Monthly Archives: January 2008

Quicksand

It’s Thursday and it is to laugh. My sister took a Laughter Yoga course last weekend. Apparently, laughter IS the best medicine. If you laugh you feel good, and even if you fake laughing you can still get the benefits. With the day that I had today, I got some laughter in this afternoon and it really helped my mood. You know, last Thursday when I was sick, was a better Thursday than today. One of the things Tom Chin said, as a warning perhaps, that this week would be employee reviews, to determine the mythical bonuses.

A few people were called into closed door sessions, but not me. Neither was one of the Stooges, Moe. He’s been on the outs with Vivek who smiles in Moe’s face, while sharpening a knife. Last month Vivek asked me to find out how soon someone could be expelled from the network. The answer was, it could be within minutes, depending on where the IT was, if he was available or not, or he would send his assistant into the office to do it. So that could all be tomorrow. Getting rid of myself and Moe would save the company some money. I’d prefer it doesn’t happen, but in the event that it does happen, I set about cleaning out my desk.

I admit I was disappointed it didn’t happen today, I was on pins and needles all day. I did get a lot of work done, which means if I don’t get fired, I will have very little to do next week. Already some tasks hat I used to do have been reassigned to Lydia. I talked to a temp, Peaches, who works for another company that sublets office space from us while having a smoke.

She told me about how she was once let go from a company that gave her six months salary as a severance package. That would be nice to have. She called it shut up money, whereas other people or companies would call it hush money. A tidy amount to keep one’s mouth shut. I do have things to shut my mouth about. Monkeys in trees eating bananas while singing dirges in the original Latin. Things like that. I think Tom Chin who was more than likely bullied when he was growing up 50 years ago might see this as an opportunity to lord it over me. I see that mentioning those two things might give me some leverage. Dirge singing monkeys banana smeared mouths spewing Latin. I’m fucking Matt Damon.

It was an odd day. The only people that spoke to me was Moe, Curly and Lydia. Greg Stevens said hi in passing. Vivek totally ignored me after saying hello to just about everyone else in the office. Tom Chin didn’t say anything either. Whatever it is, I did my best. I tried to create a system in the office so things would run smoothly. True there was that file that was on my desk last week, though to my credit, I did phone in and tell them where it was.

Not good enough I guess. If I didn’t get sick last week this all could have been avoided, but I got sick and that’s that. Nobody got hurt, no rules were broken, no information or identities stolen. So this is where I stand. Not feeling secure in my job, but able to laugh, and that’s what’s important. I guess that’s why I’m feeling pretty positive, not the negative person I could be and have been when in situations like this. And so I laugh! Like so…and I’m not being sarcastic

Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five

Well here it is, Wednesday. Started out rainy, started out with me sleeping later than usual and that was because I was up until midnight which I rarely do. Maybe on Fridays or Saturdays, but not Tuesday. Bill’s dad is still unresponsive, in a fetal position. His heart rate slows and speeds up and he’s breathing on his own, but I guess not much else is going on. Bill spent most of the day at the hospital. The bitch of a home health care aide threatened to call social services, claiming that Bill is neglecting his mother’s care.

Of course this happened after Bill told her there will be no money under the table, and that her services were no longer required. Oh and she’s a judgmental religious type to boot. I tried to reassure Bill that she’s probably gone forever, and that was her last attempt to get back at Bill. She will probably move on to another family to torment, holy book in one hand, and a steel rod up her ass.

After a slow hustle around the apartment I got to the bus stop to see the regulars standing there, leaving me to think that either everyone woke up late or the bus was late. It was the bus because it was crazy crowded when I got on it. Since it was rainy and since I was late, I decided to take the train, and once on the platform I remembered why I don’t like to take the train. Too crowded and I couldn’t fit onto the first train that pulled in, I mumbled Fuck this shit and stepped off waiting for the next E train.

Got to the office a little bit late yet still in before anyone else. I did what I had to do, and also deftly avoided Tom Chin who is probably wondering why I don’t have anything to say to him that’s not work related. Maybe it’s because he yelled at me last Friday when I was still sick, or maybe it’s because he’s just a 58 year old nerd. It’s probably a mixture of the two. I heard tomorrow is the employee review day.

Two of the Three Stooges were in and they mentioned they were probably going out for drinks after work, I told them I would probably be logging onto Monster.com. I was joking really. I don’t think anything will happen, that they will fire my ass. I don’t even care about the bonus that could depend on the review. If I get it, great. If I don’t, no big deal. If they try anything though, I do have an ace up my sleeve.

I did hear from a former Wanker Banker colleague, that one of the IT guys, my old pals, Vinnie’s father passed away yesterday. That was sad to hear, Vinnie being a really good guy. I made a point to go to a card shop and buy a card for Vinnie, a birthday card for my brother in law Rex, who got the Onion Atlas that I ordered for his birthday this weekend, and a card for my late cousin Jackie’s widow, Corinne to let her know I was thinking of her. I didn’t send a holiday card to Corinne, it didn’t seem like the thing to do, they were probably still grieving and having a sad Christmas. A handwritten card a month later could say so much more.

I left the office a whole fifteen minutes early, even said good night to Tom Chin but his head is so far up his ass that he probably couldn’t hear me, being so gassy and all. Had to buy coffee for the office, I was glad to see that girl was not behind the counter. One guy filled my order, a new guy filled it, charging me for two pounds instead of three. I had to tell him the actual price. I turned and walked out the store after the purchase, and there she was, the girl who was so tired and cranky the first day I walked in. I think she thinks we’re friends. I don’t know why. I do my best not to give her that impression. ‘Oh you’re buying more coffee?’ she said. ‘Yes I am’ and I walked out the door into the brisk, yet refreshing arctic air.

Added a few hours later

Message of Love

It’s Tuesday, dreary, cold and wet. Been drizzling on and off all day. A definite gray day though I did see some part of a blue sky today, but it didn’t last. Last night was ok, pretty quiet here, Bill not as rambunctious as usual, not exactly subdued either. He spent the day going to the VA nursing home out in St. Albans in Queens. That would be a sobering experience for anyone. And on top of that the primate in charge had delivered his last State of the Union address, which I didn’t pay any attention to. I called my brother Frank who said he couldn’t talk, that he would call me back.

So I called brother Brian and first spoke to his wife Karen who sounded good, we exchanged stories of our illnesses. We both had the same symptoms, aching bones, fever, chills and how it lasted about 24 hours mainly. Both of us are still feeling the after effects. Then Karen put Brian on the phone and I talked longer with him than I had in a long time. We talked about brother Frank, both of us coming to the conclusion that the Frank we once knew is gone, and slowly he might be coming back, not as fast as we thought or hoped. Even Frank mentioned a few weeks ago that he thought the stroke was behind him, but there are still lingering effects.

Brian and Karen, and Frank and Elaine went to go see the Smithereens last week at BB King’s and I heard Frank’s take on the night, and last night I heard Brian’s side. Both totally opposite versions. Brian was surprised at Frank’s totally negative attitude and the fact that Frank would not stop talking. Frank’s version was that it was an ok evening, Brian’s version was fraught with concern. We’re both worried about him, and Brian mentioned that perhaps it might be a good thing for Frank to retire, and hopefully get a government disability as well. He doesn’t seem to be doing well at work either, and Brian and I agree that Frank probably shouldn’t be driving.

Too much going on in the world that might set him off and an accident though always a bad thing could be even worse if he is involved, and not by his hand, just that there are so many terrible drivers out there, and other terrible scenarios. Then there was the drama of having a teenage son which I won’t get into here but I commended Brian about how he and Karen are handling this supposed little pain in the fucking ass.

We discussed our upbringing, how we lived in fear of getting into trouble with our father. Brian said he wasn’t hit by our father, whereas all I can remember is being hit by my father. He tried to lessen that painful memory by saying at least our father wasn’t like the So and So’s father from down the block, who didn’t hesitate to use a belt or whatever else was handy to discipline his children. In that instance, Brian was right, our father was literally hands on, at least for me, though I feel Brian might be blocking things out.

Then I spoke to Harpy who supplied the much needed levity. I wonder if Harpy was a court jester in a previous life. I know he’s a court jester in this one, but still I love Harpy, he’s a good egg. After Harpy, brother Frank finally called. Unfortunately I think he had a few phone calls before calling me back so I got the tired Frank. Still it was good to talk to him, it was a good talk. I recommended There Will Be Blood, telling him he should see it in a theater since a DVD would lessen the impact. He started to sound exhausted so he signed off and I went to bed soon after, to the sound of Bill snoring.

I woke up before the alarm clock, and I was surprised to see Bill still sleeping in bed. He decided to go in late today. I got my act together and took it to the bus stop, wondering if Washington Street was going to be closed off since there was a fire at 1203 Washington Street, a few families displaced and one fatality. That part of Washington Street was closed and the bus wound through side streets before heading into the Lincoln Tunnel. Made it to work before everyone yet again and I set about turning things on, making coffee.

Spoke with Bill a few times, actually playing phone tag. We finally connected, only Bill had bad news. His father was unresponsive and in a fetal position. Now he is at the hospital and might be in a coma. The end may be near, and Bill asked that I ask people that know us, to say a prayer, or put out some good thoughts and vibrations for Bill and his family. So please do.

Excellent Birds

Back to work today. No big deal, though last night there was some of that ‘I don’t wanna go to school, I didn’t do my homework, and I think I’m getting sick, my throat is sore’ mindset. It was pointless since I don’t go to school anymore, I certainly don’t have homework and I’m not sick. Last night was ok. It was quite a heady weekend, intellect wise. The Samuel Beckett play, Happy Days was so great and it’s still sinking in. I would love to see it once again, but it ends next weekend. I am glad I saw it though, and seeing it by myself worked out just fine.

Unfortunately I work with a bunch of people that don’t know anything about Samuel Beckett, except for maybe hearing his name mentioned in the past. I did try to explain the play but whomever I was explaining it to, got swept up in my enthusiasm and didn’t quite hear what I was actually saying. I mentioned Beckett’s most well known play, Waiting for Godot, but it was more unknown than well known with this crowd. On top of Happy Days, I saw There Will Be Blood which was amazing. There were moments in There Will Be Blood that reminded me of Citizen Kane, and also Giant. I’d recommend it to Annemarie, but it does get a touch violent, hence the title that it lives up to.

Two powerful pieces in one weekend gave me a fresh outlook. Life can be absurd and life can be cruel. And it can also be enjoyable. I guess it all depends on how well you handle it. With that perspective I was able to fall asleep not worried about what today would hold for me. Well of course I worried, but not too much. The Wire was on last night and that too was intense. It’s winding down to it’s finale in a few weeks, things are tightening up, crooks are getting killed, shit is going down now that Omar is back in Baltimore. Omar is a hard ass gay thug and now he has a personal vendetta. And yes, there will be more blood.

Bill was here last night, not as rambunctious as usual. He was taking the day off to check out the Veterans Administration nursing home in St. Albans, Queens today. We watched TV together before he paddled off to bed and I soon joined him. Even though he was out cold last night, he was affectionate which he hadn’t been in quite a while. That was nice to fall asleep to. Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Had some coffee and made it to the bus.

I was listening to Laurie Anderson, Mister Heartbreak. I met Laurie a few times, she was quite nice and charming and one time complimented me on a shirt. Won me over. Mister Heartbreak was her second album after Big Science. Not as minimal as Big Science, lot’s of percussion from David Van Tiegham, guitars by Adrian Belew and occasional vocals by Peter Gabriel and William S. Burroughs. Jet and I played Mister Heartbreak to death, in fact most of my friends loved the record. I remember going to see an exhibit of hers at the Queens Museum which was a trip. So many fun interactive pieces, they should do a retrospective sometime, it’s only been over twenty years.

I last crossed paths with Laurie Anderson at Skyline Studios where I worked. She was making a new record, produced by Brian Eno. Meeting him was quite a thrill and a half. They were so nice that I asked my roommate William if he would make dinner for them. He said yes and the next day I invited them to Weehawken to dinner which they politely declined. So no dinner, but I still think fondly of the two of them, though I scratch my head and wonder why is Laurie Anderson with Lou Reed? I mean, really Laurie, WTF?

Real by Reel

It’s Sunday night, and I just got back from the movies. I went to see There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day Lewis is of course, phenomenal. Paul Thomas Anderson is truly one of the best American filmmakers around today. I wonder if he is still with Maya Rudolph? It’s another recommended movie. Chaz and I have been planning to see this for a few weeks and finally both of us had our schedules in sync. Crowded theater too for a Sunday afternoon.

Last night I had a good time writing the blog which I hope shows. Spoke to Harpy, who was telling me about how Lois, a co-owner of Farfetched just got her first computer. So much to learn. Of course there is the initial paranoia about strangers having access to your information, but they would only have access if you put it out there. I don’t put anything out there and though I’m still wary, the Internet works out just fine, for me at least.

Harpy wanted to know about why I call this blog, johnozed instead of my real name. Well that’s because there are things that I write under my blog de plume, that I am not too keen on coming back and biting me on the arse. A lawyer friend hipped me to the fact of changing the names of some executives and companies I work for both in the past and the present, and he commended me on the pen name. So even though my real name is music to some peoples ears, I don’t need the real name to sound like a cash register to lawyers ears.

On the way home from Brooklyn last night I had stopped off at Mision Burrito for what turned out to be a very mediocre burrito. On the way through Church Square Park I passed a couple of people, one of whom I though was my other friend named Lois. I called out ‘Lois’ and the woman turned and as she turned I realized it wasn’t the Lois (or the other Lois) that I knew. I apologized and she laughed saying that I wasn’t who she thought I was either. That made us both laugh and I walked away wishing the two of them a good night.

It reminded me of how I was DJ’ing at McSwells years ago and in my clouded mind I thought I saw Raul Menares walk through the back room door. I waved frantically and as the figure approached it wasn’t Raul at all, but rather some other guy named Michael Vasquez. Michael Vasquez turned out to be a good acquaintance along with his girlfriend, who’s name escapes me at this moment. So the moral is, sometimes friendships can sprout from mistaken identities. Sometimes, not all the time of course.

There really wasn’t anything on TV last night, so as I surfed I stumbled upon Graffiti Bridge, the sequel to Purple Rain. Looking back Purple Rain is good, if only for the concert sequences, especially the sequences involving The Time. Graffiti Bridge makes Purple Rain look like a masterpiece. Even The Time couldn’t save it. I lasted about 20 minutes until the first commercial, then I bailed. Even the soundtrack is spotty. Two songs from it made it to my iPod.

I remember when Graffiti Bridge came out, I was either out of work, or off from work so I went to the first showing on the first day at the multiplex. But I wandered into the wrong theater and sat as the movie, Soap Dish was starting and it took me a while to realize I was in the wrong theater. After seeing Graffiti Bridge I wasn’t sure if I saw the correct film, and 17 years later, I’m still not sure.

And Robert Plant was in Farfetched buying wrapping paper and cards on Friday.

Rock Around The Clock

Well it’s a Saturday and it was a pretty good day. Bill was up and out this morning, he needed to go to his parents apartment to meet the latest home health care aide. Last night he had to dismiss the previous aide since she wanted $200 under the table to take care of Bill’s mother as well as what she was contracted for, his father care. Funds being tight, she had to go. She wasn’t much help either, lot’s of attitude, so it’s bye bye for her. Bill gave his goodbye kiss and was out the door. I woke up at 7:30. I wasn’t feeling that so I went back to sleep, getting out of bed at 9:00. I had my coffee and was out to get the sundries. Back home for breakfast and I plotted my day.

I was reluctant to do anything but I had planned on heading into Brooklyn to see a Samuel Beckett play, Happy Days, starring Fiona Shaw who I loved ever since I first saw her as the physical therapist in My Left Foot. She also plays Harry Potter’s aunt in the movies, in case you wondered where you might have seen her. But the scene in the restaurant in My Left Foot is incredible and quite intense, she playing Daniel Day Lewis’ unrequited love. It’s sad and scary to see the Christy Brown character go out of his mind with anguish, and the look on Fiona Shaw’s face just adds to the despair. Fantastic. I headed towards the bus so I could catch a subway to Brooklyn. Ran into Gary Jennings with his boyfriend on the bus. Don’t know the boyfriend’s name, but I met him a year or so ago at the Hoboken St. Patrick’s day parade. Nice guy though. It was a nice chat with Gary, catching up. We seem to meet on buses these days, rather than the bar at McSwells.

They and I parted ways and I wandered through the bus terminal headed across town to Grand Central Station. Midtown Manhattan is a haven for tourists on weekends and they were everywhere. I did my best to avoid them but there they were standing on escalators, not moving, and not allowing anyone to pass, or they’re having conversations on top of stairways or at the bottom, or just stopping right in my path when I have a good trot going on. I hopped on the 4 train to Brooklyn and was soon on Flatbush Avenue. I looked at a street map to figure out where the BAM Harvey Theater was but couldn’t figure it out, so I just turned the corner and there it was a half block away. I walked to the box office, explained to them that I couldn’t make last night’s performance and that I was told I could get a past date ticket in exchange. That worked out quite nicely. Whereas yesterday I would be in the balcony for last night’s show, this afternoon I was in the 10th row in the orchestra.

I hung outside the theater having a quick smoke, when I saw Kathleen Turner walk by, then Lisa Gay Hamilton, then someone who could have been Peter Coyote, but I wasn’t sure. He had one of those four footed canes to help him walk, and he looked like he could have been a Digger in a previous life. Got to my seat where I was totally mesmerized by Fiona Shaw waist deep in dirt. The stage design was decidedly post apocalyptic. A Fantastic play, bravura performance by both her and Tim Potter who played Willie to Fiona’s Winnie. It was a full house, though the three people seated in front of me didn’t stay for the second act. I don’t think they understood the play, and it’s not easily understood, it does border on the absurd. I never saw Waiting for Godot, another Beckett play but from what I understood, sometimes half the audience is in stitches and the other half deep in though trying to figure out a deeper meaning. Samuel Beckett never gave anything away and took the secrets to his plays and other work to the grave. At intermission they actually played the theme from TV’s Happy Days. ♫Sunday Monday Happy Days ♪ I swear I am not putting you on.

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Photos: Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

The second act lasted what seemed to be about 20 minutes. I walked out into the Brooklyn daylight and saw Lisa Gay Hamilton walk by. Bill and I saw her in an episode of Law and Order a few times and she is simply amazing. She was also in The Practice years ago, and she also directed a documentary on Beah Richards another great and overlooked actress. Beah Richards played Sidney Poitier’s mother in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. She more than likely broke your heart in other shows and movies, just look her up on IMDB. I called out, Miss Hamilton and Lisa turned around. I explained that Bill and I were fans and we loved that episode of Law and Order SVU with Ludacris, which was amazingly powerful. She was great and charming and has a beautiful smile which she showed when her sister took our picture.

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I was feeling game and remembered that before the show I saw Fiona Shaw walk in the direction of what I figured out to be the stage door, and me being a stage door Johnny, I made a bee line over there. There was just one guy besides me standing around, then Kathleen Turner came out, smoking and chatting with a friend. I was going to ask her for her picture but I was intimidated actually. Fiona Shaw appeared and was talking to Kathleen Turner while trying to get in a taxi. I just asked if she would sign a copy of the play that I bought after the show in the lobby and she did, then asked for a picture and she insisted on having a picture with Kathleen Turner.
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Fiona and Me
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No problem, then I asked if Kathleen Turner’s friend would take a picture of Fiona and myself which he did. I was going to ask for a picture with both Kathleen and Fiona but once again Kathleen Turner intimidated me, not by her doing, but by her persona. After that I giddily walked away. I walked down Fulton Street listening to the Kinks, then onto the Brooklyn Bridge, still a marvelous thing, it is my favorite bridge. I’ve ridden my bicycle across it many times, but never walked across it. Still a thrill and tourists aplenty taking snapshots.

Fulton Street
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I decided to walk over to JR and pick up a copy of My Left Foot, but they were out so I bought a copy of My Beautiful Laundrette instead which isn’t anywhere near My Left Foot, but both star Daniel Day Lewis and start with My. Then I walked over to the World Trade Center Path train where I missed a train since I helped tourists figure out what train to take. That was it, all in all a really good day. I have to stop being lazy and get out more. It was all worth it, it was fun, and I finally saw my first Samuel Beckett play starring the wonderful Fiona Shaw.

What did you do today?

Make My Day

Well it was back to work for me. No more days feeling like the previous day, today felt like a Friday and basically Friday sucked. I wasn’t 100% mind you, more like 90% but still Lydia told me yesterday about big meetings going on, clients coming in, food needed to be ordered, things like that. Lydia told me during the day how they were looking for a folder that I was working on Wednesday afternoon, and I left the folder on my desk when I left for the day. I told her to call me from my desk and when she did I was able to tell her exactly where the folder was.

Tom Chin told her to tell me he yelled at her in my absence. She thought it was a joke, but no it was the truth, since Tom Chin chewed me out. There was some vital info in the folder, but only important if you knew what to look for. He also mentioned that not only was Tom Chin upset with me, but also Vivek and Greg Stevens. Oh that, and the fact that next week is my employee evaluation which I don’t think will win me any prizes.

It may tie in to the mythical bonus, but I needed that bonus last month and since I didn’t get it then, it won’t kill me if I don’t get it at all. It’s all non-existent money, which is nether good nor bad. It only exists if it’s in my account, or my wallet. I’ve done everything they have asked of me, I’ve tried instituting a system so things could run smoothly but without the cooperation of everyone else, my ideas fell to the wayside. I’m not upset. It’s a good job, but then again, it’s just a job.

I’m not planning any moves, though they might be. But I doubt even that, since Tom Chin asked me to do something, a task that I had done in November and that task entails the rest of the year. I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, making sure Tom Chin has enough rope. And it was busy today. Lydia enjoyed the busyness yesterday, she wasn’t bored and was constantly moving around. Today we were a team and we preformed admirably. Desi Gandoo Investment Bank (DGIB) would be proud, but since Tom Chin is a honcho at DGIB, I’m sure it will go unnoticed until he comes up with an idea for teamwork.

After work I had a Padron and started to walk my usual route to the bus terminal. At the corner of 49th and Park I saw a woman who I thought might be Janelle Rintrona, a real sweetheart of a woman who I worked with at Wanker Banker. We keep in touch via email lately. I inched up hoping to get a glimpse of her face since the vibe said it was Janelle. When she turned I was surprised that the vibe was right and she was surprised to see me.

We caught up quickly, about what we’ve been reading, what’s been going on with who and what’s what. She told me she reads the blog and she actually likes it. She finds it funny, and that when she or her friends Google Janelle Rintrona, invariably johnozed pops up and they read it.

Good to know some people laugh and enjoy what I write. I thought it was generally maudlin but I guess some people enjoy it. Now if only I can get them to leave a comment, or even a hello, letting me know there’s someone out there, besides the five that I know of, which is actually down to three since Kathe doesn’t say anything and Song is probably upset that I missed him over the holidays. That leaves Annemarie, Harpy and Juan. Who knows who else? Would it kill them to even post an asterisk? But it was great to see Janelle again, she made my day. She was looking good, and it seems like she knows where she’s going in life which is definitely great for her. Now if we can get a GPS on Rina Persico or Kristy Fallon that would be something.

I was supposed to see Happy Days tonight, but it’s cold and since I’m not 100% better I checked to see if I can exchange my ticket for another performance, saying how I wouldn’t want to infect the staff or the audience. That worked and I’m going to the matinée tomorrow afternoon which works out quite nicely. Love to all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Tom Chin
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Epistrophy

I don’t know what happened. Last night as the evening progressed I became really fatigued, my bones were aching and I had difficulty staying awake. Probably just like you as you read this blog day in and day out. Only this time it was me. I didn’t do much, just sat and read, telling myself I would go to bed at 10:00. After a half hour phone call with brother Frank, I went to sleep. Frank has been going through some tough times, the stroke, though mild, did a number on him. He thought he was out of the woods stroke wise, but he’s not. The damage caused still shows itself from time to time. He was telling me about something that happened last January, when he actually meant this January. Things like that. He’s stressed.

I was fading fast during the call though and as soon as I got off the phone I went to bed. I wore my sweatpants, a fleece top and got in bed under the comforter but I was still cold. Even burying myself under the sheets I was shivering. I eventually fell into a deep sleep, waking up at 6:00 this morning with my temperature around 99. I decided not to go to work which was a smart decision and slept for a few more hours. Woke up still crappy, went back to bed. Now it’s 5:30 and I’m feeling a lot better, and planning to go into work tomorrow.

I guess whatever it was, it was a 24 hour virus. I communicated with Lydia to see how she was doing. She was quite busy, Tom Chin going crazy without me there. I told her where to find some things she was looking for. She told me they were out of coffee and I headed out to Empire Coffee in Hoboken where I’ve been buying the office coffee. The girl who took care of me is someone I really don’t care for. The first time I dealt with her was last month.

She asked me what I wanted to get and I was looking over the selections of coffee in the store. Then she asked me to hurry up since she had been working there all day. That will forever set the tone for dealing with her. She bends over backwards to be nice and I remain aloof. There are nicer people in the store I would rather deal with, but the past two times it’s been her.

After getting coffee for the office, I headed home, ready to do nothing but recuperate. I am still going to see the Beckett play tomorrow at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and who knows? A touch of fever might help with the comprehension of the play. Getting hungry which is a good sign, I think I’m going to make some soup. Haven’t eaten much in the past 24 hours, so something light would be a good thing. I’m just glad to be feeling better than I did 24 hours ago. No chattering teeth tonight. Work tomorrow. I’m surprised I was able to write this much, and I’m sure you are too.

Green Onions

It’s Wednesday, not Tuesday. It’s still cold out, though it’s in the 30’s making it relatively comfortable. Bill was here again, rambunctious as usual. That’s his charm. After eight (!) years of being together I am developing the sense of just letting him be, shout about whatever it is he wants to shout about (as long as it isn’t me) and occasionally he fades from my audio consciousness. I generally get back to reality in time, and sometimes I have to ask him to repeat itself. Such is the price of companionship. It’s all worth it though. Not complaining about it, just stating a fact.

Things are pretty good right now, the stock market woes haven’t hit my office, not yet at least. I’ve been busy and so far my resolution of getting more on top of things in the office is still ongoing. Tom Chin and I have been getting along just fine. I’m doing everything that is asked of me, and even delegating projects to Lydia. Sometimes Vivek or someone else would go to her directly and ask her to do something, which usually ends up with me answering her questions about what she has to do. It would be better if they told me directly what they want her to do, but I guess as long as it gets done, they just don’t care how it’s done. The ends justifying the means.

Once again I helped Greg Stevens get a grip on the doohickey called the Internet. I couldn’t help him too much since the problem lie mainly with the aircraft carrier he was planning on flying in March. Two weeks off for Greg in March and that will lighten my load somewhat. The first Friday in March I already put in for a day off since Bill and I will be heading to South Jersey for my cousin Neil’s wedding to his longtime girlfriend, Linda. That’s an event I’m looking forward to. I don’t think my brothers were invited, just me and Bill. Gotta represent.

I did send an email to Brian and Frank but I haven’t heard anything about whether or not they were invited. This can turn into ‘well they didn’t invite us to this function or that one so I’m not going to invite them to our thing’. Hurt feelings land. That would be too bad. Bill and I still have to figure out how we’re going to get there, train, car, who knows? And of course, it depends on how well Bill’s parents are doing that weekend.

No plans for tonight. Bill’s coming home again and that means two hours of Law and Order. It doesn’t matter who’s in the shows since it all melts into one episode. Just a mellow night at home, simple really. Nothing planned, nothing to do. Still haven’t watched Sicko, but tonight wouldn’t be the time, not with Law and Order being on. Plus I don’t think I’m in the mood tonight. Actually right now I feel like taking going to sleep, but that means I would wake up around 3:00 in the morning and that would be no fun. I guess I’ll hang in there until later. See ya.

Here’s Al Gore

Positively Fourth Street

Well it’s a Tuesday that feels like a Monday due to having Martin Luther King’s birthday off. I was happy with it, and getting out of bed wasn’t the trauma it usually is. I knew I had to get moving on to work so I got out of bed, showered, had some cereal and coffee. Bill was here but didn’t make any coffee or pour any cereal. I lived though and was able to do those things myself. I handled it well. Missed the first bus since I wasn’t hustling and I knew there would be another bus soon after. It was just me and the tousled headed kid that may be going to school in the city. High school it looks like. Definitely has the look of a high school student, reading a dog eared copy of Ethan Frome and lugging around quite a heavy book bag/back pack. Maybe he goes to Horace Mann.

I read the New yorker, specifically the article on the 14 year old girl who killed herself after harassment by a teen neighbor and her mother among other friends. It turned out they created a fake MySpace user who made overtures to the girl and after weeks of stringing her along, dumped her and dumped on her causing the 14 year old to lose it and wind up killing herself in a closet. It was found out later that the mother of the neighbor next door basically orchestrated the suicide and got off the hook, claiming that the 14 year old talked about, or attempted suicide before. Such beasts roam free across the land.

Sad to hear about Heath Ledger dying at age 28 in Soho today. Harpy scored major points with that phone call. Heath was found in his loft in bed surrounded by pills. Could be an accidental overdose. Poor guy left a two year old daughter behind too. He had a talent for acting and I certainly was looking forward to his performance as The Joker in the latest Batman movie this summer. A shame. Good looking bloke he was. Latest news is that Heath Ledger may have had pneumonia and mixed an Ambien with his meds. Autopsy tomorrow.

Last night Bill and I watched a documentary Life After People. It was about what would happen if mankind vanished off the face of the earth. No apparent reason was given for the disappearance, but it was how Manhattan would start breaking down after a few days, then weeks then months, years and centuries. Not just New York though, all over the world. It was good but not as good as one book that I’m reading, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. The book tells the same story only better and it involves the imagination which is always better than CGI. I recommend the book and was thinking about getting a copy for my brother in law, Rex for his upcoming birthday. But maybe I’ll get him something more lighthearted rather than doom and gloom. I just did. Got a good price on eBay and hopefully it will get to Arcata by his birthday. I got it for my brother Frank for Christmas and I want a copy too, for myself. But then again I have more than enough to read.

Here is a clip of that Bill Clinton, nodding off at a service yesterday in Harlem in honor of Martin Luther King. I don’t like Bill Clinton. He is no friend of LGBT people. He used our vote, saying he’d get rid of the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the military, then came up with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Now he’s saying that the way he wanted it was that lesbians and gay men could serve closeted and when they’re off on leave or what have you, they can let their freak flags fly. Thats not how it works, even with rose tinted glasses when looking at the signature on the document he signed. And then there is the Defense of Marriage Act, more betrayal.

His marriage was threatened not by fucking around on his wife, or getting a blow job from a White House intern, no his marriage was threatened by same sex marriage, or at least the concept of gay men and women having the same thousand or so rights that he stomps on every time he unzips his pants in the company of women. And I did forget, but was reminded of his advice to John Kerry, telling him to throw the LGBT community under the bus, regarding same sex marriage rights. Yes Bill Clinton is no friend of the LGBT community. So here’s a clip of the scumbag nodding off. Way to go moron. Hillary should have divorced his tired ass.

Hail to the tired dumb ass.

Happy Birthday

It’s a freezing cold Monday in January. Juan came over last night, he watched half of The Wire and then we watched the rest of season three of Weeds. Today he goes back to Ewing for his off campus life. Hopefully they have heat down there since it’s presently 25 degrees which is the high for the day. Barometric pressure is out of control, clear blue skies, courtesy of a Siberian wind. I picture Juan living in a ramshackle house, peeling paint, bare light bulbs, cold wind blowing through the slats of the house. I’m sure it’s not like that at all.

Right now I am watching Edge of the City, a film from 1957 starring Sidney Poitier and John Cassavetes, directed by Martin Ritt. Pretty good, edgy, jazz score. Sidney playing the cool uptown cat and John Cassavetes the guy harboring a secret. Of course it being the 50’s, Sidney has to die and Cassavetes has to find some sort of gritty redemption.

Before that was A Patch of Blue, once again with Sidney Poitier, and Shelley Winters and Elizabeth Hartman. I remember that being on Channel 4′ s 4:30 Movie. They always seemed to show A Patch of Blue once a year and this was the first time I saw it and understood it. It may also have made an impression on me when I was growing up, seeing how ugly racism could be and also how some disabled people like Selena the blind girl in A Patch of Blue could be abused and mistreated. And how noble a regular person can be.

Man, that Shelley Winters was horrible. I mean she was good but her character was just horrible. She pulled it off and won a best supporting actress Academy Award. A ‘happy’ ending to the melodrama, but Elizabeth Hartman had a tragic life though. The acting parts dried up, she was manic depressive and jumped off a bridge in the 80’s. Such an affected performance. I am watching Turner Classic Moves more and more these days. Sidney Poitier turned 81 yesterday.

Back to work tomorrow, a four day work week which is something quite easy to get used to, but that ain’t going to happen. I’m sure I would complain about having to work four days after a while. Whittle it down to one day and I’d moan about that too. Then, if I had nothing but days off, I’d complain about not having any work to do. Ok, that might be a stretch. I’m thinking if I was wealthy enough not to work, which should happen, any day now.

On Friday I am going to see my first Samuel Beckett play, Happy Days. From what I gather, it mainly takes place at a hamburger stand in late 1950’s suburban Milwaukee. Oh and the cast are buried up to their waist in act one, up to their neck in act two.

Today is a day off, in honor of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, a great man. I’m sure you would agree.
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Ai No Corrida

A very lazy, very cold Sunday. Did most everything I had to do yesterday, chore wise. So that left plenty of time for nothing to do. And since it’s so cold and windy out, it’s best to stay indoors. So I’ve been reading, finished one book, read the papers, the New York Times Online, and Mojo, which I am in the middle of. I watched the Simpsons Movie yesterday afternoon. Definitely not the same as watching it in a theater. It’s almost just another Simpsons episode on TV, only without the commercials, but it’s still a larf.

Last night I watched Factory Girl, starring Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick, Guy Pierce as Andy Warhol and Hayden Christiansen as a Bob Dylan type. Sienna Miller certainly had the part down, as did Guy Pierce who sounded just like Warhol, as well as having the mannerisms fitting to a T. Hayden Christiansen, while vaguely looking like a Bob Dylan, had his vocal inflections down. There were some shots where I wasn’t sure if I was actually looking at a photograph of Andy and Edie or Guy and Sienna. It wasn’t terrible though and worth a look if you’re interested in a representation of what Andy Warhol’s Factory was like.

Juan came back to the States and last night came over to hang out for a spell. He told a few tales of fun and frustration, and actually, during the latter, raised his voice up considerably, that’s how carried away in the moment he was. It was good to see him, all tanned yet dressed like an Eskimo in his great big parka. We watched some episodes of Weeds that I had recorded, and drank some very dry wine, the kind after drinking it you had cottonmouth.

I got it for free from the liquor store on the corner a few weeks ago during the holidays, so I can’t complain. After three episodes I was bleary eyed and needed to sleep, so I said good night to Juan after showing him to the door. Back to reality for him on Tuesday.

I still have Sicko by Michael Moore from Netflix to watch, but right now I’m not that into watching a documentary about the health care system in this country. Maybe tomorrow. Tonight The Wire is on, so that’s something to look forward to. Still have the New Yorker to catch up on, and Mojo, both of which I am in the middle of.

Right now The US vs John Lennon is on. Woodstock was on previously. I’ve seen the John Lennon documentary before, and Woodstock I’ve only seen scattered clips. I couldn’t watch it all in one sitting, but I did catch Sly and the Family Stone as well as Jimi Hendrix, both of which were the best out of all the clips I had seen. Totally electrifying.

Off tomorrow, for the Martin Luther King Federal holiday. A chance to sleep a little bit later again.

Experimented with my camera for a bit this afternoon which will explain most of the pictures below.

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Through a green glass darkly
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Jackie Kennedy hallucination
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What do you see?
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Jackie normal
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Money

Hello. Nice to see you. Is that a new shirt? It looks good on you. So what have you been up to lately? Is that right? Me? Well you know, samo samo. Oh, you want to know what I’ve been up to lately, and by lately you mean today? Well, sure I guess I can tell you, but I don’t want to dominate the conversation. I mean, you might have better things to do. Like what? I don’t know. Flossing maybe? They say it’s important and it probably is. Laundry? Well funny that comes up.

I did laundry today. It’s part of the Saturday routine. I woke up around 9:00 to the sound of a jackhammer a few buildings down. Bill left early this morning, having to be back at his parents apartment for yet another home health aide. They rotate every three days, and it would be best for all concerned if Bill was there to meet them. I went out, dropped some dry cleaning off as well as a suit that needed to be mended.

Then it was off to the bagel store, and at the counter before me was Rand. We chatted and walked along Washington Street while he ran in and out of a couple of stores, buying produce. We parted ways after quickly catching up, and I soon found myself online at the supermarket, chatting with Linda the cashier. Got some bagels for Julio and Stine so I knocked on their door and chatted with them for a short time before heading up back to mine for a nice breakfast. Did the laundry, perhaps just like you, only mine hangs in the bathroom on hangers or wooden racks in the kitchen.

Watched a documentary on Marlon Brando on Biography and I never realized how hot he was back, even before A Streetcar Named Desire. Definitely an interesting and ultimately tragic life. Spoke to Martha G, she returned my phone call from a few weeks ago about perhaps introducing her to a woman I used to work with at Wanker Banker, to perhaps get financing for her movies. She gave me the go ahead, so I’ll probably write an email to her next week. I also watched a show on the Roman Empire, which had Peter Weller of Robocop, Naked Lunch fame.

Turns out, not only is Peter Weller a good actor, but he is also an authority on Ancient Rome. I looked it up online. He was also in Buckaroo Banzai. I saw that in 1984, on LSD in Washington DC with Jet and Billie. Then we wound up in a club, and I went back to the home of some guy who had a portrait of Hitler in his literal and figurative closet. He was also a member of the Heritage Foundation, a right wing neocon think tank. Travis was his name.

Took a walk around Hoboken for a while, and on the way to the Post Office, I saw someone canvassing up ahead and decided to pull out the cellphone and pretend to be having a conversation. It worked, the guy left me alone. It was something for children and they insist on information and I insist on having it mailed to me where I would fill out whatever info I might want to divulge and mail it back. They usually give up after a minute or two and I go off on my merry way. That is about it for now, or actually for January 19, 2008. Smell ya later.

Here’s some pics.

Bag filled with water, in a tree, a few doors down
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Canal Street from Hoboken
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5th & Hudson, Hoboken
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I Feel It All

Late posting tonight ladies and gentlemen. Nothing bad happened, actually some good happened. I just got back from dinner with Julio and Stine, the happy parents to be. We ate at a Hoboken classic, Leo’s Grandevous. Last time I ate there was some New Years Day a while ago I think, just me and Julio nursing hangovers and eating anything that was on a plate in front of us.

Tonight was nice, the three of us, catching up. I hardly ever see them and they only live two floors below on the third floor. It being a Friday night, the restaurant was crowded and the food was as the usual sub par offerings.

It definitely helps being hungover to eat there, Sinatra photos and artworks on almost every available wall space and nonstop Frank playing on the jukebox. Yes, you are in Hoboken. We ordered appetizers and entrees which basically came at the same time. No one got upset, we just ate and talked. Julio and I drinking Stella Artois and Stine rocking a glass of ginger ale.

At the end of dinner, Julio and Stine gave me some cigars they bought at customs. Not the usual Cubans that Julio got last time, having picked up on Stine’s paranoia, and he was disappointed they were the same guage I usually get, but they are Zino Davidoff, a very nice, pricey cigar and even though a bit smaller than usual, more than enjoyable, as I sit and smoke a very fine cigar.

Julio was surprised I hadn’t eaten when he called at 7:45. I had just walked through the door after coming back from the movies. Yes, I got it together and went on my own, which after all turned out to be fine. I can enjoy a movie on my own. It is fun when someone else is there, but just as good going solo.

After speaking with Annemarie the other day, and since she recommended it, I went to see No Country For Old Men. I decided to leave work early, ala brother Frank’s shenanigans and no one had any problem with that since half the office was out for the three day weekend, or they were simply home ill, since there is a virus bouncing around the office.

It was a great movie. It was violent and also very intense in a low key way, and if I saw it before Annemarie, I probably would have tried talking her out of seeing it as it was that violent. Since she saw it first, I had to go to see for myself. Great acting all around, great story and definitely worth seeing again, just to see if there was anything I missed. A very fast two hours as well.

Next on my movie menu, might be this weekend with Chaz and we might go see There Will Be Blood, starring the great Daniel Day Lewis. And if I don’t see it with Chaz this weekend, I might go on my own after work next week. Three day weekend, got to get bagels for the parents to be tomorrow and Sunday. I’m just looking forward to sleeping past 6:30. That’s it for tonight’s Night Owl edition.

Jimmy Crack Corn

It’s Thursday. I’m happy about it, though I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it if I tried. Last night, lets see. I watched TV. I know I am just as surprised as you by this fact. Scrubs repeats, Daily Show, Colbert Report, Law and Order CI and Law and Order Generic. Not as much fun to watch Law and Order without Bill around, it just isn’t as funny. They should really get a laugh track for that show, or bring back Jerry Orbach. Now that would work. Today I posted on the Daily News website about music being used in commercials.

Here is what I wrote: Normally, I find the licensing of rock and roll songs for commercials to be very tacky, but lately I’ve had to rethink that. There are two examples, one is Feist on the iPod commercial and the other is Royksopp for Geico (Caveman in airport). I would more than likely never have heard either artist if it wasn’t for the exposure on the commercials, and I bought the Royksopp single (Remind Me) and the Feist LP (The Reminder), and I enjoy them both very much. I also purchased wonderful Mark E. Smith of the Fall (Blindness) after hearing his unmistakable voice on a car commercial. So it goes both ways. I didn’t mention Moby who started the whole mess with contemporary music being used in commercials, since I am relatively ambivalent about him. And I still don’t have any need to own Moby’s Play CD after hearing it countless times while living with William in my Weehawken days.

Though the days are ever so slowly getting longer, it’s getting harder for me to wake up in the morning. Oh how I could use another hour of sleep. I know I could achieve that be going to ed an hour earlier, but come on, going to bed at 10:30? I wouldn’t get to the denouement of Law and Order and I would never know who got the pie in the face. Work so far this year has been pretty good. I’ve been busy and productive, though Tom Chin has been under the weather lately I’m pretty sure he’s noticed. And it’s fun working with Lydia, good to have someone to bounce ideas with. I’ve been leaving around 4:30 lately.

Since I’m in at 8:00 each day, I figure eight and one half hours is enough. Plus I don’t really ‘take’ lunch. I go out, get a salad and I go back to the office and eat at my desk doing whatever it is that needs to be done, or I read gawker.com , and most of the time while I’m eating people still come up to me and ask for things. And I am proud to be able to get through two weeks of work, ten days total.

Lately I’ve been addicted to ELO’s greatest hits. I simply can’t stop listening to it on my iPod. IN fact I downloaded their greatest hits, but a certain song wasn’t on it, so I went to the iTunes store and downloaded another track. I did look first on Limewire, for ELO and embarrassingly Howard Jones who I heard over the PA at the supermarket. Ladies and gentlemen, WTF?

Here’s a pic of a ghost bike, marking where another rider was killed a little over a month ago at the corner of 40th and Broadway. I don’t know, lately the idea of riding in the city seems intimidating. I walk around the city a lot and can’t help but notice how many terrible drivers are on the road these days. They stop in crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to walk into traffic, or the just slowly creep through red light, since they really really really wanted to go through and since no one will stop them, they do it. It’s scary and reignites the fear that I will be killed by a car someday. Now that I wrote it, let’s hope it doesn’t happen. Somebody light a candle. Also if I die, if I can’t get a green funeral, then cremate me and through me in either the ocean or the Hudson River, urn and all. Sorry if that brought you down, wasn’t my intention, just putting it out there.

Franco Scorcia 72 Years Old, Killed by a Car December 6, 2007
Rest In Peace
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Love Me Two Times

Well it’s Wednesday and there’s only a few hours left in it. Last night, was pretty quiet, just hung out of course. Bill came home, and proceeded to tell me his woes with his parents. His dad is doing better mentally though his body is falling apart. His mother is meddling, trying to boss the home health care assistant around. She’s not all together in the here and now, still trying to take care of her husband though she’s doing all the wrong things and making matters worse. According to Bill, his father wished him good luck in dealing with Bill’s mother. Perhaps this is what happens when science keeps the body alive longer that it was planning to.

It’s sad and Bill is exhausted mentally. He’s thinking about putting both parents in a nursing home, thinking that that is his only solution. I don’t have any words to tell him otherwise, plus it isn’t my place. Of course putting them in a nursing home in St. Albans would eat all of their savings, plus Bill would have to give up the apartment in Stuyvesant Town. I think he’s come around to thinking that I don’t want to live in Manhattan, plus the rent would be $1400.00 which is more than what we’re paying now in Hoboken.

I suggested that Bill call other friends, his dear friend Margaret in Atlanta and two friends from his church who have an apartment in Washington Heights that Bill has been turning to for some counseling. He seems to trust them all, and they might have the benefit of not being in the loop that much to give Bill some fresh insight. It’s a lot for poor Bill to handle and all I can do is offer an ear.

In other news, last night I purchased the Electric Light Orchestra’s greatest hits. Just a pining for a simpler time in my life. Actually it was triggered by watching Boogie Nights a few weeks ago. It still is a classic movie, with a most excellent soundtrack. I transferred a few songs to my iPod and listened to Evil Woman and was transported back to 1975 and I was sledding in Van Saun Park, thanks to a neighbor, Mrs. Williams. Mrs. Williams wasn’t evil by the way, just I remembered hearing it, sitting in the back of her Chevy Nova as we were driving back home with her son Scott and a few other neighborhood kids. She passed away in 2002, and I will always remember her, watching Camelot on TV and her saying how much she loved it. She said that, when Guinevere was singing a song, and looking at Vanessa Redgrave, I will forever associate the two.

I also heard Funny Face by Donna Fargo the other night as I was drifting off to sleep and that reminded me of the VFW in Saddle Brook. Today at work I was required to sit in a meeting with Greg Stevens and two real estate guys, trying to get us to use their tenant services should we decide to move in a year or two after our present lease expires. I met two guys named Jason as I followed Greg Stevens lead and handed out my business cards in exchanged for the Jason’s cards. I sat there and took some notes as they gave us their spiel and it was over in about 15 minutes. I’m sure I have other meetings down the line, got to be quicker on the business card exchange. That’s about it for now. Bill in Stuyvesant Town again, I just hope he isn’t as despondent as he was a little earlier.

Here’s a pic
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Down In The Park

Tuesday, still no snow, though it certainly is cold enough right now. A few flakes appear from time to time, but not enough to do much of anything except to melt. Last night I watched a documentary on Val Lewton, a producer who basically changed the way horror movies were made in the 1940’s. I got sucked into it hearing Martin Scorsese narrate, letting me know that this was no run of the mill documentary. It was pretty good and it was followed by Cat People, which certainly was haunting and atmospheric.

They mentioned a few times that so many things fly by the camera yet the images leave an impression, and watching Cat People I was in agreement. I never saw Cat People before, at least not the 1940’s version. Saw photographs in a few horror movie books that I had growing up and it was a thrill to see the still photographs come to life on screen. A similar effect happened on Saturday when I went to the Andy Warhol show. The shoe drawings were photos that I had previously seen in various Warhol books that I have, and to see them just a few inches from me was quite a thrill.

The same thing happens when I see newsreels of the Beatles, when I had only seen photographs of whatever event the Fabs were present at. Regarding Cat People I did see the remake by Paul Schrader in the 1980’s and it was ok. Saw it because Bowie sang the title track, and Natassia Kinski was in it. She was hot then and quite exotic even for a 20 year old gay boy from Lodi.

During the Val Lewton documentary, Bill called. Needed a comforting voice and that was me. He is once again overwhelmed, though the situation had changed now that his father was released from the VA hospital. Both his mom and dad are under one roof and both of them have problems which isn’t making the scene any better. A home care attendant is now there as well from the Visiting Nurse service courtesy of Medicare making for a cramped apartment.

I was glad to be able to listen and even though I had no magic words to say to make it all better, I think Bill appreciated the opportunity to vent and I appreciated the fact that I was able to pause the broadcast while Bill poured his heart out over the phone. I swear I sounded like a therapist talking to him on the phone, calm measured tones, asking the right questions and being supportive when Bill needed support. Perhaps in a previous life I was a therapist.

This morning I got out of bed after hitting the snooze button only once, and that was because I had a headache from being dehydrated. Once again I was out of the apartment and headed to 5th and Washington in about 45 minutes. I read the New Yorker about Scientology, which is always a favorite topic to read about. A totally crazy 20th century religion with just a hint of fascism. I have a thing called a death line with Harpy. Usually when someone famous, or a bold face name passes away, one of us calls the other. With other friends, it turns into, ‘Guess who’s a Scientologist?’ and that usually ends up with the other end of the phone line say, ‘Oh really? Damn, I liked him/her’ and we never look at that person we called about the same way again. Such is the disdain for the Scientologist.

This is a pretty cool link. The link is working. Do it! Click it! NOW!

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne?currentPage=all

Rip Off

Oh yeah, It’s Monday again. Yesterday I had two laugh out loud moments. One was because I was wearing a sweater that I really like and it made me laugh. I think someone from my family got it for Bill as a present last year, 2006. He never wears it, I found it and I love it. Nice gray Old Navy sweater, very comfortable with a zipper to zip up. It really is a fun sweater and if you wore it, I think you would laugh too out of happiness.

The other laugh out loud moment was when I was watching 60 Minutes, not usually known for it’s comedy, and they were interviewing the 23 year old inventor of Facebook. The commentator was talking to someone else who mentioned how the generation born in the 80’s see things totally different from the boomers and the X’ers. X’ers sounds like Excer my friend from back in the day and I laughed because it was so odd to hear Excer’s name on TV, even though it wasn’t what they meant.

Yes, yesterday was just a silly day for me. Plus the anticipation of the massive snowstorm we were expecting made me giddy. It really didn’t take much to make me laugh, and though it was two small inconsequential things, totally unrelated I took the laugh wholeheartedly. Last night I watched some clips from the Golden Globes since it wasn’t officially on. I had hoped the Simpsons would be on, but the Terminator show was on instead and I tried watching that for a little while but I really wasn’t that interested in it.

I killed time until The Wire came on. Good acting all around, great writing. I tried several times to get into watching it, but something would come up and I would miss an episode and it became harder each time to get back into the plot. Since this is the final season, I’m giving it the old college try and digging what I’ve seen so far. There are ties to previous seasons that pop up and occasionally I see a character that I never saw before, or an incident that happened previously but it’s not insurmountable to get back into the swing of things.

After that I just read and listen to the rain fall on my window pane, waiting for it to turn into snow. And with those hopeful thoughts I went to sleep after waxing my Flexible Flier sled. Fell into a deep sleep and woke up after hitting the snooze button twice. I looked out the window, expecting to see cars buried in the snow, whiteness everywhere, and my heart sank. I saw asphalt and the cars parked the way they were last night.

So much hype about the big snow storm and I believed all of it. I felt like a kid again, a Sunday night, snow expected, another day off, a three day weekend. Perhaps sledding down Gunther Avenue, carefully wiping out before the corner of Main Street. Nope, none of that. Tough sledding, like my mother used to say.

Though I woke up late, I was surprised that I can still get it together and catch the bus to the city in about 45 minutes, not really hustling, just the routine is so easy to fall into, it’s like jumping on a conveyor belt, going through the motions and winding up at the bus stop at 5th and Washington Street. Bleary eyed, one cup of coffee and I’m gone. Thats about all for now, hope you like the photos yesterday.

My Friends

I don’t know if it’s me, but my gmail has actually been behaving very oddly the past couple of days. It’s taking forever to load, and when I try to open attachments a new window appears, which is the main mailbox, not the attachment. And there’s a message at the top of each page for gmail, saying that it will retry in x amount of seconds and you see the countdown and when it winds down to 1 sec, it starts retrying all over again. It’s crazy I tell you, crazy!

Last night I couldn’t find anything to watch on TV so I decided to give David Lynch’s Inland Empire a chance. I couldn’t get past 20 minutes. Too many distractions at home, I should have seen it in a movie theater, like David Lynch intended. I had to shut it off and I put that and the bonus disk that I also got from Netflix and put them in their envelopes for mailing today. It certainly looked interesting, but I think one needs to be immersed in total darkness in order to get David Lynch’s desired effect. After I gave up on that I was adrift in the wasteland of Saturday night television.

I watched part of Man of the Year, starring Robin Williams and Laura Linney and I once again wondered, if Robin Williams is so funny (and he is) why can’t he make funny movies anymore? I know, shades of Stardust Memories, where Sandy Bates/Woody Allen is constantly told through the movie, that his earlier funnier movies were his best. I suppose I just did that with Robin Williams, oh well. I didn’t watch the whole movie, only caught the end but I’m sure I didn’t miss too much. I also watched part of The Longest Day, which is quite long and had so many commercial interruptions it was easy to change the channel without getting hung up in the story.

Also some of Carlos Mencia on Comedy Central. He’s ok, not terribly funny, but in spots. Juan absolutely loathes Carlos Mencia. I couldn’t bear to watch Jake Gyllenhaal on SNL again singing ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’. The first time was funny, the second time worth a chuckle, but by the fourth or fifth time, it gets mighty tired. I wound up reading past midnight and wound up going to sleep around 1:30. Woke up late again which was fine since no one was expecting me to be anywhere or to do anything.

Went out, did the routine and soon was back reading papers while eating breakfast. Big snowstorm expected tonight which I’m looking forward to. I do enjoy looking at the streets, all covered in fresh snow. It looks great in the first 24 hours, then it all turns to slush. They’re expecting 6 inches or so, some places getting 10. If it’s a pain in the ass to even get out of the apartment building I don’t expect to be at work tomorrow. I don’t expect a few people to be in. Maybe the Manhattanites will make it in, but those of us, not on the island facing difficulty getting in more than likely will be out.

I watched the last half hour of The Pursuit of Happyness and I was surprised at how good it was. I plan to watch the whole thing even though I know the ending. I knew the ending before I saw the last half hour since the story was in all the financial magazines that I sometimes read. Not for financial advice, but for the suit styles worn by the business men inside. Also fixed the bugs in my photo editing program XN-View. It’s what I use to shrink down the pics and that, like gmail was all buggy last night. Now it’s only gmail. Google better get on top of it.

And here are some pics…..
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‘To Mrs. Dempster, I hope you’re felling better. xxx, Andy Warhol’
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‘Beauty is shoe, shoe beauty…’
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‘A la Recherche du shoe perdu’ by Andy Warhol
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Car Crash/Race Riot
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Cupid
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Johnny Krug
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Chopin/George Sand
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Fatima and Blue Bread…errr Beard
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Andy’s love
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Sock advert
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The show itself
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from the Sonnebend Gallery
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and today in Hoboken….
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That’s it! Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

Artists Only

Today being Saturday means I get to sleep in. I slept until about 9:00 which wasn’t too much of a stretch considering I went to bed at 1:00AM. I watched Bill Maher last night, he was ok, definitely needed his writers, and he even said so towards the end of the show. After that I watched Ringo Starr on VH1 Classic, Ringo being the subject of the Storytellers show. He was ok, an enjoyable hour spent. Of course the Beatles songs had stories I had heard before.

Mainly Ringo saying that the White Album is his favorite album but it’s also the one during which he left the band for two weeks. Perhaps it was a pretty good fortnight for Ringo. He wrote Octopus’ Garden while out of the group. Obviously he came back, then George quit for a couple of days, followed by John nine months later. Paul was the only who actually left, telling the press he quit to the dismay of the other three. Ringo didn’t get into that mess though.

Last night’s blog was a way for me to let off steam. I’m back to what passes for normal when I’m concerned. Today was a nice day. Went out, got the usual, did some shopping, dropped off dry cleaning. Came back, had breakfast, read the papers and started on some laundry. I had a sketch of a plan to head into the city and see the last day of a Warhol exhibition. Time Out NY had the gallery on 57th Street so I hopped on the bus and walked up to 57th street. At 20 west 57th, I walked in and asked the guard for the Susan Sheehan Gallery. He tells me it moved. I call up the gallery and they tell me they’re on west 22nd street now, and she told Time Out that fact, but they haven’t changed it.

I was annoyed but thanks to some transcontinental prodding from Annemarie, I hopped on a train to 23rd Street. Made it to the gallery, saw some very old Warhol drawings from the 1950’s and two early 60’s silkscreens. It was good to see Andy’s stuff and it made me glad that I went out and did something. I wandered around 22nd street and looked at some other artists in different galleries. Good stuff, a good day to look at some art. It was getting dark out and I was getting hungry so I walked over to 33rd street and caught the Path train back to Hoboken.

Made a burger and it was good. I may watch Inland Empire tonight. I don’t know what to expect but I’m sure to get something out of it. David Lynch can do that to you. I heard from Juan yesterday, he’s having a gay old time in Costa Rica. All the young men have faux hawks in Costa Rica, so he’s probably standing out with his New York City style by way of Seoul. He was planning on heading tot he beach, the Pacific Ocean, and surprisingly enough, I’m not jealous.

I took some pics but having difficulty with my editing program so I’ll post them tomorrow hopefully. That is if you want to see them.

Tight Turn

Finally it’s Friday. First 5 day work week in a few weeks. I got through it alright, nothing too special. Have a whole year of this. Well not a whole year, there are days off between now and December 31, but the majority are five day work weeks. Bill was here again last night. Sometimes it’s good to have him around. No it generally is good all the time to have him around. If only he could find the garbage cans, or the bag where recyclables go. I suppose I hide them too well, one in every room of this four room railroad flat.

Most of the time I pick up after him, suppressing my resentment about these tasks. Seeing the shape of his parents apartment last week made me realize that he’s been like this all of his life. I guess thats the way he was brought up. For me it’s a struggle to be neat, and I could hold my own generally but when dealing with this small pile here and that small pile there next to those other piles, I basically threw my hands in the air to surrender. This morning, Bill left with a kiss. No more coffee, no cereal in a bowl. Just crap over here, crap over there, empty vitamin water bottles, on the floor, under the couch. I picked them all up and put them in the recycling bag. I even went into the fridge and emptied bottles with only backwash in them. I cleaned up a bit and created some more space all before I jumped in the shower.

Outside this morning it was pouring rain, pissing all over the streets, complete with thunder and lightning. I got on the bus which quickly filled up and wound up finishing the New Yorker as we sat in the Lincoln Tunnel for about 20 minutes. Greg Stevens was in before I was which rarely happens. I set about doing the office start up routine, as well as doing whatever task was asked of me, taking care to look after Lydia and making sure she had enough to do. I keep telling her to take her time, but so far she’s rushed through most everything that was asked, leaving her to ask me later in the day if there was anything she could do.

She’s a good worker, has a good work ethic. I just hope I can find enough to keep her busy. By 2:00 this afternoon I was through with just about everything I had to do. Greg Stevens left around 3:00 and at 4:00 I felt that it would be ok for me to leave. It had stopped raining and I had a very nice walk across town, enjoying my Padron and listening to the Raybeats. I walked to the bus terminal and got on the Hoboken bus which quickly filled up and since it was now 50 degrees outside, with everyone in winter clothing, a bit damp, it got very humid. I read the book I ordered last month, almost done with it. Very good entertaining read.

Now I’m home, Bill should be going to his parents apartment this weekend. Tentative plans to go to the movies with Charlie on Sunday, perhaps No Country for Old Men, or There Will Be Blood or any other movies that might be out. Of course, if Bill needs me to help him out with cleaning his parents apartment again, then that’s where I’ll be. But tonight I’m home and I’m cool with that. That’s about it for now, nothing else going on as far as I know. Cheers.

And Through the Wire

It’s Thursday, this much I know. Vivek returned to work, quite happy. The office was buzzing. Told Larry Stooge that I wrote a diary everyday. He asked if it was a blog and I said no. Really no need for him snooping. Trying to keep it on the down low. It was a productive day. I found out that Lydia is an illegal worker. She really shouldn’t be working in the office, but she is. She’s getting paid off the books so no one is the wiser. It’s an interesting folly. I didn’t hire her, so I’m not going to get caught in the sweep, if there is any sweeping to be done.

I heard from Juan who is in Costa Rica. He instant messaged me while I was away and since he only had internet access for about 10 minutes I missed him. I hope he’s having a good time. He’s been gone for almost a week I think, but it seems like he’s been gone for a longer time than that. Probably because when he’s at school or nearby we still communicate via email, instant messages or phone, so it’s like he’s around one way or another.

I haven’t heard from Song who from what I gathered was in Taiwan last I checked. Perhaps he’s on his way back to Sydney. I totally missed him when he was in the area. I think I was supposed to call him back, but I never did, being in such a foul mood and Song being such a nice guy, it might have been all for the best. I hope Song is the forgiving type. I know Juan isn’t. Juan is the condemning type, hence his charm.

Thanks to Bill involving me in Facebook once again, as John Ozed in case you’re interested, I found an old friend, Kelvin Joyner. I’ve known Kelvin on and off about 10 years. He used to work for a cartage company when I was working at Right Track Recording. He’s a real sweetheart, he’s had his troubles as have we all. He had a band back in the nineties, I think the working name was All Mighty. He asked me to play keyboards for them and I explained that I don’t play keyboards, but that was why he asked.

He knew I had a musical ear and with the right instrument I might be able to bring it out. I was game so I sat in on a few practices. It was perhaps the height of my Brian Eno infatuation so wearing the hat of a non-musician I played admirably, dispensing clavinet sounds as well as Eno-esque philosophies like, ‘it’s not what you play, it’s what you don’t play that matters’. Pretentious, yes? Well the band lasted about a month, I played with them a few times, before they disbanded or just kept playing and not telling me what was going on.

Still years later, I look back with fondness on Kelvin giving me the chance to sound like Jerry Harrison on certain Talking Heads tracks. I have some tapes somewhere, and I think I sounded pretty good, not great. They did cover one song, Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, which I didn’t know at all then, but thanks to Kelvin’s enthusiasm, I eventually got into Jimi. Kelvin does have a band again, a three piece from what I could tell from his myspace page. Look him up, Kelvin Joyner, and give a listen to his songs. So that is where it’s at today, January 10, 2008. Crazy innit?

Take a Chance on Me

Well it’s Wednesday and I thought for a while this afternoon that it was Tuesday. I don’t know why. I’m ok now, obviously, it’s is Wednesday. I just have to keep telling myself that. Bill was here last night, rambunctious like an 8 year old which is fun then I start to feel like a parent with an overactive child with no car for the kid to sit in while I shop. It was cute, then irritation, and then when I thought about it, and thought about Bill, it became cute again. Most of the time, I just have to step back and think about how I’d miss things like this if Bill wasn’t around.

So I enjoy it while he is, or just ignore it until he goes to bed. I guess in these ways I am a parent. He does have a childish innocence and he possesses such a pure joy which I sometimes which I had instead of being jaded and cynical. That’s something I have to work on in the upcoming year. Can optimism be had once it’s gone? I guess we’ll find out, or at least I’ll find out and write about it and tell you later. That’s optimistic isn’t it? Bill once again was up before me and left me with a kiss before he headed off to work.

I stumbled into the shower, grateful to see that Bill made some coffee for me, taking one minute of of my morning routine which made a difference, allowing precious seconds to improve my hygiene. Once again it was 50 something degrees and once again I was smart enough to leave behind the winter coat and just go to work in a suit and tie. Quite a few people had been bundled up considerably, hats, scarves, gloves. They must have been really sweaty dressed like that. I know I was on Monday when I went to work dressed with my overcoat, but not today.

I listened to Television, Marquee Moon on the way through Bryant Park and Grand Central Station. I really liked to listen to it this morning, for some reason a few months ago I couldn’t stand to. Don’t know why, it is a classic record and I learned how to play guitar listening to some songs on it. Don’t think I remember the chords now, but with a few hours practice I’m sure I could figure it out. But who has the time? And the concept of forming a band fades into the distance more and more. I can’t even find anyone to jam with.

On my Manhunt profile, I took a chance and removed most of the sexual things I might be looking for and basically put an ad up saying that I was looking for someone to jam with. Got one reply from some guy in town who likes to play guitar nude. Whatever, I just want to play guitar or bass. I have both instruments you know. True, posting a music ad on a hookup site isn’t necessarily the thing that will guarantee results, but then again the sex angle wasn’t working that well anyhow.

I should have taken that as a tip. No one wants to play with me either sexually nor musically. I can always do it myself I suppose, musically. Most everyone knows I can do the sexual bit on my own, par excellence. Bill could engineer a session, he does have the recording equipment, keyboards and a drum machine which is just fine by me. Somewhere down the line, perhaps we’ll find time to do such a thing. Until then I wish you all a good day, or a good night. See ya!

Station to Station

Well it’s day two of a return to normalcy. Not much to report really. Greg Stevens due to return tomorrow, Vivek the day after. I’ve been doing my best to get along with Tom Chin, mentioning how I plan on running a tighter ship this year which made him wonder what the hell was I doing last year. The proper answer was not much. This year I plan to budget my time, and make sure the receptionist has plenty to do.

Her name is Lydia, she’s originally from Estonia. She’s actually a tennis pro at Greg Steven’s country club and since this isn’t exactly tennis season, in order to prevent her from roaming the winter streets of Southampton, we found a spot for her, just fine and dandy. She’s willing to pitch in, roll up her sleeves and get dirty. If only we had some dirt for her to work with. She seems content with stocking the refrigerator and checking the machines and making sure there is paper in each one. And she’s being schooled on how to make a proper cup of coffee.

I spoke to the woman she replaced the other day, Carla who is doing well at her gig, not so new anymore since it’s been a few months already. We had plans to meet during the holiday season but things being what they were and me being who I was, we decided that soon we’ll meet up for drinks after work. Same thing with Brenda, formerly from Wanker Banker. Drinks promised but never delivered. I didn’t want to sit and bemoan my fate so I avoided drinks with her. I think we are good enough friends to be able to pick up where we left off and have some drinks soon enough.

Since it was in the 60 degree range today and seems to be that way for the rest of the week, this could be the week to do it. But with who? Brenda or Carla? Can’t have them both together since they both want 100% of me. Carla might be in the lead since I actually spoke to her on the phone, and hadn’t spoken to Brenda since last year. And on the contacting friends from the past, thanks to Bill I’ve been re-enrolled in Facebook and in so doing a few friends from McMann and Tate have crept up and invited me to be their friend.

Not all of the knobs from McMann and Tate though, just the cool ones, who are effortlessly cool, not balding pates trying to regain some semblance of being hip by buying high priced Diesel jeans and rolling them up just right. But it’s the nice, cool ones that get my attention and rightfully so. I guess it’s a good way to start out the year, reconnecting with former coworkers, now friends. So here I am, in January sitting next to an open window. Not much of a breeze and it’s quite balmy out.

I ordered a book for someone for Christmas in December via eBay, it didn’t get here in time for the holidays. That’s what you get when you order a $26.00 book for $6.00. But it took almost a month for a book to get from Bellmore Long Island to midtown Manhattan. I’m sure if it wasn’t for my doing some detective work and directly contacting this woman through her email, not via eBay did the trick, or else I’ll still be waiting. So I’m reading the book now, it’s quite good. I won’t mention the title since I plan on giving it to someone once I’m done with it. Then they could give it to someone when they’re done reading it. Nice plan, huh?

And today, David Bowie turns 61, Soupy Sales turns 81.

“Be true to your teeth, or they’ll be false to you”.

Run Through the Jungle

Well it’s officially over, the holiday season. Everyone went back to work today, most everyone went back to school. I’ve decided to adapt to whatever is put before me. I plan on running a tight ship this year, tighter than last year. Hopefully the powers that be will see that. I’m not planning on leaving. It’s a good gig. No more fooling around, nothing but focus focus focus! That’s my mantra this year. The other night at the party while Martha was regaling us with tales of Hollywood, I mentioned the fact that I write a blog.

I didn’t give any info, just that Martha was one of the people back in the day who encouraged me to write. I told her if she needed 750 words the next day I would be able to deliver it. It’s true, I can easily knock off 750 words should the need arise. Picture it, a theater, something goes wrong on stage and the cry goes out, ‘Is there a blogger in the house?’ I leap to the stage, size up the situation, grab someone’s laptop and dash off a pithy monologue which might go a little like what you have just written. Only pithier.

I remembered after the fact that Martha was looking for someone to finance her latest projects, and that I used to work with someone at Wanker Banker who had a background in film and was looking for projects. So I got in touch with Chaz and he gave me Martha’s number and I left a voicemail about what and who I knew, also sent an email to Diane from Wanker Banker about that sort of thing. Who knows? Perhaps anything could happen or nothing could happen. I did my bit however small. Woke up this morning to the news of a bar on fire in Hoboken.

What used to be Fabians, a nice dive bar turned into McSwiggan’s, not a dive bar burned down during the night, not only knocking out the bar but the apartments above it. That’s too bad. The people lost most everything. Not a good way to start the year. It burned for hours. I had gone there a few times when it was Fabians. It was also the spot in 1990 when I had a birthday party with Denise Foster and Allison Lee. We were all born on September 12.

Many drinks were consumed and I drank most everything in front of me to the dismay of Jim Mastro who in my drunken fog came through and warned me about mixing drinks. That was about all I remembered. I was going out with Gus MacKenzie at the time. He turned up late and months later turned into a real jerk. But enough about him. It is a terrible thing that all of those people lost their apartments.

Work was ok today. I trained the new receptionist and rather than inundating Linda with all the tasks expected of her, I decided to give her a little bit each day. I’m a lousy teacher I think. I didn’t have too many good teachers so I’m winging it. She wasn’t in tears when I left so I guess her first day went well. That’s about it from this end. Hopefully things are ok on your side of the computer screen. Peace out/in!

Oh, at 5:14 this afternoon it was 57 degrees. It’s January.

Here’s Phillip Glass for Sesame Street