Monthly Archives: September 2006

Wicked Game

Busy day, running from station to station, person to person. Like a
maniac mind you. Barely had time to pack up Earl’s gifts and send them
out. I hope he likes. I tried to budget myself on his gifts but if you
know me, you know me and budgets. Mutually incompatible. Not for lack
of trying. Just hard to figure out, or even put into words, so I won’t
even go there.

It was a non stop day, hardly anytime to sit and catch my breath or
smoke a cigarette, which affects breathing as we all know. I’ve been
chatting with a certain someone who seems to be screwing his way
around an Ivy League college. Good for him as long as he plays safe.
he says he does and I believe him. Now that the boy has wheels, heaven
help the man on the prowl.

I write this in a halfhearted attempt to at least have something
written for the blog since I don’t know what condition or state of
mind I will be in. So Earl’s present, a t-shirt, some buttons, a CD I
bought and two CD’s I burned that Juan made me and are very cool, and
some hip magazines for the herbivore rock and roll fan. Apparently
there’s a niche for non carnivore rock and rollers. Who knew?

Bill is coming tonight and will meet my coworkers. Bill is dressing to
impress. I tried to dissuade him, but he insisted. I don’t mind. He
looked smashing when leaving the apartment this morning. Me? I’m in a
nice old navy short sleeved shirt, nice retro pattern and black
wrangler trousers that I bought on Bergenline Avenue in the spring. I
would’ve suited up, but I knew I’d be running around like a chicken
without it’s head. A free range chicken, at that.

I have no idea how many words I’ve written. This is, according to the
word press counter, the 365th entry. But it’s really not. I’m still
a bit off, and though I started this on October 7th of last year, it
hasn’t been a non stop thrill, there has been some entries when I was
ill, some oldies and goodies and a whole mish mosh of what the hell is
that? Someone is smoking in the office and it isn’t me. That’s all I can
muster for now.

That was yesterday. I was unable to finish the blog, good old number 365 since I got home obscenely late and three sheets to the wind. The party was good. On my way to the party I had planned to meet Bill when I got a phone call from a frantic Felicia who insisted that I go to her apartment first. I texted Bill and let him know that we could meet there. Bill didn’t get the text though. He called me and I filled him in as I sat in Felicia’s expensive apartment in Chelsea. I had a quick beer while Felicia ran around the apartment with her little yapping dogs trailing behind her. She wasn’t going to make it to the club on time so she gave me some posters to put up and told me she’d meet me there. I let with the posters and walked over to the bar, once again, calling Bill and letting him know what was now happening.

I was the first one from McMann and Tate to arrive, and I set about telling the caterer where to put the food as I put up posters. The coworkers arrived and that’s when it all went boozy. I sort of forgotten what hard partiers the British could be. It turned out to be a success. Felicia got the credit, I did the work. It was fine though. Boozy talk with coworkers that I’d never really spoken to in depth. I didn’t make it to the after party. Time flew and I was having fun. Bill was a hit with the coworkers and he dug them as well. Everyone was on their best behavior.

I hung out with a really nice client and asked if I could sleep on the floor of his hotel room. He said he had twin beds and I could sleep in the other one. It sounded like a good idea but as 2:30 Am approached, catholic guilt took over and I decided to spend forty dollars on a cab back to Bokeyland. At 4:00AM I accidentally broke a bottle of Bill’s Peppermint Oil, which crashed on the floor, and I was overcome with the smell of peppermint, which still lingers almost a day later. Woke up later than usual which was fine since most of my coworkers were trashed as well. I walked into the office around 10:00AM, one of the first in. Most everyone else was in worse shape than I was. Now I’m home, chilling out. That’s it for now. The 365th entry is anticlimactic. I’ll go one more about that some other time.

Coal to Diamonds

Man it’s been busy at work. A lot of running around, a lot of bruised egos, a lot of nonsense, which I am able to avoid mostly. I just keep running around, and running away from the strife. Felicia and Linda keep butting heads, but at least this time, they’re not alternately whispering in my ear about how much one detests the other. Tomorrow night is an office party, which Bill is attending as my guest. I gave him the heads up already that they are a rowdy and crazy bunch that I work with. He seems fine with that.

I don’t know what to expect since I’ve never attended a party with these people. I’ve had exactly one drink once a few months ago after work when someone was leaving, but this time it’s the office en masse and his or her spouses, and me with mine. It’s costing the company some bucks that’s for sure. I will see if the better halves are actually the better half. I guess I’ll have to find time to write during the day since the party isn’t scheduled to end until midnight, not that I will be there until then. NFW. I have to get home and then go to sleep for a few hours and then back to work again. It’s not bad at all, considering it’s only a four day week for me.

Amiable Alan has been quite busy and hasn’t had much time to talk or hang out. That’s the job, he’s in production, producing in his amiable style. He’s a real sweetheart though, I hope he can make it to the party, although he’s been hemming and hawing about how he might not be able to due to some circumstances in his life. If it’s like any other office party that I’ve been to, its more than likely the people that talk to each other all day will continue to do so into the morning, perhaps enhanced chatter with alcohol breath.

On the way home, I stopped off and picked up some cool buttons for my nephew Earl’s birthday. 16 years old, and I hope he likes the Ramones, Bob Marley, and Nirvana pins that I bought. All three bands/people are defunct due to dead members. I got on the trains at the World Trade Center and was actually able to have a seat, so I read the New Yorker piece by Woody Allen which was really funny. A return to form.

I got off in Hoboken and ran into my friend Donna Lispenard. Donna lives diagonally across the street from McSwells. She and I share September 12 as a birthday but she doesn’t recognize that day since she became a Jehovah’s Witness. She cooled to me somewhat though we do exchange pleasantries when we see each other on the street. She had me over for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners in the past, she’s a fantastic cook, but that fell by the wayside when Jehovah entered the picture.

Donna greeted me with a hug and a kiss, and we chatted. She asked me to walk with her towards her car where she told me about a fire in her apartment building. She chastised me for not calling her to see if she was alright when I told her I read about it, but she’s on the second floor and the fire was on the fifth. Her apartment wasn’t damaged but she can’t live there at the moment, so she’s staying with some Jehovah’s Witnesses in Jersey City. It turns out her well to do friend Paul, was growing herb in his apartment.

Seriously growing herb, fifty pounds worth when the apartment caught fire. He’s vanished, being well to do he probably fled the country. Donna asked me what kind of sentence would he get if he turned up, and I said probably twenty years, since he was growing and it wasn’t for personal consumption, it was with intent to distribute. And with a school a few blocks away, who knows? It would depend on the prosecutor and the judge actually.

I walked Donna to her car, it was parked in a dark area. She berated me again for not calling, and I told her that I could have lied and said that I tried calling but since she wasn’t living there she didn’t get the call. She laughed and thanked me as she got into her car.

Interesting note. The counter on this blog says I’ve written 364 entries, which I know can’t be true since the first entry was on October 7. Tomorrow is September 28. Dig the new math.

Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll

Back to work today. Tuesday for everyone, a Monday for myself. Bill had left before I did, and I left around 7:15. I really didn’t feel like going to work, not dreading it, just feeling rather lackadaisical. I walked to the Path train, Plantain Man not sporting any morning wood, he was more covered up than usual. It was a bit nippy out this morning and he coming from below the border felt the chill before I did. The train was as crowded as usual and I’m starting to recognize some faces from riding with these people Monday through Friday.

The office, it was shambles. Most everything Ariane said was true, the coffee machine was broken and the email system was not working at all. Nothing to do with the New York office, the blame falls on London for this. Also the system of reserving and booking conference rooms was a mess. Not at all like the set up at Wanker Banker, and they use the same program as McMann and Tate. It’s really ridiculous, since the system is set up that you can’t see what room is available until you open each window individually, you can look at them at the same time, like at Wanker Banker. It doesn’t make sense to me, and I spent most of the day carrying a clipboard making sure rooms were occupied, and I felt like a schoolmarm.

It was a long, busy day. I decided to walk over to Broadway, smoking my after work cigar, my reward and walked down to J&R Music to pick up the new Scissor Sisters CD and also Elton John, ‘The Captain and the Kid’. Despite the so so reviews I was excited when I heard about the sequel to ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’. That album was the shit back then for me and my classmates. I loved that album so. I remember being in the bathtub on a Saturday night, listening to 99X and hearing an early playing of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’. I didn’t know what to think. I must have been just about 13 years old.

My brother Frank was working for a record distributor and I got the record before it hit the stores. I included two booklets and a poster. They really skimp these days on packaging. I loved it from start to finish. I played it nonstop and brought it to school for art class and me and some friends would hush whenever the song ‘Better Off Dead’ came on. It mentioned the word ‘whore’ and we didn’t want the teacher to hear. I wound up getting a new copy because my brother Brian and I were fighting about something stupid no doubt and he shoved the dining room table that I had a portable record player playing the records on and he totally trashed it. Oh that Brian.

Listening to the sequel, I’m not the same, Elton John and Bernie Taupin aren’t the same. Dee Murray and Gus Dudgeon are dead, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone still play with Elton, and I’m sure they’re not the same. It’s a good record, we’ve all moved on and gotten older. It’s Elton, and it sounds like Elton. Good Elton. He did put out some stinkers in the eighties and nineties. There’s always a soft spot in my heart for Elton. I loved him so much in the seventies. I first got into him through my sister Annemarie who liked him a lot. But I had the fever. She took me to see him in August 1976. It was my first concert. In a way he’s responsible for me getting into punk and new wave. Elton’s a big music fan and to this day is known for spending thousands of dollars a week in records stores. Elton had sort of retired from music in 1977, and at the end of the year was given an award for entertainer of the year or something, and he reportedly turned down the award saying that he hadn’t done anything at all that year and the award should go to someone like Elvis Costello, who I was soon to be quite rabid about. Elton has recently championed both Scissor Sisters and Rufus Wainwright. So he still has a golden ear, knowing what is good and classic.

Cheers, Elton and Bernie and company, both here and there.

Homme

Well I was bad, but needed to be bad for my own good. I woke up this morning and decided not to go to work today. Yes, I played hooky once again. I know you shouldn’t, but things had been hairy the past couple of days at McMann and Tate culminating on Friday, and I just couldn’t face it. Don’t get me wrong the work is good, but I needed a break from the high stress and high-strung personalities. I will go back tomorrow, as that was the original plan all along. I was looking forward to it somewhat, but then I had an online chat with Felicia.

Things that should’ve been done by the London office weren’t done which left the office in a tizzy, or at least Felicia and the IT guy. And the coffee machine broke. So it wasn’t going well on that front. I would’ve had to deal with the coffee machine dilemma and I’m sure I would have had no problem. The other aspect was deeper into the organization way behind the scenes and quite beyond my reach. So Felicia had to deal with everything on her own today. I guess I took the right day off. It was bright and sunny after all.

Of course, no one was around to share it with. Bill’s working, Annemarie and company are in California, Julio’s in Europe with Stine, Juan is away at school, Song is on the other side of the world. I kept myself busy some how, cleaned around the apartment a bit, bought cleaning supplies. I know I could’ve done it over the weekend but it was just too gray outside. I spent a lot of time outside, more than I did both Saturday and Sunday. I even tried to fix the computer, once again, I am writing this on Bill’s equipment.

Didn’t work out too well and I shut it down. Perhaps oh perhaps I will get a new one. Then I’ll show them! I watched daytime TV a bit today and it was as bizarre as it ever was. Rosie O’Donnell is on the View now, Ellen DeGeneres is on at a different time. These lesbians on TV, doing their lesbian shtick. Lip Shtick Lesbians! Well they didn’t want to come out on their own, and like what was stated on the brilliant season opener of ‘The Office’, coming out is a very personal process. Check AfterElton on the blogroll the right column.

I also watched Janet Jackson on Oprah. I’m sure she’s talented but does she really sing and dance on stage or is she lip syncing? She has a very soft speaking voice as well. Is it an act? They say her brother Michael sounds very different behind closed doors, and that the soft voice he uses is also an act. She was interesting enough to make me forget that Ellen was on. I like some of Janet Jackson’s songs, I admit it. Haven’t heard much from her lately, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t even notice. Soft words.

You’ve Been Flirting Again

A muggy overcast Sunday, which I’m beginning to experience every weekend. My computer is still down and Bill says he’ll attempt to fix it. Isn’t he great? I’m not pressuring him to do it, he offered, so how could I say no? In the meantime, once again, I’m on the laptop. And once again, I am grateful. I got up at a reasonable hour, Bill was up and about, it being Sunday, he’s going to church again. Being that I don’t believe, I wish him well as I make my Sunday breakfast. No church for me, no thanks. Atheism with a touch of Buddhism is what works best for me.

That was once of the subjects that Bill and I talked about, religion, spirituality and Buddhism. I consider myself somewhat spiritual, spiritual enough that I don’t need to stand up, sit down and occasionally kneel on weekend mornings. I don’t begrudge anyone that wants to do it, but please, don’t ask me. I have gone with Bill when he was steadily going to MCC but though I was welcomed, it wasn’t quite my scene. Plus they didn’t get my sense of humor. A few times which made things awkward and I wound up staying away, not socializing much afterwards.

Bill eventually tired of the inner politics of the church and started drifting away from the flock. I was worried it was because of me, but like I said, the pettiness of some congregants wore him and his spirit down. I found most of the people that went to services there to be nice in general, but Bill knew the inner workings, the deux ex machina and he wasn’t too happy with what he saw or knew.

Right now, Katie Couric is interviewing Condoleeza Rice on Sixty Minutes. They just showed her working out on a treadmill mentioning that she works out listening to Led Zeppelin or Cream. Yikes! Katie Couric sure throws a mean softball.

Today Hoboken had their Autumn Art & Music Festival in Washington Street. The headlining act was the New York Dolls who actually sounded great. Of course you only watch David Johannsen and Sylvain Sylvain, since the other three Dolls from the 1970’s have passed on. They sang their hits, or rather near hits and even sang a Johnny Thunders song, ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’. All very good. Didn’t really see anyone I knew and I didn’t go with anyone, so I wandered around aimlessly, walking the sidewalks since the street was packed despite the threatening clouds.

The Dolls were so much more enjoyable live than they were on their DVD’s that I rented over the summer and tried watching with Juan and both of us ended up bored with the whole thing. I wished Juan was around, or Julio and Stine, or Bill, or Rand and Lisa. Still I enjoyed myself. Got a nice birthday present for Earl that I will be sending over to California this week. The lad turns sixteen which is terrifying to say the least. I wonder how his parents feel?

He Brings Out The Whiskey in Me

On the Mac again. My computer is in the fritz. I was on the phone with an Apple specialist, Matthew from Prince Edward Island up in Canada for almost two hours and he couldn’t help me. He was patient and tried his best but it was to no avail. I decided to reinstall Windows XP and it may have been a mistake as I am now unable to access the internet on my own computer. D’oh indeed. Most annoying. Perhaps it is time to get a new computer, in the meantime, Bill once again gracefully offered the use of his Apples.

Bill is also trying to figure out why I can’t get online using his wireless connection. Apparently it went south while doing the perhaps unrequired install. Oh these fucking iTunes/iPod blues. Why, oh why? In the meantime, Bill sits at my computer and I sit on the couch, laptop in front of me while Elvis Costello and the Attractions play on a Tom Snyder DVD of Punk Rock and New Wave Bands. It’s very interesting, the first episode had Joan Jett, Paul Weller from the Jam, Bill Graham, critic Robert Hillburn, and a freaky looking Kim Fowley trying to be coy. The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder used to be on after Johnny Carson and much too late for my delicate sensibilities.

Since there weren’t any timed recording devices in my life at that moment and these shows were rarely if ever repeated, It’s fun to watch them now with a gap of twenty five years or even 30 years since the original airdate. Everyone looks so much younger, or were even alive then, whereas now they’re dead. Bill is enjoying the DVD as well. I do remember seeing Elvis Costello when it was originally broadcast, fortifying myself probably with Cola, or coffee. I was probably up in my bedroom in Lodi, watching a black and white TV in the dark. It’s interesting to watch it in color.

It’s been a dreary downtown day, perfect for sitting in front of a computer though after a few hours of that walking around in the gray humidity was a welcome relief. Didn’t last too long, it was way too muggy and no one was actually around to do anything with. Even Matthew, the Apple specialist was invited to a barbecue. It was one of the things we talked about as my computer was going through it’s paces.

A Saturday night now, positions reversed with Bill in front of my PC and I’m on the couch with Bill’s laptop. He just told me how he met Reg. E. Cathey on the street. You’d know him if you saw him. He was recently on a repeat of Bill’s favorite show, Law and Order. He’s been on The Wire lately. You should IMDB him, I’m sure you’ve seen him before.

Bill was polite and restrained and told Reg that he looked forward to working with him someday. That would be cool. Who knows? Perhaps someday down the road, Bill will be walking down the street and some young actor will go up to him and tell him pretty much the same thing. After he fixes my wireless connection of course.

Lazy Line Painter Jane

Late night, from the notebook, earlier this evening, 9.22.2006. A whole month since the previous entry. I sit in Union Square on a bench about 30 feet from where Bill is participating in a drummers circle with a shaker. It’s a pretty good crowd and some frantic rhythms going on. It’s similar to the drummers circle in Prospect Park that I used to participate in, but it doesn’t have the same spiritual feel. Maybe because in Brooklyn it’s in a park, surrounded by earth and trees, whereas in Union Square it’s the Asphalt City.

Bill is having a great time, I can see his head bobbing and really getting into the groove. I wish I had my Airwalks on. I’m wearing dress shoes and did a lot of running around at work. Then I walked to Farfetched to kill some time while waiting for Bill. I was hanging out with Jessica who was closing the store. She’s a great kid. Jessica remarked how skinny I had gotten which was nice to hear despite it not being true at all. I feel fat and think I look dumpy. Oh woe is me. I helped Jessica close the store and walked over the John’s Restaurant on east 12th Street, where Bill and I were having dinner.

Met Bill who was a few minutes late which made me a bit cranky as I was also very hungry. We both had pasta and talked while we ate, though I was exhausted from the week and the walk. It was the first time in a few hours that I had been able to sit down and it felt good, almost a little drowsy. I didn’t drink, just water, Bill had his ginger ale. Who would’ve thought years ago my partner would be a teetotaler? We walked over to Union Square afterwards, Bill’s shaker providing percussion for our walk. Quite a heavy talk too. Philip Beansprout type stuff, which was good because since we’ve stopped seeing Philip, we’ve been getting lax in the communication department.

When we got to the drummers circle, Bill joined in and was able to shake off the ghost of the conversation, I watched and moved over here to the bench. It’s getting cooler on the bench, and by cooler I mean, the sun has gone down and it’s getting colder. Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn. Earlier today it was too hot to wear the leather blazer and I wound up sweating a lot, now it’s not enough. Panhandlers ask me for money and all I can say is, ‘Sorry Man’.

There’s a big crowd around the drummer circle, dancers in the middle, solo people and couples all swaying and gyrating hypnotically to Afro Caribbean rhythms. Interesting mixed crowd too, all different colors, and ethnicities and a healthy amount of tourist putting Euro dollars in the tin can that gets passed around between beats and rhythms. That’s another difference between Union Square and Prospect Park. They don’t pass the hat around in Prospect Park and they treat the circle as a deep spiritual ritual and it’s a palpable feeling. Union Square is more haphazard and more fun. A much younger vibe too.

Camille

Still the iTunes, always the iTunes. Still without and of course I’m hearing more and more, ‘hold off on downloading iTunes version 7 until they work the bugs out’. No one told me this of course, and I bought into Harpy’s mania about it. Harpy for once is innocent, he was just so enthused and that’s ok.

Missed last night’s showing of American Masters about Andy Warhol, Bill and I watched the documentary on the 9/11 Commission instead. I had forgotten all about Andy. It’s cool though, since Bill had a DVR installed in the cable box I’ll be able to watch it on Sunday as well as record it so I can watch it any old time. Very Pop.

My life seemingly intersected with Warhol a few times. Andy had some books published by the book company I eventually worked for, and my mother worked there before and after I did. I remember my mother coming home from work and talking about the fruitcake who came in from New York City to autograph hundreds of books. I was intrigued enough to find out who he was. Andy Warhol was in a warehouse in Saddle Brook NJ signing copies of ‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol’. Mom didn’t bring a copy home.

A few years later he came out with ‘Popism: The Warhol Sixties’ a real fun book. My mom brought a copy home, and I devoured it. I really identified with the speed freaks and Andy running around Manhattan in the sixties doing some wild stuff. I didn’t exactly jump on a bus and look for Andy, I just went about my business, but a seed was planted. Years later when I myself was working at the book company, my job was to drive twice a day into the city, a few doors down from where Warhol’s Factory originally was. It was a thrill for me. Though a lot of years had passed since the Factory existed, still it was electric for me to be there.

The book company moved it’s offices from midtown to right off Union Square and I started making deliveries right around the corner from Andy’s new workspace. Once again tres` cool. I wasn’t stalking Andy, fate was putting me a few miles and years at first, then a few feet and days away from him. Never went to his space, though I knew where it was. I did see Andy Warhol Enterprises on the building index. I left the book company job and a few years later wound up working at 2 Park Avenue, once again, right around the block from Andy’s space. He had moved to 33rd and Madison and I was at 33rd and Park.

A really fantastic space, a former Con Ed utility plant, the entrances were on 32nd Street, Madison Avenue and 33rd Street. Once again, I never stopped by, and I never saw him on the street, and once again it was electric to be so close, and in the right time too.

I finally met Andy when he was signing copies of his latest book, ‘America’ at B.Dalton in the Village. It was packed and crowded and he signed a copy of my books. I got one for myself and my friend Martha.

A week or so later he was signing books again at Rizzoli in Soho. Martha came with me this time and I decided to do what I saw tons of people doing at B.Dalton. I brought post cards, newspaper clippings, Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes. Martha and I went to the second floor and there wasn’t a soul around. Not at all like B.Dalton. There was Andy, sitting all by himself under a hooded windbreaker at a card table. No one around, no books. They had sold out. Still he signed everything I had asked him to while I gushed telling him how much I loved him and his art. He was kind and I never asked why he was sitting there hooded. He did volunteer that they sold out all his books, and still he sat there.

Martha and I left and I read a few days later someone had stolen his wig right off his head, threw it to a waiting accomplice downstairs who then ran out of the store. He was angry but sat there for the time he was supposed to. I gave a few friends the Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes to various friends that Christmas. It came in handy as I was skint at the time and these friends would greatly appreciate it.

Never met Andy Warhol after that. He died due to negligence of the hospital after gall bladder surgery. The Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes had gone up in value and my friends could’ve cashed in but didn’t. A soup can like the one that I bought for 39 cents was being offered for $500.00 in the Village Voice. Whether or not people got that amount I don’t know. I do know that I sometimes sit in my friends apartments and look at their bookcases with occasional envy.

Jackson

Wednesday. Just another in a series of hump days. No luxury yachts in my day today. Mercury must be in retrograde. It’s the only explanation I could think of. Communication is spotty at work and in general. Of course this causes glitches and problems and not easy to get around. It’s been like this all week. The flowers that Bill sent me for my birthday last week are still in full bloom which is impressive. He stopped by the office last week and noticed how white everything is and decided to send me a splash of color. I love the fact that they’ve lasted so long.

Felicia was out at a seminar all day. The seminar was on a boat cruising the Hudson River and she kept texting me about her disappointment at the fact that there was no booze on the cruise. I was fairly busy and good old Amiable Alan offered to get me some lunch. Awfully nice. I was able to sit down and eat for a while, not too many interruptions. It is always a bit more relaxed when she’s not around. Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day, in fact the next five days are going to be busy, so I am glad she’ll be around. I expect that she will be.

Julio flies off to Copenhagen to meet his Missus tomorrow and he’s coming up for a Stella in a few minutes. A late start on tonight’s blog, due to the fact that I finally watched a documentary on the 9/11 Commission and how things aren’t being taken seriously. A lot of the suggestions raised by the Commission haven’t been fulfilled. It does point a finger at both the Clinton and Bush administrations, and suggests to the viewer that they should get involved and contact their Representatives to implore them to take action on the suggestions.

Julio is also going to Spain while in Europe. I should get over there one of these days. The old joke that I would make when people would ask me if I had ever gone abroad, I would mention that if I left the country they might not let me back in. Well that joke is getting tired so I should go somewhere. England or Ireland would be nice since I sort of speak the language. Paris would be nice. From what I understand they are nice if they know you’re from New York.

I need to get into work earlier than usual since there’s a breakfast meeting. I wisely set things up before I left work and put a note on the set up so that the night time cleaning crew won’t touch it. I did almost the same thing a few weeks ago but forgot the note and when I came in the next day, oh boy was I pissed. I think I should have had it written in Russian because I think that’s their native tongue. It would’ve been easy since there is a Russian girl in the office.

Oh and Juan is only 60 or so miles away. Song who is also computer savvy lives thousands away. I thank both of them for whatever input they might have.

That’s it. I’m tired. Peace out.

I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Presently I am sitting in front of my computer writing this, duh, frustrated by my iTunes woes. Harpy called me up on Saturday and told me about how great iTunes version 7 was. So I decided to download it and it all went to shit. Downloaded files from Juan my wizard, and it worked then I went from my F drive to my C drive and it’s gone. I really don’t know what the fuck is going on. I did do a google search this afternoon about problems with iTunes version 7 and there were 12 million or so listings. So maybe I’m not alone. The word is, Apple released it too soon and there are plenty of bugs in it. I oughta know.

Nice website for Patti Smith on her SonyBMG website. Nice poem/essay about her mother. Very touching. She’s such a good person. I worked with her years ago, when she was recording for Arista records. I had to deliver her per diems for her band and they were always happy to see me. I helped Jay Dee Daugherty, her drummer win a lawsuit against a cargo company a few years before my working at Arista. I made the paperwork available for him. The cargo company didn’t think he’d have access to the bill of lading, but I made it available. He was grateful and put me on the list for an upcoming show back then.

Still searching on my computer for that elusive iTunes file that Juan sent. I had it, then lost it, and can’t find it anywhere. I really don’t know what to do. This is showing how incompetent I am when dealing with computers. I admit it. For some reason people think I know things about the computer, but what I know is mainly intuitive. I know the basics and I am fortunate to have people like Juan and Rand around that do know. But Juan is hundreds of miles away and Rand is Rand. Incommunicado. Don’t want to only call him when I have problems with the computer.

The Mac overture plays in the back of my head, though not on iTunes. I really haven’t ever paid for a computer, maybe it’s time I should. But then again, I have no money to buy a new computer. C’est la vie. The computer works anyway and I’m being an idiot thinking about getting a new computer because I can’t get iTunes anymore. Can I get any more daft? I’m sure I can, but now is not the time nor place. This does look like a job for Rand though. I need to have the administrator’s permission and I thought I was the administrator. He installed it so maybe he knows the secret pass code. Maybe he could save my iTunes.

Fucking Apple. Get me hooked on a product then it all goes haywire. It’s like a drug I tell ya, a drug. Not that I would know anything about that. Not me. I know as much about drugs as I know about computers. Now, where’s that jazz cigarette?

Cheated Hearts

Back to work today. Weekend over. Slept ok. I think Bill went to sleep at 1:30 or so because that’s when I woke up and had difficulty going back to sleep. No need to take a Tylenol PM no mater what Lily Taylor says on the commercial. I did fall back to sleep soon enough and I am happy to report that I didn’t have any dreams involving me falling so there was no thrashing about and no hitting Bill in the middle of the night, much to his relief and mine. In a totally unrelated note I am trying for the umpteenth time to download the latest version of iTunes. It ain’t going well.

It was a Monday at work of course and it was quite busy. One of my assorted tasks is to book conference rooms, and today it was a free for all, not my doing. Just that people would book rooms then cancel without telling me and then the room would be vacant and if it was supposed to go to people at the time allotted and people were still in there the people who booked the room would take another room and if that was booked already….

It went on like this most of the afternoon. I told whoever wanted a room to go ahead and take it since we seem to be using squatter’s rights. That will change tomorrow, mark my words. Mark them!

The plan for an office party has been set forth and the party is planned for next Thursday, not the upcoming Thursday. I’m bringing Bill who will see the various personalities I work with. Of course they’ll be on their best behavior and not being the people they truly are in the office. It should be interesting, and having seen the menu I’m planning on grabbing a snack beforehand. Not a fan of seafood and shrimp cocktails, and I’m not a fan of cheese (unless on pizza). I’m sure they have Guinness though. Relatively sure, at least.

At the Save Darfur rally yesterday Bill and I walked through the crowd under a blue sky and lot’s of sun. Various speakers like Mira Sorvino spoke, and musicians like Suzanne Vega who sang some of her hits along with some new songs. She also sang ‘Luka’ and ‘Tom’s Diner’. She sand the latter accapella just like she originally did, the audience clapped along and Bill and I sand the dut dut doo doo parts on the chorus. That song is close to 16 years old. I was going out with Gus Mackenzie at the time. Crikey!

Seems like long ago. I ran into Damian, an old friend of Julio’s whom I see more often than Julio does. Damian’s a great guy, quite a handsome dude. He worked at McSwells occasionally and Julio busted me on the fact that I had the hots for Damian back then when he’d be wearing bike shorts that looked like he was squeezing 5 ponds in a two pound crotch. Ay caramba! Left nothing to the imagination. All the gay birds at McSwells were always so a twitter when he dressed like that. I was cool though.

Hoover Factory

Spent last night with Bill, Julio and Juan last night watching ‘Walk The Line’ the Johnny Cash biographical movie with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Very good, they both sang. She deserved her Academy Award for her role as June Carter Cash. Joaquin was very good, but she brought such a light to his gloomy story. Probably a lot like his life, downward spiral, going nowhere, addiction to pills, then she shows up and doesn’t instantly reform, but gradually over a couple of years. It’s recommended, not a bad flick, and Joaquin’s voice is a very close approximation of the Man in Black.

I didn’t sleep too well stemming from the toe incident and at some point while sleeping a woke up flailing my arms because I dreamt I was falling, unfortunately I was hitting Bill with my arms. Strangeness. I swear it was from the falling dream which could be related to the World Trade Center footage I watched on Monday. Tends to haunt my dreams sometimes after I’ve seen the images. Still horrific, and it doesn’t get better with time. I apologized right then and there, to Bill and a few times after that before he went off to church.

It was another gorgeous day today. I walked out and got the papers and some bagels, said namaste to the Indian guy behind the counter. He gets a kick from me, big goofy white guy greeting him in Hindi. The way to say good bye is Au jus, or oh Jew, or something like that, as I’m frequently corrected and never seem to grasp the proper pronunciation and it makes them giggle. Bill got me started on the namaste business so blame him. I do enjoy saying hello and goodbye in various languages. It gives me the opportunity to make people laugh.

Bill and I met up in the city and he joined me in going to the rally to Save Darfur. There were rallies all over the world and we went to the rally in Central Park. It was great Bill joined me, even though it only a few blocks from where he went to church this morning. So after he met me in midtown we got off the train where he was just at an hour or so previously.

A laugh was not on the menu when I got a phone call from my dear sweet chocolate sister in Washington DC, Billie. He called and apologized for not calling me on my birthday, which I easily forgave him since I had just spoken to him a week or so before. But no, life had dealt his family a bad hand and Billie was calling with the news that his sister was murdered by her boyfriend last weekend. Terrible news indeed. I never met her, but she was living with a brute in the 2nd house that Billie owned next door to his first house. Billie had the brute thrown out and she followed wherever the brute went. Sadly, it lead to her demise.

Sitting Round at Home

Well the day started out ok. Slept in after going to sleep around 1:00, watched some Conan O’Brien. Nice night of sleep, Bill all cuddly. Still not used to the big bed, but I suppose I’ll have to. The old bed is either at some landfill or being cleaned somehow for resale at a Salvation Army or Goodwill maybe. Finally a beautiful day. I walked around Hoboken doing errands, basking in the sun. A perfect day, which would’ve been perfect for the beach, but Julio is going to Copenhagen on Thursday and had quite a few things to do beforehand.

I did laundry, went to the Dry Cleaners, went food shopping, sat on the stoop reading and smoking a cigar and napped at various points throughout the early part of the day, not in the order listed. I toyed with the idea of going for a bike ride, the usual 30-40 miles trek, but couldn’t get motivated enough. Julio called, one of the things he was doing was cleaning out a basement in West New York. I helped him move some heavy garbage bags and debris. Between runs from West New York/North Bergen to Hoboken we ran up to Edgewater where he drove to Target and I was able to buy some nice shirts for $5.99 as well as some new boxer briefs. Woo hoo.

I do love Target. One of my favorite stores. My brother sent me a link about how a group of people walked into a Home Depot in Manhattan and started walking very slowly and at one point the group stood still for a few minutes. Synchronized stillness. Cut and Paste:
http://www.improveverywhere.com/mission_view.php?mission_id=59 . Very interesting but if you search the website there’s a piece about an earlier action at Best Buy that doesn’t have the video that the Home Depot one has but is quite vivid in the description of what happened. I could easily join this group at a future action if I have the time, and I could easily see the same type for action happening when I go to a big chain store. If you read the article you’ll understand.

Juan is up today, going back to school tomorrow. Hanging out in an uncomfortable atmosphere that was created mere minutes before his arrival. I accidentally stepped on Bill’s toe, so accidental that I didn’t even know I did while negotiating the space between him, his laptop on a folding table and the wall. True he moved a bit but still it was awkward and resulted in my stepping on his toe. Not that he said that I stepped on his toe, no ‘Hey! Watch it!’, no ‘OUCH!’. So I didn’t know. Somehow though it came up and I said I didn’t, he said I did and it went on, becoming quite absurd and Bill exclaiming that I stepped on his toe.

I needed to state that I was joking which did a little bit of good but there is a tension in the air. Both Julio and Juan are here and the tension has dissipated somewhat, perhaps lingering only in my mind.

Under the House

Oh it was raining again today and muggier than yesterday. Had the bed to myself and slept ok, woke up to some crazy music that I can’t describe, some fucked up avant jazz stuff. Paddled around the apartment and did my routines, and then it was out the door and into the rain. I wore a suit today because we had a potential client in today. No one asked me to, I wanted to, but with the humidity, by the time I got to the Path train I was wearing a see through French cuff shirt. Embarrassing, yet sexy to some.

Ninth Street was a pain in the ass, just a slow moving crowd of people trying to delay walking out into the rain. Why do people decide the best place to have a conversation is at the top of a busy stairwell? Where is Miss Manners when you need her? Got my bagel and walked in the rain, down Sixth Avenue to the office. I had made preparations for our client to glide on in and the lobby personnel were anxious to find out when this client was coming in. I told them that the client would be in around noon.

Got to the office and found the stashed t-shirt which is seemingly a better idea each time I come to work dressing like a cheap whore, all sweaty and I’m not cheap. I set about setting up the office after I changed shirts. Made a mental note to even keep a dress shirt in the office should something happen to the one I’m wearing. It’s not like when I worked at Wanker Banker and had Sym’s around the corner and could run in and buy whatever I might need. No, I’m miles away from any good affordable men’s wear store. Need to bring in an extra shirt next week.

It was busier than the previous weeks since summer for businesses is officially over. The food I had ordered came in earlier than expected and though it caused some stress, I was able to start setting the lunch up. Around noon I went outside and waited for the client to escort them through security. He was late but it was ok. I hung out and talked to various smoking coworkers underneath the awnings that run along the building façade. About 30 minutes later, a town car pulls up and out pops, Robert Redford. Yes, the Robert Redford.
He looked good, obviously did not have work done. He does look 69. I breezed him through security and we rode the elevator with a few people that had no idea who he was.

He asked me where I was from and I said New Jersey, I’m a Jersey boy. He mentioned he was out at NBC in Secaucus and I told him that NBC has offices out there in the middle of the swamps. I also mentioned to him that I watch the Sundance channel and really enjoy it, especially the Documentary Mondays. He smiled and was happy to hear that since that was his personal idea. The office was atwitter when he arrived. I gave him a brief tour of the office and he thanked me, telling me it was nice to meet me. I said the same.

I had to run out and get my lunch and I forgot all about a phone interview that was set up for me. I didn’t want to take the call but since it was set up I felt obligated. I was standing out in the drizzle talking to whatever her name was, walking her through my resume. I’m sure I sounded cranky, as I was going to get my lunch. I answered her questions and tried to explain things on my cell, and I’m happy to say it wasn’t a good interview. I’m basically settled at McMann and Tate and don’t need another upheaval for the second time in a year. I did even mention that I was working with Robert Redford and whatshername seemed impressed. Bob (that’s what I called him) left about an hour or so after I got back. The meeting seemed to go well. I was happy and was thanked and told that Bob was impressed with the fact that I watched the documentaries on Sundance.

The afternoon flew by, and I had to go to ‘see’ Philip afterwork. They don’t know so don’t tell them, ok?

Crumb by Crumb

Today was an average day, only with nonstop rain. It was a drag to wake up to, to brush your teeth to, to eat a bowl of raisin bran to. But I soldiered on, carried a ton of newspapers downstairs that need recycling. Such drama. It was cold enough to warrant wearing the leather blazer, but warm enough to make me drenched by the time I got to the Path train. Humid and wet and sixty degrees. I mean really, WTF? I was wet and sweaty by the time I got on the Path train and of course it was crowded and more humid in there.

Got off the train at Ninth Street, got a bagel at that bagel joint. I’ve been tired of looking at Plantain Man so I’ve been avoiding the banana scene. I know I could bananas just about anywhere, but seeing Plantain Man’s morning wood was enticing, but you get tired of it after a while. He talks the talk, but no walking of the walk. At least not anymore. I got to the office even wetter and sweatier than I was when I got on the Path train. Luckily I have an extra t-shirt stashed, and surprising to me, a Bill and Ted moment. At some point in the past I had the foresight to pack an extra pair of socks in my bag. They came in handy since one of my feet was soaked.

The usual asylum patients wandered in and I set about doing my chicken dance after changing my t-shirt. It was busy and there was a consultancy going on tonight that I was able to get William and Charlie Charas in on. Next time, I should get Harpy. They could all use the dough I’m sure. I could use it too, but being behind the scenes I’m not allowed to participate I think. No big deal, I was able to leave work at 6:30, a little later than usual and strolled down to the Path train, smoking one of my birthday cigars. It wasn’t raining finally though the skies were talking the talk. It was quite humid out though and once again I was drenched. The cigar was good though, perhaps the humidity had a part in that.

Once again the train was mad packed. It’s usually a short hop back to Hoboken, but it seems to take forever when sweat is dripping off your glasses, your earlobes and down your neck. No fun and crowded. I was playing the Neville Brothers ‘Yellow Moon’. A perennial favorite, been almost twenty years since I saw them opening up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers at the pier by the USS Intrepid. Great songs, atmospheric production. Eno’s on it too. Got back to Hoboken, walked up Washington Street, bought some soda and a lottery ticket. It’s up to 165 million. How could I lose? I’d include you in a cut, not a problem. You know who you are with all the comments.

Rave On

Last night was a lovely romantic evening, just me and Bill and some steaks and some pints. We came home, and watched TV, going to bed after the Daily Show and falling asleep in each others arms. He’s good for me and I’m good for him and that’s that. It’s definitely 180 degrees from where we were this time last year. No more tears, no me llores. No me llores mas.

Just off the phone with Christina, my former coworker at Wanker Banker. She’s at wit’s end and I was the ear she poured her gripes into. Apparently they’re putting the screws to her and using almost the exact same screws that they used on me. She’s up against the wall, and they’re using the old, ‘Three people have complained about you’. They tried that line on me but instead of coworkers, they said I insulted clients, which was not true at all. And I called them on it and they backed down. Christina doesn’t have the balls, but she is a Puerto Rican from the Bronx.

Jamie who plays both sides of the fence while being caught in the middle is breathing down Christina’s neck. And she has to work alongside the dipshit from the 31st floor. The dipshit who called me up one day and told be I had a package from Office De-Pot. Not Depot, but actually said de-pot, as in ‘de pot calling de kettle black’. And she receives praise and admiration while Christina toils and gets written up for invisible infractions. To be fair, I did warn Christina before I left that they were going after me and I did a great job, and she had better be prepared and step up or else they’ll be after her. Well she stepped up and still the knives are out. She’d quit but she has a ten year old she has to support.

Meanwhile, back in Soho everything is copasetic. A nice day, everyone wanted to know what I did last night for my birthday and I told them most everything that I wrote in the first paragraph. Most everything. It was a busy yet quiet day. I’d like to think I’m getting a handle on the various personalities that I work with, but feel a bit apprehensive, lest I jinx the situation. Some things are better left unsaid, or in this case, unwritten. There’s a panel discussion tomorrow and I was able to get Charlie and William Charas in on it.

Charlie is going to Greece this weekend and William is, well, William. Self employed, an extra hundred dollars can’t hurt. After living in Weehawken with William for eleven years, there are no hard feelings. I’m glad I was able to hook them both up with the panel discussion. I, of course can’t take part in the discussion so no hundred bucks for me. Plus I like to leave at six, and the discussion is going to eight which would mean being at work for twelve hours and I simply don’t want to do that.

Honey Pie

The day after and my birthday. Last night’s ramble was over 2,300 so technically I can take the next couple of days off, but I wouldn’t want to leave you hanging. That’s just not my style. As I was writing last night a documentary on 9/11 was on. I kept noticing throughout the day when I looked at my phone or the date and saw September 11 I had a chill run down my spine. I don’t recall that happening in the years between yesterday and 2001, I chalk it up to hype and the fact that five years is a landmark of sorts.

It was a relatively sober day yesterday in most every sense of the word. Just a puffy puff on a jazzie as I wrote, nothing dangerous to take the edge off and there was an edge. Bill came home and we chilled out watching the Daily Show which was of course, very funny, even with the date being what it was. Bill gave me a gift that he had wrapped at Farfetched by my dear friends Susan and Lois. I guess it was because it was for me but they actually wrapped the box that wasn’t bought at the store which is taboo. They simply don’t do that.

I got a new cellphone which is ultra Fab. Love it and still trying to get used to it. Apparently when you open it, it answers the call, whereas I just had to reject it by hitting a button. I’m sure there is a way around it but it’s probably in the manual and I haven’t gotten that far into it though. Phone calls and emails abounded today and I’m also happy to report that Juan is on the mend which is a nice birthday present in itself. He, being a younger me would make the real me a tad unwell.

Work was very nice today, everyone wishing me a happy birthday. I set out a box of dark chocolate kisses, like back in school days when it was your birthday you usually brought in candy or cupcakes to share with the entire class. Bill had a very nice, very sweet flower arrangement sent to the office for my birthday. He stopped by yesterday for less than a minute and was struck by how white the office was and wanted to send me some color. Felicia got me some cigars Padrons and La Gloria Cubanas and also took me out to lunch at a café on Hudson Street. She’s an interesting one. She tends to psychoanalyze everything and feels she has a bead on most everyone in the office, and she probably does. She even mentioned Amiable Alan and how nervous he seems when she talks to him.

I couldn’t tell her the truth but did tell her she can be intimidating, which can mean, she’s fucking nuts sometimes. She reminds me a lot of Susan Sher, a funny little Hitler. Over four Stella Artois’ and a turkey sandwich, while Felicia had 4 glasses of wine and a bucket of mussels. We both had pomme frites, as it was Belgian café. Then we walked back to the office and she ordered me that when I should go back to the office to log off the computer and go home. I couldn’t help but obey.

Now Bill and I are going out for dinner, to Arthur’s. We just got back. A nice dinner on the street, not many people out, too cool for most, but not for mammals like Bill and myself. Steaks, potatoes, and Guinness makes for a good menu. After a good dinner we strolled up Washington Street and I smoked a Padron. Good night for it. Outside our building was Mr. Softee and Bill bought me an ice cream cone and one for himself and we sat on the stairs, talking. A wonderful evening indeed.

Memories Can’t Wait

It’s a cliché but five years ago today was a beautiful day. I was living in Weehawken with William and my usual routine was to hop on a bus, go through that tunnel and walk only a few blocks to work. I wore a charcoal gray Bill Blass pinstriped suit, nice black silk tie, white crisp and starched French cuff shirt, braces, tnt otc socks and some new shoes that weren’t quite as broken in as I would’ve liked. I didn’t care much about the new shoes, I was working behind a desk and wasn’t going to be doing much walking as I was working in a small office.

I was sitting at my desk, waiting for Gerri to come in after dropping off her kid at school. I was friendly with the FedEx guy who asked me if I heard anything about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. My first reaction to that was, ‘Get the fuck out of here’. He said to go check and I got up from my desk and walked around the corner and looked out the window. My initial thought before I looked out the window was a Cessna or a Piper Cub had struck the tower, then I saw a giant bite taken out of the north tower, as if Godzilla had eaten. I figured it had to have been an accident. Something obviously went wrong.

I walked back to my desk thinking that it couldn’t be that bad, it was early, maybe a lot of people weren’t in yet. I also remembered walking my bicycle with a flat tire through the World Trade Center plaza a week before, looking to get a subway uptown so I could meet Claire and Julio who continued on their bikes to Central Park. It was a Sunday and it wasn’t that crowded. A few weeks before I had a job interview across the street at Deutche Bank that I didn’t get due to my lack of a driver’s license (I was being looked at as a driver for a big wig in the bank) and my preference for Jazz cigarettes.

Here it was, weeks later and a plane had just hit the North Tower. I didn’t have a radio or any speakers on my computer and there was no television in the office so no one really knew what was going on. I sat at my desk and tried to do something, anything. Minutes later, high pitched screams from where I was just looking out the window send me running in that direction, just in time to see a large fireball spreading around both towers. A second plane just hit the South Tower.

I stood there thinking that I had to get up and go to work, I was sleeping late and this has to be a really terrible nightmare. I just stood there. There was no waking up, I was awake and watching this disaster happen a few blocks north of the Empire State Building, a few hundred feet east of the Public Library and a block or two south of Grand Central Station. Three possible targets in midtown Manhattan. If there were more targets on the agenda, I was in the middle of three of them.

Gerri showed up and didn’t know what was going on, she had been on the subway, even more detached from any information. My coworkers and myself quickly filled her in and I kept telling her to get her kid from school and go home. She didn’t know how serious things were getting and stayed in the office. We all just stood there, me and Gerri and about twenty other employees. One of them, Chris Caproni had a brother in one of the towers and was understandably worried. We stood and watched.

No one knew what was going on, even after someone found a radio. I called my sister in California (it was around 6AM PST) and my brothers in New Jersey and told them, leaving messages on their answering machines what was going on and though I didn’t know if I was going to get out of Manhattan alive that I loved them all so very much. I also left a message for Bill on his voice mail pleading with him to get in touch with me. Bill was starting work for a new bus company that week and there was a chance that he might’ve been driving down by the World Trade Center for the morning rush hour.

Time froze on the twentieth floor as we stood there watching at the tragedy unfolding listening to reports of planes attacking Washington DC, strafing the Washington Mall, blowing up the White House. Though I didn’t care for the residents of the White House I didn’t want to see anyone harmed. The one true fact that came out of the Washington DC tragedy was that the Pentagon was hit by another plane. More people killed or injured. No one knew what was next. No one could conceive of it.

Everyone started to scream as the South Tower shook a bit, and we could see it shake from a distance of two miles, thankfully not able to see the many souls who jumped out of the building to certain death to escape the hell of smoke and fire and rising temperatures. In a second, the South Tower started to pancake and fall floor by floor into a gigantic cloud of dust and fire. I don’t recall anyone screaming though someone must have been. I was not there I was out of my body, detached watching this happen.

The South Tower soon was gone, leaving its twin nothing but rising smoke, dust and fire. No one knew what to do, no one could do anything. We stood and watched. I went back to my desk and had a cigarette. Tobacco. It was totally against the law, against office etiquette, but the world was falling down around us. I went back to the window and minutes later the North Tower fell. I was gutted. Everyone speechless. Chris Caproni was stunned. He might have just watched his brother die a few miles away from him and there was not one thing he could do about it. Richard Caproni died that day.

We had heard about the plane crash in Pennsylvania and no one knew anything about that. What was in Shanksville? The story of Mark Bingham, Todd Beamer and the rest had yet to be revealed. No one knew anything about what was happening at that moment. Gerri and I left the office together and took the elevator down to the lobby. The 39th street entrance to the building was filled with people running towards the 40th street entrance, saying something about a bomb.

We go out to 40th street directly under a glass façade and find a panicked mob headed in our direction, away from the Library. It turns out the fighter jets had arrived and created a sonic boom which was terrifying to hear and causing a stampede. I grab Gerri and we press against the building backs against the wall, when I look up and see that we’re underneath a lot of glass and could wind up getting sliced up should they crack and fall. We went back into the office and told who ever was still there what it looked like on the street.

After awhile we all left the office, to figure out how to get home. I stopped off at an ATM and took out around $300.00 thinking that if this is life during wartime then it might be good to have cash on hand just in case. I called up Rita to see if she was ok and if it would be alright if I stopped by. I was walking across town off the main thoroughfares to Rita’s apartment when I found myself under the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Another landmark, another target. I hightailed it out of there and on Ninth Avenue I started to see a few people covered in dust, having fled the World Trade Center area.

I walked past Rita’s building on 12th Avenue and walked across the highway and saw the line stretched out about a half a mile and about 10 people deep, all trying to get out of the city via the ferry. All lined up in the beaming hot sun, and me, being in dark clothes decided to go to Rita’s and wait it out for a while. I got to her apartment and hugged and cried some, and sat and watched TV hearing and seeing what I had only heard about or didn’t even think of. Stories of people in wheelchairs being left behind to wait for help that might not have arrived and if it did, they might not have made it out. A story about a woman waiting for a bus on the street when she was destroyed by a shower of burning jet fuel. Stories about trying help someone and running with them to escape the debris hand in hand and suddenly finding that all they are holding is someone’s now disembodied hand.

I was plugged in and started hearing what the rest of the country had been hearing. I couldn’t believe it at all. Finally, I heard from Bill. He wasn’t near the towers, he was driving somewhere else but saw it all happen as well. He made it back into the city and over to Rita’s apartment. He needed a moment to compose himself in private so I checked in on him after a minute to find him totally at a loss for words, incomprehensible with emotion. I hugged him and kissed him and let him know I was glad he was alive and with me.

After a few hours, Rita actually had to work. There was probably going to be a demand for cosmetics with all these people unable to get home, she was pissed but she had to go. We hung out with her boyfriend Jerry and her brother Ron. Julio called me on the cellphone and couldn’t understand why I was still in the city. He sounded worried as he screamed at me to get out. There was still a long line of people and I was in good company. I assured him that I’d be back in New Jersey soon enough.

On the roof deck of Rita’s building, Jerry, Bill and I stood looking at the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center when we saw 7 World Trade Center collapse. We were all to numb from the previous events to really say anything about it. We figured that most of the people hopefully were evacuated from there, after all it had been hours since the initial attack and final collapse of the Twin Towers.

I remember leaving Rita’s when the sun had gone down and it was still quite warm. Bill walked me over to the ferry. The hundreds, or thousands had long since sailed back to New Jersey. Bill and I kissed and he went back to Stuyvesant Town and I sailed across the river to home. On the ferry there was a group of guys talking shit about who they thought did it, the Arabs. I felt empowered enough to say that no one knew anything and after the Oklahoma City attacks a few years before, everyone thought it was because of the Arabs when it actually turned out to be homegrown. It shut them up, but then again it seems they were right. I went home and talked to my roommate William about what had happened and he related his own story. We stayed up talking to each other, and I talked a lot on the phone with my sister and brothers. The president made a speech from some undisclosed location and I actually believed him. For that moment in time I was plugged in with most everyone else, all feeling the same pain and anguish and hurt and confusion. I wanted something to be done and hoped the president was up for the task. Well we all know how that turned out.

But for those few days, people were actually kind to each other, faces that you saw almost everyday but never spoke to became approachable and talkative. People were nice to each other and looked out for each other. I remember a few days later when it was deemed safe enough to go back to work, there was a tremendous rainstorm. Really coming down hard. I was soaked and felt the best thing I could do was go to Modell’s and find some cheap boots and a dry shirt. As I was leaving, wearing my purchases I saw this guy attempt a rather large leap over a gigantic puddle. He made it but took a spill when he hit the sidewalk.

I asked him if he was ok and he gave me the weirdest look as he got up off the sidewalk. A look that said, ‘This is New York. We don’t talk or help each other here…’ but then a look of appreciation came over his face and he said, “Yeah, I’m alright”. That is one of the positive things that happened in the face of such negativity. I truly miss that.

Last night Bill and I watched ‘9/11’ on CBS. We have the DVD but we got sucked into it and were spellbound, like a gruesome car crash. There was an addendum added that’s not on the DVD and one of the Firemen is saying, ‘When I hear a low flying plane, it’s 9/11 all over again. When I hear sirens, it’s 9/11. When there’s a clear blue sky, it’s 9/11. It’s always in my mind’. I can relate to that.

It was such a beautiful day.

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Sunday morning, I look out the window and watch a cat stuck on the roof a few doors down from me. How it got up there, I don’t know but it’s been trying to figure out a way down. He’s a black cat, looks like Zed. I took a few pictures, went out for bagels and papers came back and the cat was still there. Made some breakfast, and when I was done with the dishes I looked out the window and the cat was nowhere to be seen. I guess the cat figured it’s way down somehow. Don’t see or hear it anywhere.

Now on the phone with Julio who’s telling me about driving his mother to the airport for her visit to Spain. Apparently it all went well. He was understandably nervous, his mother being 78 years old and traveling alone. She made it to Madrid and despite her wanting to make it to the city itself, was met by Julio’s cousin. So she’s settled after a six and a half hour flight. No beach today, no bike ride planned with anyone. A little wake and bake entices me.

Bill came home around 11PM last night. I find myself wondering why didn’t I go anywhere at all? Why did I wait for Bill? Why did I wait for Julio? Neither was around. I should’ve gone somewhere, done something, but I sat around and waited for nothing at all. I should’ve gone to visit Juan and hold his hand while he went to the hospital, but then again I didn’t know he was in the hospital until later last night. He’s been in some pain and had to have it checked out and since it’s his problem and not mine I won’t mention what it might be, I’ll let him describe it at his own bat time on his own bat channel.

An early start for today’s blog, writing before noon, writing before 10:00AM. Previous years with my birthday being so close, this would’ve been my birthday weekend, a few days of debauchery and revelry. Not this year. It could be true that with each passing year the birthday thing becomes more and more tiresome for some. Never used to be that way for me, but then again since the awful events of five years ago my birthday has never been the same. A pall hangs over the day before with a hangover of mourning overshadowing my birthday the next day. I suppose that’s how it going to be. Walking around Hoboken yesterday I heard two different people talking about their respective birthday parties that they were planning for last night. Some girl telling her friend over and over on her cellphone that the friend should be ready to drink and that the party was going to be off the hook.

Bill did mention that he wanted to go to the Italian feast for the Madonna del Martiri. I thought he meant last night so I just sat around watching television, watching a documentary on Jackie Curtis called ‘Superstar in a Housedress’. Jackie Curtis was a playwright and a Warhol Superstar among other things. It was very good and sad to read that Jackie Curtis died at 38 of an overdose, joining Candy Darling and leaving Holly Woodlawn to figure it all out here on planet Earth. Turns out Bill figured that we could go to the feast tonight on it’s last night.

I threw in the DVD of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ a silly little movie from 1978 about a group of teenagers trying to meet the Beatles and see them on the Ed Sullivan Show. I’d seen it before, it’s one of those silly movies that I rented thinking that Bill would enjoy it. He enjoyed and afterwards I went to bed, waking up to watch a cat wander around a rooftop trying to figure out how to get down. I myself, wander around my apartment, around Hoboken trying to figure out, how to get down.

Well I figured it out and it wasn’t really worthwhile to get down since there was no one to get down with. Just got back from walking around outside, the sky is turning gray, very breezy on Pier A where I sat and read the New Yorker. I was there for an hour or so, no phone calls, no one I knew. Very much a dismal day. Nothing to do. Forget about bike riding since it looks a bit like rain, and the Path station at the World Trade Center which would’ve been my bike ride back to New Jersey is closed for most of the afternoon due to the Chimp in Charge making a speech at Ground Zero.

Just a lonely Sunday in Hoboken.

Here’s some pics.

Goodnight Vienna

Saturday, slept in. Bill went out and got the papers and bagels as I slept, giving me a kiss before he headed to the city for his class. I didn’t get out of bed until around 9:00. Took a shower and made a weekend breakfast, reading the papers and eating a bagel. An easy lazy morning, watched the morning news and checked for email. Not much to report, no financial requests from Nigeria. A beautiful day beckoned outdoors. The phone rang, or rather vibrated and it was El Rey who was climbing the walls upstate and wanted to come down to the city.

Sounded like a good plan. I was in the idle of a lot of laundry. I found a lot of clothes when I cleaned the bedroom last weekend and some of it was clean, but dusty so I washed it. Three loads, clothes and sheets hanging on racks and chairs in the kitchen. Walking around negotiating wet clothes drying off. My sister called and asked if I opened the box. I didn’t dare, not without her go ahead. I opened the box and there was a beautiful card with a quote from Kahlil Gibran, as well as some chocolate chip cookies and brownies and an iTunes gift card.

She hit a home run again. She knew I loved her cookies and brownies and the gift card was a brilliant idea since with all the music I have, she might’ve taken a chance and gotten me a birthday present that I had already. This makes it easier and since the future is in mp3s and not cds I could just download whatever I want and I do have quite a few items in my shopping cart. Items that I had in one format or another at one point only missing them these days. Laurie Anderson, Lene Lovich, versions of Armageddon Time by the Clash. So many choices, what to do?

I went out around noon to run some errands, to the library, dry cleaners and shoemaker. It was a bright and beautiful day and decided to forego my original plan to go for a bike ride and head into the city to hang out with El Rey. I came back home and hung out some more, eventually getting tired of sitting around and figured I’d just walk to the waterfront and sit there and wait for El Rey’s call. I sat and read the New Yorker and listened to Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.

There was an Italian feast going on and I slipped off the headphones and listened to some tenor sing some popular arias. The phone rang and it was El Rey who sounded frazzled from driving so much and looking for parking that he wasn’t going to hang out, just get whatever he wanted to get and go back upstate. So no hanging out, which freed me up to do nothing really. I went to the supermarket and did some shopping, came home and napped, only to be awoken by a group of Italian musicians playing in the street as part of a procession for the Madonna del Martiri or something like that.

Young Americans

It’s Friday and all is relatively well. Just got back home with Bill after what may be my last session with Phillip Beansprout. Nothing bad happened but Bill and I reckoned that things are going well lately for us and as far as couples counseling we’ve learned our lessons and apply them daily, mainly we communicate better and often. And that was the main reason why were initially started going. Phillip didn’t put up any fight or anything. He was as usual cool as a cucumber. Bill is probably going to continue going on his own and I may drop in from time to time.

The reasoning behind ending the couples counseling was financial and constrained by time. I also didn’t have anything I could think of to talk about really. Yes you read that correctly. I did not have anything to say. Or to complain about. No, it’s not the end of the world, just that the initial problems that got Bill and myself into therapy have been taken care of or are at least underway, being an ongoing process and all. We’ll see and if worse comes to worse I can always start going to session again.

On the work front it was slow going, Felicia seems to recovered from whatever it was that was bothering her. It was odd the other day, but when she went to the doctor and then the hospital the other day, en route to the hospital she phoned telling me of her plan to go to Columbia Presbyterian hospital and I could clearly hear her dog barking in the background. I didn’t say anything to anyone, just kept it to myself until writing this. I can picture Felicia nervously screaming at her dog to shut up as she hung up the phone.

Earlier this week I had Terry working next to me, she’s a good kid. Having her in the office enabled me to get in later than usual the past three days which was a good thing though the train is a lot more crowded towards the middle of the rush hour and not conducive to reading the New Yorker. Some cute men in suits to discreetly look at though. That makes the commute easier at least but then again it’s a fast, crowded fifteen minute ride to Ninth Street from Hoboken. When the weather gets cooler I plan on wearing a suit one day a week for the thrill of it. I hate to see my suits neglected.

That’s something I’m looking forward to. I am really looking forward to a possible trip to the beach on Sunday with Julio. The weather seems most promising. Got a package from my sister and her family for my birthday and I haven’t opened it yet until I get the green light from the left coast. Could be cookies and brownies. Yum Yum.

Very good column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times today about this crap piece of shit administration of course. There was also an article about the poisonous lionfish which usually resides in the Pacific Ocean and has been cropping up along the eastern seaboard.

Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)

I’ve worked with a lot of people in different jobs, and met some really nice folk that I never see or hear from anymore. I’ve been thinking about a few of them, Ann Boyles, the wonderful woman from Athens, GA. She was so cute and sexy and would sometimes flash me from her cube opposite me. She started flashing me when she found out that I had never been with a woman sexually. A few women wanted to be my first, but it never happened much to their dismay. Ann was a lot of fun though. We partied quite a bit before she packed up and moved back to Athens. I heard she got married.

Maurice Menares was another friend that I lost contact with. Last I saw him was when Julio and I went to see Beck at Radio City Music Hall back in the last century. Maurice used to work at McSwells back in the day, then he got a job as a nanny for the child of Thurston and Kim from Sonic Youth. Really great guy, he had a crush on Ann Boyles who liked him but not like liked him. Heartbreak soup. Last I heard he was managing the XL store for the Beastie Boys in Los Angeles. I hope he’s doing well.

Kevin Wagner was a good mate. I went to high school with him and didn’t really get along, but we worked together at the book warehouse. In school his nickname was piglet because he had pinkish skin. He liked metal and I liked punk so we were diametrically opposed in school. At work we were friends, we even had to drive to Austin, TX on a special errand for the head of the company. That was a bonding experience. Kevin was one of the last people then to find out that I was gay and was greatly upset at being the last to know. He came up to me and wanted to know why and I told him that I didn’t want to risk losing his friendship, though if I had to lie to remain his friend it wasn’t a real friendship anyway.

That actually made our friendship stronger, though not strong enough for time and distance since he moved to Orlando FL in the mid eighties. I did get in contact with him in 2000 to see if he was going to the high school reunion. He said he couldn’t make it, he was just up with his wife visiting their folks in Saddle Brook NJ. I did go to the reunion solo and left totally wired and whacked out of my head swearing that if another 20 years went by without seeing my former classmates it would be fine with me.

There are a few other people that left a mark on my life, people that I think of from time to time. I often think about some bad people from my past, people that have done me wrong, or betrayed me and I don’t miss them unless I’m thinking of revenge and I try not to think of that. I’d rather think of the nice people and hope all is well with them.

Come With Us

A sober ramble. Ok, a day unlike any other. Amiable Alan noticed his mentions in the previous entries so I thought and drop a line and reassure him that he’s really not as amiable as I’d like to think, or as he insists. But he is, between you and me, he is. Work was the usual running around like a dog chasing his tail. I’d like to consider myself as a Labrador retriever. Amiable Alan would be a terrier named Bridget, if the collar fits. I’m going to be working with Terry the next few days. She’ll be sitting with me as I fly around trying to pick up whatever threads Felicia left ragged while she’s out on sick leave.

Having trouble keeping people’s pseudonyms straight and by straight I mean correct. I know I gave someone another name to keep things on a legal tip. The difficulty is keeping track of who’s who as if you, the reader is keeping track of who’s who, and I really doubt you are. From out of the five people that actually do read this, I don’t expect anyone coming forth bearing a chart or a diagram. Basically you’re all off the hook. I can almost hear that collective sigh of relief.

Today as I was standing outside my workplace on the street I was almost killed, or at least very seriously injured. No really. Not wearing the drama queen tiara right now. I was talking to Phyllis, someone I work with, having a jolly good time when a sharp piece of metal flew past my head. Yes, I was almost hit in the head with sharp metal that had fallen nine floors. I picked it up and walked back in following Phyllis who had ran ahead of me and told the security personnel at the desk.

A few minutes later I get a phone call from the building superintendent who sounded quite nervous, telling me they were doing construction on the ninth floor and they were supposed to have the windows closed and they didn’t and boy were they in trouble. I’m pretty sure that he was worried that I was going to sue. But nothing happened really. I didn’t get hurt, no harm, no foul. It was a very lucky thing that no one got hurt actually. And don’t forget the people that not only didn’t get hurt, but would have called a lawyer as soon as possible. Like I said, no harm, no foul, though the damage that could have been done would have been heinous.

After work I was able to walk down to the Path train smoking a cigar. No more bits of metal falling towards my head, I played Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, the band he formed years after the Clash disbanded. I downloaded it at work from someone else on the network. Man what a really good record. It made me upset again at the fact that I never saw the Clash, or Joe Strummer live. I highly recommend this record if you’ve loved the Clash as long as I had. I was an idiot for waiting so long to even hear it. Don’t make the same mistake I made. Get it. Though Joe Strummer is gone, this, his last record is really good. It’s ‘Global A Go Go’.

Cold Lampin’ with Flavor

It’s Tuesday and feels like a Monday due to the fact that Monday was a federal holiday and most everything was closed and most everyone had the day off including myself. Still getting accustomed to the new bed and fell asleep only to wake up an hour later, Bill all the way on the other side of the bed. I took two Tylenol PM around 1:00AM. Slept well or at least I slept. Bill woke me up at 6:30, telling me that it was 6:30 and I should get moving.

I got moving, having some coffee that Bill made, grateful that he was able to figure out how to make the coffee I like. I jumped in the shower as Bill poked his head in to give me a good-bye kiss for the day. Quite romantic if not a bit soapy. I had some coffee, some cereal and was soon out the door heading to the Path train under darkening gray clouds. Saw Plantain Man and got my bananas, feeling fairly indifferent to Plantain Man, all show, no action. Not that much could happen at 7:45 in the morning, my fellow commuters can be so demanding, not so understanding. And I don’t like to be late for work.

Finally was able to play the new iPod (almost wrote Walkman). Didn’t take it out of the docking station most of the weekend, busy uploading songs. Somehow I now have 6,865 tracks on it. I think the limit is 6,000. I guess there’s quite a few really short Punk songs, in fact I have a recording of El Rey (known as Da Magnesium back then) from 1986 or 87 telling me he wants to go to a party I told him about back then. Those were definitely not his words, I’m liberally paraphrasing. It’s a very funny and cute 33 second phone message that I saved for almost 20 years. I even put it on a cd that I burned for him a year ago.

Felicia was in as well as Linda. An operations meeting was scheduled for the afternoon, like last week. I tell you, it’s great to be involved with these things. No one ever asked for my input at Wanker Banker. Alas Felicia bailed out, running off to the doctor, which turned into a visit to the hospital which turned into a text message I just received a few minutes ago stating that she wouldn’t be in tomorrow. Luckily for us there is a substitute so it wouldn’t be that stressful. One thing that was said in the operations meeting was that someone was going to talk to Felicia and tell her to stay home until she felt better.

The day flew by fairly fast and I was out the door a few minutes after six. It was raining out rather steadily so I gave p on walking down to the World Trade Center Path train and walked a few blocks up to Ninth Street instead. I lucked out there was a train pulling into the station as I walked through the turnstile and I got on board heading to Hoboken.

Interesting link here. check it out. you might have to subscribe, but it’s free and worth it. cut and paste:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/04/AR2006090400698.html

5-8-6

Monday, Labor Day. Finally a nice day, blue skies, nice breezes. Bill finally arrived last night, around 6:00 with the California King sized bed, and getting it up four flights of stairs wasn’t easy. Luckily we got it up two flights and crashed right outside of Julio’s apartment. Julio came out and offered to help and with an extra pair of hands we were able to get everything upstairs in no time. Bill and I were sweating up a storm and the handles on the bed started to disintegrate as we lifted but Julio helped with all that. More muscles, you see.

Getting the twenty year old bed and box spring originally from Lodi down the four flights of stairs was easy as pie. We were lucky in the fact that it wasn’t raining and causing the mattress to become a giant full size sponge. Bill and I were drenched in sweat, and it was noticeable to Julio how much garlic Bill eats. A lot apparently maybe too much. He drove away to park the U Haul truck in a legal parking spot somewhere on Washington Street, I walked off to buy some food for dinner, some lettuce, and some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy for dessert.

I offered to take Julio and Bill to Arthur’s Steakhouse for dinner since they did most of the heavy work in moving the California King sized bed up the stairs. Neither one took me up on the offer which was a relief last night with tentative plans made for tonight. Julio came upstairs after I made a burger for myself around 9:00 to watch Syriana with Bill and myself. I was midway through a documentary about the 1960’s and Julio and Bill watched how that tumultuous decade ended. I entertained them with the bold face lie that at 6 years old I was on the barricades plotting to blow up Armed Forces recruitment centers.

Who was I kidding? I was routinely being beaten up by various classmates and teachers at 6 years old. I was going to bed at 7:30 more than likely. Not much time in my day to protest the Vietnam War or American Foreign Policy. Even when the sixties ended around 1972 or 3, I was still totally self involved, unlike now when I write most every little detail down to publish on the web. My how far I’ve gone!

It was a good bed that Bill’s cousin gave us, very large. Bill and I didn’t even come close to each other last night. He had his sheet and I had mine. Plenty of room to stretch and very good support. Not the type of bed that you can toss a bowling ball on it while there is a glass of water standing on the mattress, but strong enough to support two behemoths like Bill and myself.

Just got back from walking around Hoboken with Julio and tossing a Frisbee with Julio on Steven’s campus. Lot’s of crazy breezes that created a supernatural effect on the Frisbee with the disc severely going up and down on the cross breezes. After about an hour of that we walked over to Pier A and chilled out. Very crowded. Julio has way better Gaydar than I do that’s for sure. Not bad for a straight guy. After Pier A, we walked back and got a six pack of Heineken and sat on the stoop, both of us having three beers each, passing comment on just about everyone that crossed our line of vision. Back to work tomorrow, oddly enough no sinking feeling about it being the unofficial end of summer. We finished the beers and I extinguished the cigar I was smoking and came up the stairs and now, hanging out with Bill.