Monthly Archives: January 2012

I Got The Blues

Well it is a day off today and overall it’s been so so. Really lackluster. It had the potential to be that type of a day and it certainly did it’s best to live up to my low expectations. There was a tentative plan to go back to Chelsea with RoDa and see the Doug Wheeler installation that was too crowded to attend last Friday, but it fell through.

To tell the truth I didn’t really want to head into Manhattan today, but left it open for RoDa to approve or veto, or even postpone. As it turned out, RoDa was unable to go so that left me in on the Jelly Side of the Hudson River.

A trip to the supermarket, a wave to Tony the Barber, things seemed to be going nicely. Isis was the cashier again, she said she hadn’t seen me in a while and it was true since I hadn’t seen her in a while either. My schedule and Isis’ schedule are not in sync so there are more moments when we don’t see each other than when we do. The life of retail clerks.

I came home and had a nice breakfast. I stopped buying the newspaper a few weeks ago, so I just reread parts of old books as I eat. I surfed the net and read some emails and Facebook postings for a while as I waited for the laundry cycle to end. There is always laundry to do it seems. I decided to get a new pair of Airwalks since my last pair were falling apart, coming apart at the seams.

That meant a trip to the Newport Mall in Jersey City. It was a nice day as I walked down the avenue, stopping into the local record store to see if the latest Mojo and Uncut were in. Empty handed I headed to the train station. I figured I would take the light rail to the mall but just missed it when I got to the platform. The next train was in 15 minutes which would be almost the amount of time it takes to actually walk to the mall, so I decided to walk there.

For some reason ‘My Little Town’ by Simon & Garfunkel was in my head so I played it on my iPod. That’s the song they came up with when Simon & Garfunkel reunited in the 1970’s. I bought some socks at the Sock Store and walked into Payless which seems to be the only place that sells Airwalks lately. And of course they did not have them.

While there I got a text from Thomas. I found out yesterday that the cigar shack will be having a little to-do in the man cave for the super bowl. And Jerry Vale will be working it and since Jerry Vale is a part timer, a full timer has to be there too. And I am sure it will be me. Having written that just now I realize it is no big deal. I’ll have a few cigars, watch the game and eat some food and get paid for it too. A positive spin if you will.

I left the mall with a few pairs of socks and saw the light rail headed back into the station. As luck would have it again I missed the train. And since it was still a nice enough afternoon, I walked back to Hoboken. I decided to treat myself and get a milk shake at Ben & Jerry’s, the aptly named Chocolate Therapy. But they were all out of Chocolate Therapy, I walked over to Crumbs instead and got myself a Chocolate Blackout cupcake to salve my soul. I haven’t had it yet, it sits in the fridge just waiting for me.

Like I wrote, a lackluster day.

Tom Verlaine 1982 Words From The Front 06 Coming apart

I Got Stoned And I Missed It

Yesterday started with Bill meeting me on the bus on my way to the cigar shack It was quite nice, if only fleeting. A nice kiss was given which got a few suprised looks from other passengers. Bill rode for one stop then he was off the bus and headed home as I continued my ride into the city.

A nice- if cold, walk up the avenue, getting my egg sandwich. I walked on the sunny side of the street. I was working with Thomas and Jerry Vale and figured I would be early enough for a quiet start, thought about playing the Beatles Live at The BBC. I was dismayed to walk through the door to see Thomas in already, counting money and listening to Skrillex, dubstep at quite a loud volume.

Apparently my reaction as well as Jerry Vale’s made Thomas mention that that was how he felt, and what he hears when we play our classic rock or classic soul. Apparently yesterday morning I became an old fogie, if only for my reaction which surprised me as well. I had such animosity to dubstep for which I equated my dislike to death metal.

Obviously it was not to be played when the cigar shack opened at which point I took over the music, choosing something not as jarring as dubstep. Later in the day Kurt Russell came in followed by Goldie Hawn. He browsed and she stood by the register. She was pleasant and really gota kick out of Thomas’ compliments on her Stella McCartney handbag.

I went to lunch at my appointed time and called Annemarie. During the call I got another call from Thomas. Apparently 2 shoplifters who had hit the other cigar shack across town made an appearance in the cigar shack where I work. I flew back to the shack with my game face on but they were gone. What would I have done anyway, really?

That was taken care of and I went back to my phone call with Annemarie before heading into a diner for a Ma & Pa Special, which is Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli. I had top sales once again though it wasn’t from anything extraordinary, merely from the volume of cigar sales, being at the right place at the right time.

I made it to the bus terminal and waited with the other stiffs on line eventually finding a seat. I watched Portlandia on Netflix on my smartphone. It really is very funny and I highly recommend it. I came home, Bill happy to have me back. He was cleaning and looking for something.

I turned on the Screen Actors Guild awards which Bill enjoyed greatly, then when that ended I changed the channel to a documentary on Fishbone, a great band from the 1980’s who are still around. They came close to grabbing that brass ring but never quite got it while lesser talented bands took it and ran.

Bill was thoroughly engrossed by the whole thing but went to bed before it was over. I stayed up and watched the whole thing and would see Fishbone again if the opportunity presented itself.

Today was really nothing much at all. Brian did top sales today even though he was out. Zack is back and Bradley is back to being a schmuck again. I guess he likes being number 1 and resentful of being number 2 in every sense of the word & number. Without the responsibility of last week he is free to be the sexually ambivalent snort that he always was.

I suppose it was a vacation from all that and now he too is back. As Thomas and I discussed the other day, Bradley did make for a good manager but then again he does not have the pressure that Zack has. Things are back to ‘normal’ for what it’s worth.

2 – Spooky

I Got Soul

Another Saturday night at the cigar shack, me & Thomas. It’s been a good day, working with Thomas and Bradley. Not bad at all. Bradley has certainly stepped up to the plate since he became the assistant manager. He has a grip on things and is able to communicate extremely well, especially when compared to how he was just a month or so ago.

He was a nightmare to work with a lot of the time but lately he’s been great. It really makes a difference. Communicate early and often like my ex-boss Bobby Risotto was fond of saying. A problem pops up, you discuss it and hopefully it gets solved almost immediately. None of this subterfuge, the gossip that occurs from time to time.

I have come thisclose several times today with regards to humidor sales today. It would have been nice to close the deal but it’s not up to me of course, it is up to the customer. And the customers I’ve dealt with needed to think about it which is totally understandable. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight. He’s been doing OK with that.

A few weeks ago there was some problems that caused him to stop at every rest stop to relieve himself. It was worrisome to say the least but it was actually from his using aspartame a lot. He doesn’t drink water so he was using crystal light in his water for flavor which caused the problem.

I have cut aspartame from my diet a few years ago after having some intense headaches. I figured that was the cause and after I heard about how Donald Rumsfeld pushed aspartame onto the market without it being properly tested I knew it was the right thing to do.

And now I am home. Thomas offered to close since he would rather leave a little bit earlier tomorrow which is his sixth day of working. I have no problem with that since tomorrow we do close at 7:00 and that means I get to leave two hours earlier anyhow, so 15 minutes is really no big deal.

My numbers were actually pretty good today, especially after one of my customers came in and bought a couple of hundred dollars worth of cigars. He’s a nice guy who ran a record label after I left that label and we initially connected on that. Now he’s in Los Angeles a lot of the time, still a player in the music business and now on one of those TV shows where people sing and try to advance to some level without really paying any dues.

Of course I was glad I could get my numbers up, and though they were good, it really pales in comparison to the numbers Thomas posted yesterday, selling two humidors, totalling $9000.00. Good for Thomas and good for the store.

So now I am home, Bill is on the road, nothing on TV tonight. Saturday Night Live is a repeat and I don’t think I will watch it again, but then again I more than likely watch some of it after the 11:00 News.

Not posting tomorrow so I hope you all have a very nice day.

11. [Laid]

I Got Rhythm

Well today has been a day off, and a mostly rainy day off at that. Still I was glad to have some time to myself and set about doing the things I had planned. Last night I came home, Bill was staying up for me and I walked in with a bit of anxiety regarding how many things I had to do today.

It’s true mostly that depression is from living in the past and anxiety is from living in the future. Last night I was a few hours ahead of myself so I was a little bit anxious. I calmed down soon enough thanks to Bill’s support. He went to bed a while after I came home and I stayed up watching some TV.

I slept fairly well last night and woke up at my usual time even though I had the day off. I had a meeting at 11AM so I had to follow my daily routine once again. I trimmed my goatee somewhat last night and shaved this morning after a shower. Bill made a nice pot of coffee for me again. He’s really enjoying making me coffee even though he doesn’t drink the stuff.

I was dressed and out the door once more, this time headed to the Path train. I stopped at the bibliothèque to pick up a biography on Marvin Gaye written by Michael Eric Dyson but I was too late. I ordered it but you only have five days to pick it up and today was day seven. I wasn’t sure what day I received the notice, so I was too late.

It wasn’t raining when I went into the bibliothèque, but it started to pour when I left. I hopped on a bus to the Path train and got on board a train to the World Trade Center. It was still pouring rain when I got downtown and made my way through Zuccoti Park where Occupy Wall Street had it’s start in September. Now it was empty and it was just me and one other guy walking through.

I made it to the meeting right on time and it lasted longer than I expected and I think it went well. Soon I was back on the street, talking to Bill and walking around Wall Street, killing time. I had plans to meet up with RoDa at 1:00 and it was only 11:45. I bought a Brian Eno EP at JR Music and hopped on an uptown train.

I got off at Union Square and thought about walking past where Farfetched used to be but figured that would be pointless and a bit of a downer so I mainly stayed on 14th Street. What used to be the Virgin megastore is now a Chase Bank.
Bleecker Bob’s which was one of the first places where I used to buy my import singles and albums as well as clothes is being shuttered to become a Starbucks. I hadn’t shopped in Bleecker Bob’s since the early 1980’s and I suppose my lack of loyalty is a contributing factor in it’s demise.

RoDa was only 15 minutes late which wasn’t so bad and we proceeded to walk over to Chelsea. I really wanted Roda to see the Doug Wheeler installation that blew me away a week or so ago but where it was nearly empty that Tuesday afternoon, today it was quite crowded and very stuffy. We decided to head out and wander around a bit, eventually deciding to give it another go next Tuesday.

We wandered to a few other galleries, RoDa being quite impressed with a few things we saw. We walked around a bit more before we both decided we were pretty tired from trooping along in the damp weather.
Then it was back to Hoboken where everyone knows RoDa. He can’t walk down Washington Street without a lot of people greeting him, he is so beloved in this town. We parted ways with a nice hug and made plans to try to hit Chelsea once again on Tuesday.

I was glad I was able to help lift his spirits since they were quite low the other day.

RoDa says 'Peace'

Killer Queen

I Got Nothin’

This morning started out OK with regards to the weather. A bit nippy with occasional drizzle. Now it is mainly cold and damp. Tomorrow is a day off and from what I have heard, it is supposed to be warm and damp. January 2012 has had some crazy weather.

I’ve taken Harpy’s suggestion and decided to remove music from my smartphone. Do I need music on my smartphone, especially when I have a 30GB iPod? No, not really. According to Harpy it takes up too much space on the smartphone and with extra space the phone operates better without music.

I don’t really know about that since there are maybe two people I speak to on the phone, Bill & Annemarie. Well maybe three if I include Harpy, and I will include Harpy since no one includes Harpy enough if you ask me. And waking up was difficult this morning. I could have used at least another hour of sleep but obviously that was not going to happen.

I watched Chronology last night. It is a collection of live clips of Talking Heads from 1975 to the 1990’s. I don’t think it includes any footage from Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads- Jonathan Demme movie from 1984. I stopped watching the DVD when they showed Talking Heads at the Capitol Theater from November 1980.

I went to that show with my brother Brian and we had seats in the 2nd row. The Psychedelic Furs opened up the show and I didn’t know them then and did not like them much. I thought Richard Butler was a weird mix of David Bowie and Johnny Rotten, sounding like Rotten and throwing shapes like Bowie.

Anyway Talking Heads were fantastic and I remember dancing in front of the stage, I don’t recall anyone else around, just me dancing in front of people sitting down. I had seen Talking Heads in August 1980 with my brother Frank and that was quite magical. A couple of thousand of us, all dancing to music that no one had heard yet, Remain in Light had not come out at that time.

I’m sure that by November Remain in Light had come out and I was more than likely blown away. It is my favorite album of all time. As much as I love the Fabs, I still think Remain in Light is the best. Perhaps it is my generation’s Sgt. Pepper, as I can hear it’s influence on a lot of music in the years that followed it’s release.

The DVD is excellent, interesting to see them as a three piece for a few clips then seeing Jerry Harrison really flesh things out. And by the time I saw them there were ten people on stage. I’m sure my brother Brian was embarrassed by my frentic dancing but I didn’t care. I remember leaving the Capitol Theater and hearing that Jimmy Carter had just conceded the election.

It was election day after all. I voted for John Anderson in my first election, voting with my conscious. Brian told me I was supposed to vote for whomever I thought was going to win and he voted for the ‘winner.’

another shop bites the dust

asbestos kills

01 Positive Vibration

I Got Mine

OK, the other day my day started (and ended) with Melody of Love by Bobby Vinton in my head. That made me think of Bob Dylan covering Dean Martin’s ‘Return to Me’ from the Sopranos soundtrack. Probably because of Bobby Vinton’s refrain, ‘Return to me, and always be, my melody of love’ before he breaks out into a Polish singalong.

In 1975 while attending St. Francis de Sales grammar school, we had to learn that song and then trooped over to a convent by Felician College to sing the song to a group of old Polish nuns. And here I am later, over 30 years later still thinkng about that song.

Another song from 1975 that popped into my head via Wikipedia was Please Mr Postman by the Carpenters. This time in 1975 it was the number one song and I remember being in the Boy Scouts at Camp No-Be-Bosco in the winter listening to this song on Music Radio 77 WABC. I always liked the Carpenters, well I always liked Karen Carpenter’s voice. I still do. I find it to be quite warm and rich.

Lucky Thomas, he just picked up the phone for a nice order. He’s done well today whereas Bradley and myself were nickle and dime’ing up the numbers. No hard feelings but I am harboring feelings of resentment and have doubts about throwing him some sales in the future whenever I hit my personal goal.

The customer just phoned in an order, sending his daughter to pick up the cigars, so things might change. Not expecting it to happen though. Thomas was in a weird mood in the beginning of the day though he did get better and not bitter. It’s after 7:00 so things have gotten considerably slower in the cigar shack area.

Not expecting sales to improve, in fact after Thomas’ sale that will probably be it. I did have some nice sales today, though not enough to get to my personal goal. It is so friggin dead here I almost expect George Romero to remake Dawn of the Dead in this area.

That brings me back to 1980 where after I saw the Exorcist with Henry Venegas and his girlfriend, we drove to the Paramus Drive In where we caught some of Dawn of the Dead on the sly, using the AM radio to pick up the audio broadcast at 2:00 in the morning. Life sure was simpler then.

Like most of my high school classmates I never saw Henry Venegas after 1980. And don’t even get me started on my fumbled seduction regarding Henry. And attempting to seduce a straight classmate was not the smartest idea anyhow. I was 17 and knew as much about seduction as I do now. What was I thinking? I know what I was thinking about. He was a good guy that Henry Venegas was. I wonder if he ever married his girlfriend?

About 30 minutes left in the cigar shack today. 30 long minutes no doubt. Rand and Lisa stopped by this evening. It was wonderful to see them. They were celebrating Lisa’s birthday and went to the movies and had some dinner out. Lisa of course looked fabulous and Rand was quite the fashion plate himself. They were just passing through, headed back to the bus terminal. I’ve known Rand 30 years and happy to be his friend, as well as Lisa’s friend.

Thomas, it turned out, was closing the store allowing me to leave a few minutes early. I hoped I would catch Rand and Lisa on the bus but they didn’t make it. But it was wonderful to see them nonetheless, as it made my day.

Is THIS your card?

11 Crosseyed and Painless

I Got It From My Mama

AN early day, an early start. At the cigar shack, opening this morning. Been open for 25 minutes, one person came in, just to browse. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is playing on the cigar shack sound system. What is Life indeed. A nice day, nicer than it’s been the past few days. A balmy 40 degree range.

Last night came home, before Bill and I had the idiotic republican blowhard debate on. Quite a waste of time, watching Mitt Romney and New Gingrich speak. Both are quite heinous and the race seems to be who is actually worse than the other. Of course the only plan the candidates have is to get Obama out of the White House.

No real plan, but a lot of disinformation like Romney blaming Obama for setting a date for the withdrawal from Iraq, though it was actually announced by the idiot George Bush before he left office. I suppose Willard is hoping that Americans do have short memories, like the Neuter is doing, glad that Americans forgot that he was drummed out of Congress in the 1990’s, as well as the other bullshit that he did, like shutting down the government since he had to sit in the back of Air Force One.

Still awfully quiet in the cigar shack as well as the surrounding area. One customer just came in. A regular who bought 2 cigars and now sits in the man cave solo. I am sure other regulars will arrive soon enough and plant themselves in the chairs and around the table for most of the day. I can’t fault them for it though if it were me I doubt I would be hanging out in a man cave all day, seeing the same faces day in and day out.

Well one good thing about coming in early and opening the cigar shack is that I get to leave early. Nice change of pace, though it doesn’t happen too often. Friends are posting online about how beautiful a day it is outside. I would like to find out for myself but I will have to wait until Thomas comes in which should be in less than an hour. I

do appreciate it being so slow that I will more than likely have this entry completed by the end of the day, or even perhaps by midday. Of course there could always be something worth writing about which if that is the case, then I will simply have to include it. Not such a big deal, though I am hoping nothing happens.

Zack is in the Caribbean, Bradley has the day off, Thomas and Jerry Vale are likely en route to the cigar shack. FedEx are making their deliveries though I am not expecting anything really. UPS stops by in the afternoon and though we did get a delivery yesterday we might get more today. I am glad that Zack finally ordered my favorite, the LFD Air Bender Valiente. Last time I had to order them from our competitor.

Dubstep- what?

Now I am home. It was quite a long day. Thomas was starting a six day stretch and was not in that good of a mood. I did my best to get him to smile or laugh but it didn’t really take. Had a few laughs with Jerry Vale though and that was fun. Overall the day crept by. Not much in sales going on. But I am home now and would rather not think of the cigar shack until tomorrow.

Bill and I are watching the President on TV tonight so that should be good.

08 Rock N’ Roll Suicide

I Got It From Agnes

I can’t wait for spring. It simply won’t get here soon enough. I am sick of grey skies, I am not fond of rain and puddles. Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Today was a rainy Monday, which was double the trouble.

Things are good though overall. Yesterday was laundry day basically. Had a few loads to do since I won’t be off again until Friday and it was piling up. Glad I did it and since the heater was fixed in the kitchen it should dry faster, maybe 2 days instead of the last time where it took about 4 days.

Bill went to the gym and did a few errands and came home to watch the Giants win the game. The other team took a beating. What or who the other team was I couldn’t say. really don’t care. I was taken to a number of football games growing up, Giants games and never got into it, well perhaps I did when I started to notice you could see the jock straps through the shiny thin fabric of the payers on the field.

My parents had season tickets and they did not want to leave me alone at home, despite my protestations that it was alright. Estoy reemplazando lo que me puede meter en problemas con la gente crtain en algo escrito en español a través de Google Translate.

Estoy muy aburrido. ¿Qué debo hacer? Thomas está siendo muy difícil. Celoso, creo. Thomas no puede dejar de bostezar. Lo grosero. Por otro lado, Jerry Vale es un príncipe, aunque hoy en día. ¡Salve Jerry Vale. Yo sólo quiero ir a casa y relajarse. Esto no es divertido. Tengo 50 minutos hasta que pueda volver a casa.

Then again I could be talking through my hat. Por otra parte podría estar hablando a través de mi sombrero.

Bill and I watched some of Sweet Dreams starring Jessica Lange and Ed Harris last night. I own the DVD and we’d seen that before but here it was and there was nothing else on. Bill went to sleep before the fatal plane crash and I stayed to the bitter end.

Woke up to the sound of falling rain which did not make it easy for me to get out of bed, but there I was- getting out of bed. A shower, a shave and some cereal to accompany the coffee that Bill brewed for me this morning. A walk under the umbrella to the bus stop where the 19 year veteran, Large Marge picked me up.

Then a walk in the drizzle to the cigar shack. It was Bradley and Jerry Vale today and it was actually fun. And we got a lot of work done. Tonight I am closing and tomorrow I am opening. A small price to pay but I will be getting home a few hours earlier than usual which is nice.

And tomorrow is Jerry Vale and Thomas so that should not be so bad either. Thomas had 3 days off so he is bound to be full of stories. All I have to do is listen I suppose.

06 On Some Faraway Beach

I Got It For You Girl

A snowy Saturday. It started out with me laying in bed and hearing the sound of cars going up the street, tires rolling on the snow. Now it’s dark out since it is night time and it’s more than likely freezing over. I slept really well last night even though Bill was in Atlantic City. He phoned once he got there, his bus was breaking down.

I was concerned for him. His passengers got off the bus with no problem. Last I heard he was planning on abandoning his bus, and that was the word he was given from the bus headquarters. Whether or not he did (he probably didn’t) I don’t know. Last I checked he was back home and going to sleep since his drive tonight was canceled.

Less money but there is more safety in staying at home. He will probably be awake tonight when I get home and we can watch Saturday NIght Live together. Maybe it will be as funny as it was last week, but I don’t hold out much hope. At the cigar shack it was fairly busy, good numbers coming in, Bradley and I going head to head with our sales.

I came out ahead, far ahead enough that I wound up throwing sales to Jerry Vale so he can get his numbers up. I do that from time to time. Once I hit my quota, I will throw sales to Thomas or Jerry Vale so they can get their numbers up. It’s probably frowned upon by the corporate overlords, but I do not mind helping out co-workers, my comrades.

The usual rogues gallery were in most of the day. They come in first thing in the morning, when the cigar shack opens and generally sit all day and bullshit. Most of them are decent guys, but there are one or two who seem to think we are there at their beck and call. One particular eastern European guy throws a hundred dollar bill down and states he would like a such and such cigar, even if we are helping other customers, he will just butt in and state what he wants in his heavily accented voice.

Sometimes I don’t mind but today Bradley did mind and supposedly had some words with him. Whether or not that actually happened I don’t know, but Bradley said that it did so I will just have to take his word for it. I am off tomorrow and I am quite happy about that. Don’t really have any plans except maybe hang out with Bill.

Going outside will be another matter and that all depends on what the streets and sidewalks look like. More than likely we will lay about most of the day. I do have laundry to do and right now I am thinking about doing that when I get home but once I get home I might be singing a different tune.

Right now Alternative TV is on, old school UK Punk. It’s been a while…

07 Put A Straw Under Baby

I Got It

A Friday for most, but for me it was ‘I don’t know what day it was’ when I woke up this morning. Slept really well due to the melatonin I took before I slept. It helped with the sleeping and made it near impossible to wake up. Still I got out of bed and did my thing. Bill was up and out of course by the time I actually left the bed.

I should not have stayed up so late, but I posted a picture of Janis Joplin and Rick Danko on Facebook and a friend commented on it so of course I had to send a link about the movie Festival Express where the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and The Band are touring across Canada.

When I sent the link I started reading about the Band and next thing I knew it was 1:45AM. About 45 minutes later than I am usually awake. That did not help me waking up at all. The thing is, I don’t really like The Band. Maybe as Dylan’s back up band but on their own I always found them a snooze.

Funny tidbit- in 4th or 5th grade the teacher asked us to make a poster with our favorite bands. I did not know that much about music and the Beatles had ceased to be at that point and no one was really into them so much. I remember my brother Frank talking about The Band so I made a poster saying that The Band were the best band.

It was an easy way out. I wasn’t into Elton then and certainly not into Led Zeppelin since all the bad kids were into them and I was a goody goody. So basically Richard Manuel and Rick Danko are dead, leaving Garth Hudson, Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson are still alive and Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson do not talk to each other. The problem is mainly songwriting credits basically, with Robertson taking the lion’s share.

And that was what kept me awake, reading about a band I don’t really care about. It really was not worth the price I paid today for staying up too late. Another day of wearing thermals. If it is below 30 degrees outside then thermals it is. And it was 26 degrees when I headed out this morning. I once again stood in the sunlight with an eagle eye out for the bus.

5 minutes before it was scheduled to arrive, I moved and waited in the shadows for it. The driver was not racing up the street with 2 cop cars on her tail, no this morning she was somewhat sedate. A solo ride into the city, no Deborah. She’s off to the Dominican Republic with her boyfriend for the next 5 days.

A little over 30 minutes left at the cigar shack. Bradley’s been very nice lately to me, though he hasn’t really had much of anything to say to Thomas. I can’t figure it out and neither can Thomas though we do have our theories. I definitely look forward to sleeping tonight. Even though I don’t sleep well when Bill is not around and he is driving to Atlantic City tonight, I do not think I will have a problem.

Now I am home, Bill is somewhere heading south on the Garden State Parkway. My ride home was uneventful which was nice, and there was the added bonus of my second favorite bus driver behind the wheel. My friend, Chief is driving the late shift so instead of seeing him in the morning I may see him at night when going home.

He’s a good guy and asked me what I thought of the bus driver in the morning. I told him how she was not as good as him and he remarked that she’s been driving for 19 years, and that others have been complaining about her to him. Go figure.

Free Man In Paris

I Got ID

I am writing this knowing that it will not be posted tonight. Today was the Internet protest against SOPA and PIPA, all the major websites like Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and a few more went dark as a way to show how the Internet would be lacking should these laws come to pass. For me it was back to work today.

After quite a splendid day yesterday, today was bound to be a come down. I rallied though, got myself together and was out on the street, in the cold. My usual bus driver, my second favorite bus driver wasn’t driving on my schedule today, or any time soon. He mentioned it to me last week and I have to say I am sorry to see him go.

He’s driving a different shift and may be back in April. I rode in silence, downstairs Deborah wasn’t on board this morning. From the bus terminal I once again walked up the avenue to the cigar shack, stopping off to get my iced coffee and a quick phone call with Bill. I got to the cigar shack where Zack was considerably under the weather and Thomas was getting screwed again.

He’s scheduled to work six days in a row in the upcoming weeks and he’s not looking forward to it. He’s 25 years old so if any one can handle it, it would be him. Zack was looking tattered and spent most of the day in the office. He’s supposed to be heading down to the Caribbean in a few days and I advised him to head home early. Who wants to be sick in the Caribbean? I’ve never been, but I figure that it would not be any fun.

So now things are winding down in the cigar shack, Thomas and I just had a good chat with a very rich man from the midwest. Nice guy. I offered to be adopted by him but he wasn’t having it. I could easily call him Dad if need be. He restores cars for a hobby and lost a few fingers on his left hand doing so.

NOW it’s the next day, back online, back to the beat, back to the blog. It’s been an interesting day. As I waited for my bus, the new driver flew right by with two cops cars flying fast behind her, lights and sirens a blazing. Whether the two were connected I don’t know but I hope so since the bus driver did not stop for any stops it seemed.

I got to the cigar shack a few minutes late and walked past Zack and Bradley and Thomas having a semi-heated discussion. Thomas was cool, but Zack and Bradley were heated and loud. After about a half hour it all seemed calm and I was glad I wasn’t involved.

Jimmy Seltzer made an early appearance. I mentioned I had a dream about him with a porn stache and he mentioned we talked about that a week or so ago. I didn’t remember but in hindsight he’s probably right for where else would I get the idea of Jimmy Seltzer with a porn stache?

Oh yeah, almost forgot that Juan stopped by last night. It was hard to believe I hadn’t seen him since maybe September or October of last year. And of course it was great to see him, wonderful to have him over. He was funny and cutting as ever and I really should put more effort into meeting up with him, not being so tired, such an old fogey. He is really such a good guy and both Bill and I really enjoy having him around.

Van Halen with Kool & the Gang opening?

2-04 Walking On The Surface Of The Moon

I Got A Woman

Well it is day two of two days off. And it’s been good. Today was better than yesterday despite the rain and the cold and the dampness. Last night was better than the day as well. I was in a better frame of mind when Bill came home from the gym. He was relaxed and happy to be home and I was quite happy to see him.

We settled in for the evening and watched the Betty White birthday show on TV. It was actually pretty good, and Bill of course laughed uproariously throughout the program. After that was a version of Candid Camera featuring senior citizens playing pranks on young folk. Bill and I both agreed that it was cute but corny.

Then we watched Bill Moyers and Company on PBS. I’ve met Bill Moyers a number of times and definitely trust him and his shows. And last night was no exception. It’s not candy floss news like Brian Williams on NBC, this was real and intelligent, which is why it was on PBS and not the other stations.

Bill went to bed midway through the 11:00 news and I stayed up watching the Colbert Report, followed by 30 Rock and then finally I went to bed. Slept quite well and had a few dreams about the cigar shack, including one where Jimmy Seltzer had a moustache. Bill was up and back to work and I have little recollection of him kissing me goodbye as he always does. I’m sure he did though.

I do know that he made a very good pot of coffee which was waiting for me when I got out of bed. And outside it was raining which made me want to stay in bed longer. But I had plans today and I got out of bed and got myself activated. A trip to the supermarket where I was online for my favorite cashier Isis, and I found myself behind my former favorite cashier, now retired Linda.

My sister met Linda once and said she was reminded of our grandmother, Nana- my mother’s mother. A nice chat while on the line with two sweethearts. Then it was home for breakfast and then I was out on the street in the rain.

I caught a bus to the Path train and rode to 14th Street. I walked over to 10th Avenue and wound my way up to 19th Street, to the David Zwimmer Galleries. I read over the weekend of an installation by Doug Wheeler and it had me curious. Since it was in the New York Times, I figured it would be crowded.

I walked into 533 West 19th Street and saw the On Kawara exhibition which I enjoyed but tired of it rather quickly. Still I was glad to have seen it. There was no one else there except for a security guard. I asked the receptionist on the way out where I could see the Doug Wheeler installation and it turned out I walked right by it.

I walked into 519 West 19th Street and was told I needed to take my shoes off to see the installation. They had some disposable slippers and of course as I took my boots off I realized I had a hole in my sock. I felt like Paul Wolfowitz but did my best to cover up the hole quickly.

I walked into the room where the installation was and I was overwhelmed by light. It was incredible and hallucinatory. A woman was nearby behind me as I started to laugh out loud. It was great. No sense of depth or what was in front of me. And throughout all this I could see paramecium floating in front of me, which turned out to be my eyeballs.

Sometimes if I look a certain way through my eyeglasses I can see the paramecium (or whatever it is- floaters?) and here it was again. I never said anything about seeing these things throughout my life, but I asked the woman nearby if she was seeing what I was seeing, and she said something that I didn’t quite hear.

Still it was a giggle and I was soon taking off my disposable slippers and putting on my boots and back on the street. From there I walked up to 23rd Street stopping by the Mallick Williams Gallery after the exhibition by Lindsey de Ovies caught my eye. It was a lot of fun and I was able to take some snapshots before heading to the Vivian Maier showing.

The Vivian Maier show was part of a show with Weegee, two photographers I’ve admired throughout the years. Most everyone knows who Weegee was and there was so much of his stuff that it overwhelmed the Vivian Maier photos. And it was crowded. I didn’t last too long there and soon headed up to the bus terminal enjoying a cigar in between raindrops.

And now I am home after yet another lovely dinner with Julio, Stine and the one & only Alexander. I bought him a coloring book and some crayons as well as a slide whistle. Not as much fun as Stine’s iPad but then again I guess I am old school.

Juan is in town and wanted to do something fun, but I was at Julio & Stine’s when he texted and I simply can’t entertain tonight since for me it is back to work tomorrow. So he is off to some bear bar in Jersey City.

Not sure if I will be posting tomorrow since WordPress is having a black out against SOPA. So I guess we will wait and see. You should all protest SOPA. I mean if Rupert Murdoch is for it…

Alexander McQueen store

Doug Wheeler

Lindsey de Ovies 'The Hand That Feeds'

looks much better in real life. textural.

06 Bob Dylan – Floater (Too Much To

I Got A Name

It’s been a day off and a decent one at that. Of course there is always room for improvement but alas it’s too late for that. It’s a little past 7:00 and the day is mostly gone. A lot of the time was spent sleeping and that was good. Can’t get enough of that.

It’s Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday so Bill had off today. That was a surprise to me, but it was a pleasant surprise. There was some awkwardness on my part since I am not a morning person and we did get in each other’s way as we both puttered about the apartment.

I made coffee and showered and Bill had a bowl of soup for breakfast. He enjoys Progresso soup and it’s his main meal most days. I don’t understand but then again I am not that big a fan of soup. I headed out to the supermarket to get some things and came back from the cold world. Bill supplied the warmth indoors and once I had eaten some breakfast I was somewhat civilized again. Bill spent his time doing his thing and I spent my time doing likewise. He also went to the gym and I took a nap. That’s about how the day has been.

Yesterday was quite slow at the cigar shack. Me and Jerry Vale, Zack in the office getting some paperwork done. I opened the shack and found Zack in the back, enjoying a cigar. I told him how the week had been without him, how Bradley did a good job of holding down the fort.

I also mentioned that it was a good idea having Bradley as the assistant manager, to which Zack said that I was more like his right hand man, working behind the scenes, making sure that items were ordered and things were in place so everything could run smoothly. That was a surprise and a very nice compliment.

Zack was sequestered away in the office and asked me to keep people away, not to be disturbed. It was easy enough to do mostly though maybe two times, someone did pop their head in, interrupting his paperwork when I was otherwise unavailable. The man cave was filled most of the day and though it usually closes at 5:00 on Sundays, there was a NY Giants game on at 4:30 so it was decided to play it by ear.

If there was a crowd then it would stay open longer, and if there was no crowd then it would close at the usual time. Well of course it was crowded. It was in the 20 degree range and once most of the guys came in, they stayed in. So at 5:00 there were about 10 guys hanging out and smoking cigars so the writing was on the nicotine stained walls.

Jerry Vale enjoys football and didn’t mind staying so after getting the front of the cigar shack cleaned and in order, I headed out, close to 7:30. Zack was finished with his work and was smoking in the man cave with the other man cave men. I headed out into the cold, taking a subway to the bus terminal.

I lucked out, there was a bus running a few minutes late so it was waiting for me when I got to the gate. I liked to think it was because it was so cold out that the driver took it upon himself to wait for a little more time so no one would have to wait. Of course I could be wrong and it could simply be because the driver was running late. I was OK with that, since it got me home that much faster to Bill’s loving arms.

05 Ain’t Got No – I Got Life

I Go Wild

Another day at the cigar shack, a longish day at that. Not so bad overall, Bradley on his best behavior, Jerry Vale amiable as ever. I am worried about Bill though. Something might be wrong with my man. I dare not write about it, but I can express my concern.

I certainly hope it is not what I think it may be. I will find out more tonight when he calls from Atlantic City, and tomorrow when I get home from work, a heart to heart will be in order. I slept really well last night and that was good.

It was a long lonely night. The heater was working so that is another feather in the handyman’s cap. About 28 minutes left in the day here. and I am back on tomorrow, due in at 10:30 and out at 7:30. It is also the return of Zack tomorrow.

Most of the day at the cigar shack was spent getting everything shipshape. We’re all understandably nervous about his return since he was at the corporate headquarters. The news could be bad, the news will likely not be good. 5 minutes left here and I am still a bit behind. And now I am home a little over an hour later.

The last couple of customers were a handful. An arrogant Israeli who kept mentioning how his is good friends Marcus. he didn’t bat an eye when Jerry Vale and I both told him that Marcus is now working for another cigar depot somewhere in the city. He kept insisting that he deserved better treatment than he was getting though both Jerry Vale and I deferred to everything he stated and wanted.

And what he wanted were cigars named Fuente. Jerry Vale and I told him the only cigars named Fuente were Arturo Fuente. He kept telling us that we were wrong until he looked up what he wanted on his smartphone and it turned out that he wanted Arturo Fuente. He made some overtures about buying a box but of course he only bought one cigar after having Jerry Vale and I jump through many hoops.

After him came another customer who was pleasant enough that Jerry Vale took care of him and I dealt with a regular customer named Cleon. Cleon usually comes in at 8:58 as the cigar shack is about to close but tonight he was in at around 8:40. He usually gets the same thing each time while fondling each cigar, but tonight he was looking for something different, or rather a throw back to what he used to smoke.

So it was a different cigar that he was fondling. he’s generally a nice guy and I thought he was gay, he’s such a dandy but no, he is straight. Perhaps he is one of those guys who identify as straight but likes to suck dick every now and then.

There are a lot of guys like that. But I will take Cleon at his word and keep my cock in my trousers.

Ooh, dirty! Not writing tomorrow! Have a good Sunday!


1-10 Dead End Street

I Go To Sleep Pretenders

A day off yesterday which was nice and somewhat busy. Bill and I have been problems with our kitchen heater, a gas on gas contraption which has been on the fritz the past couple of weeks. To ignite the thing you need to lay on the floor and hold in the red button, the ignition switch, for a minute and hopefully that would get the pilot light lit. And when the light would be lit, more often than not it would go out after about 5 minutes.

Being on the 5th floor it is usually colder than it is on the street, so when it would get cold, we would have a pot of water on the stove top in a slow boil and when it would get really cold, we would turn on the oven with the door open. It did the job but it was getting frustrating. I contacted the absentee landlord who duly sent his repairman over.

It turned out that the thermo-coupling was loose. So loose that the repairman was able to unscrew it with his hand. A set of pliers fixed that problem and we were able to have a decently heated apartment last night for the first time in weeks.

Then there was the bathroom problem, specifically the toilet. There was a puddle of water next to the toilet bowl and we had been using rags to sop it up. I thought that it was leaking, after 10 years of 2 guys over 200 pounds sitting on the bowl day in and day out, I figured it was bound to leak, but the repairman figured out that it was condensation that accumulated causing the puddles to form.

He took care of that and he was out of the apartment about 15 minutes after arriving. It went much better than expected. Today was a visit from the Hoboken Building Inspector. Our 5 year visit was due. The tenants received a notice that today would be the day and since the absentee landlord has no keys, someone would have to be there.

I made arrangements to come in late and take care of that. The window of opportunity was from 10AM to 1PM and they showed up close to 12:30. Another quick visit. Smoke and CO detectors were functioning, fire escape had easy access and no mold in the bathroom. So all in all it wasn’t so bad.

I expected to be back at the cigar shack by 2PM but wound up getting in at 1:30. It was not busy at all, Thomas texting me to hurry up since they already had 3 customers and they had been open for 90 minutes already. Out into the brutal cold for me, wind whipping around, cutting like a knife. Still I walked up the avenue to save some dosh and that wasn’t so bad.

As long as you’re moving the weather is fine. The minute you stop, that’s when you feel the cold. And I did.

01 Johnsburg, Illinois

I Go To Sleep The Kinks

Well yesterday’s good feeling, thanks to prayer or chanting or whatever seemed to fall by the wayside. Last night while going to bed, I was visited by a few Charlie horses. In rapid succession they cramped my leg. I never thought that going to sleep would be so strenuous as to require stretching before going to bed but there it was.

Bill was fast asleep, the sleep apnea mask doing its job. After a while I was able to massage my left thigh and get the Charlie horses out. Last week it was a leg cramp, more than likely from low levels of potassium, so I’ve been eating a banana a day. But despite that I had a visit from the horse named Charlie. I was able to fall asleep, not as soundly as the night before but still I did get some shut eye.

I was awoken by the sound of a major rainstorm in the morning, luckily I was off today so I was able to sleep a little bit later than usual. But the body clock had designs of its own and despite my struggles I still got out of bed. Bill was going to work later than usual today, meaning he was still around at 8:30. I decided to defy the body clock and get back into bed, not wanting to deal with the pouring rain outside.

Bill had left and suddenly reappeared, climbing the four flights of steps since he left his phone home. He got the phone, gave me another kiss and headed out as I did an about face and went back to bed. It was of no use since I was awake already and not going to be able to go back to sleep.

I did have an appointment in the city, a meeting with an agency. We had arranged it all yesterday and I headed into the city on the Path train around 9:45. I was at the agency at 10:15 and like they said, the meeting would last around 15 minutes. At 10:35 I was back on the street. It had stopped raining and I decided to walk to the bus terminal since I needed to get to the supermarket and the bus would drop me off closer to the market than the Path train would.

As I rode back the bus driver, (my second favorite bus driver after Bill) told me that he wouldn’t be my driver anymore. He would be on a different schedule, until April when he might be able to get the shift back again. That was a mild bummer and I walked to the supermarket and got my usual items. Of course as I left the supermarket, the skies opened up and I hustled to get home before getting a good soaking.

Once home I got out of my suit and into some jeans and a t-shirt. After finally having something to eat I got my very late holiday package to the post office and sent it to my sister and her family in California. Walking back I ran into Stine and Alexander and that was quite nice. Alexander was playing the shy bit, smiling but refusing to say anything to me, or shake my hand or give me a high five.

It was alright, he was tired after being in school and just wanted to be home with his mom. Stine did invite me over sometime soon for dinner, so I guess that might happen on my next day off next week.

It’s been a decent day, nothing to write about, though I did just that.

02 Holotelani

I Say A Little Prayer

Another day in the cigar shack. Last night I came home, surprised to see Bill still awake. He was complaining about being tired and needing sleep, but there he was, doing things. Still getting his stuff in order, he bought a lot of boxes at the container store so a lot of his gear is mostly compartmentalized.

And as of last night all the double A and triple A batteries are in a certain drawer. Now it is up to him to put those drawers somewhere where they would be actually useful and accessible. I got out of my suit & tie and settled into my relaxation trackie bottoms and t-shirt and slippers. Bill stayed up later than expected and so did I.

He was fast asleep by the time I went to bed and I was wary about another sleepless night. As I got into bed, I decided to say my bedtime prayers for old time’s sake. “God bless me, make me a good boy, for soul and body amen, sweet Jesus amen. Angel of god, my guardian dear, to whom god’s love entrusts me here, ever this day be at my side to light in god, to rule in god amen. God bless mommy and daddy, Francis, Annemarie, Brian & John, grandparents in heaven, Nana and Grandpa, Sister Mary Octavian and everybody- amen.”

I just looked it up and the guardian angel prayer is supposed to go like this: “Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.” SO I’ve been saying it differently all these years, having learned it phonetically from my mother. Doesn’t matter though, I do prefer my version but I do appreciate the clarification.

Sister Mary Octavian was the nun who tormented me when I was in kindergarten, chasing me around the class and making me stand behind the television set until Mrs. Burson came into the room. I think she was going after my brother Brian who was his 4th Grade teacher across the hall from the kindergarten and when he proved too slippery to grasp, I was the next best thing.

I remember when she died, my family went to the Immaculate Conception church where there she lay in state, in a pinewood box wearing a crown of thorns. I later found out she made the pinewood coffin herself. Not too macabre.

After my bedtime prayers, for a lark I threw in the act of contrition. I always liked the act of contrition. It’s the prayer you say when you are about to die and everything is basically absolved. I always picture myself falling from a great height and as I plummet I say the act of contrition, instead of ‘Oh fuck. Oh shit’ and it’s instant admittance to the afterlife.

I have to admit, saying the prayers, even for a lark brought me some peace of mind and I slept quite soundly. I also woke up in a very good mood, feeling somewhat positive so I thought I would continue with the act of contrition being repeated in my mind at various points throughout the day. And I felt good doing so.

I also listened to some Patti Smith who sometimes sings of such catholic things as I walked up the avenue to the cigar shack. I even told Bill of my stopping in at a bed & breakfast on the road to Damascus. He was surprised for sure. I would say it certainly has been an interesting turn of events. A positive and peaceful day, the kind that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

01 – Oh happy day

I Go to Rio

Oh how I did not sleep well last night. I mean, I was pretty tired when I turned in at 1:00, and at 2:00 I followed my advice and got out of bed and surfed the net a bit. Then went back to the bed about 20 minutes after that, but still I could not fall asleep. I simply could not shut my brain off.

Too many thoughts coming in from all directions on all different subjects. Finally I guess around 3:00 I did fall asleep somewhat, but still it was not enough. I probably had that mad eye look when Bill was leaning over me, kissing me goodbye as he headed off to work. I tried to get some more sleep but the sun was coming in and I eventually had to get up and get out.

I had shown Bill how to make coffee the other day so I had a nice pot waiting for me, one less thing to do in the morning. Somehow I remained awake in the shower and cleaned myself up, washing whatever sleep there was from out of my eyes. A couple of cups of coffee and after checking email and whatnot I was on the way to the bus stop.

I was several feet behind myself though, and it was like that throughout the day. I felt stoned, like I had taken a massive hit off a joint and left to fend for myself among the natives and tourists of Manhattan. I’ve been saving some money by walking to the cigar shack instead of taking the train but it didn’t help much.

I mean money wise it did, but still I was groggy. And it was Bradley and Jerry Vale in the cigar shack today and of course that meant that Bradley was calling the shots much like the Frank Burns he used to be and sometimes still is. I was doing well in sales though and for most of the day I had a several hundred dollar lead.

Then I went to lunch and an order that both Jerry Vale and I worked on, well all the credit went to Bradley who was quite a fucking bitch about the whole thing. I explained the reason my initials and Jerry Vale’s initials were on the work slip, to which Bradley stated that he could not figure out what the initials JV were for.

I was pretty upset about the whole thing with regards to Bradley being a dick but things got better since I just surpassed him in sales and I didn’t have to steal credit for it. About 20 minutes left in the cigar shack for the day and of course it is taking it’s sweet ass time in getting here.

Cat Stevens is singing Father and Son and Jerry Vale just related a story about how he played the song for his son, who hated the line ‘you are young and it’s all your fault’. I just want to go to bed.

lucky penny?

2 – Downtown

I Go To Extremes

Back to work at the cigar shack again. Not so bad, Zack is out of town at some meeting, Bradley was off so it was Thomas and Jerry Vale and myself today. We all get along quite nicely and are very supportive of each other as well as cracking wise about each other.

Bill went back to work today, after having last week off. He spent most of last week organizing his stuff which was all over the place. To the surprise of the both of us we found a couch underneath all that mess. If only Juan were around to be able to sit comfortably. But Juan is doing his thing in the Trenton area, leaving Bill to sit on the couch solo and me in front of the computer which is my usual spot.

Chaz threw a great party, his best in years on Saturday night. His wife Kathe was up from Florida and Connie made it up from down the shore. Kathe was her old self, very funny and silly. Connie was apologetic for having a bad year.

She is quite ill and there were times when I was headed down the shore that I would call her to see if she wanted to join us at the beach but she was too weak to answer the phone. She mentioned that there were times that she was too weak to even work the remote control for her television set.

Bill rented a car for the night and picked up Rand & Lisa and the three of them met me by Journal Square. From there it was off to Chez Chaz. The smell of vegetarian chili wafted through the air, drinks aplenty and great company all around. Unfortunately, we had the car only until midnight so we had to head back to Hoboken just as things started to get interesting. Before we left, both my former roommate William & Rand mentioned they expect interesting things to happen in the spring, something big. They don’t really know what exactly but something is bound to happen.

A ride back with Rand & Lisa and soon Bill and I were back in our apartment by midnight. He went to sleep soon after and I stayed up watching Saturday Night Live. We both slept really well, some tossing and turning on my part since I did have a few beers. Sunday was a do nothing day basically.

A bit hungover, I went to the supermarket where it was more crowded than I would have liked. Then I stayed in for most of the afternoon. Bill headed into the city and I lounged about. I did go to CVS to drop off some photographs which I paid for but were not mine. There was no problem with that, I had the receipt and was able to get my money refunded.

On the walk back home I notice a brawl erupting across Washington Street. A group of drunken twenty somethings spilling out onto the sidewalk, fists a flying. I called the Hoboken Police who sent two cop cars. I didn’t stick around to see the outcome, just kept walking. A crowd did form to watch the fight though and I’m sure someone else blogged about it.

Bill and I watched Shameless which I enjoyed more last year. I just wasn’t in the mood for it last night and I guess neither was Bill since he went to bed halfway through. I also watched House of Lies, starring Don Cheadle and I did not like that one much at all. Thank goodness it was only a half hour long, since that was barely tolerable.

Tonight former employee Raymond came into the store tonight, just getting off from work and buying a cigar. We commiserated somewhat and I found I always feel worse about the cigar shack gig after talking to him so it’s probably best that we don’t talk about the cigar shack.

Killer Queen 1

I Go Crazy Paul Davis

A Saturday in the cigar shack. I had to open today which was not so bad. Last night, a mellow night at home spent with Bill. Watching TV mainly as well as a few laughs as usual. I love him so much, he really is a good guy. I would be so lost without him and I can be sure that he feels the same way about me.

We’re going into our 12th year together and mainly it’s been a lot of fun. He is renting a Zipcar and I will meet him and Rand & Lisa at Journal Square, where from there we will head to Chaz’ party. Bill was up before me yet again this morning, asking if I wanted to get up at 7:30. Since it was 7:20 and the alarm did not go off by then I must have given him the look of ‘what the fuck are you doing?’.

He scurried off and 10 minutes later I got out of bed. He was situated in front of the TV, watching the Today Show. I shuffled on by, making coffee before stepping into the shower. Soon I was at the bus stop waiting for my 8:30 bus. After a stop to get an egg sandwich I continued my way up the avenue to the cigar shack. Where it was 14 degrees the other day, today it is going to be close to 60 degrees. Quite nice again.

I was 10 minutes early and set about starting up things in the shack. A few minutes later I hear someone opening the door to the cigar shack and to my surprise it was Bradley. I asked what he was doing in so early and apparently he had forgotten that he was not due in for another 2 hours. So instead of going out and enjoying the very pleasant morning, he sat in the man cave with an extremely regular customer until his shift started. I didn’t really mind, it was not busy for at least the first 90 minutes.

Tonight is Chaz’ party. It should be fun, especially since Kathe will be there as well as possibly Connie. Not that it wouldn’t be fun without them,it’s just that I hadn’t seen either of them in quite some time. Well, besides seeing Kathe at the Path train, I hadn’t seen Connie since Bill and I had our civil union party at Maxwells in the summer of 2010.

I also feel really good today. Perhaps I turned a corner, perhaps something good is going to happen. In any event I am going with the good feeling for as long as I can, for as far as it will take me. I will be taking lunch in a half hour.

It’s nice enough to spend the lunchtime outdoors, but then again some food would be nice and that would make it an indoor thing. I suppose I have enough time to make up my mind sooner or later.

Just got home from a really fun party. Too many Lowenbrau! And one hidden Amstel!

Little Anthony and the Imperials – Shimmy Shimmy Coco Bop

I Go Crazy Queen

Last night I stayed up later than expected and this morning, I slept later than expected, more than likely from the melatonin I took before going to bed. I did not help me to fall asleep faster but it did make me sleep quite deeply, making waking up delayed.

Bill got up before me and I eventually followed maybe 15 minutes later. I slowly got myself together in anticipation of going to the supermarket but there was no need. Bill having been up a little longer than me was already dressed and heading to the store anyhow. I settled in in front of the computer with a cuppa and checked email and Facebook.

Bill came home laden with groceries and foodstuffs and after helping him unload I had myself a nice breakfast. For some reason I had actually thought I would be up and out before noon, but in reality it was closer to 1:00. I made it outdoors and stopped by the local music store to see if the newest copies of Mojo and Uncut were out but they weren’t. The store was certainly crowded though.

I walked to the Path train and got on, happy not to see the former friend that I wrote about in September, the guy with the drinking problem like I did last week. I did see Kathe Charas who is back in town for a few days. She was looking good but couldn’t chat too long since she was off to have lunch with Chaz and I had a train waiting on the platform.

I hopped on a train and soon I was getting off the train at Christopher Street. My former roommate William told me of a store on Hudson Street that sold the kind of holiday lights we used to use in Weehawken, the colored lights fade in and out type. I walked over to the store where William said they had them but they had a lot of different lights but not the kind I was looking for.

‘Oh well’ I sighed, saving some money I headed back onto the street and walked down Bleecker to Carmine to see if the Anti-Imperialist Bookstore had any calendars. They used to have lots of calendars but not this time. From there I walked up Sixth Avenue and as I walked I saw another friend from the past, Teo.

Teo used to live in the building next to mine with his parents when I was living in a basement apartment in the 1980’s. I last saw him when I considered moving in with him in Jersey City when 10 years of living with William was wearing me down, but seeing where and how Teo lived made me reconsider and cool my jets with regards to moving.

He eventually hit rock bottom from drug use and moved to Toronto where he did not know anyone and from what he said today, lived in the woods for some time. After going to rehab he was clean and looked good. He was a very good artist and still is. And today I saw him selling his paintings on the street along with other sellers of art and whatnot. He’s living in Inwood now and it was good to see him.

I did walk up to Barnes and Noble on Eighth Street and found 2 calendars, a John Lennon drawings calendar and for Bill a New York Yankees calendar. It was a nice day so I decided to just continue listening to the Modern Lovers on the iPod as I walked up to the bus terminal. Of course there was a line at the gate for the 126 bus but I didn’t really mind. It was a good day and I am glad I made it out.

smartphone in hand, fast asleep

03 Picture Book (mono)

I Get Money

Another day to get through before I can have another day off. And that would be tomorrow, the day off. Today is the day to get through. It’s been an up and down kind of day. Not as cold as yesterday, in fact it being 40 degrees, made it feel like today was a spring day. And the temperatures are suppose to go up to 50 on Saturday which is all very nice.

Right now there are about 12 men in the man cave, smoking and drinking and eating. I am playing a disco soundtrack playlist, right now it is Chic with Good Times, a song that always gets me on the dance floor. But I’m not dancing. I am standing in the front of the cigar shack to let people know that we are open for business.

It’s been an up and down day like I said. I did the most sales today but they weren’t big ticket numbers so I am in second place, behind Bradley who had about half of my sales but his were the big ticket numbers. I came home last night to Bill’s loving arms. He spent a good part of the day cleaning and shredding papers with his pal Fred. I asked what Fred thought of the state of our apartment and Bill said Fred mentioned that it was in better shape than his own apartment.

And with my last sale I am still in second place but over a thousand so that’s a good thing, I think. About 40 minutes to go. Zack mentioned that I should take some food home to Bill but really the picking are slim after being picked over by cigar stained fingers. Bradley is ensconced in the corner, almost like he was holding court.

Tomorrow I think I have a busy day and of course that would be all up to me. Lot’s of things to do, places to go and people to see. Will I get it all done and still have time for myself and Bill? That remains to be seen. I am more than likely staying out of Bill’s way as he continues his cleaning binge.

The whole concept is to get it clean and keep it clean. Bill would like to hire someone to come in once a month to clean and though it is a nice idea it seems a bit much. Then again, it’s his money so if that is what he wants to do with it then by all means. 31 minutes to go.

I wonder if Juan is upset with me and Bill. I thought we would see him over the holidays but there was no word. I hope it wasn’t because Bill and I were too tired to entertain him on Thanksgiving night and he felt dissed. I mentioned it to Bill and Bill says we did not diss Juan, we were merely exhausted. If Juan reads this perhaps he will clear up the matter but then again since he has a man he is probably way too busy to read about such matters. I know I wouldn’t be arsed to read what a 49 year old guy would write, especially if I was 25.

9:00 finally rolled around. Jerry Vale locked the door, I counted my cash drawer, got the money ready for the bank tomorrow and put things away while cleaning up a bit. There were quite a few guys left the man cave all drinking and laughing and smoking. Neither Zack nor his number two said anything about staying later, so I didn’t.

I simply got my shit together and headed out the door. No food, no drink, no free cigars for me. I guess Zack might be pissed at me for leaving, but like I said, no one asked me and no one told me, to stay. I wanted to be home with Bill, not in a room that I spend a good part of the day cleaning up, not wanting to arrive at a party where everyone else was three sheets to the wind.

I am off tomorrow and also wanted to get started on that.

Devo – Working In A Coal Mine

I Get Lonely Too Drake

Another spectacular day at the cigar shack. True things are quite slow, here, there and everywhere. A glass of Johnnie Walker Blue did not help much though Zack was quite generous is doling out glasses for Thomas, Bradley and myself as well as Zack. No one likes to drink alone so we all drank, separately.

I know I clinked glasses with Zack, not sure if Thomas or Bradley did the same. The day was spent mainly cleaning glass, removing glass and making sure it had no streaks. It makes the cleaning woman’s job that much easier. We spend the day cleaning the cigar shack, she comes in and puts her finishing touches on our work.

I don’t mind, I do like the cleaning woman, she is a sweetheart. She doesn’t speak much English, but we all like her enough that Thomas, Bradley, Jerry Vale and myself put some money in a Christmas card, which Bradley and myself did in 2010. I certainly hope to not be around to do that in 2012.

I have 12 months to make sure that doesn’t happen, but then again it is not up to me. It could be up to Zack, who might just kick me out when it comes time for the employee reviews come up. As far as I know they never came up before, at least I wasn’t reviewed. But with new big Swiss cheeses calling the shots, that is one of the things they have planned.

So meanwhile back at the cigar shack, the numbers, they aren’t so great. Between you and me and the wall behind you, paying the rent could be a problem especially in the area where the cigar shack is located. So far the numbers for January aren’t doing the magic that they hoped for, but then again it is only January 4. There is still that big Martin Luther King Jr sales weekend coming up.

A few weeks ago, the cigar shack had a drawing for a humidor. You had to buy a bag of cigars (that weren’t selling) and your name would be entered in a drawing for a humidor. Bradley pulled out a name that no one recognized and was going to pull out a name that we all knew. I told him that was not right, that it wasn’t fair.

The rule is the name that gets pulled out first is the one that gets called. Bradley’s argument was that life isn’t fair. I agreed that life wasn’t fair but here was an opportunity to make it somewhat fair. So they called the gent who one and left a message. Three weeks later, the humidor is still here, the winner has not returned our calls so a customer that the staff knows will more than likely get the humidor, rather than someone named Addeo.

Another long day is taking it’s sweet ass time in getting to the end. Bill is at home cleaning the apartment with his friend Fred, the heart breaker. 14 degrees when I left the apartment this morning, wore the leather jacket I bought for Bill 2 Christmases ago under my overcoat.

Time (Clock Of The Heart)

I Get Lonely Too Jeremih

Day two or perhaps a day too many. It was not as bad as yesterday, Bradley absent, Zack, Thomas and me running the show. Interesting international crowd in the cigar shack today, Zack scoring big time with some guy from Mongolia with his daughters or wives and their interpreter. Zack would point at something and they guy from Mongolia would say yes.

Meanwhile I had a Korean woman who wanted something modern in lighters and whatever I showed her was not modern enough or too much money. Then she asked if she could get a discount and I almost lost it. A discount? For what? All I needed was a reason which was not forthcoming, though even if she did have a reason there would be no discount.

I did sell her a lighter and she asked if she could get a free can of butane. I checked with Zack and he was still buzzing from his four figured sale so he was more than alright with that. It took most of the day for me to catch up with Thomas (who peaked early) and Zack (who had climax after climax) but eventually I hit my goal which was nice.

Now it’s sort of after hours, the cigar shack zone has quieted down considerably, not much going on otherwise. Jimmy Seltzer just came in and just put me in second place, barely ahead of Thomas. Like I said, it was a better day than yesterday, some friction at first, Thomas and Zack had a little chat and according to Thomas it was about how Zack doesn’t seem to trust Thomas and myself, putting all of his stock in his second in command, which is fitting and a bit awkward, especially with me knowing all the shit that Zack has said about number two over the past year.

But that is all water under the bridge I suppose. It is bitterly cold out today, the temperature never reached above 30 degrees and when the wind would blow it cut like Dorothy Parker’s tongue. Just about an hour to go tonight, Thomas is closing which will allow me to wait for the train about 15 minutes earlier. Still it should not be so bad, at least I won’t be walking.

I also saw Deborah my downstairs neighbor who offers hope for the future. I only sampled a bit of the hope, not wanting to be overwhelmed only to be sent dashed upon the rocks. It would be nice but then again, a lot of things would be nice. I just want to get home and get warm. Been sleeping nicely lately, though the other night I sort of hit Bill in the face, or rather the sleep apnea mask.

I was sort of hovering about his body in the dream and when the dream changed, down came my hand. He said something and I apologized profusely, as is my wont. I’ve been careful not to levitate around Bill while we are both sleeping. Takes some work, but it is worth it.

Code of the streets- Instrumental

I Get It In Omarion

It is back to the cigar shack after a week of not much of anything. I did some things around the apartment, cleaning, laundry but not much else. New Years Eve was even mellower, Bill & I going to Arthur’s Tavern for steaks, followed by cigars and then winding up at Rand & Lisa’s for midnight cocktails.

Good crowd there, John Fig and his wife Arianna and their daughter Luna, Lois & Fred, Mike C and his gorgeous girlfriend Sarah. We apparently missed Chaz who stopped by en route to West Paterson to spend midnight with his Aunt Rena.We’ll be seeing him this weekend when he has his holiday party.

Bill and I watched a few movies over the weekend, Love Actually, some Harry Potter and yesterday watched mindlessly an Absolutely Fabulous marathon. For the longest time, the humor Absolutely Fabulous escaped me. I felt I was going to have my ‘gay card’ revoked, but being hungover from the night before must have helped since I did chuckle a few times as did Bill.

He went to bed pretty early last night since he was driving a bus to Washington DC today. I tracked him on my smartphone. Since I can’t be with him, it was good to at least know where he was even though the GPS was dodgy. One minute he is on the Cross Bronx Expressway and next he is crossing the border into Maryland.

Since Maryland turned up more than the Grand Concourse I went with Maryland. It was justified since he did cross into Washington DC eventually. And now, thanks to a paper screw up, he is on his way home, deadheading from Washington DC. He expects to be home by midnight or thereabouts so I will more than likely be awake.

Oh yeah, I just got home a few minutes ago. It was a long day at the cigar shack, I came in and saw Zack talking to Bradley at the counter, Thomas floating around somewhere. As I was taking my coat off, Thomas materialized and asked if I heard about Bradley. I did not so Bradley told me the news.

Bradley is now the assistant manager, which is what I basically told Bradley a few months ago. I harbor no hard feelings, Bradley is good at the job and is born to work in the world of retail. I think Zack was expecting me to be upset since I had been working there longer, but no I was not upset at all. In fact I congratulated Bradley on his promotion, and asked him if he got a raise, which he did.

And since it was a federal holiday today a lot of people had off from work today, making the cigar shack area quite deserted. It was a long day and it seems that Zack does not like the fact that things are slow. He’s been through many January’s before so it really shouldn’t be a surprise. I feel bad for Zack though. It seems like he is being set up for a fall.

The cigar shack probably pays a lot of money in rent and with the slow sales and the sluggish economy it promises to be a brutal year. And on top of that Zack and his wife are expecting a baby so there is that added stress. An interesting thing happened today, 2 customers came into the cigar shack, a couple.

Thomas asked them if they needed help and they said they were just browsing. I came out and asked the same thing as Thomas and I got the same answer. So Thomas and I backed off, letting them browse while keeping our eyes on them. A minute or so later, Zack comes out of the office and asks the couple if there is anything they would like to see and of course they say yes to Zack. So Zack tool care of the couple and made a sale while Thomas and I busied ourselves doing other things.

The couple left with their purchase and Zack then turned to Thomas and myself, about to berate us for not helping the couple. I had to explain to Zack that just because he watches the cameras in the store, it’s not reality necessarily. I explained that both Thomas and myself offered our assistance which they did not want, then he comes out and they do want assistance.

We did not do anything wrong, we weren’t goofing off. I don’t think Zack appreciated my explanation but it was the truth and he went back to the office ostensibly to check the cameras to see if we really did interact with the customers. Apparently, asking a customer if they need help is not the way to go. Asking them if there is anything they would like to see is the proper way to bait the hook.

It’s going to be a long year.

2-02 Take The Cash (K.A.S.H)