A beautiful day but a bit too warm. After days of cold and damp 50 degree weather in a 24 hour period the temperature rises up to near 90. Crazy. But it wasn’t raining. I ran into old friend Jason Stasium once again. As I was leaving the supermarket there was Jason pushing his beautiful daughter in a stroller. He saw me first. We chatted for a while, about the cigar shop (when I last saw Jason I was working with Shlomo and company). I filled him in on the McSwell’s debacle and we had a few laughs about that.
He suggested contacting another old friend about checking to see if they knew anything. I was thinking more about Juan than myself. Juan is back to pounding the pavement. You’ll have to read his story in his blog located in the blog roll on the right. Then I came home to find a note on the door. The building handyman asked me to call him when I got home, so that is what I did. Apparently the Russian family in the apartment below me and Bill left and there is water damage in that bathroom.
The handyman came by and asked me to run all the water, sink, bath tub and toilet all at the same time. He ran downstairs and could not see anything happening while the water ran for about 5 minutes. The tub hasn’t overflowed and neither has the sink. . It’s an old building with old pipes and no one has a clue on what’s going on.
A nice breeze just wafted in through the window. Humidity sets in and it’s hummus everywhere in Hoboken. Bill is off in Philadelphia on an excursion once again involving a bus. He’s been driving a lot lately which prevents the problem of both of us being around all the time getting in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves. Bill is due back on Friday so that should be cool. I will hear all about his day via a phone call later on tonight I reckon.
This has been an out of the ordinary day. Yesterday was fairly ordinary though. It was a day working alongside Jerry Vale and Thomas. Thomas was doing his best to get on my good side after a week or two of estrangement and it worked. I had forgotten that carrying a grudge could be a burden. SO there was a thawing out of the frosty relations between the two of us. Jerry Vale and I get along just fine.
Still I did get a bit upset with the two of them. On weekends it usually falls to me to clean up the man cave once it is closed to the public. It takes about a half hour generally and for that half hour I am off the floor, not taking sales. The front of the cigar shack needs a cleaning as well and yesterday since the two of them were just staring out the window ogling women walking by, I put the vacuum cleaner between the two of them, saying it was up for grabs.
Twenty minutes later, the vacuum cleaner was still there and I got upset with the two for them. I told Jerry Vale why I was upset and he said he didn’t vacuum since Thomas NEVER vacuums, so why should he? As if that was a viable excuse. So it was left to me to vacuum after I told Jerry Vale off, Thomas in the bathroom dealing with his irritable bowel syndrome.
After that I took the trash to the loading dock and figured that I would give myself a nice break and sat outside the cigar shack on the street watching life go by on a beautiful spring evening. I suppose it was similar to how my mother would ask my brother Brian and me to do something and neither of us would, at least not in the time frame that she had hoped it would get done. Instead Brian and I would fight about it, with Brian usually winning since he was bigger than me.
I came back to the cigar shack, and a little while after that Thomas left early with his IBS, leaving Jerry Vale and myself to close the cigar shack. Jerry Vale and I walked downtown a bit, I was headed to the bus terminal and he was off to who knows where.
I came home to a note on my computer from Bill, asking me to wake him up at 9:30, which I did. I watched Bob’s Burgers, then Nurse Jackie and the Big C followed by Mad Men. Bill was awake for a little while, telling me right in the middle of Mad Men what his past two days were like. He was at an acting seminar and it went well I suppose.
Then he went to bed and luckily I paused the DVR as Bill told his tale, and I was able to watch what was on hold while he talked. I watched the news up to the weather, me not caring much about the sports news that followed. Some more TV before I too went to bed. I had to have some blood work done this morning so I didn’t eat for about nine hours.
I woke up this morning, took a shower and without coffee went out into the world. I ran into my barber Tony, who told me more of his nerve problems, this time not in his left arm but from his neck to between his shoulder blades. It was a brief chat and then I was off to the bibliothèque where I chatted with Diane the librarian about her problems with her apartment.
I picked up Retromania by Simon Reynolds and Live Rust by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. I had a brief chat with Bill on the phone before I went into the local lab where I had four or five vials of blood drawn from my arm. That took about 10 minutes, paperwork included.
Then I left and ran into Jason Stasium who was with his adorable daughter Sophia. I worked with Jason in the last century at Right Track Recording. I didn’t recognize him at first when he started talking to me, thinking he was possibly a cigar shack customer. These things happen without coffee and interacting with humanity. He’s doing well, still an audio engineer and ready to work on whatever projects come his way. He and Sophia walked with me for a while then I was in the supermarket.
As I gathered my provisions I saw Clara, yet another person I worked within the last century. She just got her hair done a few days ago and looked great. She was most appreciative of my earnest compliment. We were both on the line for Isis and the three of us had a few chuckles, as Isis rang up our items. I was surprised at how civil I could be without my coffee, just a few beats behind everything.
I was only gone an hour but obviously a lot had happened in that hour. Finally I was home and able to have breakfast and some coffee that Bill had brewed for me before he left for work. I put away my clothes after breakfast and chatted online with friends. I texted Rand to see if he was around and he responded that he was up for a bike ride. But it was getting close to 90 degrees and I decided to head to the river with a cigar. No bike ride for me today. We may go on Thursday if the weather permits.
I sat by the water and read an interview with Jack White in Uncut Magazine Then I turned the page to an article on the late Alex Chilton, with a photograph taken quite near to where I was sitting by the river, from twenty years ago. It wasn’t exactly a happy article, it was more about Alex Chilton’s downward spiral in the 1970’s.
I walked around a bit after that. There have been advertisements around Hoboken for the Windmill, a Jersey shore fast food place. They were opening a store in Hoboken and I decided to check it out for lunch. I found it, near the Path station and it was still under construction. That was disappointing. Earlier I had gone to Ben & Jerry’s and wanted to treat myself to a Chocolate Therapy milkshake and just like two weeks ago, they were out of Chocolate Therapy.
I walked home, down Washington Street and as I walked past a hardware store I remembered I needed a light bulb. Not just any light bulb, a certain kind of light bulb. And since I didn’t know exactly what kind of light bulb I needed I kept on walking. And as I walked past another hardware store (there are two hardware stores in Hoboken) I overheard a woman telling her son that they needed to get a light bulb.
I came home and took a nap, set the alarm for an hour and woke up after twenty minutes. It’s been an odd day, for me at least. And I didn’t even mention the fact that I helped a few elderly and infirm people in the past 24 hours. Dinnertime!
It’s back to the cigar shack for me tomorrow. Who knows what fresh hell awaits me?
I can’t go on, I’ll go on. It’s later than usual, but I have a good excuse as well as a note from my roommate. It’s been a really special day for me today. Truly things were all up up up. It started out nicely, sleeping in as it was my day off. Bill went to work later than usual, and left me a very nice, very sweet birthday card.
I read it while still in bed and it proved to be a most excellent way to start off the day. If only I could start off each day like that, the man I love kissing me goodbye and leaving me a nice card. If only everyone could start off their day like that. Since I did not have any coffee in the apartment I had to get myself together and go out and get some.
It wasn’t so bad and surprisingly I did not kill or maim anyone. As I was doing some shopping a handsome young man approached and said ‘Hey John’. I scanned his face, initially thinking it was someone from the cigar shack, but no, it was from a long time ago.
It was Jason, a kid I used to work with at Right Track in the 1990’s. He was just an assistant engineer then now he’s a father to be as well as an award winning engineer. Despite the lack of coffee we were able to have a nice discussion on things, his impending fatherhood, fixing up his apartment with his wife and his part of Hoboken being under 2 feet of water thanks to Irene.
It was good to see him and we left the store at the same time, Jason offering me a ride home and me telling him I only lived around the block. I came home and had a nice breakfast and of course, made some coffee. After reading the paper and thanking each and every person who wished me Happy Birthday wishes, I did some laundry.
I also heard from Rand who was able to get a few of thousand songs from my old, now deceased computer. We planned to meet around 1:00 so he could give me a flash drive. We were both on time and Rand brought up the idea for a birthday lunch.
Sounded good to me so he then called his wife Lisa and we all met up on Washington Street for some Mexican food at Qdoba. It was my first time there and it was very good. I used to prefer Mission Burrito but the last time I found them to be lackluster. Qdoba was good and the company I kept was better.
After lunch I headed to Mr. L’s to get a haircut but Tony was busy so I went home and took some clothes out of the washing machine and hung them on racks and in the bathroom to dry. I headed out again and Tony was free this time.
About an hour after that I was on the bus heading into Manhattan. Bill asked me to meet him at his office around 5:30 so we met up. We had some really good, really big hamburgers near his office, and then walked around midtown enjoying some cigars. I had no idea what I was in store for, I figured we would be heading back to Hoboken in a little while.
After the cigars we headed back towards Times Square to my surprise. It was so crowded with tourists, but I was following Bill’s lead. We walked past the Palace Theater and Bill said we could stop there. We were going to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I was definitely surprised at that.
I didn’t really have any desire to see the show. I did buy the DVD of the original movie years ago for Bill’s birthday and we both loved it, watching it a few times. This was totally out of left field. We had good seats in the balcony and much to my surprise again, I loved it.
It was just as good as the movie, even more visceral. There were times where my eyes welled up a bit. I was blown away at the end as was Bill. So damn good and the ending to a very good day. Perfectly magical.
Yesterday turned out to be quite an alright day. I wandered around Hoboken, which is more crowded on weekends now that no one leaves for the Jersey shore on weekends after the summer. That makes the waterfront which is usually not that crowded, densely populated on weekends.
And with the piers falling into the river, a quiet spot to sit and read the New Yorker and have a cigar isn’t as easy as it is Monday through Friday. But I persevered and found a bench in the shadow of Steven’s Tech, across from Sybil’s Cave and sat there.
I talked to Billie from DC for a while and midway through our conversation, a couple walked by, the guy in the couple said, ‘That looks like John Ozed’. That caught my attention and told Billie I would call him back.
The couple walked closer and I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’. The guy knew I didn’t know who he was, the woman had no clue. He came up and introduced himself. It was Jason Stasium. Jason was a guy I worked with at Right Track Recording in the 1990’s.
We were friends then, I brought him to a taping of the Letterman show back in the day. Elvis Costello and Toshi Reagan performed. I liked Jason and used to make fun of him. He was a Deadhead then, following Jerry & Co around the country.
But after Jerry died, Jason settled down in New York and started working as an assistant engineer. It was funny the other day I was walking down Garden Street and saw someone who looked like Jason in the 1990’s and I thought about his then girlfriend who worked at Angelica’s Kitchen in the East Village.
She was nice too and got me some discounted gift certificates that I gave to my vegetarian roommate William and Julio who was a vegetarian at the time.
We did some catching up, Jason introduced me to his wife, who’s name escapes me at the moment. Where was so and so that we worked with? What’s going on with Right Track? Where is Joe Lizzi? Gian East?
Those are the only 2 I know and that was via Facebook and Jason doesn’t want to join Facebook.
I remember a few years ago I sent an email to him, congratulating him on either winning an award or being part of a Broadway show that won an award. His response was ‘who the hell are you?’ So I dropped the subject and expected never to hear from him again.
I wasn’t hurt or anything. Just felt that door had closed.
It wasn’t like on September 11, 2002 when I contacted a former co-worker Derry Jelaney who witnessed the previous years events next to me. I called her to see how she was doing that first anniversary and basically got ‘Why are you calling me?’.
Now that was awkward. Awkward enough, especially on that raw anniversary to cut contact. A few years later she somehow got my name and called me when I was working on the Titanic. It was all, ‘Hey! How’s it going/Let’s have drinks’ I was noncommittal and did write her number down before eventually losing it.
I did see her once when I was walking out of Grand Central Station and she was entering it. I was in a suit and tie so I looked like most of the other men passing through and she didn’t make the connection and that was fine by me.
Just a few weeks ago, while waiting for Brenda, yet another former co-worker, I stood around waiting when who walks by but Derry Jelaney. This time I could have sworn she saw me, even passed by looking at a menu near by, so as to steal a second glance. I just turned and looked the other way.
I did exchange phone numbers with Jason so perhaps we will meet up for dinner like he mentioned. I also made plans and bought tickets for a trip to Washington DC this weekend. Just a one day trip, get on bus, March on Washington, listen to speakers, get back on bus.
I should be seeing Billie, if only for a few hours so that should be fun.