Watch 32 discordant metronomes achieve synchrony in a matter of minutes.
Watch 32 discordant metronomes achieve synchrony in a matter of minutes.
Watching Mad Men on TV, the main event is the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. I was in kindergarten and have no recollection at all of when it happened. I just looked it up and it was a Thursday, so I would have asleep by the time the news would have been broadcast. Like most days back then it is all a blur. Consciousness of the outside world, meaning the world that wasn’t Riverview Avenue or St. Francis de Sales school or the Romaine – Sinniger VFW Post, did not arrive really until maybe 1972. I did know of death, but it was more familial than anything else.
Before Mad Men I found myself to be more jazzy than anticipated. No plans were in the works, except for Juan suggesting a pint. I begged off pleading being at a cash disadvantage and Juan said he would pick up the tab. I was thinking Maxwell’s, Juan was thinking of The Pint, a gay bar in Jersey City. And not right over the border Jersey City but a few stops away on the Path train. Juan doesn’t know that gay bars are anathema to me and pleaded and texted to no avail.
He even played the guilt card and despite my atheism, I do have a catholic background riddled with guilt and it really has no effect on me at all. So when Juan texted that he was going to go home and stick his head in the oven, I asked if his mother’s oven was an electric oven. In the midst of all this Bill had come home after looking after his mother all day and was incredibly stressed from that as well as other things. Bill didn’t stay up that late and I wound up staying in and watching Mad Men.
The schedule at Maxwell’s is supposed to come out on Sunday nights. I called around midnight and there was no schedule sent in. I called again this afternoon and still no schedule. I can guess that since the next time a band is playing would be Thursday so I will probably be working then. I will call later on to find out what’s what.
The past couple of nights when working at Maxwell’s the jukebox has been untouched and someone’s iPod has been playing the songs. It certainly is a mind fuck to hear New Order sing True Faith, The Ramones with Bonzo Goes To Bitburg and Echo & the Bunnymen sing Lips Like Sugar (a crap song). It causes flashbacks to way back when, bar backing and cleaning glasses while singing along with Joey Ramone and talking with Eve, Carol and Steve Saporito as I worked alongside Martha Griffin and Declan.
Now Pedro is on my Facebook page trolling, calling friends ‘sheep’. He claims Obama voted “yes’ to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. Pedro doesn’t know or refuses to acknowledge that Obama was a state senator in Illinois at the time and was vocal about his opposition to the Iraq invasion. But Pedro doesn’t let facts get in his way these days. I’m sure he is getting his info from Joe Farrah and his ilk. Which is too bad since I consider Pedro to be intelligent but with postings like that I begin to harbor doubts.
Well it’s a Sunday. I’m enjoying the new method of posting, whenever I want, not chained to the 500 words a day paradigm. Been there, done that for over 7 years. A change was needed for sure. And it’s been creatively liberating I think. Of course you might think otherwise but since only a handful of you ever comment, I will just have to guess that that handful are simpatico somewhat.
Things have been going on, mostly good. Been working at Maxwell’s, wearing the same clothes I wore way back when. People still come in, last night the restaurant was packed and I had a few groups of people waiting about 20 minutes for a table. One of the remarked that they were fine with the wait since at another restaurant the wait was an hour and a half.
People have been generally behaving, no need to bounce though I did have to have some words with a customer who was holding the men’s room door open. A very stupid man who didn’t seem that much younger than me, you’d think he had sense but then again getting older does not necessarily mean getting any smarter. And when alcohol enters the picture common sense isn’t so common.
Both Friday night and Saturday night I came home, tired enough to fall asleep or so I thought. Friday night was the worst, not much sleep at all, tossing and turning and waking up more tired than I was when I went to bed. Saturday was supposed to be better, I took an alprazolam but all it did was make me feel ambivalent about not being able to sleep properly. It could be that we need a new bed and for that, the timing is terribly off.
I am back to some weekend things that I did last year and I’m enjoying it. I never knew that being a transplant courier could be so rewarding and exciting, not to mention the satisfaction of the ones relieving the transplant. Yesterday was my return to the roller skates and after the previous night’s bout of insomnia it wasn’t as insurmountable as I had thought.
Last night as I waited for the alprazolam to kick in I watched the Coachella streaming footage. New Order was on and they were pretty good with a new bass player and 2nd guitarist alongside Barney, Steven and Gillian. I watched for a few numbers including Isolation from the Joy Division days. Isolation is one of the few Joy Division songs I like. I figured out my relationship with Joy Division the other day, I just never really liked Ian Curtis’ voice. The music is fine but I do prefer New Order and don’t mind Barney singing the odd Joy Division song, but Ian Curtis? No thanks.
Lots of friends love Joy Division but to them I keep my dislike a secret. I make no secret of my dislike for Antony Hegarty’s singing and can only think of one song he sang that I actually like, and that is the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘I Was Young When I Left Home’.
So many ideas come at me when I am about to go to sleep. Unfortunately I don’t write them down, I just hope I will remember them in the morning. I sort of do remember the ideas from last night. One was about writing a play, simple enough. I even had an idea for a plot but that is what has fallen by the wayside. It was almost like a Pinter play but also more than likely stems from watching a biopic on Sean O’Casey yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day. So scenes from The Plough and the Stars wound up in my head.
Or at least the movie version scene of The Plough & the Stars as shown in the movie. I do remember something else which could be related to the play I was thinking about before drifting off, about a relationship between a very tall man and a very short woman. I wrote Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Shirley Temple. Of course Shirley Temple did grow to the full height of an adult, so I was merely using her height as a child to put as a reference. This is why I keep a notepad next to my bed on the nightstand. ♫ Between the click of the light and the start of the dream ♪
Perhaps they’ll come back to my head again tonight, or soon. Saturday into Sunday I slept exceptionally well, waking up happy and with a smile on my face which is not the norm around here for me. I had hoped for the same last night but apparently you can’t force these things and though I did sleep relatively well, I woke up tired and in need of more sleep than I achieved. Speaking to Bill later on, he suggested I just go back to sleep. That was a very good idea which I took under consideration.
But having had a few cups of coffee after showering earlier allowed just about five minutes of eyes being closed. I was also active already, having put a bunch of old clothes in a bag to be collected by a cystic fibrosis organization on the front steps of my building. I lay in bed reading some more of Barney Hoskyns Led Zeppelin book which is a great book. Now I am just killing tome before I go out later this afternoon.
Bill is managing a staged reading of Shakespeare’s The War of The Roses tonight and put me on the list. I make it a point to see all the plays Bill is involved in and this is the latest. We invited Juan to come along and he said he was interested but said it would be best if he met me at the theater since he will be running around, or perhaps still in Philadelphia. Once we heard that plan Bill and I realized that Juan will probably not show up at all, which is fine.
Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and around the Hoboken/New York City area it was St. Patrick’s weekend. I didn’t go out much on Saturday since it still resembles amateur night for drinkers. There was a plan to go to Maxwell’s and have a pint and some Shepherds’ Pie but looking in my wallet I realized that it would be smarter to get a few cans of Guinness and make dinner at home. And I did not make Shepherds’ Pie.
Another day spent mainly indoors. It’s certainly warmer today that it has been the past few days, today has been in the 30 degree range. The difference is that it’s been steadily raining all day which makes one want to stay indoors. I kept myself busy with laundry and some cleaning, all the while the TV on without much attention being paid to it. I did see Rand this morning, as he was off to Manhattan. Rand set up something on Yahoo called Freecycle. It may have been going on elsewhere in the country but Rand brought it to Hoboken.
It’s something that people can use to give away things for free instead of being thrown out. Baby clothes and baby items, books, computer and stereo equipment, books and what have you. Rand has been doing some cleaning on his end with Lisa and had somethings that he posted that I thought Bill and I could use so I put the claim on it. I was planning to swing by Rand’s place to pick it up, but here he was on my doorstep. We had a brief chat as he headed to Manhattan and I headed to the nearby deserted supermarket.
Bill came home last night and for the first time in a while, did not go right to bed after a few minutes. I threw in Drive. The Ryan Gosling movie I watched the other night. I knew Bill would like it and sure enough the first 10 minutes were enough to grab his attention and hang onto it for the next 90 minutes. After that we watched some of Victor/Victoria which is still a cute little movie, very silly and still a bit backward but then again it was 1982. Blake Edwards couldn’t be called cutting edge, but at least it had no Breakfast at Tiffany’s Mickey Rooney characters.
Bill did not last for that and at 11:00 it was time for the news which of course was filled with bad information. Halfway through Bill went to bed and I stayed up, disappointed that I forgot that The Daily Show and Colbert were repeats this week. No matter I found other ways to be entertained on television and on the internet. Now Bill is home once again and we are watching My Favorite Year, starring Peter O’Toole and Mark Linn Baker, already in progress.
I have decided to take a break from daily blogging. After 2,488 posts I figure I deserve a break. I don’t know for how long the break will last. It could be a day, it could be a week or it could be for a few months. I’ve written over 1,000,000 words which I think is something. I just want to take some time to figure what to do next. I’ve been talking with Rand about some things which sound somewhat interesting. I am looking at the end of the month to give it a rest. A minimum of 500 words a day since October 2005.
Monday Monday, can’t trust that day. And you know what? You really can’t. Monday’s are nothing but trouble. Unless you have Monday off, then it’s perfectly alright. Today I find myself at the cigar shop. Another urgent text from Shlomo, begging me to come in and sit for a few hours. I don’t mind. He worked all weekend, including hanging out with that football player who shot himself in the leg a few years ago at a New York City nightclub. No gunshots were fired or heard so I guess it went well, and there was no chalk mark’s outlining a body either.
It’s a federal holiday for Martin Luther King’s birthday and today is also the second inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama. The reich wing GOP did their best to make sure Obama would be a one term president, they stated that as their game plan in 2008 and with that they failed spectacularly. What might be egg covered their faces, but with their greasy hands it could be something wholly other than egg. In fact sometimes it’s paired with an occasional egg and the product of that joining proves to be quite a fetish for that GOP.
I think the first inauguration that I paid attention to was in 1993, with Bill Clinton being sworn in and Maya Angelou saying her inaugural poem. I was working with a woman named Terry Eigenlaub at Skyline Studios, she was the bookkeeper and I was going through the files in the lounge outside of Terry’s office as Maya Angelou’s poetic voice filled the room as Terry yammered on in her office. Maya Angelou’s poem certainly struck a chord and is memorable decades later, more memorable than whatever it was that Terry was complaining about that cold January morning in 1993.
I don’t remember much about the next inauguration in 1997. I might have been working at Right Track Recording and dealing with Eric Andrew Simmons and he was none too pleased with a democratic president being re elected. I do remember Eric Andrew Simmons being thrilled that Newt Gingrich and his ‘contract with America’ was passed some time later, with Eric Andrews Simmons sporting wood to go with his hair plugs and pregnant lactating women porn. I do have to wonder whatever happened to that rat dog he grew tired of and abandoned, Sammy I think it’s name was.
Of course there was no celebrating George Bush’s inauguration. Not at all. Best forgotten, that. In 2009 when Obama was being sworn in, I was working at the BIO-IB gig. It was an exciting time and let the people in the office that I would be out of the office, watching the swearing in on a big screen in Rockefeller Center. I bought a couple of cigars and cheered loudly with everyone else when the final words of the oath of office were said. A woman stood nearby me and commented on the cigar I was smoking.
I was anticipating some stress but she mentioned that she enjoyed the aroma, that it reminded her of her grandfather. Then it was back to being an office manager, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. One of the companies that was subletting space from BIO-IB, a company that was profiting from bad mortgages, had nothing but bad things to say about the new President. I told them to shut up. One of them later killed someone while drunkenly motorboating by the Statue of Liberty.
It’s been fairly busy today, I guess it’s from a few people having off for Martin Luther King’s holiday. A few people came in after waiting online for the Cake Boss and wanted a couple of sticks for the ride home to wherever it was that they came from. Bill is off today and he is just so super great and I of course am a morning behemoth. I am a lucky guy to have a guy like him to turn a blind eye to my morning crabbiness. Not such a bad day after all I think.
Well today has been a long day, following a night of restless sleep. Right now I am pretty tired, but OK. I just had some supper so the energy should be kicking in soon enough. Yesterday was Sunday and that meant I didn’t write. What I did do was hang out with Kevin at the smoke shop. Kevin is a nice guy and it was fun to hang out with him. I can’t help but feel like one of the background characters in Wayne Wang’s Smoke. The guys who hang out in Augie’s shop. Augie was played by Harvey Keitel.
It’s a decent movie but not one of my favorites. The best scene I think is the closing, where Augie returns a wallet that was dropped by a shoplifter he was chasing. And the scene has the Tom Waits song, ‘Innocent When You Dream’. Augie returns the wallet to the shoplifter’s mother who is blind and all alone. It’s really sweet and touching and very much the best thing in the movie. The clip is on YouTube and it beats having to sit through the movie to get to the last five minutes. Just writing about it, my bladder moves closer to my eyes.
I had fun with Kevin and his friend Brandon and Brandon’s girlfriend Marie. Things did get a little but heated once theology was brought into the conversation. I of course played the loyal opposition, in favor of the big bang and evolution whereas Brandon asked how could evolution exist when not much has changed in the past 200 years. That threw me for a loop and I realized Brandon wasn’t playing with a full deck. I said time was relative and he denied it was relative, despite my efforts to explain how such a theory works.
Today has been a long day, yes, it’s what I wrote earlier and it was also 60 degrees out which is not very seasonable to say the least. I am not complaining, even though I was overdressed this morning and evening. Midway through the day it was quite agreeable. It will all be different next week I’m sure. In a few days it will got back to be how it’s supposed to be, at least that is what they mentioned during the weather portion of the morning shows. Rare is the attention I give to the morning shows lately.
I did have to go to the supermarket today and that was a disappointment. Not much on sale and the supermarket is really taking advantage of the fact that presently they are the only game in town. The really big supermarket might open in February, so until then it will be time to pay through the nose. I did run into my neighbor Chris as he was returning from taking the light rail to Jersey City to do his grocery shopping there. SInce the Path train is still out of commission, the light rail is free from Hoboken to Newport in Jersey City.
That is something I should do, if and when I have the time. It was ridiculous walking through the aisles of the nearby supermarket, things that are usually marked down, aren’t. And of course certain items I wished to buy were now unavailable. But now I am home, that is behind me. Still tired and I bet it has everything to do with not being able to get a good night’s sleep last night. If I can hold onto this tired feeling until later, I should have no problem sleeping tonight. And having written that, I am bound to have problems sleeping tonight. The atheist jinx!
Today has been one of those days where every move you make is the wrong move. Every step is a misstep. Just going to the supermarket turned out to be something out of the ordinary. I tried to walk down an aisle when an employee planted herself in front of me asking if there was anything she could get me. I didn’t notice the blood on the floor until I heard one of her co-workers complaining about it as they were about to start mopping it up.
Apparently, from what I heard was some guy who was cheating on his girlfriend for a number of years and possibly abusive to her was dropped by the former girlfriend. And she was grocery shopping in the supermarket with her new boyfriend when the old boyfriend came upon them and punches were thrown, hence the blood on the supermarket floor. I am not sure whether or not the cops were called or if someone ran out. So it’s not just me, today has been a weird day, at least for the employees of the nearby supermarket. And there didn’t seem to be too much blood, a few drops here and there, nothing you probably have seen before.
A trip to the bibliothèque once again, getting things to watch and read for the holiday weekend when they will be closed. I picked up a book about Yo La Tengo which I found had 2 inaccuracies in it. Both were found by looking through the index. My brother is mentioned in the book as being a former bartender at Maxwell’s and someone I used to know, and mistakenly Wolf Knapp used to work the door to the back room. I can easily understand how a few people are now royally pissed off at Jesse Jarnow.
And now I find myself debating some Paulist nutjobs. A group of young men wearing red capes that stand on corners protesting for the holy roman church. I am through with these papists and now someone else is debating them so I can hasten my exit from that group. Like I said it’s been one of those days.
Right now I am listening to Tame Impala, a band some Facebook friends have recommended. They’re OK, in a vague way they remind me of MGMT. The low fi, rubbing of the microphone is really annoying though. I also watched A Serious Man by the Coen Brothers the other day and enjoyed that a lot more than I expected to. What drew me in was the actor who plays Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) on Boardwalk Empire (which was really good and heartbreaking last week) plays the lead in A Serious Man.
The other night I also watched half of Luis Bunuel’s Simon of the Desert. It’s about an hour long and it was on TCM at 1:00. I had seen it before and decided to go to bed before Simon and the devil wind up in a 1960’s discothèque. I’m sure Bunuel would have understood.
Well Dorothy Parker. I’ve posted her quote in the past and reluctant to do it again, so I am not. It’s a Friday night and it’s cold up here in the fifth floor. Earlier I had gone out and it was considerably warmer on the street level. It’s dark in Hoboken and since I haven’t really gone out at night the past few days I’ve noticed there is no power on the next block. And the funeral home around the corner had power when everyone else was out, and tonight they are dark. I think there is a viewing and they have a generator running.
There hasn’t been a garbage pickup and so items are just wasting away on the streets and sidewalks in this neighborhood. It was discussed the other day that if this keeps up we might have a rodent problem. Luckily neighbor Chris feeds a few cats in the neighborhood so that might hold them off, the rodents that is. Chris thinks he lost one of the cats in the storm and from up here on the fifth floor I can hear him at street level, singing and whistling for his wayward cats. I’ve known Chris for over 20 years and the storm reconnected us.
Bill is driving to Pennsylvania tonight, to where exactly I couldn’t tell you. I probably won’t see him until Sunday. Although right now according to Google Latitude, he seems to be driving to Atlantic City, or at least Tinton Falls. He’s been great the past week. He’s always great but this week he’s been stellar. We make a very good team. And of course since he won’t be around I do not expect to sleep well at all. He doesn’t sleep well when I’m not around either so that makes us a pair of solo insomniacs.
I saw Stine and Alexander at the nearby supermarket. The really big supermarket where things are considerably cheaper has been closed since the storm last week. This was reportedly the third time in a year that they’ve been flooded and the rumors around town is they won’t be reopened for some time or even worse, the lease was up and they are not going to renew. That means a lot of people will be out of work which means more competition of jobs here in Hoboken. And people will go back to paying too much for items.
My sister told me of a bus to Newark from Hoboken tomorrow morning. They were looking for 30 volunteers and were presented with more than 30. I posted the info on my Facebook page which might have helped put them over. I emailed the guy who was organizing the jaunt and he thanked me for posting it and also there was no need for me to go. The trip was to unload trucks in Newark and send the storm relief supplies to Hoboken. The bibliothèque remains closed. And so this day like the previous days ends cold and damp at night.
It’s supposed to be a nice weekend though so we’ll see what that brings. A new cigar store is opening in Hoboken, or at least trying to. They seem all ready to go, they just have to open their doors. I spoke with someone I thought was one of the owners who also knew Raymond from the cigar shack. With no threat of Zack, I gave Raymond a nice review, really talked him up when I was asked if I knew him. So that’s that. Pretty dull and boring yet again.
C’est la vie. That’s just the way that it goes.
He’ll Have to Go
Wow. I just woke up from a nap, did not set an alarm and still was able to sleep for a few minutes. I donned a suit and tie today and walked the drizzly streets of midtown Manhattan. I was in midtown last week and yesterday I had a phone call asking me to come in again. Well it wasn’t for anything earth shattering, just a request for me to come in and fill out some additional forms. Not a problem, I was happy too since not much seems to be happening at all on this side of the Hudson.
I came home after that and had a sandwich then decided to take a cat nap. I woke up to Mustang Sally playing in my head. I had a dream where I got into an argument with Rufus Wainwright (whom I’ve never met) about something on my iPod. He was quite a brat in the dream. It’s been a day with threatening rain and the occasional drizzle. Nice to stay in bed for that is for sure. It was a long nap, much needed since last night sleep was out of order despite being tired enough.
One of the forms I had to fill out asked how long have I been living where I’ve been living. And the answer to that is 10 years. It was around 10 years ago to the day that I left Weehawken for Hoboken. I still look fondly on my 11 years spent in Weehawken with my then roommate William. It wasn’t all a bed of roses during those 11 years but more often than not, we got along just fine. It was the landlords basically that sealed the deal for me up there on the Palisades. The demand that Bill not come over more than twice a week seemed unfair.
It was shortly after I turned 40 that Julio told me of an apartment in his building that was available. He might have offered it to both William and myself, not together but separately. Julio, being the mutual friend had heard enough sniping from me about William and vice versa. So I came and saw the apartment, and almost immediately agreed to move in. The landlord said it would be an extra $100 if I kept the washing machine and I told him that he could take the washing machine. It is still here.
William and his brother Chaz helped me move with Bill. I don’t think any of us had any idea what a difficult move it would be, four flights of stairs can be quite daunting and we moved over the weekend, a rainy weekend. I rode with William in his pickup and Chaz and Bill followed us. I recall hearing Cam’ron and his song Hey Ma a few times as we drove down the hill and so I will forever equate the song with the move. It was nerve wracking since after living in my parent’s house, Weehawken was the second place where I lived the longest.
I was also called Imelda Marcos since I had a lot of shoes. I still do, just don’t wear them that much anymore. I was between jobs and it was a risky maneuver, mainly working as a temp back then. The landlords in Weehawken were supposedly very upset that I didn’t say goodbye as they watched things leaving through the Venetian blinds. After everyone left and I was preparing to sleep in the apartment for the first time I was seized by a panic, ‘what the hell am I doing?’
As fate proved it turned out I was doing the right thing. The landlords in Weehawken decided after I moved to sell the building. They could have offered it to William and his brother Chaz, but instead went to a realtor and as the deal was going down, they promised the building would be empty of tenants. That was shitty since William and Chaz could have gotten a loan and bought the building from them. Instead they had to scramble. Chaz and his wife Kathe had poured thousands of dollars into their apartment to renovate, William turned a weed strewn yard into a wonderful garden full of flowers, vegetables and grapes.
Now they had to find somewhere else to live. Occasionally one of the landlords is seen in the bus terminal in Manhattan. They bought a condo a block away from where they grew up as brother and sister and it’s usually Chaz who sees the brother who never sees Chaz, which is how Chaz likes it. And now Bill lives here with me. An equal partner, no nonsense of being allowed over twice weekly. And the brother and sister are forever joined together in the Gregory Commons where they probably frighten their neighbors.
William and I were never frightened of them though we did find it odd that as the brother took a bath he would have a conversation with his sister while it sounded like she was right in the bathroom with him, or sitting just outside. They neighborhood changed after we all moved, some one was killed on the sidewalk around the block, Mary the sweet crossing guard passed away. And the building was converted from 4 apartments into 8.
Last night provided a rough night of sleep. I went to bed earlier than usual and actually fell asleep but at 2:30 I woke up very dehydrated and with a killer headache. I got out of bed and drank a lot of water and tried to go back to sleep but that proved to be difficult. So I took two Motrin, drank some more water and went back to bed, eventually falling back asleep. Today was the day that something had to be done and I was grateful for a few hours of sleep. Things just have not been going right for me lately.
Of course things were better last week, then the weekend revealed things that I had feared. Perhaps feared isn’t the right word, I should have written ‘wary about’. I had hope but hope proved to be damning. It hasn’t been easy and today after doing the right thing, I came home and fell asleep. I woke up and got myself together once again, heading off to the nearby supermarket since there was not enough to eat and I couldn’t wait for Bill to do grocery shopping. That was the high point of the day, made possible thanks to Isis at the register.
I hadn’t seen her in weeks, we kept missing each other. Some catching up ended with her sympathy for my situation. I came home with some groceries in my canvas bag and my head in my hands. I wasn’t expecting company today but there they were- my personal demons. All the things I think about, letting people down, letting Bill down, cursing myself for posting on Facebook something that I was excited about not realizing that it was a big mistake. Oh the demons were there to back me up with their name calling and general self-loathing.
Every step seems to be a misstep today. Just now, a little after 3:00 in the afternoon I walked down the four flights of steps to get the mail only to find when I got to the mail box, there was no mail. Yes, it is a day like that. So today I am a shut in, having gone out twice today with no desire to have anything to do with the rest for the world, just waiting for Bill to come home. He’s about the only person I can deal with right now. He was great and supportive last night.
Resumes went out again today and I find myself set up with an agency meeting next week. An agency I sent emails to in 2010 which went unanswered, today they answered. Tomorrow I have to go back to the other place and discuss my volunteering with them. I do enjoy them and don’t want to let them down, even though I have already. The brief meeting this morning went well enough I suppose but no one had any paperwork and all I had was an open heart and a lump in my throat. I couldn’t help but feel like a fool.
It’s been a day of despair, a day of self-loathing. It’s not always going to be like this, just today I find myself in the ditch.
That was a few hours ago. Not much has changed. Heard from an old friend I hadn’t heard from since I had last seen him at the party at Maxwells in 2010. It was an email congratulating me on leaving retail and making a joke about the ‘new’ gig. I had to set him straight as it were.
Sometimes my enthusiasm can be a curse, for me at least. And anyway, I am still feeling like a fool.
Fat Chance Hotel
Well now that it’s autumn, the sun goes down earlier. It has been going down earlier and earlier with each passing day, and now by 8:00PM it’s time to turn the porch light on. That is, if we had a porch light. Since we don’t people will have to stand outside in the shadows of the street lamps, which isn’t so bad. It adds a nice ambience to things I think. Nothing I can do about it anyway. I’ll light a candle rather than curse the darkness. It’s also considerably cooler, the air conditioner has been retired for a few weeks.
Yesterday was truly a nothing day. It was a beautiful day but for some reason I couldn’t be bothered to go out and enjoy it. Instead I stayed in and enjoyed things. I suppose my experience of going out and sitting by the river on Saturday tainted my plan on going out and doing the same thing on Sunday. Actually I just couldn’t stand to go and sit by the river. It was the absolute last thing I wanted to do and so I didn’t. I am sure I didn’t miss anything, as far as I could tell I hadn’t.
Bill slept most of the day and I farted around. I did go to the supermarket so I wasn’t a total shut in. On the way there I ran into a former neighbor who is going to be a neighbor again. This bloke who lived right next door to us will be moving into Claire’s apartment on the first floor. The bloke is subletting his apartment and in turn, moving into Claire’s sublet. It will be good to have the bloke and his bird and their dog around, though just because they’re in the building, doesn’t mean I will be seeing them.
When Bill woke up we watched the Emmy’s together. I was taken aback by how little TV I watch, at least not for entertainment. I rarely watch shows anymore. The TV is usually on MSNBC, CNN or TCM. Oh and HBO and Showtime and all those configurations. I haven’t given up on TV but more often than not I am watching the news and commentary on the news. I haven’t watched Doctor Who yet, though several people I know swear by it. I just never know when it’s on. Same with Archer and a few other shows that come highly recommended.
Today I was out and about and spotted a few cuties on the street. One time while ogling one of them, an old friend grabbed my arm. It was comical since they knew what they were interrupting and they could only grab me to get my attention. It wouldn’t matter anyhow if the friend didn’t grab my arm. Nothing would have happened with the hotties, it’s been so long I would have to look up ‘How To’ online at least to have a refresher on what part goes where. Still I do appreciate seeing a hot man walking down the street, so I guess I am not dead.
Hold Your Head Up
Like I wrote yesterday, today would have been a better day to be ill. I felt better last night, whatever it was that was putting me under the weather had subsided and left. Today it’s been nothing but a grey day, rain and strong winds. I was able to make it out to the really big supermarket and saved some money in doing so, but mostly it’s been a day spent indoors. Bits of my information still routinely gets sent out in the morning, occasionally a phone call comes back. Very occasionally. I keep getting calls from Geico, trying to set up an interview.
The thing is the interview is in Elmwood Park and I have no way to get out there. Plus I am not interested in the position. A friend of mine pursued it and found that they charge you a fee to take their tests. This friend was offered a similar position with Geico in lower Manhattan and took the test a couple of times, paying for each test as she went along. They call and sound so happy, happy that they have your resume and telling you that you are a good fit for this position.
I have spoken with them a number of times, expressed my lack of interest and my inability to make it out to the former East Paterson via email and still they call, so glad to have gotten me on the phone. I suppose it is a bit flattering but each time I’ve turned them down, only to have them contact me some time later. I know it’s not personal, they’ve merely gotten to the “O” section of their indexes. I am sure they do get a number of responses via their bait and switch methods, only for some it is too late.
Too late once they realize they have signed up for what seems to be a bit dodgy, charging people to take tests so they could work for their insurance company. There are vultures out there, swindlers who try to get as much information about you. I just got a notice that I’ve been picked to be a secret shopper. I give them my bank information and then they ‘transfer funds’ to my account and I am to take the money out and do some spying on various sales clerks and floor workers at least that’s how it is on paper.
“You have been selected for assignment as a “Secretshopper” in your area. You will get $200 has been a Secretshopper and your employment packet will include funds for the shopping. Full job description will be sent to you prior in your assignment. You will have access to training materials after
you register. Payment check/Money order would be in a certain amount which you would be required to cash a your Bank then deduct your salary and have the rest used for evaluation.”
Seems fishy doesn’t it? I mean, I never even applied for such a thing.
I am sure people get taken in through desperation. Who knows? If nothing happens for me I might fall for such a thing as the end of my rope seems closer and closer. I would certainly hope that isn’t the case but desperate people tend to do desperate things, no matter how intelligent they might seem to be. I do have hope that something might happen that I get on my own merits, steering away from scams and con artistry. And once again I have several offers at being a truck driver, though I haven’t been behind the wheel since 1985. That should be fun!
02 – Venus
Another wishy washy day. And it’s a Wednesday and even for me it feels like a Tuesday. The holiday on Monday once again throws everything out of whack. I’ve been out and about, sometimes in the rain today. Not going far, just within Hoboken city limits and not even near the borders. A trip to the really big supermarket not just because it’s cheaper but because the workers at the other supermarket are just a bit on the snotty side of things. I wander around the really big supermarket with a basket singing along to the songs that are played on the store’s PA.
Another bibliothèque visit was in order. They did correct the problem with regards to the DVD return, it was finally taken off my card. As I suspected, the dear old lady who I talked to about it yesterday did not do anything about it. I brought it up again and by the time I got home it was taken care of. And I took out a new DVD, Infamous, the ‘other’ Truman Capote movie, this one starring Toby Jones and Sandra Bullock with Daniel Craig as the Beaver. I’d seen it before and figured why not again?
I also have The Decendants and The Apartment. I watched The Apartment a week or so ago on Turner Classic Movies and I didn’t think Bill had seen it before. It’s a great movie and I am sure he would love it. That’s two things I like to do with Bill, turn him onto new music as well as classic movies. And so far I am doing good. Last night we watched the Democratic National Convention on C-Span. It made so much sense to watch it on C-Span. No advertising. I tried watching the Repugnant Convention last week on PBS and even they had adverts. Adverts for themselves, but still…
Finally there is a blue sky after it being rainy and cloudy all day. Of course since the weather was most uncooperative there was no busking today. Despite that I practiced a bit and I think it went well. No complaints, no blood, just callouses. Oh and Harpy was right, both the new Bob Dylan and the new Cat Power records are very good. I would also add the new Tom Tom Club EP to the list. I heard it first via Chris Frantz posting via East Village Radio the streaming of Downtown Rockers. It’s light, it’s fun and it’s the Tom Tom Club.
I saw online that the National Guard is looking for a Human Resources Specialist and thought about applying for it, but upon further reading of “Job training requires nine weeks of Basic Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills, and seven to nine weeks of Advanced Individual Training and on-the-job instruction, where you will learn basic typing skills, how to prepare Army correspondence and forms, how to manage personnel records, and computer update and retrieval procedures.” I thought better of it.
I don’t need to learn basic typing skills, at least I don’t think I do. After all, I have posted 2,357 entries so far and I think I have the hang of it. It did seem promising (the job posting that is. This here blog seems promising every so often, but more often than not it seems somewhat needy). While it does occur to me on occasion that it is truly ‘De Profundis’ in the most banal way, I still find it worthwhile to continue on whatever path it may lead.
Bill and I had a talk about it over the weekend, with me bringing up Jimmy Seltzer’s name and the scheme to collaborate on something. But that was earlier this year and since I have not seen dear Jimmy since May, I can only guess that that collaboration has been shelved indefinitely. C’est la vie!
07 – Red Leaves
I just got home from seeing the play Bill has been stage managing for the past two weeks. It was the last night and so I went. And it was a mishmash of things dealing quite loosely with Dada and Surrealism. Very loosely. It had been a long day for me and I have to admit I nodded off a few times, like seven times throughout the play. I was tainted by Bill’s stress from a few weeks ago so my eye was a bit jaundiced. I went in prejudiced and was somewhat justified by that fact when I left the theater.
And the play takes place in the 1920’s which makes it the third thing I had seen in the past week that takes place in the twenties. The Artist, Singing in the Rain and now this, Who Murdered Love. A Jazz Age trifecta. The first two, The Artist and Singing in the Rain are definitely top shelf, the play was somewhere on a lower shelf.
Despite nodding out a few times (I was in the back row, no one near me so no one knew) I am pretty tired now. I hardly ever go to the Village these days and when I do it certainly is not during the weekend. Here it is, a Saturday and the streets were crowded with people. Now it’s a bit later, Bill and I watched Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell which woke me up somewhat. But what worked better was the pizza we just devoured from Grimaldi’s.
Now we are watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD. I had seen it before but Bill hadn’t so that is what is on. I asked if he wanted to watch a movie and he said sure. So I asked if he wanted comedy or action and he picked comedy. The alternative is The Road Warrior which is one of my favorite all time movies. Great action, great story, probably the last great movie or the only great movie Mel Gibson ever made. The first time I saw it was in Paramus with a friend, Al Lewis. Al had some powders at the time and suggested we put that powder up our noses. Having never done that before I agreed.
The combination of those powders and the nail biting action had me at the edge of my seat and probably contributed to my insane driving that night. The powders are long gone with no regrets and the movie still holds a special place in my cinema pantheon. I remember seeing New Order at the Paradise Garage in the 1980’s a few years later and in a large lounge within the garage they were showing Road Warrior, silent but still with all the action intact.
New Order playing to a packed house, singing ‘How does it feel, to sing in front of assholes like you’ in one room and the next room Max versus Humungous in a silent battle. Oh someone in the audience yelled to New Order, ‘We love you anyway’. No, it wasn’t me. I just remember being the only person on the dance floor listening to Larry Levan play just for me, Our Lips are Sealed by the Fun Boy Three, after everyone else had left the Paradise Garage.
01 come together
A lovely Saturday today. I’ve been busy and right now I am boiling a pot of water so I can have some ravioli for dinner. Then after that I plan on checking out another music festival on Pier A. The headliners are Tokyo Police Club, a band I heard of but never actually heard. I am also getting some discs together for my sister’s birthday. Just a few things, no mix tapes, just straight up discs. Right now I am listening to Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s latest, Weather and it’s better than I anticipated. She was getting more and more esoteric and this is a return to form.
Last night it was raining and I didn’t go out. Of course even if it weren’t raining I would have likely stayed in. I watched Bill Maher while my Bill was at the Yankee game. Yankees vs. Red Socks I believe. Who won I couldn’t say, but I guess it was the Yankees since Bill was in a very good mood when he walked through the door. Bill Maher was alright, smarmy as usual and when no one laughs at his jokes he thinks he’s crossed a line, not thinking that the joke was not funny to begin with. It’s ‘them’ not ‘him’.
I hoped Bill would be interested in watching The Artist but it was late and he had a full day and I did not think he would have the energy required to pay attention to a silent film. So instead we watched Bringing Up Baby which I have seen dozens of times and Bill had never seen before except for the clip where Cary Grant in Hepburn’s bathrobe jumps up and shouts that he’s gone gay. But it was late and Bill made it to the halfway point. I stayed up a little while after that.
I heard from a former favorite customer of mine from the cigar shack. Nice guy, great family. He was surprised that I was no longer there when he asked for me, and apparently the line being told is that I have been looking for something more ‘officey’, meaning a job in an office. Which is true somewhat. The former favorite customer was concerned enough to give me a lead on a position and so I sent out two emails when I had the chance. I was filled with that familiar feeling of hope once again.
I did not expect a rejection email so quickly though, a rejection via iPhone. I sent out two emails and got one ‘we are not hiring right now but will keep it on file’ response. I have so many resumes on file throughout Manhattan and I am sure there are thousands of other people who also have their resumes on file. I have been in that position and I know, there is no file except for the circular file underneath most desks in the human resources department. Oh how I dislike that feeling of hope. It just brings on despair. At least it does for me.
No worries, I’ve moved on. I’ve only brought it up since it did happen today. And the water is on the boil and I am so easily called away…
11 Wasted Time
Ugh what a day. Really a crap shoot with the rain taking the house to the cleaners. It rained a lot today and I have to admit my disappointment in the fact that I was not able to do any busking today. New guitar strings, they really ring out when strummed and I was looking forward to hearing how it sounded outdoors. Plus there a few songs that I had been practicing since yesterday afternoon and I was eager to try them out. But no, it rained on my parade. So I was unhappily housebound most of the day today.
I was able to run out and get some errands done and that’s about it. When it had stopped raining, it was too wet to go busking. Where I play is under some trees which would have been laden with rain water and water is no good for a guitar. There really isn’t anything to write about today. The play Bill is stage managing opens tonight and Bill can’t wait until the run is over with. He was quite stressed when he came home last night, and got some things off of his chest.
He usually works with theater companies and productions that appreciate the work that he does. Not this company. Road blocks and hassles seem to be going method of putting it together. I am telling tales out of school and it’s not my place to tell them. I tried to make Bill feel better somehow by telling him now he has the whole experience. He’s worked with people that like and appreciate him and now he is working with people that simply do not. Whether or not it helped I don’t know but he was able to relax after that, and I strummed my guitar and sang for him.
I’ve been catching up on my reading, The New Yorker, Mojo magazine, James Wolcott’s last book- Lucking Out. I was saddened to read that David Rakoff passed away after a battle with cancer. He was a very funny writer and I have one of his books somewhere around here. A friend gave me one of his books, ‘Fraud’ I think early in this century. He was blurbed by David Sedaris so if you like David Sedaris you probably would have liked David Rakoff as well. In fact, all the Davids seemed to like David Rakoff which makes sense.
I may go out for a walk but looking west out the kitchen window the clouds look ominous. It’s just as well, I’ll just stay inside like I’ve done most of the day. Impressive clouds they may be, I find them to be a hindrance to my happiness. Now it’s sunny again. No consistency to this day it seems. And I know inconsistency! Still, I have my sneakers on, ready to go out should the desire arise. I’ve eaten dinner, and I am almost at my daily quota so anything is possible really. Well not really anything, perhaps almost anything.
A Monday again, and another mass murder, courtesy of a white supremacist in Wisconsin. Shot 5 Sikh followers at their temple, and a police officer who arrived on the scene. The piece of shit murderer was shot by another police officer and slain. I guess the piece of shit thought the Sikh communities were Muslim, therefore worthy of slaughter. Muslims don’t wear turbans though, only the Sikh do. Two weeks ago it was the shootings in Colorado, this week it’s Wisconsin. And of course shootings go on all the time. It’s a fact of life and a fact of death.
I guess there should have been a discussion on gun control between Colorado and Wisconsin. Some said it was too soon when people were still recovering in the hospital and the dead were still being buried in Colorado. So no discussion was had. I don’t suppose the memo stating when the discussion could take place was distributed properly at the appointed time. Too soon becomes too late. And here we are, all of us with blood on our hands. A terrible tragedy and a terrible reminder that something really needs to be done about the easy access of semi-automatic guns.
Away from the gunfire, things are alright relatively speaking. Yesterday Bill had gotten us tickets to see ‘Siren’s Heart- Norma Jean & Marilyn Monroe in Purgatory’. Yes, an off off Broadway show in the middle of the theater district. At a synagogue of all places, the Actor’s Temple Theater. It was also the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death which added poignancy to the evening. I headed into the city via the Path train, knowing that there would be a lot of traffic on a Sunday night. It turned out to be a smart idea, at least it was on paper.
I snagged a seat on the train and got as far as Ninth Street where the train stopped and the power was shut off. The reports were of a police action at the 33rd Street station so everything had halted. I was due to meet Bill at 7:00 and it was going on 6:00 and knowing that the information could very well be misinformation I decided to get off the train and walk the rest of the way. That was a walk from Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue to West 47th Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues.
I had a cigar and proceeded to walk the hummus streets. By the time I got to 14th Street I was quite sweaty. By 23rd Street I was drenched and people were staring. I didn’t care, I was listening to Led Zeppelin. Rain was expected so I wore my boots as I trudged up the avenues. I was reminded about how I don’t really get around Manhattan these days, too many people who don’t know how to walk on the sidewalks.
I made it to 47th street about 15 minutes early. No sign of Bill so I sat in a concrete playground near the temple and texted Bill where I was. He was then in front of the temple and texted me back telling me just that. He was happy to see me, I was sweaty and not so happy. I knew I needed to get into a better mood so I did my best. Once we were inside things got better, my mood elevated and my temperature dropped.
The play was alright, it was the second show of the first day so there were a few flubs. Sound cues were missed and stage props fell off the back curtain during the show and Marilyn could have been miked better. And 2 different knobs had their cellphones go off despite being told to turn off your phones before the show. Louisa Bradshaw did a great job of it, playing Norma Jean and Marilyn with humor and grace and not too much pathos. It was a nearly filled house, or temple and it went over well. I told Louisa Bradshaw that she did a great job considering and she seemed grateful to hear it.
Apparently during the show the skies opened and everything was drenched when we went outside. We decided to walk to the bus terminal after I checked the Path schedule and hitting my jaw with my umbrella when it would close properly. No glass jaw here. Bill and I watched The Newsroom and then he went to bed. I stayed up and watched True Blood (a lot going on there). I missed Harpy’s call since my volume was down on the phone since the theater. I also missed Casey Chasm’s call the other night.
I was about to go to bed and instead I watched the landing of Curiosity module on the Mars surface. I watched it from the NASA website, all the techs and engineers in the control room anxiously watching or listening to the events as they happened. Millions of miles away, things were delayed by about 14 minutes I guess. I was impressed and anxious myself. I wondered what we would find if everything worked, would we be upsetting something that shouldn’t be disturbed.
Too many science fiction movies I guess. Time will tell. So it goes.
Saturday in Hoboken. Not much going on again. Summer weekend, plenty of parking. Been a slow kind of day, out and about. Phones not exactly ringing off the hook. Last night was alright, didn’t do much. I thought about walking through the feast but since everything was mostly damp decided to stay in and watch the DVD of George Harrison Living in the Material World. Bill came home after doing his stage manager gig and had his nose in his laptop editing over 100 photographs of the cast and crew of the latest production he is currently working on in Manhattan.
No bus driving for him for the next month, since this production is part of the Fringe Festival. Bill stayed up later than I did last night and slept better than I did since I had some difficulty staying asleep. The air conditioner was off most of the night and the window was open a bit so perhaps it was people going home and being loud on their way. Despite living on the fifth floor, the street is so quiet that I can hear most conversations as people stroll past my building. I suppose I did the same thing back in the day.
Since nothing else happened today, let’s look back at July 21 over the past few years shall we?
July 21, 2011- A Thursday, Working at the cigar shack with Jerry Vale and a hung over possum. The possum was somewhat humorous and Jerry Vale being new at that time made some mistakes I had to correct. Jerry Vale and I did not really get along on this day. Another hot day.
July 21, 2010- A Wednesday, Annemarie flew back to California that morning. Another cigar shack day. I spent the day working with Calvin, before I changed his name to Zack. Exactly! I also noticed I was losing weight. Shirts that were once tight around the neck were no longer so tight. Bill was watching Lawn Hors d’œuvre and dealing with a bottle of liquid soap that opened in his bag. A hot day again. It’s July after all.
July 21, 2009- A Tuesday and unemployed. Déjà vu! Watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann without Keith Olbermann. Still feeling the good vibes from seeing Macca at CitiField the week before. Bill’s hamstring was messed up and it was raining.
July 21, 2008- A Monday and a heatwave. Watching In His Life: the John Lennon Story, a drama about Lennon’s early years. Also watched Generation Kill which I have no recollection of. I wrote about my dear friend Miriam and working at Skyline Studios while being immersed in reggae thanks to Miriam and Marcus and assorted Rastafarians we were friends with.
July 21, 2007- A Saturday. The night before spent with Bill singing the National Anthem before the NY Liberty basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Bill sang phenomenally and looked fantastic as the NY Liberty lost the game. I even quoted a Laurie Anderson bit. I saw good old Roger Johansen and congratulated him on his July 7 wedding.
July 21, 2006- A Friday and working at McMann and Tate, unhappy enough that I went on an interview near Wanker Banker. I could have gotten the job but they would not cover Bill under the benefits. My network card was on the fritz and Rand was in San Diego so I didn’t have any immediate solution. I’m pretty sure that I wrote the entry on Bill’s mac. And Juan was worried that there was no entry, so worried that he had to check in before he went to bed that night.
That’s it. Let’s face July 21 is a boring day no matter the year. Unless Bill is singing the National Anthem.
Another hot day in Hoboken. Upper 90º range with a real feel of 105. I guess that is what it ‘really feels like’ even though in actuality it is about 98º. And it’s raining so the windows are closed. The only room with the air conditioning is the bed room so in there I went and figured I might as well have a nap. About 10 minutes in, tremendous thunder wakes me and renders me unable to go back to sleep. So it is back in the hot room, in front of the computer for you dear reader, for you.
Annemarie flew back west this morning and its back to reality for her as well as for me. I enjoyed our time together and I am pretty sure she enjoyed it as well. Now she is stuck in San Francisco Airport for a few hours according to the newsfeed regarding her flight. I hope she gets home soon, because the middle ground between here and there can be quite tiresome. Ideally, the next time she comes back east, it would be nice to have her ensconced in Julio’s place while he is in Denmark with Stine and Alexander. Of course that wouldn’t be up to me.
I did make it around Hoboken before the skies opened up. A trip to the bibliothèque, and then around the waterfront promenade. The air was quite dense with hummus. I ran into Neutron Mike who was all about the Higgs boson event. He would not shut up about it. He was so loud and chatty that all I could do was throw my hands in the air and walk away muttering to myself. On the other hand he did have some money he owed me and I was sure to get that from him before I stalked off.
No idea what to do for the evening. I was thinking about a trip to the supermarket which would make it the high point of a mundane Wednesday, even though I did go earlier in the hot heat. But my brain was pretty much fried while there at the store closer to home and could only remember the bare essentials of what I needed to buy. I was originally going to go to the much bigger and cheaper supermarket but in the hot heat I figured it would not be worth it just to save a buck or two.
Still, I might go there once things cool down, once it stops raining and perhaps once the sun goes down. This weekend is the Feast for St. Ann’s Church so the area will be that much more crowded. It actually is a major event bringing thousands to the mile square city for some zeppoles and perhaps another Tarantella to dance. I haven’t been in years, just too crowded. Each year I say maybe but by that time, the feast had come and gone. There are other feasts around town for various saints, but they’re not as big as St. Ann’s.
Well the temperature online says 87 degrees Fahrenheit and the ‘real feel’ is 90. When I checked earlier it said 98 degrees with a ‘real feel’ 101 degrees. It felt like wearing a suit though I was clad in a cotton shirt and shorts. If I was working it would probably feel like wearing two suits. It’s still hot and from where I sit I could see a storm approaching from the west. It will be welcomed, the rain that is, and hopefully it will be breaking up this heat and hummus. It is taking its sweet time getting here.
Last night was quiet and warm. Bill was off driving to Atlantic City again leaving me to my own devices. By devices I mean this here computer and the television as well as some guitar. Three devices as far as I can remember. I’ve been trying to figure out how to play Walk Don’t Run by the Ventures and it hasn’t been easy. I’m OK at playing chords but the leads are a bit difficult and I am trying to be more dexterous. It wasn’t that long before I gave up on the Ventures and just strummed a few songs from memory.
On the television I put on a Harry Potter movie since there was nothing else on and I wanted something familiar. It was background noise basically but still fun to watch the glimpses I’d seen. Julio did contact me to go out last night but today was a special day and wanted to be clear headed for that so I turned down his offer. He stopped by this morning to pick up the drill he lent me. Now looking out the window the storm clouds have dispersed leaving not one drop of rain. Julio has begun texting me about doing something tonight.
I am content to stay home and do nothing once again. Julio is flying to Denmark next week and we did talk about having a drink before he goes, but right now I am broke. If he wants to pick up the tab that’s fine with me, but I would understand if he doesn’t. My sister texted me, she is still at the airport in Arcata, which is weird since I thought she would have gotten here to New Jersey by now. But I misread the info yet again and she is due here tomorrow morning not tonight.
I guess I was getting a little ahead of myself. Another Harry Potter movie is on, and the sun is shining quite brightly through the window. The storm has passed and the forecasters were wrong yet again. I wish Julio still lived downstairs. It would make hanging out that much easier and cheaper. Golden light fills half of my apartment as the sun slowly sets. And now having looked in the direction of the sunset and accidentally looking at the sun, I see spots in the shape of the sun all over the place. Impressive considering that the sun is at an average distance of about 93,000,000 miles (150 million kilometers) away from Earth.
We had better take care of our environment or else the sun will roast us. And I know a bit about being roasted by the sun having had sun poisoning a few times when I was growing up. Blisters all over my body, swollen appendages are no fun despite what Anna Wintour might say. This was before sunscreens and whatnot and all I had for relief was old wives tales, cold compresses soaked in tea. I don’t want to go through that again and wouldn’t want you to either.
17 Walk, Don’t Run ’64
Oh it has been one of those days. Once again it has been quite hot, 98 degrees. I spent most of the day inside, fighting the blues mostly. The past two days have been fairly active what with bicycle riding on Tuesday and hitting the galleries in Chelsea yesterday. Today there was none of that. Too damn hot basically. I kept busy, I did some laundry and shaved. I think this weekend I will go and get my hair chopped off since it is so damn thick it’s like wearing a fur hat and makes for a sweaty night of sleep.
According to Bill I have been quite chatty as I sleep at night. He keeps saying that he will record what I say and I do want to know what it is that I say, but on the other hand perhaps I don’t. Last night I had a long conversation with myself apparently as I lay under a fan. And it was so hot that I woke up before the alarm clock after Bill gave his farewell kiss to me. I stumbled about the hot apartment, finding the cool water to be just as good as a cup of coffee which was brewing in the next room.
I did some laundry and where it sometimes takes 24 hours for it to dry on the racks, today it was merely a few hours before the clothes were wearable once more. A trip to the supermarket, (the closer one) and the dry cleaners have been my only excursions outdoors today. That is going to change in about a half hour when I go see a few bands with people that I know playing in them, by the Hudson River as part of the summer series that Hoboken has each year.
I expect that there will be a few people I know watching the bands play. A Thousand Pities, East of Venus and Yung Wu are playing and my former guitar teacher is in two of the bands. The other band features some of the Feelies including everyone’s favorite drummer, Stan. It should be fun and believe me, I will be more than happy to be outside, hoping it will be cooler by the river. I finally started reading the Los Bros. Hernandez books. I was going to return them on my way to the show, but I glanced inside the Maggie the Mechanic book and was immediately drawn back in.
I do have to stop at the bibliothèque anyhow. A DVD of the Elephant Man is waiting for me as is the latest Me’Shell Ndegeocello CD. I was reading about John Hurt the other day, Chesterfield John Hurt, not Mississippi John Hurt and figured The elephant Man might be good for the soul. I had seen it already and also saw it on Broadway when David Bowie played the title role. We had first row seats for that and during the curtain call the fans behind us gave David a bouquet, which David was kind enough to thank us for, to the dismay of the fans who actually gave him the flowers.
I may write more later after the show but for now, this is it.
A Gallon of Gas
It’s been quite a beautiful day, no rain, sun shining, nice warm temperature and a cool breeze every now and then. I’ve been busy, up early, running around Hoboken. Bill was up way earlier than me, out before 6:00 this morning to make it to the gym. He’s lost quite a bit of weight and is looking very good. He gave the now customary kiss goodbye, telling me that I looked good as I lay there looking like crap. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what love is. Of course there is more to it than that, but it was a good line that I couldn’t pass up.
Last night before Bill went to bed so early, after watching Michael Eric Dyson filing in for Ed Shultz, we watched Purple Rain. Both of us had seen it before, and both of us loved it. It is truly a 1980’s movie. Prince was great, the Revolution was great and the Time stole the movie. No wonder Prince was so bothered by the fact that the Time stole the show opening up for Prince on the 1999 tour, that he had them playing off stage while Vanity 6 wound up opening.
I saw Prince & the Revolution on the Purple Rain tour. It was an Easter matinee out at the Nassau Coliseum and I went with Rand, his roommate Andrew, their neighbor Ken as well as Debbie Robinson who I worked with and the daughter of a woman that worked with my mom. Me and the guys all dipped into some lysergic and the girls didn’t know, especially since the daughter of the woman that worked with my mom had a police officer for a father. It was a great show from what I remember but what I really remember is the car ride back.
Instead of taking the Long Island Expressway we decided to take a more scenic route, taking he roads rather than the highway. The girls were oblivious and the driver was cautious, getting them home safely to Saddle Brook NJ, then heading to Hoboken where we stuffed ourselves with pizza at the pizzeria no one eats at anymore, then to Maxwells to continue our giggles through the night. Of course, being chemically enhanced all sense of time was distorted and though it seemed relatively early, it was actually pretty late, so much that we closed Maxwells and wound up at Rand & Andrew’s apartment across the street.
I saw Prince a few times since then, the last time being just a year or so ago, and before that in 1988 on the Lovesexy tour. I went the first time with Chaz and Kathe, having seats right above the floor. Great show once again, stage in the middle of the arena. Sheila E was playing drums at that time. It was such a good time I had to go again the next night. But I had no tickets. I did have a contact at Warner Brothers and was able to score one ticket.
The seat was all the way on top in the nosebleed section and after sitting where I was the night before, this location just wouldn’t do. Somehow I developed balls and since I was alone I decided to move. I would walk around the arena, each circle getting me closer to the floor. I would stand at the gate and watch the show until an usher would say I couldn’t stay there. Sometimes the usher would ask for my ticket and I would show them and they would point to the ceiling saying that was where I should be.
The show had an intermission and thanks to my persistent moving I wound up on the main floor in the hallway when people stretched their legs and whatnot. I ran into someone I knew who had floor seats, like 15th row from the stage and he told me to stay where I was as he headed back to his seat. A few minutes later he had a friend’s stub which got me on the floor when the second half started and since everyone was dancing and having a good time, no one was paying attention to their assigned seating.
It was a good time and a good show. No lysergic needed.
In between the Madison Square Garden shows was an early morning show at Roseland Ballroom. I certainly felt like I was tripping but I wasn’t that morning…
01 the beautiful ones
I would attend Paramus Catholic high school until 2:30, and then catch a bus that would drop me off about 100 yards from the HBJ warehouse in Saddle Brook. A lot of the warehouse workers would leave at 4:15, and since I started at 3:00 I would generally stay until 6:00 or 7:15. It was a good job to start at, though it wasn’t the record department at Alexander’s like I wanted.
It was interesting to finally put faces to the names I heard growing up. And they were mainly correct in what they said about John Vasecik, Paul Lo Presti, and Larry Ioli. Lou Nagy was more ribald than I would have guessed, but he worked on the loading dock so his language was probably best suited for that area.
I was put to work with Nick Lattanzio, the last time I saw him he was in 4th grade and I was in 3rd grade. He was going to Lodi high school and set to graduate, whereas I was a junior and still had a year to go. He was a nice guy and we bummed cigarettes off each other.
Looking back, so many people smoked everywhere, including a book warehouse which could go up in flames due to an errant cigarette butt. The bosses moved about the warehouse in electric scooters, the big boss John Vasecik always had a cigar burning.
The job was basically to get an invoice and fill it and bring it down to the packing area. It seemed easy enough. Some school district needed 50 copies of Introduction to Psychology, some school needed 100 copies of Art Through the Ages, or Fortran Programming, or Elements of Film. Nick and I handled the smaller orders, John Carroll had a forklift and would get the larger orders. My time card was 19B which I duly signed on each invoice I brought to the packing line.
And almost every time, I would get called back. I had the wrong book, the wrong edition or more often than not, the wrong count. I am quite sure that it was because my mother was so well regarded that I did not get fired. I would work and then go home, have something to eat and then do 2 hours of homework.
2 hours of homework was my father’s idea. My grades were not that good and he felt having me sit at the dining room table for 2 hours should do the trick. Even if I had homework that could be done in 15 minutes, I would still have to sit there for an hour and 45 minutes.
I would generally get whatever homework done and then get a volume from the encyclopedia and copy whatever subject interested me the most, while my father who was losing his hearing would watch the television 20 feet from me with the volume as high as it would go.
This had been going on for a while, even when my brother Brian was still in high school. Occasionally my parents would go out, trusting me and Brian to sit at the table to do our studies. As soon as the car was out of the driveway and down the street the books were slammed shut and Brian and I would usually fight about what to watch on TV. This was probably one of the reasons why education did not work for me.
I just never really got the hang of education, from being horizontally dragged off the fence when it was time to start school at St. Francis de Sales grammar school up to Paramus Catholic high school, I was more than likely looking out the window and wanting to be anywhere rather than there in a classroom.
It wasn’t until years later, once I started getting guitar lessons from Mike Carlucci, that I realized one on one teaching worked best for me, but by then the train had left the station, or in my case, I missed the bus.
04 Revolution Earth
It’s a Tuesday! I have figured that out all on my own. It’s the third anniversary of my dismissal. Resumes are still going out but what with the piddling jobs information that came out last week, the pickings are slim indeed. The weather hasn’t been that great, looking like rain but not actually delivering on the threat. Time being what it is, fleeting- I spent some time walking along the waterfront, reading and hoping to see the space shuttle going by on a barge, en route to the USS Intrepid. No shuttle, no barge. Bill told me to keep an eye out and even with four eyes out, nothing turned up.
1978. I am turning 16. I decided to get a job at Alexander’s department store. They had a good record department and that’s where I wanted to be. My parents had a friend that worked at Alexander’s in Paramus and I figured that was my way in. One day I got off the school bus early and walked along Route 17, crossing Route 4 and found out where Kathy Ring was working. I got some paperwork from her, filled out an application and then headed home to wait for the call.
My mother got the call. Kathy Ring was calling and talked to my mother about me working at Alexander’s and when she hung up the phone with Kathy Ring, it was settled. I was not working at Alexander’s. I would be working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Specifically in the warehouse that Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (HBJ) had in Saddle Brook, right next to my hometown, Lodi. My oldest brother Frank started working there in the late 1960’s and he in turn got my mother a job in the warehouse offices doing secretarial work as well as other invoice processing.
Frank eventually left HBJ and then my brother Brian worked in the warehouse, more than likely getting the position through my mother. I think Brian worked on the packing line, and Frank used to work on the loading dock. My mother and brothers would occasionally talk about work at the dinner table so I would hear the names John Vasecik, Paul LoPresti, Tony Grega, Larry Ioli, and Lou Nagy. The names meant nothing to me at the time and I just sat and ate and listen to them talk about what idiots these names seemed to be.
When Frank worked for the company in the late 1960’s it was Harcourt Brace and World. In 1970 William Jovanovich became chairman and renamed the company. Brian eventually left HBJ in the mid 1970’s and soon I came on board, thanks once again to the auspices of my mother. I had an interview with an older man who looked like Mr. Magoo and his name was Rudy. It was probably the easiest interview I’d ever had. I basically had the job and what was going on was a mere formality. Of course being 16 years old, I didn’t know that and showed the proper amount of respect and gratitude for the opportunity.
I started a few days later, assigned to the college department, with my supervisor, Dave Manzo. Dave’s right hand man was a chap named John Carroll and there was also Maria Scarano, a hobbit like woman who ran the light orders, sent off to be packed on the conveyor belt. The warehouse was fairly new, attached to the older warehouse where my brother’s had worked and had conveyor belts running down a ramp to the packing area.
I started the same day with someone I had known briefly a few years before. His family went to the same church as my family (sometimes), and his sisters were mainly in the same classes as my brothers and sister. His name was Nick Lattanzio and I thought he was one of the coolest people I had ever known. A couple of years earlier, Nick left my grammar school and started going to public grammar and high school before we met again, and his family were spoken of kindly in my house.
Mustached Dave Manzo with a pack of Newports in his Fruit of the Loom t-shirt pocket, showed us the ropes, where things are- where to pick up invoices in our individual boxes,how to use a hand truck, the organization of the stock on the floor etc. Maria Scarano scowled and John Carroll ate a lot of sunflower seeds and cracked wise on his forklift. I also met someone named Debbie Pless who was the sister of another one of the names I grew up hearing, Gary Pless. It was an overwhelming first day which probably lasted a few hours before it was time to go home.
My sister Annemarie picked me up in her Volkswagen, a Beatles marathon on the radio. As we turned off Mayhill Street onto Market, she told me she couldn’t believe I was working, that I was now 16 and working for Harcourt. To tell you the truth, I was having difficulty believing it myself.
Rainy Day – _John Riley_