So, this bonus episode basically talks about kind of a brief history of who I am, how I got here, and what I’m all about in general I don’t go super in-depth into any one topic; this just gives you an idea of who Tony Randazzo is and kind of what I’m all about so enjoy this extra episode let me know what you think
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It’s hard to speak your mind these days. voicing your opinion is tough and a climate where you’re either seen as an ultra conservative or a bleeding heart liberal. But what about our perspective? What about the Gen X perspective? Hi, I’m Tony a latchkey kid from the 80s and 90s. Now I’m in my 40s wearing cargo shorts, collecting Star Wars figures and reminiscing about the days before my first cell phone. The Gen X perspective as for us caught somewhere in between boomers and Millennials are we see things a bit differently? I’m tired of staying silent. It’s time to rant, discuss a load in debate, join Tony and his guests as they tackle the topics of Pop Culture, Sports, religion, and yes, even politics. If life’s a Rubik’s Cube, we’ve got the experience to tackle it. Welcome to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo.
Hey, how is everybody doing today? So um, I figured this would be a good time to basicallygive you some history and tell you who I am and what I’m all about. So, you know, maybenormal people or podcasts or folks would do this over time, do it in the first episode,I figure now is a good time to kind of give you my history in general, what I’m all about. Now that it’s not just family and friends listening, excuse me, andI can kind of just share who I am. So you get a kind of bit of background to Tony Randazzo is and why I started this podcast andkind of what, what I’m all about. So we’re gonna jump right in. And I’m gonna go back in history, and kind of try to do this in a chronological order. So starting as a kid, working my way up to today. And,and we’ll go from there. So, you know, I was born in upstate New York, in 1973. And, in 1979, goes between 73 and 79. You know, I was a little little and not a lotof excitinghappened in a way that I remember, clear enough to have a good story about at least at that point. But the biggest, first big moment in my life, as I was affected as a human being was in on my birthday in 1979. My parents moved me to Southern California, from Rochester, New York. So six years old, get on a plane, fly to California. Andwe went out there because my dadgot a job in his business. And his career took us to Orange County, California. So what I remember most vividly, I don’t really remember the plane ride all that well. But the first thing I remember that was just so amazing about California Now, like I don’t remember getting off the plane and saying, Wow, the weather. I was six years old. It was April. I don’t remember that. But what I do remember his growing up as a kid, or when I was really, really little six and under. The only time you got to see cartoons was Saturday morning. That was it. From where I was in New York, Saturday morning cartoons.That’s when you got to see him.And that was it. And of course, at six years old cartoons were pretty much the center of your universe. At least for me, they were what I noticed or realized in California, sitting in a hotel room and I remember the hotel, I remember the hotel room. And I remember cartoons were on in the middle of the week, which was freakin amazing. Like that made everything okay. I remember being probably more scared than anything. You know, I don’t really remember the being upset about missing friends. I was morejust scared because I was a little kid in general and it was something new. But everything was okay. When we got toOrange County, in that hotel room, before we moved into our houseand it was cartoons were at and that was super awesome. And I was super excited. And life was okay.Then it seemed likeThe next day we left the hotel and moved into our house. Now, I don’t really remember how much time passed between getting out here or getting out there in California. And when we moved into our house andMission Viejo, California,butanybody who’slived on in the northeast, and then gotten to Southern California, especially in the 80s, early 80s, kind of the boom in Orange County, California. Talk about a freakin world, a different planet of existence.And I’m sure it was like that for my parents as well.For my mom who grew up very traditional Italian kind of family, you know, stayed close to mom, Sundays, we were always over it. You know, it’s either my,at my grandparents house, either set was pretty interchangeable. But every Sunday you were with family, like family was the whole world. I can’t imagine what my mom was going through at the time, because it was California, especially Southern California. A whole universe of different, like, just everything, different cars, differentclothes different.You know, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the money was different. It was a different planet, literally. And even I remember how different it was. And for me, my first aside from cartoons being different was this house that we moved into West Coast ranch style, you know, kind of Mediterranean looking house, so very southern California, stucco on the outside one story. You know, it was April in the grass was green. And it we had a cool backyard. And I remember how awesome it was. And we lived on a cul de sac andyou know, riding your bike in the cul de sac and the whole nine yards. Right? So that starts to plan. Soit was a huge deal. And it was awesome. If I remember as memory serves me being super little. Now that life allyou know, typical kids stuff, and,you know, group of neighborhood kids all riding bikes in the cold the sack. We had the Glen or the woods at the end of the street that we could go play in the mud and dirt. And now it’s probably all biohazard and sewage. And it probably was then too, but we were kids and it didn’t matter. So we had the Glen, which is where we played where we weren’t supposed to go. And we had our cul de sac to ride our bikes and skateboards on mostly bikes. And in life was really good elementary school was like a mile down the road. And we used to walk or ride our bikes to school year round. And and it was good. It was just kind of a typical Southern California. adolescence. Growing up now, I’m not going to go into a lot of details about that in this story, particularly but you know, elementary school, you know, everything was good. I was, I was one of those first kind of kids to go through elementary school that was diagnosed with being dyslexic. And that wasn’t widely recognized at the time. So like regular school, and teachers didn’t have the kind of education or training or tools at the time to deal with me, and flipping letters and reading things phonetically. And I was a mess. So I wasn’t doing really well in elementary school, and ended up going to a school that really specialized as a private school that specialized in at least initially, when I went there was for kids that had learning disabilities or were dyslexic, so mild disabilities for the most part, so I had mild dyslexia. And then there were other kids that were there by the time I graduated there and I stayed there from I don’t know, I think fifth grade, fifth, sixth, fifth through 12th. I stayed there till I graduated by the time I graduated, it was more of a school for still for kids that had learning disabilities, but more was for kids that had attitude disabilities. And were troublemakers but that’s a whole different story. We’ll do a whole podcast on that one but so yeah, elementary school life was good Southern California. year round summer, how amazing the beach. I remember seeing all those things for the first time. But the highlights are so graduate from high school. And in the end really kind of get swinging this background, explaining myself probably a little bit better as I’m talking about kind of the highlights of my professional life for kind of what Gen Xers in, in general that we’ve done kind of, I didn’t have a path laid out before me. And maybe that was good or not like, it wasn’t pre determined that I was going to be a doctor or a lawyer and my whole world revolved around making that happen. I think it was determined very early on that if I graduated high school, it was going to be a freakin miracle anyway. So I’m kind of the plan for me in general, it changed. My dad was kind of the same way growing up in in school school was, you know, he was a salesman, and in in didn’t have that formal high level education or training either and most, you know, kind of the rabble rouser from at least the stories that he’s told when he was in high school. So the highlights are more about the diversity in my life, as I grew up, and what kind of made me who I am today, and where I sit today and how things are so fast forward to graduating high school, really my first professional career, and there’s been essentially two big ones. But the first one I’m going to talk about had like three main components that, in a lot of ways kind of made me who I was. So when I graduated high school, I ended up getting shipped off to a wilderness therapy program, because I was out of control part in being a total troublemaker, doing stuff I wasn’t supposed to be doing, heading down a pretty dark path pretty fast. So my parents shipped me off to the woods of Montana. And I spent, I think, 9060 days, 90 days initially living in the woods with a handful of other kids and some adults and and for me, that was quite an eye opening experience. There are a lot of kids out there that I’ll talk about how traumatic such experiences were for them. I had a good experience myself, went through wilderness therapy, worked with a therapist got healthy, hiked and climbed mountains and spent about 60 days in the woods. Well, after that. I went to another program, independent living program out in Oregon, that kind of helped get you over the hump from being a high school brat idiot to kind of becoming a well adjusted, or at least an adult, maybe not well adjusted, but adjusted adult that could function in the real world. And that program was about a year long. And I stayed there. And I went through that program and spent another I think during the course of that program, I think it was either 30 or another 60 days within that year, out in the woods on long term backpacking trips, and really got in fell in love with the outdoors. And this was, you know, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, we were up in that part of the world. And it’s absolutely freakin stunning Cascade Mountains. This is also the same place that I’ve made some lifelong friends that I still am friends with today, and spent a lot of time really falling in love with kind of the wilderness in the woods now. Coming out of there. My first job, I’ll call it a job because it started that way was working for a wilderness therapy company in Oregon. And I was driving I was a driver, which meant that I kind of well drove I brought people I brought kids and supplies in and out and kind of slowly worked my way up through this company and worked in different departments. Now. I didn’t graduate with a college degree, so I wasn’t a therapist wasn’t a camp counselor. But I did work direct care with kids that I preferred and enjoyed the most working with the younger kids. I thought that they still had you know, they weren’t that they weren’t teenagers yet. They’re kind of preteens, so they still had fun playing in the dirt, I guess so that it was a little simpler. Although some of those guys and gals those kids had some pretty traumatic life stories and problems. They were just way more fun to work with. So I spent a lot of time working with them and becoming more of a camp counselor kind of style. Keep an eye on the kids working with them camping with them staying out there with them for two weeks at a rip And, and this is years that I stayed with this company, and grew with them until I became a kind of the manager of the staff that worked with the kids. So I wasn’t the manager of the therapists, or the company as a whole, but I was kind of the field manager. So I managed all the staff, their comings and goings, and what groups of kids they worked with, etc. And that led me to an opportunity where I got to be on a TV show on ABC called brat camp. It was a 10 episode, show 10 episode eight Episode 10 1010 episodes, were on ABC primetime. 10 million viewers kind of deal. And they followed a group of these kids around and it was called brat camp. And of course, that, you know, they had to come up with a name that was catchy and would work for television. But it was a basically the first docu reality show. So it was a documentary, because the producers and the camera crews weren’t allowed to interact with the kids at all. And they weren’t allowed to influence the kids. So there was no winning a million dollars at the end. The only thing that you got at the end of the show was to go home, and they were all going to go home. So there wasn’t really a prize at the end. So I was started out kind of more as a technical advisor and kind of the go to guys so that my staff could do their job and be left alone from this film crew and quickly ended up narrating the shows, and also working on camera with the kids and, and did that and had a pretty amazing experience. Early on in my professional career, interfacing with a Hollywood production company, the time it was Shapiro grodner Productions. Shapiro has I believe retired. He was the guy that did Scared Straight for the rest of you Gen Xers that remember that show. He did that show. And so Allison grodner Productions, I believe she’s still working to this day and the people that worked for her still in the industry and great fun group of people, I learned so much and had a blast with them. And it was also probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life was you got to remember that we lived and breathed working with these kids and kind of the sanctity of in the responsibility of being true to these kids and not loving this TV show kind of change what we were doing. And I believe that we did a really good job keeping it. Like it. Like it was in real life. It wasn’t 100% like that. But it was as close as it could get. And in some ways be able to be on TV and make sense for somebody to watch. And back then in there was quite a stir of controversy, you know, about filming kids that were under duress in some cases. I mean, we heard it all right. So you’re going to get the good press and the bad press, you get the praise, and what a great thing these people are doing. And then, you know, how could you take advantage of these kids? Well, we always felt internally pretty good about what we were doing, because we knew that the film crew, and the producers and all the people around didn’t influence the kids, they didn’t secretly talk to them. I mean, we had our thumb all over this thing and made sure that we held true to our word to those parents of those kids. And got to do this really amazing TV show and watch tell a whole production company works. And got to go through that and got to do the voiceover or the narration of this thing. So they ended up flying me down to Southern back down to California to Hollywood and put you in a sound booth and make you read pages and pages of stuff. And it was really a fun experience. I got to meet some really cool people and make some friends and that was a for half a minute I thought that maybe that was going to be a career that I was going to attempt and and ended up not doing that and ended up staying in the wilderness therapy industry for a number of years and worked my way up. So after that television show aired my we were an independent company. We were bought out by another larger company that owned a handful of wilderness therapy programs and boarding schools and they were in the business of Kids and in education and therapy, and yada, yada yada. And my boss that owned the business, retired to Florida, with his wife and family and sold the business to a health care company, who ran the business along with a bunch of other ones. So there was more opportunity to grow in the business. And I ended up staying on with them through like the 2008 2009. shake up where they economy took a nosedive? Well, we were healthcare industry, and we were private pay. So as you can imagine, our business was they were reformatting and consolidating our business. And eventually I got consolidated out and, and left the business. And after what I thought was going to be my career, for my life, after 12 years, I was out of a job. And I had a couple other opportunities and I had network pretty well in the industry to go find a job but you know, when you own a home, and my wife had her business and was working and you know, for me, it meant packing up and moving. So we didn’t know what we were going to do. So I basically did what any kind of midlife crisis person in their 30s would do. I jumped in my Toyota four runner, grab my dog, give my wife a kiss on the forehead and choked in the Toyota and off I drove to New York to clear my head and be my parents were out here starting a business, another business and and wanted to go see my family and clear my head dead snack. You know, mom both said, you know, come see us and come clear your head and hang out. And I said, Well, you know what, I want to drive I want to drive cross country. I’m out of here. Of course, I had to clear that with my wife first. Because in between graduating high school and ending up in therapy, working with kids, there was a short stint in my career. Now I’m totally going out of order. So between graduating high school and and spending a year in Oregon, in that Independent Living program, right after that, I moved back to California and met my wife in the hair industry. So what moved my dad in the family to California when we were little kids when I was a little kid was the franchise business. And by the time I was in high school age a little younger. He was owned a franchise called fantastic Sams hair salons. And there was a couple hundred locations in Southern California that were franchised that he had. So, step mom was a hairdresser. I became a hairdresser that year that I was in that Independent Living program after high school. I think it was right after that. Mostly that um, I went to cosmetology school and got my license be a hairdresser. And so that short stint that I came back to California I met my wife in Vegas at a conference and and then hired her to come work for me. She was living in Colorado, and I needed to find somebody to do to be a teacher basically an educator and fantastic Sam’s because I didn’t want to do that job anymore. And I talked her into moving to California, and we were friends and hung out for a year. And then I went out to Colorado with her for Christmas and I proposed to marry her in front of her family. Now I don’t suggest doing that. By the way. Anybody that’s listening that’s thinking like I’m gonna be cute and propose to the love of my life in front of their family. When I first asked my future father in law for my for his daughter’s hand and kind of get permission to marry her I was being pretty tues very traditional, is very traditional. And I am as well. He said no. And say he needed to talk to his wife now. Knowing my mother in law, and my father in law as well as I do now, that makes perfect sense. But at the time, I was mortified like I’m in Colorado. I just asked if I could marry his daughter. And he said he, he said no, basically, at that moment, said he’d get back to me. And so I had to wait. Mike had the ring whole nine yards, Christmas was approaching fast. And so they tortured me a little bit, maybe wait a day or two till he could talk to his wife. And then they did a little digging to make sure that she liked me so that I wasn’t set up and stuck in Colorado, and oh, my God, it was horrible waiting. I laugh about it now. And but it was horrible. And so she said, Yes, by the way. And so after a year or so, more in Southern California working together, we decided to move back to Oregon because I really longed for it, missed it, missed the outdoors piece. And then went back and then started as a driver working for that company. And then the whole TV thing happened. So little out of order there. I apologize. But so my career 12 years later, from that moment on, we get married, we’re in Oregon, we get married. I’m 12 years old at this company, they laid me off, I jumped in the Toyota with the dog and off I run. With my wife’s blessing, of course, I go out to New York and I hang out for I don’t know, I was out here a couple weeks, five, six weeks. And my wife called and said, Are you ever coming home? Like, what’s up? You’re still out there? You got the dog. I’m kind of bored. And you’re in New York, what are you doing? And I said, Well, you know, the funny thing is, is dad wants you to fly out he wants to talk to us. So Laurie jumps on plane flies out to New York at that point. And they offer us basically partnership, and the winery that they had just started, my sister had been there from the beginning. So the winery is about a year old at that point. And it was growing pretty good. And they thought, Well, you know, Tony’s in between jobs, and careers. And either he’s gonna jump back into what he was doing, and that’ll be the end of it. Or we can snag him right now while he’s out of work and do this thing. So we talked about it and God bless my wife, she agreed to move all the way across the country to New York, to upstate New York of all places, and put down roots here, no friends, no family, no nothing. Just my crazy family. So we went back home, and within a few months we were house packed up on our way out east. You always hear I’m going out west never I’m going out east but we are going out east and New York. Here we are. So New York. started the winery business winery was going I didn’t know anything about the winery business. I’d spent the last 12 plus years working with at risk youth youth at risk youth in a wilderness setting, camping and hanging out not not marketing, not advertising, not making wine, none of that stuff. The only thing that I knew really well was how to manage people because I had a by the time I left doing what I was doing. I had hundreds of people that worked indirectly worked for me. So what I could do was manage people. The rest of it, I had no clue and was wondering how my dad was actually making wine because he came from a sales and franchise background and how he was making wine. I had no idea. So dad always said, well, it’s in your blood. You’re Italian. That’s how we make wine. We just know how to do it. It’s in our DNA. Well, DNA, lots of books and lots of paying attention. And 10 years later, dad’s semi retired, my sister myself and my wife are running the business. And here we are today. Running coyote moon vineyards in Clayton New York. second largest winery in our region in the northeast part of New York that we’re in. And arguably the most awards for anyone winery in the state. I don’t know that officially but over 1000 in 10 years, so maybe, maybe not the most awards, but pretty darn close, at least best I can tell. So that’s kind of just more my opinion than anything, not factually backed up, just for clarification. So I learned how to make wine. Learn the marketing and advertising and, and here we are, my wife is in the business as well. And so as my sister, my wife runs the retail store now in at our main location, and my sister runs a secondary location that we have, and I kind of oversee both in the vineyard and kind of keep the ball The wheels on the cart. And, and that’s how that happens. And that how it rolls. So it’s been a quick 10 plus years in New York now. And it’s really interesting how time flies. And now I’m 47 running a business in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t even know what the word pandemic was until less than a year ago. But again, different story. We’ve talked about pandemics quite a bit on this podcast now. So it’s been a crazy whirlwind. And, and so many Gen Xers that I know are kind of the same way. So, so many of us were never fixed on one trajectory or one route, and we’ve always been kind of easygoing, kind of malleable, okay, you know, Yeah, that’ll work, I can do that, or that’ll work, I can do that. And just kind of go with the flow. And that’s part of our bad rap in some cases, but I think it’s our, our biggest strength, also is, we have the ability to adapt really well. And really quickly, I think, to changing situations, so wilderness therapy, winemaker, hairdresser, you name it, whatever. Totally cool, I can do that. Not afraid to fix build work on anything. And so many Gen Xers that I know are kind of the same way. They’re all handy, on some level, if it’s computers, or if it’s cars. We’re all pretty self reliant. In general, I think our generation is, you know, we can we’ll make it work, we can figure it out, not scared to get our hands or our mind dirty, so to speak, to make it happen. We’re also the first to take a bong rip, chill out, wearing our cargo shorts, you know, easy going, don’t take things too seriously, at the same time, knowing have some pretty high strung, career minded friends that are I would argue that that are roughly the same age as me. But at the same time, you know, I got other friends that are lawyers that, you know, they spend part of their year in Florida hanging out because of the good weather because they still want to drink beers and chill out and relax and still down to earth. And that’s so important. And so much a Gen X or kind of thing. I don’t know, a couple weeks ago, got a call from a good friend of ours. And you know, it was I think nine or 10 o’clock our time she was out west. So I think it was six or seven her time early. And we’re taking shots of whiskey with video chat, it was Thanksgiving morning, I believe. And that’s just because we always have and every time I get on the phone with her or when I would be around her we’re gonna drop immediately back into where we left off, literally 10 years ago, and it’ll always be that way with her and a handful of other friends of ours that are all still staying in touch with each other. And the rest of them not so much the whiskey but this one friend, that’s just what we do. So my liver is probably much happier 10 years later that I’m not seeing her on a regular basis because I’m sure I would be suffering way more than I am now. Just to be said, you know, just lifelong friendships, man. Just things just kind of slide right back into where you left off. And that’s, I think such a Gen X or kind of thing and and, you know, we made all this stuff so you know, I’m in my mid to late 40s Gen Xers you know, our history is Apple computers, our history, you know, the iPhone. That was us, by the way. I mean really, I mean if it wasn’t for that Apple computers, Apple twos Apple, two C’s you coming out, you know, grabbing that mouse and running with it, so to speak. This whole technology world and all this stuff that our younger kids like my daughter, or even younger, where they will sooner, grab it out of our hands and just do it because we’re dumb. Because we’re now getting that age where our kids think that we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re the ones that invented this crap that y’all grew up attached to like my grandson, thick. His whole life he’s had a tablet in his hand literally has has had a screen available to him. And wouldn’t know what to do without it, which is fascinating to me. Now, that’s there’s a whole other debate there about that. But that is a huge, weird, different thing. As I mentioned, my daughter and my grandson, where they slip into that timeline that we just talked about was before I married my wife. And right after high school, my daughter was born with a young lady that I was dating, and we never got married, but we had our daughter, and we don’t keep much in touch anymore, because she’s our daughter is grown and has a son, my grandson. But we stayed in touch and raised our daughter together. And we all got along, so to speak, which is a very jennex thing, by the way. So didn’t get married, had a child, I married my wife, who also helped raise our daughter. And we all got along and all raise this child, you know, a village kind of concept. And we did. And we have a great, great child in her 20s and grandson that’s running around and getting ready to go into school. And things are awesome. So again, that’s a whole nother podcast and story. But that was another just another cog in the wheel of my life there. Right after high school. It’s pretty exciting time. Now I look at I shouldn’t cram a lot of stuff into those years there. But that is the general bonus episode of kind of my history and background and where I’m from and what I’m all about. So hopefully that gives you a little more insight as to why I’m such a weirdo. And if you like what you hear, subscribe to the podcast where you get your podcasts and listen to them and got any questions throw me an email Tony at Gen X perspective, comm please leave a review. I could use all the help I could get to kind of grow this thing. So I’d appreciate some help with that. You guys are great. And please leave me feedback. You got any ideas for guests? Or like to come on the podcast and talk about something? please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you. Again, Tony at Gen X perspective, calm. Have a wonderful evening and y’all Take care of yourselves. I’ll talk to you guys soon. Have a good one. Thanks for listening to the Gen X perspective with Tony Randazzo, where we see things a bit differently. Let’s get social. Find us on Facebook by searching Gen X perspective, Twitter at Gen X underscore podcast and on Instagram at Gen X perspective. You can also find us online at Gen X perspective calm and reach out to Tony directly at Tony at Gen X perspective.com. to maybe you can talk strategy on how to beat Super Mario Brothers three. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Gen X perspective wherever you get your podcast. Thanks for listening