Tag Archives: Brother Brian

Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)

It’s a Friday, feels like a Saturday. Back in the day, when I lived in Lodi, this would be the day that my parents would go off to Cherry Hill, coming back on Sunday. That usually left my brother Brian and myself at home.

I would spend the day, walking up to the Garden State Plaza, buying records at Sam Goody, books at Schiller Books and then walking across Route 4, over the cloverleaf to Alexanders where records were $4.99 generally.

Maybe some cookies at David’s Cookies in Bamberger’s, or a cheap sandwich at Kresge’s. Then a walk home walking faster than the cars stuck in traffic on Rochelle Avenue. A simpler life it was then.

Don’t recall what Brian and I did for food, but being after Thanksgiving there were bound to be leftovers, pies and brownies and Pfeffernusse which would usually stay in a glass canister for months on end.

I remember one time Brian had a small party, I was upstairs watching Yellow Submarine on a black & white TV. Some friend of Brian’s was playing Dear Prudence on guitar which to my ears was amazing. I don’t remember his name but he also kept his pack of Marlboro in his Frye boots which I thought was sooo cool.

I suppose it must have been 1977 since I bought the 10th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone which made me somewhat hip, or so I thought. And that’s my memory from 32 years ago.

Right now, since nothing else is on I’m watching A Hard Day’s Night on VH1 Classics. Sure it’s distracting me from writing but it’s a fun distraction.

It’s been a giddy day for me today. Don’t know why but I’m not about to question it.

Maybe it had something to do with yet another cannabis free dream last night. This one, I was Bob Dylan’s assistant at his hotel somewhere in Manhattan. I had a problem dealing with his barbecue utensils & tongs so I asked a New York Times reporter in the next room what I should do with them.

Just then Bob entered and said not to touch them. Fine enough, I said I was leaving and I would see everyone tomorrow. As I was leaving the hotel room, in the hallway some guy grabs my arm and tells me to come with him.

Having no say in the matter I go with him and we wind up on the roof of the hotel. He starts telling me that he’s upset with the fact that I’ve been dealing weed in his hotel. Apparently he, and only he was allowed to do such dealings.

I plead my case, stating that it’s impossible, that I hadn’t smoked any weed in over a week! That actually got me off the hook.

I woke up to Bill watching Sanford & Son in the next room. After I got myself awake and alive, Bill and I walked around Hoboken a bit. Stopped by the Guitar Bar to say hello to Jim.

I bought a guitar strap with the Guitar Bar logo on it which Jim graciously took a couple of bucks off the price. I’d still love Jim even if he charged me full price.

Then it was off to the Post Office to pay some bills. Bill saw me put the local mail in the wrong slot and after the letter left my fingers he asked if I had put a stamp on it.

I know at the apartment I thought about using a Homer Simpson stamp and when Bill mentioned that I thought I did. But doubt being what it is, I got back on line and told a postal worker about what I might have done.

He directed me to walk down the hall to the customer service window. I rang the bell and told them and they retrieved the letter, with no stamp on it. Then I had to get back on line and buy some stamps.

Being in a giddy mood, almost manic, I chatted with the man behind the glass, answering his question about using a credit card with a ‘Yes, Ma’am’. ‘Ma’am?’ he remarked and I apologized with him saying in turn, ‘It’s OK, Miss’. It was all a big giggle.

Came home Bill took a nap since he’s working from 6:00PM to 6:00AM. Overtime rarely comes to his office and he jumped at the chance. I changed my guitar strap, played some songs, Elton, Beck, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis Costello. Trying to figure out La Vie en Rose as well.

Woke Bill up at 4:00 by standing over him and playing The Lion Sleeps Tonight. A giddy day. Giddy I tell you, Giddy!

Let It Down

Woke up with a cannabis hangover though I haven’t smoked it in a week now. Perhaps it’s leaving my body, leaving me, well, just leaving me I guess with vivid dreams.

Last night was about someone, maybe Bill switching the tables on me, taking my table which this computer is on and giving me a table I used to have back in Riverview Avenue. It was maybe 2 feet tall and a lot smaller. Don’t know what that is supposed to represent if it’s supposed to represent anything.

I had to get up earlier than I’ve been since I scheduled a visit from PSE&G for this morning between 8:00AM and 12:00PM. I made some coffee and did my usual routine. Online I got an instant message from Vinnie, who I used to work with in the Wanker Banker days.

He asked that I call him as soon as possible and so I did. I contacted Vinnie the other day regarding putting him down as a reference. I was apprehensive since his mother has been sick and in the hospital and I hoped my timing wouldn’t be awful. It wasn’t his mother just came home yesterday.

He was surprised that I’ve been out of work since July and he’d be more than happy to be a reference. We had a good talk and he had a suggestion that I should look into taking a real estate license test, figuring I would be good at that.

Vinnie said if he was going to buy some real estate, he’d buy it from someone like me. The funny thing is, yesterday while ambling around Hoboken where there is a real estate office on almost every block I passed by an office with a sign in their window suggesting a change of career, try real estate.

I thought I might do good in that so it’s actually something I was considering and Vinnie saying the same thing seemed fortuitous. He’s really a good guy and I am glad to have him in my corner. I even sent an email to a friend of Julio’s who did the same thing, got her broker license and now works in real estate.

Who knows? It seems like a good idea right now. I wished Vinnie and his wife and kids a Happy Thanksgiving and made tentative plans to meet up for a coffee down the line.

Walked around a bit today and stopped by a stationary store that had a help wanted sign in their window. I went in and asked if it was an off the books job and it wasn’t. They gave me an application and I started to fill it out, then I said that I was running late and would fill out the application at home and bring it back.

I’m not going to bring it back. I was hoping for a situation like Farfetched but obviously that wasn’t in the cards, so to speak.

Ran out of Stevia and so it was off to the A&P where I ran into Clara a girl I used to work with at that video store almost 20 years ago. She lives around the block and I see her every couple of months. She’s a happily married mom now with 2 kids.

We were close at one point but as it happened we drifted apart after I got fired from the video store after being caught doing something I shouldn’t have been doing while in the downward spiral I was in in the months following my mother’s passing.

It was good to see her though, she’s still a sweet heart though time and rumors widened the chasm between us. It was a day where former co-workers from my past popped up.

And then there’s Harpy. He pops up like clockwork. While I’m writing, or eating dinner, Harpy invariably calls. I don’t mind since I love Harpy and I know he loves me.

Had a good talk with my brother Brian last night. He’s a good guy and I love him a lot. We went though a lot of shit together and being the brother closest to me in age, a lot of fighting which he almost always won.

But that was then, here we are now and I consider him not just a brother but a very dear friend. I’m sure he doesn’t understand things about me but I know he’s there for me and I am there for him, lending an ear whenever possible.

Played guitar today as well, learning some Paul Simon songs since if I’m going to be busking, it’s good to play songs that people know, rather than going for songs that maybe be cool to me, but unknown to most.

I mean, I’d love to play All Tomorrows Parties by the Velvet Underground and singing it like Nico would, but really, would the people walking by the riverside know what I was singing? More than likely not, so I’ll play Me & Julio by the Schoolyard or Kodachrome and be happy with that and hopefully get some greenbacks in my guitar case.

And with that, I will wish you all, or the both of you, a very Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t know when I’ll be posting, we’re heading upstate and if we don’t catch the 6:00 train getting into Hoboken around 9:00, we’ll catch the 9:00 train, getting into Hoboken around midnight.

So Happy Thanksgiving from me.

The Wait

It’s Thursday again. Not such a bad day though I didn’t sleep well last night. At the movie with Lois I got popcorn and a diet coke. It was the diet coke that kept me up. Way too much caffeine. I should have known better.

And of course I don’t follow my own advice of getting out of bed if you can’t sleep, but being awake at 2:30 makes me feel guilty about being up so late. I mainly go to bed not because I’m tired but more from thinking that ‘I should be asleep by now.’

Still I got some sleep though not as restful as I had hoped.

Inglourious Basterds was a good movie. Not a knock out but worth seeing. Good revenge on Nazis movie. It veers sharply from history but seeing Hitler getting shot in the face was worth a smirk. It’s more of a fantasy than anything.

If you haven’t seen it in a movie theater you might as well wait for the DVD. Overall I would give it a ‘B+’.

I’m just hanging out right now. I got a phone call from Billie in DC who was just checking in. He asked if I got the birthday card he sent and I said I did. I didn’t really, but it seemed like the thing to say. It was a short phone call and Billie mentioned before it ended that he hoped I could use the money.

I hung up thought to myself, ‘Why did I say yes?’ I didn’t mean to upset Billie basically. I eventually went out to the supermarket and saw I did get a birthday card from Billie, so I did tell the truth though I didn’t know about it initially.

Heard from Juan, nursing a broken heart. All I could tell him was that perhaps Time heals all wounds. He’s truly heartbroken though. Sad to hear him that way.

And now I’ve just gotten back from the world famous Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem USA. Brought my brother Brian, always good to hang out together like this. Lot’s of laughs, no beer. They sold it, much to my surprise but we didn’t realize it until we were in out seats.

Elvis was great, looking like a Beauregard or rather Rhett Butler with a hat like Gable’s and from where we sat, a moustache? Perhaps it was an homage to the Band. It was a taping for Spectacle with… Elvis Costello, with Allen Toussaint, Richard Thompson, Levon Helm and Nick Lowe.

Larry Campbell formerly with Bob Dylan sat in with Elvis and the Imposters (the Attractions sans Bruce Thomas) and Ray LaMontagne sang the Weight at the end.

It was an enjoyable evening, certainly out of the ordinary. Brian had never been to the Apollo before, I was there in the 1980’s to see Boogie Down Productions with DJ Red Alert and Rob Base. It was a Christmas night show, went with Rand and Maurice Menares.

We were at the early show, sitting in the balcony, the negative image of the ants in the sugar bowl. People around us wondered what three white boys were there and we simply told them we were into rap. And we were.

That was a good show and our timing was good since at the later show there was a shooting.

Tonight was good timing as well. Brian made it to Hoboken, caught the Path then an uptown express. Had to wait online outside the theater for a while but that was fine, good to catch up with Brian. The show was entertaining and an interesting look at how a show like Spectacle is put together.

One can only imagine Victor Spinetti in the control booth.

Since Ray LaMontagne suddenly appeared and sang The Weight, they had to redo it with a proper introduction for LaMontagne. Brian and I split, caught an express back downtown where we found a Path train back to Hoboken waiting for us.

As soon as we took our seats the doors closed and we were en route. Good karma. Saw Brian off on a train to the hinterlands of Bergen County.

A good night with a good friend, my brother Brian.
Apollo Marquee

photo by Brian

Singin’ In The Rain

Well I am home again, first official 3 day weekend. I’m presently listening to a version of Singin’ In The Rain by a Brooklyn band called Just Water. It’s a song I had as a 45 that I bought after hearing the song a few times on the old WPIX- FM back in the late 1970’s.

It’s more of a power pop song, you could imagine Cheap Trick singing it, or maybe Shoes. I’ve been looking for it online for a while, since finding songs online was the thing to do. Found it on iTunes oddly enough even though I could swear it wasn’t there a few months ago.

Still, for $0.99 I couldn’t resist. I’m sure when I originally bought it, it was more than $0.99. It was an independent record then and reading about it today, I found that it was picked up by Stiff Records back in the day.

I used to love Stiff Records and would buy the compilations of their artists and sometimes artists that weren’t on Stiff. Music by John Cooper Clarke, A. More, The Modettes etc. Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Lene Lovich were all on Stiff at one point, as was Madness. But I never really liked Madness once they left 2 Tone Records.

That’s the type of music geek I was. I would search out record labels. I guess that’s how it’s always been for music geeks. If you liked a certain type of Soul and R&B, then buying Atlantic, Motown or Stax among others, you probably couldn’t do wrong.

With Punk, New Wave and Post Punk, it was almost the same but sometimes you could get a real stinker. Those were the days when there was lot’s of spending cash, and $40.00 spent in a record store would have you coming home with a few albums and singles.

I’d ride the Path or the bus home and just look at the album covers, anxious to play what was inside. I’m the guy who would trek up Rochelle Avenue, boom box resting in the crook of my arm on Friday nights, buying whatever I could get at Sam Goody or Alexanders where most of the albums were on sale for $4.99.

My brothers and sister were all possessive about their music so it wouldn’t be surprising to find 2 or 3 copies of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, or anything by the Beatles. My father couldn’t understand it and once stopped me from getting the Stones Some Girls album with the original artwork (which they got sued over and forced to change) for myself since my brother Brian had a copy.

Yes, I hate to say it but I was Shattered.

It was also around the time where I would go to St. Marks Sounds and buy countless import 45’s at $5.00 a pop. Special versions, different mixes, posters, colored vinyl always made money leave my pocket and wind up in the register of the British woman with the red hair, or the dread locked brother who managed the bag check. I was in awe of that woman for some reason. I think I had a weakness for strong, judgmental women.

Around the corner from St. Marks Sounds was Free Being, which I mentioned last week. That was a dreary store but also had great selections. Sounds is still around I think, Free Being isn’t. St. Marks Place is a shopping mall these days and you probably wouldn’t see Prince walking down the street (like I did), or the Rolling Stones shooting a video on the 4th of July weekend in St. Marks Bar & Grill.

I also downloaded for free from Popdose today, The Inmates covering Dirty Water, another song from my WPIX FM listening days, as well as 2 versions of Peter Gabriel, Steam which was way after WPIX-FM went to ‘love songs, nothing but love songs’.

I recommend checking out and subscribing to Popdose. Every night I get interesting articles about pop culture and occasional free downloads.

http://popdose.com/

Never Get Burn

Oh my my. As far as I’m concerned this has been a really crappy Friday the 13th. Really. Started out with me waking up a bit late at 7:00 and listening to the news on the radio as I made the bed and hearing of the plane crash in Buffalo killing 50 people.

Waking up to bad news like this certainly sucks. I puttered about the apartment, getting it together and heading out to catch the bus. I’ve gotten choosy on what bus I catch. I prefer a coach. It’s probably Bill’s influence from his bus driving days but also it’s a more comfortable ride.

I sat and started reading the New Yorker when my phone vibrated. I try not to talk on the bus, don’t want to be ‘that guy’, but it was my brother Brian so I took the call. He was asking if I was working today and I told him I was en route.

He was working at Hoboken high school. I told him to safeguard his valuables. We chatted and told me what was going on in his life. Total craziness and not in a good way. It’s not my problem and I’m not belittling his situation by saying that.

I only say that to explain I won’t write about it here. It’s his problem and all I can do is offer my support for this particular hell he seems to be going through. And he has my support 1000%. I’m disappointed in some of the players in his tale of woe and I feel bad for what they’re going through.

We wound up on the phone for almost 30 minutes. So much for not wanting to talk while on the bus, but I didn’t really talk outside of saying, ‘Really?’ That’s fucked up’ and ‘I am so sorry you’re going through this’.

I told him I was getting off the bus and he should call me later on if he had the chance. He didn’t call though, but I will always be there for him, come hell or high water.

After that I walked across midtown to work and found my mail box filled with voice mail from the stalker. Her name in Min Young Ahn, but I call her that fucked up Korean bitch.

She was crying and talking in Korean on 2 messages, the rest were in English, telling me she loves me and she was going to move and how could I have said all those nice things to her yet treat her so coldly.

She showed up at my building the other day during my stressed out moments of trying to book a flight for Vivek and his partner. I told security once again that she is absolutely not allowed into the building.

It all depends who is at the security desk, but I guess when they enter her name in the system there is an instruction to notify me immediately. I found out the next day she communicated with security by talking to them while looking at the ceiling.

I had a man date with Steve from my office who was let go when he came back from his honeymoon in October. He still uses the facilities and in January we had decided on Friday afternoons to go have a cigar and drink some scotch at a cigar lounge across the street from his apartment.

At 2:00 I met up with Steve and we picked out some of Harpy’s favorite cigars, the La Flor Domincana Double Ligero. I had a flask that used to belong to my father and filled it up last night with some Dewars.

We sat in some comfortable chairs and sat and shot the shit for over an hour. Good cigars and good scotch made for a pleasant buzz in an otherwise crappy day. We parted ways, he and his wife were driving out to the Poconos and I was going back to the office to get my stuff.

In the office, the right wing nuts had posted a picture of Bill Clinton, who I admittedly do not care for, saying that the current economic crisis was all Clinton’s fault.

My reaction was to print out a Wanted for War Crimes poster featuring the worst president EVER on it and pinned it discreetly in my cube at such an angle so that the main wing nut could see it behind my computer screen if he happened to glance in that direction.

The fucked up thing for me was, ‘if’ the current economic fiasco was Clinton’s fault, why didn’t the douche bag dip shit that followed him do anything about it? Of course they wouldn’t be able to answer that.

Perhaps they would mention that douche bag dip shit was too busy protecting the country from another 9/11 attack, which of course happened on his watch. I’m too busy myself preventing such an attack by hanging a bag of shiny rocks on my windowsill to the left of this computer.

Still buzzed I walked back across town and saw Bill for a few minutes. He was good at calming me down, after I told him all about what was going on in my world and the satellites orbiting. I’m glad he could be there for me when I need it and he says I’m there for him, even when I don’t know it.

We parted ways since it was getting cold out and he wasn’t dressed for it, so I left him with his high beams and continued west to the bus terminal.

Walking down 43rd street I ran into Amiable Alan, also known as Adam Ames. We worked together in 2006 at McMann and Tate aka Wolff Olins. It was odd seeing him in midtown and I asked him if he was still at McMann Olins.

He told me no, that he was let go as well as a lot of people. The company had a account with Washington Mutual and we all know how Washington Mutual turned out. I guess it was a good thing to get out of there when I did.

We caught up for a spell, he’s doing freelance design work and was off to another gig. I walked to the bus terminal and caught a coach bus back to Hoboken. I sat and read Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates which of course is funny, but the walking and the scotch made for lidded eyes and I closed the book and stared out the window instead.

Bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket, perhaps worth 85 million dollars. That could come in handy when I win it.

Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.

The Big Country

Well things have calmed down, quieted down. Not that it was frantic or anything. Just running from Manhattan to Hillsdale to Hoboken to Garfield back to Manhattan and returning to Hoboken in the past 24 hours.

So I guess maybe it was busy, but I wouldn’t say frantic. Bill’s mother met my family for the first time, my brothers and their families. Annemarie is in California so she was unable to be here. It was a good time, lots of food, plenty of Guinness for me.

Good to see the relatives, if only for a few hours. An interesting thing, I’ve found concerning my brother Frank. We don’t see each other so much and when we finally meet we immediately get on each other’s nerves.

He gets snippy and I in turn, amp up my snippiness and for about five minutes things are tense. Then after that things cool down and are relatively normal. My brother Brian has the same thing happen to him when dealing with Frank. Just something interesting.

Yesterday after I had finished my shopping, just one or two last minute items I wanted to get, I ran into Lois DiLivio who mentioned that all the stimulation that Bill’s mother would get from being around so many people could be good for her and it certainly was. I did hang with Juan yesterday for a few beers and some jazz riffs which was great. He’s an adorable kinda guy. And Also heard from Pedro who is also adorable and called to wish me a happy crimble.

And according to Bill, last night she wouldn’t stop talking about what a good time she had and how she appreciated all the love and attention that she received. Of course there was some drama, there always is. But it’s not my drama to write about so I won’t.

I did my best to bolster some heartbreak though by not overtly putting down anyone, but rather by building up the one with a broken heart. But young love is complicated to the one who is in love and sometimes words of comfort go unheard.

Like I said there was lots of food and I was able to snag some Care packages for myself, though I did give one to Bill’s mom. The package I shipped to California got there in time, but the cd I ordered from Amazon, scheduled to be delivered yesterday, Christmas Eve did not get delivered.

I called Amazon this morning and of course was speaking to someone in India who apologized enough that it eventually had no meaning. She was merely someone who answered the phone and has no pull at all.

The cd was to be shipped from Texas to California but with the seven days of bad weather, it’s still in Texas. I was glad that I disobeyed my sister’s edict and also got my nephew Earl an iTunes gift card since the cd is now scheduled to be delivered by December 31.

I can ship a package across country with no problem, but the US Post Office cannot deliver a cd as promised. I really don’t like using Amazon at all but it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Bill and I exchanged presents, I got him some cuff links, a tie with buses on it and some festive red braces (suspenders), which he loved. He spent a pretty penny on a set of braces for me with a cigar theme on it, which I of course love. And I do love Bill and after all this, it’s good to chill out.

I posted some pics on my Facebook page, here is the link for that:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=13159&id=1037999596&saved#/album.php?aid=13159&id=1037999596&ref=mf

And fare thee well to Harold Pinter and Eartha Kitt.
Santa Baby goes to The Birthday Party.

Slippery People

It’s hummus out once again. Much like sitting in a sauna, wearing a damp wool sweater that itches. Today was the day of Bill’s birthday. Bill is 44 today and at heart he’s 14. Which is a nice position to be in sometimes.

Last night Bill stayed at his mother’s apartment in Stuyvesant Town, he’s been keeping an eye on her since her supposed leaving the apartment the other night and getting lost on 14th street. Bill was able to take his mother to church today and then they had a nice lunch, finally dropping her off at the apartment.

Bill and I made plans to go out to Garfield for my niece Meghan and her husband Rob’s first wedding anniversary, so a BBQ was in order. I made arrangements to have Meghan’s sister Cory pick Bill and myself at the train station, as well as getting a ride back to Hoboken.

Everyone was there excepting Annemarie, Rex and Earl since they’re stuck in Northern California much to their consternation? Dismay? Rotten luck? And it’s smoky out there, no sun which a 50 degree average temperature.

Unbearably hot and sticky here with intermittent rain showers that make the humidity worse. Much like it is now. It was good to see most of my family again, Brian and Karen with their three kids, Hillary, Brian and Cassie. Brian’s got summer school this year which is something both his father and I could relate to.

I told Brian how I used to have to go to Hackensack High School my junior year for summer school, usually hitchhiking up Essex Street. I was able to get a ride a few times with no bad results and I eventually passed the class somehow while my parents went on vacation to Disney World without me. Brother Frank was there of course, with Elaine.

Brother Brian mentioned to me that he sometimes reads this blog of mine which was a trip to hear. I guess he knows about it, he sends me emails to johnozed, so perhaps he took it a step further and did a search, or more than likely I told him about it back in 2005 while we were both getting our drink on at his wife Karen’s 50th birthday party. I didn’t think he would remember it, but here he was telling me about reading it. I mentioned that he should write a comment about it, which is what I tell everyone.

Everyone was in good moods and having a good time. All very pleasant, no heavy drama and just a thunderstorm that lingered for about 15 minutes before turning the Field of Gar into a swamp once again. Excellent cake by Elaine as well a great grilled food by my nephew in law, Rob. Bill enjoyed the cuff links I got him and I told him about the tickets, but not actually showing him our access to Xanadu.

Bill brought up that when we watched a clip of the show on TV, there were people on the stage sitting there. Originally he thought that it was a chorus, but then noticed that they weren’t singing. He asked me about that and I decided to tell him that was we were going to be seated.

On stage, watching the show from behind the performers. He got super excited about that, and I have to admit, I am super excited about it too. That’s next Sunday, something to look forward to.

Tomorrow is back to work, a full three day work week, how horrible. Boo hoo.

Does sarcasm translate online?

Time to chill out for the evening. Bill’s coming back later with some things from his mother’s apartment so I have to wait for Bill to ring the bell so I can go down stairs and help him up with whatever it is that he has.

Here are some snaps from todays festivities. Have a good week and Happy Pride to all!

The birthday boy, farty far this year.

Some of the party goers

The Bruthas

my niece Hillary

my niece Corinne

Mr and Mrs DeCarlo

cake! again!

Teacher of the Year 2008!

Gay Pride Day 2008