Category Archives: What’s it doing outside?

I Go To Sleep Pretenders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 Johnsburg, Illinois

I Get Lonely Too Drake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time (Clock Of The Heart)

I Get A Kick Out Of You

It’s a day off today, the first of a few. I am grateful for the time off, had to arrange a few things to get the time off as well as using the rest of my vacation days. It was not so bad working at the cigar shack yesterday and it’s not so bad to have the time off either.

Of course my body clock is a bit screwed up, I just had dinner (or lunch) and it’s not even 5:30. I slept quite well last night, and slept for a long time, waking up much later than I am used to. Once again as I lay there in bed, Bill leaned over to kiss me good bye for the day as well as offering words of encouragement before he headed out to work. I merely rolled over after telling him to be careful.

Eventually I did get out of bed and made some coffee before jumping into the shower. After a cuppa I headed out to the supermarket where I wandered the aisles and ran into Clara Suarez whom I used to work with in the last century..

She was getting things together for her son’s birthday party, a sleepover. She was dreading it, having a few 7 year old boys running amok in her house on Willow Terrace. As she debated whether or not to buy the bag of bagels in the supermarket or to head to the bagel shop, I wished her a happy new year as well as luck regarding a room full of 7 year old boys.

I made my way home and thought about, my plans for the day. It being the last Tuesday of the month I considered going to the Eagle for cigar night. I had done it previously this year and saw some closeted customers of the cigar shack there and figured since I had nothing else to do, it might be a fun night out, if only for an hour or two.

When I came home I checked the weather report and saw that it promised to rain with 50 mile per hour winds to accompany the rain this evening. Now if the Eagle was closer to the subway or the Path train I might have headed in but my once open mind was made up. I would more than likely be better off staying home. Plus since the cigar smoking is on the rooftop deck, with the 50 mph winds expected the whole evening might be closed.

So it looks like I will be staying home. It’s fine with me, plus I’ve been watching old movies on Turner Classics today, starting with Casablanca, I just finished Witness for the Prosecution. It turned out I had seen the last 15 minutes of Witness for the Prosecution in the 1980’s and I did forget about it, but I did remember how an announcer said to not reveal the ending for anyone lest the ending is spoiled. So now Touch of Evil is on, a movie I tried watching years ago but could not get into it.

The storm rages, the wind is hitting the windows and I am pretty cozy and comfy having just eaten my specialty dish, pasta, pesto and chicken. Bill is on his way home I think so tonight we will probably watch some more movies. I am not sure if he had ever seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but it is the 8:00 movie on TCM.

There are a few movies I also have on DVD, one of them I watched the other night, The Music Never Stopped. A decent movie if not flawed. Its heart was in the right place but it couldn’t help but be a second rate movie all around. It did remind me of how sometimes stroke victims or people with brain ailments respond to music, and of course it was inspired by Oliver Sacks who is one of my favorite authors/doctors.

19 Blue Red and Gray

I Don’t Want To Change The World

Well today has been somewhat productive and even better, sociable. Having off today afforded me some more relaxation time. That’s what I’d call it since I basically woke up at the same time as when I have to go to work. So I got out of bed and made some coffee. A trip to the supermarket was once again in order since after this pot of coffee there was no more coffee to be had.

So after a couple of cups I headed out, with the shopping bag filled with shirts and trousers to be cleaned. I walked by Mr. L’s, my barber and did not see anyone in Tony’s chair. Once I stepped in I saw that Tony wasn’t their either. His son Nick told me that Tony was at the market getting milk for the coffee. I set down the canvas bag and told Nick I would be right back, and went out to vote.

The precinct is only a few doors down and I was in and out in less than five minutes. When I got back to Mr. L’s, Tony was back and waiting for me, even though by this time there were two other guys waiting for a haircut. Maybe they were waiting for Nick and didn’t care much for Tony’s methods, but in any event I walked over to Tony, shook his hand and sat in his chair.

He asked how the cigar business was, telling me that he had gone to a wedding with his wife and at the reception there was a man rolling cigars. I like Tony’s work, he goes so far as to trim nose hair, eye brows and ear hair, and takes extraordinary measures to get as much white hair out of my goatee, so I don’t wind up barba blanca.

Then it was off to Cary’s Dry Cleaners where I dropped off my shirts as well as Bill’s stuff. Then a trip to the supermarket which was not very crowded but I felt like either I was stalking or being stalked. I would go to an aisle and there would be the same woman each and everytime, eyeballing me.

Perhaps I was being cruised but as usual I had no clue. Came home and texted with Mike Cecchini who lives up the block. I saw him on Sunday at Maxwells and told him then I had a few CD’s from Mojo and Uncut to lend him. He was coming over as I started the laundry so I gather 33 CD’s and put them in a bag and walked them down to the street.

The apartment was a bit of a mess to have him come up and it was a beautiful day outside anyhow. I never even opened some of the CD’s and told him he could hang onto them for as long as he’d like. I did upload some of them but the majority of them have been unheard by me, and it’s mainly since I was not so interested in the genre, be it Heavy Metal or the dreaded Americana. Metal I am almost always ambivalent about and Americana is best served in small doses.

I was out and about in the afternoon and enjoying a cigar as I walked up Washington Street I ran into the always wonderful Thaler Pekar, a very smart and brilliant woman. And despite her saying that she was feeling so tired, she looked great. Her husband Tom is a lucky guy and I’m sure he knows it. He’s a nice guy too. Maxwells people keep popping up.

She was off to the Farmer’s Market which I believe is it’s last day today for the year and I was heading back home. So that’s about it, been a nice day, saw friends, did laundry and now Bill is home too so it’s all good.

Rest in Peace Joe Frazier and Heavy D.

Bobbi Martin – For the Love of Him – 1970

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

Well it is snowing out right now. Some places have power out, most mass transit is a mess. Bill was stuck on a D train for over an hour making him late for the penultimate show that his is stage managing. I sure Bill was at wit’s end while on the train. Most trains between 59th street and 125th street have been messed up thanks to the rain and now the snow. I just hope he gets home alright.

It’s been a long wet day. It started out once again with me reluctantly getting out of bed. Bill was still fast asleep as I shuffled around, making coffee, pouring cereal and headed for the shower. A steady rain fell outside but it didn’t seem that bad. As I was getting myself ready, Bill awoke and gave me a good morning kiss.

I headed out, down the stairs and could hear the rain falling hard on the hallway skylight. Bill poked his head out and wished me a good day. I did the same as I took his picture and proceeded down the four flights.

On the street it was pouring out and out came the umbrella. A walk up to Washington Street and a short wait for the bus with other damp people. Despite the rain I still wanted my egg sandwich so I walked up the avenue to my usual spot. After getting the egg sandwich I continued up the avenue listening to Hot Chip.

Juan turned me on to Hot Chip a few years ago and today I found out that he may be in town next week for his birthday. It would be nice to see him again. At the cigar shack it was Thomas and Jerry Vale and it was good. Since it was so slushy out, I opted to stay in at lunch time though I did step out for the usual phone call to my sister. Things are alright on the left coast and I headed into the shack and smoked a cigar in the man cave.

The afternoon was not so busy and though I am not too keen on selling pens, I sold two pens which brought my sales up higher than Thomas and Jerry Vale into four figures. And as the day turned into night, the snow kept falling, sidewalks getting slippery.

Less customers coming in, leaving Thomas and Jerry Vale and myself to chat with a really nice customer who is a favorite among most of the staff. The customer eventually went home as did Thomas about an hour later. Jerry Vale and I spent the rest of the time cleaning up the store and getting things ready for tomorrow’s shift. I won’t be a part of that shift having tomorrow off but still things had to be done as well as set up.

Then it was Jerry vale’s turn to leave, and I was alone in the cigar shack making sure the money was counted and put away. A long wait for the subway downtown made me miss the earlier bus but it was no problem really.

A 20 minute wait and soon we were hurtling through the Lincoln Tunnel. I wasn’t sure if there would be power at home since I checked some Facebook status of friends and family and it seemed that they were in the dark due to downed power lines. As luck would have it, I was OK, the power was on in Hoboken, no downed trees.

Now I am waiting for Bill to walk through the door and into my arms. Happy to be home and happy to be off tomorrow.

05 That’s Love, That It Is

I Don’t Wanna Fight

Standing on the corner of the road to no regret. That is the download from last night. I just played it here at the shack. Thomas remarked again that Green Gartside sounded like Elliott Smith. I am not that familiar with the late Elliott Smith, not much beyond what Juan put on CD’s and whatever might have popped up on the Mojo/Uncut CD’s.

Elliott Smith does seem to be a go to for Thomas and probably Juan too. I guess it might be a twenty something thing. I will take Scritti Politti any day. Seeing Scritti Politti a few years ago at the Bowery ballroom with Lesley Robertson and Adam Ames was definitely a high point on my concert going days.

Also one of the last major concerts in the past few years. 5 years ago actually and having just written that I wonder where the time went. Don’t know what happened to Lesley Robertson and I do come across Adam Ames ever so often on Facebook. I know Adam is not at Wolff Olins anymore but I am not sure if Lesley is still there. But that’s not my concern anymore.

I am at the cigar shack. Today is miles ahead of yesterday. That’s probably because of Thomas’ return. Zack was invisible mostly and Frank Burns taking a spill on the floor was definitely funny. Zack did make an appearance for that and laughed louder than anyone and the red face on Frank Burns made everyone else laugh almost as loud and as hard as Zack.

Though mostly invisible Zack was actually kind today. Apparently the event last night was a success which more than likely added to his bonhomie. And his double breasted suit fit him exceptionally well today.

It was not that bad a day like I said, and for lunch I took a train to midtown and walked back to the shack, just to have something to do. And it was a good day for it. Tomorrow is a day off and a Nor’easter is expected. So I expect to be housebound. Perhaps a trip to the bibliotheque is in order, get some DVD’s and watch them.

I’ve been enamored of the Harry Potter movies lately. I saw the first one in the theater with Annemarie and Rex and Earl who was probably about the same age as Daniel Radcliffe and company. I saw the movies here and there since then, but it was the last two in the series, the Deathly Hallows which really did my head in.

So good, the both of them. Luckily the first part is constantly on cable lately so I’ve been catching bits and pieces of that. Zack lent me a bootleg DVD of part 2, a not bad copy, Danish subtitles. So that’s been fun, and I’ve been able to brush up on my Danish. I guess Zack is not such a bad dude any how.

Thomas is being a douche bag, yet an agreeable douche bag so that is not so bad after all. And now I am home. Ran into Chaz on the street and it was good to see him. As much catching up that could be done in 15 minutes was had, then he was off to Benny’s and I was headed home to the loving arms of Bill waiting for me at the door sans rolling pin and curlers.

10 Baby You’re A Rich Man

I Don’t Love You My Chemical Romance

A better mousetrap. Can it be had? I don’t know, for some reason that line just popped into my head. At the shack. Zack and the Yanquis phan are smoking and drinking and getting merry like Christmas. Frank Burns has left the cigar shack leaving Thomas and myself to man the controls.

The Swiss cheese schedule continues, off yesterday, on today, off tomorrow. Then two days on and one day off. Yes the mantra goes on, threadbare but a mantra nonetheless.

I neglected to write the other day but I think I saw the badly drawn former friend the other day. It must have been her since I can’t think of anyone who would give out that vibe. I don’t think she saw me, maybe she did. It was brief and momentary and now it’s gone much like our friendship. No skelton bleeding here thank you very much.

It’s been quite a rainy and blustery day here. Been raining all day, one of those days when an umbrella just won’t do you any good. A lot of umbrellas have been turned inside out and sprout forth from garbage cans.

I did have the luck of having Bill swing by the cigar shack to pick up his keys which he left at home. Normally I would drop them off by his office but since today seemed to be monsoon day Bill did not want me to brave the elements so he stopped by the cigar shack after an appointment. It’s always good to have his sunshine come inn on a gray and windy day as today.

So now it is Thomas and myself manning the boards. Not much foot traffic now, especially after 7:00. It’s OK though. Brian nabbed top sales today and I am in second place. Frank Burns is in third place.

I had some really nice customers in today. Connections made, cards exchanged and cigars sold. As well as some nice pens to a bloke from old Blighty, heading back across the pond tonight. He comes back every month and so since he now has my card, he might swing by again and ask for yours truly. Or not. Of course it’s up to him.

25 minutes to go which is quite nice. I will be closing tonight which should get me home closer to 10:00. Bill will be fast asleep, he was so tired when he stopped by. He asked that I wake him up when I come home but there really is no need. A kiss will do. And I’m sure he will be OK with that.

Today is also my oldest brother’s birthday, turning the big 6-Oh. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone while I was on lunch and it was a good talk. I love my oldest brother, we’ve been through a lot. We were really close at one point, then things gradually disintegrated a bit.

Not because of anything in particular, mainly because the chemistry changed. We grew in separate directions and on occasion when we see each other the first 5 minutes are fraught with tension. We’re very much alike in many ways. All water under the bridge now, until the water rises again.

19 minutes to, Zack and the Yanquis phan still smoking and drinking, Thomas and I doing nothing in particular.

Now I am home, Bill fast asleep. I left Zack and the Yanquis Phan in the man cave, drinking and smoking and laughing quite a bit. It’s odd, but I guess understandable. Much like the grizzled old veterans at the VFW when I was growing up, the bar was the refuge from wives and children.

Nowadays I suppose the man cave at the cigar shack is a way to escape the family units. It’s funny, I usually can’t wait to get home to see Bill. I guess it’s not that way for everyone, some people would rather spend time away from family rather than go home to the ones they love.

In the words of that sage Juan- ‘Whatevs.’

adore a door

I Don’t Care Angie Stone

Another Monday. Another opening, another store. Well not really another opening, that was Bradley’s job today, and the store is the same as it ever was. It’s been quite muggy here, high hummus all around.

Yesterday was a day off, and I went to the art and music festival on Washington Street a few times, each time with a fresh undershirt since I was generally drenched. 3 or 4 undershirts were worn yesterday.

I agreed to help Ahndi at Hoboken Daily News and take some photographs. His son just got married in India and since he was unable to attend he figured a nice picture of himself in a suit and tie would suffice.

We talked about doing the pictures at 1:00 and of course I got there on time. But Ahndi wasn’t ready and asked me to come back at 2:00. So I went back at 2:15 and he had a helper in the store, plus 2 policemen.

I convinced Ahndi that it wouldn’t take too long and when things quieted down I took about 6 photos of him. Then I wandered around the festival for a while before heading home with a sweaty undershirt.

Got in contact with Rand & Lisa when I came home, they were out and about. So after a little while I headed back out but couldn’t find Rand or Lisa. I stopped by the Guitar Bar but no Mr. Wonderful either. I did see Alice, whom I walked with last week but she was going in the opposite direction.

After a phone call with my sister I headed back home again. Had a nice lunch and after emailing and whatnot set my alarm clock for an hour for a nap but only managed about 15 minutes which turned out to be enough. Then I decided to go out yet again.

A text from Rand saying they ran into the city to run an errand. Thought they would be back but there was no response to my texts. Maybe there was a response but my cellphone seems to be on it’s last bars so if they replied I might not have gotten it. I didn’t see anyone I knew, so maybe they saw me first.

I but the guy with the drinking problem might have burned so many bridges that he wisely stayed away. I went home again after sitting by the river and smoking a cigar and getting sweaty all over again. Bill came home a little while after I did and we watched some TV, Boardwalk Empire which really started things off with a bang and then we watched Pan Am which we both liked somewhat.

Off to bed for Bill after that, I soon followed. I think I slept really well but Bill said that I was jumpy which I don’t remember being. I dreaded going to work today, me like all the other people dreading Monday but it wasn’t so bad after all. Bradley was taking a class in checking identification which I took twice already, Thomas and me manning the fort and Calvin at an off site meeting regarding organ donations. He has a Farfisa he wants to donate, they’re only looking for Hammond B3’s. Such is life.

Looking forward to going home. Bill’s play ‘Destinations’ is doing the last performance tonight since the last shows originally scheduled for the end of August were cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Irene. Give the troupe some closure, it was a good show, a good run and they deserve it.

Things were going well mostly today at the cigar shack. Thomas and I did alright, Thomas knocked it out of the box actually. With a half hour to go I went in the back to have a seat for a minute. Just about then Thomas gives a yell for some assistance, apparently his register was crashing, might be under attack from a virus.

He was looking at wedding bands online when it all went pear shaped. Tomorrow I expect that the excrement will be in the HVAC system. Both Thomas and Bradley are out so I guess I’ll be the one. Not looking forward to it. But it will more than likely give me something to write about.

I Decided

Well what seemed like a promising day once again turned crappy and I am not even talking about the weather. The day started off awkwardly for me, Bill leaving early enough and me in that limbo, between staying relatively asleep and getting out of bed. All I had to do was wait for the alarm clock. But it didn’t go off.

It should have, I thought I had set the ‘proper’ time before I went to sleep last night, but what I had actually done was move the alarm time from AM to PM. Oddly enough, I had a feeling that is what happened and got out of bed at the time the alarm should have gone off.

Of course I owe it to Bill for the wake up goodbye kiss, for if that never happened I might still be asleep 12 hours later. And it was raining a bit this morning. Nothing too bad, just glad that we don’t live in Paterson or Lodi even. Those spots are still somewhat flooded (Paterson at least) and it is supposed to rain until Friday maybe.

I made it to the bus stop with the umbrella alternately opened and closed. That’s how it was. I enjoyed a little cigar as I waited on got on the bus without any problem. Unfortunately there was traffic outside of the Lincoln Tunnel which in turn set me back a few minutes more than I would have liked.

Still it wasn’t too bad, I was only about 5 minutes late getting in. And it was a full time team today, Calvin, Bradley, Thomas and myself. Things were alright though the need to have a staff like that on was a bit weird. I suppose we kept getting in each other’s way and eventually got on each other’s nerves as well.

It was raining out so my usual routine of going out and sitting on a bench and reading was out of the question. I was able to get the latest issue of Mojo magazine, with Pink Floyd on the cover and decided on sitting in the man cave for my lunch hour. I was trying not to do that since there was a customer that I used to get along with, but fell out of favor with me when he came in lisping and mincing about like a gay stereotype from the 1970’s.

Then I figured why would I allow such a troll like person to have a say in where and how I enjoy my lunch. After all I had Mojo magazine and could just as well bury my head in that. Prior to heading out, but after I signed out, a customer came in and wanted some cigars. Since no one else was on the floor, I helped the gent and got his cigars.

When I started to ring him up, Thomas and Bradley appeared and took over. With an ‘Hasta Luego’ from me to the customer, I headed out. A while after I had lunch and was back to work, I heard that the customer that I initially helped on my own time (not on the clock) had tipped Thomas $10.00.

I never get tips and was surprised to hear it. Bradley and Calvin were egging me on to say something when Thomas went off to buy some snacks. I was reluctant at first and then decided to have a little fun when Thomas returned.

Apparently I went too far and Thomas felt I impugned his honor, which was not my intention. That was the start of the slippery slope this afternoon and I haven’t even touched the bottom of the mountain. Yet.

I was able to have a good talk with Thomas, and cleared the air.I like working with Thomas and we have a good rapport. I was trying to be ‘one of the guys’ with Calvin and Bradley egging me on. Thomas was offended by what I said, though it was in jest. Let’s face it, I have never been nor will I ever be, ‘one of the guys’.

I have to admit a certain bemusement with schmuck master_76 and lazy teat Greg still reading this here blog almost every day. Masochists I guess.

I Confess #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Confess #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love)

Well Lee Goldberg, ace meteorologist for channel 7 here in the New York City area was just in the cigar shack and told me that the highest temperature today was 104 degrees. I remarked earlier in the day as we watched the temperatures climb that being outside was like walking though hummus wearing a wet fur coat.

When the wind would blow it felt like exhaust fumes from a diesel engine. They said it would be the worst today but tomorrow won’t be much better, probably hitting around 99 degrees. I’m sure it will make a difference but it more than likely won’t be felt by me. Walking to the bus stop this morning in the sun was like feeling like I was being fried.

Not enough shade at 10:00. In the cigar shack it was alright, working with Thomas and Bradley. A good team, a few laughs were had. The only terse words were between Thomas and Bradley who were snippy about a chair. Bradley wanted to eat lunch, Thomas needed to make phone calls. It was settled in a minute but it was tense nonetheless.

Just hanging out for the next 20 minutes. Not much going on in a mall when it’s 99 degrees outside. According to the New York Times website it is now 97 degrees. Last night Hoboken had the first night of the St Ann’s feast. I went once or twice a number of years ago, now you would have to pay to find me there. Not my scene and after dealing with people all day the last thing I would want to do is hang out on the street on a hot summer night with hundreds of thousands of strangers, no matter how hot or sexy they may be.

The mall is practically on life support at this late hour. Just stragglers walking around escaping the heat and walking amidst the air conditioning. I have just gotten home. It’s still hot outside, still like walking through hummus. The subway was not crowded at all, and the bus terminal was not as crowded as it usually is.

I almost waited for the 9:42 Willow Avenue bus but saw an earlier bus pulling up and opted to jump on that. It got me home about 10 minutes earlier, no one was waiting for the 9:42 bus. Bill is home, he turned on the air conditioning which is nice in the bedroom, the rest of the apartment is just warm air being pushed around by ceiling fans.

When you walk into my building, the first floor is so cool due to being so close to the basement. As you climb the four flights of stairs it gets hotter and hotter, ultimately stifling when you reach the fifth floor. Despite the windows being open there is no breeze wafting through. Just 2 more days of work, and it being a weekend, and casual dress is the norm it will feel a little more comfortable.

Tomorrow’s guest stars are Thomas and Jerry Vale. Who knows what Jerry Vale will be like. Bradley suggested keeping him in the humidor mostly, since that is what he was hired for initially. He will probably think it is my machinations that will put him there, but as I just wrote it was Bradley’s idea.

Have to get it all ship shape for when Calvin returns on Monday. I’ll be out on Monday and do not want to hear any complaints when I return on Tuesday. I’m sure I will hear something about it. I do have to remember to tell him about Martini Basher’s return. I’ll write about it on Tuesday, I’m sure.

Hello to Rusty!

Thomas und Bradley




I Can’t

It’s been a very nice day off today. I slept really well finally. Still it would have been nice to have been off on a Saturday or Sunday (or maybe a weekend) like most people but I suppose it’s a tradeoff. I have five days off coming up and I am looking forward to them.

My sister will be in town and my nephew Earl might also be around. There will be time spent away from Manhattan, away from Hoboken which is something to anticipate. I just have to get through Thursday and Friday and it should be fine.

I spent a lot of time indoors today, throwing things out. Newspapers and other things, and lots of shredding was done. Still there is more to shred but I paced myself in the 90 degree heat. I found out yesterday that my former roommate William is in the hospital with a collapsed lung as well as fluid. I hope to pay him a visit if he is still in the hospital.

There is still some affection for him after 11 years of living together. It wasn’t all a bed of roses and we did have major fights, with the underlying theme of one trying to get the other out. I left voluntarily after finding an apartment thanks to Julio and moved back to Hoboken, specifically Julio’s now former building.

I found the Weehawken abode through William’s brother Charlie, whom I write about here as Chaz. Chaz saw the apartment on Jane Street via Blankie Blank. I knew Blankie Blank from Maxwells, one time even giving her a ride home when I still lived in Lodi.

The apartment was something of a fixer upper and that was too much for Chaz and his wife. He knew I was living in a crappy situation in Lodi and mentioned it to me. Chaz suggested that I check it out and maybe think of having William as my roommate since he was due back from Mexico and had no real place to stay.

One night I ran into William who had just gotten back from south of the border just that minute and told him about it. He was interested and I made the arrangement to check it out. We liked what we saw and that night made a deal with Blankie Blanks mother & father.

They lived on the second floor of the joined building in 129. William and I were taking the second floor on 127 with Blankie Blank and her brother Toatly living underneath our floorboards. There were ups and downs in the 11 years.

A major event occurred when William’s then girlfriend Monica believed William when he told her he was going to kick me out. Monica and I went head to head and William hid in his part of the apartment. Needless to say Monica never set foot in the apartment again, as far as I knew.

I’m sure I was no saint either and that William has his tales about me.

I’d be disappointed if he didn’t.

I Can Feel A Hot One

A day off and it’s been somewhat busy. After shaking off the strange dream of me trying to kill Rosemary’s Baby I got out of bed and started my day. I woke up with I Can See For Miles by the Who in my head.

A shower, a shave, some breakfast and coffee and soon I was off to the bibliothèque to find out what the hell is going on with my library card. I dropped off some CD’s last week and they were still on my card and in danger of being late. Bob Dylan’s Witmark Demos (Volume 9 of the Bootleg Series), The Scissor Sisters Night Work, the Jimi Hendrix Experience- Are You Experienced and the motion picture soundtrack of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The quite helpful librarian took a look and saw they were back in stock and dutifully removed them from my online library card. I love my bibliothèque.

From there it was off to the supermarket to buy groceries. Then it was home for a spell, did some cooking for tonight as well as for the week and also made some tuna salad for lunch for when I go back to work tomorrow and the days following.

Right now it looks like a major storm is approaching from the west. Yesterday, one of the bright spots in the day of staring into the abyss was seeing a hawk flying above the border of Hoboken and Weehawken, above the area called the Shades, in the shadow of Troy Tower. It took a few seconds to recognize it as a hawk and not merely a sea gull and yes it was majestic to watch. It was the high point of my day. I neglected to write about it and wish I had a taken a photograph of it.

And now it is raining.

I was also thinking about my education today and why I didn’t continue onto college. Would things have turned out differently? Probably. I had 13 years from kindergarten to senior year of high school which was mainly spent trying not to fail and get a passing grade.

I remember in junior year of high school, Sister Reginald telling the class that we were there because we had to be, but when we continued onto college there would be no one forcing us to go to class. Me being the type of person to not do something that he doesn’t want to do, had an epiphany and realized that it would be a waste of money since I loathed education and more than likely would be skipping classes.

For some reason I also remember a classmate, Don Francis being made to stand out in the hallway for something that he had done and slowly unzipping his zipper with a smile on his face while staring at me in class as he looked through the door. Don Francis left my school that year and I never saw him again though perhaps if he told me to go to college with him I might have, even though I believe he was straight.

So from Mrs. Burson to Mrs. Talamini to Sister Carla to Sister Reginald I did not enjoy school, going through it with much difficulty and when I graduated high school it made more sense to go from part time to full time working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich where I worked in the college department and read a lot of the books on my own time that my classmates were paying hundreds of dollars to own.

Who knows, perhaps they bought the books I had already read. In any event, I don’t have any regrets about not continuing my education and with the employment situation today and knowing a few college and university graduates who are currently out of work it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference anyway.

And still I delete hundred, perhaps thousands of spam subscribers to this here blog. It’s an ongoing process and if I don’t stay on top of it, it turns into several pages of names and email addresses to be deleted. I don’t know what will happen if I do not delete, but I am more comfortable with the three subscribers that I have.

So thank you Rand, HarbCard and Denali Kid for subscribing. And I guess some recognition should also go to lazy teat Greg who reads this blog every day. Well scratch Denali Kid off the list. Just sent an email and it came back as undeliverable.

I Can Be

Well I just got home and there is no internet access and I seem to be fine with it. Bill is rebooting the airport so I guess we shall see in a few minutes. He’s back from rebooting but still I have no access. It makes perfect sense for the type of day that I’ve had today. Sometimes you’re in on the cosmic joke, sometimes the cosmic joke is on you. Today the joke is on me. So whether tonight’s entry gets posted tonight, it’s up in the air. I’m sure you will be overly concerned about all of this.

I was awoken this morning around 5:00 to the sound of tremendous thunder which seemed to be right above the apartment building. That was followed by a violent rainstorm. I got out of bed and closed all the windows. Then I went back to sleep. Bill had taken a day off since he had a call back for an audition. I eventually got out of bed while Bill still slept and got my ass in gear. Eventually he had gotten out of bed in time to see me heading off to work. It was a little bit overcast when I went out.

I made my way to the bus stop, 2 buses went by before I got on the 3rd bus. I chatted with Mr. Castro, my old partner in powdered crimes from years back. He’s keeping his nose clean as am I. He’s looking for work as a handyman. Things are tight for him as well. He shows up looking for work and to let people know that he’s still alive and looking for work. Since there was no work for Mr. Castro to be found, he hopped on a bus and was planning on going back to sleep.

I rode the bus into the city and wished the bus driver a good weekend as I disembarked. A subway ride to the cigar shack was uneventful and I headed in a little bit early. It was expected to be a busy day since its Father’s Day weekend. And it certainly was. On board today were Thomas and Bradley and myself. Within the first hour, Thomas sold a humidor which cost about $3,000.00. A nice way to start off the day, he left Bradley and myself in the dust. We eventually all got on the board with 4 figures a piece but Thomas was still ahead of us.

I saw my former co-worker from the cigar shack, Sean. He’s looking for a new job and put me down as a reference. I told him I’d be more than happy to help. Apparently he told the new prospective employer that I was high up in the management roster and his direct supervisor. I can only guess that all I have to do is tell a tale about what a stellar employee that Sean used to be and how we regret not having him around. I am more than happy to help.

A few calls came in from people asking about Marcus. At one point I answered the phone and looked at the floor when I saw a few bloodstains on the carpet from Marcus’ box cutter meets ankle incident yesterday. A bit stomach churning but easily cleaned up and forgotten after. Calvin was out today much to the chagrin of the landlord who stopped by the cigar shack today in a 3 piece suit and a bone through his nose. I’ve met him once before and he does seem a bit standoffish. He did stop by to offer his congratulations to Calvin. I suppose it was a good thing that Calvin wasn’t in since Calvin said in no uncertain terms that he absolutely despises the landlord.

And for some reason, my Word Press account is being inundated with subscribers which are basically false and spam. Last night there were over 100 new subscribers on top of the usual 5 subscribers that I have. Denali, Harpy, Rand and myself twice as John Ozed and Admin. It could be that I need to update to the latest version of Word Press and that’s something that rand usually takes care of. Hopefully if he updates it, it should work and I won’t have bogus subscribers from Russia and other Eastern European countries.

Bill is currently on the phone with the cable company, doing whatever it is that they are telling him to do. So it’s still up in the air (or on the ground) on whether or not we will have internet access. It’s a rather Bala Cynwyd type of situation I guess.

So now we are back online, or are we? It’s sometimes hard to tell.

Blurry Bill seeing me off

I Believe In Father Christmas

Just had a nap where I was in the southern part of Lodi, waiting to get a Frappuccino at Starbucks. A cover version of What’s My Name by the Clash played as I found myself trying to find where the Starbucks was that I left to escort a young woman from the coffee shop.

It was a rust belt version of Lodi, old machines decomposing in the deserted industrial areas. It should have been easy to find since it was across the street from Immaculate Conception high school. Inside it was dismal, with a few people milling about waiting for their beverages.

My server was actually someone who used to work at a pub in Saddle Brook called Gleason’s. I was doing some leaping and running as well as scaling down some iron walls designed like steppes while trying to get back to the Starbucks.

My knee was no trouble at all in the dream. Lots of running and jumping but still no Frappuccino.

I guess the Frappuccino was in my subconscious after getting an email from the corporation telling me I could get a free download of summer songs if I just go into the Starbucks. Although I wound up in Lodi in the dream I believe the Starbucks was actually in the vicinity of the cigar shack. There is no escaping the cigar shack.

A nap when the weather is close to 100 degrees outside is very nice. A fan blowing on my half dressed body as I lay on top of the bed was quite nice. I didn’t sleep too well last night and that helped with the nap. A Xanax that I took earlier in the day certainly helped quite a bit.

The Xanax came in handy when I made a phone call to someone. It was a day off and I tried calling them twice in the past week, left voice mails both time. This person usually calls me up and is generally upset that I never call.

Of course I never take into consideration that they have a phone that cannot dial out, they can only receive calls for some reason.

A few weeks previous this person contacted me about going to see a benefit show at Maxwells on June 29. I explained that it’s Bill’s birthday that day and depending on my work schedule I wasn’t sure at the time whether or not I would be able to make it.

It turns out that I was able to request that day and the next day off, not actually days off but when Calvin does the schedule I would like to be able to be off and make up those days off later in that week or around that time.

Well the person on the phone seemed harried as I walked around outside in the record high temperatures answering his questions concisely. He asked if I was upset about something, remarking that it sounded like I was angry with him. I explained that I wasn’t angry or upset, far from it, thanks to the Xanax.

Well it turns out that I wasn’t able to buy the tickets locally in Hoboken, that I would have to make the purchase online when I got home. That was no problem.

But what actually did upset me was the fact that me and the guy at the other end of the phone were once quite close and I do make an effort to rebuild what past we may have had, but sometimes it gets so hard to do so.

It’s not always like this but on occasion there is such a chemical reaction between the two of us that it almost always ends badly. And today was just like that.

Farewell to Harbor House, the Hoboken rehab center. Must've been some party...

I Am Your Man

I should actually get started sooner rather than later. Since I did not sleep as well as I would have liked I am not so sure if I would be able to write when I get home. So why not now? Last night, well I had a new cigar from La Flor Dominicana and it was good and it was incredibly strong.

Strong enough that I think that was why I wasn’t able to sleep. And the fact that Bill wasn’t asleep in bed next to me. Probably more related to Bill. I never sleep well when he is not around. So today was more like a hang over day though I did not have a drop.

Went to bed at 12:30. Slept quickly, woke up at 1:30. Got out of bed, went online. Felt tired enough to try sleeping again. At 2:30 I took a melatonin and tossed and turned until something resembling sleep happened.

Then at 4:30 I was up again. Finally was able to fall asleep if only for a few hours, but it surely was not enough. 8:30 came and I was hitting the snooze button. A little before 9:00 I was out of bed, shuffling along to the shower, made coffee and had a bowl of cereal.

Bill made it home, just as tired as I was, but he had worked the previous hours, driving a bus. All I did was try to sleep. I made it to the bus stop and could barely tolerate the crowd. Weekend riders are the worst. Just pandemonium and lots of little kids with helicopter parents indulging their every whim.

I expect more of the same when I head home soon, only with less kids. I could not get any breakfast this morning. Since it was nice and sunny out, everyone was out, tons of tourists, everywhere I went there were lines out the door. I settled for the shortest line and got an iced coffee and a muffin.

I got to the cigar shack where the great Thomas was working as well as the brain dead Bradley. And of course once I write how easy it is to ignore the brain dead one, the next time isn’t. I’m not a violent person but I could easily see getting violent with regards to him. He just seems to invite such feelings. I do my very best to submerge these violent feelings.

Now I am home, still quite tired. Bill was here that’s for sure. Things plugged in that weren’t plugged in before. Items that are almost always in the same spot are now in a different place. I make a sandwich, bread gets toasted and stuck in toaster. I smack the toaster. What? I am tried. This is why we can’t have nice things my mind tells me.

2 more days of work lay ahead of me. Tomorrow just me and Calvin manning the board, Monday a repeat of today with the brain dead Bradley and Thomas. I try to reassure myself I can get through it.

I just found out there is a birthday party for Alexander tomorrow. Stine sent the email to an old Yahoo address of mine. I don’t use Yahoo. If I had known I would have tried to make it but now it’s too late. It would have been nice. A party at the park underneath the George Washington Bridge by the Palisades. I could have used a good time.

Instead I will be in the cigar shack, all day since it’s just me and Calvin and there is no leaving for a lunch hour. Get food, bring it back, that’s the routine. It’s a short day though, only 8 hours.

I think it's a trap

here comes the storm. again.

I Am Thinking Of My Pickanniny Days

Oh how to start, where to start. I keep expecting to see Hyman when I turn the corner at the bus terminal. I expect that to go on for a few more days. Today was a long day, a double shift. Calvin asked me a few weeks ago and I agreed to it.

Couldn’t really say no. I didn’t mind really. I was going to be working with Thomas and he’s actually a pleasure to work with. Getting there was the problem. Actually waking up was the problem. Alarm clock set, took melatonin last night so that was a good night’s sleep.

Had a dream where I was frantic because my iPod lost its power. Oddly enough I did not plug it in last night and I wanted to delete a track from a playlist I created, don’t really need to hear Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love in the middle of May. I did delete the track, before heading out into day three of the rainstorm.

Before that I did get a phone call from Bill asking me if his keys were on top of the stove. They were and I put them in my bag and headed down the stair when I realized I did not put my knee brace on. Quickly put it on and headed down the stairs into the aforementioned rainstorm. It was crowded on the bus, filled up quickly. And there was traffic heading into the tunnel.

I texted Bill as we approached the tunnel so he could meet me at the bus terminal. His office is only a bloc or two away so it was no problem for him. The helix outside the tunnel was closed and all the NJ bound traffic was being diverted.

I made it to the terminal and saw Bill who walked me to the subway, letting me use his unlimited Metrocard to pass through the turnstiles. A quick kiss and I was on my way and Bill on his. Luckily, since it was still rush hour there was a train pulling in almost immediately.

Made it to the cigar shack with time to spare to get an egg sandwich and some coffee. I made it in, turned off the alarm. Luckily since I closed last night I knew everything was going to be in order giving me time to enjoy the sandwich and drink some coffee.

I was going to be alone for 2 hours and so I needed to take care of a few things before things really started to happen. A few calls for Marcus and for Calvin, both of whom were unavailable for the day. A couple of customers came in, asking about pens of all things and found the pens I showed them either not up to snuff or merely too expensive.

Thomas eventually showed up and he was great. A lot of fun to work with, while still maintaining an air of professionalism. Many laughs were had and he really helps bring out the best in me. The day didn’t fly by as expected and Thomas kept things competitive always trying to one up on sales which made things interesting.

He maintained the lead in sales throughout most of the day, I jumped ahead when I took a call when there was an order from a cigar bar nearby. Unfortunately I messed up the order and had to correct it, so when things quieted down in the shack I made my way over to the cigar bar, they were happy to see me there and offered me a beer.

I would have taken it but had to get back to the shack and finish up with Thomas. And after that was when I had started to crash. 12 hours on my feet didn’t do me any favors but thanks to Thomas it didn’t hurt too much either. Fave customer Jimmy Seltzer came in and mentioned that I reminded him of Stephen Fry which isn’t so bad.

I am glad to be off from the cigar shack tomorrow but there is something that I will be involved with for the first time tomorrow. If it goes well I will probably write about it somewhat, and let’s face it, if it doesn’t go well I will probably write about that as well. Fingers crossed.

Have a good night, I know I will.

for Hyman Gross

I Alone

A day without the brain dead Bradley is like a day with sunshine. Yes the brain dead Bradley went back to the confederacy, just a few days off, not permanent, but one can hope and entertain fantasies. Like being struck by a homesickness, symptoms so strong that he may feel the best thing to do is stay put.

Just finished last week’s New Yorker, specifically the article on the brain and how it relates to time. Or the article on time and how the brain perceives it. To my surprise towards the end of the article they go to England where they meet up with Brian Eno, who is very much interested in that type of thing.

Then there was a review of the new book on Malcolm X which was a good read. I was big into Malcolm X before the Spike Lee revival, in fact I was one of the few white guys in the US who was wearing a Malcolm X t-shirt a few years before the movie came out.

Oh the stares I used to get. I still respect Malcolm X but I certainly do not have the same ardor that I used to have. And the OCD from the other day was a complete waste of time. Of course the door was locked. I realized that this morning on the way in. I remembered looking at the door key as I was walking out and that should have been the tip off.

I came in this morning, and Calvin had a complaint about how one of his customers, Steve Sciatica was upset with me. Mainly because he’s an idiot and I did not laugh at his asinine jokes, so he went running to Calvin to complain. The guy is strictly vaginal slang.

Funny thing is, or maybe the ironic thing, is that Bill’s boss bought Bill a box of cigars for administrative professionals day. I set the whole thing up on Tuesday, no discount, all on the up & up.

Now the same thing happened in December and Calvin took the sale and the commission then, he was all over Bill’s boss like white on rice. Yesterday since it was my sale Calvin barely gave Bill’s boss the time of day.

Now compare that to Calvin’s guy who is a gigantic asshole to Bill’s boss who isn’t. It’s the ace up my sleeve if and when Calvin has the cojones to bring up Steve Sciatica once again.

I did speak with Thomas (who while being only a year or two older than Juan, is so much younger mentally & culturally than our Juan) about the Calvin/Sciatica Bill’s boss thing while Calvin was at lunch and told Thomas that what I was telling him was in confidence and that I didn’t need to have to deal with another situation with the brain dead Bradley in any event.

When I came back from lunch I found that Calvin was oddly distant, but that might have been some substance marking the distance.

I spoke with Hyman Gross today. He is having surgery on his tibia and fibula tomorrow morning at 10:00. It all depends on his bone density whether or not he can get a pin inserted. Or it will require a cast on his leg, forcing him to stay put for 12 weeks, which isn’t that good since Hyman lives to get around. Or a plate for his leg which will also incapacitate him for a lengthy amount of time. We’re all hoping he has good bone density.

I won’t be able to see him until Sunday but I will be calling him tomorrow afternoon.

Interesting to see ol’ lazy teat Greg still reading the blog.

I Ain’t Ready To Quit

Well it’s been a good Friday and a very interesting Friday at that. It seemed ordinary enough when I woke up around 9:30. A shower was needed to wake up, since there was no coffee to be made. I salvaged what was left of yesterday’s coffee, knowing that I’ve had worse.

It was only half a cup and it was going to have to get me to Washington Street and deal with ‘people’. I slowly drank the day old coffee and read some emails when there was a buzzer at the door. I asked on the intercom who it was and there was no response.

I wasn’t expecting anyone and if it were a delivery they’d usually say loud and clear who they were and what they were doing. I went back to the email and ignored the repeated buzzing. I got my shirts and a suit together to bring to the dry cleaners and also grabbed some canvas bags for a trip to the grocery store.

Knee brace on, I made it down the four flights of stairs. There was a young man standing on the other side of the door. I asked ‘Could I help you?’ and he said he was there to fix the cable on the second floor.

That seemed fishy since Antonia passed away last weekend and she lived on the second floor and I don’t much about the other apartment on the same floor. I asked him if he had some ID and he said he left it in the truck parked up the street. I told him I wasn’t going to let him in and closed the door behind me.

While I walked down the street I turned around and saw that he was still there. It was an odd feeling that I had, odd enough that I decided to call the Hoboken police department. I told them that there was a young man standing outside my building, trying to get in, saying that he worked for the cable company. They took my information and said they would look into it after I described what he looked like and what he was wearing.

I went to the dry cleaners, to Dunkin Donuts for 2 lbs. of coffee, the newsstand and the bagel shop before looping around and heading to the supermarket. I passed by my street, this time walking on the southern part. I looked to see if the young man was still on my stoop but did not see him.

Went to the supermarket and spent money, everything adds up to being about $10.00 more these days and I buy the stuff on sale mostly. In the supermarket I got a phone call from Hoboken PD and they asked for my name and birthdate. I gave them the info and headed home.

No one in front of my building again as I climbed the four flights of stairs with 2 canvas bags of groceries and one bum knee. Sat around and watched TV, made breakfast and the oh so important coffee. About an hour or so later, I got another call from Hoboken PD.

They were letting me know they caught the young man. Apparently he was trying the same thing up the street and they started asking him questions. False name, false ID, with a story rife with holes. And he had an accomplice. The Hoboken PD thanked me and what else could I say but ‘you’re welcome’?

A while after that I decided to head out and walk around. As I was leaving the building a detective approached. He was going next door to my neighbor Chris’ house and gave me a look as he was identifying himself.

I stated who I was and that I made the call. Chris had come outside and apparently one of the things the two crooks do is get some personal info from a victim and order computers and whatnot in the victim’s name, then they wait for the stuff to arrive so they could rip it off.

The detective took my info once again, checked my ID and then stated that I hit a home run. Apparently most people ignore this type of thing and they were glad that I at least did something. He shook my hand and I headed off enjoying a cigar, feeling good.

I’m glad I did what I did. If Antonia was still alive, she might have buzzed them in and then who knows what might have happened? Or Stine and Alexander? I took a chance and could have erred on the side of caution, but it turns out my hunch was correct. Much like Igor I suppose.
An interesting day, no?

I Shall Not Be Moved

It’s a drizzly and cold Thursday in the spring, March 31, 2011 to be exact. I woke up and heard the rain as well as some mechanical sounds somewhere in the neighborhood. I did not want to wake up and get out of bed, but still that is exactly what I did. I wasn’t too happy about it but something had to be done.

I stepped into the shower after I set up the coffee maker and poured some cereal into a bowl. 5 minutes later I was drying off and hearing the coffee maker beep, alerting me that the coffee was ready. I shuffled about, getting dressed, checking emails and sending out resumes.

When I was growing up in Lodi, I remember seeing a movie starring William Hurt & Sigourney Weaver, Eyewitness. William Hurt played a smart guy who was happy to be a janitor at night and I thought at that time that being a smart guy while doing menial tasks was good enough for me. It sort of still is, but it’s now almost 30 years later and I’m working retail which is pretty much menial in itself.

It was cold and drizzly when I headed out, and the mechanical sounds I heard were of a tree being chopped down outside the nearby public school. Don’t know why they were doing it, it has been going on around Hoboken on and off the past half year. I didn’t stick around to see the damage done.

I enjoyed a cigar and walked up to the bus stop, talking to Bill on the phone as I stayed far away enough from the bus stop so as not to offend my fellow passengers. I’m probably known as the cigar guy around Hoboken these days. And I probably smell of cigars which I think is fine since that generally means no one will sit next to me on the bus if they don’t have to.

On the bus, instead of looking at the gray gray town of Hoboken through the bus window I read instead Keith Richards autobiography which is actually really good and a lot of fun. I’m sure he used a ghost writer, a very good ghost writer since it flows so easily and it’s quite descriptive, reading about growing up in Dartford, Kent in the 1950’s.

But instead of listening to the Rolling Stones, I listened to the Pet Shop Boys as I walked through the bus terminal. The day was OK at the cigar shack. Marcus was back from his vacation in the Dominican Republic and I hadn’t seen Calvin since Sunday.

It wasn’t that busy but for the first time in a week or two, the man cave was filled, mainly with new people. It was too cold and rainy to go outside and smoke cigars so they stayed in the cigar shack. It was an amiable group, most of the guy fascinated by a young woman who sat there telling her tales of Harlem while smoking cigarillos.

Once again I inadvertently had the top sales and once again it was all in the luck of the draw. In this instance, I merely answered the phone and took a phone order. The store as usual, slowed to a crawl, leaving Thomas and myself not that busy.

A customer or two came in but nothing major. I left the shop a little earlier, 5 minutes earlier and since the weather outside was crap, I took a subway which pulled into the station minutes after I descended the stairs.

That enabled me to catch a bus ride home with Hyman Gross who seemed happy to see me. I was glad to see him.

Snow is expected tomorrow but I am hoping that is just a cruel April Fool’s Day joke.

I Don’t Want To

A day off and it’s been a good one. Yesterday I worked with Calvin and it wasn’t so bad, and though I wrote the other day that I felt I was accepting of the retail situation, I’m not so accepting after all. I am still trying to get out of the habitrail called retail.

Calvin was alright to work with, he was in before I was and at the end of the day I was the one to leave first which rarely happens.

I came home and watched the Fantastic Mr. Fox again on cable and I love the movie. It’s just so sweet and quick. Oh that Wes Anderson, he can do no wrong. Though the Darjeeling Limited left me wanting, most everything else has been superb. After the Fantastic Mr. Fox, I watched Shameless.

Shameless was so damn good last night. It’s really one of the best shows on I’ve never seen the British version, but this one is top notch. And the return of Chloe Webb was a surprise. Showtime has the best shows on TV lately. Nurse Jackie is returning in a few weeks as is the United States of Tara.

I don’t watch Tara that often but it is very good and I do enjoy Nurse Jackie a lot. And then there is Weeds and The Big C. It’s all very good, adult television. After Shameless I watched Southland which Bill & I both like a lot.

Bill had the foresight to record the episodes and it has been worth it. We watched the show when it was on broadcast television and skipped a season but now we watch it regularly. It helps to be a fan of the great Regina King and the other actors are almost as good. We love Regina King.

And then it was bedtime for me. Slept really well and vaguely remember Bill kissing me good bye once again. He was up crazy early though I do believe the sun was up already. I got up at my usual time and made some coffee before jumping in the shower.

After a couple of cups I was on the streets, dropping off shirts to be laundered, getting the paper and some bagels. I also made time to swing by Mr. L’s where I got a much needed haircut. It’s been growing quite thick and unmanageable. Tony was available, only in 2 days a week.

The TV was playing Mutiny on the Bounty, the one starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. The other barber Nick was there, Tony’s son. They didn’t know that Mutiny on the Bounty was a real story. They did know it was remade a few times.

I mentioned the Marlon Brando version and Nick said there was one with Humphrey Bogart. I corrected him and told him that was the Caine Mutiny, with Bogart as Captain Queeg. I never saw that movie, but I knew of it from my mother comparing my father to Captain Queeg a few times when I was growing up. It was on TCM the other week, and I saw a bit of it but figured it would make more sense if I watched it from the beginning.

I had a lot of laundry to do today and it was done, now it’s hanging on racks and in the bathroom. Miss one week of laundry, then pow! Too much laundry!

Bill is off doing theater things and I look forward to some quiet time, just sitting around and watching TV. I am off again tomorrow, then its five days straight.

Another reason to get out of retail- Crap scheduling.

Bessie Banks – Go Now

I Beg of You

It’s been a soggy Friday. Still it’s a day off and I’m happy about that. I finally started getting into the New Yorker. And specifically an article about asteroids hitting the earth. How that was what probably killed off the dinosaurs and how it’s likely to happen again.

That started bumming me out and for a quick second I looked out the window to see if any asteroids were headed to Hoboken. I would probably do a Wile E. Coyote thing and pull down the shade and hope for the best.

And if I’ve learned anything from movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the catastrophic event would be known for some time. When you think about it and look at the fact that it probably happened again, the world caught fire from the asteroid crashing into the Yucatan peninsula, it really throws the concept of religion out the window.

All religion actually. Oh the universe is such a cold, heartless place. It doesn’t matter how evolved you are, if and when it happens we’re all going together. This can be a nice thing. I didn’t even finish the article, it was way too heavy. Great drawing by Jaime Hernandez which is what drew my eye in depth.

Last night was quite pleasant and a surprise to some that I had actually gone out and socialized. It was a nice enough walk up to Maxwells, listening to Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Do It Yourself and enjoying a cigar as I strolled up Hudson Street.

It was a nice enough evening and I walked in and saw Rand at the bar, talking to a woman named Stacy. I ordered a pint to no one’s surprise and Rand ordered one for himself. Lisa showed up and had a Mojito and then Lois arrived and had a red wine. Throughout all this RoDa was wandering around being the manager of Maxwells for the night.

I mentioned a concept I had to Rand & Lisa as well as Lois and they all liked it, but had no idea on how the next step should go. A few minutes later I’m out on the sidewalk having a smoke with RoDa and I tell him about the concept (not writing about it here) and he is most enthusiastic.

We agree to be partners on this with a handshake and a hug, which with no notary public available, a hug will sometimes suffice depending on what county of New Jersey you might be in as well as what voting district.

I dominated the jukebox inside as we all sat and drank. Scott Harbison made a cameo appearance looking for Todd or Dave about some work, then leaving after finishing a ginger ale. After a few pints and many laughs it was time for me to go.

Actually Lois started making her move and I asked her to wait and I would leave with her. That’s all it took for Rand & Lisa to join us, leaving RoDa to pilot the ship solo. I was home by 11:00, a little wobbly on the way.

I was home before Bill who when he did arrive told me he was feeling ill and was very quickly out in bed. I stayed up watching Laurence Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall. And today I woke up to rain. Cut short my plan of maybe heading into the city and checking out some art galleries.

But doing it alone and in the rain didn’t seem too appealing. So I stayed local, a trip to Burlington Coat Factory was about it. Just a grey, grey day.

I Should Care

Well today has been a day off and it’s been OK so far. Slept in until 9:30 and was awoken by the sounds of people scraping the ice off of the sidewalks. It was a good night of sleep, with a strange dream involving some strange tiny white person/thing that did not want me to know that it was sharing the bed.

When I was about to reveal who or what it was, it shocked me into waking up. And going to the bathroom. Perhaps the two were related. I shuffled about the apartment, making coffee and watching the rest of the morning shows, deftly avoiding Kathie Lee Gifford.

After some coffee and checking emails as well as sending out resumes as news about Egypt and the ice storm here, I headed out into the world, dropping off shirts at the dry cleaners, getting the News, some bagels and groceries at the supermarket.

Spoke with Bill on the phone a few times. He forgot to ask me to drop off his trousers for mending. He slipped on some black ice the other day and tore his trousers. It was slippery outside, lots of ice on the sidewalks and stairs, as well as the stairway railings outside.

Quite a few people had shoveled and scraped the ice away, but not many. Don’t know if it was because they were lazy or out of town, or just unable to. There were plenty of day laborers roaming the streets with shovels willing to shovel for a price.

I came home and had a nice breakfast, read the paper and had some more coffee. And more resumes were sent out, more scanning websites and online newspapers hoping for the best. No word from last week’s contestants, so I guess that one went by. This is why it’s good to not have so much hope. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on.

Laundry needed to be done and so I did that while watching last night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report. Got a text from the former co-worker Sean asking if he could use me as a reference. I said it was OK. I think he’s applying to a few stores in the area of the cigar shop.

I have to get him credit, he’s hustling for a job. If only he used that hustle instead of goldbricking around the cigar shop. He really got too comfortable, enough so that he acted as if he owned the place. But then again he is 20 years old.

I had a chance to go out once again into the ice world, which had started to melt. The snow was beginning to melt along with the ice making it foggy out. I brought the trousers to the dry cleaners instructing them on where to put patches.

Then a walk over to the bibliothèque, returning A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and not getting anything else. Came home after that and watched two episodes of Southland, which Bill and I both really like, but never have time to watch it when it’s originally broadcast.

It was good and as intense as ever. We love Regina King a lot as well. So that’s that. Not much else to report, write or say. So I will just leave it at that. Cheers.