Monthly Archives: August 2011

I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week

Not sure if I will be able to write tonight so I am attempting to write earlier than usual. Tonight is a glass blowing demonstration so getting home will more than likely be later. Now contrary to what you may have heard or thought, I have never blown glass. So it should be an interesting evening all around.

I had to get up earlier than usual, a run to the supermarket as well as the dry cleaners. A cup of coffee was what got me out the door. Then I had to get dressed for work, trying to look extra special for the glass blowing demonstration. Yesterday I was on time, let the usual buses go by as I waited for my 10:30 bus, which did not show up.

I wound up walking to the Path train and rode in. I had Bill’s Verizon card which is what we’ve been using at home since Hurricane Irene did some damage to Cablevision’s service. No broadcast channels, no premium channels and no Internet access. Bill asked me to drop it off at his office but since my bus did not show, I would be running late so Bill made it a point to stop by the shack on his lunch hour.

This morning was the same thing and I caught a bus, the first one I saw actually. Didn’t want to gamble with the 10:30. Oddly enough the earlier bus dropped me off at nearly the same time as the 10:30 bus, due to traffic. I was able to walk over to Bill’s office where I met him on the street.

He was stressed last night and I was stressed this morning, from having to hustle so much earlier than I was used to. But it’s a job and it’s the job that I have. Plus it helps that I enjoy cigars so working in a cigar shack isn’t so bad despite what you gather from reading this here blog.

From the Schmuck Master regarding yesterday’s asshole: I can’t imagine anyone else in the shack handling the situation as poorly. Obviously you are the only sales person disgruntled enough to ignore the basic tenant of sales, the customer is always right. No wonder you lag behind your peers in terms of sales and never made an effort to up sell or even be the least bit helpful to a customer.

Wow, the bitch nailed me perfectly with a bubble and a feather. Can the Schmuck Master get any stupider? Does she really think I am such a bad employee that I would drag the store down? That Calvin is so daft to put up with such nonsense? That management is really that inept? Obviously it seems to think that way.

And I’m not a landlord so yes I do ignore most tenants. Tenets are wholly another thing.

No matter though, whatever comments it feels like posting won’t make the blog anymore, though of course I might use it for my own entertainment. It is more than likely a customer at the cigar shack, emasculated enough that they don’t have the balls to say whatever they want to say to my face. Just as well, can’t expect too much from punk ass bitches such as this.

I just got home about 20 minutes ago from the glass blowing demonstration. I’ve blown and been blown but never have I seen such craftsmanship with what I had seen tonight. Why I’m sure a vaginal discharge named Jon Rosin could not have been happier to put their lips around a long shaft. After a few Stella Artois and a few questions that I had asked, I was awarded (with everyone else) a nice package to bring home. Who knew the Lebanese blond was so easily obtainable? Glad I did the smart thing.

Schmuck Master has been rendered as Spam, so whatever that thing had to say will not be seen by my eyes (nor yours) and life will go on happily without it’s hemmoroidal outbursts.

I Could Be Happy (Again)

The oh so unhappy syphilitic life of Phillip Andorr began when he was raised in a box next to a garbage can of medical waste. His smother was next to a lamppost and may have been impregnated when an overzealous dog chased a rabbit which turned out to be his father who was the understudy in a Fenway production of Harvey.

Phillip was a Red Sox fan and only by the decree of the most holy roamin’ apostolic church of idiocy was he spared the child and spoiled a rod. Phillip was an unhappy lad, not liked by anyone at all which made for an extremely bitter life overall.

No sweetness for Phillip Andorr, all sour and scorn for him. A truly nasty beast which haunted most of Long Island. It couldn’t have been easy but then again, being a Red Sox fan more than likely helped with his disconsolate lifestyle.

A teenager with sticky fingers Phillip found himself banned from both strip malls and strip clubs. His misogynistic tendencies did not help in either location and when he figured out what it was that was causing his routine absence of sense it only amped up his disquiet.

Phillip barked like a mad dog at passing cars whenever possible and it was then and there that he found redemption or at least what passed for redemption but Phillip actually figured out what it was that was bothering him. It was himself.

He looked into the reflection of a hub cap when he was laying in the gutter and wondered why life had dealt him such a lousy hand. That was my attempt at getting back at a true wanker who was a horrible customer that I had to deal with. Drivel and nonsense and fun to write.

I know I know, you’re thinking ‘John Ozed, is this one of your lousy attitude flip outs?’ And it isn’t, though of course you have every right to think so. You have every right to think about whatever it is you might want to think about. But for this I have back up.

Bradley witnessed the whole event and would back me if asked. And it was caught entirely on camera, which by the way added a lot more than 10 pounds to Phillip Andorr’s expanding frame. As I walked Phillip Andorr into the room he felt like I was watching him to make sure he wasn’t shoplifting. Now the only person who might think that would be a shoplifter, but still I gave him a doubtful benefit.

I tried to explain why I was there but Phillip Andorr was adamant that I was being too vigilant with regards to the criminal escapades in his dark and dank mind. Bradley heard this and offered to help but realized that there was no helping this loose loser. He flamboyantly showed Bradley and myself what he got and Bradley thought it best to let him wait a few seconds so he can cool off.

I took Bradley’s advice and there was Phillip Andorr so upset, as if an Ulster man ran over his turtle. I did my best to get this cancer out of the store as soon as possible and Phillip Andorr helped by calling me ‘Sweetie’ and I am sure he didn’t mean it as a term of endearment since discharge like Phillip Andorr wouldn’t know a term of endearment if it bit him in the face (and it certainly looked like that happened). But Phillip Andorr is out of my life and hopefully it will have nothing to do with your life.

That’s the way it goes I suppose. I should have been a proctologist, what with all the assholes that have been crossing my path the past months. With Lazy Teat Greg still reading this blog every day, followed by Miss Shack Thing and now in the flesh and blood, Phillip Andorr.

Can it get any better? Can they get any more bitter? Probably.

I Corinthians, 15:55

It’s back to work today after a weekend that was all about Hurricane Irene. It wasn’t as bad as the original predictions but still it was a stormy night. I went to bed around 2:00 in the morning. I sit by my computer which is next to a window facing south and I couldn’t hear the storm but when I went to the bedroom it was nothing but wind and rain, both quite loud.

Made for an uneasy night of falling asleep but despite all that I was able to get some shut eye. I woke up hours later with Bill telling me that Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken’s mayor was saying that power might be shut off in various parts of Hoboken for public safety.

That was enough to get me out of bed to make a pot of coffee before going back to bed. I had hoped the power would stay on long enough to brew some coffee and it was. An hour or so later I got out of bed again, no news, no real damage to our neighborhood. But we had power.

I was glad that Bill and I made trips to the supermarket since everything was closed yesterday. We had plenty of water, juice, food and two six packs of Stella Artois, plus I had a few cigars, so we were ready. I had some emails and texts from friends out of the area.

Alirio in Montclair invited us out to his place if we needed to evacuate. Sarah and Bob Pierson did the same, inviting us to Tuxedo, NY. While it was great to hear from friends, we had no way to get there. We were OK on the fifth floor.

Bill was napping when I decided to take a walk outside. I had gotten a text from Lois asking if she and her husband Fred could tag along. I had no objections to that I proceeded to walk uptown in their direction. We passed by a few shops that Lois was friendly with, wanting to make sure they were OK. They turned out to be alright, no damage that we could see.

The three of us walked over to the river and saw whatever it was to see there, walking down from 13th street, down River Road and Sinatra Drive. Uprooted trees, much like the one down my block, only not as large as the uprooted tree down my block. Debris from the river and it’s high tide were left around on the promenade by the river.

We walked past city hall where National Guard trucks were parked outside. A few blocks west of city hall was where the street had filled with several feet of water. A friend, Lisa lived nearby and she had fled town the night before. She was on the top floor and the first floor of her building was flooded. I left her a voice mail and sent her a photo.

She later called back thanking me profusely. I walked around the block with Lois and Fred to make sure that the Guitar Bar was safe and sound and it was. I then called Meghan Taylor, ‘the funniest girl in the world’ and told her the same. It turned out that Jim and Meghan had stopped by earlier in the day to make sure that both the Guitar Bar and Guitar Bar Jr. were OK.

It started raining again and Lois, Fred and I made our way back up Washington Street and to our respective apartments. I showed them the tree that had been uprooted down my block and they were both impressed. I went back home where Bill was wide awake. He certainly slept alot over the weekend. Our broadcast channels were out and on basic cable I watched The Shawshank Redemption. It’s one of Bill’s favorites though he didn’t watch it this time.

He was busy doing something on his laptop. Perfect timing since as soon as Shawshank ended True Blood began. But we weren’t able to get it since our HBO was out with the broadcast channels. We watched Lawn hors d’œuvre SVU until it was time to watch the unwatchable 11:00 News.

Bill went to bed after that and I was able to watch the west coast showing of True Blood which was very good. Only two episodes left and things are being tied up fast.

Home again, back with Bill and quite happy to be home after yet another under performing day with top sales, almost hitting five figures. What will I do with that bad attitude? Any wankers have a clue?

I Confess #2

It’s a soggy Saturday and a day off. I was supposed to be working but with the shutdown of mass transit in this metropolitan area. With no way to get out there was no point of going in. So there was no work today. I was off tomorrow anyhow so it works out nicely I guess. Bill did some grocery shopping last night and I did some this morning after having a cup of coffee.

Last night Bill and I watched way too many reports on Hurricane Irene, and at some point we watched Jurassic Park. I really enjoy that movie and have seen it a few times, and I’m pretty sure this was the second time for Bill. It really is a suspenseful thriller, as good as Jaws.

Before you knew it, it was 2:00 in the morning. Bill went to bed a little after that and I soon followed. Slept fairly well, getting up later than usual on a Saturday morning. No work, no rush you see. Took a shower, made some coffee and after a bit, went to the supermarket.

It was crowded but manageable and I was able to get bread and a few other items that Bill could not get the night before. All in all I was in and out of there in about 20 minutes. Came home and had a nice breakfast. Of course after a few hours some cabin fever set in and I was eager to go outside.

Throughout the day it was raining on and off, not too windy either. I took a few pics as I walked up to Washington Street and since the batteries were slowly dying in my camera I had to get some replacements. Since I wound up downtown I decided to walk over to the river with my camera and fresh batteries, as well as enjoying a cigar.

I walked around Pier A and took some snapshots. Not many people were around but still there was a noticeable number. The streets were nearly devoid of cars. Plenty of parking spots available, much more than usual for a summer weekend. I walked around about an hour and came home to find Bill awake from a nap he had taken earlier.

All day long it’s been news reports on TV and posting YouTube videos of songs that are related somehow to rain. It’s definitely overload. Enough amping up fears and anxiety, I went back to the supermarket to get a few more things should we have to hunker down for more time than expected.

Then on the other hand I can’t help but think there is a lot of hype with regards to the present situation. In any event, I am content to stay home. The refrigerator is well stocked, plenty of water and food. Way more than usual. Also a few Stella Artois, just to save water. I think we’ll be able to ride this out, hopefully without a power outage.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’ve written now.

I Confess #1

It’s all about Hurricane Irene today. Hoboken’s mayor, Dawn Zimmer recommended that if you can leave the city, then you should. Bill and I aren’t planning on doing that. We really don’t have anywhere to go anyhow.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has announced their plan to shut down the transit system at noon on Saturday, NJ Transit is doing the same, buses will stop at 6:00PM, trains & Path will be shut down at noon as well.

A few customers at the cigar shack felt that the whole hurricane thing was merely hype. I felt that ever since Katrina, almost 6 years to the week- big cities certainly don’t want to be caught short.

I got to the cigar shack, early again and about a half hour after that the New York Times reported the MTA plans. I explained to Calvin who seemed relatively nonplussed. After phoning the headquarters of cigar shack he announced that the shack would be closed for the weekend.

That was cleared with the landlord of course. The landlord of the cigar shack is a major player in the shady & expensive real estate game in Manhattan. After the phone call I went to lunch, enjoyed a nice cigar and read a poorly written book about the making of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy.

I can tell it’s poorly written from the first page which listed John Lennon’s birthday as October 8. Any Beatle fan will tell you that John was born on the 9th. Besides the glaring errors I was entertained somewhat. It’s a good beach read and works just as well on a bench near Central Park.

The week started with an earthquake and is ending with a hurricane. When I came back from lunch, it was Thomas’ turn to go to lunch. Everything seemed OK, but when Thomas came back from lunch Calvin started to nitpick on a few things. Looking at August 22 in the book, he noticed that I did not write the sales total.

It’s not that big a deal but to Calvin it was a slippery slope. Normally I would have corrected it the next day but Thomas closed the shop the next night and it was missing. It could easily be found with a simple check on the computer.

It was odd though since Calvin noticed those mistakes but it did not seem like Calvin paid any attention at all to Bradley’s constant fuck ups. Perhaps Calvin is appreciating the guy who’s face turned beet red when it was found out that Marcus was leaving and Calvin assuming the role of manager.

I didn’t see Bradley’s face when that was announced in May but Calvin sure did and talked to me about it afterwards. Red faces are easily forgotten in Calvin’s world and I listened to him as he slurred his words.

So Thomas and I were on the shit list for the night. I spoke to Calvin afterwards and asked him if he was alright and he just started going off on Thomas to me. I was about to text Thomas to look busy but there was no need. Thomas walked into Calvin’s line of sight and immediately put him to work doing menial tasks fora few minutes.

I myself was busy with customers at the time, racking up sale after sale, eventually surpassing both Thomas and Calvin’s numbers combined. I was happy with those numbers and was tempted to do a line with a regular customer who was discreetly sniffing powders in the man cave. I was invited to but decided against it since I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Just another under performing day I guess.

Now I am home, happy to be here. Two days off, one day on and now two days off again. Bill’s play was scheduled to close on Sunday, but all weekend shows for the Fringe Festival have been canceled. Should be an interesting weekend for most people.

I Close My Eyes

Well Bill did not come home until the time he usually heads off to work, around 6:00. He went right to sleep and I woke up around my usual time, time to go to work. But I was off today and was able to take my time getting my day started. Getting the day started has been easier than starting this entry tonight.

So many distractions. Facebook, TV, email, phone. You name it, it will have my attention for a few minutes. And it just happened again, being distracted by Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac, a song that has been floating around my head for the past couple of days. I went to the bibliothèque the other day and one of the CD’s I picked up was Rumours.

So having that at my disposal I thought I would play it. Dreams just came on and yes, I like that song. I like the song so much that I already had a copy of it. Then there is the distraction of being able to read every single issue of Rock Scene magazine from the late 1970’s, early 1980’s. I didn’t read it that often, preferring Highlights for Children or My Weekly Reader. I identified with both Goofus AND Gallant, which probably says a lot about my state of mind in my adulthood.

Bill slept a good part of the day before heading into the city to go to a call back, and seeing his mom in the hospital. Bill’s mom seems to be OK and comfortable. Apparently she was nauseous and clammy, then she fainted, which is when Bill’s cousin called for an ambulance. The strange thing is, she tried getting in touch with Bill via his iPhone, while we were waiting outside Le Poisson Rouge, trying to find out if Bill’s garment bag was still in the dressing room.

Bill’s phone was dead though, and it would have made things a lot easier if we knew about his mom before heading back to Hoboken. But that’s in the past and all unchangeable.

As Bill was getting ready to head out this afternoon, he started getting caught up in ‘I Love You Philip Morris’ starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. It’s surprisingly very good. I can’t remember liking any Jim Carrey flick, but this one was quite charming and had a few twists in it. I had to remind Bill that we have the DVD and when he comes back we can watch it again.

I can easily see why it took so long to come out, it has a few explicit gay scenes which more than likely made Jim Carrey’s fans quite uneasy. It wasn’t titillating and it had some genuinely sweet moments.

Not much walking around Hoboken since it was raining, but I did spend a few minutes with Rand who is currently attempting to extract 20,000 songs from iTunes on the old computer which will probably be put out to pasture (landfill) or refurbished for someone else to have. Either way I’m cool with it.

I would like to get those 20,000 songs back but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I don’t. I do have a few back up CD’s somewhere, I’m just trying to figure out which I have uploaded already.

That’s about it for today, back to work tomorrow which isn’t so bad. My mantra should be recharged and ready for use once again. More distraction, courtesy of Windex. Yes I saw a spot on my PC screen and had to clean it, and then I saw the TV screen was dusty so I had to clean that too.

I am so close to being next to godliness. Found the backup discs so now I am uploading a whole bunch of stuff. Bill just called, his mom is OK, and depending on the oncoming hurricane she may be released on Monday.

An early Tuesday morning fire burned down two large tobacco warehouses of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., the manufacturer of Fuente Fuente Opus X and Arturo Fuente cigars. Does Calvin know about this? Is Calvin the Shack Master? Does the Shack Master know Lazy Teat? Is it all one great big incestuous fuzzy lollipop?

I Cigni Di Balaka

I just got back from seeing Bill at Le Poisson Rouge in ‘Destinations’ once again. It was enjoyable once more. I decided to sit further back from the stage so I can take a few photographs and not interfere with anyone’s sightlines. I wasn’t supposed to and Bill didn’t know anything about it.

I know the staff at Le Poisson Rouge didn’t care since they asked me while I was taking photographs if I wanted something to drink. It was an entertaining show and it was a lot tighter than it was when I saw it initially. Of course I saw it on opening night, or rather opening afternoon.

I took several hundred photos, so many that my camera was getting hot. And seeing it a second time, it felt a lot faster. I could easily see it becoming an off Broadway show and perhaps with some fine tuning it could even be a Broadway show, though if a show like Passing Strange which did boffo box office off Broadway and faded too quickly on Broadway, maybe the chances for an original rock and roll show on Broadway isn’t the way to go. Hedwig & the Angry Inch did very well off Broadway too, though I never saw it there.

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant around the corner, Rocco’s. Bill and the cast ate there last night and Bill liked it so much that of course he wanted to take me tonight. Then a walk around part of the West Village. I hung outside of McDonalds while Bill ran in and used the bathroom. It was a long wait and of course Bill had to buy something, so he bought a hamburger to give to a homeless person.

Then another long wait on Eighth Street where Bill got his hat cleaned. I waited for a while then told Bill I was going to Barnes & Noble across the street. I browsed for a while and was followed by the security guard while I scoped out them music books slim selection. I was hoping to get back to Hoboken before the sun went down and at 8:00 I knew it would be dark when we returned to New Jersey. That was alright, just a slight crimp in my plans.

Bill didn’t know that cleaning his hat would take so long. We walked through Hoboken, bars getting crowded, outdoor seating at the restaurants were pretty much full. Good business in Hoboken. We came home, and once inside I set about uploading a ton of photos, over 400 that I took at Destinations. Then I posted them to Facebook which took a while.

Bill and I were just settling in when I got a message on Facebook from Bill’s cousin. She tried to get in touch with Bill on his phone but it was dead and getting charged up in another room. Bill’s mother was rushed by ambulance to the hospital after getting very sick. I told Bill the news and he went into full panic mode and headed out the door to the Path train, back into the city.

I offered to go with him, but he told me I should stay home in case he needs something. So here I sit, phone nearby. Other than the last hour, it’s been a really good day. Perhaps it still is, maybe Bill’s mom will be diagnosed with something that isn’t too bad. All we have is hope.

Gangs of New York

The one that calls itself Shack Master commented again on the previous post. This time he said that if he was a monkey from Kiev, he would take into consideration my poor attitude and lack of ambition and wouldn’t think he could trust me to check ID’s.

Wow, Miss Shack Thing has really gotten bitchy!

I Choose You

It’s Tuesday. I forgot about that this morning as I waited for the bus, I sent as a Facebook status update, TGIW. I thought it was Wednesday you see, and it wasn’t. Of course I fixed that later on when I finally got to the cigar shack.

I was in a pretty good mood, slept really well and woke up refreshed. Bill had kissed me goodbye once again a couple of hours before I left. He came home last night pretty tired but still had that air of being rambunctious. So much so that I realized that he’s a big kid. Really, no fooling around. It’s charming though last night I was too tired to appreciate it.

Today is Tuesday but it is my Friday since I am off the next two days. Wednesday I am seeing Bill in Destinations once again, and I might take some pictures when I am there. Then Thursday I have to take my old computer to Rand to see if he could salvage the 20,000 songs that were there before it died.

I hadn’t used it in a while and when it’s hot outside it would start up and quickly shut down. Now it won’t even turn on. Help me Rand Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

So now it’s 45 minutes before I can split. Thomas is closing tonight, allowing me to leave a little after 9:00 which to me is a nice start for my ‘weekend’. Right now we’re listening to I Want You (She’s So Heavy) from Abbey Road.

There was an earthquake today in Virginia and it was felt all the way up, and into Vermont and Ontario as well. I felt something happening under my feet but didn’t pay much attention. Who would think an earthquake would happen (or be felt) in Manhattan?

And with me working near a big glass enclosed shopping mall I have to say it was a bit unnerving as I walked by it after the quake. I kept an eye on the doorways should an aftershock occur. Now I am home, letting the ‘weekend’ begin.

I should mention that the other day I got in touch with a classmate from my grammar school, St. Francis de Sales. Stephen Ohocinski was happy to hear from me and told me that Jimmy Murray who I previous reported as dead, was very much alive which was good to know.

Stephen was upset when he read about Jimmy dying since he and Jimmy were tight for a few years before Jimmy went to public school.

It was definitely good to hear from Stephen who was quite complimentary with regards to my writing, going so far as to ask whether or not I had written any books. I certainly have read a fair amount of books, but writing one, no not yet.

Last time I saw Stephen he was running a magic shop in the basement of the Bergen Mall and that must have been in the early 1980’s. Now he seems to be a performer, a magician perhaps a hypnotist as well.

And the shackmaster_76 thinks I should embrace more training since I consistently under perform sales wise. I rarely post that I have top sales often enough, though not a consistent black Friday situation. I’m not one to gloat or lord it over my co-workers, labelling them as under performing.

Perhaps if the shackmaster_76 reads this blog often enough they would realize what I had written time and time again, that it’s mainly the luck of the draw, getting a customer that walks through the door and drops a wad of cash on items or getting a big sales (like yesterday) by merely answering the phone.

It’s funny that people like this can’t be upfront, then again I suppose I get my share of tea baggers and the like that merely skim and don’t get past the shallow end of things. I guess the photograph posted wasn’t enough.

I Cheat the Hangman

Forgive the language, but today has been a mother fucker. Such a dumb ass day. It started at 6:00 this morning, with Bill kissing me goodbye and making sure I was getting out of bed. I had to get up early since Calvin had scheduled a re-certification class for tobacconists in NYC.

Now last year in June 2010 I had to go to Inwood on Long Island and sit in a room with gas station attendants and learn how to check identification cards. Today was scheduled for the same thing. I got there early enough, on time actually and saw Calvin as well as Ralph the tobacconist certification guy.

Ralph mentioned that it had been three years since the test was taken. I spoke up and said that I had done it last year and Ralph said then there was no need for me to be there. I looked at Calvin, and the supreme dumbass said ‘Well you’re here already anyhow, ha ha ha…’ Oh right then and there I wanted to throttle him.

I had to get up early for something that I didn’t have to. Stupid ass apparently forgot about my test last June. In fact he forgot about it last June, calling me up while I was online at Penn Station wondering where I was, how come I wasn’t at work. I reminded him then that I was headed out to take the test that he and Marcus had set up.

Luckily Thomas was there to diffuse my tension and after 90 minutes of a power point presentation as well as a test where most of the answers were letter ‘D’, both Thomas and I were on the street off to get our shoes shined. Thomas had the day off and they insisted he come in to take this stupid test.

Bradley was supposed to be there but he spaced and that was just alright with dumbass Calvin. Oh I’ve been carrying around this bitterness all day, on my sister’s birthday as well as Jerode’s birthday, a nice guy and nearby shop assistant. To offset the bitterness I am playing the Clash’s first album.

Yesterday was Joe Strummer’s birthday and I played Sandinista and Joe Strummer and the Mescalero’s Global A Go Go. Calvin left about an hour ago and Bradley left 30 minutes ago. Yesterday was cool with Thomas and Jerry Vale, today it was Dumb and Dumber. I didn’t care about the sales, I didn’t care about much of anything really.

My day was shot at 8:00 this morning and it was all downhill from there. Things being what they are, surprisingly I did alright on the sales front, maybe it was because I did not give a damn. Of course it was the luck of the draw, or in my case, whomever answred the phone. In this case I answered the phone. Someone from Beverly Hills wanted to buy a humidor and two boxes of cigars to send to New Orleans.

It was done over the phone and I have to admit, initially I did not think the sale would go through. But it did after a few games of phone tag.

Now I am home, and quite happy to be here. I don’t think I will have trouble sleeping tonight, having been up since 6:00AM. Sleep should be no problem, but having written that… Rest in Peace Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford. Anyway, happy birthday to my sister Annemarie, the richest gal in Northern California!

Hard to believe it was only seven years ago Bill and I flew out to San Francisco to wish her a happy birthday on her fiftieth! Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have written that!

I Care

A day off and a Saturday. It doesn’t happen often and I am glad when it does. Last night was a mellow night at home, Bill was driving to Atlantic City and I just watched TV until late. I slept alright, reaching out for Bill even though he was sleeping on a cot in a bus depot employee lounge.

I got up around 9:00, about an hour earlier than I usually do when I have off. I wanted to get busy since there was a load of laundry to be done, errands to be run and groceries to be bought. And I was able to get them all done early enough.

I also watched some more TV, Burlesque at around noon, and then a few hours later, The Lovely Bones. Both featured Stanley Tucci. In one afternoon I watched him being Cher’s gay sidekick to being a serial killer. I don’t know which was more frightening actually.

I walked around Hoboken after getting my haircut at Mr. L’s this afternoon. My regular guy Tony was in and he once again did an excellent job, trimming as much white out of my goatee (which I am growing back again, having shaved it to look ‘more professional’ for interviews that never happened).

Tony also does my nose hair, ear hair and eye brows earning his 71.5% tip (just used the tip calculator). I asked where his son Nick was and he told me that Nick was running an errand and started feeling ill, so he went back to the barbershop where he called his doctor.

The doctor told him to get to the hospital so he drove to Morristown (!) where the doctor met him and diagnosed 3 blocked arteries. 5 stents were inserted, just like his father who also has 5 stents, and was once known as ‘5 Stents Tony’ or it may have been ‘Tony 5 Stents’.

It was a very nice day and I walked around a bit, down Washington Street. Didn’t see anyone I knew and after a while just came back home. Bill came home around 10:00 and immediately went to bed and when I came home he was up and getting ready to drive once more to Atlantic City. He had me worried last night since it was raining so hard, today I’m not so worried since it really is a beautiful day.

Back to work at the cigar shack tomorrow, where I will be working with Thomas and Jerry Vale. It shouldn’t be so bad, I already have low expectations. Monday is going to be more difficult since I have to be at the cigar shack on the east side at 8:00 for an extremely wasteful refresher course from the New York State tobacconists group.

I did it already in June 2010 and now I have to go in 3 hours early. It’s pure bullshit and I am not looking forward to it. I do feel somewhat bad for Thomas since Monday is his day off and he still has to go. He does have the option of going to Inwood, Long Island and sitting there like I did last June, but he’ll be there on Monday.

I would much rather go to Inwood. Just for the change of scenery and to keep my day off for myself.

I Cannot Sleep

Moody’s Mood for Love by James Moody is playing currently at the cigar shack. I used to listen to the late Frankie Crocker’s show on WBLS back in the day and Frankie always closed his show with this song, which is the first time I heard it. I was smitten at first hearing.

Someone just walked by carrying Music for Mechanic by Los Bros Hernandez. The chap carrying was soaked which leads me to believe it is raining outside. Thomas went out to check. I guess it’s a good thing that I closed the windows before I left the apartment this morning.

Close by shoppers at Whole Foods are regretting the use of paper bags when shopping and heading out into a maelstrom. It’s been an odd day overall and it ain’t over yet. People always seem to cut me off when walking and if they’re not cutting me off, they’re suddenly stopping right in front of me when I walk. It’s somewhat infuriating. Actually it’s more frustrating than infuriating.

Thomas was on fire today sales wise and I wasn’t too shabby either. It makes up for the less than stellar sales that both of us did yesterday. And we certainly left Calvin in the dust with the sales today as well. Not that you would care about such a thing.

I’m very hungry and against my better judgement I ordered food from a nearby place that has messed up my orders lately. Thomas egged me on since he would like to see pop a blood vessel.

Now Waterloo is playing. ABBA, Waterloo. Wasn’t fond of it then, but actually like it now, enough that I bought the Millennium Collection of theirs. I always think of swimming with the late Susan Lucas, a girl I grew up with. Nice pool, WABC always on the transistor radio.

Her passing came as a shock to me, but apparently she was sick a lot of her life when we were growing up. I didn’t know but a mutual friend told me that she was in the hospital frequently back then in the 1970’s.

Hot Stuff by Donna Summer was just on. That reminds me of going to see the NY Cosmos at Giants Stadium in 1979 with Henry Venegas. Hot Stuff just came out and Henry and his girlfriend loved it. Of course they did, they were into disco whereas I was into New Wave which everyone related to as Punk.

And true to form, the food I ordered has not yet arrived and in 3 minutes it will be an hour since I placed the order. The place is only around the corner and of course I can’t leave the cigar shack to pick it up. I can’t say I’m disappointed and I’m certainly not surprised. I will give them a call i 0 minutes if the food hasn’t arrived by then and you can have my word (for what it’s worth) that I will never call them again.

I am hungry though, but I might just wind up saving money. And saving money is what I just did. I cancelled the order, the guy who answered the phone said ‘Sorry man.’ Of course about 5 minutes after I call and cancel, the food shows up. 50 yards from the cigar shack and it takes them over an hour to get here.

Don’t fuck with my food. I had a banana which will hold me over until I get home. Home again, Bill driving to Atlantic City. The edgy day is over I hope. Tomorrow a day off. It’s supposed to rain which is par for the course. Right now The Royal Tenenbaums is on. Such a charming movie.


I Can’t Write Left Handed

Here I go again, back at the cigar shack, standing behind the counter next to Thomas. It’s a Thursday night I believe. It’s another slow day, some sales are good, some sales aren’t. Some are a waste of time and others are just tire kickers.

Nearby the slutty women’s store is having an event and loud club music is playing. Right now We Will Rock You by Queen is on, supposedly mixed by an in house DJ but I can’t tell. Fuck Me pumps seem to be the footwear of choice for those shoppers and Calvin, Bradley and Thomas like watching the women walking in and out.

Actually not so much for Calvin since he’s a married and loyal man, plus his wife would probably kick his ass. Calvin & Bradley have left for the day leaving Thomas and myself.

Did not sleep as well as I would have liked last night. And it was odd, usually when I am trying to sleep, scenes from my past come to the surface and haunt me between the click of the light and the start of the dream, generally horrifying me and making me feel guilty. Shit from 35 years ago, why did I do that?

Last night was different. It seemed like I was watching coming attractions which are fun to watch most of the time, but last night it seemed there was no feature presentation, just previews. After a half hour I had to get out of bed and get some melatonin in me. Finally I was able to sleep only an hour and a half after I went to bed.

And after all that, the day to day dragged in parts. Good team to work with and I have to admit it was tempting when I saw a customer sniffing illicit powders away from the eye of the camera. No I did not partake, that is certainly not my scene anymore. No fun, and not worth the after effects which are ill advised. I’ll pass and shred the rain check thank you.

35 minutes left here, Thomas is closing freeing me up to leave a little after 9:00 which is nice. Tomorrow I do the same for him. One hand washes the other, only his hands can be quite filthy at best.

Moonlight Mile by the Rolling Stones plays on here and it’s one of my favorite Stones tracks. And speaking of tracks I have to get started on Annemarie’s present asap. Her birthday is Monday.

Now I am back home, just had a crappy slice of pizza which turned out to be the right thing to do since there was nothing to eat at home. Bill is already ni bed and asleep. He had a doctor’s appointment since he sliced open his hand a week ago during rehearsal and though it seems to have healed somewhat he has been having difficulty typing as well as playing the keyboards. Damaged tendon is what has been said, ultrasound and x-rays were performed, results should be coming.

One more day, then off Saturday which I hope will be nice.

I Can’t Wake Up

Another day, another doofus again. I am the doofus, the day is the same yet somehow different. I am cigar shack bound, yesterday flew by- today not so much. Still somehow I did better than I expected sales wise. I was dragging ass, not through anything of my own doing, circumstances dictated how things went.

I had a customer and was walking into the humidor when it turned out to be an old customer of Calvin’s so that meant the customer went with him. I was fine with that, content to do half of what I did yesterday. But things being what they are, and leaving just Jerry Vale and myself in the shack, somehow I caught up on things. A flurry of customers helped as well as an out of state shipment.

Just had a nice chat with my favorite customer, (or one of them (sorry my friend my friend- you’re still top ranking) Jimmy Seltzer who said that I was a good writer which made me blush and flustered. Still a good thing to hear. As I was writing about my friend my friend, my friend came in, back from Southern California. Not a good trip, close relative passed away.

Good to see him, and though he and his close relative weren’t THAT close, I still offered my condolences. It can’t be easy even if there is distance between 2 people.

Now I am home again, Bill is at Le Poisson Rouge in Destinations tonight. That means he won’t be getting home until late, and then he has to wake up and go to work again. He’s done it before so we know it can be done, but sometimes he does it so often, perhaps too often that he has a physical breakdown and winds up crashing and having to spend a day or two in bed.

The other night as we were driving home, we drove past one of Hyman Gross’ haunts and I mentioned to Bill that I missed Hyman. Bill agreed and said he did too. Tonight as I waited at the gate at the bus terminal I found myself missing him. And now with Patrick Morrissey possibly dead as well, well I suppose that this is how the future will be.

Remember so & so? Well they’re dead. And wakes become social events. I wrote the other night how seeing a flamboyant bird like Patrick walking down Washington Street unmolested made me decide that Hoboken was the place for me.

About a year after that, I was a living on the floor above Patrick and his then boyfriend Alphonso Portillo. I had a car at the time and in early 1985 or 1986 I was driving home on a winter evening and slid on black ice through a stop, hitting a car driving up Adams Street. I hit my head, and my car conked out.

I restarted the car and a huge flame shot out from under the hood. I got out of the car and ran to the fire station a block away. It was all within sight of my apartment building, two blocks away. The firemen put out the fire and of course the police arrived on the scene.

My paper work was a mess. My license, my registration and my insurance had three different addresses on each one. The police officer started giving me a hard time until Patrick showed up. Patrick told the officer to knock it off, to leave me alone.

The cop turned and said, ‘He’s a friend of yours Patty?’ And Patrick said I was. The cop backed off and Patrick walked me home after my car (my last car) was towed away to the junk heap. Patrick invited me down for dinner, meat loaf with a cream cheese filling (the only time I ever had that) as well as possibly the first time I had white wine. It was certainly a bonding experience.

Patrick and I had further adventures and escapades which I will write about some other time. If the news is the worst about Patrick, I certainly hope he is at peace. If not, I hope to see him again. I figure if someone living in Peru can read about Hyman Gross on this here blog, then someone in this world might be reading about Patrick Morrissey.

I Can’t Wait #3

And it’s back to work for me today after 2 magically nice days off. With the play, ‘Destinations’ at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday, seeing Bill and a very good cast onstage and the trip to Sandy Hook with Bill and Corinne, it was certainly bound to be a disappointment to have to go back to work today.

I tell you a Xanax certainly helped. No despair though it was there when I was putting my eyeglasses on this morning. No, a wait at the bus stop was quite pleasant as I sat there finishing up a cigar. The bus ride was OK enough, a nice chat with Deborah my neighbor about nothing in particular.

The subway was the same as it ever was. People asleep, junkies on the nod and me staring into space. A walk around the block while talking to Bill on the phone was in order since I was quite early, too early to actually head into the cigar shack. And the cigar shack was alright, though that might be the Xanax writing.

It was Thomas and Calvin and that made it alright. Calvin seems to be stressing out from becoming the head cheese in the cigar shack. A friend suggested I help him out with the scheduling which would free him up to concentrate on the additional tasks he’s taken on. I mentioned it to him and he seemed to think it was a good idea and then he went and did the new employee schedule.

I was talking to Thomas and we both agreed that Bradley wants to be the assistant manager under Calvin. That’s fine by me, I just wanted to lighten Calvin’s load, but of course there could be a problem if Bradley tries to tell me what to do.

It circles back to a conversation I had with Jerry Vale the other night. Jerry Vale is a part timer and Calvin’s been talking to him about being full time. But the store can’t carry 4 full timers so someone would have to go and I reckon that someone would be me.

Especially if Bradley is chomping at the bit for an assistant manager position and with my lack of ambition and relying on merely wanting to help out there’s no other way I can see it. Thomas is an ace at sales, Jerry Vale is learning the ropes and can be molded into something that I’m not and Bradley when not punching walls, shows phenomenal skills when he deals with inanimate projects.

I could be wrong, I could be right, I could be prepared for whatever happens. I’m not bitter, but that could be the Xanax again. The friend who suggested I help out the scheduling for Calvin is a sometimes regular customer from the Bay Area. He thinks I should move to the Bay Area.

He’s a talented entrepreneur trying to sell a lesson guide for children to learn about money management. Something I could have definitely have learned when I was growing up instead of being taught that money was a mystery and a magical thing that would be exploited once I got my grubby hands on it.


I Can’t Wait #2

It’s nice having two days off in a row. And though it was not a Saturday and Sunday off, Sunday and Monday did the job just right. I slept fairly well on Saturday night and woke up after Bill left for the first performance of Destinations at Le Poisson Rouge, I headed out to the supermarket, somewhat groggy from not enough coffee.

I bought what I needed to get and headed home for a hasty breakfast before heading out into the rainstorm to the Path train. It was a good uneventful ride into Manhattan and I was earlier than I expected. I was in the Village before noon and had about 45 minutes before the show was going to start. I had a small cigar and walked the outskirts of Washington Square Park which was deserted due to the rain and construction machinery and trash.

I sat across the street from Le Poisson Rouge which used to be the Village Gate, on two milk crates underneath a disused marquee. I saw Bill heading in and shouted ‘Bill! Bill! Vila! Triple 5!’ but he was with a cast mate and didn’t hear me. A queue started and I eventually cross the street and joined the line, standing underneath my umbrella.

The crowd was eventually let in and I stumbled through the darkness and found a seat next to a piano. I knew Bill would be playing the piano at some point and thought it would be a nice surprise. The show started and a few people played the piano throughout the show, besides Bill.

I actually enjoyed Destinations. It was a good story, good songs, all performed by a talented cast. I enjoyed it so much that I look forward to seeing it again. After the show I met one of the other actors and she was most appreciative to hear my compliments.

Bill and I headed back to the Path train in a steady rain and were soon back in Hoboken, lucky since the trains to Journal Square in Jersey City were not running due to the rainstorm. We settled in the apartment, both of us talking about the show and how Bill felt about how it all went. I plan on seeing the August 24th show on a future day off.

Bill took a nap, as I surfed the net and made some dinner. A few hours later Bill was awake and watching me text my niece Corinne with regards to today’s plan on going to Sandy Hook. Corinne was in Asbury Park where it was pouring and supposed to be raining for a few days. It didn’t matter to Bill and I about the weather, Bill rented a car and we would be doing something. Plus when it rains up in North Jersey, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be raining down the shore.

This morning it was still raining and we were still heading down the shore. Not enough time for a real breakfast, coffee would have to suffice. Bill had to stop by his bus depot and pick up a check. That was OK, the bus depot is in Wallington which is right next to Garfield.

We picked Corinne up and soon we were on the Parkway headed south. And it was steadily raining on the way, so much rain that I was starting to have doubts about what we were doing. I did call Connie in the Highlands and she was busy driving a friend to cataract surgery. And she said it was raining there and that people were told to move their cars to higher ground.

We made it to North Beach on Sandy Hook and almost as soon as our feet were in the sand, it stopped raining. A few minutes later the sun was out. There were maybe 12 people on the beach, not including the lifeguards. We wound up getting about 4 hours of sun, and thinking that this could be the last time this year that I would be at the beach, I went into the water for a spell, a bit put off from the flotsam and dead jellyfish, washed up from the storms in the past 24 hours.

Corinne noticed some dark clouds coming in from the west and we packed up rather quickly, with the good timing of being in the car when the skies opened up again. A ride to Rumson for some ice cream at Crazies. A good day at the beach with good company and once again, I’m a lucky guy.

headed down the shore

the shore, in rain

incoming storm, outgoing Sandy Hookers

I Can’t Wait #1

It’s a Saturday. Saturday the 13th and there’s a full moon but it’s currently raining and it can’t be seen. Perhaps it can be felt but I wouldn’t know. Not feeling it you see. I didn’t sleep too well last night, went to bed before Bill which I rarely do and was on the threshold of sleep but never actually entered despite some melatonin.

Finally Bill made it to bed and of course he went right to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Then I got a Charley Horse which definitely kept me awake, forcing me to get out of bed and walk it off. I went online and posted as my Facebook status, Stupid Insomnia. Perhaps you saw it.

Eventually I did fall asleep but I wouldn’t call it a deep sleep and before you know it, it was time to go to work. I was waiting for the bus and got on, riding the bus into Manhattan just staring out the window. Since it was a Saturday and the trains couldn’t be trusted so I walked up the avenue, getting myself an egg sandwich on the way as well as an iced coffee.

I had plenty of time to sit and enjoy it as I was about a half hour early. It was Bradley and Jerry Vale and it was not as bad as I thought it might be. Jerry Vale and I actually bonded the other night exchanging stories about aspects of our respective sordid pasts. And Bradley was funny and somewhat gracious enough to let me play my iPod most of the workday.

As bad as my sales were yesterday I more than made up for it today, eclipsing both Bradley and Jerry Vale in sales when I sold a travel humidor which pushed me into four figures. At lunch after I chatted with Annemarie on the phone, I sat on a bench near the park and read the latest New Yorker, reading about Michelle Bachmann and the nut job she seems to be, while enjoying a nice cigar.

It was a nice afternoon, a warm breeze wafting by as I sat and enjoyed my cigar. Back at the shack it was quite mellow and I was pretty mellow as well. Some regular customers came in and sat in the man cave smoking. Since Bradley helped me out with the humidor sale I thought I would get him a donut when I was getting myself another iced coffee but he’s trying to get in shape, since you never know when one would have to punch a wall again.

Soon Bradley left, leaving Jerry Vale and myself to run the cigar shack and before we knew it, it was time for Jerry Vale to go and for me to close the shop which I did. Everything seemed to be ship shape so I headed down to the subway and took the first train that pulled in, which dropped me off near the Path train.
I waited for only a few minutes before I was able to get a seat and read about Neanderthal genomes in the New Yorker.

I also heard from my ex-roommate Kevin who told me he heard that an old friend of ours, Patrick Morrissey had died. I hadn’t seen Patrick in a number of years since he moved from Hoboken in the late 1990’s and I certainly hope it’s not true.

The only thing I could think of doing was send a message to Steve Fallon and ask him. I hadn’t heard anything from Steve yet so I remain hopeful. Patrick was one of the reasons I moved to Hoboken.

One of the first times I was in Hoboken I was driving down Washington Street and saw this somewhat flamboyant figure walking down the sidewalk. What got me was the fact that no one was bothering him. I thought that if such a plumed bird can stroll unmolested down the street then Hoboken must be the place for me. Patrick wound up being a downstairs neighbor when I moved into 201 Madison Street, and a good friend.

I Can’t Turn You Loose

Strangeness abounds sometimes. I can usually find it or it usually finds me. Today seems to be one of those days. It started out nicely enough, I had a bemused look on my face as I rode the bus, at least I’m pretty sure I looked bemused.

I didn’t mind going to work and once again felt that I had a grip on things. For some reason all full time staff was in so that meant someone was bound to be the left out guy. That would be me. Still I didn’t mind. I had a decent day sales wise yesterday.

Of course using the crap computers the cigar shack has, means that whomever opens the register for the day has their name over all sales unless you manually change it. And if there is a correction to be made after the manual change it will go back to whomever opened the register.

So that happened a few times, often enough that I didn’t bother to go back and credit myself for the sale, I just kept on going.

I even took a sale from Calvin who said that I took a sale (from a regular customer that Calvin & I had been talking to) so I went back, and changed the sale and gave the credit to Calvin. Like I said, I didn’t really care, I was in a good mood.

It was Thomas and Calvin and Bradley with me today. Bradley standoffish as usual, and Calvin gave us all chores to do. Thomas and Bradley had chores that enabled them to sit down and straighten things out, whereas I had to climb a ladder quite a few times. And it was during one of those times, going up and down the ladder that I hit my head on a cabinet door. And it hurt a lot.

I continued working despite the pain and my good mood swiftly dissipated. I cared even less. Lunch was a bore, despite a good cigar and reading Mojo magazine. I came back to work and went through the motions including some further work on what I was doing when I hit my head. Some difficulty focusing with my mind as well as my eyes.

Throughout my life I have hit my head, sometimes even seeing stars and causing tears to fall. This is just another incident. I’m sure I have some brain trauma and some wise ass will likely say ‘how can I have trauma on something that doesn’t exist?’

Right now I am the only one in the cigar shack. Thomas who is closing just ran over Starbucks. He came back with a double chocolate brownie for me, an attempt to bolster my spirits.

It’s a shame really. I started my day feeling good and relatively happy and now I am just a cipher. I even dressed quite nicely today. I mean if I am saying I look great, that’s saying a lot.

One more day to get through. Maybe I should wear a hard hat tomorrow. Or a bicycle helmet. And where yesterday I was on top of the sales, today I am in the basement. This work day won’t end soon enough. Thomas is anxious to go home as am I.

And now I am home and I hit my head on the bus. Is it over yet?

I Can’t Tell You Why

New day, new document. It’s amazing how a good night’s sleep can decide the kind of day you will have. Since I slept soundly last night, the day has been going on an alright level. No dark moments of despair while waiting for the bus. No looking for reapers happy or grim or whatnot.

Weather wise I think the day can be described as splendid. An enjoyable lunch hour spent on a bench near the park, reading a book about 1970 by David Browne, in which I found a few errors. It was a decent summer read but ultimately as boring as it sounds.

It was about The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel breaking up, the disarray that Crosby Stills Nash & Young found themselves in along with a lot of cocaine and the rise of James Taylor who was doing a lot of heroin.

I met and worked with James Taylor in the the 1990’s and he was clean and took it upon himself to lecturing me about my then Gauloises habit. Apparently he had a French tobacco monkey on his back as well at some point.

It was back to the cigar shack for me today and it wasn’t bad at all. It was Calvin & Thomas and me, a good team. Things worked effortlessly. Thomas is the great white shark of course and Calvin plays the role of Black Friday admirably. Me, I’m like Gilligan I suppose. Things happen somewhat awkwardly and a few laughs are had. As long as nobody gets hurt it is alright I suppose.

45 minutes left in the shack and I am ahead in sales which puts me in a good mood. Bradley stopped by the cigar shack, his wall hitting hand no worse for wear. Jerry Vale also made an appearance picking up something that he had delivered to the cigar shack.

I am happy to report that as of now, all systems are go for Monday. Bill, my niece Corinne and I are headed to the beach. Plans are to leave early enough, like maybe on the road at 11:00 in the morning. Bill even texted me telling me that he’s looking forward to some relaxation on the beach.

I myself am looking forward to Bill being relaxed and just spending as much time as possible looking at the horizon. And I am pretty sure that Corinne is feeling the same way. Can’t bring Brady the dog with us though. No dogs allowed where we’re going until after Labor Day.

Two more days after today before I get two days off. A goal to reach and attainable. I just made Thomas blanch with my use of an MLK comment that Juan used on me a number of years ago. 34 minutes to go and I’m felling alright. Bananas help.

I watched Stardust Memories again last night. I saw that on it’s opening weekend at the Century Theater in Paramus. A full house on a Saturday night and I was the only one laughing. That sums up my life in Bergen County. Good to watch again and interesting to see how many jokes have made it into my day to day life.

And the establishment that I wrote about previously, where I interviewed in June with the woman with a European accent, well it was the Hoboken Library. They turned me down. I knew it was a 50/50 chance and I also knew that one needed to have an ‘in’ to actually land the job.

I got a poorly written letter from Pina Lodles, the library director. Now as much as I like the Hoboken Library, I was actually hoping to work there and make it something that is not so badly run. The audio visual room is atrocious. Not that I was gunning for Pina Lodles job, but as a director Pina Lodles has surely dropped the ball.

And this bullshit of sending out letters, a waste of money and paper. If you’re going to notify people they did not get the job, then email or a phone call would be more economical. I suppose that isn’t the library director’s concern, then again, neither is writing a letter that is grammatically correct. It’s a shoddy, poorly run operation.

It’s just as well. I suppose that BCCLS doesn’t need a literate person in their employ.

Their loss!

I Can’t Take You Anywhere

It’s been a good day off today. A good night’s sleep greatly helped. I slept later than intended to but it wasn’t too late. Bill had off today as well and was out of the apartment before I got out of bed, tending to a play that he is in and opens on Sunday. It’s called Destinations and it is part of the NY Fringe Festival.

It was smooth sailing with regards to early rehearsals but lately, there has been backstage drama. If you’ve been reading this for a while you’ll know that I love Bill dearly, and if you’re just tuning in, well there it is.

It’s funny, he says he’s good with time, but a few times today he would phone at the most inopportune times. Like when I am carrying groceries up four flights of stairs in 90 degree heat. I know I didn’t have to answer it right then and there but it was Bill and I have to be there for my baby. It was nothing earth shattering, nothing that couldn’t wait but I was compelled to answer it.

That’s one of the ways we stay together. One of us will do something that always drives the other crazy, and you have to take a step back and realize that you would probably miss them doing whatever it is, if they weren’t around. It’s not the only thing that keeps our relationship going but it does make for a remarkable adhesive.

It’s been a gorgeous day today, I was outside a few times. I took a bus up to the northern part of Hoboken and as I was boarding I saw Rand & Lisa. But I was on board the bus already after waiting got over a half hour and I don’t think they saw me. I would have liked hanging out with them for a little while.

Stupid New Jersey transit with their incredibly unreliable bus schedules. And they’re planning on raising the cost of the fares again at all Hudson River crossings. They announced it the other day, big hikes a coming but some say that they aimed high and the actual intention is a lower increase. Governor Cuomo of New York has spoken against it, Governor Christie of New Jersey was too busy eating school children at the time to make a comment.

I went to the bibliothèque today, not much going on there. I even put some things away on the shelves since the late afternoon staff was busy doing something and I was going in that direction anyhow. I picked up some CD’s by the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars. Youssou N’Dour, DJ Shadow and Daft Punk. Just some things I’ve read about lately.

I just got the latest Mojo and Uncut Magazines and so far the latest Mojo is ho hum. I blame guest editor Noel Gallagher. I was never a fan of Oasis and I guess now I am not a fan of his magazine editing. Too harsh?

I Can’t Stop Loving You

I don’t know why it is, but lately I haven’t been able to sleep well at all. Melatonin hasn’t helped much, perhaps it’s a bad batch from CVS. Not that I took any melatonin last night, maybe I should have.

I think it’s the lack of sleep that causes me to sink in the depths of despair as I wait for the bus. I am so morose and think the darkest thoughts. Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep perhaps it’s the dire economic climate the world finds itself in, I really couldn’t say it could be any of those things or perhaps a combination thereof.

This morning I found myself waiting at the bus stop with Deborah from my building. She usually gets on at the next stop so I was surprised to see her walking towards me. And of course the bus was filled with strangers, people we’d never seen before.

We had an interesting chat, she says she’s trying to get me a position at one of her jobs, she works two. I’d be grateful for anything. It’s now 7:38 and the cigar shack environment has quieted down considerably.

Calvin was asking me about my writing today and asked if I wrote a blog, and if I didn’t I should consider it. I lied and said I don’t write a blog. Just a long drawn out cry for help.

The cigar shack was OK. I know I can be quite the moody bastard but man does Bradley wear the crowd with gusto. It’s truly a sight to see. Not very forthcoming a lot of the time and when he is it generally leaves you scratching your head.

Jerry Vale seems to be his loyal sidekick, he truly believes Bradley is his boss which is probably why Jerry Vale is uneasy around Thomas and myself. We know Bradley is not the boss and don’t give him an inch when he seems to demand it.

It was hilarious to see Bradley punch a wall. I could have sworn he broke his hand but no, nothing broken and barely a dent in the wall. Why he did that I couldn’t tell you. But it did garner a chuckle. Calvin would have been surprised to see it but he was in the man cave and the slight crack in the plaster was easily covered up.

It’s all on camera anyhow so all Calvin would have to do it look it up. It’s quite humid out right now and even thicker in the cigar shack which is good for the cigars but makes me uncomfortable. Bill just texted me, he’s taking a nap which will leave me to decide to wake him up when I get home or just let him sleep. Decisions decisions.

Tomorrow is a day off and of course everything that I plan to do depends on the weather. I was thinking a bike ride but the forecast is for rain.Since they’re wrong half the time, I am hoping for the better half.

I Can’t Stay

It’s a Monday. And it’s a two steps back kind of day, without the one step forward part. It’s been a weird couple of days. Saturday after taking the Path Train to Hoboken I walked home in a slight drizzle. Bill was home and working on lines from a play so he wasn’t really available so once again I internalize everything.

I stewed in my juices as he whispered lines to himself. He offered to go into the other room to do his lines but I couldn’t be bothered with watching TV. Around 11:00 I turned on the news and it was the usual bullshit.

Bill went to bed soon after that and I watched a bit of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows. It was more intense than I anticipated and wound up watching half of it before going to bed. And that was all it was going to bed.

The things that race through my head before actual sleep astounds me. This time I was thinking about how I played Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, and how Sister Carla, my 8th Grade teacher trying to get me to project my voice without yelling. I didn’t go over well and when I was actually on stage very few people could hear me, though I heard Sister Carla behind the curtain saying ‘Louder, louder’.

After an hour of laying in bed I got up and took a few melatonin tablets which didn’t work right away and I don’t think I fell asleep until 4:00, merely three hours after my first attempt. That meant I slept in which was nice but disrupted any plans that I may have had, which weren’t much to begin with.

So a little before noon I got out of bed, made some coffee and stepped into the shower. Not much to eat so that meant I had to go to the supermarket. Bill was off to do something and I came back with groceries and things that we would need.

I watched the rest of Deathly Hallows and enjoyed it a lot. I was tempted to go to the movie theater in Hoboken to watch Part 2 but the only available screening was in 3D and I didn’t want to pay $15.00 for a pair of glasses that I would need to return after the show.

I didn’t do much of anything really. I was pretty much depressed so I took a xanax which made me sleepy, so I slept for a few hours. Then I woke up, had something to eat and went back to bed for another hour. No desire to go out and interact and it looked like it was going to rain anyway. Just a long slow day filled with remorse basically.

I couldn’t even tell you what time Bill came home but he was pretty much out of it. We didn’t have much to say to each other. No reason just not much to say. He went to bed soon after coming home and I once again stayed awake.

Now in the shop it’s been another long day. Calvin, Thomas and myself manning the boards. I started out with a good sale and that was it. After that it was mainly tire kickers for me, people that just look and look and take your time and leave without buying anything. Now there is about an hour left and I just want to go home. The economic climate is worse today than it was last week, so the mantra continues. I can’t believe how badly people treat one another. As bad as I feel I never treat people as badly as I have seen people do.

In June I had an interview with a local Hoboken establishment. The woman I met, Faith seemed nice enough. I noted that she had a slight European accent. The interview went well and she mentioned that she would let me know either way, whether or not I get the job. That was OK by me.

She mentioned that she was going on vacation and would let me know when she returned. I called once when she was on vacation and today I called again. They asked for my name when they answered and I gave it twice since they didn’t hear me the first time.

After being on hold for about 30 seconds, someone picks up. I ask for Faith and they say that they are Faith. No distinct European accent, this was more like someone from Jackson Street in Hoboken. And they were quite surly, not polite like Faith was.

No this fake Faith was quite grouchy and told me that the manager of the establishment was going to be sending out letters probably today. The letters of rejection. I expect to get one soon. It’s just as well. I had supported this establishment in the past, writing letters on their behalf.

But if they’re going to be thinking that I am just as stupid as they are, I don’t plan on supporting them ever again. Another business that won’t be getting my business.

Part 1, Intense.

I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down

Well we just had a flurry of commerce in the cigar shack after a few hours of not much going on at all. It’s the first weekend in August and not many people are buying cigars and accessories today. I guess it could be expected. I don’t recall it being too busy at this time last year. Bradley just sang a song ‘He’s the coolest guy/I’ve ever seen/yeah yeah yeah’.

Bradley is prone to writing songs on the spot and their usually somewhat violent though this one wasn’t, though his percussive drumming on the register counter could be construed as such. The Psychedelic Furs are on right now, The Ghost in You. Late period Furs.

Now it’s the B-52’s, Dry County from Cosmic Thing. Their comeback. Lot’s of memories from 22 years ago. Did I see them at the Palladium? Was it a dream? Was that Ann Louise I was hanging with? I seem to remember a great show.

Have to set a reminder to myself to remind Calvin to pay me for last Sunday’s trip to the rifle range. Better stay on top of that. I don’t want to go over his head and write directly to the person in charge of payroll. I do expect headaches all around. No word on my reimbursement and I expect headaches about that too. Better invest in Advil.

Such a bleeding long day here today. Not much a happening and probably less and less will be happening later on. Now Romeo Void is on with Never Say Never. Yes it’s that kind of day where I am merely writing down the titles of songs that are playing. No one attractive coming in or walking by the cigar shop either which makes for an even more dismal day.

Three more words. Well now it is an hour or so later. Not much has picked up. Bradley is gone for the day and now it’s me and Thomas who is being profane. For humor’s sake I suppose. I just yelled at him to stop being so rambunctious. And he has stopped if only for a little while.

I just cleaned out the man cave, and vacuumed the cigar shack. No one is around really. It’s raining out and that is what could be keeping people away, but I think a lot of people are out of town and with the crap economic news the past few days no one is spending much money.

Once again I am befuddled by the luck of the draw. I take 2 customers into the humidor, one buys a cigar the other just stands there, doesn’t want a cigar. Thomas gets the next customer and they buy several cigars adding up to a nice sum. It’s really all about luck.

Someone wants a cigar, they know what they want and they want nothing else. I get methed out hillbilly types and he gets the son of an ambassador. Just so bloody typical. Well it took most of the day but I finally broke a grand.

And now Thomas is sulking since he had Labor Day plans that me be washed out. And my feeble attempt at reassuring him has been shrugged off. It’s been a weird day all around for most all concerned. Now Bjork is singing Army of Me.

I am home again 12 hours after leaving. It sure is good to be home. Took the first train in the station which brought me to the Path train where I stood from 33rd Street to Hoboken. Knee started acting up again, probably from being jostled about by the trains movement.

Tomorrow is a day off from the cigar shack and this here blog. Not expecting to relax since there are a few things that must be taken care of. I will be glad to sleep later than usual.

I Can’t Stand It

Another decent day at the cigar shack. Does this mean tomorrow won’t be? I can’t say. It’s been fun working with Thomas once again. We bust each other’s chops all day long. Tomorrow Bradley will be in the mix therefore changing whatever chemistry exists between Thomas and myself. Maybe. It’s all speculation.

It’s been a long day nonetheless. I slept really well last night and have been getting up earlier than I had been. Slept too late earlier in the week and had to rush around, which I would rather not do. 15 minutes makes all the difference. Thomas has headed home for the day, after getting his craft beer.

Now it’s me and Jerry Vale doing his Maria Eftimiades imitation. Actually he isn’t. I just wanted to throw her name in the mix since it popped into my head the other day. She was an editor at People magazine when I worked there in the late 1990’s. She playfully smacked me on the arm when she overheard me talking to Pedro on the phone, talking about chicks.

She was shocked to hear that. She is probably in deep shock now that the word chicks is being used everywhere, even by women. When she playfully smacked me, I told her to consider the alternatives. No harm was intended by the use of the word and of course, no chicks were harmed in the writing of such a line.

It’s a summer evening on a Friday, the area of the cigar shack is quiet now. Not much foot traffic. Not much of anything actually. One hour to go for me, then I’ll go home, sleep for a few hours and then come back for some more. It’s OK. It’s a job, not an adventure.

Jimmy Seltzer graciously invited me and Bill out to the Hamptons. It doesn’t seem likely with our schedules being all over the place. I told that to Jimmy and he said it would be fine if I went out there by myself on a weekday.Mr & Mrs Seltzer wouldn’t be there and I could have the place to myself. That is an extremely gracious offer from Jimmy Seltzer and I would love to take him up on it. I’ve never been out to the Hamptons anyhow.

Less than an hour to go now. I might as well do something rather than stare at the few stragglers passing by the cigar shack. And now I’m home again, back on the mainland. It was a fast hour at the shop, Jerry Vale regaling me with stories about seeing Led Zeppelin in Chicago in the 1970’s. He’s only 7 years older than I am and seems much older.

He’s trying to keep his head above water while working part time in the cigar shack. He doesn’t know how to deal with Thomas and myself and since Bradley acts like he’s the boss, Jerry Vale falls in line with whatever it is Bradley has to say.

I am just glad to be home. One more day until a day off. Hooray for me.

I Can’t Quit You Baby

Wow. It’s Thursday. It’s interesting for me at the cigar shack. There are days when I feel I have a grip on things and I think things will be alright, then I go in the next day and all that is forgotten and tossed in the rubbish pile. Today is one of those days.

Yesterday was good, me and Calvin and joined by Jerry Vale, then today with Bradley & Thomas. Thomas is great, Bradley has the amazing propensity to be a pain in the tuchis.

Just had an interesting chat with Jimmy Seltzer who basically schools me on matters economic. He says things are going to get worse than they are now. I can see it, I can feel it. I used to look at Don and Raymond and wonder how they could work in the cigar shack for two years, and now I find myself in the same position.

No, it hasn’t been two years but I am over one year. That is simply the situation I find myself in. The mantra continues ‘at least you have a job’. Some people don’t. Some people are still looking. Danny the K and Greg Stevens have not responded to my email. It’s disappointing but what can you do?

More disappointing is the twenty something young man who was so fucking self absorbed, he wouldn’t move half an inch so someone could sit next to him on the bus. He was so fucking engrossed in whatever stupid game he was playing on his cellphone. A regular C U Next Tuesday type.

I was the unlucky guy to try to sit in the seat next to him. Oh how I wanted to punch him in the skull, but instead decided on saying ‘wanker’ when he got off the bus at 14th and Washington. He probably didn’t hear me and if he did he didn’t know I was talking about him, or more than likely did not know what a wanker was. Go ahead, look it up, I’ve got time.

It could have been a better day, but it wasn’t. Calvin was out of the cigar shack most of the day, attending a meeting across town. When he did eventually came back he was all doom and gloom which did not help matters in the cigar shack with Thomas and myself. Bradley usually plays the role of being aloof so how he felt was relatively unknown.

On August 22, the staff has to meet at 8AM across town to renew our tobacconist licenses. I don’t have a tobacconist license and frankly I wasn’t looking to get one. Perhaps I should. It doesn’t look like I am going anywhere else really.

A friend of former co-worker Raymond stopped by, Frank. Nice guy, he’s been out of work for nearly three years, and he has a wife and kid to support. He was looking to buy a gift for someone and after looking at a few items, said he would come back another time.

Before that I had to look at pages of what might be ordered for the store, such expensive items, no one I know would want or buy these things, but I guess a $14,000 humidor is just right for some. It really is a tale of two cities.

Bill just came home from rehearsal. He was feeling ill most of the day, took off from work and slept a lot. I checked in, in the morning and told him I would call again at lunch time. And I did just that, only I got his voice mail at the beginning and ending of my lunch hour.

So he’s alive and able to go to rehearsal, and leave me wondering if I would be coming home to a corpse in the bed. But he’s fine and I guess feeling a whole lot better.


CVS is a scam. Chris at writes like lazy teat Greg.

I Can’t Outrun You

Less than an hour to go here at the cigar shack. Been a good day, mainly it was me and Calvin and we get along just fine. No need to worry for the future of the cigar shack, things are going just nicely. Of course having written that, this atheist who is superstitious feels that he jinxed himself.

I am working with Thomas and Bradley tomorrow so who knows how that will go. It was a good day sales wise at the cigar shack. Not too busy and despite that we’ve done OK. Of course I would rather be down the shore, but since it’s raining I might as well be here. The food guy from a local news station came in, so North Jersey, a dese, dem dose kind of guy, Mister Slick. Marcus loved hanging out with this guy but then again Marcus was always a bit of a star fucker or so I’ve been told.

There are not enough people wearing Hollister gear these days. And not nearly enough people getting tattoos. I am of the age when if you got a tattoo that meant you’re a tough guy. These days, just about anyone and their Aunt Tilly get tattoos. No rebellion required, conformity will do just fine thank you.

Now at the cigar shack it’s me and Jerry Vale who is somewhat more sociable than he’s been for the past couple of weeks. This past Sunday while at the rifle range I handed out enough of my business cards, trying to build a client base as well as drumming up business for the cigar shack.

To my dismay no one has requested anything. I am sure there is still time, after all I did tell the card recipients that I would be back on Wednesday.

Still there is money to be counted so I guess I will finish this at home where it belongs to be finished. Still the desire to write at least seventy five more words is strong. Can I hold off? Can I hold out? What exactly is it that I am doing now? Who am fooling? Could it be the one who reads this blog everyday? Is it possible to fool someone so omnipotent? I don’t know, I guess I will find out.

Nineteen more words could be the deciding factor. Then again it could always spill over into something else, something bigger than you or me, but mainly bigger than you.

And now I am home. It’s a drizzly night, but not a steady drizzle, one of those rains that falls lightly sideways. Michael Eric Dyson is on the Ed Show, a welcome relief from Al Sharpton who stumbles over lines on the teleprompter. The fact that Michael Eric Dyson is not Al Sharpton is a plus in my book.

Bill is off rehearsing for ‘Destinations’ which opens on August 14. I will be there. It’s an early show, 12:30PM, and it’s part of the Fringe Festival. Got to represent!