Tag Archives: Lodi

I Believe In Father Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Had the Craziest Dream

Yes I am tired. Yes I went to work today. Yes it snowed quite a bit last night. Not enough for the NJ Transit system to stop running, not enough to slow down the bus and train schedules. I took my time getting ready for work, walking to the bus stop.

The bus filled up enough with what seemed to be people like me who did not want to go to work today. That was one of the rare times where I identify with the other riders. Most of the time I don’t like them, I don’t care for them and think they’re stupid.

Sometimes it seems like I am on a bus tour to Bala Cynwyd.

A song popped into my head as I rode the bus, and I did my best to duplicate the song in a voice message to Bill’s iPhone. He didn’t know what song it was but I eventually figured it out with his help, the song being Birdland by Weather Report.

I thought of Stanley Siegel whom had Birdland as his theme song for his talk show I think in the 1970’s. That made me think of a major storm in maybe 1975, things shut down, my father not going to work. Me and himself, trekking in the snow to the Lodi A&P to get who knows what. I think my mother was working.

My sister in law Elaine made an appearance, living a block or so away with Frank on Main Street. She gave me a book about the Who which I thought was cool. I more than likely had something to eat before heading out with a sled and heading down Gunther Avenue and wiping out before spilling onto Main Street.

Wilson Street was more of a daredevil street, a steeper hill and a few hills where we would literally go flying a few feet in the air.

I just had a thought, if there were any kids in that neighborhood and if so, do they take their sleds down those hills. It seemed like a personal hill for me and my friends, no other kids from other neighborhoods would go sledding down Gunther Avenue or Wilson Street.

Such carefree times.

Now I commute into the city to a job I don’t particularly care for, no hills for sledding anymore. It was a long day at the cigar shop. Not much foot traffic in the cigar shop area. A lot of people either had the day off or took the day off, opting not to bother with the frozen mess.

It was Calvin and I mostly, with Sean coming in mid-afternoon. I decided to treat myself, a reward for making it in. I went to Whole Foods and had a Shepard’s Pie. I never had it before but it had loomed in my mental menu for the past few days.

I had to find where they made hot foods and took a chance and got a Shepard’s Pie. I was wary since I never had one before and if I didn’t like it, then I would have thrown good money away. But I bought it, and I liked it and will probably have it again.

It certainly was a hearty meal. I had an early lunch and 6 hours later, I was still satisfied with what I had for lunch.



Bony Moronie

Wow it’s chilly out today. Been in the 30’s most of the day. No way was I going out to play guitar. No way, uh uh, not me. Julio came up last night after seeing Stine and Alexander to the airport. They were en route to Copenhagen where they eventually arrived safely.

Julio was of course feeling lonely, no little guy excited to see him and I’m not the guy excited to see him anymore either. Sure it’s good to see him but it’s not like how it used to be. I told him he was welcome to come up to watch a movie on the provision that he does not criticize the shape of the apartment.

Apparently he has a problem with rectangular apartments, the rail road style even though he lives in almost the same type of apartment. I asked if he had seen Snatch, to which he asked if that was the one with Brad Pitt, where you can’t understand a word he says. It was and he didn’t want to see that again.

He’s always had a problem with seeing a movie more than once, so that meant the Dark Knight was also out of the picture. We agreed on The Lives of Others which takes place in East Berlin in 1984. I had taken it from the library a few weeks ago but wasn’t in the mood for a subtitled movie after all and returned it unwatched.

I have to say it was totally engrossing and an interesting view on East German lives while the wall was up. Bill came home midway through and it was too late for him to get into, plus he was driving a bus to Atlantic City today and had to plan his routes, so he set himself up in the kitchen while Julio and I sat in the darkened media room/living room- room where the couch and the TV are and were both taken by the film.

The film was really quite good and I can’t recommend it enough. Julio also brought up the rest of the Galician wine we had the night before in his apartment and we polished it off. When the movie was over, Julio went home and fell asleep, Bill moved into the now lit media room and continued plotting his course.

Soon he too went to bed, and I went out after not really watching Saturday Night Live to get some money to lend to Bill since he’s broke at the moment. I also chatted on Facebook with a grammar school classmate, Donna who asked if I knew if another classmate had died. Jimmy Murray did overdose a few years ago, from what my brother Brian told me. On August 21, 2011 I heard from another classmate from St. Francis de Sales that Jimmy Murray is still alive.

Brian worked with Jimmy on a job a number of years ago. Jimmy grew up faster than I did, was groping girl’s breasts in 6th grade and probably smoking weed around the same time. After 6th grade he left parochial school and went to public school which was the last I heard of him.

Donna also mentioned another classmate, Steven Bronder also passed away, likely from an overdose as well. When I went to my high school reunion for the first and only time, I ran into another former grammar school classmate Jimmy Bartoli who told me that Steven was a crackhead who was busted for lurking about the elevators in an apartment building across the street from the Lincoln School on Main Street in Lodi.

Donna made overtures about an informal reunion of my grammar school classmates after the holidays which made me think that informal meant that black tie was not required. I told her that it would be in the timing since I was presently unemployed. She remarked her boyfriend was also out of a job.

I also told Donna that I don’t drive, not because of a DUI or DWI or anything like that, just that I got burnt out on driving and after having not driven for over 20 years now, I certainly have no desire to do so again. Having been a pedestrian all these years I see how horrible drivers are these day and plus, I wasn’t that good a driver to begin with.

Donna’s still in Lodi, raising her 2 boys, one is looking at college now. She asked how long Bill and I have been together and yes, it’s been 9 years. She was impressed by that and happy that I was happy. She was OK with my being gay since her older brother was gay as well. I sort of figured that out in 1976 since all her older brother listened to was the soundtrack to A Chorus Line nonstop.

It was a fun chat and it lasted longer than I anticipated. At 1:00 I told her I needed to get ready for bed and thanked her for the chat. It should be nice to see her again. I haven’t seen her or most of our classmates for over 30 years. Maybe that was enough, maybe not. It remains to be seen.

I did have a nice walk around Hoboken today, running from health food store to health food store, pricing Stevia. Decided to forgo the Hoboken Farmboy since they were about $4.00 more. Stopped by the Guitar Boy where Jim Mastro was busy. Just saying hi and took his picture.

Tim, the teenage ace guitarist popped in. His banjo needed new strings. I asked him how many instruments did he play and he wasn’t sure so he rattled off guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo and maybe one or tow others which my older graying mind forgot.

I told him he was an inspiration and I think that made him uncomfortable. I did see him and Lily Mastro playing on video at St Peter’s Prep school and I told him how good it was. Then after wishing him a Merry Christmas I was out of there, to smoke a cigar and wander around Hoboken on my own for a little while.

When I got home, I picked out my suit and polished my shoes for an interview tomorrow morning. It was a decent day today and I hope yours was as well.

What is it?

What is it?

Mister Wonderful Jim Mastro

Mister Wonderful Jim Mastro

from Times Sq 12.2.09- courtesy of Joe Jervis/Joe.My.God.

from Times Sq 12.2.09- courtesy of Joe Jervis/Joe.My.God.

Pieces of What

It’s a Monday and it’s been a gorgeous day as well. That hardly ever happens, a pleasant Monday. I guess not going in to work might help.

Last night Bill and I watched Lawn Hors d’œuvre: Criminal Malcontent which was good. Bravo has back to back episodes and Bill has a thing for Chris Noth.

It was enjoyable. I try to ween myself off the Lawn Hors d’œuvre franchise but Bill loves to watch it so I indulge.

After that was True Blood which was most excellent. So excellent that when something was revealed at the end I stomped my feet in approval which surprised Bill somewhat. Oh it was just so good. Things are getting more intense and getting bloodier too.

Hung was good but I didn’t really play that much attention. Same with Entourage but I did pay a little bit more attention. Bill and I stayed up later than usual since he’s off of work this week and me, I’m unemployed.

I plan on going in to the office tomorrow just to check in with Greg Stevens, letting him know what’s going on. I have no phone for me, no desk computer so what is the point? I figure I’ll make more of an impact with my absence.

Today was a busy day for me on Facebook. Some former classmates from St. Francis de Sales grammar school started a Facebook group and I joined. Suddenly I was inundated by these former classmates.

It was good to see who was up to what. A few divorces, and I was surprised by the fact that a few of them were Republicans. Still they are just Facebook friends now.

There are a few I’d like to meet again, and a few I would be wary about. The ones I would be wary about are the ones who went to the same high school as me, Paramus Catholic Boys Prep School.

When we all meet up again in September 1976 we were all assigned different home rooms and I basically never hung out with my grammar school classmates again. I found other friends, whereas they all basically hung out together those years of high school.

They were mostly from the other side of Lodi anyhow. I did meet 2 of them at the awful reunion I attended in 2000. I was talking to one of them, Jimmy B, who then called the other one over, Santo M. Santo’s first thing out of his mouth was ‘Who said I was gay?’

To prove he wasn’t gay he motioned over to his wife with the big chest. I was pretty much wired and stood near the bar, drinking nips of Heineken and being the only one tipping at an open bar, leaving the other customers to wonder why they weren’t getting the service I was getting.

It was good to make contact with most of these grammar school friends. Some of them still live in Lodi with their kids. No overtures about meeting up so far. I’m sure someone will suggest meeting up at the Crow’s Nest or somewhere out there.

I just wonder whatever happened to Jim Carley from Harrington Park and John Nesselt of Glen Rock and Kevin Wagner of Saddle Brook NJ & Orlando FL. Those were the 3 guys that I hung out with each semester. After graduation from high school they seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

I did work with Kevin at HBJ. He was hurt that I didn’t tell him I was gay, we drifted apart from that moment.

Their names never come up on Facebook or Google, and I’ve searched a few times throughout the years. I’m sure if I was looking for Mrs. Talamini I’d have no problem digging her up.

***Jim Carley died of a heart attack in 1997 while jogging. John Nesselt still does not want to be found, and neither does Kevin Wagner.***

Miss Gaudio's class Grade 4A 1971-72

Miss Gaudio's class Grade 4A 1971-72

Miss Vendermere's 5th grade class 1972-73

Miss Vendermere's 5th grade class 1972-73

4th of July

Today is the fourth of July. The country is 232 years old. Or at least the Declaration of Independence was stated on this day. Actual independence didn’t happen until a number of years later. In 1976 was the bicentennial. A major event. My father was working in the World Trade Center at the time and a few months before, there was a plan to have a party in the offices so we could watch the tall ships and the fireworks from on high.

That was the plan until rumors started floating around about how gangs were going to be roaming the streets mugging the deep influx of tourists. That scared my father enough so that we spent July 4th in the backyard of 13 Riverview Avenue in Lodi, which despite what you may have heard is not the same thing.

My brother Frank had promised to take me to see the fireworks that night. He was at a party with his wife Elaine though and didn’t show up. There were plenty of firecrackers to keep me amused. My brother Brian wound up with me in the back seat of his car while him and his buddy Eddie drove around River Road in Fort Lee that night where I heard the fireworks going off overhead, not actually able to see them due to the tree tops blocking the view.

It wasn’t that bad, I still got back home and met up with my friends. I stole a pack of Marlboro’s from my mother and got caught but was let go when I explained it would be easier to light a firecracker with a cigarette rather than using matches or lighters. Somehow that worked and I walked away with a hard pack of Marlboro’s in my pocket. That’s probably when I started smoking.

Me and my friends whiled away the remaining bicentennial hours blowing up whatever we could. My sister Annemarie worked in a hospital at that time and gave us all warnings about people in the emergency rooms due to playing with fireworks, so we were careful, though a firecracker did go off in my hand, leaving my thumb and index finger numb for a few hours.

My brother Frank tried to make up for his absence the next day and gave me a copy of Abbey Road which is the first Beatles album I ever owned. I forgave him and soon got every much into the Beatles.

This year, it’s been overcast and muggy. Rained a bit today. Hoboken is like a ghost town today. I rode around, wound up by Battery Park. Bill was spending time with his mother, didn’t make it down there. I rode around, the streets crowded with tourists everywhere as well as Statues of Liberty.

The Feelies sounded great, but I couldn’t see them. I wound up outside the park and listened. Brenda was saying thank you after each song, I wonder if her mother asked her to. I was bored and decided to ride back to the Path train, taking it to Exchange Place and riding home from there.

Not much else going on today. Bill’s staying at his mother’s apartment since the fireworks will be going off 100 yards from her bedroom window. Here’s some pics.

The fans

A Klaus Nomi Statue of Liberty

The Feelies somewhere in the trees

Taking Liberties

The way in is the way out

Mennonites at the Path train!

Careful with those fireworks and have a happy Fourth of July!

Eat Yerself Fitter

Goosebumps. Right now, listening to Martin Luther King’s last speech in Memphis. It was 40 years ago tomorrow that Martin Luther King was slain in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel. Brian Williams on NBC did his bit, solemnly intoning how it was 40 years ago when the media was still relatively independent of big business and right wing agendas. Now the media is owned by big multinational corporations and Muppets like Brian Williams just tow the line in the guise of looking impartial. I have no idea what it was like in Lodi NJ 40 years ago. I don’t think there were riots.

As far as I knew there weren’t any black people in the part of Lodi that I grew up in, or people of any color beside white back then. I couldn’t even tell you the reaction to Martin Luther King’s assassination was at my family’s house, or at school. I was in kindergarten then anyhow, being beaten by Sister Mary Octavian most days for unknown reasons. I did have some racist teachers that told me some racist things about black people back then. But I wisely ignored most of that as well as the lessons they taught.

Today was a weird day. This one woman, Phyllis, that I occasionally help out submitted an expense report that was submitted and paid a few weeks before. Somehow it slipped by me, but not past Greg Stevens who came in feeling ill and really grouchy. Not a pretty sight. So there was some running around, looking for previous expense reports. Found them, Phyllis had submitted them before. She didn’t know and neither did I. Still it didn’t make me look too good. As I walked to get my lunch, I kept repeating to myself, “I didn’t do anything wrong”, and I didn’t. Nothing happened, the expense report had to be rewritten and resubmitted and that was no big deal.

The big deal was later on when I had to deal with the guy who is becoming the number 1 torn in my side, Tom Chin. Carla, the former receptionist phoned and told me she never got her tax forms. I put her on hold and asked Tom Chin if we could make a copy of her W2 form. ‘She doesn’t get a W2 form, she gets a 1099!’ Ok, can we make a copy of the 1099 then? ‘This is the second time she called about her 1099. What happened last time? I gave it to you!’ He didn’t give it to me, it was actually done by our bookkeeper.

But there is no talking to Tom Chin once he gets on a tear. I learned that a few months ago. I tried to explain what happened then, but he just talks over me. I think it actually makes him feel important. But he was so annoying and frustrating that I wanted to punch him in the face. I didn’t do that, of course, nor did I tell him to go fuck off and walk out the door. Instead I made arrangements to meet Carla and hand her the damn 1099 form.

Had a nice walk down to 34th street, having a Padron and listening to the new B-52’s record which is growing on me. One more day to get through this week. Tom Chin will be out, though he didn’t tell me and I doubt if Greg Stevens will be in and hopefully Phyllis will be out as well. It would make it almost a 3 day weekend. Oh and the space that I was trying to rent out and get a nice cash bonus for it was rented and I ain’t getting any cash bonus. I don’t mind. I mean I wouldn’t mind the cash, but it’s one less headache. One less thousand dollar headache.

Mercury Rev- Holes


I wrote this last night after I posted.

I was just reading a blog that mentioned a young gay entrepreneur in Manchester, England. This young man was able to secure a business grant at the age of 18 to run and maintain a website designed to break down walls and remove labels on race, sexuality for young people. He mentioned that his sexuality caused him major problems, being brought up to think that being gay was wrong and horrible. That struck a chord in me, and a righteous chord at that. I too, like many others, grew up in a house with a loving family. Some people don’t, I know. But included in that loving atmosphere, however dented, was an very strong anti gay vibe.

Queer jokes, gay bashing (verbally) went on. Racial jokes were made as well. I too was brought up by my family and my Catholic schooling taught that being gay was the absolute worst thing a person could be. So imagine finding out on your own, that you are what you were told was disgusting and immoral. Imagine finding that out at 14. No one to talk to about. Run to the encyclopedia, run to the dictionary and reading that you’re abnormal, a deviant. A lot, not all, but a lot of heterosexual people ask, ‘why make it a big deal about being gay?’

Because it will show that things we were told about ourselves when we were growing up was wrong. Sometimes murderously wrong, sometimes suicidally wrong. Education could be the solution to this epidemic of ignorance, but then you have certain sections of this country dead set against any positive portrayals of gay life. Or it goes so far as to not mention gay people at all. In a society that’s ever changing, it’s not changing fast enough. And it’s not just this country, it’s the whole world.

About 15 years ago when I was working at Skyline Studios, there was this young man, Roget Romain who had a deal to do some downtime production work. He worked with some up and coming artists in hip hop. It was a cool studio and a lot of times I would hang out after I was through working. One night I was with Roget and my friend Miriam who was working as an engineer. We were getting jazzy. I was as I am now, open about my sexuality, but not in your face about it. The three of us, hanging out, listing to dub.

Roget wanted to ask me a question about being gay. I was open to it and gave him a green light. First off, the main question, ‘When did I decide to be gay?’ I think it was the first time I was actually asked that, and I had no set answer. Me, being me did say this, ‘When did you decide to be straight?’ He was taken aback. ‘I didn’t decide to be straight. It just happened. It’s how I am.’ I had to ask, ‘What makes you think it wasn’t the same for me?’ I think most questions about gay people, can usually be answered by changing the gender of one of the subjects.

Roget then moved into sexuality. ‘How can a guy take it up the ass? How can a dude suck a cock?’ I asked him ‘Do all the women that he’s been with, do they all like to suck cock? Do they take it through the back door?’ ‘No, some do, some don’t.’ ‘Well there you have it. Not all gay guys like to do this, some do, some don’t.’ It was fun to just hang out with an open minded young man, maybe I planted a seed in his brain. Cracked open his door of perception just a bit I like to think. There is no shame in being gay, lesbian bisexual or transgendered. Some people see it as a frivolous lifestyle choice.

There are many good and great things about being LGBT, but there are some battles that come along with it. Some kids when they come out to their families, they are out on the street. Abandoned by parents who’s child they loved one day unconditionally, now repulsed and shamed by something that was out of anyone’s control. They would prefer to live the life of a lie. In the closet. Get married, have kids, and fuck around on the side.

About 12 years ago I answered an ad in the Village Voice, met an older guy at a bar in the Village. We didn’t click sexually but had a good chat over a few pints. He was married, hadn’t had sex with his wife since 1980, has three kids, all grown more or less. He was gay. For some reason I was filled with righteousness that night, telling him that he’s getting up there in years, living a lie. Do you want to go out the same way? You’re doing more harm than good to yourself by living this way, a shamed existence, shamed by yourself.

We parted ways, and I gave him a kiss as he was about to get on his way to Penn Station. He was surprised and probably the first time he was ever kissed by another man in public, on a street corner. I gave him my number and asked him to keep in touch. He called a few days later. He told his wife, she was filing for divorce. Two of his kids were fine with it, one had a problem. But he was glad he did it.

He felt free.

I’m just so tired that people need to be told this. I know the five of you that read this irregularly are somewhat enlightened but I just wanted to get this off my chest. Preaching to the choir, perhaps. But I guess it has to be told, over and over, one way or another. And while you may be enlightened, the majority of the five of you aren’t LGBT (at least as far as I know) and you wouldn’t really know, you couldn’t walk in our cha cha heels. Like I wouldn’t know how it is to be anything or anyone else, other than knowing how it is to be me.

Let It Shine

Well it’s Wednesday and it was a bloody wet Wednesday at that. Woke up to Help Me Rhonda by the Beach Boys. I sort of gave up on the new wave old rock station. I can depend on WCBS to give me something recognizable and if not that, then Mr. G’s weather forecasts will get me out of bed fast enough. This morning was water water water. Last night was snow, freezing rain. It was a mess this morning, that’s for sure. I wound up walking in the street since they were clearer than the sidewalks and I didn’t want to land on my tuchis like I had on past winter mornings. The bus stop was crowded with people which meant the buses were running late.

I didn’t mind, the bus pulled up in front of me and I jumped on, settled in and read the New Yorker, about a murder in Poland which resembled a murder mystery written by a Polish intellectual. It’s interesting enough but eventually I had to get off the bus and head to the office. The office was empty again, no one in. Long distance commuters working from home, less interaction meant more time for myself and my work and time to get anxious about my dental appointment tonight. I felt like I was a dead man walking.

I knew my teeth were in rotten shape but not so bad. I was worried since my brother Frank had a stroke due to a dental infection, and my smoking could not have helped matters. Yes I plan on giving up the fags this year, and by fags I mean cigarettes. The occasional cigar should be ok, but the cigarettes are going to have to go. And now that I have put that in writing I guess I’m going to have to do it. I walked down to NYU Dental School after work, smoke free though it was stressful enough to warrant a smoke. Almost got run over by a Hampton Jitney bis and all I was doing was standing on the corner waiting for the light to change.

I got to the school, sat down and started filling out forms. SO far so good. A woman who worked there offered to help me with the paperwork so I said sure. I went with her and we sat at her tiny desk, and showed her my passport and a PSE&G bill. She looked at what I wrote on the forms and her head was moving side to side. I thought I had done something or written something wrong, but as I watched her it appeared that she had a mild case of Parkinson’s disease, causing her head to move in the side to side direction. That was a relief to me and we were done in no time flat.

I sat down waiting to be called and the same woman walked up to a few other people offering to help them out with their paperwork. They all said no, one said like a snot, ‘I don’t need your help filling out paperwork.’ Really mean. So the woman who helped me went back to her desk alone to do whatever else she had to do. It was strange, she got me through the paperwork in no time, while the other people she offered to help struggled with answers they really had to think about, like what day it was. It was basically an intake and they’re going to start me off with periodontics since my teeth are rotten. I have to call up and make an appointment tomorrow and start the long road to dental recovery.

The periodontics school is open from 9:00 to 5:00.

I’m calling at 8:59.

Hello to Francisco Xavier Venegas Ramírez, Santo Munafo, Jim Carley and John Nesselt.