Category Archives: Love Love Love

Scratchy Collapsy

Well here we are again, May 12. Not my favorite day, even though it’s a beautiful day, I would rather the date itself be different. But it’s Mother’s Day today just like it was 22 years ago. There’s been a twist added the past couple of years. The cigar shack of course plays a part. In 2011 the manager of the store announced he was leaving which threw me for a loop. I did congratulate him as he was leaving and also his reluctant successor also got some praise. I explained sometime later to the departing manager why May 12 loomed large in my legend.

Last year around the date and on Mother’s Day he sent me a tweet saying he was thinking of me knowing that this time of year ain’t so good for me. I thought that was nice. On my Twitter account was a link to this here blog (it’s still there) and I guess my former manager had the time to follow the link. He read what I had written and in turn contacted my then current manager, the reluctant one- and told him about this here blog.

The reluctant manager was out in NJ at some Giants football cigar to do and more than likely had a few in him, so when he sent an email thinking it was going to his underling, it was actually sent to me. So I knew the score, the reluctant manager’s cover was blown and less than a week later I was released, shown the door and told that my services were no longer required. I haven’t been back since and I do miss chatting with my former co-workers, but then again we do touch base via Facebook.

It was not as devastating as 1991 I can tell you. So today has been nice, mellow. A phone call with Annemarie, with posting and seeing posts on Facebook from family and friends, emails from Irene Grant from where I grew up, wishing the best and filling me in on her mother’s condition (frail). But I’m not gloomy, nor am I resentful.

The past two nights at Maxwell’s have been slow. Friday night was busier than Saturday night and that’s not saying much. At least on Friday I worked the whole shift, last night I went home at 11:00. Bad scheduling I would say. Friday had five bands, the first one had the largest audience, mainly family members and their friends. Saturday, two bands, first one on at 8:00, headliner on at 9:00 and it was basically all over by 10:00.

And unnervingly the first band (or one guy) Johnny Nicholson sounded a bit like Port St. Willow, whom I’ve been championing on this here blog. At least Johnny Nicholson did when I checked out some of his opening slot. I went to far as to email Nick Principe aka Port St. Willow asking if he had heard of Johnny Nicholson. I was tempted to ask Johnny Nicholson if he heard Port St. Willow but I let the moment pass instead. The headliner Trixie Whitley was a little too twee for me to see more than I did.
Bill is off visiting his mother at the home she is currently residing in, up in Washington Heights/Inwood. I’m watching Ian Dury and the Blockheads videos since today is also Ian Dury’s birthday. That’s about all this is going on, on this end of this here blog.

And we hope Mr. Peabody is on the mend.





My Mom and me.

My Mom and me.

The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar

Didn’t write yesterday, why(?)- I couldn’t tell you. Things have been good on this end. Occasional head butting sessions with Juan, since I have the thicker, larger hear I won. But not for long since youth will triumph over age eventually. It was a whole lot of nonsense between me and him but things have gotten better and should improve while we stick to the rules.

I worked at Maxwell’s last night and did run into Juan as I walked home. He invited himself up to the apartment for some wine and before you know it he was nearly horizontal on the couch. He left soon after that and after watching the TV until around 2AM, I went to bed. At 3:30 I was in front of the computer waiting for an alprazolam to kick in so I could get some sleep.

I slept later than usual but that was because I fell asleep later than usual. The world wasn’t waiting for me. In fact the only thing on the agenda was going to see the Brian Eno installation of 77 Million Paintings once again, this time with my darling Bill. The plan was to meet up outside the place at 3:00PM and I was just a couple of minutes late. Bill didn’t mind and we sat on a couch watching the installation regenerate and I whispered some background information to Bill.

On a couch in front of us, a bloke was falling asleep, which was fine. It is a quiet, meditative place hidden away from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan. After about 45 minutes we headed out, Bill went one way to his classes and I headed back to Hoboken. I might have stayed in the city longer but the weather has been very weird and when it isn’t bright and sunny (like now) it is dark and rainy (like 3 hours ago).

It was good to be back in Hoboken before the rain (or threat thereof). I ran into some neighbors and friends on the street which is happening a lot more lately since I am not such a shut in anymore and in the midst of the Hoboken social scene once again. It’s true, I walk down the street lately and I almost always run into someone I know. I’m not complaining but I do have to give myself some extra time if I have to be somewhere at a certain time so I won’t be late or rude.

Back to work for the next four days, off tonight, but I do have to stop by Maxwell’s anyhow. Strictly business, folks- strictly business.

And rest in peace Taylor Mead.





I Stole Your Love

It’s been a rainy and cold Saturday in Hoboken. It’s not so bad, I have been enjoying myself. I just watched Argo. Bill received a screener last month and he watched it and liked it. I finally got around to watching it and it is really a very good movie. Yes, Ben Affleck was robbed of a best director nod. That will probably go to Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. I have to say from the beginning of Argo I was engrossed. It’s funny that it wasn’t that long ago that the events happened and scary that I forgot so much since then.

I knew the ending of course, anyone who knows late 20th century history knows the ending but still I was yelling at the TV, ‘Run run run. Fly fly fly’. Ben Affleck certainly did good with the suspense. And of course being the 1970’s everyone smokes. I highly recommend it, the movie, not the smoking. Of course Bill and I will be watching the Academy Awards tomorrow. I’ve seen both Lincoln and Argo, and I think Bill has seen Les Misérables. I’m in no rush to see that, having passed a few chances to see it on Broadway I’m not running to the movie theater nor am I taking the DVD out of the slip case.

Tonight Bill is driving to Atlantic City. Last night it was Foxwoods. Last night I went out to the Mercury Lounge. I saw Port St. Willow which was a very good show. It was an early show, doors at 7:30 for an 8:30 show on the ticket. And for some reason I always believe those things, though having worked at Maxwell’s for so many years you’d think I’d remember that if a show it scheduled for a certain time, it’s not going to happen at said time.

The bar and the club have to make some money so hang out and drink while you wait. I didn’t expect an opening act but once again I was fooling myself. I got to the Path train and found a train waiting for me. An early Friday night crowd headed into the city and I found myself sitting opposite a guy who looked like Roland Gift. It wasn’t but he did remind me of the Fine Young Cannibals singer. I got off at Ninth Street and walked across town once again, basically retracing steps I last took in October when I went to see Jane Scarpantoni play with Chris Stamey.

I got to the Mercury Lounge around 8:15 and headed in. I picked up a Guinness and headed to the back where Salt Cathedral was doing a good job opening up, a five piece band, the singer sounding a bit like Bjork, a bit like 4AD stuff. She was also treating her vocals as she sang and the band were really into it. I thought they were good, running through management ideas in my head. The guys should wear suits and ties, the singer- maybe a dress.

After they left the stage the room thinned out a bit, and I got another Guinness and found a spot on a bench very close to the stage. I found my spot for the night. A few minutes later Port St. Willow came on, led by Nick Principe. As good as they are on record. And they’ve added a keyboardist which helped with the filling out of the sound, and she helped with vocals too. The drummer is so very good as well. It seemed to go by so fast but since Port St. Willow was playing the early show, it was all over by 10:00. No encore. I told the keyboardist that I liked them and hoped they play Maxwell’s soon. She remarked that they hope so too.

I also met Nick Principe and found him to be a nice guy, as well as great on guitar and such sweet vocals. He was busy getting his gear off the stage so I didn’t linger but I told him I hoped to see them playing again soon.

Then a walk back to the Path train, enjoying a cigar. Once again, a train pulled up once I got to the platform and I was home by 11:00. Bill phoned thinking I was going out at 11:00, not realizing it was an early show. Of course I listened to Port St. Willow on the way home.

I’ve posted this before and I am posting it again.

Port St. Willow

Port St. Willow

Nick Principe of Port St. Willow

Nick Principe of Port St. Willow


I Should Have Known Better- The Beatles

Well here I am a day later. Last night I was on fire, I wrote over 1,800 words, which technically would allow me to take off today and tomorrow since the quota is at least 500 words. But here I am again. I heard from Brandon who hoped I would visit the shop occasionally. I wished him luck with his future endeavors in the behavioral sciences division of Hartz Mountain. Coming from where he is now, it should be a walk in the park. Never heard from Israel again which is fine by me. I talked to someone who knows him and she agreed that he is a big mouthed idiot.

Harpy called last night and I have to say, talking to him on the phone made me feel like Hillary Clinton testifying the other day in Congress. This time I did express my hope that any comments he would have should be directed to the comment box below. He is the only commenter that has his own avatar. Annemarie and myself have avatars generated by Word Press, and speaking for myself, I don’t like it one bit, no sir. Harpy did have some valid points and I’ll try to correct one or two of them.

The cigar shop still exists. My helping them out in exchange for cigars no longer exists. The characters in the entries regarding the cigar shop are not Jewish. In fact I think they are Franciscans or quite possibly Dominicans. Definitely not Capuchin though. No fucking way would you find me working for those monks or monkeys. It was an interesting talk with Harpy. He suggested that the Dominicans always stick together. Or maybe he said Franciscans. He mentioned that living in his Franciscan neighborhood for 8 years he is still seen as an interloper.

And being a white guy he is the face of their changing neighborhood, a neighborhood that was once all filled with the same type of people from the same place. And before that it was filled with another type of people from another place. Harpy mentioned that he barely gets a ‘thank you’ for his daily purchases. Perhaps they are hoping that rudeness and a lack of courtesy would dissuade other white faces to move into those pre-war apartments in Washington Heights. “Oh we’re not moving there. People don’t cover their mouths when they cough. No thank you.”

I remembered in Weehawken, at Theresita Liquors around the block from where I lived the proprietor would be so happy to see me and chatty when I went in to buy my Guinness and once the transaction was completed, the shopkeeper would immediately stop talking to me before I even finished putting my money in my wallet. I was happy when he sold his business to Hector, a really nice and sexy guy.

Bill and I talked about what happened with the cigar shop and he could not understand how I could put up with the communication or lack thereof. It did give me something to write about, I replied. I told him what Harpy said about the Dominicans (or Franciscans) and I thought with some people with Caribbean backgrounds that I knew, they always seemed to have rotten things to say about Dominicans. I told Bill how I worked with a young woman who had a Puerto Rican background and how she joked to me that her and her friends always referred to Dominicans as ‘Dumb in a Can’. I told her that certain racist white groups would be happy to see such divisiveness among Latin people, divisiveness that would prevent them from ever achieving any progress and keep them ‘beneath’ white people.

I hoped she got my point, it was years ago and it should have sunken in by now. For today, I’m glad that in my life there won’t be any chest thumping 28 year old little big man trying to be an alpha male by virtue of a loud voice and closed mind.
Such a young age for such an old man.

PS- as a final severing of any connections with the cigar shop, I removed the Square app from my phone. I took it off a little while ago. You would think that having access to their bank accounts and charges being made at the cigar shop would be something to end right away. But no, they did not do a thing. With one last glance at purchases it was an easy removal and freed up space on my phone.

Cul-de-sacs is watching.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.


I Never Learnt to Share

Termination without cause is what they said and termination without cause is what happened. I suppose budgets should have been checked beforehand, and now this. It’s wasn’t that great an investment in time but I do have to confess my disappointment. I certainly do appreciate the time spent and still think highly of them, enough to not harbor any bad feelings. That’s the way things go I guess. I stopped by the morning and received the official news. There are still days left on the schedule and where they stand on this remains to be seen. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

A beautiful day today though. I’m heading into the city in a few hours, Bill is taking part in a staged reading about the Proposition 8 trial in California, about same sex marriage. It was written by Dustin Lance Black and when first put on in Hollywood, had bold faced names in the roles. Bill is my bold faced name. It’s a few hours from now and I just have to figure out how to fill my time until then. I’ve already done laundry and ran a few errands. I could always watch my clothes dry I guess.

Bill and I have been taking a break from politics and the news, opting to watch comedies on TV. A few weeks ago when I was hanging out with Rand, he asked me what shows I watch on TV. I realized that I don’t watch programs, the channel has usually been set on MSNBC. And that has been stressing me out. So a conscious decision was made to laugh, or at least watch something amusing. So we watched The New Girl and The Mindy Project, both were actually funny. Then for old times’ sake, Lawn Hors d’œuvre SUV which was pretty good. Then we watched The Soup and Key & Peele on Comedy Central. Bill loved Key & Peele a lot.

That’s the TV roundup since Bill went to bed soon after that I followed a little while later. Quite boring isn’t it?

Today is also National Coming Out Day. That’s a way of showing support to people in the closet about their sexuality, showing them that there is nothing wrong with being gay and that life is better once you stop hiding yourself. Staying in the closet does not help anyone and in fact makes a lot of problems.

I was outed myself and once my sexuality was revealed, some people were fine with it and others dropped me as a friend. Nothing had changed really, something I had kept hidden was revealed. People who were friends on Friday were no longer my friend on Monday. Nothing I could do about that. There was a betrayal involved, the ‘friend’ I had come out to, told his girlfriend who had a big mouth. Luckily I did find new friends who were quite supportive.

It’s all about support you see. It is a necessary thing, considering that there are so many people against coming out. They seem to prefer a person living a lie.

I just got back from seeing Julio for a few minutes. It was good to see him. He is going to a wedding tonight and needed a pair of cufflinks. He knew I had a pair to loan him and it was good to get out in the sunshine and talk. He was disappointed with my turn of events and offered a few words of support. We had a few laughs, it’s rare that we see each other these days and he is hardly ever online, spending more time in the real world.

And now I just came home with Bill. Bill played the role of Paul, one of the plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 Trial reading. He was excellent and quite passionate, drawing tears from members of the audience, not just me. Well done, excellent cast, excellent reading of an excellent script by Dustin Lance Black. I am quite glad I made it, walking up to 80th Street and Lexington Avenue from 33rd St and Sixth Avenue. I was early and it was a good walk. With all that walking (in dress shoes no less), I wore a suit & tie for the occasion.

Kudos all around.

09 Feels So Good

I Missed Again

So it’s a Wednesday here in Hoboken but it’s even better than that, it is my sister’s birthday today! She is one of my favorite people on the planet so I am happy to send her birthday greetings, as well as a nice package that I made and sent off on Monday. It’s due to arrive in foggy California this afternoon and I am awaiting confirmation via tracking. Just something to obsess upon today. I was running low on obsessions and this came along quite nicely. I did speak with Annemarie on the phone and she sounded great and is going out to dinner tonight.

As for me, I took some melatonin last night and had difficulty waking up. Going to sleep was slow going, but as usual the waking up is difficult. But I rallied, I shuffled out of bed a mere fifteen minutes later than usual. That meant catching up to my daily routine wasn’t that hard to do. And it wasn’t. There was nothing out of the ordinary (except for Annemarie’s birthday) today. Laundry was done, resumes sent out once again, busking planned. It was all rather low key, almost humdrum. It’s been a nice enough day.

I was out busking this afternoon, slow going this weekend. I really think a lot of people took this week off from their jobs. Can’t blame them really. I had a visitor this afternoon, good old Chaz stopped by. Once again if a friend is near I have no problem singing and playing. With no friend around I merely play, rarely singing. Though the toddlers usually get me singing when they come by. They marched on over and I sand Sunshine Superman to them. I was going to do Rock Around the Clock when they returned but it didn’t happen.

It seems that when the toddlers got to their turn around point they ran away from their minders. So they were all sullen and hanging onto the rope when they walked by. No stopping for the guitar man this time. It was good to have Chaz around though. He’s still looking for work. He’s been doing the Geico dance. They’ve been after me for a while and they got Chaz in their sights. And it costs money to get a job with them. Seemed fishy when I first heard about them and now Chaz has confirmed the fishiness of it.

Some dark clouds (literal not figurative) came rolling in so my busking time was cut short. I walked Chaz back to his car, on the way stopping and buying two CD’s, the Priscilla Queen of the Desert movie soundtrack and Big Audio Dynamite II, The Globe. Not bad at fifty cents each. Last night Bill and I watched a documentary on Joe Strummer- The Future is Unwritten. To my surprise Bill seemed to enjoy it, Punk and the Mescaleros. Bill didn’t know how much The Clash meant to me and I explained it all. He seemed to have gotten something from the documentary and how I feel about music.

I thought he knew already.
Package delivered to Annemarie’s mailbox! Woo hoo!

I Love College

Today is Bill’s birthday. He turned 48 and he’s having a very good day, as am I. He took the day off from work and had a head shot photo shoot planned, so he was up and out a little bit later than usual but still earlier than me. It’s also been unbearably hot. Not so much hummus, but still oppressive. I was dreading going outside and knew I had errands to run before Bill got back. So around noon, high noon I headed out. Bad timing of course since the sun was directly overhead there was very little shade to be had.

And I’m also referring to the ‘shade’ I have been told I gave. It’s been too damn hot for attitude and a cutting remark. I could have gone to the CVS that was closer but decided that the CVS by City Hall was the one I preferred. And despite the heat I did want to get out of the apartment. I did some cleaning, put away the laundry that I washed yesterday which was dry thanks to the heat and it was too hot for anything else. On the street there was no breeze at all, but quite a few people.

It felt like a holiday weekend, maybe because of Bill’s birthday or maybe because the 4th of July is less than a week away on Wednesday. No three day weekend for the working stiffs, of which I used to be a member. I didn’t see anyone I knew which of course could be that ‘they’ saw me first. I got a few birthday cards for Bill and headed home a different route, still lacking on both kinds of shade. I stopped by the Guitar Bar and chatted with Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro for a little while. Nice and cool in the store in more ways than one.

Jim’s daughters are going to Scotland next week for two weeks which is exciting. They have a cousin that lives over there so it’s all good. I’m excited for them, someday I will do something similar with Bill, though not to Scotland. Probably London or Dublin, or both. I just hope Hoboken Daily News gets their lottery machine fixed very soon because it’s constantly giving me the wrong numbers. Maybe I should send a letter to the manufacturer, a company called Shirley Jackson Enterprises, somewhere in New England if I remember correctly.

So tonight Bill and I are going out to dinner, and not to Arthur’s Steakhouse for once. I asked Bill where he wanted to go and he suggested Maxwells. That was fine by me and could help me out a bit. Some friends are going to see the Feelies tonight and I will be able to say hello to them. I’m not going tonight obviously, I’ll be going on Sunday, thanks to Stan who is putting me on the list with a plus one, and I am taking my brother Brian. He expressed an interest so it’s all working out quite nicely.

A nice dinner with my spouse, seeing some old friends. I could live with that. And it was quite nice. Bill and I had burgers, he had a pint of Guinness and I had a Sam Adams Summer Ale, which I won’t ever have again. Not a fan of Sam Adams beer and thought this time would be different. It wasn’t. After I finished the Sam Adams I had a Stella which made all the difference in the world. For dessert we had chocolate mousse which our waitress put a candle on for Bill’s birthday but the fans kept blowing it out. Bill liked it so much he had a second. Why not, it’s his birthday.

I saw Patti Quinn, Pat Longo and Allison Lee, Alirio and his girlfriend Christine, Andy Peters- sound engineer extraordinaire, Chaz, Lois and Fred and of course Ro Da as well as Todd. They were all going to see the Feelies and I saw a few of the Feelies hanging around eating dinner before the show. Bill has to drive this weekend so we made our exit and walked home enjoying cigars. Bill had a good day and I am glad I was able to help out with that.

We hope your day was good too.

Last night with the NJ Symphony Orchestra

The birthday man and me

Birthday moon

03 Old Man Will

I’ll Always Love My Mama

Repost from may 12, 2011

What a day. What a raw day. I’m home now and that’s good. I suppose it was good that I went to work since staying at home wouldn’t actually achieve anything. It’s been a day of sadness and remembrance. Twenty years ago today, my mother passed away on Mother’s Day.

I remember those 24 hours clearly. I remember the night before, after closing Maxwells, heading over to Patti Quinn’s apartment and watching a bootleg of Madonna’s Truth or Dare. What stands out is the scene where Madonna is stretched out on her mother’s grave and I remember thinking how weird that was.

The next day I was working at the video store on Mother’s Day. My mother phoned earlier that week and asked what I was going to be doing, if I was going to make it up there to visit her. I told her I was working on Sunday but I would give her a call.

Somehow we started talking about death and my Mom mentioned that when she goes, she would like to go out like a Viking, put her body on a boat, set it on fire and send it out to sea. I explained that it sounded like a good idea but there might be some problems with the EPA.

A few days later, my brother Frank appears at the video store. He motions me to come outside. The look on his face was not good at all and I was worried that something happened to his wife or kids. No, he was the one to bring me the bad news that my mother had passed away. Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. Apparently 27 across was a real killer.

She went and it was fast. I was in shock and brought Frank to the office. I was in a state of denial and figured that everyone was wrong. Of course they weren’t. I asked if anyone called Annemarie and Frank mentioned that they were unable to reach her.

I thought I possessed some magical thinking and figured I would be able to get through to our sister when no one else could. Of course no one knew Annemarie and her family were out of town. She eventually came home to some very serious and dire messages that didn’t exactly say what was wrong, just to call home. Now.

Frank and I walked around Hoboken since I was definitely in no condition to work. It was a sunny day, blue skies if I recall and we sat on some stairs belonging to Stevens Tech on Hudson Street. Eventually Frank went home and I wound up at Rand’s apartment.

Rand’s mother passed away when he was a teenager and I hoped that he might have some insight on what to do. Little did I know that there was nothing to do, all Rand could do was be there for me and he was and I will forever be grateful for that.

We may have walked around Hoboken after that, I don’t know. We may have smoked a joint or had some drinks. I do recall winding up at Maxwells, John Bruce behind the bar and me in a state of shock, maybe having a drink of whatever it was I was drinking at the time.

I did not want to be alone and wound up unannounced at Patrick Morrissey’s apartment, waking him and his boyfriend up and asking if I could sleep on his futon. He let me in and I crashed. Things got blurry after that.
Wakes were well attended, a testament to the love that many people had for my mother. Julio gave me a ride to Lodi where I was going to be for the next couple of days. The family, shattered reunited in sadness.

A few days later I am sitting on the back porch, just listening to the radio, Helen Reddy singing You and Me Against the World, where Helens daughter opens and closes the song with ‘I Love You Mommy’. Corny but comforting.

I missed my Mom then and I miss her now. I wish she could have met Bill, I wish she could have seen her grandchildren grow up. Maybe she did, somewhere out in the universe, perhaps looking back and seeing that happen. She was great. I miss you Mary Anna Powers O’Toole. You were the best. I am proud and glad to have known you.

♫ And when one of us is gone and one of us is left to carry on / then remembering will have to do / our memories alone will get us through / Think about the days of me and you / You and me against the world ♪

I Just Can’t Help Believing

Ah, I just had a nap. Nothing spectacular, just a nap for about an hour. A few miles away from here, the meadowlands are on fire. There hasn’t been much rain in this region lately so brush fires have been happening for the past week or so. Hoboken doesn’t seem to be in any danger.

Yesterday was a work day, after a day off on Monday. It was full staff which made for some difficulty sales wise. I came in second behind Jerry Vale so that wasn’t so bad. It was a long day, made longer by a staff meeting which promised to be short, but really wasn’t.

Many things were covered in the staff meeting led by Zack and Bradley. And also performance reviews were handed out. I can’t speak for anyone else but of course it was mentioned there was room for improvement. My emotions do get in the way and affect the atmosphere of the store which is true. I have to do better at concealing how I feel. I suppose that is where Xanax would come in. But since I don’t use that too often I generally wing it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I was a bit anxious anyhow since the great and wonderful Steve Fallon was in town and I did not want to miss him. A whole slew of old faces promised to make an appearance to wish Steve a happy birthday and good old Rand kept me abreast of what’s what and who was there.

After the meeting I hot footed it to the subway and caught a train to the bus terminal. And since it was after 10:00, I had to catch a bus on the third floor. It wasn’t so bad, only a short wait of about 10 minutes.

The bus ride was fast enough and I got off at 12th Street after listening to See No Evil by Television. I walked into Maxwells where See No Evil was playing on the jukebox. I saw Rand and Lisa, Mike Cecchini and Sarah Baker (so that’s her last name!). I was offered a drink but wanted to eat something since I hadn’t eaten since 3:00 in the afternoon and now it was past 11:00.

I nabbed a seat by the jukebox where Rand was entertaining with his gimlets. I ordered a bar pie and had a pint of Stella. I ran into Christine and Alirio who were quite happy. Alirio is a sweetheart and also went to Maxwells a lot in the past, but never really spoke to anyone. Now thanks to Facebook he is known to everyone and quite chatty.

Also in attendance was Chaz who had his birthday last week, as well as Butch who I totally forgot about from back in the day. Sure enough up walked Steve Fallon, a bit grayer than he used to be with some longer hair than he used to have. He was great as usual and we had a nice hug and kiss. All these years later he still looks out for me somewhat and will always have my eternal gratitude and friendship. Steve’s partner Arnold was also there and I hadn’t seen him since the 1990’s. Great to see him as well.

It was one of those nights where every time you turned around you saw someone you hadn’t seen in years.

Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, Emily Hubley, Glenn Morrow, Michael Hill , Christine Repella, the lovely Suzanne, Julie Panebianco, were all spotted and kissed and hugged. I found myself talking to someone then excusing myself for a moment to say hello to yet another friend passing by. Quick catching up, and then it was back to whomever it was I was talking to.

Sadly I was too late to see Patti Quinn. She left a few minutes before I got there, had to go home and deal with her kids which is totally understandable. Rand did send me a picture of Patti and Lisa which was quite nice and both women looked great in the photo, which was in 3D, though only visible in 3D on Rand’s camera.

Drinks were had by everyone and none of the nonsense that occurred in the past seemed to be going on which was quite nice. I said hello to Mike Mills and clinked pint glasses with him since he was standing next to where I was sitting. Peter Buck was there as well and I didn’t see Steve Wynn, but Suzanne told me they covered a Dream Syndicate song in the back room, Tell Me When It’s Over. I think Rand, Lisa and I left Maxwells around 1:30, walking home and being a bit noisy.

Rand insisted on walking me to the corner near my house which was awfully kind, even though Lisa did have to work today. He was three sheets to the wind and Lisa wasn’t so I can only guess it wasn’t that difficult for her to start her day. I was invited to visit Steve and Arnold at their house and certainly hope to work something out somehow. It really was great to see all these old friends and faces and it was special seeing Steve, and seeing the love that so many people have for him.

Some people didn’t know Steve was going to be in town even though he did announce it on Facebook which made for a lot of interest. I came home and posted the pictures I had taken and put on Facebook which when I woke up had many likes and comments on all of them. All the good parties have to end and last night ended on quite a nice note.

I slept fairly well, I wasn’t drunk just buzzed. Bill kissed me goodbye once again and I slept until 9:00 this morning when the workers in the apartment below ours started hammering and drilling. Not the way I wanted to wake up but still it wasn’t so bad. A shower and some coffee and a trip to the supermarket was in order. I did see Isis and asked about how she was doing, and she was doing fine.

I walked around Hoboken and stopped by the Guitar Bar where I gave Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro a tin of Winston Churchill Spitfires. A mini cigar, and a way for saying thanks for accepting my packages. He was most appreciative and told me he was taking daughter Ruby to see Pulp at Radio City Music Hall. He was also at Maxwells last night but oddly enough we didn’t see each other. He was in the back room where I was mainly in the front room.

It was a cool day in Hoboken so I didn’t stay out too long. Came home and chatted with some friends online and posted comments to friends’ comments with regards to my pictures. Then I had a nice nap which brings me to where I began at the top of this entry.

Mike and Rand

Rand, Lisa & Sarah

Georgia & Ira and Karl the bartender


Arnold & Butch

Georgia, Steve & Emily

Me & my dear friend, Steve Fallon

Rand and tree stump outside Christine's house.

Lisa & Patti Quinn

05 Brushfire In Hoboken
A lot of love was had by all.

I Hate Myself For Loving You

Back at the cigar shack. Thomas is playing his tunes on his iPad. I was usurped by a customer who always asks if he could play his iPod, always all over the place from Esperanza Spaulding to some Latin jazz to Earth Wind & Fire.

The customer knows I am not too keen on playing his stuff since I do spend my own time when I am home making play lists, tailored to the tastes of the customers or the staff. Of course Zack’s tastes take preference over anyone else’s since he is the manager.

I suppose that is a holdover from DJing at Maxwells. Knowing what bands were playing, I would try to bring records in that reflected what type of music the audience would be into or where the band was coming from music wise. It worked 99% of the time, but the last time I DJ’d it really didn’t work.

A year or so ago, I DJ’d a benefit for a local musician with Parkinson’s Disease, and had fallen in love with Shakin’ All Over by the Yardbirds earlier that week so I think I might have played that one too many times. No one said anything and it wasn’t until a day or so later when I realized that I probably should not have played that particular track, more than once.

I used to do the same when I carried my tape deck on the bus with me to school, always trying to play songs that my fellow students would be into. I didn’t really play Black Sabbath, mainly a little bit of Led Zeppelin and quite a few Stones songs, mainly from Some Girls which was hot at that point. Definitely could not play any ‘Punk’ or New Wave stuff since that would have caused a whole bunch of trouble for me.

When I started working and before I had a car I would troop up Rochelle Avenue to the Garden State Plaza to buy records at Sam Goody and then cross the cloverleaf at Routes 4 & 17 to go to Alexanders to buy records for $4.99, all the time with a boom box resting in the crook of my arm. I later found out I was known to people in Rochelle Park as ‘that guy with the boom box’. So music has always been a major part of my life.

If I go to a gay bar & I do not like the music I generally don’t enjoy myself. If I hear something I like or know I really light up. But I am not really hearing it right now. Actually I am since Thomas is playing The Postal Service so that’s nice.

A little under 40 minutes to go. It certainly was a weird day here in the cigar shack. Nothing too bad but was there really a need to have Bradley, Thomas, Jerry Vale & myself on all day today? Bad planning on someones part (hey Bradley). I just want to go home and chill out.

The ibuprofen that was given to me has done the job. 2 more tablets to go. The tooth or at least the space where the tooth was seems to be feeling okay & healing nicely. a couple of 100 years ago I would have my teeth pulled & my haircut by the same guy in the same chair.

I also saw Bill this afternoon for a few minutes it was quite nice. Inspired by the photograph of the Marine coming home and giving his partner a great big kiss, I gave Bill a great big kiss outside the cigar shack.

And my friend my friend Bruce stopped by and asked me to include him in tonight’s entry so here it is. Hello Bruce.

07 Aikea-Guinea

I Hate Everything

It has been a nice day off and it was as I expected, pleasant and productive. Bill was still getting out of bed, several times during the night. I was up late watching All The President’s Men. I originally saw that with my parents at the dollar movies in 1976.

My brother Frank saw it first and told me that the movie starts off with a drunk and suicidal Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, drinking with a rifle nearby when the phone rings. The caller telling him of a break in at the Watergate Hotel. Of course that is not how the movie starts but I have to admit it was a good start.

I was a precocious 13 year old and my parents who both voted for Nixon took me to see it. I admit a lot went over my head then but I think it did inspire me to write. So last night had some memories but since the movie is over 2 hours long I couldn’t stay up to watch the whole thing, but I did save it on the DVR. Nixon emerges unscathed, right?

Bill and I had an interesting chat while he was taking a break from his bathroom break. He ran into Bobby Risotto the other day and Bobby told him about how he felt bad that I didn’t get the job that he offered me. It was nice to know and I guess hearing it from Bill was good.

Basically it was a temp to perm position and that if I left the cigar shack job for the new position, I could be dismissed at any time for any reason and that would more than likely jeopardize any unemployment benefits that I might need. I didn’t know it was temp to perm but I did know it more than likely had a probationary position.

After that chat Bill went off to bed in between pee breaks. I woke up, Bill was gone for the day- to work and more visits to the urologist and other doctors. After a couple of cups of coffee I headed off to the dry cleaners and the supermarket. When I got back home I was eating breakfast and then doing laundry.

The plan to meet up with my niece Corinne was delayed about an hour. She decided to drive to Hoboken instead of taking the train and ran into traffic on Route 3. I was waiting at the train station when I found out she was driving, and was a little upset. Still, when I saw her that was all forgotten.

We rode the Path to 14th Street and had a nice adult chat about relationships. We waited for a few minutes on the line to see the Doug Wheeler show (which closes on Saturday) before deciding to check out other galleries rather than stand on line. Hard to believe it was less crowded the week after it was written up in the New York Times than it was a few weeks later with a queue outside with each attempted visit.

We did see a few other shows which were good but not necessarily overwhelming. It was great to hang out with Corinne though. She enjoys my company and I enjoy hers. It was something different for her, for both of us really. Just walking around the city on a really nice, 60 degree afternoon and seeing the work of various artists. I explained some art works to her, telling Corinne who Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat were. I think she enjoyed it.

We were back in Hoboken after a stop at Payless where I was able to finally get a pair of Airwalks. Slim choices but I bought a pair just like the sneakers I had on. I was worried for Corinne’s car since parking in Hoboken can be difficult and did not want her to get a ticket, or worse, a boot or a tow.

The car was alright though and we had a late lunch or early supper at the Malibu Diner where we enjoyed each other’s company some more before she headed back to the suburbs. We made plans to meet up again when our schedules permit. She’s a good kid and a smart and pretty woman.

after the fire

t'is Herself

Squeeze – Black Coffee In Bed

I Gotta Feelin’

Another day, another dingus. It’s a Monday and I am back at the cigar shack after 2 days off. Hard to say whether or not they went fast or slow since I can’t be objective about it. I last wrote on Saturday and it was announced that Whitney Houston is dead. She is still dead, it’s not an internet rumor.

The latest word is that she had some Xanax and some booze and maybe some other prescription medication, then took a bath where she may have fallen asleep, head going under the water as he legs rose against the wall. It was a shock but no surprise to some.

When I first started working in the music industry, one of the first projects going on was the Bodyguard soundtrack. Not the Whitney stuff mind you, but Curtis Stigers recording Nick Lowe’s (What So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding. I heard that over and over again. The studio received a platinum disc for their efforts.

A few years later as I was ending my ‘career’ in the music business working at Arista under the watchful gaze of Suzanne Savage and her flying coffee mugs. My job was to deliver a $100,000.00 check to Whitney’s people each time she was to go into the recording studio. It was quite a carrot on a stack.

So the news on Sunday was mainly all about Whitney with a little bit about massacres in Syria and the fact that Athens was burning. I went with Bill out to Wallington NJ so Bill could collect his pay from the bus company. It was only a few minutes spent in Wally World, and I took some pictures of Bill behind the wheel of his favorite bus.

Then it was a ride up South Main Street through Lodi, past Felician College and Immaculate Conception High School. It really is a part of Lodi that I don’t know too much about since I am from the northern part of Lodi, closer to Rochelle Park and Sadde Brook than I was to the rest of Lodi.

We took a turn on Route 46 and probably would have stopped off at Hank’s Franks if they were open but it was a Sunday and they were closed. I was surprised to see that the once great airplane manufacturing plant, Bendix was razed. Nothing left but bricks and dirt. A drive past the used car dealers and porno shops on Route 46 as we headed to the New Jersey Turnpike.

From there is was smooth sailing to Hoboken. Bill suggested going to Arthur’s for steaks but I figured it would be too cold and already I was envisioning myself in slippers and tracky bottoms not doing much of anything. Bill had places to go and I did not and I was fine with that. We did watch the Grammy’s together which I don’t recall ever doing before.

We were impressed by Bruno Mars, the little cutie with a great band, great moves and a good voice. Adele swept everything as expected. Macca was on twice, and Ringo was to be there as well but he has pneumonia. And the reunited Beach Boys with Brian looking the same and me not hating Mike Love for a few minutes. I guess they realized that if they wanted to make some money in a last hurrah there should be no funny business.

Bruce was pretty good opening up the show, but I do have to ask if it absolutely necessary to have 4 guitars on stage, I mean aren’t Nils and Steve enough besides Bruce? No offense but does Patti have to be there too? Maybe give her a tambourine or a triangle? I’m just sayin’…

my very own Ralph Kramden

2 – Spooky

I Follow Rivers

Well it’s a day off and I am killing time before heading into the city to visit Bill’s office party. It’s been a weird day to say the least. First off I burned my finger trying to get the heater to work properly. It’s blistered and I am relying on the present day old wives tales and remedies, in other words, I am using the internet.

Finger running under cold water. Aloe, actually sunblock lotion- as well as apple cider vinegar and now it is under a bandage. It’s not as painful as it was earlier. Initially it wasn’t painful at all but within minutes I started to feel it. Luckily I’m not playing guitar in Bill’s combo, just shooting video.

According to Bill’s Facebook update, he is readying himself and his ensemble SmoothnFusion for their first gig. It promises to be a fun evening, and instead of cutting out to let Bill have his fun with his work mates, I will be hanging and eating and perhaps drinking. It’s likely to be the only holiday work party that I will be attending since you can bet that the cigar shack won’t be having anything like that.

In fact, I made the mistake of opening an email from the cigar shack. Apparently numbers are down and the new head cheese is unhappy with that fact. In turn he is coming down on Zack and Zack is coming down on Bradley, Thomas and Jerry Vale as well as myself.

Of course the head cheese whizzes do not seem to take into consideration that sales are down nearly everywhere, and in a store such as the cigar shack, a lot of people that had the money to buy pricey items in the previous months and years don’t have it this year.

Thomas, Bradley and myself have spent hours emailing our customers reminding them that we are still in business and ready to sell and ship cigars and accessories whenever they would like, but the cigar shack offers no sales, no two for one deals, no discounts. It’s merely business as usual.

And since it is business as usual people have been buying the cigars and accessories elsewhere at other cigar stores in the city or online where it is even cheaper. All over the country, bricks and mortar stores are in difficult positions due to it being cheaper to buy cigars online. And reading the email I am reminded once again that shit truly runs downhill.

Can’t sell a $5,000 humidor every day, which I proved the next day when my sales as well as Bradley and Jerry Vale’s sales all took a nosedive. My problem is that I should not have read that email on my day off, my own time.

So tomorrow when I return I will send even more emails to my customers who if they don’t ignore the email, could likely be sending them to their spam folders. I myself get plenty of cigar offers from various cigar distributors, back from when I used to work at the cigar shack, and I do take a cursory look before deleting them, so I can’t really fault any of my customers for doing the same.

I guess I will also have to change my tactics and stop treating people the way I like to be treated when I go shopping or rather when I used to go shopping. I too, shop online you see. When I would go to a store where there were sales people on the floor (bookstores and record stores generally leave you alone) I wasn’t too keen on having a sales person hover around me, or in my face pushing high end items that I couldn’t afford nor was I much interested in.

That will have to change and I will have to be all over them like white on rice. I’ll just do the opposite of how I like to be treated when I shop.

And now, enough of that infernal place. Time to get ready for Bill’s office party. I am looking forward to it totally and I know Bill is as well. It is going to be a fun time for all concerned and you know what? I deserve a fun time I think.

Dave Stewart – Its My Party

I Feel For You

Well I just got home from work and like I wrote yesterday it wasn’t so bad. Sure it was difficult waking up this morning. Not that I had anything to drink, and actually that was the problem. I awoke at 6:45 with a throbbing headache due to dehydration. I got out of bed, drank some water and took 2 gelcaps. Of course they did not do the trick until about 45 minutes later when I actually had to get up.

I did the usual thing, making the coffee, pouring the cereal and taking a shower. The coffee of course got my engines going and I looked at my phone. 2 texts from Bill, he was waiting at the bus stop for me. My man, my baby after spending the night at the sleep clinic, wanted to see me off in the morning.

I hurried myself after checking the weather. It was cold out, in the upper 30 degree range and knowing Bill not liking the cold I did not want to keep my spouse waiting. I walked up the street to the main drag and sure enough there was my man waiting for me.

I could see his smile from half a block away and I returned his smile with my own. A hug and a kiss and we stood chatting in the brisk December air. Of course Bill soon became the 12 year old boy that he is and soon my coffee energy was depleted. But I held up my end as Bill held up his end.

The bus was late as usual and one last kiss for the day before I boarded. I waved to Bill as the bus rolled up the avenue. Being late meant the bus was going to fill up rather quickly. And being late also meant the next bus soon passed us as we approached the Lincoln Tunnel.

I walked through the terminal and headed to the avenue where I walked up, stopping to get my egg sandwich. I was opening the store so I would have to eat on the run. Jerry Vale came in at 10:00 on the dot, after I counted the drawers and the safe.

Thomas was next, followed by Bradley. Initially I was clobbered by Thomas and Jerry Vale, both of them raking up decent numbers in their first hour while I worked on Excel spreadsheets for a separate project. Bradley then took the lead, selling quite an expensive box of cigars which took all of us by surprise. But I was not to remain in the basement for long.

An attractive woman who looked like my sister in law Elaine came in and bought a few items which put me in second place, where I would remain for the rest of the day behind Bradley. The day was alright. No phone call with my sister since she didn’t tell me she would be out. I did have a good call with Bill as he was preparing to drive down to Atlantic City once again.

And a very special guest appearance was made at the cigar shack by the dear, sweet vagabond- Harpy who was looking very good.

Back to the cigar shack after lunch where doppelganger Elaine was buying duplicates of what she purchased earlier in the day. Then I sold a box of cigars as well as filling out an order for a client of mine from Los Angeles who called when I was out to lunch. Many giggles were had between me and a few customers as I rode that manic high.

And soon enough it was time to go home. No closing the drawers, no cleaning up the man cave, just an easy punch out and then a ride back to the bus terminal where I lucked out, being in the last 3 of a standing room only bus.

It’s not a perfect evening since Bill is headed to Atlantic City, but we’ll have that tomorrow I hope, and if not tomorrow then for the rest of our lives, my sweetheart and me.

09 Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)

I Drink

It is Thanksgiving Day. Once again I did not sleep so well. It seems to be a pattern. Despite being awfully tired, I couldn’t really rest. Maybe it was because Bill was driving back from Buffalo and I was worried. I don’t seem to be able to get a good night’s sleep when he is not next to me in the bed.

Now he is home and taking a nap, waking up in a few minutes. Then we head out to dinner. I am ambivalent about the whole thing and would just as well be happy at home, not doing anything. But it’s not just about me of course, and I am accompanying Bill on this day.

I wish I could really relax or get into the swing of things but it’s been difficult so far. I’m sure going out with Bill will do the trick. I am thankful though for Bill, my family and my friends.

Ten years ago I was in California visiting Annemarie, Rex and Earl for the holiday. I thought it was time that someone from my family went out west to visit since the only other person to make the trip was my mother before she passed away.

It was also after September 11 and the reports were that people were afraid to fly. I decided to show my lack of fear and booked a flight. It was a wonderful visit, and my sister went out of her way to make sure that I would be able to have some turkey since Anne, Rex and Earl are all vegetarians. She really went all out and to this day I am still grateful.

The four of us even made time to catch this new movie that came out, a movie that Earl was excited to see. Some movie called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We all enjoyed it and believe me, I am surprised that ten years later I find myself enamored with the whole series.

It was a fun visit and I hope to do it again soon enough, when I have a real job and some real money to fly out there. Focusing on that trip has helped my spirits a great deal. I have two movies from the bibliothèque, Hannah and Her Sisters and Sweeney Todd. Hopefully I will find the time to watch these movies during the time I have off.

So overall I am thankful for everything I have, once again- Bill, my family and my friends, and a roof over my head. So we’re heading out in a little while. It looks to be a sunny day, a good day to walk in the sun before heading on the train with Bill.

I am looking forward to dinner and spending some precious time with the man I love. I am fortunate and I am grateful. Thank you for your love and support, your kindness and your generosity. I certainly appreciate it all and hope I can repay your kindness somehow, someway.

You know who you are and I love you all so very much. Thank you.

2-10 I Saw Her Standing There [Live

I Do Not Hook Up

Here I am on a Wednesday evening in the cigar shack. It has been yet another rollercoaster day. After yesterday and the box debacle Calvin made a point to have Thomas and I making sure the showcases and the stock match up. I had no problem with that, in fact where I was sitting I was the first point of contact with the customers.

That made for some very good sales. Diplomats and their entourages came in and I did excellent today. Thomas didn’t seem to happy about that but he rallied when I had gone to lunch. More number crunching for Calvin but in between crunches he too did alright sales wise. Last I night I left Calvin at around 9:20. He was planning on leaving at 7:30 but did not actually leave until 10:30.

The day started out with Calvin annoyed with me and me annoyed with Thomas. Shit does roll downhill you see. Thomas playing the role of the amiable imp was busting my chops until I told him to not fuck with me. Things didn’t improve with Calvin until we both dealt with a customer that pissed us off. It’s funny how a mutual enemy could bring people together. It reminded me of a Gang of Four song.

I had a late lunch and sat on the usual bench by the park where I sat and smoked a cigar and reread Nick Hornby’s ‘Songbook’ which my sister gave me a few years ago. I had read the New Yorker and since I was all caught up, I needed something to read and in between when I read it then and now, things have changed somewhat for me.

Perceptions and realities mainly, and if you’ve been reading this here blog, then you probably figured that one out for yourself. Last night I came home and noticed I got a letter from a dear friend. It was interesting to read an actual letter, to hold the hard copy in my hand and try to decipher what it was the old friend had written.

It was inspiring to me, resolving to write a proper letter in return. I can only hope my handwriting will be readable, though I do tend to fluctuate between cursive writing and printing words out, but that shouldn’t really matter.

Today, September 21 is an interesting day in my life. In 1999, my father passed away on September 21. The closing of a chapter as well as the start of my own life. I don’t think a person becomes a fully realized adult until both parents die. Then you start to live life for yourself.

A year later, on September 21, 2000 I met Bill. It was at a party downtown in the shadow of the twin towers, and what I reckoned to be my last visit to these parties since I never really had any fun or met any guys. But on September 21, I was determined to have a good time and I sat on the patio outside, enjoying a cigar and feeling like Scarlett O’Hara smoking a Padron, entertaining a bunch of well dressed men in suits and ties.

Through the crowd I met the eyes of a handsome man in a double breasted mustard colored man and later when inside I noticed him bopping his head to Erykah Badu. I asked him, ‘So you like Badu?’ and he replied that he did. We talked and later wound up taking the train uptown and exchanged numbers so that we could meet again. And here we are years later.

I can’t say the past 11 years have been smooth sailing, we’ve had our over under and sideways down moments but here we are, committed and still in love with each other quite deeply. I like that.

And I love Bill.

Work it girl!

I Do #2

And it was back to the cigar shack for me today. The previous 48 hours were quite good, though of course Tuesday definitely paled in comparison to Monday. The alarm clock came to life at the usual time, I couldn’t tell you what song was playing when it went off, and that might be because I woke up before it went off and was in the shower at the time.

After making coffee and having cereal I was dressed (in the same suit that I wore to the ill fated meeting yesterday) and checking email. Nothing coming in, I contacted the people I met with yesterday and asked them to return something that was mine. They offered to scan it and send it but I insisted on the original document.

Perhaps that was the burning of a bridge but as the hours go further from the meeting I couldn’t help but wonder what it was that did me in. They had my papers, and when they asked me about my past previous to the paperwork, telling them about my work in the music business and People magazine might have put the kibosh on it since you know, working in music and publishing is so glamorous and both industries are nearly extinct.

The line that ‘I would be bored after 15 minutes’ of joining their team shows that they basically forget or did not read the CV and had glazed eyes once they heard about my music business/publishing experience. I think they were actually letting me down easy. Perhaps the brass ring was not so close to my grasp as I had originally thought, though the rejection was one of the nicer rejections I’d ever had.

The cigar shack was humming along as it usually does, three full timers on with Calvin playing the role of manager. Tonight was a dinner that had been planned about a month and a half and the tickets were not selling. The staff duly contacted the clients and not many were forthcoming with cash in hand.

Calvin pressured us to contact the clients as second time and so we did, with not much of a different result. The fact is that a lot of people don’t have the disposable income for dinner followed by cigars. That’s a concept that Calvin would rather not hear especially since most of his clients have deep pockets, but not enough of them came forwards looking for food and a smoke.

So that made Calvin a bit bitter today, saying that we were under performing. That was abjectly false but it’s his house so what he says goes. A lot of the day was everyone trying to stay out of Calvin’s way with the exception of Bradley, who owned the idea of dinner and cigars tonight. I busied myself off the floor today, taking in stock and organizing the back stock so that kept me out of the watch of Sauron’s eye.

Some other nonsense was mentioned that I heard about through a third party, some disappointment on Calvin’s behalf that Thomas and I were not attending the dinner and smoke out after work, but we are closing the store and it seems a bit hypocritical for all parties to attend such an event, especially if we were under performing in ticket sales.

It’s just that no one has the money, that’s about it. I didn’t think it would be a good idea after cultivating clients to hound them into buying tickets to an event that they were not at all interested in attending. It’s not easy being so far ahead of the curve.

Music business crippled, publishing on it’s knees, Financial world in tatters. Am I the kiss of death or what?

Despite all that silly speculation, whenever my hearts sinks, it soars when I think of Bill. He’s a good man and I told him today my life is full with him in it. He’s at rehearsal once again and probably won’t be home until later. I look forward to giving hm a great big hug and kiss, for he is my man.

For my Bill.

I Disappear

I can’t go on, I’ll go on. It’s later than usual, but I have a good excuse as well as a note from my roommate. It’s been a really special day for me today. Truly things were all up up up. It started out nicely, sleeping in as it was my day off. Bill went to work later than usual, and left me a very nice, very sweet birthday card.

I read it while still in bed and it proved to be a most excellent way to start off the day. If only I could start off each day like that, the man I love kissing me goodbye and leaving me a nice card. If only everyone could start off their day like that. Since I did not have any coffee in the apartment I had to get myself together and go out and get some.

It wasn’t so bad and surprisingly I did not kill or maim anyone. As I was doing some shopping a handsome young man approached and said ‘Hey John’. I scanned his face, initially thinking it was someone from the cigar shack, but no, it was from a long time ago.

It was Jason, a kid I used to work with at Right Track in the 1990’s. He was just an assistant engineer then now he’s a father to be as well as an award winning engineer. Despite the lack of coffee we were able to have a nice discussion on things, his impending fatherhood, fixing up his apartment with his wife and his part of Hoboken being under 2 feet of water thanks to Irene.

It was good to see him and we left the store at the same time, Jason offering me a ride home and me telling him I only lived around the block. I came home and had a nice breakfast and of course, made some coffee. After reading the paper and thanking each and every person who wished me Happy Birthday wishes, I did some laundry.

I also heard from Rand who was able to get a few of thousand songs from my old, now deceased computer. We planned to meet around 1:00 so he could give me a flash drive. We were both on time and Rand brought up the idea for a birthday lunch.

Sounded good to me so he then called his wife Lisa and we all met up on Washington Street for some Mexican food at Qdoba. It was my first time there and it was very good. I used to prefer Mission Burrito but the last time I found them to be lackluster. Qdoba was good and the company I kept was better.

After lunch I headed to Mr. L’s to get a haircut but Tony was busy so I went home and took some clothes out of the washing machine and hung them on racks and in the bathroom to dry. I headed out again and Tony was free this time.

About an hour after that I was on the bus heading into Manhattan. Bill asked me to meet him at his office around 5:30 so we met up. We had some really good, really big hamburgers near his office, and then walked around midtown enjoying some cigars. I had no idea what I was in store for, I figured we would be heading back to Hoboken in a little while.

After the cigars we headed back towards Times Square to my surprise. It was so crowded with tourists, but I was following Bill’s lead. We walked past the Palace Theater and Bill said we could stop there. We were going to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I was definitely surprised at that.

I didn’t really have any desire to see the show. I did buy the DVD of the original movie years ago for Bill’s birthday and we both loved it, watching it a few times. This was totally out of left field. We had good seats in the balcony and much to my surprise again, I loved it.

It was just as good as the movie, even more visceral. There were times where my eyes welled up a bit. I was blown away at the end as was Bill. So damn good and the ending to a very good day. Perfectly magical.

And thanks for all the good wishes my friends!

I Am Trying to Remember

Man, the past 72 hours have been a gas gas gas. It’s been fun starting with seeing Ian Hunter and being with Meghan and Lily & Ruby, seeing Rand & Lisa and RoDa and Elly & Logan and Autumn. Then even going to work on Monday wasn’t so bad. It’s certainly getting easier to ignore Braindead, only speaking to him when I have to.

Then yesterday I met with Wally, a chap I once worked with at Golden Staffing. Over the weekend I decided to take a break from the stress of trying to find a new job, but as luck would have it, on Monday morning I saw a job listing sent to me with Wally’s name attached. I felt I had to send something out there and he replied rather quickly.

We arranged for a meet up before I met up with Bill yesterday. Since it was official, or so I thought, I wore a suit & tie. Bill was going to be in a suit and tie for his performance and he likes to see me dressed me and I of course was happy to oblige.

Wally expressed surprise since I was in a suit and tie, asking me why I was so dressed up if I was going to a baseball game. I told him about Bill singing the Star Spangled Banner and I explained that I thought this was an interview; after all I did fill out the standard application that most staffing agencies provide.

It was more like hanging out with Wally, him telling me the final days of Golden Staffing was a nightmare and the head cheese (I forgot what pseudonym I gave her) was really a bitchy pain in the tuchis. After a few minutes he introduced me to another woman who worked at Golden Staffing before I did.

It was all rather brief and relaxed and I was out of there in about 20 to 30 minutes. I made my way across town, headed to Penn Station and smoking a cigar. I was feeling pretty mellow when I met up with Bill. Bill was quite chill as well.

We boarded a train to Willets Point, where CitiField (I prefer Shea Stadium) is. It was about a 20 minute ride. It was sunny and breezy as we walked to the stadium. Much to my surprise there was no handicapped access which is the manner in which I travel lately, avoiding stairs and whatnot.

Bill kept alongside me as we made our way to the stadium. It was a bit of a bother to find the correct gate to go through but once we did we were comfortably situated in a nice dressing room, much nicer than where we have to wait before NY Liberty or NY Knicks basketball games.

We were soon on the field for Bill’s sound check which he performed admirably. We met a few officials from the Mets organization then it was back to the room where I left Bill for a few minutes (he stopped talking to save his voice) and I went outside to smoke a cigar.

I was complimented on my suit while I smoked and I thanked them kindly before heading back in. I was back in time to head out to the field again. No one said anything, no big deal if I was there recording Bill’s performance unlike Madison Square garden where it’s stand here, don’t do that.

After less than 2 minutes it was all over. Bill walked off the field to a standing ovation and I duly followed. Quite a few people complimented Bill on his singing, patting on the back as well as handshakes and fist bumps. After we got our things from the dressing room, we went to our seats where Bill’s friends Kirk & Pat were waiting.

Once again en route, many people congratulating Bill and telling him what a great job he did. I merely walked behind Bill and beamed. We met up with good old Mike Cecchini and his cousin after a couple of innings, a few laughs with them as well as a woman asking Bill to stand with her sons for a photograph. We all went back to our seats, Bill running to the upper decks to see some other friends.

We were basically in the same section that we were in when Bill and I, Annemarie & Earl and Julio & Stine when we saw Paul McCartney in 2009. We stayed for 9 innings. It went into extra innings since the Mets and the San Francisco Giants were tied 6-6. Kirk & Pat headed back to the Bronx and Bill and I headed to the subway.

Tried to get in touch with Mike Cecchini since he lives a block and a half away from us, but his phone was turned off. A long local 7 train ride was ahead of us, but we made it through, Bill leading the way to gate 323 in the bus terminal. We waited a short while for the bus and soon we were home after exchanging words with Todd Abramson from Maxwells. Who knew he was a Giants fan? But he too complimented Bill on his singing of the National Anthem.

After all that good feeling from Sunday to right now, work was a breeze and I did really well in sales today, top earner me. No need to write about anything else on that front, so I won’t. I am glad to be home, riding a manic high wave. Hoping I will make it safely to the beach for another surfing go ‘round.

Oddly enough, writing this was a lot easier tonight than I expected. I hope it reads well, or at least as good as what you write, every day when you write whatever it is that you write. Not bad for nearly 1000 words in under an hour, wouldn’t you agree? Only eight more words to reach one thousand. Done!

On to the show!

Bill & Mr. Met!

that's my Boo...

The Soundcheck

1,950 postings so far. Who would have thought? What’s your tally, Sally?

and today’s pics…

I Hear a Rhapsody

And it was back to work for me today. And I went reluctantly. I took 2 melatonin tablets last night and had a really restful sleep, including a dream where I was planning on traveling to Africa, and was worried about Somali pirates even though I wasn’t going anywhere near Somalia.

I got up this morning, made some coffee and went back to sleep for a few more minutes. It was pouring rain and sleeting outside with ice covering sidewalks making walking somewhat difficult and slow. I took my time, getting ready before I headed out into all that mess. Coffee and cereal after a shower and a shave. Soon I was out in the slosh, walking carefully up to Washington Street.

I walked by Mr. L’s. They took Tony off of Tuesdays so now he only cuts hair on Monday and Saturday. According to Tony it was all orchestrated by his son Nick, but I think Nick is trying to ease Tony out ever since he fell a few months ago and hasn’t completely recovered. In any event, the day where I have to find a different barber will be somewhere down the line.

I waited in the rain for the bus, carrying Bill’s boots in a plastic bag. For some reason he’d forgotten the boots and was going to need them tonight. I didn’t mind bringing them in for Bill. He’s been so great, so supportive for me, how could I not help him out? It’s love baby. Nothing but love love love.

As I waited for Bill to come down from his office I got a phone call. It was a 330 area code and it was in response to a resume I had sent out earlier. The office was in Colorado but the job was downtown for a position I feel I am uniquely suited for.

The phone call was brief but it went well and I told the caller that I would be available on Thursday for an interview if that would be possible. I am off on Thursday and I hope I can set something up tomorrow.

I got to the cigar shop a little late but not caring about it. I was bound to be late what with the weather and all. Marcus was out sick and so it was me and the Bradley. Calvin was out today since he and his wife were going to see Prince, deciding to do so after my glowing review last month.

It was a weird day. Yesterday the back room man cave was shut down due to a ventilation problem and it hadn’t been corrected yet. The HVAC people were supposed to be in around 8:30 this morning, they didn’t arrive until 12:30. And the second cash register was broken down due to a power strip problem.

Not much money was made today. The regulars stayed away in droves, the ones who did show up were quite upset with the fact that they couldn’t smoke their cigars in the man cave, walking out dejected. It made for a long day. I wound up working with Sean and the Bradley and we all got along fine.

I forgot to write about the bus ride in this morning. I was sitting behind Linda Weinstein who was using the bus as her office, making arrangements and planning Ray’s memorial service, scheduled for the first weekend in February. “Ray’s a bigger pain in the ass now that he’s dead than he was when he was alive!”

I thought about offering her my resume but thought again and decided not to.

I Got A Gal I Love

It’s a day off for me. And it’s been somewhat busy. A visit to 2 supermarkets, some errands on Washington Street, 2 trips to the bibliothèque and the dry cleaners. It was also a day filled with communication problems.

I had some coffee after showering and padded around the apartment, deciding to go out around 10:30. A trip to the dry cleaners and dropped off a few shirts. I was running out of coffee and decided to go to Dunkin Donuts and pick up a few pounds of coffee.

I went and stood in line behind a guy who works in a local pizzeria. There were 3 women behind the counter and all 3 were totally infatuated with the pizza man. He wasn’t good looking which made me think they were angling for jobs at the pizzeria.

I had to pick up the 2 bags of coffee and display them in front of the women before I got the attention of one of the women. The total for 2 pounds was $11.99 and I gave her $12.00. She didn’t even look at me as I placed the 2 pounds in my bag and threw the penny in the tip jar and crumpled up my receipt.

I asked for both the penny and the receipt, which surprised her. If she paid attention to me instead of the pizza man I would have walked away, but since she didn’t…

Dunkin Donuts has printed on every receipt an invitation for a free donut if you fill out a questionnaire about service. After that I got the newspaper and some bagels before walking over to the supermarket. There were several items I wanted to get that wouldn’t fit in the hand basket so I needed a shopping cart.

I walked over to where the shopping carts, where an elderly woman was arranging the bags of groceries she just bought. She was in the way of the other carts so I asked if she could step aside for a moment while I got myself a cart. Oh, the look she gave me.

Someone was waiting for her in a nearby car, not helping her out. I said that I needed a cart and excused myself as I maneuvered around her. She cursed me, so I told her god loves her but I certainly don’t. Then she told me to drop dead to which I replied she was more than likely going to do just that before me.

Not much chicken at the supermarket, perhaps it was due to the fact that the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company had declared bankruptcy a few weeks ago. I paid for my groceries and stopped by the dry cleaners again.

There was a shirt that has been hanging in the shop for over a year now and I frequently commented on how nice a shirt it was. Earlier when I dropped off my shirts I noticed the shirt wasn’t there anymore. I asked Mona, the shop owner if the person who owned the shirt came and picked it up and it turned out they hadn’t it had simply been moved.

She pulled out the shirt and showed it to me. There was another shirt with it, which Mona said would be too small for me, but the shirt I had my eye on, a pink shirt with a contrasting collar, seemed about my size. It was a custom made shirt so there was no size tag on it.

She offered it to me and I tried it on. It fit quite nicely and with that, Mona gave me a shirt that no one wanted after a year. I plan on wearing it to work tomorrow.

I came home and dropped off my shirt and groceries in the hallway and then went to the bibliothèque and picked up a few CD’s and a DVD as well as Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Finishing the Hat’. Bigger book than I expected, still I will lug it around if I need to.

Came home, started some laundry and talked on the phone. First off a call to my brother Frank. I brought up Steve Fallon who to the surprise of a lot of people, logged into Facebook the other day. Steve told me he was writing a book and mentioned if I had any stories about Maxwells I should send them to him.

I mentioned it to Frank who mentioned the sordid aspects of the 1980’s, and that was not the angle I was thinking of. I mentioned about how Steve and Bill Ryan had gone to WFMU and were on Frank’s show when the Coyote Records sampler ‘Luxury Condos are Coming to Your Neighborhood’ was about to come out might have been a more interesting story. No need to visit stories of AA or NA.

Then I headed out after the phone call to Shop Rite. If I wanted chicken, I would probably have to go there instead. It’s a much bigger store and basically a much better store. The other supermarket is right around the corner from me and usually gets my business since they’re that much closer.

I came home again and spoke with Bill on the phone who heard from a bus driving friend that Hyman might have attempted suicide. It’s been a rough year for him since his companion passed away at the end of 2009. Bill didn’t know how accurate this story about Hyman is and there’s been no word from Hyman after texts and emails from Bill and myself.

All in all it’s been a weird day with regards to communication. I communicated with Steve Fallon who thought I was upset with something he wrote and I had to set the record straight.

I love Steve Fallon and never had any problems with him. He’s always looked out for me, and even though he constantly busted my balls, he was also very kind and generous. He could have, perhaps should have, fired me a few times, but despite that I would never have a cross word about him and would definitely defend him against anyone who did have something bad to say about him. So there is nothing but love for Steve Fallon in my heart, and writing that here places it on the record.

I’ve written over 1,000 words and it was not my intention, but there you go.

Steve Fallon?

Steve Fallon?

Steve Fallon?

Steve Fallon !

I Fall in Love With You Everyday

Oh to write again. I’m trying to be positive today, figuring that it might have an effect on the following 364 days. Sometimes there can be a sign that how the first day of the goes could have a shading of sorts on the rest of the year.

I remember from New Year’s Eve 1998 into 1999, walking home to Weehawken from Rand & Lisa’s, up Hackensack Plank Road. More than likely I was quite buzzed and it was cold enough that no one was on the streets walking, so there was no real danger to speak of.

As I approached the stairs by Shippen Street I slipped on the previously unseen ice, falling on my stomach. It was slippery enough that I had to hang onto a parked car to gain some sense of stability. Needless to say, 1999 wasn’t a very good year at all.

So far none of that has happened within the last 24 hours. In fact I’ve been pleasant in my interaction with other people, specifically with the staff at the supermarket. They’re usually in a bad mood but despite that I wished the ones I see the most a happy new year.

Perhaps it’s not much, but could show some good will later in the year, with the seed planted this afternoon. What’s that? Optimism? Bill is headed to the Nuyorican Poets Café tonight for some sort of event. I’m staying home.

I have the DVD of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World that I could watch, and also have Witness for the Prosecution in my queue for Hulu. Too much trouble dealing with mass transit on a Saturday evening, and why risk altering the positive outlook that I am trying to maintain for the past 24 hours.

It’s in everyone’s best interest. A mellow evening at home sounds like the right thing for me. And it’s been a lazy day as it probably was for a lot of people. Bill and I watched the Larry Sanders Show marathon on IFC.
Then he napped for about 90 minutes and I napped for about 5 minutes. I guess that was all I needed, the 5 minutes.

Now Bill has headed into the city, I sit listening to Wet Job by Fingerprintz. They were a Scottish band who backed up Lene Lovich on occasion and had a few notable songs of their own. I saw them once at Hitsville in Passaic Park, with my brother Frank.

Frank interviewed them for his radio show on WFMU. The band, or mainly Jimmie O’Neill had a nearly indecipherable burr that my brother had to likely play it over and over again before its broadcast. It’s a great song, one of my all-time faves.

It was played quite a bit on WPIX-FM in the late 1970’s early 80’s, when the New Wave was a viable alternative. Only a few people caught the wave I suppose, others not reaching it until years, sometimes decades later. Better late than never I guess.

I am going to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World after I put this entry to bed.

I hope all of you have a happy and healthy new year.


Oh, tomorrow (today) is Sunday, so not writing. Sorry!

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

And here we are, two days after Christmas. And it was a snowy day, in fact it was such a snowy day that it was a snow day. Meaning that I had off from work, officially. I started the suggestion last night, sending an email to Calvin who stated that it was up to the building management some Kumpus Group, or Unrelated Companies nonsense in which they excel in a lack of subtlety as well as genuine bad decision making all around.

Calvin actually got back to me and wrote that he had gotten in touch with Marcus who declared the store to be officially closed. I don’t know if the customers knew about the store closing but if the staff from Long Island couldn’t make it in with the subways being shut down and NJ Transit buses not running at all, you really can’t have a store being open.

I found this out around 10:00 this morning, about 4 hours after I had been awake. Too late for me to go back to sleep so I puttered around as well as made use of the new HP computer I got from Bill for Christmas.

I was also up until about 2:00 last night exploring the computer and filled with wonder when YouTube videos loaded and played almost instantly with no jumpiness involved. I have to admit, I had gotten used to the videos loading forever so when the video for The Hardest Part by Blondie played almost instantly I was taken aback.

Bill also had off from work today and for most of the day, we were just hanging out in the apartment, watching TV and listening to music. I made a trip outside to the supermarket. Someone shoveled the steps and sidewalk in front of the building and I was glad it wasn’t me.

A lot of people were digging out their cars and a lot of cars were stuck in the snow and ice. I maneuvered my way around them and got the basics from the market.

I came home and had something light to eat. Bill and I had plans to go to Hillsdale to see my brother Brian and his family, as well as seeing my brother Frank and his family again. We were going to rent a Zipcar but the roads seemed too treacherous.

Brian phoned and suggested the train which made the most sense. We decided on the 5:35 train and left with enough time to find out the train had been canceled and the earlier, 5:16 train would be the one to be on.

So that’s what we did. Brian met us at the station and soon we were in the warm and cozy house of love. Brian and Karen and Hillary and Cassie as well as their brother Brian the prodigal and Cassie’s boyfriend Dylan were soon joined by Frank and Elaine with Meg and Rob and Corinne’s boyfriend Vic.

Annemarie was once again in California with her family and made her presence known by way of my cellphone. Dinner and gifts and some guitar playing by my nephew Brian was all enjoyed greatly.

But being tied to a train schedule we had to make it back to the train station a little after 9:00. Still cold and windy in Hoboken as Bill and I walked down the streets, stopping by neighbor Claire’s apartment to help the people who were staying there turn on their heat.

And now, thanks to Bill’s help, the old computer, Randenstein is now sort of hooked up to the new computer. I have two towers going and about 3 internal hard drives as well as the 2 iPods and one screen.

I actually finished this a while ago, just got very distracted by District 9, a very good movie, worth seeing. Out of the ordinary.

and down goes Uncle John with a left hook!

I.C.B. (John Peel Sessions)

And now we find ourselves on Monday, November 8, 2010. It’s my friend Maurice’s birthday and also Scott Williams birthday. Both of them are 42 years old today. I haven’t seen Maurice since I saw Beck with Julio at Radio City on Valentine’s Day in 1999. Another world ago.

And I haven’t seen Scott Williams since the early part of this century at his mother’s wake. I might have seen him once since he may have been a police officer being interviewed on the television a few years ago.

I sent a Facebook message to Maurice and sent him birthday wishes. Alas I have no information regarding Scott so if he searches for himself, the grandson of Nanny Williams, best wishes Scott.

Yesterday was a busy day. Spent part of the day with my brother Frank, his wife Elaine, their daughters Meghan and Corinne and Meghan’s husband Rob. Meghan ran the New York City marathon last year and this year it was Rob’s turn.

I met up with Frank, Elaine and Corinne in front of Stack’s pancake house. Meghan was in the city already, cheering Rob on. We waited a good while to get some pancakes and after 20 minutes we decided to head out sans pancakes.

We opted for bagels at Panera Bread further down Washington Street, closer to the Path train. Not much of a wait to get on a train. From the 33rd Street Path train we were on the R train heading to 5th Avenue, the Plaza Hotel.

From there we could head into Central Park and wait for Rob to run by. We walked up into the park, and at one point we were in the roadway. We decided to step over the 2 foot wooden barrier, first went Elaine, then Corinne, and me with Frank bringing up the rear.

Unfortunately Frank lost his balance and took a tumble backwards. I grabbed his arm but I was no match for gravity. He landed on his back and boinked his head. I didn’t think it was so bad but there were a few people around who saw him hit his head and were concerned.

There were also a number of Emergency Service Technicians (EMT) nearby and a few of them made their way over. They asked Frank a couple of questions, do you know where you are? What year is this? And he answered correctly.

Speedy pulse and all that, caused them to sit with him for a while. It would have been worse I think, if I wasn’t grabbing Frank’s arm, he would have fallen a lot faster and really did some damage to his skull. The roadway was intact by the way.

We made our way to the other side of the park, trying to connect with Rob, post finish line. After some waiting we saw Meghan and Rob coming towards us, Rob looking in sore shape. Despite being the #1 track coach in New Jersey, he was wasted from the marathon, his time being 3:28, swearing that it was his first and last marathon.

We met up with Rob’s parents who dutifully got their car and drove Rob & Meghan home, leaving us to get the subway and the Path train back to Hoboken. Frank was OK, everyone was tired.

I made my way to the Hoboken Artist Studio Tour, but decided to only see Hiro Takeshita. He’s been living in my old apartment building at 2nd and Madison Streets for the past 26 years. It was nice to see him as he showed me his latest works as well as things from the past.

By that time I was tired and also needed to do some grocery shopping, so after a half hour I headed out. Hiro did say that he sold a few pieces and that it was very crowded the day before, and that was good to hear. I do enjoy his work and he’s a genuinely nice guy.

Came home, made dinner and talked with Frank to see if he was alright. He was and we rehashed things from earlier in the day and earlier in our lives. A few minutes after that, a phone call from Annemarie, more chatting.

Bill came home during the call and for some reason, was sitting in the kitchen not making a sound. After I got off the phone with Anne, I went over to Bill who was out of sorts. He had gone to see a friend sing in a cabaret, and since there was a 2 drink minimum he had 2 Absolut and cranberry cocktails, then after the show went to the gym where he promptly over did it.

He had a ringing in his ears, was dehydrated and generally disoriented. I brought him down to earth somewhat and kept a close eye on him throughout the night. He rarely drinks and this is why. Sleep followed after a while, after Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death.

Bill went first and I was asleep an hour later.

I’ve realized lately that I have a job. Not the job I want, but the job I got. So I’m likely going to take a break from frantically looking for something new. Perhaps next year.

It’s just as well since Don came to the cigar shop on his day off, to give his 2 weeks notice. So now, behind Marcus and Calvin, I will be the longest serving employee. Into my 6th month. Sean is a part timer so he doesn’t count.

By Hiro Takeshita.