Category Archives: WTF

Mishigas

Wow, this is weird. I had hoped to find time this week to talk to Todd from Maxwell’s about something that I needed to talk to him about and I woke up to find an email saying that I had been fired and my last check would be in the mail. Apparently, once again- someone told him about this here blog. Even though I took steps not to write anything bad about Maxwell’s (there was nothing bad to write about) and I didn’t write anything bad about Todd, he felt that what I wrote was damaging enough to let me go.

The funny thing is many years ago, I came thisclose to being fired by Steve Fallon, justifiably so a few times, but after some stern words from Steve I was able to stay on board. It’s not the same place anymore, but I knew this when I came on board again. I have written before how Todd and I butted heads in the past but I thought things had gotten better. I even wrote that I thought he was a good egg.

We butted heads back in the 1980’s about having a DJ night there sometime. From what I was told, Todd was against it since he would get some flak from the bands trying to play there and they might be upset to see a DJ night. I only suggested a DJ night back then since it had been done in the past, Chaz and his 2 Tone party and things like that. This weekend they have a DJ night scheduled on Saturday featuring Todd and his Todd-O-Phonic DJ thing. Rich in irony.

Todd mentioned in his email that I played with my cellphone too often, though a word would have sufficed. I can only guess that Todd thought I was writing on the cellphone as things were occurring. And from looking at what I wrote, writing that it was slow might have been the tipping point. I certainly did not think that was such a bad thing and slow nights are par for the course but certainly not the norm.

I felt the slow nights were a reflection of the bands that are around these days and it’s cyclical, feast/famine etc. There are always slow nights and there are always great big busy nights. But I guess Maxwell’s is in an unknown state lately and perhaps my writing that might have some effect on whatever transactions are going down but I strongly doubt that.

I wrote about how I like to work with Ro Da and that seemed to be a sticking point with Todd, so much that he mentioned it in his email this morning, so with Todd’s suggestion- here it is:
Dear John,
One of your many fans in town pointed out your wonderful blog to me yesterday. I have a new entry for you:

“My asshole boss at Maxwell’s fired me today. Apparently, he couldn’t understand why I would beg for a job and then do nothing but complain about it. He even has the nerve to think that he might be able to find someone who would be able to seat people properly and not play with their cellphone all night long. He is wrong, as always I know better than everyone else. I wish RoDa were my boss, then everything would be great”.

Last night was your last shift, a check will be mailed to you on Thursday.

Sincerely,
Todd

I am pretty sure the ‘many fans’ remark was snark. Still I am happy to allow Todd’s suggestion, since he did call it ‘wonderful’ and writing of himself in the first line like that was definitely strange. It was sincere even though he probably hunted and pecked with his middle fingers.

Certainly that was an odd thing to write and I can think of two specific people who might have whispered in Todd’s ear. One of them, a closet case- dislikes Ro Da intensely. The other didn’t seem to like me very much and somehow I may have ruffled its bleached feathers. I did not beg for a job, I offered my services which Todd seemed to appreciate. He did post something on Craigslist after all. And you know, seeking people to work for you on Craigslist is not desperate at all. I guess after asking so many people if they knew anyone who would like to work there, and with them all saying ‘NO’, that could seem more like a begging stance.

I didn’t complain about Maxwell’s. I mean, just read the cigar shack stuff and then read what I wrote about Maxwell’s and you can see there was no complaining, just casual observations written at home on a computer, not on a smartphone or tablet since I am all gigantic thumbs when writing more than a few words on those things.

The thing is I never thought Todd was an asshole. I still don’t. He’s done a credible job in maintaining the Maxwell’s brand and that was something I fully supported. He even allowed Bill and I to have our Civil Union party there and for that I am forever grateful. I always said hello to Todd when I saw him on the street, noticing how uncomfortable he was when merely engaging in small talk with me and if I thought he was an asshole I wouldn’t say hello to him.

It’s really too bad. I enjoyed being able to help out at Maxwell’s again and thought everything was fine. But it’s Todd’s house after all, he obviously runs a tight ship and will brook no untoward words but I do wish Maxwell’s the very best no matter what happens to the place.

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The Swingadelics

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I can see how I always think I am right and everyone else is wrong especially when I post so many good things about myself like how I am an idiot and list various mistakes I have made in the past. That always confuses me somewhat, my idiocy and increasing omnipotence.

Still not complaining, just an observation.

Haven’t written over 1,000 words in a while. Thanks!

Todd Abramson

Todd Abramson

Oh yeah, here is how I begged for the position after seeing the Craigslist post that Todd had online.
Hey Todd/Dave/Steve:

You’re looking for a host? I am looking for a job. I am willing to start whenever you would like. You know me, I know you. I am local and know Hoboken as well as Maxwell’s history.
Plus having a guy could also help out should some hooligans act up.

Let me know,
John

I have no shame when I am begging obviously.

And finally, I do not think Todd is an asshole.

Post script: It is official. Maxwell’s will shut down July 31.
from NJ.com: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2013/06/maxwells_a_hoboken_rock_instit.html
Abramson, who lives in Hoboken, will continue to book the Bell House, a larger venue in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. “A change of scenery isn’t going to be bad for me,” says Abramson. “It’s been a long time.”

Sic Vita Est

A sad and terrifying day. Again.

Not much can be said right now.

My niece Meghan is safe as is her husband Rob who was coaching her running the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:17:59.

A great time in more ways than one.
Should she have finished later she may have been killed or injured by the 2 bombs exploding.

Meghan and Rob will be coming home tomorrow. Hopefully their friends are safe as well.

This is the awful reality that exists today.

The latest news, 2 people killed (including an 8 year old) and over 100 injured.
Nothing much else is known at this moment.

I just hope Meghan and Rob (& everyone else) makes it home safely.

PS- Yes I know this goes on daily in other parts of the world and that the US has blood on it’s hands sometimes.

Nothing in particular really

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What a day. Phone company CREDO double bills me, then I get the runaround trying to rectify.
And I found myself spending way too much time fighting Beatle fans online.
And Hugo Chavez is dead. But it is also Mark E. Smith’s birthday so it balances out somewhat.

And 50 years ago Patsy Cline’s plane crashed.

I Stay In Love

One of those days. Overcast, quite foggy, slow going all around. The weather is warmer today, in the 40 degree range which is making the snow melt, which is making everything foggy and also causing some flooding. It’s rumored to snow again in a few days so we shall see how that goes. Yes, it’s a Monday and it’s not the best day. Just not much going on. I did go out and do things and I also did things at home. Namely laundry and some cleaning. I am determined to get things in a better shape than they are now.

The pile of papers next to my desk has been shredded down. Somehow it has a habit of piling up and before you know it is unruly. Now it’s manageable but will have to be maintained. As things come in they should be taken care of or disposed as soon as possible. And there was so much laundry, neglected for a few days, seemed to have multiplied. I usually get two loads done, but today there was one more load to wash. And that will be done soon enough once the other clothes dry on the rack and hanging over the bath tub.

It’s been like that all day. Yesterday was quite similar, only a lot sunnier. Online it is nothing but bad news, a constant stream of it. They’re still looking for the Los Angeles police officer who has gone off the rails. He’s killed a few people and LAPD have killed some people in their haste to apprehend the rogue officer. Bill read the manifesto, I glanced at it on Gawker or Gothamist or some other site. Last weeks seemed promising with regards to the job searching, this week or at least for Monday- not so much.

Of course things might pick up soon enough. I still have a good feeling, although a bit foggy which is because of the weather. Presently I am disappointed. I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw so right now I am looking at rock hard iced chicken. So I have to rethink dinner.

Stage Door is on right now and the former ingénue is about to take her flying leap, voices and applause going through her head with a crazy look on her face. Who doesn’t like a Broadway melodrama with Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden and Lucille Ball?

Bill and I watched Moonrise Kingdom. Such a fun and whimsical movie. I saw it with Annemarie in July of last year and Bill never saw it. He was impressed by the cast and the story. I loved it once again. We also watched part of the Grammys last night and if it weren’t for Jack White and the tribute to Levon Helm it would have been a waste of time. I guess I cared about the Grammys in the 1970’s but nowadays I have no use for them and if I wasn’t using my award to prop open a door I would return it.

Some good news possibly- the former Hitler Youth occupant of the Vatican has announced he will resign at the end of the month. Yes the Prada shoe wearing, gold fetishist who “issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.”

Perhaps whatever replaces it will be better than this former Hitler Youth participant and pedophile enabler. Or perhaps people will wake up and realize what a scam it all is.
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What the World Needs Now Is Love

Hoboken Post Sandy Part Two

Part Two
Saturday came and I wasn’t so keen on it. Still no electricity and food supplies were running low. The supermarket was open thanks to generators and throughout the neighborhood generators were heard several times on different blocks. We had about four to five feet in the basement which is used by myself and neighbors for storage. I had books and records and some stereo equipment and Bill had an amplifier down there.

Other people on our block and throughout Hoboken had basement apartments and most of them were devastated. Businesses were destroyed. A studio that Jim Mastro owned was ruined. And there he was letting people hang out in the store and play instruments and also organized a gathering for his staff to entertain the people of Hoboken that night in the store. I had lunch and dinner at the Elks Lodge and Bill was off driving, not coming back until Sunday morning. Not a trip to Atlantic City, which was closed but open for business somehow a few days later after the storm.

While at the store we heard of different parts of Hoboken getting their electricity back. I had hope and walked back to my building. Of course hope wasn’t there, things were still dark. I talked with neighbors for about an hour, remembering my things charging up at the store I headed back, taking a slightly different route, I ran into more friends (Mike & Sarah and Michael Hill) and was enjoyably delayed. When I got back to the Guitar Bar Jr. I had to negotiate my body around a drum kit. Jim left everything charging so I had to unplug and pack with no problem at all really, just some of my usual clumsiness.

Finally Jim had something for me to do. People started showing up with bottles and snacks and cups were needed. I walked over to Rite Aid and bought the last dozen plastic cups. It was fairly crowded when I got back and when I got my shoulder bag it felt even more crowded so I went outside. The music was good but my spirits were flagging. I wasn’t feeling as sociable as I had hoped and soon I wanted to go home. And that is what I did, an invisible exit.

I walked down Park Avenue, in the middle of the street smacking my flashlight every now and then when it dimmed. I made it home to a quiet building and called Bill. He was in the Bronx and hearing his voice after spending so much time together the past few nights made me feel even worse. He was doing his best to bolster my spirits when all of a sudden the doorbell rang. I told Bill that on the phone as I walked to the bedroom window and looked down.

There was our neighbor Frank telling me the power was back on. I checked the hallway and there was light. I whooped, I hollered. Bill listened to my emotional rollercoaster, a 180° turn of events. Only some lights were on which meant a trip to the basement to check the circuit breaker. It was off and when I got back upstairs the lights were on.

I went to YouTube and I posted on Facebook New York Groove by Hello and I Got The Power by Snap on Facebook. I was vibrating with positive energy. I didn’t hear my neighbor Deborah calling me on the phone, and when the song ended I saw the voicemail and called right then. I explained I was dancing to I Got the Power and cued up the last line which is the title and when the vocal was done, the power went out again.

I told Deborah I would call her back and then walked to the bedroom window and yelled out, ‘This is not fair!’ I was crestfallen really. I put my sneakers on and walked down to the street. Frank and his wife Mithra came outside too. We talked to neighbors, Rob, Sean and Melissa, as well as Chris who I’ve known for a long time. I flagged down a police cruiser and asked the officer what was going on. Lights on and now this. He said he didn’t know, he lived on the next block and wanted to know too but he thought PSE&G were tweaking the system.

That made me think Meth heads were running the show. A few other police officers passing through said the same thing basically. I didn’t get the voicemail until later from Bill but there was a report of a fire from the power being turned on again so it needed to be turned off. He got it from listening to the Hoboken police scanner in the Bronx.

I was pretty funny talking to the neighbors I thought. Perhaps I could do stand up comedy, but only in a darkened room. After joking and talking on the street with temperatures dropping we all headed back inside. About an hour or so later it was lights on again, to a more subdued reaction. No happy dance, no posting of videos. I called Deborah, I called Bill and went back online soon enough. Saturday Night Live was very funny, hosted by Louis CK.

Sunday was totally different of course. Power was slowly coming to the rest of Hoboken. For a few days before we got our power back, we looked longingly at a few buildings diagonally on the next corner that had power. Now there were probably people in other buildings doing the same to me. I headed out in the afternoon, most people were walking around in a daze, shock really. Though we had interacted the past few days, it really all came home on Sunday.

I walked, thanked some National Guardsmen for helping out and got choked up saying it. More friends on the street, Karyn and Christina, Lois and Fred. It was likely the week’s events and the daylight savings that did my head in, perhaps it was the same for others. Bill had come home in the morning and went to sleep almost immediately. I came home and had a nap. Bill watched Saturday Night Live. Things sort of started going back to something resembling normal.

Today was Monday. Today was the day I had to check out my things in the basement. Going down there on Saturday night didn’t give me much of a chance to see how things were since it was so dark and I was preoccupied with having electricity once more. I went down in the early afternoon and started moving my things to put on top of other things people had thrown out. There were scavengers going about salvaging whatever they thought was salvageable.

I had a lot of books, magazines and of course vinyl in the form of record albums and 12 inch singles. I moved my 45’s up to the apartment a few months ago. And photographs. And super 8 films I made back in the 1980’s as well as videotapes I collected and videos I had shot. I was upset but not too much. Others had lost a lot more than me, plus I had basically ignored these things for years. And anyway you can’t take it with you.

Such there was a pang when I saw Talking Heads- Remain in Light, Sgt. Pepper and White Light White Heat at the curb next to Bill’s amplifier. But I couldn’t dwell and I couldn’t cry. All in all maybe 400-500 records were curbed. I was able to save about 100, and though I haven’t gone through them all, I’m sure that they weren’t the best, especially after naming those three albums above. I saved the first guitar I ever had and it was in a sorry state. Best used for decoration rather than making music, but I couldn’t throw it out.

I walked over to the Guitar Bar on First Street which finally had power and saw Jim. I told him that he could use it for decoration in the store, or he could do what I couldn’t do and throw it out. It was a good talk with Jim, something that I will probably bring up soon enough. Leaving the Guitar Bar I walked up to Washington Street and saw Tariq playing. He usually plays the street at night, but there he was around 3:00 in the afternoon.

Then I ran into Rand and Lisa and walked with them for a little while. I treated myself to a slice of pizza and watched the weather reports of a storm coming in on Wednesday and a 2.2 earthquake in Passaic County this morning. Talked with some more neighbors, including Claire who was cleaning out her part of the basement. And today was all about the election.
Of course I am voting for Obama as is Bill. And we are voting NO on Public Question #2 in Hoboken. But that will be old news since I am making this a two part entry, so you dear reader won’t have to read over four thousand words. I figure two thousand should be enough.

It was a remarkable thing that happened the past week, as well as obviously devastating. One time at the Elks Lodge I ran into a guy named Jake who I used to know back in the fuzzy days of Maxwell’s. He’s an Elk, moderately sized antlers. Also born and raised in Hoboken. He used to hang out at the Elysian which was more of an old Hoboken pub compared to the next corner, where Maxwell’s was representing the new Hoboken.

I told Jake how great it was to see the community coming together. Jake said he was impressed with how old Hoboken and new Hoboken came together. There was some faint animosity over the years , getting dimmer and dimmer with older generations of Hobokeners passing away.

But politics aside mostly, it was people helping people, talking to people I had seen for years, decades and never spoke to before. That includes neighbors and people from Maxwell’s back in the day. Talking to Jim this afternoon, I mentioned a woman who I had seen through the years and always felt she was scowling at me. I thought maybe I had done her wrong, or perhaps disgusted her after leaving the men’s room looking like I had a small powdered donut. Jim just said she was a hard looking woman.

My friend Karyn Kuhl got power here in Hoboken and in Bergen County my niece Meghan and her husband Rob got theirs this afternoon as well. We’re still not out of the woods yet.

Now it is Tuesday, Election Day. Former roommate William got power at his flat in Jersey City this afternoon. More debris piled up outside. After a week full of stress from the storm, today is concentrated with regards to the election. All day long I have been feeling good, feeling that Obama had it in the bag. I still do but I do come in contact with friends who are worried and I try not to let it affect me, but it does. It wears down my optimism bit by bit.

Juan stopped by earlier today, it was his birthday over the weekend and he was up here to see his family. He would have stayed longer but he has to work a double tomorrow. He was here for about two hours and it was fun. He really does have a wicked wit and had me laughing quite a bit. He also turned me onto some music- Bonde Do Role, Mia Diekow, Grimes and even Taylor Swift and a Justin Bieber track which was well produced. Juan is of that generation that doesn’t have categories for his music. For Juan, it’s all good.

And so now tonight will be all about the election. Glad to get the results with Bill by my side.
Tomorrow it’s about the snowstorm that has been predicted. We certainly do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Once again photos are on the Post Sandy Photos page towards the bottom of the column on the right.

This just in- Via Hoboken Patch:
As a result of Tuesday’s elections, municipal elections will be moved to November.
Run-off elections were eliminated and RENT CONTROL UPHELD IN THE CITY OF HOBOKEN!

Hoboken Post Sandy Part One

OK. Must focus. Too distracted. YouTube comments, Facebook updates. What has happened? Where have I been?
It’s been a long, long week.

A week ago, Monday, we were housebound anticipating the storm. Bill and I settled in and soon enough the lights went out. We still had hot water and heat. Bathtub filled with water, fridge stocked with cold cuts and ice. Time slowed down without electricity, and sleeping was easy. Earlier nights of sleep for me, for Bill it was still the same. We spent Monday night listening to the Hoboken police scanner by candlelight.

On Tuesday Bill and I ventured out to see what hath Sandy wrought. No power in town, a few people roaming around like this. People like me with cameras, documenting and uploading. For me, power was dwindling on the smartphone. We walked by Newark and Garden Streets which was badly hit. My friend Lisa lives on that corner and she was stuck indoors due to three feet of water outside her door. We walked around the block to see the Guitar Bar on First Street and it seemed alright. Major damage and flooding just a few feet from the Guitar Bar. There but for the grace of the gods…

We came home around noon and I was exhausted. It was windy at times and the two of us, on the other side of 200 lbs. resembled Marcel Marceau walking into the wind and drizzle. When we got upstairs I took a two hour nap. When I woke up, Bill took a nap. Soon I was feeling antsy and decided to head north while Bill slept. I nudged him to let him know what I was doing. He grunted and I went out.

More damage heading up the avenue. The west was impassable on foot. You could see where cars were lifted by the water, once parked alongside the curb were now on the sidewalk and the street, or jutting out dangerously into the thoroughfare. Not that there was any worry about passing traffic since the only thing that would get by would be a boat. I found the sidewalks to be slick with who knows what and I slid a couple of times, leading me to regret going out without Bill.

I pictured myself falling and breaking a leg or arm or even a hip and being taken to Jersey City Heights and without any way to get in touch with Bill who also had no way to reach me. But since I was out I was determined to find somewhere to go and charge my phone. I looked towards the high school which was supposed to be a shelter but nothing was going on there. Bill and I read the night before the Wallace School shelter was being evacuated and moved to the high school. I decided to head towards the Wallace School.

Hyman Gross lived across the street from the Wallace School and I lived in a basement apartment right next door in the 1980’s. But it was all shut down as I walked by. I continued up past Rite Aid which was closed as was everything on 14th Street. Not many people around and few cars. I walked over to Washington Street which was sparse. A handful of people standing around here and there as I walked by. I eventually ran into Rand and Lisa and we talked for a few minutes. I mentioned how I should have bought a deck of cards so Bill and I could at least play gin rummy.

Lisa said they had a few decks and Rand suggested I go with them to get the cards so we walked over to their place. Cards duly found and with slight arm twisting I decided to have a shot of Woodford Reserve bourbon. Nice. I have a bottle here with a little bit in it. It’s a great bourbon when you’re smoking a cigar. Rand suggested sipping it instead of doing it like a shot so I sipped mine for about five minutes. I wanted to get back home before it got dark out, and I figured Bill would be awake.

Rand and Lisa were invited to dinner at a neighbor’s in their building so we all headed downstairs together. I felt good from the bourbon and walked back to Washington Street. There I ran into Mike and Sarah. They had just gotten back from church. Not for religious reasons which Mike had emphatically stated, but rather for the charging of the smartphones. A quick thank you and soon I was climbing up the stairs to get Bill.

He was awake when I walked in and I told him to get his clothes on and his stuff together, explaining what was going on at Saints Peter and Paul Church at 4th and Hudson. It was quite dark outside and we would probably be able to see the stars if it weren’t so cloudy. Inside the church it was warm and there were pockets of people huddled around outlets and power strips. I met a few nice people there, some regular attendees and others who like Bill and myself, there for the AC/DC.

At one point Bill got up and started playing the church piano. It was a bit muffled due to the cartage blanket still atop the piano. He played hymns of course, he grew up in a church and here he was in a catholic one. Pastor Bob didn’t mind though he mentioned that he didn’t really want anyone playing the piano, since he was worried they would be playing with their elbows. Hoboken PD stopped by with cupcakes which we almost started to eat in the church until Pastor Bob said there was to be no eating in the sanctuary.

So we went outside on the sidewalk and ate Halloween cupcakes, keeping the black cat plastic sticks as an homage to Zed. Walking home, Bill and I stayed close to each other holding flashlights in the darkness. We were juiced up and stayed up for a while posting reports on Facebook and calling friends and family letting them know what was going on and that we were alright. Facebook prived to be most effective throughout all this. Phone service was spotty as were texts via SMS. But if you could get to Facebook messaging was very easy and fast. And there were updates on curfews, emergency services and the general state of Hoboken. Luckily for me and Bill, most of our loved ones are on Facebook and we were able to see how they were doing as well. If you were in New Jersey you were likely screwed.

Bill took the ferry to work on Wednesday which from what I heard was Halloween. The parade in the Village was canceled, wisely so since there was no power in Manhattan south of 34th Street. Bill and I watched a video of the Con Ed plant exploding which helped with their blackout. Bill left early anticipating a crowd at the ferry and it proved wise since it took him a few hours to get to his desk after leaving Hoboken. I walked over to the church again.

I hoped it would be the peaceful scene it was the night before but it was quite the opposite. Word got out and it was crowded, almost like it was Christmas Eve or at least the feast day of Saint Blaise. There was no way I was going to get to an electrical outlet so I left disheartened. I made it back home through lonely streets and was able to get online through the juice left on Bill’s iPad.

I did run into some neighbors who let me sit in their car and charge up the devices, but I didn’t want them to use their gas on me plus I was getting cramped in their car. After an hour of car sitting I headed up to my apartment. Using the juice from the car I was able to see on Facebook (told ya) that Guitar Bar Jr was up and running and Jim Mastro was allowing people to come in and juice up. Now that’s my kind of church.

I was surprised when I got to 11th Street. Up and down the block, people had power strips on their front stoop, letting people sit and charge up. Coffee and snacks were offered. It was heartwarming and I headed inside to the Guitar Bar Jr where Jim’s wife Meghan and their daughter Ruby were getting ready to head out. It was great to see them. Other daughter Lily (my ersatz kid) was safe and sound at college. Various friends and people I had seen throughout the years were passing by, checking in on Jim and the downtown store.

Jim allowed people to pick up a guitar and play if they wanted, and he encouraged me to do so. SO I sat outside and played a song or two with another gent who was charging up. I was lucky, before Meghan left she set me up in a room where I could charge my phone, iPad and MyFi device in private, so I didn’t have to worry about someone walking off with it. On Washington Street restaurants were giving away their food with some requesting a Red Cross donation. The Elks Lodge were setting up for hot meals as well.

I did not partake since we had food at home which was going to have to be eaten since the ice was melting. Bill met me at Guitar Bar Jr and told some of the folks around his tale of heading in and out of Manhattan. Then we walked home once again in the dark. More posting of updates and getting information by candlelight as we watched our batteries dwindle faster than the time passing by. We heard that NJ Transit was going to have buses running which got Bill excited. He went to bed and I soon joined him since I had discovered some wine given as gifts over the years and required no refrigeration at all. It was Halloween.

With a kiss goodbye, Bill was up and out again Thursday, early enough just before the sun rose. I slept soundly for another hour before getting out of bed. Still no power and despite trying to conserve a visit to the Guitar Bar Jr. was on the agenda.

More friends at the store, no Meghan and no Ruby though. Their lives were getting back to normal. Jim Mastro tirelessly proved himself to be a truly great guy. He would not let me help him with anything, not that there was anything to do. Once or twice I was the ‘manager’ while he ran out for just a minute. No one was buying, no one was shopping. Outside the store he set up some speakers playing Bob Dylan, inside people would play banjos or guitars or surf the net while Jim repaired guitars.

I talked with people, reconnected with people and also made new friends and acquaintances. I am sure to forget names but I don’t forget faces so there will be awkward reintroductions in my future. I was going to get a hot meal at the Elks Lodge but ran into Mike and Sarah once again and while talking to them I partook of some snacks the electrical host offered.

Bill came back to the mainland and told more harrowing tales of commuting. This time involved way too many people waiting for the bus back to Hoboken, so instead he took the ferry back once again. The ferry ain’t cheap, $9.00 each way. But Bill being the smart man he is, already bought 10 which was slightly cheaper for him yet still an extravagance for a geezer like myself.

A walk in the dark once again, this time seeing Mark Singleton and his mother Maureen on the sidewalk. Also ran into Lois, almost literally. We heard there was a truck delivering ice downtown and all we had to do was go there and get it. Someone had the idea to take the downtown bus and just then a bus appeared. We rode to the end of the run, then walked over to Observer Highway where the ice was. Too cold and heavy to carry all the way back uptown we caught another bus which was a very good idea. So the items in the refrigerator had some more time before wasting. Lois rode on as Bill and I got off a stop before her.

Re-positioning items in a fridge using flashlights wasn’t easy with 2 bags of ice but we somehow got it done. More update posting, getting info and wine before Bill going to bed followed by me playing the tipsy geezer. I’d like to think I was charming and who’s to say I wasn’t charming in the dark?

Friday was once again spent at the Guitar Bar. Karyn Kuhl stopped by and there was a kid who had been hanging around wanting to learn guitar the past few days. I tried showing him how to play Get Back by the Fabs and Karyn tried showing him No Expectations by the Rolling Stones. I wound up learning the song from Karyn and played along with her as she sang when Jim Mastro jumped in playing a sweet slide guitar lick which made the hair on the back of my neck rise, never having played with Jim before or playing a song that sounded so good.

After playing discussing what was going on in Hoboken and in politics at the store with friends for the rest of the afternoon (and a hot meal at the Elks Lodge), Bill came by once again and we were back to walking home in the dark. This time with a chap named Caesar who knew me from Maxwell’s back in the day and whom I did not recollect at all. He named all the right names so it didn’t seem to be a phony and I made a mental note to contact Steve Fallon and ask him if he remembered Pat Clarke’s former roommate. Steve got back to me, saying it was fuzzy.

Caesar had no heat or hot water or electricity and I felt bad for him. I thought about asking him if he wanted to come home with us, but I didn’t know him at all really and Bill certainly didn’t either, plus the apartment was a shambles. We checked our messages online and Rand and Lisa invited us over for some drinks. Bill and I walked over, flashlights in hand and we stood outside flashing the light into their top floor window to get their attention.

Rand walked down and let us in, there was Mike and Sarah as well as Lois and Fred. We sat and chatted, Lisa providing snacks and dip, Rand pouring the wine. Many laughs were had which were greatly appreciated. Time flew at this point, probably since we were having fun. Bill and I walked Mike and Sarah to their apartment up the block from us. Soon Bill and I were fast asleep.

There are Post Sandy photographs in the PAGES section, lower column on right.

I Can’t Stand the Rain

Well I might as well start writing now while we still have power. And having written that sentence…
Bill and I are safely indoors waiting to the storm to arrive. So far it’s been windy and rainy but it’s not really raining. Some precipitation is falling or rather flying sideways. I went out earlier just for a few minutes to see what was happening and came home shortly thereafter. An hour or so later, the tree in front of our building was knocked over by winds. It was just chopped in two as the picture and video below will show.

We’ve been indoors mostly. I did go out yesterday and checked out the waterfront, where I used to busk. It wasn’t that bad, some white caps on the river and a bit windy. I walked around Pier A and took some snapshots, then walked into the train station for a moment. A couple of hours later the area by the train station was beginning to flood and soon after that, the train tracks inside the station were filling with water. It wasn’t windy, it wasn’t raining, it was the proximity of the river and a full moon high tide with the rising waters from the storm surge.

It was eerily quiet last night when I went to bed. Bill was already asleep. Before falling asleep he called his office to see if they were open or closed today (they were closed). I sent some info to friends in Manhattan to let them know that the MTA was shutting down as well as NJ Transit. Last year while working at the cigar shack, the same thing happened when Hurricane Irene approached. There was no way to get to and from work for anyone so there was no work.

We didn’t get paid for the day but if we were working at the cigar shack Swiss cheese headquarters in Florida and couldn’t make it in, then we would have gotten paid. Since we were mere grunts in suits and ties in New York City, and despite Zack’s impotent attempt we got nothing. So some of those friends got the word, I figured they would tell other people. I couldn’t give a damn if they told the marsupial. I don’t know if possums could swim.

It is now 4PM and there are no cars allowed to drive on the streets of Hoboken. A big construction crane is dangling on west 57th Street due to the high winds. A curfew is in effect in Hoboken at 6PM. And the fucking storm isn’t even here yet. I’ve seen pictures of Ocean City MD, Atlantic City, Ortley Beach and they’re all overrun by the ocean waters. Fire Island has been evacuated and I can only wonder what is going on in Sandy Hook or any of those shore towns on Route 36.

So far we are OK here in Hoboken. We can’t leave the building due to downed wires so we are in for the night. We’re fine with provisions so now we just have to ride it out. Hope all is well where you are.

goodbye tree





Sinatra Park, Hoboken


Between Pier A and Train Station


Ocean City MD


West 57th St NYC

Photo by theboken • Instagram.

Photo by cynthiamarie07 • Instagram.


Ann Peebles I Can’t Stand the Rain

I Never Said I Was Deep

A rainy Monday. It hasn’t been raining all day, just started a few hours ago when I was off to the bibliothèque to do some volunteering. Just a few hours putting away DVD’s and CD’s and a ton of non-fiction books and also helping out customers who couldn’t find certain items. One guy had an interview tomorrow and was looking for a book on how to ‘ace’ the interview. His thing is at Conde Nast and I wished him well. He kept calling me ‘sir’ which I found unnerving but it is something that I should probably get used to.

Yesterday was also spent volunteering at the bibliothèque. It was a quiet day inside, and I helped in when I could. Saturday was the busy day and I heard several times how grateful they were that I was there to help out. They’re good people and I don’t mind helping them out. The staff there likes me and I like them so it all works out. It would be nice to get a full time job there but we’ll see how that goes. It’s a civil service job and that’s a job one does not walk away from.

There was the chance to work part time but that salary would pay considerably less than the unemployment insurance I get. If I was collecting from NJ then NJ would make up the difference between the part time pay and the unemployment benefit. But since I am collecting from New York State, where I worked, it’s not that easy. For each day you work, it is a 25% deduction from your already low benefit. So if you work 4 or more days, you are screwed. In NJ they’re willing to do the math, in New York State they really don’t want to.

Today I had an interview finally. It was with a staffing agency in midtown, an agency I signed up for years ago, perhaps when I was still living in Weehawken. They sent me out on one gig, I showed up in a suit and tie, working for a publisher that puts out legal newsletters and books. They had me in the mail room and I was dressed more like the executives than the mail room personnel. That made everyone uncomfortable and the job ended only an hour or two later, not the full day I was told I would be working.

It was unnerving, the agency visit. I showed up early, suit & tie, looking fly. The appointment was at 1:00, I was there at 12:45. I brought the attachments they sent in an email, all filled out, plus proper identification and the resume with references attached. An hour later I hadn’t seen anyone. I mentioned that I had somewhere to go downtown at 2:30 and the receptionist said something that I didn’t quite hear since they play Pandora quite loudly in the reception area. Not relaxing stuff, not music, but ‘what the kids are listening to nowadays’.

That meant One Republic, Maroon 5, Gusttavo Lima, Muse and Spoon (whom I do like) all at a really loud volume. People are stressed to begin with looking for work and while they stress out sitting for their counselor, they get to listen to alternative Top 40 radio with songs picked by an algorithm in Kansas. I was certainly stressed when they set me up with some tests and I did not do well at all. I did better than I expected but overall, I was just above a passing grade.

My counselor did come out and we talked. He told me he would send me the test again to do at home and practice to that I could get a higher score. At the elevator he told me to stay in touch, maybe email him twice a week to let him know if I am still looking. It seemed like a brush off but I remain hopeful. So far there is nothing from the counselor in my mail box. I just found it, it wasn’t from the counselor it was from a third party and therefore wound up in the Spam folder. Now I have something to do tomorrow.

Last night Bill did not come home from driving until late. I watched Rent on HBO and it was good, not as good as when I saw it with Bill. A little too earnest and watching the opening 15 minutes I was reminded of the scene from Team America, Everyone’s Got AIDS, because of the first four characters in the movie Rent, 3 of them have AIDS. Still it was good to see Jesse L. Martin singing and it made me wonder whatever happened to the Marvin Gaye bio that he filmed a few years ago. Never released, not even straight to DVD.

last of the sunflowers?





no title

Yet another cloudy and rainy grey day both inside and out. It hasn’t been an easy day that’s for sure and with each passing minute it seems to get worse and worse. Things don’t seem to be going in the direction I had hoped for. I couldn’t do anything about it yesterday since it was Columbus Day but today I was able to make a phone call and my worst suspicions were confirmed. Now my hand or rather my wallet is being forced to do something that I really don’t want to do. That’s about all I will say about it for now.

Today was spent in Secaucus and Hackensack. Training for the new job. I was anxious about it and met up with my co-workers at the designated pick up spot. Some of us were off to Secaucus and some were off to Hackensack. Then at midday there would be a switch. Two buses were involved. I rode out to Secaucus where I wound up helping a co-worker out with the computer program we were learning. I was surprised at how resistant to new things she was, everything was wrong. It wasn’t like she wasn’t getting it, she did not want to get it at all.

Then a lunch supplied by a local deli. The Hackensack crew came in and ate with us then the Secaucus crew hopped on the Hackensack bus. Dismal Hackensack, even more depressing in the rain. We drove by the Bergen County Jail, past where the Bergen Record used to be. White Manna is still there and once again I sailed on by. The place where we went was a nondescript building, must have looked good in the 1970’s when it was built, now it is basically described as shabby. Not in disrepair, not yet.

The whole thing was over soon enough and we were riding the bus back to Hoboken. Some people got out earlier, closer to their homes. I rode to the end. It was drizzly as I walked home and climbed the stairs. I relaxed when I got home, but the relaxation did not last.

Less than the daily quota of 500 words.

Here I am again. Still forlorn, but Bill is home and he makes me feel better.

Since October 7, 2005 I have posted 2,386 times. I’m sure at least a dozen were very good. I would like to think so at least. Life sure has changed since 2005 though. Bill and I were on the outs then, separated but not really. We were still in constant contact though living apart for a spell. Now we are together for life, taking the good and the bad and it’s times like this that make me realize that it is definitely good to have someone there.

Tomorrow will be the day that something will be done, one way or another. A talk will be had and what follows depends on what was said by them and by me. I truly wish things were different but reality has a way of jumping in.

510 words, not bad.

18 Being Alive

I Never Dream

The weather on Saturday was quite nice, almost 80 degrees. Yesterday, it was in the lower 50’s and cold and damp. Today it is still cold and damp. Not much fun today. It is Columbus Day so some things are closed and some things aren’t. It’s been alright, even though it’s been spent indoors mostly. A lot of reading, catching up on the New Yorker, some books and I have finally finished the October issue of Mojo and moved onto Uncut. Uncut is not as much of an entertaining read as Mojo so my heart certainly isn’t in it. Still I will get through it.

It has been cool enough that yesterday I turned on the heater. Also dressing warmer and the heater is only on for a few minutes here and there. Short sleeves out, long sleeves are in, jackets are on whenever going outside. In fact I have to head outside in a few minutes to get Bill’s laundry from the dry cleaners so I have a jacket ready. I was out earlier today, a trip to the really big supermarket was in order. I saved myself a few dollars in doing so. It’s a bit of a hike but not so bad since it’s still in Hoboken and Hoboken is only a mile squared city.

I slept really well last night, it’s been a while since I had done that. I even had a dream where I was with Joe Klein and his family. Joe Klein is a writer and a pundit on the news shows. He also wrote Primary Colors about the Clinton administration. In the dream I was on 10th Avenue in Chelsea by the art galleries and trying to help Joe Klein get a cab for him and his family who all had iPhones and iPads. A strange but not an awful dream. Joe Klein, really?

It’s also funny that when I use Google on my Gmail page to look up Joe Klein, Katie Klein always pops up. She was and perhaps still is a staffing consultant. I stepped on her toes a few years ago and certainly set fire to the bridge between us when I went behind her back and contacted a client that I was hoping to get a position through. She was understandably pissed off and probably blackballed me in the staffing agency world, if blackballing is a thing that staffing agencies to. 420 Blazers might do it, I don’t think Staffmark does.

Then there is Emmitt Josephs from Harborview Consultants. In July as I was going down the shore with Annemarie Emmitt called with a great new position for me. Emmitt needed an updated resume which I told him I would send when I got home that night. And Emmitt had one more question, ‘What year did I graduate high school?’ Now staffing agencies and potential employers can’t come right out and ask you your age, but then can figure it out by asking a question like that. I told him 1980 and when I got home I sent Emmitt the resume.

A week later I contacted Emmitt. A month later I contacted Emmitt again. The other day I tried once again, identifying myself as the geezer from the class of 1980. A little humor, a little snark- well those are two things that Harborview Consultants certainly have no need for and I once again set afire to the bridge between myself and Emmitt Josephs. Emmitt will find out eventually the disparity of the whole job search thing, and it’s too bad but then again he propagates the methods however underhanded that are used.
That seems to be the nature of the beast.







14 Wedding Bell Blues

I Need You Now- Agnes

“Listen to the Duquesne whistle blowin’.” A song I was playing earlier tonight, which I will get back to later. It has certainly been an interesting day, to say the least. The other day while traipsing around the Lower East Side and the East Village with Rand, he asked me if I wanted to go out to Bergen County with him today. Lisa, his wife had an appointment and while she was tending to that he was free to do some more wandering around. I said I was into it and last night he texted me the plans for today.

The plan was to take the bus to Weehawken and get Rand’s sister’s car and then drive out to Hackensack. Now I grew up around that area so I knew the ins and outs of the area, though plenty has changed since I was last in the area. Lisa went in for her appointment and rand and I drove around. We went to the heart of Lodi where I grew up and has totally changed. He had some banking to do and after that we made a wrong turn and we wound up in a part of Lodi where I had never been before.

I basically grew up closer to Rochelle Park and Saddle Brook and found out today that there are parts of my hometown that I know nothing about. After a few turns we wound up on Route 46 and back on Main Street. I have no idea how we got there but there we were. We then drove to Saddle Brook and visited the big building/warehouse where we used to work together. That was uneventful and drove on through Saddle Brook and into Rochelle Park where I knew a little bit more about where things were.

From there we went to the National Wholesale Liquidators which used to be two Guys and before that, Modells. I remembered Two Guys and Modells and this place was nothing like what I remembered. I told Rand where things were, this side was the women’s department- that side was the men’s department and on Sunday, due to the blue laws of Bergen County those areas of the store were roped off. You can see the items but you would have to wait until Monday to purchase them. There was no more pet department, I guess the dogs in cages and the fish all died.

More driving around, past my old homestead before we picked up Lisa and headed back to Hudson County. Rand wanted to take a scenic route so it was Tonnelle Avenue, which of course is under a lot of construction and causing heavy traffic. We got through it alright though. We made it to Union City where we had a lackluster lunch but I was happy since the waitress was able to charge up my phone. That’s been a bone of contention. Battery power goes down way too quickly, even with certain power using apps have been turned off.

Rand and Lisa dropped me off close to my building since there was construction going on the streets of Hoboken as well. I came home and settled in for a little while, changing some clothes before heading into the city. Bill was invited to an art opening in Soho and wanted me to go with him, so soon I was on the Path, getting off at Christopher Street. I enjoyed a cigar, strolling down Hudson to Houston and despite my lazy stroll, I was still pretty early.

I walked down West Broadway listening to the new Bob Dylan record (great-buy it) and ran into two customers from the cigar shack. They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged, some details regarding my departure were disclosed and they seemed surprised but not really since they know the major players in this silly tale.

I couldn’t stay long since I was due to meet Bill, but I did add them as friends on Facebook so I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of them. The art opening was OK. No photographs allowed (boo) and the artwork was merely a rip off of Andy Warhol. I know my Warhol and I know a rip off when I see it. It wasn’t as bad as Peter Max, but still it lacked wit. You could buy similar things at Target or Pier 1. A lovely walk with Bill, a nice stroll through Washington Square Park and then the Path train again.

It was a good day. And I haven’t even written about everything.

where I grew up


Rand outside the former HBJ


Same place, different bloke


Lovely Lisa







The man I love


I Love LA

Well it’s been a fun time the past 48 hours. Saturday night after posting I went out with Julio for some birthday drinks. I was watching Sullivan’s Travels on TCM when he called. Apparently he texted me while I was watching the movie and didn’t pay any attention. Then he called, feeling stood up. That was not my intention and I did want to go out for a drink with Julio. So after watching Sullivan’s Travels I got myself together and changed my undershirt for possibly the third or fourth time that day. Since Julio now lives uptown and not on the third floor of my building, a middle ground would have to be decided upon.

I headed out, the plan was to meet at 13th and Washington Street, closer to Julio’s place than to mine but I didn’t really mind. Neither one of us wanted to go to a pick up joint and I specifically said no to going to a bar with television sets everywhere. Julio agreed.

I walked up Washington Street, it was a beautiful evening, warm with a breeze and though a lot of Hoboken residents left town for the weekend (which felt like a holiday weekend), they were replaced by people going to restaurants as well as the twenty-somethings filling the bars.

I got to 13th and Washington and there was no Julio to be seen. At 14th and Washington there was someone who might have been Julio so I meandered up that way. Across the street by a firehouse, two fire engines were on the street returning from a call with their diesel engines making some noise. As I walked up to 14th, my phone rang. It was Bill calling from the road. He returned the young Turks to Hofstra University and was checked into an air conditioned motel room.

Bill was telling me about his adventures and I listened as he reminded me of a favor I was doing tomorrow. Bill wasn’t sure if he was driving the young Turks to Washington DC since there was a major power outage in that area. He might be driving them to Philadelphia instead.

I walked and talked to 14th Street and found the guy was not Julio. Standing on the corner, with traffic going by and being directed by a fireman near the two fire engines I asked Bill when he would know about going to Washington DC.

He didn’t hear me and I figured it was because of all the noise on my end (fire engines, cars going by) so I asked again, a little louder. Bill replied, ‘WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? I AM WEARING A HEAD SET!’. I knew he had a head set but hell if I know when he is wearing it and when he is not. I do not take being yelled at that well and my good feeling did a 180 degree move. Bill was annoyed, I was pissed and up comes Julio. I reminded Bill about the favor I am doing for him on Sunday afternoon which calmed his ass down and he told me he would let me know.

I hung up the phone and wandered around 14th Street with Julio, me telling him about Bill and his headset and Julio telling me about how he gets routinely chewed out by his wife. Spouses- Who knew? We looked in a few bars around 14th street and I mentioned that Maxwells would be the spot since it doesn’t have television sets and it isn’t a pick up bar. He knew I was there the night before and that I would be going again on Sunday night with my brother Brian to see the Feelies. But I think Julio would be happy never to set foot in Maxwells again for some reason.

We opted for a wine bar, Bin 14. We found two seats at the bar and since Julio knows a bit more about wine, ordered a bottle of a Riesling. We sat, we sipped, and we talked. Some catching up, me telling him what happened with me and the cigar shack. We also discovered that wine doesn’t make you pee as much as beer does. Julio pointed out the option that we could have ordered beers but since we were in a wine bar- when in Rome…

It was a good wine, dry enough that the bartender made sure we had glasses of water with our wine. We polished off that bottle and I would have been fine with leaving right then and there but Julio ordered another bottle, a chilled Rioja. A much nicer wine and a bit less expensive.

More talking, a few laughs, and soon the bar was closing up. It was 1:00. Wine bars seem to close earlier than regular bars, at least in Hoboken. It was a more sedate and mature crowd, mature meaning the opposite of immature, not necessarily older.

We headed out, feeling nice, not overtly buzzed, not weaving on the sidewalk. I enjoyed a cigar as I walked Julio over to Willow Avenue. He’s going to meet up with Stine and Alexander on the 11th so we made tentative plans to have a drink before he flies to Denmark. In the back of my mind, Bill yelling at me on the phone lurked.

I came home, watched some TV and went to bed. Woke up on Sunday morning, went to the nearby supermarket. Julio texted me saying he felt OK but crappy, not great but functioning. His only plan was to watch the Euro Cup with his sister and her family.

At 10:30 AM I was back in my apartment making breakfast. Two bottles of wine and I felt OK. I had a hearty meal before heading out on Saturday night and I guess that Julio didn’t which is why he was feeling crappy. As the day progressed and as the temperature rose I too started feeling crappy.

I guess it was inevitable. I rarely drink these days and I guess Julio doesn’t either. But he has central air conditioning and I had my fans moving warm air around. I spoke briefly with Bill and he told me someone would be in his office to receive his clothes since he was going to Washington DC after all.

I really didn’t care. I was doing it because I said I was going to do it and I had his clothes all good to go. I just had to wait until 4:00PM since Bill mentioned that was what time the guy would be at the office. I napped and killed time. Oddly enough I was bummed out quite a bit since my bus pass expired on June 30 and now it was July 1. My reminder of daily commuting and having a job was now finished.

I checked the schedule to see when the bus would depart and timed it. It was still incredibly hot outside and where when I used to commute in the morning the sun would be in the east behind some buildings, now it was nearly 4:00 in the afternoon and there was no real cover to be had. Luckily I found a sliver of shade and a bus came mere moments after that.

As I rode the bus, Bill called seemingly happy to be wherever he was. I was feeling like crap. Hot, a bit hung over and reminded Bill that I do not like to talk on the phone while riding the bus. He understood and I told him I would call him after I dropped off his clothes.

After dropping off his clothes I was back on the street and called Bill. Voice mail. I walked to the Path train, and luckily there was a train about to depart. I sat in the air conditioned car which wasn’t that crowded and before I knew it I was back in Hoboken.

Back on the street, I called Bill. Voice mail again but I did not leave a message. I walked along the river promenade, which was a bit crowded with people trying to beat the heat. Feeling anti-social I kept to myself avoiding at least one person I saw up ahead. Soon I was safely home and took a nap.

My time in Manhattan was about 20 minutes from the bus terminal to Bill’s office to the Path train. The nap helped somewhat and after I woke up I texted my brother to move the time from 7:30 to meeting up at 8:00 at Maxwells. I felt better at 10:30 in the morning than I did at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Dinner was had and I also took a shower which helped me out quite a bit. I headed over to Maxwells with a stop at my friend Lois’ apartment. She and her husband Fred are heading out of town and I am feeding their cat so I needed to pick up the keys. Brian was at Maxwells before I was so I made there in time.

We walked in just as the Feelies were about to hit the stage. They were very good. I guess it had been a number of years since I had seen them last, perhaps when they opened up for Sonic Youth on the Fourth of July in Battery Park.

Great show, Brian enjoyed it a lot as did I. There were two sets and we were on the sidewalk in between sets talking to friends and also meeting friends that I only knew through Facebook and that was because they thought I was my brother Frank. The second Feelies set was even more high energy and ran longer than I thought, not that I was complaining since I had nowhere to go but Brian did have to work the next morning.

It was all over, I was able to give Stan an ashtray from the cigar shack as well as corresponding Avo cigar, as a way of saying thanks for putting me on the guest list with a plus one.

Brian gave me a ride home and we sat outside my building and talked for a while before he headed home. Once inside I let his wife know he was on his way. I slept alright after that, though I did have a few Stella Artois and needed to rehydrate a few times through the night, one time getting up to take off my wristwatch since it seemed so damn heavy as I slept. And that was basically that. It’s another hot day, and I have not gone outside at all. Stayed in, did some reading, watched some TV and napped often. It’s cheap and cool and it is still damn hot outside.

I’m sure a good part of my feeling ‘meh’ today is from the Stellas I had and also going out three nights in a row, two of those nights fueled with wine and beer. Not complaining, just paying the piper I suppose. Bill just came home and went to sleep saying he’ll be sleeping for a little while though I think he will be asleep for the rest of the night. I have no plans and I don’t want any plans.

Since the Fourth of July is Wednesday, right smack dab in the middle of the weeks, job postings online are thinner than usual. I guess things will fill out next week but it seems this week its slim pickings.



The Feelies


06 Let’s Go

I Know You Got Soul

Yet another fucked up day. It started out fucked up thanks to New Jersey Transit. Once again I leave the apartment on time, getting to the bus stop waiting for the 10:35 bus. By 10:40 I see nothing approaching. Another bus pulls up and I ask the driver if he has seen the 126 bus and he hasn’t and doesn’t even seem to know what the 126 bus is.

Once again I head to the Path train. It looks like it will be day three of taking the train into the city. But I spy the 126 bus at the terminal. I get on and ask what happened to the 10:35 bus, the one driven by Chief. The bus driver doesn’t seem to know. I get on board and find a seat. Sure enough at the first bus stop, the 126 bus driven by Chief passes us.

My driver seems to be a rookie, he’s driving quite slow and with people getting off the bus, he is now in Chief’s wake. We wind up following Chief on the route, even getting behind Chief as he picks up passengers while we have no one getting on or off our bus. I do the right thing and text Zack at the store to let him know once again I am running late.

I walk up the avenue to the cigar shack and see Zack who looks annoyed. He mentions that I should do more to get to the cigar shack on time, despite the fact that it is not me, but rather New Jersey Transit who is at fault. Zack says that I had better not be late for Friday. I ask what is going on Friday and apparently there is a conference call scheduled and we’re supposed to be at the cigar shack at 8:00AM.

I ask Zack if that means I would get to leave at 6:00PM and he says no. The conference call is about something that does not concern me at all, but Zack doesn’t care. As a manager, Zack is a decent poet.

There is an email from the twit down south who is organizing the conference call and I call the number posted. The twit mentions that the call could be made from home, all one needs is a phone and a computer. So I don’t have to come in at 8:00AM and work a 14 hour day. Zack is nonplussed. Unlike most managers who look out for their employees, Zack only looks out for himself, much like the possum looks out for himself while eyeing Zack’s position.

It will be a year this weekend that Marcus announced he was leaving the cigar shack and Zack was being promoted. It will be a year that I congratulated Zack and wished Marcus well while the possum turned beet red with envy and resentment, thinking that he might have been next in line instead of Zack. Zack noticed the possum’s color that May 12th, but now it seems Zack is safely ensconced in the marsupial pouch.



waiting for Orpheus


Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
Thank you Obama.

I Just Fall In Love Again

Home again. A long day but wasn’t so bad. I did have to take a Xanax such was my anxiety. I was working with Zack and Thomas and Zack has been alright, and Thomas is becoming easier to ignore, but I am sure the Xanax helped. Yesterday Thomas told me of a very fine pineapple upside down Vegan cake which was good. Then he told me again about 2 hours later, and I reminded him that he had told me about it already. He seemed put off but though I do like repetition in music and art, in conversation I do not like it at all.

The same goes for religion. When I was growing up I couldn’t stand the fact that they told the same old stories over and over again. It seemed so pointless and stupid though it did point the way out of the hole that religion is to me. I did have bouts of religious fervor growing up, but not enough. In Fifth grade, when the priests came to my class trying to recruit altar boys, all the boys raised their hands but me.

I had two older brothers who were altar boys and seeing the schedules that they had, having to get up dreadfully early on Sundays did not make sense to me. Plus the fact that my mother would toil in the basement making sure their cassocks where cleaned and pressed did not appeal to me in the slightest.

Getting a few dollars for standing next to a priest for weddings for funerals wasn’t worth it for me, so I opted out. My classmates who did raise their hands asked why didn’t I join them and I explained that I like to sleep in on weekends. I don’t know how many made it through the year and frankly, I didn’t care.

In the 1970’s my father saw the Exorcist and forbade anyone in the family from seeing it. A few years later he saw The Omen and that seemed to be alright. I was too young to get into an R rated movie, but I did sneak in once after another movie, and saw Lee Remick take a tumble off a balcony at the top of the stairs thanks to her devil child on a tricycle.

I did read the book and was captivated and terrified. One Saturday evening I was so taken by the book I convinced my mother that we needed to go to confession as soon as possible.

We hopped in the car and drove to Sacred Heart church in Rochelle Park and got in line for confession. I went first and said my usual, ‘Bless me father, I have lied and I and have sinned and I swore’. Same reasons every time. I did my penance, Holy Mary’s, Our Fathers and whatever else and waited for my mother.

Apparently she told the priest in the confessional that it was my idea to go to confession which got the priest all excited as well as my mother. Perhaps they thought I would be a priest. On the way home my mother asked me what made me want to go to confession so badly and I told her about The Omen book which was a big letdown for her.

She must have thought I received the call to the priesthood and here I was in the grip of a Hollywood adaptation of a second rate novel. No priesthood for me, the call went unanswered and went straight to voicemail. Still haven’t checked it, but why bother? I changed that number ages ago.



she took my picture so I took hers


Last Goodbye

I Hate Myself And Want To Die

It’s been a day off and I am pretty much tired. A haircut in the morning and a visit to the dentist in the evening. I didn’t want to ‘do’ the dentist in the morning, and called up yesterday to try to move the appointment to later in the day. I really crave my sleep you see. But it was a Sunday when I called and the office was closed so I didn’t really know whether or not my appointment was changeable.

In hindsight I should have kept the original appointment since I was up waiting to hear whether or not the appointment could be moved. Instead I had an afternoon filled with the usual anxiety regarding going to the dentist.

I was able to get a haircut though. My barber Tony was available when I walked by with bags full of shirt hangers. When we have a lot of hangers in the apartment I usually get them together and drop them off at the dry cleaners.

So there was Tony, his left arm in an elbow brace. He’s not going to have the surgery done since it wasn’t guaranteed to make him move his arm any better since falling from the ladder a while back. Tony of course did his good job of making me look good, nice trim on my head of hair as well as my goatee, and ear hair, eye brows and nose hair.

Then it was a walk to the dry cleaners with the hangers, then to the supermarket. My favorite cashier Isis was at her register but there was a customer laden with many items and I just wanted to go home so I went to the other cashier who I thought at first was slow, but she’s more than likely simply dotty.

I came home and had a decent breakfast and then nothing. I should have kept the dentist appointment the way it was, and perhaps get the haircut later in the day. But no, that’s not how it works out. I cleaned the apartment a little bit, took a nap and checked emails for a few hours before heading into Manhattan at the beginning of rush hour.

The bus was not crowded at all and midway through the ride, I got a phone call from Bill. It was official, Bill has diabetes. Not the end of the world, it’s manageable and Bill has already taken steps in the right direction. Instead of going to the gym in the morning and binging when he got home at night, he’s going to the gym in the morning and that’s it. No carbs, no sugars and he is learning how to drink water. He never had a problem drinking water, he just didn’t like it.

Of course the bus I was on had a novice bus driver who got in the wrong lane in the tunnel and instead of making a left and going 100 feet once we were on the New York side of the tunnel, he was forced to make a right and going several blocks away from the bus terminal. Other buses in the same situation were letting their passengers get off their buses, but not mine.

It was me and an elderly lady who wanted off and the driver threatened to make me stay on the bus since I was ‘talking slick’. The elderly lady wasn’t having it and promptly chewed the driver out causing him to open the door so we could depart. Then a walk from 35th street to 57th street which was faster than waiting in traffic for the bus driver to make up his mind.

My broken tooth was removed and I have another appointment in 3 weeks for a follow up. I am pretty much beat. I should sleep well tomorrow. The Oscars were ‘meh’.

And just a reminder, the title of tonight’s entry is merely a song title from a list that I use. Sometimes it is in sync with what I write about, sometimes I bend the rules but tonight it has nothing to do with anything besides being a song by Kurt Cobain.

In the tunnel


going AWAY from the bus terminal



What is and What Should Never Be

I Got You Leona Lewis

Fuck this shit, Or rather FTS. That is what I posted on my Facebook page. In the past 48 hours I have spent roughly 24 hours at the cigar shack. Last night was the super bowl event which was totally boring to me and very uninteresting. I did not care one bit if one team beat another.

The super bowl event at the man cave at the cigar shack was attended by 9 customers and they were attended to by Jerry Vale and myself. The food was lousy but the customers got 3 cigars for their $75.00 fee. The food which was delivered had to be microwaved since it was cold when it was delivered.

A general waste of time and money if you ask me. Thankfully as soon as the super bowl was over the customers left, leaving Jerry vale and myself to clean up which was not so bad since Jerry vale and I took care of the cleaning throughout the super bowl. I did not get home until 13 hours after I originally left.

Zack and Bradley had the day off so they did not have to worry about anything. They had to get ready for the staph meeting tonight. So at the cigar shack we had a full staph which meant sales were down for everyone, except for Zack who sold tickets for another event somewhere in the future at $300.00 a pop. He grabbed the lion’s share, four figures where everyone else was in the low three figure sum.

The staph meeting started around 9:20 when I was done closing the register again for yet another day. I was toast, the 24 hours were bearing down on me. The staph meeting started with Zack telling Bradley, Thomas, Jerry Vale and myself that January was a good month and February is starting out to be very good as well.

I sat in the corner, outside the circle of the other four and did not say much. I was too tired. After Zack spoke then it was Bradley’s turn to speak. It was his first time to speak as an assistant manager and he did alright. Though I had things to say when Zack spoke, by the time the baton was passed to Bradley I had nothing.

I listened, stared with dead eyes and wanted to go home. I like Jerry Vale but he never shuts up sometimes. He can go on and on and if he is talking about skiing or the sporting goods store where he used to work, then he will go on forever. And sure enough he did.

Thomas noticed my vacant stare and chuckled to himself which probably made Zack and Bradley think we had something up our sleeves. The only thing up my sleeve was my watch which I couldn’t help but look at as the time passed. Bradley had the idea for Thomas, Jerry Vale and myself to think outside of the box. Now I have to find a box.





full moon rise


02 Breaking Glass

I Feel My Stuff

Whereas Saturday was a stellar day at the cigar shack, yesterday was a bit like a black hole. Day 3 of 11 hour shifts had taken their toll, closing u the cigar shack and getting home after 11:00 and then getting up the next day to be there to open up was taxing enough.

I did not remember that NJ Transit’s Sunday schedule was flawed, buses running every hour until 9:00AM so that didn’t help me as I waited for what the automated schedule announced that an 8:29 bus would be appearing. At about 8:35 I made my way to the Path train where I descended the stairs to the platform where I saw onscreen that the next train to 33rd street would be at 9:15.

Since I needed to be at the cigar shack at 9:30, the 9:15 train would not help me at all. So forfeiting my fare (no arrival/departure screens before the turnstiles) I went back up to the street and felt it would be better to wait for the 9:00 bus and take my chances. I got to the city and walked through the bus terminal at 9:25.

Because the bus terminal is closer to the cigar shack than the Path station and since it was also the weekend and the subways were on crazy schedules and outages I once again walked up the avenue to the shack. I stopped and got my egg sandwich and hustled on up the street.

A block away from the cigar shack I got my iced coffee and while waiting for that I got a phone call from Jerry Vale. He was near the cigar shack and inside where it was nice and warm where I was out on the street in 32 degree weather and already tired from the hustling with the bus and Path train schedules. I told Jerry Vale that I too was outside and would be there soon enough.

When I got to the cigar shack the lights were on and no Jerry Vale in sight. I figured Bradley let him in since Bradley was sitting in the man cave when I came in. I asked Bradley where Jerry Vale was and he didn’t know. I ate my sandwich quite fast and got a few things ready for opening.

A minute or two before 10:00 I walked up to the door where I saw Jerry Vale calling me. He saw me so he did not complete the call. But he was angry with me. I asked him why didn’t he call Bradley but he didn’t know that Bradley was working with us. No- Jerry Vale doesn’t check the schedule to see who he is working with.

He started snapping at me and I of course snapped back and even Bradley chimed in against Jerry Vale. I asked Jerry Vale what time he was due in and he said 10:00. I told him since it was 10:00 then maybe he should punch in. He was upset about having to wait in relative comfort while I was busting my ass to get to the cigar shack.

The day was spent mainly with Bradley and I ignoring Jerry Vale and Jerry Vale sensing this, spent most of his time staying away from both of us. It certainly was a long day and I was quite glad to be home again where I crashed. A day off today was not nearly enough to recover and it’s back to work again tomorrow.

I think of what Jimmy Seltzer said, that I am a good worker, showing up to work day after day at a job I don’t really like, but it’s a job and reluctantly I am happy to have at least that.



07 Moon Rocks

Thanks to Deborah for her advice, no more car wreck viewing of the Santorum sculptor.

I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital)

Well today was different. It certainly was a change, what with having to get to the cigar shack at 9:30 and open which is usually someone else’s job. It was Zack’s doing since I had requested Sunday off and since the schedule had to be rearranged I didn’t mind.

I was a bit anxious about it since it was going to be me and Zack for two hours before Thomas and Frank Burns were due in. I walked up to the bus stop and waited. A totally different type of person on the bus earlier in the morning, earlier than what I am used to.

It wasn’t so bad as I ran onto Alice G on the bus and we had an interesting chat about our jobs, our pasts and our futures. Alice has big plans afoot, she’s in Psychic TV and a documentary on Genesis P. Orridge is going to be released as well as a tour of Australia and New Zealand. All very exciting but then again Alice G is quite an exciting woman. Having written that, I’m dumbfounded that I have known her for over 20 years.

Zack has been acting weird lately ever since Calvin took a powder so I did not know what to expect. Actually I was expecting something like how Raymond was let go. He came in, there was a discussion and a few minutes later Raymond was gathering his things and headed out the door. But nothing happened, it was merely Zack sitting in his office and me trying to keep busy.

It’s a weird situation for all concerned and perhaps weird for those that happen to be unconcerned. Zack didn’t want the position he is in now and he found it thrust upon him. He’s making the most of it and doesn’t want to fail and personally I don’t want to see him fail. I believe he and his girlfriend have a baby on the way though it hasn’t been announced.

Frank Burns actually let it slip and Zack and Frank Burns have been extraordinarily tight these days. Maybe it’s a gay thing, I don’t know. One is utterly fascinated with who may or may not be gay and the other stated that he and his cousin had sex a week or so ago, so I don’t know who to believe but it does make for some interesting talk.

Thomas came in as did Frank Burns and it made it difficult to be busy when there was now competition to be busy. Wiping down glass, facing cigars, emptying ashtrays. Well actually I’m the only one who empties the ashtrays, at least that is what some of the customers tell me.

An earlier lunch than usual and that was nice since the sun was still out and I was able to enjoy a cigar and read Please Kill Me some more. I finished the New Yorker and since the new one hadn’t arrived yet, I needed something to read. It fit the bill nicely.





06-mos_def-quiet_dog_bite_hard

I Don’t Wanna Know

Another day, another dollar or in this case another roll of toilet paper. For the past two days I have been ill. I started feeling ill on Friday while at the cigar shack. I told Zack and Frank Burns how I was feeling and they were understandably alarmed for their own safety.

I did not mention how I was freezing in the shack since the last time I complained about how cold I was, Zack told me to stop whining. So I kept my mouth shut and worked while Frank Burns yelled at the television in the man cave with his cousin watching the World Series.

I think the bird team won, ably defeating every other team on the planet, therefore winning the World Series. Take that Zambia! Eat shit Lichtenstein! Drop dead Paraguay! Go to hell Sri Lanka! I made it home and after adding a few touches to the entry, I went to sleep and was able enough to make it to work on Saturday.

Definitely a low key kind of day, and once again when I got home I went right to sleep. Now somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning I took a turn for the worse. I did not sleep well at all and dear Bill was understandably concerned. He suggested making a doctor’s appointment and I reluctantly agreed.

Unfortunately, I could not make an appointment for Sunday, so I had to choose Monday, today. I woke up as usual on Monday morning and after spending a considerably amount of time in the bathroom, I called up the cigar shack manager and left a voice mail telling him how sick I was.

I had a feeling he wasn’t going to answer his phone. After that I went back to bed and slept another hour. Sweaty, fever dreams followed. Insane situations, people I hadn’t seen in years popped up in a too real manner. It was like high definition. After escaping the fever dreams (death eaters!) I hopped into the shower and put on some clean clothes and headed to the doctor.

Now I am not too fond of this doctor and his twin brother. It’s all too much like Dead Ringers, only these twins definitely do not look like Jeremy Irons. After waiting in the waiting room with a motley group of other ill and sniffling people I was escorted into the doctor’s office and within a few minutes involving a cold stethoscope the doctor gave me some anti-biotic and showed me the door.

It was quite a nice door. Wood, I think. Then I made my way back home and went back to sleep. A few hours later I woke up and was feeling a little better. A bit hungry and not as dehydrated as I was earlier, I plan on returning to the cigar shack tomorrow.

I dislike being sick but then again I am sure everyone dislikes being sick. Worst Halloween ever! Back in the day I would get sick from eating too much candy. Not this time. No candy, no trick and no treat for me.




Angels and Devils

I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement*

A hum drum day off. More hum than drum, or maybe more drum than hum but in any event it was a day off. And it’s been alright thus far. Had crazy dreams last night, one included 2 classmates from 30 years ago, Frank Wester and Ken Mallia who in the dream turned out to be lovers and in the process of adopting a baby.

I don’t think either was gay and though we were all in the same graduating class I don’t think the 2 ever socialized. I hadn’t thought of Ken Mallia since the year 2000 when I attended the 20th year reunion and a mutual friend told me that Ken won’t ever return to New Jersey nor would he visit 2 Pearl Court at the bottom of Trudy Drive.

The last time I saw Frank Wester was at Hitsville in Passaic and that must have been 1982. Frank recognized me and came up to me telling me that my music taste was spot on, New Wave was truly the way to go, despite his mocking me for liking the genre throughout high school.

Frank Wester was not at the reunion either and I decided then and there that it would be my last reunion, I had no desire to see any of these people again, except for Jim Carley or John Nesselt, who both declined to attend the reunion. Those were the 2 friends from high school that I would be interested in seeing once again, but over 30 years later it seems highly unlikely that our paths would cross once more.

The Wester/Mallia dream segued into a dream where I was in an industrial park looking for a place to pee. I found what seemed to be a deserted area and was about to leave my mark, but was soon surrounded by news crews headed by someone wearing a Brian Eno mask. I’m sure I had other dreams but those were the last ones before waking up and starting my day. I’ve read somewhere that a dream lasts only a few seconds then it is supplanted by another dream so that is something to consider.

The day had a lazy start. I showered but had no coffee to make so I took a chance and headed out first to the bibliothèque and then to the supermarket where the cashier took issue with the cover of the Daily News, stating that the Goldman Sachs fat cat was just one of the problems that is going on right now.

Since I did not have any coffee I just nodded my head and walked out after paying. Breakfast and a fresh pot of coffee was had and I read all about the fat cat from Goldman Sachs. Then it was basically watching the TV and checking emails. Heard from the former CEO of an old job who seemed to be fishing about, asking how I was doing, what I was up to.

I replied in kind and he mentioned that he would get back to me, then directed an underling to continue the correspondence setting up a phone call due to happen sometime next week which offered me a little bit of hope, but with a healthy amount of skepticism so as not to be overwhelmed by such a thing.

It’s been a day of steady rain and I hadn’t been out much and now I don’t think I will be out again until tomorrow morning when it’s back to the cigar shack for me.




16 – Rhythm of the Rain

I Don’t Hurt Anymore

Right now at the cigar shop I am playing Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Armed Forces. Hard to believe that album is 31 years old. I remember playing it so much that my brother Brian said that I would soon be tired of it. That wasn’t true, but it was replaced by other music and bands back then.

Every week it seemed there was something new and exciting being released and surely something followed that caught and captured my imagination. Today nothing really captures my imagination and certainly working in the cigar shop having an imagination is a detriment.

Today was working with the possum and the old lady Jerry Vale. They seemed to get along quite well and I suppose Thomas and I make a good opposing team. It hasn’t been too busy but the sales have been quite good. I am thisclose to breaking $2000.00 but if I don’t make it, I will be happy with the sales numbers that I got.

The possum was itself today, glasses free and showing those beady little eyes it has. The old lady just stands around telling tales of yesterday, being a footloose youth in the 1970’s in Manhattan. Seeing this one and that one wherever and whenever.

When not telling tales of yore the old stands around hands clasped in front, or behind and occasionally humming along like an old washerwoman. Sunday’s Best just played and the line ‘Blame it all upon the darkie’ (sang satirically of course) was heard by myself and not the two people of color buying cigars for the evening. She wanted a big cigar and he opted for the thinner, more lady like cigar. whatever works I suppose.

The old lady hums along to Chemistry Class by Elvis and Co and he is certainly way off the naval base with that one. The lovely couple who bought the cigars have just put me over my goal so I am relatively content. No the old lady whistles. Most annoying, hands in pockets and doing her best to gain an inch or two in height.

Hard to believe but I have to work again with these two characters. I can easily understand how some managerial types are fond of the drink, I can see how it gets them through the day. The line between happy drunk and angry drunk is much too narrow and I would more than likely injure someone, if not myself.

I would not mind something bad to befall Christophe Sigmond, extraordinaire trou du cul. His glutes were not kissed the way he prefers and since I would not open up a new box of cigars for him he decided he did not like my attitude. I apologized and that just made him angrier.

I deferred to him totally, making sure he had enough rope but it wasn’t enough. He remarked he didn’t like my intonation to which I replied that intonation was overrated.So perhaps the powers that be will hear of my transgression and I am sure I might eventually hear it from Zack.

The safe was short some money tonight and I know for sure it wasn’t me since the first time I went into the safe was went I went to count at the end of the day. Old lady Jerry Vale certainly did not since he’s just a part timer so it must have been the possum. The possum who’s drawer always comes up short.

Well tonight it was over which explained why the safe was short. He was insinuating a week or so ago that it might be Jerry vale’s fault why his drawer kept coming up short. I think the possum doth protest too much.





I Don’t Do Gentle

Oh yes, it was the day from hell. And it started out in the hellish manner before I even left Hoboken. I wait for the bus and nine times out of ten I am the one who flags down the bus. Most of the other people at my bus stop are way too involved with their iPhones and their smartphones.

You would think the bus driver (who I like and just got back from his vacation) would pull up to the person who flagged the bus, but no. He stops the bus wherever there is a young woman standing. It annoyed me enough that I just let everyone else get on the bus before me, including people who don’t know how much the commute is or lack the exact change necessary.

And of course once those people, about ten of them, got on the bus all of the good seats were taken leaving me to sit on top of the wheel well. It was the first of many things that happened. Bill was off today so that he could work the load in for the show that opens later this week. That meant no calling Bill for support or just to hear his voice, letting me know that he is there for me.

I soldiered on, not looking forward to working alongside the Possum. Sure enough there was the Possum on the phone when I walked into the cigar shack. Another scheduling debacle. Calvin was in the office which is where he spends most of his time lately. Jerry Vale was due in later in the day.

It was another slow day, not much business. Calvin mentioned that the sales for last month were lower than the previous year and the way things have been lately, October does not bode well either.

A customer came in today, I recognized him from being in the cigar shack on Sunday. He was returning the $395.00 lighter he bought on Sunday, he wanted a torch lighter after all, and the one he bought was a soft flame. I remember Thomas selling it to this guy.

The possum stepped up and offered to take care of the return and I thanked him and set about helping another customer. When an item is returned, the return falls to the sales associate, in this case it would be Thomas. The Possum made the return mine and on the tally for a good part of the day, I had about 20 sales, but only $9.69 in my column thanks to the refund which should have gone to Thomas. By the time I found out, it was too late to do anything about it.

Another customer came in with a return as well, and I recognized it as my sale. It was a key chain that a forgetful daughter bought for her father’s birthday at the last minute. The mother came in as a favor for her daughter, all the way from Rockland County.

I was going through the motions of the return and asked if the mother had the credit card. She said no, that I should credit her account since she pays the daughter’s credit card bills all the time. I told her we couldn’t do that. So she frantically tried calling her daughter, texting her daughter, all the while nervous about the time left on her parking meter.

She also did not believe me that we can get cellphone signals in the cigar shack. She went outside and came back in, telling me that her daughter just texted her about something unrelated so she was going to text the daughter to call back ASPCA. You read that right. I finished the return and immediately wrote that one down.

The day plodded forward, the Possum stealing a customer from me, I in turn stole a customer from him. I did not ask how he liked them apples, but did hope he would choke on one.





I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

Oh just got back from the cigar shack today and once again it was a bear of a day. It started out in a blasé way, grey skies, falling rain. Not much inspiration to get out of bed. Bill headed off later than usual, only about 45 minutes before I got out of bed. Shower, cereal, coffee and whatever.

And soon I was out on the street walking to the bus stop, talking to Bill on the phone. I love our routines. No Deborah on the bus, just the friendly bus driver and quite a few unfamiliar faces. Broke away from the herd in the bus terminal, going my own way.

Despite just missing an express train I was still early enough for work. Iced coffee, a trip to the bank and another phone call to Bill. Then I found myself in the cigar shack. Calvin was sequestered in the office trying to manage a budget for the next quarter.

This is probably the reason why he turned down the managerial position way back when. He was off yesterday trying to make sense of the budget, during which- a slurry phone call was had in the afternoon. He told me he did not want to be disturbed and I did my best to avoid him at any cost and I was mostly successful.

Of course there are customers who claim to be Calvin’s best friend who popped their heads in and distracted Calvin from his job at hand. There were three of us on staff today besides Calvin. Bradley and Jerry Vale were in as well and Bradley kept grabbing the lion’s share of sales, even Jerry Vale had passed me by.

I was too busy doing menial tasks so I didn’t really care. These things had to be done. When they were done, Calvin emerged from the office and felt that I was loafing about and suggested that I send out some emails to my clients and try to drum up business. Apparently we’ve gone in the past seven days from doing so much better than the year before, to hardly anyone coming into the cigar shack. Since the last year/this year announcement was made, things had definitely fallen by the wayside.

And I did not really need to know the gauge of Calvin’s Prince Albert. Bradley split at his appointed time leaving Jerry Vale and myself with Calvin crunching numbers in the office. Since I was off the floor I was way behind, but it could be explained away.

As I was outside cleaning the window some Europeans came in and were looking around. I tried to help them as best as I could and to my delight we got along quite nicely despite the language problem, thanks to the overworked interpreter in the entourage.

They decided on a nice paperweight and a letter opener to go with it. I set about getting it all ready, and while trying to find the boxes for the items. I found the letter opener box but the paperweight box proved elusive. I didn’t want to but I had to ask Calvin if he had any idea. He didn’t, only saying it should be where I couldn’t find it.

So it was on my knees I went looking for a nonexistent box. A few minutes later Calvin emerged from the office and with an air of authority told me to ring up the item while he found the box. Only he didn’t find the box, he found a box similar to what I was looking for. A different paperweight would now be without a box.

I rang up the items as well as wrapping them and they thanked me before heading out the door. The sale put me in second place right behind Bradley.

Calvin mentioned that Thomas and I will spend tomorrow matching the items in the showcases to the empty boxes nearby. Calvin planned on leaving the cigar shack at 7:30, at 9:19 I left him in the office with a ‘see ya tomorrow’ and heading out the door to my life.




Have another drink drunko!