Monthly Archives: May 2006

Flava In Your Ear

A day unlike any other. But then again, aren’t they all? I think the illness I had suffered from yesterday turned out to be an allergy. But it was unlike other allergies I had suffered from before, where I walk down the street and snot running from my head like Niagara Falls, this was more like the Sahara desert. I was dry and not producing any lubricant. Sorry about the graphic.

I slept well, woke up ok, and set about going to work. Not as lopsided as yesterday, feeling alright, not top of my game, but relatively ok. Got to the office, new blood in the water, new people from London, still operating on London time so they are in before me. That’s fine, a bit awkward but bearable. I set about walking sideways doing the thing that it is that I do. Mundane tasks for a reasonable reward.

There were a few hairy moments where I rose above the mess and made everything run smoothly. I was impressed by it. Whether or not anyone else saw what I had done is beyond me. The trick is to get the job done without a hitch, without anyone noticing the job that you are doing, for it is behind the scenes and should go unnoticed by most. I did make a point of telling Felicia that she would be proud of me for what I had done and she said she already was. Sweet.

It was the last day for one of the resident Brits, Zimmerman. Nice guy, reminds me of Dominic Monaghan from the Lord of the Rings and lately, Lost. I had to interact with him the past month and weeks that I had been there, and I admit, I’m a sucker for someone who says, ‘Cheers’ instead of ‘Thanks’. It helps that it’s said by Merry or Charlie. Well it’s back to Swindon for him. Couldn’t hack the US. Homesick I guess. How ling that will last is another story. Perhaps when he gets back to gray Swindon, he’ll miss Technicolor Manhattan. He can always go to London I suppose.

Hell I can always go to London. One of these days I swear. Of course it would probably bring out he music geek in me, which would be more prevalent than naming each daily entry of the blog after a song. Yes, I could see myself photographing the zebra crosswalk outside of Abbey Road Studios. Pass the chicken, the geek is here.

I had a date to see Fay Victor sing at 55 Bar on Christopher Street. I used to work with Fay Victor at Wanker Banker. She sings Jazz, not my favorite type of music, but I reallly dig Fay’s voice and her band. Always turned on to new ideas and concepts when I sit there and listen. Almost like Pete Townshend’s comment about how great rock and roll makes you forget where and what you are. Sometimes when I see Fay sing live, I get that vibe.

The date I had was with Brenda who was a staunch ally at Wanker Banker. She was running late so instead of meeting her by the subway I met her at the bar, where I ran into my old boss, Robert. I like Robert. He’s a good guy and a good boss. Very fair. There were moments when I worked with him that we butted heads but it was always worked out. A fine proponent of the ‘Communicate Early and Often’ school. Which is a good motto and credo.

So the three of us chatted quietly while listening to Fay sing. A good time, great music and very good company. After the first set I had to leave as well as Brenda and Robert. We all walked to Sixth Avenue and got Brenda into a cab. Robert and I walked to the Path. He really is a good guy. He got onto his Journal Square train and I waited for Hoboken.

A beautiful night, walked down Washington Street and ran into Thaylor who is a fantastic woman. I’ve always liked her and her friend who is one of many who’s face I know from McSwells days but never got to know her, or her name. I finally got the name but I as write this it has escaped me. She wrote a book, which was inspiring. The concept of writing a book that is. I haven’t read it so I can’t say that it is inspiring.

That’s it for now. I’m pissed. In the British sense.


Liquid Days

Ok. Back to work, three day weekend over and I wasn’t feeling too good. Not the feeling like I have to go back to school pit in the stomach feeling, but more like, oh John, you’re not doing so good. Wasn’t hung over, only had two pints of Guinness last night. No, this was a scratchy throat feeling. It was an odd feeling to say the least. Walking to the Path train made me feel like I was two or three steps behind my ‘normal’ self. Still I was functional, yet sweaty. It was rather warm out anyhow.

I get to the office and I am clammy. Luckily I was smart enough to bring an extra T shirt so I changed into that but still as the day progressed and it was very busy, new people starting, trying to find spaces for them, phones ringing off the hook, and my mind getting fuzzier and fuzzier with each passing moment. I was planning on going to lunch around 2:00 but decided after speaking with Felicia that it would probably be better to go home and rest.

So I wandered home and had a bite to eat and proceeded to fall into a deep sleep, only troubled by the ring tone of my cell phone intermittently. Christina from Wanker Banker phoned a few times. I wondered what that was about. I brought the phone into the bedroom and slept some more. After an hour or two I couldn’t sleep anymore. Felt a little bit better and took my temperature, which read 98.0 degrees. Nearly normal. Just like me.

I called up my good friend Brenda at Wanker Banker and found out, the Persian Bitch was fired. Certainly took them long enough. Of course none of this matters to me anyway since I am gone gone gone from that joint. I’ve moved on. It’s been over a month and I finally feel like part of the team at McMann and Tate. I ain’t going back there again. I miss my friends but the powers that be fucked up things too much for me, and if you know me, you’d know I’d rather fuck things up for myself.

I did hear that the Persian Bitch was escorted from the building.

Brenda and I have plans to see the Fay Victor Ensemble in the Village tomorrow night so hopefully I’ll be in a good state of health to do that. I feel relatively ok right now, not clammy, throat not as itchy as it was earlier. I plan on going to work tomorrow. Another busy day, but I won’t be stretching myself too thin.

I had the foresight to cancel my appointment with the chiropractor today as well. The neck seems ok, even while riding the bicycle on Sunday, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to do many miles but I was able to keep the pace. But cancellation was the right thing to do since at the time I was supposed to be there, I was fast asleep in bed.

Now I’m awake, watching a documentary on Frontline about 25 years of AIDS. Not a happy documentary, and I can’t think of any documentaries that are happy anyway. It’s well made, scientifically cold and makes me scratch my head at the fact that it’s been 25 years since this killer disease reared it’s ugly head.
There was a clip on the news years ago about a finding that one out of every hundred white males are immune to the disease. They said it once on the evening news and then it was never mentioned again. Did anyone else catch that except for Matt Curry who I used to work with in the recording studios?

That’s about all for now, the story of AIDS is still being written. People are living longer with HIV, which is good. I was getting tired of going to memorials for dead friends. It’s better to be able to walk above ground with someone who is managing the disease.

All I have is a scratchy throat. And I’m glad.

Ile Aye

A real lazy Memorial Day, no parades, just like a Sunday but it’s not. Didn’t do much of anything, it was humid as hell outside but inside the apartment with the windows open there was a nice breeze. I had plenty to read, food to eat, liquids to drink I was set. A day filled with nothing. Not boredom, just really breezin’ through the day. Surfed a bit on line. Who am I kidding? I was online most of the day. The computer is right next to the window. And like I said, it was breezy. Now, not so breezy.

Bill slept most of the day, I napped on the couch when I was reading or surfing. Now after thinking about how I should write most of the day I am finally writing. It’s late, been blogging late lately.

Spoke with my brother Frank on the phone. At Wanker Banker I would talk to him several times a week, now without access to an 800 number I speak to him a few times a month. Today was one of those times. We talked about Bill Frist and his admitting that the Republicant Party has been using the bugaboo about gay marriage to get voters to the polls and to vote for the Republicants, which is almost always against their better interest.

Rather douchie behavior. It’s possible that the Republicants will hang onto this issue to scare voters every couple of years or so. It goes to show how much the LGBT community is reviled. I’m reluctant to include the Transgendered people since that is one sector that is probably too much for most people to handle. It proves it’s a better thing to be out of the closet than in it, if you could. I can understand if you’re living under someone else’s roof and that someone might not be able to handle sexuality.

Bill and I decided to go out for dinner and we invited Julio and Stine and Juan but none of them could join us. So we went and tried to get an outside table but the wait was too long so we opted for inside the restaurant where it was air conditioned. We were seated and fifteen minutes later we were still waiting to have our orders taken. People that were seated after us were having their orders taken. Bill and I talked about it and walked out into the humidity again.

We really didn’t have any other ideas to go somewhere to get a decent steak and that’s what Bill had his stomach set on. We walked about a hundred feet from Arthur’s and started to walk by it again when we saw an available table outside. We walked up to the host who we had just seen a few minutes beforehand, he didn’t recognize us. We sat and had a good meal provided by an over attentive waiter. The street traffic was minimal, a lot of people still out of town.

I called Juan who was waiting on our stoop. We watched Fight Club, the three of us did. Bill sleeps, Juan left, and I’m done.

11:59PM.

Dumb Waiters

A wonderful day. No humidity. Woke up feeling bad because I accidentally elbowed Bill twice in the skull last night. I apologized and Bill accepted knowing it was an accident. He was running out the door driving some big wigs from his bus company to a wedding or something like that. I left soon after and walked up to the boulevard to buy bagels and newspapers for Julio, Stine and myself.

I wasn’t going to hang out and have breakfast with them. I just put it in a plastic bag and hang it on the doorknob. I came upstairs and had my egg breakfast again. Lot’s of newspapers and news shows on Sunday mornings so I was occupied most of the time. It was an exquisite lazy Sunday morning. Not much to do but chill out and that was fine by me. I did get a text message from Juan who started work today. He seemed to be enjoying his employment thus far.

After that was a phone call from Julio, suggesting that we, Julio, Stine and myself go bike riding. Sounded like a good idea. I was in total agreement with the idea of riding to Liberty State Park. I hadn’t ridden my bicycle since last year and a 16 mile tour seemed just right. It wouldn’t be too stressful for Stine either, especially since she has the heaviest bike out of all of us.

When we ride, or when I ride alone, I might do 30 or 40 miles but it’s certainly not non stop. We stop and eat, chill out and occasionally play Frisbee. Which marked the return of Frisbo, who hadn’t really been seen since last summer. The park was crowded with people like us who couldn’t or didn’t want get out of town. Lot’s of families barbecuing, kite flying, soccer. Wholesome entertainment. We rode along the river walkways, even chancing upon Allison Lee and her son Hank. Julio and I have known Allison since the McSwells days. Now she’s partnered with the wonderful Pat Longo and their union has produced a wonderful boy named Hank. Not Henry. Hank.

They were just enjoying the Jersey City waterfront as we were. Soon they headed back home and we three rode off into the light breeze off the Hudson River. We rode through some very tall buildings which lead to the Morris Canal which was a major transportation base back in the day, a canal for moving cargo into the interior of New Jersey. Now it merely smells bad. We stopped and ate some sandwiches and stretched out on a blanket away from the odors with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

Lot’s of tourists waiting in the sun to buy ferry tickets to go to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. The ferry to Monster Island was closed today for the holiday weekend. The other monster island, Staten Island was open but you’d have to go to Lower Manhattan to catch a ferry there, and there was no guarantee that you’d make it back in one piece. We found a quiet field away and Julio and I played Frisbee. Both of us have good technique when it comes to throwing a Frisbee. No suicidal dives for the flying disc here. This wasn’t sand. It was hard ground, covered in grass and wildflowers but still quite hardscrabble.

We rode back through the bulrushes, past memorials in the making for the victims of the attacks on 9/11 over the Morris Canal and into Jersey City proper. We rode past the Holland Tunnel into the back end of Hoboken where I pointed out two apartment buildings that I used to live in. We sat on the stoop and each had a bottle of Stella Artois. We also looked at the overgrown jungle that the backyard has become, then Julio picked up a grass whip and started whacking the weeds. After a few minutes of that we all went to our apartments and showered making plans to meet an hour later for dinner.

After burgers at O’Neill’s we came back home where I sit with Juan watching Bjork videos. Simply really. Homegirl is crazy said Juan.

and here are some pics









Natural Anthem

Juan sits on the futon couch whatevs. He’s using the Thera Spa 15 Speed Professional Percussion Massager and making it sound like he has a voice box. Yes, we’re of the altered state of New Jersey. Just lounging about in the apartment listening to music that he’s turning me onto, bands like the Penelope Tree, Postal Service, Jenny Lewis, Bjork with the Brodsky Quartet as well as the Peppercorns. A truly mellow evening. We watched his most favorite movie ever, Mean Girls, which I admit is a pretty good movie. Reminded me of the late great TV show, Popular. And that’s not a bad thing. Not at all. Very funny script by Tina Fey by the way.

It was certainly a mellow day. I got the Lopez’s bagels and the newspaper. Bill was puttering about getting ready to drive some Spanish Nationals around Manhattan. I had my usual weekend egg breakfast. It was hot and humid by 10:00 AM. Read the papers, Bill left and I started the laundry. It was a mellow day. I watched Kenny the Shark and then somehow got sucked into the Cartoon Network. The broadcast of Today in New York was finished a half hour earlier and it threw my whole sense of time slightly askew.

At noon I decided to jump on a bus into the city and getting a web cam. It’s been awhile and I’ve been meaning to get one for a long time. A lot of people fled the city and it was pretty much deserted though the sidewalk cafes were filling up quickly. The good looking men and women from yesterday fled the city. I wandered through Bryant Park again, listening to the Arcade Fire. I was headed to CompUSA despite Randy suggesting J&R down by City Hall. I would if I were headed to the World Trade Center like I usually do after work, but being the weekend I opted for the path of least resistance, which did not mean the Path, at least into the city.

Found the web cam that I researched online and wandered back to the Path train, which was relatively empty. I sat across from two Mexican queens who kept alternatively cruising me. I was flattered but they were incredibly swish. It definitely looked like summer in Hoboken. You can tell by the available parking spaces. I picked up the dry cleaning and wished both cleaners a happy weekend since they rarely get two days off in a row.

Came home and tried setting up the web cam, which took some effort on the computers part, not mine. If I’m ever going to get on Dateline I figured this would be the best and easiest way. Luckily Juan was coming over and knew how to get things running the way I wanted them to. Well actually friends of Juan’s. Juan doesn’t trust anyone over 16 with a computer. Makes sense, sort of.

Juan was getting attached to the Thera Spa 15 Speed Professional Percussion Massager, but he’s since resisted its charms. I have been more dependent on it since I started writing this tonight. Best to quit while I’m ahead.

Wicked Messenger

Today was Stine’s birthday and Rocky’s birthday. Kudos to both of them for making it thus far. More about them later. Slept well, slept later than usual. Not too much of a hustle. It was humid inside and out. No mater what I wore I would sweat in it. I had an extra T-shirt at the office so I was set for a change when I arrived. I got to the office, a little after 8AM, surprised to see Felicia waiting for the elevator.

She of course had gone out last night and hadn’t really slept. She’s so much easier to deal with coming off the previous night’s escapade. We had some fairly big wigs coming in this morning and she showed up to help set up. She also wouldn’t have to work a full day since the office was closing early this afternoon. She reminds me a bit of Amanda Plummer and Rachel Griffith, with maybe a touch of Drew Barrymore’s promiscuous teenage years. It’s so much easier to break things down using Hollywood stars.

The workday, being so short flew by. I found time for my usual salad with broccoli and chicken and Thousand Island dressing. Before I knew it I was on the 1 train headed to Columbus Circle. So many cuties out today. A direct connection with the weather and sexiness. Where are they during the winter months? And I’m talking both male and female species. In Manhattan there was a cute man about every five feet or so. Thankfully I was feeling good Vis a Vis the neck so there was no problem looking at the head turners.

Then I went to the chiropractor. The city was emptying out due to it being a holiday weekend. That meant most of the people on the sidewalks were tourists and sailors in town for Fleet Week. And none of them know how to walk in New York City. I made it to the doctor’s office without injuring anyone and immediately was laying face down drooling on tissue paper. Once again, she pulled and rubbed and stretched and yanked. It was over rather quickly leaving me to think that she too was heading out of town.

The odd thing is, I left feeling worse than I did before. Not as severe as a few days ago, but a noticeable discomfort. I had 2 and a half hours to kill and hit some of my old haunts, Davidoff Cigars on 54th and Madison and Concord Chemists to get some bitter nail enamel. Nail biting habit you see. Been doing it all my life. I told Juan of my plan to do something about that the other night. Pseud-intense.

Wound up in Bryant Park and read the New Yorker. I do enjoy that park very much. Some good memories had a Padron and started walking up to the rendezvous with Dr. Beansprout. Wandered around the old neighborhood where I worked, hoping to say hello to Walter the UPS guy. Nice guy, a real sweetheart. I hope he’s doing well. He wasn’t around. His truck was but I didn’t want to appear as a UPS groupie. I wandered over to Philip’s office and waited in the lobby.

Philip arrived soon enough and we had a very productive session. We both agreed to get more open in our sessions and Bill needs to be a part of it. I reiterated the fact that Bill and I are opposite in many ways and have had very separate, individual experiences. We don’t have much in common. But what we do have in common is for lack of a better word, intense.

I do love him so.

After the session I walked down Fifth Avenue to the Path, having another Padron. I felt good. The time on the couch relieved some of the neck pain. I decided to forgo Rocky’s party. I just wanted to get back home. Wasn’t much in the mood to hang out in a bar. I was going to call him and tell him I wasn’t going, and then I remembered a line from a Dylan song that made sense once again.

‘If you can’t bring good news, don’t bring anything.’

I got back to Hoboken and called Julio and he asked me to pick up a cake for Stine’s birthday. It was on the way and he is two floors below me. I went down there and had a few Danish beers and some fantastic cake from Stone Cold Creamery.

Bill’s been driving a group of Spanish Nationals today, and will be doing the same all weekend. He should be home soon. I’m going to bed in a few.

Good night.

Heart of the City

A summer day today. Hit 80 degrees. Could this be a long hot summer? It is pleasant to walk to work under leafy trees. I’m sure birds are singing but I’m too busy playing my iPod, which I almost wrote as ‘my walkman.’ Plantain man was unloading a truck so I paid for my bananas to his boss. Path train was not crowded at all this morning which made me think a lot of people were taking extra time off to start their Memorial Day weekend early. Hopefully it will be even less crowded. Newsflash: Rail Power Outage all day. That’s why it was empty. All the suburbanites were not traveling on the trains. 10,000 commuters stranded.

Neck was feeling much better. I’m trying to improve my posture while I sit at a computer and it’s working somewhat. The familiar slouch creeps in and with it a twinge of pain that makes me snap to. Felicia is quite the party girl it seems though she didn’t get fucked last night, she did get fucked up.

Mrs. Stine Lopez arrived safe and sound and I haven’t seen her yet. Tomorrow is her birthday and Julio is planning something maybe. And then there’s Rocky. Tomorrow is his birthday. I have a chiropractic appointment then it’s a tete a tete with Philip Beansprout. I should pick something up for Stine. It would be so much easier if I didn’t have to see Philip.

But it’s too late to back out. He could always back out on me I suppose. I’d be cool with it.

I got a phone call from Joe, a guy who works in a newsstand in midtown. He called me up. Has some Gauloises. Yes, I’ve been stockpiling. I made a beeline up to midtown and saw Joe and did the transaction. It seemed shady but wasn’t. I hopped on an express train back downtown and got off at 14th street to catch a local. Every other train passed by except for the one 1 I needed. This is why I don’t like taking the train. When I’m pressed for time it becomes a really close shave and those that know me will testify that I can be quite impatient when a date or appointment is not kept. The only flaw in an otherwise spotless existence.

Just chilled at home alone tonight. Bill driving somewhere, calling me intermittently to tell me he loves me. I love to hear it. He loves to say it. A quiet evening watching TV, reading, chatting with some knuckleheads online. I like to chill and I like it even better when my neck doesn’t hurt. There goes the excuse for getting out of being drafted in the backyard. My neck is fine, or rather not hurting as much as it has been. Julio will probably try to test me if we meet up tomorrow night anyhow.

The weather was just on. Big storms predicted for the time I will be out running around Manhattan. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t get laid.

Patches

Slept really well last night. Had the bed to myself and took 2 Advil PM. Now Codeine free! The usual blah blah blah morning routine and I was out the door with time to pick up my leather blazer at the dry cleaners and wear it to work. It was Bob Dylan’s birthday so I listened to ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ and I walked to the Path train, stopping to get bananas from Plantain man, still pitching his tent.

Got to work, started up the office, waiting for the day to start. It started as usual for this office, and that means it started awkwardly. The neck situation continued but at the end of the day I had a chiropractic visit. I called up Felicia to see if she could pick up some items we were going to need and she was too busy, running late and getting fitted for a wedding dress. Not hers. I guess she’s in a wedding party.

When she did come in she made a beeline to me and proceeded to tell me how drunk she is. She’s still drunk from last night and begins to tell me of her sexploits. Ay Caramba! I will say this, she’s a nice drunk. She’s been getting quite chummy lately and it’s been ok. She’s a likable person. I just hope this doesn’t turn into a Bleedin’ Hope situation.

The day flew by again, and soon I was on a 1 train heading uptown to the chiropractor. Bill’s been seeing her for about ten years. You’d think he’d be cured by now. I met her once before when Bill had an appointment. I tried to impress her by stating that my sister was a massage therapist. She smiled blankly with the expression of, ‘Yeah, and?’

So she rubbed and pulled and lifted and twisted all the while talking to me rather fast as I lay face down drooling into tissue paper. I think she focused on my butt a little too long though. It was all in all a pleasant experience. I have another appointment on Friday in the afternoon, then a few hours later I see Philip Beansprout mano a mano. Time to kill between medical appointments.

It’s also Mrs. Stine Lopez’ birthday as well as Rocky, a friend that used to work the loading dock at the Wanker Banker building. He called me this evening inviting me to stop by Dewey’s Flatiron, a bar in the Flatiron district, across from Madison Square Park, which is also where Me’Shell Ndegeocello will be performing for free (?) this summer.

Bill arranged so he would have an appointment around the same time as me so that we could go home together. We walked down Eighth Avenue. I really like the Hearst Building on 57th street. A lot of fun, it makes me laugh. We rode the crowded bus back to Hoboken where we met up with Juan. Juan and I made plans last week to watch the season finale tonight. A two hour 100 page super spectacular. It was great, intense maybe.

A lot of unanswered questions.

Today I saw, in alphabetical order, Joe Franklin, Victor Gerber and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is getting creepy.

Teach Me, Sweetheart

God damn it I’ve been waking up at 5:00 in the morning the past two days. Not fun. And with the neck being what it is, getting back to sleep is no easy task. It’s getting pretty bad back there and tomorrow I have an appointment with Bill’s chiropractor. She’s going to treat me, make some adjustments and then bill me when the insurance kicks in. I hope it works. I bought a pillow and a new computer chair, or rather a chair that I sit on in front of the computer, so that it might alleviate the neck problem. But it hasn’t. So it’s the chiropractor, after that, Lourdes.

It could be a Macanudo problem, as Julio has been so fond of saying, regarding my Mac experiences. Different heights of desks for computers that I sit at most of the day, like now. And all for you dear reader, whoever you might be. I write this for you. I hope you are grateful. You’d better be.

No, that’s the neck talking. Sorry. And all the good drugs with muscle relaxers that I should take, I can’t because they have affiliations with codeine and I’m allergic to that. Back in the day, while living at my parents house, I had some dental work done and was prescribed Tylenol 3 which has a little bit of codeine in it. I took two before I went to sleep and a few hours later woke up having great difficulty breathing. I went down to my parent’s bedroom and woke up my mother telling her I couldn’t breathe.

My mother thought I was having a heart attack. For some reason we didn’t call for an ambulance and I lay on the couch while my mother asked me from her chair if I was having any pains shooting down my arm. I told her I wasn’t and she felt relieved enough to have a cigarette, which promptly took all the oxygen out of the room. I yelled to her to put it out and she obliged. I think I just slept there all night with my mother a few feet behind me.

So codeine is out which sucks because Bill has Vicodin and it’s available but I did the research and felt anaphylactic shock is not the best way to relieve a pinched nerve. A little too extreme if you ask me. And 4 out of 5 doctors agree. Watch out for that one doctor though.

Juan is here, we’re hanging out. He’s reading the British music magazines, Mojo and Uncut while watching Batman Begins on HBO. Good to have company since Bill is at his parents tonight. Julio is doing last minute cleaning so Mrs. Stine Lopez would have a nice home to come home to. He’s pretty much excited. We all are. I expect to be drafted into helping out cleaning the backyard. I don’t mind at all. Everyone wins. Especially the cats and there are plenty of them, last time we counted there were over a dozen. Want one?

Stick By Me

Last night the Sopranos was very good. Very powerful. Both the Sopranos and Big Love were on top of their game. Spoiler alert: Vito got killed quite brutally because he was gay. It was sad, but he couldn’t stay away from the life of the mob. He screamed for his life through duct tape. Big Love was as frantic as ever with the wives writing up their wills, Bill being offered a membership with a Kiwanis type merchants guild, and Roman’s grip getting tighter and tighter. Then there’s Roman’s 14 year old bride to be living with Bill and Barb’s family.

Nicki, played by Chloe Sevigny reminds me so much of a girl I grew up with, Barbara Williams. I thought the Williams family were the coolest when I was growing up. So hip and modern it seemed. They could almost be Cowsills that’s how cool I thought they were. Marge and Ed Williams had Jimmy, Suzanne, Barbara and Scott at 7 Riverview Avenue as well as Richie who was Marge’s flamboyant brother and Nanny who was Ed’s mother. My brother Frank was Jimmy’s age, Suzanne was my brother Brian’s age and Barbara and Scott were closer to my age. The Williams didn’t have any offspring that was Annemarie’s age.

My family and the Williams’ got along just fine. Back then the neighborhood I grew up with was much closer knit that most neighborhoods today. Kids were always running in and out of each other’s houses. Most parents and adults looked after children that weren’t their own. If I did something at the Williams’ house, you can be sure my parents would hear about it in no time.

There used to be neighborhood barbecues thrown by Phil and Betty Janowski. They had a gigantic pool it seemed to my 5 year old eyes. One time after a raucous day of swimming and running around like maniacs, Barbara and I were roasting marshmallows when someone called my name. Instead of merely turning my head I turned my whole body and the flaming marshmallow on a stick went right onto Barbara’s arm. She screamed. I screamed it was an accident. The very next week Barbara did the exact same thing to me, as if to say, ‘see how you like it!’ Good times.

Barbara discovered boys and wound up going out with a Neanderthal sociopath Brian Palladino who once beat me up while I was enrolled in Summer Recreation soon after I almost burned my parents’ house down. She eventually married Brian. I wound up hanging out with Barbara’s brother Scott a lot more at that time. No marshmallows were burned. We did play with firecrackers when we could get them for the Fourth of July. We also engaged in petty larceny like shoplifting dog collars and blank Memorex cassettes from Two Guys department store.

Time went on, I started driving and Scott joined the Marines. I saw him just before we really parted ways at the funeral of his grandmother, Nanny. I eventually found out that the rosy picture I saw of the Williams’ family was just a façade. They were just as fucked up as any other family, perhaps more so. I was there when Marge tore into her son Jimmy who was visiting and arrived stoned. I saw the fallout of Ed and Marge’s divorce. They were good people though. I remember my brother Brian and I calling Marge to come over because Annemarie stepped on a lead pencil and we were sure she was going to die of lead poisoning. I also remember seeing Ed when he was a security guard at the Garden State Plaza and rousting all the homos from the Public Bathroom. I walked by him hoping he was as stupid as I had heard and wouldn’t recognize the kid who lived next door. To his credit, I don’t think he said anything about it to anyone.

I last saw the Williams’ family at Marge’s wake. I saw Barbara, Scott and the once pretty Suzanne who was now bloated from alcohol abuse. Ed had died and Jimmy had passed away as well. Now it was just the three kids, and their flamboyant Uncle Richie. An Aunt Joanie was there, Marge’s sister in law, who hadn’t aged one day. Still looked the same. These days when I hear of the neighborhood that I grew up in, it’s usually because someone died.

(Do The) Instant Mash

Another day, crazy weather, pinched nerve, Sunday. Sunny cool morning, got bagels, eggs and the New York papers. It was all done due to the benefit of coffee. What a difference it makes. Bill doesn’t drink coffee, and sort of looks down on people that do. Me? Obviously I need that final jolt to the system before heading out into the world. It’s more for the benefit of the world than for me actually.

Saw Julio briefly this morning as I handed him his newspaper and bagel. He was preparing to really clean the apartment since Mrs. Stine Lopez was due to arrive in just a matter of days. We chatted briefly knowing that we’d see each other tonight to watch the Sopranos. And Big Love.

I read the papers and watched the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was actually ok. Didn’t deserve the thrashing it got when it was originally released. Mos Def was as good looking as ever.

Got a phone call from my brother Frank who was imploring me to go out and buy the Bergen Record. He wouldn’t tell me why but insisted that I should. Apparently it was big news. So I had a La Gloria Cubana and walked out into the beginnings of a major downpour. Had to go to two newsstands before I could get the paper. I asked for a plastic bag for the paper would have been soaked from the rain. The cigar was fine though.

Came back home and started reading the Sports section where Frank said to look. And there it was, my niece and goddaughter Meghan is getting married to Rob. They’re a great couple very cute and very much in love. Rob proposed on one knee in front of hundred of fellow coaches at a track meet coaches meeting. So fantastically sweet. Meghan of course accepted. There’s a nice picture of the two of them. If I could I will make a pdf of the article with picture and post it.

The rain has stopped bright and sunny and very windy. I can hear it creaking around the building. The pinched nerve comes and goes. Right now it’s not here. Said it was going out for some smokes. Now it’s back. Now it’s gone. Read a lot of magazines that I’ve been trying to keep up with and haven’t even touched the New Yorker, which I am behind a few weeks already.

Bill is at Foxwoods again though at this time he’s probably legging it back to this area. He will probably show up mid Sopranos, or right before Big Love. Season is winding down for both shows and it’s starting to get really interesting.

There’s also a show I plan on watching, Baghdad ER a cinema verite or a documentary on life and death for the soldiers. Takes place in an ER in Baghdad I guess.

I was supposed to hang with Juan but he spent the night in Princeton at a party, and I’m not really up for anything due to the bent look on my neck. Postponed!

http:// johnozed.com has been under attack from some Spam. Please continue to comment if you’d like (you know who you are), but if accidentally deleted, apologies in advance.

Roast Fish and Cornbread

A definite low key Saturday. Day of Saturn my ass. More like day of Uranus. Big neck pain today. The catch is my insurance should be activated by Monday. It’s Saturday. Got up at 6:00 AM this morning. Bill had left for another trip to Foxwoods. The good talk seems to have turned a corner and cleared the air. I took one his pillows and replaced it with one of mine that was driving me crazy.

I immediately felt at ease. I figured out that when Bill had cleaned a lot and changed the sheets and pillowcases he mixed up our pillows and that may be the cause of my neck problems. That makes sense. I did want to get a new pillow anyhow. I asked Julio if he could give me a ride to Target. I wanted to also get a new computer chair. He said he could help but had many chores to do so it would be much later.

I was able to get bagels without the benefit of coffee, which I had to go get at the supermarket. It was risky being out in public without caffeine but it was a chance I had to take. I even had to go to the bank. The stiff neck came back a little while after taking a hot shower. By the time to the bank I was el Stiffo again and barely awake after the caffeine. It was the pain that was keeping me awake. And why not? It has been interrupting my sleeping anyway.

There was a short line at the bagel shop and no one was in the bank so that was in and out pretty fast. The supermarket wasn’t that crowded either. I gave Julio a bagel and came upstairs where I made breakfast. Sitting upright with the pain shooting down my right bicep.

I still kept myself busy with laundry but decided not to over exert myself due to my condition. That meant I sat on the sofa and kept everything in reach without having to move much. As I sat there reading the papers the phone rang. It was a deep voice saying, ‘Hi Uncle John!’ It took me a minute to realize that it was my nephew Earl. Hadn’t spoken to him in a while and now he sounds like a young man. Jeezy Creezy! Well he will be 14 in September so it makes sense.

He was asking me about Napster which I used to use. He was getting songs and trying to burn them onto cd’s, but was having problems. I told him to look for preferences or options and try a lower speed to burn. It might take longer, but it might definitely help. I spoke to his mom, my sister Annemarie who gave me some suggestions regarding the neck problem and proceeded to do what she was saying, wrapping a towel, getting a cold press and laying on the bed with pillows under my knees.

It worked. I lie there about 15 minutes and felt almost as good as I did a week ago. I was even able to take a nap for about twenty minutes. After cat napping the day away, Julio showed up and we went to Target where I bought a new pillow and computer chair. Julio was kind enough to carry the chair from where he parked two blocks away and up four flights of stairs.

Then he assembled it, knowing it would take me a long time, probably days. He gets bagels for life from now on. Oh and Mrs. Stine Lopez, arrives on Wednesday.

Wild Honey Pie

Okay. Therapy tonight and oh what a night it was. Got a lot of things out in the open, namely sex. I’ve definitely come to terms with the open relationship thing, against my initial wishes but I’ve been busy and don’t want to waste my life waiting for something that doesn’t seem like it going to happen anytime soon. The surprising thing is we’re companions, partners, roommates, and friends even, but are we really lovers?

In the biblical sense, since we do love each other so very much. Just those 7”are noticeably missing. Like I said, I am comfortable with the open relationship. I wish it wasn’t open but I suppose it’s making the best out of a messed up situation. It’s like sitting in a comfortable chair when you’d rather stand. It’s not so bad when you think of it.

I also have to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m always going to be second to bus driving. That is his passion in life. Flesh and blood takes a back seat both literally and figuratively. He’s not going with me to see Philip Beansprout next week because it’s a big holiday weekend and he’s going to be driving. So I’ll be seeing Philip solo next week.

It was a strange walk home after the session due to what was said during tonight’s session. Bill is resolute in his ways and quite proud of it. He’s not going to change. He’s told me this many times in the past and over the past six years I can’t say that I really saw any major change.

He has certain issues with some suggestions I’ve made to spice things up, to rekindle our sex life yet he offers no suggestions of his own. So nothing gets done and we wind up seeing Philip Beansprout on a Friday evening. We definitely have different outlooks and it could stem from the fact that we came out of the closet at drastically different times. I knew when I was 13 and never doubted it at all. I think he might have really struggled with the fact that he was gay.

I mean, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for me, so to speak, but I knew. All my life plans were changed at 13. I don’t know what Bill’s story is and I won’t try to guess at it. But it is intriguing. Philip agreed with me on the fact that Bill doesn’t have any suggestions to start things up again, he’s content with the status quo.

On the walk home I told Bill I was willing to do anything, really anything to get him interested in me sexually again. He didn’t have any immediate ideas, and I wasn’t expecting any. But he knows that I am willing. Is he? I have an open mind, and if it’s reasonable I’m game. If not, then a drink might be in order beforehand.

The talk continued when we got home, lots of silences and deep soulful looking in the eyes. We talked about how he used to say that he doesn’t mind if I fooled around since he knows he has my heart and he’d be waiting for me in bed. But there is no guarantee that I couldn’t fall in love with someone else, and there’s no guarantee for him either.

The night I met him I didn’t go to the Men In Suits party thinking I was going to fall in love with some guy and want to spend the rest of my life with him. He could go out and find someone just like me but with that extra oomph that he feels is missing from me. And I could go find some guy that just released from jail.

Yes, relationships are hard work. And it’s worth it.

Une Annee Sans Lumiere

A day unlike the other days lately. I wore a suit again, getting to be too hot for that though, I guess it’s back to casual. That’s fine. Every now and then is good. Keep it as a fetish. Woke up did the johnozed shuffle, and out the door. Bill complimented me as I headed down the stairs, it carried me down the four flights landing on the street like a feather. I like walking through the park down the street from the apartment.

It’s usually populated by so many young serious people walking to work in their suits and sneakers. Me? I wear dress shoes. I dress to impress me. Well me and the thirty Israeli students expected in this morning. One of the higher ups at McMann and Tate was giving a lecture to the kids from the Kibbutz.

I saw Plantain man this morning and he knocked a nickel off of each banana. So I did get a discount. He was smiling and had his usual plantain in his pants. I smiled and thanked him for the bananas and the show. He smiled when I said the usual, ‘Que tengo buena dia’. Nice guy, nice bananas.

Walked down Sixth Avenue, past the kids playing in the street by St. Joseph’s Church, past the Waverly, or now, the IFC Theatre, down Carmine to Varick and into the office. Today was also day two for big wigs we are trying to impress. I think the company really did. One of the big wigs came out and thanked me personally for making their visit so pleasant.

That’s something I seem to do well. Make people feel comfortable, especially when they’re throwing BIG money around. It was like that at Wanker Banker, and it’s like that now at McMann and Tate. I just be good old John Ozed and they finish the deal. Happy endings for everyone!

Then there was a big staff meeting that I had to attend and couldn’t. Apparently the left coast office is being closed. So there should be press calling soon and I will have to direct the press to the right people. I was told this after the meeting. That’s an interesting turn of events doncha think?

I don’t smell the fear in the air so I think the offices of McMann and Tate in New York are in any danger. A tightening of the belts and some bloodletting. I’m serious, when the shit starts going down I can sense it in the air. A vibe creeps in and hangs over the work environment like smog.

A sudden downpour caused me to cancel the stroll around town to the Path train. It’s a shame. I was going to try a new cigar, A La Gloria Cubana Serie R #6. I got a few of those as lovely parting gifts from Wanker Banker. A postponement. Ah well.

Tomorrow’s almost here. I can tell because Steven Colbert is on. He was brilliant at the Correspondents dinner in Washington DC. The sad part is, no one really got his act. You might find it on www.youtube.com or at least the transcript somewhere.

Cosmic Thing

A nice spring day. Quite nice. A walk to work from the Ninth Street Path station down Sixth Avenue, past St. Joseph’s school where the street was blocked off so the kids could have a playground of sorts. Nothing really to complain about, no contact from anyone from Wanker Banker, which was a first. I guess they’ve finally gotten used to me not being there. Friday will be a month since I started at McMann and Tate and I feel like I’m finally fitting in.

Last night Juan came over. We watched Scrubs. Bill walked in half way and all three of us just giggled throughout the show. Even Juan who is perfectly indifferent chuckled a few times. It’s great having Juan hanging out. A breath of fresh air and he smells so nice. He was telling me about the cruising that goes on at his gym. Bally’s by Kennedy Blvd in North Bergen. Sounds enticing, but Juan is put off by all of the preliminary action.

Juan passed his bartending class yesterday, quite inadvertently. Seems he didn’t know how to make a mind eraser last week and had to come back this week. The teacher who was tired walked in and asked the class who out of all of them was the best bartender. Juan said that he was and the teacher said, ‘ok, go’. Much like my schooling. Getting by on personality. Juan, like me, has personality, which makes everyone stand back in awe.

Juan is close to the perfect guest. Perhaps too perfect. He’s been here often enough and should just say he wants something to drink. Then Bill or I would tell him to get it himself.

Song is on the other side of the world. I guess Ray is back in Sydney so Song should be happy. I think I missed Song’s birthday so I’ll put it out here:

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY SONG!!!!! HUGZ!!!!!

It would be nice if everyone who reads this would comment and wish Song a very happy birthday.

The day at work was hectic. Big wigs in, everyone trying to impress. I hooked up my speakers and played Howie B ‘Music for Babies’ then Marianne Faithfull singing ‘Why’d Ya Do It’ Very opposite from each other with Marianne spewing forth expletives about having been cheated on. How did someone betray her oyster for such a low bid? That’s what I’d like to know.

I saw Marianne Faithfull in the 80’s at the Bottom Line, she looked magnificent. Dressed in red, singing songs from ‘Strange Weather’. She was accompanied by Dr. John. Bill Frisell, Fernando Saunders. Absolutely brilliant. I was with some people from McSwells, Declan, Patty Quinn, Charlie Charas and someone else. We all fell under Marianne’s spell.

Now watching Lost, chatting online with Juan, Julio on the phone on commercial breaks.
I saw Eric Balfour on the street yesterday. He played Gabe, Claire’s boyfriend on Six Feet Under a few years ago. Handsome dude. On his cell talking about having to go to HR. Human resources? Homeroom? Henry Rollins?

Didn’t say anything and once again, didn’t have the camera. Not like he was Mick Jones, or even Rue McLanahan.

The B-52’s will be at Asser Levy Park (next to Coney Island in Brighton Beach) on August 10.
Laurie Anderson is playing in Prospect Park. Teddy Thompson at Summerstage. Looks like it’s gonna be a great summer.

Missing Words

Bill was at his parents, I had the bed to myself and my stiff neck. Funny thing is, it affects me at home. At work it’s fine. Go figure. I got to find a radio station to wake up to. Since the Oldies station CBS-FM went off the air I’ve been adrift. I’d rather listen to something that doesn’t piss me off. I figured the chances of waking up to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ would be greatly reduced if I had a classical station on and since CBS’ demise I stuck to one far left of the dial. A bit snooty sometimes and that was off putting.

So I went to Q104, which is the classic rock station. I woke up to Aerosmith, which is not fun at any time of the day. Maybe WBGO which is jazz station from Newark. Jazz is innocuous. I don’t hate it and I don’t actively seek it out. Bill loves it so I doubt if he’ll be offended. I just have to find it. It’s even further down the dial than WFMU, and I don’t want any JM in the AM. No offence, just not my cup of tea.

As I was puttering around the apartment the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number and answered it anyway. It was Steven McPherson, one of the Senior Vice Presidents from Wanker Banker. Nice guy, very handsome, waspy with a patrician air. Great wife, Tracy too. One time Steven wore a fantastic pinstriped suit and I spent the day not looking at him because I wouldn’t be able to take my eyes off it.

Steven wasn’t calling me about the suit. He was asking if I was going to work. Of course I was I told him. He wanted to know if I wanted to ride into the city with him, so he can use the HOV lane at the Lincoln Tunnel. Awfully nice but I had to remind him that I no longer work in midtown, I work in Soho, so I take the Path. He was kind enough to ask about the new job and I explained that it was 180 degrees away from Wanker Banker. He wished me well and that was that.

I wandered to the Path and picked up my bananas from the man with the Plantain in his pants. Today he was wearing a cock ring on his wrist. What is going on? Is he hitting on me? I’m flattered. Still charges me full price on the bananas so maybe he isn’t. Or maybe he figures I can afford the thirty cents. I can.

Got to the office and could not get into the office. Key card not working. Immediately go into paranoid mode. Maybe I was fired. I shouldn’t be here. I waited a half hour before I was able to get in. Kristy Fallon let me in and I was grateful. Nice girl that. She has some dough and a house in the country and a condo in the city. She won me over when she started loudly playing the Afro Cuban All Stars “A Toda Cuba le Gusta” which means ‘I really like your shirt’. Or maybe not.

I love Cuban music, especially the Buena Vista Social Club stuff. I told her how I saw the movie 5 times in the movie theatres, owned the VHS and the DVD as well as many cd’s from the band and seeing some of them in concert. She one upped me with having gone to Cuba with her jazz saxophonist husband. Oh that Kristy Fallon.

The day went fast. Felicia gave me some notes last week and I asked her about one of the items. Music at the front desk. I asked if that meant no music was allowed. No quite the opposite. They want to hear music at the front desk.

I’ve already put the speakers and Ipod accessories in my bag.
Here’s some pics.


Bright Lights

The Sopranos were excellent last night, Vito flipping out. He’s off to get himself killed. Tony’s being a dick to Carmela. I’m just glad the little brat, AJ wasn’t in the show. Meadow was and she was enjoyable. Meadow used to be a brat, now she’s a mouthy Columbia student. Tony’s sister showed her true colors, which were actually her mother’s colors. And poor Ginny, her house is being sold out from under her.

Big Love was exceptional last night. I think with each episode it keeps getting better and Bill Paxton is so gosh darn cute. Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin are all so credible and the kids too. I highly recommend it. Last night’s baptism was really quite touching with Margene. And Nicky and Barb holding hands was just perfect.

Went to bed, neck and shoulders awfully stiff. Just crashed and fell into a deep sleep. Woke up stiff, I think it’s the pillows of the damned. No more Martha Stewart pillows. I should’ve known. Woke up at 5:55 AM. I reached over and hugged Mr. 555. Stumbled out of bed, it was overcast again, just like yesterday. Perhaps everyday is like Sunday after all.

A hot shower resolved some of the stiffness. Had the breakfast and coffee and I was on my way to the Path train. It was a Bowie morning, his greatest hits. Though somehow his crap version of ‘All the Young Dudes’ made it onto the Ipod despite my deleting it several times. I much prefer Mott the Hoople’s version, produced by Bowie with the Dame on backing vocals. I feel better having just deleted David’s version yet again. I replaced it with ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ which is infinitely superior to ‘Dudes’ and unjustly left off the collection.

I picked up my bananas at Natural Plus across from City Hall in Hoboken and the guy behind the counter has a nice plantain in his pants. Fully ripe too. One can’t help but notice. I always make him smile when I leave and say, ‘Que tengo buena dia’ which for those playing at home means, have a nice day. Of course you can substitute Noche for Dia, or vice versa. Impress the people you come into contact with most everyday.

Felicia came in today, she seemed in good spirits. We may be coalescing into a team, which is a good thing. Linda, the Fab British woman was in also. A full house today and I’m starting to get a grip on things. It’s almost been a month, so it’s about time. Not too nice a day so I just ran out and got my salad and ate it at my desk. The day flew by again. How long will that last?

After work I was heading uptown and left at the same time as Felicia. We stood outside the subway station I was going to get on and smoked cigarettes and chatted. Gossiped more like. Felicia was married at some point. That’s gossip. I didn’t pry. I’m sure her onion will unfold all by itself. Smokes finished we separated. I hopped on a 1 train to Times Square where there were Gauloises waiting for me.

I snapped them up and continued on my way home. Bought some groceries and chatted with Rod2.0 who is my favorite blogger. Entertaining and intelligent. Maybe I should try that angle sometime. He’s a success and was just interviewed by the Advocate. He even makes money from his blog. He’s almost as much an inspiration for this blog as Lewis Lapham.

So now that’s two people you can blame.

Monitor

A gray day in Hoboken. A Sunday. Mother’s Day. No one around, Bill driving, Julio doing his thing, Juan doing his, Song in Sydney. I just got in from sitting on the stoop in front of my building, listening to the Ipod. Paul Simon’s ‘Surprise’. Yes I am surprised too. After reading about Brian Eno’s involvement I had to check it out. Its actually very good and a departure for Paul Simon.

Eno co wrote a few songs and provided electronics and soundscapes. Quite nice. I’m still hooked on the Arcade Fire, ‘Funeral’. That continues to blow me away, it’s so touching and beautiful and occasionally noisy.

On the news was a mention of the movie, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and how the Christians are up in arms because the movie departs from reality. Reality? People have never heard of fiction it seems. And faith is so easily shaken by the mere mention of an opposing thought. Or even a new thought. Perhaps they’re worried about how if people can be held under the sway of a bible, then another book might have the same power.

I’ll probably go see it since Julio had read the book and I, like most everyone else, like Tom Hanks. Seems like fun escapism for an hour or so.

It continues to be gray outside and inside the television spews forth bad news from around the world. Not too many people out on the street, the occasional mother dressed in her finery and her children. Other than that, pretty quiet.

Saturday Night Live was pretty funny with Julia Louis Dreyfuss hosting with musical guest Paul Simon who performed two songs off his new cd. Juan hung out last night and we watched Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Spalding Gray’s Swimming to Cambodia both of which he had never seen before. Julio, who is phobic about seeing a film he’s seen before stayed away. Bill came home after another Foxwoods journey midway through Swimming to Cambodia and went to bed soon after, since he needed to wake up at 4:00AM to repeat the Foxwoods trail again.

Juan split after Saturday Night Live, and I went to bed. I think it’s time to get some new pillows since the ones I have are causing discomfort. Perhaps I can convince Julio to give me a ride to Target this week sometime. Nice selection of Pillows and everyone likes Target. I heard Tom Hanks shops there.

Back to work tomorrow. Thinking positive in a trepidatious manner. It’s really the only way. Just have to make sure things go smoothly.

Julio’s coming up tonight to watch the Sopranos and Big Love tonight so goes our Sunday routine. I’m glad Bill and Julio get along, just as I’m glad that Bill and Juan get along since lately when Bill comes home, one or the other, or sometimes both are sitting on the couch watching the telly.

30 years ago on Sunday nights it was Kojak at 9:00. Now it’s the Sopranos. The prime time for the Alpha Male.

Juxtapose

I got very drunk last night on two drinks. Two very strong drinks. The evening started out meekly, Juan hanging out, Bill arriving and Julio showing up with beer and ice soon after. Bill and I had our first session with Philip Beansprout at his office on 57th Street. It’s an old showbiz building with pictures of various residents and businesses from the past. A nice montage of Jose Ferrer hung near the door. He lived here at some point.

The session went well, Philip has a nice office with a much more comfortable couch with throw pillows and a varied selection of books. It was a reintroduction of sorts and was very pleasant. Afterwards we strolled down Fifth Avenue and talked a bit. We’re sometimes chatty afterwards, sometimes not. This was a not. I was thinking about my mother and Bill understood.

We came home and I spoke with Juan who came over and Julio who came up and the drinking began. Julio made an Absolut diet 7Up for me, which was subtly strong. It took some time to finish it and I made my own the next time. I could barely drink it. I was rocked. Bill had just gone to bed and Julio and Juan were here waiting for Bill Maher to come on which was the plan.

I was so drunk I wanted them to leave. I was drinking a lot of water and still couldn’t dilute the alcohol. As soon as the show ended the two of them were out. A minute later I was horizontal, sleeping the sleep of the damned.

Or merely drunk. Not enough food was the culprit.

This morning I woke up a little bit fuzzy headed. Not the dues paying for the Pipers Union problem. I was relatively ok. I had some coffee and got the bagels and the papers. I spoke with Julio who mentioned once again he had no clue how drunk I seemed. Juan felt that he was a bit drunk, but he had a Stella Artois and a vodka. I only had vodka and felt that.

A hearty breakfast was good, and doing laundry kept me busy and the gel cap that I took removed whatever edge there might have been. I spoke with RoDa and Juan and made plans to check out the Jean Michel Basquiat show at the Dietch Projects. Unfortunately I didn’t know there were a few branches of the Dietch Projects, fortunately the art we saw in the other branches were a lot of fun.

There was even a wish tree by Yoko Ono, which I participated in by writing a wish for love and peace. We found where the Basquiat show was and walked in. For RoDa it’s like a spiritual event, his love Jean Michel is that great. Probably as much as my fondness for Andy Warhol, and that adds a fun aspect in the fact that both Andy and Jean Michel collaborated and were good friends.

Afterwards we strolled around Soho and the Village making it back to Hoboken in time to hang out some more before RoDa going off to work at McSwells.

Bill is back from driving his bus to Foxwoods in Connecticut and we’re all watching ‘Swimming to Cambodia’ which Juan has never seen. So it was all good today. Here are some pics.

Beautiful

May 12. Not a good day for my siblings and myself. An albatross of a Mother’s day. 15 years ago my mother passed away on Mother’s Day, perhaps to ensure that we would never ever forget Mother’s Day. Not that we ever did, we actually liked her. It was her husband that we had issues with.

A few days before Mother’s Day I called her to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to see her on Mother’s Day. She was ok with the fact, or at least she said she was. Her heart was probably broken by the fact that I wasn’t going to be there. I asked her if there was anything she might have wanted for a gift and she said she didn’t want anything. Somehow we wound up talking about death though, and how when she died she wanted to go out like a Viking. Meaning put her corpse on a boat and set it aflame and send it out to sea.

I told her that the Environmental Protection Agency might have a problem with that. It was a nice call and we ended up laughing. It was also the last time I talked to her. She was great and a lot of fun and in a lot of pain due to the fact that my father, her husband was an asshole. Basically he was a bigger baby than the four children they had and demanded all of her time. She was old school and wouldn’t divorce him.

My mother was the only girl with five brothers. She was the one who taught my brothers and myself how to throw a ball and how to play baseball. She learned all that from her brothers growing up. My old man certainly couldn’t be bothered.

She was well liked by a lot of people. I worked with her for a few years, she worked in the office and I worked in the warehouse, eventually I got the job driving interoffice mail between the Saddle Brook offices and the Headquarters in midtown Manhattan. I saw how she was regarded by most everyone she came into contact with. Being her son got me out of a lot of trouble at that job too. Once they realized I was Mary’s son, I was off the hook.

She was great and I really miss her. Her laugh, the way she talked. I was devoted to her. No wonder they had to pry my fingers off the fence to get me into school a lot of the time. I couldn’t fathom how she could desert me and leave me with these kids and nuns. I felt that way for at least the first couple of years, which more than likely had an effect on how I viewed school.

In 1976 my mother and I took a bus trip to Amish Country in Pennsylvania. It was for a few days. I don’t know why we went, but I was glad we did. I found an old photograph from that trip, me in a blue and red rugby shirt, plaid shorts, and red and yellow tube socks, topped off by a denim hat. She is in a green and white pantsuit and we are both standing next to a giant pretzel.

She didn’t really understand me, but loved me with the love only a mother could have. She had a great sense of humor and I think my sister and brothers got a lot of that good humor from her. When she passed away she was doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle and I commented that since the puzzle probably killed her we should sue the Times since there was no warning that 27 across was a real killer.

She would’ve have slapped my arm and laughed telling how bad I was for saying that. I wish my nieces and nephews could have had a chance to meet and know their grandmother. I wish I could’ve had more time with her, much like my sister and brothers do.

She knew a lot about movies and music and consoled me when John Lennon died. She couldn’t bear to see my devastation. She told me stories about taking my sister to see ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ or ‘Help!’ and how the girls would scream when the Beatles were on screen. It really helped.

She was able to see three of her children get married to really good people and wished the same for me. Even though she knew I was gay, she couldn’t believe it, thinking it was just a phase. Even when she flew out to California to be there when my sister had her son, Earl, Annemarie told her it was no phase.

She was a good Catholic also. Annemarie and I think she baptized Earl in the way that any Catholic can perform a baptism in a time of emergency and the emergency was that Annemarie wasn’t going to have Earl baptized. So to cover all bases and make sure that Earl gets into heaven my mother did it.

She was great and I miss her. Mary Anna Powers rocked.

Certainly

I wasn’t looking forward to work today and seeing Felicia. I know that Mark was going to have a talk with her. She surprised me by coming in about an hour earlier. That was no fun. I set about doing my thing, my job, my chores when I passed by a conference room where I could see Mark and Felicia having a discussion at the table. I just kept on going, I didn’t linger.

I had enough to do anyhow. She came out of the meeting and immediately asked my help. I was distant yet accommodating. It was a massive clean up for the office since we had major toupees coming in on Friday. I meant big wigs. Big enough that I can’t say who they were lest I scotch the deal.

Felicia was subdued understandably. The two of us threw out a lot of crap that hadn’t been used or touched since McMann and Tate moved into this space two years ago. She was trying to be friendly, so I guess her talk with Mark hit home. I’d like to imagine that it went like this,

Mark: You gone through so many receptionists through the beginning of the year and now we’re in danger of losing another one. I tell you Felicia, if John walks out, you’ll be right behind him.

Felicia: I know I’m sorry. I didn’t realize John was the best thing that’s ever happened since the Protestant Reformation.

Mark: Well he is beeyatch.

Felicia: Oh no you didn’t!

And so on. You get the picture. The day progressed with my work piling up because I was working with Felicia on cleaning the junk out. As morning turned into afternoon, she mentioned that she couldn’t apologize enough and wanted to buy me lunch. I mentioned that I was going out but she insisted on asking what I wanted. I told her I usually have a salad.

Soon enough salad and chicken and a few other accoutrements appeared on my desk. I noticed two plates and a pair of utensils. She ordered lunch.

We sat, we ate and we talked. She reminds me of someone who everything is going wrong for. Her melanoma, her sick dog, and also her brother was in a car accident. Hmmm. Déjà vu.

If she claims her brain is bleeding I will have to pull her mask off to reveal the dreaded Bleedin’ Hope.

I told her about how I felt about the office, being cut off from most everyone. How some people are nice, and some people are so fucking cold, butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. You hear me, Mina Theta?

She agreed and thanked me for doing a good job and for being on board. She apologized several times for the outbursts yesterday. We discussed the big wigs coming in tomorrow, about how busy it will be next week. It was actually very productive. I showed her my calendar on my computer and she didn’t even know she had one on her computer. She asked if it was able to send her info. I told her they were called invites and sent her one.

As the afternoon progressed I told her that we should have lunch once a week to discuss what is going on and she agreed. She made a suggestion to have coffee and talk about the upcoming days events in the morning. We’ll see about that.

It was busy enough that 6:00 came fast. I saw Felicia as I was about to go and asked her if there was anything else she needed.

“A hug.”

I hugged her and said good night.

Tombstone Blues

Right off the bat, Felicia is nuts. She is difficult to get along with, difficult to butter up or even empathize with. Forget about getting close to her because that simply is not going to happen. She was out today and that was relatively good. She has one of those dogs that fit into a pocket book, you know the type. Utterly useless dogs. The type of dog that won’t save your life, should your life need saving. Needless to say, the dog was sick. Sick on Monday, so Felicia was in late on Tuesday since the dog was up all night.

The dog was having surgery on Tuesday so she left early after coming in late. I try to be supportive and empathize and it seems to get a reaction of thankfulness.

Today was crazy busy and I loved it. It was go go go almost immediately after coming in. I much prefer the busyness. I purchased some teas, and some honey and artificial sweetener so I put them away and started up the office. Phones started ringing, requests of all sorts, which I did my best to fulfill. There are some nice people in the office and some standoffish people as well.

Creative types are not easy to deal with mostly. Like a cello on the top of the Empire State Building they are that high strung. But I can get around that. I do have some old habits that I still maintain. For example, there is a voice mail system on the phone. I consulted the three different front desk manuals and entered the password to access the voice mail. Three different passwords, and each of them wrong, so after three tries, I was locked out.

So I called the San Francisco office, having a friendly relationship with my counterpart over there. I asked her, Agnes, if she knew how to reset the phone. She didn’t. I wondered if I unplugged the system if that would reset it. I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining everything so I didn’t. Though they have the same system as Wanker Banker, somehow they need to have someone come in at the cost of $125.00 to hit one or two buttons.

Eddie the phone guy came in and knew exactly what to do. Took him less than fifteen minutes. Nice gig, huh? I maintained my busyness, running around like a maniac and rushing to answer phones on no more than the second ring. There are three phones in the office, all strategically located so no one can answer them except me and Felicia and Linda, the very nice British woman.

Linda used to do my job so she knows how hectic it can be. She is definitely more sympathetic than Felicia. I relied on Linda quite a bit today and she didn’t seem to mind. She asked me to run some errands on my lunch break and I did them gladly. She also said I could still take an hour after running the errands. Felicia never says that.

I came back from lunch after doing everything that was asked of me, still not taking the full hour. I read an email that Felicia sent while I was out. It started out, “I really need you to shift into high gear. The office has been super messy”. The impression I get from that is that I’ve been loafing around. She mentioned that next week is going to be busy and I should get Eddie to come in to work on the phone in the big room where a major meeting is going to occur. Now, she knew that Eddie was coming in today and she’s telling me to have him come in again tomorrow. Fine. I call Eddie and ask if he can back tomorrow. He says they’re booked tomorrow and he’d try to come back today, so he’ll call back. Fine. The phone needs to be fixed right?

I am running around doing this, doing that, including taking the dried blossoms off the stupid apple branches she picked up a week or so ago and placed in water. This is one of the idiotic things I need to do, picking blossoms off a tree branch. While I’m doing this, the phone rings and I can’t get it. Linda does. She tells Eddie, yes it’s fine, come in. Somehow Felicia hears about this and calls Linda and gives her an earful.

Then it’s my turn. She calls me quite livid. Who do I think I am? And blah blah blah. She was going off on the phone so much that I almost said ‘FUCK YOU’ and hang up the phone. But no, though the words are at the tip of my tongue I say nothing. She goes off on how she hasn’t slept in days and her dog is sick and coming off the anesthesia and acting like, a dog. I wonder if Felicia is doing crystal meth? She’s certainly thin enough and she lives in Chelsea…

The good feeling of being busy was undercut by the strangeness that is Felicia. Linda wasn’t too happy about being chewed out by her and neither was I. She complained to Mark the controller who Felicia reports to. Linda came and spoke to me in hushed tones about how Felicia has been lately. Lots of days off apparently. I mentioned to Linda how I asked Felicia how I was doing on my fifth day at McMann and Tate and her words of encouragement were about how I was more energetic during my interview. She was surprised at that.

Linda wants to make sure I am comfortable and happy. She also said I was doing a good job. Felicia never even attempted that and if she did I was too busy walking on eggshells to notice. Mark the controller came by and told me that he was sorry that Felicia was behaving the way she did. He said that he was going to have a talk with her about her absences, and her attitude towards Linda and myself. Somehow he’s going to do this without naming names.

Apparently I’ve been doing Felicia’s work.

He said I was doing a good job and I mentioned that it was the first that I heard that. I also said that supportive words like that really mean a lot. He was surprised that I never heard that before. I told him about the fifth day and Felicia’s comment, and also said that I was close to quitting after listening to Felicia’s rant over the phone. He was glad that I didn’t. I told him that if they had gone through so many receptionists before I arrived, maybe the problem isn’t with the receptionists. He mentioned that a few of them just up and quit rather than deal with Felicia.

So it’s not me, it’s Felicia. She’s nuts.

Tomorrow should be interesting, don’t you think?

Smile, Please

A pretty good day. Not bad at all. And presently watching the season finale of Gilmore Girls, which so far featured, Sparks, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. Very interesting. I almost played with Yo La Tengo years ago. Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley both worked or hung out at McSwells. They were starting up Yo La Tengo and were looking for a guitarist. They handed me a tape and asked me to listen to it and maybe see if I’d like to play with them.

I didn’t like the tape much and didn’t want to play with them. Now, years later. There they are on Gilmore Girls. And Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. (who my old friend Maurice used to nanny for Kim and Thurston’s kid) Weird. But good weird.

Bill took off today, declaring himself a weekend, yesterday and today. He spent the day in the apartment cleaning. All over. I’m impressed. Lot’s of trash to be thrown out. I should do the same.

I’m definitely getting used to the crowded Path train in the morning. Not enjoying it, just tolerating it. No choice really. It’s only about a 15 minute commute and there are always trains leaving at 7:30 in the morning. I walk down Hudson Street, nice stroll fairly quiet, and worlds away from midtown. I’m getting used to the commute.

I send out the email, the morning announcements about who’s where, who’s not coming in, who’s going to be late. Felicia called. Her dog has been sick all night and she’s waiting to hear from the vet. A nice British woman, Linda came back from a long weekend. She’s very nice and willing to help me out when needed. I busied myself but also decided not to sweat downtime.

I took a relaxed approach to the job at hand and worked on all my projects. Even showed how useful I can be by catching a typo and also be being at the right place at the right time with paper towels.

After work I walked down Church St. smoking my Padron, listening to Station to Station by David Bowie. I know Bowie lives in Tribeca so that would be a hoot to run into him buying groceries for the missus, Iman.

“David, we’re out of bread.” ‘Right love, I’ll run right out.’

I sincerely doubt he’d remember me anyway. It was about 10 years ago when I met David Bowie when he was recording his ‘Earthling’ album at Right Track studios, where I used to work. He was a great guy and I’ll never forget hanging out with him. How could he?

He even took the time to autograph his personal cassette after he gave it to me. I was a fan of his before, but this definitely put my fandom over the top. He asked me towards the end of the sessions if I could suggest anyone to mix some tracks on the record. I drew a blank and called up Rand and a few other people who gave me some ideas. I gave David a list of some names, some he heard of and some he didn’t. I didn’t figure it out until weeks later. He knew I DJ’d occasionally.

I could have suggested me.

I should have.

Nobody Hurts You

Ugh. Mondays. No me gusta. No mas! Woke up not wanting to go to work. I know most everyone feels that way. Hard to get motivated this morning. Just didn’t want to go. A depressing feeling. I felt so lost. Some days are better than others of course. This was not one of the better days. Just don’t know where or how to fit in at the new job. I am alone most of the time, everyone is about 100 feet away from me.

It’s a different scene for sure. Where at Wanker Banker I had at least the IT guys and some Admins to talk to, at the new job there is really no one. Even Dave Disco, my ex boss would be available to talk to. But Felicia isn’t really that social, at least not with me. I still don’t know what’s really expected of me so I spend a lot of time and energy just keeping busy.

Still there are moments of downtime where I just don’t know what to do. Phones aren’t ringing off the hook, occasionally I go make sure there is a fresh pot of coffee, rinse off some dishes and put ‘em in the dishwasher. They’ve stopped ordering soda so that’s one less thing I have to do. It is drudgery but well paying drudgery. I have to remind myself of that from time to time.

But still most of the day was spent feeling down about the job. I think it’s because I had such a good time over the weekend, with the jamming on Saturday with Bill and Tom, Juan coming over in the evening and then hanging out with Frank and Elaine at the Art and Music festival in Hoboken on Sunday, winding up watching the Sopranos and Big Love with Bill and Julio.

The mood lifted somewhat in the afternoon after a mediocre salad. I like taking a late lunch because it makes the afternoon seem shorter and going home faster. At least it seems that way.

I’ve taken to walking down to the World Trade Center Path train, it’s about a half hour walk and good timing to smoke my Padron before I descend into the train station. I remember how it used to be before the tragedy almost five years ago, when 3000 people died. It’s a major tourist site, now more than it used to be.

But the walk down there is enjoyable and not too many people on the street to complain about the cigar. It was more crowded last week with the Tribeca Film Festival, with lots of people wandering around. This week, a lot less. I walk down the street, past White Street where I was shanghaied in 1980 at the Mudd Club. It was a lot more dangerous then than it is now.

Industrial lofts converted into luxury condos selling for millions. JFK Jr lived down here. A lot of Hollywood people do too. I just keep on walking.

Got off the Path train and walked down Washington Street which definitely had less people than yesterday. I downloaded Graham Parker and the Rumour, ‘Squeezing Out Sparks’. High school. Long time ago.

Hey Bulldog

A beautiful Sunday, sunny day, sweeping the clouds away. Washington Street started putting up its vendor booths. Many people out and about either fleeing town or coming in for the Art and Music Festival. The street was blocked off already at 9:00 AM so traffic slowed on every other street. Despite the fact that Juan and I had quite a few Stella Artois last night I didn’t wake up hurting or hung over.

Juan and I tried watching Junebug, which my sister suggested, but it required too much attention so we watched Mystery Men instead. A daffy movie with Ben Stiller and William H. Macy amongst others. Pretty funny. Juan enjoyed it and we both laughed while Bill sat at the kitchen table mapping out his routes for his bus trip to Foxwoods in Connecticut. He had to pick up people in Mount Vernon and Yonkers and a few other places and he has to be prepared.

Occasionally he’d laugh from what he heard from the TV. It was definitely fun to have Juan back hanging around. His latest music for me is by Cake Bake Betty who he saw sing at his school. He downloaded the cd for me and from what I’ve heard so far she’s pretty good.

Juan left around midnight and I went to bed not long after, since Saturday Night Live wasn’t hitting it like it sometimes does. I even missed Tina Fey saying fuck on live TV.
Red Hot Chili Peppers were the usual mediocre stuff. It’s hard to believe they’ve been around for 20 years.

I wanted to see 2 members of the Feelies play and they started at 1:00 this afternoon. My brother and sister in law were coming to town to see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Elaine, my sister in law came with 2 people she works with and Frank was driven down by his daughter Corinne who definitely didn’t want to stay.

I met up with Elaine and her friends on the street before I headed down to see Glenn Mercer play. He used to be in the Feelies. The other guy was Vinny De Nunzio who was the original drummer. They sounded great, like the Feelies never split up. Of course they weren’t as frantic as they used to be and Glenn Mercer is as anti-social as ever. Not in a mean way, just doesn’t really speak with anyone. I think he misses his ex-partner, Bill Million.

I liked the Feelies, but can’t say I was madly in love with them. It’s funny though because my rhythm guitar style is very similar to the Feelies. Very fast and choppy. Caffeine is the usual culprit behind that. A few faces I hadn’t seen in years, including Clara Korman, nee Suarez. I ran into her husband Mike last week on the street who told me she always talks about me, after fifteen years. So I walked up and said hi. She was happy to see me, as was Mike. They introduced me to their child who’s 16 months old, Harrison. Good looking lad, likes his animal crackers.

Oddly enough I talked to Mike for longer than I ever did in all the time I’ve known him. We talked about Gutbank, his old band and how good they were. I told him he had such a cool presence onstage back then and he seemed surprised. He told me he liked Tia, their 16 year old drummer. So did Karen, the leader of the band, but Tia liked Heroin more. Stupid kid.

Mike said he was starting to play guitar again and he had jammed with a friend. I mentioned that I had jammed yesterday, but stopped short of offering to jam again. I think he would be too intimidating and I’m one for no clear rules with regards to jamming, whatever happens happens and keep it simple. A few riffs, see where it goes from there.

They split and I caught up with Frank and Elaine and their friends. A few faces from McSwells drifted past, Michael Hill, Guy Ewald, Glenn Morrow. Nice guys all. They see me all the time on the streets of Hoboken, and since they don’t see Frank too often, they chewed his ears off.

Me and oldest brother

I also ran into Mike Natoli who used to change the lightbulbs I at Wanker Banker. He quit working a few months before I did. It was good to see him again. Also met his wife Maria, who he always used to complain about. She seemed nice. Mike is such a cutie. And also a little guy, maybe touching 5 feet evenly. Maybe. He took my number and suggested meeting up for a drink, to which I amost receptive.

After Majorette, a band from Brooklyn played, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes started up with ‘Happy’ by the Rolling Stones, a very cool song by the way, followed by ‘Gin Soaked Boy’ by Tom Waits. Hipster cache.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

I’ve never seen Southside live and he is quite the entertainer. A lot of fun, a dynamic presence. A good set finishing with his three sort of big hits, ‘The Fever’, ‘I Don’t Want to Go Home’ and ‘Talk to Me’. For an encore it was Sam Cooke’s ‘We’re Having a Party’.

Still a good bar band in the classic sense, with R&B and Rock and Roll. Nice job if you can get it.

After Southside and the band finished it cleared out fast. Not too many people sticking around for Cyro Baptista and Beat the Donkey. Bad scheduling I guess. I was going to stay and see some of it, but it was shady and chilly, me with high beams. Frank and Elaine split with their friends and I ran into Charlie Charas and talked with him for a while.

I wound up walking up the street on the sidewalk since there were a lot of people in the middle of the street. I did buy a nice piece of art for 15 dollars in front of city hall. After that I was hungry and decided to go indoors. All in all, a pretty good day.