Posted on September 13th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

They have a saying where I come from, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
It’s a play on words. You can say that it’s a perverted form of “Do unto others as others have done unto you.” In some ways, I’ve lived my life according to that code.

Things weren’t always so pretty in the McAllen household growing up. In fact, it was downright shameful at times. I was the first kid on my block to come from a broken home, a vile indignation that must have been the fodder for much dinner time gossip back in 1972. And with it came the inevitable financial difficulties. There’s poor, and then there’s dirt poor. We were somewhere in between. As a result, the clothes weren’t as nice, the sneakers had more than one hole, and invitations to events that cost money … Read More »

5 Hours

Posted on June 13th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

5 Hours.
It’s an extra-inning baseball game.
It’s a half a day of work.
It’s the equivalent of the drive to Boston.
But when you’re sitting in the waiting room as your wife is having brain surgery, it’s an eternity.

Eternity has just begun.

It’s been a 6 month process. Valarie was having a few dizzy spells back in November, and when she had one after returning home from Thanksgiving dinner, I forced her to go to the ER, despite her loud protestations. While there, we were informed, quite incidentally, that Valarie had a 4mm aneurysm in her brain. Sounds pretty scary, but it looks pretty innocuous on an MRI; like a 4 year old who doesn’t know how to color inside the lines yet.

Since then, we did our research, … Read More »

The Divided States of America

Posted on January 26th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

It’s 3am. I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept properly in weeks. I fall asleep at 11pm, and I’m wide awake at 2am, mind racing, with no chance of going back to sleep. And so, I wander the hallways of my mind.

i.e. — I go on Facebook.

I’ve never been one to worry about the economy, or the environment, or the state of affairs in Bangalahara. Then again, I’ve never had a family before.

On Nov 8th, 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency of the United States of America. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t vote for Hillary either. I voted for the guy with the bad haircut that couldn’t name one world leader. That’s how bad it had become. When Trump won, half the country lost its’ collective mind. People were literally marching in the … Read More »

I ruined Christmas – again.

Posted on December 25th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I ruined Christmas — again

Ok, not really.
Well, kinda.

Ok. A little background first.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. It’s the most stressful holiday imaginable. Not only do you have crowds, and traffic, and shopping and spending ridiculous amounts of money, you encounter the dual stress inducers of
A. Trying to buy a gift for someone that you don’t really know.
B. Receiving that horrible or unwanted gift.

When I was a youngster, I had my very first anxiety attack after seeing one of my male cousins get a pair of Jordache jeans from one of my aunts. For 20 minutes I sat there sweating, worrying about how I was going to fake it when my turn came to open my gifts. Imagine my relief when … Read More »

To sleep, perchance to dream –

Posted on November 18th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

apnea — from the Greek, apnoia, which means breathless.

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have heard that I recently changed job locations; from Soho in Manhattan, to Orangeburg in Rockland County, NY.

I know, right? What the hell is in Orangeburg?

Well, the answer is me… four times a week. My 18-minute commute is now 90… on a good day. Tuesday and Wednesday were not good days. Both days were two hours plus to get home. As I trudged up the stairs to my home, I resolved to quit my job. Then I realized that cat food and high-speed wi-fi don’t come free, so when night falls, I get back in the Sonata and head towards the GW Bridge.

This week, I had resolved to do two things:
1 — Disconnect from facebook for … Read More »

Searching for Zack

Posted on October 15th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was cold. Not bone-chilling cold;
not winter cold, but just enough to make me dread the oncoming winter. I decided that staying in my sweats and lazing around the couch was the order of the day. I had ideas about going to the gym, but that quickly went by the wayside. Instead, I compromised by walking the 15 blocks to the Post Office to mail a copy of my book to someone who’s probably never going to read it.

When I got home, my lovely bride was bursting through the door, a smile plastered on her face.
“I have a 4 day weekend!”
I had forgotten. My jealousy raged.
“Watta ya wanna do tonite?” She inquired.
I shrugged my shoulders. I was content to stay right where I was.

Then I read this … Read More »

The Ballad of Val and Jim

Posted on October 9th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

One of the big problems with being happy and content, and in fact, the “only” problem with being happy and content, is that art suffers because of it. Certainly my art has. Other than a couple of witty Facebook posts, I haven’t written a damn thing since I finished Pretentious. This week, I set out to change that.

On Wed, Sept 28th, I left work with the biggest smile on my face, buoyed by the fact that I wouldn’t have to return for 12 glorious days. And without any definitive travel plans, I was free to do whatever I wanted. And all I really wanted was to write, exercise and spend some stress-free, quality time with Mrs. McAllen.

Valarie had to work on Thursday and Friday, so I got those days all to myself. Thursday happened to be my 29th … Read More »


Posted on July 13th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 5 comments


The new book is done. It only took 3 full years, but it’s finally complete.
I think.

Truth be told, this particular book didn’t take 3 years. There was the other book that I was writing and decided to toss in the trash. That was a year wasted. And then there was a year of doing almost nothing. Well, not nothing. I did get married, move into a new house, get three new roommates and went on a honeymoon. That took a year.
The last year has been spent writing my new book. Pretentious. 

Ok, thats not quite true either.

Several years ago, I was driving along the backroads up near Cooperstown. I happened along this old dirt road branching off from the main road and leading up the hill into the woods. There was a weathered old sign with the barely legible words “Do Not Enter” … Read More »

Stranger in a Strange Land

Posted on April 21st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Let me first dispense with the formalities –

The book is done.

The first draft is complete, and now it just needs a period of incubation before I give it a polish.
The only problem is, I can’t leave it alone. I keep going back and tweaking it, rather than giving it time to breathe.
Today was the first day that I left it completely alone.
I hope.
It’s only 3:30.

Secondly, winter if officially over.

I know that it’s been over for a month, but I really haven’t been able to fully enjoy one day of spring yet. The past few months have been dark, and dreary weather wise, and busy as hell otherwise. I’ve been all about getting on with my life and my family, and spending all my free time writing. I haven’t done a walkabout since before Christmas, which incidently was the last time … Read More »

Ho, Ho, Ho

Posted on December 23rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

It was brutal out last night. I had to bundle up and head out into the freezing rain with a meager few dollars in order to get a few gifts for my family for Christmas.

Ok, that’s not true. It was about 60 degrees and misty, and I was sweating by the time I got to the Subway, but it was brutal nonetheless.

For some reason I was thinking of John Walton, making his way home in the dead of night; dragging a bag a presents for his brood, hoping to make it home safely before Christmas. I remember watching “The Homecoming” every year; the worried look on the face of Olivia as she prayed for her husband’s safe return. The utter relief she felt when he finally burst through the door. The joy on the kids faces as they opened their … Read More »