Tag Archives: Sandy Hook

I Must Be Dreaming

Yes indeed, this has been a strange day. It started out normally enough, waking up before the alarm clock. I slept fairly well despite Bill not being around. I was up and shuffling around doing my usual morning routine, shower, coffee & breakfast before heading out to deal with the world. A trip to CVS where I ran into Martin Kelly again. He was working and very funny as he usually is. Good to see him. Then it was off to the nearby supermarket and on the way I ran into Julio outside of his workplace. He was funny as well.

We texted each other last night and mentioned that Stine wants to have me over for dinner again. Julio of course joked that I eat all their food and drink all their wine. I remarked that I show up with a bottle of wine which Julio called rat poison. Still he drank the rat poison and it wasn’t so bad after all it seems. He went back to work and I ran in and out of the supermarket. No Isis to be seen. I haven’t seen her the past few times I’d been there so I guess she is on vacation.

More resumes sent out, revamped resumes. I decided to go with details rather than bullet points. I have a feeling that the detailed resume would go over better rather than the bullet points which require a quick scan before it goes into the circular file. Of course my detailed resume resembles something on par with James Joyce’s Ulysses. If there are no responses then perhaps I will hybridize the two and come up with something closely resembling a Brion Gysin cut up. If I put it to music it could sound like an outtake from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.

I decided to go busking this afternoon since I hadn’t since Tuesday. I was all set to go and had the guitar case and my shoulder bag as well as a bag of garbage. I eyed the keys hanging on the hook as I walked through the door and as soon as the door closed I realized I had locked myself out. I knocked on the neighbor’s door on the fifth floor, with the hope I can go through her window and into my apartment via the fire escape. But there was no one home. On the fourth floor I knocked again.

No one there either, nor on the third floor or the second floor and I knew no one was on the first floor. Apparently I am the only one home. I went outside and effectively locked myself out of my building. I texted Julio since I have a copy of his keys from the third floor apartment and he has a copy of ours. He knew he had a key but didn’t know where it was. He contacted Stine and instead of me standing around I started to walk to the waterfront to do my busking. I also tried calling Stine myself but there was no answer.

I walked past Tariq who was on his cellphone and set myself up about 20 yards away. I started tuning my guitar when my phone rang. It was Stine and I missed the call but got back to her right away. She was by Julio’s workplace and since I wasn’t around she was going to leave the keys with Julio. So I packed up and headed towards Julio’s place of work. Sure enough, there was Julio full of wisecracks about me getting old and forgetting my keys. We’ve been calling it ‘going Hawaii Five Oh’ since that will be my age soon enough.

I had the keys to the building and my apartment and climbed the stairs once more, putting away the guitar since it didn’t seem like busking would be part of my afternoon activities today. I did some practicing at home instead and dropped some change at my feet for effect.

Bill is back on the mainland, winding up at Dulles Airport and taking a train from Union Station to Penn Station. I was planning on seeing my friend Alice play tonight but I think I will stay in and wait for Bill to come home from his 24 hour journey.

And there is a chance I might go to the beach tomorrow. My niece Meghan and her husband Rob are going to Sandy Hook and I’ve been asked. They plan on going early and that’s fine by me. Meghan mentioned a while back that if they were going down the shore and if I wanted to go it would be easier for me to go out to them via public transportation rather than have them come to Hoboken. I don’t know if that’s the same plan. I would have a chair and a beach umbrella to bring with me and it could be cumbersome.

But it’s not that big a deal and I am sure I can make the most of it if I have to.

And now I have a key in my wallet.

This just in: there will be no beach for me tomorrow.

Julio’s workplace

2 – Downtown

I Love U

Yes I am back so that means it is a Monday. Yesterday was a Sunday and I don’t write on Sundays. Even Nick Colas could tell you that. It being a Sunday that meant being Hoboken bound mostly. A reunion was planned for later n the afternoon, the usual gathering of the tribes when Annemarie is in town. It also coincides with a slew of birthdays in July, also keeping Bill’s June 29th birthday in mind. Annemarie picked up Bill yesterday morning in Wally World and brought him to Saddle Brook at my niece Meghan and her husband Rob’s house.

I kept busy most of the day. It was quite humid out as I strolled the shady streets of Hoboken and when I got where I was going I was quite sweaty. That was alright since I was soon in a nicely air conditioned place and cooled off that way. Soon Annemarie stopped by and a little after that I was in her rental car headed to Saddle Brook. It was still quite humid and the rain was promised but had yet to arrive. Once at Meg & Rob’s house I went up to see Bill and there he was awake and online.

We settled down in the living room while Meg & Rob got things together and refused most offers of assistance. Bill played with the dogs Kara and Hunter and I mainly stared off into space. My brother Brian and his wife Karen showed up with their daughter Hillary. Their other daughter had to work. We sat outside in the warm air, Rob being the grill meister and Brian getting some beers for me, him and Bill. Burgers and hot dogs, kielbasa with sauerkraut and sausages were all scoffed down. My brother Frank also made the scene too.

Frank’s wife Elaine couldn’t make it, she had to stay with her father at home. Frank and Elaine’s other daughter showed up a day after her birthday and her cousin, Brian and Karen’s son Brian showed up a day before his birthday. It was all quite nice and friendly as the dark clouds started rolling in. After some photographs outside we went inside for the Happy Birthday song and some cakes. Annemarie was driving Bill and I to Hoboken and I did not want her driving in the upcoming thunder storm. We headed out as did everyone else after cleaning up Rob and Meg’s house a bit.

Corinne rode with Annemarie, Bill and myself so Annemarie would not have to drive back home by herself. A ton of traffic by the Lincoln Tunnel meant that a short tour through Union City and Jersey City was in order. It made a difference in time, and as Bill and I got out of the car, the skies really opened up and we were caught in a downpour. Annemarie and Corinne made it back safely to Saddle Brook and Bill and I settled in on the fifth floor.

Too late to watch True Blood, so we watched a documentary on PBS about John Leguizamo and then we watched The Newsroom on HBO. After that bedtime for Bill and I soon followed, tired from the heat and the beers that I had earlier in the evening. I slept really well, waking up when Bill kissed me goodbye for the day and getting out of bed an hour later. A beach day was planned with Annemarie. The last beach day for Annemarie and possibly the last beach day for me this season, unless someone asks me to join them on the sand by the sea.

Meg and Rob had something they had to do down the shore and they joined us later in the afternoon. Annemarie and I went in the water a few times, the water at first was a bit cold but our bodies acclimated soon enough. Rob and Meg took naps on their towels as I finished the third volume of Love and Rockets, Perla La Loca. It did not have the Death of Speedy in it, which apparently in the second volume but still it reminded me of how much I love Love and Rockets.

Dark clouds rolled in but that didn’t stop any of us from jumping in the water. It was getting close to the time to go and when the flies once again started biting my legs, I hastened the departure and said ‘Fucking flies’ many times. Rob went back to Saddle Brook to take care of Kara and Hunter and Annemarie, Meghan and I went to Rumson for some Crazee’s Ice Cream which of course was very good. We made it back to Hoboken with no problem and went to Mamoun’s Falafel once again, the third time in a week for dinner.

Now they are back in Saddle Brook and here I am in a very hot apartment in Hoboken at the start, day one of the fourth heat wave this summer. Annemarie leaves on Wednesday morning so tomorrow will be a low key day. Perhaps a movie, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. That’s all we have planned. I will miss Annemarie once again, the phone calls on Saturday and Sunday afternoons just aren’t the same as hanging out with my wonderful sister. But that is modern life I suppose and it’s best to enjoy the time you have got with the ones you love.

♫ get your kicks on Route 36…♪

I Am The Sea

you’ll see glimpses

nothing like a beach cigar

01 I Am The Sea

I Love to Hurt (You Love To Be Hurt)

Oh I certainly don’t feel like writing tonight. But here I am doing just that. It’s been a weird day and it is July 13, 2012 and it’s a Friday. That means its Friday the 13th. Not that I put any stock in that but it has been a weird day for me. It started out alright I guess. Nothing major. A beach day was planned and it was going to be later than usual. Sister in law Elaine and her daughter Corinne- our niece, were on board as well. They were working half days at their work gigs hence the later departure.

Elaine’s father isn’t doing so well, he had a major brain attack and can’t be left alone. Elaine has a sister who was supposed to come down and assist Elaine for a day or two but she proved to be unavailable for reasons that are unknown to me. So that meant Elaine would have to stay. Corinne was coming along with us which promised to mean a real good time. Annemarie and Corinne made it down to Hoboken between 12:30 and 1:00 and after heading down the stairs to meet them on the street we were soon headed to the NJ Turnpike.

Once again I made a few CD’s for the ride but left them in the apartment. It seemed to be smooth sailing with an occasional jibe that is expected from families. As we got off the turnpike and onto the Garden State Parkway, Annemarie’s cellphone rang. I answered it and heard Annemarie’s husband Rex on the other line. Apparently there was a problem. Rex and their son Earl were going somewhere and from out of nowhere a crack in the window was discovered. I was relaying the message from Rex to Annemarie as she drove onward down the parkway.

I told Rex that Annemarie would call back once we hit the rest stop. She can talk on the phone and Corinne and I could go have a pee. There was nothing that Annemarie could do 3000 miles away and she did make a few suggestions. Later once we got to the beach, Annemarie texted Earl and all seemed to be alright, they were continuing on going wherever it was they were going. There was a tension in the air though. It was probably me. Little things had been occurring in the previous hours and I was hoping music would take me away from all that.

But Annemarie wasn’t in the mood for what I was playing and told me so as she shut off the music. I of course, being who I am (and according to Corinne- I am just like her father) was put off by the turning off of the music. I take music much too personally and after that I shut down myself. Didn’t really have much to say or add which I usually do since the alternative of me saying just what was on my mind would not do anyone any good and make whatever situation was at hand, worse.

And it was noticed. Corinne remarked to Annemarie that I must be having my period. I just kept walking and read Uncut magazine before going into the water by myself. Annemarie did get up and I thought she would have jumped in but she stood by the water line as I floated off shore listening to teenagers talk while they swam, chatting about sharks and generally causing me to revisit the ocean shark paranoia that pops up whenever I am alone in the water. After a while I got out and dried myself off. The afternoon got a little bit better but overall it was breezy and overcast and for me, weird.

Me & Corinne

Annemarie & Me

the three of us at the end.

11 Road to No Regret

I Love The Nightlife (Disco Round)

Another splendid day at Gateway National Park, also known as Sandy Hook. It’s a national park so cigar smoking is permitted and today I was not the only cigar smoker. I counted at least three other guys. It was certainly more crowded today than it’s been the previous days. And only one life guard station was being operated, so it seemed even more crowded with a lot of families all located between the red flags that signify where the area where the life guards watch is. Today was also pretty good since the life guards were not playing club music on their boom box.

It was certainly a lot windier than we expected or hoped for. It was alright and manageable when we first got to the beach. Both Annemarie and I ate our lunches which was smart since the wind really started kicking up and that would mean for every bite of a sandwich, it would likely be accompanied by wisps of sand flying into our mouths and food. The water was warm like bathwater once again and that was enjoyable. In fact with the wind, it was a little bit warmer in the water than it was on the beach.

The day started out nicely with me asleep in bed, Bill kissing me good bye for the day. I could not wake up when the clock radio went off and hit the snooze button a few times. I finally did get out of bed, once again before 9:00 and set about making coffee, pouring cereal and stepping into the shower. Annemarie has been on top of using the correct sun block, something with zinc in it, something without fragrances since I do not want to attract flies and be swarmed like I was last year which was embarrassing.

Annemarie made it down to Hoboken once again, this time with no extra passengers and very little traffic. Neither of us mind the extra passengers since they are family, and even if they weren’t family they would be welcome. But it was just the two of us and we headed down the highway while listening to the CD’s I burned last night and talked about the familial drama that seems to ensue every time Annemarie comes to the Garden State. “Why did they do that” “Why didn’t they do that” “What about me?” usually comes up with some hurt feelings that are not so easily assuaged.

No names please. Still things get done and we usually do all get together for a good time since it is the only time of year my sister can get together with her three brothers and their families. And I am the only one that makes time to spend with Annemarie, if I was working I would take my vacation time while she was visiting. But right now I am not working so I do have all the time to spend with her, and I am willing to share the time that Annemarie is here with anyone who is interested and able.

I was comfortable at the beach sitting in the sand, it was so windy it was a very clear day, Manhattan, Coney Island and Rockaway beach were all quite visible. The sheet that we use on the beach was covered with sand though and like the other people around us, we decided enough was enough and packed up a little bit earlier than we would have liked. A visit to Crazee’s in Rumson was in order, since who doesn’t like ice cream after a day at the beach? It has become a routine that we are most happy to follow.

Annemarie on her path

2-09 Love’s Easy Tears

I Love The Dead

Today was another beach day and another excellent day. Today it was Annemarie and myself along with our nieces Hillary and Cassie, our brother Brian and his wife Karen’s girls. They have a son also who was working and couldn’t make it. It was another gorgeous day with temperatures in the upper 80 degree range and the ocean temperature was about 76 degrees. Annemarie has been staying in Saddle Brook and this morning drove up further into Bergen County to pick up the girls while I waited in Hoboken. There was traffic and things started a bit later than we had planned.

It was all good though, I was sitting on the stoop as they pulled up. Cassie was in the front seat not willing to give it up. I rarely pull rank but this morning I had to. I am an adult, much older than Cassie and therefore she had to sit in the backseat while I took the front seat. Though the car manual says there is an adapter for an iPod or some other device, there was no adapter so last night I made a few CD’s for the drive down the Jersey shore and I think they went down well.

An uneventful ride to Sandy Hook, no need to stop off for food or snacks or sun block since we got what we needed yesterday and also made food to bring down. It was a tight schedule since Cassie had to be back home by 6:00 this evening. The ocean was like bathwater once again, we all went in except for Cassie who just stood at the waterline. We tried talking her into jumping in with us but she was not having it and would rather see us frolic in the water. To each their own, so we frolicked.

The time flew by as we had fun and huddled under the umbrella and before we wanted to, we had to head home. There was no time for an ice cream stop which turned out to be the smart idea since we hit bumper to bumper traffic on the way home. We made it just a few minutes past 6:00 which was just fine. There was Brian and Karen waiting for Cassie. Hillary being 20 years old does her own thing lately. Whatever functions they had to attend was their own business and Annemarie and I were back on Route 17 headed south.

We were both pretty hungry and decided on pizza once we got to Hobkoen. Being in a car meant parking would be a problem but I remembered a coal oven pizzeria across from Julio & Stine’s place. Since we were so close I invited Julio to join us, he’s going to Denmark tomorrow. But Julio was stuck at work, needing to stay longer than he liked. We sat outside on the sidewalk and enjoyed a so-so pizza near a mockingbird’s nest with newly hatched mockingbirds making noises while mama flew around looking for food.

Now I’m home, and that’s about it. Tomorrow won’t be a beach day. We’re heading into the city to have dinner with a friend of Annemarie and her husband Rex. Instead we will probably check out some galleries in Chelsea and maybe check out the latest Woody Allen movie. It seems fitting since Annemarie and I saw a few Woody Allen movies back in the day when we were both living in Lodi. Tomorrow would make it extra special since it would be the first time we’d be seeing a Woody Allen movie in Manhattan. Who cares that it takes place in Rome?

Hillary, Me, Annemarie and Cassie


I Love That Man

This has been the best Monday in a long time. It started out with me getting up with the alarm clock again, about an hour after Bill left for the day. The goodbye kiss and Bill telling me to have a good day at the beach with Annemarie was a very nice send off. I got up, made some coffee and poured a bowl of cereal and stepped into the shower. After the shower and the cereal and the coffee I was applying sun block that expired last year. I didn’t think anything of it as I checked the emails.

I met Annemarie on the street as she pulled up and after an errand or two we were on the road to Sandy Hook once again. I hadn’t seen Annemarie in a year and since she came in yesterday we talked a few times in the past 24 hours. It was just us two going to the beach, we wanted some time alone, time to catch up. I was fine with that. No music on the way down the shore, just us talking. A short stop at Foodtown on Route 36 and soon we were looking at the majestic ocean.

We asked at the entrance to Gateway National Park if there was a pass we could buy for the week and the park ranger said no. Annemarie mentioned that we would be fine with the daily pass (which went up $5.00 from last year) since she was on vacation from California. The park ranger then waved us through without having to pay which was awfully nice of him. As usual we drove to the farthest beach from everything. Less people basically means easier parking. We unloaded everything and carried it as we strolled towards the sands, finding a spot between life guard stations.

We settled in under an umbrella and ate some food before jumping into the water. It was warmish at first, the temperatures posted were between 75 and 78 degrees which made it very comforting. After that it was more lounging under the umbrella just having a real good time. I told Annemarie that I was a lucky guy. I have got good friends and a loving family and some people do not have that. I am humbled and grateful by my family and my friends. And I am fortunate to have a good friend as well as family in my sister Annemarie.

She really is the best and my favorite sister. It’s safe to say that since Annemarie is my only sister. After a few hours at the beach and another dip in the ocean we headed back to civilization. We drove to Rumson and went to Crazee’s Ice Cream Parlor and enjoyed ice cream cones before jumping onto the Garden State Parkway and then the Turnpike. We had dinner in Hoboken at Mamoun’s Falafel followed by a stroll through Hoboken. Now she is back in Saddle Brook, I am in Hoboken with my loving spouse, Bill. Back to the beach tomorrow!

"then she jumped on a Caterpillar bulldozer, causing mayhem in Hoboken...!"

Lazy Day

I Can’t Wait #2

It’s nice having two days off in a row. And though it was not a Saturday and Sunday off, Sunday and Monday did the job just right. I slept fairly well on Saturday night and woke up after Bill left for the first performance of Destinations at Le Poisson Rouge, I headed out to the supermarket, somewhat groggy from not enough coffee.

I bought what I needed to get and headed home for a hasty breakfast before heading out into the rainstorm to the Path train. It was a good uneventful ride into Manhattan and I was earlier than I expected. I was in the Village before noon and had about 45 minutes before the show was going to start. I had a small cigar and walked the outskirts of Washington Square Park which was deserted due to the rain and construction machinery and trash.

I sat across the street from Le Poisson Rouge which used to be the Village Gate, on two milk crates underneath a disused marquee. I saw Bill heading in and shouted ‘Bill! Bill! Vila! Triple 5!’ but he was with a cast mate and didn’t hear me. A queue started and I eventually cross the street and joined the line, standing underneath my umbrella.

The crowd was eventually let in and I stumbled through the darkness and found a seat next to a piano. I knew Bill would be playing the piano at some point and thought it would be a nice surprise. The show started and a few people played the piano throughout the show, besides Bill.

I actually enjoyed Destinations. It was a good story, good songs, all performed by a talented cast. I enjoyed it so much that I look forward to seeing it again. After the show I met one of the other actors and she was most appreciative to hear my compliments.

Bill and I headed back to the Path train in a steady rain and were soon back in Hoboken, lucky since the trains to Journal Square in Jersey City were not running due to the rainstorm. We settled in the apartment, both of us talking about the show and how Bill felt about how it all went. I plan on seeing the August 24th show on a future day off.

Bill took a nap, as I surfed the net and made some dinner. A few hours later Bill was awake and watching me text my niece Corinne with regards to today’s plan on going to Sandy Hook. Corinne was in Asbury Park where it was pouring and supposed to be raining for a few days. It didn’t matter to Bill and I about the weather, Bill rented a car and we would be doing something. Plus when it rains up in North Jersey, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be raining down the shore.

This morning it was still raining and we were still heading down the shore. Not enough time for a real breakfast, coffee would have to suffice. Bill had to stop by his bus depot and pick up a check. That was OK, the bus depot is in Wallington which is right next to Garfield.

We picked Corinne up and soon we were on the Parkway headed south. And it was steadily raining on the way, so much rain that I was starting to have doubts about what we were doing. I did call Connie in the Highlands and she was busy driving a friend to cataract surgery. And she said it was raining there and that people were told to move their cars to higher ground.

We made it to North Beach on Sandy Hook and almost as soon as our feet were in the sand, it stopped raining. A few minutes later the sun was out. There were maybe 12 people on the beach, not including the lifeguards. We wound up getting about 4 hours of sun, and thinking that this could be the last time this year that I would be at the beach, I went into the water for a spell, a bit put off from the flotsam and dead jellyfish, washed up from the storms in the past 24 hours.

Corinne noticed some dark clouds coming in from the west and we packed up rather quickly, with the good timing of being in the car when the skies opened up again. A ride to Rumson for some ice cream at Crazies. A good day at the beach with good company and once again, I’m a lucky guy.

headed down the shore

the shore, in rain

incoming storm, outgoing Sandy Hookers

I’m In Love With My Car

Late posting again. What’s up with that? Well I didn’t post yesterday. Didn’t even write. I couldn’t access the blog (and neither could you perhaps) and I tried contacting Rand who I guess went to work on it.

A few hours later it was accessible once again, but by then I was pretty tired and in no condition to write about anything. So I decided not to write and I am even considering taking Sundays off from writing unless I have something worthwhile to write about.

Not that I usually do have anything to write about. There are always other navels to gaze at.

Yesterday was spent mainly in Saddle Brook at my niece Meghan and her husband Rob’s new home. It’s a very nice home and actually got me thinking that maybe someday Bill and I would have a house to live in that we could call our own.

That’s not happening anytime soon. I think we’d both like to stay in the Hoboken area and houses or brownstones are out of our price range, but right now it makes for a nice daydream.

It was the annual birthday barbecue, my siblings and their families all gather together to celebrate the July birthdays. There are about 5 birthdays, 6 if you count Bill’s birthday at the end of June. Rob played the grill meister, his parents and grandparents were also there, a lovely group of people and a few friends. All making for quite pleasant company.

The sun beaming down and I had a few Stella Artois which nearly did my head in, if it weren’t for Annemarie suggesting I drink some water, which did my body good. Burgers, hot dogs, steak and salads were the menu followed by cakes and cupcakes for the birthdays.

Annemarie drove us home and Bill and I watched True Blood. Plans were made to go to Sandy hook this morning. Bill went to sleep soon after True Blood and I stayed up trying to upload some pics. I slept quite deeply, Bill unable to wake me with his farewell kisses at 5:30 as he headed out to the gym.

I didn’t wake up until 9:00. It was overcast and I wasn’t sure if the beach jaunt was actually going to occur. Phone calls between Hoboken and Garfield went by, discussing whether or not to see a movie (Inception) or go to the beach.

We decided to take a gamble and head down the shore. Corinne was driving and Annemarie was in the backseat, giving me the front passenger side. Not much traffic down the Parkway, and few people at the North Beach of Sandy Hook.

Beautiful clear day, Manhattan, Jersey City and Coney Island as well as the Rockaways were visible across the harbor. The water was in the upper 70’s and was quite nice after a warm Frisbee volley. I wound up being bitten and bloody from the flies on the beach.

We figured out that it was probably the perfume in the sun block that attracted them. Another jump into the ocean for relief from the flies and also one last chance to play in the water until the next time.

We spoke to Meghan via text and made plans for a trip to Saddle Brook where I was quite a gavone and devoured quite a bit. Meghan and rob seemed tired. Or at least I hope they were tired and not pissed off from my over eating and our trip to the beach.

Corinne once again drove, this time back to Hoboken where we emptied her trunk of beach stuff. And now I am home. Early day tomorrow since I am having dinner with Bill, and Annemarie and perhaps Corinne before Annemarie flies back to California early Wednesday morning.

It certainly has been a fun time with Annemarie this time. Though we weren’t able to spend too much time together, the quality of the time spent was top notch. She’s so great.

Annemarie, Me, Corinne

Ants Invasion

It’s a Thursday now. Thursday night to be exact. Last night turned out to be better than I anticipated. No hurt feelings, no toes stepped on.

It was a nice seemingly impromptu gathering of my immediate family. There were a few hitches to overcome but they were taken care of. I was famished by the time I got there with Annemarie and Bill.

I took the train and Bill took a bus. It was a strange train ride for me. Apparently someone was talking too loud on their cell causing another passenger to stand up and yell, ‘Can you talk any louder?’

I was wearing my headphones so I didn’t hear the cellphone conversation but I did hear the NY Post reader yell at the other passenger, so in my book, he was the nuisance, not the cellphone user.

Got off the train at the Plauderville station in Garfield. A few entrances there and I couldn’t figure out where Annemarie was. It turned out she was on the street waving to me from her Volkswagen Beetle.

We picked up some beers and then drove to pick up Bill at his bus stop. Then it was off to Pierre Avenue where my brother Brian and my niece Meghan and her husband Rob were sitting soon joined by Anne’s son Earl.

It was a pleasant evening and eventually my brother Frank, his wife Elaine showed up, then Brian’s’ wife Karen and their two daughters Hillary & Cassie and finally Frank & Elaine’s daughter Corinne arrived.

I ate a lot of cheese and I rarely eat cheese, but I was that hungry. Even ate a cheeseburger which was probably the third time in my life that I’ve eaten a cheeseburger. The night went by fast, soon it was dark and our uncovered legs proved to be an ample feast for many mosquitoes flying around.

We left since Bill had to get up really early to take a drug test in Brooklyn. Bill drove Annemarie’s Beetle back to Hoboken with Anne & Earl in the backseat and me in the front.

It was a white knuckle ride with Bill thinking he was driving a bus and zooming in and out of traffic, passing on the right which anyone will tell you is a no no. I had to ask him to stop doing that. Bill’s rationale was that he’s an aggressive driver and a quick driver.

I explained there was no need for his aggression (plus it’s a bad way to drive. I remember being taught to drive defensively. Maybe in the 23 years since I last drove the rules had changed which could account for the dozens of horrible drivers out there that I see each week).

Luckily we got home safely though I was a bit disturbed by Bill’s driving and was a bit distant. I explained this morning why I was the way I was and thats when Bill told me his reason for his driving, that he wanted to get home and go to bed as soon as possible.

I did stay up and watched Paul McCartney on the David Letterman show. Macca was very good, performed outside on the marquee above Broadway surrounded by thousands. If I had known that’s what he was going to do I probably would have been there.

According to the Daily News, Macca played 7 songs, ending with Helter Skelter. Tomorrow it’s off to the new Mets stadium to see Macca and his band in concert.

Today it was a trip to Sandy Hook with Annemarie & Earl. It was originally supposed to be at 9:00 but I moved it to 10:00 which was great since I didn’t get out of bed until 9:00. It was an easy uneventful ride with not much traffic.

The only glitch was the choice of beach. I’m used to going to the North Beach on Sandy Hook, the farthest away from everything else. Anne was tired of driving and we parked in Beach C to my chagrin. I had never been to that beach before and I probably will never go back there again.

Too small a beach, swimming area and way too crowded for my taste. Filled with people who would never dream of going to North Beach or the nude beach at Gunnison Beach. The people I try to stay away from.

I was uneasy and Annemarie knew it, offering to move to another beach. No, I did my silent martyr bit and sat there stone faced taking it all in before I realized that it wasn’t fair to Anne or Earl to behave this way.

Things got better and we all swam a bit. Too windy and too crowded to toss a Frisbee so we mainly sat around under neath the umbrellas.

Earl and I did go in later in the afternoon when the water was a little bit warmer. There were also hundreds of dead ants floating in the water so maybe that helped with the temperature.

A drive to Rumson like we’ve done previous summers where we got some ice cream and soon we were on the rode back to Hoboken.

A nice Mexican dinner at Mision Burrito on 4th Street and a quick chat with Stine and Alexander before Anne and Earl were on their way back to Garfield.

Tomorrow, we’re off to see Paul McCartney!

The O'Toole Family 2009

The O'Toole Family 2009

t'is himself?

t'is himself?

Californian Earl

Californian Earl

Annemarie in shade

Annemarie in shade

7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 043
7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 0467.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 051aa
7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 060
who wants ice cream? Crazies!

who wants ice cream? Crazies!

Dig It

Well this is the second attempt. Lost the first set. Word Press being difficult. Last night watched Bananas by Woody Allen with Bill.

It was ok, I had seen it a few times already. Bill liked it a lot, having seen it only for the first time. It left me wondering if a movie that was funny in 1971 be funny almost 40 years later?

It did have it moments but overall it doesn’t hold up. I can see why Woody Allen wanted to make movies that were different than that.

After that I went to bed since I had to get up early for a trip to Sandy Hook with Annemarie. I made arrangements with Julio to get my beach gear back. I’m sure Julio would have liked to go but he has familial duties for the next 20 years.

Anne and I were on the road after I made some sandwiches and it was smooth sailing until we got to the bridge on Route 36. They’re making a new bridge and everything stopped for major merges.

We did make it into Sandy Hook at 11:00 after leaving Hoboken at 9:00. We would have been earlier if it wasn’t for the traffic.

It wasn’t too crowded when we got to the last beach, but it soon started filling up. All day long people were trickling in.

We had plans to see Bill sing at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan at 7:00 so we left the beach at 4:00. We certainly did not expect the traffic on the way out of the park. For an hour, we inched towards Route 36.

We were soon on the highway to the Parkway to the Turnpike. Approaching the Holland Tunnel it was more bumper to bumper so I navigated Annemarie through the streets of Jersey City.

We were going to get back to my apartment, change clothes and take the Path train in, but by 6:30 that seemed highly unlikely. I suggested we just head right into the city.

Anne was a bit mortified at wearing the beach clothes to a nightclub but I assured her that it would be ok, and it was. She followed my directions for driving across town on Canal Street and then up Lafayette Street.

We found a spot on Lafayette a block away and found a cozy corner in the club just as the compère, Rome Neal was making his introductions.

There were a few excellent singers, but of course we were there for Bill who sung 2 beautiful songs. Anne and I split some brushetta and I had 2 Stella Artois to Anne’s 1.

We even made it to the party after the show, enjoying some banana pudding that Rome Neal made and satisfied our hunger.

Now Anne is back in Garfield, Bill is in bed and I’m writing this for the second time. I’m at least glad I was able to take a shower and change out of the bathing suit I had been wearing for the past 15 hours.

Now it’s time for sleep. No pics tonight, no time. I will post the beach pics tomorrow and also post 2 videos I shot from the show tomorrow on YouTube under the log in johnotoole99.

All The Young Dudes

Well the past 24 hours have been quite nice. Yesterday I went into the city and met up with Bill in Bryant Park. We caught the 7 train to Flushing, to Shea Stadium. I wanted to go since it’s due to be torn down and it was a chance to say farewell. The ride was entertaining since I’d never taken the train to Shea Stadium before.


Pretty crowded with Mets fans who are a quiet sort. Bill noticed that. The Yankee fans are louder and more rambunctious. Mets fans are more well behaved and loyal but not rabid. We walked off the subway with hundreds of Mets fans. We missed the National Anthem as we climbed the escalator to our seats. Got some 2 hot dogs and a beer and the total was $20.00/ $8.50 for a Budweiser and $4.50 for each hot dogs.

Vendors now expect a tip. Give them a twenty and they ask how much do you want back. I suppose they earn it for lugging beer and hot dogs around so an extra buck or two is a nice gesture. It really makes a difference to see a baseball game live as opposed to watching it on TV. The excitement of the crowd, the whole atmosphere beats watching a game on a box.

Our seats weren’t bad, we were in the upper tier. It was cramped in our row and since no one was sitting behind us we climbed back and were able to stretch out a bit. The Mets were playing against the Houston Astros and they won 3-0 which definitely made everyone happy.

I took a snapshot with my camera phone and sent it to a few people who basically all asked the same question, ‘Where are you?’ I sent a pic to Pedro who couldn’t believe that I was at Shea Stadium. He said he was at Shea too with some corrections officers (CO’s) he works with.

After the game we wandered around trying to find him and his buddies but to no avail. He jokes around like that with me from time to time and after a while we gave up at my insistence. We did talk on the phone but he kept hanging up and thats when I gave up.


He sent me 2 pics that could have been anywhere and it wasn’t until I saw them on my computer did Bill tell me that he was in the parking lot as Bill could see the 7 train behind the CO’s. I didn’t believe Pedro and he called me a jackass and a jerk.

Oh well.

It would have been a strange scene anyway since the CO’s are mainly right wing reactionaries. And Bill and myself are, well… Bill and myself. I told Bill that we might have been shanghaied to a strip club if we met up with the CO’s.

Took the bus home, happy and cozy with each other and made it to Hoboken safe and sound were we both slept really well. I woke up around 8:00, went out got papers and bagels and had breakfast while waiting to hear from Chaz.


We planned on going down the shore to Sandy Hook. Chaz called around 9:00 and by 9:20 I was in his car headed down the shore. Wide range of topics we talked about, no music, but talk about music.

Some traffic but not too bad and we were on the beach itself a little after 11:00.We found an area with not too many people around but as the day progressed more people showed up and sat around us.


Chaz made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which were perfect and brought some baklava that his Aunt made last night. Played some Frisbee and I have to admit Chaz is a very good Frisbee thrower, and considering it had been over a year since I last threw I wasn’t so bad either. I did take a spill in the sand which I thought was rather humorous.

After getting sweaty we jumped in the ocean which was a little bit dirty with some trash that Chaz had collected and gave to me to toss in the trash. Every litter/little bit helps. An enjoyable ride home, listening to music on the radio, singing along to I Am The Walrus and Superman by the Kinks on the progressive modern classic rock station.

Stopped off for way too much ice cream, yes there is such a thing. I followed Chaz’ lead and got the double hot fudge brownie sundae with whipped cream. Ugh. A meal in itself.


Now I’m home, watching the History Boys again since I chatted it up with Chaz this afternoon. If I see him tomorrow I should make sure to have it on me so I could loan it to him, with the latest Mojo magazine that I just finished. Also finished 2 short stories by Alan Bennett and promptly started his autobiography, Untold Stories.

So far so good.

Anna (Go To Him)

Friday comes and Thursday goes. Last night was a lot better than the night before. Good feelings all around. Nothing much happened and judging by the comment, nothing much happened with you. That’s what I’m writing about today. You. How are you doing? It’s been a while and I hope you are well. Feel free to get back to me when you figure out how you are doing.

Tonight Bill and I are off to Shea Stadium which is being torn down this year to make way for a new stadium, to be called Citi Field since I guess Citibank put up some money to rebuild. I wonder how the Shea family is dealing with it. I mentioned to Bill earlier in the season that I would like to attend a Mets game for old time’s sake.

I used to go to Met games every now and then with my family, with the Boy’s Club of Lodi, and sometimes with a bus load of drunken veterans with a garbage can filled with cans of beer.

There’s also the thrill that the Beatles played Shea Stadium. Once in 1965 and again in 1966. I wasn’t at either show since I was too young, and neither were my brothers or my sister. It was actually 42 years ago tomorrow that the Fabs played there.

I’m pretty much excited, I haven’t been to a professional baseball game in decades and I’ve never taken the train there. It should be a fun time all around. Bill is a Yankee fan so who knows how he’ll deal with it. I have a feeling he’ll be fine, putting up with it because of me.

I went to work today and took a half day so I could go home and nap, get ready and do some laundry as well as pick up 2 tickets for myself and my brother Frank for The Bird and The Bee at McSwells in October. Hoboken is deserted again, most residents went down the shore already, so if you’d like to park in Hoboken, now would be the time.

Tomorrow the plan is to go down the shore with Chaz. That was all his idea. I bought a new umbrella and this will probably be the only time this season to use it. Sandy Hook I guess will be our destination and who know, perhaps meeting Connie will be in the cards. That is if Connie will be back from California.

Speaking of California, today is my sister Annemarie’s birthday. I planned on burning some cd’s as I’ve done the past few years, but I can’t seem to burn a cd anywhere. Plan B was getting a copy of the new David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

I hope she likes it. I plan on getting a copy from my library as soon as it is no longer labeled as being a new book. So a very happy birthday to my favorite sister. That’s a safe thing to say since she’s my only sister.

Happy birthday Annemarie. You don’t look like a monkey, and you don’t smell like one either.


A nice Friday. Just me and a few other people in the office today. I left at 1:30. Last Friday I was on Long Beach Island, this week- the canyons of midtown Manhattan. It’s been an on again off again day. Sometimes it’s been bright and sunny and other times dark skies. Much like my personality the past few days.

Five years ago yesterday was the last major blackout in the tristate area and beyond. I was reading Joe.My.God. last night and he had an entry about it. I commented but didn’t get in depth since I have my own blog I can get as deep as I’d like.

It was a Thursday, and late in the afternoon. I was working at Wanker Banker on the 34th floor of a 36 story building. One of the divisions just completed their first trade online and there was champagne to be had. With a slight buzz, I was sitting at my desk making plans to split early when the lights flickered and finally went out.

A meeting hosted by the evil fusspot Joe Smershberger had just started. I called Bill to find out what was going on in his office at 42nd Street in Times Square. There was the chance that it was a blackout from 42nd st to 57th st, but it was throughout Manhattan, and as we found out, the other boroughs, the rest of the state as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond.

My boss, Risotto and I went about following the building manager’s directions and proceeded to get everyone out of the office via the stairs. Joe Smershberger had a fit, and insisted on staying. Fine with us. We abandoned him and his guests and walked down 35 flights to the street, in dress shoes.

When we hit the street my legs were like rubber. People all over the place, in the streets and on the sidewalk I lit up a Padron which of course Risotto had something to say about which I basically ignored. We were with Sweet Sarah who had gone downstairs previous to the blackout and didn’t have to walk down the flights of stairs, though she did have to wear heels for the rest of the day since that was all she had.

We started walking downtown, Sweet Sarah was staying with friends and Risotto and I had to head back to New Jersey. I bought some beers which were going cheap since all the refrigerators were off. We walked down Sixth Avenue, passing a group of cops.

One of the cops saw me with the bottle and said that what I was doing was illegal. I brazenly told him that I thought he had bigger problems at that moment than me drinking out of a brown paper bag. That was that and I kept walking.

Risotto and I walked Sweet Sarah to 34th Street and she walked east while we walked west. We had heard that the buses were not leaving the bus terminal, the Path train of course was out so we walked to the river, thinking of catching a ferry.

It wasn’t like 9/11 when all the ferries and boats were taking people across the Hudson River for free. No, the ferries were jam packed or out of fuel and the boats were gouging the people with a $50.00 charge across. All this time Risotto was nipping at my heels, sounding like the Donkey to my Shrek. ‘What are we gonna do? Where are we gonna go?’

There were three women that also followed us around, not knowing what to do. We hopped on a NY Waterway bus and sat in traffic for about 30 minutes, finally moving about 20 feet. We walked over to the bus terminal where people were swarming over the buses, trying to get out of the city before night came.

There was the unspoken fear that something like 1977’s blackout would happen. Crime and looting. Hours had passed by then, no more beers, no more cigars. I suggested hitchhiking by the Lincoln Tunnel but Risotto was against it saying that if he was driving he wouldn’t pick anyone up.

The women we were with eventually found some other alpha males to tag along with and ignoring Risotto I walked over towards the tunnel and put my thumb out. In less than a minute I was picked up. Risotto somehow jumped in the car before me and nabbed the front seat.

Our driver was a very nice young woman, a tennis pro off to a tournament in Maryland. She had 5 other people in her mid-size car. It was cramped and it took forever to get through the tunnel. She needed to head for the Turnpike so I guided her through the dark Hoboken streets, getting out on the far side of town.

Risotto lived in Jersey City so I figured he would get home on his own with no problem. I wanted to walk through Hoboken to see how things were on Washington Street and everyone was out. It was dark, around 9:00.

Hundreds of people milling in the dark in front of City Hall, cars creeping down the street. I made it to my block and found that throughout all the darkness, my block actually had power. Stine and Julio were in their apartment having some cold beers and I joined them for a while.

I called Bill who was going to stay with his parents and make sure they were ok. The next day, we still had power while the rest of the region didn’t. Julio, Stine and I made plans to head to Sandy Hook. It was actually encouraged not to go to work, it was a Friday after all.

Most people in Manhattan worked in high rises and there really was no way that the work force would climb X amount of stairs especially if the office machines weren’t working.

I called Bill a few times to see how he was doing. He took it as me rubbing it in his face, the fact that I was going to be down the shore while he was stuck in Stuyvesant Town. I wasn’t. I was genuinely concerned.

The tolls were free on the Turnpike and the Parkway, smooth sailing. A beautiful day at Sandy Hook, followed by a nice visit with Connie. The power was back on and we enjoyed dancing with Connie to Talking Heads last album, Naked and making her short of breath from laughing so much.

We came back to Hoboken that night, everything was the same as it was before the blackout. Newspapers came out the next day showing people asleep on the steps of the main post office across from Penn Station. People slept in Bryant Park, anywhere they could. No major crimes and no looting were reported as far as I know.

And some pics from that day. (today really…and last week)

above pics taken with cellphone camera

Meanwhile, back in the concrete jungle…

42nd and Eighth Avenue

and finally, from Towleroad:
As a response earlier this week to revelations that Manhunt Chairman and founder Jonathan Crutchley (above, right) had maxed out his individual personal contributions to vocal gay rights opponent Senator John McCain ($2300) which we reported on Wednesday, Crutchley has apparently been pressured by the board of the company to step down as Chairman.

cut n’paste for the full monty