Tag Archives: Tales of the City

Touching Me, Touching You

Just woke up from a nap. Set the cellphone alarm for an hour, only a half hour was needed. I did try to sleep some more but my mind wasn’t having it.

Woke up thinking of Maggie Alexandre. She was the inhuman resources director at Wanker Banker. She claimed to be at the Human Be-In in San Francisco during the summer of love back in 1967 but I have my doubts about that.

The thing that stuck in my mind was the fact that she was responsible for the hiring of some rotten lying conniving office manager and when it was revealed that the person she hired was such a beast the only thing old Maggie could do is try to get me fired.

I know it’s old news but for some reason the hunchbacked crone known as Maggie Alexandre seeped into my consciousness like so much ergot fungi. Maybe it’s because she reminds me of the natural gas spokeswoman for the energy today website.

Today has been an alright day. Went and played guitar for a few hours by the river. Tariq was there, after a few cocktails. It was a bit chilly and he claimed to have been strumming since around 11:30. I didn’t show up until 2:00 and by that time he wasn’t strumming much.

He did try to follow me on a few songs but gave up after a couple of strums and spaced out a bit. He did offer to show me how to play some grunge, and I knew what he meant when he said grunge.

Pearl Jam. A soulless band full of testosterone. I put my foot down and instead played Twist & Shout. He’s getting into the habit of repeating stories that he told me a few days previously and when I tell him he told me that already he merely says, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot that I saw you.’

Still he’s a nice guy. He likes to drink and always has an eye out for the ladles.

It was a bit cooler than it’s been the past week and a lot breezier. I stretched my arms and fingers and neck before and during playing but it was a might bit too chilly. Tariq also talked about building up a set list for playing on the street.

He’s been busking longer than I have and always brings up his friend Steve as a human jukebox. He plays with Steve at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel where they supposedly make good money playing for the tourists.

Steve is also the guy I saw playing with Tariq singing Melissa by the Allman Brothers a few weeks ago. That is when I realized that I didn’t want to play the songs that everyone else plays. I’d rather play Instant Karma and Love Shack.

In the back of my mind I see myself playing at Central Park South and Sixth Avenue. Perhaps if the weather gets warmer and I am still looking for work, that is what I’ll do. I actually envisioned that a year or so ago, before I ever started playing my guitar outside.

This week promises to be a better week weather wise and will provide some opportunities to go out and play by the river once again.

Last night I watched all of the first season of Tales of the City. Still as charming as I remembered. I put in the first disc of More Tales of the City. It was a bit of a let down.

Some cast members did not return and the ones that replaced the originals in my eyes didn’t make the cut. I only watched the first episode of the second set so maybe it gets better. I think

Bill wants to check it out so I’ll hang onto it for as long as I can.

Touch Me

Watching Tales of the City on a blue gray Saturday afternoon. Endearing. I have the first series which was on PBS and the next series, More Tales of the City w3hich was on Showtime after PBS got cold feet.

It was odd because the first series was a big smash ratings wise but the timing was bad since it was around the time Newt Gingrich and company started attacking Public Television and the NEA. And from there it went to Showtime where it did well enough.

I didn’t have cable then and never saw the succeeding episodes. But I’m reviewing the first series and forgot that Syd Straw, Country Joe, Mimi Farina, Parker Posey all pass through. Olympia Dukakis is excellent as is Laura Linney and Chloe Webb et al.

Today is also Record Store Day. I usually visit the local store here in town every now and then. I was there the other day and picked up some good used CD’s a really cheap prices. Today being Record Store Day it was a bit more crowded with guys like me, they’re just wider, balder, sometimes hairier and more often than not, straighter in most every sense of the word.

But I do like the whole aspect of buying a CD, and I really like paying $1.99 for it, Pretenders- The Isle of You. But I think, and I could be wrong, but I think they jacked up the prices of items because it was Record Store Day.

That would be tacky, but having been there the other day I don’t recall things being what they were today. I lucked out and snagged a CD of Lene Lovich, Lucky Number, a best of compilation. I probably could have picked it up for $3.99 the other day.

I’ve always liked her, a special place in my heart for Lene Lovich. I did see her at the Meadowbrook in 1982 and she was electrifying. I was going to head into the Village to check out the Budos Band at Generation Records, but the weather is crappy.

Last night I did head out in a rainstorm and walked up to Maxwells where I saw Glass Trees, the band my friend Chris Repella is in. Rand was there and Roda was managing the place. Glass Trees were pretty good, though Rand and I both preferred the instrumentals to the songs with vocals.

The instrumentals were other worldly whereas the songs with vocals brought the back room back to Earth. They reminded me of My Bloody Valentine and Neu!. Chris was a regular Brian Eno on the synthesizer.

Rand had seen them before and they were accompanied by some visuals. Not last night though. I would have focused on the noisy instrumentals rather than the vocal songs which killed whatever momentum existed from the previous song.

For the past week, Monday through Friday I had 239 visits from 140 cities around the world. From New York City to Winchester, Arcata to Zagreb. Edinburgh to Xuzhou. I think that’s impressive. Some of the visits were just a glance, lasting less than a minute. Some were sent via Google word or name searches and some were return visits.

Still no one in Hoboken reads it. I have no problem with that. In fact I might prefer it that way.

Glass Trees

Glass Trees

Glass Trees

Glass Trees

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A Double Doodle

A Double Doodle

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It’s a bit cooler out today. Not necessarily attitude wise but temperature wise. As in degrees, meaning °. Gray skies, supposed to rain the next couple of days.

I took Tales of the City on DVD from the bibliothèque. In a strange way, I was hoping to use this blog the way Armistead Maupin used his San Francisco newspaper column to create the characters of Barbary Lane.

I loved the mini series when it was on PBS. I was living on Jane Street in Weehawken when it was originally broadcast. Such happy times on occasion there and I sometimes thought that there was the potential for the Jane Street residents to live a life akin to Tales from the City.

We were interesting enough and creative enough. The landlady’s daughter working for Penthouse magazine, her undiagnosed Autistic brother being a mail room drone downtown somewhere. There was me and William, he being super creative, me working in the music studios and People magazine.

Could have been something. But I moved out (after 11 years) and within a year later William, his brother Chaz and Chaz wife Kathe, all tossed out when the landlords, Ms Penthouse and Mr Autistic decided to sell without even offering it to William or Chaz who would have bought it.

I could still write about that place, and with the passage of time I could make it a semi fictional account which would have been my original modus operandi.

I did wander around Hoboken for a while and ran in Tariq who did not win the lottery. Living his life the way he sees fit, the temperatures were in the 60-70° range, today being around 50° he decides to come out.

I showed him 2 new songs, Instant Karma and Don’t Play that Song and he was impressed. But it was cold and he wound up walking me towards the library before he headed off to his girlfriend’s studio.

Tonight I plan on going to Maxwells (yes Maxwells. I am being nice) to see Chris Repella’s band Glass Trees. They played last month in Jersey City, but Maxwells is so much closer.

And they’re going on between 9:30 and 10:00 so that means I will be home at a decent hour. Plus I’ve never seen Chris play, even though she’s been in a few East Village/Pyramid Club bands. So it should be nice to get out and about.

Tomorrow is Record Store Day so go out and pay your local record store a visit. I went to Tunes this week where I bought the Pretenders The Isle of View CD for $1.99. Sort of The Pretenders Unplugged.

And tomorrow I am planning on going to Thompson Street to see the Budos Band play a set at a local record store,.Generation Records which I think is between West 3rd and Bleecker St at 2:00PM. Of course it will depend on the weather.

For now, for me, it’s all about the laundry.

Bill is driving to Atlantic City this weekend, so he’s happy and I’m happy. So it’s all good.

The Hardest Button to Button

Well last night I wrote after thinking I wasn’t going to write. It came easily despite not really having anything to write about. After I wrote, Bill came home from his rehearsal and got himself together before we headed out again.

We walked to the Path train where in Hoboken it wasn’t that cold. Hopped on a train to Journal Square in Jersey City right before the train doors closed. Train was not that crowded, at least our car wasn’t. When we got into the open air my phone buzzed telling me I had a voice mail.

I checked it and it was Annemarie telling me there was a major earthquake in Northern California. She asked if I was still at home to check the USGS website. Luckily I was with Bill who has a Droid and an iPhone. But the iPhone was home.

It didn’t matter Bill was able to check the information with the Droid, which was that a 6.5 earthquake had struck off the coast of California. There was also a 3. something in San Francisco the day before. Even though Annemarie said there was no need to call, I called.

Spoke with my nephew Earl and asked him what was shakin’. Earl laughed and told me that the power was out and they had all been on the street where all you could hear were car alarms going off. Aftershocks continued no doubt and I talked to Annemarie who said it was the worst they had felt but all was OK.

Bill and I walked up Kennedy Boulevard to Carlton Avenue, in the bleedin’ cold, stopping every now and then to write down phone numbers regarding apartments for rent for Bill’s friend Tom who is looking for an apartment. It was so cold that it was easier to take a photo with the Droid rather than write down the phone number.

We made it to Chaz’ apartment soon enough which was comfy and cozy and quite warm. Lot’s of food and alcohol to drink. Chaz’ brother, my former roommate, William and Andy, one of Chaz’ oldest friends were there as were a few people from previous holiday parties that Chaz had thrown.

Jennifer Poulakos as well, all the way from California by way of the Highlands in NJ. She’s looking after her sister Connie who had surgery last month.

We settled in and chatted throughout the night many laughs, Bill telling his story about singing the National Anthem before the NY Knicks game last month and me talking about the Dark Was the Night CD and Paul McCartney at CitiField in July.

Unfortunately we had to be the first to leave since Bill was scheduled to drive a bus to Atlantic City today. Hasty goodbyes and all that and soon we were in a taxi coming back to Hoboken. Back in the apartment Bill found he had a message on his voice mail on his iPhone from the bus company.

It seemed that the full time drivers were resentful of the part time drivers taking weekend work from them and so Bill’s services wouldn’t be required for the Sunday morning trip. Bill seemed to get over it but was annoyed since we left a pretty good party so he could come home early and go to sleep.

He did go to sleep a little while after that and I stayed up watching Saturday Night Live. I thought it was pretty funny and of course the Digital Short was the best. I woke up before Bill and set about making coffee when I got a text from Julio asking if I wanted bagels.

Of course I did and I did not want to go out in 15 degree weather. I called him up and asked him if he wouldn’t mind getting a few bagels and the paper and Julio was more than happy to oblige.

He was knocking on the door a little while after that and I told Bill I was going downstairs with Julio to give Alexander his Cookie Monster toy. A nice hug and kiss greeted me at the door and Alexander though smiling was determined not to shake my hand or give me a high five.

He speaks a lot of Danish lately and ‘Ni’ or in English- ‘No’ is his word of choice. Eventually he did warm up to me after prodding from his mother and father. I eventually made my way upstairs to find the door locked.

I knocked but there was no answer. Apparently Bill decided to go to church. I knew he was thinking about it but was surprised that he didn’t even say goodbye and locked me out. I did have the foresight of having a key hidden somewhere in the hallway so I let myself in and made myself breakfast.

After that I decided to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which I enjoyed a lot more than I though and was chocked up at the end. Watching it by myself I couldn’t help but think how much Bill would enjoy it.

Soon he came home, all silent and not saying much at all, just filling the apartment with a foul mood. I asked a few times what was wrong to no avail. I decided then to go out into the cold weather were it was a lot warmer.

After talking to Annemarie while walking around Hoboken I came back home and watched the second DVD, the extras of Benjamin Button. Bill had woken from his nap and I once again inquired what was wrong.

He reassured me that it wasn’t anything that I had done, he was just incredibly bitter about being knocked off the bus driving schedule. That was a relief of sorts and I asked him to next time, let me know what was going on instead of letting me feeling like I had done something wrong.

He responded that way back when, when I had a job, sometimes I would come home in a foul mood and despite his pleas I wouldn’t readily tell him what was going on. I told him that, that was true, but usually within a half hour he would hear all about it.

Things are back to normal relatively speaking, Bill is watching Benjamin Button as I write this and really enjoying it and here am I, with over 1000 words under my belt.