly excellent local theatre organization called Bellarine Theatre Company. They're a great group, run by great people. Much love for the Electric Whiffles. Go check out their production of "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" this weekend if you're in the South Jersey Area. They always put on a great show.

We persist, we push forward, and we survive. I'm luckier than a lot of people.

So that's about my thought process at this point in my life. I'm going to be attempting to write more often. About life. About music. About being a professional performer and educator, and trying to balance those two lives. About not being ashamed of where I'm at in life. About being lucky and having a wife that is amazing and stupendous and talented and supportive. About having cats that are awesome. About the plight of the dwindling honey bee population, and its impacts on our world today. Who knows? I certainly don't.

Thanks for tuning in. When this blog hits 1 million readers, the “DiSalvio in a funny hat” DLC will be unlocked. Buy some loot crates if you want to increase your chances. Have a fabulous one.