I made a lot of progress yesterday & today preparing my taxes. I got all my 2019 business expenses categorized and entered into Turbotax. It's even showing me, as of right now, that I'm expected to receive a federal refund. It's been a few years since I've gotten money back from the Uncle Sam and that got me excited.
I started calculating my self employed income & deductible expenses in late December then paid my Sales & Use Tax at the end of January. I then started doing my state & federal income taxes in early February to give myself plenty of time before the April 15 due date. Soon after, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the tax deadline was postponed till July 15th, which is 4 days away. Tonight I tried picking up where I left off 4 months ago. I spent most of the time reviewing the work I already did, going over old notes and taking a bunch of new notes. I was a little overwhelmed at first but ended the night feeling confident about what to do next and preparing to make future tax filings easier.
I did some protesting last week and I'm DJing a wedding reception this Saturday so I went in to get tested for the Coronavirus this morning. I was told to stay home till I receive the results which can take 24-48 hours. I hate waiting on results like this and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the results come up negative.
I recorded another quick-mix set. 14 minutes of 80s rock. It took me all day to pick songs and set cue points but I'm happier with this mix than yesterdays.
My work requested some recorded mixes of music I'd play at weddings, that's quick-mixed in & out of. I tried a few days ago and couldn't do it. My mixes fell apart after a couple songs. I feel that most music I play at weddings sounds better when people are dancing to it. Without an audience, most wedding dance music feels flat to me. Today I tried again but used a few songs I wouldn't normally play at events, focused on what makes me dance and had fun with it. It took a long time to choose the songs and listen to them to find the in & out points. When I finally recorded it it took me two tries to get it right/good-enough. In the end I made this 13 minute mix that starts in the 60s and works its way to the 2000s
It was a nice day today so I set up the DJ rig in the back porch with the intent to record a set. The goal was to record a mix of songs I'd play at a wedding and quick-mix in & out of each song (not play the whole thing.) My plan was to mix and record different sets based on decades starting with the 60s. I listened to, and prepped, a bunch of music before mixing. Because I'm used to playing full songs at events I had to listen to the music again and find points to mix in & out of. That took a lot of time and when I was ready to play none of my mixes were sounding good. They'd fall apart after 2-3 songs. It was really frustrating and in the end I had nothing. I didn't even have fun. I might try again tomorrow with different music and not quick-mixing.
Today sucked. I felt depressed all day and I didn't know why. Maybe the loneliness of sheltering-in-place is finally getting to me. I barely did any work on my Hearts & Stars piece, just made a quick digital mock-up with a black background but didn't lay down any ink. I couldn't get myself to workout or go for a walk. I went for a long drive, took Capitol Expressway from east San Jose all the way to Campbell, but didn't feel any better when I got home. Later that night, still in a funk, I noticed the the note on my calendar, "MLK Exhibit Day One." Today was supposed to be the opening of my art show at the Martin Luther King Library downtown. I wonder if that's why I down all day. I wasn't aware of today's date but maybe subconsciously that's what has been bugging me. For the past few weeks I've kept my head down and worked on my drawings for the show. It was a goal I was working towards. I recently got confirmation that my art show, and all other exhibits, were postponed until further notice. Now I don't have anything to work towards, besides finishing my current drawings. There are no DJ gigs till June, if at all this year, and no event vending opportunities in the foreseeable future. I hope this depression was a one-day thing. I don't want to lose any more momentum and risk undoing everything I've worked so hard to do over these past few months. Wish me luck!
With all the downtime, I decided to get started with spring cleaning. I'm on that Marie Kondo sparking joy shit. Every year or so I go through all my crap and get rid of the stuff I don't need. Today I pulled a stack of old Thank You cards from brides & grooms I DJ'd weddings for. Sometimes I do good work.
I spent this morning reading over the EDD website (California's unemployment dept) to learn more about filing an unemployment insurance claim. I've already lost 3 DJing gig and 2 vending events due to coronavirus concerns so I figured it was time to file. After reading all the info, I called EDD and the recording said they were experiencing large volumes of calls and I wouldn't be able to file over the phone and to use the website instead. Doing it online took me a while and don't think I filled it out correctly. I'm really hoping someone calls me back. While I was on the EDD website I couldn't find "Mobile DJ" as a work-type, but saw that "Ritual Circumciser" was. Weird. After filing with what EDD I called my bank to discuss my car loan. I also called my credit card company, my health insurance provider, Covered California and my auto insurance provider. Since all events are canceled I'm not going to have much, maybe not any, income for a few months. Every person I spoke to was very helpful and understanding of the situation. Hopefully things get better soon and it's safe to go to events and things go back to normal. If not I might need to start a new side hustle performing ritual circumcisions.
I figured it was only a matter of time until weddings started getting canceled due to Covid-19/Coronavirus concerns. Tonight I found out the wedding I was supposed to DJ in two weeks got postponed. Last Friday the fundraiser I was working got canceled that very same morning. DJ events at this time of year are already slow to begin with. So are the festivals where I sell my shirts. Two events that I was going vend at next month also got canceled this week. I know I shouldn't complain and I will try and remain optimistic, but damn, most of my income comes from working events. I'm going to try and file an unemployment insurance claim next week. I'll also need to contact my bank regarding my car loan and my credit card provider to see what my options are for late payments. Money is gonna tight the next few weeks, or months. Aside from that I'm doing my best to stay healthy and positive during this weird & uncertain time. I hope you and your loved ones are too. Let's hope we get out from under this soon.
I was supposed to DJ an event tonight but I got text this morning saying it was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns. Bummer, because I really needed the cash. This time of year is already pretty slow for DJing. I did wake up to some good news though, an online t-shirt order came in. Before I got notified about the event being canceled I was planning on just bagging the shirt and sending it off. After getting word that I wasn't gonna be working I started drawing a Thank You card for the t-shirt order. I drew my head first then the tentacles & letters with pencil. Then I inked it with a couple Micron pens and fixed a few mistakes with Pro-White. When I was done I threw it in the bag with the t-shirt and a couple SJ stickers and delivered it. The customer lived 15 minutes from home so I figured I'd save him a couple days of waiting for it to arrive by mail.
Not really a problem, just more work. I earned more business income this year doing murals/painting, graphic design and t-shirt sales compared to last year just doing t-shirts. Now that I'm preparing my taxes I have to figure out the income and expenses for each type of work. I wasn't fully prepared for this so I've spent the last couple days going over all of my 2019 business transactions again, making sure I have all the data I need to calculate everything. Going forward I'll need to take even better notes on all business transactions for 2020.
I'm getting ready to file my taxes so I went thru last years tax stuff and found I picture I drew of myself. It was my first year filing business income & expenses for 2018 and it took me a few weeks to go over all my records and file. It sucked while I was doing it but felt great once I finished. I think I did better job at keeping records for 2019 so it shouldn't take as long as last year.
This is what I drew during my longer-than-usual dinner break at my event tonight. It's heavily inspired by the arcade & pinball games I played at Emporium in San Francisco before the gig.
I waited till the last day but I paid it on time. All the sales tax I collected from t-shirt sales in 2019. I would have forgoten if my friend Arely didn't ask me about it. Last year was her first year vending so she got her first notice to pay from the CDTFA. This is my second time doing it. Any questions I had this year I figured out by looking at my old records. I'm glad I got it paid in time and that I saved the money to pay it. Next up are the federal and state tax returns. I'm just waiting on my W-2 from work, and maybe a few other forms. I can't wait to get it done & over with and see how much money I'll have left over for merch.
This weekend and last weekend I DJ'd doubles. Friday & Saturday gigs. Tonight, and last night, I DJ'd at the same venue and was able to leave the rig setup overnight. Today I came already dressed in my suit, versus load-in clothes. My dinner was waiting for me when I arrived. And I had a fun dance floor going for most of the night. The only issue was my DJ laptop freezing half hour before the end of the night. It killed my dance floor. I played some Spotify music playing from my personal laptop while my DJ laptop restarted and got the dance floor going as soon as I was up and running. Unfortunately, there were only half as many people by then. If it wasn't for that incident tonight would have been perfect.
Gig number 2 was another holiday party. No theme, just a straightforward cocktail hour, dinner & dance. There was some cool lighting in the room and some garland for the rig. Next weekend is another double which is great since January & February are usually slow.
Another year of changing in restrooms. Tonight's gig was a Roaring 20s themed so I played ragtime & jazz during cocktail hour (it sounds better on paper than at a party) then electro swing at dinner to liven up the event. During open dance I played modern music from the 80s thru 2010s. It's weird to think that all new music going forward will be labeled "20s music." My Spotify is ready. I just hope the new 20s music works better at events than the old 20s.
Tonight I finished adding the second coat of white paint to the 3rd Redwall Studio mural I've painted. I love red paint but it's a pain in the ass to work with. I bought the top shelf, "one coat" paint and it still needed a second coat. Even the "one coat" white needed a second pass. The plan was to have this done by New Year's Eve but it took a few extra days. Now I know. If you wanna hire me to paint your walls please send me a message.
I've never been a fan of year-end wrap ups, best-of lists, top-9 pics... none of that. But I do want to shout-out everyone whose rocked a Frankie Mcfly t-shirt. Every time I saw a picture online of someone wearing one a took a screenshot. I made these collages today and uploaded them to Instagram. It makes me happy to see all their smiling faces. Some in beautiful places, some rocking out and some just doing their thing. Thank you so much to everyone that's been supportive of me and my lil endeavor.
Cheers and Happy New Year,
I am tired of staring at spreadsheets. The whole reason I started doing this now, instead of waiting till February, is because of Covered California. I have to update my information before the end of the year so I can continue getting healthcare coverage. I went and figured out how much money I made from DJing, t-shirts, murals and graphic design work. Then figured out my business expenses and how much I can deduct. Once I got those numbers I went to the Covered California website but kept getting stuck. I spent a couple hours trying to figure it out till I got frustrated and decided I'll just give them a call on Monday. At least when this is all said & done filing taxes should be a breeze.
My last event of 2019 was a holiday/birthday party with Santa Claus, face painting, balloon artist, photo booth and karaoke. It was actually really laid back. I played background music during cocktail hour and dinner then opened up the karaoke after we ate. Only a couple adults sang at first then the kids went at for the rest of the night. Check out the video of the kids battling each other with balloon swords and axes. They even had balloon holsters for their balloon weapons.
I kinda got forced into starting my taxes a couple months before I originally intended. I'm not filing yet but I do have to figure out all my income and expenses asap. Figuring out the income was easy but going thru all my receipts, invoices, bank & credit card transactions, adding up my business expenses, is taking a long time. Once I gather up all the expenses I need to figure out what can & can't be deducted.I gotta come up with a better way of managing and logging all these transactions for next year.
I DJ'd a holiday party tonight. The client wanted me to begin 30 minutes before the contracted Start time so music is playing as the early guests start arriving. No problem, since I was scheduled to set up 2 hour before and I'd be ready by then. The client wanted to use the mic to announce raffle winners after the booked End time. I thought it would be quick. They ran late and it took 30 minutes to finish. It pissed me off and it's still bugging me hours later. I should have brought up the contract and offered to charge them overtime but I was afraid of my making my employer look bad. I'm over that shit.