Category Archives: So how’s band camp?

Rock With You

A beautiful day but a bit too warm. After days of cold and damp 50 degree weather in a 24 hour period the temperature rises up to near 90. Crazy. But it wasn’t raining. I ran into old friend Jason Stasium once again. As I was leaving the supermarket there was Jason pushing his beautiful daughter in a stroller. He saw me first. We chatted for a while, about the cigar shop (when I last saw Jason I was working with Shlomo and company). I filled him in on the McSwell’s debacle and we had a few laughs about that.

He suggested contacting another old friend about checking to see if they knew anything. I was thinking more about Juan than myself. Juan is back to pounding the pavement. You’ll have to read his story in his blog located in the blog roll on the right. Then I came home to find a note on the door. The building handyman asked me to call him when I got home, so that is what I did. Apparently the Russian family in the apartment below me and Bill left and there is water damage in that bathroom.

The handyman came by and asked me to run all the water, sink, bath tub and toilet all at the same time. He ran downstairs and could not see anything happening while the water ran for about 5 minutes. The tub hasn’t overflowed and neither has the sink. . It’s an old building with old pipes and no one has a clue on what’s going on.

A nice breeze just wafted in through the window. Humidity sets in and it’s hummus everywhere in Hoboken. Bill is off in Philadelphia on an excursion once again involving a bus. He’s been driving a lot lately which prevents the problem of both of us being around all the time getting in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves. Bill is due back on Friday so that should be cool. I will hear all about his day via a phone call later on tonight I reckon.









Baby’s On Fire

Well yesterday was a very good day. Of course there were some rough spots, but they only help one appreciate the smooth spots. Bill was home in the morning after driving all night and that seems to be the way of things around here lately. I did hear from Juan in his usual charming text: ‘Lunch today. Pick a time’. I told him that I would be in the city. I set about my day getting laundry done and basically talking with Bill. I was in no rush to go out and have lunch and take away from my own time schedule.

I did head in a little later that I expected, soon after Bill headed into the city. I took the Path train in and I got off at Ninth Street. I decided to walk down Tenth Street which turned out to be quite pleasant. I walked over to the Cooper Union and asked about picking up my ticket from ‘will call’. Anything to save some money instead of paying the service charge to mail the ticket to me, which is what I should have done in the first place. I was told to come back at 6:00 and it was a little after 4:00.

So I wandered around the East Village. I had some pizza at Stromboli at 1st and St. Mark’s Place but it was not as good as I remembered. Then I walked over to St. Mark’s Bookshop, all the time totally ignoring St. Mark’s Place which I used to enjoy. I bought a copy of Uncut magazine and headed out into the bright spring day. I sat in some shade and read Uncut as I smoked a cigar and anxiously ran down the clock which was certainly taking it’s time. At 5:55 I made my move.

On the other side of the Cooper Union building was a line. I asked the head of the line if it was for will call or whatnot and the guy replied it was for everything. I walked over and got on the end of the line which was not the end of the line for long. Two guys in front of me kept letting their friends join them on line and it went from four people and stopping at eleven people jumping into the line. Behind me other people were doing the same. I played my iPod so I would not have to listen to them.

Finally the line started moving and I was inside. The great hall were the lecture was taking place is below street level and it is where Abraham Lincoln made a famous speech. I found an empty seat right next to a column, giving me a sightline to see Brian Eno but the other columns in the hall cut off half the screens positioned on either side of the stage. Brian Eno came out and the discussion was all about his life basically, Eno narrating the slides as he went along.

He was genial and self-effacing and also running behind schedule which he mentioned a couple of times. He didn’t rush things but he may have skipped a few slides. It was a lot of fun and over soon enough. On the way out we were handed posters of a painting of Brian Eno and I duly grabbed one. I would have grabbed one for Chaz but they were quite tight with the free posters.

I hurriedly walked back to the Path train since there was a plan to meet up with Juan to see Youth Lagoon at Maxwell’s. Juan hipped me to them last week and they sounded intriguing enough to check them out. My phone battery was low so I texted Juan about that and that I would check again when I got back to NJ.

No text from Juan. A few more texts from me and the only response I got from him was that he forgot all about the show and we would meet up Tuesday and I could tell him all about it. It was infuriating since I hustled to get back to see the show at Maxwell’s. It was one of the last straws regarding Juan. He’s back with Nimrod, famed grammar school principal and part time amateur crystal meth addict. I only know this from what Juan has told me.

On Juan’s Facebook page, Nimrod, famed grammar school principal and part time amateur crystal meth addict labeled me a ‘stalker’ as I have been stalking Juan. That was infuriating, especially since I knew Juan a lot longer than Nimrod, famed grammar school principal and part time amateur crystal meth addict. Actually I do not think Nimrod is a part time amateur crystal meth addict since Juan described him as being able to do crystal meth and then go to sleep. He seems to be more of a veteran crystal meth user, which I am sure is great if you’re tweaking and have to oversee ‘approximately 430 very special young people learn and grow’ the next school day.

I did think about posting that when Juan first tearfully called me (near hysteria on 3/4/2013) a number of weeks ago after Nimrod kicked him out of the house. Juan sent me a few photographs of their crystal meth stash, Nimrod medications and the syringes they had been using to shoot up the crystal meth. Juan wanted me to hang onto the pictures should anything happen to him. I should have posted the pictures when Juan came back to Union City or at least when Juan went back to Nimrod and had another fight where Juan punched Nimrod’s rearview mirror.

Juan wanted Nimrod busted as well as Nimrod’s nearby crystal meth dealer. I didn’t know the whole story then and sort of gave Nimrod the benefit of the doubt. I still don’t know the whole story, but I know I am not a stalker but that I do have some difficulty correctly spelling school administrators surnames on occasion.

I did go to Maxwell’s to see Youth Lagoon whom Juan told me about last week. I am glad I went, they were very good. They looked as if they could. They were able to pull off their sound on stage which was quite impressive.






This was as close as I got and that's fine since I did work with Brian Eno almost 20 years ago.

This was as close as I got and that’s fine since I did work with Brian Eno almost 20 years ago.

I think next time I will honor Juan’s request and post photographs of Nimrod’s prescriptions from Bayshore Pharmacy in the Atlantic Highlands. See the posting featuring Tina the Tiger and a grammar school principal!
from 3/4/2013 (when Spider Juan tearfully and franticaly sent me the pictures)

I am the worst stalker ever despite what the grammar school principal Nimrod says.
Juan asks me to go to a gay bar (ostensibly to meet guys) and I say no.
Juan wants to have lunch and I say no.
Juan wants to go to Target & the Newport Mall and I say no.
Juan wants to stop by (and of course those that are stalked ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS stop by their stalkers place) etc. How did Nimrod become a school principal? Whom did he perform oral sex on?
I guess it’s better to be a tweaking school administrator than an impotent and inept detective.

Typical stalker behavior:
HIM: “Do you want to go to a bar with me?” ME: No.
HIM: “Lets have lunch- Pick the time.” ME: No.
HIM: “I have to go to Target and then the mall. Wanna come?” ME: No.

Then again if I was tweaking all the time I might have a warped perspective on things too.

So all the photos Spider Juan sent are posted on the date that Spider Juan tearfully and frantically sent them to me, March 4, 2013.
Cut n’ paste.

I Touch Myself with Hands of Time

I think I was so caught up in winding down when I last posted that I neglected to mention my brother Brian and his wife Karen coming to Maxwell’s on Friday night. Friday was the better night anyhow and of course I focused on the ‘less than’ night. Brian and Karen were heading home after seeing ‘Not In It For My Health’ a movie about the late Levon Helm from the Band. Brian has been going to Woodstock once a month to see the shows at the Ramble and was upset when Levon passed away. Brian and I were lucky to see Levon perform on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle a few years ago.

They were dismayed at the price of parking in Manhattan, a nearby garage gouged their wallet but the universe seemed to even that out when they nabbed a spot right outside the door at Maxwell’s. It was a pleasant surprise to see them both and I was even more surprised at how much weight Brian had lost. Truly amazing and inspiring. He looks great and now wears a 36 waist in trousers. A new wardrobe is in order. It was great to see them both and I wish I would have been able to talk to them both but I was working and it was a bit busy.

They left a while later after and headed home and I continued sitting people at tables on the Lido Deck. And like I wrote, the next night was even busier. Yesterday was alright. I met up with Juan and ran around Hoboken trying to fax some documents on Bill’s behalf. Juan of course was so damn funny. He knows how to get under my skin and tickle my sense of humor. I hadn’t walk down the street in Hoboken laughing like I did in a long time, and that was thanks to Juan.

At a friends office I tried to use their fax machine to no avail but while we were there I sang a little bit of 10CC’s The Things We Do For Love, as I was doing this for Bill. Juan paid me no mind and I hoped I had the song on my Android but I didn’t. Juan played the latest Phoenix song on his iPhone which I thought was ‘meh’. I’m not much of a Phoenix fan. Last night when going to bed I turned the radio on and heard 10CC singing The Things We Do For Love.

I can’t say I was much of a Divinyls fan, but their singer Christina “Chrissy” Amphlett died after struggle with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis at age 53. And then after that came news that Richie Havens died this morning. I never saw Richie Havens and I remember getting a phone call from Julio while he was working at Maxwell’s telling me that Richie Havens was putting on an excellent show. I was too lazy in Weehawken to make it down to Hoboken.

I did work with his daughter Dahlia at Murdoch Magazines with Pedro and Harpy back in the 1980’s. She was a handful, and difficult to get along with sometimes. Some people doubted that she was Richie havens daughter but I believed her. Why else would someone say they were the daughter of Richie Havens if they weren’t?

Last night I dreamt that I had a Cadillac which I think was owned by the Crowley family, friends of my parents. It was parked in the parking lot of the VFW where my father was a member and I drove off in the Cadillac, past the Saddle Brook Diner where I slid while applying the brakes into the car in front of me. They didn’t stop so I guess it was alright. I was behind the other car in traffic on the bridge over the Saddle River which was surging underneath.

I Smile

Just as I thought it would only be a temp job, it was just a temp job. I did have a sit down with Francois when I got in. The storm last night caused some leakage in the bathroom ceiling and that needed to be dealt with, so a call to the landlord was in order. Our next door neighbor on the fifth floor had a leak too. We figured it was some damage left over from Sandy, something was fixed and then the high winds and rain last night slightly undid what was fixed last year. It’s better now, but I guess we will wait until the next storm to find out.

So I got to the office an hour later than expected. I was able to get Francois’ attention and we did talk, mainly about what I wrote last night, about how I interviewed for a position and was offered an entirely different position. We both agreed that leaving now would be best before things get too involved. And I should not be so quick to say yes to anything that is offered to me. One doesn’t buy a pair of shoes if they don’t fit, at least I don’t.

It ended well enough I suppose, Francois and I hope to maintain our friendship and since I didn’t really meet anyone in the office, leaving was not a problem at all. I guess there was some static on Francois’ side, why hire someone who is more of an office support guy (jack of all trades) and train someone for sales when there are more qualified people to do the sales thing? With the storm last night and the leakage and the temp job finishing up the way it did I will be happy when this day, week, month is over.

The position I originally interviewed for and aced remains unfilled. Ultimately the decision fell to the owner of the company. Francois who was great mentioned off hand that his position is tenuous since who knows, the owner could decide that she’s tired of seeing Francois and could terminate his position at any time. That would be too bad since Francois had proven himself to be a stand up gent and quite a professional. But that is the nature of the beast and I left today knowing that Francois would still be friends despite the past 48 hours.

Meanwhile the ceiling seems to be mended which is very good. The temperature has dropped considerably in the past few hours and it’s still quite windy. I just got in after picking up Bill’s laundry and a stop at the really getting on my nerves supermarket. I guess they realized that their competition will be opening within a fortnight and decided to ramp up the attitude as well as the prices. Friday is a sale day and already they have taken the tags off this past week’s on sale items which can cause confusion, or at least it usually confuses me.

And Bill has been stellar the past few days. Good things coming up ahead.
Strange dream last night. It took place back in Lodi or parts of Lodi that I was not familiar with since it was the other side of town from where I grew up. I ran into Declan an old friend from Maxwells. We had a good talk, joined by Bill and my former roommate William. I mentioned I had to walk to the supermarket and they joined me, walking past places I had never been before.

We lost Bill on the way and William and Declan sidestepped a freshly made spider web. I got entangled and freaked out, pouring butane over my jeans. Then I lost them both and walked down some streets to the supermarket which was just closed due to some incident inside.

I walked around and found my shoes were gone. William rode up on his bicycle with some native artifacts he just purchased. I walked around some more, looking at a house that might also be a bar and I kept walking not paying attention to where I was going and came thisclose to walking into a column on a porch.

I made it back to Bill and still could not find my shoes. I had no idea how I lost them since I never took them off. William showed up again with shoes that weren’t mine. I saw Bill’s Doc Martins and was stepping into them which were quite big, too big.

Then Bill got a phone call and he was very upset since Digberto died. I asked who Digberto was but did not find out if he was a relative since the dream ended.

It seemed the dream was riddled with symbolism.

I watched The Kids Are Alright the other night. Every time I saw it listed in the guide I think it’s the movie about the Who from the late 1970’s. So I finally sat and watched it and it was pretty good. Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were very good. It had songs by Bowie and MGMT and some talk about Joni Mitchell, but nothing at all by the Who. Annette Bening should have gotten the Academy Award that year.

Last night I watched Grace of My Heart which is good but slight. I remember meeting the director Allison Anders when she visited Right Track Recording when Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello recorded God Give Me Strength for the soundtrack. She was nice and I think I might have met Ileana Douglas at the time as well. Having read Carole King’s memoir I could see certain resemblances.

Reading about it on Wikipedia afterwards I read Joni Mitchell wrote a song for it, sung by someone else and produced by Joni’s ex-husband Larry Klein. And some songs were written by Gerry Goffin and his daughter with Carole King, Louise. I definitely remember meeting Carole King when James Taylor was recording and she was super nice. I had seen Louise perform a few nights before and mentioned it to Carole who was beaming and so proud of her daughter.

And I did ask Bill if he knew anyone named Digberto and he didn’t.

07 Shaktar Donetsk

I See Love

Well today has been spent in the cigar shop. All day and a lot longer than I expected. Last night, an urgent text from Shlomo came in, asking me to stop by the cigar shop. Since I had nothing on the agenda today I told him that I would stop by. I had a feeling that once again it would be ‘can you sit in the shop for an hour or two’. I was partially correct and glad I brought a lunch with me. Sure enough it was that but instead of an hour or two it was about four hours.

It keeps me out of trouble and off the streets and stocked with cigars so I am not complaining. I have my iPod cranking out Blondie, The New Yorker and my tablet so I am set. It’s fairly quiet in the cigar shop, the January doldrums in the retail world. I remember it well from Farfetched as well as other establishments I have frequented. I still miss Farfetched. It was this time of year in 2009 that that ship was slowly sinking due to unwanted pressure from that neighboring idiotic goth store. I still can’t believe they’re in business.

Last night Bill came home full of ideas for his one man show. It should be good, I had some ideas for him. He was getting so far ahead of himself and I felt he needed to be reminded to reel it in somewhat. Bill was taken aback slightly but once I made my case he seemed to understand it. He wants to shoot a video as part of the show and since I did a bang up job on Christmas Day out in Wally World, I will be recording this next installment. He’s been storyboarding what he wants which should help.

Of course between now and then anything could happen. He told me on Christmas Day what he wanted then left me in the cold as he jockeyed buses to and fro in that Arctic parking lot by the former National’s Department store. By the time Bill was ready I had a new idea which worked just fine. He posted it on Facebook so some of you have seen it, for everyone else you should friend Bill. I forgot how good I am behind the camera, it had been a while despite having over 150 videos on YouTube of myself.

But those of course are mainly still shots of me smoking a cigar. Sure some guys in Taiwan enjoyed looking at my over the calf socks and let me know how much they enjoyed my socks and how they wished that they were 6 inches tall so I could step on them to their sexual gratification. I was more than happy to oblige since they are all the way on the other side of the world and actual shrinkage to 6 inches is impossible for even me, thereby disproving the Irish curse once again.

“I love destroying myths”, said the spouse of a size queen.

The Madonna singer was wearing lipstick today (not pictured)

The Madonna singer was wearing lipstick today (not pictured)

McD's renovation on store, food remains the same.

McD’s renovation on store, food remains the same.

Rock On

I Remember Then

Today I find myself at the Israeli Consulate. Well not really, but it might as well be. No Zionists here, just Shlomo and I don’t think he cares much for Zion or much of anything except for cigars. I got a desperate phone call this morning from Shlomo, begging me to come to the store. He can’t pay me, but I will get a few cigars out of the deal, plus a discount on future purchases. He has a lot of running around today and tonight and since Israel is unavailable and I am very close by, I got the call.

It hasn’t been that bad, in fact Shlomo has been in and out all day. At one point I was running errands for him., a trip to the copy shop, a trip to the post office and a trip to the bank. Shlomo does all the heavy lifting and I am merely the gopher. I don’t mind. A few minutes here and there outdoors is fine by me. Not too much time, since it has gotten quite cold outside. Now I am solo, Shlomo running around in his Dreidel mobile and I am safely inside listening to old school reggae.

Last night as Bill was looking for an envelope I threw in a Harry Potter movie, the Goblet of Fire. Bill never saw it before and he liked it. There was nothing else on and he wanted to watch something and so it fell to me to find something fitting to watch. It did the job, he was happy and he searched through the apartment. He’s been looking for a while and I don’t know where it is and I know I didn’t throw it out since I never throw out anything of Bill’s, no matter how questionable it is.

As Andrew Feldman said all those years ago, ‘it’s always the last place you looked’.

Tonight is the 12.12.12 concert at Madison Square Garden and the internets are abuzz with the word that Paul McCartney will be performing with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl from Nirvana. Why not? Kurt was a left handed guitarist as is Macca so maybe Paul will be on one of Kurt’s old guitars. Some people were upset for some reason, I just think things have just gotten that much more interesting. I was going to watch it anyway, and just in case, Bill set the recording up on the DVR.

Still not used to it being dark out at 5PM. You’d think after all these years I would be, but I’m not. A few interesting things at Maxwell’s for Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah stint. The Raybeats opened up the other night with Emo Phillips, followed by the Sun Ra Arkestra and then last night the Feelies opened up. I finally finished the Yo La Tengo book. So many errors, didn’t the publisher ever do any fact checking? I was more embarrassed than anything with regards to the book. But then again the author has one on me.

And on Facebook, I hope I did not insult Hugo, former drummer for Gang of Four. I admit I was snarky but couldn’t resist taking the piss. He responded in kind, calling me a pillock, which I deserved. I saw Joe Pantoliano on the street walking past the cigar shop. He said hello and I said he has to stop by sometime. He remarked that he doesn’t smoke anymore, but still a photo op would be nice. He doesn’t have to smoke the cigar, just hold one, maybe shake hands with Shlomo or Israel or Brandon.

Let It Be Me

I Remember- Deadmau5

Well today has been an interesting day. Bill made it home safely this morning. Once again, since he wasn’t home I did not sleep so well. I am usually awake by the time he gets home but this morning I was sleeping quite well. I didn’t exactly wake up refreshed but I wasn’t dragging ass either. Bill made coffee and brought home some bagels so that was good. I showered and proceeded to start my day. I decided to make some eggs for breakfast and in between the refrigerator and the stove, gravity played a trick on my and snatched an egg from out of my hands.

It was an auspicious start to the day but nothing too terrible. A sweep and a clean and I still had other eggs to fry. Once that was done the day lay ahead. My sister in law Elaine contacted me the other night. She and her daughter Corinne were planning on coming to Hoboken to do some shopping, throw some cash into the local economy. I was ready for them, though they were running a bit later than they hoped. Corinne went to see the Dave Matthews band last night so that was a factor.

They got to Hoboken a little later than planned but that was alright. Hoboken had a plan, you spend $20.00 at a local merchant, and you can park for free in one of the garages. I told Elaine that as Corinne was driving and met them soon after by Church Square Park. They had Corinne’s friend Felicia with them and Felicia remembered me, but I drew a blank. Elaine specifically wanted to go to Guitar Bar so that was our first destination. A few Snark tuners that I recommended and some other odds and ends and Elaine’s purchase made the parking free.

Then we went to City Hall were an Arts and Crafts thing was going on. Some nice things but I only bought a button and a card. Felicia and Elaine bought some items and soon we were back on the chilly Washington Street. We walked by the smoke shop were Israel looked fairly busy, which was good. Hunger came to us all at once so we wound up eating at Qdoba, a Mexican restaurant. My former favorite Mexican restaurant has been closed for weeks, possibly from the storm, possibly from the food being bland after new management took over earlier this year.

We walked around some more before walking back to the parking garage. I got a ride from Corinne and we drove to the gate where we showed the receipt to the attendant. She said she was going to keep the receipt and I told her she couldn’t do that, since the items on the receipt might have to be returned. She said the receipt would go to City hall and that didn’t make a difference at all. Cars were honking behind us, so Corinne wound up paying the $8.00 charge.

I came home after they dropped me off and I went online to the Hoboken Facebook page and complained, saying it was bogus. They replied that the attendant had it wrong, the receipt gets stamped and they were informing the attendants to let them know. Of course this was information that was useless since at this point, Elaine, Corinne and Felicia were headed back to Bergen County. It was the only drag really today. Bill is driving once again to Atlantic City, I am staying home.

Last night I watched Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. It wasn’t bad, there was a certain charm to it. It’s not a great picture but it was enjoyable. I also watched My Week with Marilyn the other day and that was very good. Michelle Williams was excellent.

Corinne and Felicia

A Super Hero bar crawl…

Waiting For Your Taxi

I Pray For You

It’s funny, after writing about not listening to music much the other day, Bill and I head down to Baltimore to watch a friend of his perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchetrsa. It was more like a chance to watch an orchestra practice and during the practice, in the second half they have musicians that are good enough to play in orchestras but live in the Muggle world for their bread and butter. A gent named Paul lived on the same floor as Bill and went to the same high school (the Fame school) now lives in DC with his wife and kids.

Bill reconnected via Facebook and decided that we were going. I of course had nothing else to do and haven’t left Hoboken since October. I wasn’t sure how much the world has changed outside the mile square city and I was game. We were going to take a train down there and I was fine with that. But trains are pretty expensive and Bill figured it would be cheaper to rent a car. I wasn’t going to argue, it did seem like a good idea. We would not be beholden to schedules which makes a difference.

The plan was to leave around 2:00 but around 11:30 the plan had changed and we would be going at 12:30. That made moving things up a little faster but like I wrote, I had nothing else to do. We were soon on the road, driving down rainy Hoboken streets to the turnpike. My job was to pick the tunes. Only one channel was playing though, the left speakers were OK, my side, the right side was muted. No way around that. As we went further south, crossing into Delaware the weather had cleared up.

On the way down the New Jersey Turnpike we passed a number of utility trucks from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida all returning after helping out the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

As we entered Baltimore I made it a point to play the soundtrack to Hairspray, the 1988 John Waters movie. I also played Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis. The first time I heard that song was on Homicide: Life on the Street which took place in Baltimore.

Thanks to Bill’s GPS we found the symphony hall. We were crazy early though and after walking around in the dusk we found a spot to sit and have a beer beforehand. I guess it was a microbrewery since all the beer was made there. We had what was called an Ozzy, which was a dry Belgian like beer. And to my surprise, Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis was playing when we got there.

We were hoping to find a cigar lounge but despite the neighborhood looking like it needed one, they came up short. There was a cigar lounge around the block from the hall, but there was a sign on the door saying they were out looking for supplies and would be back around 6:30.

The show was going to start at 6:45 so waiting around for that would not work for us. We made it into the hall and saw Paul who was nervous. We reassured him he would be fine, or rather Bill did since I did not know him. I merely told him to break a leg. The first half came on and I was at first jolted by the sound of a live orchestra but soon found myself nodding off to the sweet strings thanks to the Ozzy I had had about an hour earlier.

At the intermission I had two cups of coffee which did the trick and I was wide awake for the Anvil Chorus. It was all a few selections of Verdi’s music and the Anvil Chorus is the one that I remembered out of five or six pieces. Full orchestra and chorus and Paul sat next to the first chair under the baton of Marin Alsop. It was a wonderful excuse to get out of town and I wish we had more time to spend in Baltimore since we do have friends down there.

The ride back was exhausting. It seemed to take forever. Bill was feeling tired and so I wound up playing some house music to get him going. Then it was Girl Talk mostly. Bill never really heard Girl Talk before, even though I had played it often enough. He liked it a lot yesterday. We were back in Hoboken a little after midnight, Bill went to bed and I stayed up for a little while longer, before joining him in slumber.

with Paul and Bill

I Only Said

I went out. On a Friday night. Not much to anyone really but I hardly ever go out these days. I took my time getting it together, not 100% sure if I was going out. I told Rand about it and he seemed ambivalent and then yesterday he told me he was staying in. No bother, I readied myself and was soon on the street. In the back of my mind I kept trying to talk myself out of going but as that was going on, I continued walking, one step after another and I enjoyed a cigar as I walked to the Path train.

Crossing Hudson Street, a jogger ran past me and instead of the usual complaint or look of disdain, the jogger said, ‘Even though I am running, that smells nice’ and I smiled at her as she kept on running. With Halloween on Wednesday this year and with the possibility that it might be canceled, there were a lot of people all going out in costume, headed to parties and bars. I of course was not one of them. I lucked out and when I got to the Path train, I was the last one on before the doors closed and found a seat.

The show was nice, it was certainly good to see Jane again and it was over within an hour. We were able to catch up only for a few minutes before Jane had to leave with the band to store their instruments. She couldn’t hang out today either since it was rehearsal before another gig tonight. Still, I was glad to spend whatever time I could get with her since I hadn’t seen her in a few years. I walked back across the East Village, to the Path train which departed as soon as I got to the turnstile.

It was a brief wait and I was back on the mainland in no time. Plenty of parties and party goers on the street since it was Halloween weekend. I watched some TV before heading off to bed, sleeping uneasily once again since Bill was not around.

I woke up with the alarm clock this morning and set about starting my day. I entered my name for a chance to attend a listening party for the latest Brian Eno release and the other day I found out I made the cut. I had a Plus One and since Bill was driving I asked Chaz to come with me. Chaz has taken me to things like this in the past and it was good to take him along this time. Notoriously we went to a god awful early screening of Howard the Duck in the 1980’s.

Since I wanted this to be a surprise I told him we were going to see the restored version of Howard the Duck. Chaz and I met up in Hoboken and took the bus in. We walked up Ninth Avenue to the Church of All Nations, where the listening party was going on. We were probably fourth and fifth in line. We sat in the church, in chairs not pews, perhaps because it was a Lutheran church, no gold, no glitz, no glamor.

The music started at 1:00 and it was nice chill out music, like the music that Brian Eno has been doing lately. Apparently it’s one piece in four sections. The type of music that would be played in Weehawken late at night, just hanging out and talking with William and Julio. The other people attending took it so seriously, sitting eyes closed. I mentioned to Chaz afterwards that if I closed my eyes I would likely be fast asleep in no time. The new release is called ‘Lux’ and I’ve been saying that he named it after the late lead singer of the Cramps.

75 minutes later it was over. It was pleasant and I will probably buy it when it comes out. Chaz and I walked around Columbus Circle, hoping to see the installation at the Columbus statue but not wanting to wait 30 minutes, we moved on with Chaz telling stories about meeting Marc Bolan here, David Bowie there. Chaz has been an active fan since the early 1970’s and has seen a lot of shows and acts and has the ticket stubs to each and every show as well as set lists for all of the above.

A walk to the Path train once again, this time quite crowded. I got off in Hoboken and Chaz continued to Jersey City. That’s basically the day. Bill is driving to Atlantic City once again, the Frankenstorm approaches. I haven’t been to the supermarket but from what I heard the shelves have been wiped out. I may still go to see what I can get though we do have enough, one can’t be too sure.

Chris Stamey, Andriana Markano & Jane Scarpantoni


10 Taking Tiger Mountain

I Need You Now- Olly Murs

Finally there are blue skies and the sun has been seen. It’s been grey and rainy all day, quite stormy and windy since last night. Now all is calm. I did go out a few times, ran into Mike Cecchini on the street. He was leaving the bibliothèque and I was headed to it. Nice talk about Beatle books, movies and what not. Good to see him. Then a trip to the supermarket nearby and a brief traipse up to Washington Street and before I knew it I was home again, right before another downpour. It is all in the timing.

I found it hard to believe that a single glass of white wine at an art opening did my head in. But it seems to be true. By the time Bill and I came home after holding hands walking down Washington Street I was quite tired and could easy figure out it was the wine. Bill was fine and he drank his glass quickly. I sipped mine and after leaving the gallery, I felt more light headed than usual. It wasn’t half bad but then again it was something that I hadn’t felt in a while, even after four pints with Rand on Monday evening.

It certainly helped with sleeping last night though, awoken by Bill leaving for the day and then awoken again by the storm raging outside. I won’t be seeing Bill until tomorrow since he is once again behind the wheel driving to Atlantic City. Another reason to be happy that it is not raining now. Still not used to it getting dark out so early but there is nothing I can do about that. Nothing planned of course for the evening, just some television I suppose.

This weekend is the Hoboken Art & Music Festival and there are no bold face names playing this time. It was probably getting to be too expensive to have name acts playing and the local talent could be culled at a less expensive rate. I don’t know what the weather will be like and I think it might rain so that will definitely suck, especially if you’re a vendor. I just checked the weather report and it’s a 50/50 chance that it might rain. Or it might not. It must be a nice gig being a weatherman. Especially if no one is asking about which way the wind is blowing.

New chapter in my life will start on Monday. If you’re on Facebook, you know all about it. It’s been in the works for years actually and I guess persistence finally paid off, and getting on with people certainly helped. I am quite a lucky guy though. My dear friend Brenda came through, I guess she was the one who got the call and from what she probably said, more than likely put me over the top. So the cigar shack saga is finally over. And to think, I owe the resolution to the old Mike Herklots. Why if it weren’t for him having Zack’s back I’d probably still be miserable.


I Might Be Wrong

All hail Thor, for today is Thor’s day or Thursday. And the god of thunder has been heard with his goat driven chariot a little while ago, going across the skies. It’s been a good day, my laundry is mostly dry now. I saw my old friend Martin Kelly this afternoon. He’s a shift supervisor at the local CVS and he’s a good man. We both worked together at Maxwells years ago and I have a fond memory of having dinner with Martin and his late mother a long time ago. We chatted for a while before he was called off to do something.

Last night was pretty mellow, me and Bill hanging out. We watched The Ed Show and some of the Olympics while he got his stuff together for the opening of the show he is stage managing tomorrow. Lots of drama going on, more than usual. Then again it is theater and what would theater be without drama? Comedy? I’m the sounding board for Bill and his daily tales of the problems with the cast. They’re his stories and so I am sure they will come out one way or another. I’m content to sit and listen to Bill.

I went to bed earlier than usual, not out of being tired, but rather out of being bored. I slept well and remember a dream I had regarding an apparition of the Virgin Mary. In the dream I touched whatever it was that Mary was appearing on and all of a sudden I could fly or rather float around. No one else in the dream had the ability to do this. Maybe it was from being under a yellow sun as opposed to the red sun I was initially born under. ‘Born under a red sun’, that sounds like a blues song.

Since I went to bed earlier it stands to reason that I woke up earlier. I busied myself soon enough, a shower, some coffee and cereal and a trip outside where I met Martin Kelly and then a trip to the mediocre supermarket nearby. I came home, sent out some resumes and read emails.

Apparently the Marlee Matlin/David Patterson job that I interviewed with in early May have filled the position and the underling I met with sent me an email to let me know. How nice of them to remind me of something I had totally forgotten about. I guess dropping Jimmy Seltzer’s name (as a friend of David Patterson) did not help me in the least.

Today was a good day for busking and last night I brushed up on Can’t Find My Way Home by Steve Winwood when he was in Blind Faith. I played it for Bill and all of a sudden he got real serious. It was unnerving but it turns out he might use that song for his one man show that he plans on putting on next year. Don’t worry I will relentlessly remind you of this grand event. Perhaps the two people that comment (and therefore I know that read this here blog) will be able to attend.

I showed Bill the Steve Winwood video from last night’s entry and explained to Bill that yes indeed that was the same Steve Winwood who sang ‘Higher Love’. Bill and his lack of knowing rock and roll can be quite charming. When Bill went to bed I continued practicing the guitar and figured out how to play Make Me Smile by Chicago. I never really liked Chicago but it is a good pop song. And after about a half hour I was swinging.

So I was busking this afternoon and came across a guy that I see from time to time. I don’t know his name but he’s a pleasant enough dude. And he can talk quite a bit. I was itching to play but he kept going on about meditation and Krishna consciousness. During a break in the conversation I finally was able to play Can’t Find My Way Home and sure enough a string broke. I can’t change a string to save my life and packed up and walked with the dude towards the Guitar Bar.

He talked about mantras and I told him a story from when I was growing up. It was a late Saturday afternoon and my father decided I needed a haircut. I didn’t want a haircut but I had no say in the matter. We got in the car and drove from Lodi to Fair Lawn. My father’s friend- John Fontana was a barber and had a shop. On the way there I chanted, Hare Krishna, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Jai Guru Deva and anything else I could think of.

We got to the barber shop and I was happy to see that it was closed. But inside was John Fontana and he opened just for us and I got my unwanted haircut. So the chanting helped to a point, the shop was closed. But to my dismay it was reopened just for me. Silly, tricksy gods.

The dude left me at Washington Street with a prayer, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. I went to the Guitar Bar and saw Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. I explained that my string broke and he asked if I wanted the one string changed or all of them. I said all of them and then he asked when I needed it. I said as soon as possible. He was in the middle of something important, more important than little old me and lent me an Ibanez to use.

I strummed and made a couple of bucks again and a few hours later I came back and just like the old British TV show, ‘Jim’ll Fix It’, Jim fixed it. And at a good price. He’s a great guy. Love him. I left with a newly strung guitar, fourth time this week I have visited the Guitar Bar. Jim’s going to be touring with Ian Hunter & the Rant Band in a few months. See them if you can.

13 Can’t You Hear Me

I Made It Through The Rain

Yes another blasé blah kid of day. It’s totally hummus out. I just got back from some busking. I couldn’t do it yesterday since it was raining on and off most of the day and plus my usual spot was closed off for the Mumford and Sons show. Last night’s blog came pretty easily. I can get fired up and the words start pouring out. It took me longer to post the photographs than it was to come up with words. I thought it was a good posting and judging by the comments, no one else did. So it goes.

I met Rand and Lisa by Pier A. Not actually on Pier A since that is where the concert was and it was a ticketed show and since no one I knew had tickets, I knew I would see someone outside the event. It was good to see them, and it was good to get outside since I was cooped up most of the day. I listened to Nirvana as I walked over, specifically In Bloom since that song had been playing in my head most of the day. I also enjoyed a nice cigar and stood away from most people during the show.

As I got nearer to the concert the one song I knew by Mumford and Sons was being performed, Little Lion Man. The first time I heard the song was the first time I saw them on Letterman. I liked it and sought it out immediately. It still is the only song I could identify by them and I figured it would be their big finale but there it was being performed in the middle of their set. They were entertaining but it was not enough for Lisa, Rand and myself to stand there and watch.

So we walked from Pier A winding up on Pier C. It was a gorgeous evening especially after all the rain that fell previously. Unfortunately Pier C closes at 9:30 so we were only there for about 20 minutes before being booted out. The three of us walked out back into the streets, Mumford and Sons still carrying on. Our interest had faded and we all wanted to go home, especially Lisa since she actually had to work yesterday. I’m sure Rand worked too, but Lisa has a straight up 9 to 5 job dealing with people so she won the award.

We walked through Stevens Park where I saw Tariq hanging out on a bench with some street guys. I also saw Tariq earlier in the day when I was out and about and was within a foot of him but he was too far gone and wrapped up in a conversation so I just kept on truckin’. I did ask Tariq when we were walking through the park if he would be out today and he said he would be. I came home, Bill was watching the Olympics and I just did my usual thing as Bill readied himself for bed.

Once again it was a difficult night of sleep despite staying up later than usual. It made for getting out of bed this morning a bit difficult but I managed. I got some things done and eventually I went outside into a beautiful afternoon with my guitar for some busking. I spied Tariq wandering around with someone but I just kept to myself. Eventually Tariq sauntered up alone and asked if he could play too. I couldn’t say no and we strummed together, eventually making $6.00 which I split 50/50. He kept drinking from a bottle in his pocket and kept to himself but since the money didn’t appear in the case until he showed up, it was only right to split it with him.

So that’s about it. Off to a rent control meeting at a nearby church. Hoboken renters are fighting off developers who are trying to get rid of rent control in Hoboken. A friend of my brother who lives in town has organized it and since I support it, being a renter, it would be in my best interest to attend.

near the show

062 – Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

I Love The Night

As nice as the weather was today, today was not a beach day. Tomorrow will be and Friday will be and Monday definitely will be beach days. Today was spent in Manhattan. Annemarie hardly ever makes it to New York City when she arrives, usually spent going up and down New Jersey highways and parkways between Hoboken and various points in Bergen county and then down to Sandy Hook. So today the plan was for Annemarie to come to Hoboken and then take the Path train into Manhattan. Annemarie and her husband are friends with a chap named Gary and he wanted to meet up for dinner.

The plan like I said was to park in Hoboken which is hardly ever an easy task. There are so many rules and regulations plus if you slip up it’s a $200.00 boot on the car plus the parking ticket and whatever other penalties they could throw at you. The official way to get around it is to get a parking permit. You can park on the street for four hours but anything longer than that will be a pain in the tuchis. So we discussed what we had to do about it yesterday.

I woke up with the alarm clock and was content to keep hitting the snooze button but remembered that I had to go to city hall and visit the parking authority and get a parking permit for the day. I had done it before and it was never much of a problem, usually the whole thing could be taken care of in 15 minutes. So I made some coffee, had some cereal, jumped in the shower and walked to city hall this morning. I got it together and brought a credit card bill, my passport and my voter registration card.

I got on the line in the basement of city hall, there was a window to get your boot taken off your car and two windows for permits. On the other side of the glass things move quite slowly. N front of me on the line were a couple of parents with their kids. One was fairly docile in the stroller and the other was rambunctious three year old girl. After 45 minutes I had my chance at the window. I stated what I wanted, one day pass and showed my passport, my credit card bill and the voter card.

Those things were no longer accepted I was told. What was accepted is a driver’s license (I don’t drive), a cable bill (not in my name) and a lease (which we never got 12 years ago when we moved in). The chunky chick behind the glass couldn’t understand that I did not have a license, or a lease. A US State Department document is no good, nor is a Hudson county voter registration card. I was visibly upset and asked for the 45 minutes I lost waiting on line for no reason. There were no signs stating what one might need by the way.

I walked back home, called Annemarie and told her that she should forget about the parking permit. I decided to stop by a parking garage and check the rates for an 8 hour visit and it was not as bad as one would think. That was our only option. So Annemarie picked me up and we dropped off the car and headed into Manhattan. We decided to see Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love and checked out a gallery, just one gallery. That’s all we had time for. The move was OK, not Woody’s best, not as good as Midnight in Paris. But it was the first time Annemarie and I saw a Woody Allen movie together in decades and the first time we saw one in Manhattan.

After that we wandered around trying to find a shop that had the new Mojo and Uncut magazines and we found one of Seventh Avenue South. Then we headed back to Chelsea where we met Gary and had a very nice dinner at Rocking Horse Café on Eighth Avenue. A very nice time was had, a few drinks a few beers and many laughs. Stories about the cigar shack were asked for and I certainly delivered leaving a few dropped jaws.

Gary headed back to Park Slope and Annemarie & I stepped onto the Hoboken Path train which pulled up just as we stepped onto the platform. A grand day all around for all concerned I think.

01 All the way to memphis

I Like The Way You Move- Outkast

I am pretty sure it was junior year of high school, when Sister Reginald told the class that we were there because we had to be there. Once we went to college, no one would be making us go to class. That rang a bell in my head. I am the type of person that if I don’t want to do something or go somewhere, then I won’t do it, or I won’t go there. ‘Why stay in college? Why go to night school? Gonna be different this time” was a line that floated through my head as I rode my bicycle with a tape deck in my arms. Yes I was somewhat coordinated at that point.

In between junior and senior year of high school, I had to go to summer school. I failed history which was odd since history was one of my favorite subjects. I had two friends in high school, Jim Carley and John Nesselt. Jim grew up in Harrington Park and Nesselt grew up in Glen Rock. Paramus Catholic is a regional high school so that meant I never saw them out of school. But the times we were together were genuine and fun.

Jim and I had Mr. Ward for our history teacher and Mr. Ward looked like Lou Costello from the Abbott & Costello cartoons. In between classes Jim and I would see Mr. Ward approaching and one of us would usually yell out ‘Hey Abbott!’ like they did in the cartoons. Mr. Ward eventually caught on and despite being a history teacher, was able to put 2 and 2 together, and flunked both Jim and myself meaning we would have to go to summer school. It was a drag but manageable. I don’t know what school Jim went to but I wound up going to Hackensack high school.

I would get up and get myself together and hitchhike along Essex Street, up the big hill. I almost always got a ride which dropped me off close to the school. There were a few other kids from Paramus Catholic in my class so I wasn’t a total stranger in a strange land. But these kids were the ‘bad’ kids and they didn’t know me that well and I didn’t know them that well. I did wind up in their favor by giving hem cigarettes which I had stolen from my mother. It was a bit like prison, using cigarettes to ‘buy’ protection.

After summer school I would either walk or take a bus to the HBJ warehouse and work most of the day. My parents had gone on vacation to Disney World, leaving my brother Brian and myself behind. Brian would probably not have gone to Disney World with our parents and my opportunity was taken away by Mr. Ward’s desire to teach Jim Carley and myself a lesson. I didn’t mind working through the summer and found myself really enjoying my work and my co-workers.

Nick Lattanzio and John Carroll hit it off and were constantly riffing on Odd Couple episodes, freezing me out since I was not as obsessive as they were. I wound up hanging out with people in other departments. People like Bill Wrice and Derry Pedovitch who worked in the Psych department a few feet over. They worked with Annie Carroll who was John Carroll’s sister, and they all worked for Carlos Baez who was some former junkie from the Bronx.

There was also Laszlo Papp who according to my mother used to be a nice boy, leaving the warehouse one Friday night and coming back to work on Monday with spiked hair and a swastika on his shirt. He wasn’t a Nazi, he just bought some Vivian Goldman stuff in the Village for shock value. And shocked he did. They couldn’t fire him, he was a good worker and a tough nut to crack.

I hung out with Laszlo occasionally, asking if he was going to the city over the weekend and I would give him some money to pick up some records for me if he had the chance. He usually did have the chance and on Mondays I’d meet up with him and get whatever was new and current. Soon I would be going with him on weekends and buying the records for myself.

I was enjoying work so much and also reading the textbooks that I would be shipping to college students around the country. My SAT scores were decent but I wasn’t encouraged to go to college. I wasn’t encouraged to do anything with my life. As far as I knew, financial aid would not be available to me since my parents made too much money. Not that we were rich, just thisclose to being over the cut off point.

I was “gonna be different this time”. I mean, I already was different, it’s just that no one besides me knew it at that point.

I got the mews

12 Life During Wartime

I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

I just woke up from a nap. It was supposed to be an hour long nap, and I set the Internet Alarm Clock for an hour. I got as far as a half hour, waking up from a deep sleep, apparently dreaming that the alarm clock was going off. It creates an irritating sound, two rooms away which would cause me to get out of bed and shut it off, close the window.

I guess I was dreaming about it, and the sound is like a large mechanical dog barking and it ‘barked’ about 4 or 5 times then stopped making me think Bill was home and shut it off. But he wasn’t and once I was awake, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

It was a somewhat productive day off. Laundry that was washed over the weekend was finally put away. It took a while due to time and the fact that things were dried on racks. The humidity did not help much with the drying. The usual trip to the supermarket, the quick chat with Isis and back home for breakfast.

I started to despair since about a dozen resumes went out over the past weekend and nary a nibble had occurred. I knew if I stayed indoors all day it would be too depressing so out for a walk I went.

I printed out a few resumes and decided to hit a few spots on Washington Street, even if there was no sign in the window, I talked to whoever was in and introduced myself, gave a little song and dance and dropped off the CV. Other places that did have ‘Now Hiring’ signs in their window directed me to visit their websites and go sign up there. Still, I left my CV there before heading out.

There are a few spots in town with ‘Join our Team’ signs in the window, and you visit their website and wait for nothing to happen. At least nothing happens to me. I’ve applied a few times, I don’t have any visible tattoos and am willing to stand and do whatever it takes, whatever they ask and no word is forthcoming. So I apply and reapply anyway.

A bright spot in my day was running into Lisa Rigoux Hoppe on the street. She was looking good, coming back from physical therapy and going to get a bite to eat before heading back to work. She mentioned that she’s been looking at the university website on my behalf but there really isn’t anything happening and the things that are happening are listed for the students. And that’s my competition, the students, the recent college graduates and the people who have been out of work for some time.

I don’t know what it is. The cigar shack for me personally has been getting worse and worse. A cigar dinner is planned and I have advertised it on the cigar shack blog, and I have placed other adverts online and sent out emails. My clients are uninterested or broke or what is the likely cause, my emails get sent to their spam folders since under pressure from the midlevel head cheeses I send them too many emails.

So there is that pressure to upsell everything. I have to stop treating people the way I like to be treated when I shop. I have to be more in their face, hovering around them and not sell the lower priced items but go for the big ticket items which more often than not, turns them off and after trying to sell a lighter for $1,900 they leave not caring about a $25 lighter that is available and in their price range.

I don’t care about fancy watches and I don’t look for them on people’s wrists. I can’t read people like that, I tend to look past the surface and see the person underneath the fancy trappings. My co-workers have an eye for that and I guess that’s why they tend to do better. I guess working at the late, lamented Farfetched or even Pier Platters back in the day, i.e. working for friends- does not really count as working retail.

Apparently I am ahead of the curve on cigars somehow. I prefer the larger gauge cigars and for the past two years management and co-workers have derided me on that fact. Now the premium cigar makers are coming out with larger gauge cigars. Management will grumble, but there’s the fact- I was right and they were wrong.

With regards to my co-workers, there is also the fact that they have been working retail most of their lives and are better at that, where I have been working in offices mostly and used to the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday gigs.

It’s still rough out there and I do have a job.

Road To Nowhere

I Kissed A Girl Jill Sobule

And now today was back at the cigar shack. Oddly enough, no dread, no anxiety and no pharmaceuticals. Just a general ambivalence I suppose. Bill has been phenomenal. Last night we watched Veep, starring Julia Louis Dreyfuss. Very good, very funny.

It is hard to write with Thomas standing two feet away from me, just itching to see what it is I am writing. But now he is gone and I maintain the flow. Bill went to bed after Veep and I of course stayed up watching anything but the news.

I can’t take it anymore really. So much bad stuff and that is just MSNBC and the three shows, The Ed Show, Rachel Maddow and the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Thomas has returned and is telling me how easy it is to make a pot roast. Such enthusiasm.

I watched the Colbert Report, followed by 30 Rock I think but I’m not sure. I don’t think 30 Rock holds up after repeated viewings. So waking up was no big deal, Bill was up and out at 5:30 and off to the gym with 2 hours on the treadmill. His farewell kiss to me was sweeter than ever and I of course rolled over after he split.

3 more hours for slumbering me suits me just fine. I was at the bus stop at my usual time, staying away from the other commuters as I smoked a cigar. My bus came and quickly filled up.

I saw a guy I used to work with in the cigar shack, I keep running into him from time to time, each time he is closer to the bus terminal. This morning he was right across the street from the depot. No time for chit chat, just a flashed peace sign and I was on my way.

I was listening to the English Beat. Someone uploaded the entire Dance Craze movie from the 1980’s and I have been enraptured by it. I saw it at the Eighth Street Playhouse back in the day with my dear late friend Jet Watley. Dancing in the aisles was encouraged. So I have Two Tone on my brain lately.

I got to the cigar shack on time once again and set about doing the things no one asks of me, but since no one else will do them I do them myself. It’s been fairly slow in the cigar shack so I try to find things to do since I am not one to stare at women’s breasts and asses as they stroll by the shack.

A lot of the time that means sales go to my co-workers, today they were Thomas and Jerry Vale. Jerry Vale has been doing quite well lately saleswise. Zack has been throwing sales mainly to Thomas, perhaps a show of favoritism.

I have no problem saying that since it happened quite often today, in fact one time he was giving some leads to Thomas but Thomas was going to lunch so he wound up giving them to Jerry Vale and myself, 7 leads in total. That’s the nature of the beast I reckon. And interestingly enough, my boss didn’t even ask how my excursion to the Eagle on Tuesday night went.

Exactly what team do I play for? I mean is there a team if the coach plays favorites? It’s what was written on my status report, I should be a better team player. Give me a team worth playing for and I am there.

Less than 30 minutes to go. A few guys are in the man cave watching the Rangers play someone. Stanley Cup playoffs or something like that. Lots of yelling and screaming going on. I wouldn’t mind getting away from that.

Save it For Later

I Haven’t Seen Her In Ages

It’s Friday and it’s a day off. It hasn’t been that bad, though I did have some difficulty sleeping last night and wound up sleeping an hour later than I wanted to. That’s the price of giving the alarm clock the day off I suppose. I managed to get through the day but as for being productive, that’s another story.

I guess it’s safe to say I wasn’t too productive. But I wasn’t planning on being productive anyhow so I guess it evens out somewhat. Bill stayed up for me when I came home last night and went to sleep a little while later. He’s been sleeping soundly since altering his diet. And more often than not I do too, but not last night. I did follow my own advice and got out of bed around 3:30 and surfed the net for about 15 minutes before finally getting some real sleep.

I barely remember Bill’s farewell kiss, but I do remember asking him if he was driving to Atlantic City tonight. He is, and as of right now he is on the road, or at least 15 minutes ago, he was in Union Township.

I did the usual morning shuffle today, a shower, some coffee and a trip to the supermarket where I waited on a line to have Isis as my cashier. The other register had less people but I think most people like Isis at the Hoboken A&P. Last time I saw Isis was the other day and didn’t realize that I had toothpaste on my lips until I got home.

A nice and subdued breakfast once I was back at the apartment and some more sitting in front of the computer. I’ve been getting plenty of ideas lately but have yet to put the pen to paper so to speak. After a while I went outside. It certainly wasn’t 70 degrees out like it was yesterday. I stopped by the bibliothèque on my journey, returning the DVD of Thor. It wasn’t that bad I think.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to it when it was on. Thor was a favorite superhero of mine when I was growing up. I remember playing with my friends and throwing a sledge hammer around playing Thor. Of course the sledge hammer never went far and did not hurt anyone since it was too heavy to throw any distance. It was more like throwing a hammer and then whoever picked it up would have their turn at being Thor.

Good times indeed.

We usually played Marvel comics characters rather than DC. Marvel’s superheroes were easier to imitate rather than running around with our arms outstretched saying that we were Superman. And Batman back then meant Adam West and no one wanted to be him.

My brother Brian is quite the lucky chap tonight. He won 2 tickets to see Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at the Apollo Theater tonight and he is taking his son. He’s been uploading pics and comments and they seem to be having a great time though I would be watching the show rather than commenting. Who am I kidding? I would be probably doing both just like Brian.

So it’s a quiet night in Hoboken, especially with Bill on the road. I expect I will be hearing from him once he gets to Atlantic City. I’ll be tracking him via Google Latitude while sitting in front of the computer. I’d rather he be here with me, but that’s how it goes.

I’ll see him tomorrow, probably as I am heading off to work at the cigar shack. He’ll be getting off the bus as I’ll be getting on more than likely. A fleeting kiss will be better than no kiss at all.

10 Friday

I Have Friends in Holy Spaces

Well I am home. I expected to get home later since a staph meeting was scheduled much to the dismay of Thomas and myself. I also had to go to work an hour earlier than usual which did not make me happy at all. I did sleep really well last night but that did not help with waking up in the morning. After a valiant struggle I was able to get out of bed and do my usual routine before heading out into the cold.

And it was quite cold this morning as I waited on Bloomfield Street for that 12 bus to Manhattan. Indifferent crowd on the bus an hour earlier. No one I knew so I just stared out the window, alternating with the smartphone. The cigar shack was dead yesterday and today promised to be the same only with a staph meeting being the cherry on top.

So for the first hour it was Zack and myself. Zack was ensconced on his office doing things and after a while he came out and told me that he had a lot of work on his hands and the staph meeting isn’t going to happen after all. I must have had a shit eating grin on my face as I explained to Zack that I didn’t mind about that. I told him that I understood that he is at the cigar shack all the time (except for weekends) and that I was not looking forward to getting into work at 10:30AM and not leaving until possibly 10:30PM.

Things picked up somewhat, proving that Mondays are not necessarily Sundays. Thomas came in and we clashed a few times. I do have to take a step back sometimes and realize that Thomas is only 25 and has so much more to learn about life and things. On the other end of the spectrum, Bradley and Jerry Vale were in today as well, in jeans and definitely not in a suit & tie like Thomas, Zack & myself.

They were working in the stock room cleaning things up so no need for fancy clothes. The day went along in an alright manner. I had a nice lunch at the diner, a Ma & Pa special and read the New Yorker. Back at the shack an hour later, actually a little bit earlier than an hour since Thomas was complaining about how hungry he was and how he didn’t want to have lunch at 5:00. I was about 10 minutes early so he was able to head out himself and saving me from hearing his whining about how late it was. It made a difference.

Bradley and Jerry Vale were done with their project and helped out with the unpacking of boxes. I found a nearly full box of cigars nestled in the area were we keep our empty cigar boxes. It was the second time that happened. Apparently someone has been putting boxes of cigars hidden among the empty boxes, perhaps hoping to steal them. Zack was surprised at this and I asked Bradley and Jerry Vale about it and they had no idea so that means whenever we give away our empty cigar boxes we have to make sure the boxes that get picked are truly empty.

With no staph meeting that meant I was able to leave early tonight, I was in early and Thomas was closing. Zack asked that I stay in case it gets busy but since it was not busy at all I left at around 8:45, roughly a half hour earlier than usual.

Uneventful bus ride home, and I listened to James, a band from the UK from the 1990’s that Eno produced. I never heard this particular album, Wah Wah but it’s very good.

Who cares if I am 15 years too late?

05. [Say Something]

I Guess It’s American

A Saturday in the cigar shack. Not a bad day as far as I am concerned. Thanks to a Chilean Sea Bass I’ve done quite good as did the store. There was a bit of a “to do” today. A customer bought a humidor that was marked down and asked if he could pick it up later in the week.

Bradley who had done the sale said ‘Sure, no problem’ and it wasn’t a problem since we had done this for various customers in the past. The customer came in today to pick it up and Bradley and I went crazy looking for the humidor. The customer decided to go home and would pick it up some other time.

Bradley and I kept looking but let’s face it, the cigar shack isn’t that large and one of us would have found it eventually. Thomas and Zack had been working in the cigar shack’s walk in humidor yesterday and that’s where the purchased humidor was last seen, where Bradley had left it, in a shopping bag. I suggested he call Zack and Thomas to see if they knew, perhaps they had moved it without telling anyone.

So Bradley did text them and Thomas replied that he had no idea. No word from Zack. Bradley had the idea to check the video tape and sure enough, there was Bradley placing the humidor in the walk in humidor. He checked the following days and there was a morning, Zack was the only one in the store, and it was a bit busy.

A well dressed guy walks around and goes into the humidor by himself while Zack was helping customers in the front of the shack. The well dressed guy looks around the walk in humidor and also checks to see Zack being busy with other people. The guy checks the bag, not really seeing what it was and seeing that Zack was still quite busy, picks up the bag and walks right out of the store, right under Zack’s nose.

Bradley and I couldn’t believe it. So brazen, this guy just walks in, looks around and just steals a humidor. The customer that it was sold to was understanding and the whole thing needs to be resolved on Monday, a refund or another humidor. That will be decided by Zack and the customer. I was infuriated as was Bradley and Jerry Vale.

I don’t recall seeing the well dressed guy before, but with a closer look, he could be someone that someone had seen before. Really douche bag behavior. It put a damper on the day but I do have to say that Bradley, Jerry Vale and myself were glad that it did not happen on any of our shifts.

There will be some tightening up I am sure, perhaps there will be no more ‘one guy working solo until the afternoon shift comes in’, since this did happen with Zack working solo, waiting for me to come in. I’m off tomorrow so I won’t have to deal with it until Monday.

"what's taters Precious?"

03 Shoplifters Of The World Unite

I Got It From Agnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06 On Some Faraway Beach

I Go To Extremes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Killer Queen 1

I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I)

And it’s back at the cigar shack today. Christmas Eve came as a crawl, busy enough but not many customers as previous nights. A lot of people do their shopping after work and like me, once they are out of the city it takes a lot to have them come in again, especially for shopping.

So there was a considerable drop off in numbers but nothing worth crying over. I did quite well by the way. After the cigar shack closed, Zack and Jerry Vale sat in the man cave and two former employees came in for some scotch and cigars. I thought Bill would be outside when I finished but when I called him, he was still in Hoboken so that allowed me to have a cigar and a glass of scotch with this rogue’s gallery.

I did some organizing of the photographs and put them all in decent gift bags before heading out where I met Bill waiting for me. We drove up the West Side Highway to the George Washington Bridge, both of us exchanging stories- Bill having driven to Philly and back from Atlantic City and me weary from eleven hour days.

I didn’t know it, but the ride from the cigar shack to my brother’s house was probably the highlight of the night. We got there and everything seemed to be alright but of course just below the surface there was drama. This one was upset with that one who made noises about heading back to Connecticut. And when the rest of the family showed up the stress intensified.

I seem to always forget that my brother is not who he used to be and tends to get heated quite quickly. And of course he did, berating my other brother and I for not visiting the grave of our parents and maintaining it. Yes it was bullshit and yes it was Christmas Eve. And arguing with my brothers about British rock guitarists wasn’t as much fun as it used to be. Tiresome really.

Other than that, it was good to see the nieces and nephews, I don’t see them that often. They’re good kids. Bill and I rode home listening to the Beatles Christmas Messages which we were entertained by. And once we got home we exchanged presents, Bill got me a very nice external hard drive for my computer and I got him a nice glass topped box for his cuff links as well as engraved collar stays, upon which were phrases that Bill and I say to each other every day.
He loved them and I was happy.

Now at the cigar shack, there is a little over an hour to get through, Thomas being a stand up gent once again is closing. I get to catch a train about 10 minutes earlier than I usually would. Still I will take what I could get.

Now Thomas and Jerry Vale are discussing the career of Rod Stewart. Jerry Vale keeps mentioning the Small Faces when he really means the Faces. Big (or small) difference. It’s all the same to Thomas.

I remarked that I sometimes listen to the music my parents listen to and then Thomas remarked that both Jerry Vale and I are old enough to be his parents.

Ouch! He was right.

03 Dance This Mess Around

I Feel A Change Comin’ On

I don’t know why but I just put on Christmas in Rockefeller Center, which is all about the lighting of the tree. I remember when I was growing up, it was a big deal but not that big a deal. It was usually allotted about a half hour that night and my mother used to laugh at the people in their offices behind the tree who would flick their office lights on and off when the tree was lit up.

Tonight they have everyone from Neil Diamond and Carole King to Justin Bieber and Michael Buble and Javier Colon. Back in the day they would have Peggy or Art Fleming skating in the rink, now it’s a two hour extravaganza. The Little Drummer Boy duet between Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes is heartwarming though.

Right now Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie are on introducing the acts. Calvin told me a few weeks ago that Al Roker is a dick, not the roly poly fun guy he plays on TV. He might have heard that from someone who had an encounter with Al Roker on the telly.

Today has been a day off and a nice one at that. I’ve been busy, running errands and doing laundry and now that’s mostly done. There is more cleaning to be done but not today. My love Bill had to work today and of course he gave me quite the passionate kiss when he was leaving, telling me he loved me so. I mumbled I loved him and went back to sleep.

Later when we talked on the phone, he mentioned a dream that he had where I had kissed him. That was no dream, I actually kissed him a few times when I came home and he lay sleeping. He appreciated it as did I, since we are spouses and partners in life, not merely roommates. It was a fun chat on the phone as I did the first round of errands.

Later when I was doing more errands I left my phone at home and thought about going back to get it, then decided against it and proceeded to walk around Hoboken. It was a good day for it, a little overcast, a bit on the breezy cool side and not too many people around.

Perhaps I felt a bit of the holiday spirit but it was a nice feeling walking up and down the avenue. I stopped by the Guitar Bar to say hello to Mr. Wonderful but he wasn’t in. He’s probably on tour with Ian Hunter somewhere. I also got my first Christmas card this year.

Bobby Risotto more than likely wrote them all out the day after Thanksgiving. I am obliged to send one in return. I was going to write him a letter as well so maybe I will mail the card on one day and the letter a few days later, thanking him for what he did for me as well as his encouragement with regards to my photographs.

I had a nice online discussion with some Facebook friends, friends who live right around the corner but we only see each other online. They’ve been quite supportive with regards to my photos and videos as well as links that I provide to important issues, like how Clarence Thomas should resign from the supreme court, how Rick Perry makes rocks look smart and how Michelle Bachmann is quite a know nothing twat, who has nothing but other know nothing twats following and supporting her.

That’s about all for now. Bill is home and we’re having a good time watching the lip syncing on the Rockefeller Center holiday show thing. Tomorrow is World’s AIDS day, so remember those who have fallen.

09 Everything Is Broken [Alternate V 1

I Don’t Dance

Man it certainly has been a weird day. For me to notice the weirdness it has to be really weird. It started off ‘normally’ enough with Bill kissing me good bye for the day. I told him ‘good night’ and went back to sleep for another hour.

Then I puttered about, making breakfast, showering, shaving and checking emails. Off to the bus for me, calling Bill on my smartphone. No hands free available, so it was a bit of a juggle but I managed to convey my thoughts and feelings and love to Bill’s voicemail.

Of course when leaving the message, Bill calls and I basically said what I said on the voicemail. My regular bus driver should be back from vacation next week so the commute into the city should be back to how it usually is. Plus I like being called ‘Chief’ when I board. He’s a nice guy and it makes a difference when commuting.

Got near the cigar shack and I got myself an iced coffee. I talked to Bill again before heading in. I thought I would be working with Jerry Vale and Calvin but Thomas was in today as well. A schedule change since he had jury duty earlier in the week. It was a pleasant surprise but things were a bit off kilter and I should have noticed that right from the start.

According to Thomas, it was nearly unbearable working with Bradley yesterday. I was out and so was Jerry Vale so it was personable Thomas and unsocial Bradley. Bradley could suck the life out of most any situation and he’s been more off than on lately.

It was difficult trying to start up a conversation with Thomas most of the day, he apparently was still upset with something that happened yesterday. Things got better after I went to lunch and when Thomas got back from his lunch break.

There was a bit of a palaver in the man cave today. A young student at a nearby campus hangs out for an hour or so each day, dressed like he just raided Mitt Romney’s wardrobe and he loves the sound of his own voice, weighing in on so many topics.

He just turned 21 but in many ways he’s a conservative 71. Today the topic was about the young women who were pepper sprayed by Inspector Thomas Bologna. There was a police officer in the room, off duty and in civvies who’s generally a nice guy.

The young old man stated that the women who were barricaded off should have left when the police told them to leave. I had to point out to the slicked hair young old man that they couldn’t leave since they were BARRICADED in, then pepper sprayed.

I mentioned later to Thomas that I so wanted to punch the young old man in the face and Thomas mentioned that most everyone does after a few minutes spent in the man cave with the young old man. Oh how I would love to see him get his comeuppance.

The day finally ended and it was an uneventful ride home, or at least I think it was uneventful, so enraptured with my smartphone, tracking my every move on Google Latitude. And also talking to my nephew as he watched Robert Plant and the Band of Joy at the Not Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco and wishing him a very happy birthday.

Also I am sending birthday wishes to Christina Miro, my dear friend Lovely Rita and the super smart Thaler.