Monthly Archives: July 2010

I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris

It’s another late day, or rather late night. Not much to write about. So I’m doing a recap of previous July 31’s. Deal with it yo.

July 2006. I was working at Wolff Olins (McMann & Tate) and my final attempt at returning to Putnam Lovell NBF (Wanker Banker) was ending. Helen Angelakos put the kibosh on the situation which actually turned out to be a good thing.

It would have been too weird to go back anyhow. I suppose lifting the pox on the house of Angelakos should be lifted but I’m tired and it’s quite a heavy pox. It was a Monday and I think I spent the previous day at the beach with Julio & Stine.

July 31, 2007 was a Tuesday. I rode the bus with a woman who had dragon breath. I wanted to tell her but I didn’t. I guess there was no one in her world that was close enough to tell her that her breath was certain dead.

I heard from my Rasta pal, Marcus just catching up. It was probably the last time I heard from him. I hope he’s doing well.

I wrote about hanging out with Marcus at some West Indian ballroom somewhere on Church Avenue in Brooklyn as well as a brief history of hanging out with Marcus, Jesse and late Poncho.

July 31, 2008 was a Thursday since I guess that 2008 was a leap year. Stine and Alexander were in Denmark, tentative plans to go to the beach with Julio were in the works. I was working at Bio-IB, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Sweating a lot. I wrote about crossing paths with a rolypoly guy who mirrored my every step. Trying to side step him, I wound up fingering his flabby gut. Not a nice feeling. The wonderful Andres Duque gave me advice via a comment about how you don’t look into the eyes of the person you’re trying to step around.

Useful information which I use to this day and the mirror effect of trying to sidestep someone rarely happens anymore thanks to Andres. Blabbeando indeed!

Last year’s July 31, involved my dear friend Billie getting his car stolen (later recovered I believe, and trashed).

I met an online friend named Tom at the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue. Nice guy, just a chat and a smoke and no funny business. His birthday was just the other day and I wished him a happy bidet.

I was just finishing my first month of being out of work and I guess it still really hadn’t set in. It really wouldn’t until the holidays when there was no work at Farfetched to be had since there was no more Farfetched.

I still had hope that work would be around the corner, I just hadn’t realized how long the block was that I was traveling and the corner would still be about 10 months away.

And now here I am in 2010 and the possibility of a new job looms on the horizon. Just a possibility of course, but hope remains.

John Ozed, July 31, 2007

Still taking Sundays off. No post tomorrow!

I’m Not Down

A long day, and now I am tired. It’s been an interesting day but then again so are most everyone’s days, it’s just that they don’t notice how interesting things can be. Actually they’re probably not so interesting. I was just trying to make them feel better but it went nowhere.

And nowhere’s now here.

Bill was driving yesterday to the Catskills I believe, dropping off young Jewish women to a camp for Jewish women. He didn’t get home until late last night, early this morning while I was fast asleep. It was nice to wake up with his body next to mine.

I was up before Bill this morning which was a switch. He’s usually gone an hour or two before I wake up. I came home last night on the Willow Avenue bus and totally forgot that I needed to buy some coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

That meant I needed to take a shower and somehow deal with humanity without any coffee, and go out and buy some. I walked up to Washington Street and dealt with the idiots on line while joining the queue.

Took longer than I expected and then I walked over to the bagel shop where the line was too long and parrot face was behind the counter. Came home and fried an egg and finally used the new toaster oven then Bill and I had gotten for our civil union. It was decidedly toasteriffic.

Bill had gotten up and soon sat in the room while I watched the Today show and started getting ready for work.

Yesterday I had gotten an email regarding an interview for this upcoming Monday, and this morning she called me while I was on the bus headed into the Lincoln Tunnel. She asked if I had gotten the information that she had sent and wondered if I had any questions.

I do feel good about this position, albeit a little bit nervous. Not for the job, since it’s nothing that I hadn’t gotten before, but for the interview itself. I have to hit the right buttons, be on the mark.

There is still plenty of time to freak out about that. I was early getting to the cigar shop and settled right in. Marcus was in and told me my email was being set up as well as my business cards being prepared.

Oh, the guilt. I couldn’t say anything since I don’t know anything with regards to the other, well paying job. But it felt like I was settling in after 2 months of working at the cigar shop and now I was making moves to get out of there.

A nice discount on cigars is not really a reason to stay at the shop. And also my left knee has been hurting somewhat after having to stand up for 9 hours a day. Having to stand for 9 hours a day has been instrumental on my losing weight and that’s a good thing.

But the hours aren’t so good and the work week changes every week. I miss having a 9 to 5 or an 8:30 to 5:00 job, Monday through Friday.

I don’t enjoy this secrecy that I must maintain. I’m getting along with my co-workers quite well lately. It’s a strange position to be in.

There was an interesting thing that happened at the shop. When I came back from lunch, some live Jazz was being played and it wasn’t exactly melodic. It was quite noisy, discordant Jazz. So much so that I realized that I would be reprimanded if I played the equivalent from the Rock & Roll genre.

Like I said, it was interesting.

I’m Waiting For The Day (Mono)

Tonight it was 17.3 minutes from 58th Street to 42nd Street. A trail of bodies in my wake. Tonight’s shuffle down the avenue was courtesy of Beck- Midnight Vultures. Sexx Laws to Get Real Paid. I like Beck, liked him for awhile.

In fact while listening to Mixed Bizness, the third out of four songs, I remembered going to see Beck at Radio City with Julio on Valentines Day 1999. A great show, I was dancing in a suit & tie, standing in the middle of the row, no one else around me dancing.

I certainly enjoyed the show and ran into friends I hadn’t seen for a while, all of whom seemed to be working for Beck on the tour. But that was 11 years ago, and here I am in the 21st century.

A wild and an untamed thing.

Well I heard from the people I met with yesterday in the day off and apparently I made a good impression. Good enough that I have another meeting on Monday at 1:00. I am certainly looking forward to it and I am also trying not to get my hopes up too high.

It certainly is something that I would like to get. More money, normal hours, good location, free lunch and all involving things that I’ve done before.

I am hoping my friend, my friend can keep quiet about this. My friend my friend is a customer at the cigar shop who is one of the more intelligent types that come in almost daily and it’s always a pleasure to converse with him.

He asked me if I wrote and I mentioned that I write at least 500 words every day, excepting Sundays (for the past 2 weeks I’ve not written on Sundays, preferring to keep the day wholly for myself). And in explaining that I write at least 500 words a day,

I told my friend my friend about this here blog. I should have explained that it’s sometimes worthwhile to read, that after sifting through so much coal, you sometimes come across a diamond.

Sometimes it’s a column, sometimes it’s a letter, sometimes it’s a journal or a diary and sometimes it just 500 words. And sometimes it’s a call for help.

With the information percolating in my head with regards to the meeting on Monday I was definitely in good spirits, and that certainly made the day go faster. I worked with Calvin, Don Birch and Raymond.

Both Don Birch and Raymond have an eye on the door as well. It’s just that management is shoddy and not much will ever be done to make it a better place to work. And management is too busy to recognize their maltreatment of the staff, which could lead to a sudden exodus of employees.

In this day and economic climate it shouldn’t be too difficult to replace departing workers, just a drag to have to retrain newbies.

I certainly hope to leave on a good note and even considering coming back to help out during the holidays though I have a feeling my suggestion would be spurned.

But nothing is set, nothing is concrete and I’m talking (or rather, writing) through my hat.

It certainly is a nice night though.

I’m Too Tough for Mister Big Stuff (Hot Pants)

It’s Wednesday and it’s a day off. And it’s actually a pretty good day too. I did not go to the Cigar Night at the Eagle. Too much trouble, bringing a change of clothes and then a schlep from the 8th Avenue train to 28th Street and 11th Avenue.

Not worth my time. If they ask at work I’ll think of something to say. And I also had an interview of sorts this morning.

I applied for a position online and was under consideration for a few weeks. It was a tease mainly but today the agency had me in to meet with me to see if I passed muster.

Bill was able to print out the resume for me and I met him on the corner of 43rd Street and Broadway as he made the hand off. I walked right up to him and gave him a great big kiss (mwah!), then headed up to 56th Street.

I was dressed business casual and therefore did not sweat as much as I usually do. I sat in a sleek lobby and waited for Marisa to meet with me. I heard the click clack of high heels approaching and figured that it was my recruiter.

It was.

She was nice and looked at my resume as we chatted about previous salaries and bonuses, all the while she would complain every couple of minutes about the problems the keyboard was giving her. She left after about 15 minutes and in came Erica who also posted a similar job.

I met with Erica for just a few minutes and thanked her while wondering if there was any info regarding my status. Nothing I could do about that. I walked down to the Path train in the shadows of the skyscrapers on Sixth Avenue. Barely anyone headed back to Hoboken, leaving me to sit in an empty car that was fully air conditioned.

Came home, sent a thank you email and had a decent lunch before running out and dropping off clothes at the dry cleaners for Bill & myself and also picking up Bill’s laundry. After that I just chilled out at home for a few hours, watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report which I rarely see anymore.

It was too nice a day to stay indoors and walked over to the river where I read the news and New York magazine. Also talked on the phone with Meghan Taylor Mastro, whom I might see on Monday when she starts painting the new Guitar Bar which will be on 11th Street in Hoboken.

I was out long enough to meet up with the UPS guy parked outside the post office and picked up a toaster over that Annemarie’s friend Audra has been trying to send me for a couple of weeks. It’s a lovely toaster oven.

For some reason ‘He’s Got the Whole World In his Hands’ and ‘The Way We Were’ have been playing endlessly in my head today. I know ‘Whole World’ is in my head after reading the lines in an article about an English footballer, but Barbra Streisand?

“Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line? If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we? Could we? Memories, may be beautiful and yet, what’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget. So it’s the laughter, we will remember, whenever we remember…the way we were.”

Oh Alan & Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch, what have you wrought?

I’m looking forward to watching Macca from his White House Gershwin Prize tonight on PBS.

I’m Gonna Love You Too

It’s been a long day. Didn’t start out all that well either. Apparently there were one or two things that I neglected to do at closing last night and when I came in I heard all about it.

Calvin asked me if I was in a rush and oddly enough, I wasn’t. Sheer bloody absentmindedness I reckon. It’s really the only excuse. It only took a couple of minutes to fix under Calvin’s watchful eye.

I felt I was being punished though and was sent to take inventory in the humidor. About a half hour later, a large shipment of cigars came in via UPS and rendered my inventory count obsolete. I was also told that Marcus wanted to see me about something.

But Marcus flew the coop before I had a chance.

I’ve been on the ‘under consideration’ list on a website for a job that I am well suited for. A job that I want. A Monday through Friday job, either 9 to 5 or thereabouts. And the money is better than what I am making now.

Though I’ve lost weight doing this job at the cigar shop, it really isn’t what I want. A few weeks ago I got an email from one of the counselors at this website, requesting a meeting.

I told her I would be available on July 12 but never heard from her. So today I sent another email and she replied immediately with a phone number. So I called and arranged a meeting with her tomorrow morning at 10:30.

I asked Bill if he could print out some fresh copies of my resume and he said he would and leave the copies on my computer. I had a nice cigar at lunch that was recommended by Marcus and sat on a bench near the park as is my wont.

Not much to do but sit and smoke after I chatted with Bill on the phone. A homeless woman walked by muttering that some Wall Street types smoke cigars and suck cock. She meant me I was sure since I do look like a Wall Street type even though I was quite a ways from Wall Street.

Then she tried to light her cigarette butt which she found on the street and couldn’t before muttering and cursing and walking away. I was back in the cigar shop a little while after that and found Calvin putting the new cigars away, saying that he wanted Raymond and myself to deal with the customers.

That was fine by me and Raymond didn’t care since he was off to smoke his lunchtime cigar. I wasn’t that busy, though there was one or two assholes that came into the shop. Time moved as it often does and I helped a young couple buy some cigars for the girl’s father.

The young man had what sounded like a thick burr and I asked him if he was from Scotland. No, it turned out he was from Liverpool. He and his girlfriend were in New York with the British Navy and were heading back to ol’ Blighty on Saturday.

It was a pleasure helping them out and I saw them off just as Marcus reappeared. I still didn’t know what he wanted to see me about but I think it had something to do with a Sommelier class he has from time to time. It involved cigars this time which is why I was asked to sit in on it.

Basically so I could run and get whatever things Marcus needed during the class. I sat on an uncomfortable bench in the backroom and stifled several yawns as Marcus went on. Occasionally I ran and got items that Marcus needed and finally was able to smoke a cigar with a room full of people that never smoked cigars before.

Eventually I was able to close the shop, taking my time and making sure all the things were done properly. Marcus stayed in the back with his students as I headed out. I decided not to go to the Eagle for cigar night.

Actually decided this morning not to go. I didn’t want to lug around a change of clothes and with this interview tomorrow morning I made the right decision, inadvertently. Which is how some of my decisions come to be.

I started to listen to Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Armed Forces as I left the shop and midway to the bus terminal I saw the Liverpudlians, Paddy and Haley. I decided to slow my pace and direct them to a comedy club.

The comedy club I was thinking of was actually closed which was odd since it’s almost always open. I directed them to Times Square where there are dozens of young wannabe comics handing out fliers for their prospective clubs.

No copies of my resume available. Bill didn’t tell me he couldn’t print them out.

I’m Not Scared

So yesterday was Sunday. And it was the second Sunday that I decided not to post. And it was also a day where I didn’t do anything. I did laundry so that’s something I suppose.

Yesterday, I heard from Pedro who was planning on spending his Sunday off (similar schedules, he at Riker’s, me in retail) with Connie and going to Summerstage. I would have liked to have gone but I had laundry to do, a bath tub to clean and Summerstage was too close to the cigar shop for my liking.

I politely told him no and he was cool with it. After the laundry and the bath tun scouring I was going to head over to the river and read The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore.

Unfortunately storm clouds rolled in and it rained steadily and violently on and off for about an hour. By the time it stopped a lot of the humidity was gone but everything was wet and still the storm clouds lingered.

I watched a Monty Python marathon on IFC instead and also played some guitar inside. I recorded something that sounded somewhat interesting a few months ago when I was unemployed but now I couldn’t figure it out. It sounded good to me and of course could use some work.

After that just watched some TV. While waiting for True Blood I did wander over to the supermarket and bought somethings for lunch this week. Working Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, off next Sunday and Monday.

I arranged to have off on Wednesday since in order to drum up some business for the cigar shop, I mentioned that I would go to a cigar night at The Eagle in Chelsea.

I have been invited several times before and never went but figured that now that I’ll be in the city at a late hour, what harm could come from going to a gay bar’s cigar night? Might as well go and see what it’s all about.

Of course I’d rather just go home, but it will be an experience. And considering my history of visiting gay bars it could just be a waste of time.

The store today was fairly busy which was surprising since from what I heard regarding Sunday it was quite dead. I guess Calvin, Sean and myself made up for it. Marcus was back from his Italian honeymoon looking dapper before he headed out for the day.

Once again there was no Moroccan Princes shopping for their father, the King. I did have a nice cigar while sitting on a bench by the park. Today’s brisk walk was courtesy of the Psychedelic Furs Talk Talk Talk album, from Pretty in Pink to Dumb Waiters, done in 16.4 minutes.

Avoided the clots on the escalator and climbed the staircase once again, two steps at a time but taking my time at the same time. And I did not fall on my hands and knees. Even caught the Willow Avenue bus and was home before 10:00 tonight.

Bill fast asleep already, poor baby, so tired.

True Blood was truly bloody last night and that’s all I have to say on that matter. I also saw Captain Fun hugging his girlfriend at a downtown bus stop this morning.

(I’m) Stranded

Late news breaking, late news breaking. Not really news, just the usual blah blah blah from me. Just got back from a late snack with Julio. He with his hummus and pita and me with a burger. And some Stella Artois to accompany the meals.

A good time, a nice talk. He’s still a good guy and a good friend.

It was quite a hot day today, 90 degree range, closer to 100 degrees than I would have hoped. Quite humid out, so much so that by the time I got to the office I was drenched with sweat.

I don’t take the subway on weekends since the service really falls off on Saturday and Sunday. I did stop by the Farmer’s Market and picked up some cookies for the co-workers again. Just a little something nice, something sweet to glue the team together.

No Richard III auditions today. But there was a different type of royalty that visited the cigar shop this afternoon. Specifically the Prince of Morocco. Really.

There were a number of Middle Eastern guys standing outside the shop for an hour or so this afternoon, no one paying them much mind. Then a few of them came in and checked things out, followed by a handsome man in an emerald green polo shirt.

He checked out a few cigar punches and almost didn’t buy them until I demonstrated how they are used best with a large ring gauge cigar, which just so happens to be the ring gauge I prefer. He bought 2 cigar punches.

Then he asked to see some lighters and I showed them to him. He picked out 5 different lights and then left, leaving someone else to pay the $1500.00 bill.

It was my sale and I couldn’t have completed it without the help of Raymond, Don Birch and Sean, so I treated them to some milk chocolate covered pretzels from Godiva. They were surprised by my gratitude, so unaccustomed to behavior like this.

Luckily for me the pretzels were on sale, 3 boxes for $10.00.

It was the highlight of my day. The Prince also stopped by the leather goods shop next door where he dropped $20,000. It was more low key after the visit from Moroccan royalty. The 4 of us just passing the time, Don Birch waiting until he can leave at 7:30.

Sean, Raymond and I hung I there until 9:00. Sean and Raymond split after that, I stayed behind to close up the shop as that is my duty.

I hustled down to the bus terminal in 15.9 minutes, from Something About England to The Crooked Beat from the Clash’s Sandinista.

It being the weekend people in the terminal didn’t know of escalator protocol, instead of staying to the right if you’re not climbing the stairs on the escalator. I opted to climb the stairs next to the escalator, taking 2 at a time to make my bus.

I was doing well, listening to the Clash until I got to the top step where I tripped and landed on my hands and knees. It must have made for a sight for the escalator clots.

I gathered whatever it was that I dropped and quickened my pace to my gate where I found the bus had departed. In front of me was an Asian dude who started talking to me about how hot it was. As It got more crowded and I inched toward him I could smell the booze coming out of his pores.

I was glad to make it to Hoboken and glad to have a late meal with Julio who couldn’t stop laughing when I told him of my fall at the top of the stairs. I knew he would get a giggle out of it.

Still quite hot and Bill’s in Atlantic City.

I’m Happy But You Don’t Like Me

And now it’s Friday. Annemarie is in Arcata, Harpy in in the Washington Heights section of the Dominican Republic and Bill is on the Garden State Parkway headed to Atlantic City after not driving a bus for the past 2 weeks.

He drove a bus once actually and I believe this was during the work week.

It’s been a hot day, temperatures in the 90 degree range, with tomorrow promising to hit 100 degrees. Luckily I can dress casually when I work. And I’m lucky to be working in an air conditioned store.

Today was a bit of an odd day. I headed in early to rectify the problem I had with closing. Don Birch was there already and fixed the problem. He and I had a nice little chat. He’s going to be taking the Series 7 test to become a stock broker and is expecting a package.

He doesn’t want Marcus or Calvin to know that he’s looking to leave and so he asked me to keep an eye out for the package and stash it away and also give him a call. Not a problem I said.

Raymond is also looking to get out, Sean is going to college and probably not stick around once that is through and I of course am looking for a regular 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job. Don Birch, Raymond and Sean have both spoken with me separately telling me their plans to get out, being so dissatisfied with the way things are run there.

This job is just a stop gap for me and I am on a few email lists that send me listings every day. I’m currently under consideration for one position, and have been under consideration for that position for about 2 weeks now.

The day at work was rather cool, Calvin was out and Marcus is still listed as being on his honeymoon. A number of Australians came in buying cigars and thrilled to know they can smoke in the backroom.

Most of the customers were nice enough, but there was one that was an absolute nightmare. He came in a bit lame in one leg. A semi-regular customer that no one else wanted to deal with, so it fell to me. I followed him into the humidor, and he immediately and loudly mentioned that he didn’t need help.

He said it twice and I mentioned that I wasn’t going to help him, that I was there to write down the numbers of the cigars so it will be easier to check out. He was also blind in one eye and scrutinized every cigar price listed, complaining that things were so expensive.

He would pick up a cigar and eyeball it and then put it back. I maintained a distance, but finally spoke up when he started putting cigars in the wrong place.

He seemed to be on medication and also reeked of booze and started screaming that Raymond wouldn’t talk to him the way I did and scurried out of the humidor like Laurence Olivier in Richard III yelling that I was stalking him.

Raymond calmed him down somewhat and Richard III stayed away from, before heading back into the humidor and screaming loud enough that anyone outside of the sealed room could hear him plainly. Don Birch was going to call security but I talked him out of it, preferring to have Raymond finish the deal.

He soon left and Raymond mentioned that on top of the booze and the meds seeping through his skin, he also smelled like he soiled himself. It was truly a strange scene, topped with my repeating, ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’.

I headed home about 2.5 hours after that, making it from the shop to the bus terminal in 13.6 minutes, thanks to the first 3 songs from King Crimson, Discipline.

I’m Stone In Love With You

It was a busy day and a difficult day. It didn’t start out difficult. It started out OK I guess. No running errands before work. In fact I took my time mostly.

I neglected to write about how I was interview by the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Or rather possibly. I don’t know if my quote will make it to the printed page. Publish and be damned says I, I publish my own damnation.

Some columnist named Evan Newmark was walking to the Wall Street Journal offices in the News Corpse building, walking down the Upper West Side and stopping at various landmarks like Zabar’s and stopped by the cigar shop.

He was inquiring in each store and stop, whether or not we felt the economy was on the rebound. I said that I thought it was, albeit slowly and people (mainly men) are still buying cigars. He asked if it was mainly monied businessmen, the captains of industry stereotype and I did my best to disprove that image, telling him bus drivers and garbage men as well as other walks of life come in and purchase their cigars.

It was a brief interview and I asked him to contact me if it were to be published. Evan Newmark wasn’t sure if it would make it to press. That was yesterday.

There was an article in today’s journal that had a brief interview with one of our customers at another cigar shop across town though and it wasn’t by Evan Newmark, but by someone else.

The Journal is a Murdoch paper and therefore anathema to me. But of course if I’m in it, I’ll buy it.

Today went alright. Some stress between Calvin & Raymond but that seemed to have been squashed by the end of the day.

Raymond is quite the gossip and whispering in my ear about how Calvin likes to have a couple of drinks after he has his lunch which usually runs over an hour and a half. I suppose it’s true since Calvin gets more chatty after lunch.

I had him going on about how he likes jazz and his opinion on who the most important jazz figure was in the twentieth century. Louis Armstrong it turned out to be. Made sense to me, since Louis Armstrong was a giant in popular culture back then.

He was also a major pot head, which could explain his smiling and laughing all the time.

My own lunch was spent outside the park on a bench, reading The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. He was on the Colbert Report a month ago and also came into the shop a week or so ago. Nice guy, and meeting him inspired me to take the book out of the bibliothèque.

Once again, I closed the store which seems to be my designated role. It went well but there was a discrepancy which was all my fault, ringing up a credit card purchase as both credit and cash. But since it’s been identified and accounted for it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to clear up.

At least I hope so. I would have liked to have seen the Guitar Bar All Stars by the river at Sinatra Park tonight like I have previous years but this is how things are these days.

Yes, smoking yet another cigar.

I’m Not Afraid

It’s Wednesday I think. Annemarie flew off to California this morning. She had an early flight and stayed at a hotel near the airport. When she was getting on a plane, Bill was heading off to the gym before work and I stayed asleep in bed.

I heard While My Guitar Gently Weeps playing as I eventually woke up and started my day. A shower and a skipping of the shave, breakfast cereal and coffee.

I headed out and went to the cleaners to pick up some shirts and also to the supermarket and bought some groceries, and a rain check since they didn’t have my cereal on the 2 for $5.00 deal on my cereal. Back home for a few before I changed into my suit, tie in the bag.

Headed up to Washington Street and once again my shirt was translucent in parts. My bus arrived and I got on, sitting on the left side so the sun wouldn’t be beaming upon me as we rolled towards the Lincoln Tunnel. I decided to play Madness, One Step Beyond as I walked through the terminal. Still a classic record.

As I approached the subway turnstile I was directed by a police officer that I needed to have my bag checked. I obliged of course, knowing that I had no bombs or drugs or paraphernalia inside.

Sweated as I waited for the train and then chilled as I got on the A train, strong air conditioning. Headed into the shop a bit early. No rock stars from the 1960’s nearby.

I swear since I’ve started working this gig on June 1, I lost weight. 17.5 shirts are no longer tight around my neck, and the trousers I wear also have ample room. I’m not complaining. It must be from standing on my feet 9 hours a day.

Most of the usual customers came in. I went outside for lunch and had a very good cigar from La Flor Dominicana. It was unbearably hot and humid out and I wasn’t enjoying myself so I headed back to the shop and sat in the back.

It was crowded when I left for lunch and when I came back it was empty. And that was how I liked it. Someone left a New York Post behind and I read some of it, all the while feeling my IQ slipping a few points.

Hard to believe I would read it fairly regularly, now maybe I’ll read it if someone leaves it behind, like today. Calvin joined me for a bit and we talked about Lindsay Lohan and the mosque that is planned for construction down near the World Trade Center.

Calvin agreed that it was basically my god is better than your god. It’s all bullshit to me. The afternoon went by without much notice. I closed the shop once again and decided it was too hot to hustle on down the avenue to catch a bus.

And because I did not hustle, I missed the bus by a minute.

I was alone at the gate for a few minutes before other people showed up, including 2 twenty something girls who were having a conversation about living in Hoboken and how much they like it and that they don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

That’s basically all that happened today. Annemarie is back in Arcata, safe and sound. Bill is behind me, watching Lawn Hors d’œuvre and dealing with a bottle of soap that opened in his backpack.

I’m Sticking With You

OK. Just got home a little while ago. Harpy called while I was at Napoli pizza with Annemarie and Bill, Elaine & Corinne. I didn’t take the call. I usually do, but decided to focus on the people sitting around me. Sorry Harpy.

The pizzas were good. We ordered too much, but Bill and I took care of that. We walked Elaine & Corinne to their car, parked outside of Maxwells. Rand was on his cellphone talking outside. Lisa was indoors.

Rand spent some time with us, before heading in. Then Lisa came out and joined us for a few minutes. Then she went inside and Elaine and Corinne drove off to Garfield after kisses and hugs. Annemarie, Bill & I walked down Washington Street to where Annemarie parked her rental car.

Rand texted, offering to buy us drinks but by that time we were a block away, plus Annemarie had to get a 6:00 AM flight, and Bill & I have to work tomorrow. More hugs and kisses and a few tears. Not all tears are sad though.

I mentioned that even though we didn’t spend as much time together as we usually do, we had a good time. The times we spent together were extra special I think. And quality time was spent at Sandy Hook, and not just with me, since Annemarie was able to go to the beach with our niece Cassie where from what I understand, they had a very nice time between Aunt & niece.

Just heard from Annemarie, she’s gotten into her hotel room by the airport. That was even sadder than saying goodbye to her on the street. I know she’ll be alright and I know we will talk to each other a few times a week, but still I’m going to miss her.

She’s my dearest, best friend.

On the work front, I opened the store by myself. I had to get up earlier than usual to do so, and I was grateful to Don Birch for switching shifts with me. I started the day by myself, playing Another Green World by Brian Eno and then playing Do It Yourself by Ian Dury & the Blockheads.

By the time Don Birch and Calvin came in, I sold about $500.00 worth of goods. I kept checking the stats on sales today and I was in the lead for most of the day, eventually surpassed by Calvin who’s been at it longer and has a few monied clients who will only deal with him.

Still, at the end of the day I sold about $1500.00 worth of cigars and related products.

When Don Birch came in we somehow wound up talking about Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. At 1:00 as I was about to leave for lunch I looked out the window and there was Steve Winwood looking at the display.

I headed out and said, ‘Hey Steve’. He turned around and I said hello and introduced myself. Nice guy. Don Birch came out and also said hello. I mentioned to Steve Winwood, that we were talking about him earlier. I asked him how the tour with Carlos Santana was going and he said it was going well.

He then asked if I had seen it and I told him that I was unemployed for 11 months and now I have a job but no time for things like that. That might have turned him off.

I asked him if I could take a photo and he said he wasn’t being photographed today. That was fine by me. It was probably his day off and didn’t want to be a rock star or attract attention to himself.

I wished him well and left him staring at the window of the shop and headed off to Central Park where I enjoyed a nice cigar.

Anne, Cori, Me, Elaine & Bill

I’m In Love With My Car

Late posting again. What’s up with that? Well I didn’t post yesterday. Didn’t even write. I couldn’t access the blog (and neither could you perhaps) and I tried contacting Rand who I guess went to work on it.

A few hours later it was accessible once again, but by then I was pretty tired and in no condition to write about anything. So I decided not to write and I am even considering taking Sundays off from writing unless I have something worthwhile to write about.

Not that I usually do have anything to write about. There are always other navels to gaze at.

Yesterday was spent mainly in Saddle Brook at my niece Meghan and her husband Rob’s new home. It’s a very nice home and actually got me thinking that maybe someday Bill and I would have a house to live in that we could call our own.

That’s not happening anytime soon. I think we’d both like to stay in the Hoboken area and houses or brownstones are out of our price range, but right now it makes for a nice daydream.

It was the annual birthday barbecue, my siblings and their families all gather together to celebrate the July birthdays. There are about 5 birthdays, 6 if you count Bill’s birthday at the end of June. Rob played the grill meister, his parents and grandparents were also there, a lovely group of people and a few friends. All making for quite pleasant company.

The sun beaming down and I had a few Stella Artois which nearly did my head in, if it weren’t for Annemarie suggesting I drink some water, which did my body good. Burgers, hot dogs, steak and salads were the menu followed by cakes and cupcakes for the birthdays.

Annemarie drove us home and Bill and I watched True Blood. Plans were made to go to Sandy hook this morning. Bill went to sleep soon after True Blood and I stayed up trying to upload some pics. I slept quite deeply, Bill unable to wake me with his farewell kisses at 5:30 as he headed out to the gym.

I didn’t wake up until 9:00. It was overcast and I wasn’t sure if the beach jaunt was actually going to occur. Phone calls between Hoboken and Garfield went by, discussing whether or not to see a movie (Inception) or go to the beach.

We decided to take a gamble and head down the shore. Corinne was driving and Annemarie was in the backseat, giving me the front passenger side. Not much traffic down the Parkway, and few people at the North Beach of Sandy Hook.

Beautiful clear day, Manhattan, Jersey City and Coney Island as well as the Rockaways were visible across the harbor. The water was in the upper 70’s and was quite nice after a warm Frisbee volley. I wound up being bitten and bloody from the flies on the beach.

We figured out that it was probably the perfume in the sun block that attracted them. Another jump into the ocean for relief from the flies and also one last chance to play in the water until the next time.

We spoke to Meghan via text and made plans for a trip to Saddle Brook where I was quite a gavone and devoured quite a bit. Meghan and rob seemed tired. Or at least I hope they were tired and not pissed off from my over eating and our trip to the beach.

Corinne once again drove, this time back to Hoboken where we emptied her trunk of beach stuff. And now I am home. Early day tomorrow since I am having dinner with Bill, and Annemarie and perhaps Corinne before Annemarie flies back to California early Wednesday morning.

It certainly has been a fun time with Annemarie this time. Though we weren’t able to spend too much time together, the quality of the time spent was top notch. She’s so great.

Annemarie, Me, Corinne

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

Late start again. And it’s already Sunday. Nothing bad happened. Actually something quite good. Had a late dinner with Julio at O’Neals on the other side of Church Square Park. We usually get together for a meal when Stine & Alexander are in Denmark. And that’s where they are these days, on vacation.

It was actually a good day at work too. I did about $1800.00 worth of business, in fact I was the top seller today, out of three. Don Birch, Raymond and me. We made for a good team. I walked up a different avenue this morning. I was early and even hustled to catch the bus.

Before that I was up and about in the apartment. While I showered, Bill was asleep in the air conditioned bedroom. At the other end of the apartment I made coffee.

As I showered, the power went out. We have a lousy electrical system here, at least in this apartment. Use the air conditioner and try to use an appliance and the power will inevitably go out. That means someone (almost always me) will have to go down to the basement and flip the breaker.

So I dried off and got dressed and headed down the stairs. A couple of minutes later I was back in the apartment, finishing the making of the coffee and when that was done, turned on the air conditioner while Bill continued sleeping.

It was a Saturday so that meant, casual dress. A guayabera and some khaki pants. Airwalk sneakers which were changed once I got to the shop. As I walked up the avenue once I got into the city I stopped by a Farmer’s Market and bought some cookies for me and my co—workers.

The day was better than yesterday, perhaps it was half a Xanax that I had. A few minutes after I got to the shop I noticed a woman walking by. I read that ace blogger, Pam Spaulding was in town and Thursday night I thought I saw her but it wasn’t.

This time I was sure. I called her name as she walked by the shop and she stopped. We chatted, or rather I gushed. I really enjoy her posts concerning people of color as well as the LGBT community. She was super sweet, and surprised that I recognized her.

She was on her way to the Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium and posed for a photograph with me. It was the highpoint of the day.

Still it was a good day to work, and at lunch I headed out to a bench by the park where I had a nice cigar and read Uncut magazine. Like I wrote earlier, I had the highest sales in the store, thanks to me being vigilant with adding my name on the screen during each transaction that I conducted.

Towards the end of the day I heard from Julio who was wondering if I wanted to go have a beer with him. I mentioned that I needed to eat so we decided on O’Neals. Which is where we usually go. I had a burger, Julio had a mozzarella salad.

He picked up the tab, I left the tip.

Now I’m home, buzzed on two Guinness. Bill came home about 10 minutes after I did. Tomorrow family barbecue in Saddle Brook and hopefully a day at the beach on Monday. Two things I’m looking forward to.

I also made it from the shop to the bus terminal in about 14 minutes, unofficial. The songs were I Want to Take You Higher by Sly & the Family Stone, Connected by Stereo MC’s and Jeepster by T. Rex, and a bit of Once in a Lifetime from Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense.

Me & Pam Spaulding (of Pam's House Blend)

I’m In The Mood

It’s hot and I’m tired. It’s been another long day and here I am sitting in front of the computer, unsure whether or not I will be able to post it since there is an Error Establishing a Database Connection. I usually text Rand about that and he’s usually on it, but not right now.

I’m also drinking the last of the Cranberry Cherry juice. I hate cranberry cherry and I only poured it since it resembled the Cranberry Raspberry that I do like.

I was up around 8:00 this morning and after showering, shaving, a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee I was out and about running errands. Shirts to the dry cleaners, then to CVS where apparently my old friend Martin Kelly announced on the store’s PA ‘Hello John’.

I didn’t hear it and Martin told me he did it. A nice quick chat with Martin who regretted not being able to make it to the party on Sunday. He’s trying to evict his roommate and needed to get his paperwork together for a visit to the lawyer the next day.

I walked over to the supermarket and bought a few more items before I came home all sweaty. I sat in front of a fan trying to cool off before I changed into my suit, with yet another soon to be translucent dress shirt. And the translucence came through as I stood in the shade at the bus stop.

I signaled for the bus to stop, no one else did and of course the bus doesn’t stop by me. I saw Karen Natapouf’s strange friend Angie get on the bus with her orthopedic shoes and bottle blonde hair, still a gentleman letting the women get on the bus before me.

As the bus rolled up Washington Street it got more crowded. Some berk with a neck tattoo as well as other tattoos on his arm, including one that stated that he was born in 1983 and his right ear lobe extended so much that it hung half way to his shoulder.

Just in case he wasn’t ugly enough, the ear lobe put him over the line.

The berk stood next to me even though I offered the seat next to the window. Opposite the aisle were 2 extremely chatty 20 something German girls talking and laughing loudly in German. Such a pleasant language to listen to.

As I started to get off the bus I thought something fell from my back pocket. I checked and everything seemed to be there. It wasn’t until later that I realized the rolling papers from my Bali Shag fell out and not surprised that none of the other passengers mentioned that I had dropped something.

Got to the shop with a minute to spare and it was slow slow slow. Don Birch had opened and had lunch first. Since Raymond made it in before me he took lunch second leaving me to have lunch around 3:00. I wound up getting a shoe shine as I headed out to enjoy my free cigar by the park.

But it was too hot out so I headed back to the back room where most of the regulars were surprised to see me there. When I was out to lunch a large back order of cigars came in and Don Birch and Raymond set about getting them ready to go into the humidor.

Soon I was among them labeling various boxes with the proper numbers. It took a long time for the three of us to make space for 100 boxes of cigars in an already cramped humidor and dealing with customers wanting to buy cigars.

Raymond has a lot of friends who are customers and most of them are good guys, one or two are just assholes. They’re the monied ones.

Don Birch left at 7:00 and about an hour later a woman came in and bought a $160.00 pen which I sold to her but did not get the credit for it, Don Birch did (an hour after he left).

They use quite an archaic computer program and when I was half assed trained on the system, no one mentioned to me to change the name (Don Birch) so it’s not second nature for me to do that. It’s second nature to complete the sale.

I don’t know what upsets me more, that situation and the ancient computer program or the fact that I have to work a 10 hour shift, 9 of those hours standing on my feet.

On the bus ride home I was stuck between a couple talking about putting things in storage and should they get a new couch. The male half of the couple said the couch they had was ‘fucking fine’. They were behind me.

In front of me were a group of twenty somethings talking about how someone had 2 hot tubs.

16.8 minutes to get from the shop to the bus terminal, thanks to Snivilisation by Orbital. One more day then two days off. Must remain vigilant and put my name on every transaction that I complete.

I’m In Love With A German Film Star

It’s been a long day. Or at least it seemed like a long day.

2 packages had been sent to me, one from dear sweet Audra, the other from my cousin Joe I believe. I wrote on the back of both door tags to have them delivered to where Julio works a block away.

I arranged with Julio to accept them and I would pick them up over the weekend. And both packages have been sent back to the shipper. Audra contacted me telling me about this and I gave her the correct address.

I have to wait to hear from Joe. I, of course blame UPS, since the driver never bothered to see the note written in the proper space on the back of the ticket. Stupid asses.

It was a frustrating call with Martha the UPS customer service rep. There was nothing she could do and I was straightforward about how unhappy I was with the fact that UPS did not do what I requested.

I also mentioned how unhappy I was with the fact that I almost did not see the door tag originally since it was on the floor near the garbage cans.

The day at work went well. Bill had off from his day job and drove a bus down to Atlantic City, literally a bus man’s holiday. He was up early and as I lay there semi sleeping I wondered why the hell was he trying to have a conversation with me.

Didn’t the look on my face tell him that I wanted to sleep?

He soon left after kissing me goodbye and I slept for another 2 hours. I was up and about then. Showered, decided to fore go a shave. Had breakfast and sat in front of a fan as I got dressed. Soon I was out the door, sweating on the street, my shirt having a look of translucence.

Sexy to some, gross to others. The price one pays for being a mammal.

A crawl through the Lincoln Tunnel followed, behind a garbage truck that was being towed, slow enough that my translucent shirt went back to it’s solid appearance.

Put on a t-shirt when I got to the shop and was ready to work. Marcus touring the Mediterranean on his honeymoon, leaving Calvin running the show and Don Birch, Raymond and myself to scurry about selling cigars. And sell cigars we did.

$9,000 worth of cigars were sold today. It was pretty busy. I was able to switch shifts with Don Birch for next Tuesday which will allow me to have dinner with Annemarie the night before she heads back to California.

Calvin suggested having lunch with her at a restaurant nearby but I put the kibosh on that idea.

Calvin did arrange my schedule so that I could go to a gay bar in Chelsea on the 27th, where they’re having a cigar night. I will go after work and check it out and then have off the next day since I might not be back until late.

And who knows? I might be able to drum up some gay cash for the cigar shop. True, they might show up in leather chaps or whatever, but as long as they spend money, I don’t see any problems.

I think tomorrow is Friday but I’m not sure. 2 more days of work, then off Sunday and Monday.

Marcus is out and Calvin has the next 2 days off so it will be cool to work with my co-workers without supervision. That’s that as far as I know.

Tonight’s jaunt from the shop to the bus terminal was 15.5 minutes which seems about right. The first 4 songs on The Information by Beck.

I’m In Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop

Late start tonight. It was a bus day of sorts, Marcus was in, his last day before flying to the Mediterranean for his honeymoon. Calvin was in a good mood, Raymond was OK at first, then morose later in the day and Sean was impetuous as only a 19 year old could be.

Sean and Raymond butted heads over something stupid and I wisely kept out of it even though both sides angled to have me on their own side. They were friends again an hour later.

Around 2:30 I had lunch and headed out to a bench by the park to enjoy a cigar. But it was overcast and I was sitting beneath a tree. A few drops fell and I wasn’t sure if it was rain or falling from the tree so I decided to head back to the cigar shop, rather than sit and wait and possibly get soaked.

I sat in the back room smoking the cigar and talked about the economy and war with some of the smarter customers. After that, the afternoon went by, not so fast and not too slow.

Most of the customers were decent people, just one asshole by my count. And he was easily ignored. Raymond is still being punished for what he did a few weeks ago, and he doesn’t have a key anymore. That means he and Sean get to leave at 9:00 and I had to stay and shut up the shop.

I closed the store and took my time and as I was getting ready to head out the phone rang. I didn’t answer it since the store was closed, and frankly, I couldn’t be arsed. It rang again and I checked it out. It was Sean.

He was about to start his evening and left some of his cigars in his bin. He asked if I could get them for him and he’d meet me outside the building. Ah to be 19 years old and thinking that the world revolves around you.

I did him the favor and got his cigars and headed out after setting the alarm. And of course Sean was nowhere to be found. You would think he would make it a point to be there since I had to catch a bus like I told him, but there he was a few minutes later so happy to see me.

I knew I missed my usual bus and would have to catch a later bus. Tonight’s songs were from Wild Planet by the B-52’s. Specifically the first 4 songs. It took me 13.8 minutes to get from the shop to the bus terminal.

Incredible time and it felt like I wasn’t moving that fast. But apparently I was. And tonight’s time was truer than last night’s. I was in the bus terminal as Give Me Back My Man was ending.

I’ve been getting better at avoiding people as I hustle my way down the avenue and there were quite a few tourists in the way. But still I made it, and in a good time.

Videos courtesy of Rand Hoppe.

I’m Gonna Be A Teenage Idol

And it was back to work for me today. Thanks to Annemarie, I remember to live in the present. I’m trying to stop looking back at the past, thinking that ‘things were so much better then’. They may have been but they don’t exist anymore and there’s no going back.

At the beach yesterday, I found myself thinking about the future, specifically today. Today meaning work. Thanks to Annemarie I snapped out of it. She’s good like that. And it was thinking like that, that had me prepared to face today. And it wasn’t so bad after all.

Lately my mantra has been, ‘At least you have a job’. True, the pay could be better, the hours could be better, but this is the situation I am in and I have to make the most of it.

My computer has been acting up. Right now it says there is no internet connection, but I know there is one. It’s been difficult to upload pictures and videos, mainly of the party on Sunday.

I have Jon & Deena of the Cucumbers singing My Boyfriend, I have Tim & Lily of the Street Corner Mourners singing an old Irish Folk song “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” and “Thirteen” by Big Star.

I don’t know if I have Bob Pierson singing Roy Orbison’s Sweet Dreams Baby and I don’t think I have my performance of the Fabs’ All My Loving or Bill singing Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits, accompanied by Lois DiLivio.

Maybe I do. It’s just that the computer is so slow. It’s been slow since the heat wave last week.

I did see Rand this morning at the bus stop. He was actually there to see me, but as I met him, my bus pulled up and I got on it and Rand walked. I’m sure if he ran alongside we could have had a quick little chat, but it didn’t matter since I couldn’t open the windows enough.

The day went by as it generally does. At first it was waiting for Marcus to leave, then waiting for Calvin to go home. There was a difference of 7 hours between the former leaving and the latter going home.

I had a cigar at lunch, a $25.00 cigar and since it was raining, I actually ate in the backroom with some customers, and had a nice chat with Mona about the far right and their wish to turn this country into a theocracy.

We talked about our spouses as well, she being hitched to a woman from Holland and me with what’s his name, Bill.

I made a deal with Don Birch and I counted the safe while he closed the register. That made me out of the store at 9:05. According to iTunes I made it from the shop to the bus terminal in 13.5 minutes.

But that is an error since I didn’t start playing the Talking Heads ‘Naked’ album until I got a block away and the third song, Totally Nude ended when I set foot on the corner of 42nd Street and Eight Avenue.

So it wasn’t really leaving the shop and entering the terminal, but it was close though. And 13.5 minutes to walk down 15 blocks isn’t so bad either.

Good ol' what's his name....Bill.

I’m In Love

Hey! I didn’t write yesterday. I was sort of cross eyed and painless but I wouldn’t say shitfaced. It was the end of a perfect day. The day started nicely enough, I was able to get up and get out and get some bagels.

Came home with the newspaper and the bagels and had some eggs. It made for a nice breakfast. Little did I know that it would be basically the only thing I would have eaten beside cake later on.

Seven pizzas came and went, Spanakopita (Chaz!), various salads, and cakes were all devoured. I’m not complaining. That’s why the food was there. I reckon there were about 50 people there. A few people wandered into Maxwells thinking the restaurant was open for brunch.

I generally caught them and showed them out and directed them to the Madison at 14th & Washington Street. Most of them were cool but one asshole walked away saying ‘go fuck yourself’. Me being me- couldn’t resist saying, ‘no, you go fuck yourself!’

What the hell… I had backup. Luckily the backup wasn’t needed and she wheeled himself away in her wheelchair. It was a great collection of family and friends. The cousins from South Jersey showed up, mostly.

Old friends of mine, former co-workers arrived too. These former co-workers are now good friends. Billie made it up from DC on the Mega Bus for the afternoon, then back to DC at 6:00PM.

Jim Mastro re-officiated the vows that were said originally on April Fool’s Day. . It was great to have so many friends and family witness. Unfortunately the original witnesses Chris Repella & Tom Winnick couldn’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances.

Lot’s of photos taken and even video. I have seen some of the photos but none of the videos. I’ve been trying for the past 24 hours to upload my pics, but my computer seems to be behaving quite oddly. I will have to get in touch with Rand on the computer front.

Deena Shoshkes & Jon Fried sang My Boyfriend for me.. I snag along standing next to Bill. Then Lily & Tim from the Street Corner Mourners sang 2 songs, one of them seemed written or rewritten so it could be about me.

Awfully sweet.

I was compelled to take the straw hat off of Bill’s head and pass it around so people could donate some cash to the Street Corner Mourners. I did clear it with Jon & Deena beforehand. They were fine with it. It looked like a nice collection.

Bill sang Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits accompanied by Lois. I was going to sing that, having practiced it for two days beforehand. Instead I sang All My Loving by the Beatles which to my surprise most everyone joined in and sang along with me.

They jumped into a chorus too soon but I got them back on track.

It was actually the first time I played and sang in front of most of my friends and all of my family. After that, it was all a blur for me mainly. So much going on, so many friendly faces.

Juan arrived late but still welcomed and he jumped into the festivities with gusto. Bill’s cousin Elisa and her husband King also arrived looking fantastic. Elisa looked great in her new ‘do and King looked regal in a pink suit.

It ended basically when the World Cup ended.

Some of us made it over to Rand & Lisa’s apartment for an after party. Jane, Martha Griffin and Loren & Andrew joined Rand & Lisa, Bill and me and Lois. More drinks were consumed and some spicy hot cheese was served.

Today was a quieter day, spent down in Sandy Hook with Annemarie, followed by Ice Cream at Crazies in Rumson.

Two wonderful days. One spent with a lot of friends and family, the other spent with my dear sister Annemarie.

Still having difficulty uploading pics, even off of Facebook. Sorry!

I was able to get this one uploaded!

I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby

It’s a Saturday and it’s a day off. It’s been overcast with threats of rain and quite muggy too. But I don’t mind. Like I said, it’s a day off. I did some shopping for tomorrow and also played the guitar.

Talked to various friends on the phone. Some are coming, some aren’t, some are leaving early to watch the World Cup final. I sent Todd an email telling him that close to 40 people are expected.

Tim and Lily of the Street Corner Mourners (pass the hat!) are playing tomorrow and I think Jon & Deena from the Cucumbers are playing as well. I did ask Deena a few months ago when this whole shebang started.

Rand is supposed to be handling the music on the iPods. Chaz is making or bringing Spanakopita, Lois and Sheilah are making salads and Karen, Elaine and Meghan Taylor are bringing cakes or desserts. I’m alternately psyched and anxious about the whole thing.

I doubt there will be any problems but having said that, this superstitious atheist gets nervous.

Annemarie made it safely to New Jersey. She stopped by Hoboken on her way to Garfield. We walked around a bit and had salads at the Garden of Eden in the upstairs room. No one else was there and it made for some quality time. After that, a walk around Pier A. I enjoyed a nice cigar, a freebie from work. A La Reloba by My Father’s Cigars.

Earlier, I stopped by the library and took out the Celluloid Closet and the Dark Knight. I’ve seen both of them of course, but there’s nothing on TV tonight and I figured when Bill gets home, maybe something familiar to watch would be nice. That’s about it.

Downloaded some songs that I remembered from a Stiff Records collection from 20 years ago, as well as the new single from N*E*R*D*. That track is swinging.

I will have to get Rand to play it tomorrow. I pointed him in the direction of what I would like to hear and what I think the other ‘grown ups’ would also like. I have two playlists for him to use if he would like and also requested a certain song be played.

Hopefully that will be revealed tomorrow.

Don’t know what else to write. I think I’ve covered all the bases. Don’t know if I’ll write tomorrow. I will be busy enough, but then again there will probably be a lot to write about. I suppose I will see what state of mind I am in at the end of the day.

I hope to be feeling quite nice and relatively cross eyed and painless.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing family and friends. If you’re reading this and know where to go at what time, I look forward to seeing you. For the rest of you I hope you have a good day tomorrow doing whatever it is that you do.

Even if you’re in Bala Cynwyd or even Portland.

Not Annemarie's car

I’m Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key)

It’s Friday! I made it through! And now I have three days off! And Annemarie’s flying in tomorrow! And I am going overboard with exclamation points! But I don’t care!

It was an decent day. My stress last night from work still haunted me enough, that when Bill was kissing me goodbye as I slept he mentioned that I would have a good day at work.

Work. The mere mention of it freaked me out. I didn’t have that good a night’s sleep last night and the last hour after Bill left was anxiety ridden. I rallied and got out of bed. Suit hanging up, more ready for the day that I was.

Shower, breakfast, coffee. Soon I was at the Washington Street bus stop. Not too hot out, it was in the 80 degree range. I had a smoke while I waited for the bus, away from a dad and his baby strapped to his chest.

He was hoping to catch the 89 bus but he didn’t wave his hand so the bus just went right on by. I figured he was waiting for a bus to take him up Washington Street and told him that another bus would soon be approaching. But it wasn’t the 89 bus so he walked away.

I was in the bus terminal in no time, and soon on the subway hurtling uptown. I had enough time to hang out but decided to be proactive and head into the shop to clear up the things I thought I neglected to do last night.

But apparently what I neglected to do was remedied easily enough, just a simple point and click. All that wasted anxiety! After that it was all easy and I bought some red grapes and shared them with Don
Some of the good customers came in today, meaning the customers I like. I also sold a pricey box of cigars and shipped them off to Connecticut. The day went well and I also picked up the latest Mojo and Uncut magazines.

Another favorite customer laid a Cuban cigar on me since I recommended he pick up You Never Give Me Your Money. He’s a Beatles fanatic as well. He too couldn’t put the book down and when he finally did he felt like taking a shower afterward.

It was awfully nice of him to give me a Cuban cigar and he asked when the last time I had a Cuban and I answered in the 1990’s. I’m sure someone, somewhere down the line gave me a Cuban stick. Probably at Right Track.

I enjoyed a strong, full bodied cigar at lunch time. My daily freebie. Raymond recommended it after I told him I wanted a cigar that would fuck me up. It didn’t really, but it was strong enough and a good smoke.

The afternoon went by rather quickly. I played a few Beatles albums, the Dark Was The Night compilation, Bob Marley & the Wailers- Kaya and Bob Dylan’s Bootleg series Vol. 8.

I turned a customer into Nick Drake enough that he ran out and bought a collection after hearing River Man.

I had no problems with closing tonight, Raymond was around to answer any questions that I might have had. It got me out of the store soon enough.

I couldn’t tell you the time it took to get from the cigar shop to the bus terminal since I played Feed the Animals by Girl Talk, the one continuous track. But I would say it was the average 16-17 minutes, me marching down the avenue like Harrison Ford chasing Joanna Cassidy in Blade Runner.

This gent was making a mandala at 3:55 at Columbus Circle.

I’m Getting Sentimental Over You

It’s been another hot day today. Oddly enough I’m not so tired. I certainly wish I was making more money, but who doesn’t wish for that? The day started off fine. Bill kissing me goodbye as I had another hour to sleep.

Actually it’s an hour interrupted by the alarm clock every 10 minutes thanks to the snooze alarm. I got up around 8:00 and did my shower, shave, coffee and cereal routine. Actually didn’t shave. I’ll shave tomorrow.

Sat in front of a fan and checked emails and whatnot while the Today show showed how easy it is to lose weight while breathing. Who knew?

Ah, a nice breeze just wafted in. Nice and cool. What I aspire to be.

I’ve taken to wearing the suit and shirt to work, carrying a tie in my shoulder bag. I carry the suit jacket and usually by the time I get to the cigar shop, my shirt is see through in spots. Once I’m in the shop, I put on a t-shirt.

I held a lot of people in contempt this morning. Back to some of my old traits. They were held in contempt for not having change when they got on the bus. There are plenty of shops where they can get change and most everyone knows that the fare into Manhattan is $3.20.

But there’s always someone who only has a fiver. And that holds up the bus until the driver allows them on the bus so they could plead for change of a five. I always had my money ready when I got on the bus and now that I am back to have a bus pass it’s one less thing to worry about.

People are dumb. People are rude. People don’t hold the door for other people. Oh how I disliked people this morning. By the afternoon, all that had changed and I merely saw them as semi-conscious animals.

Work itself was OK. It was me and Don Birch for most of the day with Sean coming in the afternoon. We all got along fine. I undercharged someone for some cigars and rather than deal with an irate customer, I paid the tax that I neglected to charge myself.

Then when it came time for closing the bank was short $3.00 which I amended with petty cash which I hope is there for moments like this. Of course things still went awry since there were some forms that I neglected to include and only remembered until it was too late.

Tomorrow I will have to ask Calvin to walk me through the closing process since all I know is piecemeal work. It’s taking the initiative I suppose.

The party lurches forward. Anxiety appears at the edges of my mind. More regretful cancellations. Billie is coming up from DC via Bolt Bus and is expected in Manhattan around 10:30. He will be returning around 6:00. I’m excited to see him again and also excited that my family and friends will finally meet my chocolate sister.

Thanks to the first 5 songs from Gang of Four’s Entertainment album, I made it from work to the bus terminal in 16.5 minutes.

a quiet moment

I’m Coming Home

Well it was back to work after having off yesterday. And yesterday when it was 100° I was home in my underwear. It’s a nice enough image. Today when it was 100° I was in a suit and tie. That was what the temperature was when I had lunch at 3:30.

That’s the time to have lunch when you’re starting later than usual and also closing the store. It wasn’t so bad to have lunch at a late hour. Once again I sat by the park on a bench, reading the New Yorker from May and enjoying a free cigar.

A $25.00 cigar at that.

It was Marcus for a little while then he was off to get ready for his upcoming nuptials. Calvin and Raymond and eventually Sean came in. Raymond and Sean are both on thin ice, Sean because he was spending too much in the backroom and not working.

He’s a 19 year old father of a three year old and doesn’t care if he gets fired since he can always get a part time job at Hermes and his only expense is school books. No child support from him. He actually asked that if he gets a phone call from someone to say he’s not there.

Yes, he’s avoiding the mother of the baby boy, and not offering any child support.

Raymond offered to stick around while I closed the store, specifically reconciling the register. AT 9:01 he was out the door. So much for sticking around if I had any questions. In any event I was able to close the register and I’ll find out tomorrow whether or not I did it right.

I listened to MGMT after leaving the shop and got from there to the bus terminal in 16.1 minutes. Luckily I caught the bus and got a nice seat just seconds before the bus left the gate.

Last night things were quite heavy here in Hoboken, specifically in the apartment. The whole Bill wearing a guayabera thing blew up and got quite heated. Lot’s of yelling and getting in each others faces.

I yelled that I was willing to cancel the party and Bill said go right ahead. In the middle of this my cousin Joe called. He might be making it to the party on Sunday. I tell you, that if it weren’t for Joe’s call I probably would have canceled the whole shebang.

It was good to hear from Joe. I don’t believe I ever spoke to him on the phone before. He’s older than I am, closer to Frank and Annemarie’s age group than mine. Theresa and myself are the youngest in this group of cousins.

There is a younger cousin, Terrance but I haven’t seen him in 35 years. And that branch of the family tree doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with the rest of us, possibly from having bad feelings regarding their late father, my uncle which is the point of contact between us and them.

Doesn’t matter to me though. They’re somewhere out on Long Island along with other cousins that are unreachable or otherwise engaged.

I’m just glad the cousins I like are coming. And also glad that you might be coming. You know who you are. And Bill and I are just fine, thank you very much.

I’m Going Away Smiling

So today has been my day off. And it’s been too hot to do anything. I’ve been indoors most of the day excepting 2 trips to the Bibliothèque and the supermarket and the cleaners.

It was reported to be 105° in Newark this afternoon. That’s what they said on the news, then at a later broadcast they said it was actually 103°. Still it qualifies as being too damn hot.

The party continues to approach. Cousins expected, some friends backed out, some friends unsure, other friends making plans to arrive. The menu will now be pizza. Maybe some salad too. And a cash bar.

That is if we can make it to Sunday.

I can definitely blame the heat for the non communication brought on by me with Bill. He came home and he was wearing a guayabera. I asked him if that’s what he wore to work (and it was a stupid question since he just came home from work).

He said yes that it was how he dressed for work. I remarked that he was lucky since he could dress like that. I was about to tell him how I would have to wear a suit & tie regardless of the temperature when Bill insisted that it had nothing to do with luck, that he’s been working at that law firm for 10 years.

I asked him if anyone working less than 10 years had to wear office attire and he said no, they could dress in business casual due to the heat. I then mentioned that he was fortunate to have worked 10 years at that law firm and could dress in that manner.

All I wanted to say that it sucked that I had to wear a suit & tie tomorrow in this heat but he has this idea that I liked to wear such things year round despite the fact that in the 10 years we’ve been together I’ve usually been able to dress business casual during the summer months.

But in his mind it seems to be that I like being suited up year round.

It’s the heat. Short fuses, quick tempers. I realized that ad shut down any communication with him. It’s 8:00 now and instead of putting on Keith Olbermann he wants to watch another episode of the Olivia Show, aka Lawn Hors d’œuvre SUV.

I don’t think he knows about the 2 hour season finale of Lawn Hors d’œuvre Criminal Malcontent (he does, they just announced it) that’s on tonight and I don’t know if I will tell him since I don’t want to watch 3 hours of Lawn Hors d’œuvre, no matter what the off shoots may be.

He did ask at 8:00 if I was watching anything in particular and I answered, just the computer screen. I could have said Keith Olbermann.

It was definitely good to have the day off but it’s been terribly hot. It would have been nice to get out some more today but each time (meaning both times) it was truly too hot. Oh well. 3 more days of work left for me, then 3 days off.

Can’t complain. I have a job and according to the Ed Show tonight 4 million people are not getting unemployment benefits right now, and congress is on vacation.

Yesterday's Me

Maybe Tuesdays just aren’t a good day for Bill and myself.

Just went out to run a quick errand. A little bit cooler out since the sun has started going down. Bill is making some pasta, and as usual letting it boil over adding to the hunidity of the apartment.

It’s been so hot today that my computer shut down and now my mouse is not working properly. But if that is all I have to complain about, then I really don’t have anything to complain about.

And thanks to a blow up between me & him, and implications violently brought to the surface, the party might be canceled.
Such a drama queen, or rather- drama queens. It’s on.

I’m Diggin’ You (Like An Old Soul Record)

Another tired day, but I am happy to report I have tomorrow off. Quite a nice thing to write and even better to say. I’ve been home for about an hour. It was a long day. I had to open the store and left the apartment at 8:20 to catch the 8:30 bus.

When I got to the bus stop there was no bus coming and I checked the schedule. Today being a federal holiday meant the buses were running on a different schedule. I started making my way to the Path train and while in between bus stops my bus appeared.

I had to run into the street and wave my arms hoping the bus driver would stop. And stop he did. I got on the bus thanking him profusely. A Scandinavian woman asked if I had 5 singles since she needed change for the bus. I had 4 singles and that was good enough for her.

Once in the city it was a walk up the avenue, the only people out were tourists, most people had off for the holiday. I’m obviously not most people.

There was drama of course at the shop. Marcus and Calvin were upset about a few things, mainly because part timer Sean was on tape hanging out with the customers in the back room over the weekend for a few hours, when he should have been working.

Raymond is on thin ice still and the fact that he met up with Harold who was let go last month. Harold was persona non grata then and is still. He seems to be just fucking with Marcus and Calvin and used Raymond to do so.

I did not get a talking to like Sean did or like Raymond will tomorrow. I guess I’m doing alright, though it was mentioned that we shouldn’t be using our mobile devices while on the shop floor, because if you go to Hermes or Louis Vuitton, you won’t seen the sales staff doing that.

And we’re in that league according to Marcus.

The day started out slow like the other days the past few days. Marcus handed out cigars for the staff in honor of his upcoming wedding this weekend. They had his and his bride’s name printed on the cellophane.

I put it in my cigar box in the humidor and did whatever it is I did at the shop. Finally I was able to have lunch and I went out in the 97 degree weather and found a bench under a tree by the park and had a pretty good, expensive cigar that I had for free.

One of the perks you see. I read You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett, almost done with it. Just in time too since it’s due back at the Bibliothèque on Wednesday. They all come off badly the Fabs. Sniping, drug and alcohol abuse and endless lawsuits.

I’m in the last chapter. Maureen Starkey, Linda McCartney, and Derek Taylor are all dead and George was just attacked by a deranged intruder in his Henley on Thames mansion. It’s enough to make you give up the Beatles myth.

That’s about it for today. Off tomorrow and I’m happy to be home right now with Bill.

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That was the message some of you may have gotten last night when visiting this here blog. Obviously, Rand fixed it so- thanks to Rand!

I’m Alive

What a long hot day. For some reason Papa Gene’s Blues by the Monkees is the song I’m playing right now and could really relate to it. Now I’m playing Pleasant Valley Sunday. Why the Monkees? More than likely because they require little or no thought.

It’s been in the upper 90 degree range, no matter where you are, in the shade it still feels like an exhaust fan is blowing. Bill is napping right now in the air conditioned bedroom. He came home last night, not completing a drive down to Atlantic City due to a collision on the parkway.

It wasn’t his fault and the woman who sideswiped his bus admitted so to the police. He was nervous that he would be fired but right now he is on stand by for yet another drive to Atlantic City tomorrow morning.

I, of course worked today and it was slow going. The only people that bought cigars and whatnot were mainly tourists. The first customer I had was a guy named Guy who seemed nice enough I suppose. He was very interested in buying a $200.00 lighter.

That was the price I quoted him, but when I ran it through the computer it came up as $175.00. Raymond mentioned that there was a mistake after I mentioned it to him (in front of the customer). The customer wasn’t too pleased by this and felt we were screwing him.

Still he bought the lighter at $200.00 and then asked about the return policy. I explained there were no cash refunds, just store credit and then the guy named Guy got all huffy and decided to not buy the lighter after buying it.

That was the first customer and I hoped the rest of the day wouldn’t be going in the same direction. It didn’t really but it was an arduous day nonetheless.

One more day then I’ll be off on Tuesday, then three days of work then three days off. One regular came into the store, a wanker named Nelson who gladly shook hands with Raymond and Sean but scowled when I nearly offered my hand.

I didn’t mind but said to myself that I will minimize any future contact with this wanker. I could swear he gives me dirty looks and I’m not being paranoid. Perhaps he too is yet another one in the closet and sees me as a disruption to their life of deceit.

In any event, I just wanted the day at the shop to end and go home. I thought most of the week I would take the Path home but decided to take the bus since I have a bus pass. On Sundays the buses run every half hour.

I got to the bus terminal in 14.9 minutes, listening to what was the first side of the Ramones first album. There was a bus at 6:30 and I was at the escalator to the gate at 6:25. Unfortunately there were a lot of people in the queue before me so the bus at the gate filled up leaving me 25th in the queue.

A half hour wait, luckily I had You Never Give Me Your Money to read and that made the time go by faster. Snagged a nice seat. Lot’s of people walking around with beach chairs, headed towards the river.

Last year Bill and I met up with the Mastros. This year they’re not here and Bill & I are more than likely staying home, or at least very close to home.

Just heard from Juan, he’ll be up next Sunday for the party. Heard from Pedro who won’t be at the party as he’ll be working.

Bring cake.