Monthly Archives: June 2011

I Can See In Color

A beautiful summer day, a Thursday at that. Last night didn’t work out as planned but it was still an enjoyable night. Bill and I did not have the birthday dinner like we anticipated. He wound up staying in the city since there was a car fire and every bus that was leaving the terminal sat idling for quite a while. He decided to get off the bus and go back to the office.

He had taken off of work today and decided to set things up for his replacement. I came home and had a sandwich before heading up to Maxwells. It was certainly a mellow evening. No rushing through dinner to make the show. I walked up to Maxwells where my brother Frank was already inside.

I bought the tickets at the beginning of June, opting for the ‘Will Call’ service and Frank was able to get in as my plus one. I walked in and saw Pat Irwin from the Raybeats as I stood at the bar and ordered a pint of Guinness. I met up with a former Maxwells habitué, Alirio. We never really talked back in the day but thanks to Facebook a line of communication had opened.

As we stood there talking, this attractive woman comes up to me yelling that I hadn’t changed at all. It was Patti Quinn, another mainstay from back in the day. She had already talked to Alirio and focused all her attention on me which was flattering. She was there with her nephew Liam who just got back from Taipei, as well as her 2 children.

I don’t think she expected to see so many old faces and I don’t think she knew what was going on in the back. We talked for a few minutes before I headed into the back room. I found my brother Frank thanks to Stan Demeski from the Feelies. Stan was there with his lovely wife Janice and Frank was standing next to them, next to the soundboard which is where we always used to stand years ago.

The Schramms were playing and they were enjoyable. After that came the Raybeats, who I really wanted to see the most. The Raybeats were the band that Danny Amis was in a long time ago. Danny had bone cancer, which is in remission thanks to stem cell therapy. Still he has enormous medical bills which is what these benefits around the country as well as Mexico are all about.

After Danny left the Raybeats, he formed a band called Los Straightjackets in which all the band members wear wrestling masks. They’re big in Mexico too. The Raybeats were phenomenal. I love the Raybeats. Last night they had Steve Almaas on bass guitar. Alirio pointed that out and I didn’t hear what Alirio has said at first, but I did notice the Dan Electro bass he was playing. I had seen Steve Almaas several times years ago when he was in Beat Rodeo.

When the Bongos were a 3 piece, and thinking about adding another guitar, it was down to Steve Almaas and Jim Mastro. Jim got the gig and Steve did his own thing. And Jim Mastro was enjoying the show last night as well. So many people from the past & present, including Chaz Charas, whom it is always good to see.

Adele Bertei came on stage and sang Shakin’ All Over with the Raybeats and once again it was over way too soon. Then came the Individuals who put on a good set, all the original members made the show. Then came Yo La Tengo who did a very good set and finished with Jody Harris from the Raybeats on a fantastic feedback drenched finale.

It was all over around midnight I think, and I’m not sure since by the end I wound up having about half dozen pints of the black beer. Oh yes, I am paying for it today, but happily doing so. As tired as I was beforehand, seeing the Raybeats made me believe in the rejuvenating power of rock & roll.

So now I am home after running some errands. Heading into the city to see The Motherfucker with the Hat on Broadway. It stars Bobby Cannavale, Annabella Sciorra and Chris Rock. Bill and I are both quite excited to see it. I am meeting him around 6:15 at John’s Pizza in midtown for dinner before the show.

It’s been a very good and exciting 24 hours.

The Raybeats (with Gail Ann Dorsey) backing Adele Bertei at Joe’s Pub 2010

Pat Irwin, Steve Almaas, Don Christensen and Jody Harris

Yo La Tengo

I Can See For Miles

I slept incredibly well last night, but that have been because I was not feeling too well. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was nearly fast asleep. And it was earlier than usual, a little after midnight.

I had a vision of sorts, on how to fall asleep soundly. Basically the trick was to visualize different objects and then figure out where they go. It actually worked. I woke up with a smile on my face with Bill leaning over me giving me a good bye kiss on his birthday.

Bill just said a few minutes ago on the phone that he wished he had a camera to take a picture of my angelic face. I tell you, an angelic face from me in the morning is quite a rare thing.

And Last night I was not feeling well at all. It may have started at the cigar shack, or at least on the bus ride. So fatigued, and who knows I do shake some hands throughout the day so I might have picked up some bug, albeit a temporary bug.

Luckily I had done most of my writing beforehand so all I had to do was edit. Bill was asleep when I came home and then got out of bed for a few minutes. My bones felt heavy as he went back to bed and I eventually joined him.

So this morning I had to open the store. That meant everything was an hour or so earlier than usual. I made my way to the bus stop and got on a nice air conditioned coach bus that quickly filled up. The guy next to me was sleeping throughout the ride, his leg rubbing against mine.

I just stared out the window. A totally different crowd than the one I am used to when I commute into the city. This afternoon has been a bear. Some running around, not much of a lunch hour, more like a 15 minute break.

I am maintaining good spirits, or at least trying to keep some good will for dinner. It hasn’t been easy to keep. Once again I realize that I am a bad teacher. Trying to show the new guy, Jerry Vale how to do things properly on the register. A lack of patience which could be attributed to the bad teachers I had when growing up.

I would rather do it myself than have to explain over & over how to do something. I would say I don’t like to repeat myself, but here we are reading something that I more than likely written before.

Now just finishing things up in the shack, been yet another long day. I tell you Calvin is quite fortunate to have a competent staff. No one is getting over, everyone pulls their own weight. But for me, I just want to go back to Hoboken, have a steak with Bill and then head to Maxwells for some Rock & Roll. That’s all I ask.

Apparently I ask for too much. I wound up taking the train to the Path train and that turned out to be the smart thing to do, however inadvertent. Bill texted me when I got off the Path train, the plan was to meet at Maxwells, but here he was texting me from the bus.

The bus had been stopped in the terminal for a half hour due to a car fire in the Lincoln Tunnel. So we are rescheduling dinner until tomorrow. Maybe before the play. In any event I am home, just changed out of the suit & tie into something a little more cooler, a little more comfortable. And though I haven’t been drinking lately, I am determined to have a pint. Or two.

Happy birthday to my man, Bill with lots of love.

Oh yeah, this is the 2,000th posting I’ve done. Isn’t that something?

Ubee & Bubee 2001

I Can See Clearly Now

Today seems to be a big nothing kind of day. Not much is going on, slow at the cigar shack. I’m ambivalent about most things including music. And sales. Can’t say I am hustling since there is really no one to hustle to. The Bradley is playing Aimee Mann so you know what that sounds like.

I slept really well last night and not getting out of bed until just before 9:00 which is cutting it close in my book. In fact that was probably the only time I have hustled today.

Been thinking about some names from my past, Danielle Perry Cruz, Felicia Tennis Court, MaryAnn Molloy, Cotton Wright, Benedict Whatsisface, Derry Pedovitch. Just thinking about the names not the actual people. You know that at least one of them will do a Google search eventually and this is what will pop up.

It’s a beautiful day weather-wise ad once again I sat on a bench near the park, enjoying a cigar and reading ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ Started reading about The Replacements. I just finished the chapters on Husker Du and Minor Threat.

I had no idea how much crap these bands went through but they certainly paid their dues. I just never got into hardcore. Too angry and violent. The Replacements I saw a few times, sometimes great sometimes a shambles. Always at Maxwells too. Rita was closer to them than I was, though she did introduce me to Paul Westerberg.

Today is Bill’s mother’s birthday and it is also Julio’s birthday. Tomorrow is Bill’s birthday. The plan is to go to dinner with him at Arthurs and then when he goes home, I go to Maxwells and meet up with my brother Frank at the benefit for Danny Amis. Should be some old faces there.

Ha! Fucked up a bit. Sold some cigars to a cigar bar and neglected to include the receipt. So I took it upon myself to go to the cigar bar and drop it off. Usually they offer me a beer, but I don’t really drink anymore. I will probably have a pint with Bill tomorrow night for his birthday but that should be about it.

So many people offer me drinks and since I’m not drinking much these days I am thinking a polite way to say no thanks is to tell them I’m an alcoholic, which I’m not, but should end all offers for a drink. Not a friend of ‘Bill’ but rather his partner.

Now in the cigar shack it’s me and Thomas. When I went out to lunch earlier I took my iPod with me which basically turned out to be my giving up choosing music for the shack. So since then we heard Aimee Mann, Ben Folds, John Legend, Thelonius Monk’s son playing Thelonius Monk songs and now we are hearing the blues.

It turns out that I dislike the blues as much as I dislike jazz. Does that make me a bad person? No, I don’t think so. I find them both equally boring and uninspiring. I don’t begrudge anyone liking those genres but I would rather not listen to them at all. But what’s fair is fair.

I’m sure a lot of the music I like is not liked by others, but I would rather hear Hold On, I’m Coming by Sam & Dave rather than BB King & Eric Clapton. Oh how I loathe Eric Clapton.

Former co-worker Harold is also Sylvester Randolph who is doing porn. He can be Googled. And I also found out something today at work about the register, something I should have known before.

Everyone else seemed to know about it but me. A felt like a bit of a doofus, but didn’t say anything else after I mentioned it to the Bradley.

Home again. A little depressed and physically tired.

I Can Only Imagine

Home again, a Monday for me and a Monday for most everyone. The thing is, most everyone has Saturday and Sunday off, whereas I merely had Sunday off. That means cramming everything that most people have 2 days to deal with into 1 day. Not much fun, or at least not much time for fun.

So laundry was done, grocery shopping and errands were completed. Bill came home in the morning and though on the phone from Atlantic City on Saturday night he said it might be good to check out the Pride parade in New York City yesterday, I knew he would be too tired and I decided not to head into the city on my day off.

Bill slept most of the day as I washed clothes and went to the supermarket. It was fine by me. I did have a chance to go to the post office and on my way passed the Guitar Bar where I saw Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. His eldest daughter Lily just graduated high school and he was quite proud of her as he should be.

I made my way to the post office and then decided to walk along the waterfront where I ran into my old busking friend Tariq. He was taking a break from strumming and handed me the guitar as I sat next to him. I played some Beatles songs and once again ignored by all passerby, except for my old friend Roger.

It was good to see Roger and since Tariq was headed into the city I took a little stroll around Hoboken with Roger who was looking for either a good slice of pizza or a falafel. He decided to buy a falafel and offered to buy me one, but I headed home and tried to wake up Bill who was still fast asleep.

He wouldn’t wake up so I let him sleep and sat in front of the computer where I argued with trolls online (I always seem to find them, though 1 seems to find me here) about same sex marriage. Me against the defenders of the catholic faith. How the protectors of child molesting priests should be able to decide that the marriage equality of 2 same sex consenting adults is valid or not. I wasn’t alone in my online troll battle and my allies had equally if not better points to prove our points.

Bill eventually woke up and we wound up on Pier A in Hoboken where we watched the fireworks following the New York City’s Gay Pride parade. It was nice, the 2 of us sitting and watching the explosions in the sky while we smoked cigars. With little prompting he also sang a quiet version of the Star Spangled Banner, really stretching out the high note at the end.

That was basically the high point (or high note) of the day since Bill and I rarely do anything outside the apartment together. He went back to bed soon after we got home and I chatted with online friends. I slept fairly well, waking up and getting my act together.

I decided to take a Xanax before I left and by the time I got to the cigar shack I was quite mellow. Too mellow perhaps since it wouldn’t take much to put me to sleep. But I persevered with the help of some Iced Coffees and eventually made it through the day.

I worked with Calvin and Thomas and overall though it wasn’t a blockbuster day we did alright. And now I am home, the Xanax has all but worn off after 12 hours. I shouldn’t have any trouble sleeping tonight.

And neither should you after reading all this.

I Can Never Go Home Anymore

A long long day at work today but I am home and happy to be here. Slept really well last night despite the fact that Bill wasn’t here and I rarely sleep well when he is absent. No melatonin needed last night though the night before it was taking a while to kick in, I was laying there and actually felt it’s effect with my eyes closed.

I felt I was walking through a distinctively feminine portal, almost mirror like. It was a nice feeling and helped me finally get to sleep after much tossing and turning. Last night was a sleep walk through the park and waking up wasn’t so bad either.

I did get up earlier than usual since I had to go to work and also get a few things done before I headed into the cigar shack. The bus ride was uneventful as usual and I headed out of the terminal to get my usual weekend egg sandwich.

After that it was a walk to the theater district where I picked up the tickets to the show that I am taking Bill to see for his birthday. I could probably write it here since I don’t think Bill reads this here blog, but being the paranoid person I am I won’t.

Walking through the theater district took me away from Hell’s Kitchen, where it would have been nice to see the reaction to New York State’s passing of Marriage Equality. But that simply wasn’t to be. I walked in the shadows of the office buildings trying to keep cool and also picked up the Daily News which had the beautiful headline ‘History’ over a photograph of the celebrants outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. Years ago I probably would have been there in the crowd celebrating, but not anymore.

It’s just that I am so anti-social lately. I am most comfortable in my apartment, usually with Bill. I leave the cigar shack and I am usually fed up with the people all around me. I guess it is from being weary of having to interact with strangers all day long.

Today was one of those days, and I couldn’t make a connection with anyone except for my co-workers. Thomas and Bradley were the co-workers today and both did very well with their sales.

Way better than me actually. Thomas really hit a home run towards the end. His method is showing the high end pricey stuff and then working down from there. It’s the exact opposite from me, where I show off the less expensive goods and usually make my sales that way. Thomas is exceptional at sales and Bradley is pretty good at it. I just treat people the way I like to be treated when I shop and I guess that’s the wrong way to do it.

I’m not upset with the outcome though. I’m not thrilled about it either. It is what it is and that’s the way it is. Now I am home and happy to be here. I am off tomorrow and I don’t plan on doing much. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight so he’ll be home tomorrow morning and more than likely going right to bed. I did think about going to the Gay Pride parade with him but he won’t be up for it and I am not going alone.

It would have been nice but like previous years we will probably go to Pier A in Hoboken and watch the fireworks. I suppose it’s good that I’m not going to the parade since I am anti-social lately but it might have been good to break from the routine. C’est la vie.

I Can Help Too

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Marriage Equality comes to New York State! The same-sex marriage bill was approved on a 33-to-29 vote.

It’s a Friday and everyone seems to be in a good, if not decent mood. And it was fairly busy at the cigar shack. Two special guest stars came in one was Casey Chasm who I hadn’t seen in a year or so. Good to see him, he was with a friend named Parik.

Casey looked good, clean shaven since the army frowns upon beards and whatnot. He’s probably going off to Afghanistan in a few months to do his Judge Advocate General routine. Luckily that doesn’t require being in the front, but still I worry.

And if I worry I can only imagine how Mrs. Chasm is feeling. And she now has 2 babies to look after, 2 girls named Annie and Clara. Casey wasn’t able to stay long, I was just one stop on his visit to Manhattan, he had a few other people to reconnect with. I was able to purchase a cigar for him as well as giving him a free cigar which was part of the promotion going on today.

And that promotion was what made the store extra busy. Quite a number of regulars and guys that hadn’t been seen in a while hanging out in the man cave smoking up a storm. The other special guest was Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam. He was in the other day and today he came back to buy some more items for his manager.

I don’t think Eddie Vedder is a cigar smoker but his manager seems to be, enough so to warrant a second visit. He was nice and trying to be incognito which explains the lack of photographs. I would be more impressed but I can’t say that I am much of a fan of Pearl Jam.

I spent my lunch hour once again on a bench near Central Park, smoking a cigar and reading Michael Azzerad’s entry on Mission of Burma. I totally missed out on seeing them, but did have Academy Fight Song which could be their most famous song.

Another story about a band too far ahead of their time. I did see a spin off band of Mission of Burma called Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Almost as noisy and dissonant as Burma and I am pretty sure I saw them at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC with Jet during one of my sojourns down to the nation’s capital.

Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight as well as tomorrow night so chances are I won’t be seeing him until Sunday which happens to be my next day off. He’s been busy at work lately so my occasional phone call with him has been a bit intense.

It’s all good, but today he was talking so fast that I could barely understand him and even though I asked him to repeat himself twice I wound up missing the gist of what he was saying. I told him so later which got a laugh. Just treading water now, it’s killing time. And now I am home and happy to be here.

I Can Hear Music

I am home, Bill is not. Neither is access to the internet. It’s a Thursday and I just got home from work. Tonight was Thomas’ night to close so I got to leave a little bit earlier than usual. It was not a busy day at all at the cigar shack and it took almost all of my 9 hour shift to break a grand. I wound up in second place behind Thomas but ahead of Bradley.

It was slow going throughout most of the day and since Thomas was controlling the register, meaning it was opened under his name and all sales go directly to him unless you manually change the name, and if you enter the name of the credit card user (which is most everyone) it defaults back to Thomas’ name.

So a few sales went to Thomas and not me. I was able to void a few of those sales and bring them back to my name so that worked out. After a while of doing that I just gave up and let Thomas have whatever sales I lost. The computers are so old and terrible that I sometimes make jokes that they were bought at a garage sale when the Soviet Union collapsed. I’m sure I had written that before but I think it’s a funny joke and worth repeating.

The cigar shack has been repainted, the man cave is now a light brown color and it makes the man cave seem that much more claustrophobic. Even though it was somewhat rainy today I opted to go out for lunch, sitting on a bench near the park.

I enjoyed a cigar as I sat on the Village Voice with AM NY giving cover for my back so I wouldn’t get wet. I know it was drier in the man cave, but I just needed to get out. Despite a few errant drops of rain falling off the leaves of the trees nearby it wasn’t so bad and I was able to read all about the Minutemen in Michael Azzerad’s ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’.

Man, the Minutemen were my favorite indie/SST band from the 1980’s. I was fortunate enough to see them a few times at Maxwells, one time it being so crowded that I stood next to Rand on the back bar itself since there was no room on the floor. I never said hello to D. Boon, Mike Watt or George Hurley since I always figured I would further down the line.

Then D. Boon died in a car accident and that ended that dream. I played Double Nickels on the Dime by the Minutemen as I read their story and felt really good walking back to the cigar shack. It was nice to get in touch with my punk rock roots and it was a reminder that punk was not just about music, it was about the DIY attitude.

Oddly enough before all that Thomas asked about punk rock and why it was so nihilistic and all sounded the same. It was an odd thing to hear, something that I hadn’t really had to explain in over 30 years, since high school where I was sometimes abused verbally and physically for liking music that was not what my classmates were listening to.

I explained that the Fall doesn’t sound like the Ramones who don’t sound like Television who didn’t sound like The Clash or the Minutemen. I had to keep in mind that Thomas is 25 and his idea of relaxing music is Nat King Cole. Juan is the same age and he gets it. ‘Some people do and some people don’t’ I thought to myself and played the Ramones first album in its 29 minute 17 second glory.

I Can Feel A Hot One

A day off and it’s been somewhat busy. After shaking off the strange dream of me trying to kill Rosemary’s Baby I got out of bed and started my day. I woke up with I Can See For Miles by the Who in my head.

A shower, a shave, some breakfast and coffee and soon I was off to the bibliothèque to find out what the hell is going on with my library card. I dropped off some CD’s last week and they were still on my card and in danger of being late. Bob Dylan’s Witmark Demos (Volume 9 of the Bootleg Series), The Scissor Sisters Night Work, the Jimi Hendrix Experience- Are You Experienced and the motion picture soundtrack of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The quite helpful librarian took a look and saw they were back in stock and dutifully removed them from my online library card. I love my bibliothèque.

From there it was off to the supermarket to buy groceries. Then it was home for a spell, did some cooking for tonight as well as for the week and also made some tuna salad for lunch for when I go back to work tomorrow and the days following.

Right now it looks like a major storm is approaching from the west. Yesterday, one of the bright spots in the day of staring into the abyss was seeing a hawk flying above the border of Hoboken and Weehawken, above the area called the Shades, in the shadow of Troy Tower. It took a few seconds to recognize it as a hawk and not merely a sea gull and yes it was majestic to watch. It was the high point of my day. I neglected to write about it and wish I had a taken a photograph of it.

And now it is raining.

I was also thinking about my education today and why I didn’t continue onto college. Would things have turned out differently? Probably. I had 13 years from kindergarten to senior year of high school which was mainly spent trying not to fail and get a passing grade.

I remember in junior year of high school, Sister Reginald telling the class that we were there because we had to be, but when we continued onto college there would be no one forcing us to go to class. Me being the type of person to not do something that he doesn’t want to do, had an epiphany and realized that it would be a waste of money since I loathed education and more than likely would be skipping classes.

For some reason I also remember a classmate, Don Francis being made to stand out in the hallway for something that he had done and slowly unzipping his zipper with a smile on his face while staring at me in class as he looked through the door. Don Francis left my school that year and I never saw him again though perhaps if he told me to go to college with him I might have, even though I believe he was straight.

So from Mrs. Burson to Mrs. Talamini to Sister Carla to Sister Reginald I did not enjoy school, going through it with much difficulty and when I graduated high school it made more sense to go from part time to full time working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich where I worked in the college department and read a lot of the books on my own time that my classmates were paying hundreds of dollars to own.

Who knows, perhaps they bought the books I had already read. In any event, I don’t have any regrets about not continuing my education and with the employment situation today and knowing a few college and university graduates who are currently out of work it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference anyway.

And still I delete hundred, perhaps thousands of spam subscribers to this here blog. It’s an ongoing process and if I don’t stay on top of it, it turns into several pages of names and email addresses to be deleted. I don’t know what will happen if I do not delete, but I am more comfortable with the three subscribers that I have.

So thank you Rand, HarbCard and Denali Kid for subscribing. And I guess some recognition should also go to lazy teat Greg who reads this blog every day. Well scratch Denali Kid off the list. Just sent an email and it came back as undeliverable.

I Can Dream About You

Well this has been quite a day from hell. Once again it started last night, not a good night of sleep which carried over into today. I was pretty tried and when I went to bed, Bill still wasn’t home.

A melatonin helped a bit and by the time I started drifting off to sleep Bill had come home. It wasn’t easy falling asleep after that despite some tossing and turning. Some sleep was had but not nearly enough.

I was hoping that Bill would have been home when I arrived since I wanted to share the rare good mood I happened to be in. It seems I just get really messed up in the head when I am alone. And last night I was alone for too long.

Bill apparently met up with his friend Fred after bringing his mother back from the beauty parlor. Fred gave Bill a brandy warmer shaped like a skier to give to me, as well as a snifter.

I suppose it would be nice if I drank brandy, or drank anything really. Perhaps life would be so much better if I was an alcoholic. They seem to have all the fun and some of them turned out to be pretty good writers, up to a point.

It was a day where I would have preferred to have been left alone on my lunch hour but no, the odd customer finds me and proceeds to talk to me about U2 living in his building.

He was also impressed to see me reading a book, telling me he was donating about 250 books to the United Nations. I was hoping that he would not offer me any books. And he didn’t so that worked out well.

I started reading ‘Our Band Can Be Your Life’ by Michael Azerrad. It’s all about the underground indie scene in the 1980’s. It was definitely what I needed to read to jump start my day, only a few hours late which by the way is so punk.

I also made the mistake of playing music that I wanted to hear since Calvin was out. It’s just Bradley and Thomas and I today so I played Sandinista which turned out to be too much for the lunk heads in the man cave.

The lunk heads were vocal enough to complain so I gave the controls to Bradley who proceeded to play only the very best narcoleptic jazz music. When I came back from my lunch hour it was still playing and I realized that jazz is the silliest music around, at least in the cigar shack.

And even though I was reading about how Greg Ginn enjoyed jazz (as well as thinking the Grateful Dead were the best band ever) it still leaves me quite cold. I should have gotten it by now, but it just alienates me more and more when I hear it.

Right now, I am just looking forward to going home and seeing Bill and having a day off tomorrow. And it’s off to the bibliothèque for me tomorrow.

Glad to be home, Bill is making noise a few feet behind me. It’s been a long day and a few times I stared into the abyss. Bill was great, listening to me on the phone and greeting me when I walked through the door with a great big hug.

I am so happy to be off tomorrow. This retail world is grinding me down. You might think that after a year it would get better, but it hasn’t. Still I hang in there. There are people that don’t have a job and there are people with worse jobs than mine.

Tons of spam subscribers every day, a good portion spent deleting each and every name. Are you one of them?

I Can Change

It’s a Monday and it hasn’t been a busy Monday. IN fact it’s been quite the opposite. A lot of returns, Fathers who did not like their present for Father’s Day having their wives or children returning items. A pain in the ass mainly. Calvin thought it was rude, and I guess being a father himself, he wouldn’t return any gift that his child gave him.

It started out as a weird day, at least it started yesterday. I received a phone call from a woman named Jennifer who was calling regarding a job reference that my former co-worker Sean put me down as. I was eating my dinner at the time and did not take the call.

Soon after that Sean called and told me what it was about, which I gathered when I listened to Jennifer’s voice mail. I decided to call Jennifer this morning. I called Jennifer and was told she was in a meeting. I headed to the bus stop and after my usual morning phone call with Bill, I called Jennifer again.

She was out of her meeting and I explained to her who I was and what I was calling about. After a minute she figured it out and asked if it would be alright if she called me back in an hour. I thought that would be fine since I more than likely wouldn’t be in the cigar shack then.

The usual uneventful bus ride into the city, followed by yet another phone call with Bill and no call from Jennifer. I did hear from Sean though, he was anxious to find out what was going on. I told him what was what and he had no choice but to wait.

It was Calvin and I for a while then Jerry Vale joined us. It wasn’t very busy at all though and the way it stands now, Jerry Vale is kicking my ass in sales. That’s alright, I was busy with other things, like unloading and unpacking new inventory and making sure the proper inventory numbers were affixed to everything came in.

Finally on my lunch hour, Jennifer called back. She asked me a few questions about Sean and playing up her ignorance I wound up telling her that Sean basically discovered penicillin. She did not know that. I guess she never saw Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet starring Edward G. Robinson.

I never saw it either but I do remember my mother talking about it a long time ago. But I did have the gumption to look up info about it and this was years before IMDB. So Sean got a golden review from me and everyone should be happy.

Yesterday I was sucked into the Star Wars saga, the original trilogy. A Facebook friend posted a while back that watching those movies with post 9/11 eyes is interesting. The rebels are the Taliban and whatnot, and the USA is the Empire. When watching it that way, it makes for some interesting viewing.

Now I am home. I was hoping that Bill would be home but he took his mother for an appointment at the beauty salon and I guess he’s still in Manhattan.

Today I was determined to smile more, and I did make the effort. Not an ear to ear grin but a nice smile upon my lips. One has to be careful with regards to where one smiles, you don’t want to look like a grinning fool while walking past a group of thugs and wannabees.

As I was making my way through the bus terminal I had that look on my face and figured everything was alright with the world, but it wasn’t until I sat on the bus that I realized that my zipper was undone. That made me laugh to myself as I headed home.

I Can Be a Frog

Well sad to say Clarence Clemons has passed away. Can’t say I am much of a Bruce fan, not like my siblings but I do appreciate his oeuvre. I grew up listening to Bruce’s first three albums and by the time the rest of the catalog came out my brother Frank and sister Annemarie had moved out so I wasn’t hearing much from their end. Brian was still around but by that time I was more into Punk/Post Punk/ New Wave.

Still those first three albums are embedded in my DNA. I only saw Bruce live once, and that was on the Born in the USA tour at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford and that was more like a rally at Nuremberg in the 1930’s without the Leni Riefenstahl cameras and certainly more enjoyable.

It was sad news to come home to, to say the least. The day at the cigar shack was not as busy as it was hoped. I made it in on time, no pick pockets on the bus. That enabled me to get an egg sandwich on my way to the shack. It was a beautiful morning as I walked up the avenue. In the shack were Calvin, Thomas, Jerry Vale and me. It was a mellow day. Thomas once again showed his extraordinary skills as a salesman. No $3000 humidor sales going on for him but still his numbers were impressive.

Calvin ranked at number two and I was in third place. Calvin had the strange idea to have Jerry Vale work a register on a day like today. It wasn’t constantly busy but there were a few flurries. It would have made more sense to have Jerry Vale learn during the week when things are a lot slower. Thomas pointedly told Calvin it was a bad idea and Calvin stood there dumbfounded, which made Thomas’ voice become louder and shriller.

The blood on the carpet was finally cleaned up but there was a mysterious crack in the door to the lounge. No one knows how it got there, and if they did they didn’t own up to it. People walked through with a rare delicacy afforded to brutes going in and out of the man cave. And a stalker came into the store. Not my stalker. Last I heard of her she was still scouring the east side looking for me or someone with my name.

No this was Calvin’s stalker. She hadn’t been seen around in a while apparently but I was stuck with her and got along with her just fine. As far as I knew she didn’t pay much attention to me, but she definitely stared at Calvin whenever he came into view. Calvin did his best to be invisible and he generally was for the time she was in the shack.

Now it’s Saturday night, I’m home, Bill isn’t. He was not driving down to Atlantic City this weekend, instead having call backs from previous auditions. I don’t mind the quietness, but still it would be better if he were here, driving me crazy. Not writing tomorrow so don’t ask. I would like to read your blogs if you have any. Send me the linkage suckas.

I Can Be

Well I just got home and there is no internet access and I seem to be fine with it. Bill is rebooting the airport so I guess we shall see in a few minutes. He’s back from rebooting but still I have no access. It makes perfect sense for the type of day that I’ve had today. Sometimes you’re in on the cosmic joke, sometimes the cosmic joke is on you. Today the joke is on me. So whether tonight’s entry gets posted tonight, it’s up in the air. I’m sure you will be overly concerned about all of this.

I was awoken this morning around 5:00 to the sound of tremendous thunder which seemed to be right above the apartment building. That was followed by a violent rainstorm. I got out of bed and closed all the windows. Then I went back to sleep. Bill had taken a day off since he had a call back for an audition. I eventually got out of bed while Bill still slept and got my ass in gear. Eventually he had gotten out of bed in time to see me heading off to work. It was a little bit overcast when I went out.

I made my way to the bus stop, 2 buses went by before I got on the 3rd bus. I chatted with Mr. Castro, my old partner in powdered crimes from years back. He’s keeping his nose clean as am I. He’s looking for work as a handyman. Things are tight for him as well. He shows up looking for work and to let people know that he’s still alive and looking for work. Since there was no work for Mr. Castro to be found, he hopped on a bus and was planning on going back to sleep.

I rode the bus into the city and wished the bus driver a good weekend as I disembarked. A subway ride to the cigar shack was uneventful and I headed in a little bit early. It was expected to be a busy day since its Father’s Day weekend. And it certainly was. On board today were Thomas and Bradley and myself. Within the first hour, Thomas sold a humidor which cost about $3,000.00. A nice way to start off the day, he left Bradley and myself in the dust. We eventually all got on the board with 4 figures a piece but Thomas was still ahead of us.

I saw my former co-worker from the cigar shack, Sean. He’s looking for a new job and put me down as a reference. I told him I’d be more than happy to help. Apparently he told the new prospective employer that I was high up in the management roster and his direct supervisor. I can only guess that all I have to do is tell a tale about what a stellar employee that Sean used to be and how we regret not having him around. I am more than happy to help.

A few calls came in from people asking about Marcus. At one point I answered the phone and looked at the floor when I saw a few bloodstains on the carpet from Marcus’ box cutter meets ankle incident yesterday. A bit stomach churning but easily cleaned up and forgotten after. Calvin was out today much to the chagrin of the landlord who stopped by the cigar shack today in a 3 piece suit and a bone through his nose. I’ve met him once before and he does seem a bit standoffish. He did stop by to offer his congratulations to Calvin. I suppose it was a good thing that Calvin wasn’t in since Calvin said in no uncertain terms that he absolutely despises the landlord.

And for some reason, my Word Press account is being inundated with subscribers which are basically false and spam. Last night there were over 100 new subscribers on top of the usual 5 subscribers that I have. Denali, Harpy, Rand and myself twice as John Ozed and Admin. It could be that I need to update to the latest version of Word Press and that’s something that rand usually takes care of. Hopefully if he updates it, it should work and I won’t have bogus subscribers from Russia and other Eastern European countries.

Bill is currently on the phone with the cable company, doing whatever it is that they are telling him to do. So it’s still up in the air (or on the ground) on whether or not we will have internet access. It’s a rather Bala Cynwyd type of situation I guess.

So now we are back online, or are we? It’s sometimes hard to tell.

Blurry Bill seeing me off

I Can- Nas

Oh it’s been a long day but I’m pretty mellow. No toilets overflowing with excrement today, and I made sure the store got a decent plunger. I slept really well last night, had an interesting dream before I woke up. I was following Juan in a supermarket where New Order was putting on a secret show. I was surprised to see Juan at the show and neither one of us could find the aisle where New Order had set up. We heard the music alright but neither hide nor hair could be found of Barney, Hooky, Steven & Gillian.

After my usual bargaining with the snooze button I got out of bed and shuffled along. I was going to be working with Bradley, Thomas and Calvin. Calvin was spending a lot of time in the office which he made his own. He tossed off Marcus’ stuff which when Marcus made an appearance had a shit fit about how somethings were missing. Then the unforeseen happened. Marcus in a hurry to get out dropped a box cutter which fell somewhat opened and nicked his ankle which caused a lot of blood to spill. It was gross and luckily there were enough bandages to stem the bleeding.

Calvin had a chuckle about that after Marcus split, leaving Thomas and Bradley and myself to wonder what the hell was going on. Calvin & Marcus had gotten along like a house on fire previously now it seemed like there was nothing but bad blood, not counting the blood on the floor. Too appease our minds Calvin bought lunch for everyone. It was going to be pizza but it was decided on hamburgers from a pricey restaurant nearby. That satisfied most everyone, chewing our food with one eye on the plate and the other on Calvin to see what was going to happen next.

A few regulars overheard what had happened and were very much interested in what was going on but Calvin had sworn us all to secrecy and so we kept our mouths closed with regards to Marcus. It was an uneasy afternoon but things went along on quite an interesting keel. A security guard who regularly buys some cigars came in and though he walks through the door most every day, today he walked right into the door. It was hard to stifle the laughter but Thomas, Bradley and I kept relatively straight faces until the security guard, usually full of bravado, walked away with his tail between his legs.

Bradley left and his appointed time and Calvin was soon out of the store about 30 minutes later. Thomas and I had a wide ranging discussion with regards to Marcus and Calvin and their butting heads. He also asked about my relationship with Bill. He gently ribbed me about how when I talk to Bill on the phone, seemingly in private, the lovey dovey way we finish our phone calls. Thomas mentioned that a lot of couples do that, mainly straight but never with the emotional investment that Bill and I have for each other.

I certainly appreciate Thomas’ admiration for us and it’s good that he and his fiancée are supportive of same sex marriage which may or may not be going forward in the New York State Senate. Who knows, perhaps Bill and I will tie the knot in New York City if it passes. It will definitely be a much lower key affair than last summer. It would be nice though, a political act mixed with love and romance. Two more days to get through and it shouldn’t be that difficult.

I Can- Blue

Ok, I just got home, surprising myself to be home by 10:00. I expected to be home later since closing turned out to be a nightmare. Too much money here, not enough money there. How to make it even, how to reconcile? I figured it out at the last minute and I wound up leaving the cigar shack at 9:30. I didn’t expect to be able to catch the bus but I guess I had a karmic payoff and caught an express train downtown which got me to the bus terminal where I sat on the bus at the gate for another 5 minutes.

I want to work, I actually like to work despite what that yeast infection control & it’s ilk seems to think. I just want a Monday through Friday job. That’s all I ask.

Today at the cigar shack was a day unlike any other. It started off awkwardly, just trying to get back in the swing of things after having 2 days off in a row. It didn’t help matters that Thomas was a bit hung over despite his complaining about how he was feeling after having mixed drinks followed by half a bottle of wine for dinner. What that boy won’t do to get that sale, I don’t want to know.

Jerry Vale came in and did his thing. Since Jerry Vale is still in training, his job is to stand around and watch how things get done. And he’s quite good at standing around. Thomas and I butted heads briefly for a few minutes, his hangover mixed with my slow starting. He went to lunch and I followed an hour later.

Much to my surprise the president of the cigar shack showed up unannounced. I called the flagship cigar shack across town to let them know the president was in town, thinking that he might be headed over there. No, he was there already, they said, mentioning that they should have called us to get a heads up. Yes they should have. Nothing was out of line, everything was running smoothly.

I went to lunch and enjoyed a cigar near the park, finishing up Uncut Magazine. I was somewhat stressed during lunch and though the cigar I smoked was quite good, it did not do much of anything to alleviate my tension. I came back to the shack and Thomas mentioned that there was something wrong in the bathroom.

I went to check and yes there was something wrong in the bathroom. The toilet was blocked up and nearly overflowing with shit. No one knew how to use a plunger so it was up to me to fix it. It smelled horrible of course, shit usually does. And the cheap plunger the cigar shack has kept inverting, causing me to carefully try to revert it back to how it should be without getting shit on me or my clothes and shoes.

After about 20 minutes I was able to get things flowing properly again. But for a few hours afterwards all I could see and smell was shit. I felt dirty and though I scrubbed my hands with Purell a number of times, the feeling never completely went away. Everyone eventually has to literally deal with shit at some point in their lives, other peoples shit and today it was my turn.

Thomas was understanding and probably could see by the look on my face that I was disgusted. He suggested going outside for 15 minutes and get some fresh air. Normally I’d shrug it off and say it’s OK, but there was the shit I had to deal with so I went outside for about 5 minutes.

It literally was a shitty day.

Is heroin a problem for you?

This idiot (& a few others) kept looking at their devices, and did not signal the 10:15 bus to stop and then got upset when the bus did not stop. I sat and smoked my cigar waiting for the 10:30 bus.

I Blew a Little Blast on My Whistle

Well I just finished having a nice dinner of Penne, Pesto and chicken. I used to eat it frequently but with my schedule of getting home too late for a home cooked meal it simply hasn’t happened in the past few months. I made a bunch yesterday and reheated it today. It was better tonight than it was yesterday. It’s all about the Goya Adobe seasoning I guess. I didn’t have any yesterday but on one of my visits to the supermarket I made sure to pick some up.

Last night I sent an email to Joe Monaco. The useless recruiter who calls once a year with a job offer and when I express interest he says he will go through with it. Then I never hear from him again for another year. I’ve been sending him emails, a few a week, just checking in and saying hello and asking if there was any word regarding the last position he mentioned, a job in Hoboken with an occasional day in Manhattan. Sounded good to me yet all the emails I send are never responded to. So last night I wrote asking him to please reply to said email. Almost 24 hours later there is still no response.

I also touched base with my cousin, saying hello and reminding them of my ongoing job search. Not looking for anything big, something in the bowels of the company, away from people, just doing my job, Monday through Friday. That’s basically it, I want a straight Monday through Friday job, 9 to 5 or thereabouts. Not looking for big bucks just something to help pay the bills that don’t entail standing in dress shoes on a cement floor for 9 hours a day. Last I heard they were in London last month and would get back to me when they returned. That was in May. Tomorrow is the middle of June. I am holding back, not wanting to be pushy.

Today was a busy day again, just not as busy as yesterday. Not much shredding, just laundry, more cleaning the apartment and picking up dry cleaning. Bill came home after having a headache all day. It was diminished by the time he got home and his plan to go right to bed was somewhat fulfilled, meaning he slept for a couple of hours. He asked me to wake him up at 9:00 which I did after dropping off some CD’s at the bibliothèque. Yesterday I took out Led Zeppelin III and a collection of the Chemical Brothers called Brotherhood, as well as a DVD of Dinner at Eight, which was reviewed on YouTube by the Tired Old Queen At The Movies.

Today I went back and took out the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Volume 9, the Witmark Demos, the latest Scissor Sisters’ cd, Night Work and the movie soundtrack to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now the pots and pans are cleaned as well as the dishes. Clothes are hanging on hangers and clothing racks in the kitchen and the bathroom. Bill took off from the day job to drive to Atlantic City to attend a bus safety seminar. There have been several bus accidents since the beginning of the year and just the other day, a bus hit a motorcyclist which ended in the motorcyclist being killed at the Lincoln Tunnel helix.

I also responded to James Dolan, the archbishop of the NY diocese who came out against NY State’s upcoming vote on same sex marriage, saying it was for procreation (tough shit sterile couples and older folks) and the right for children to grow up with a mom and dad. Yeah that’s going really well since so many opposite sex couples get divorced or have their marriages annulled by that stupid ass holy roman catholic church. My comments are awaiting moderation and I have my doubts that they will be published, so here they are.

If you want to read Dolan’s missive, you’ll have to search it out for yourself since I will not provide a link from the protector of child molesters.

It’s a civil rights issue, certainly not a religious issue. What about the right for a child to be raised by a mom and dad? Clearly this ignores annulments and divorce. How come you do not speak up about that? What will this ‘intrusion’ do to your ‘common good’? Perhaps it will help you recognize that same sex couples deserve the equal protections under the law, that are afforded to opposite sex couples. But I expect too much.
The NY State same sex marriage bill has a provision that religious groups will NOT be forced to perform or bless same sex marriages.

It’s time to get a fresher horse, since the dead horse you have been beating with that lie is decomposing quite rapidly.

And what is true & correct- is the fact that your stance defies logic and common sense. Opposite sex couples who cannot procreate should not be able to get married with your logic. It’s a civil rights issue, certainly not a religious issue.
Who’s side would your savior be on? The side denying fairness and basic civil rights or the side that accepts and supports the same?

I Belong to You/Mon Coeur S’Ourve A Ta Voix

It’s a Monday and it’s a day off. It’s been a pretty mellow day, last night I took off my wrist watch before I went to sleep. I always sleep with it on but last night I wanted no ties to the real world or real time. It worked well, and waking up was certainly different. But I got out of bed and started the day nicely.

Some coffee, some bagels and a nice breakfast. I decided to just clean up the apartment today, which meant mainly cleaning up the table next to the desk on which this computer rests. Lots of mail and bills that needed to be shredded. I did that for a while, filling up a few bags of shredded paper. It was certainly a better way to start the day than yesterday.

Yesterday started out alright, met Bill at the bus stop for a few minutes before I boarded. Bill had just gotten home from driving a bus to and from Atlantic City. It was too short a time but better than nothing. The bus soon filled up somewhat. I was sitting in the middle of the bus, across from the back door.

Next to me was a guy who promptly fell asleep after a minute. It was crowded as we drove through the tunnel. As we were exiting the tunnel there was a commotion. A passenger, seemingly from Europe accused a black man of taking his wallet.

The black man said that it was his wallet and the European yelled for him to show it then. After a very long minute the black man said he was sorry and offered the wallet back. The European said he was going to call the cops. The bus approached the bus terminal and the ramps leading up to the gates had quite a few Port Authority police on them.

There was a construction project going on and the cops were there to make sure no cars were going through as well as making sure the buses would queue up correctly since there was only one ramp available. The bus driver signaled the police and they came over to see what the problem was. Both the European and the black man got off the bus to tell their sides of the story.

Other buses passed us going in and out of the bus terminal as we sat on the ramp for about twenty minutes. After that the European got back on the bus apologizing for the delay and outside the black man could be seen walking up the ramp in handcuffs with a Port Authority police officer on each side. It was a strange situation, since there was no escape for the black man.

We were on a bus in traffic and there was no way off the bus until we got to the gate. It seemed to me that he almost wanted to be caught. Needless to say I wound up being late for work and texted Bradley to let him know. It was only about 15 minutes but I do not like being late at all.

The day was a breeze and it was fun competing with Bradley for top sales. At one point I was in the lead by about $30.00 but I wasn’t having that. It was too close a margin and I have to admit I became a shark, greeting customers as soon as they stepped into the cigar shack.

At the end of the day I was in the lead by about $300.00. I did lose the coin toss and wound up having to close, but since it was a Sunday and the cigar shack closes early on Sundays- I really did not mind.

Here’s the top ten cities that visited in May 2011

New York
Toms River
Bala Cynwyd
(not set)
Los Angeles

and here are the bottom ten

St Petersburg
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh

1,229 visits came from 536 cities

I Belong to Glasgow

Got to do what you can to stay alive. Though I would rather work in an office environment, I am working retail, doing what I can to make ends meet. It’s a Saturday night, I just got home from the cigar shack. The weather outside is wet and breezy.

Umbrellas are of no use since it’s a drizzly mist going on and the wind blows it whichever way it wants to go. It was relatively dry when I left the apartment this morning. I saw Bill for a few minutes before I left. He came home and went right to bed as I was getting ready to leave.

I made it to the bus stop and while enjoying a cigar I texted Julio to ask him if I could borrow some items on Monday, specifically a ladder and a drill. He called me back, asking why did I need the drill and would I need bits.

I explained what it was for and he’s such a handyman, he started talking me through the process on using anchors and specific bits. Always helpful, that Julio. We chatted a bit more and I got off the phone since I was getting on the bus, telling him that I would call him back in a minute.

I called Julio back once I got on the bus, and he had some pretty big news to tell me. He & Stine have closed on a property in Hoboken. They needed more space since Alexander is a growing boy and who knows, they might need even more in case they decide on having another kid.

They are debating whether to keep the apartment in my building. Julio doesn’t see the point, and Stine sees a place for friends and relatives from Denmark and elsewhere to stay when they visit.

It was interesting news indeed and while happy for them I am also sad to see them go, even though they aren’t going very far and I rarely see them much these days anyhow. The bus ride into the city was uneventful and I made it in early enough to walk to work.

It seems my knee has gotten a bit better and I did not wear the knee brace when walking up to the cigar shack. I did get an egg sandwich on my way which was quite nice. It was a nice enough morning as I listened to New Order.

I got to the cigar shack early enough and punched in about 20 minutes before I was scheduled to start. I immediately hit the ground running and after the first customers, Thomas came in and joined Bradley and myself.

Then we waited for customers most of the day. It was raining out so that meant I was staying indoors for lunch. I sat in the man cave and read Uncut magazine, all about the life of Steve Marriott of the Small Faces and then Humble Pie. Sad story.

After lunch things had slowed again with flurries of customers and tire kickers. Bradley left for the day leaving Thomas and myself to stand around and clean things up. It was that kind of day. There was some hubbub at the bus terminal when I was heading home. One of the ramps was closed so buses were queued up going in and going out.

A trip to the grocery store to get distilled water for Bill and then all of a sudden I was home again. And quite happy to be here. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am working but once again, I will not be writing unless there is something extraordinary to write about. Like driving a truck for US Beef or something.

Pinstripes and plaid! Deliberate!

Something going on

I Believe In Love Kenny Loggins

What a day. A really strange day at that. I thought I slept fairly well last night, thanks to a melatonin, but man was I dragging ass today or what? It started out fine, Bill kissing me good bye for the day.

I won’t see him until tomorrow and he mentioned that I looked so cute, so groggy with dragon breath this morning. Nice to hear and it was probably true, I did have dragon breath.

I made my way to the bus stop, enjoyed a nice cigar as I waited in the shade. The bus came and I got on, said hello to the bus driver who calls me ‘champ’. No, not chimp, or chump but champ thank you very much.

Deborah from the fourth floor got on at the next stop. She and her boyfriend are taking a two week vacation, from Washington State down to Los Angeles. For some reason we started talking about parents and siblings and that was like an open faucet for me. < Some wounds were reopened somewhat, but me being me, I put a somewhat twisted and humorous slant on things. I think that might have been what set me back throughout the day. We parted ways and I got on the subway. More crowded than usual and I wound up being a few minutes late for work which for me is most unusual. It was Calvin and Thomas working alongside me. But I couldn’t catch up. It was like I was a few steps behind everyone else despite having the best sales of the day. Thomas and I got along fine, though with every misstep I took that Thomas saw I would turn to him and say ‘oh shut up you.’ He just ran out of the store, looking for his phone. He may have left it in a nearby store. I hope he finds it, he’s a nice guy. Thomas picked out another Friday afternoon movie, Scarface. Not the Paul Muni classic but the horror show directed by Brian DePalma, starring Al Pacino. That movie gets so much play from so many people who wouldn’t know a good movie if it bit them on the ass. Still it did get a nice crowd to Thomas’ credit. Bill is driving to Atlantic City again and I am working both Saturday and Sunday. I more than likely won’t see Bill until Sunday night which sucks for me. We’ve been having a good time together in the apartment. Many laughs and a mutual appreciation which is always nice to have. Tomorrow I am working with Thomas and Bradley and it shouldn’t be so bad. We all get along quite nicely lately. Sunday it’s Bradley and Jerry Vale and them I’m off. That shouldn’t be so bad either. I do expect a lot of staring at each other waiting for a customer to come into the cigar shack. Now I am alone in the cigar shack, listening to Beck, Black Tambourine. Thomas still hasn’t found his phone, or at least he is not back with his phone. Thomas is closing the cigar shack tonight which means I get to leave in about one hour. Looking forward to it and having written over 500 words so far it’s so far so good. And now I am home. The usual nonsense at the subway, and the usual invisible barrier that prevents people from forming an orderly line at the gate for the bus. It’s been a long day and I’m attributing my oddness today to the solar plasma waves that have been unleashed by the sun. From what I heard it’s going to be rough going until the beginning of July. I’ll do my best to hold on tight and I advise most of you to do the same. a href="">

a Warhol being shipped out near the cigar shack

Invisible barrier in place

I Believe In Love Indigo Girls

It’s Thursday today. It was quite hot, when I checked the outdoor thermometer near the cigar shack it read 98 degrees. A bit much if you ask me. Quite warm out, felt like everything was as slow as molasses, with the exception of tempers. And one of those tempers could have been mine but I kept a cool head and carried a light bulb.

Last night I had fun with Bill. He was auditioning for a part in a play, that involved playing some rock & roll piano. Bill doesn’t know much about rock & roll, so it turned into Bill sitting in one room at his keyboard and me in another room in front of the computer playing songs by Little Richard, Elton John, Joe Jackson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, the Beatles, and the Kingsmen.

It’s a good thing I played the Kingsmen since when Bill played that at the audition, it was a tune they recognized and jumped in and played along. I mean really, who can resist Louie Louie?

Bill stopped by the cigar shack after the audition since the audition was just around the corner. It was definitely good to see him, made my day. Such a positive force and spirit in my life, I am sure I would have been lost without him. So I am going to keep him.

Tonight the Black Eyed Peas were scheduled to have a show in Central Park on the Great Lawn. A benefit for the Robin Hood Foundation, a free show, but tickets were required. Then the skies opened up, lighting and thunder and now no one knows if the show is going on after all.

LL Cool J, Debbie Harry, MC Hammer, Tony Bennett & Carole King were scheduled to appear on stage but it could very well turn into a Diana Ross debacle. They kept postponing the start of the show from 7:30 until 8:30 when it was officially cancelled.

I remember the Diana Ross show in Central Park. I was driving a van for the school book company and sneaking my way through the park on the eastern drive. It was early enough, around 4:30- 5:00, to see people heading to the Great Lawn and as I headed out of the park I could see ominous clouds on the New Jersey horizon.

Dark clouds, with lightning and thunder approaching. Well they went ahead with that show and it was a disaster. I wasn’t going to the show anyway and I don’t know anyone who was so basically I didn’t care. They were smart enough to cancel the show tonight. Only 60,000 tickets were given out as opposed to the 150,000 people who attended Miss Ross’ catastrophe.

It was an interesting day other than that. I received a message from an old Maxwells friend. Someone I like but can’t afford to worry about. He’s fond of the drink and has sobered up and fallen off the wagon way too many times to count. He asked me to call him and when I did I woke him up from a nap.

He tried to get into rehab again last night and was turned away due to the late hour. He’s also seeing a friend of mine and she’s nice and nurturing and I would hate to see her get hurt from his alcoholic antics. Within moments of calling him I couldn’t wait to get off the phone.

There were customers to deal with and I didn’t want to hear again the story of the last woman he dated who he now routinely calls a skank. Next time I will just communicate via emails or online messages. Sleepy, slurred words don’t help anyone.

I Believe In Father Christmas

Just had a nap where I was in the southern part of Lodi, waiting to get a Frappuccino at Starbucks. A cover version of What’s My Name by the Clash played as I found myself trying to find where the Starbucks was that I left to escort a young woman from the coffee shop.

It was a rust belt version of Lodi, old machines decomposing in the deserted industrial areas. It should have been easy to find since it was across the street from Immaculate Conception high school. Inside it was dismal, with a few people milling about waiting for their beverages.

My server was actually someone who used to work at a pub in Saddle Brook called Gleason’s. I was doing some leaping and running as well as scaling down some iron walls designed like steppes while trying to get back to the Starbucks.

My knee was no trouble at all in the dream. Lots of running and jumping but still no Frappuccino.

I guess the Frappuccino was in my subconscious after getting an email from the corporation telling me I could get a free download of summer songs if I just go into the Starbucks. Although I wound up in Lodi in the dream I believe the Starbucks was actually in the vicinity of the cigar shack. There is no escaping the cigar shack.

A nap when the weather is close to 100 degrees outside is very nice. A fan blowing on my half dressed body as I lay on top of the bed was quite nice. I didn’t sleep too well last night and that helped with the nap. A Xanax that I took earlier in the day certainly helped quite a bit.

The Xanax came in handy when I made a phone call to someone. It was a day off and I tried calling them twice in the past week, left voice mails both time. This person usually calls me up and is generally upset that I never call.

Of course I never take into consideration that they have a phone that cannot dial out, they can only receive calls for some reason.

A few weeks previous this person contacted me about going to see a benefit show at Maxwells on June 29. I explained that it’s Bill’s birthday that day and depending on my work schedule I wasn’t sure at the time whether or not I would be able to make it.

It turns out that I was able to request that day and the next day off, not actually days off but when Calvin does the schedule I would like to be able to be off and make up those days off later in that week or around that time.

Well the person on the phone seemed harried as I walked around outside in the record high temperatures answering his questions concisely. He asked if I was upset about something, remarking that it sounded like I was angry with him. I explained that I wasn’t angry or upset, far from it, thanks to the Xanax.

Well it turns out that I wasn’t able to buy the tickets locally in Hoboken, that I would have to make the purchase online when I got home. That was no problem.

But what actually did upset me was the fact that me and the guy at the other end of the phone were once quite close and I do make an effort to rebuild what past we may have had, but sometimes it gets so hard to do so.

It’s not always like this but on occasion there is such a chemical reaction between the two of us that it almost always ends badly. And today was just like that.

Farewell to Harbor House, the Hoboken rehab center. Must've been some party...

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Another hot day before the start of summer. Tomorrow I am off and the temperature expected is supposed to be around 94 degrees which is crazy. It’s been a somewhat busy day at the cigar shack.

Thomas opened up the store, Bradley was off today and probably still ill. I came in at 11:30 and was followed by a new part timer, Jerry Vale. Jerry came in a little before his appointed hour, 1:00 and immediately set about going to work.

He’s older than me by the way which makes him the oldest employee at the cigar shack. After Calvin, I’m the oldest serving employee, or rather the longest serving. He’s a nice guy, affable and of course nervous.

Nervousness when starting a new job is certainly understandable. Last year I had a near perfect meltdown when starting. My personality (or lack thereof) was so tied into what I was doing as an employee that after 11 months of unemployment I had no clue about who I was and what was expected of me.

Not that I have any clearer picture now, but I think I am closer to knowing something about myself. And that is I simply don’t like working retail. Still it’s preferable to driving a truck for US Beef, casually turning vegetables into vegans.

It’s almost summer in the city and the area where the cigar shack is has a declining population lately. The guys I work with are enjoying the scantily clad women walking by and I have to say the men walking by have been an eyeful as well.

And now I am home. It was a long-ish day, not necessarily long, but it felt that way. And getting home at the end of a long-ish wasn’t easy. Too many people, too hot, crowded buses. Really not my cup of tea.

Tired of writing, hitting that wall.

This time last year, I worked my first 11:30 to 9:30 shift. I had gotten tickets to see The Colbert Report taping but had to turn them down since I was working. When I requested the tickets I was out of work, but there I was, employed.

The night before, June 6, 2010 I saw Bill at The Theater for the New City in a play called Tiger Tiger where he played a super creepy father who molests his daughter. Really Ewww.

Bill went to the cast party and I came home and exchanged emails with a friend of a friend on Facebook who told me that I was more that my job. That’s something that I seem to always have difficulty remembering.

At the cigar shack last year, Harold the guy who I would be replacing in July was fired. The cigar shack received a letter a few weeks later after the firing while Harold was collecting unemployment benefits that Harold was working as a male escort or at the very least, showing off his muscles to be worshipped.

Calvin received the letter which directed him to Rent Boy, a website that has that type of stuff. Definitely not safe for work.

That’s it. I’m beat. Tomorrow is a day off.

Moon Hooch

I Believe I Can Fly

Well where do I start? Yesterday was Sunday and I was off. Decided to ignore the spam US Beef sent. Or was it the beef that US Spam sent? It doesn’t matter since it wasn’t real but it was worth a laugh, as well as a reaction from Central NJ that proved hilarious.

Yesterday was busy enough, laundry, some cleaning, and some grocery shopping. Things needed to be done. Bill slept most of the day, I went to the river, enjoyed a cigar and sat reading Mojo Magazine for about an hour before it started getting too cool for me so I headed back home.

Ran into Deborah from the fourth floor of my building and we talked for a few minutes, she was off for a pedicure and I was heading home.

There really isn’t anything on TV lately so I’ve been watching repeats of True Blood. I am looking forward to the new season beginning in a matter of weeks.

Came to the cigar shack today, the Bradley quite ill, ill enough that we sent him home at noon. There was no way he could have done anything except cough and feel miserable. That’s no way to sell cigars and accessories.

It was Thomas and myself, Calvin out for some judicial business. Apparently I missed out on seeing Marcus who came and picked up his gear before heading to the cigar hut, his new place of employment. And it was a very slow start today once Bradley had split.

So, it was just Thomas & me today. When it got closer to lunch time, it picked up and got busy. I ran out and got some lunch and came back, sitting in the office eating. Thomas had a customer and another came in which meant I had to quickly swallow my lunch and jump on the floor to assist a potential customer.

Sometimes there was an actual sale, sometimes it was just tire kicking. My lunch hour lasted about 20 minutes. Thomas had an even shorter lunch hour. We were able to make both hours up later on, both interrupted by commerce.

I neglected to mention that on Saturday I was interviewed by some Turkish fellows on the street. They asked me about social media and how it is used in demonstrations and protests. I mentioned that I have taken part in protests and demonstrations via Facebook in New York City as well as Hoboken..

True, I could have just sat at home and be miserable, posting snarky comments on the blogs and other mediums, but I would much rather march in the street showing my dissatisfaction and anger.

The Turkish fellows asked about how social media plays in the Middle East, specifically in Syria. I told them what I knew about Syria, that 13 year old boy, brutalized and murdered by Syrian political goons.

I also mentioned the Syrian security forces shooting into crowds the day before and killing 28 people. The guy who was interviewing me then told me that he had asked a few people about Syria and the Middle East and that I was the only one that knew anything about what was going on there.

I was surprised to hear that actually, but I shouldn’t have been. It’s so much easier to be ignorant.

These things have been flying off lately. Not this one though...

I Believe Nikki Yanofsky

It’s a Saturday and it hasn’t been such a bad day. Of course I still hope for a Monday through Friday job but since that doesn’t seem to be happening, the retail world beckons and who am I to resist its call? I really don’t have much say in the matter anyhow.

I heard from the late Hyman Gross’ late companion Joan’s niece who was upset to hear about Hyman passing. She found out and when she called the office where Hyman used to work to tell them they were all pretty much upset about it as well. A lot of people liked Hyman and a lot of people miss him, Bill & myself included of course.

In the land of the living things went on as usual. Harpy stopped by the cigar shack to say hello for a few minutes and it was good to see him. The store wasn’t exactly busy today but sales wise it did very well.

It was Calvin, Bradley and myself today and though it wasn’t full of laughs like it is when Thomas is around it was a good day nonetheless. I did not have an opportunity to see Bill this morning, we missed each other by just a few minutes.

Since I can’t depend on NJ Transit to show up according to schedule I have to get to the bus stop earlier and take the first bus that shows up into the city. He was returning from bus driving to Atlantic City and headed right to bed before heading out again to drive once more to the casinos. That means I won’t see him until tomorrow which is better than not seeing him at all.

I also had a good talk with Annemarie on the phone this afternoon. I certainly look forward to seeing her next month as well as my nephew Earl who I haven’t seen in a few years. Bill thinks he is going to tower over us and I tend to agree. Now it’s just me and Bradley in the store.

Not much is going on, this area slows down considerably after 7:00 and on a weekend it’s almost like a tomb. Now I am home.

Bradley was not feeling too well, we agreed he was going to close but I closed instead, allowing him to go home, take a Xanax and some allergy medication. Don’t know whether or not medications like that should be mixed, but I guess Bradley will find out soon enough.

I guess the Path trains were running since there was no long line at the bus terminal. A few families and the usual assortment of assorted nuts. I read about the Buena Vista Social Club and the Troggs in the latest Mojo Magazine while listening to some heavy dub from the Blood & Fire record label on the iPod.

Nothing really to watch on the television tonight, so I’m watching a repeat of True Blood which should be starting a new season in a few weeks. Tomorrow is Sunday and I don’t think I’m going to be writing. It’s a day off and I’ve got laundry to do. Hope you all have an adequate day.

Really, I do.

Look what I just received:
I am the recruiter for U.S. BEEF. I am looking to fill a route sales position for a meat and seafood distributor. We are looking for a person who works well independently, is self motivated and has a strong desire for career fulfillment and financial success. Our route sales position is a unique combination of unparalleled freedom with tremendous earning potential.

Based on an initial review of your resume, you may be an excellent fit for our available position in Yonkers. Our first year sales reps earn $50,000 – 60,000+ per year and our top sales rep earned $254,000 last year. Regardless, of your sales experience we provide an excellent three day training program which will prepare you for immediate success. U.S. BEEF is one of the nation’s largest wholesalers of gourmet packaged steak, seafood, and chicken.

Because of our standing in the industry and our volume of sales, our sales reps have the ability to deliver a superior product at a significant savings. Below are some key advantages provided to all U.S. BEEF sales reps: · Earning potential of $100,000+ · Company Vehicle · PPO Health Insurance Benefits through United Health Care · Merrill Lynch 401K Plan with company contributions · Control your own route / Flexible work schedule

If you feel that you are qualified for this position, simply reply to this email with an updated resume and cover letter. In the meantime, please check us out on the web at

hey Greg- do you think I should pursue this? I mean you read this blog every day…

I Believe Blessid Union of Souls

Well I slept well last night and with Bill not going to the day job I couldn’t depend on his good bye kiss to gently wake me up. He lay in bed with his apnea mask on and I tossed and turned and did my usual bargaining with the snooze button, eventually getting out of bed and shuffling into the kitchen to make coffee, poured the cereal and then stepped into the shower.

Bill did not get out of bed until about 15 minutes before I left, a nice hug and a kiss occurred and soon I was trampling down the stairs to the street. It was breezier than it’s been the temperatures were in the low 60 degree range.

The bus wasn’t that crowded and once again there was no sign of Deborah from the fourth floor in my building. I didn’t mind, I just stared out the window as we drove up Washington Street. Into the city in no time, and after the subway ride uptown I got an iced coffee and started my day with Bradley and Thomas.

Both were in a good mood and it turned out that yesterday was a good day sales wise for the cigar shack. It was a slow start for me though, and then one of the registers crashed. We restarted it and the usual password was no longer effective.

A call to Calvin was made, but since he was off performing his familial duties he wasn’t getting back to us right away. A call to Marcus who is now persona non grata offered no help with the password. SO a call had to be made with the IT department of the cigar shack headquarters, and they weren’t exactly available. A message was left for them to get in touch with us since it was a relatively urgent matter. No register, no sales, no money coming in. Not a good thing.

I eventually went to lunch, leaving Thomas to deal with the IT guy when he finally called back an hour later. It was a slow day at the shop. Most everyone now buys their cigars on Thursday before the weekend so they could make an early getaway from the city, so the one register would have to do.

Thomas had also planned Friday afternoon movies, just a little entertainment, free of cost, just buy a cigar sit back and relax. Unfortunately some of his choices are movies that I generally avoid. I was given the go ahead to pick the next line up.

Today’s movie was Hear No Evil, See No Evil. The last team up of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. I remember going to the movies with Julio when this movie came out, both of us quite red eyed.

We went to Secaucus and everyone was going to see the Harrison Ford/Sean Connery movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark 3 and since we were both contrarians, we opted for Hear No Evil, See No Evil. Despite being in a mellow altered state, it was quite a lousy movie.

Thomas has also picked up both the Godfather 1 and Godfather 2 as well as Godfather 3 which he picked since it is a series. Just that part 3 is not very good at all. He also picked up Scarface, not the classic starring Paul Muni, but rather that atrocious piece of shit starring Al Pacino and directed by that awful hack, Brian De Palma.

I’ve only seen it on VHS and it was a 2 tape set. I never made it beyond the first tape. I always chuckle at the young idiots today wearing t-shirts with Tony Montana’s visage on the front, thinking that this generation does not know good films at all. Then again that generation (as well as older generations) have no problem with branding.

I forgot to mention I met NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg yesterday. He was near the cigar shack as I was coming back from lunch. I called out ‘Senator’ and he stopped and shook my hand and introduced myself as being from Hoboken to which he mentioned that he loves Hoboken. It was a nice and brief meeting and he went his way and I went back to work.

I Believe Diamond Rio

Hitting the ground running. That’s how it went for me today. Last night wasn’t so bad, chilled with Bill which was quite nice. I could not fall asleep fast enough, though Bill of course falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.

After an hour of lying in bed and sweating I was soon in front of the computer seeing if any insomniac friends were awake and online. They weren’t and after a few minutes I was soon able to fall asleep.

It wasn’t the usual amount of sleep since I had to get up a little earlier than most days. I was opening the shop after arranging to switch hours with Bradley. I am going to see Karyn Kuhl play with her band on Pier 13 tonight.

I made it to the store on time after riding the bus with an entirely different set of commuters. These people seem to have their act together and the bus which was a coach was comfortable and air conditioned.

Within 60 seconds of me opening the store a woman came in, wanting 3 items that she showed me pictures of. We had all three items and one was designed to look distressed. That was the one she wanted polished.

I did my best to polish it up but it wasn’t to her liking. She left the store having other errands to do and said she would come back. She told me she was a personal shopper and that she was buying silver items for someone’s 25th wedding anniversary.

It was all rather hectic, probably more hectic than it is when Bradley opens up the store. I did about $1500.00 worth of sales before 11:00 and that didn’t even count the personal shopper. She came back when I went to lunch and I gave the commission to Bradley. I had made enough money for the day.

Now I am back home. I left work early after dropping off some cigarillos at a customer’s apartment near the cigar shack. I walked with Sean who has been working in the area. He was on break and decided to walk with me. He’s going to Six Flags with his fraternity brothers tomorrow and I advised him to be careful.

A quick ride home via an express train and a waiting bus. I climbed the four flights of steps, threw the last of Stine’s hot dogs on the George Foreman and changed from my suit & tie into blue jeans and a shirt.

Knowing that I would be on the river and that it would likely be cool, I wore a suit jacket on top of all that and once the sun went down I knew I made the right decision. Rand & Lisa showed up and the three of us had a good time, hanging out.

We saw various friends from all over Hoboken. Rand had a beer, Lisa had wine and I smoked a cigar while Karyn Kuhl rocked hard in a funky place. It was a long enough set and the crowd was nice enough. My body clock was all messed up from getting up earlier than usual this morning and I was feeling pretty tired.

Plus I was still standing around, not in a cigar shop, but on a grassy pier on the Hudson River. Still I am glad to have gone out and see friends. I hope to do the same thing in August when another friend plays Pier 13 with the Neutron Drivers.

It is a fun place to see a show and the bands are generally entertaining and you certainly can’t beat the view.

RIP bird

Karyn Kuhl

Rand & Lisa