Tag Archives: Rand + Lisa

Standing Still

I am starting to be convinced that people in Hoboken say at least once a week, ‘I’d know them if I saw them’. It happened at the bibliothèque this afternoon and I know I say it often. It’s a small town, Hoboken and you see the same people over and over again and usually by the time you might be introduced to someone after a few years it gets awkward. And if you’re talking to someone about someone else, that is when the line ‘I’d know them if I see them’ comes into play.

It is a bright and sunny and warm day finally. Been out and about. No sign of Juan but Bill has been around. Didn’t do much except some grocery shopping and a stop at the bibliothèque. Tonight it’s work at Maxwell’s. My old pal, Rand is holding a lecture at the bibliothèque but since I have to work, I can’t go. I think it was scheduled for last year, a lecture about the famed comic book artist Jack Kirby, but was postponed because of the storm. Or maybe it was scheduled for earlier this year and postponed because of a snowstorm. I posted a flyer at Maxwell’s, hoping to get more people to attend.

I am still sending out resumes but not at the frequency that I used to send them out. It’s coming up on a year since I was let go from the cigar shack and being told constantly by employers and agencies that you’re not good enough can wear one’s spirit down. I’m still doing it though, a steadier job would be ideal. Until then I keep puttering along doing what I can.

Now it’s the anxiety of going back to work tonight. I really haven’t had much with regards to working at Maxwell’s but it’s been a few days since I last worked there so here it comes again. I’ve eaten and now I am killing time, enjoying a cigar before heading out. I just checked the website, no bands are playing so that means it will probably be a slow night and instead of working until midnight I will likely be out of there by 11:00.

Rand and Lisa stopped by with a friend and I sat them at a good table. Didn’t get much of a chance to talk to them but Rand’s lecture at the bibliothèque went well with about 40 people attending. I worked with Chloe and Jess and Rob was behind the bar. There were one or two schmucks (being kind here) and I was their first point of contact. One was a young man who was in a hurry and hurriedly said that he was in a hurry. I mentioned that it was obvious he was in a hurry and somehow he took some offense to that. Then he stood next to a speaker playing loud music and talked on his phone.

Towards the end, a squeaky wheel came in with three younger wheels. The squeaky wheel asked if they could sit at a table and drink and I said that they couldn’t. Then the squeaky wheel said they were going to eat and who was I to deny them a seat when the restaurant was nearly empty. Why the squeaky wheel said she had been coming to Maxwell’s for 30 years and never was denied a table. I mentioned that I worked there 30 years ago to which she stated her doubts since she had never seen me before.

She had been coming in with her kids for so long and doubted that I had worked there then. I know I had never seen her before, all nouveau riche with a voice that was the equivalent of nails on chalk board. That voice would have been remembered what with dogs cowering due to the shrillness. The timing couldn’t have been better since the squeaky wheel party came in just minutes before I left for the night.
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Happy Go Lucky Me

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

It’s been a mostly indoor day today. Wind chill feels like 5 degrees and that is no fun. Plus there is nowhere to go. Bibliothèque is closed since its Dr. Dre’s birthday. I have been busy and sociable this weekend which was quite a feat. On Saturday I did go out to Tim Daly’s party. I owe that to Rand & Lisa deciding to go. If they decided not to, I would have stayed at home. But they were game and so was I. I headed out soon after posting the last entry and walked over to Garden Liquor to get a six pack of Heineken.

It wouldn’t be right to show up empty handed. I kept my apprehension of running into the former drunkard and the badly drawn woman to myself as I walked with Rand & Lisa. They went to Sparrow Liquor and I went to the cigar store and got myself some small cigars. Yes I am still on good terms with Shlomo and the Zionist hoodlums. I get a great discount and I would be foolish not to go there. Israel is the one I avoid and no one brings up his name anyhow which works out fine.

It was a good time and we rode the rickety elevator to the floor where Tim’s studio is. Tim’s wife Sheilah mentioned her hope that there would be dancing so I brought my iPod just in case. I had to restore the iPod to its factory settings and it is working fine once again. Reloading it is a chore, a labor of love if you will. People were dancing and almost immediately I was happily set upon by Jon & Deena, my Cucumber friends. I last saw them in December but was too under the weather to stay for their set at Maxwell’s.

Everyone bought beer and wine so there was plenty to drink and Tim and Sheilah had quite a spread of food set up. No one was smoking except for Tim so I didn’t smoke. I gave up the cigarettes once again, as well as diet soda (and all soda) and the cranberry juices I liked to mix. I do love soda, always have all my life, but apparently it’s bad for you and I’ve been told that for a few years. Here I thought I was doing better by not drinking alcohol and just drinking soda but it seems to have been a misstep.

I danced for a song or two with Lisa as various guys tried to figure out what to play. It went from Malcolm McLaren’s Soweto to The Chi-Lites singing Oh Girl which made for a strange and abrupt segue. After a couple of hours I had to head home, I had four beers and I did have things to do. Plus I had to get up early to help Bill out. Rand and Lisa left with me and we made a stealth exit, saying good bye to Sheilah as she was by the coats.

A fun walk home ending with me singing Troy McClure’s song from Stop the Planet of the Apes I Want to Get Off. I enjoyed singing it and I think Lisa enjoyed it though she might have forgotten where it came from. I couldn’t see Rand’s expression. They went their way with Rand closing all gates they were open onto sidewalks. I trudged upstairs, buzzed after four beers and settled in for Saturday Night Live which wasn’t as bad as it’s been the past few episodes. And then a restful night of sleep followed.

Bill was coming in the morning on the train and then he had to go tend to his mother. He had a bunch of gear with him and his plan was to get off the train, drop off the gear then turn around and get on the Path train to see his mom. I suggested that I meet him at the train and then I would take his gear home and he could just jump on the train. He was grateful for that and I was more than happy to help. We walked to a nearby bagel shop and then parted ways.

I had a nice breakfast at home and Bill ate his on the train. It was quite windy out and I was happy to stay in. It was Third Sunday in Hoboken which means a few galleries and artists open up for people to wander in and see what was going on. There was a gallery I heard a lot about that I hadn’t been to so I decided to check it out. It is at the south western border of Hoboken, far away from just about everything if you don’t have a car, which I don’t.

On the way I stopped by the cigar store to tell Shlomo those little cigars were very dry. He apologized and gave me some freebies as he put the other cigars in a working humidor. Then I walked past the Guitar Bar where I didn’t see Jim Mastro. I did see him on Friday and thanked him and Meghan for the Helmer’s gift certificate that Bill and I used on Valentine’s Day. I continued walking down First Street, with each block I passed I thought about just going home. Looking south I could see smoke and figured that was where the fire engines were headed.

I continued on and saw two building on fire. There was a lot of smoke and a few people documenting everything. I don’t think anyone was injured though they were displaced. After a couple of minutes I walked to the Barsky Gallery studio where I talked with a woman named Annette(?). It was a decent show, a few artists. A little too Abstract Expressionist for me but there were some pieces I liked. It was all rather quick since it is a small space.

Then a cold walk down the streets, the fire under control, less documentarians around. It was on Madison Street between Newark and First Streets. I used to live on Madison and Second so I walked past my old building. I needed some items to make dinner so I went to the nearby overpriced supermarket. The really good supermarket was a bit out of the way and it was too cold for that hike. The nearby supermarket is like a ghost town since the really good supermarket reopened.

After that I was home, made dinner and settled in for the night. Bill came home in time to watch Maggie Smith on 60 Minutes, then we watched the Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers before Bill went to bed. I stayed up and watched yet another documentary on Saturday Night Live which was not as good as the other ones. Probably because it was about the 1990’s.

Party!

Party!


Fire!

Fire!


If the Freedom Tower antenna collapses, it may be from this bolt which should be up there but is actually in Hoboken.

If the Freedom Tower antenna collapses, it may be from this bolt which should be up there but is actually in Hoboken.


Barsky Gallery

Barsky Gallery


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New Order – Temptation (7″ Version – 1982)

I Still Call Australia Home

Saturday night’s alright for something. I am trying to figure it out, just what it’s alright for. Fighting? Smiling? Making love? Going to parties? Writing a blog? I am pretty sure it’s the last one and I am now doing that. After this here thing gets posted what will I do? I am always content to stay home but I was invited to a party tonight and the last time I went to a party thrown by these people I had a good time. I was talked into going by Rand & Lisa and we wound up dancing and having a really good time.

Old friends were there then and I don’t know if it would be the same this time. Some of those old friends are no longer friends and they might be there and that is a reason I might not go. I asked Rand & Lisa and also asked RoDa if they wanted to go with me but they seem uncommitted. If they were going I would have no problem if I ran into that badly drawn woman and her consort the former drunkard. I heard they were in a civil union nowadays so they would likely be a pair.

The former drunkard was sober at the last party a few years ago and he was with his then wife, before he kicked her and before she licked him out of her life. The badly drawn woman was there by herself (the former drunkard did not profess his eternal love for her yet since he was still married to the mother of his children). The badly drawn woman was being hit on by a wallflower coming into bloom and she being totally non-confrontational allowed the wallflower to harass her until I spoke up and put him in his place.

This happened right in front of badly drawn woman, and not hearsay from a few years before regurgitated like a drunk after a three day bender. The thought of seeing the badly drawn woman with her fingers in her mouth and the idiot former drunkard by her side, chin jutting out attempting to be clever is off-putting enough to make me just stay home which would be too bad, but then again the hosts are mutual friends to both parties. Absence is hardly ever noticed at parties, the hosts are too busy attending to the people who are there not the people who aren’t.

RoDa has backed out and Rand & Lisa are unsure and don’t know and won’t know until after they have supper. So it is still up in the air.

Last night I watched Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan with Albert Brooks. I heard it was good but did not realize how good it as until about 10 minutes in. I enjoyed it but it had about 85% of my attention. That was fine since I do plan on watching it again with Bill and I will be able to see all that I might have missed or overlooked. I highly recommend it though it is a bit violent.

I just had dinner myself and now I am writing this. One down, two to go and that should probably decide what I will do tonight. I am in my slippers though and that is something that I should consider.

I did hear from a friend I used to work with. She has big plans to get out of the place where she is at, some place free from marsupials she hopes. Apparently there is an infestation of the marsupials currently on the upper west side having migrated from North Carolina.

PS- I went to the party and had a good time.
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96 Tears

I See Houses

There’s a reason I take notes, hell there’s a reason anyone takes notes- to remember things. And so yesterday I took notes on what happened between the last posting and today. Since I wasn’t writing yesterday the notes served as a jumping off point instead of just staring at a blank screen on Microsoft Word. And now I have the notes to the right of a blank Microsoft Word screen. I have a poetic license to kill and will use it anytime that I see fit. And that time should be now but then again it is and it isn’t.

Back to the notes, I left the apartment on Saturday night, meeting Rand & Lisa at 7:00 PM at 8th and Park, just a block away from my humble hovel. The plan was to walk up to Chez Chaz since there was no Path train for Hoboken this weekend. I’m one of those guys that like to have a cigar when I walk sometimes and knew that Shlomo was working and he owed me a cigar. So I left the 8 pack of Guinness on a bag on the first floor landing and headed over to the cigar shop.

Of course it’s a little busy when I get there and of course I help out, steering guys to the cigars they might want. Shlomo was busy with other customers and since I had a few minutes I didn’t mind helping. And I got a free cigar for that so I walked out with two cigars, one lit and the other stashed safely away. I walked back home, ran in and got the Guinness from the landing and headed out mere seconds later. I waited for a few minutes, puffing on a stogie when Rand and Lisa came forward.

We headed west, to the elevator up the Palisades. I discreetly kept my cigar out of view on the elevator. It goes up to one level and the disheveled man who ride the elevator didn’t seem to notice. From the elevator, a walk up Congress Street to Central Avenue. And then it was a bit of a hike to the park where we made a right and walked past the park into the neighborhood of Chez Chaz. We were a block away on Beach Street which did not seem beach like at all.

Chaz let us in and we climbed the stairs to his abode. Chaz brother and my former roommate William was there as was Chaz and William’s old friend Andy & their schoolmate Annemarie. I’ve known Andy for about 25 years so I guess he’s my old friend too. We all settled in, eating bowls of vegetarian chili as well as other foodstuffs covering Chaz kitchen table. It was all very adult as other guests arrived, faces seen maybe once a year at Chaz’ parties. We sit, we talk, and we drink. It’s all quite civilized. No standing out on the patio for ciggies this time around, I would have been the only smoker anyhow.

I reconnected with some people I see once a year at Chaz’ soiree. One of them Mary Anne Mistretta has a blog and we had a fun talk. I added her to the blogroll. The talk was about how the last year was and it was pretty bleak for most everyone, though the Hoboken stories were the wettest and most harrowing.

After a few hours of having a good time, it was time to head home. We thought about walking back but we were all pretty much tuckered out so it was all about cabbage back to Hoboken. And it came soon enough, Rand and Lisa in the back, me riding in the front with the driver from Eastern Europe who didn’t seem to like anyone. Still he got us back to Hoboken safe and sound and without seat belts. Rand & Lisa and I got out near my house, which is also near their house. Hugs and kisses and they were on their way and I was on mine.

Saturday Night Live was a repeat and a good one at that, Louis CK was the host and it was pretty funny again. After that I went to bed, Bill was asleep in Atlantic City once again. Surprisingly I slept OK, waking up with Bill getting into bed when he returned. I farted around, not doing much of anything. My friend Lois asked me if I wanted to go to Guitar Bar with her and so I did. It was good to get out and interact with Lois and the day was nice enough to go out and enjoy it.

Lois dropped off her ukulele to have a pick up installed on it and then she tried some other acoustic guitars while I took some pictures. Then it was hopping into various shops so Lois could get whatever it was she needed to get. Finally it was my turn and we walked to the supermarket which was crazy crowded and caused us to turn right around and head out empty handed. We went to another store nearby which wasn’t as cheap but affordable in terms of time and lacking in frustration.

That was it. Lois went home and I went home where I found Bill getting ready to go out. I just situated myself and helped Bill get himself together. Then I just watched TV and surfed the net for the rest of the day. Ho hum indeed but it was worth it.
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Lois and a guitar she really, really liked.

Lois and a guitar she really, really liked.


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Cracked Actor

I Say A Little Prayer- Dionne Warwick

Well I haven’t been here since last year and what a time that was. Wow seems like only yesterday or at least a few days previous since I last saw you all. How was your New Year celebration? Did you have one or were you in bed early and under the covers when neighbors started clanging pots and pans? I’ve done that once before, in the early 1980’s while apartment sitting in Inwood. That was an adventure in itself. Didn’t do much of anything then and was in bed a little bit before midnight. That must have been 1982 I think.

On Sunday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my niece Corinne. We had a great time, opting to drive in, instead of relying on public transportation. It was too cold, and I have to admit I was a bit cranky. Corinne cheered me up and we enjoyed the Regarding Warhol exhibition. It was crazy crowded since it was about to end it’s run. I was able to explain the stories behind some of the art work and I think Corinne enjoyed herself. We made it back to Hoboken and had a late lunch at the Malibu Diner. A mellow night in was in the cards for me. Bill was home and was not driving to Atlantic City.

On New Year’s Eve I got a phone call from Shlomo. It’s getting to be a habit with him. Cheap labor, paid in cigars and I am dependable and trustworthy and they probably won’t find anyone like me to work for them at such a low rate. I headed to the cigar shop and as I told Shlomo a week earlier, it will probably be crazy on New Year’s Eve. And it was. I called it. I knew groups of guys would be coming in to buy cigars for the night and I knew they wouldn’t know what they wanted.

It was busy and the time flew and I was glad for that. Cigars are generally mild, medium or full bodied. I like full bodied cigars myself, but I’ve been smoking cigars since the 1990’s. An occasional medium might come my way as well as that mild cigar, so I know what I am talking about when describing cigars to the newcomers. Sure enough within about 5 hours most of the mild cigars were sold. I explained that to the customers and would steer them to the medium cigars, something not too overwhelming. Sometimes they would understand what I was saying.

And when you smoke a cigar, like a medium cigar, it would start out medium but as you puffed further and further it might start to get full bodied. They knew what they were getting and by the time they would light them up while being well lit themselves I would be long gone and probably forgotten. Brandon came in on time and I was explaining to him what the deal was. Shlomo was around and seemed pissed that I didn’t replenish what was sold, and I explained that I couldn’t find the cigars to refill. At that point I walked out with a bit of a chip on my shoulder.

Shlomo looked for the cigars to replenish and couldn’t find them either. I came home and there was Bill happy to see me. The usual plan was to go to dinner at Arthur’s Steakhouse at around 8:00, I had somethings to take care of and hoped for a nap but hope was all I got. Bill was busy doing his thing, music, headshots and stuff like that. I did my best to get in the mood. We headed to Arthur’s at 8:00 and ordered our usual steaks and Guinness, followed by chocolate mousse cake. We’re so predictable. We got an Arthur’s gift certificate for Christmas and put it to good use, thanks to the Garfield relatives.

After dinner we walked home, puffing on cigars. We relaxed once home and chilled out until it was time to go. I baked some cookies, bought some Guinness, got my Bass together and some photographs I had printed out for Rand and Lisa and Lois and Fred. Mike from down the street was going to be there so I printed a picture for him and his girlfriend Sarah. I used a gig bag for the bass as we walked to Rand and Lisa’s around 11:00. I forgot the reason why I don’t use the gig bag. I goes on your back and it’s really constricting. Plus it adds a few inches to your height and me being 6’2”, I got snagged in a tree branch once or twice.

A young woman saw me getting snagged and expressed concern if I was OK when she saw it happen. I wasn’t happy about it but I trotted onward with Bill and thanked the young woman for her concern and Bill and I wished her a Happy New Year. We got to Rand and Lisa’s and met Rand outside his apartment. We walked in and saw everyone I mentioned, plus Chaz but no Sarah. The group was all watching a Godzilla movie since that was the theme of the night.

After unloading my stuff I plopped down on a couch next to Chaz and not seeing the window ledge jutting out, leaned back rather quickly and hit my head loudly on the windowsill which caused everyone to stop and watch me. We checked for blood a few times but it wasn’t bleeding. Just a dull pain and anticipation of a bump or a knot. It’s a good thing I have a thick skull having hit my head several times throughout my life and needing stiches on three separate occasions.

I announced that I had giving up smoking cigarettes which didn’t get the reaction I had hoped. I got ‘but you’re still smoking cigars’ instead. Lois was more impressed when I told her at Maxwell’s the week before but no one was more impressed than my sister Annemarie who stated that I didn’t need to get her anything for Christmas, my no more cigarettes was enough. And I am sticking by her edict.

Midnight came, Mike left before that so he can ring in the year with Sarah who was home sick with a bug she picked up while visiting her family in England. Champagne, pots and pans and kisses for Bill and everyone else was in order and then that was over. Rand had set up a keyboard so Bill could play it. I brought the bass, Lois was on Rand’s guitar, Rand on trombone and Lisa on shakers. Fred and Chaz were not into it at all and watched TV in the next room.

It was a sloppy jam but it was fun. I played what I knew on bass, which was Talking Heads Warning Sign and Psycho Killer, Liquid Liquid’s ‘Cavern’ and something that I think I based on How many More Times by Led Zeppelin and something that could have been by Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn from Booker T & the MG’s. Bill played some Stevie Wonder, I Wish, Sir Duke and a few other songs, but we were all politely buzzed and kept messing up the words.

We had a great time but I was tired though and very sweaty and Bill and I left around 2:00AM. I was wary about having a concussion so I stayed up a bit later once we got home after Bill went to bed. Slept really well that night and woke up feeling OK. New Year’s Day is a nothing day really, at least for us. We were invited to parties, but neither one of us wanted to do anything or go anywhere, so we stayed in all day.

We had enough food and if we wanted Guinness we had that too. But we stayed with the food, saving the Guinness for another time, perhaps Chaz’ party this upcoming weekend. Bill napped while I watched a marathon of Bunheads. Bill woke up by the time the marathon was almost over and I explained how similar Bunheads was to Gilmore Girls.

After that we decided to not watch the bad news and watched ‘The Music Never Stopped’ which I wrote about before. Guy with brain tumor comes alive from a catatonic state when he hears music from the 1960’s. His dad reconnects with him after not speaking to each other for decades.

We also watched Prick Up Your Ears, the Joe Orton movie with Gary Oldham, Alfred Molina and Vanessa Redgrave. Good and brutal but still enjoyable. I saw that in the theater when it came out and I think I wrote about that last week or last year. I hit my head last night and today. I think I will wear a hard hat for the rest of the year, just to be safe.

Overall, despite head injuries it was a good New Year’s Eve, spent with good friends.

And I love Bill so much, it just keeps getting better all the time.

I’m a lucky guy.

Corinne with Warhol's Cow wallpaper.

Corinne with Warhol’s Cow wallpaper.


Corinne with a Picasso

Corinne with a Picasso


Oxidation painting!

Oxidation painting!


New Year's Eve panorama

New Year’s Eve panorama


Winding down with Chaz

Winding down with Chaz


Every day this guy walks up and down Washington Street singing Madonna at the top of his lungs like he's walking a catwalk.

Every day this guy walks up and down Washington Street singing Madonna at the top of his lungs like he’s walking a catwalk.


09 My Lover’s Prayer

I Miss You Joe Strummer*

A nice day in Hoboken. Nice enough that there was plenty of parking meaning that a lot of people are out of town this week. Maybe they wanted to use their vacation time and head down the shore or wherever it is that they go. It’s been a cool day, not too hot at all. A little cloudy which could account for the cooler temperatures. On the west we have a cold front moving in with a 40% chance of a storm later in the night. Here’s your seven day forecast and now over to Knob Dore with sports. Knob?

Last night I went out again. It’s amazing the fact that in the past three days, I have gone out twice. A major accomplishment for the shut in that I seem to have become. I went to DC’s Tavern a few blocks away from my apartment to see a friend Mike play an acoustic set. I foolishly got there at 8:00 like the time was posted. You’d think that after working at Maxwells for over 10 years, I would know that the scheduled show time is hardly ever the actual time that bands or acts appear and last night was no different.

Rand and Lisa were coming and I decided to wait outside and have a smoke. The music inside was a bit too ugly for this sensitive lad and it’s one thing to sit there and listen to it and suffer but to have two good friends there to suffer with can make it somewhat enjoyable. It was actually the second time I had been to DC’s Tavern. The first time was a couple of years ago with Rand & Lois and last night was Rand and Lisa. I guess having rand there with a woman whose name starts with an ‘L’ is the way to go.

I gave Mike a bobble head Mr. Met badge for him to wear for good luck. He claimed to have a sore throat and feared he wouldn’t be able to sing the way he usually does but he was fine. There was no need for him to explain the condition of his voice but he did it anyway. DC’s Tavern is a small place and I don’t know how they could have any major events going on. It seems to want to be a roadhouse or something like that but it was cozy.

Rand and Lisa showed up right before Mike started playing. I was working on some Guinness while Rand had some wine and I don’t know what Lisa was drinking. There was a funny moment when I looked down the bar from my end of the bar and if there were a dozen people sitting, at least 10 of them had their smartphones out, texting or looking things up online. I did the same, checking in via Facebook, and posting some pictures of Mike as he played his guitar. And Mike did a very good job despite his misgivings about his voice.

We stayed for the other two singers who followed Mike. I wasn’t planning on it but since Rand and Lisa were staying I did too. Rand made a good point of how these acoustic players singing their own songs seem to sing very sad, maudlin songs. That’s no fun. Laughter between songs but the songs themselves seem to be filled with some god awful sturm und drang. I resolve not to do that if and when I start writing my own songs. I already wrote some lyrics last week, now I just have to find where I put them and then put some music to it.

Had a good walk home with Rand & Lisa afterwards, many jokes about Harry Chapin and his song ‘Taxi’, a song that qualifies as ‘deep’ when you’re 13 years old but after that it is a bit of an embarrassment. I did my busking routine this afternoon, playing for the toddlers. They just love the guitar as much as they like giving me a high five. Today’s songs were I Want to Hold Your Hand and Hateful by the Clash, in honor of Joe Strummer’s birthday. If there is an inspiration for me with regards to busking, it would be Joe Strummer.

I also had some fun today with a scam artist who was trying to get my bank info since I “expressed interest in working for his company”. The funny thing is he was emailing my general address, not the ‘official’ address that I use when sending out resumes. I get a few potential scammers a week and today was fun making them chase their tail around until they got tired and realized they weren’t getting shit from me. This guy couldn’t even tell me where the CH Foundation is or where “Social Care Families” Charity Organization might be. Sure, here’s my bank info! Tell all your scamming friends!

*not an actual song. not yet at least.

Mike Cecchini


Thanks Joe, wherever you are in the universe.


06 (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
04 – Bhindi Bhagee

I Miss You- Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes

Well it’s a bittersweet symphony this life…I’ve been playing that song lately on the guitar. Easy to play, with many lyrics to remember. I was playing that this afternoon while busking by the river. I know I have the chord sequence down, just the words are a problem. I remember in the nineties that Julio really liked the song and I was fairly indifferent. Nowadays, I am into the song and Julio is the one who is indifferent. Well he does have a kid so that is the perfect excuse, knowing that there are more important things in life besides a 5:58 song.

Yes today I was busking and I think it went well. I taught myself Rock Around The Clock for the toddlers who wander by and of course they loved it. They get so excited when they see me, though today they all hung onto the rope until their minders said it was OK. Once they got the OK they scream and dance and throw twigs and leaves into my guitar case. And I form a chord on the upper part of the neck, and I allow them to strum or actually hit the strings on the guitar.

Once again they made my day, such excitement in their eyes. One their return back to the day care center I basically played a three chord mish mosh and took one of the minder’s requests to sing the rope song, aka ‘Get On the Rope’ sung over and over again. And the kids listen and get on the rope, walking away they all yell ‘bye bye’ and I tell them to be good and I will see them tomorrow. It’s a good feeling. I think I will sing ‘Why’d Ya Do It’ by Marianne Faithfull next time, if I could find the chords.

I went to see the Tokyo Police Club on Saturday night on Pier A in Hoboken. I met Rand & Lisa in the beer garden that was set up and had a great time with them. Tokyo Police Club was ‘meh’. They had the right chords and were certainly earnest in their playing, but they lacked any edge to their songs which rendered them instantly forgettable to my ears as well as Rand’s. After a trip to the train station’s loo, the three of us walked haphazardly around Hoboken, running into Tariq busking on the sidewalk on Washington Street.

He saw me and asked where my guitar was, inviting me to play along. The guitar was home and not coming out. Plus he seemed to be doing alright without me. Rand and Lisa and I walked to their house and sat on the stoop. Rand was lending Bill some computer thing so that meant Bill was coming over to get it, though I could have just as easily brought it home. I entertained Lisa with the Cookie Monster version of Call Me Maybe, the summer hit, this time called ‘Share It Maybe’. I like it more than the original.

Tonight I am going to see Mike Cecchini play at a local pub, DC’s. He’s going on first so that suits me just fine. I think Rand and Lisa are going to that as well. I really should spend more time with Rand & Lisa instead of sitting around at home. They’re good people and out of all my friends I’ve known Rand the longest. That is all I have planned, low key, not spending much money if I can help it. True Blood was very good last night, one episode left for the season. Newsroom was also good.

Bill and I finally watched The Artist on Saturday night and it was great. Such a charming film. I could easily see why it won the awards that it did. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo were just so perfect in their roles it was a bit unnerving to see them in color as well in contemporary settings on the extras. And now I want a Jack Russell terrier. Luckily Pedro had a Jack Russell, Snoop- who passed away a year or so ago, so I know how much of a high energy dog it is, too much energy for a railroad apartment in Hoboken.

Not crowded and quite comfortable on Pier A for the show


Rand


Lisa


Inside the waiting room at the train station





LOVED it!


01 I Can Help

I Made It Through The Rain

Yes another blasé blah kid of day. It’s totally hummus out. I just got back from some busking. I couldn’t do it yesterday since it was raining on and off most of the day and plus my usual spot was closed off for the Mumford and Sons show. Last night’s blog came pretty easily. I can get fired up and the words start pouring out. It took me longer to post the photographs than it was to come up with words. I thought it was a good posting and judging by the comments, no one else did. So it goes.

I met Rand and Lisa by Pier A. Not actually on Pier A since that is where the concert was and it was a ticketed show and since no one I knew had tickets, I knew I would see someone outside the event. It was good to see them, and it was good to get outside since I was cooped up most of the day. I listened to Nirvana as I walked over, specifically In Bloom since that song had been playing in my head most of the day. I also enjoyed a nice cigar and stood away from most people during the show.

As I got nearer to the concert the one song I knew by Mumford and Sons was being performed, Little Lion Man. The first time I heard the song was the first time I saw them on Letterman. I liked it and sought it out immediately. It still is the only song I could identify by them and I figured it would be their big finale but there it was being performed in the middle of their set. They were entertaining but it was not enough for Lisa, Rand and myself to stand there and watch.

So we walked from Pier A winding up on Pier C. It was a gorgeous evening especially after all the rain that fell previously. Unfortunately Pier C closes at 9:30 so we were only there for about 20 minutes before being booted out. The three of us walked out back into the streets, Mumford and Sons still carrying on. Our interest had faded and we all wanted to go home, especially Lisa since she actually had to work yesterday. I’m sure Rand worked too, but Lisa has a straight up 9 to 5 job dealing with people so she won the award.

We walked through Stevens Park where I saw Tariq hanging out on a bench with some street guys. I also saw Tariq earlier in the day when I was out and about and was within a foot of him but he was too far gone and wrapped up in a conversation so I just kept on truckin’. I did ask Tariq when we were walking through the park if he would be out today and he said he would be. I came home, Bill was watching the Olympics and I just did my usual thing as Bill readied himself for bed.

Once again it was a difficult night of sleep despite staying up later than usual. It made for getting out of bed this morning a bit difficult but I managed. I got some things done and eventually I went outside into a beautiful afternoon with my guitar for some busking. I spied Tariq wandering around with someone but I just kept to myself. Eventually Tariq sauntered up alone and asked if he could play too. I couldn’t say no and we strummed together, eventually making $6.00 which I split 50/50. He kept drinking from a bottle in his pocket and kept to himself but since the money didn’t appear in the case until he showed up, it was only right to split it with him.

So that’s about it. Off to a rent control meeting at a nearby church. Hoboken renters are fighting off developers who are trying to get rid of rent control in Hoboken. A friend of my brother who lives in town has organized it and since I support it, being a renter, it would be in my best interest to attend.

near the show





062 – Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

I Love You #19

Yesterday was a Sunday and so no posting. I was busy though. Visited my friend Clark in his office and helped him out for a bit. He’s a nice guy, we both worked at Maxwells back in the day and we reconnected a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned he needed some help and since I was available I helped. Nothing too major, just some mundane office tasks all done for a sandwich. I was glad to help and glad to eat. And the office was nice and air conditioned and the sandwich was very tasty. And Clark’s a nice guy so it worked out well for everyone. I will work for food.

Rand sent me an email, telling me our mutual friend Jose was going to be in town with his wife Melinda and daughters Eliza and Alice. I had never met Melinda and the girls so it seemed like something to do. Bill was invited to join us but he’s busy doing the stage manager thing again. Lois was also invited and mentioned that she was laying low due to a bad back. Rand sent the email earlier in the week and I hadn’t heard much about it since until the flurry of text messages yesterday afternoon.

After helping Clark out I just came home for a little while. Actually I had a nap. It was supposed to be an hour but once again I was only afforded about 15 minutes. I had something to eat and got myself ready to go out. I was a little later than I hoped, walking over to a beer garden on Pier 13 in Hoboken. A nice walk, Hoboken still somewhat deserted for the weekend but filling up slowly as the residents returned from wherever it was they were.

I walked in behind a nun walking a dog with what I believed were her relatives. I saw Jose sitting at a table surrounded by Rand & Lisa, Lois and of course Melinda and the girls. I introduced myself, Melinda being quite gracious when she corrected me when I called her Melissa. And then about five minutes later Melinda and the girls were heading back to New York. Manhattan was a quick stop on their way to Europe. Jose stayed behind and we sat and drank and talked. It was quite comfortable but a little on the cool side so we adjourned to Maxwells.

I immediately took over the jukebox when we got there, 18 songs in total. More drinks, more laughs all around. I toasted Rand and Jose, telling them it was about 30 years since I had first met them working for the book publisher where we all used to work. Eventually Lois had to bail though, her husband Fred had come home from work, plus her back was acting up. Lisa & Rand and Jose and myself hung out for a little while longer before settling the bill and heading to the Path train so Jose could reunite with his family. The option was to either walk down Washington Street, or Hudson Street or the river walk. Since Jose was visiting he chose the river walk.

I enjoyed a nice cigar while walking with Lisa, Rand and Jose about 20 feet ahead. We stopped and walked out onto one of the piers and took in the sights. Back toward the Path we strolled. Soon after we started walking we ran into a 24 year old woman, quite drunk and walking her dog, barefoot. Quite a ways away from any apartments and she was barely coherent. Her name was Nicki and the dog was named Kia.

She was a bit lost in the mile square city waterfront. She was out with her boyfriend Sean earlier and they had been drinking by the river, then she said they went to the St. Ann’s Feast. And she lost her bag and her credit cards and all she had were her keys which she said were in the dog’s mouth. Nearby were some sketchy types who both Rand & I believed would have taken advantage of drunken Nicki. Jose took the dog’s leash and Lisa and I walked with Nicki, trying to get whatever information she would slur.

I was able to get a phone number for her boyfriend Sean who did not answer the phone. No one knew where Sean was it seemed. But she did have a roommate, her twin sister Chrissie. I got that number and called. Nicki said that Chrissie would not answer the phone the first time so I called a second time and Chrissie answered. I mentioned who I was, who I was with and that she should come and collect her sister.

We walked again, Nicki walking arm in arm between me and Lisa while rand and Jose had Kia the dog. As we approached Washington Street, Nicki kept insisting that Kia needed to take a dump before going home and walked into a park where she drunkenly plopped down on a rock. We were all concerned that she would hurt herself and I called her sister Chrissie once again, telling her to meet us at Fourth and Washington. After scraping Nicki off the rock and Jose and Rand taking the dog, we once again walked to the main drag.

I stood behind Nicki as she tottered on the sidewalk barefoot, not wanting her to fall backward and crack her skull open. In a little while Chrissie showed up with a friend and they thanked us as Nicki apologized as they took her home. We continued on Washington Street towards the Path train, all of us missing the dog and wanting to take the dog with us. We got to the Path train and we walked down the stairs to say goodbye to Jose.

Then after Rand, Lisa and I hot footed it to the train station to use the facilities since we all had to go. A walk back along the waterfront, it had been a while since I had been on the promenade so late at night. It’s been a while since I had done anything outside so late at night. Rand and I agreed that Nicki would have been in possible danger if we didn’t take her home, since once we decided to take care of her, the sketchy types all got up and walked back to their car.

So a good deed was done. We looked after a woman who was young enough to be our daughter. Rand & Lisa walked me home which was nice, hugs and kisses followed. I climbed the four flights of stairs and as I fumbled with the keys, there was Bill waiting for me to come home so he could go to bed. Actually he was going to bed anyway but it was still a nice gesture. I stayed up and watched some television. It was a little after midnight so it was too late for True Blood which had already started. Then I too went to bed where I slept really well, probably thanks to the four pints of beer that I had.

Rand, Jose and Me


Rand, Lisa, Jose & Me at the Path train turnstiles



02 Tiger Nights

I Love My Shirt

It is hot. It has been hot the past week or so. This is nothing new. All across the US it has been hot in record temperatures. Still there are fools who do not believe in climate change and they also do not believe it is manmade. No, with all the cars and trucks on the roads, with environmental protection regulations reduced or discarded, with the rain forests being depleted, there is no way that climate change could be manmade.

Fucking idiots. In the winter when there is a record paralyzing snow storm these jackasses usually say ‘how about that global warming?’, not realizing that as they say that in 20 degree cold, on the other side of the planet forest fires and dust storms are all the rage. I mean just look at the cloud formations. Some crazy shapes or dark and violent storms appearing out of nowhere, unforeseen by meteorologists knocking out power for a million people in the Maryland/Virginia/Washington DC area.

It was in this heat that I went out this afternoon. It was the last day to feed Lois and Fred’s cat and I was more than happy to do it. For a moment I was happy to at least get out of the apartment. I did the same thing yesterday, but once on the street I noticed I did not use deodorant which left me feeling a bit overripe. No worries, I just went home after feline feeding and applied the deodorant and sweated some more in the apartment.

Bill was around, napping for a little while before getting up much earlier than expected. In a totally different move from last year’s July 4th Bill and I made plans to see the fireworks on the Hudson River. Julio and I had been texting about meeting up, and initially I thought we would go to 4th Street in Hoboken and watch there, but since Julio was uptown we headed that way. Of course there were a lot of people going in the same direction. Enough people to make meeting up a bit difficult.

But we figured it out. Julio pulled up on his bicycle while Bill and I sat on a curb smoking cigars. Rand and Lisa texted that they were at 14th Street and we were only 3 blocks away but there were a few thousand people between us so we decided to stay where we were. The fireworks were excellent. Usually it’s seen them once, why see them again, but they were impressive. Perhaps it was because they were so close and so loud.

Bill and I held hands while watching while Julio took pictures to send to Stine and Alexander in Denmark. In the back of my mind I had to be wary since two men holding hands can attract unwanted attention. In fact while Bill and I were waiting for Julio, a young gay couple walked by us holding hands. One of them was wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt so I said ‘Hey Wonder Woman’, but he was too sullen to acknowledge and probably thought Bill and I were two Hoboken guys smoking cigars and putting him down. As if a Hoboken guy would recognize Diana Prince’s breastplate. Friggin’ newbies.

After the fireworks we decided to stay put and let everyone else go first. We stood and talked for a while, Julio telling us about his apartment with fantastic air conditioning. Julio was surprised to hear that we hadn’t installed our unit yet. I mentioned that Bill doesn’t mind since he’s Puerto Rican and Bill promptly shot that one down. That line was from a year or so ago.

I had come home from work, crazy hot outside and before I left the apartment that morning, I shut the windows since it was supposed to rain. It may have rained, it might not have, but when I came home there was Bill sitting in the dense heat in the apartment with the windows still closed. I asked him why he didn’t open the windows and he said ‘I don’t mind the heat, I’m Puerto Rican!’ So it’s been a running gag since then. But not anymore.

As we walked from the Hudson River there was a lot of traffic on the streets. Bill mentioned that the buses were not running down Washington but using the side streets instead. As we passed a bus stop there were a couple of dozen people waiting for a bus. I asked Bill if the buses were not coming their way and he said they weren’t and went to the people to tell them where they could catch the buses. As he was doing that Julio and I crossed the street. I asked a police officer if buses were running down Washington Street and the cop said they were.

Julio and I looked at each other and said ‘uh oh’. The dozens of people that Bill was talking to were walking past us to the designated stop. Bill made sure the last person who was waiting for the bus was on their way. We Bill caught up with me & Julio, we told him what the cop said. Bill said the cop was wrong and their were posters made telling people where to catch the bus. Why they didn’t read it, I don’t know. Bill was right, the cops were wrong. We soon split after that, Julio riding off on his bike and Bill and I walking home holding hands.

Bill stayed up for a while when we got back home, I stayed up and watched the directors cut of Alien. It was just as good as I remembered and didn’t notice much that was different from the previous times I had seen the movie. Maybe the scene where Tom Skerritt and Harry Dean Stanton are still alive and asking for Sigourney Weaver to kill them was different or new. Would I have stopped what I was doing to get Jones the cat? I couldn’t really say.

I woke up this morning and after some coffee and cereal, I installed the air conditioner again and waited for the cool down. Slowly the bedroom was getting cooler and after a while I turned it off and headed out to feed the cat. I wore a hat this time and while it kept the heat in my head, it also kept the sun off my face. I decided to go to the really big supermarket to get a few things and saved some money once again.

Lois had given me a big bag of socks from where she works. Apparently they are samples and they are nice to have, so I’m walking through the supermarket with the bag of socks as well as a canvas bag with a bottle of water in it. I get what I need and decide to head up to Washington Street before going home. There is a store on Washington that has a nice produce section and the celery I buy there lasts longer than celery bought in the supermarkets. Maybe it because it’s packed in ice, but it lasts about two weeks whereas the supermarket celery goes limp within a week.

I walk through the heat, a panhandler asks me to buy him a soda to which I reply I am unemployed. He grimaced and walked away. I walk into the store and go to where the celery and produce was kept on ice but all I see is some oranges. The woman behind the counter sees my consternation and asks what I am looking for. I tell her and she tells me they’re not carrying it anymore. A week or so ago they get rid of their deli counter and now this.

Perhaps they’re going into the liquor business since they do sell that as well and you know there are simply not enough places to buy liquor in Hoboken. A liquor store on almost every other block will not do. So yeah, I was disappointed and overheated and had to get out of there as fast as possible before I said the wrong thing.

Now I am back home, relaxing and not doing much else. How about you?




He drinks ALL the milk and never replaces it!


crazy cloud formations!


15 Foolish Pride

I Just Can’t Help Believing

Ah, I just had a nap. Nothing spectacular, just a nap for about an hour. A few miles away from here, the meadowlands are on fire. There hasn’t been much rain in this region lately so brush fires have been happening for the past week or so. Hoboken doesn’t seem to be in any danger.

Yesterday was a work day, after a day off on Monday. It was full staff which made for some difficulty sales wise. I came in second behind Jerry Vale so that wasn’t so bad. It was a long day, made longer by a staff meeting which promised to be short, but really wasn’t.

Many things were covered in the staff meeting led by Zack and Bradley. And also performance reviews were handed out. I can’t speak for anyone else but of course it was mentioned there was room for improvement. My emotions do get in the way and affect the atmosphere of the store which is true. I have to do better at concealing how I feel. I suppose that is where Xanax would come in. But since I don’t use that too often I generally wing it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I was a bit anxious anyhow since the great and wonderful Steve Fallon was in town and I did not want to miss him. A whole slew of old faces promised to make an appearance to wish Steve a happy birthday and good old Rand kept me abreast of what’s what and who was there.

After the meeting I hot footed it to the subway and caught a train to the bus terminal. And since it was after 10:00, I had to catch a bus on the third floor. It wasn’t so bad, only a short wait of about 10 minutes.

The bus ride was fast enough and I got off at 12th Street after listening to See No Evil by Television. I walked into Maxwells where See No Evil was playing on the jukebox. I saw Rand and Lisa, Mike Cecchini and Sarah Baker (so that’s her last name!). I was offered a drink but wanted to eat something since I hadn’t eaten since 3:00 in the afternoon and now it was past 11:00.

I nabbed a seat by the jukebox where Rand was entertaining with his gimlets. I ordered a bar pie and had a pint of Stella. I ran into Christine and Alirio who were quite happy. Alirio is a sweetheart and also went to Maxwells a lot in the past, but never really spoke to anyone. Now thanks to Facebook he is known to everyone and quite chatty.

Also in attendance was Chaz who had his birthday last week, as well as Butch who I totally forgot about from back in the day. Sure enough up walked Steve Fallon, a bit grayer than he used to be with some longer hair than he used to have. He was great as usual and we had a nice hug and kiss. All these years later he still looks out for me somewhat and will always have my eternal gratitude and friendship. Steve’s partner Arnold was also there and I hadn’t seen him since the 1990’s. Great to see him as well.

It was one of those nights where every time you turned around you saw someone you hadn’t seen in years.

Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, Emily Hubley, Glenn Morrow, Michael Hill , Christine Repella, the lovely Suzanne, Julie Panebianco, were all spotted and kissed and hugged. I found myself talking to someone then excusing myself for a moment to say hello to yet another friend passing by. Quick catching up, and then it was back to whomever it was I was talking to.

Sadly I was too late to see Patti Quinn. She left a few minutes before I got there, had to go home and deal with her kids which is totally understandable. Rand did send me a picture of Patti and Lisa which was quite nice and both women looked great in the photo, which was in 3D, though only visible in 3D on Rand’s camera.

Drinks were had by everyone and none of the nonsense that occurred in the past seemed to be going on which was quite nice. I said hello to Mike Mills and clinked pint glasses with him since he was standing next to where I was sitting. Peter Buck was there as well and I didn’t see Steve Wynn, but Suzanne told me they covered a Dream Syndicate song in the back room, Tell Me When It’s Over. I think Rand, Lisa and I left Maxwells around 1:30, walking home and being a bit noisy.

Rand insisted on walking me to the corner near my house which was awfully kind, even though Lisa did have to work today. He was three sheets to the wind and Lisa wasn’t so I can only guess it wasn’t that difficult for her to start her day. I was invited to visit Steve and Arnold at their house and certainly hope to work something out somehow. It really was great to see all these old friends and faces and it was special seeing Steve, and seeing the love that so many people have for him.

Some people didn’t know Steve was going to be in town even though he did announce it on Facebook which made for a lot of interest. I came home and posted the pictures I had taken and put on Facebook which when I woke up had many likes and comments on all of them. All the good parties have to end and last night ended on quite a nice note.

I slept fairly well, I wasn’t drunk just buzzed. Bill kissed me goodbye once again and I slept until 9:00 this morning when the workers in the apartment below ours started hammering and drilling. Not the way I wanted to wake up but still it wasn’t so bad. A shower and some coffee and a trip to the supermarket was in order. I did see Isis and asked about how she was doing, and she was doing fine.

I walked around Hoboken and stopped by the Guitar Bar where I gave Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro a tin of Winston Churchill Spitfires. A mini cigar, and a way for saying thanks for accepting my packages. He was most appreciative and told me he was taking daughter Ruby to see Pulp at Radio City Music Hall. He was also at Maxwells last night but oddly enough we didn’t see each other. He was in the back room where I was mainly in the front room.

It was a cool day in Hoboken so I didn’t stay out too long. Came home and chatted with some friends online and posted comments to friends’ comments with regards to my pictures. Then I had a nice nap which brings me to where I began at the top of this entry.

Mike and Rand


Rand, Lisa & Sarah


Georgia & Ira and Karl the bartender


Chaz!


Arnold & Butch


Georgia, Steve & Emily


Me & my dear friend, Steve Fallon


Rand and tree stump outside Christine's house.


Lisa & Patti Quinn


05 Brushfire In Hoboken
A lot of love was had by all.

I Hear Voices

Well yesterday was a Sunday and it wasn’t so bad. I worked of course. Bill was coming back from Atlantic City so there was no seeing him until last night. Work wasn’t so bad though it was a bit slow. I managed to grab the lion’s share from Thomas who basically ruled the roost the previous 2 days.

Thomas’ fiancée stopped by for a visit towards the end of the day, she’s nice and definitely makes Thomas a better man. I made it home earlier than usual since Thomas was closing. I lucked out with a train pulling into the station once I got to the platform, then a short wait for the bus.

And walking up the stairs, there was Bill waiting for me in the open doorway. He was happy to see me and I was happy to see him. He was watching Hot in Cleveland on his laptop and after the Simpsons/Bob’s Burgers (which I think is really funny) I threw Beginners in the DVD player. Beginners is the movie starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor and the movie that won Christopher Plummer the Academy Award.

It was a good movie, just a bit too slow for tired ol’ Bill to stay awake for. I’m glad I did though. It was an interesting film to see Plummer & McGregor interact as father and son as well as watching McGregor & Mélanie Laurent try to figure out where their relationship is headed. Both stories were compelling and show the flaws in relationships as well as the strengths. And the dog was cute.

I didn’t watch anything in particular after that, just surfed the net as the TV droned on and on. I did go to bed eventually and slept quite well, perhaps making up for the hour lost when the clocks moved an hour ahead for daylight savings. And I slept so well that I slept later than I expected to. Still, it was alright since I had nothing planned for today.

Laundry was done the other day so all I had to really do was go to the supermarket. And once again it was fairly empty and once again I had Isis as my cashier. A brief chat while checking out, she was saying how tired she was, probably from the daylight savings thing. I recommended a nap and she planned on it between getting out of work and picking up her son after school.

I came home and cleaned up a bit. It was a gorgeous day so I headed out in the afternoon. I walked down Washington Street where I ran into Rand & Lisa coming back from lunch. Lisa had a surgical pin removed from her toe. Apparently she smashed it up and it was badly broken. Bill saw the toe a few weeks ago and was grossed out. I only saw the pictures of the surgical pin being removed with needle nosed pliers.

We chatted outside of Hoboken Daily News and were joined by Mike Cecchini and his pal Ahmet. They were all walking uptown and I was headed downtown, taking a walk along the river. It was nice by the river and I figured I would see somebody I knew and there was Tim, a teenaged guitarist that played with Lily a few years ago as the Street Corner Mourners.

The Street Corner Mourners (Tim & Lily) played the party that Bill & I had at Maxwells in July 2010. Tim was singing ‘A Friend of the Devil’ and doing a good job. He mentioned he needed a pick since his hand was getting bloody from strumming. I walked over to the Guitar Bar where I saw Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro and got some picks for myself as well as for Tim.

Tim was making some good money playing there, much better than what I did when I was busking almost every day. He does keep his guitar case open in front of him where I would keep my guitar case to the side due to an embarrassment of sorts. I sat and listened to Tim play and took some snapshots as well as shooting a video.

It was a pretty good day and I am glad I went out and saw some friends. I should really do that more often.





Tim


3rd & Washington



02 Most of the Time [Alternate Versi 1

I Got Mine

OK, the other day my day started (and ended) with Melody of Love by Bobby Vinton in my head. That made me think of Bob Dylan covering Dean Martin’s ‘Return to Me’ from the Sopranos soundtrack. Probably because of Bobby Vinton’s refrain, ‘Return to me, and always be, my melody of love’ before he breaks out into a Polish singalong.

In 1975 while attending St. Francis de Sales grammar school, we had to learn that song and then trooped over to a convent by Felician College to sing the song to a group of old Polish nuns. And here I am later, over 30 years later still thinkng about that song.

Another song from 1975 that popped into my head via Wikipedia was Please Mr Postman by the Carpenters. This time in 1975 it was the number one song and I remember being in the Boy Scouts at Camp No-Be-Bosco in the winter listening to this song on Music Radio 77 WABC. I always liked the Carpenters, well I always liked Karen Carpenter’s voice. I still do. I find it to be quite warm and rich.

Lucky Thomas, he just picked up the phone for a nice order. He’s done well today whereas Bradley and myself were nickle and dime’ing up the numbers. No hard feelings but I am harboring feelings of resentment and have doubts about throwing him some sales in the future whenever I hit my personal goal.

The customer just phoned in an order, sending his daughter to pick up the cigars, so things might change. Not expecting it to happen though. Thomas was in a weird mood in the beginning of the day though he did get better and not bitter. It’s after 7:00 so things have gotten considerably slower in the cigar shack area.

Not expecting sales to improve, in fact after Thomas’ sale that will probably be it. I did have some nice sales today, though not enough to get to my personal goal. It is so friggin dead here I almost expect George Romero to remake Dawn of the Dead in this area.

That brings me back to 1980 where after I saw the Exorcist with Henry Venegas and his girlfriend, we drove to the Paramus Drive In where we caught some of Dawn of the Dead on the sly, using the AM radio to pick up the audio broadcast at 2:00 in the morning. Life sure was simpler then.

Like most of my high school classmates I never saw Henry Venegas after 1980. And don’t even get me started on my fumbled seduction regarding Henry. And attempting to seduce a straight classmate was not the smartest idea anyhow. I was 17 and knew as much about seduction as I do now. What was I thinking? I know what I was thinking about. He was a good guy that Henry Venegas was. I wonder if he ever married his girlfriend?

About 30 minutes left in the cigar shack today. 30 long minutes no doubt. Rand and Lisa stopped by this evening. It was wonderful to see them. They were celebrating Lisa’s birthday and went to the movies and had some dinner out. Lisa of course looked fabulous and Rand was quite the fashion plate himself. They were just passing through, headed back to the bus terminal. I’ve known Rand 30 years and happy to be his friend, as well as Lisa’s friend.

Thomas, it turned out, was closing the store allowing me to leave a few minutes early. I hoped I would catch Rand and Lisa on the bus but they didn’t make it. But it was wonderful to see them nonetheless, as it made my day.






Is THIS your card?


11 Crosseyed and Painless

I Get It In Omarion

It is back to the cigar shack after a week of not much of anything. I did some things around the apartment, cleaning, laundry but not much else. New Years Eve was even mellower, Bill & I going to Arthur’s Tavern for steaks, followed by cigars and then winding up at Rand & Lisa’s for midnight cocktails.

Good crowd there, John Fig and his wife Arianna and their daughter Luna, Lois & Fred, Mike C and his gorgeous girlfriend Sarah. We apparently missed Chaz who stopped by en route to West Paterson to spend midnight with his Aunt Rena.We’ll be seeing him this weekend when he has his holiday party.

Bill and I watched a few movies over the weekend, Love Actually, some Harry Potter and yesterday watched mindlessly an Absolutely Fabulous marathon. For the longest time, the humor Absolutely Fabulous escaped me. I felt I was going to have my ‘gay card’ revoked, but being hungover from the night before must have helped since I did chuckle a few times as did Bill.

He went to bed pretty early last night since he was driving a bus to Washington DC today. I tracked him on my smartphone. Since I can’t be with him, it was good to at least know where he was even though the GPS was dodgy. One minute he is on the Cross Bronx Expressway and next he is crossing the border into Maryland.

Since Maryland turned up more than the Grand Concourse I went with Maryland. It was justified since he did cross into Washington DC eventually. And now, thanks to a paper screw up, he is on his way home, deadheading from Washington DC. He expects to be home by midnight or thereabouts so I will more than likely be awake.

Oh yeah, I just got home a few minutes ago. It was a long day at the cigar shack, I came in and saw Zack talking to Bradley at the counter, Thomas floating around somewhere. As I was taking my coat off, Thomas materialized and asked if I heard about Bradley. I did not so Bradley told me the news.

Bradley is now the assistant manager, which is what I basically told Bradley a few months ago. I harbor no hard feelings, Bradley is good at the job and is born to work in the world of retail. I think Zack was expecting me to be upset since I had been working there longer, but no I was not upset at all. In fact I congratulated Bradley on his promotion, and asked him if he got a raise, which he did.

And since it was a federal holiday today a lot of people had off from work today, making the cigar shack area quite deserted. It was a long day and it seems that Zack does not like the fact that things are slow. He’s been through many January’s before so it really shouldn’t be a surprise. I feel bad for Zack though. It seems like he is being set up for a fall.

The cigar shack probably pays a lot of money in rent and with the slow sales and the sluggish economy it promises to be a brutal year. And on top of that Zack and his wife are expecting a baby so there is that added stress. An interesting thing happened today, 2 customers came into the cigar shack, a couple.

Thomas asked them if they needed help and they said they were just browsing. I came out and asked the same thing as Thomas and I got the same answer. So Thomas and I backed off, letting them browse while keeping our eyes on them. A minute or so later, Zack comes out of the office and asks the couple if there is anything they would like to see and of course they say yes to Zack. So Zack tool care of the couple and made a sale while Thomas and I busied ourselves doing other things.

The couple left with their purchase and Zack then turned to Thomas and myself, about to berate us for not helping the couple. I had to explain to Zack that just because he watches the cameras in the store, it’s not reality necessarily. I explained that both Thomas and myself offered our assistance which they did not want, then he comes out and they do want assistance.

We did not do anything wrong, we weren’t goofing off. I don’t think Zack appreciated my explanation but it was the truth and he went back to the office ostensibly to check the cameras to see if we really did interact with the customers. Apparently, asking a customer if they need help is not the way to go. Asking them if there is anything they would like to see is the proper way to bait the hook.

It’s going to be a long year.



2-02 Take The Cash (K.A.S.H)

I Don’t Want To Be A Bride

Yes yesterday was a day off and yes it was good. I slept in of course, and got up an hour later since I changed every clock except for the alarm clock which is probably the most important clock to set. It didn’t matter much since I figured out what had happened or did not happen and went back to sleep for another hour.

Still I was up earlier than I anticipated and proceeded to get my day started. A trip to the supermarket and soon I was home having breakfast and reading the papers. Bill was driving a bus for the first time in two months.

A trip to Nanuet then to Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem and finally a ride to see Sister Act on Broadway. Yesterday was the Artists Studio Tour in Hoboken and I had arranged to take off and attend, to visit some good friends.

I walked up to Maxwells where Rand and Lisa were hosting the Kirby Enthusiasm event. Chaz Charas was there so it was good to see all three. Not much of a turn out while I was there I’m afraid. Mike Cecchini arrived to relieve Rand and Lisa who were off to the Biergarten in Hoboken. I made tentative plans to meet up with Mike tomorrow on my day off again.

From Maxwells I went to Neumann Leather where Tim Daly was working and his wife Sheilah Scully was there too. Some catching up with them and a visit to other artists in the building. A phone call to Annemarie then a walk to the first building I lived in at 201 Madison Street where I saw Hiro Takeshita. He was a bit under the weather so I did not stay long.

A short break at home to upload photos I had taken and then I was out again, this time to the Monroe Art Center where Lois was performing and my neighbor Deborah was supposed to be singing. But Monroe Art Center is a big old industrial building and it’s very easy to get lost in there.

I wound up hanging out with Lois and she played the violin and I played some guitar and a little bit of piano. I said my goodbyes after about an hour and walked on home to a nice dinner. Then it was watching TV and surfing the net. Bill expected to be home around 11:00 but was home at 9:00 in time to watch Boardwalk Empire.

Then he went to sleep and I stayed up for a few hours more, watching Pan Am and then the news and then a documentary on A Tribe Called Quest. I haven’t finsihed it yet and I understand Q-Tip did not want to have anything to to do with the finished result.

I don’t see why since he comes off as quite intelligent and reasonable. Phife Dog, not so much but Ali Shaheed Mohammed is crazy cute. I intend to finish watching it tonight when I get home.

And now I am home, poor Bill. My baby is so exhausted. He never rests. And after a few weeks of that he crashes hard. And that is what he is doing right now. A day off for me tomorrow which is nice. I’m looking forward to it. And today wasn’t so bad.






I Disappear

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.



And thanks for all the good wishes my friends!

I Believe Diamond Rio

Hitting the ground running. That’s how it went for me today. Last night wasn’t so bad, chilled with Bill which was quite nice. I could not fall asleep fast enough, though Bill of course falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.

After an hour of lying in bed and sweating I was soon in front of the computer seeing if any insomniac friends were awake and online. They weren’t and after a few minutes I was soon able to fall asleep.

It wasn’t the usual amount of sleep since I had to get up a little earlier than most days. I was opening the shop after arranging to switch hours with Bradley. I am going to see Karyn Kuhl play with her band on Pier 13 tonight.

I made it to the store on time after riding the bus with an entirely different set of commuters. These people seem to have their act together and the bus which was a coach was comfortable and air conditioned.

Within 60 seconds of me opening the store a woman came in, wanting 3 items that she showed me pictures of. We had all three items and one was designed to look distressed. That was the one she wanted polished.

I did my best to polish it up but it wasn’t to her liking. She left the store having other errands to do and said she would come back. She told me she was a personal shopper and that she was buying silver items for someone’s 25th wedding anniversary.

It was all rather hectic, probably more hectic than it is when Bradley opens up the store. I did about $1500.00 worth of sales before 11:00 and that didn’t even count the personal shopper. She came back when I went to lunch and I gave the commission to Bradley. I had made enough money for the day.

Now I am back home. I left work early after dropping off some cigarillos at a customer’s apartment near the cigar shack. I walked with Sean who has been working in the area. He was on break and decided to walk with me. He’s going to Six Flags with his fraternity brothers tomorrow and I advised him to be careful.

A quick ride home via an express train and a waiting bus. I climbed the four flights of steps, threw the last of Stine’s hot dogs on the George Foreman and changed from my suit & tie into blue jeans and a shirt.

Knowing that I would be on the river and that it would likely be cool, I wore a suit jacket on top of all that and once the sun went down I knew I made the right decision. Rand & Lisa showed up and the three of us had a good time, hanging out.

We saw various friends from all over Hoboken. Rand had a beer, Lisa had wine and I smoked a cigar while Karyn Kuhl rocked hard in a funky place. It was a long enough set and the crowd was nice enough. My body clock was all messed up from getting up earlier than usual this morning and I was feeling pretty tired.

Plus I was still standing around, not in a cigar shop, but on a grassy pier on the Hudson River. Still I am glad to have gone out and see friends. I hope to do the same thing in August when another friend plays Pier 13 with the Neutron Drivers.

It is a fun place to see a show and the bands are generally entertaining and you certainly can’t beat the view.

RIP bird

Karyn Kuhl

Rand & Lisa

I Beg of You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

Today is Sunday which means yesterday was Saturday. I worked yesterday, today I have off. It’s been a productive day, cleaning the apartment, which Bill started yesterday. Perhaps if we both work in tandem we will have a really clean apartment. But for today we will settle for functional.

Work was long and slow yesterday and I did not want to go in. My resolve to get out of this retail circus remains strong. I waited for about 30 minutes in the cold for the 10:30 bus which did not arrive until 10:50.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to Chaz’ party that night. I wasn’t feeling on top of my game and I was staring down the barrel of a 10 hour shift. I texted Chaz letting him know I wasn’t sure and also texted Rand with the same message.

Bill was going to be driving a bus to Atlantic City and I also didn’t feel like going by myself. As things turned out, Atlantic City had a big snowstorm and so bus trips down there were canceled. So Bill stayed home and cleaned the apartment while I watched the clock move ever so slowly from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM.

Somewhere in the middle of that I read online of the shooting of the congresswoman in Arizona, as well as the murder of a 9 year old girl, a federal judge and four other people. It was terribly sad and I didn’t know how bad it was since the cigar smokers in the man cave would rather watch college football on the TV than watch the events as they unfold.

Of course if they did watch the news, it would be the same regurgitated mess repeated over and over. It was reported that Rep. Giffords was shot in the head and had died, but then another report came online saying that she was not dead, just in intensive care.

And the latest is that she has been able to respond to simple questions from her doctors. It’s been a sad story all around, for the victims, their families and for the United States overall.

The work day continued on, working with Calvin and Sean. Sean helps me out a lot with sales, usually ringing things up on my register so that I get more of that 1/3 of 1% commission. But Calvin caught on and made sure than any 3 figure sales that Sean was about to complete were done on Calvin’s register. Calvin is the boss you see and doesn’t do much of anything for Sean except for threatening him, whereas I usually buy Sean food, like a burger or some pizza.

I do feel pity for Calvin, for here he is an assistant manager with a wife and kid to support and I really don’t mind him getting whatever commission happens. It would be nice if I got that 1/3 of 1%, but I’m not going to sweat it. And I’m sure Calvin gets more than 1/3 of 1% anyhow.

Calvin split at his appointed hour and it was Sean and myself for the remainder of the day, or by this time, night. Finally it was time to go.

Bill decided to go to the party and even rented a car so that we wouldn’t be at the mercy of a car service to bring us back to Hoboken. I got the latest Mojo & Uncut magazines for Chaz and gave him 2 passes for the American Museum of Natural History.

I met Bill after taking the Path train to Journal Square in Jersey City and we drove up to Chez Chaz. Most of the usual New Year’s crowd was there, Andy, Deborah and Rand & Lisa as well as a few other people that I see year to year but forget their names and too embarrassed to ask after all this time.

It was all rather adult, sitting there, chatting and having beers. Chaz made some excellent vegetarian chili which hit the spot after being outside waiting for Bill to arrive in the black Beetle he rented. Many laughs and stories as well as information about Representative Giffords.

We left around 12:30, giving Rand & Lisa a ride back to Hoboken. I came home to find Bill had done an awful lot of cleaning which impressed me enough to do my share this afternoon.

It’s been a good day, though I did watch a lot of news concerning Tucson, AZ.

Sad sad sad.

Christina Taylor Green 9/11/2001 - 1/8/2011

I Won’t Back Down

Well it’s later than I expected but really can’t say I have any regrets. Just got back home after spending the day celebrating my dear friend Rand’s birthday. He’s turning 50 years old in a matter of days and today seemed like a good enough day to celebrate it.

He was able to have Maxwells available to him from 12 to 5PM this afternoon. It was a great party, quite a few friends from Rand’s past as well as Rand’s relatives were there to partake in the festivities. Karaoke, food and drinks available to all.

As I stood outside at one point having a cigarette when up walked the wonderful Jose Blackorby. It may have been 15 years or so since I last saw Jose and it was a thrill to see him once again. He’s married now and living in Oakland with his wife and 2 daughters.

Fortunately he was on the east coast this weekend and able to make the party. Rand’s sisters and family made the scene as did Lois & Fred and Roda. Cheryl Welch, Chris Repella, Rob La Rosa and a few others all made appearances. Drinks were had, food was eaten and talk abounded.

So many friends from Rand’s past that I knew and liked (John Donovan and fiance). Bill and I had a lovely time, Bill connected with Mike from the Neutron Drivers, Chaz was there connecting with Mike’s girlfriend Sarah about matters relating to Paul Weller and British music in general.

Songs were sung, stories were told told, catching up as much as possible was attempted. I suppose even some networking was done as well. I tried to avoid telling stories about working at the cigar shop but I guess it was inevitable that they would eventually surface.

Some of us had comparable stories to tell. Mainly it was between me and Fred. I suppose Fred and I are lucky enough to have spouses that are understanding and supportive at our sides. Many chats many drinks and quite a few bites to eat. Can’t say that enough apparently.

War stories were exchanged between Fred and myself and sad to say but Fred is in a worse position than I am. He’s within walking distance of his hell where I have to take a bus and a subway to get to mine. Fred wins.

And like Bill and I, Lois & Fred are lucky to have each other. Lisa looked as great and sexy as ever. It had been maybe 15 years or so since I last saw Jose and I didn’t realize that he was and perhaps still is a positive influence on my life.

I can’t say whether or not he knows that to be a fact but I walked him to the bus stop and as the bus approached, I realized what a lovely man he is, such a positive person. If he’s ever had a problem, I’ve never seen it. Perhaps he hides it well, doesn’t wear it on his sleeve like I do. Perhaps he’s the Buddha.

Needless to say, I teared up, giving Jose a hug & a kiss and telling him I loved him.

Don’t know what else to write. I’m tired and had a few drinks already. Perhaps a few too many, though I could be wrong. Glad to have been able to celebrate Rand’s 50th birthday with his friends and family.

Rand is also a great guy and a good friend and I am quite happy to have him and Lisa in my life. Been almost 30 years that I’ve known Rand and I look forward to many more years of friendship.

Despite the bullshit, the small stuff that I’m not supposed to sweat, it’s people like Rand and Lisa, Lois and Fred, Jose, Julio and Stine and Alexander and Bill of course, as well as Annemarie, Frank and Brian and their families (as well as others that I am not writing down here) that really make life worth living.

Chaz


Lois


Lisa


Roda


Lady Gigglepuss y El Jefe


Jose and Bill



photo by Jose Blackorby

Work tomorrow, not expecting to post, but you never know…

I’m the Man

Well I am writing this on a Sunday though I will post it for Saturday. Once again I woke up in a positive mood which was surprising. I said out loud, ‘positive positive positive’ with the hope that by saying that I would be able to maintain the mood throughout the day. It was a noble effort.

I showered and had some coffee and cereal and was getting ready when Bill walked through the door. I didn’t think I would see him until today (Sunday) but there he was with bagels in the bag. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a bagel.

I headed out the door to the bus stop, stopping by the library dropping off some CD’s that I had taken out. I lit up a cigar that I started the night before and waited for the bus, staying far enough away from other people waiting for the bus, but still there was one woman who started fanning the imaginary smoke from her face.

I was about 30 feet away from her and it was breezy but all it takes is the power of suggestion. Seeing someone with a cigar immediately puts up the ‘I’m offended’ attitude. I didn’t care and she walked away, missing the bus that she was waiting for.

The bus ride was as usual, uneventful. A walk up the avenue to the store, avoiding the subway since it runs on quite an erratic schedule, stopping by the farmer’s market to buy some organic chocolate chip cookies. I usually share them with my co-workers, but I decided to be selfish.

I was working with Sean after all and Sean does as little as possible and therefore wouldn’t earn any cookies from me. Don Birch split as Soon as Sean came in. I did talk with Don Birch about My Friend, My Friend the other day and according to Don, whatever was said was squashed and forgotten.

Sean and his 20 year old thuggish indignation was the only one with a problem with it. A problem that was not his to begin with. It was just me and Sean and Sean almost immediately sat in the humidor not doing anything at all.

It promised to be a long day and it certainly was. Another day where I was being held prisoner against my will, not having the chance to leave for my lunch hour due to the horrid managerial ways of the cigar shop.

I had a late lunch and did smoke a cigar, talking to 2 customers who were rather intelligent, which is rare when compared to the usual carbon based life forms that frequent the shop. But my lunch ended, and it was back to standing behind the counter while Sean cleaned his fingernails with an exacto knife, when he wasn’t staring into space.

He’s trying to get a job at Coach and asked if he could put me down as a reference. I said sure, but if they call, I don’t what I would say. I could build him up and get him out of my life (I defriended him on Facebook as well), or I can tell the truth and say that he’s a do nothing, know nothing type and continue to have to deal with him.

One of Calvin’s friends came into the shop near closing, buying a few cigars. He almost bought some overpriced cufflinks, but was a bit shocked to find that the discount that Calvin arranged for him was only 10%.

He mentioned that he would have to have a talk with Calvin about that next time he sees Calvin. This scumbag has a ton of money, yet feels he is being slighted. What an asshole.

The store closed and Sean was on his way somewhere. I didn’t care enough to ask. I made it to the bus terminal listening to Public Enemy which was a mistake since I found it irritating rather than inspiring my swift pace. I did make it to the bus on time and sat near the front.

I was getting off the bus to go to Rand & Lisa’s for a cocktail party. I didn’t really want to go but since I said I would, I was committed.

As the bus approached my stop, I decided to roll a cigarette. A heavyset woman sitting diagonally immediately saw what I was doing and stared at me, wearing her Mickey and Minnie Mouse blouse. I stared right back at her, not breaking my gaze when she asked if I had a problem.

I said, that I didn’t have a problem and wondered why she was fascinated with what I was doing. She said I was staring at her first and that was a lie. I can always tell when someone is looking at me.

I said ‘Well Mickey, you seemed interested in what I was doing so I just decided to find something to look at around you.’ ‘I’m not Mickey.’ ‘OK Minnie Mouse, it’s the same thing.’ She muttered under her breath and I said ‘Yeah yeah yeah, you’re boring me.’ She pulled out her cellphone to call someone and I took her picture.

I walked over to Rand and Lisa’s after that where Lois and Fred were seated on the couch. I settled in and had a vodka tonic and wound up having a better time that I had anticipated. Good to have good friends around like that to take my mind off my problems.

Feeling good today, no hangover to speak of. About to go out for the papers at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s about it. I was supposed to have dinner with Bill and his friend Theresa, but she backed out, so a Sunday in Hoboken and only Hoboken is good enough for me.

I Have Been in You

Well this is different. It’s a Sunday and I am writing but not about Sunday. About Saturday actually. I planned to write last night, but was sidetracked by Rand’s requests that I join him and Lisa for a drink. He wasn’t taking no for an answer.

I mentioned money and the lack thereof, the need to eat something before eating and he responded that he would pick up the tab. I mentioned the need to write, and the fact that I had to deal with people all day and the thought of hanging out, not so much with my friends, but surrounded by people didn’t appeal to me.

With a final : ) Good night, the guilt was cast and I decided to make an appearance at least. But that was the end of a day filled with oddness.

I rode the bus in as I usually do and since it was a Saturday I walked from the bus terminal to the cigar shop. Stopped in a deli and got an egg sandwich. Made it to the shop early enough to enjoy the egg sandwich and started work soon after that.

It’s a holiday weekend and it did not promise to be busy. Harpy stopped by for a few minutes to my surprise. It was good to see him and I introduced him to Raymond and Sean. Don Birch met him earlier when Harpy came in before I arrived, telling him that I would be in by 11:30.

After about 2 hours we received word that we will have to evacuate the building. A suspicious package was found outside the building. Raymond, Don Birch and Sean got the 2 regulars who were in the back room and got them out.

I locked up the store and we went outside. Hundreds of customers from the nearby stores and the employees were gathered out in the street, and Raymond, Don Birch, Sean and I stood and proceeded to light up.

It turned out the suspicious package was just an empty box and we were allowed to go back in. A few members of the security team came by to thank us for cooperating with the evacuation, one of them telling me that the box was directly on the other side of the wall, which meant if it was an actual bomb we would have been blown to bits.

That was slightly unnerving.

About an hour later I went out to lunch where I found it was quite smoky outside. Most people on the street were looking westward so I did too. I could bare see buildings a block a few blocks away. Sirens going off in the distance.

I made my way to my usual bench by the park and called up Bill who had just gotten home a few hours before. Unfortunately I woke him up from his nap. I asked him if there was anything on the TV but there wasn’t, but he could see the smoke from the bedroom window in Hoboken.

He told me he would call if he heard anything and I went back to reading Mojo magazine. Bill texted a little while later telling me that it was a fire at the New York City Sanitation building by the river. It seemed to be under control as I headed back to the cigar shop.

It wasn’t that busy like I mentioned earlier. Raymond, Don Birch and Sean all did their best to get along without the usual sniping and ball busting that occurs. Don Birch left early leaving the three of us to manage the store for a very long two and a half hours.

I’ve certainly gotten better at closing the store, now taking me about 10 minutes to do the task. I was soon out on the street headed to the bus terminal listening to the Dame’s Station to Station, Golden Years and half of TVC 15, making the hike in about 17 minutes give or take a few seconds.

As I approached the gate I think I saw Abby, the thorn in my side from a few years ago. He fancied himself an Asian Indian playboy, leasing flashy cars, now downgraded to being kicked off the bus since he and his girlfriend did not have tickets and thought they could pay cash, which you can’t do anymore.

I got off the bus at 12th Street and headed towards Maxwells. I expected Rand & Lisa to be on their way but there they were, with Lois by the jukebox. Quite crowded for a sold out show in the back and the look on my face probably registered uncomfortableness as well as being tired.

Lisa gave up the seat she had stolen at the bar and I sat for a Guinness. I thought about eating when I saw a bar pie go by. I saw the guy next to me at the bar eating a pizza and asked him how it was, since I was thinking about ordering one.

He turned and told me that he was enjoying it, but had his fill and offered me the rest of his plate, about 3 slices. How could I resist? I said yes and he slid the plate over. I, in turn offered to buy him a beer which he gladly accepted and which Rand would not allow me to pay for.

Many laughs ensued after that, the gent next to me headed into the back to see the show. Todd stopped by and shook my hand, thanking me for the thank you note I sent. He was happily hectic dealing with the crowd.

I stepped out for a quick smoke, having a mini cigar which I put out before I went in earlier. I talked to Ken the big bouncer outside and wound up giving him the very nice cigar in my pocket. We talked last week about cigars and since I had this freebie I figured I would give it to him.

He was grateful and I headed back in for more pints and laughs. I also threw some money in the jukebox, thinking that if we were going to listen to loud music it might as well be music that we all knew and liked.

Played Jump in the Fire by Nilsson for Lois as well as Wrong ‘Em Boyo by the Clash. Rand remarked at how London Calling was considered so punk and daring when it came out 30 years ago (!) and now today it sounds like a simple rock and roll record.

We soon got the bill which Rand picked up, generously tipping the bartenders, both named Heather. Said good night to Ken the big bouncer as we left and crossed the street against the light.

There was a bloke at the corner waiting for the light to change and he eventually passed us on the sidewalk, telling us that he was Canadian, which was why he waited for the light to change. We promptly joked with him, gently mocking the Canadians, saying ‘eh’ a lot.

His name was Seth and we all introduced ourselves, me saying my name was Pierre Trudeau and pointing to Rand and introducing him as my wife Margaret. He was only in town for a few more days he explained as we parted ways.

We walked Lois home and then saw a guy pissing outside of an apartment building while his girlfriend stood watch. He was mocked by us for his absolute rudeness. A nice parting of ways by Rand and Lisa and myself, me coming home around 1:15.

Too tired, and a little drunk to write, so I decided to do it today which by now, I have done. Off today, back to work tomorrow. Most every other store is closed for the Labor Day holiday, but not the cigar shop.

Lois, a Heather, Rand & me. Photo by Lisa

I’m In Love

Hey! I didn’t write yesterday. I was sort of cross eyed and painless but I wouldn’t say shitfaced. It was the end of a perfect day. The day started nicely enough, I was able to get up and get out and get some bagels.

Came home with the newspaper and the bagels and had some eggs. It made for a nice breakfast. Little did I know that it would be basically the only thing I would have eaten beside cake later on.

Seven pizzas came and went, Spanakopita (Chaz!), various salads, and cakes were all devoured. I’m not complaining. That’s why the food was there. I reckon there were about 50 people there. A few people wandered into Maxwells thinking the restaurant was open for brunch.

I generally caught them and showed them out and directed them to the Madison at 14th & Washington Street. Most of them were cool but one asshole walked away saying ‘go fuck yourself’. Me being me- couldn’t resist saying, ‘no, you go fuck yourself!’

What the hell… I had backup. Luckily the backup wasn’t needed and she wheeled himself away in her wheelchair. It was a great collection of family and friends. The cousins from South Jersey showed up, mostly.

Old friends of mine, former co-workers arrived too. These former co-workers are now good friends. Billie made it up from DC on the Mega Bus for the afternoon, then back to DC at 6:00PM.

Jim Mastro re-officiated the vows that were said originally on April Fool’s Day. . It was great to have so many friends and family witness. Unfortunately the original witnesses Chris Repella & Tom Winnick couldn’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances.

Lot’s of photos taken and even video. I have seen some of the photos but none of the videos. I’ve been trying for the past 24 hours to upload my pics, but my computer seems to be behaving quite oddly. I will have to get in touch with Rand on the computer front.

Deena Shoshkes & Jon Fried sang My Boyfriend for me.. I snag along standing next to Bill. Then Lily & Tim from the Street Corner Mourners sang 2 songs, one of them seemed written or rewritten so it could be about me.

Awfully sweet.

I was compelled to take the straw hat off of Bill’s head and pass it around so people could donate some cash to the Street Corner Mourners. I did clear it with Jon & Deena beforehand. They were fine with it. It looked like a nice collection.

Bill sang Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits accompanied by Lois. I was going to sing that, having practiced it for two days beforehand. Instead I sang All My Loving by the Beatles which to my surprise most everyone joined in and sang along with me.

They jumped into a chorus too soon but I got them back on track.

It was actually the first time I played and sang in front of most of my friends and all of my family. After that, it was all a blur for me mainly. So much going on, so many friendly faces.

Juan arrived late but still welcomed and he jumped into the festivities with gusto. Bill’s cousin Elisa and her husband King also arrived looking fantastic. Elisa looked great in her new ‘do and King looked regal in a pink suit.

It ended basically when the World Cup ended.

Some of us made it over to Rand & Lisa’s apartment for an after party. Jane, Martha Griffin and Loren & Andrew joined Rand & Lisa, Bill and me and Lois. More drinks were consumed and some spicy hot cheese was served.

Today was a quieter day, spent down in Sandy Hook with Annemarie, followed by Ice Cream at Crazies in Rumson.

Two wonderful days. One spent with a lot of friends and family, the other spent with my dear sister Annemarie.

Still having difficulty uploading pics, even off of Facebook. Sorry!

I was able to get this one uploaded!

Crazy Rhythms

Last night was a nice time. A bit low key. I walked over to Louise & Jerry’s. Hadn’t been there in about 5 years. Last time I was there I was with Rand and we had left McSwells and walked down to Louise & Jerry’s.

I think I was smoking a cigar which meant the last time I was there it was before the smoking ban went into effect in NJ. I was early it seemed. I walked in and sat at the bar, next to a guy named Keith who I used to know vaguely.

He was roommates with my friend Maurice’s brother Raul and also a DJ. He always was a bit flaky though. I saw him a few months ago on the sidewalk outside of Louise & Jerry’s and actually said hello to him, since he was looking right at me.

His response was to give me a look, like ‘Who the hell are you?’. He was a flake then and he’s a flake now. I sat and had myself a pint of Guinness.

Mike wasn’t around yet and so neither was my guitar. I looked around, not too many people. Keith had made a hasty exit so I didn’t mind that. I asked the bartender, Brian if there was music tonight. Apparently they seemed to be waiting until someone asked about music before they did anything.

At the far end of the bar, a flat screen TV showed the Yankees game. Closer to my end, the TV showed the Mets game. Mike eventually showed up, thanking me for letting him use my guitar and buying me pints for the rest of the night.

People started to come in and someone started playing guitar towards the back by the pool table. I wished they would have turned off the TV’s but they stayed on. Rand texted me, asking what was going on. He was on his way to the bar.

I went out and met him before Mike came on. Each person did a couple of songs, surrendering the mike to the next player. There were four guitarists total. When Brian the bartender heard that Mike was using my guitar he asked if I wanted to play as well. I begged off.

Rand and I sat at the bar while Mike played. He’s a pretty good guitarist and singer, sounding a bit like Tom Petty and Graham Parker and that’s not too shabby. Everyone else was singing in a folk manner, Mike was singing in a rock & roll manner making him stand out from the crowd.

The hat was passed, but it wasn’t in my direction and I wasn’t about to go chasing after it. Lisa eventually joined me and Rand and we all sat around listening to music and having some pints. The singers rotated every few songs and everyone was having a good time.

I headed to the men’s room and was surprised at how narrow it was. Apparently it’s always been narrow, it’s just that I’ve gotten a little bit wider since I was last there. Barely enough room to have your arms at your side for a proper pee.

Outside the men’s room there was a chap wearing a t shirt that said Paladins Track & Field. I asked him if he went to Paramus Catholic since the Paladins is the name of the sports teams from my high school. He said no, but his daughter is graduating from there in two weeks.

He asked how I knew about the Paladins and I explained that I went there. Before it went co-ed. It turned out that Rand’s high school when he was living in Florida was also the Paladins.

The guy’s name was Ken and he lives on Castle Point which is a very nice and quiet block in between most of Hoboken and Steven’s Tech. The whole thing ended around 10:45 and with 6 pints of Guinness I was feeling pretty good but knew it was time to go home.

Mike thanked me once again for the guitar and I thanked him for the Guinness. It all worked out quite nicely. Unfortunately the Guinness left me with a slight hangover today which matched the off white sky today.

the very narrow mens room.

the very narrow mens room.


A Starling and a Mourning Dove eating some stale bread

A Starling and a Mourning Dove eating some stale bread

A Well Respected Man

Well I was a bit crabby yesterday. The disheveled drunkards can do that to you. On my way home I got a text message from Rand who was telling me about his buddy Karl having an art opening last night at Maxwells.

Yes that’s right, I wrote Maxwells.

I was weary, and merely replied ‘Sweet’. Rand invited me and I couldn’t say yes or no. I came upstairs and wrote over 1000 words and felt a bit better, and less bitter. Bill came home as I ate a turkey sandwich.

He was pretty tired. I continued writing and thought about going to the art opening. Last time I went it was pretty crowded and all I could do was think about how the art openings at Maxwells were so much more fun 20 years ago. Free beer and wine and familiar faces made the difference.

Bill went to take a nap and asked me to wake him up in a few hours. I mentioned that I was probably going out. Though his body was tired, his mind was racing and was unable to nap so he wandered around the apartment.

By the time I was done writing and posting entry 1601 I had decided to head out. As I walked down the stairs I texted Rand and told him I was on the way.

Got to Maxwells and it was crowded and loud but I enjoyed Karl’s artwork. Very comic book style, a lot of fun. Talked to Rand and Mike C and Mike’s girlfriend Sarah who was very sweet. I talked about busking and music and made Sarah giggle a bit.

Chris Repella showed up and bought some artwork. I thanked her once again for the photographs of the civil union thingamajig on Saturday. She joined Rand and Mike and Sarah as well as Lisa, Rand’s wife. I spotted Todd and told him I needed to talk to him.

Todd and I used to butt heads back in the day. We went out side and I told Todd about the civil union and asked if he would let me use the back room for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. To my delight he said yes.

I thanked him profusely and offered an invitation to join us. He asked that I send him an email today to remind him to keep the date booked for us. Quite nice. I called Bill and told him the good news and also called Annemarie.

After Maxwells I walked home with Chris Repella, walking with Mike C and Sarah. Chris and I sat in front of her building just talking about music. Mainly about the Kinks and how she doesn’t like the Beatles. Chris went off to either the supermarket or to Starbucks to see her daughter and I came home and invited about 120 Facebook friends to the summer Civil Union event.

Then I remembered that not all of my friends are on Facebook or even online so I text messaged about 20 more friends about it. I know that not all of the invitees will be able to make it, so I’m not worried about too many people.

Anyway if it gets too crowded there could be a nice back and forth between the front and back room at Maxwells.

A few trays of pasta and salad, paper plates and plastic utensils on the back bar and if you want a drink, you’ll have to pay for it in the front bar.

Today was a good day for busking. Yesterday while playing I spent too much time in the sun and my nose was bit red. Bill mentioned that this morning while kissing me good bye. So today I applied the sun block and wound up playing in the shade.

Today’s songs were Lola, Sunny Afternoon, I Should Have Known Better and You Can’t Do That, as well as the toddler’s favorite, The Lion Sleeps Tonight. I even sang today. Loudly and to the sky. Tariq joined me. Couldn’t keep up though. Not good with the sevenths still.

I indulged Tariq somewhat and we played Hotel California. Then the guy who sat next to me on Sunday showed up and it turns out Tariq knew him. The guy asked how to pass a screening for alcohol and I said the best way to pass the test is to not drink.

Tariq went off to buy some beer and asked me to watch his guitar again. I did and played my guitar while ignoring the guy to the best of my ability. Tariq came back with some beer and I took that as my opportunity to leave, saying that I had to bounce.

Sorry if this was a little disjointed tonight, but there were a few phone calls going on while I wrote. Perhaps I should shut off the phone while I write.

But still it was Jane who called who was thrilled to hear about the party and she said she will be there this summer, as will be Connie who plans on buying a new dress for the occasion. And Harpy who will probably show up naked.
FLOWERS